Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The brightest star in the night sky...isn't.

No...it's not a star.  It fools us all as we look into the inky blackness of night as it shines in brilliant glory.  It looks like a huge star...glistening...shining....

but it isn't.

It's Venus.  The planet named after the goddess of love. 

I've always loved it so. . .

It draws my attention each evening, and as the night-owl that I am, I worship it's beauty and find inner peace in its steady light.  Sometimes, even on a cloudy night, I can still see it peeking through the dense cloud cover.   It speaks to me.

It tells me to remember who I am.

We've been enjoying a brilliant, although cold, winter.  Vivid stars, brilliant moons, and always, always, there is Venus.  I've seen her there next to Mars...her lover.  I've watched her flirt with Orion in his diamond encrusted belt.  I've witnessed the conversations between the big and little dipper, and Cassiopeia.  And...I've watched her embrace all the gazillions of other stars who are no less important, but whose names I have not yet learned. 

I discovered that while I was raised by people who discussed stars and planets and prominent constellations and families of star children, that the night sky is not always common knowledge.  My sweet husband was raised by morning lovers.  As such, he wasn't familiar with the night sky in the same way I was.  I took the knowledge for granted that I was friends with the stars and planets.  My surprise at his blind gaze was one of wonderment, for no one appreciates the beauty of the night sky like my husband.   His appreciation did not gather, like a map, the patterns of the stars...the locations and changing patterns of the seasons.  What he saw was patternless...or at least....un-named.

We walk for miles every night after tucking our kiddos in bed, safely supervised by a competent and wizened elder brother.  Cells phones tucked away in pockets in case of emergency, we romp like people of a younger age...a younger time.   The miles melt away under introspection, contemplation, and...listening.  Listening to each other, to the earth, and to the sky.  Listening to the signs and feelings and subtle understandings which manifest our reality.

We walk alone under the stars, seeing the blue flickering lights in the valley below of our "fellow Americans" who, instead of witnessing the beauty of nature in it's midnight glory, are watching the news, Jay Lenno, and the snarky tales of "reality television".   We walk alone.  The deer and elk, munching peacefully, acknowledge us without fright; even as our big lumbering sheepdog romps nearby.  He doesn't chase them or bark...he is witnessing as well. 

Did you know...that there is a magic in the night?  Did you know that the planets and stars can speak to you?

If you care to listen....

Did you know...that in the heat of love, the snow under your feet fails to freeze your body?

Did you know...that creation amidst creation turns into a swirl of color and sound that overwhelms the universe with passion and hope?

Did you know...that under the watch of Venus's brilliant light....one can discover what it means to be truly human?

An incubation has begun.   A mixture of shooting stars, planetary light, and midnight flame.

The stars, in patterns of constellational beauty.  The moon, in devotion to the yin and yang of light and dark cycles.  The planets in their union with the sun's gravitational pull. 

When we admire the creations all around us...it doesn't matter who or what or how it was made...it just IS...and we are witnessing it all.

In creation.

We are calling 2011 the year of emerging light.  As the shadows fade, we hope illumination will shine on our paths just as the lunar eclipse of winter solstice brought a brilliance to the moon after it lay in amber shadow...2011 has much to offer.

I await gratefully.  Thank you Venus.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's almost time...

To wrap the gifts that is....

I've somehow magically saved every single item for the last moment.  Nothing has been wrapped.  Nothing.

I think the kids are convinced that the tree will go present-less...and I wouldn't blame them.  It's never taken me this long to get organized...

There are many factors involved, and none of them has anything to do with procrastination. 

so, tonight is the night.  For as much as I would love to engage upon a night of walking under the stars with snow crunching under my feet...I must wrap.  As much as I would prefer to cuddle up with "A Christmas Story"...I must wrap.  As much as I need to write so that my bank account will not delve past a negative balance....I must wrap. 

In all honesty, there isn't much to wrap in spite of five children's worth of presents.  We opted for simplicity this year.  We opted for hope. 

Something is brimming on the horizon which seems born of a year and a half of pleading with the universe for guidance, for support, for......hope. 

I dare not utter much about it...though I will say for eager readers that I am...at least as far as I know...not pregnant.  Not even after concentrated effort.  It's something else....somewhere else. 

In any case....I feel a bit like Frodo in his journey through the Fellowship of the Ring...and if things go the way I wish, I will actually walk in the land of "Middle Earth" by the end of the year.  And...I will make a new home...a new future...a new tomorrow........and, maybe...if I'm very very lucky....a new little kiwi.

Wishing you all...ALL...a wonderful...hopeful....peaceful...and bountiful...Christmas. 

With love.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The happiest time of the year???

I'm not so sure about that.

In many ways, I feel the effort of trying to stay on top of everything is really just....not happenin'

On many days I look in the mirror and I really don't like who I see.  And, most importantly, this has nothing to do with the actual image.  I'm not looking and hating my fat, sags, or wrinkles.  I'm not loathing my physical body.  No....it's that I look in the mirror and see a person who has tried sooooo hard for soooo long...a life time really. . .and the damage of LIFE just seems---to have made me a bit "ugly".

Sometimes I say things without thinking.  Hurtful things.

Sometimes I think I'm trying to be helpful.  But I'm being hurtful.

Sometimes, I try to forgive...forget....move on.....and I promise I WILL....

but...then I don't.  At least...not all the way.  Which, is like lying.

I look in the mirror and I see a person who really needs a lot of support, but who is so frazzled that the demand for MY support crushes me.

Not all the time....just....enough.

I want to be more supportive.  Unconditionally.

I want to be more easy going.  Unbendingly.

I want to be happier.  Frequently.

I want to be more trusting.  Undyingly.

I want to be more honest.  Lovingly.

I want to be a better me.  Devotedly.


I am not.

Not right now anyway.

So many people say this is the happiest time of the year.

I am not finding it so.

The northern climate of Montana insists upon cheating me out of much needed sunlight.  The cold chills my bones.  The lack of connection to community leaves me feeling....alone in my "un-aloneness".

Demands from life to be better, faster, kinder, more on the ball and in the game....oh brother...how they crush me.

Demands from culture to make Christmas "the best one EVER!" (every single year), deflates me.

What will it mean to make Christmas the best ever?  Not more PRESENTS, surely???  Maybe more crafts? More outings?  More More More More.......

And yet...all I want, or SAY I want...is nothing.  I told my husband I wanted nothing for Christmas.

But...it was really a lie.

I want a lot.

I want joy.  Serenity. Peace. Gratitude.  Hope. Laughter. Trust. 

I want parents that think I'm indispensable.  Irreplaceable.  Unconditionally wonderful.  Parents that would do anything for me without guilt, anger, or manipulative tactics.

I want relationships that are built on bedrock.  Where trust and love and laughter are ever-present.

I want my core to not feel ravaged and threatened every-time something looks......iffy.  Potentially scary.  As if I might have a bomb land in my lap at any time.

I want to trust life again.

I want to TRUST life again.

Can anyone wrap up a box and fill it with trust that I could ingest and be made to feel whole?

No.  There is no "OZ" who can provide me with trust.  Just as there was no "OZ" bursting with wizardly power to provide courage, a heart, or a brain or a home sweet home.

We have to find it on our journey.  Trust.

Somehow, it seems rather difficult when the journey seems to be all about yanking the ground from under me.


I want it in my stocking on Christmas morning.  But, it won't be there amongst the chocolate, trinkets and baubles.  It can't be bought.  Or bargained for.

And, while I am sure there are other gifts I'll have in my life....I'm afraid that this little girl will have to find the way to trust again on her own.

As I look ahead at that task, I feel wary.  (see, there is that lack of trust again.)  I'm not sure I will ever find it again.  I can pretend....and even get fooled by that sometimes....but it pops up.  The lack of trust.  It pops up late at night when I should be sleeping...when the world looks more bleak.  And the inkling of trust leaves me...alone.

I suppose I could blame myself...life...anything or anyone.  But really...it just IS the way it is.

And I am who I am.

I wonder if that could be enough for anyone else?  To just let me be who I am...and think I'm great...wonderful...independently fantastic?  I guess I'd like to feel perfect "enough".

So...this year, I'm going to re-nig on my request for "no gifts"...and I'll ask my readers.  Do you have a gift for me?  Can you share a tale of self love that might brighten my day?  Can you offer a tidbit of wisdom I can put in my pocket?  What do YOU do to feel "whole"?  "trusting"? "hopeful"? "positive"?  "kind"?

You don't have to wrap it....just...blow it my way.  

Friday, November 26, 2010

Blood in the Snow...

I know...it's a gross title. 

But, there is a point to it all.  I promise. 

On Thanksgiving morning, Ty and I went out with Ferdinand for a hike.  We have, here in Montana, about 3 feet of snow in our local mountains...and in front of my house.  We bundled up in our winter gear for the expedition because, in addition to the fluffy snow, it was below zero.

