Almost beautiful enough…Cricket & Tucker

Sabattus, Maine

 

As I learn more about Cricket and Tucker and their many adventures in Sabattus, Maine with Pam and her family, I find myself relating  their story to pieces of my own. I have a strong urge to somehow transform their journey into an adult novel but know that first it is a children’s book in the making. Cricket, a duck with a slightly misshaped beak was in line to be culled. It’s a deformity that one has to look intently upon to notice, it seems a stretch that it would mean that she was not worthy of being sold to a farm or as a pet. Still, having an unsymmetrical beak changed the course of Cricket’s life and in it’s own way would unexpectedly affect many others .

Jamie-Rae Brown

Color portrait of Cricket : Jamie-Rae Brown

Cricket is a soft and loving supporting role in our series. She is noble and kind and never seems to ask for anything in return for the support and strength she offers daily to Tucker. Her presence in the barn in Sabattus, Maine allows for Tucker, born with a genetic defect like Cricket, to exist. He was hatched with a neck that is unable to extend and is bent over. Cricket is his crutch, his leverage to move about to and fro, from the barn to the yard and provides him with unconditional love, wrapping him in warmth and support as he faces many challenges each day.

Tears formed gently in the corner of my eyes as I read Pam’s text describing one account of how Tucker would be lost without Cricket, that no other duck from any flock will accept him. Tucker not only has Cricket, he has Pam and her family. Pam is humble and would never say that her animals would be lost without her love and caring. She shared with me that due to her own struggles in life she gravitates to animals that are “unwanted” and are pushed aside as if they are disposable. Sharing these thoughts here, there is a lump in my throat and a heaviness sitting in my stomach. Is it possible that certain groups of animals and people in our world have become disposable, a population that doesn’t seem to matter or share the value of others. What makes certain animals or people less desirable or worthy?

As I begin writing the story of Cricket and Tucker, two undesirable ducks, I find these questions swarming and asking me to check my own compass to see where I sit with these matters of heart and mind. There were many times in my own childhood in which I felt cast off or on my best days, almost beautiful enough to fit in and be a part of the whole. What causes each of us to create these invisible standards for ourselves and others and why do they apply them to animals?  Cricket is a special duck who seems to be able to rise above it all.  She runs out to greet Pam or Christian, Pam’s son, when they come to the coop to feed the ducks or change out their straw. Tucker is slow and always last. He takes much longer to greet Pam and Christian but he never stays behind, he always makes the effort to be a part of the flock. Cricket lovingly waits for Tucker while the other duck have departed, long before he can get there.

While Cricket’s only difference is her slightly misshaped beak, Tucker is severely handicapped and is vulnerable to predators. Neither duck can fly, they are too big. Tucker makes a unique whistle sound with every breath he takes because of the position of his neck being in a constant downward slump since being born. He can’t lift his head or even stand up straight and needs Cricket’s body to help him stand up or lay down. Somehow Cricket knows that Tucker needs her to survive and she makes herself available to him, always sticking by his side. Both were born with a genetic defect which will prevent either of them ever being able to be used for breeding are finding their way through life with the help of Pam. If not for her saving them both from being culled their story wouldn’t even exist. Pam’s ability to love all animals gave the two ducks a second chance at life, at being able to be each other’s support and companion.

It’s this innate knowing, unconditional love and admiration that we are going to place in the heart of the Cricket and Tucker series. They are not the only animals that Pam and her family watch over in Sabattus, Maine. How could they be? As I begin to learn their names and hear their stories from Pam, the urge to write their stories into books for children grows stronger and stronger each day. This journey has just begun but it has already taken over my heart and I hope to do their story justice as we share it with all of you.

 

 

 



  • On Our Way…a special side of Cricket and Tucker

    Sometimes at first glance, everything seems normal just as it should be. We are accustomed to sizing up life and quickly placing each of its pieces into compartments giving us a sense of organization and relief that somehow we are in control of our days.  Yesterday I asked Pam if she could send me some information about Cricket and Tucker, her two ducks.

