The House of Flushing

toiletmary

The first fish in our story was named Five. Five died trying to live out of water because Claymore insisted, as a goldfish, he could do it. Five believed and leapt from the water. Goldie tried to stop him, but Five wanted to believe so badly, nothing Goldie said could dissuade the ambitions of the follower. Five flopped for a bit on the tank stand after his leap of faith. After a several minutes Five expired and began bloating.

This all took place in and around a small aquarium, in a small apartment in a large building in a big noisy city. The walls of the apartment, where the fish could see, were dingy gray except in the bathroom where the walls were a soothing green-gray. The toilet sparkled cleanly from where the sunlight streamed in from a small window that wasn’t visible from the tank.

The remaining fish in the aquarium were: Claymore, a beautiful maroon Betta fish, Goldie who shone like the sun, Flipper who had black fins, and Tipper who had a black tipped tail.

Claymore was an intelligently charismatic Betta fish. He loved to coax the unintelligent goldfish that lived with him in the aquarium to believe in silly things. His nemesis, Goldie, a voice of reason, couldn’t be convinced of the nonsense. Goldie never believed anything Claymore said because Claymore was always wrong.

When Five died, Claymore held a meeting.

“Tonight, when the human comes home, we’re going to watch as Five is carried away in holiness. He will be released into the water where he will become baptized as a new fish, then sent to a better place. Behold, the holy fountain filled with rejuvenating water!” Claymore gestured with his fin towards the porcelain stool visible in the bathroom. Hanging above the toilet was a beautiful wall hanging with a human woman wearing a blue robe and pointing to a rose encircled heart on her breast

“I can see it. I believe it. Oh, Claymore, you’re so smart. Will I be sent to the fountain when I become like Five?” inquired Flipper. “I do hope so.”

“Of course, Sister Flipper.” Replied Claymore with false wisdom. “If you follow me, I’ll make sure you get there. The Mother of the Holy Fountain will guide your way if you only believe.”

Tipper, the follower, decided that if Flipper was going to do it, so would he. He wasn’t very good at coming up with ideas of his own anyway. He depended on his friends to show him what was right. If he ever felt like he had an idea, he’d just talk to Claymore or Flipper and they’d set him straight.

But Tipper knew that if he went to Goldie, all that fish would tell him is, “Think for yourself. Don’t be a follower.” Goldie made it impossible to get anything accomplished.

That evening, their human returned to find Five bloated and quite ripe next to the aquarium. Claymore called Tipper and Flipper to the worship service.

“Just as I predicted, our human has discovered the failure of Five to survive his leap of faith.” Stated Claymore in a stage whisper which caused Goldie to burble angrily.

The female human set down her belongings with a frown on her face. She disappeared into one of the rooms that couldn’t be seen, returning with a pair of long slender tongs.

“See how the human won’t taint the body with her flippers? She is using tools…”
“What are tools?” inquired Tipper.

Without allowing the interruption, Claymore continued, “As she carefully lifts Five, watch as she transports him to the holy fountain. Pray with me.” He intoned as the human dropped Five’s body into the commode. “Dear Mother of the Holy Fountain, accept the body of our brother Five. Rejuvenate him into a whole and living flesh.”

The human pushed the holy fountain’s silver button, a whoosh of swirling sound, and Five’s body was carried down the tubes.

“And now, my dear brethren, we wait. In three days, a new living Five will return to us.”

If goldfish could blink, Tipper and Flipper would have been in rapturous prayer. As it was, Tipper blubbed a bit, imitating Flipper. The wait began.

During the period of waiting, Goldie spent a lot of time swimming around, thinking deep thoughts. Like Claymore, Goldie taught himself to read by observing anything the human set near the tank. He could even proudly recite his address, understood there was more than just the aquarium they lived in, and despised Claymore for toying with the others of his kind.

As predicted a new fish showed up on the third day, a fancy-tailed goldfish with white tipped fins and tail. Tipper and Flipper rushed to greet the new Five.

“My name isn’t Five. I’m Gardita,” flounced the newcomer. “Why do you keep calling me that?”

“Because! You returned to us, just like Claymore told us you would, Five.”

“I told you. My name is Gardita, not Five.”