We try to walk every day...or every night.  I'm not talking about little walks...I'm talking about miles of journeying.  This Thanksgiving, Ferdinand was now fluffy; grown out from his summer hair cut.  He looks amazing leaping through the snow, and Ty and I laugh and talk and talk and laugh for hours while we trek through whatever mother nature wishes to dish out.  The boys, content to ride sleds down the block at the school contact us via cell phone for simple requests like "can we make hot chocolate?" (yes, of course!) or  "Will you bring home burger king? (no...you can make grilled cheese though.) and "How much money do you get when you pass Go in Monopoly?"  (we lost the rules ages ago...).  With competent big brothers abounding, we don't worry when we take off on these walks that the boys do NOT want to come on...due to the expansive lengths of time we enjoy in the wilderness.  So, they stayed warm and toasty...happy with their sleds in between bouts of hot cocoa and grilled cheese while smelling the roasting turkey that weighed in at 28.7 pounds. 

Sooo...as I was saying, Ty and I took off that morning for a nice long hike while the turkey self basted itself in homemade herbal butter.  We decided to trek around through the trees, enjoying the winter wonderland before us.  A natural high permeated the woods and we joked about getting lost in a Narnia-like atmosphere.

Deer walked through the woods with us.  They seemed completely unafraid of our presence.  It was as if we simply belonged there, just like them.  We watched them quietly, enjoying the full rack of horns on a prominent buck.  Even Ferdinand was quiet.  Watching. 

We continued walking and came upon a femur.  Yeah.  A femur.  It was large.  Not from a deer.  It was slightly bloody and it stained the snow.  My educated guess was that it had once belonged to a cow.  Recently belonged.  Ferdinand claimed it, and I let him keep it.  He looked so funny carrying a MAMMOTH bone in his teeth, trotting merrily along as if he was leaking pride from every crevice in his being.  I wondered what kind of animal had brought that bone to that wooded area.  Too big seeming for a fox. 

Maybe a mountain lion???

I shivered a bit.  Ty could feel that I was a little wary; my anxiety levels climb quickly now-a-days.  I've been trying to self monitor these feelings of anxiety, so I suddenly flung myself onto the ground to make a snow angel.  I find that acting foolishly and child-like often helps to offset my anxious feelings.   Flap, flap, flap!  I was determined to make a KICK-ASS snow angel.  Ferdi cocked his head at me, his blood stained bone in his mouth.  Ty laughed joyfully at my antics and blew rings of misty air into the sky as hot breath met frozen air.

I brushed myself off and looked at the snow angel. 

It was bleeding. 

Well...not really.  IT wasn't bleeding, but, apparently I was. 

My period had arrived.  And I, stupidly, was not prepared and had soaked through my winter apparel.  Soaked into the figure of my snow angel.  Where my blood stained the snow like crimson.

I suppose I should have been prepared.  I know my cycles.  I think I just....wanted to be pregnant.

But, I'm not.

Ty and I held hands as we walked away from the bloody angel.

We want a baby.

That's really all we used to need to know.

In the past, wanting a baby simply meant we would have one.

Time changes these things.

If we had never had children, most people would feel sympathetic with our seeming infertility; but...that really isn't the case for us.  We have beautiful sons.  Five of them.  We had, at one time...two years ago...thought we were complete...done...finished.

Simon and Alexander changed how we felt.  Losing them created a vast emptiness, and we realized that we wanted to fill that void.  We couldn't have them...but surely we'd be able to have...someone else????

But...a year and a half later of very half-assed efforts at prevention, and in the past 7 months, active trying to conceive...I'm starting to get that I may be...done.

Not because I want to be done.  Not because my husband wants to be done.

Simply because I am 36 years old.  And very possibly, I am at that 11th hour wherein pregnancy is no longer "easy" to achieve.

It's humorous really.  In a sad kind of way.  I get to have a monthly period.  A HEAVY monthly period, which deep seated cramping and a flow that no one would envy.  But...I don't seem to be able to get pregnant.  My eggs aren't meeting with sperm and creating a baby.  Even though there is ample sperm around.

Even so....I feel really grateful.

As I walked out of the woods with my husband holding my hand, I understood deeply that this man...this dear wonderful man who I love with every cell in my being...is my life partner.  Babies grow up...they create their own families.  They do not belong to us.  We are entrusted to care for them...to open doors for the future. I understood as I walked that even after my babies...now boys...almost young men....are grown and have lives of their own, that I will be holding the hand of this man for as long as life allows us to live.  This is my life. 

And...it's a good one. 

There is much to feel thankful for...including the blood in the snow. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Approaches

In one week, I will be serving my family of 7 a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  Stuffed under the skin of a beautiful Hutterite (sort of like Amish...)  turkey will be a walnut cranberry dressing with all kinds of secret ingredients I will only pass on to my daughter in laws of the future so their husbands won't be wistfully wishing mom was still the only cook in their life.  We'll have pomegranate salad, stuffed eggs, artichoke spread, butternut squash and candied yams, ginger pumpkin cheesecake, red smashed herbed potatoes, maple pecan pie, Brussels sprouts and caramelized garlic and a variety of other last minute ideas I am sure to come up with. 

We don't live near family...so I'll be doing it all on my own.  I'm used to it...in fact...I even like it!  There is something about providing a feast like that all on my own.  Listening to the moans of delight and knowing I caused them!  My sons and husband always tell me I am the best cook in the world, and I appreciate their praise greatly.  Yeah...I know how to cook (as is evidenced by the size of my thighs...groan!).  I always think about the people who will come to love my sons and want to spend their lives with them.  I don't envy them trying to make the things my kids like to eat...so I always knew that I'd be happy to share the secrets with them while encouraging them to find their own culinary signature...Who knows...it's possible they will be better cooks!  I'd like to think so....

But, all of this talk brings me to a certain point.  I don't know what Simon and Alexanders favorite's would have been.  And that fact....hurts. 

I can't assume anything about it because the core truth of why I concoct so many dishes each year is that each one of my boys has a different favorite Thanksgiving dish.  I make each favorite just to see their eyes light up at the mouthwatering display that contains the food they crave the most.  I will never see my twin's eyes light up over a favorite food...or a favorite anything. 

My sons have been actively making their Christmas wish lists.  So many treasures and desires.  So many options for delight.  I love looking at the long scrolling lists of heart felt wishes.  I remind them each gently that it's impossible to get them everything they wish for.  They always smile and express that in truth, they are just EXCITED period. 

One of my boys put  "A baby" on his list. 

He said that was the one he wanted most. 

He is currently carrying around a little egg with a painted face....to see if he would be a good father.  He says that if he lets the egg break, his baby will die because he wasn't careful.

I responded to this by making him a cotton filled container to reduce the risk of breaking.  I never want it to break.  But....I do know that at some point, that egg will get rotton...and I will have to do SOMETHING....I don't know what that will be yet.  All I know is that the egg needs to stay in tact for my son.  It has to. 

And yet...eggs are pretty delicate.

And, as he so wisely proclaims, so are babies. 

As I scan these holiday wishes, I am forced to be grateful for all the abundance in my life.  We have so much.
We have each other.  The trauma's of life have brought my family so close.  We depend on each other for support, guidance, love and laughter.  We count on each other to come through with the tasks we have at hand so that no one else is over-burdened.  That can be hard when grief is being dealt with, but I've found that even in grief, this family bedrock has held firm. 

Thanksgiving is coming, and Christmas is on it's tail. 

The outcomes of both holidays promise to be joyful, with the essence of two little boys that should have been, in the rafters of our hearts.  Watching.  Protecting.  Reminding.

It's time to be thankful for each other.  In life.  And in death. 

It's all the same really. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Baby with No Name...

This weekend my husband got a call from a friend who used to be the bass player in his band, The Voodoo Horseshoes.  Though they no longer play in the band together, they still appreciate each other musically and spend regular time jamming together.  My husband is musically gifted and can play just about anything he wishes to play. . .drums being his hallmark instrument.  In any case, the call was about a local bonfire party.  When Ty asked me if I'd like to go, I said yes, and so....we went.

It has been an unusually warm fall, which is nice because we have been spending a lot of time walking and talking and talking and walking....in the day, in the night...just...whenever we can!  So, in the theme of a beautiful fall, the night was glittering with an abundance of starlight.  We pulled up in our car and walked around with Ferdinand for a bit before entering the scene.  It's become sort of a tradition really...talking and walking...assessing feelings before entering any social environment...touching base with where we are in the moment as a couple...as people.

Once the ground felt firm under our feet, we walked over to the warmth of the fire.  Free-spirited people were smiling and drumming in a circle.  Women and some children swayed near the fire.  An older woman held a rainbow colored pipe in her mouth, blowing smoke rings into the fire.  Ty brought out his guitar and seamlessly entered the melody bringing the mellow groove into an energy that follows my guy everywhere. It was powerful.  So, even though I do not carry a musical bone in my body, I pulled out his mini drum and tried to keep some semblance of a beat.  My efforts were in vain, but, it didn't matter.  I wasn't on stage; I was just one of the many enjoying the music.  Participating in the rhythm...even if I have none.

Sparks were flying in the air, and a curly haired woman offered me a huckleberry seltzer.  It had whole huckleberries floating in it.  It was fresh and inviting and I chastised myself for missing out on the gathering of huckleberries this year.  I had wanted to....but, I just couldn't DO it.  I know we will miss those berries this winter.  Maybe next year I will be ME enough to get out there and gather berries.  As I drummed lightly, and sipped my drink I noticed that right beside me was a lovely young mother holding a tiny baby.  TINY.  He smelled like the newness of life.

I gathered the courage to speak to her.  I knew I might cry...but I couldn't stand to pretend that I wasn't dying to touch his tiny nose with my own.

