I slice the sliver of leftover birthday cake so thin I can almost see through it. Just a touch of celebration-in-sweetness to go with my cup of choice, pure Assam tea in a silk bag steeped in a china Blue Willow teapot (convenience without sacrificing quality). I pour the amber liquid into my newest teacup find – a “reject” due to a lack of gilding. The artisan must have hiccupped and lost sight of this beauty as she sped past the brush unvarnished. I glimpsed her mates in gilded splendor, but felt drawn to the sweetly hopeful one that stood with only roses to offer. I noticed as I carried her to the checkout counter that she sat a bit wobbly in the saucer, and I loved her all the more. I see myself in this teacup that stands dutifully though imperfectly at the ready, a reservoir of comfort swallowed contemplatively as thought washes over the one seeking respite.
Some days living a “special” life challenges my naturally optimistic nature. The droning, the routines, the stymied growth, and that does not even begin to address the issues my autistic son faces each day. You see, I too have special needs, but the Lord built them into an inner place that I hide from the rest of the world. Whereas my son cannot hide the fact that he loves to drone a humming tune when excited or compulsively close an open doorway to his spotlessly tidy room, I stuff all my quirks and foibles into an envelope to be opened later in private when I can “handle” it all. Sometimes that envelope bursts at the seams and tears spill out; rarely does this happen off in a secluded corner. "Is it hormones?" I wonder, concluding that I have had this affliction all my life and this time of life has no special lease on tears.
I lift the gilt-free teacup to my lips and drink in the warmth of acceptance in the face of imperfection. All of my wildest hopes and dreams and longings fall in line behind the joy of being loved just for me, not for what I may become. When my sons arrived too soon and unable to survive without accessories (my husband uses that word with such a scope beyond fashion … I just love it) to help them breath and eat and survive, I loved them in that moment. I did not reason that I would be able to love them once past certain milestones; I had loved them before I ever saw them, no shortcomings affected that -- such a picture to me of my Heavenly Father’s brand of love for me. Though my parents failed to share such a love with me, I believed it existed and never gave up looking. I found it in many places, but always feared it would vanish if I reached for it; and so I held back … waited. One day the envelope burst, the tears spilled forth, and I nodded “yes” to an invitation to live fully in love.
Just yesterday my sweet husband turned 47. He looked at me as we were driving through the sunset-laden forests and said, “I am turning 47. It took 47 years to get here. How did that happen so fast?” I laughed a deep belly laugh and blew him a kiss. I met him when I had lived but 17 years and he only 18. He looks the same to me today. His smile has not aged a day; his lushly-lashed eyes still “send me.” I seem to recall the agonizing wait to become 18 and get away from the life I had been dealt and begin living the life I had always dreamed of: Love, life, education, marriage, children, and ... God granted me so much in the way of Happily Ever After.
I do not need to tell you that it has not been all smiles and batted lashes, but I will proclaim loudly it has been a wonderful life thus far, and I look forward to each new day, troubled or otherwise.
Funny, as I sit here rambling on about nothing in particular and everything in general that fills my life, I sense a lack of teary-ness. Did the sorrows go away? Has my sweet precious Edward Kitty, missing now five days, returned to meow and love me with his teddy-bear fluffy body? (Sadly, no. He appears to be resting peacefully somewhere beyond our life … much to my sorrow.) No, the doings of the day have not changed, my son’s autism has not vanished, the dishes piled in the sink remain, but the teacup stands empty. I have drained it slowly and surely in this respite moment by the wayside of yet another busy Monday. Though there be piano lessons to attend and fresh food to be selected for another feasting meal with those I love, I continue to pause here in my favorite chair with this cheerful teacup for just a moment longer. A “special” life, indeed …
Sweet Edward ... our "Eddie Boy" (I miss you!)