here is a story about being the most important thing you can be … yourself. And just as important … knowing why.
Being Zeke & Lily –
Lily got up onto her knees on the passenger’s seat and leaned on the dashboard, nursing on her pacifier and smiling. Spring had arrived once again and by mid-April, what this meant was: the Amish were coming out of the woodwork and making lines of horse-n-buggies to drive around. For Lily, this was a thrill to see as she made it her personal mission to wave at every single one of them. But as they turned onto May Post Office Road, Zeke prepared for the slalom ride of the next 8 miles.
“Kettle, Daddy?” Lily mumbled behind her pacifier, waving at the first buggy as they passed it.
“You know, that’s a really good idea, Princess!” Zeke said with playful excitement. “We haven’t been there in a while, have we?”
She smiled more widely behind her pacifier, bouncing a bit with an excitement – equaling that in his voice. Kettle meant a trip to the Kitchen Kettle Village in”Coursy” as Lily called it, or Intercourse, PA as it was known to everyone else. It was collection of small stores either selling Amish-made goods or selling the Amish idea. Unlike a lot of folks in Lancaster County, Lily hadn’t lost interest in the Amish quaintness. And whereas, it was interesting to know that Intercourse, PA was named for the intersection of Routes 340 and 772 – not for the other meaning of the word, that Paradise, PA was named for the beauty of the land, that Blue Ball, PA and Bird-In-Hand, PA were named after taverns in those areas. Lily enjoyed the history, but also the opportunity to make a joke out of the names: You have to go through Intercourse to get to Paradise, but if you get lost along the way you’ll have to settle on Blue Ball or Bird-in-Hand.
On this day, Zeke and Lily were beginning the first of many shopping trips, a fact which made Lily quite happy. She would make the purchases and Zeke would carry the bags. Today’s purchase? A high chair. But this wouldn’t be a high chair for Lily.
May Post Office Road was known as the hidden entrance to the tourist section of Route 30. The Amish always drew tons of people to the County each year. Zeke did his able-best to avoid the tourist section at all costs. But Lily never minded the tourists or the horse apples lining even the back roads. Of course, she never had to drive either.
She simply enjoyed being friendly and waving to each buggy as Zeke drove past it, Lily was able to be Lily. Being Lily wasn’t easy sometimes. But it wasn’t something she could just stop doing whenever she wanted. Lily had to be as sweet as could be to whomever she met. It really wasn’t an act. It was instinctive. It was natural and who she was. Getting the approval of all whom she met was what justified her friendliness with complete strangers and made her feel good about herself. But there had been times when Lily couldn’t be Lily. There was baggage she constantly lugged and a concern of health she never took seriously, not until it almost killed her. Enter Zeke into her life and suddenly she was able to not only befriend the world, but maybe, just maybe conquer it as well. That is, if her Daddy said she could.
And from one obstacle to another, one happy memory to the next and one day to one lifetime, Being Lily no longer seemed necessary … or at least not as much as Being Zeke and Lily. He was her other half, her Daddy, her soul mate and everything right when all she seemed to find was wrong. Zeke had been her rock when she felt herself rolling away, but also when everything was fine. Being Zeke and Lily took effort, but they both realized a simple truth about themselves: You are only half of something which is perfect for you. Finding the other half was the difficult part. Living it was ultimately easier. Nothing was ever perfect, but nothing was ever so imperfect that it didn’t work. Maybe it was unstated truths like that which made it simple to find the crossroads which made the intercourses of their Paradise. Whatever the pathway was they chose, they had grown from a chance meeting of acquaintance at a mall to a lifetime already lived and a lifetime made together. Being Zeke and Lily was very important and knowing why it worked was even more important.
Zeke reached over and under the back of her skirt, patting the back of her diapered bottom with his usual loving Daddy touch, making certain she was dry. The present posed a far easier opportunity to change her. But once they entered the tourist section, crossing over Route 30 and turning right on Route 340, the Kettle would be just a few miles away. The rest of the ride would be concentrated on keeping Lily in her seat. There were a lot of Amish stores on the way – from flea markets to quilt stores to crafts. And it didn’t matter how many times she saw them, she was always fascinated by them, just like the tourists.
Lily returned to her seat at Zeke’s insistence and buckled herself in, knowing he would insist on that as well, even though he never wore his seatbelt. His concern was always with her well-being before anything else and while this was a very endearing and sweet gesture on his part, what Lily learned was that Zeke didn’t take care of himself at all. She was always a little too pre-occupied with her own health issues to realize that she would eventually have to force him to be healthier. But that was still down the road. Being Zeke and Lily meant that everything would be addressed in its due time. And there would no chance Zeke would change anything about himself until he knew she’d be alright.
