(Note: This may not be true in all households, it's grossly generalized, but it's certainly true in most of the ones I know of!)
10. Weeks, possibly months before the trip, Mom will arrange child care
9. A good two weeks before the trip Mom will start making notes for said child care provider
8. Mom will add to the notes to such a point that they will cover the fronts and backs of five 8 1/2 x 11 pieces of paper
7. Mom will grocery shop and stock up on all the things one could possibly ever consider eating while she's out-of-town
6. Mom will load up the frozen yogurt and Burgerville gift cards, and leave a huge wad of cash so that every possibly spending concern is covered
5. Mom will order an additional insurance card so one may be left behind - just in case
4. Mom will type emergency numbers, lists of foods toxic to dogs, and notes to all the teachers informing them of the schedule
3. Mom will pull out the suitcase and start packing days ahead of time, then wash all the clothes in the laundry room so that everything is available for packing, and wearing by child/ren left behind
2. Mom will clean, clean, clean then clean the house some more. Plants will be watered, beds will be changed, lights that haven't been dusted in years will be dusted. Slip covers will be washed, so will the throw rugs. New flowers will be planted in the window box. The house will look just so. Mom will nearly kill herself in the endeavor, but sleep well at night.
1. The night before the big trip Dad will say, "Do you know where we keep the suitcases?" "Are you planning to do any laundry, because I have a bunch of things I need to take with me." "What should I read on the plane?"
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Friday, January 25, 2013
Don't hate me because I bored you for
STM and I head to Hawaii to celebrate my 50th birthday - definitely one of the upsides to it all! It's not that I think 50 is old, or that I'm freaking out about it, it's just that 40 seemed like yesterday, 30 not that long ago, vividly remember my 25th. The thing about 50 is you realize it's not that long until 60, 70, 75. Again, nothing wrong with it, but it's just weird to think about.
You'll be happy to know that I have my retirement community all picked out. It's a tad premature to put down a deposit, but let's just say the thought has crossed my mind. I'm a planner. That's both one of my biggest strengths, and definitely a weakness when it's over-used.
But come Monday, my biggest planning will involve which of the four books I'm bringing to start first, whether or not I want fries with that burger or a salad (fries), and if it's too early to start drinking (no).
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Not enough can be made of how fun this part of the writing process is - the not writing part! I was a nervous wreck before the book came out and my friends and family can attest to the fact that I was no fun to be around. FULL of self-doubt, fear, anxiety, apprehension, your basic low-level emotions. Now is the fun part - the part where the people that already love me are reading it and telling me they love me. Only time will tell if the book will ever reach circles beyond my immediate circles.
What I'm particularly loving is having people tell me the parts in the book that struck them the most. For many women, it's the summer I spent in Sisters alone. As one woman said, "There isn't a woman in our age range that didn't, or doesn't, need a summer away." She then went to talk about a particular part of the book where I was in Sisters and commenting on the actual mountain range. I remember when and where I wrote that section, it's burned in my memory. The thing is, I didn't actually write it, as much as type it. I remember reading what my fingers had just typed and thinking, damn, that's good!
Likewise, when I wrote the blog post about my twenty-first anniversary, I got a lot of feedback from my community. One woman even went so far as to say that was the best thing she'd ever read about marriage. Again. Only the typist. I felt the urge to write, sat down and started typing. It was effortless. It was only a matter of opening the computer and letting the words find their way to the page. LOVE when that happens. It doesn't happen often, for every time it does happen, there are dozens of days when I just plod along.
I guess that's how it is with anything: most days you just show up and shove the boulder up the hill, but every once and awhile the stars align and the boulder moves with only the gentlest of touches, sometimes only a whisper, or a wink will get it to go. And those are the days you hang on to with hope, while you continue to wake up each day, plant your feet firmly on the ground, and start to push.
* Photo from www.truceinc.com
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Here's the photo that started it all. I took this in 1999, Wil was 2 1/2 at the time. I wanted to capture the image of him taking off down our street, always with Big Bird under his arm. It wasn't until I got the picture developed that I saw the sidewalks formed a cross. Somehow this picture confirmed for me at the time, what I'd suspected for awhile: Wil is divine. He's simply not of this world. Years later we had his chart done by an astrologer, and lo and behold, it forms a cardinal cross.
Fast forward fourteen years and this picture is the cover image for the print version of THE BOOK. The book that went through a million drafts, transformed, transformed, then transformed some more, the one that about made me swear off writing all together, the one that I'm happy to say, is doing well so far!
Thank you SO much to all of you whom have read it or are reading it! Really, THANK YOU!!! Two of you have even given it a review on Amazon, again, thanks! If any of you are so inclined, it would be great to get more up there, here's the link for your reviewing convenience!
I've heard from a fourteen-year-old boy (so not my intended audience), former and current teachers of Wil's, family members, neighbors, friends, and the owner of Wil's favorite frozen yogurt shop. My cup runneth over.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
1932 - 2013
My dear friend, Ruth, lost her sweet mother, Virginia a week ago. Virginia and her husband of nearly 60 years, Larry, had eight children - six girls and two boy, 21 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. A more loving family you simply will never meet. It's impossible. No wonder I was drawn to them 36 years ago, and can't stay away.