The young mother told me he was nine days old...and when I asked his name, she smiled softly and said "He hasn't shared his name with us yet....He doesn't have a name."  My heart swelled as I looked at the little nameless baby.  His mother and I talked about baby's, breastfeeding, birth....and I told her I had five living sons.  I told her about our loss.  We talked about stillbirth and about my journey through it all as the music pulsed around us.

The hours went by and then, she turned to me and smiled.."Would you mind holding him while I go pee and get something to eat?"  I looked at her smiling...and nodded.

He felt warm and toasty from the firelight and his mama.  His little eyes fluttered open and he SMILED at me...or whatever it is baby's smile at when they are so very new.  Then, he nestled in my arms up against my breast and cooed into a sweet slumber.  We sat like that for about 20 minutes.  I gazed at him intently feeling the energy of this little man with no name.  He could be anyone.  He could have been any baby.  No name to define his inner being.  Still free.

For a moment, I thought about the fact that I am not pregnant in spite of a very exuberant and constant attempt to change that.   Who else do I know...or does ANYONE know who has sex at least 14 times a week?  Or more?  I used to be so fertile that it wasn't as much as issue of how, but instead was always just when.  As I am now in the 6th month of being "open"....I still have a vacancy sign in the window of my heart...with no takers.

I am the teenage girl who finds herself pregnant after only one encounter; her first and only encounter at that.   

 I am the mother of five living sons and the woman that had 3 miscarriages in between.  I am the .1% of women who will become pregnant with an IUD...with twins.  And the mother who lost those twins.

The point is...I used to get pregnant easily.  Yes...I've had as many losses as gains, but pregnancy was never an issue.

Until now.

So, as I held that little nameless baby I was surprised that I didn't need to cry.  I am not pregnant.  I may never be pregnant again.  And worse...I may become pregnant at some point only to lose that pregnancy.

I may be too old.

It may be too late.

But I held that little boy....and gently rocked to the music of the drum circle where my husband was now jamming on the drums like there was no tomorrow to the delight of the bonfire companions we were enjoying.

Holding a baby with no name allowed me to feel the energy of baby-ness.  It gave me permission to ask the universe who he was.  The answer kept coming "He is Peace...Peace....Peace."

His mother came back and smiled at me.  I gave her baby back to the warmth of her arms and went back to my lame attempts at drumming.  Awed that there was no urge to sob in having to give that precious being to another woman.  His mother. 

I closed my eyes and felt the pulse of my husbands rhythm in the air all around me melding with the rhythm and song and dance of a group of new sisters and brothers in love with the stars and fire in the clean air of a perfect autumn night.  A baby with no name nestled in my heart.  Peace flowed through my veins.  I found my heart beat and began to feel it in my fingers.  Suddenly....I was softly drumming.  And it was on the beat.  For the first time in my life, I had a rhythm that wasn't painful to the ears or soul.  I was really....drumming.  To the beat of life.  My life.  When I opened my eyes, I saw Ty smiling with surprise and joy in his eyes...I was DRUMMING! 

My womb may remain empty.  The baby in my heart may never have a name.  My sexy, virile husband and I may make love more than anyone in the world without sperm and egg creating someone new ever again. But even if all of that is true for the rest of my life, I feel that something was born in spite of it all.  It's name is peace---- And it lives in me.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Making Love Amongst Butterflies

October 15th was International Baby Loss Awareness Day.

It was also my 16th anniversary. 

First let me send heart felt, though belated, warmth to all parents who know the pain of losing a baby.  or two.  or three.....or......well...you get the picture.  There are a lot of tears.  Let me thank you for walking with me as my tears have fallen...and continue to fall.  That is what tears do after all.  They fall.

My husband and I went away for the weekend.  After 16 years, it was the first...the VERY first....time we had ever left our children alone so that we could enjoy each other, uninterrupted, for more than a few hours.

At first, I was worried.  How could they survive without me for so long?  I know for certain that every breath I take is because of my love for my children and my husband.  I don't say that in a dependent needy way....it's simple truth.  They are as much a part of me as my skin...as my heart.  Without them...I can not breathe.

O.k....so, that IS an exaggeration.  However, it FEELS true.  I do know that if the worse came and I lost my family...my entire sweet family...I would continue to breathe, my heart would continue to relentlessly beat, and no matter how many tears I would cry....they would, one day, fall less.  and less.  Until there would be days wherein I would remember that I forgot to cry.

I know this because there was a time when I believed my heart was broken...physically broken...and yet, all the fancy equipment at the doctors office indicated that not only was my heart NOT broken...it was as healthy as they come.  My grief did not kill me then...which tells me that grief can't kill me.  It hurts like hell.  But...live on?  Yeah....that's a given.

But, I digress....I worried about my kiddos.  They, however, were anything BUT worried.   They were thrilled to think that they could play video games to their hearts content.  (which made me worry more...)  I knew they would be o.k..  I made sure their care givers were competent.  More than competent.  I even drilled the poor women about homeopathic medicine, and which ones to administer if ANYTHING should happen...which, it didn't.  None the less....I wanted to leave feeling that they would be safe, happy...and...mostly...safe.

There is nothing like losing a child to point out the fragility of life...and so, before I left, I also wrote a will just in case I never saw my children again.  Images of freak car accidents, drowning in the lake, or just...chance lead me to consider that, because my husband and I were both going a whole hour and a half away from our home without our kids, I should make sure they would be in the best of care should we not make it home.

Morbid, I know....but....I did it none the less.  I knew I wanted my boys to stay together.  I didn't want them doled out to separate relatives.   All I could think about was how they always stick together in hard times, and I knew that if they were going to lose their parents...they would need each other more than ever.

So, I named my brother and sister in law as guardians in my meager will.  I wrote to my children about how much I love them.  I apologized for my shortcomings.  I asked them to always support one another and to keep Ferdi close to them.   I didn't tell anyone I wrote it...I just hid it in my jewelry box--just in case.

And then....I hugged them goodbye, smothered them with kisses, admired their laughter over my emotionality...got into the car with my man...and drove away.  As we drove....my worry melted as I relaxed into the reality that the only thing I needed to think about was the warmth of my husbands hand holding mine.

In the three days that we were gone, I discovered perfection.

Not that life could be perfect without my children....but.....it was damn close.

Our cabin was beautiful.  Romantic and charming in every way.

The food at the lodge was....delectable.  There are no words to describe the delight my taste buds encountered.  Every bite was eye popping!

The weather was pristine.  Blue Montana skies, a crisp autumn chill under a golden sun and starlight nights.

The lake....oh my god....canoeing across that lake every day was magical.  No worries about tipping as there were no children...or even doggies...to upset the boat as Ty and I worked in perfect unison to explore it's diamond brilliance for hours on end.

The hike up to the waterfall.....(may I insert a moan of pleasure here?)  and then two beautiful Amber butterflies that seemed to follow us for days.  Now, I am sure it wasn't the SAME two butterflies...but....it felt like it.  It felt like Simon and Alexander were there.  With us.

We enjoyed woods full of incredible mushrooms, golden leaves, and mossy areas where the luscious scarlet blanket borrowed from the lodge would lay perfectly while we ate our lunch.

I never tired of our laughter.  I never tired of our conversations.

I marveled that we still had so much to tell each other about our insights, dreams, pondering's  and reflections after 16 full years of love and endurance.

I was awed by the fact that we are more in love now than we have ever been.

I was amazed that not one single thing went wrong.

I was delighted that we got to make love any time we wanted to and that we wanted to do so 19 times in three days.  Holy cow.  Admittedly, some of those times, in fact, several of those times, were not indoors.

It was as if we were newly weds...without the shyness...without the worries or doubts...without the inexperience.

I looked at my balding, grizzled man and saw the youthful twinkle in his eyes and the joy in his smile and I fell in love exponentially in each passing moment.  This was my life partner.  I suddenly believed that things were looking up...that I would not die and leave my children with more grief.  I suddenly understood that when my children are grown and on their own I will still get to hold the hand of this marvelous man who has the libido of a 16 year old boy and the heart of a sage.

I felt incredibly and undeniably lucky. 

Life doles out pain.  Tears can be abundant.  Babies can die.

And yet....

I will never forget the beauty of the scarlet blanket nested among aspen and birch, surrounded by the magic of mushrooms of all sizes, and the sound of birds...and the beauty of the amber butterflies that landed on my husband as we made love in the sunshine.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Delayed Reactions

My husbands been grieving a lot about our loss in the past few weeks.  It seems as though the struggles he was having before and during our loss were more painful at the time than our loss, which he felt was filled with miracles and beauty....and....it's true...our loss was truly full of beauty, though I couldn't quite feel good about any of it at the time.  Beauty and miracles meant little to the pain of empty arms and longing for what I would never get back.   So...I mourned....screamed....sobbed....felt the numb crazed feeling that it MUST have all been a horrible dream...that it COULD NOT have been real. 

A year and a half later....I have been watching my husband cry...mourn...sobb.  The release of his more core pain is allowing him to finally really feel the depth of what...of who....we lost.  Our little twins.  The boys that should have been running around causing us double trouble...double joy...aren't. 

My sweet husband looked at me yesterday with tears in his eyes....."Sara...our twins....oh god....."

I feel his pain.  I'm in awe over the delayed reaction.  I'm stunned by the reality of core issues needing resolution if one is to be in touch with their feelings.  ALL their feelings.  Now that I see him, and he sees that I see him....he is free to really feel.  But how I wish I could free him from feeling this pain. 