    I had intended on finding pockets of time in the store to write but was pleasantly surprised by visits from friends, family, and shoppers who were just coming in to check us out for the first time.  Throughout the day my phone would light up alerting me that I had a new text from Pam and as I glanced over would see that she was sending me information that I couldn’t  ingest or even respond to properly with people in the store. It made my heart beat a bit faster knowing that I would eventually be able to sit down and begin ready about how Cricket and Tucker came into Pam’s life and how she had saved them both from being culled.Cricket and Tucker

    When I first heard her use the word cull, my mind pictured  a lobster. I grew up working in a restaurant in Pepperell Cove and quickly learned about one armed lobsters that were used for their meat in lobster rolls. I admitted my ignorance and asked her what she meant by culled in reference to the ducks. My stomach sank a bit, I knew it couldn’t be a pleasant thing. As she described the process, the dark side of farming emerged. It’s the side of having a farm that mostly goes unspoken; when chicks are born with splayed legs, predators get into the pastures and barns, and animals become ill or hurt beyond repair.

    A beautiful sketch of Crickett  - Jaime-Rae Mason

    A beautiful sketch of Cricket – Jaime-Rae Brown

    Cricket was born with a deformed beak, barely recognizable upon first glance and Tucker with a broken neck.  As Pam described them both her eyes lovingly painted them in a way that could be nothing but endearing: Cricket’s beak seemed normal to her and Tucker reminded her of the hunchback of Notre Dame but she would never refer to him by the name not wanting to draw attention to his slumped over neck. As I listened to Pam unravel how she couldn’t let the two ducks be culled just because they weren’t perfect something caught in my throat. My mind began to wander as she delved deeper into her journey bringing the ducks home and taking gentle care of them as the grew from ducklings into full fledged ducks.

    As we sat and talked about Pam’s animals and the reasons she took them into her home, I couldn’t help but acknowledge the urge to write her words into a story and in that moment a new project emerged. Pam’s incredible journey of nursing special animals into a safe, loving space and her incredibly talented daughter, Jamie drawing them into memory. So here I sit in South Berwick in our new store sharing a new adventure of Cricket and Tucker and their many friends from Sabattus, Maine.



  • We’re On OUR WAY…a journey of love, hope, and the pursuit of happiness

    Unwanted and waiting to be culled

    Unwanted and waiting to be culled

    The magic of life often happens when we least expect it.  Out of nowhere, it suddenly appears and gives off the feeling that somehow it has always been there. Why should I expect that on a hot, humid Thursday in South Berwick, Maine, it should be any different.

    I left our farm earlier than usual and drove the short distance to our new store in town just off Main street. The girls were at their dads house and Max and Sophie had both stayed at friends’ houses. I pulled into the furthest space to the right and turned off my ignition. The heaviness of the August air met me as soon as I opened my door and stepped out onto the pavement.  I brushed a loose strand of hair behind my ear and grabbed my briefcase and keys.

    I’ve created a simple routine to opening the store each morning; the lights, music go on first and fill the store. Then I carry out the bright pink and deep red geraniums along with the open flag and old wooden deck chairs to welcome people in. I flip the open sign and place it over the bright yellow wreath on the door and then finally heave the white tent sign with our logo down to the busy corner to catch a passerby’s eye or two.

    I opened my laptop armed and ready for a slow day of sales, determined to psyche myself up to charge into bookkeeping and marketing. I had even promised myself that after I had gotten caught up in QuickBooks I would dedicate some time to writing. As my computer powered up, I talked myself into a large cup of coffee from Madison’s. It would only take a minute and it felt good saying hello to my old friend and new neighbor. I love cutting through the alley and simply  appearing on her side patio always walking up to customers having breakfast alfresco. Before I can even see their faces I am almost always greeted by the wafting scent of fresh maple in the air. It feels like I’ve somehow come home.

