If you haven’t read any Anne Morrow Lingbergh; do- she was a lovely, lovely writer. We were fortunate to have heard a passage from Gifts From the Sea at a friend’s wedding and were thrilled to incorporate it into ours 9 wonderful years ago. At the time I loved the island imagery but still instinctually fought against the whole concept of letting go, letting be. I’m a nostalgic, sentimental creature by nature. My instinct is to hold on and hold on tight to that which I love. It is my life’s practice I suppose. I was unfamiliar with any Zen writings or concepts at the time we chose this for the wedding, how beautiful to see the Zen spirit in which she writes now. Any work that you can read and reread and glean something fresh is one to keep on your shelves- or is it one to let go…
Gifts from the Sea- Anne Morrow Lindbergh
When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.
The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.
In the Basket Marty Brought to the
Hospital After the Cesarean
Asparagus-pasta cobbler; raspberry bread; fresh
baked whole wheat bread; collages
young Molly did
on construction paper – de Kooning-esque –
with catalog clippings, great swirlies
marker, & filaments of glitter-laced glue;
Parmesan-mushroom wild rice;
boxed pear juice, boxed mixed fruit juice;
soy milk; mangoes; cold
cucumber-yogurt soup; fresh strawberries;
cut lilac; blackberry tea;
a hand-turned ceramic vase; a doll
sewn of scrap fabric, of stuffed athletic sock;
and a bouquet of herbs: fresh
mint, fresh rosemary, freshest sage.
“In the Basket Marty Brought to the Hospital After the Cesarean” by Thorpe Moeckel, from Odd Botany. © Silverfish Review Press, 2002.
the Working Mother.
BY DEBORAH GARRISON
– – – –
No time for a sestina for the working mother.
Who has too much to do, from first thing in the morning
When she has to get herself dressed and the children
Too, when they tumble in the pillow pile rather than listening
To her exhortations about brushing teeth, making ready for the day;
They clamor with goodbyes and “up” hugs when she struggles out the door.
Every time, as if shot from a canon when she shuts the door.
She stomps down the street in her city boots, slipping from mother
Mode into a commuter trance, trees swaying at the corner of a new day
Nearly turned, her familiar bus stop cool and welcoming in the morning.
Standing here quietly she hears her own heart, though no one else is listening,
And if the bus is late she hears down the block the voices of her children
Bobbing under their oversized backpacks to greet other children
At their own bus stop. They too have come flying from the door,
Brave for the journey, and everyone is talking and no one is listening
As they head off to school. The noisy children of the working mother,
Waiting with their sitter for their bus, are healthy and happy this morning,
And that’s the best way, the mother knows, for a day
To begin. The apprehension of what kind of day
It will be in the world of work, blissful without children,
Trembles in the anxious and pleasurable pulse of the morning;
It has tamped her down tight and lit her out the door
And away from what she might have been as a mother
At home, perhaps drinking coffee and listening
To good radio, what rapt and intelligent listening
She’d do at home. And volunteering, she thinks, for part of the day
At their school—she’d be a playground monitor, a PTA mother!
She’d see them straggle into the sunshine, her children
Bright in the slipstream, and she a gracious shadow at the school door;
She would not be separated from them for long by the morning.
But she has chosen her flight from them, on this and every morning.
She’s now so far away she trusts someone else is listening
To their raised voices, applying a Band-Aid, opening the door
For them when the sunshine calls them out into the day.
At certain moments, head bent at her desk, she can see her children,
And feels the quick stab. She hasn’t forgotten that she is their mother.
Every weekday morning, every working day,
She listens to her heart and the voices of her children.
Goodbye! they shout, and the door closes behind the working mother.
By: Kimberlee Kadar-Kallen
Kimberlee Kadar-Kallen is mother to Eliza, born with Down
syndrome and AVSD. Eliza spent her first months in heart
failure until her heart repair. But now at almost four years
of age, she is thriving as a homeschooled child alongside
her six siblings. Kimberlee blogs at Pondered in My Heart.