Men are curious to me.  I have sons...so I happen to be of the mindset that the men, yes...even the white men, of our world are treated pretty poorly overall.  Yes, they are dominant...they are "in charge"....our patriarchal society tends to elevate them much more quickly than women or people of color.  Yet, I see it everyday in every nook and cranny.  Men are dismantled.  Taught to be a certain way, to like certain things...and god help you if you happen to fall outside the norms of society.  God help you if you are sensitive, intuitive, balanced, or artsy.  We put our boys into hard knocks expecting them to come out cool, tough, strong, and pragmatic.  Especially...more than anything....cool. 

So, what does "cool" look like?  Well, to me...it looks like a little boy that was told he couldn't play with a bake set....can't wear pink....shouldn't melt at the sight of a newborn...should be turned on by big boobs and long female legs...oh...yeah...and he mostly shouldn't really cry...and if the truth must be hidden to avoid the tears...all the better.

That's not my guy.  It's not how I'm raising my boys.  But, I can see that I'm against society.  I see it every day with the little boy baby's wearing camo, or onesies with tough guy statements.   I see it in commercials where little boys are told that to be a BIG boy they need a friggin TONKA truck.  oh.  yeah.  I get it.....be a beefhead.  Fix cars.  Like tools.  Chop wood.  Carry Water.  "Me big man like steak and sexy women.  Me have big penis and little brain." 


What ever happened to the shamen of the world?    What happened to drum circles where the men played and danced alongside the women?  What happened to our elders?  What happened to honoring the spiritual...not just the religious?

I've walked through almost 16 years of life with the dearest man I've met, and even he has had to hide...struggle...delay his emotions over tragedy.  Even he has had to question where he fits in this testosterone filled world where men scream at women, drink too much, and itch their balls while they watch sports they can't even play.

My husband is having a delayed reaction to loss.  It is hurting him deeply. 

But I am relieved. 

I am relieved because it tells me that a sticky layer of "SUCK IT UP" has been removed.  Now he can cry.  Now he can feel. 

Now...he can be himself. 

Boys are tender.  Keep them that way.  We don't need to dismantle their souls to make them men.  In truth, the only way men will become whole is for the whole paradigm of "normal" to get flushed away.  We are spirits first.  Honor the spirit...and the men...and women...will thrive.

Healing will be found. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Till Death...

There are miracles afoot. 

What does that mean exactly? 

Well...it simply means that when something beautiful comes out of something that seems pretty...devastating...it looks like a miracle to me.  Right now...there are miracles afoot.

I've always had what anyone would consider to be a very honest and extremely loving marriage.  For just about 16 years, in spite of all the hardship, I would have been willing to bet that I knew just about everything about the man I was sharing my life with.  He's a very forthcoming man.  An open book. 

I just hadn't gotten to all the chapters yet. 

It makes sense to me that there were things going unmentioned.  I've been teetering in an apocalyptic place for years now.  Life and Death.  Death and Life.  Writing in pain.  Agony.  Unable to see....or hear.

But, in a marriage like ours, the truth will out.  It's too painful to keep parts of the self away from your best friend.  Much too painful.  Destructive.

For the past several years, I've been having a recurrent dream.  I am in a very large house, and I know my family is there somewhere.  I keep looking, but I can't find them anywhere.  I start running from room to room, faster and faster.  I can't find them anywhere.  I usually wake to that dream covered in sweat.  I used to tell my husband about that dream, and we would chalk it off to liking our small house.

But my dream was telling me something, and my husband knew it. 

There were rooms in my home I didn't know about.  Hidden from my view to protect me.  Hidden from my view in the hopes of avoiding more pain directed to me.  Because of a deep commitment to our love. 

How strange it is to find oneself caught in a lie.  In all honesty, a lie that should never have been told.  A lie that didn't need to be told.  Oh what a tangled web one weaves....

I look back at the past several years in which that lie lived all alone....hiding from me. 

I look back at the lie...and forward into the truth, and all I can do is take that lie in my arms...comfort it...hug it....tell it that it o.k. to be in the light...that I can love the truth...and in loving that truth, nurturing it and showing it that it doesn't need to become a lie to exist in the world.  .  .

In being able to take the hand of the husband I love and look him in the eyes...and know I see truth there...I have found a treasure trove of beauty that has been waiting to emerge. 

The truth will set you free. 

There isn't anything I can really come up with that can't be forgiven when holding the hand of the man I love.

I can see that lies were told.  In fear.  In desperation.  In hopes of protection....and....in the ridiculous transference of an inner child telling oneself that "mommy" will never understand.  Well....maybe MOMMY won't, but....I'm not mommy.  I'm his wife.  And I understand.  I have enough room for this in my pile of issues to integrate.  I have enough space in my heart to accept that no one is perfect...no one. 

True, I thought my guy was "perfect".  He was afraid he had failed me. 

What he is finding instead is that I still find him to be perfect.   Perfect for me.  The perfect husband, lover, friend, partner....the perfect balanced man.  Whole.  For the first time. 

I can see all the rooms in my house now.  There is a sign over the door that reads "Open your heart and leave your worries behind.  Honesty lives here."

We've always told our children that telling the truth would never be punishable. 

My husband has told me the truth and in that truth, I have found a garden within my marriage that is bursting forth in full bloom.  And all the flowers are for us. 

I always knew my husband was my best friend....and now, he knows I'm his too.  He knows I'm strong enough to hear him.  Willing to love him in spite of...because of....everything.  

The truth can be painful because we think we know what "should" be...and when the truth differs from the frame of reference...it sends some into chaos mode.  Working through the pain and tears has been worth it. Finding balance and re-building trust is our tryst.  

We are worth it.

More than worth it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


As a little girl I used to belt out the words to "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow..."

I wasn't just singing it, I really believed it would....or...hoped it would.

My childhood was nothing like the childhood my children have.  It was dark.  Lonely.  So, when I sang that song, it was a little like singing the blues. 

As life went on...I kept finding myself singing that song from time to time.  Always during hard times. 

I think tomorrow has come. 

They say it always gets darkest before the dawn.  The sun is rising....and it feels good on my skin.

On that note....the fact that tomorrow is today doesn't mean rain won't ever fall again....

but today....

It IS tomorrow.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Finding a Way...

Sorry for worrying you...

Sometimes life twists in unexpected ways, knocking you flat on your face...gasping for breath.

As a mom who has lost babies...had her eldest childs life altered painfully...I get loss.  I get it. 

But, even while "getting it"...I didn't expect to lose my understandings of who I was...where I was standing...and how life could be so utterly...NOT...what you thought it might be.  

All in all....things are weaving themselves into possibly better patterns...open...trusting...patterns. 

All in all...maybe things have to be what they are, so that they can become what they will be. 

I honestly feel that I can't speak.

I can't really even begin to tell the tale. 

Let's just say that it's knocked my socks off...

blew me into an upside down world...

and taught me how to see something in a new light.

A more honest light.

And...maybe, even a more beautiful, whole light.

But...it hurt while it was happening. 

More painful than...anything...ANYTHING....I've been through.


But...not as lengthy.  More of an acute pain, rather than the chronic one of loss and loss and loss and loss......


It shocks us into action. 

It forces us to pay attention.

It clears the way....

for holding hands again. 

I'm o.k.

More importantly...."we" are o.k. once more.

more than o.k.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Upside down

Sometimes you think you know something...

and then it all turns out to be lie.

Sometimes you think you understand something...

and then you are shown that you understand nothing.

Sometimes...you trust.

and then...you find out you are a fool.

A complete fool. 



With no options

With no chance to heal


there are no answers.  For anything in your life. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Yesterday was my little "Bear's" 7th birthday...

I spent the morning rushing around to get all the odds and ends to make his day super special.  I kept thinking about "just one more thing", because I wanted to make sure it was a real par-TAY!  He's my baby...my seven year old baby.  The big brother who never got to be a big brother.  My baby.

I kept rushing around trying not to think about all he has gone through in the past 3 years.  But...it's there.  Always there.

Three years ago my little Bear turned five.  Such a big boy...we had a huge pirate party, complete with treasure hunt, pirate flags, treasure chest and an authentic looking map that I had designed with canvass, tea, coffee, and meticulous burn marks that mapped our entire domain.  I had labeled my eldest son's room as "The dwelling of the Kracken..."  In my defense...he was going through a difficult...uh....life.  I can't say it was a phase, because he was always the way he was.  That goes along with being bi-polar.  We were just starting to realize the fact that he was dealing with more than "normal boy behavior."  Or rather...his therapists were finally starting to realize it.  sigh.  In any case, it was not a surprise that I would have labeled his room as a dwelling of an unpredictable monster...it was just...the way it was.  I have always tried to be humorous about that which was difficult.  A defense mechanism.  Trying to make light out of darkness.  That was before I knew how much could be taken from me.  From all of us.

We went through the motions of the party, laughter, fun....me in a black sun-dress...which was odd because, at the time, I never...ever...wore black.  ever.  My friends noticed it.  I remember looking at the clock wondering why my eldest wasn't home.  Thinking it was typical selfish behavior.  He knew it was his brothers birthday...and yet....he wasn't home.  I figured he had blown it off after work.  It never crossed my mind that maybe there was another reason he was missing.