    After getting a freshly brewed cup of morning blend and saying hello to an old friend and making two new ones, I quickly stepped back through the charming alley to our store and opened the cash register and returned to my laptop. Before I could even get the program open the door alerted me to a visitor and I was off in friendly conversations for the better part of the day. It wasn’t till after lunch when I found myself sitting with Pam and her daughter Jaime,  having a conversation that would not only just change the direction of my evening, but curiously seem to have an affect on the next few months as well.  As they sat in our “comfy community chairs” we caught up on life since we had last parted and I was able to listen and get to know her amazing daughter who looks like a new teenager but is actually in her twenties.

    As conversations go, ours took an unexpected journey towards creating a story about their two ducks, two dogs, and cat named Homey. The idea dropped down from nowhere in between us and began multiplying, growing, and becoming its own living, breathing project. That is where I find myself tonight, laying in bed next to Kyle as he listens to Jerry and I’m typing feverishly to get everything out and down before I forget the many delicious details. A blog post already much too long doesn’t even scratch the surface of the magic that continued to unfold this afternoon born from a story of two  ducks who were to be culled. I can tell you that they were rescued and are living and breathing a beautiful life. Tucker and Cricket are their names and their story dark, horrid, and inspirational beyond words is still left to be told. I sense a new blog coming on…well suffice to say that I will be back soon to begin the story of Tucker and Cricket and their friends Sadie, Sully, and Homey. Please join us on this new magical adventure of love, hope, and the pursuit of happiness.



  • Finding You…A wish for a friend

    images

    Today, I sit here in the quiet imaging the very same for my friend who I’ve known for more than twenty years. I’ve watched her struggle, play, and grow over the years into a phenomenal woman. I’ve felt her caring sensitivities to life and want the very best life has to offer for her, so this is my wish for her. It’s a simple wish, a magical wish but one in which she is so deserving.

    Here is my wish story for my very dear Swedish friend:

    I wish and hope that on a day in the not too near future, sometime before mid August that my dear friend will meet face to face a certain person who will make her smile inside out and know that she has found someone to join on an amazing adventure in life. This certain person will come in to life almost as if by complete accident but the coincidence of the way in which it happens will be too serendipitous to dismiss. It will be a simple moment, turning around to leave after paying at a cashier, bumping into someone in line at the movies, or stopping to pick something up that someone dropped and almost bumping their head as they do they same. This will be how you meet. Typing this into words on my screen makes me smile and gives me goosebumps across my arms and into my heart.

    Undoubtedly this person, this man, will be kind with a heart full of grace and good natured spirit. He will be quiet in his way and will have a knowledge of what it means to allow others to simply be.  His mischievous smile will give hints to the many adventures you will embark on together both being out going and social.   There will be so much laughter and joy as you find yourselves in situations of comedy and unexplored territories which are filled with breathtaking scapes and skylines.  And at the end of each day he will always remember to say the simple things that mean the most and  fill your times apart with simple notes of love and beauty. He will know love and will nurture it between you both in the most healthy of ways. You will have no doubt that you want to take the next step with this stable, solid individual because every cell in your body will be telling you to, that it is the direction best meant for you, for him.

    This is my simple wish of love for you my friend, today as I sit at my keyboard in a quiet space and think of you and your lovely future just ahead in the coming months.  Life is a beautiful thing, especially when shared with someone you find to love in the very best way.



  • Day Two – July 15, 2017

    the beginningIt’s a quiet still morning, day two of my new writing adventure. I’m excited to be back at the keyboard finding my way back to the place that has always felt the most comfortable for me and the sea of calm that appears when I do.  We’ve opened a little storefront in the past weeks and in its space I’ve rediscovered the space to write.  One of the first things we brought to the store to fill it after we finished painting, was a pair of comfy overstuffed armchairs. We positioned them facing outwards in the back corner of the store with the intent of creating a place for friends and family to sit and stay awhile, a place to gather for conversation.