Gardita hid in the plastic plants near the bottom, avoiding contact with the two lunatics. She and Goldie watched as Flipper and Tipper followed Claymore around the aquarium as if he were a God. She watched as two of the others gave up extra shares of food. Claymore grew larger.

The two leaders of the aquarium approached the new fish at the same time.

“My name is Claymore, welcome to our place of holy pilgrimage.” Articulated the Betta-fish. Tipper and Flipper swayed behind him with pure faith seeping from their scales. “I apologize for the ardent fervor which my disciples are enraptured by, but they just saw you resurrect as the new Five.”

“Don’t pay attention to him. Welcome, Gardita.” Interrupted Goldie. “I’m the only sane one around here, it would seem.”

“Why do they keep calling me Five?” probed the pretty new fish. “No matter how many times I tell them.”

“That,” said Claymore as he slapped his flipper over Goldie’s mouth, “is because I showed the way to holiness to my swimming friends.”

Goldie bit Claymore’s fin.

“No, that’s because he lied to them. He told the last fish here, whose name WAS Five, that he could live outside the bowl. He convinced him to jump to his death.”

“No, I showed him the path to righteousness.” Countered Claymore.

“You killed him just because he believed you.”

“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” Disrupted Gardita while swimming between the fighting fish. “Claymore, you killed Five?”

Tipper and Flipper swam in front of the large Betta-fish. “Not at all. He showed Five how to become holy by taking a leap of faith.” Chorused the submissive fish. Claymore merely watched as his two faithful followers described the rousing tale of Five’s glorious death and subsequent resurrection into Gardita.

“But, I’m not Five. I’m Gardita. I was hatched in a giant store among many other fish. I was chosen because I was the prettiest one of all of them as you can tell,” the pretty fish fluttered every so prettily. “I am a girl, not a boy.”

“They can’t hear you. They believe anything that idiot tells them,” urged Goldie. “You’d be best to avoid them.”

“I think you’re right.” Agreed Gardita.

But her promise didn’t last long with Claymore constantly whispering in her ear. She fought valiantly against Tipper and Flipper reassuring her of Claymore’s holy message. Gardita couldn’t take it anymore. She committed to Claymore’s message. She became Five.

Five died trying to live out of water because Claymore insisted, as a goldfish, she could do it. Five believed and leapt from the water. Goldie tried to stop her, but Five wanted to believe so badly, nothing Goldie said could dissuade the ambitions of the follower.

Five flopped for a bit on the tank stand after her leap of faith. After a several minutes Five expired and began bloating. The cycle continued.

 

Rape Culture: TRIGGER WARNING

rapeculture11thprincipleconsentorg

A survivor’s observation

A short bit ago, I realized that I’d get unusually irritable or uncontrollably weepy around seven o’clock every night. My friend suggested that maybe I was running out of something, like my medication wore off, or my hormones were going haywire like clockwork. That suggestion held merit so I paid closer attention to what I was doing during the day.

It dawned on me that I was halting social media around that time each day to tend to dinner, my pups, and other things that are required for the night time maintenance of my home (closing the blinds, putting down the windows, turning on lights, etc.) But why was I feeling so much intense emotion because of setting down social media?

I’ve been diagnosed with non-combative PTSD resulting from more life events than I feel comfortable expressing in a written vomit, but suffice it to say, I’ve done my fair share of my sentence in a therapist’s office trying to sort through the violence I’ve experienced. In fact, in a way, I was brought up by therapists which is probably why I need to talk out loud to process current events, or in this case to figure out how to deal with the blasts of dangerous triggering that occurs all/every day lately.

It started with Brock Turner’s smug rapist face parading through my feed as if he were proud of his crime. That sent me into extreme rage where I relived things that happened in my own life. It kept me on edge, disrupted my sleep, caused unusual fears, and sequestered me to my home more than once because I feel safe here.

But then the “Pussygate” issue came into play, The Presidential nominee for the Republican party spewing vile nastiness from that anus of a pie-hole has made it very difficult for me to deal with things. It’s not the word that he used or even that he described in detail what he’s done. It’s that he’s still being seen as a leader.

He’s being defended because his actions and words are just “locker room” talk or “boys being boys.” This is where it starts to dig deeper into my scar tissue and wiggle around a bit to rip open some of the dark times that I have put to rest already. But his admission without reprimand disgusts my sense and need for justice. This is NOT okay.

