Archive for May, 2012

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.”

~ Joseph Campbell

Me & Boo


by Guster

A gaping wound tells the story of it all
A man lost only to find
What was left of his mind
With no hope of a scar at all
You say, “Go slow”
But something’s right behind me
I can run away for only so long
It will not stop
I will come down
Oh no
Let me find my way
I’ll take you to the edge
Go across that window
And I’ll carry you there
Oh when nothing goes right
Oh when days don’t come tonight
Oh when all I see is the error of my own enemy
A man alone and cut and torn for it
His whole life friend after friend
They’re all a flash in the pan
With no hope of rejoice at all
Let me find my way
(Don’t be scared of what you might be thinking)
I’ll take you to the edge
Go across that window
And I’ll carry you….

I love how you can see his reflection in the car window here

What a beautiful weekend this is.  What a happy boy was Boo yesterday.  He is the dawn after my darkest.   Jonah is such a joy…clever and curious…a mischievous boy with a sometimes silly, sometimes subtle, sense of humor.

And this time when we visited the river/train he really wanted to dip his feet in the water.    (The whole thing was my fault because I took off my sandals and dipped my feet in, and then he wanted to also, so we both did).

We splashed around together and giggled and got pretty wet – the kind of wet you don”t worry that much about because it’s sunny and warm enough to dry you pretty quickly.

Jonah, splashing around with Knockout Ned

Captain Jonah surveying the land

for Boo there’s nothing better than water

A patriotic Jonah sports a shirt from “Pa”

Jonah, watching them take a boat out of the water near the dock where he usually sits

After my mom and I left, Jonah stayed with his dad and they likely played some more, hit some of Jonah’s favorite hot-spots.   Again today Andy went to pick up Boo, bring him back to his apartment, give him lunch, a bath,  and spend time with him.

Maybe he will be able to take him overnight some day.  It is enough to have small steps.  It is enough.  Seeds, sprouting slowly, but sprouting nonetheless.

Jonah meditates under his daddy’s careful watch

Today I gardened and gardened and gardened.  I found all the little pots I could and filled them with soil and impatiens, and I dug in the earth and planted some.  Things are about as pretty as they’ve ever been in both my front and back yards.  I weeded as much as I could, and M mowed the front and back, and then we were hot and tired, so we came in and I decided to sit in front of my fan and blog.

My lovely flowers…the key to flowers is perennials, I think.  More perennials.  I am so not a gardener, but when I garden I feel joy.  I don’t use gloves…I need to feel the soil and let the earth move through my fingers.  (You get very, very under-the-fingernails dirty and usually a whole lot of scratches this way, but still it is the only way I can do it).

I’m going outside to take pictures of the friendly flowers and prickly plants and prickly flowers and friendly plants I played with today.

somehow the focus is on that bud off to the right…

I think Emily was correct:

“Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.” ~ Emily Dickinson

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Today, a poem I wrote some years ago, about Jonah’s birth:

When finally the doctors sigh,
speaking masked amongst themselves,
and cut you
out of me, I am but a writhing animal,
drugged and brazen-blind by dazzling alien lights.

Then there are pillows, and silence,
and you are sleeping on my chest

and suddenly I have a star, and the moon,
and everything else unceasingly celestial…
my view so clear I memorize the shape
of every constellation.

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There is a fine line between telling my story “sans sugar” and telling too much, or, worse, lacing it with saccharine.  The truth is, the narrator is still not exactly sure where she belongs in this world, if she belongs in it at all – but also that this doesn’t matter.  It’s all about Jonah.

For an only child like me it’s a tough pill to swallow sometimes.  It isn’t at all about me.  And yet, can I be relieved of my role in all of this?  Of course not.  Jonah needs his mama.

Still I sometimes think:  I can’t live this life anymore

And:   What a nice hot day to park the car at the top of the Rhinebeck Bridge — so perfectly inviting for suicidals – no barriers to your leap, yet reminding you every few hundred feet or so that LIFE IS WORTH LIVING.  I know I have mentioned this bridge before.  I’ve always wanted to fly, and that view is so spectacular, and if I ever did come to that fine line and cross it, I think that would be my place to fly-bye

And:  I wonder if other people have places in their minds, like I do.   My place is like the cyanide pill they ostensibly give you when you go up in the space shuttle.  It is a choice you may never have to make but one that’s comfortingly there nonetheless

I still, though, think:  I have to do whatever it takes to ensure Jonah’s health, education, happiness, and nurturing.  I must ensure everything.  Some of that everything is making sure things can stay the way the are, and it looks like things are going to need my help for that to happen

And I berate myself:  You ain’t going nowhere, fool

And I can dance around things that were said this weekend, and all the millions of ways, as usual, in which I was spectacularly weak.  But I’ll post pictures too, for Jonah was mostly good, albeit scattered and frenetic.

