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This has been an extraordinarily fantastic day.  My blog is usually so filled with frustration, sadness and despair – but not today.

First, it is a warm, slightly-breezy, summer-calm, bright, quiet, Paul-Newman-eyes-sky June day.

Now take a deep breath for this wondrously lengthy run-on sentence:

Since I no longer work in a building dressed in office clothes in a windowless area where I am isolated at a facing-a-corner desk, under pressure must-make-money selling advertising over the phone, BUT, rather, am now employed as a writer – typing tip tap tip in my hippie skirts and comfy t-shirts, from home, on the couch, for a charity I love, with the TV tuned to “light classical” 1270, all windows open, house clean, food & drink for whenever I feel like eating, Almanzo-kitty and Jack-dog at my side or in the yard, breezes and birds calling me outside where I stretch and break from work to water plants, walk barefoot to the park, garden a little…whatever I want so long as the work gets done, I am grateful because this alone makes every day like a fantasy-dream come true.

I can’t really express how I feel the need to pinch myself each day.  I wake when I want and I don’t have to go anywhere at all.  The work I do feels like painting a picture or making nature art by a stream.  Creation.  It’s a joy for me to write.  And I am unbelievably blessed.

What a deliverance. 

As the shock begins to wear off I am finding myself breathing slower, feeling more relaxed, smiling inside and out.  I sit in meditation easily.  My head and heart are clearer.  I’ve befriended new neighbors and gotten closer to old ones, and when I do not have writing work, I love to spread the word about Modest Needs, the foundation for which I am now director of communications.

But that’s just the groundwork for this awesome day.

Jonah’s caregivers, P and N, drove him up to this “second chance eye doc visit” (after the failed appointment-cut-short exactly a week ago today).  I met them at the van and Jonah came bounding out, smiling wide and with a fresh new hair cut.  We walked around outside and in the lobby for a good 20 minutes before they called P’s cell to tell us to come up and into an examining room.  Usually I underscore every last detail of all this, but today I will simply tell you Jonah was an angel.  A “normal” kid could not possibly have been more cooperative or have amused him/herself any better.  After waiting those 20 minutes downstairs, we waited again from 10:30am (when they called us in to a room) until 11:30am (when the doctor finally came in) and I tell you he was the picture of patience.

He walked in tight circles and we played “high five” and sang songs – everything from “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” to Guster’s “Keep it Together” to “B-I-N-G-O” to “Bye Bye Blackbird.”  I gave him a green octopus and many white tic-tacs.  He asked for hug and more hug and kiss eye and more kiss, over and over, his repetition sweet music.  I held him tight and kissed his eye, the top of his head, his shoulder…we made a game of it — we made a game of everything — he was happy and giggling, asking for donut? even as I made up a song about him asking for donut.  N and P are incredibly cool and we were able to talk and laugh among ourselves and along with Jonah.  

Donut?  Donut? he asked several dozen times, lest we forget.  He knows the drill: Number one: doctor.  Number two: donut.  Donut?  Donut?  “Yes, Boo, of course!”

He never fell apart, and we checked out and walked back downstairs.  I hugged P and N goodbye before kissing Boo soundly and sending him off to get his beloved donut.

I’m not going to ruin this post with details about Boo’s eye.  Later.  For now, just pictures.  I took several – here are some good ones:

First I opened the door of the van and gave him green octopus

First I opened the door of the van and gave him green octopus

happy boy, waiting in the lobby

Happy boy, waiting in the lobby

walking into the eye doc office

Walking into the eye doc office

...and being a really good boy for his ultrasound!     ...and being a really good boy for his ultrasound!

…and being a really good boy for his ultrasound!

It was damn near a miracle.

Today I pray one of my two main prayers (the other is please): 

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you!!!

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“There is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized, or even cured. The only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where (s)he can endure the acute stages in private and where food can be poked in with a stick.”

~ Robert A. Heinlein

Boo is much better.  He has had good days since Andy dropped him back at his residence on Monday, and he has made only a few, easily-redirected attempts at touching his eye.  Next Wednesday he will return to the surgeon doc so she can take a look at his progress.  I am extremely grateful today – for this good news of Boo…for my mother, whose calm & clean routine (and psyche) were so severely disrupted for far too long.  For my therapist and his insights…for all the friends and strangers and work clients who have reached out to me with such sincere caring and concerned support.

Today, though, I am particularly grateful for a new path I have chosen – one, in fact, chosen when I was perhaps just 8 or 9 years old: the path of the writer.  It is about as easy a path at which to eke out a living as is any art, which is hard as hell.  Finally, though, at the tender age of 43, I have done it – and in the most spectacularly amazing way, completely befitting my personality and skill-set.  Now I make my living entirely from writing, and from home, on my computer, often in my jammies.  Somehow I work far fewer hours and earn plenty — definitely enough — have amazing benefits and health insurance, and am working for (and with) an incredible group of philanthropists!  It is only my first week and already they have expressed great pleasure at my work.  The president actually told me it was an honor to be working with me.  Me!

I write and I write and I write, with the peaceful company of Jack the dog and Almanzo the cat as comfort and companions.  It is the bliss of one left alone to enter “the zone” a writer must find in order to have uninterrupted quiet to do what writers must do – what writers are compelled to do.  I am blessed enough to have always known who I am and what I should be doing; I am doubly blessed today to be actually doing it; I am thrice blessed to be working for a charity unlike no other – helping the working poor to become self-sufficient.  In fact the charity gives such a high percentage of its money to the people (and not to administrative costs) that it was a 2012 winner of the BBB’s “great non-profits top-rated award.”  There are anonymous donors matching contributions all the time, so there is virtually nothing that does not get to the people for whom these grant programs are designed to help.