    In the short weeks that the door has been open for business, some of the most interesting conversations have already taken place. There have been bits of serendipity, friends popping in at the exact right moment to find our way around thoughts, feelings, and happenings in our life and new faces getting to know one another and make connections and ties from other parts of our lives.  Having a store creates and unpredictable pattern of experiences and that bring forward a simple joy. When Kyle and I were exploring the idea of opening a storefront in South Berwick we left ourselves open to exactly what it would be that we would create for a business together. We had toyed for years with the idea of bringing back a bakery to Main Street even though neither of us had a ton of experience in creating confections and waking up at the crack of dawn to do so.

    Then one quiet afternoon, sitting outside at Madison’s café, we saw an open storefront and began to wonder out loud with one another. We started speculating what it could be that we could do that would be something we could create and that would also fulfill a need of both our town, community, and would attract people from surrounding towns. We started joking at first, dreaming out loud of how we could transform the space across the street next to our friend’s law firm into a viable business that we could grow slowly and develop into a family business. I picked up my phone and smiled and said to Kyle, “let’s ask facebook.” I took a picture of the row of shops including the empty space and quickly posted the question, “What is South Berwick missing?” Kyle shook his head a bit.

    We had talked about how fun it would be to have a gift shop for months in the making. One of our favorite pastimes has always been discovering new shops along the coast that showcase local artisans and carry funky antiques and pieces that were loved and used years ago but now were being repurposed and brought back for a second life instead of being thrown a way.  I can’t remember the exact moment that we agreed to do it and actually move forward with a store or how we discovered that the space that used to be Curves was available but I know that it wasn’t a straight line. Even though it happened at the speed of the light there were moments when we decided on a space and quickly discovered it wasn’t available. The space across the street from Madison’s had quietly been secured by our friend to expand his law firm, the space formerly known as Curves was being looked at by two other interested parties, so for a few days we put our idea of opening a gift store on the back burner and switched our focus back to daily happenings which were full enough in their own right.

    And then a few days later in Augusta I received a call asking if I was still interested in the space formerly known as Curves. It had been a heavy day at the State House and I was mentally and emotionally exhausted from the full day of testimonies. As I listened to the person calling out of the blue saying the space was ours if we still wanted it, I felt a sudden charge of energy. In the moment of possibility of starting something that would be ours to grow in a town we are raising our children, I felt a sense of homecoming and endless opportunity to be back developing a business in South Berwick with the man I have grown to love and cherish.

    So here I am, starting a new business and writing about our journey doing so. It feels good like a place I would like to stay a while and grow some roots. Yet for those of you who know me and my story you never know where this will take us or where we might find ourselves in five years.  We never know…only that anything is possible.

     

     

     

     



  • In the moment after – SeaStar Farm

    14333158_1039745379466761_2140918983132429788_nComing home has never felt so good. A bit worn and torn but also filled with hope, I pulled into our driveway in the wee hours of the 4th of July. It was pitch dark as I grabbed my briefcase and closed the car door quietly to not wake up our dog, Ruby. I used my phone to light the way up the moss covered pathway to our back door. Our farm was quiet and still, far from the exhausted energy that swirled within my mind and body. The darkness engulfed me and made me pause. It  felt as if I had never left South Berwick and taken part in this new adventure which had claimed the better part of me and my family since January. The girls were sleeping on the couches in the living room. The air had cooled and I brought the blankets up over their shoulders and made sure their toes were covered. I bent over and gently kissed their foreheads and hesitated over each just a moment to take in their sweet smell of innocence and youth. Their troubles in life are still easily smoothed out with love and listening. I turned off the t.v. and glanced at the clock, it was nearly 3:00 am. “Happy 4th of July”, I mused and tiptoed out of the room and made my way upstairs. Ruby jumped off the bed and waited behind the bedroom door as I opened it. The room was dark. The light from the hall fell upon Kyle as he asked, “Did you guys get it signed?” I nodded and whispered, “the Governor signed it. I’m home for awhile.” I dropped my things, changed and slid into bed as Ruby jumped up and claimed the space around my legs and feet. I sank into my pillow and felt as though the ride had come to a full stop and the park would be closing for the night.

