Sunday, April 14, 2013

Expecting Rainbows

We moved here to escape the hustle and bustle of a life that was moving too quickly towards things we didn't want. In search of a more simple life we packed our belongings and headed East through canyons and craters, across mountains and streams.  Me on the verge of having a baby and Erin on the cusp of becoming a teen, we came. We were welcomed with warm hugs and a storm that took out power for days.  The winds calmed and the power came back on, but the storm hasn't stopped yet. It's easy to get caught up in the storm, to focus on the chaos. It's even easier to imagine that there is no storm somewhere else.  I find myself thinking "if I can just make it through this..." All the while I'm bracing myself for the next gust of wind or bolt of lightning.  I don't want to spend my life waiting out the storm or holding on tight for the next bad thing. So I'm going to start expecting the good. I'm going to watch for the rainbow.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

I sit, basking in the glow of the lights from my still-decorated Christmas tree.  The ceiling is still a flutter with paper snowflakes and the cheerful song of the lighted dance hall in my Christmas village  echoes through the house.  Christmas should last longer.  There should be more days snuggled in cozy pajamas, sipping hot cocoa, counting down the days until Santa comes.  This year the anticipation in our house was palpable.  Hayden woke each morning asking when Santa was coming.  He eagerly searched the house to see what our elf, Christopher, had been doing while we slept.  Most mornings he ran to our room yelling out "Mom! Dad! Come and look what Christopher's done!".  There is no greater joy than seeing the twinkle of belief in a child's eyes.  I consider the ability to believe one of the most important gifts I can give my children.  They are going to need it in the days ahead.  When the monotony of life takes over, I hope they'll dig deep, find that spirit, and remember what it was like to be so excited that they could hardly sleep.  I hope they'll be able to connect with that feeling of expectation and remember to live their lives wide open and waiting. 

Next week I'll repack boxes and take down lights.  I'll tuck the houses from my Christmas village away and say goodbye to the colorful Christmas decor.  I hope that I will take the anticipation and magic of this season with me into the new year.  I hope I'll remember to believe even when things seem impossible. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Tradition

When Erin first came to live with us we began a tradition of cutting out paper snowflakes and hanging them in the living room.  Today I hung snowflakes without her.  It wasn't nearly as much fun. 
Our visits with her are good.  We talk and play.  They have a recreation room with a pool table, air hockey, and board games.  She is now allowed to go on off-ground visits.  We usually get something to eat because she says the food at MHY sucks.  I've taken her shopping at Plato's Closet for some clothes.  She's found some really nice things for great prices.  This time away makes it easier for us to enjoy her.  Our time together isn't fraught with the frustrations that had plagued us.  In a way it feels like cheating, but her therapist assures us this is therapeutic. 
It's difficult to put into words what I think and feel about all of this. I know it's just as difficult for those on the outside looking in to understand.  People ask me why we still try or why we don't just let her go.  I try not to take those type of questions personally.  It would be easier to let her go, but it wouldn't be the right thing.  We didn't sign on just to jump ship when it go tough.  That isn't what parents do.  Of course this doesn't mean there won't be tough love involved.  Erin will be 17 in a few short months.  One year away from being legally considered an adult but light years away from being capable of running her life.  I'm hopeful that these months in treatment will help her obtain the life skills and emotional control she needs to move forward in a positive way.  The odds are stacked against her, but I have to believe that this can work.
Today as I was cleaning out drawers I found this poem she wrote.  It follows the format of the "I am" poem I wrote ages ago.

I am from chocolate ice cream, Baskin Robbins, and Reeses Cups
I am from the brick house overflowing with leaves, full of love, and home grown tomatoes
I am from the green leaves, the wild flower, the ever flowing river that is free to go it's own way
I am from home made cinnamon rolls
I am from Friday night camp fires and sleeping under the stars
I am from "you are grounded" and "I love you monkey face"
I am from reading my Bible and spending my nights talking to God.
I am from dry ground, biscuits and chocolate gravy, and mac and cheese


I didn't notice it as much the first time I read this, but I notice it now.  She is in these lines.  I'm going to take this to her on our next visit to see if she recognizes herself.  

Friday, December 07, 2012

Something like that

So much for the peace and quiet I thought these days would bring.  If anything, we are more busy than normal.  We visit Erin twice a week.  I don't mind the visiting.  We all seem to be getting along well and she seems to be trying.
I enrolled Hayden in school one day a week so he could get some peer interaction.  The poor boy was playing with the dogs like they were kids. He loves school and doesn't want to leave when I pick him up.  It does my heart good to see him engaged and playing with the other children when I pick him up.  He's been put in time out once, and it broke his heart.  He takes after me. When I was little my mom could look at me the wrong way and I'd cry. 
I attended a "Blue Christmas" service on Tuesday with my Aunt Susie.  It was a service dedicated to honoring those who have left us and acknowledging the pain and sadness that can exist this time of year.  I haven't been inside a church for any type of service in almost four years.  I appreciated the symbolism and rituals of the service. It's easy to move forward in life, to skip past acknowledging the pain of loss.  After all, life is so full it's easy to move from one thing to the next and just keep going. For the last few days I've though about the service and about ways to remember those we've lost as we celebrate this season.  How do you  honor/acknowledge those you've lost as you celebrate? 

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Christopher has finally arrived!

It's been a year since our dear friend Christopher first made his way to our home. Last year he helped us build an amazing gingerbread house.  Who knows what kind of fun and excitement he'll bring to our home this year!
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He arrived on Tuesday.  Our guess is that the snow slowed him down a little.  His suitcase was packed full of pixie stix, marshmallows, and hot cocoa.  The trip must have made him very tired.  He's been sleeping a lot.  He seems to be fully rested now. 
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This morning we found him waiting patiently with a message for Hayden! 
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Hayden decided to paint Christopher something special in return.
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Neither of us can wait to see what Christopher comes up with next.  We love having this little elf visit our home.  He keeps us on our toes and reminds us of the magic and wonder that exists this time of year.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

November

All the leaves have fallen.  Their dull yellow, orange, and brown remnants are spread across the lawn, their final resting place.  The sky is grey blue and streaked with wispy white clouds.  Last night I stood outside in the crisp night air and watched each exhale climb it's way towards the impossibly distant stars.  Lately I have felt so far away from myself.  Busy doing, seems to be my story.  There are times when just making it from day to day takes all of the energy and willpower I have. So much of the last four years has been wrapped up in one drama after another; having Hayden, open heart surgery, recovery, Erin, school, Erin.  I am ready for the stillness that winter will bring. I'm ready for the silence of snow gently falling and smoke rising effortlessly from chimneys.  I am ready for shorter days and longer nights.  I'm ready to rest. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Waiting...

I keep waiting for life to slow down.  While I know this will not happen, a small part of me expects it or maybe just keeps hoping for it.  I remind myself daily to just breathe and take it all in.  June brings sunshine, wild flowers, fireflies, and more beauty than anyone can absorb.  I love this place and I love this time of year.  I try not to think about what waits ahead.  July and August will speed past and before I know it the chill of September will be here. 
I miss my grandma daily.  Yesterday I sat on the porch and went through a box of letters.  Most of them were to my grandpa from people I didn't know, but a few were more love notes from her.  As much as I knew her there was so much I didn't know.  I would like to have talked to her about these letter and about being married at 16 and having four children by 22.  It feels strange to not have any grandparents left.  I feel sad for Hayden and Erin. 
Friday we went to Cook Forest had a picnic by the river, played miniature golf, and finished the day with ice cream.  It was lovely to enjoy my family and nature. I wish there were more days like that.