The party ended.  It had been perfect...even perfect in the moments where my friends had gathered in a circle in my living room talking about Sanderson...and his absence.  His gymnastics coach commented on how irradic his behavior had been lately.  We talked about the likelyhood of bi-polar disorder...I remember him sighing and saying "What's it going to take to wake him up?"  We all nodded...

It wasn't that he was "bad".  He wasn't doing anything "bad".  He was just....selfish...off kilter...mean.  And...honestly, it really sucked to be around him 80% of the time.  Hard for a mom to admit, but really true.  I would ask to have it all back....if only....if only.....

We went on a walk after the party ended.  When we returned I noticed my son's bike was still not home.  I heard the phone ringing inside...

What followed was the blurry feeling of understanding that something is terribly terribly wrong.  The nauseous sensation of realizing that your child is near death.   That you may never talk to him again.

He lay there in the hospital with half his face scraped from the cruel pavement.  No helmet.  No helmet.  No protection from hard pavement.  No way to understand anything.  Gaping wounds all over his face...all over his skull....where his brain lay bleeding within.  The words "stabilized" mean little to someone who understands the critical nature of serious brain damage.  They mean even less when a catatonic boy lays on a bed breathing only because a machine makes it possible. 

He lay for days between life and death.  Death.  I looked at the brain scans over and over.  Something I used to enjoy for fun...analyzing brain scans...of other people.  Now...it was my son.  MY son.  And, his brain....didn't look the way it should have looked.  Damaged.  Badly.

They say I have PTSD from that event.  Nightmares, hyper-vigilance...random crying.  

It's been three years.

I looked up as I set up the party and wondered WHY I had thought to choose a pirate balloon as the main centerpiece.  It hadn't been conscious.  It was just as random as the fact that the balloon clerk had given me a purple and yellow star balloon as well to bob around in the balloon bouquet I ordered for Bears birthday.


I decorated around those balloons, suddenly noticing that there was a strong sense of de'ja vu happening.  I unraveled the streamers...rainbow streamers....and I thought about the little golden haired boy that used to tell us his favorite color was "rainbow".  My eldest son....so difficult...so beautiful....so....very much...HIM.

The Pirate balloon....and three years ago.  We didn't have a theme this year....but there it was, just the same.

Purple and Golden Stars....WHY had she chosen those colors out of all the colors she had to choose from.  But it was perfect that they were there.  Sweet Simon and Alexander.  You should have been here this year.

Last year, Bear's birthday was marked with tears of loss.  Loss for the babies that we wanted so much...for the path that we wanted to be on instead of the one we were on.  Loss of his excitement to be a big brother after being the "little bear" for so long.  A silent birthday...with forced smiles.  A lost birthday celebration.  One in which he still didn't learn to ride a bike...he didn't even WANT to ride a bike due to the fear instilled by his oldest brothers accident.  One in which, I wore the same black dress...because I could only wear black...without them.  without my babies that should have been.  Black.....

So, you can see why I wanted THIS year to be different...and yet...there were all these memories...such sad memories.

I made the cake, shaped like a ferret....as requested.  Chocolate filled with caramel and cream frosting.  perfect.  Delightful....and promising to be one of the most delectable I've ever made.  Bears eyes shone with joy.  His cake...was perfect.  Mommy was BACK. 

Framed with rainbow streamers, balloons...as aforementioned...and piles of presents.  Too many presents.  Trying to make up for trauma.  Trying to tell the little boy with the newly broken arm from a recently silly fall that life was going to be better....much much better.  Happier.  Safer.   That not every year would have trauma.  Loss.  Pain.  Tears.

I could hear kids on the trampoline...my Bear laughing from the outskirts.  He wasn't allowed on the tramp due to his broken humerus.  But, he was having fun watching the antics of the other kids.  Too many kids.  I knew it was too many kids....but...I didn't get out there fast enough.  A little boy broke through where the springs were supposed to hold him....and was brought inside by his sister.  Blood streaming everywhere.  From nose...head...the corner of his eye.  Head wounds bleed.   a lot.  They often look worse than they are...but they are also sometimes worse than they look.

A blue homeopathic kit.  A red first aid kit.  Flashing hands.  Blood.  Homeopathic Arnica and Aconite.  Compresses.  Gauze Pads.  LOTS of gauze pads.  Tea tree ointment.  More homeopathics.  I looked at his wide eyed mom..."Honey..do you have insurance?  He needs to go to the ER.  Now."  I showed her the deep gaping wound on his head.  She paled.  More Aconite...for her.  More Arnica....for him.  I didn't suspect a concussion...but the wound was too big and too deep to ignore.  The little boys was calming down.  The homeopathy was working.  More Aconite.  More Arnica. 

I was shaking.

Too much blood.  Too similar to my own beautiful sons face...gaping wounds on pale skin.  A forever scar.

The party continued.  I listened as people took turns hugging me and telling me I should have been a doctor.

yeah.  In another lifetime...I would have been.  But now....

The children continued to play...but not on the trampoline.  It's coming down. It's banned.  If it's springs are aging...it's no longer safe.  Even with a safety net 10 feet tall.  Not safe. Our children. They are never safe. Not really. 

I hugged my eldest goodbye.  All grown up.  I rarely see him. His scars, so small and insignificant...the reminder of the damage within...the only visable remnant of that nightmarish time three years ago.  The moods are still there...but at least we know what they are now.  Now that it's too late. As he waved goodbye I looked up at the rainbow streamers and thought of the little boy who loved rainbow more than any other color; I wondered where life was taking him.

Bear and I settled on the couch to look at his loot.  Too many presents.  Will every other birthday seem skimpy after this assortment?  He seemed most happy with a green noise maker that emits various cartoon sounds upon pressing a button.  He especially enjoyed the sound of something falling with a pronounced "splat" sound giggling each time it was pressed. 

I asked him if he'd had a good birthday.  "Yeah...but it seems like my birthdays are kinda dramatic lately."

Oh baby....they really have been.  It seems like life in general has been pretty dramatic lately.
If only I could change that.  Put in an order for less drama....that's what I want.  less drama.  less trauma. less...blood. 

In all honesty...I'd like a bit of boredom.  I'm just fine with the idea of abundance, joy, and laughter being what my life is made of...I don't feel guilty for wanting the remainder of my existence to be happy...but I know that life just isn't like that.  At least...I don't think it is.
Somehow, I doubt boredom is in the cards for us.  It seems like something is always stirring the pot.  Making us stronger? weaker? stronger? weaker? 

Whatever it is doing, one thing is certain.  We live in interesting times.  This is a day many say they will never forget.  Sept. 11th.  A day to remember as if other losses on other days are less significant.  For me...it is a lifetime to remember for a multitude of reasons.  I put on that black dress today.  One of many that I wear often.  Black soothes me...reminds me that it's o.k. to mourn loss in life.  So many losses.  So many tears.
I will never forget.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

"What the Hell are you Guys Thinking???"

The doors open...

But it doesn't seem like anyone is coming to visit.  Yet.

Instead, I'm walking by myself in this body next to a flowing river of reminders and contradictions.

This was a hectic week.  The kind of week that would make any sane person wonder why we have opened that door again.  "What the HELL are you guys thinking???"  My lovely 14 year old began school after a lifetime of being home schooled.  Chinese, Drama, Choir, Biology, English, P.E. and Math now house 8 hours of his day...and then, if this week is any indication of the future, 6 more hours of homework each night.  He's doing beautifully...thumbs up to the power of homeschooling with free-styled enthusiasm.  He hasn't missed a beat.

But I sure miss him...

I miss his constant musical presence, his funny jokes, his help...his BE-ingness.

Our younger kiddos miss him too.  But, they are finding a new rhythm with each other without their older brother paving the way.  And, it's all good...I'm pleased with what I see.  I'm pleased with who they are. 

I'm taking two classes at the University.  I take Ferdinand with me...and I admit that I am awfully glad I do.  He just sleeps the whole time...but I can reach down and snuggle with his fur as needed.  (often)  My profs are so enchanted with his loveliness that they never even questioned his giant presence in the room--because I do so need him.  "What the HELL are you guys thinking???"   I have a great sociology major coming to the house while I am gone to teach the boys Italian and Piano...she also cleans the house.  It's wonderful really.  She's awesome...so much energy...

The boys are also learning bass, keyboards, drums and guitar in band format with a music recorder...he's a little odd...but he's doing a wonderful job.  And, of course, Ham still plays bagpipes with the Celtic Dragons.
They are continuing Aikido as well.  And Ty still does his band...and works more than full time as a wondrous therapist for so many down trodden heartbroken life-broken people. 

My computer broke last week...not just glitching but...DIED.  I had to buy a new one.  Not "wanted" to buy...but HAD to buy.  Several deadlines for writing work demanded it.  It's funny...I never dreamed I would be so dependent on a computer for anything important, but as a freelance writer...it's my job.  And we depend on my ability to work, hence I depend...deeply...on my computer.   So...I got a new one.  Just in time to realize that now that my 14 year old is in high school, he ALSO needs a computer.  He spent 6 hours on this one for his homework on Thursday.  Needless to say I didn't get much work done as a result.  Yeah...the kids need their own computer.  Computers are expensive.  "What the HELL are you guys thinking???"    

