Sorting through the laundry, I automatically let my mind wanwh wder to a year ago when my Mom and I traveled to Colorado to make a new start. Dad had openly had an affair, his profession as a police officer and being teamed with an attractive partner allowed them to be together undetected for so long. Although, I got into a heated argument with my Dad in our driveway. I didn't know it was the last time I would see and speak to him.
Today my mind is on replay, placing the whites with whites: bras, tee shirts, panties in the starting load of laundry. Dad's words haunted me, "Heather, stay here with me and Kelly." 'I'll take care of you while you finish college at Highland Community College." In anger my reply, "You cheated on Mom, destroyed our family." " I hate you." Then I spun my Mustang car out of the drive, leaving behind billowing smoke.
Talking with Mom about showing respect to Dad's memory received little acknowledgement. Mom reconnected with a friend from college, Annie Wilhelm. Already having spent a week together in retreat, they were participating in an archeological dig in Crow Canyon. No television, music playing or microwavable meals allowed. Limited cell phone usage, at least gave me the opportunity to let Mom know where I would be next week. No exposure to the world outside . Delicates in the dryer, while sweatshirts, sweatpants, heavy blue jeans, next load in the laundry.
Kelly, called me to tell me of my father's death and that she was presently four months pregnant with his child. "My sibling, my brother or sister", arriving in five months period of time. My stepmother is only two years older , I am twenty years of age. Kelly, had no other family other than myself and my deceased father. Kelly asked me to attend lamaze classes, present and active at her child's birth. As I sat folding lingerie, I realized that the timing was perfect for the two of us to converse.
My eyes filled with tears spilling onto my face. Once again, I was in the driveway to my childhood home. Kelly, found in the side yard, tending the roses: in a few short weeks the flowers would awaken in bursts of color: red, yellow and pink. Kelly told me she didn't want to discuss the details of Dad's death. After a hug, and another hour passed by she related this account of the story to me. Domestic violence is one of the most tragic calls for a police officer. In essence, Dad stepped in front of a twelve year old boy trying to protect his mother. It had started out like any other day. The day ended with a dad taken from his family. I took my luggage inside, hanging up my clothes in my old bedroom closet. In this past year, it became easier to see some flaws in my Mom's life. She was and still is an extravagant shopper. Mom rarely wears the same outfit twice. Mom goes to the beauty salon twice a week to Randi her hairstylist. Her charitable causes: the gardening club, the literacy program, and the homeless as an advocate for health and housing issues.
Cooking together became an activity we enjoyed, sharing what had happened to us. Shared tasks were tackled as a team, forward to laundry, multitasking with dusting , vacuuming, covering electrical outlets as we prepared for the baby. Oddly, enough Mom intuitively knew important this connectedness is to me. There are six weeks left until the baby's due date.
Mom gave Kelly a baby shower. Fun and games, delightful toys, cute clothes. Mom purchased and gifted Kelly with a baby stroller. My gift to Kelly was a baby monitor, for any and all sounds a baby is likely to make. Fellow police officers provided a college fund established by his unit.
Labor began at 5:30 a,m, on what would have been my Dad's forty-eighth birthday, May 20th. For weeks now everything has been in its place. Keys, diaper bag, baby's outfit to wear home from the hospital. As labor grew more intense, I was looking under the bed, inside the refrigerator to no avail. Nervously, I sat on the couch, felt a lump. The mystery of the keys solved just in time. All of our laundry: clean , folded, and ready for use.
Madelyn Danielle Anderson was born at 7:30 a.m. on May 20th. She had blonde hair and blue eyes like her mother. It was a precious few moments I held my baby sister in my arms. We all came home the next day. Mom came as soon as she got word the baby was on her way.Two weeks later we, Mom and I went to our new home in Colorado. Through all of this, Mom and I became stronger. Kelly only had my father's name, her parents had died in a car accident hit by a drunk driver, when she was only five years old. For me, ordinary days are the best, nothing like life events that shatter a broken heart.
Five years of mostly ordinary days have passed by. Today, I am a bridesmaid in Kelly's wedding. Her groom is a police officer and she will remain a stay at home wife and mother. Madelyn is an adorable flower girl, these rose petals come from Kelly's flower garden. Madelyn drops the rose petals down the aisle, goes back to the sanctuary entry with all the petals in her little wicker basket. As people leave the church to go to the reception, Kelly calls all the bridesmaids to gather. The traditional bouquet is tossed, I catch it! As I have registered for college, I am determined to get that college education completed. I am not searching for a husband. If a man that is good husband material finds me that is fine.
Back in Colorado, I quietly enter the front door. Mom is asleep with her hand holding the place she was reading a romance novel. She was reading when sleep overtook her. I will kick off my high heels, put my laundry in the washer. Settled I sip peppermint tea and relax in front of the fireplace , the fire brings warmth and light into the room. Thankfulness fills my heart, my heart has changed, from taking sides between my parents to loving them both. Life is like a washing machine and dryer. You are washed clean, agitated, spun around and around, rinsed until every cycle is completed. The dryer adds the finishing touches, soft dryer sheets freshens your world to wear your attire in comfort.