Monthly Archives: January 2013

Unconditional Love

the three Anyone who has had a child knows the thrill and anticipation that comes with the start of a family. Aside from the usual fear that the baby will be healthy, we wonder what he/she will look like—eye color, hair color, and size. Personality traits were not something I thought about, at least with my first-born, but it was apparent within a few days my bright-eyed baby boy was a frustrated little person with his own agenda. To be honest, I think he was bored. He needed to be entertained and stimulated constantly.  As a young adult, he was sensitive, intelligent, and a perfectionist with a fear of failure. He was a musician. I miss him terribly.

With the birth of my second son, eighteen months later, I wondered what he would be like more than what he would look like. Much to my amazement, he seemed perfectly content in his own little world. Unlike his brother, he wanted nothing to do with school, books, or learning the alphabet song. He questioned everything. He had a crazy good imagination and I think he taught his brother how to “play”. As a young adult, he is funny, witty, and super smart, in a wordly kind of way. Don’t tell him I said that because he is always right and he will say “I told you so.”) He is a debater.

My family was shaping up to be quite diverse but I had adjusted to “my boys” and their habits. Enter the princess, two years later. My daughter seemed to have the perfect mix. To steal a line from a popular teen series, she was her own sun. She was sweet, kind, and imaginative. Before her first birthday, I had not bought her any girl toys—baby dolls—but that didn’t stop her from cradling the boy’s super hero figurines. As a young adult, she is an avid reader, an artist, a bit on the romantic side, and wants to save the world—one tree at a time. She is a nurturer.

You might be wondering why I have given you a break-down of my family dynamics and frankly, I am too. I think it has something to do with the conversation (instant messaging on skype) I had with my second-born son this morning. As you may know, he is spending a year in Japan as an exchange student. It wasn’t about what was said, but rather the interaction.

A few lines have been deleted to protect the innocent!

[8:38:40 AM] Ben:   I cant breathe, suggestions?

[8:38:54 AM] Ben:   It’s rather problematic

[8:40:49 AM] Me:   you need a walgreens. Saline, vicks, sudafed. If you can’t get those, try steam either in the shower or put a towel over your head and lean over a pot of boiling water.

[8:41:06 AM] Ben: I think you misunderstand

[8:41:21 AM] Ben:   I have a severely stuffed nose, in which steam can do nothing about

[8:41:31 AM] Ben:   also I would look like an idiot with my face over boiling water,

[8:42:18 AM] Ben:   And immediate cures would be nice, as, for some odd reason, I can’t sleep when I can’t breathe, and it’s nearing that time

[8:42:56 AM] Me:   does your host family have any meds?

[8:43:02 AM] Ben:   no

[8:43:07 AM] Ben:   they’re japanese I think

[8:43:27 AM] Me:   ha ha. surely they take drugs

[8:43:38 AM] Ben:   I never took you for an advocate of drug use

[8:44:07 AM] Ben:   They dont keep meds on hand like we do. It’s all prescribed

[8:45:30 AM] Me:   you need to flush your sinuses and that requires squirting warm salt water up your nose while you lean your head to the side over a sink. bet you would love some afrin about now.

[8:46:05 AM] Ben:   That sounds like an answer from google

[8:46:32 AM] Me:   nope. I know…I had sinus surgery and had to clear my passages daily.

[8:46:38 AM] Ben:   Ew.

[8:47:54 AM] Ben:   also i might have the flu as it were

[8:48:03 AM]Me:   It’s actually pretty nice. like the netipot. it works and saline is not medicated. try and get some. like I said, you can make it yourself but you need something to squirt it with.

[8:48:50 AM] Me:   You had better get to the doctor. Do they have tamaflu over there? If you take it within 48 hours, it will diminish the flu greatly.

[8:49:17 AM] Ben:   I’m not sure.

[8:49:29 AM] Ben:   I will speak with my tribal chieftan tomorrow, and will probably visit the witch doctor.

[8:51:22 AM] Me:   awesome. witch doctor might be able to whip up a concoction that will help you sleep…possibly even hallucinate! Don’t wait though. The flu can be dangerous and several perfectly healthy teens or rather young adults have died suddenly here. it is epidemic.

[8:53:01 AM] Ben:   I am aware of the dangers of infections. Though, as a relatively healthy active 18 year old male, with no problems regarding immune system, and a resting heartbeat of 61 bpm followed by relatively low-blood pressure, instantaneous flu inspired death is not on my list of worries. apologies for the severely large run on sentence.

[8:53:48 AM] Ben:   And yet I neglected to capitalize in my apology, I really am losing touch with English..