It was a sunny day, almost too hot.  A beautiful Saturday, and a good portion of Jonah’s day and mood mirrored that.

Andy was kind enough to drive Jonah up to visit us at my mother’s house.

my mom’s next door neighbors kindly let jonah use their play-set and pool, once it’s opened. jonah asked for “Pool?” a dozen or so times.

At home way at the top, my climber-boo

hey mama!!! hey mama!!!

Eventually he wanted to go see train so we piled in the car, Jonah singing along to the Top-40 Andy’s got on the radio.   We were relieved to see the green light down the tracks meaning a train is coming, so we pulled into a parking lot to wait and watch for it, like we’ve done hundreds and hundreds of times before.

This time, though, he got scared of the train after a few seconds.

This was the last of the pictures for the day.

Out of nowhere he grabbed for my hair.  I know what to do when someone pulls your hair (grab their fist and pull it in toward your head) so it wasn’t a big deal.  Andy got out of the car to let me out of the car, and then Jonah burst into tears, sobbing and upset.  Within minutes, though, he was okay and we were able to say bye bye to the train (thank God it wasn’t a long one) and go back to Grandma’s for another shower.  His beloved train reminded him of how much he misses home?  No.  Don’t invent things inside Jonah’s head, I tell myself.  You’ve got enough troubles inside your own. 

Today M and I went on a long Sunday ride, just like in the olden days when it was deemed neither wrong nor unusual to do so.  When we got home I planted flowers in the God-awful hot for about 13 minutes until I felt I would die.  I thought about Andy, and how unless I am mistaken he is working for somebody today doing some mulching under this same heat, and how under that same sun too my boy probably asked for pool ad infinitum.

Tomorrow I have to go back to producing numbers; here I can produce words.  It’s a fine line, my tightrope.  Sundays are difficult.  And I only took 3rd place in a “query letter” contest I was hoping to win.   And I’m not schooled in query letters.  Looks like I have some work to do.  First place was the opportunity and $500 to self-publish.  

I don’t really want to self-publish anyway.  Isn’t that, after all, what I’m already doing?

Anyway.  Jonah has his daddy close-by.  Today, after all that hot work in the sun, Andy came and got Jonah and kept him for another part of the day.

“He was fine,” Andy told me on the phone. “He had a fun day.”

For me, for now, it is enough.  As usual it is still only early evening and I am bone tired.  I imagine Jonah settling in to sleep.  I miss watching him sleep but imagining it is sweet — I can use memories and visions and dreams.  It is good.

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“And this is why my eyes are closed
It’s just as well for all I’ve seen
And so it goes, and so it goes
And you’re the only one who knows

“So I would choose to be with you
That’s if the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break

And so it goes, and so it goes
And you’re the only one who knows…”

And So it Goes, Billy Joel

The phrase “and so it goes” appears 106 times in Kurt Vonnegut Jr’s book Slaughterhouse Five.   The story continually employs the refrain “so it goes” when death, dying, and mortality occur, as a narrative transition to another subject, and to explain the unexplained. (from wikipedia)

This morning was the first of 5 doctor visits for Boo up here in Albany…and each time he’ll be escorted by his peeps, E & J.  Today we saw Dr. S, the glaucoma doc who is borderline strange but quite efficient, matter of fact, businesslike,  and nonplussed * unaffected by Jonah’s colorful personality. 

The nurses and staff all know us by now and are very kind to Jonah.  When we go there we wait in the hallway outside so Jonah can pace around, and they come out to get us when doc is ready.  In the meantime Jonah frolics in the hallway, crouching and running and shouting happily.  He loves E & J.   I love them too.

J put gloves on Jonah, and they played high five and gimme the pound, bumping fists.  Jonah’s getting to be such a good boy at his doctor appointments.  He is brave and sweet and funny.  Even if I’m under some sort of mother-spell skewing my perception completely, it feels good to have seen him, all lovey and silly.  Precious Boo.

