Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sun and Corn

I snapped this photo after the kids husked the corn before dinner one night. It's rare that I appreciate anything that looks messy or unkempt--but this site of summer stopped me. I love how the late afternoon sun angles in on a summer tradition. Strewn husks, hundreds of pieces of corn silk. An unspoken promise of deliciousness.

Soon, that sun will be long gone at this time of day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Letter from the Tooth Fairy

P(re) Script: Abby, at 8, still amazingly believes in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. I am shocked, as I think she's sat on the precipice of NOT believing for a year or more. Today, she lost another tooth. Last week, she asked some tough questions. I believe that along with the Tooth Fairy loot, tomorrow morning she will also find this letter under her pillow.

August 23, 2011

Dearest Abby,

I know you've been having some questions about me--about whether or not I'm real. When you asked your mommy if I was real, or if she and your daddy were really the Tooth Fairy, your mom asked you if you believe that I'm real. You answered,

I believe the Tooth Fairy is real because you said she is ... and you always tell me the truth.

I understand your questions. Let me tell you a little secret:

I ask parents all over the world to help me make childhood more fun and magical for their kids. My goal: help young kids learn about faith. Faith is believing in something or someone even when you cannot see or touch those things. Sometimes, we believe in things, feelings or people without having proof that those things exist. Faith is a powerful, important force in our lives.

Think about Love, for example. You believe in Love, right? You can't see it, yet you know it's real because you feel it in a beaming smile, in a safe hug, or in whispered hushes when you're sad. You're surrounded by it, from your dad, your mom, your family, your friends. Those things that are real? They live in your heart, give you goosebumps and make your stomach tingle with hundreds of beautiful, quick-winged butterflies.

Please always remember that life is full of magic if you choose to see and believe it is so. And understand that your mom and dad didn't lie to you. Quite the contrary. They merely followed the pledge to help make your life beautiful.

Now, that you're so wise and mature, will you take the pledge? If so, please raise your right hand (the one you write with) and say the following out loud:

I promise to keep alive the magic and spirit of the Tooth Fairy
for Henry and younger children everywhere.


My memory will always be flitting about on gossamer wings, spreading magic and faith to kids. Now, I invite you to believe. Listen to your heart to find the best ways to continue the beautiful faith in magic, and magic in faith.

Keep up the great brushing,
With love,
The Tooth Fairy

Post Script: My heart feels a bit heavy with the realization that Abby is here. I remember when I figured it out--I was devastated. And I know that after she reads this letter, which she is more-than-ready-to-read, Santa will be next. When did she get so old? I will just continue to reinforce:

I still believe.
I still believe.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Like Sea Shells, I Collected Thoughts

Gray clouds spitting. White capped, charcoal green waves spraying.
Sunglasses covered in rain drops. Refuge sought under the strained beach umbrellas, usually poised to block the sun. Four adults, crouching for warmth and dry.

Four lone children, oblivious to the inclement with the empty expanse of the beach their canvas. Architects, city planners, politicians, mayors. Navigating the perils of childhood--anarchy and disappointment, lines drawn in the sand. Compromise and resolution follow and copacetic rhythms return.

Raw weather beckons powerfully--pulsing and yelling. Daring us to stay, daring us to leave, to seek shelter under roof and within four walls. Gulls cry, warning of the storm's arrival.

We ignore them.

We stake our beach claim. Kids play. We observe. Souls settle into the space, the calm, the yield of beach vacation.

Sand. Prehistoric, jumbled particles of recycled rock and shell, shifting between toes. Adhering to body parts. Building beaches, play places.

Round rumps, saluting the sun. Busy hands below, engulfed in the sand. Digging. Building. Nothing and everything, small cities, leaning castles, shifting alphabets.

Long arms of the ocean, like white ruffles, pounding and dancing, creating my beloved beach. Past physical moments journeying to this point, my point, our point. Meeting and moving together.

Stepping into the ocean, I feel like I'm entering another's home. At the door steps of the magnificent sea. Benevolent, brutal, beautiful--hosting one and all, visitors, inhabitants and herself.

How long have these sandy crystalline, beautiful specks traveled to get here? Much longer than I. Intensely understanding the smallness of my life, as microscopic as those pieces of sand. Yet unlike those sandy bits, I am fleeting, impermanent.

Intoxicating, hypnotic and banal, the ocean sings to me. With a sand-embossed invitation, she implores me to be. Begs me to watch. Insists that I ponder, wonder.

And I do.

Stretching shadow of western sun elongating my smudge on the sand. Communing with the raw, pure ocean while the evening ritual unfolds back at the beach house--
shake and hang the towels
remove the sand
shower the body
climb into softest cottons
pour cocktails

I sit, solo, with her. The ocean. And her symphony. I've missed her. Reunited, my heart now swelling, tide-like, spilling into my chest, legs and arms.

Painful trepidation surrounding tomorrow's departure. But now, I'm here. Full. Salt-soaked. Sand covered. Wind tousled. Damp bathing suit. Crazy hair. Now.

The patterned randomness of the pounding Atlantic, simultaneously rhythmic and sporadic. An artful cornucopia of vastness and dichotomies. She sings to me again. Syncapatic melodies traced with the undertow of dissonance.

Scattered sea weed. Resilient piers. Taut flags. Stalwart gulls. White caps far onto the royal blue horizon, meeting the robins egg blue above.

I am captive.

I'm at the beach this weekend. I wrote this almost exactly a year ago, at the same beach. I am still captive.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vacation Views

I am in one of my favorite places, EVER. Rocky Mountains, Colorado. Vacation bliss. Some of the things I get to set my eyes on every day, every morning, every moment.