Our busy week also enlightened me to the fact that this family of almost 16 years that has happily existed with ONE car suddenly needs...TWO.  Not wants....NEEDS.   "What the HELL are you guys thinking???

The time frame of vehicle need demands it.  The time frame of action needs prohibit the bus.  or bike.  or...feet.
Oh...and I got pulled over on the way home today from a Chinese restaurant because I didn't fully stop at a completely abandoned intersection.  And my wallet was at home.  shiiiiiiiiiiiiitttt.  Luckily...the police officer was a nice young man and didn't ticket me.  He could see my husband with a full latte' and four kids in the back looking ever so sweet with our darling sheepie.  But...oh...by the way...in addition to me driving without my license...I had not put the insurance card in our new car.  Because...I forgot.  shiiiiiiiiitttttt. 

This busy life.... 
  "What the HELL are you guys thinking???"
It's halted my ability to get to hot yoga.
  "What the HELL are you guys thinking???"
And for anyone who has been reading here....you know that is bad news.

Real bad news.

We are talking....BAD.

I keep thinking if I just work a little harder, move a little faster, reach a little further...that I'll find a way.
  "What the HELL are you guys thinking???"
But I wrote everything on the calender.

And with one family car.

It can't happen.  It won't happen.  And...cars are expensive.  "What the HELL are you guys thinking???"

So...whether it was my jolting hormones, the disappointment of seeing my period arrive after being so hopeful in spite of my best efforts to "play it calm and carefree", or the high pressured week...I lost my cool.  Again. 

I could see that no matter how I juggled life around...as long as we have one car...it is impossible to take care of ME.   "What the HELL are you guys thinking???"  Now, I've been a mom for a loooong time.  20 and a half years.  I used to tell my friends that I didn't need "me time".

But times have changed.

I have changed.

It isn't that I want to get away from my children or my husband or my work.  It isn't that I don't enjoy my classes or my home.

It's just that I'm like a pressure cooker now.  My eldest son suffering a life altering brain injury followed by losing Simon and Alexander in such a grizzly way....oh god...a three year period of emotional trauma...and  I can feel my nervous system sizzling in the aftermath.   "What the HELL are you guys thinking???"   It begins when I skip a day of hot yoga.  The little groan within.  It gets stifled with the promise of "tomorrow".  But...when tomorrow becomes another tomorrow and another tomorrow....and another....and another.......and then, becomes the realization that it might be...next week.  next month.  and then....becomes...."I don't know when", well...that's when the temperature gets turned up.   

I can literally feel my neurons screaming.

And that little voice that never used to be part of who I was screams "WHAT ABOUT ME???"

Oh the shame.  To "need" anything just for pleasure.  A complete luxury really.  To "want".

But, to be really honest...the only fair comparison is this:  If you had spent a year in utter misery...feeling a dark cloud around the core of your being...wishing you could fling yourself out of a glass window, chop off your hair, or tattoo the word "PAIN" on your forehead just so people would GET it....and then, you found a magic pill that lightened the pain...calmed the hurt....gave you back your breath....well...if someone told you two months later, after you had re-discovered laughter and hope, that you couldn't have that pill for a few months....or maybe ever again...   "What the HELL are you guys thinking???"

well....that's what not having hot yoga is for me.  It's that magic pill that offered me my life again.  It calmed the storm...gave me back my hope.

But...I haven't taken that magic pill for a few weeks.  First due to a lovely vacation...then...to illness....then....to....life.  

I know I have to DEMAND it back. I know that.

Honestly, I am a mom.  I've been a mom since I was 15.  I'm used to waiting for "my time".  I'm used to putting everything else first.  Everyone else...first.

Ty understands that.  Sometimes he says that it can take a temper tantrum to really express the importance of something.  So that the people around you understand how very important something IS.  We always saw that if our kids had a rare tantrum...and we see in now...in me.  

I got a fortune cookie tonight at a Chinese restaurant...It said: "Make sure the pace of life doesn't interrupt the ability to care for yourself."  
 "What the HELL are you guys thinking???"

Little purple and yellow shoes sit over looking footprints of tiny feet...the promise that the door is open.  That someone is welcome to walk through and claim those little shoes.

A loving man...living the same pace of life alongside me.  .  . He knows we have to find a way to make hot yoga a regular part of our lives.  The nervous breakdowns insist upon that.  Sometimes a tantrum is the best way to express the dire needs we have in life.  Sometimes a fortune cookie makes it all clear.

And to those of you who read these words...thank you.  Thank you for witnessing my journey...for not making me walk alone in the night.  For understanding and sharing your own reflections on life.

Thank you.  Thank you for not asking me... "What the hell are you guys thinking?!"  I'm already asking myself that question...and the only answer I can come up with is that not being open to life...simply feels like death.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wary of Hope

Optimism.  It comes...and goes.  Boy does it ever GO. 

I was looking back over my posts, noting the ups..and downs...and downs....and dooooowns.

Those downs make the ups seem like wishful thinking.  A bleep of gold in the big picture of gray.  Like a struggling heartbeat pulse that tries to keep you alive in spite of the flat line in between.

I know people are reading here...lots of people.  325 people read this blog in the past two weeks.  2 comments appeared.  Not that I write FOR comments...but, if 325 people are going to read my thoughts, I wonder why only 2 felt to comment.  It makes me feel....flat....and curious.  However, I know that I don't always comment on the blogs I love to read.  Like so many others, I am busy...too busy to do more than read poignant understandings and wipe empathetic tears away in response.

Speaking of tears...

We went on vacation last week...a beautiful, refreshing, healing vacation.  It was so wonderful to be with my family without any other agenda.  We got addicted to it.  The pain of having vacation end was acute for all of us.  The idea that we wouldn't be spending every day, all day long together....hurt.

We bought a tiny pair of baby shoes at the zoo.  Made of hand felted purple wool sewn together with yellow thread.  When we went to the check out, my husband squeezed my hand hopefully.  Perhaps we would have a happy ending after all.  Of course...we still don't know anything about that aspect of life.  Too soon to know.  Too soon to even hope really.

And yet...we do.  Hope.

He asked me this morning if I should take another test.  He wants to KNOW something...wants to know if spirit was on our side this month...or if we get to keep trying....wants to know if I was vomiting because of illness or pregnancy...wants to know if I'm tired because of depression or pregnancy....

He just wants to KNOW.   Something.

I shook my head.

We will know soon enough.

My gut says that hoping is for silly folk that want to get hurt again.

My heart wants to hope and trust that if it's not to be NOW...it will be soon.

But...I've seen it happen again and again.

The hope.  The joy.  The loss.  Repeated loss.

It happens.

a lot.

I've also seen rainbows appear.  Beautiful vibrant rainbows with baby laughter and tiny toes perfect for the little shoes that are sitting up on our memory shelf.

I suddenly realized that even when...even if.......
I will never be the woman that is blissfully anticipating it all to work out exactly as it should.  Because I know that it doesn't always happen like that.

I am thinking about the woman who shrugged off worry, who believed that pregnancy was inevitable, and that a baby in arms is expected if you take care of yourself.  Oh how I always took care....so much care.

I realize that I'm afraid of taking another pregnancy test.

I'm afraid of only seeing a single line.
I'm afraid that I might never see two lines again in my lifetime.
What if I'm broken?
I'm afraid of seeing two lines.
I'm afraid of nine months of worry...
and then...a lifetime more of worry.

Because, they are never really safe.  Not really.

I wonder if my nervous system can take it.  Either senerio might be too much.  Again.

I never used to wonder about my nervous system.  I never used to panic if I thought I couldn't squeeze hot yoga in.  I never used to panic about pregnancy.  Or child rearing.  Or money.  Or space.  Or...anything.

Yesterday, my 9 year old cut himself with a knife when he reached into the sink to grab something.  There was a lot of blood.  As I applied pressure and got out the first aid kit, I found myself trying to breathe...my heart was pounding.  I wanted to scream.  So much blood.  I couldn't believe that I was so panicked.  Did I ever think I wanted to be a doctor?  How much blood had I dealt with in my lifetime?  Why was this bothering me SO much???  I looked at my little boys face and tried to remember how old he was before I said "Wow sweetie...you are being so brave for an eight year old."  He looked at me strangely..."Mom...I'm nine...remember?"

No...I didn't remember.  I was in a dense fog when he turned eight last year...and just coming out of it when he apparently turned nine.  I felt the lump in my throat rise and I worked hard to swallow it.  I keep thinking he is eight...or seven.  I looked up at the other boys, who were staring at the blood....they were all older than I wanted to realize.  14??  11??  9?? 6...only to turn seven in two weeks??? What the HELL!!!!  I lost a year of my children's lives.  They lost a year of having a "real" mom.  Do I really want to risk any more lost time?   Is it only selfish to hope for a happy ending?  What if it ISN'T happy?  What if I bring more pain and loss into my home?  Is that really fair for any of us?

It's amazing how much blood can emerge from a tiny slice.  It's gruesome really.  It was everywhere.  One would have thought an artery had burst open from the scene I cleaned up.  But, really...it was simply that a tiny little slice can produce a huge amount of evidence.  Imagine what a big slice would do.

It was then that I understood that my heart has not only been sliced a bit...it has been turned into chopped liver.  It's gushing and bleeding is profuse...and it's hard to apply enough pressure to ease the bleeding.  There is a massacre inside of my being...hot yoga soothes the pulse...but I'm still bleeding. 

