“It Is Going To Be Okay.”

Often in life we need this simple reminder to get us through tough times.

When our van blew up driving home from vacation, as hard as it was to lose so much so quickly, we knew we’d be okay.

When our landlady asked us to move out a month before I was due to give birth, as stressful and worrisome it was, we knew we’d be okay.

When winters plagued us with bare cupboards, we never went hungry and knew we’d be okay.

When we or I have been out of work and everything seemed to go wrong, I knew somehow we’d be okay.

I have moved to two different countries starting life completely over, not easy, but I knew I’d be okay.

And when the husband was in and out of hospital with his rare condition, the future felt uncertain but he kept reminding me that we’d be okay.

And we are.

Looking back in hindsight on all the challenges that have come my/our way, I see one choice. Be okay.

And when it’s not the big things, it’s the small things.

Dinner burned.

A black sock fell into the white wash.

I forgot to buy milk.

The blender broke.

I can’t find my tweezers.

Those little things can rack my brain and I have to tell myself the same thing- it’s okay! Just do something about it!

My favourite quote as a teen, “Don’t sweat it honey!” (Grease)

Big or small challenges are inevitable. I believe sometimes it is my attitude that is the real test. I strive to be optimistic.

My faith in God plays a large factor as well as I believe things happen for a reason. Reasons we may not understand yet but one day we will should we open our hearts.

Throughout the day I am reminding myself that when things are not perfect, or just outright going wrong, that

“it is going to be okay.”

Shipshewana Flea Market

(photo credit)

My mom had given me a bottle of lotion. The smell of the lotion reminded me of potpourri. Not just any kind of potpourri, one that took me back to a place that held many memories of hot summer days and lemonades. A place called Shipshewana. It was a very long time ago, but I remember.

In the early mornings we’d get woken up at the hotel, mom loaded us sleepy kids in the suburban, and we fell back asleep as dad drove us all to the market. Not to shop. To work. Half asleep in my seat, eyes closed, I knew we were driving past miles and miles of cornfields in Amish country Indiana. We passed the KOA campground, the twin mills, more cornfields, some houses and I’d think of eating blueberry pancakes at the Perkins not far from the market. I think it was Perkins? We went sometimes and it was my favourite. As dad drove, the familiar smells of cardboard boxes, blankets and dirty shoes filled the car. It was about a twenty minute drive on those roads and when dad made the last left turn, I’d wait for the bumps of the railroad tracks beneath us, then I’d open my eyes. I loved seeing the row of old terrace housing. There was a laundromat with a flag outside, a barber shop, and other things I never got to find out what they were. These days it would be charmingly vintage.

The tiny town was buzzing. Horse and buggies everywhere, their owner’s faces told everyone they were running errands. The sound of horse hoofs on the road was always more welcoming than car engines driving by. Coach buses filled the parking lot.  It was still so early that the mist was still sleeping, yet the tourists filled the few restaurants for breakfast and shops were already open for the day. Out of towners were easy to spot: men in baggy jeans and the women wore teeshirts and ponytails. Later in the day when the sun reigns strongest, those teeshirts came off and women wore bikini tops. Even the old ladies wore strapless tops. Their bra-less breasts hanging down to their waist. I promised myself that when I grew breasts, I’d give them the support they needed. I’d also keep myself covered up. Only my husband will be allowed to see my saggy arm skin.

Soon we’d be lined up with other vendors, driving to our designated spot to set up for the day. We all had our assignments and knew exactly what to do. Tarps, tables, linens, boxes, merchandise, signs, bags, money bags, double check the change and eat donuts.

It has been over fifteen years since the last time.  I wonder if the “kite man” and Avon lady are still there. In my dreams I often see a market that represents Shipshe. Sometimes I can still taste their amazing nacho supreme and chicken salad croissant sandwiches. Maybe a summer soon I will be able to go with my husband and kids. Fingers crossed. x

“Welcome to America.” from an eight year old.

I was about eight years old when my school class loaded up on a bus and drove from Hartville to downtown Canton. We arrived at a big building and as a class sat at the very top and looked down at the stage. There was a big American flag on the right side and in centre was about fifty chairs with people sitting on them. People that had moved to America from other countries.

A man came out onto the stage wearing a suit and spoke into a microphone. The fifty people stood up and put their hands on their hearts. It reminded me of when we recited the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. They were becoming citizens. We were the witnesses.

Soon after we were standing in front of the building, lined up to get on the bus again. There were crowds of people around us, all leaving at the same time. I recognised a man who had been standing on the stage. He was tall with dark wavy hair and a big nose. With no real reason I had decided he might be from France.

I quickly ran over to him and tugged at his suit coat. He looked down at this three-foot tall little girl smiling at him. There I was, little Swedish immigrant girl, talking to a stranger and the irony of me saying, “Welcome to America!”