29 February 2008


Is any parent getting enough sleep? That's the question pondered today at the S-R blog.

It is a question my friends and I have pondered for years as we sleep with our children in tow, welcoming them into our beds at all hours, and nursing on demand at anytime they wish. There are nights when it seems exhausting, nights when it seems never ending, but here I am now, with a child about to turn two and nearly done with co-sleeping.

Oh, perhaps he'll still be in my bed another year or two, but I wouldn't trade these moments for anything. Just this morning, my older two crawled into bed with me and we stared for nearly an hour at Sawyer's sighs, turns and movements. He looked angelic as he slept and the three of us couldn't get enough of it.

I have known each moment when my kids have run a fever, when it's broken, when they feel sick, when they have aching teeth, when they need to get a drink of water, when they can't fall asleep, when they need to go to the bathroom, when they have bad dreams, when they have good dreams, when they cough, when they are ready to nurse again, when they think Terry's breast is mine, when they mistake snuggling with him to snuggling with me, when they kick off their blankets, when they pull the blankets up to their chin, when they hiccup, when they sigh, when they take a breathe.

These moments, I hold on to them, I see them disappearing, I see them growing up, and these moments, I can't get enough of them!

26 February 2008


I am surprised by my reaction. Ten years ago, I would have been enraged, angry and shocked. But today, I find myself sympathetic to this nanny, and I'm not sure why.

It is easy though to toss the blame toward her, to direct our anger toward her. But it is much harder to find sympathy, to find empathy in a situation that seems so sad.

I don't condone her behavior, nor do I find it so shocking either. Is it because I have become desensitized? I actually think quite the opposite. It is easy to be judgmental and point fingers and find blame. But if we step for a moment, really step, into her shoes, perhaps we can see after six weary hours, two babies, in a strange house, how it might happen. Is she alone? Does she have any supportive friends or other nannies to get together with? Does she know what she is doing is wrong?

I don't know. But what I do know is that I can hold my kids closer tonight. I can kiss their cheeks and rub my eyelashes against theirs and be grateful for these small moments.

24 February 2008


I went to see Gypsy tonight at the Opera House in Spokane and I was surprised toward the end that I teared up. In a scene where Mama Rose and Loise are fighting and they mention that June has gone away. There is a small moment when Mama Rose realize that what she really misses is her own mother who abandoned her when she was a child and there it is... That longing, that feeling of loss, that mother-daughter connection zapped. It is in those moments that my own tears can fall so quickly.

It is an emotional response to a feeling deep within me. It didn't help also that when I left tonight, I left with Sophia sobbing for me not to go out. She can pull at me, tear at me, and I have to keep my emotional self in check at those moments. It is a difficult place to be and a tricky point to maneuver between distinguishing emotional manipulation and emotional maturity. I know that Sophia misses me sometimes when I leave but I also know that she is going to be okay, better than okay, in Terry's care. So I struggle with that sometimes.

But we all struggle and in those moments, I am reminded of the power of love, of the pull of love, of the genuine breadth of it all. Love does not boast. It is not proud. It is not self-seeking. Love is. And I am. And Grace is love.

23 February 2008

Shoe Shopping

My seven-year-old and almost two-year-old went shopping today for shoes. Sophia was ready for a pair of spring shoes, you know, puddle jumping, flip flopping, slip on and slip off kind of shoes. She found several pair that she liked in size 13 1/2. And while she tried them on, Sawyer and I walked over to the size 6 shoes for him. But I found myself gravitating toward the size 8 and 10. Is that what size Grace would wear? And of course as it always is in any store, the girls shoes outnumber the boys easily two to one. And all the shoes in 8's and 10's where the same kind as Sophia's--matching shoes--how cute would that be.

My two girls walking around in matching shoes, Grace mimicking Sophia, Grace wanting the same shoes, the same color, the same kind.

It reminds me a bit of Hannah's shoes, have you read Maria Housden's book? Hannah's Gift: Lessons from a Life Fully Lived. It's a classic, it's a heart breaker, it's compelling. Go get it and prepare to be absorb. Oh and have a box of Kleenex nearby: Hannah's Gift: Lessons from a Life Fully Lived

Enough said. When I see a pair of red shoes in the children's department, I think of Hannah, I think of Maria, I think of Grace.

20 February 2008

One more 75-worder

When my mother handed me my father’s sunglasses—ray bans—from the 60’s, I was certain that I’d see things I hadn’t seen before when I looked through the green-colored lenses. Did he wear them the day he died? Did he wear them with his collar on and tuck them into his robes before he stood up at the pulpit? Did he ever wonder why his direct line to God couldn’t save his life? Because I did.

