Category Archives: A Glimpse of the 8th Child

Of nativity scenes and Christmas joy

I usually try to write posts that will appeal to a general audience, no inside jokes, no personal details, because I believe the journey of an adult child is universal. However, I also write as therapy, so this post is different. You can probably stop reading right now if we didn’t grow up together. Or not. Anyway, I can’t blame the contents of this post on any one but myself–unlike those mystery thumb tacks in the door…

This will be my first Christmas as an “adult orphan,” my first with no living parent. Of course, that goes for my eight siblings as well. The nine of us will each get through the holiday in our own way, feeling their absence as individually as we felt their presence when we were children. Despite our being a pack of nine, despite the fact that we are still recognized in our home town, decades later,  as “one of the Pola children,” there is no doubt we were raised to be separate, independently thinking units of one.

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“I’m ready,” she said as she struggled with the buttons on her coat. I wasn’t sure of her intended meaning. Did she mean for her upcoming appointment? Or a more permanent departure? Her heavy sigh revealed her fatigue but little more. I didn’t press the issue.

She livened up when we hit the road. The winter sky was too beautiful to ignore with its wispy white clouds sweeping across a field of blue, the sun too brilliant for her not to comment. We make our way now beneath this paler sky, but it is still beautiful and engaging. Eyes forward, we drive on to a new year and new adventures. Whatever comes, we’ll do our best to be ready.

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A down side

Body hugging, slim fit, tear-away sides… my browser history looked like I was researching sexy lingerie, especially when I got to the strap–ons. If only that were the case. Not so lucky, I was on the hunt for the best incontinence products available. That’s when I realized, we’ve crested the hill. We’ve been pedaling diligently up a long, slow grade and now we’re on the downside.  But we’ll enjoy the ride as long as we can, even if we’re just coasting along. Now, where can I order some tassels for those handlebars?

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My daddy’s holiday

My mother likes to explain that, when her brood was young (long before Monday holidays rearranged our calendars), many of us thought that Washington’s birthday was a holiday only because is was my father’s birthday–and therefore a holiday just for him. If it were up to me, we’d still be celebrating my father’s birthday every year as a national holiday. As a matter of fact, we’d celebrate in grand style. There would be pageantry: dancing girls and horses with plumes, in the way  he once requested. He’d get quite a kick out of it, I know. Particularly those dancing girls.

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A bridge between

A Bridge Between
(Original verse written 1967 October 22 by Carlo A. Pola.   Notations by the 8th child.)

A word, a laugh, a tear
In those final hours, we gathered and chatted and smiled and  cried.

A way back when
He was there for us, always,

A helping hand now and then
and as he’d cared for us, so did we for him.

An attentive ear to youth’s hopes and fear
I spoke softly to him, stroked his hair and held his hand.

A father’s yes to a child’s request
No questions left to answer, God’s will alone would rule.

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