Thursday, November 9, 2017

Strabismus

Prompt: Write about a time you tried something new. (500 words)

    Leaves were something new.  Her six year old mind marveled at their meticulous veins and arteries.  The overlapping details stunned her senses.  Until this morning she had lived in a watercolor world, trees were topped with green in the summer, orange and yellow in the fall and suddenly were bare branches in the winter.  This spring she’d seen nothing at all. Dr. Tom had explained the procedure with cartoons, diagrams and even an episode of Sesame Street.
    But nothing had prepared her for the reality of waking up; screaming and clawing at a sharp needle pinning the back of her hand.  Worst of all was the total darkness, she flailed to fight that too but her eyes felt taped shut.  She finally drew a breath, and then another that wasn’t a scream.  She kept breathing counting each minute of this eery eclipse. 
    It had been that way for two weeks.  Her cassette player automatically flipped at the end of a side so with eyes bandaged like a war veteran she listened continuously to the first installment of Prince Caspian, picturing it in her mind to stay sane. After another two weeks the bandages were removed but she wore dark glasses and kept her eyes shut most of the time.  As her mom weaned her off these children began to cry when they saw her at her in the park, backing away as if she had scalded them.  She asked about this and her mom reminded her of Dr. Tom’s warnings.  Her eyes would be bright red- blood shot for a few weeks after the operation.

    Then this morning she had opened her eyes and seen.  There outside her window, drawn in sharp focus hung emerald green leaves.  There were more than she could have ever imagined.  It took hundreds to comprise the whole of even one tree’s foliage.  She took time studying the individuals feeling silly and sorry that for so long she had only known them as a crowd. She looked beyond them briefly and was stunned by the sight of the sky.  The clouds.  The clouds were not flat white things painted on the vault of blue.  The sky was so much nearer than she had ever imagined.  She wondered at the varied depths and distances of the air and atmosphere. 
    She lay her head back on the pillow and resolved to ask for only a skylight this summer.  She knew her dad could do it. He was constantly pulling off other people’s roofs and re-roofing them. Besides she knew the ceiling above her was still damaged from the chimney fire over the winter.  She sighed, imagining the perfection of watching the stars pass overhead as she fell asleep.  Perfection.  Perhaps they also held secrets she had never before known.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Boston Book Festival


    It should have been a no-brainer for me to be attending the Boston Book Festival for the years that I’ve lived here.  But no, I regret now that I missed 9 seasons of an amazing and FREE cultural experience.

But that’s what friends are for. 

    While changing over my laundry at the Big A laundromat (Names may have been changed to protect…well….me I guess) Anyway, while carefully shifting armloads of damp clothing careful to not lose any baby socks, I heard a booming voice behind me, “We’ve got to stop meeting like this.”  I smiled to myself.  Matt of the laundromat, and more importantly Matt the writer.  In short order, I had apprised him of the most efficient dryers and he had convinced me to attend at least the Writer’s Idol portion of the Boston Book Festival.

    And so sitting in a room jammed packed with aspiring and perspiring writer’s I calculated the chances of my first page being read and analyzed by the agents at the front.  250 submissions, and 20-25 to be read.  It was certainly better than playing the lottery, or not submitting anything at all. 

    As piece after piece was read, I gathered some important insights.  For example, I was quickly schooled about cliches I didn’t even know were cliche.  Sure, after reading thousands of pieces of middle and high school writing I knew better than to let “the sun shimmer” or the “water sparkle.”  But I had less of an idea that I should avoid starting a submission with: a dream, the weather a flashback, how the post office works, a therapist’s office. 

    The most important thing of all is to write.  And I’ve realized that it takes a village to do just that.  So, I’m back in blogosphere, giving a big shout out to each of you amazing readers, the author over at https://candidsandwanderingwords.wordpress.com and to my writing friend’s from TMWC.  So very many thanks!  Now to try NaNoWriMo….

Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Ward Wedding Toast...Two weeks later

            I discovered a pretty surprising fact two weeks ago today.  It’s still fresh but I think I’m ready to write about it…  I am not good at wedding speeches.  It’s bit embarrassing to tell the truth.  In case you were unaware, I TAUGHT public speaking for almost 6 years, so you’d think I had this in the bag.  But when I grabbed the mic that Friday night, “My mind just drew a blank, like ‘La-La-La.’”  (Anyone? The Game, early 2000s?  No?! anyway….) 
But Hunter and Jane deserve better than that.   And it is not too late!  So, this is what I wish I’d said even though I definitely would have gotten choked up…maybe have had to hold up a shaky hand and ask everyone to wait a minute while I pulled it together….but this is what I would have said if I had the guts.



