Thursday, April 27, 2006

Riding the April Wave

Working at a college or university in September is demanding; working at a college or university in April is out of control. Every student, staff or faculty member with any remaining budgetary dollars hosts a significant speaker, complete with the requisite pre-talk dinner, post-talk reception, and ample cheesecake and coffee to go along. Despite lots of cries about the early run-down of most of the campus-wide funding sources, April is keeping true to its reputation. It is the cruelest month.

In the midst of the intellectual marathon at work, we went once again to Auntie's house for the Boston Marathon. Though she has been in two different apartments in recent years, both have offered easy walking access to the marathon route. (The first year we went, Kyra had learned to clap just the day before. She was just in time, as true fans take seriously the charge to cheer on the strongholds and the stragglers alike--hours worth of clapping!) After too little sleep of late, I was dragging as I drove up for the marathon. Despite that the kids had been with my sister overnight, I hadn't slept enough (again!), and I found myself grumbling and asking why I really go to the marathon. All I could see was the hassle--the traffic, the closed down streets keeping us locked into place for hours longer than comfortable, the occasional vomiting runner coming a bit too close for my puke phobic self (too close being within a mile or two). At the end of the day, all I could remember was the triumph of watching people stretch themselves to physical, mental and emotional capacity not previously thought possible. It is the perfect space to talk about human diversity with the kids--it's rare to find such a colorful display of diverse national identities, skin colors, and physical abilities. I tear up each year when I see Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father/son pair running now for 25 plus years. When Rick was asked via facilitated communication what he would do if he had the ability to run and walk (he is profoundly disabled), he said that he would push his dad. Mere words cannot capture the emotion of the moment. The roar of applause as Dick comes running through, hours and hours into pushing his child in his wheelchair, is palpable. They are both actively engaged in the competition--the pursuit of the finish line--and every heart surges toward that line with them. (As a side note, the Hoyts also participate in triathlons. Try telling yourself you can't squeeze in that half hour walk when you look at their achievements!)

My sister's latest apartment is near a college, and a mere handful of miles from the finish line. Students in off-campus apartments line the street near her home, and their energy is palpable. (Her previous apartment was about 7 miles further back; the race had a completely different feel from the mid-point.) One brave crowd set large speakers in their open windows and set the CD player to repeat Eye of the Tiger by Survivor....for six hours....with the only interruption being brief forays into "Another One Bites the Dust" and "We are the Champions." You can guess which of those was better received! There was something to the driving Rocky III beat that had runners looking skyward, lifting their arms, pressing on despite the pain of the hills just behind them. I will always feel that beat when I think of this year's marathon run. I loved it--every minute of it. Made me want to run again....sort of....maybe....or at least remember how much I enjoyed when I briefly did so.

Other April ventures? I attended the Power of Dialogue training offered by the Public Conversations Project, and was again reminded why this is an organization I someday hope to work for and with. Their thoughtful, considered approach to crafting dialogues across polarizing differences gave me hope again. Part of the three day training is participation in a simulated dialogue around a constructed case study. This particular case was a church divided over homosexuality, and I had the fortune of playing a character role in the simulation. I have strong personal feelings based on how I identify and my wish for my faith community, and was able to channel some of these feelings to really play my character. Though my role was different enough from my own life to stretch me in new directions, there were some shared core beliefs. I found myself not so much acting, but dwelling within my character, listening with her ears, and speaking so others with very different views might be able to hear her voice. Loved every minute of it. No matter your views, get to know PCP. The exposure is life-changing.

Who said anything about March Madness? Around here it's April, and we're rounding the corner toward the much-desired May. I've been invited by Kara over at Cape Buffalo to participate in a collaborative blogging tribute to mothers and mothering throughout the month of May. Look for more coming soon. I love the ways blogs open new doors, conversations and friendships.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Elton Junior?

Am I the only one who sees the resemblance between our fabulous rocker and Sir Elton John? LOVE this child!