Our friend, Megan, and I drove down to Springfield yesterday for the funeral, the reception, then the after-party at Larry and Virginia's home of 53 years. We laughed, we cried, we looked at old pictures, we told stories, we ate, and ate and ate, then we drove home in the dark and the cold and the fog and all the rest, warmed from the inside out.
Soon as we got back to the house Ruth offered me a glass of wine, and told me the story of the H3 (hard to see, but that's what the label says on the bottle she's holding). She said they'd all been drinking that wine all week while they planned the funeral, but there was no real significance to it, someone just brought it and they were drinking it. Or so they thought.
Then Ruth said her youngest sister, Teresa (on the right) had noticed that if you broke apart the "H" in H3, it was really 1-13, which was the day Virginia died. Cue woo-woo music. It gets better. Virginia was cremated, and her remains will be in the mausoleum at her church, temporarily. Larry wants her to be there with him when he goes to church each Sunday morning (just like he has done every Sunday morning in that church for nearly 60 years). After he passes, Virginia will be moved, and they'll be laid to rest together.
It came to the part in the service where the eight children, their husbands and wives, 21 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren all walked over to the mausoleum, and placed her remains. Her spot in the mausoleum? Do you really even need to ask? H 3.
Here's a picture of Larry with three of his biological daughters, and just some of his many adopted ones.
Larry was telling Ruth and me how much he loved Virginia, and how he told her when she was in a coma, but he wasn't sure she heard him. Ruth joked, "Well, you never said it before then, did you?"
"Every night," he said, "every night before we went to bed, I'd give her a kiss and tell her I loved her."
He had told Ruth earlier that he used to pray God would take him first, because he couldn't bear to live without her, but after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, he told God to take her first, he needed to be around to take care of her.
"God answered my prayer, Ruth," he said.
Friday, January 18, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for! My book, WIL OF GOD: Embracing the Relentless Love of a Special Child, is out! It's going to be hard to stop calling him Rojo on this blog, but the jig is up, his name is Wil. And his story, my story, our story, is now all in one place.
It's available on Amazon, both in print and Kindle form. It's available for your Nook, KoboBooks and iBooks has it for your iPad. In fact, every e-reader known to man has it, so really, there isn't a reason in the world for you not to read it! Some places want just the title, some want the title and subtitle, but all places will get you where you want to go (which is with this book in your hands) by searching under my full name.
The book is a spiritual memoir, it tells the story of Wil, while also telling the story of my own journey towards embracing his gifts. Loyal readers of this blog will recognize some bits of the book, but there is a lot to our story you don't know. Now you will.
Promise you'll read the book. Don't forget. Promise you won't forget.
(If you live in the Portland area and are interested in me joining your book group for a discussion, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
You all know and love my friend, Michelle O'Neil, right? Well, I just can't get enough of her, in fact, I just listened to this interview with her and Betsy Hicks. I highly recommend it for so many reasons. Michelle is deep. Michelle is well-educated. Michelle is smart. Michelle is funny. Michelle is spiritual. You'll get a good hit of all that in the interview!
I met Michelle 7 years ago, it was love at first sight (at least for me). We've journeyed together through writing, autism, parenting, you-name-it. Do yourself a favor and listen to the interview, read her blog, and buy her book, which is, of course, incredible!
Monday, January 14, 2013
Sorry, I've been so
We are doing much better in the fruit department, and are successfully getting him to have a bowl with 12 pieces at breakfast and dinner. He's going to keep increasing that number by 2's until we get to 20. So far he's had watermelon, strawberries, blueberries and pineapple. Pineapple is by far his fave and if I'm not careful, it will be all he'll be willing to eat in the name of healthy. The boy can take something and glom onto it like nobody's business. Flicka is a huge fruit and veggie lover, so she goes nuts every time I pull out the knife. (Like seriously, she runs from upstairs to downstairs when I so much as open the knife drawer.)
Clear your calendars for Thursday, I just know you'll want to be spending the whole day downloading/reading/ordering THE BOOK.
Thank you for your love, support and prayers on all fronts! I appreciate and feel them!
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Thursday, January 10, 2013
You guys haven't heard about THE BOOK in a few days, so let me set about correcting that!!! When I wrote THE BOOK, I deliberately made Woohoo and STM "shadow characters," people who are essential to the story, but are not really in it, you know? I did this for a number of reasons, their privacy, respect for them having their own version of "my" story, and with memoir, you have to decide what the story is, and tell that. In my case, THE BOOK is about my spiritual evolution that Rojo forced upon me and has held my feet to the fire with ever since.
I love both my children equally, but what they require from me is anything but equal, thus, the relationship between the two is very different. That's been hard for Woohoo over the years, understandably. She has toyed with the idea of becoming a therapist for special needs siblings. She'd be great, and I think the niche is big and only going to get bigger. It's true that it takes one to know one, and she would be so helpful to so many.