I still stand by what I said before...I am open to "YES"...but, I'm afraid too.  That open door sure does hurt when it gets slammed on your fingers.  Especially if they have been broken before.   I'm standing in that open door looking at the memories of blood and tears that have stained the walls around me.  It's hard to be optimistic.  It's a silly lie to say I'm ready for it to slam on me again.  It's also a silly lie to say I trust that all will be well.  And yet another lie to say I don't believe in miracles.

I suppose all I can do is stand...breathe....hope...and know that 325+ people are witnessing my struggle while silently watching...waiting....wondering.......

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An open door...

I often think about how "funny" it is to make a decision about life.  In all honesty, I tend to believe that we don't really have a lot of choice in how things might or...might not...go.  It's not that I think we have NO choice, but rather...that we have limited choice. 

For example...I would have chosen that my firstborn son would go through his tumultuous teen years unscathed and able to look back and scoff at all the worry he caused us.  I would have chosen that ultimately, he would emerge whole...safe...sound. 

It wasn't to be.  Yes...he IS alive.  He's still beautiful and funny.  At times.  In many ways, one would look at him and see a normal young man--but it's within that the damage has been done.  Deep within the brain.  Where memory fails.  Where names, dates, times...and logic...are largely absent.   The damage of three years ago rears it's relentless face and laughs "He will never be the same...ever."

Of course, we always hope for improvement, and the brain DOES heal----slowly.  But, I know too much about brains.  I know too much about the particular damage of HIS brain.  I know the limitations.  I know the reality.

I would have protected him.  I wasn't given the choice.  And, neither was my son.  Now when people ask him what he wants to "be"...I cringe a little when I hear him say he wants to study micro-biology.  Not because I don't think it's a great thing to study, but because I know he has some serious deficits that don't meld well with the flied of micro-biology.  I want him to succeed...and I'm not sure he can in that area.  Maybe life will surprise us all.  Maybe. 

My pregnancy with Simon and Alexander...wow...it was a surprise.  I accepted that the choice of that pregnancy wasn't mine alone.  I embraced the gift.  But it was stolen before I could unwrap it's beautiful contents.  No choice in the matter...it wasn't about what I wanted; not in the beginning...nor in the end. 

Today, I stand here in front of a little strip of paper.  It only has one red line on it.  I knew it was too early to test of course.  WAY too early.  But I know that on the first night of Ramadan, a beautiful spiritual holiday for many around the world, I had a dream of a beautiful baby in my arms...I could hear audible laughter in my ears, and woke up with it's tinkling sound resonating around me.  My husband came to me after a similar, simultaneous dream and an agreement was found in our love.  We were ready to make a choice.  We chose Yes. 

Ever since that night, there have been an unusual amount of obstacles preventing further encounters...very strange for a couple that rarely misses a chance to love each other.   But, we would just shrug, laugh, and know that it simply seemed....beyond our control.

But, I was ovulating two days after that night.   It could have happened.  

So, I stand here...with that little paper in front of me.  Only one line. 

Why did I test too early?  I knew it wouldn't show me two lines, even IF that beautiful magic of baby creation did in fact take after only one sweet, beautiful, deeply spiritual encounter.  I'm not Muslim...I don't celebrate Ramadan, but, I AM aware of it and I honor it's profound place in the spiritual community of life.  If I had the choice, I would say that I'd like for it to be true that our next child had been conceived under such a beautiful phase of the universe.   I would like to believe that the laughter I heard so clearly was the tinkling of bells I will hear again soon.  

I had another dream 2 days ago...I was on a beach walking.   I found a perfect rippled shell and I opened it to find a beautiful silver necklace.  It had a single name on it.  I woke up smiling..."Oh....I DO like that name...." 

And so...I will test again...later.  Late enough to understand that if I see another single line that I didn't really get to choose, but that I can always try again...and again....and again....  Late enough to know that if I see two lines...I still don't get to choose the outcome of life.  My eldest son has shown me that even when you think all will be well...it can all change in one life altering moment.  Simon and Alexander have shown me that pregnancy doesn't always end with a beautiful baby to cuddle.  My other children have shown me that being open to life is...truly a gift. 

But, it will be o.k....one line or two lines.  It will be o.k., because one thing that the universe cannot control is my attitude.  And right now, the attitude my husband and I are sharing is one of being open to "Yes."   It's about opening the door.  Maybe no one will come through it.  But, at least it is open....and he...or she...is welcome. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Remembering Something Beautiful About Loss

There they are...

Both of them.   In a golden sunset to rival all others.  Just as I remember them.

Last night while brushing my teeth I noticed something on the wall.  Something...icky.  When you have multiple sons it's not too unusual to encounter things of questionable sanitary status, so I wasn't shocked or anything.  But still...it was...gross.  I thought about how many times I've suggested that boogers needed to NOT be wiped on a wall.  Especially not the bathroom wall when only inches away sat a roll of perfectly nice toilet paper.    Apparently one of my lads likes to absently dig for treasure whilst on the toilet...and tends to wipe the remains on the closest wall.   Whomever he is...he keeps forgetting to use the available toilet paper.

According to my sons, they do not do this.  None of them believes that they are "the one."  So...we must have a booger picking ghost...or something.

Anyway, when I saw the smear I got out my tea-tree spray to clean it up and I felt myself tearing up.  Simon and Alexander won't ever wipe booger smears on the wall.  They won't ever look up at me in complete innocence declaring that they would never wipe a booger on the wall.  It was then that I noticed it.  .  .When you've lost someone...they become...perfect.  They have no vices...no flaws....nothing.   Only the beauty of love surrounds them.  Golden...warm...always wanted....treasured.  For all time.  You never sigh over the chore of cleaning up your dead child's booger.  NO!  In fact, all you want in the world is to be able to wipe those damned boogers that SHOULD have been there away, and then hug the little rascal for feigning innocence. 

Carly Marie Dudley from "To write their names in the sand" sent me these photos yesterday...and Jill Alderman added Simon and Alexander to her "Vermont Angels" only days before....

When I look at these expressions of beauty and remembrance, it touches me to think that all I'll ever have to remember of Simon and Alexander are images of poignant beauty.  They will never "accidentally" do anything annoying.  They will never stay up past their bedtime trying to catch glimpses of the movie mom and dad are watching with the snippets of raw humor inappropriate for young viewers.  They will never whine about having to get in the back seat of our car.  They will never draw silly pictures in the columns of their homeschool books when they should be studying.  They will never have a food that they pretend is poison to avoid eating it.  They won't act jealous over how much more ice cream their brother seems to have gotten.  They won't complain.  They won't argue.  They won't....do anything.  Anything at all.

They will only stay perfect...beautiful...and yearned for.

Remembered in the sky, with flowers, near water of all kinds in all places, riding on the wings of exquisite butterflies....and in golden perfect sunsets.  Sunsets wherein I wish with all my heart that the photo contained the footprints of my babies next to my own where we might have walked hand in hand...if only.

Wiping boogers from the wall no longer seems so irritating.  It's a symbol of the aliveness of the boy that did it.  And even if I never know the culprit, I know there will be a day when the boogers cease.  And I will remember that being a parent was, if nothing else, an adventure.  A big, beautiful, and unexpected adventure.  Wiping boogers from the walls...cleaning up vomit...breaking up squabbles of minimal importance...wiping away tears...offering hugs...telling stories....and...even having to say goodbye before you wanted to.  That is being a parent.  We collect memories.  In the end, whether it is cleaning away a booger, chasing away a nightmare, giving a last kiss, or walking in spirit within a golden heavenly field...what else do we have?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Walking a Tight-rope

It comes.

And goes.

And comes again.

And all the while I know inside that which ever way it is, is completely transient...impermanent...fleeting...

Just like the reason for all of it in the first place.  Transient.  Impermanent.  Fleeting.

On one level, it might be comforting to know that whatever it is we go through is actually only a moment.  A speck.  A flash of reality...or dream.  Something that won't last.  Not forever anyway.

On another level...the fact that nothing is lasting...nothing permanent...nothing even SOLID...well...it bothers me sometimes.

There's the person...the "me"...that wants something I can rely on.  Even if it were to be devastation in my feelings for all time.

Then, there is the person that is grateful that things move forward...onward...ever changing...so that we can heal.  As if...as if we can ever really heal....as if we could ever forget.

As if we want to forget.

My birthday is coming.  I say that with a flat affect.  My birthday is coming.  A reminder of my age.  Or rather...a reminder of the age of my eggs.  The age of my waning fertility. 

My birthday is coming.  I'm not old...but my eggs are getting older.  Older than I wanted them to be if I was still wondering if my family was really complete.

I need time to wonder.  Time to assess.  Time to figure it all out.

Even if it's only time to accept that it's over.  That it all ended with a quadruple stint with death.  Simon's, mine, Alexander's, mine....death...four times...in two months.  Last year at this time I was just coming to terms with the fact that I had had twins, that I was the mother of the twins I'd always wanted.  Always.  And...that I'd never have them again.