As they pulled into the parking lot at the Kitchen Kettle Village, Lily’s mind drifted away from concerns of health and matters of the heart, focusing a bit more on the moment. Seeing that lemonade stand in the middle of the small strip of stores, she became very excited. Zeke parked the car and quickly got out of it, making his way around to her side of the car before she got out and sprinted off. Since Lily said hello to everyone she met every time she saw them, she was remembered and adored. The Amish lady at that lemonade stand adored her more than most.
But before Lily had the chance to run over to her, Zeke made certain to bundle her up, buttoning her coat and making sure she wasn’t cold. Lily tried her best to wait until he was done fussing over her, but she was in a little mode that wasn’t going to go away until she had a chance to hug every single person she knew at that village of store.
“Okay, Princess,” Zeke said, patting the back of her diapered bottom. “Go say hello.”
Lily sprinted over to the Amish lady as quickly as her crinkled waddle would allow her to move. Though the weather was nice, he didn’t want the wind to chill her. When at home, Zeke dressed her in very little clothing at all, but when she was out-n-about, he overdressed her and she kept trying to take her clothes off, it seemed. Zeke smiled as he made his way over to the lemonade stand, watching Lily give the Amish lady a hug. And of course, Lily ordered two large lemonades before he even got to the window himself. But there were many people to say hello to in the village of stores and they might get thirsty.
So their journey to greet every single person she knew began. He held the lemonades and followed behind her. Being Zeke and Lily meant she knew how to be the social butterfly everybody came to meet and he knew how to make everything work so she could spread her wings when she needed to and when she wanted to.
First, they walked into the Christmas Store. Lily loved Christmas and wanted it to be year-round. And if she were able to make that happen, she would sing “Jingle Bells” in June. Within that Christmas store, there was a simple bracelet with her name on it. Zeke bought without her asking for it. She knew that today’s shopping didn’t have to do with her. That was the reason he bought it. Drinking the entire first cup of lemonade, they made their way to the smokehouse shop so Zeke could sample the hickory smoked cheddar and say that he wasn’t going to buy any of it a dozen times before he eventually bought a chunk of it. But they said their hellos to one and all and walked up the street a bit from the village to an Amish furniture store that came highly recommended by a lot of people. There was a definite purchase to be made today and the reason was the most important one that Being Zeke and Lily had ever known.
Lily was pregnant and shopping for furniture was going to become their new hobby … at least for the next few months. There was quite a bit they already had, for obvious reasons. But Lily wanted everything to be the best for their daughter, including an Amish-made high chair – one with a size that could be adjusted as she grew. The moment Lily saw the high chair in that store, she stopped dead in her tracks and pointed to it. The decision was made and as they stocker brought it down from the rack, a delightful surprise awaited them.
“Would you like us to carve any name onto the backrest?” the stocker asked.
Lily eyes lit up. How magnificent was this?
“Lucy,” Lily said with wonderment in her eyes.
“It’ll take just a minute,” the guy said as they followed him to a simple work bench in the back of the store.
The Amish knew what they were doing. They kept all the right traditions, including the one about simple being better. Maybe that was one of the reasons why Lily never tired of their quaint appearances and ways of life. But while standing there and watching the guy etch Lucy’s name into the wood, Lily saw another room on the back end of the store, filled with even more trinkets. She looked up at Zeke who nodded to her immediately. He already knew what her question was going to be. She hugged him like a little girl and he kissed her forehead. Being Zeke and Lily meant that every thought shared was also expressed, even if words weren’t used.
She waddled off into the trinket room. Oh, she loved trinkets – little glass animals that looked like Moonbeam and Magic the unicorns she often visited in the CountrySide of her dreams, pens and pencils and notebooks that displayed characters of all kinds from Mickey Mouse to RainbowBrite, beads and bracelets of all colors and so many more things in endless rows of bins. It was a little girl’s wonderland and Lily wandered into it, lost in her thoughts with cold feet from the chilliness inside and a warm bottom from her diaper.