For me, knowing that he gets away with it is the same as saying I don’t matter. It’s the same as saying that the rape kit, the hours of counseling, the ruining of good relationships because I was so broken, the hours spent crying or pondering suicide, the grappling of inappropriate coping mechanisms that cost me more than one relationship…means nothing.

Everything I’ve gone through in my life. Everything I fight against now regarding domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault, and violence is for naught. I’ve seen people posting such garbage in response to my objections that it feels as if I’m facing that nastiness in AZ where I was told that my rapist would go free because “You didn’t verbally say no.” But I did say “Get the fuck off me.” “STOP!” “I don’t know you.” That mattered not. It’s just words. It’s just another liar. Her words against his. They deferred to him.

It’s been difficult to even get out of bed most days. My people live far away from me. The only way I can be a part of their lives on a daily basis is through social media. It’s my window to a place where I felt happy, healthy, safe, and loved. But even that is being taken away as more and more stories come to light. It no longer seems safe to attend my newsfeeds for fear or tripping over another bullshit pile from Trump.

What I don’t understand is why he’s automatically assumed to be telling the truth despite the video, verbal, and written words that have him specifically saying he does these things. Why aren’t more people upset? Why are they looking to him as their personal messiah? Why are they believing him even when he denies the very words he just uttered? Why are the women that came forward get disregarded as Democratic plants, liars, or even a vindictive ex, but he is innocent?

If one person comes forward, it’s possible they may not be entirely truthful, but if 6+ come forward, there’s a pretty good chance they’re telling the truth even without him verbally saying he did kiss women without permission or grab them by “the pussy.”

When I say, “This is the perfect example of how rape culture works.” I’ve been rebuked by some or discounted because Miley Cyrus lets people touch her while she’s performing. Worse is the woman that said she doesn’t see it (the rape culture). But she was quick to dismiss me because, after all, I’m a Libtard, right? I don’t matter. My words don’t matter. My very being as a survivor doesn’t matter to them. I felt shame for them.

Someone else asked, “Well why didn’t they report it when it happened? Had to have time to make up a good story?”

WTF? Seriously? First, I’m glad you have no idea what it’s like to experience the theft of your personal control by pawing hands or smelly breath covering your face. I’m delighted you don’t know what it feels like to feel powerless under someone else. Oh, well maybe you do and thought it was normal. It isn’t.

Your body is YOURS. Nobody else has a right to touch it without consent. It’s not theirs. It’s yours. But to excuse it as a fabrication because it may change your views is not only disturbing but disgusting. Why would anyone, considering the way these women have been treated since the story broke, come forward if it weren’t true? It’s a far more courageous act to stand up to someone whom violates my personal space and safety with lewd and irresponsible acts against me than it would be to allow that person to harm someone else.

Despite all of the negative rhetoric towards women** just like me, women who have survived being sexually assaulted in the many layers of legalese, I feel more resolve towards educating the ignorant. I feel that if my voice is loud enough, maybe I can help someone else not feel the ostrasization, shame, or guilt that commonly follows an assault. I can’t in good conscience give up the mantle that was forced on me from nearly day one. I will, however, tell every woman or man that shares their story:

You are NOT alone

It wasn’t your fault

I believe you.

It’s the very least I can do considering they’re also seeing what happens when a victim/survivor comes forward with their story.

**Yes, I know that men are raped. I know that they are sexually assaulted. I am in no way discounting their trauma, but I am speaking as a woman with intimate knowledge, not as a male.

Third verse unwritten

Youthful feet, bare of shoes,

The tattering of proven roots

from family tree, judge recused

Forgiving of a prostitute

Mercy Seat, sang the blues

Eating of forbidden fruit

Self-mistreat, allowed abuse

Rejecting every business suit

Purely obsolete, troubled muse

Punctured soles of ill repute

 

Gypsy heart, wandering free

Creating life to love in hands

Brightly colored, feathery

Wandering compass of all lands

Fully engaged bourgeoisie

Complete with impish contraband

Lustful laugh, bountiful in jubilee

Sometimes dirt, sometimes the sand

Ripened joyful, blissful sensuality

Worth no roots in wonderland

Peaceful Depths

Be at PEACE with your DEPTHS Acrylic on Board (Guess-timated) 8"X22"

Be at PEACE with your DEPTHS
Acrylic on Board
(Guess-timated) 8″X22″ FOR SALE!