So, as I wonder about the yes's and the no's regarding my fertility and the outcome of my family I know we might have another sweet little boy...or a little girl (go ahead...laugh...it could happen....couldn't it??) but most likely...even less likely than having a little girl...we wouldn't have twins.  And even if we COULD...it wouldn't be "them".   So that's really what I have to come to terms with.  If I'd never become pregnant with Simon and Alexander...if my idea that we "were done" had actually played out...would I be thinking I wanted to try once more?  Most likely...no.  And yet, things change.  People change.  Situations change.  Lives change.  Had this all happened 100 years ago I wouldn't have to think about any of it, because having more children would just BE what was...but as my husband reminds me...I'd also be dead, so, you win some, you lose some--right?

Now things aren't so clear.  Now things aren't so solid.  Now...nothing is permanent.  And...in truth...nothing has ever been permanent.

And because of that impermanence...that fluidity...that big question mark in my gut....

I am questioning.  Everything.

I am wondering.

I am crying.

I want someone to tell me what to do.  And I want it to be the right answer.  The one I know I want, but can't seem to find a way to so that I can figure out what it is I really want.  The answer I will feel good about when I'm 98 years old.  The right one.  The solid one.

The one...that makes sense.  On every level.  Materially, Mentally, Spiritually and Emotionally.

The funny..or not so funny thing is this.  There are two sides.  The material and mental...and the spiritual and emotional.  They don't concur.  And so I am divided.  Divided in a world that is fluid, transient, ever changing, and impermanent. 

In the end, what I do or do not do matters very very little in the big schema of our tiny speck of a planet.  My personal choice won't make or break anyone.

Except...maybe me.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Come and See!!!

Can you believe what a Beeeeaauuuuutiful job my sweet friend Jay Jay did on my blog???  I had some ideas, and she just flew with them!  Thank you sweet lady-bird...I'm enchanted with your ability to weave such beauty.  If anyone wants a blog makeover...this is the woman to do it!  Don't be shy!...go for it!  It's worth it on every level.  Love you Jay! 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Double Scoop Please...

The hot yoga is helping.  My sweet shaggy Ferdinand is helping.  My boys and darling husband are helping.  Writing is helping.

But it isn't enough.

It doesn't make it stop hurting.

I keep making the movements. I keep working hard to smile.  But isn't it such a strange thing to say that I'm working "hard" to smile?  I have to think it first--- "Smile Sara!"  and I do....because I want "them" to know or at least, think, that I'm doing better;  That my daily yoga, miles of walking and reams of typing...are helping.  And they really ARE.  But...when I note the presence of relief in the fact that I'm "doing better", it's a co-occurring unspoken statement that I'm not allowed to fall back into my tears.  Not allowed.  Not allowed....to feel the pain.

Yet, it isn't about being ABLE to NOT feel that pain.  I'm just trying to live in SPITE of the pain.

And...it's working.

But some days are easier than others...much, much easier.

I kissed the boys goodbye yesterday as I went to hot yoga.  They screamed the scream they always scream when I go--- "BYE MOM!  YOUR THE BEST MOM IN THE WORLD!!!"---  and ran off to play the Wii while I was absent.  With the age range of children I have, I can leave Mr. 14-year-old-going-on-30 in charge without any inner qualms while I go to hot yoga for a few hours.   I admit it...it's nice to have a kid you can trust to be so mature and loving to the younger kids...who, in fact, get older every day.  I hopped on the bus and settled into my seat.  We cruised down the mountain....and as I watched out the front mirror...a precious baby dear with little soft white spots darted in front of the bus.  I screamed internally as his mother rushed to him and he squirmed in agony on the side of the road....dieing....in pain....the bus driver didn't even slow for a second.  He had a schedule to keep...nothing a baby deer would alter.  In my mind...he had just hit a child...it was a hit and run.  To the unflinching bus driver....it was just a stupid deer.  In his way. 

Then, a woman got on the bus.  She had a neck brace and bruising on her face.  She looked at me for a minute and then started to tell me about the man that had beaten her to a bloody pulp only 6 weeks ago putting her in ICU.  He got five months in jail...for almost killing her because she broke up with him.  Five months.  Only five.  She has (very possibly permanent) brain damage from being beaten repeatedly with a lead pipe.  He got five months of jail time.  I reached over to her and took her hand.  We sat there holding hands while I tried to convey some places that might  be able to help her.  And then, she got off the bus.  I had never seen her before and she told me that because of her memory problems, even if she saw me again, she wouldn't know me, even though she wanted to remember...I wished I had thought to give her my phone number, but I didn't.  She walked off the bus in a daze and looked like she wondered where she was going.  And the guy that did that to that 23 year old girl...got five months in jail.

I got off the bus downtown and walked to the Hot Yoga House that is my sanctuary.  My wrist has been hurting so I couldn't wait for the soothing infrared heat to help heal it.  Yoga....was good.  It was healing...I could breathe...I tried to empty my mind of the image of the dieing deer and the battered woman...not because I didn't care, but because I cared SO much that it hurt.

I knew my husband would be a little late picking me up, so I took a stroll to "The Big Dipper".  I walked over the famous river that runs through "it"...and enjoyed the cool breeze on my face that was wafting up from the  river.  As I walked off the bridge, I saw a homeless man.  He asked if I had any change with a smile. He wasn't drunk or scary...just homeless. I would have helped him if I'd had anything more than my debit card in my bag, but I replied "I'm so sorry sir...I don't have any cash on me."  I felt badly that I couldn't help, and that even if I had change in my pocket, it wouldn't have been enough "change" to give him a home.  He smiled again and tipped his hat at me.  "It's o.k. miss...it's a pleasure to be in the presence of an Angel...you KNOW your an Angel don't you?"  I shook my head and laughed uncomfortably a little and waved goodbye.  I could hear him calling after me..."I'm not kidding miss...your an Angel...didn't anyone ever tell you WHO you were before?"  I felt a lump in my throat...and I didn't understand why.  I keep encountering strangers that tell me I'm an angel.  It's happened again and again.  I always feel like crying when they say it.  Now that my twins are gone...I wonder if what they are seeing now is that I am the mother of angels.  I wonder... even though it doesn't explain years of being told randomly that I'm an angel.  That's just....odd; and it makes me choke back tears.

As I walked into the ice cream stores lot, I saw a couple with their ice cream faced 2 year old that I had seen only a week or so before our loss.  They had no idea that we'd lost that pregnancy.  No idea.  The woman came up to me with a smile and said "GAWD Sara! You look beautiful...but weird without babies! Aren't you supposed to have a baby or something?? Where's your little one?....Are you O.k.?  you look sad...."

I froze inside. "Our twins died....last year...stillbirth..."

A horror struck look appeared on her face, joined by a deep sadness on her husbands.  They know us as the care free family with tons of happy kids.  When they were expecting, I remember the calls for advice and emotional support.  Parenting had always been....my gift.  It's something I love.  It's something I've been doing for 20 years, and doing it beautifully in all honesty.  I was a birth goddess.... a parenting diva.... whole... beautiful... and wonderfully patient... wonderfully confident. 
There it was.  She was right... I'm the mama that ALWAYS has a little one... or at least, I used to. All my boys were independent at home with a fun-loving big brother watching them. No babies... no one wanting to be with mama more than a video game.  No one needing me every moment of every day.

She tried to brush it away by complaining about how her son kept wanting to run mindlessly into traffic... and the truth is that all I wanted in the world was to be like her again, chasing a little silly walker around to prevent him from running into traffic.  Maybe it sounds crazy, but I preferred the stress of parenting a toddler to pleasurably walking down the road without any responsibility to ANYONE else with a yoga mat in tow. All I wanted in the world was to eat an ice cream cone with nursing twins in tandem while on lookers gasped in shock or admired my ability to "Just DO it!"

The husband hugged me goodbye, insisting that he owed Ty and I a favor and that he wanted us to call him on it.  What was the favor?  Ty was there to listen to him when he needed a shoulder to lean on in the earlier days of parenting...and I'd been kind enough to get his son a gift when he was born.  It wasn't anything out of the ordinary for us, and we didn't feel that we'd done anything exceptional.  He clearly wanted to give us something....anything...to ease the pain.  So, he said "he owed us".  They waved good bye and I waved back, longing to scoop that little huckleberry creamed face 2 year old into my arms to just smell his hair......but instead...I had a double scooper....for "them."

For them.

Because I should have had them with me....and instead...I only had ice cream, and the clear understanding that I don't look like ME without THEM. I chose a scoop of eggnog and a scoop of Mexican chocolate. I went over and sat on the side walk licking my homemade ice-cream cone thoughtfully.  It was yummy....but it wasn't the only reason I chose a double. I needed double....I needed yin and yang....I needed my twins. The ice cream soothed the lump in my throat...the memory of hot yoga only a half hour before reminded me to breathe...and I AM doing better. But...I'm not me. Not the me I wish I was anyway. Not the me my hopeful friends wish I will be.  Not the me I show everyone I am trying to be.  Not really. 

And...I think I understand that I never will be. Not without them.

I brought two hand packed containers home with me.  Huckleberry and Eggnog.  Purple and Yellow.

My 8 year old noticed..."You got purple and yellow for Simon and Alexander mom...that's really cool!"

I was suddenly surrounded by my boys hugging me.

Because they understand that I never will be the same.

Even with them.


It's part of the whole of being alive.

You can't erase it's mark.

Even with ice cream.
Even with hot yoga.
Even with a kick ass Old English Sheepdog that rocks the world.
Even with a beautiful family of amazing kids and a loving, even phenomenal, husband.

And...especially....not even with time.