Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yvonne Alexandra (Vanderkruk) Pts

In loving memory of our daughter and sister Yvonne.
Yvonne would be 42 today if she were still walking the earth.
In her memory and for the benefit of her posterity, I offer this excerpt from my diary:
June 23, 1989
Today was my sisters birthday.
She'd be twenty-two today.
I was with Mom this morning. All was very well until some flowers were delivered to her door from friends Louie & Nelly.
Then she cried.
She remembered the day her daughter was born -- an easy delivery she said. But not an easy baby because she was sick a lot, and so small...
We both wondered if Brian would even remember today.
Likely not.
For sure her own father won't remember -- unless he's reminded of course....
Much could be said -- much indeed. But I won't remember that today.
Today, I'm going to think about that little girl-woman who fought so hard for life.
Who managed to comfort us yet by assuring us she was finally ready to meet her Maker the very night before His angel came to get her.
How I thank my God forever for just that simple nod of assurance.
How I pray that God will sustain the woman who gave her birth.
How I pray for the little girl Nikki (Nicole) to whom Yvonne gave birth.
Protect her from evil Lord!

There you have it Nicole.
Not exactly glamourous but definitely the real and raw deal.
Time heals many wounds and dulls most of the painful memories but, as I have just discovered in re-reading this diary of mine - they can be brought to the surface with amazing clarity and such little provocation. You need to know that our estrangement from you comprises the most painful circumstance we still bear from the past.
We wish someone, ANYONE! in your acquaintance would find the courage to come clean and explain the how and why of your disappearance and your unwillingness to connect with us.
As it is, we are left with only one option and that is to give you our side of the story in the public domain.
And I am going to do exactly that, as prayerfully as I can manage, in as plain and simple manner as I can muster.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Niggling thoughts...

Do you ever get those?
Stuff that flits through the mind and overstays its welcome?
I'm a believer. Make that capital B, Believer.
It makes these nigglers harder to ignore as I agonize about their source.
Am I being 'compelled' by Spirit or just overwhelmed by wistful thought from a fumbling brain or wounded heart?
I really have no illusions about either of those two organs within, i.e. heart/mind. They've only proven to be a fickle storage place for both the profoundly magnificent as well as the positively messy moments of my life.
Never-the-less, I've decided to go out on a limb against all that may be considered safe and sane disclosure - I'm going public with some of these nigglers.
For reasons I don't even understand right now, I'm going to start with a Father's Day memoir.

I was eighteen, second born in a family of seven kids. Seven is the number of fullness according to scripture....an interesting tidbit to expound another time perhaps? LOL.
I was just back from spending Thanksgiving Weekend in isolation at the hospital where a serious bout of mononucleosis was confirmed. I remember thinking I was going to lose my first semester at university and I did. I actually never went back.
Our family owns and operates a nursery business - something my dad (and his brothers) had just recently taken over following the death of the family patriarch.
Spring and fall were very busy times. We wouldn't see a whole lot of dad during those months and consequently, 'seasonal estrangement' was considered a normal, even acceptable (!) factor in the fabric of family life.
A great deal of time and energy went into expanding the family business - on top of the demanding duties required of husband, father, pillar of the church etc...
To make a long and sordid story short?
My dad succumbed to the snare of the wrong kind of success in the wrong kind of community.
There is a wise saying: The test of prosperity is not easily passed.
One can hear the same panache (only better) in the ancient truth uttered by Jesus, "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."
And it ain't bulging sacks of gold that make it impossible - what disqualifies us is misplaced allegiance and an entirely wrong focus. Only Grace pulls one through the mire.
Our personal experience(s) testify to the power of this truth.
Misplaced priority. An insatiable desire for acceptance, position and power among the worldly. Call it what you will - my dad fell for it, hook, line and sinker. He threw in the towel on his marriage and joined the party somewhere out there.
Now, if being a father were limited to simply supporting a family financially, or to mere biological brute fact, I suppose you could say I still had a father. But in every other way - we were abandoned and quite bereft.

We didn't see that coming. Indeed, there was no good reason to expect it.
I was home at the beginning of a long recovery process from mono when the castle walls started crumbling and the vantage point in my safe little world changed forever.
I was second born but as the oldest daughter, I became the involuntary confidante overnight.
That is not a complaint necessarily -- my mother had no where else to turn; but it would be many, many years later before I could fully appreciate the horror she must have endured.