I was asked to explain “Be at peace with your depths.” My interpretation of it may differ from how you take it, but I explained it as this:
“Your depths are your darkest parts. They’re there under all the fluff and brightness. If you’re at peace with them, it doesn’t matter if they bubble to the surface because you can flow through them.”
I received an enthusiastic response followed by: “They are abubbling and I be a troublin over them. I do understand that I must contend with the dark and negitive BUT me no like it one bit.”
“Nobody LIKES negative thoughts, but if you deny them, then you deny a part of who you are. It’s okay to have them. It’s okay to feel them. It’s not okay to dwell there. I’ve suffered from PTSD. I understand the anger, the frustrations, the mood swings. To maintain what I have right now, I use a lot of meditation, breathing, grounding, shielding, and visual aids to relieve the symptoms.”
Feel free to share your interpretations of this in the comments. Be Love

Intricate Liar

A friend of mine is going through a very bad breakup with a person that didn’t respect boundaries, took what didn’t belong to him, and doesn’t understand why she is done. I wrote this for her.

Water Goddess (water color by Mare Martell)

Water Goddess
(water color by Mare Martell)

I could touch your body with fingers afire
I could ravage your soul, fulfill your desires
I could make you mine, your spirit acquired
But why attach myself to such an intricate liar?
 
I gave you my body with soul burning fire
I gave you my spirit to fulfill your desires
I made you my own, my trust you acquired
You proved me a fool, you intricate liar.
 
You had no right,
you had only wrong
What I don’t understand
is what took me so long
to see your stink
to cut through your lies
the hangman’s noose
like lover’s sighs
released the truth
freed my mind
 
I believed you the only one to set me afire
I allowed you to ravage my soul with blind desire
I relinquished my spirit to a godless choir
You were my everything, you intricate liar.
 

Blind to racism?

The cake is a lie. Liberty is not justice. We are not free.

The cake is a lie. Liberty is not justice. We are not free.

I attended a screening of American Denial. Although we were unable to complete the film because of DVD issues and a computer that suddenly needed 30 updates before it would operate, what I did get to see raised questions that I couldn’t answer. I want to share what I need to ask.

Are you looking at the evils granted by the color of your birth, as an oppressive blind man?

Are you buying your humanity, your right to exist, with the color of your education?

Are you willing to deny your blood, to embrace the hangman’s rope, in the name of love?

If you deny the demands of your father’s beliefs, are you also murdering the heart of the mother’s whom weep?

Did racism have to become, as opposed to the 1950’s and 60’s when it was “okay” to throw coke bottles at a little girl walking to the store with some change she’d saved jingling in her pocket, ironically, an underground railroad of hatred?

Does racism use the same tools of oppression as misogyny does or are they different? How are they similar?

When is impatience for things to change given over to frustrated tolerance that bubbles lava-like under the surface of civility? How long do we have to be patient before things actually change? What needs to happen before real change takes place? Isn’t 60 years long enough to think people would grow up already and see each other as humans? Or is it 160? 260? 560? How long is enough before it’s too much?

My Mother’s Day

I used to have a son. He didn’t die nor get physically ill lingering in a hospital. He just walked away. The story of how he came to be in my life is as intense now as when he first appeared 21 years ago next month in a phone call from a liar.

Matt winning awards for his academics and a scholarship

Matt winning awards for his academics and a scholarship

I hear the words, “Keep a stiff upper lip” ringing in my ears, maintaining my distance from the heartbreak I feel and felt.

Before he was born, I longed for him to come home to me. I created the “perfect” nursery in Looney Tunes theme. I filled the dresser and changing table with all the necessities. I made curtains, blankets, and diapers. I can’t sew, but I did because those were straight lines. I put up soft lighting, filled the room with whimsical pictures and loving thoughts.

I’d done the chlomid and pergonal to no avail. I’d taken my temperature faithfully every morning. I’d resolved to adopt a child. I resolved to adopt THIS child. I went to every doctor’s appointment with his birth mother, my step-sister (sister=same difference). When she was about 5-6 months along she was burned out of her apartment by her neighbor’s murderers. My church, at the time, put together a care package of clothes and cash which I brought to her to help her rebuild. She got really sick towards the end of her January due date. The plan was for me to stay with her until the baby was born.