When a family first receives the news that they may have a
child with Down syndrome, they are likely to encounter some
new vocabulary not previously part of their everyday
lexicon. Over time these new, unfamiliar words lose their
cumbersome feel and become a comfortable part of everyday
life, much like an unyielding new pair of shoes softens and
grows familiar. I thought I would explain some of these
terms and what they have come to mean for our family.
Nuchal fold – This is the delicious area of skin at the
back of the neck that is extra thick and soft and smooshy in
children with Down syndrome and therefore the perfect place
to snuggle, nuzzle, bury-your-nose-in and cuddle your sweet
baby. Michael says it’s his favorite spot to kiss Eliza.
Trisomy 21 – Trisomy means there are three copies of each
chromosome instead of two, and it has been discovered that
cuteness is located on the 21 st chromosome. Be prepared for
unprecedented levels of cuteness, even if you have many
other children who you think are cute.
Hypotonia – Sometimes referred to as poor muscle tone, what
this really means is that all of Baby is super soft and
cuddly. Synonyms for this condition are smoosh-ball,
teddy-bear, snuggle-puss, honey-love, and so forth.
Squeezing and hugging Baby is a frequent and irresistible
Short stature – Children with Down syndrome are typically
short in stature due in part to short limbs. This just means
parents and other loved ones will have abundant opportunity
for exercise in the form of deep knee bends.
Speech therapists- This is another word for siblings. These
are the children who will spend countless hours teaching
your child with Down syndrome to talk and speak clearly.
They will mimic sounds, invent oral exercises, play word
games, demonstrate proper mouth movements, repeat key
phrases, practice letters and numbers and loads more ad
infinitum. Some therapists have unique methods such as
requiring the client to say, ‘Guard, release the faun!’ in
order to have the car sear unbuckled or repeating unusual
words like ‘gastrovascular’, but you have to just put up
with their quirks.
Developmental delays – What this really means is that for
once you don’t have to say, ‘Oh, they grow up so fast!’ The
delight of babyhood and toddlerhood is prolonged and there
are ever so many more moments of it to savor. Baby will grow
and learn in a slow and gentle manner and there will be
plenty of opportunities to practice cheerleading along the
way. You will also marvel and appreciate each little
milestone that you may have taken for granted in all of your
Congenital heart defect – This is really one of several
code phrases for an intensive training course in learning
the true meaning of Jesus, I trust in you. This training
involves great spiritual growth and opportunity for
deepening and greatly magnifying one’s prayer life. There
may even be a special retreat involved where one can really
progress in prayer. The special code term ‘open-heart
surgery’ is often used for this unique retreat that takes
place in a hospital.
Special needs child – All children are special and all
children have needs. Both of these facts can sometimes be
taken for granted, but that is less likely with special
needs parenting. This child will force you to see things
more closely to the way God sees things, which is very, very
contrary to the way the world sees things. The ‘special
needs child’ instantly and unequivocally obliterates the
blather of the world’s view of life. Each and every life is
a precious gift from His hand, of equal value in His sight,
and the special child makes that especially clear, every
moment of every day.
On fridays I’ll put up some of my favorite poems, essays, sayings, lyrics, etc- and in honor of the lovely welcome from my new blogging community and specifically the wonderfully warm welcome into the community of families touched by Down syndrome since The Quail has come into our lives I’ll start with this oldie but goodie!
From a Karen Kerney watercolor. This beautiful poster is a collection of simple suggestions that will help restore our eroding sense of community. Virtually everyone can do most items.Text reads…
Leave your house
Know your neighbors
Look up when you are walking
Sit on your stoop
Use your library
Buy from local merchants
Share what you have
Help a lost dog
Take children to the park
Support neighborhood schools
Fix it even if you didn’t break it
Have pot lucks
Pick up litter
Read stories aloud
Dance in the street
Talk to the mail carrier
Listen to the birds
Put up a swing
Help carry something heavy
Barter for your goods
Start a tradition
Ask a question
Hire young people for odd jobs
Organize a block party
Bake extra and share
Ask for help when you need it
Open your shades
Share your skills
Take back the night
Turn up the music
Turn down the music
Listen before you react to anger
Mediate a conflict
Seek to understand
Learn from new and uncomfortable angles
Know that no one is silent though many are not heard.