A Contest

Who doesn't love a contest? Who doesn't love a contest where money is given away?

Try it. You at least will enjoy reading others.

Oronte Churm

Here's my attempt using 74 words:

She didn’t know when she was five years old and staring at the hole growing bigger in her father’s back that her world was growing smaller. She didn’t know at 34 years old when she was staring at her unmoving belly that her whole world could grow even smaller still. If all the pieces of your own puzzle fall in ruins at your feet, how do you know which piece to pick up first?

19 February 2008

Saving the planet

Our local newspaper, The Spokesman Review, has gone the way of blogs for many topics. I don't know how many people actually read them, but a former colleague is one of the moderators, and I often go on to post things. Sometimes they create a bit of 'anger' in me or a reactionary response, but mostly it is food for thought. Her recent question had to do with 'eco moms' and my response is below. I wonder sometimes, if Grace had been my first child, how I would have responded to things differently. It is after all a much different response then I might have given five years ago.

You know, I think it's a really interesting topic and one certainly to bring up. I have gone from one end to the other and hopefully landed somewhere in the middle. When my kids were young, we were in a mom's group and we all sat around breastfeeding our babies, changing our cloth diapers, sharing organic snacks, and I think, feeling pretty smug about our choices.

But I never felt quite comfortable because I remember thinking, "So if a mom walks in here with a bottle and paper diapers and a bag of Cheetos," are we just going to toss her out? Of course, it didn't happen because like-minded moms ban together and we were never around bottle-feeding, cheeto eating moms.

And on some level, I felt like I was missing out on something that maybe those moms could teach me. And I wonder about that now in conjunction to this question.

I think the 'eco movement' is good. I think we need to look at the bigger picture and we need to send out a message that enough is enough. But we can't do it all at once and we can't see it all done in our lifetime, and I think it can all happen, one conversation at a time, at the dinner table with our kids. And it can happen when we use cloth napkins; and when we grab that paper diaper, we can be glad that we have the resources now to purchase the diapers and perhaps tonight at the dinner table with the cloth napkin, we can make a difference with the children in front of us.

I just re-read To Kill a Mockingbird last month and I also reminded of the timeliness of the novel written almost 50 years ago. As Atticus Finch says so wisely, "If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."

For me, this holds true today as it does any day.

16 February 2008


It is four years, eight months, and 18 days since Grace died. It is good to remind myself of this sometimes, to try to understand how time passes, how it moves neither forward nor back but it just moves. I want to be moved, I want to be reminded of Grace, I want to remember her small face, her even smaller hands.
Terry took a short but meaningful video of us shortly after she was born, and I had fallen asleep without knowing that I had fallen asleep. Grace is lying on top of me and I am holding her and you can see the rise and fall of my chest as I breath and in the video, it looks as if she is breathing too, moving up and down on me and I love that. I love that I can pretend for a moment that she is moving, she is breathing, she is there alive and well.
And sometimes, I look at the pictures I have of her but there are so few, so few poses, so few of these pictures and she never changes, never grows, never moves forward in time. Time is frozen into one moment, one place and one time. It neither moves forward nor backwards, nor does it move at all. And if I close my eyes, I can go to that moment, to that space with Grace, with her in my arms, and when I revisit that place now, it is not so much filled with pain, but a moment of peace, of joy to have her in my arms, to be sleeping again and breathing with her. And if I could, I would have her here: Carver, Sophia, Grace, and Sawyer--all of them together here and now. But that can't happen and won't happen and knowing this pulls at something deep within me and the longing remains and the longing aches but there is love there too. And for now I must live in the time of the angels, in a space where time exists neither as a movement toward the future nor away from the past but just simply living in the moment, in the here and now. With Grace and without.

Break the Spell

Okay, if you want to be moved, if you want to fall in love, if you want to have an emotional shift, if you want to be lulled, if you want to be changed, if you want to be amazed, if you want to feel passion, if you want to feel hope, if you want to feel a change coming on in our country, then go out and buy this cd or download the cd or get 10 for you and your friends.


Have you gone yet? What are you waiting for? Go. Now. Get.

13 February 2008

e e cummings

What can I say about this poet? He says it all best of all:

the moon is hiding in
her hair.
of heaven
full of all dreams,
draws down.

cover her briefness in singing
close her with intricate faint birds
by daisies and twilights
Deepen her,

upon her
the rain's

pearls singly-whispering.

e.e. cummings