Lies were told to she and I which kept us distanced just far enough to not realize it. A week before my “son” was to be born, my sister called me as I walked in the door from picking up the temporary custody with intention to adopt papers up from our attorney.

“Hey, uh, we need to talk but I don’t know how to say this.” She sadly said.

“Whatever it is, just say it and we’ll work through it together.” I commented as I unloaded my purse, my coat, my manila folder holding the precious promise. “Hold on a second while I finish getting in the door.” My intention was to finish loading up the car and head from Northern Indiana in Lake Station to drive to Knoxville, TN.

“Mare, I don’t know what to do.”

“It’s okay. Really, we’ll work through it. What’s on your mind?” I asked as I prepared to sit down on my couch.

“I’ve decided to keep the baby.” She whispered but the words I heard were deafening.
“What?” I asked as I held the phone away from my ear.

I was positive the phone had turned into a cobra that was striking viciously at me. I couldn’t hear anything but the tremendous amount of grief that broke me in two. I fell to the ground with my hands held above my head in complete surrender. Every pore of my body screamed the words of my soul to the Universe. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t take anything into my body. I couldn’t accept anything with any clarity because it was all nonsense. It was absolute void as everything I’d ever tried to become collapsed upon itself in a tumble of hopes, dreams, ambitions, goals, promises, vows, and possibilities vanished in six words. Poof. Absence.

Less then three months later, my good friend Jamie K Haley was murdered. I was completely lost in the bottom of a bottle. I couldn’t find my way out. I couldn’t drown the feelings fast enough or deep enough to have any success which, of course, didn’t stop me from trying. My friends intervened, forcing me to choose them or death. I opted to live. For the longest time, I had no idea why I made that choice. When I say that, I mean twelve years of bad choices and horrible decisions that continuously punished me for my failure.

Thanksgiving 2004, after the death of my father’s wife (Truthfully a horrid person, judge me if you want to about that, but it is not only my perception), I was passing through to pick up my best friend’s boyfriend to return him to her in Arizona where I resided with my husband. I stopped off in Tennessee to visit.

My father explained that he was getting too old to take care of a twelve year old boy. He wanted to know if I’d consider moving closer to build a relationship with the boy because, “My health isn’t all that great and he’ll need someone to take care of him that he knows when I die.” That sounded fair and logical. I said I’d consider it.

That twelve year old boy (nearly 13 at that point) was the same child that had been denied me in 1995. That was the same child that I’d dreamed of holding, comforting, crying over, teaching, feeding, healing, reading to, guiding, exploring the world with. That child was the manifestation of my heart. Okay, that sounds like I may have romanticized it a tad (YES! I know, a LOT!) but before I go any farther in the story, go ahead and guess what my choice was…I didn’t even finish that sentence before you knew. Yes. I did in fact go back and talk to my husband about moving to Tennessee.

Plans were made. My job as a radio DJ/personality/head copy writer got more complicated then it had ever been before, everything in my Arizona life pushed me towards a new life. I complied. In February of 2005, right after the boy’s 13th birthday, my best friend, her boyfriend, and myself were driven across the country by Charles Tupper and his son to live at my father’s house. My husband was supposed to join us later (which is a whole different story).

It didn’t take long before things were found to be amiss. The boy didn’t fit very well. He was skittish. Time passed, I divorced my Arizona husband, moved about finally landing in Oak Ridge with my joyfriend/current husband. In March of 2010, the young man came to live with me by court order because of the neglect and violent abuse he’d suffered at the hands of my father and his new girlfriend.

This is his story told to me by him, written by me to create a more gentle version of a vicious life:

Becoming Human

I was born abandoned. According to legend, I was either brought to my grandparent’s tattered life. Or I was saved from the state by them as a last resort; rescued from the hospital.

I had a brother, also known as God to Jack who was my grandfather. My brother was his everything but he was taken away by the courts. My uncle was murdered by fringe family members and my grandmother who died of Cancer. They were all gone by the time I was eleven, except for the worst one, Jack.

I didn’t get to say any goodbyes. The pain became my normal. It was the only thing that was real and tangible. I had nowhere to go and that’s right where I thought I was going.

Nobody heard me. Nobody stopped me. Nobody recognized me. Caine was gone and I was all that was left.