Photograph courtesy of http://www.markspoonerphoto.com
            Jane, I love you.  I have loved you since the moment you were born.  I have loved you beyond all reason and cherish every moment with you.  I am so sorry I have tried so hard to be your mother.  I am sorry I have tried so hard to be “cool.”  I am sorry I did not figure out sooner how to be more transparent and genuine with such an extraordinary little sister.  
I’m sorry that I taught you how to skinny dip and streak around town forest….well mostly I’m just sorry you got caught ;)
         I am not at all sorry that we are hardcore Disneyland fans, that we love hiking to Heublein Tower, writing each other letters, and reading the Baudelaires aloud (that was like my first sign that Hunter was “the one” for you.  A die hard Lemmony Snicket fan is a true gem).   
I am grateful for the way you cared for James when I was sick but had to go back to work.  I am grateful that you love each my kids like your own.  I am grateful for our mutual love of ice dancing and Downton Abbey.  I am grateful that we have finally found our groove of being genuine kindred spirits, best friends and sisters.  I feel blessed beyond all measure.  I feel like the luckiest.
---------
And Hunter….let’s be honest….you are the luckiest;)  I kind of feel that Scout should give this part of the speech since she adores you as purely as only a three year old can. She knew from the moment she met you that you were a good man; that you were her friend; that you were family.  
Photograph courtesy of http://www.markspoonerphoto.com
She has told me that she loves “how you play games… that you are funny and ….your beard.”  I think that is a pretty good list.  But I want to add some qualities that are so admirable about you.  And I’ve found there are a lot of things to admire.  I admire your humility, especially about your skill at lacrosse.  I admire your insight into athletics and the arts.  I’ll never forget how much you seemed to just “get” Jane’s artwork at her senior show.  You didn’t just politely glance at it, you analyzed it and appreciated it deeply.   
I admire your flexibility -both literally and figuratively.  (I mean I’ll admit I was dumbfounded when I heard you could bend over and touch your forearms to the ground…that’s, well, just incredible.)  But more than that, I admire how when you came to visit Jane and she had to go to an Artsbridge thing, you spent the whole day helping me with the kids.  Seriously, THE.  WHOLE.  DAY.  And it wasn’t like one of our best days, when the kids are angelic and I’m like extra sweet super mom.  It was like a real day in the life.  And you were so helpful and gracious.  
I admire how you always notice when Scout and Hadley reach new milestones.  You are always one of the first to celebrate me when Scout overcomes a speech hurdle or Hadley takes a wobbly step.  
 
Photograph courtesy of http://www.markspoonerphoto.com
So, with all those amazing qualities wound together, it’s no surprise you are an incredible couple.  My hope and prayer for you as you enter into the adventure of marriage together is that you always see  each other as God sees us, or to make it a little less daunting…try and see each other kind of like how I saw Jane the first time I held her as a baby…noticing each tiny detail, wondering at her unique personality,  and utter gratitude that her miraculous life was tied to mine.  I am utterly grateful again this time that I get to experience a newborn marriage of two people I love grow and mature.  






PS I think I need to give a shout out to Nick’s speech at the rehearsal dinner because it has now become James’ presedent for HIS obsession with eating frosted mini wheats without milk???!!!

PPS Anne and Pedro you are next. 





Thursday, March 10, 2016

Birthdays for days

Confession:
    I have spent the last 5 week and 72 hours trying to capture my kids in an Instagram worthy pose for their consecutive birthdays.  God in his wisdom and knowledge knew that I fear and tremble about birthdays; the parties, the presents, the cakes/cupcakes and the decorations (or lack thereof).  Even typing this I feel the anxiety rising into my throat.  Urgh...Birthdays....soooooooo stressful!!! But so fun for kids.  And I have to admit I have sucked the fun right out of many many memorable moments the past month or so trying to make them “better.”  

Kids, listen, I LOVE YOU.  I don’t say it enough because I’m weird and a New Englander and I have a serious complaining habit.  But I. LOVE. YOU. 


JWynn, I love your curiosity!  You ask such good questions, and draw hilarious conclusions.  For example, let it be written that you informed me just the other day, “Snakes have fangs to protect themselves from creditors.” Hmm. That could very well be true in addition to protecting themselves from predators.  
Shout out to Monkey King Tea. (#mkt)  You make our week.
Thanks for putting up with our Thursday morning invasions:)
I am honestly and totally amazed by your constant and superhuman levels of energy.  You are incredible.  You can probably run a mile faster than I can and then want to play tag afterwards.  Even I, your mother, am still shocked by the things you manage to climb (the built in pantry shelves for example.)
You love Jesus and really trust him.  I am convicted whenever I tell you something sad because you want to pray immediately.  It’s true, there is no reason to wait to pray. And whenever you get hurt you always call out for God’s help even before me or Dad.  I love that, because I won’t always be there but God will.  

Falling Hard
Princessa Harpinha...where do I begin?  If I was three I would ask you to be my best friend because you are so fun and funny.  Where do you get this comedic timing or these sarcastic faces?  Please forgive me for not disciplining you consistently due to the fact that you make me laugh too hard. 
And yes, your hair really is as beautiful as you think it is.  Don’t get vain about it but it literally does “gleam and glow” (as you’ve informed us through song- thank you Tangled soundtrack).  You are incredibly patient as I brush it and attempt to braid it every morning.  
I think what I thank God for the most though is your affection toward others.  The fact that you always ask your brother, “You okay bud?”  when he falls down.  Or stuff a binky in your sister’s mouth when she is crying.  You look out for others and want to make sure they are as happy as you are.  Thank you for your infectious joy.  

Olivita, my baby. It’s hard to describe how much I just adore your face!  Your smiles are the best part of any day.  You light up a whole room.  
Where did she even find this clementine? 
Your endurance amazes me.  You have let more doctors and specialists poke and prod you than I ever would and you remain sweet despite it all.  I know you are hurting a lot of the time but you have a joi de vivre that inspires me.  
I wish I could make life easier for you but I am comforted by the knowledge that you will always be strong and brave. I can;t ait to see you blow all our minds when you figure out walking and talking!  It’s always an adventure with you. 


So, happy birthday one and all:)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Delicious Dichotomy

This month, I had the honor of writing for the House and Home issue of The Prodigal Chair. (http://www.prodigalschair.com )
The name of the piece is "Delicious Dichotomy."  It s about many things, including but not limited to:
Which I love and highly recommend!

Which I love and hate. 
Please check it out.  I've been out of commission for a while so I'd love to get some comments:)