We’re supposed to get a big rain soon, so I thought I’d try to get some seeds in the garden ahead of it. I planted squash and pumpkins and chard, things I think the rabbits won’t eat. And while I was digging in the lovely warm dirt, worrying that maybe the seeds were too old and that nothing would sprout, a thought occurred to me, one of gardening and a gardener’s hope: The only seeds you know for certain won’t grow are the ones you don’t plant.
I’ve been having this feeling again that I want to write a book about our life, since so many things have happened that I think would be helpful to other parents to know. I have so many stories! As I’m sure you all have, too.
So here’s a question: what do you want most to know about? What do you wish I’d share?
I know when I was a new mom to Avery the thing I wanted most to know was if we’d be okay. And that’s easy to answer, now–we are okay. We are even better than okay. As Tom used to tell me a lot in the beginning, “Life is hard, but good.”
And I don’t really have anything I really wish I could know, now. I know the future with Avery will be surprising, sometimes I’ll worry, sometimes I will laugh for reasons I never could have imagined, I am guaranteed to meet more fantastic people (Avery is a magnet for awesome people), so I don’t really know where this is all going. Maybe I’ll write the book to find out!
A poem is a puzzle
A poem is a pretzel
A poem is a pinwheel
A poem is a present
rain on fresh wet paint (at least it’s raining)
weeds growing faster than you can pull (but the lilacs are growing, too)
kitchen faucet drip drip dripping (dishes are done)
mud on the just-washed stairs (footprints of my boys)
dog nose prints on windows (a good dog)
the work of life
is finding beauty
in these ordinary
the amazing power of the sun
(Taken from the book, Wildflowers: Ferns and Grasses)
pale gray light
puddles of mud
I love you
the way the grass loves
The rain started late last night, or very early this morning. I could hear it hitting the metal roof of the house. It’s a peaceful sound, one we don’t hear often in the arid West. When I awoke this morning, it was cloudy and cool, and still threatening rain. We’d planned lots of outdoor work today, but plans change! One thing rainy days are really good for is washing indoor windows. And also, reading books. And also, also, taking naps. I think I’ll do all three.
I saw a flock of wild geese fly overhead, and it reminded me of two things: winter must be over, if the birds are coming back! And too, I remembered how much I love this poem by Mary Oliver:
Wild Geese by Mary OliverYou do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
I’ve been reading a blog by a wonderful woman named Lisa Leonard, do you know of her? What’s not to love about this post? She’s honest and brave and I find those qualities to be inspiring. I particularly love this part:
My heart needed to grieve. Caring for two boys with such different needs was really, hard—and that was okay. I didn’t have to pretend it wasn’t hard. I could be honest. I could say it was hard. I could ask for help. I could take breaks. None of these things affected my love for David or Matthias. None of these made me a ‘bad mom’ or a failure. They simply made me human.
I didn’t know that the actor, Ashton Kutcher, is a twin, or that his twin brother Michael was born with Cerebral Palsy. I didn’t know that Kutcher, who is mostly known for his lighthearted acting roles, could be thoughtful and introspective, as he was when he said these words, as part of a speech he gave in Iowa on Saturday:
My brother was born with cerebral palsy and it taught me that loving people isn’t a choice and that people aren’t actually all created equal,” the actor said, fighting back tears. “The Constitution lies to us. We’re not all created equal. We’re all created incredibly unequal to one another, in our capabilities and what we can do and how we think and what we see. But we all have the equal capacity to love one another, and my brother taught me that.
These spiritual window-shoppers, who idly ask,
‘How much is that?’ Oh, I’m just looking.
They handle a hundred items and put them down,
shadows with no capital.
What is spent is love and two eyes wet with weeping.
But these walk into a shop,
and their whole lives pass suddenly in that moment,
in that shop.
Where did you go? ‘Nowhere.’
What did you have to eat? ‘Nothing much.’
Even if you don’t know what you want,
buy something, to be part of the exchanging flow.
Start a huge, foolish project,
It makes absolutely no difference
what people think of you.
Late last night, we were driving home from town in the dark, when about a dozen mule deer appeared in our headlights. Deer on the road is not unusual, when you live in the country. They’d jumped the barb wire fence along the side of the road, and were milling about, trying to figure out what to do next. We were each in our own little worlds–the older boys were mostly asleep, Tom was concentrating on the road, I was thinking about what I needed to do once we got home, when Avery looked up and said, “WOW!”
We all sort of woke up when he said it, and agreed, it was absolutely a WOW moment. Avery was the only one who truly saw it–and without him, we would have missed it.
Do you know Kelly Rae Roberts? Her website makes me feel so happy, and full of inspiration!
Here’s a conversation we’ve been having a lot at my house, lately:
Avery: I’ve got good news!
Me: Terrific! I love good news. What’s up?
Avery: I’m a big one!
Me: Yes! You’re not a little boy, anymore. You’re big!
I love that he’s so proud of himself, and that he’s embracing all the changes that adolescence brings. I love that he’s not scared, or worried about the future. And I love that he makes me want to try to be brave, and hopeful, and not resistant to change, too.
because every day is World Down Syndrome Day, at our house! Lately, Avery has been saying he wants to go to college (I think he really just wants to go to the college cafeteria, where he can drink unlimited Dr. Peppers. But we will work on that…). So it’s wonderful to know about places that will support his dream.