I became, over time, a non-entity. Nobody cared to listen to what I thought or felt.

My house was never silent. Rage filled the air with compulsive shrieks and blistering names that still sting. Jack and I had no quiet conversations at the dinner table. There were no jokes told. The questions that I had, of my losses, went unanswered.

Three weeks after my grandmother died, Jack moved Val into our house. Things became very different. At night, Jack gave me vodka and Val gave me beer to put me to sleep. It wasn’t long before Val started sneaking into my room and the nightly abuse began. In an attempt to protect myself, I slept in a bed of knives and swords that I’d collected. It didn’t work.

I screamed out to be saved, but Jack never came. I tried fighting against her, but my drunken youthful self wasn’t yet strong enough. I told myself it was all a dream. Nobody heard me. Nobody stopped what was happening to me. Nobody saw me. My family was gone and I was all that was left.

Boys I called my friends began to ask me to do things that I didn’t understand but soon learned. I became an object to be used.

Huffhead was the worst offender. He called me his friend and I called him mine. But I always returned to him. Even knowing that nothing I did for him was ever good enough, I returned. He always demanded more and more from me. No matter how he abused me, I accepted it. The abuse was normal. I’d learned my lessons well. I was so desperate for his “friendship” that I returned to him time and again. I didn’t deserve to feel good. I didn’t feel worthy of kindness or love. I didn’t know this wasn’t okay. How I was living was my normal.

The threat of losing another person was too much. I had no choice. I lost my identity and gave up control of myself. I deserved it. I no longer smiled because I didn’t deserve to feel good. I felt guilty about my basic needs. I felt shame for eating, drinking, using the bathroom, smiling, laughing, joking. In other words, the thought of me being considered a human was enough to make me cringe. Everything and anything I did was constantly criticized. I was never good enough. I wasn’t my brother and Jack reminded me of this daily. Jack called me so many bad names that it caught me off guard, sounded alien, when he said the name given to me at my birth.

I developed into an isolated zombie. Not the kind you see in the movies, but just as much of a non-human. I was an object who didn’t object to the abuse. I lived to serve in any capacity.                                                                                                     I screamed, “I HATE YOU!” in my mind. Nobody heard me. Nobody stopped me. Nobody recognized me. I was gone. Yet I was all that was left.

I started hearing voices after my brother was taken. Sometimes they’d get so loud that my mouth would speak their words. My body was no longer my own. The voices became people that walked, talked, and acted differently while using my body. That’s when the forgotten times began.

I woke up in the strangest of places; in a driveway during a winter storm, in a shed, in a storm drain, in a different state all together. I began to lose hours and days worth of time. People would come up to me on the street acting like they knew me, calling me by different names. I didn’t let on that I had no idea who they were. Time no longer had meaning because I lost so much of it so often.

I didn’t realize I was a human being. I was so detached from reality that nothing seemed real. I tried sleeping for a year so I wouldn’t have to feel what little seeped through the drugs I’d started doing. I’d mastered, as I was taught, to turn pain off like a light switch that kept turning itself back on.

When I turned fifteen, my screams were loud enough to be heard by the courts. I got in trouble with the law twice in two months. I went to court to accept my fate with Jack and his daughter. She was a woman that Jack called a lying, controlling, bulldozer that ripped him off. I despised her at his word. After all was said and done, I was placed in Jack’s daughter’s custody.

In the three years that I’ve been with her, I’ve learned what it’s like to be happy. I am grateful that the courts finally heard me. I’m glad the judge stopped what was happening to me. I’m glad that they finally saw me. I finally earned my freedom and another life to learn. Somebody heard me. Somebody helped me. Somebody recognized me. My success is all that’s left.

2014

In August of 2014, he disappeared. My husband and I went to work, came home, and he was gone. He didn’t say goodbye. He didn’t say anything. Like the phone call so many years before, he’d decided to keep the baby.

I see Facebook flooded with wishes of goodwill towards mothers. I do not resent or feel anger towards anyone who is a mother. I do not feel jealousy or unkind thoughts towards that are successful. I feel like a liar and outsider when it is wished to me. That chapter of my life is the most painful I’ve ever endured of which I have no control or power over in any way shape or form. It is my deepest grief and my truest human moment that I cherish because at least I got to understand, be, and for a short while, know the joy a parent feels.