Thursday, December 26, 2013

A "Ruined" Christmas

This is, apparently, the first year Wil has heard of anyone getting a lump of coal in their stocking, because they've been bad. The minute he heard, he flew into action. "I am going to ask Santa for a lump of coal in STM's stocking, he's been naughty, and he's getting a lump of coal. I am going to ruin his Christmas!" he said with joy.

I assumed Santa had it all under control, but let's just say there was a little last-minute drama when said coal did not arrive with a moment to spare.

Traditionally, we go over to my mother-in-law's and open gifts on Christmas Eve. As we were walking out the door he announced that Santa would be putting coal in STM's stocking over there, too, even though we'd explained on numerous occasions that those stockings were filled by Grandma, and Santa didn't start his world-wide trek until Christmas Eve night. He accepted the answer, but was disappointed that STM's Christmas Eve would not also be "ruined."

As you may recall, Santa was also asked for an elephant for his friends, Barky and Elmo. There was much anticipation as to what this elephant would look like, and whether or not Elmo and Barky would be excited.

Because this is not our first rodeo, we also told Wil he would be getting a bike for Christmas. We have learned the hard way that he does not like surprises. A bright shiny, red bike showed up one Christmas morning, and he was underwhelmed, to say the least. He liked the (teeny tiny) bike he had just fine, and was not having any of it when it came to moving up to a bigger bike. Even if it came in his favorite color.

This time we got smart. We told him at his birthday time (and prime bike-riding weather), that he'd be getting a new bike for Christmas. His bike was too small for him, and he needed a new one. STM and I made multiple trips to STM's favorite bike shop, and consulted extensively about which bike would best meet Wil's needs. We got it down to two. We took Wil at a specified time to the bike store, explaining it would only take 10 minutes, but he had to ride both bikes and tell us which one he liked best. He chose in his customary "random" way (I think he liked the color, even though we could have ordered the other one in other colors). So, although he did know about the bike, he was excited for the bike, and told everyone, "I'm getting a new bike for Christmas!"

Be that as it may, the three big hits of Christmas were the lumps of coal that "ruined" STM's Christmas, Ellie the elephant for Barky and Elmo, and the true huge hit of the year, the $2.00 bottle of foaming hand soap with Santa on it.

May we all delight in the little things.

Friday, December 20, 2013

And So Forth

"Sin is not the adult bookstore on the corner. It is the 
hard heart, the lack of generosity, and all the isms: 
racism and sexism and so forth." 
- Anne Lamott Help, Thanks, Wow

You're either going to think me a genius, or a nut job, but I had another reading with a spiritual intuitive. It was an entirely an intuitive "decision," that is to say, no "decision" was made. I heard of this woman through a "weird" turn of events (say it with me...) and "knew" I had to schedule a reading. She is, of course, located in my stomping grounds, and was, of course, readily available when I called. That is not to say she is easy to get into, not at all, but everything lined up in a meant-to-be way, and within a few days of calling, I was seated across from her in a folding chair, in a make-shift room, having my chakras cleared.

Turns out my chakras were in pretty good shape. She did ask if I was having troubles with my right side, and I mentioned the hip issue from the dog pulling me on the leash, my cumulative injury. "More than that, though, is the issue of your yin and yang not being in balance, the feminine and masculine sides. Your left side, the feminine, is strong. Your masculine side, the right, is weak. That's the side that speaks out, that stands up for itself, that is willing to confront. If you ask your guides and angels to strengthen that side, I guarantee you'll be given plenty of opportunities to practice!" she said with a giggle.

I have decided that I will live with the occasional twinge. At least until after the holidays. There isn't enough eggnog in the world to entice me to take that on right now.

But the bigger question remains: Do I go out on a limb, and make a point of making a point? Both the astrologer and spiritual intuitive said my message is to awaken people that are asleep to their beliefs that those with lower "intelligence" have nothing to "offer." They are to be dismissed. We are to put up with them. To be "nice." To endure and possibly support, but not to elevate, learn from, watch, pattern after, and hold in high esteem.

Intellectualism is the final frontier. Martin Luther King, Jr. had his dream, and I have mine - to one day live in a world when we are as (appropriately) appalled to hear an intellectualist remark, as we are to hear a racist, or sexist remark.

And so forth.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013


I just finished Anne Lamott's newest work-of-art, STITCHES. No accident that I finished it on the anniversary of Sandy Hook, as it was that horrible tragedy that spurred her to write it. So at a loss of what to do, how to move on, much less restore hope, she did what she does best, she wrote.