My dad grazed and razed greener pastures to the point of no return which led to the inevitable divorce which in turn led to so many other inevitable consequences.
Before I talk about any of those things -- if indeed I find the courage to do so, let me say this:
I love my Dad. I never truly stopped loving him.
Once or twice a year when he drives up to my door,
we sip our coffee or wine :) and I tell him that.
He finally settled down and married one of his girlfriends and our family still doesn't have a meaningful relationship with him in a way that really counts. We've had to accept life with the broken-ness but also in the sure knowledge that it will be made right again, and we accept that it won't be in this earthly life.
Why? *sigh* You had to ask...
Call me a dinosaur. I hold to the biblical concept that marriage is for keeps. I'm one of the odd ones who still believe a vow before the Maker to 'stick with it' in sickness or health, for richer or poorer 'til death parts us, is a vow not to be trifled with.
Look around you. Show me please, where compromise in this matter has ever brought true, soul satisfying happiness to ANY of the parties involved?
Marriage is divinely instituted and like it or not, the First Officiator cannot be mocked.
God has been very merciful and kind to our family.
With the exception of my sister Yvonne, we all enjoy good stable marriages with oodles of kids apiece. We all live near each other and near to our mom who has despite all, learned contentment and continues to live graciously with her circumstances.
We can all say quite honestly that we live far better than we deserve.

So what is my point in sharing this particular 'niggler' ?
This blog is an effort to connect with Nicole Kristine Peters - our long lost grand-daughter, niece and cousin whom we haven't seen or heard from in almost a dozen years due to circumstances beyond our control.
We don't know why that is. But we're going to put ourselves 'out there' in the hopes that she discovers a family (albeit an imperfect one!) who misses her, loves her and remembers her with great longing.
This Father's Day post is a necessary point of reference in disclosing ourselves to you Nicole.
I think you'll understand as the story unfolds itself.
And about imperfection and publicizing them?
Who DOESN'T live with broken-ness in this world?
I share it not to celebrate it, laud it or wallow in it but what a crying shame it would be if we didn't also learn by it and pass those lessons on!
This is a paradox: the beauty of bearing sorrow is the potential for maturity, growth and strength.
Looking back? I am hopeful -- thankful. By God's grace (Who put us on the planet in the first place for good purpose) we are learning to live as ultimate Family.

For all you daddies out there? Listen up. One of the strongest ways to demonstrate your love to your children is simply to love their mother. Do it. No matter what and you will be rewarded in ways immeasurable.
It's a hard sell in this sick and selfish cultural climate of ours but it's not impossible.
God helping us.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nicole Kristine Pts & her mom

Hi Nicole. It's Father's Day today.
Invariably my mind wanders over to what runs through your mind on such occasions.
And I wonder, do you ever see Brian, your Dad?
Did you ever find out WHY he awarded your grandparents guardianship over you?
One thing I do remember well, the poor man was overwhelmed at the time. It was an awful lot to deal with.
I was browsing through my file of blog pic's and decided to post these two comparing you with your mom. The ancient black and white above is a portrait of the first five kids in my family: Uncle Case has his arms around me and Uncle Rick, your mom is on my lap (what a cute little stinker eh?) and Aunt Pauline is sitting on my left. I love the way my brother Case demonstrates his protective nature with that uber hug of his. I love how we're all looking at the photographer except for your mom - who quite obviously followed some other irresistible distraction.
The second photo shows you standing in front of your mom's sick bed. I think your Uncle Glen or Uncle Gary is standing near you - I don't really know. We do remember them both as reasonable and nice guys. *sigh* It was all so long ago....

As always, we love you Nicole.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Backyard Beauty...

The Royal Acquisition

A set of Congas' with a cow-bell attached (for added intrigue AND noise factor!) was the ultimate choice in how to spend our recently awarded $400 scholarship from the Hamilton Duet Chorus. The grade 3/4 class is shown posing with their new best friend here in the choir room of CCS. Now if we could just get a few kids to take up drum lessons....

Monday, June 1, 2009

Feet First!

We tried something new around these parts and hosted a Girl Grandbabies Only sleepover.
Although, to be more specific, it was limited to the two oldest girl grandbabies who are not yet three years of age. Frankly, I don't know who had more fun, Rachie & Jules or Grams and Auntie Catherine. I'd do it again in a heartbeat if it wasn't so hard on the psyche of the only grandson Micah!
First, all five grandchildren and their respective mothers met me in the mall to find matching Sunday dresses. For you see, the sleepover was to include the inaugural visit to Grandpa's church pew on Sunday morning! Now, THAT was fun let me tell you - we went armed with enough Sour Skittles and chewy fruit snacks to last the entire week.
This is classic for Amy. Gramps wanted to 'see' their new Sunday duds and here she's getting them to pose for Exhibit A. She eventually did get an orderly shot, but I crack up looking at this one -- their individual personalities are captured so beautifully!
To these two wonderful munchkins above, I'd like to suggest many more sleepovers in the future -- the spunk and joy you bring with you is a great treat to behold. We love you a hundred, thousand, million. And then some.
I have a hunch that Amy will tell you more of the experience when she gets to that time in her chronological posting routine! Meanwhile, I wanted to let you know that I certainly haven't forgotten or abandoned This Pilgrim's Progress. I'm happily hung-up creating a blurb book of my first blog Off to England! and moving oh so slow in that regard, since I generally choose to savour the details of every page. I want to find a spot for every one of my 700 photos too! :)