There is nothing like pride in your children. It starts when they emerge from your body and lie bundled in your arms. But that pride swells and multiplies as they become adults and reference the kind of mom you were. When they share what they learned from you with the world. Funny thing is, you never know along the way just what it is that they will ingest and digest as the growing food into their own way of parenting.
Brooke suprises me now and again when I read her blog and find my legacy within her own being as a mom. And this topic of childhood illness has come up more than once. For all of us, it's a hard one to embrace. Every parent wants an instant over-the-counter cure when they experience their child suffering with illness. It takes white-knuckled strength to trust nature to take its course.
I think the question that always helped me was to ask myself, "Am I treating the symptoms or the disease?" And yes, I would always treat the disease if I had that option. But the symptoms are our allies in treating the illness and I would, as a young, worried, ok sometimes even freaked out mama, white-knuckle-it and let them be. Those symptoms of colds and flus and such serve to keep us still and resting. You are also allowing their little bodies to create immunities. And the fever works on a spiritual level too, as it burns off the old making room for new growth. It's a beautiful picture of a natural course when you stop and ponder it.
Then let nature take over.
Nature is an amazing tool, nothing less than miraculous. Learning to trust it is paramount.
Zak and I have been busy packing up my home. When he and Shannon left bringing two loads to Shannon's house, I mosied around and took stock, lingering upon some of the little nuances that I will hold in my heart. But they are already fading to sepia as I look forward. A big part of me is willing this to be so, because it's hard to say goodbye to people and places.
So here is my life in this moment on this Saturday afternoon. The old walls, and the little parcels of property that bespeak my essence still for a few more days. Old pipes and steaming radiators that were young once, and worn out tulips that were young just days ago. Fresh paint atop years of cracked paint. A lone white towel and off white lace linger in the bathroom. Boxes taped and stacked in corners all ready, asking, "Are we there yet?" as they wait to carry parts of me toward my next adventure. A paltry smogasboard left on pantry shelves. The buzzer eerily quiet, my citadel that has kept me safe from the bad guys that never came.
The bittersweet stairwell of my walk up apartment building in the city.
Sepia just feels quite right as days past fade and spin their cocoon.
A very interesting article here.
I think this is the first time that I am compelled to collect an emergency kit when I return to California. I think I've been one of the lucky ones and that I should have prepared more thoroughly a long time ago. Maybe it's the couple of years I've spent in the mid west where earthquakes are mysterious and unbelievably frightening. I used to always snicker at the myriad of questions about them when I said I was from San Francisco. But now I kinda get it. Scary stuff if you're not prepared. That is the key, I think.
San Francisco friends, go buy water. And twinkies. They last a lifetime. ;)
I was talking to my employer this morning and realized that it has taken me until yesterday to take my hands down from the front of my eyes and peek at the devastation there. It is beyond comprehension to me. All disasters are beyond comprehension to me. But this one took longer for me to peek through my cowardly fingers, I think because I was born and raised in the land of earthquake and powerful waters.
I ache. Physically. Oh do I ache for the children and the mamas and the papas and the sisters, friends and brothers. I think about those nights when my teenagers were out with the car and I'd wait for them to get home not knowing if they were safe or not. And then I inflate that thought to these human beings awaiting news of their loved ones and I ache. And my sweating fingers spead once again across my face. I cannot imagine and often cannot even go there in my mind's eye.
Bob is an online friend whom I met through blogging. He is an American who moved to Japan many years ago. A father, a grandpa, a gardener, wood-chopper, train traveler, office worker, animal watcher who is an artist with words. His words so intriguing they have often touched me in every cell and left me pondering for days. He speaks of happy things and views the world with such positivity. He lives on a mountain in the south; but his daughter and her family live near the water in the north. And now it's hard to read him speak of this disaster. But his words are true. I know that and trust that. Funny (ironic funny), right before I heard about the earthquake I commented on a blog post of his about cutting cherry wood into fire wood and watching migrating geese fly overhead that if ever I was given the miracle of seeing the world through someone elses eyes for five minutes, I'd like to choose his. And within an hour (I actually hadn't even posted it yet, it was still up on my screen as I got side-tracked) I had to go back and add my prayers for him and all of Japan. And then I covered my eyes.
Please go here to read his personal experience of the tragedy. But most of all, amidst all of the pain and sadness, read his words describing the Japanese society. The people. A flicker of warm light inside all of the power outages and permeating darkness these days...
oh the thinks you can think....garden dreams...
Recycling takes on so many faces. Thank goodness. While browsing though old photos today looking for something, I came across this photo of the garden fence at Ruby Morning Playgarden, my little preschool in Sonoma. It is one of the ideas I've loved for reusing materials, a creation I cherish.
I don't know about your town, but Sonoma is full of Mulberry trees. They grow fast, with dense foliage that creates perfect summer shade. But they require major pruning. And having been a kindergarten teacher for so many years I've developed radar to finding them. Why? Raising silkworms in the classroom, in a simple cardboard box is a yearly-dependable-anticipated-thrilling springtime event. But each morning the little growing worms need a nice crip and fresh bunch of mulberry leaves. They were pretty easy to come by in our town for the children, and they joyfully and proudly brought sacks and sacks of them from home. With such a tenderness they offered their little fist's full of leaves to be crawled upon and happily munched. We would watch for a very long time as I would recite quietly:
...caterpillar, crawling, creeping.
ate, and ate, and then went sleeping.
he's dead! someone said.
but dreams do hide,
deep, deep, inside.
someday he'll be a butterfly...
