Jenny, Ted, Preston, Tammy Bolt, 1975, Zephyrhills, FL, Grandparents’ House
(excerpt for “Inseparable”)
Davis, my 4-year old, and I were at McDonald’s, enjoying our Happy Meals, when I got a call on my cell phone.
“Jenny, this is Sandra. I have Tammy with me, and we happen to be outside in the parking lot. But I know you haven’t seen her in a while, and you were keeping your distance, so I want to respect that. But, she just had a court date in Martin County, and she spotted your car.”
Sandra: ”Tammy did not want to pop in and see you without asking your permission first. And she says she totally understands either way.”
Me: (hesitating) “Uh, yeah. I guess it’s fine if she comes in.”
My heart is racing. I haven’t seen or spoken to Tammy in months. I am aching to see her and anxious about it all at the same time.
She and Sandra walked into the McDonald’s door, and Davis, my little guy, screams: “Aunt Tammy’s out of Jail!”
Kids don’t hide things. They just say what they see. Truth is truth and doesn’t need to be watered down with a whisper.
And Little Davis had not seen his Aunt Tammy in a while. Yet, he had been told enough to know that some of Tammy’s choices had landed her in jail in recent months. We knew she was in a home in Ft. Pierce, a very special, loving place, where women in her situation spent their time healing, and being reconnected with God. We knew she was safe, but we hadn’t chosen to see her quite yet.
But, here she was. Here we were. Kind of like the days that could have been, and might have been. Those days were with us right now.
I gave her a huge hug, and said how glad I was to see her. Davis embraced her freely, and got back to his french fries and ketchup.
My heart was lighter, just seeing her face. Just knowing her safety was real. I was so full of joy that God would give us this special gift, of time, of a few minutes, of a connection.
She and I sat and talked for about ten minutes, as we watched Davis do his thing. And Sandra came around later and said, “Tammy, we need to get going.”
So, here we were and here she was. And we just wanted to make the minutes stand still so we could break through the tight walls, of questions, tensions, uncertainty. But instead, we took those minutes and just kept it light, and fluffy, and simple.
This was a day for Doors getting opened again, even the doors under the Golden Arches, and maybe especially these arched (towards heaven) golden shapes. These were the doors that brought my sister back to me, even if it was just for a few minutes.
Hugs. Tears. Very few words. Davis chattered. But we couldn’t hear.
We were listening for that word that was so hard, the word that stretched far and wide, and long and longer…
So we did. And Tammy left with Sandra. And we wrapped up our garbage and we left, to go home and take a rest. This rest would be the kind that would have me sleeping so heavily at peace, that there will be pools of drools on my pillow cases.
God, thank you for this ordained moment for me and Davis to be eating our Happy Meals, and for Tammy and Sandra to be driving by the car outside. Divine appointments. They are made by His infinite grace and wisdom.
Within a few weeks of seeing Tammy, I began having visits with Daughters of Naomi house parents, so I would have brief connections every so often.
But that gift, of them coming to my McDondalds, the one so close to us, what a gift. It’s one of those that makes me believe – this could happen. One day. My sister will run into me and my kids at McDonalds and just hang out, with Aunt Tammy and her kids.
That one day…it’s today! So much pain, enters so much joy, and here is the new day…
What does my story lead you to think about in your story? What conversation is in your head right now? Let it out. We are here to listen.
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