He’ll need another eye operation; they want to take the Reticert implant out.  It’s been there 2 1/2 years now and Dr. S wants it out soon, so Jonah will have another appointment with Dr. S, but first an appointment at the pediatric rheumatologist, a pre-op appointment at the eye surgeons, then the surgery itself, then follow up appointments, etc.  Can you imagine if I didn’t have E & J?  Andy or I would have to pick him up and drop him back off every time.  The transportation to and from doctor appointments, paired with two individuals like J & E, is an invaluable service and responsibility.  I have no idea how they do it.  Thank God they do.

You probably can’t tell, but he’s laughing his head off here, wearing his exam gloves and knocking on the door three times, shouting “knock knock knock!” each time.  Little peanut butter, E calls him. He wanted me to give him noogie and knock knock knock lightly on his noggin, silly with giggles and ready for mischief.  Wan go van? he’d ask J on occasion, and J would distract him with lists of delicious things to eat:  french fries!  pizza!  bleu cheese! circle pepperoni

When it was time to go I kissed Jonah soundly as he settled into his cushion-y nest they’d made for him in the back of the van.  I entrust him to others. 

I have to, but with E & J, I am actually glad to. 

* I believe that most people misuse the word “nonplussed” – including me.  I always thought it meant “unfazed.”  Turns out it means exactly the opposite.  

So it goes.

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I celebrated my Mother’s Day yesterday with my mom and Jonah and Jonah’s dad Andy.  We didn’t do anything particularly special, except Jonah (read Andy) got me a lovely basket with candles and soap and lollipops in it.

Jonah (read my mother) also got me a gift card to TGIFriday’s, and a yummy box of chocolates.  And Jonah (read M) got me a beautiful jewelry armoire, and Jonah (my little “adopted daughter J” from four Winds) sent me a dozen roses!

My dad sent me a simple, beautiful card that touched my heart.  Friends are texting me, e-mailing me:  Happy Mother’s Day!

Jonah sure is generous, through the hearts of so many who wanted to give him the voice to tell me he loves me, on this first Mother’s Day without him.  Thank you, little Boo and all who speak on your behalf.  I love you so.  I do not want to tell you how I cried bitterly into my pillow this morning, feeling sorry for myself because my only child is far away from me.  So I will tell you instead how grateful I am to have my beautiful boo, my sweet precious boy.  I will tell you it is not even noon and I have wiped my tears and planted seeds in my garden — morning glory seeds to climb and wrap themselves around things.  Soon I will go outside and play more in the earth and dirt, turning over soil and, without getting all weird about it, allow the sun and earth to mother me.

Yesterday was also a beautiful day for Boo to enjoy – we did all Jonah’s favorite things & haunted all his familiar spots:

Sipping on some strawberry milk…in the tub

Swinging high on his favorite swing. Luckily, no one else has ever been on it when we’ve gone to the park!  There’d be trouble…

Looking longingly at the Hudson River. He’d get naked, jump in, and swim around for a long while if we let him…it was 84 degrees, too…

More longing for the water…

He finally leaned so far off the dock that he could swish his hands in the water…

…but daddy was right there. I think if they fell in Jonah would be rescuing Andy!

…and of course among the pansies Valiant Valerie whispers “Happy Mother’s Day!” to me, her adopted mommy…and to my own mom – to all mothers and not-mothers everywhere…to those who wish they could be mothers, and to mothers who have lost children…to those who have chosen not to have children, and to those who have made adoption plans for children they could not care for….for all the mothers crying today, for all the mothers laughing today…for all the children and adults who have lost their own mothers…

Have a happy, blessed day anyway, everyone.

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Today Jonah was a little lover, if a bit screechy and semi-hysterical.  I guess the usual.  Only one small glasses-snatching hair-pulling incident, but Andy pulled over and got him off me.  “Daddy in backseat?” asks Jonah incessantly, but neither my mom nor I can drive Andy’s stick-shift car so Jonah’s gotta choose between grandma or momma to have in the backseat with him.  “Momma in backseat?”  he decides in the form of a question.

He requested “Noogie?” right away.  I guess that’s how you spell it – when you rub your fist into someone’s head.  He loves playing knock knock knock on his head too, and though it had fallen out of fashion, his new gimme-the-pound (where you bump your fists together) has brought back the memory of his sensory-input fiesta.

Speaking of Fiestas, it is Cinco de mayo.  “Say cinco de mayo,” I told Jonah.

“Cinco tomorrow,” he answered with his big grin, shaking the maracas I’d brought him.  The pictures tell the story, a good one today, thank God:

(Watchdog Wally’s holding the maraca)

He’s shaking the maracas so fast that the one is blurry…

My big Boo, watching his beloved water…

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