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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Louis Three-Hearts

Louis (as in St. Louis) is a teddy bear who sits atop the throw pillows on our guest bed.  Louis has presided over various rooms in our home since some of the earliest days of our marriage.  Louis has three hearts and that makes him one special bear.  

Bruce and I met when I was 28 and he was 38.  Our first home was one he'd established with his son.  My being there full-time was quite a transition for all of us.  Louis is our "love child" - the three of us.  He reminds me of all the hopes I had for our lives.  He reminds me that Bruce and Lucas each had their own hopes as well.  How many of their private wishes were realized or how many were squashed along our rocky way I don't know.  I don't allow myself to keep records of that sort and hope they don't either.  We are all three much better people now than we were then and have far better hopes and dreams for our futures than we could possibly have imagined then because we know why we love each other now, not just that we do.

You can't really force intimacy, though if other step-families are like ours, it's almost a compulsion to try.  Louis was one such attempt on our part.  Imagine a 13-year-old boy, his nearing 40 father and new stepmother standing in line to build a bear.  I'm sure the high school-aged girl working that day had no idea when she held out her basket of little heart-shaped pillows to us and told us we could each put one in that she was helping us make not just a bear, but a reminder of our promises to each other.  

I don't really think about Louis very often, though I notice that he sits there and I'm glad of it.  Yet, when I do take time to consider what he means and to take into account the fact that other lives besides my own are bound up in the heart(s) of him, he becomes quite precious to me.  

As I said, I don't allow myself to keep records of things lost along the way; but I do keep records of things gained. Blessings.  I could count forever, I think, and never finish.  But right at the top would be Bruce and Lucas.  They helped me become who I am and, painful though it was at times, I'm very grateful.  Life as I imagined it for the us might have been prettier, but it certainly wouldn't have produced as much character in any of us.  Like Louis, we each had to make a place for three hearts and that gave room for a whole lot of love to grow.  

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