    I guess that’s how I can best describe the past seven months spent in Augusta. It was a ride filled with thrills, chills, moments of hesitation, courage, and times in between when we just waited. I rode the ride with new friends from all over Maine and quickly developed relationships I could lean on in times when I asked myself, “why and how?” As I moved through the highs and lows and  learned that creating and voting on policy would never garner everyone’s support, I fell back on a few important things I’ve learned along the way in school and life. You are never going to please everyone, so it’s best to not even try. Listen to all sides of the story and be open to a change of mind and heart when it’s deserved and right. Put your self in someone else’s shoes, maybe even take them for a walk, and when you’re done listening speak from your heart with an authentic voice. There were times when I voted for my district, my party, the other side of the aisle, small children, small business, and for some Mainers not supported by most. I received gratitude, disagreement, and even a voice of disgust at times, but looking back I know that I would not change a single vote I took. I learned that news shared in politics is always spun in a hundred ways and often what you hear or read is not the entire story.

    It’s impossible to be able to form a true understanding of a bill or piece of policy from simply reading a headline, a shared post, or a sound bite. In fact they are often used to sway a vote, bring down opposition, or paint a light on a situation to favor one side or the other. To truly know what is a foot, one must be willing to read and grow their own understanding of all available information and form an opinion. When I found out that I had been elected and would be taking votes on behalf of my district and the entire state of Maine I went to my much older and wiser sister and asked her to share how she would approach voting.  She paused and said, “I would want to take my vote, press the button, before looking to see what anyone else did so I knew that I would be voting from a place that wasn’t impacted by another’s wants, expectations, or motivation.”  I smiled. She’s always been incredibly logical and pragmatic. She’s a programmer by profession and has built a career on well thought systems and finding the cleanest and  quickest path from point A to point B.

    Policy like life, can be messy and chaotic, winding around testimony, facts, opinions, and passion. I quickly realized that working towards a unanimous committee vote can be exhilarating, frustrating, demanding, and hopefully in the end, rewarding. You hardly ever get everything you want and often take votes on policy that aren’t clear cut or clearly defined. If you are in your seat whether on committee or in the chamber than you must vote. I missed one vote this year at the beginning of session. I was needing a signature on my bill from a Senator and gauged I had time to run to the other end of the hall knowing the Senate had convened. Not knowing I couldn’t hear the bell from their chambers I missed my one and only vote.  I stood that day and stated if I had been in my seat I would have voted, yea. It was a lesson learned early and from that point forward I took every other one.

    As the year ramped up and it became increasingly apparent that politics as I had experienced as an onlooker from the comfort of my home were indeed messy, I found myself engulfed by a world in which my words were taken out of context and my votes were misrepresented by omitted information or testimony. At the same time, I  found myself becoming resilient towards the negativity that rose up intent on knocking me down and out of my seat. There were definite times when my face became flushed and hives appeared as I imagined my family reading political rhetoric and frustrated posts directed at me and my votes by people that have never met me or reached out to me personally to ask about my positions or the decisions I made and why I came to the place I did. I also became incredibly hopeful as I continued to meet some of the most articulate, intelligent, and compassionate people on both sides of the aisle. Politicians often get a bad wrap and maybe rightly so but in Augusta, the legislators are people just like you and me who have families, businesses, careers, and are trying to do good for their communities.