View from Fionna.


Abby contemplating life. And how to talk her parents into riding lessons.


Colorado wild flowers.


Nine years ago, my hubby and I met on this road just before our wedding.


Reward after day of hiking. Or sitting. Or horseback riding.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Where I Am

Strong, slanted afternoon summer rays reached into my water-spotted kitchen window and threw themselves across my kitchen table. As the sunlight rested on this wooden surface, it highlighted the crumbs of a previous meal and old swirl marks of many aggressive wipe-downs. Various diluted paint stains--magenta, blue, green-- mingled with the crumbs.

Hubby and the kids worked on their rockets (a project that all three love--I love my husband for thinking of it and doing it and carving out a special space with the kids). I watched them and watched the sunlight dancing in their space. I took air into my lungs and held onto it for just awhile. I released. I lazily unloaded the dishwasher and meandered to the couch to finish reading a magazine.


Another afternoon, I climbed into a cushioned chair on the deck, shaded by the thick leaves of the wisteria. The cool breeze tickled the edge of the leaves and I read. The words from the magazine began to blur and my head began to nod and sleep sneaked up and caught me in her arms. My magazine rested precariously my rising, falling, rising chest. I felt like I heard a swoosh of words, faintly whispering: Yoga.


This is the summer I hoped for and imagined. Family happily moving through their days. Copacetic moments rolling one into the next. Deftly prepared dinners of grilled meats and fresh veggies served with lingering conversations. Spying ruby red tomatoes on their emerald green vines and plucking them off.

Aside from the expected rough day here and there, the days have unfolded pleasantly. Last summer proved challenging. Very. And this summer, I've wondered why our moments are different than their predecessors. And then, I realized that finally, finally, Abby and Henry are old enough.


The last months I've been dealing with some health issues. I've been in tremendous pain from endometriosis and suffering symptoms from what just might be Celiac disease. As I've researched both conditions, the information I read continues to tell me what I've long suspected:

1. I need to stop eating wheat
2. I must practice yoga
3. Not Knowing is groovy and I must relinquish my white-knuckled grasp on my irrational assumption that I can control things, people, and the tidiness of the kitchen counter.


I reached out to friends who study yoga and asked them what resources they'd recommend. (This, by the way, was hard for me to do. The asking-for-help part. But I did it. And although it felt rough and unnatural at first, I settled into the innate knowledge of opening myself to the wisdom of others.) My friend Katrina wisely emailed me this:

My advice is to embark on this new path with a spirit of inquiry, and trust that you will find everything you need to know along the way...and savor even these first small steps. Just learning to bring your awareness to your breath, to come into a place of stillness, to tune in to all the physical and emotional sensations in your body is a good beginning.

I got goosebumps reading her sage, salve-like words. I kept coming back to this phrase: bring your awareness to your breath, come into a place of stillness. Yes. Yoga. Everything about this resonated with me. At times, I will find myself just holding my breath. For no reason.

I reached out to Pamela, too, who offered kind words and insight. She suggested poses and this section on YogaJournal.com. When I read this particular part about chakras, and the second chakra which is associated with endometriosis, more goosebumps arose:

Trying to influence the outer world is not the province of the second chakra. Instead of demanding that our body or a relationship be different, the second chakra encourages us to feel the feelings that arise as we open to life just as it is. As we allow ourselves to accept what is, we taste the sweetness (and bittersweetness) of life.

Huh. Controlling. What don't I try to control? My mood. My children. The mess. My hair. The house. Our schedule. Other's reactions. The older I get the more controlling I realize I am. My futile attempts at control remind me just how much I rail against the polarity of life. The bitter. The sweet. The vitriol. The kindness. The life. The death.

I know that I must relax into it all. Open-armed.


With spaces.

With breaths.

With awareness.

With bittersweet life swinging with wild abandon.

Apparently, my own evolution and awareness led me to this summer with Abby and Henry. Their maturation and my evolution delivered us to this easier now. Their age, combined with my loosened grip, allowed these days to articulate themselves. Materializing in their own time.

I let go. I let go of my need to control it all. Released the need for constant order. And allowed space for my children to be.... (wait for it....) children. And space for me to be...me. Every bit of me.


I unrolled my yoga mat for the first time this week. The purple padded rectangle thwaped as it hit the basement carpet. I started with the base-level yoga poses that I know. Downward-facing dog. Thoughts came along--negative judgments about my body. Gosh my knees are wrinkly at this angle. Tree. I wish my stomach always looked like this, like it does when I'm stretched to the sky. Shoulder stand. Head-to-knee bend. Look at that stomach flab. Geesh. Cut down on the sugar, lady. Child's pose.

Those negative, snitty thoughts tried. But instead of quickly nodding my conspiratorial agreement, I took note of their editorial quips and let them slide. Which each long-held stretch, I relaxed into the beginning. Not knowing. A fledgling acceptance of the bitter and sweet parts of my body started to swirl. I heard a faint swoosh, maybe a whisper. Be open. Try.

I found an uncharted map of possibility and growth.

A start.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Visit With Christa

Something really, really cool happened. Christa, from Carry It Forward asked me if I would like to guest post on her blog.

Like To???? Hardly.

Thrilled To is more accurate.

And so, today, my post is up at her lovely space. Go visit. I always leave inspired. Or filled with patience for life. Or holding a new question. Or with a refreshed sense of connection. I hope you do, too.