Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I am enjoying the second week of my two weeks off (and trying not to fret over how quickly the time is passing by). I don't have regular internet, only my phone and can't respond to comments on my blog.

Today I am thinking of the joys and challenges of 2013. It was a good year. I think. My memory is spotty. I hope to live next year with more awareness.

Then again, someone on Facebook said there is an old saying that says if you have one foot in the past and the other foot in the future, you are pissing on today (oh, please do 'scuse my French). I surely don't want to do that. Today, now, are all I really have. Aren't they?

Well, as long as I have today, I do still have me, and my spotty memories, and my hopes for the future.

And so it is that I will trudge philosophically into 2014 and discover what adventures await me there. . .

(I suspect my photo will be huge and will make this post look wonky. I do not know how to fix that from my phone. I WILL fix it when I get home to my laptop! Oh, I may have fixed the problem just now. Or I may have made it too small to be seen. Whatever. I will try not to obsess about it and will fix it when I can!)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Recently, a text came through from my son's best friend wishing us Merry Christmas and sending us love along with a blurry picture of a picture of him and my son when they were playing ice hockey.

It reminded me of a video we made one year for my dad's birthday. My oldest daughter was probably 7 and my son was 3. She was swimming. He was roller skating, just learning. He would take a flying start, fall down, and flail about to get back up and try again, over and over. It was a poignant picture of perseverance. The video seems to be lost and I would give my eye teeth to see it again, though, thankfully, it is clear in my mind's eye. It makes me think of what the yoga teacher said, that when you 'fall out' of a pose, you simply begin again. You do not criticize or judge yourself, you simply begin again.

The skating video was, in hindsight, perhaps a tiny precursor of things to come in my son's short life, as well as an excellent ‘teaching moment’ for me about the value of getting up and simply beginning again. Without judgement. Without criticism. Sigh.

But here's the thing, and I've been told this before, but not in these exact words-this is the height of vulnerability: to bring a child into this world where you do your best to love and teach and protect them, and you have far less say in what happens to them than you could probably ever bear to know. In my heart of hearts that is probably why for so long, I could not think of ever wanting to have children—I could not bear the weight of the vulnerability I sensed I'd be facing if I had children. I was afraid. I did not want to be exposed to the kind of pain I have felt. But, since I could not have experienced the love without the pain, I would not now choose otherwise and I am grateful today that I managed (through painful circumstances) to put my fear aside and have children anyway. Unknown to myself at the time, it was probably the greatest risk I've taken in all my life.

It's one of the hardest parts of being a parent: learning to live with your heart walking around outside your body.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Love. Joy. Peace.

There are plenty of us for whom Christmas is a tough season. My wish is that there is always, somewhere, at least a small snippet of love, of joy, of peace for you. And maybe, on a good day, more than just a small snippet. And may you also have someone who can stand with you, waiting quietly, while the darkness passes and turns back to light.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Anniversary of Sadness

It was bitter cold this afternoon at the cemetery when we went to bring the small tree for my son's grave.

The young man working at the place where we bought the tree knew my husband and knew we were heading out to our little place in the country, the young man who is about the age my own son would be, he jovially asked us, "Do you think that tree is big enough for out there?" I took a quick deep breath and told him it would work just fine. He had no way of knowing the gravity of our purchase and I felt it was kinder just to be cheerful right along with him.

We'll be going back tomorrow. December 8, 2013 will make two years he has been gone.

December is, in some ways, a month of loss for our family. My grandfather, my brother, one of my mother's brothers, and my son, they all died in December. So in this season of joy, we also carry sorrow. I know there are others. I feel for them.

But life does go on, and I will acknowledge my loss and remember my son, and tonight I will address my Christmas cards and get them ready to send out. The tears, the memories, happy and sad, will all flow while I work. Love knows no bounds, even in death.

Tomorrow evening we will gather at my parents' house. We will eat dinner together. There will be stories shared and probably a few tears shed. I suppose in some ways it's true: our loved ones are not gone as long as we hold their memories in our hearts.

Cracks. And Light.

Yesterday at the student art fair, I bought two things: a beautiful blue-green bowl, the first thing that caught my eye as I walked around, and the mug pictured above.

I love the handle on the mug. The color is not extraordinary. The price was excellent. There is only one little flaw. It has a tiny crack running through the bottom of the mug, one that is visible when looking into the mug as well as when looking at the base of the mug. It will never be useable for much of anything, other than to sit on my shelf and look pretty.

And also to serve as a reminder of my own true condition. In the words of a wise friend, I am left to "Do what you can. You're handicapped--precisely like all the rest of us!"

I am reminded of Leonard Cohen's song Anthem, "ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."

It's also how the light gets out, I might add.

(It occurs to me that this idea of light getting in and out, and accepting my imperfect humanity, are two recurring themes in my life.)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

A Brittle Fall Leaf Reminds Me

Vulnerable is not a place I like to be.
But I'm coming up on a vulnerable time.
And slowly I've learned: 
there are people who will walk with me in these vulnerable times,
people who will hold the light on the path
and I hope I can remember 
to do that for others 
when they are in their vulnerable places
for, like the man says,
we are all vulnerable in our own way
(and probably more so than we ever know).