    We are individuals with our own unique experiences, ideals, passions, and dreams of what life in Maine should be and the very best policy is created somewhere in the middle with collaboration and compromise. So today, I sit here in the store on my first day back in over a week. There is a reassuring calm as I begin to write for the first time in such a long while. I’ve landed this morning perhaps a bit tried and tested but also with a knowledge that I am still able to stretch  and learn a bit about myself and others around me.



  • I stood in Boston and listened, and then I marched.

    Boston MarchAs my alarm went off, I pondered for a moment excusing myself and staying in bed just a little bit longer. My week had been busier than normal, three days at the State House in Augusta and three days at my normal job. My husband’s rhythmic breathing lulled me into justifying why I shouldn’t drive to Boston with friends, neighbors, acquaintances. My mind reasoned why my time would be better spent with my two girls bringing them to their activities and listening to all their rants and raves about school. Our dog stretched out at my feet and pushed her entire ninety pounds against me, nudging me out of bed. At least one of us seemed to be intent on me getting out of bed.

    People usually tilt their head to the right when I try to explain that I’m an introvert at heart. Doubt fills their face and their usual response is, “really?”.  Large groups, parties of more than just a hand few of friends have always been the most challenging for me, and I usually find a way out before it’s time to commit to joining in on the festivities.  When I had read that someone I knew was driving by herself to Boston, I quickly reached out to her and said I would be her wingman. Before I knew it she had opened up the invitation to Facebook and a group of eight of us were slated to march together in Boston, we would be referred to as Sobo Women.

    As I turned on the hot water in the shower, Ruby, our dog began barking excitedly. I quickly jumped in the shower as I heard a strange voice in the kitchen. I must have gotten the pick up time wrong. I lathered and rinsed as quickly as I could, leaving no time to opt out of this adventure. I pulled on some jeans and a sweater, grabbed my boots and swept my wet hair back into a knot. I raced down the stairs apologizing for not being ready. We had celebrated a friend’s birthday the night before and I missed a string of emails changing the time for departure. I gazed quickly around the kitchen, we had missed clean up the night before as well. More apologies flowed from a guilt ridden mouth as it kissed my husband quickly and called out last minute directions for drop offs and pick ups and I was off to March in Boston along with millions of others feeling the need to just do something.

    It’s now weeks after the march and life has refused to slow down. I’m traveling to Augusta Tuesday through Friday and continuing to work my full time job remotely. The kids have adjusted as best they can and my husband has quietly taken over our home with nothing but words of encouragement and little notes left to inspire me along the way. As the girls and I were in the kitchen tonight, making dinner, doing homework, and getting caught up on constituent emails, I received a message from a dear friend. She requested that I share why I marched in Boston and then email it to Senator Feinstein via Sean_Elsbernd@feinstein.senate.gov and Caitlin_Meyer@feinstein.senate.gov. So after reflecting a bit as I drove and picked up my daughter from Student Government this evening, I’ve finally settled in for the night and ready to share why I marched in Boston.

    When I was a little girl, I believed if I pulled my blankets up tight enough over my head that they could protect me from all the monsters in the world. I knew they couldn’t. Harm could come to anyone, at anytime. I learned what hate, rage, and violence could reap before I was even old enough to know how to read. I quickly lost my voice in favor of a quiet respite as I counted the days to the next upheaval. When I was a little girl, I believed that if you were good enough, and did everything that you were told to do that you would be safe from the harms that existed.

    When I was a teenager, covered in acne looming over my peers, I learned that names do hurt and cut through you like a sharp steel blade. I felt judgment’s eyes pierce my soul and make me wonder if I was good enough to speak up and ask for my share of the world.

    When I graduated from business school and began working in an environment where I stood out like a sore thumb, the only woman except for the CEO’s secretary, I would pretend that I was one of the guys on the sales team and would simply say “you’re so funny” when they would ask me to grab coffee, or make copies for them when I had sold just as much as they had if not more.