[8:54:40 AM] Me:   their flu might find your blood tastier and therefore, more deadly. don’t argue with your mother. As for your english…

[8:55:10 AM] Ben:   As for MY English, let us first address yours as well!

[8:55:42 AM] Ben:   *Third, you don’t need a comma after therefore, neglected to capitalize Don’t

[8:56:25 AM] Ben: ❤

[8:57:52 AM] Me:   My word program automatically capitalizes the first word of a sentence. so does my phone when I text. i can’t help it that skype does not. i also can’t help the fact that I am too lazy to stretch my finger over the shift key.

[8:58:10 AM] Ben:   Noted.

[8:59:42 AM] Me:   we are preparing for 1/2″ of ICE tomorrow morning. Probably going to lose power and a few trees. should be ugly but let me know when you get to the doctor. I will be praying for a speedy recovery

[9:01:21 AM] Ben:   I think even you may agree, that if everyone volunteered instead, the world would be a much, much, better place

[9:02:25 AM] Me:   okay. i volunteer to take you to tthe doctor and nurse you back to health.

[9:02:45 AM] Ben:   That would be far more productive, no?

[9:04:24 AM] Me:   well, no. I would have to pray for a miracle to get me to Japan. No?

[9:04:59 AM] Ben:   A miracle is a suspension of the natural order, getting to Japan would not require such.

[9:06:54 AM] Me:   In a world of unpredictability, there is one thing that remains consistent. You Are A Pain In The Ass. love you

[9:07:17 AM] Ben:   I’m not quite sure how to take that.

[9:07:24 AM] Ben:   Clearly unconditional love at its best though

[9:08:28 AM] Me:   Clearly.

As you can see in the example above, all the elements (characteristics) were there early on, I just wasn’t sure which would be the dominant.  Children are like grab bags. You may know there’s an assortment of candy inside but you’re just not sure what’s going to come out when you reach your hand in. I can’t take all the blame  um…credit since my husband had a hand in raising them.

I don’t know what the future holds for my children and sometimes that scares the heck out of me. But what I do know is this: We have given them their wings–life will teach them how to fly.

Categories: Life is an Adventure | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Through Barn Doors

The flag raised on the barn in memory of my father, a Vietnam Veteran.

The flag raised on the barn in memory of my father, a Vietnam Veteran.

I don’t consider myself a gifted writer. I don’t even consider myself talented. In contrast, I am pretty sure the fact that I hear voices in my head—and I listen to them—means I’m probably a little on the nutty side. Just a few weeks ago I woke up distraught about a conversation I heard between a few of my friends, and I wondered how they were going to overcome the obstacles that threatened not only their friendships, but their lives. Should I step in, get involved, or sit back and let fate take its course? It wasn’t until I crawled out of bed that I realized: The conversation was actually a scene I had written and these were not my friends, but rather fictional characters in the Magestic Dreams Trilogy.  For a moment, I was relieved. Then it occurred to me the voices had been quiet and distant, like background noise, and I couldn’t make sense of what they were saying. I was lost. I call this a “transition”, a sort of break between scenes. Somehow, I had to get from point-A to point-B without taking the most direct—and boring–route; I needed inspiration.

Inspiration is a fickle thing that comes and goes without warning. One day you are writing 3,000 words, and the next day you’re staring at that stupid blinking cursor line on your open word document like it is the enemy, laughing and daring you to strike a key.

This morning, as I stared at that white screen and that stupid blinking cursor line, I thought about my dad and how he found inspiration in the littlest and sometimes most insignificant things. It made me think of a poem he had written about the old, dying barn that stands like a testament of time in the backyard of his New England cottage. The cottage, built in the 1800’s, was a family retreat when he was young, and a retirement home for my grandparents. This is where he spent his last days, and this is his writing:

Through Barn Doors

Proud men with ax, adz and awl,

Hewed my timbers and stood them tall.

Men with backs bowed and bent,

Not a day’s useless energy spent.

I’ve housed their animals within my frame,

Some of them I knew by name.

The smell of them I can still recall

As they stood—backs steaming within their stall.

I stand not ten feet from the road…

Watched teams of oxen pass with heavy load.

When animals no longer came through my door,

No more the beat of hooves upon my floor.

A brood of children came in to play

And slept in my loft on beds of hay.

The children too, have come and gone.

I still stand next to the road…

No more oxen with heavy load.

Automobiles pass by, going fast,

With nary a thought of my years gone past.

And now my frame of sturdy beams

Serves as a warehouse for broken dreams.

~Stephen S. Haselton~

September 1944 – July 2010


Categories: Inspiration | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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