I carry you

I Carry You~originally posted on June 31, 2009

I look down and my hand is doing that thing,
it's resting on my lap in a curve.

Dad, your hand was just this same way today, I saw it.
It was sitting there resting exactly like this.

Just like Grandpa. The same hand in the same spot.

Curved just so, fingertips to leg.
The lanky fingers that grow thicker with time,
they curve on the lap and rest.

I do it too and it's just like the unconscious way I run my finger across my lip like Grandpa Glenn when I'm nervous. Or how I grab the bottom of my shirt and rub my thumb across the fabric, like Grandma Helen. It's the way I care like Aunt Elsie and understand like Grandma Colleen.

It's the way I laugh like Aunt Sandi and cry like Auntie Kay.

Today I'm thankful that I carry you, all of you.

My family.

Today, I'm thankful for you.
The man with the curved and rested hand and skin like leather
turned brown from the sun,
all the working in the sun.

The one who still says I'm the greatest
and falls in love with my boys
just the way that I do.

The man with the heart so big.

I carry my family.
I carry you.

I love you,

Happy Father's Day.



He quit drinking when I was very young. Just like that, proving that he could, fiercely. Years and years have passed and he's never picked up a bottle. I can't seem to wrap my mind around how he did it. He said not to do it like he did with no meetings and no treatment.
That's not the way to do it, he said. Get help.

I listened.

That first day, two months ago, we sat him down and I cried and I said,
I can't say it, I don't know what to say. And then minutes went by and I finally said it, I have a problem and I drink too much. I wasn't worried about his disappointment in me, I knew that wouldn't be there. But I was worried about his guilt. I would never want him to think, I gave this to you, because he gave me so much more than this.

I carry him and I carry me and I carry my boys. And we are not a family of alcoholics first. We are people and loved first. People with a greater capacity for giving that love because of this, this broken down part of us that shows us we're all the same and then reminds us to accept people just as they are.

In the end, strangely, this is a gift. And when I get scared that my boys will live it out next, that the chain reaction of lifting the glass will not end with me, I have to remember...my Papa, and me, we're both okay. We are fighters. God pulled us to our feet so we could walk through it and out of it and he can do that again.

But of course, I beg and plead. Let it skip them...please please please, let it end with me. Help me show them how to be free, with my life, just like he did.

Yes. I carry him and he showed me how to be free.

It's not his fault. It's not my fault. It just is. Like curved fingers, resting just so on our laps, worn from the years and still beautiful because they're carried through to the next generation. The way they show our sameness and shout that we belong.

Like an author's final masterpiece, we need the messy parts of the story to bring us to a richer place. Redemption. We move on from there, people ready for the next chapter because of the painful growing up of us, carrying each other.

47 clicked right here to comment:

Heidi said...

your posts never fail to move me to tears.

LisAway said...

What an awesome example he is to you. And what a great daughter you are to him. You DO belong. And so do your boys. Don't fear for them. Just teach them like your father did you.

One Crafty Mother said...

"Like an author's final masterpiece, we need the messy parts of the story to bring us to a richer place. Redemption"

This is so beautiful - it moved me to tears. I've been struggling, lately more than usual for some reason, with the fear that my kids will go through what I went through, that they will discover the bottle and it will be all over for them.

I forget to remember about the redemption part. About the humanity and grace in overcoming adversity. And that I'm blazing that path for them, too.

You gave me a gift today. Thank you.


Lindsey said...

Extraordinary. Thank you.
Yes, we carry them all with us, the scars and the strengths, the wounds and the wonder.
Thank you for this (as always) gorgeous, eloquent description.

Anonymous said...

I needed to read this. Thank you.

Kazzy said...

We carry the good, the tough, the inconsequential. Way to accept it all. Live that good life you were meant to and everything else will work out.

Candy said...

God bless you, Heather.

Keyona said...

Girl. Wheew. That was deep. It's not your fault. Nor his. And if by chance it doesn't skip them, you will be there the carry them as well.

Love you.

alita said...

This post had me in tears.

God bless you and keep you safe Heather. You are stronger than you know.

At the risk of sounding condescending, I am proud of you. Even though we have never met.


Corinne said...

My grandfather quit drinking the same way - and because of that my mother questioned his alcoholism... which is sad and not right. There are so many different ways to cope, to recover.

Love how you tied these together, how your family is so intertwined and deep and part of you.

Love to you, and love to your dad. You are so lucky to have him near :)

Becca said...

Yes, yes, yes. Do I say that every time you post? But YES. We are all more than a word can say.

Becky said...

Oh my god, I am crying at work, at my desk.
This was so beautiful I can't even... words don't do it justice.


I have a special relationship like that with my dad which is where this emotion is coming from but still...


Pamela said...

this is just fabulous.
i think i left the same comment last night. but i really, really mean it. both times.

Life Is Beautiful said...

Beautifully written, Heather!

Heidi Ashworth said...

Oh golly, so beautiful. I think you are very right to be concerned about his feeling like it might be his fault--because that generation is that way. My father has a real problem dealing with the fact that depression runs in our family. That's how he feels--that it's his fault. It just seems so silly to feel that way but that's just how people of that generation think. Bless their hearts, they are the sweetest ever.

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

Beautiful, beautiful.

Kaycee said...

This is amazing and powerful. And hopeful.

Lovely. Thanks for sharing it.

Angie said...

Oh, stars, friend... I am all a mess.

"People with a greater capacity for giving that love because of this, this broken down part of us that shows us we're all the same and then reminds us to accept people just as they are."

Thank you for reminding me of how important it is to carry and be carried by our loves.

warmchocmilk said...

I like the way you linked these thoughts to an earlier post. Such important thoughts...

Anonymous said...

I almost cried.

And that's saying a lot, because I don't cry.

Simply beautiful and touching. I love being subscribed to your blog. Each time you post, I can't wait to read. :)

Sarah said...

Yes, it just is.
And yes, you see so much more than what is right in front of you.
It is what will help you succeed when failure sometimes seems like an option.

L.T. Elliot said...

"this broken down part of us that shows us we're all the same and then reminds us to accept people just as they are"

Oh, how I love you. Your heart, your words, your strength.

Life Is An Octopus said...

Thank you. Truly.


Texas Gal said...

Amazing. I am brought to tears once again by you! (In a good way, of course!)

I just want you to know that your growth and struggles oddly mirror mine - and I don;t drink. My issues are weight issues but our battles seem so muh the same. Thanks for opening up to us -- you are inspirational -- truly truly you are!

Chris Weigand said...

Beautiful, so true. When I was growing up I saw my Father do things that I swore I would never do. Now that I am grown and he is fragile I find myself embracing those same things. I may do them in a different way, but I see his struggles and ideas in a different more mature light. When he had his stroke several years ago, I feared I would lose him and not be able to share in the wisdom and faith that he tried to impart and I was to foolish to recieve at the time, but thank God he is still alive and available for me to make up some of the lost time. I am proud to be his daughter and proud to share his faith even though we came to it by different paths. I only hope that someday my children will feel the same way.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

"It's not his fault. It's not my fault. It just is."

With all the testing and health-scares and such going on as of late, this was exactly what I needed to hear, written by one of my favorite writers. Thank you for those words, and for being you.

Big mushy love to you, sweetheart.

CaJoh said...

This is why you ARE "The Extraordinary Ordinary"! You find such beauty in the simple things such as how you hold your hand and relate them to such powerful visions that we must stand in awe.

Thank you for sharing,

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Loving you.


Anonymous said...

If a book isn't in your future ... I don't know what. Breathtaking post, absolutely, simply and profounding breathtaking. Destiny D.

Boy Crazy said...

Beautiful, Heather. And universal, too. It may not be alcoholism for all of us, but we've all got something. And this idea of what we get from our parents, all of it. So touching and honest.

You look like your Daddio. I love it.

xo elizabeth

Maggie, Dammit said...


jubilee said...

Wow. Just wow.

May God Bless you.

Rebecca said...

Heather, this is beyond lovely. I don't know how you do it, but your posts really stir my emotions.

You are amazing.

Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

I think CaJoh said it best.

Really beautiful.

Billy Coffey said...

I agree those messy parts are needed. I think it's great how we can carry our family inside of us the way you've described. I'm always amazed at your words, Heather.

My Bottle's Up! said...

astoundingly beautiful... i don't know how you do this in such a glorious way, writing with such grace and vulnerability, but i am thankful for it... for you.

Heather said...

sending much love to you and lifting you all up.


TheOneTrueSue said...


Tell me you're giving a keynote. I don't see how that could NOT be.

debi9kids said...

OMGoodness heather. I am sitting here crying. This struck such a chord with me, as my father is an alcoholic that gave up drinking many years ago and I so worry there will come a day when I take drinking just one step too far. (it's always in my mind when i lift a glass to my lips... is this too much if I drink a glass with dinner?)
Your words and your extreme honesty are enlightening.
Thank you so very much for sharing your heart :)
Bless you on your journey.

Mommy Mo said...

Once again, beautiful post and tears on my end. Too many thoughts to share in this very public forum (for me). Love you.

butwhymommy said...

This is just beautiful. I am so amazed.

The Murray Crew said...

Your courage and your words are remarkable.

Cheering you on!

Kimberly said...

He really does pull us to our feet. So beautiful, Heather. If only we could be refined without the refiner's fire. I want to spare my children all possible pain but I want them to grow too. Such conflicting feelings and in the end we really do carry each other through.

Bonnie Gray said...

Motherhood does that to me... It's having me face the fears of my childhood, when I thought I already closed the door on them long ago.

No one ever told me I'd have to relive those memories again.

But, I'm learning that reliving them a second time, I can choose to rewrite the story for my children.

This is beautiful and direct. Very brave, Heather. Perfectly, imperfectly real.

kirsten said...

oh my.

struggling so much with the demons of generations of mistakes visiting themselves on more generations. The spectre of repeating errors, age after age.

"if I do this, will she end up like that?" or the phrase "you remind me so much of what I was like as a mother." Is that it? Is it just a repeating pattern?

Will return to this post when I've slept, but for now I'll dry my eyes. And say thanks. Again.

~j. said...

Excellent. Beautiful.

Meredith said...

I don't have adequate words for how beautiful this is to me. Absolutely amazing.

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