One day while driving up Fifth Street West right before the cow field on the right, I spotted a mountain of tangled mulberry branches lying on someone's front lawn. And I thought: Fairy Tale Fence. My mind's eye immediately saw a whimsical fence surrounding the garden we were getting ready to plant. One like you see in the yard of a cottage in a fairy tale. I had but to mention it to one of my wonderful parents, Sarah, who was our gardening teacher once a week. And there she went a-knocking on the door explaining how much that jumbled pile of branches would mean to our little school. Well I'm sure the folks at the Mulberry Tree House were ticked pink with the news that their garden waste would be taken care of. With that, and some more parent help (papa's and a truck this time) the stack was now in our play yard.
While Sarah and I were busy organizing the parent workdays to build the fence, the pile of branches found another use for the children who began playing "beaver dam", climbing and building and hiding! For days our play was filled with busy little beavers.
And then one weekend very soon after, the play yard was buzzing with eager, enthusiastic parents so generous with their time. Children playing and helping, a flat of warm juicy strawberries on the table for munching, sunhats, conversation, laughter, a little bit of arnica, and a sturdy frame was built for the fence and gate.
We moved wheelbarrows full of soil back and forth and began to prepare the soil and plant some for a week or two while the cement cured around the posts. Then another papa came by a couple of evenings after he got home from his work day, and with artistry, cut, fitted and tacked the mulberry branches just so. Fairy tale fence magic when the children arrived in the mornings.
And inside the classroom on our nature table, Mrs.Thaw was sweeping away the last of the frost and our little bulbs sprouting indooors began nodding toward the window to tell us the sun was calling.
And our lunch table centerpiece reminded us of our garden dream too.
Even our coldframe in the nursery children's yard said goodbye to winter and wanted to sprout!
And with all these ideas, and hands, and hearts, Ruby Morning was ready to finish planting their spring garden inside this whimsical space where fruits and vegetables grew and children grew too while they worked and played.
What I do not have are any photos of the garden in full bloom, rich and lush with flowers and herbs, magical paths and tall cornstalks. I can't imagine my not taking any photos of that, but I'm not finding any. (If any Ruby Morning parents have photos of the summer garden please send them to me!)
So next time you are driving up your Fifth Street West and you see a Mulberry tree...just think....
What's been going on with me? Well, between sorting, selling, packing and working, I've been waging a custody battle of sorts with the new nanny. I've just gone out of my way to be kind and thoughtful and open to helping her settle into my position. More for a smooth transition for the babies' sake than anything. But she has pushed me to my phlegmatic edge. And now I'm feeling quite choleric.
The day I met her at her interview she smiled, shook my hand and made good eye contact. The first day we worked together, she listened some when I spoke, didn't have any questions, spent a lot of time badmouthing another interview she went on, and told me at the end of the day she was sure she'd design her own schedule with the babies. I told her absolutely. That in no way did I feel it was my way or the highway, but familiarity would be a kind, sweet key in the transition for the babies.
Then yesterday she was downright dismissive to anything I had to say about the babies or otherwise. She barely acknowledged me when I was speaking. And I'm pretty easygoing and wide open. So I fould this kind of weird. While at the park with the babies she flitted about with the other nannies answering questions about the babies that left me wondering WTH. I mean, realistically, she has spent about 18 hours total with these babies over the past 2 weeks. So yeah, dammit, I'm feeling a battle inside. I think the thing that nudged me over the edge was yesterday, when I was washing the babies' faces, hands and bottoms with warm lavender water before their naps like I do everyday, and she said to me...well, actually not to me but to Eli as I was washing his little hands...."You just want to go to sleep, don't you?"
I. Beg. Your. Pardon?
She's young, fresh out of graduate school where she got her degree in developmental psychology or some such thing. I'm giving her the space to feel proud and totally smitten with her fresh, new knowledge. I'm even humoring her by asking her a lot of questions about her every "diagnosis". I'm showing interest. And even though I personally feel her psycho babble is over the edge, I respond to her statements with more questions, trying to understand her position. But no, I don't think Sofia is having seizures when she squeezes her fists and smiles in excitement. She's happy and filled with joy. And yes, perhaps they both have a bit of trouble swallowing occasionally. But if I were just eating new foods and textures everyday with 12 teeth in my mouth I might have a little trouble too. And no, Eli doesn't care about or want to hear "Good tracking", he wants to see just how beautiful the stars are on the page of the book. He wants to stare in amazement as we count one beautiful twinkling star after another. He's 18 months old, for godssakes.
So, I'm having me some trouble here. Can you tell?
Believe me, I'm doing a lot of self reflection here too. Wondering if it is just my Scorpio, possessive nature grabbing hold with its vice grip claws. reminding myself over and over to be open. To WITHHOLD. My word for the year. I know she is just young and full of herself. I also know that experience is golden, yet we all have to start somewhere. But what about manners and mutual respect?
Bottom line though...she is good with the babies. I trust that. And they seem to like her. I'm watching very closely.