Growing up, all my siblings and I lived in the same house on East Bruce Avenue. From the time we were born (except my two oldest sisters) until the day we each moved out. Most of us left, on our way to college, or some other destination.
So we only knew that home. It was a modest two story house, with a semi-creepy basement and a really creepy attic. Nine of us, all told, at its fullest.
Most people in the U.S. move twice by the time they are 18. And the statistic for the number of moves in a lifetime, is 11.7. I think the .7 is the time you decided to move to Nibley, Utah, but decided to turn around in Oklahoma, and come back this way.
Anyways. Back to Bruce. The outside of our house, just like the inside, was kept pretty neat and tidy. We cut the grass, and kept things tended. But we were not the landscaping mavens of Dayton, Ohio. In fact, we did very little in the way of “prettying up” the place.
One year, when I was about 4 or 5, we decided to build a little brick wall around the front of the house. A little wall…. about 3 bricks high. And. I say “we” like I had something to do with the decision-making process. I was the youngest kid in the family. I can assure you, I never had much to do with the decision-making process.
I am guessing, in this case, my oldest brother Ed, thought this might help the cosmetics of the house. Ed always had an eye for making things pretty. So build, we did.
On this night, it was just Dad, Ed, and I working on the wall. We were carrying bricks from the garage to the front of the house. Ed and Dad would take a big stack at a time. Young Polly thought she should be a stack-carrier as well. So I took four bricks. My Dad strongly advised me against carrying that type of load again. He warned me that those bricks might topple and land squarely on my little bare feet.
I am a Taurus. I am stubborn. Some might even call me obstinate at times. So, on my next trip out from the garage, once again, I carried four bricks. That is when I first realized that certain adults have Psychic Powers. Just as my Dad predicted, those bricks tumbled right out of my arms, and directly on my left foot.
I’m sure the entire neighborhood thought the Kronenbergers were sacrificing their young that night, because I screamed to the highest heavens. Dad came running. Ed came running. And I started running. Hobble running. It was quite a ruckus. Dad and Ed, shouting at me to stop. Me, screaming bloody murder at the top of my lungs. Dad finally caught up to me on the walkway between our house and Mrs. Swonger’s.
He scooped me up in one motion, ran me into the house, sat me in the bathroom sink, and ran cold water over my foot. I do not remember much about the injury from there, except that it was very painful. From the looks of my adult-self, I would say I broke every toe in that foot that day. However, the wall was completed, with only one casualty. We had a big Taco Dinner the night it was finished. And Mexico paid for the entire thing.
Okay. I’m joking about the Mexico thing.
But, I did learn something very important from all of that. Not immediately. But looking back.
Sometimes, life gives us a lot of bricks to carry. And that load might be too heavy or burdensome, to transport all in one trip. There are times, when it is much smarter, to take a little bit at time. Maybe…. even…. just one brick at a time.
And eventually, the load will move. From where it was, to where it needs to be. It might take more of a stretch to get it there, but we figure it out. In due course. Smarter. Wiser. And without it hurting quite so much.
“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”
― Tom Bodett
“In a time of destruction, create something.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”