Her diaper was a bit of a necessity these days. She wasn’t so much incontinent as she was sickly. And having been sick for quite some time now, she had grown accustomed to wearing it. That’s why she found the greatest blessing in Being Zeke and Lily. She was his BabyGirl. He was her Daddy. And it didn’t matter how sick she got, he would take care of her. But the treatments for her illness had dwindled her body weight quite a bit and she wasn’t always in the best shape. Her immune system wasn’t always doing its part when it needed to and a simple cold could put her in the hospital for days at a time. Maybe that was why he kept the apartment so warm and bundled her up when she went out.
Now more than ever, he was concerned for her health as her treatments had been halted during her pregnancy. It was a serious risk to take, both for Lily and for the baby inside her. But Lily had decided that she was going to be a mother, even if it killed her. And that was what kept Zeke up at night.
Taylor, Lily’s sister, had been a mother now for almost a year. And Lily had adored the label of “Aunt Lily” from her dear little niece, Desiree. Before the end of this year, Lily and Zeke would be the proud parents of a daughter, too. The X-chromosome tended to win out in her family. Lily and Taylor had no brothers and their first children were and would be daughters. It seemed Zeke and Taylor’s husband, Billy, would be the only ones watching sports together.
Thank God for Grant and Keira, the third couple who always seemed to balance out the group. From friends to family to kids to dogs to four kittens that found the most comfortable place to sleep – on Zeke’s chest. Yeah, it was a lot to keep straight.
Then the urge suddenly presented itself and just like that, her bladder needed relief. Lily had developed this sudden need thing over the past few weeks and she wondered how many more strange sudden sensations would become an everyday thing through her pregnancy. Reaching back to pull out the diaper wedgie she had slowly been developing since they got out of the car, she felt her left diaper tape pop. Oh my blue Heaven, she hated when the tapes popped, especially when she in public and even more especially now since she was about to have a nice relaxing pregnant pee to herself. Trying to reach under her dress inconspicuously to refasten the left diaper tape, she felt the right diaper tape pop. And now she found herself holding up both sides of her diaper while standing in the middle of the back trinket room at an Amish furniture store.
Lily walked towards the nearest corner of the room, slipping behind the bins of trinkets as to try to not be seen until she figured out what to do. How did these things happen to her? Looking back to the entrance she could hear the guy still etching into the chair and it seemed that every conceivable person who was nearby suddenly needed something from the bin she was hiding behind. She was making it out to be a little more than it probably was, but given the circumstances, she was likely to do that.
Still, it really wasn’t a hard situation to get out of and was fairly easily to fix. Just simply get rid of the diaper and run to the bathroom at the front of the store. But two lemonades had made that option a bit less likely to work. She wouldn’t make it to the toilet in time. And since Lily was the social butterfly, she would certainly be remembered. Sometimes, it didn’t pay to be so open with strangers, but there was no way she could’ve seen this coming. Sliding her left hand up to the tape, she found that it hadn’t popped. It had actually split. The same went for her right diaper tape. There really wasn’t anything she could do and her bladder really needed relief at this point. Holding it just gonna happen and calling for Zeke would only draw the attention to her that she’d like to avoid.
Facing the wall, she closed her eyes and was ready to just hold the diaper at her waist until the flood had subsided. But the sound of duct tape being stretched out behind her made her open her eyes back up and spin around. There stood Zeke, holding a long piece of pink Hello Kitty duct tapes from a roll he found in one of the bins. She lifted her dress up and he stretched a piece around the waist of her diaper. Then she dropped the dress and gave him a wink. He grinned and held her in his arms as she sighed softly, wetting her diaper. Oh, my. Peeing was a wonderful thing to do when pregnant. And even after she was done, she just stood there, embracing him. She knew her waddle would be wide and she knew that this sort of situation had almost gotten her in the past. But every time, she wound up in his arms and in his care.
Walking very slowly to the car, she took account of many thoughts, all at once: Zeke, life, a coming child, the realities of what would need to change, but also the realities of what she knew would never change. The struggles of the past were there to teach a lesson needed to face the future. She was really good at Being Lily, and she always would’ve been good at that. But what she discovered was that the triumphs along the way were there to show that things can work out perfectly when two people continue to try. And that is exactly what Being Zeke and Lily was all about.
————————————-Samples: “Being Zeke & Lily“ “Lily’s To-Do List“ “When Mr. Woody Helped Lily Put it All Together” “Lily of the Forest“ Kindle – Nook – Smashwords – Kobo – PDF Ebook – Google – Lulu Paperback – CreateSpace Paperback
Also attached to this series is: Aria and the CountrySide
Taking place simultaneously with the end of book 6.
And: The Story of Lucy
Taking place years later.
If you like Zeke and Lily’s saga, I would also recommend: