Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas gift...

This is the season of giving. Yes, we hear it everywhere we go, we focus on others, we speak more softly, act more deliberately, look more kindly. And we should. This is also the season of receiving and of gratitude. Every year around this time we receive a gift in our family. One that we quietly hope for, one that arrives without notice, and one that we secretly wish could grow and develop into something more. We don't speak of our expectation of it's arrival, and we certainly do not mention the hurt should it one year not arrive. It is one small piece, one beautiful smile, one girl's image that we hope to someday become closer to... but for now we settle with what we receive, and wait in anticipation for it's annual arrival.

This year it came with something more, however. The simple, brief paragraph note attached to the school photograph came with a two page letter and a compilation of photographs burned onto a disc from the last three years. It was an unexpected bonus. Watching this child, my husband's daughter whom he has been forbidden to see for the last eleven years, flashed on our computer screen and it was like watching this beautiful girl's important moments on a viewfinder. Click, school play, click, basketball, click, homework project, click, a family vacation. We don't speak while watching, we don't make eye contact with each other, we just watch. When it is over we share misty eyes, a hug and hope.

Now, we wait. Until next year to see if we get our most precious Christmas gift again. May this season bring you joy and love so that you too may cherish all that you are able to see.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Changing Seasons

This year is bringing a lot of changes, changes that have already occurred and those still to come. It seems as autumn approaches, reflection has tapped softly on my shoulder. I am waking now to realize how blessed my little family really is.
My sister and her husband are expecting their first child at the end of the year. I have worried over her approaching experiences, possibly because that's what I do well, but most likely, simply because I'm her sister. I want the best for them, the easiest most wonderful transition into their new adventure; and I know this will happen, with or without my worry so I have settled to just be content with my excitement. I can't wait to hear all of her stories, her experiences, and that sound of love in her voice that only a parent can relay while talking of their child. How wonderful her adventure will be.
Our children have started school and are doing well. My daughter told me the other night at bedtime that she loved me, "but mommy", she said "I have a friend beside you, and she likes to play babies with me too". I am so proud. Isn't that what we all ultimately want? To see our children experience acceptance and love in their relationships.
I have all but quit my job at the hospital, working the bare minimum to keep my employment so that I can stay home with the children and be involved in their lives, their cooperative preschool, and their growth and transitions. It was a difficult change at first. Somehow I believed that staying home and not working as much decreased my social value, I now understand the truth in that there could be no greater value than the influence you have on a child and their experiences.
I have been proud of my husband as I have quietly stood by him and watched him reestablish a relationship with his brother. While I have watched him seek his own career changes and development, and while I have watched him father our children so wonderfully. He has encouraged me silently as well and I have pursued and achieved reconciliation in some of my relationships that were once sturggles.
I suppose I could tell you the lighter side of things changing. Like how my son likes to make his own peanut butter and honey sandwiches with pickles. About how my daughter loves to go to the bathroom in public restrooms and squeal loudly "good job, you get a new baby doll too!", to any other innocent person in another stall. Or about how my son asked about heaven the other night at the dinner table. The conversation went something like this: "Mom, what's heaven?" I stated something about how it's where some people believe you go after you die. He thought quietly for a long time, then replied, "oh, so is that where you finally get some privacy?". I'm not sure about all of that, but walking home from the park yesterday afternoon in the warm sunlight with leaves crunching below mine and the dogs' feet all while watching my children running in front of me laughing and holding hands sure felt close. Hope this change of season finds you well.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I've been thinking a lot about lessons lately... I suppose we've had so many recent changes in our lives that "lessons" seems to be the underlying theme. This year so far both my children have had minor surgery, my sweet husband has, after almost 12 long years in the Emergency Department shifted gears to land elsewhere, the kids both start school soon - my daughter for the first time, and I have not only picked up a second job, but I have also changed my focus to my internal "lesson".

I have tried to think of the single most important thing I want my children to learn from me. The single most important thing I want my husband to admire in me. The single most important thing my friends respect in me. The single hardest thing I will ever try to conquer. The single hardest lesson for me, because I don't think it truly is ever completely accomplished, yet must be practiced and demonstrated constantly.

We recently had family over for dinner, (yes you will understand how this fits in soon). It was family that I have struggled having relationships with, some for a few years, some for a few decades. We also had some of their friends over at the same time - nothing like added challenge right! This all following one of the most difficult weeks I have ever experienced in my career, both emotionally and psychologically. It was during this dinner that someone said to me, "I don't know how you do it, I just don't have the patience". To which my reply was, "don't be fooled, I'm not very patient". For me it's not about patience, but about acceptance.

If I can, everyday try to understand that no one is exactly who they portray. That no one is someone you think you can make them out to be. That no one is innately hurtful, mean, or damage seeking, I have succeeded. It was that difficult patient the other day, the one escorted off the property by security, that slapped me in the face with acceptance. It was that physician that was repeated verbally demeaning, that reminded me of acceptance. It was that family member who while visiting from afar again showed their true colors, that reminded me I still need to practice. That acceptance does not come easily, it does not come quickly, and it certainly only comes with a lot, I mean a lot, of practice.

I hope someday that my children, my husband, my friends, my family will, when placed in difficulty, will be able to smile knowing that things are alright just the way they are. That life isn't fair, that people aren't all kind, nor all mean, that bad things don't "pick" people, but that things are simply the way they are. That life is full of ups and downs, niceities and not such grand things, and that is what makes it truly wonderful. For now, I am content practicing.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Passion - and a Safe Community

There is something to be said for a safe community. No one ever wants to think of a child disappearing whether it by abduction, by being lost, or simply wandering off. These things especially strike you once you've had children. I am so very lucky to live in a safe community, a community so safe it created an extreme embarrassment for me today.

My kids are incredible - I know every parent thinks their kids are amazing (hopefully). My son is sweet and tender, very thoughtful and compassionate and he has an amazing sense of "keeping the family together". He is always watching out for and taking care of his little sister. My daughter is also an amazing little person. She is gorgeous, creative, determined and passionate... maybe too passionate at times. How do these things fit together?

Well, I was proven today how sensitive my son is, how passionate my daughter is and how incredibly safe my town is. While trekking along today completing the necessary errands all parents have to get done, it was on our last stop that everything came to a screaming halt... literally. We entered the grocery store to pick up one thing, yes, ONE thing. My daughter, passionate as she is, decided she was done shopping and was not going to willfully participate. My son and I convinced her it would be a quick trip and to just come inside with us. Once we entered the store and were just inside passed the airlock my daughter started the highest, most shrill, blood curdling screaming you can imagine... of course this was also right next to a busy coffee stand inside the store. She was screaming at the top of her lungs, screaming so much in fact she peed all over the floor. She started to protest with that good ol' passion that she possesses. After several minutes, and multiple attempts at calming her, talking to her, even bribing her, she only escalated. It was at this point I realized how safe I am. Not only was the store manager standing directly behind me as I stood up grabbing my daughter, but so was store security and a local city police officer. (You know those moments that seem to last forever and you reason with yourself that she has really only been throwing a fit for a couple of minutes - guess I was wrong, she was throwing a fit long enough for management to call the police, and yes, for the police to arrive). It was at this point my son burst into tears screaming "don't take my mom to jail, NO!NO!NO!"... okay, this was not promoting confidence in my parenting to these strangers I'm sure (seriously, how does a 4 year old know about jail?). It was at this point, I was escorted to a hallway near the bathrooms and asked for identification and questioned as to what was happening. My children were also asked several times if they were alright, to which my son, with his head buried in my thigh could only answer "can we please get Sarah and go home mom?" with tears streaming down his face.
Long story short, I suppose in a few days I will be grateful for all of this. Grateful to know that people really are paying attention, grateful to know that my son really does love us, grateful to know that my daughter will never be easily influenced that she is so passionate that once she decides something that is it. For now though, I am extremely humiliated and a hurt... oh yeah, and still without marinade for tonight's dinner.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Well, tomorrow is Mother's Day and I was not, when I awoke this morning, expecting much from the upcoming holiday. As a mom, you learn quickly that sacrifice replaces everything you ever held, so holidays simply aren't about you (yes, even Mother's Day). That's when it crept in, slowly like the sweet smell of your child sleeping quietly next to you in the early morning hours; warm, tender and oh so visible.

We did our usual routine; cereal, arguments about toys, cinnamon toast, what movie to watch and who gets to pick (argument), pb & jelly, quick shower for mom and out the door (sprinkled with a few hang ups like more arguments over who locks up the dog, who gets to lock the front door, et cetera). Yes, by now I am ready for a nap and it's barely 9a.m. After a busy morning of farmer's markets, town plants sales and the like we head home. Both kiddos are sick, AGAIN... (explanations to come later of the past couple of months), so we settled into a movie with blankets after lunch (despite the nearly 70 degree sunny weather outside our window).

As the snoring of two stuffy nosed toddlers began quietly, that thing that was creeping in early today softly nudged me in the back of the head... tomorrow is Mother's Day. While my children slept I snuck off to the computer and began to think about my life and how grateful I truly am (I know, it seems I've been doing nothing but complaining, really). I would not be a mother if it were not for my dear, sweet, persistent husband - who really talked me into this beautiful gig in the first place. And it's then that I realized, that's where this all began.

For my 39th birthday he made me quite possibly the most wonderful gift I have ever received... a DVD of photographs from my childhood. Pictures of memories. Pictures of life. Pictures of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, homes we lived in, places we visited, family and friends alike. I sat quietly watching the pictures warm the screen, scenes constantly changing and memories flooding back, all the while being serinaded by the wonderful soft snores of my beautiful, healthy, happy children. Happy Mother's Day.