Sunday, October 14, 2007

Melissa's Birthday - Oct 12

Melissa entered this world late in the day on October 12, 1972. That day is a cause for celebration. If you read this, please reach out to Melissa and let her know that she is fantastic.

Melissa is a shining star in this world, but one that doesn't call attention to herself. Melissa cares deeply about people, about justice and about love. She has the endurance of an elk, the nurturing spirit of a mama bird and the sure-footedness of a mountain goat. She has worked so hard to care for people in need - at-risk youth or survivors of domestic violence. She has cultivated a deep caring for our dogs - even for Teacup's incessant barking! She has pursued reconciliation with her parents across the ideological divide. And now, she has been caring for me.

At first, I was so shortsighted about celebrating her birthday. I thought that I could do little to celebrate, since I was limited in walking, driving and even getting on the Internet (after my laptop fuzzed out). I thought perhaps that a little surprise was in order.

Amazingly, by bringing other people into the fold, the surprise grew in wonderful dimensions. The surprise soon turned into a double-header, two nights in a row. Friends added their special touches - scrumptious stuffed squash, a growler full of stout, scented candles, flowers and best wishes. It turned out to be one of my best efforts at celebrating Melissa's birthday, yet I can claim very little of the credit. Bringing community into the picture gave birth to a wonderful celebration of Melissa.

So what I want to say is this.
I really wanted Melissa to feel loved, celebrated, supported, noticed. Some days, I can hardly believe the efforts that she has taken to care for me. Some mornings, she has spent her precious time dealing with all the logistics that it takes to get me out for a walk in the Arboretum. (I am not low maintenance. I need breakfast in bed before I can take my pain medication. My wheelchair needs to be lugged down two flights of stairs, and if the car is parked facing uphill, I need the door held open). She has spent time massaging, holding and paying attention to my injury and my soul.

Sometimes I ache to try and do enough for her. I feel so limited; all of the physical tasks fall to her. I can't walk the dogs or shop or run an errand. I can't even cook much beyond the simplest options. I am deeply affected by her caring and attention.

Lately, we have become fond of a new Patty Griffin song. Here is the chorus:

When you break down, I'll drive out and find you
If you forget my love, I'll try to remind you
And stay by you
When it don't come easy.

Well, it hasn't come easy for over two months, but Melissa stayed by me.

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