    When I was a mum for the first time, I remember people having more interest in whether my baby was Mexican or Italian, than him being able to walk before nine months old. I refused to believe that people couldn’t see past the color of his skin, I preferred to stay in a place of denial like I always had.

    There are so many things in life for so many of us that are simply just “unfair”.  Whether we like it or not, it’s just the way it has been and most likely will always be. So knowing this, accepting this, why did I decide to march in Boston? With everything that life has thrown at me, and believe me I have had my own fair share, I was always able to hold tight to the ideals of our nation as it was intended by our founding fathers and those who marched and fought for the advancement of civil liberties for all. I knew that as a nation we were not perfect but yet I always felt movement, progress forward in the ideal and realization that we were moving  towards equality.

    “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equally.” As I watched these truths that form the very architecture of our nation, the genetic make up of our citizens being chipped away at by hateful words,falsehoods supported by circular reasoning, and fear driven sensationalism, my heart began to ache. If I could no longer believe in a government that would strive to care for all people not just certain archetypes, then where and what would I stand for? Why would I stand instead of simply lying down and accepting that in the face of uncertainty I truly had no voice at all.

    I marched in Boston to be heard. I marched in Boston for the little girl inside who never felt quite safe enough. I marched in Boston for the teen who hated her own reflection because it brought nothing but torment and teasing her way. I marched in Boston for my bi-racial child who is as just as deserving as any child next door. I marched in Boston for my daughters so that they might not be asked to get coffee or run errands for their male equivalents in their work place. I marched in Boston so that I might finally hear my own voice proudly say that this is my body and you cannot choose or decide what will be done with  it.

    I marched in Boston because if I had stayed in bed and slept in that Saturday morning I would have been left with regret that I didn’t stand up for what I believe is each of our own god given rights to be heard and be justified in the pursuit of liberty and happiness.

    It’s late and I’m the last one up in our home. This has turned out to be much longer than I ever intended and messier in its presentation than I had hoped, but for what it’s worth, it is my story, my truth of why I marched in Boston.

     

     



  • A Little Bit Closer – A Little Lift

    767fc9cec4cd8961b7e037c1bb036812When I was a little girl, I used to look up at the stars and wonder. I would hold my hands up to my eyes cupped like binoculars trying to bring them closer so I might see their twinkle a little bit brighter. I would stand on my tippy toes and lean towards the moon to see if I could hear its whispers and read its thoughts. When I was satisfied with all that I learned I would lean back down upon my heals and smile, knowing that yes everything would eventually be okay.

    When I was a little girl I would jump in the cool dark waters of the lake and lay on my back so I could rest a moment and feel the earth move gently below my body. I would flip backwards into the water, blowing bubbles out my nose so that I could breathe deeply once again and know that I was just the same as everyone else. When I felt the air rush back into my lungs as my head popped up onto the surface, I knew that I was supposed to be me and you, you.

    When I was a little girl I would hold back the prickly pine limbs from scratching my face, smelling their sweet sap and step stronger determined to keep in sync with the others as they climbed higher and higher up the mountain. The spongey moss cushioned my feet as they worked double time across the bare rocks and over the roots and fallen branches. This was my mountain to climb just as much as it was theirs.

    When I was a little girl l was grounded and secure in my constant effort to be connected. Somehow the wonder of life was more than enough to fill and satisfy, I was wise beyond my years. As I grew and became more aware of the world around me, my innocence was shed and taken far away. The simple joys and beauties that used to lasso their arms around me and pull me close, no longer could be heard above the noise of keeping up, falling down, success, and failure. Somewhere along the way I forgot the simple pleasure that existed from just being in the moment, and aware of my surroundings. Some say the first step in waking up is to simply choose to do it. “It’s easy, just do it”.

