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What day is it, even?

It’s been nearly a year since my Dad had brain surgery, and yet, it feels like it just happened. It was one of the last things I was able to do, before Covid times. To travel to the hospital and be there when he woke up.

And now, time has a strange quality. The hours are moving so slowing, but the months have passed quickly. I can’t believe it’s been so long, since I was able to visit with neighbors, to talk with strangers, to hug a friend.

Sending you all virtual hugs, friends.

xoxo

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Just do one thing.

I’ve been in a funk lately, it seems, for so long. Not myself, not able to do the things that make me happy, which makes me more not myself, and downward we go.

I was reading an article online (I know, how did I think this would help?) and it was about depression. It said if your living space was messy (yes), if you weren’t doing the things you love (yes), if you’d given up on self care (yes), maybe you are depressed.

Too many yeses. The sun came out for a tiny minute today, and by some grace I had the idea and the strength to clean up my closet. And that lead me to clean up my kitchen, and then the best thing of all, to write.

So I’m saying, if you can find one small thing to do to begin, just try! And, that’s enough for today. Truly, that’s enough. Be well my friends!

xoxo

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How many happies do you have?

Each morning when Avery wakes, he tells me how many happies he has in his heart for the day ahead. Things like he’s going to swimming that day, or he’s happy that Carter is coming home, or that he’s ordered something from Amazon that he expects will arrive.

His happies make ME happy, for many reasons. It shows me he is getting better at counting, they show me he can keep track of days and what happens on each day (something we’ve been working on for a while now) and he is reminding me every morning to count my happies, too. I have so many of them, including you. Thanks for reading!

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The heart wants what it wants

It’s been 20 days since our divorce was finalized through the courts. I struggle with the language because it’s all so black and white: mine, yours. You did this, I did that. Before, after. Even the terms–ex/wife, husband, daughter in law, son in law. Who are we, now that we are not married?

It’s all a lot to navigate, even without Covid. But now, we are a family of ex-es and a household of halves. Half the mom-dad yin-yang the boys were used to, and now it’s mom, and a sad mom. I’m so lucky in so many ways (hello, all the things, read the archives if you don’t know) but I never thought I’d be here, now.

Welcome to the rest of the story, I guess. The one I never knew I would write, the one I don’t know how to tell.

Be well, my friends, who might be out there in trouble too. These are hard times. I will try to be here more often, if only just to be accountable to myself. I want to remember this all, so some day, I can tell others how we all came out of it.

xoxo

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Pinwheels

Hard times and pie

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Well, it’s official.  Avery hates wearing a face mask and no amount of trying to make it feel fun (it’s like Halloween!  Or, we can all be bandits!  Or, I will give you a gummy bear if you wear it!) will convince him.  Because, really, when have I ever been able to convince him of anything that is not true?  He’s a truth detector.  And there is nothing fun about any of this.

So we will stay home forever, or until there is a vaccine or a cure.

And that is not the last of it, we have been talking a lot at my house about race, and inequity, and trying to learn and also think and listen.  Like many folks, I only know what I know, until I learn more, and then I can do better.  It reminds me of how I didn’t know much about disability until I had Avery.  And now because of him, we are especially careful during Covid times, which means we have stayed home during the peaceful protests in our town, and also, it’s why I know how important it is to show up, speak up, be counted and be heard.

Which brings me back to the bandits aspect of a face mask.  I really heard it when parents of black children said they needed to teach their kids, from an early age and so often that it became an instinct, how to behave around police officers.  It broke my heart, and also educated me, to their reality, and also, to my own.

Avery is no longer a cute kid with Down syndrome.  He’s a sometimes-awkward young adult with speech difficulty, apraxia, and he does not present himself in a typical way when under pressure.  He sometimes freezes, he sometimes has panic attacks, he sometimes goes into shock.  Which could all be interpreted in negative ways, if he were ever to find himself on the wrong side of a police presence.