Woohoo is still home from college, she goes back on Saturday after four weeks of being back in the nest. I think that having gone away and returned after four months, she sees us all with different, more mature, older and wiser eyes. Yesterday she was hanging out with Rojo and me while we did what we do: talk about the flavors of frozen yogurt, which kind of fruit to put in our refrigerated water next, and various other super important things. "You guys are like BFFs," she said, without the slightest trace of jealousy, resentment, anger, or sadness. Only awareness and acceptance.
* Photo from http://www.acceptingevangelicals.org
Monday, January 7, 2013
"Care," he said, while opening the kitchen drawer and getting a Post-It, "I'm going to write down four songs for my concert, and then you tell me which one comes next."
He positioned himself at the piano and I called out, "#1, 'Holy Mackroll.'"
He played something that sounded an awful lot like "Jingle Bells."
Then I said, "#2, 'Jesus and Mary.'"
He proceeded to play to the tune of "Frere Jacques," while singing, "Jesus and Mary, Jesus and Mary, Where are you? Where are you? In our hearts and souls, in our hearts and souls. A-amen. A-amen!"
I loved "Jesus and Mary" so much, I'm afraid I can't even remember much about "Blessed is the Man," or "God Has Come."
Sunday, January 6, 2013
“There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he
does not know till he takes up a pen to write.”
-- William Makepeace Thackeray, novelist (1811-1863)
My agent has this quote in her "signature," and each time I get an e-mail from her, I read it and think, so true. At least for me, writing is how I figure out what I think, what I want, what I believe, what I'm moving towards and what I no longer want to be a part of. It's how I sort myself out. It's how I tap in. It's how I know myself. And I didn't understand this until tonight when I read her latest e-mail and saw that the author's middle name was Makepeace, that indeed, that is what writing does for me: it helps me make peace.
I imagine it's the same for artists, musicians, probably athletes and anyone else doing what they love, whatever that may be. Making peace. Can enough be made of finding the time to do what it is that helps us make that peace within ourselves?
Thursday, January 3, 2013
My friend, liz, emailed today to tell me she was tired of reading about my 21-er, and to get on it with a new posting. You'll read all about liz when you read my BOOK, which will be available January 17th, which, as you well know, is just 2 short weeks away!
Let me tell you, friends, enjoy the lull before I talk more about the book, the book, and more about the book! Truly, there is very little on my mind besides it, oh, that and the fact that I'm the world's worst mother - more on that in a minute.
If you want to test your own endurance, write a book.
If you want to drive yourself crazy over and over and over again, write a book.
If you want to mine your life, write not just a book, but a memoir.
If you want be kind, write, then edit, then edit some more, said memoir.
If you want to know who your true friends are, write a book.
If you want to know where you were, where you are, and where you (think) you're going, write a memoir.
If you want to eat, sleep, breath nothing else for years on end, but then only end up with a 233 page document, write a book.
If you want to go from excitement to dread, from hope to apprehension, in a rapid and repetitive cycle, launch the book.
I could go on, but I think you get it. You get it, right?
Now, about that world's worst mother thing. Here's the deal. As I have gone through the BOOK over and over again, I've been struck, mostly, with what a perfect mother I am for Rojo. NOT the perfect mother, to be sure, but the perfect mother for HIM. Yet, my Achilles heal is the fact that he eats so poorly. "Poorly" being an understatement. Toast, bacon, pizza, taco meat, hamburgers, Goldfish, frozen yogurt and junk food. That pretty much says it all. Try as I might, he outplays, outwits, outlasts me. He is the survivor in the game of eating.
Took him to the naturopath today. Haven't taken him there in over 2 years. Got tired of paying $100 a pop, out-of-pocket to be told he needs to eat better. Because it had been so long since we checked in, we went, and I took all his supplements/meds/vitamins with us for her to review. Turns out, he's been taking a prescribed multi-vitamin the pediatrician has prescribed (with fluoride), plus the one she prescribed, thus over-dosing him on certain vitamins. And not for a time or two, but for nearly 3 years. She's worried about damage to the kidneys and liver. She's worried about a variety of things. Plus, she basically gave me the you've-got-to-pick-your-battles-and-this-one-is-one-of-them speeches. Of course I know all that, but if you lived in this house, I dare say, you'd have a helluva time getting Rojo to eat better, too.
At one point Rojo said, "Well, I'm a really picker eater."
The naturopath said, "You're old enough for me to say this to, that's a load of crap."
Some of that must have sunk in, because Rojo did say on the ride home, "I'll eat a vegetable in 2 weeks."
I'm going to gear up and really give it the ol' college try to get him to eat better. She suggested (urged) me to withhold frozen yogurt if he doesn't eat his green veggies. I told him I didn't eat enough of those myself, and we'd do it together. So, dear readers, you have two things to look forward to hearing about ad infinitum, the BOOK, and Project Veggie.
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