    When I lay my head down on a strange pillow tonight, the whirlwinds of a new path swarming through my mind, I will close my eyes and try to find those stars, cool waters, and pine limbs buried deep beneath the years of striving to always do and be better no matter what life threw at me, no matter what my choices resulted in. When I feel my body starting to relax and my breath grow heavy I will breathe in deeply  knowing that when I was a little girl I simply had to look, feel, and smell and the world was mine.

     

     

     



  • No, I’m not dying…I’ve just felt like it.

    AnonymousEarly this Summer just after school had ended and the girls had begun getting adjusted to our new routine, I started getting a nagging feeling. At first it was just an occasional discomfort, a heaviness in my mid section and then as time wore on and we became busier and busier it evolved into being tired and worn down.  I pushed the feeling and symptoms down for all of June and into July.  Then unusual physical symptoms came that couldn’t be ignored and I began to add a quiet worry to my list. By the end of August I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open and I had started expressing my feelings out loud to my husband. He knew before the words left my lips, he’s always been able to read my face and know exactly where I am.

    It’s been months since I’ve chosen to write and share everyday, a large part of who I am has been missing. I’ve lost the piece that allows me to process life outside of myself and share with others, connecting sometimes to people privately through social media and developing channels of information exchange and a knowledge that we are never truly alone in any situation or experience.  When I was slowly waking up from surgery this afternoon the first thought that came to my mind was that I miss writing and sharing. I quietly promised myself that I would return to putting my thoughts, experiences, and emotions out into the world with no expectations or idea of what they may attract or detract. My only hope would be that positive connections with those having similar experiences would be made.

    After I woke fully they wheeled me back to the recovery room. The nurse dimmed the lights and placed a warm blanket over me. She leaned down and asked if I needed anything. I asked her for my husband. She smiled and quietly left. Through the grogginess, I felt better. The nagging feeling in my stomach was gone and I felt clean. That’s the only word I can think of to convey the physical sense I was having at that moment. Kyle came in and kissed me. I felt comforted and flush. The nurse explained that they had blasted the stones, removed them, and placed a stint for healing.  A trip to the ER, two ultra sounds, a cat scan, and a summer of discomfort and lack of energy finally shed light on my situation. In that moment I relaxed a little into the old me, knowing full well with strength and health that a lot of changes would be waiting for me.

    Pieces of mePieces similar to this kidney stone have been taking up residence in my kidneys for more than a year now. I had successfully passed one last year with lots of fluids and a trip to the ER. This Summer three of them found their way out of my kidney and blocked my bladder on one side wedging themselves in, unable to pass naturally. It has put a damper on what I’ve been able to do with the girls, having to call in sick to work a few times, and getting to everything in life that I had said yes to.  There was a lot of “letting go” on my part with the fear of disappointing not only myself and family but lots of others who I am connected to through work and volunteering. I’m still not sure which has made me more uncomfortable: all the pain or feeling as though I wasn’t living up to my full potential as a person.

    It’s always in these times that love finds you and brings the right words of encouragement and grace from people you know and strangers on the street. For those I confided in, I feel so incredibly blessed. They reminded me, no matter what, health comes first. Not something I have always prescribed to but now after spending so much time in bed this Summer while my children and husband waited patiently for me to return I am a believer. Self care, self love is not a selfish proposition it is a prerequisite to a full and healthy life. When you are strong and happy than you are able to be more and do more for others and yourself. This is the person I want to be. I was called a Martyr by a friend who prescribes to tough love this week. It pissed me off in the moment, but now I know that quietly pushing through the pain was senseless and useless in trying to make things better.

    Sometimes when your body shuts down temporarily, it’s asking you to slow down, take a break and reevaluate what you want and need in order to be the best version of yourself. The stones that got stuck and the many more still residing in my kidneys may be my reminder to regroup, refresh, and renew my leases on life.  Thank you for connecting with me again or if this is your first time finding yourself reading one of my posts, welcome! This world is much smaller than we all know and if we focus on giving each other little lifts along the way instead of bringing one another down for any reason, we all might just have a better ride!