The Test

Two months ago, I found myself in a public bathroom at my local grocery store. I usually try to avoid grocery store bathrooms  but I was feeling desperate. Sometimes my body just doesn’t want to wait until I get home. As I was washing my hands, I saw a white pregnancy test stick sitting on the counter. The results were facing me so I read them. Two Lines. Pregnant.

I glanced around the bathroom to see if any one was there. It was empty. I looked at the pale walls and the smudged mirror. I saw the little sign with the cleaning schedule over the overflowing trash can. And then it hit me. Two Lines. Pregnant.

The image of the lines burrowed into my mind and I started to cry. “Who are you? What is your story? Why are you taking the test here at the grocery store instead of the home of a family member or a dear friend?”

The two lines dug deeper into my soul and I cried harder. “Are you safe? Do you have someone who really loves you?”  In that moment, I tried to believe that you were a thirty-something-year-old woman. You were just too excited to wait to get home to start the test. Glancing around the room though, I knew that probably wasn’t the case. You had taken the test in the grocery store bathroom. Maybe you had a friend with you. Maybe you were alone. Either way, you had waited the three minutes for the results and then left the stick on the counter. “Where did you go? Are you safe? Do you have someone who really loves you?”

The image of the two lines has haunted me the last two month. I keep thinking about it.  I’ve prayed for you my unknown sister.  I’ve given money to charity that helps woman in hopes that they will somehow help you. I’ve prayed again. I hope that you are okay.  The image of the lines has burrowed into my heart.  Two Lines. Pregnant.

Today is Civil Rights Day. It’s a day to remember Martin Luther King Jr, and others, who fought for equal rights for all Americans. We remember the stories.  I watch the I have a dream speech and I think about how far our country has come. I also think about where we still need to go. There’s still so much that needs to be done.

Then I remember you. The girl or woman who took the pregnancy test in the grocery store bathroom. A person who has become real to me.  My sister. I hope you are okay.

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Dear Sister,

Your story matters. You matter. Please believe that.

With Love,

Amee

 

 

 

 

 

Words

 Words have power.  They can bind us together.  They can tear us apart.  Use your words for good.
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Wonder Women: Meet Theda

Grandma Adams

Have you ever met a trailblazer? I have. Her name is Theda, but I call her Grandma.

Theda Plumb was born in southern Arizona. At sixteen, she left her small town and moved to Tucson to study civil engineering. Grandma was often the only women in her classes. Back then, University of Arizona had a rule that female students had to wear a skirt or a dress when they walked around campus. As an engineering student, Grandma had labs and surveying classes that were outside in the hot sun with lots of bending and lifting.  Pants were more practical than a skirt. Grandma had to get a special permission letter from the Dean of Women to wear pants. In fact, she was stopped a few times by the campus police and asked to show proof that she was allowed to wear pants.

While at college, Theda met and fell in love with George Shelley. They got married. World War II started, and George went into the Navy. Grandma Theda worked as an engineer. After the war, Grandma lost her engineering job. The country was no longer interested in hiring female engineers. Her young family needed money though, so Grandma got a job as a seamstress to help put her husband through school. Tragically, Grandpa George was killed in a car accident shortly after finishing medical school.

Grandma was left with six children to raise under the age of 8. She was able to find work as an engineer and began to build and design in the Phoenix area. Eventually, Grandma met and married a dairy rancher named Louis Adams. He had three kids from his first marriage.  My Dad has all kinds of crazy stories about the joys and the difficulties of combining two families. Grandma enjoyed projects. I don’t ever remember visiting her without a project going on somewhere in her house. She always had a project to work on whether it was a quilt, canning, learning Spanish, helping someone from church or a business endeavor.

I have wonderful childhood memories of Grandma. I am also blessed to have some adult memories. During my first semester of college,  I made a point to stop by Grandma’s house several times each week on my way home from school.  She would tell me stories and then I’d ask her questions that my parents would have called “very rude” had they been there. They weren’t there though so I went ahead and asked things like this.  “Which husband did you like more?” and “Did you ever do anything that really messed up your kids?”  I think about it now and shake my head at some of my youthful questions. Some of them were probably rude. Grandma was a good sport and would answer my questions.

Over the years, I’ve thought about Grandma’s answer to the husband question.  She said, “Love is wonderful. It’s also complicated and messy. Marriage is good. It’s also complicated and messy. I enjoyed both of my marriages. I loved George very much. He was my heart and soul. I loved Louis too. He brought  joy and good things into my life and into the lives of my children. You’re young, Amee.  When you have more experience as a women, you’ll understand that I don’t have to answer that question. I just need to love and be loved”.

It’s been 20 years since that conversation with Grandma in her kitchen. My life is good. It’s also complicated and messy. I’m still discovering the questions in my life that I don’t have to answer. Grandma was right though about love. Sometimes the answer is as simple and as complex as love and be loved.

Theda, my awesome Grandma, was a Wonder Women.

Grandma Theda

(I think we look a little alike.)

Broken Cookie

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There are times when ordinary events produce beautiful thoughts. I made cookies and I  dropped one. I was struck by the way the cookie broke so I took a picture and then I wrote a little poem.

Dear Lord,

I made my friend cookies today.

She needs some extra love.

I don’t know what to say.

May be cookies will ease the pain.

I dropped the plate

I tried. I tried. I tried

To put the pieces back together.

I can’t.

Dear Lord,

I gave my friend a shattered cookie today

And a story about my failed attempt

To ease her pain.

She is hurting in a way

Only You can heal.