There comes a day when you have to look at foundations. As I have said before,the bones of my 601 were good. I had them inspected and the ole gal was holding tight to the integrity in which she was built. She still shined here and I was thankful because isn’t it just easy and rather dull to expect because of her age she would have been full of cracks and well, fundamentally broken? She wasn’t, she had done her work to hold on strong to what she was meant to be. She was a prize to her creator.
However, somewhere along the line someone had taken her heart pine floors and decided they were more beautiful if covered with asbestos black and white tile that had been so popular. Later, another owner wasn’t pleased with this, so they tiled over them. Not all over the house mind you, but in her grand hallway she had been deemed not good enough and Mark and I were determined to get her back to what she was meant to be.
It was a huge gamble; we had no idea what lay beneath all those acts to change her foundations. We didn’t know what we would find but a choice had to be made to trust she was holding something beautiful. So being ever the “savior” I made the call and Mark stood behind it, then we simply cheered for her as she exposed herself. The gamble was wise.
My man of floors came over and chipped away at tile, bit by bit—hard work, work which literally hits you in the face, cuts you and makes you bleed. He then hit the black and white asbestos that had been 601’s first poisonous insult to her image. This task was a little easier as the years had made her soft in that layer. But underneath, there it was—all she was ever meant to be, beautiful heart pine given to her by her creator. And the years of change folks had forced upon her –she didn’t let the wounds destroy her, the floors were still exceptional. It could be done; we could go back to her foundation and make her beautiful. Oh there were some scars remaining from her struggles, but even scars have beautiful stories and Mark agreed, the story would be 601’s and she would claim it as survival. We decided to leave them, not buff them out, because, well, she deserved to show off her trials.
As the tile continued to crumble down her backbone, and as the staples where pulled to rid her of the asbestos tile she sang in both pain and delight. It was during this time that I started to notice that within my body and even in my soul things were shifting. I would become tired. I would need more than the acceptable southern woman nap. My very body even seemed to be changing in embarrassing ways. I had to buy bigger clothes as my “pooch” of a belly was taking on a life of its own. And at this I knew exactly what was happening, as I have been down this road twice before.
The women in my family are prize fibroid tumor farmers; this was something for which I had also found a talent. I’m dreadfully awful about admitting when I need medical help and again I knew I was looking at a “too late situation.” It was time for a hysterectomy. Now I am very much motivated to stand out in ways that would let me be unique, I have a proven obnoxious laugh to prove it. I want to be anything except like everybody else, but even I, who hate all things vanilla, was once a 6 year old girl who too played with dolls and dreamt of a little family of my own complete with all the trappings: adorable husband, picket fences, children and maybe even a dog or two (although to be honest, give me the cat.)
I had taken many rejections lately; one from my own body was one I would have to come to terms with, not just physically but in my soul where only the Sacred could come. It was time to look at this rejection and move forward with making the decision to bless and release any chance of birthing my own babies. But in blessing, I had to also realize that in the future I might find myself in love with a man who wouldn’t be in a place where he could do the same. I was taken under by a wave of future rejections and I admit to having nearly drowned in disappointment, pity and fear.
And so as the foundations of 601 were coming back to life, I was taking great hits to my own foundation. But I moved forward. Unlike the way I handled my medical ailments I sought out everybody I could to encourage me. It’s not easy talking about lady parts to anybody I ran across, but I did. And oddly enough, when you speak of lady parts, all things are relative to fruit. As in, “Yep the thing is as big as a small melon and there are some oranges and grapes in there too.” I was toting around fruit salad. I’ve always been one to use laughter to heal. My friends learned I had to talk about it all the time, they knew I needed them to poke fun at the situation, I needed to laugh at this death and they helped me.
Surgery was completed on the same day Prince George was being born, as if Kate Middleton had anything on me. My friends planned out the greatest “party” of such to say goodbye to this part of my life. There were cute little hats brought in to make sure I looked cute in my recovery, they packed up my Minick Interiors T-shirts and dollar store pearls to recover in, and my precious Meg Usrey had made certain one of the most talented nurses sang gospel songs to me as the anesthesia took over. I requested “Precious Lord Take My Hand” and my singing nurse looked at me and said, “I will sweetie, but we gonna do a little jamming with Jesus too.”
And those floors– there came a time when I went to 601 to see her progress. It was good progress, but the staples that had held the second floor were pulled and walking her hallway was tough and demanded a sharp eye not to get stuck to them, a finesse which demanded I not get pinned to the past. Being known for my grace, I managed to get myself stuck to one, maybe two—full out stuck. And I looked at Mark Minick and I said, “Baby, these are my good flip flops! I can’t go one step further, I’m stuck.” Mark looked at me and rolled those eyes at my silliness and squatted, braced himself and said, “Good grief get on.” And I took a piggy back ride down my home’s new foundation on Mark’s back. And weeping, yes for that small act of kindness and for having a friend that realized sometimes you just have to be carried, yes I wept. And perhaps for the first time, Mark let me have those tears, there was no “Dry it up we ain’t got time for that.”
For hurting down to your foundation, we had time.
For standing by as someone you love hurts so badly, we he had time.
For carrying each other, yes indeed, there is time for such.
And those scars? Both mine and 601’s? I celebrate every little one when I can, and when I can’t, I simply remember, “Good grief, get on.” And I do, all the while basking in the marks of survival.
Que Gloria Gaynor, there is serious dancing to be done.