Monday, April 17, 2006

A lifetime ago

Our wonderful children stayed with their even-more-wonderful "auntie" last night, and Matt and I had our first night alone in our home in 2-3 years. We had arrived late for our evening Easter dinner and by the time the kids were even close to settling, it was already well into the evening we had imagined for ourselves, but there was still something oddly "light" about walking out to a car without kids and carry-alls. We barely spoke on the ride home--Matt's style, but not typically mine--and I think we were both just stunned by the silence. No "But I'm not tired!" or "Lucas is kicking me!" We returned to the house at around 10:30pm. Did we rush to the movies? Order late-night pizza? Snuggle in alone on the couch? Nope--in part because we're pretty good about doing these when the kids are around. Instead we folded and put away laundry, without "help" and without worry about waking one child or another. There is almost always a half-full basket of laundry in our room, waiting for someone to be awake or out of their room or ready to help. Last night we went to bed with empty laundry baskets and it was pure bliss.

The challenges of being alone? Hearing the rumble of the train in the night without the kids' CDs and noisemakers to drown it out....Waking at all the usual "Lucas is up--can you get him?" times because my body is conditioned for that....and one of the oddest, proving the power of behavioral condition, leaving the gate at the top of our steep staircase unlatched because there was no child here to inadvertently tumble their way into an ER visit. How did we indulge in our morning? We stayed in bed until 7:50am (unheard of!), and again, changed the laundry. Ah....who knew the freedom of movement we've been missing these last five years? The clothes we could have washed and put away!

I'm bound for auntie's house now and looking forward to the smiles, hugs and voices so missing from our house this morning....but I'll take another night like this when I get it!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Promises made real

Our church published a book of devotionals for Lent; today's Easter Sunday devotional is below. (Matt and I joke that I am now the devotional "closer" for our church as my selection for the Advent book was printed for Christmas Eve and this Lenten piece was chosen for Easter!)

But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay." (Matthew 28: 5-6)

In March 1993 we learned without any true anticipation that my mother was sick with pancreatic cancer and dying rapidly. Life changed overnight, in more ways than I could ever recount in a few simple sentences. I withdrew from college to live at home, and the members of my family took turns spending time with my mother, soaking up her presence while she was still with us. We sought her forgiveness for past mistakes, asked for advice for the too-long future we would face without her, and expressed our love for the woman she had become. This time was deeply spiritual, and I expressed to God the full range of emotions I was feeling—the anger, the sense of betrayal, the surprising moments of peace and clarity, and inexplicable gratitude in the midst of agonizing sadness. It seemed fitting that my mother entered the final days of her life on the eve of Palm Sunday, asking us to pray with her, awaiting her own triumphal entry into the heavenly city. She died on Tuesday of Holy Week, and we moved through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday feeling as never before Jesus’ pleas to his friends and to God, and the tremendous grief enveloping Mary, Mary Magdalene and the disciples.

My mother’s memorial service was held the day before Easter, and we were gifted with tremendous music in her honor. She had been a music teacher at the local high school, and the school choirs were joined in performance by a community chorus and soloists. When a dear family friend and renowned Gospel singer filled the crowded church with the strains of “Rise Again,” the sound and message both reverberated through the air:

’Cause I’ll rise again.
Ain’t no power on earth can tie me down.
Yes I’ll rise again.
Death can’t keep me in the ground.

Yes, indeed, he had risen…and so, too, will we. I believed it then, in my moments of greatest loss, and I believe it still today.

God, thank you for the promises made real for us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Toileting troubles

Is it our almost two year old with potty paranoia? No, no, no! Quite sadly, it is the almost five year old who has been reasonably happy peeing, pooping and flushing since she was 2 1/2 years old who has now decided she hates toilets. Kyra has had occasional panic about flushing--an overflowing toilet at her day care once set her to avoiding beverages and holding her pee long enough to make any camel mama quite proud (and her human mama quite concerned). She has never been a fan of public toilets and those awful automatic flushers that threaten the too-slow bum with a whirlpool bath. This hasn't been of great concern to me, however, because her father still doesn't use public toilets unless it is absolutely unavoidable. He seems relatively well-adjusted, this fact notwithstanding, so I have simply assumed a mild toilet aversion is genetic to his side of the family. What has been a mild aversion has become quite major, however, with shrieks, tears and cries heard around southeastern Massachusetts as we attempt to simply have Kyra try to pee. She has taken to waking us in the middle of the night when she needs to use the bathroom because "the water level is rising." Prophetic words from Noah, calling all the animals to the ark? Not quite--simply concern that the unflushed pee from one of her parents trying to quietly exit the bathroom without waking two light sleepers will suddenly wash over the side and....what? Wash away the lower part of her body? Slowly burn the skin off the soles of her feet like spilled acid in a lab? Turn her into the potty monster, haunting the dreams of similarly afflicted kids? We have no idea! Matt thought he had cured her of the fear through an evening of strategizing. He splashed some toilet water on the floor (his idea, not mine!) and showed her there was nothing there but water. He helped her to consider where she could climb to if the toilet did overflow--perhaps a stool, or in the tub, or run squealing from the bathroom. Toss a towel down if you're feeling extra brave! Information seems not to have been the cure, however, as the fretful tears continue when we ask the seemingly benign question, "Did you flush?"