I’ve been a faithful donor to this charity for more than 10 years, as it has always made sense to me as a place to give my money — where hard-working people can find one-time help to get past a roadblock which would otherwise send them spiraling into the cycle of poverty.  Now we are launching an exciting new grant program – and I get to be a part of doing all this good, while doing exactly what I love.  I can’t express my gratitude enough and am constantly uttering thank you…thank you…thank you….for this is all I have ever dreamed of and more.

There is the temptation to express disappointment and hurt at the deafening silence from my ex co-workers who have evidently forgotten me & the many kindnesses, acts of support, and affirmation I have shown to them over the years when any of them were faced with family tragedy, personal challenges, illnesses, or just because I felt like committing acts of kindness – for not a single one of them has shown me any support or even acknowledged me with so much as a card – and there were a handful there I really did consider friends.  But the hurt melts away when I realize I do not need to harbor any resentment or anger at all (and in fact it would be a waste of time) – for I am free now, and so very happy.  I can only wish them all the same.  Remember when Amy used to work here?

Thank you, God.

“Anyway” by Mother Teresa

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

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“Faithfulness to the past can be a kind of death above ground.  Writing of the past is a resurrection; the past then lives in your words and you are free.”  ~ Jessamyn West 

I know exactly what Jessamyn means, though I’d never have been able to state it so succinctly.  And so resurrection occurs for me this Easter through writing.  When you write about something, your perspective gets to control it; when it has already happened you can shift it…place it under the microscope of your perception.  You can then craft it, shaping it, painting and whittling and building.  When something inside me has died, this is its resurrection.

Several things died inside me yesterday.  I am hoping the writing of them will resurrect.

My mother wanted to drive us down to see Boo for “our Easter” with him.  On the trip I would look over at her, worry over her; she drives the car a little jerkily these days, and she has lost so much weight.  She has not smoked in almost a month, and I told her I was proud of her.  I am.  But for her to quit smoking, she must have been very close to calling-911 sick, that unable to breathe.  She doesn’t let on to things and she does not go to the doctor.  Ever.

And so my mother and Andy and I repeat this process every Saturday, spinning the wheel of Jonah-Fortune, each time getting a different result.  This time my mother and I passed a truck on the way down; on its back was painted a Bible passage about hope and trust in the Lord.  This my mother took to be a good sign.  I took it too.  If  God wants to throw us a bone, I’m a grateful pup.

Anyway, Jonah’s school had an Easter Egg hunt that morning, and Jonah loved it, they told us.  I wish there were pictures, a video.  I wish I could be Big Brother watching.  No, not really.

I just want to watch my son smile and laugh.  He laughed on the way to the apartment.  We held hands and sang Guster songs and Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.  We played Where is Thumbkin…

I took 3 pictures of us.   I’m a homely thing, but I’ll post one anyway.  Jonah must have gotten the cute from his dad’s side. 

When we first got to the apartment everything started as usual — Jonah almost immediately stripping down for a bath, my mother spreading out food on the table, Andy supervising the filling of the tub, me preparing to help where I’m needed.

Downhill it all went, quick as a bunny, you might say, and there isn’t going to be much of a blow-by-blow today because I don’t have it in me.  Jonah ramped up and ramped up, splashing water, then throwing his plate of food, then turning like lightning and going for my face.  I caught his wrists, he scratching the insides of my wrists.  On time-out in the bedroom Jonah decided to use poop as a weapon and started to push.

Andy quickly picked him up and put him on the toilet, where Jonah finished pooping – but not before he got some on the white knitted throw.  Andy did restrictive holds and scolded Jonah while my mom put the bedspread in the sink, scrubbing it, and I stood in silence.  There was fighting and yelling among us all.  It was chaotic and felt dangerous and wrong.  It made me want to scream that scream inside me, the scream that keeps getting bigger, tight and thick as a brick.    All this was supposed to be our little Easter celebration.  I didn’t eat more than a few bites.  I don’t know how long it will take for this to feel like another new normal.

I think it’s time we make an appointment with Jonah’s caseworker and we can all go and talk about Jonah, ask for guidance, find out what’s working for them and what isn’t, find out something.  Find out anything.

Eventually we did get a small amount of playground time with Jonah, and we walked over to the vending machines and bought him pink lemonade. “Pool? pool?” he even asked as we passed the gated, empty, cavernous rectangle .

Yes, bunny, pool is coming…just a few more months…

Then back to the playground, where he actually scampered up the slide and on other play equipment (as opposed to swinging to the exclusion of all else).  Abruptly he asked for “Birch House?” –which is where he lives, right next to the playground.  His bedroom window overlooks it, the play area…his favorite swing… the pool beyond it.  We followed him in to say goodbye.  I know now how to put my brain and heart on NEUTRAL or I couldn’t do this thing again and again and again.

A small scratch Jonah had made just under my right eye stung every time I cried yesterday.  My wrists look mysteriously pocked, almost pecked – The Birds style.

But mostly it’s exhausting emotionally for us all.  Sometimes I don’t think Andy is doing well, I know my mother isn’t doing well, and as for me, writing is my resurrection.    Still, there is doubt in everything I do — in every motive.  Am I too self-conscious or merely self-aware?  Am I hyper-sensitive or is everyone else desensitized?

And how the heck does the Easter Bunny get from house to house?  I do not believe this has ever been explained to me.

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