I can't think of a single person I know that isn't struggling to find meaning, hope, and/or in need of repair. The one-of-a-kind Anne Lamott did much to help me heal from the Newtown event that I've yet been able to really write about it, it's been sitting on a shelf in my brain for a year, not to be touched. It is too much to take in, too much to grieve, too much to be horrified and saddened by. It's all just too much.

I've seen a few interviews over the last year with parents of children that were killed that day. The stories of how one mom almost didn't send her son to school because he had been up late the night before, and had the sniffles, and how she's had to live with that choice to go ahead and send him.

When I met with the past-life reader, she said she was told by Spirit that the children of Sandy Hook were volunteers, sent with a very special purpose to wake us up from our sleep and change the way we do things. My only issue with that theory is that it implies the shooter was fated to shoot, and I just can't believe anyone makes a soul agreement before coming here, that they will become mass murderers. Maybe they volunteered to come here to change the world, and had it not happened the way it did, they would have each gone on to change it in other ways.

I don't know.

A tragedy does that to us, it shakes what we believe and what we thought to be true, and knocks us so far off kilter we are never the same again.

If you need help being put back together, I would highly recommend both of Anne Lamott's latest books, HELP, THANKS, WOW, and STITCHES.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Look

Wil at 2 months old

When I met recently with the director of the developmental health organization, we talked about "the look."

"There was a look Wil had in his eyes (besides the strabismus) that should have tipped off the doctor that something wasn't right. He was discombobulated-looking, I can see it so clearly now in pictures."

"There is a look," she said, "we know that now. We're training doctors to recognize it. Obviously, the earlier a disorder is recognized and treated, the better."


I'm trying not to let fresh outrage take over, and chalk it up to que sera, sera. But it's hard. Had our doctor seen "the look," I would have welcomed his concern. I realize not all parents of infants want to be told "there's a look," but when a parent comes in with a laundry list of complaints/symptoms, and has "the look" and is still not taken seriously, well... then memoirs are written.

I've occasionally seen pictures of kids, or held a baby and wondered if what I'm seeing is "the look." I don't know quite what to do in those situations. I don't want to be an alarmist. I don't want to force anyone to deal with anything they're not ready to deal with. And I don't want to be wrong. I haven't resolved this conundrum, but what I'm leaning, is to ask leading questions when given the opportunity, and see just where that does indeed lead, if anywhere.

And if it does lead any "where," I hope that is to a place of answers, reassurance, and hope.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Use Me

Oprah says that for years her daily prayer has been, "Use me." If it's good enough for Oprah, it's good enough for me. I've been working with that prayer the last couple of weeks, and some interesting No-Accidents have occurred. My tireless, 1-woman PR team of liz, is systematically working her way through the Archdiocese of Portland, and will not rest until all the principals not only read the book, but order a complete set for all their staff. Apparently, liz is also saying the Use Me prayer each morning.

On Tuesday I received an e-mail from the executive director of an organization devoted to children's developmental health here in Oregon. Someone she works with had given her my book months ago, she'd put it in her briefcase with the best of intentions, but didn't have a chance to read it until Monday, at which point she read it straight through. We met yesterday, and she has since ordered the book for everyone on her staff, all the clinicians, behavioral peds, everyone. She wants me to do a book signing and give a talk. I mentioned that I would love to talk to a group of doctors someday, because it is my fervent wish that my experience of not being taken seriously, not be replicated. She said, "I can arrange that."

I'm trying not to get ahead of myself, just trying to stay in the moment of gratefulness that my book is doing the work it was meant to do, however big or far-reaching that may be, or not be.

What may be, may be, que sera sera.

Use me.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Stockings Were Hung

This is my 20th Christmas as a parent, and the first one in which I'm not taking a kid, or kids, to see Santa. Last year Wil and I made the pilgrimage to the mall, and 24-hours later there was a shooting in the same mall, in the same spot, and that was enough to further traumatize me to the point I put my foot down.

I told Wil that this year he'd be e-mailing Santa, and that I would need to proof-read the email before he sent it, just so I could make sure Santa would know what he was talking about. God bless modern technology and the horse it rode in on. The whole thing took less than 2 minutes and he's as happy as a clam knowing Santa will be able to make his dreams come true.


Today he said, "Care? Will Santa bring a real elephant or a stuffed elephant for my friends?"

"I hope to God he brings a stuffed elephant," I said.

Then we pulled out the glitter glue pens and wrote ELMO on one side of the cheap-o, off-the-shelf stocking, and BARKY on the other. We hung the stocking with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas, soon would be there.

Sorry Not Sorry

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