So, we practiced.  Over and over, and we will continue.  We are learning to say clearly and calmly with his hands up, “My name is Avery and I need help.”  I hope this the right thing to teach him, and mostly, I hope he never needs to use it.  It’s a hard parenting moment, but one I realize I am not alone in facing.  Trying to teach your kids how to be their own advocates in an imperfect and sometimes scary world.  I am doing my best, and I am trying to soften it with the things that make Avery comfortable, like rewards, computer time, love.

And!  Pie.  Eagle Mount gave us rhubarb, so I made a strawberry rhubarb pie.  Because pie always makes the hard things a little easier.  Thank you Eagle Mount!

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Happy Saturday Night

Right now, all three boys are home and I can hear them upstairs, laughing about something that would probably take too long for them to explain to me for it to still be funny.  Something about computers, maybe a game, who really knows?  All that matters to me is the beautiful sound of their laughter, trickling down the stairs.  It’s something I don’t want to forget.

Happy Saturday night, to you and yours, wherever you are!

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Beautiful words

I love this post by Lisa Leonard, especially  this:

There is beauty in the dark places–where we least expect to find it. I have found on the hardest days, beauty shows up in real and miraculous ways”

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Are you happy?

For me, I think the question I ask is, “Are you okay?” Both are good! As explained in this excellent essay by Tricia Theis.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

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Pinwheels

“Sending Ruby to College”

Here’s the story of Ruby, as told by Kelle Hampton.  I can’t show it to Avery, or he will want to pack up and leave tomorrow!  And though we still have a ways to go before it’s his time for this experience, it gives me such hope to know there are options like this one waiting for him, when he’s ready.

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“What kind of society do you want to live in?”

Here’s a link to a CBS story that raises so many important questions about prenatal testing and what it means to babies with Down syndrome…plus, there’s a really cute photo of a beautiful girl named Agusta.

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Pinwheels

So much beauty

I love this blog post by Laurie Wagner.  It is exactly my life right now, only Carter is leaving next week, we’re driving with him, and my life is held together not with twine, but duct tape.  But, really, same-same!

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Pinwheels

Will you be my best friend forever?

This story of love and acceptance is so amazing!  I didn’t even know I could imagine something so kind, but now that I do, I think it’s perfect.

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Pinwheels

On not getting back up

About a week ago, I fell off my horse.  Or, my horse got out from under me.  Or, I really don’t know what it was, it all happened so fast.  She’s a young horse and really quick and she was as scared as I was, after it happened.

I have a sprained wrist and a bruised tailbone and a little bit of a black eye.

The old saying tells you that once you fall off a horse, you have to get back up.  Right back up.  In the moments after I fell, I couldn’t breathe.  I couldn’t move.  All I could do was check in with each of the parts of my body, arms, are you okay?  Legs?  Fingers?  Toes?  And then I had to get the horse settled.  And then Tom said, “Are you going to get back on?”

I thought about it, and then I said, “No.”

I didn’t get right back in the saddle.  I made a choice, I said no.  I didn’t think it was wise to get back in the saddle, right away.  She was scared, I was hurt, and it just wasn’t worth it to me to risk me, or her, having another bad experience.

I think the lesson learned that day was not for the horse, but for me:  sometimes, the old sayings are wrong.  I get to do what I decide is best, and sometimes you need to take a while to heal.

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Surprise, surprise

Well those seeds I planted not so long ago, without much hope or expectation, have grown, and grown, and grown.  Now, there is kale to pick and spinach and chard.  Also chives (lots of chives!) and parsley, too.  And peas!  I almost cried when I saw all the peas, it felt like such a gift!  It all feels like such a gift.

Two things to remember:  even when you’re not sure, plant the seeds; and life is full of surprises.

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Pinwheels

Who wants a cupcake?

The only problem with this story is that if it were Avery and me running the shop, we would eat all the cupcakes.  The end.