My sister tells me that phobias are simply a random receptacle for all your fears, anxieties and worries. I considered this and shared this possibility with Kyra, asking, "Is there something else you are really afraid of? Are you worried about Mommy or Daddy or something scary happening?" Without hesitation she said, "No, I just hate toilets." Hmmm....any suggestions anyone?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

When Jesus is your neighbor

We love our 1910 Victorian home--each room is filled with personality, and there is tremendous potential for the future. Our yard, though very, very small, also reflects the years of work Matt, in particular, has put into it. Living downtown in an up and coming suburban Boston commuter town has its advantages. We can travel on foot to the commuter rail, the YMCA, the local zoo, and a series of parks are in easy walking distance. Given that we are in southeastern Massachusetts, I should also note that we can comfortably walk to three Dunkin' Donuts. City government continues to threaten that new life will come to town, and we are hopeful that if we sit tight, our home will soon be the place to live!

So what's not to like? Why do we wonder some days if we will live in our home for another month, much less another 5-10 years? Our neighborhood.... We have few connections and relationships, and the transient renter population that occupies most of our street doesn't help for commitment to community life. Though our yard is small (1/10 of an acre), it is 1/10 of an acre more than any of the neighboring apartment buildings; kids play regularly on the street, eliciting varied states of annoyance depending on the day/night and the neighbor throwing glares out toward the street corner. Drug sales seem to be down--a plus, given that we were regular callers to the local police department in our first two years in the house. Most troublesome, though? Three known sex offenders live within a half a mile of our home. If you are family and know our address, you can visit this website to get their color photographs. We will soon be posting them for the benefit of babysitters, and perhaps we will again be known to the local 911, though we certainly hope not.... We console ourselves by saying, "Better to know who they are than to live in a supposedly safe cul de sac, unaware of the upper middle class neighbor who is silently molesting the neighborhood children," but it is unnerving to teach your four year old daughter she must ride her bike to the back of the house when person X is walking down the street. (It goes without saying that neither child is ever outdoors on their own; grown-up chaperones are required at every turn!)

We have considered at length what it means to live in this neighborhood, where obviously a larger number of the fringe element of society can find affordable housing. As much as we love being able to live a walkers' life, there are many who must walk of necessity. If you can't afford car or bus transportation, our street is a great place to live. Just over the fence from us is a large apartment building that seems, for the most part, well-maintained, and the building seems to draw friendly, responsible neighbors. The couple with whom we essentially share a yard (both patches of grass are small enough that the fence is a mere formality implying privacy where there is none) have rented this particular apartment for a couple of years. They have two cats and a dog whom our children adore. We appreciate getting pets without the responsibility. One of them has a grandson just a bit older than Lucas, so we occasionally have him over to play when he is visiting. Our relationship is cordial, and though our conversation rarely extends past the weather, I feel as though they look out for us and we for them. Though their space is small, they often host friends seemingly down on their luck. Some days there is a steady stream of new faces stopping in to get under a roof for the night, escape a drunken significant other, or take a hot shower. I get nervous sometimes, knowing both the potential for risk with unknown people just over the chain link fence, and of course I am perpetually uncomfortable with everyone standing outside smoking. (We estimate 90% of our neighbors smoke; this is not an exaggeration. Imagine trying to convince your child that this is not an okay possibility for her future when she is surrounded by the act as normal and prevalent.) Matt and I often wish we could pick our house up from the foundation and drive it to a more predictable, middle class neighborhood; we feel like the cigarettes, the sex offenders and the shifty neighborhood visitors are a potential danger to our kids, and our responsibility, first and foremost, is to keep them safe.

When I separate the question of our young, impressionable children, however, our neighborhood intrigues me. On multiple occasions I have carelessly left the minivan unlocked in the driveway with a portable DVD player sitting just inside. I have sometimes left my keys stuck in the lock when trying to get myself, two snowpants-clad kids and a load of groceries in through the back door. I have even been known to drop my wallet unknowingly just outside the car, only to go out hours later and make the surprise discovery. (I'm knocking on wood as I say this and voicing many a silent prayer....) We have never experienced any sort of break-in or threat, despite that we live in just the sort of neighborhood where this would likely happen. Sure, the drug dealer across the street was stabbed once, but it was far down the street near Dunkin' Donuts #1, and the police have responded quickly on those rare occasions when we have felt the need to call. When I think about where Jesus might live if he came to our town tomorrow, I'm quite certain he would stop first at our neighbors just over the fence. While Matt and I like to imagine ourselves among the faithful, I suspect we would be the pious members of established religions that Jesus would be calling out. From all I've read of Jesus, he would feel most at home with the workers next door, drinking a few too many beers before heading home on a Friday evening. (I don't know that Jesus would partake; these guys just seem like his crowd.) He might rent a room at the boarding house down the block serving presently as a safe haven for one of the known sex offenders. Occasionally he might wander into one of those safe cul de sacs, calling out warnings and urging a change in direction, but I suspect he would be picked up quickly by our city's finest and carted back downtown. Despite my daily consideration of how I might live as Jesus did, and my regular admiration of his inclusivity, I suspect he actually made a pretty annoying neighbor....always hanging with that fringe element and making himself at home with those neighbors who make us most uncomfortable. Though I still believe my call to keep my children safe is my first priority, and I'll make future choices in accordance with this call, this neighborhood is a living example of the radical Jesus I believe walked the earth. And if he really is to come again, I suspect we're living with a front row seat for some of the houses he would be first to visit.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Cult of Personality

I suppose most every couple has a root issue or conflict from which all other tension springs. For Matt and me, this issue is the difference in our personalities (and, by extension, our family personalities). You can guess from the ratio of my blog contributions to Matt's that I am the more vocal member of the family. When we first took an extended car ride together, I was convinced Matt was furious for some not-yet-named reason; the silence in the car seemed thick with unspoken anger, simply because silence was almost always a manipulative communication tool in my family growing up. In Matt's family silence rarely has meaning. It simply is. In my family, any single word rarely has meaning. It is the cumulative collection of a lifetime of talking and writing word after word after word that begins to approach some semblance of meaning.

Our children seem to be a mixture of us, with each leaning slightly toward one parent or another in the extraversion/introversion realm. Kyra is in many, many ways her father's daughter, reserved personality being one of them. Reserved is a good choice of words to describe them, as it accurately reflects how they often hold themselves back in public, but also how they reserve the very best of themselves for very private spaces. Kyra is wild at home--no other way to describe it! But if you were to meet her in unfamiliar territory, you wouldn't know she had yet learned to speak. Her father can also have very verbal moments when he is with his inner circle. I have long counted myself fortunate that he considers himself closest to me; I know his thoughts, regrets, fears and dreams better than anyone in the world. While I hold unique trust for him as well, there are others in the world who share some of the personal disclosures I have offered to him over the past 16 years. We are at once compelled and repelled by our differences.

Kyra has a close day care friend--we'll call her "M"--who draws the same attraction/repulsion emotions from her. As much a listener as Kyra is, M is a talker. Kyra holds back her physical affection for rare generous offering; M offers a squeeze you until your eyes bulge out hug to every child who walks through the day care doors. Despite Kyra's caution, she is very at home with crowds of boys (remember the rough team?), and her interests follow those of her male classmates. Though she has never seen a superhero movie or cartoon, she has action figures at home. She would sooner request a Power Ranger than a Barbie, and Matt and I encourage this because we prefer a child who can be her or himself over societal expectations, and because a little gender bending feels right to us. M, on the other hand, adores princesses and only princesses. When M's mom called last weekend to invite Kyra to a "dress up princess tea party," I honestly didn't understand what she meant at first. I knew there would be a princess theme, and certainly have hosted and participated in my share of tea parties, but I assumed "dress up" meant, well, church clothes. Midway through the week, it dawned on me that the girls would be dressing up as princesses. Oh! Completely different picture....

Kyra and Lucas have a bin overflowing with costumes--on any given day we host tigers, dogs, firefighters, train conductors, cowboys and girls, and clowns. But princesses? Not exactly! M's mom knows the girly crowd is not Kyra's style, so she offered that Kyra could borrow something from their extensive princess collection; she very kindly offered as an afterthought that Kyra could wear whatever she was comfortable wearing. I prepared Kyra for what the other girls might be wearing, and even managed to dig around and find some non-specific princess garb, but she refused my offerings of help. In the end, she wore a nice pair of capri pants, a sweater set, a necklace, ankle socks and sneakers. This was VERY dressed up for Kyra. Though there are numerous baby pictures of Kyra in dresses with matching tights, shoes with ribbons and lace, as soon as she had a mind of her own, the dresses came off. We had Auntie coax her into a dress for Lucas's dedication in church when she was nearly three years old. I believe it was our last significant effort to see her in anything "fancy." When I suggested this evening that she wear something nice for church tomorrow, she asked me to pull out her best jeans. This is who she is, through and through. Though some of the girls at the party know her well from day care, I was concerned about the collision between Kyra's idea of a princess dress up party and M's idea of a princess dress up party.

Some of my fears were validated--all seven of the other girls were wearing tiaras, Disney store-purchased princess attire (all dressing not only as princesses, but specific princesses--Ariel, Cinderella, Snow White, and more....), and those wretched princess high heel shoes that are a broken ankle in the making. Not all of my fears were accurate, however. I was concerned Kyra would feel out of place and uncomfortable; I thought she would feel unsettled and either quickly give in to M's mom offer of a dress or wind up in tears in the corner. Neither happened, despite that I checked in periodically to see if she was interested in a dress or comfortable as she was. My girl--capris, sweater set and all--even joined the other girls to participate in the princess parade. It seems already she has more confidence in herself and her choices than I potentially have now!

What bothered me about the party wasn't the dress difference, as I had assumed, but rather the occasional remarks about Kyra's personality. One of M's grandmothers has seen us now for a series of M's birthday parties, and even brought M and her sister to Kyra's party last summer. As soon as we walked through the door, she commented on Kyra's lack of a dress, pausing only for a quick breath before exclaiming to the group, "Kyra's just so shy!" One comment wasn't sufficient; she made a couple others to the collection of moms, and then even approached me at one point to comment on how shy Kyra had been when she had seen her with Matt at another child's birthday party. While I believe her intention was not to ostracize Kyra, I'm sensitive to remarks about her personality; they always feel judgmental to me. When Kyra crawled onto my lap while the others were playing freeze dance, I was torn between letting her stay and be where she was comfortable and urging her to "get out there and have fun like the other kids!" When Kyra would look to me for a twizzler or drink or anything at all from the party table rather than initiate conversation with M or M's mom, I wanted to somehow force her to open her mouth and just ask already! After warming up for the first hour or so, Kyra freely joined the other girls in the basement playroom, and was reluctant to leave as we gathered our things to go. Hmmmm....where was the "Kyra's so shy" grandmother then???

When I came home and found myself annoyed with Matt without any apparent cause, I began to analyze my own feelings about Kyra's personality. Matt and I had been talking about our plan to attend a family wedding (my side of the family; the wedding takes place on Matt's birthday--not an ideal draw, no matter your personality), and I found myself wanting him not to go. I wanted to not face the awkward conflict I often feel when I'm out with Matt or Kyra--do I express my own comfort and inclination toward being social, or do I stay close and hide out with them? Today, at the party, I was more reserved; in some ways, it was as though I was validating how Kyra is by being more like her. (I could write a completely different blog post about being a "church supper" kind of woman in the presence of the "five star restaurant, pass me the wine list" women, as that, too, is part of my holding back with this particular crowd.) Matt and I often joke that I am more him than he is some days. While I began going to movies on my own when we had babies, Matt no longer felt able to enjoy being out on his own! We have mixed and merged and become something quite different than when we first met, but when conflict arises, we fall firmly back into our personality camps. Life, being life, presents a perpetual string of conflicts, and we often retreat to modes of communication and expression that seem incompatible. Each time we anticipate a family holiday or vacation on one side or the other, the roots of our difference are exposed and raw. I can't speak for Matt (though many would say I do often!), but there are times when I honestly wonder how we persist in being together. The differences can feel that strong.

I suppose the balance tips just enough to the staying together side--we are just a tiny bit more attracted by the other person's differences than we are repulsed by them; we are just a tiny bit more compelled to better understand him or her than we are repelled in the other direction. And of course there is deep, lasting love there as well. My love for the kids comes right from my gut. My mother love requires no thought or decision; it simply is. With Matt, it is more of a choice--something I wrap my mind around and work my heart into. As I love and parent the reserved, private and very wonderful Kyra, I experience new depths of love (okay, I'll be honest--perhaps new depths of frustration, too, as evidenced when I returned home this afternoon!) for Matt as well. As the more outgoing Lucas grows, I'll have to ask Matt if he better understands and loves me, too. Of course I'll have to be prepared to wait for his answer....those introverts like to think things through, you know.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Cartwheel time....

When my mom died 13 years ago this week, I devoured every book I could find on the experience of losing a parent--self-help books, memoirs, magazine articles. I was searching for some clue how to survive what was surely the most devastating blow of my 20 year life. There were words that moved me to tears (many, many tears), and words that spoke so directly to my experience, I felt a spiritual connection with the writer. Some anecdotes stayed with me for no apparent reason. One such story was about a girl's visit to her father's grave a year after he died. Quite spontaneously, this child turned a cartwheel over his grave. She had always loved cartwheels, but had stopped turning them when her dad died. Her symbolic gesture one year later was to let him know she would continue to embrace life; she would still find joy in the world.

Though I never made a conscious decision not to sing after my mom died, one day of silence turned into another and another and another. My mother had been aware of my intention to record some songs to be played for her memorial service, and after an afternoon of singing to her as she lay dying one room away, I began to sing "Wind Beneath My Wings." She knew this was one of the songs I had planned to sing for her service, and I was halfway through when a family friend ran into the room and called to me with a hushed voice, "She's dying, Jennifer. It's time!" I collected my sister from upstairs and we both rushed through the living room doors to witness the final gasps of our mother's breath. Some part of me knew it was a gift to sing my mother into the next life, but another deeper part of me felt partly responsible for her death. I had resisted singing the memorial service songs for more than an hour--I somehow knew they would be a prompt for her to let go and move on. I had always felt and believed my voice spoke to people, but the power of this last message felt too overwhelming to fully acknowledge.

After recording songs for her service, my world became very quiet. Music was somehow too powerful, too close, too connected to my already inescapable sadness. When I returned to college the following fall, I would occasionally sneak into a music practice room and sing in the stillness of that close space. After a lifetime of public performance and real comfort with the stage, I had no desire to share my voice in any way. The silence grew into anxiety, and again, without a conscious choice, years passed without my singing in any public forum. A friend whose parents were killed by a drunk driver had performed a concert with her siblings to mark the ten year anniversary of their deaths. For no reason other than Mary's story, I, too, decided ten years would mark the end of my silence. By that time I had a daughter and I sang frequently in my home. With some small prompting from members of my church, I sang a song in church on a summer Sunday. Nervous? Yes. Shaky hands, dry mouth, quivery voice? Yes. But I sang, and I was proud of my accomplishment.

I returned home to the audience of my two year old daughter and ever-devoted husband, and continued to offer the best of myself in only the smallest of spaces. This past fall, though, I knew I needed to let my dad and grandparents know I was singing still, even if only in the comfort of my own home. I recorded a CD and gave copies to members of my family as a Christmas present. At our church's annual "Blue Christmas" service, I shared tearfully how I made the CD as much for my mom--to give her the gift that I would still sing. One of the enthusiastic organizers of the women's fellowship encouraged me to share my music more publicly, and I (foolishly!) suggested that an evening program for the women's fellowship might be just the right context to do so. She didn't let me forget!

After a February date didn't work, the program was planned for this evening--April 4th, only two days before the anniversary of my mom's death. I was not only going to sing, I was going to sing in the fire of my loss. For weeks I have prepared my program, practicing, writing program notes, and courageously asking a family friend to sing with me a song from my mother's memorial service. Nervous again? Yes. Shaky hands, dry mouth, quivery voice? In the beginning, yes. But I persisted and sang, and even had moments of great joy in doing so. The kleenex was passed aisle to aisle, but I managed to leave the tears in the audience and saved mine for my return home.

Mom, thirteen years later, I turned this cartwheel for you....

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Spoke too soon....

The new bed novelty has officially worn off. The novelty for Lucas today? Climbing down from said new big boy bed and running into sister's room, over and over and over, eventually forcing exhausted parents to retreat and put big boy in his not-so-big-boy crib. I should have learned from Lindsey Jacobellis that early celebration is a sure way to lose the race....