Saturday, December 29, 2007


That's her nickname. She is the last of four children. She came to me sick, on August 1, 1987. She had holes in her heart. I found out she had holes when she was six weeks old. I had spent one night in a panic, because every time she took a bottle, she would choke and vomit it up. I slept with her on my chest so I could hear her breathing, or choking. I took her to Kaiser the next morning, they checked her out, and told me to bring her back Wednesday when the heart specialist was there, saying she has a big heart murmur. I panicked again! You mean I have to try to keep this baby alive for four days by myself?!? Yep, That's what they meant.

We went back, the heart specialist said, "We have to admit her immediately, she is not in good shape." Well, in my rough way, I blurted out, "No sh*t Shamus." They admitted her, then stabilized her. Kept her from me for four days. Which is where God stepped in, in his mysterious way and let the rest of the family come down with a horrible flu. I was so grateful that she wasn't around in her weakened state to catch it from the rest of us. (I can always find that silver lining)
For two years, she was on medications for her heart. They never saw fit to do surgery, so I figured that she'd be fine. The last thing any heart type doctor said to me back then was, that the holes had healed and she has one small hole where the larger of the two had been. She'd be fine enough to live a normal life.
She certainly was a charmer. Her dad is an alcoholic. (recovering now) Back then he was in and out of AA meetings and made lots of friends that would come by the house to chat or have coffee, anything to not drink. Soon, some were coming by just to hold Binks. I thought it was strange. They would come in and ask immediately where she was. I'd call her from her bedroom, and she would run to them and laugh and jump up in their laps. It was these guys who did well in the AA rooms. I was told many times by them that they just felt a calm when she was sitting with them, pulling their beards or mustaches. She was a big help to them when they felt an urge to fall off their wagons. It made me proud.
When she was three, my grandmother passed away and left my mother's portion of her will to my sisters and I. I paid all my bills off and went in search of a horse for my girls and I to play with. I didn't want the girls to sit in front of the TV and wanted them to understand responsibility and play really hard outside. I found an eighteen year old mare, who was as gentle as a kitten and bought her. We set out every day to clean her and brush her. Take care of her stall and paddock. All of us would do something to make that mare comfortable, and then we would all ride her for a while. Binks took to this life like a fish to a pond. She loved it and seemed to have a knack for all things horsey. Occasionally, she and I would go to the horse when her sisters were in school. One day in particular, I was raking out the stall and I heard her talking to Fad (the mare). So I stopped what I was doing and watched her from behind the stall door. She would push the horse's rump toward the fence and then go to her front legs and push again. Then back to her rump. Soon, she had the mare right up against the fence, leaning on it. Then, she went under the mare's belly and climbed up the fence. She scooted over by the gate and unlooped the rope that held the gate closed. I was starting to get a little nervous, but I wanted to see what she would do, and more so what the mare would do. Then she scooted back to the mare's mid section and pulled herself up. Now mind you, there's only a halter on this mare. No bridle, no reins, no lead rope. Just a halter. She told the mare to back up, and she did! The gate swung open and out they went. I just stood there with my mouth open in amazement.
More tomorrow. I'm pooped.


tkdchick said...

These memories must be a true joy to you, something that makes your heart swell just thinking about it!

kim-d said...

Oh my gosh, Claudia. She sounds like she is going to become a very complex person. Which is now.

"A little advice about feelings, kiddo...don't expect it always to tickle." That, as you probably well know from my blog, is one of my very favorite quotes. That quote explains why you're already so pooped by writing about Binks. The good part happens after you've finished and have dealt with the feelings that need to be dealt with. And another good thing. I assume Binks is either 20 or is very close to being 20. At that age, my son--who is the person in this world that I am the closest to and who loves me just as much--pretty much hated my guts. To him I was the evil stepmother. And even though I loved him, I also often failed to appreciate him, too. Hehehe. Now, and for many years now, we are each other's biggest supporters. All I'm saying is, just because it is what it is right now--doesn't mean it's always going to be that way. You are her Mom, and eventually she will remember this. She is your daughter and you will always love her. You do the things that you feel to be best at the time. And someday--hopefully sooner rather than later--she will understand this.

You've started the journey, and you're not alone. ((GENTLE HUG)).

stitcherw said...

She sounds like a very resourceful and tenacious (sp?) individual. That took a lot of planning and persistence to pull that off with getting on the horse to ride. Also, she sounds like she overcame a lot in the beginning too. Hopefully writing about things will help you find some comfort and sense of relief. Hang in there, the way may be rocky, but in the end I'll bet she'll pull through. All you can do is love them and offer an ear if they need it, you can't make their choices for them, they have to learn for themselves. {{hugs}}