Just Write {193}

September 1, 2015

So this is the school year, right? Here we are, not ready and not set, saying all the different things that add up to the same thing–Where does the time go? It was slipping fast this morning, through oatmeal, cereal, toast, showers, lunch boxes and put your shoes on. It will slip past the same way tomorrow and the day after that. And the evenings will be the great gobblers of time too, with their demands for homework and more eating and more dishes, getting to bed to do it again. In between, we will run places for work and sports and appointments and clubs and church and friends and family and life. That’s where the time goes, I suppose. In the middle of the sameness of it all, we are each, every grown up one of us, given the chance to see these small ones that we call our very own. There […]

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I have no idea what I’m doing. We don’t get to know. No matter the Sure Things, even those have shaky parts of mystery and that is the answer: Trust the path with its shards of glass keep going forgive yourself. Maybe 40 is just a moment to see you can trust yourself and your unknowns even when you cannot, to know and not know and let it be. And maybe 40 is time to forgive yourself for every big and little thing that led to pretending or mistakes or ego or having to completely start over again. Again. We were just kids, trying to figure it out. Remember the glaring confusion in that little you looking up and around with your wonder eyes. Remember how confusing the ways of the world and adults seemed to be. You were right. You knew there is very little sense here. There is a deafening strife […]

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Just Write 151

September 2, 2014

There is a kind of tired that feels so good while it also hurts to not be able to move your arms without hating painting. The kind that comes after hard work, together. After finishing something, or working your way (slowly) toward finishing. It’s hard to keep going and everything is screaming that I’m OLD, but it’s worth it. Like childbirth. Only not.that.painful. We are painting and painting at the Cre8tive Escape building, getting ready for our first creator’s retreat in the ginormous room downstairs next weekend. NEXT WEEKEND. We have had helpers, people who care about us and come to roll on paint or scrape the old carpet glue off the cement floor. We pay them with….love. (How nice and generous, huh?) I thought you might want to see what the ginormous room looked like before:   Ironically, the words on the wall from the previous renters of the downstairs space say […]

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Just Write {150}

August 26, 2014

It was a stifling kind of humid this weekend and then just like that, it lifted. That’s Minnesota. It’s a “just like that” kind of place. This morning it’s so chilly I’m glad I closed the windows last night. I sit here now with slippers on. The air around me smacks of autumn, and so do all the back to school Facebook posts of yesterday. We still have this one week before the call of the fall schedule. This one week, to shift gears, let go, and start again. Sometimes people say, We’re ready! and I think they mean they have all their school supplies and the clothes that fit the season and the growing children. If they mean they are mentally and emotionally prepared, they need to be teaching the rest of us. I haven’t met a mother (or any guardian of a child’s life and heart) that feels ready for such […]

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Just Write {135}

May 13, 2014

Lately he has been hanging out with me, just sitting there on the couch or plopping down on the floor, flat on his back, while I hang clothes in my closet. He talks and talks and talks. Mostly about Legos or Star Wars or other things that he thinks about all the time. The other night, at bedtime, he said he couldn’t get to sleep because of his busy mind. My brain tries to focus on so many things at once, he said. It won’t stop going fast from thing to thing. Oh how I know. And how I wish I could slow it down for him, this boy with his mother’s brain. But I can’t, and maybe he’ll be a writer or think quick on his feet in his work, whatever it is. Maybe he’ll think up the greatest new thing to help people, because of his ideas, the ones that never […]

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Just Write {106}

October 14, 2013

I have no idea what the date is, and I’ve had too much caffeine. So I’m dropping things and I’m craving protein. I’m on a plane and to get  here I took a cab. The driver went too fast and talked on his phone and we were zooming past the goldens and greens and rubies and oranges of the Minnesota autumn. Hold on. Slow down. The security line can wait. My Dad turned 65 during my visit home. I remember clearly when he turned 50. My nephew Zach was a toddler and on that birthday, he sat with Dad in the front of my parent’s split level home, in the sun. Dad had on a blue Harley Davidson shirt and he was working on the bottom of something, I can’t remember, with one tool or another in his hand. Zach sat next to him repeating, “I help you fick it, Papa.” I have […]

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Just Write 99

August 26, 2013

We walked through the grass that’s getting too long again, across our yard and into our neighbor’s yard, cut through their driveway and stood on their shiny brown stoop. Elsie was in only a diaper because she was about to have a bath and get ready for bed when I realized we should visit her preschool (yes, at the next door neighbor’s home) before the morning since it had been a while since we’d been inside. She stepped confidently in, but then when the whole family was squatting down to welcome her and tell her all the wonderful things she’ll be doing, her face crumpled with overwhelm and she put her arms up to me, to be held. Home. She said. Bye. I consoled her and showed her toys. Our neighbor told her she could have pancakes or waffles in the morning. She just stared, her big blue eyes all wet. Home. We […]

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oh so very young

August 23, 2013

Our little acorn grew into a baby and then a toddler and now sometimes I think she’s fifteen, hands on her hips, shouting out orders. On Monday she will start preschool, right next door. The boys will begin school at their new school and for part of the day it will be me, just me, catching up on life and writing and other work. Tonight I tucked Elsie Jane in, several times. She was over-tired from a long day and couldn’t get to sleep. Her pink owl blanket was never quite right, according to her. It barely fits to cover her feet now and she calls Mama Mama Mama my bankie off! Before long it won’t go over her feet at all to cover them and I’m guessing this will frustrate her. Growth can do that, huh? I’m not ready!  Hopefully a new bigger blanket will do, until it doesn’t. Earlier today, we […]

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Just Write {86}

May 20, 2013

It’s not that long of a trip, just a little over a half an hour. All three of them are so tired and the complaints and needs start right away. I’m thirsty, I have to go to the bathroom, Asher interrupted me!  I’m turned a little sideways in the front passenger seat and talking over Elsie to the boys in the back. They want to know why their older cousin pinches his nose closed when he sneezes. They keep acting it out for me, to be sure I know what they mean. We start to laugh a lot and I glance at Elsie to see her head bobbing and her eye lids dropping. She tries hard to stay a part of the short road trip levity, but sleep wins and her head is bowed too far forward. I take a change of clothes from the diaper bag and try to squeeze them between […]

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Just Write {64}

December 3, 2012

She follows me, still. I came from the bathroom, to find her waiting in my bedroom. I was wrapped in a towel and dripping a little from the shower. She pointed and laughed. She does that when I have wet hair. At least that’s what I tell myself she’s laughing about. I pulled open the drawer with bras and dug around, wondering when I’ll ever purchase a post-breastfeeding one that actually fits me. Elsie was putting on my shoes and clomping on the hardwood floor, trying to not be a falling-over toddler even though she is one. I dropped the towel and suddenly she was by my side, back to just the footies of her pajamas and she was pointing but not laughing. She pointed to her mouth and pointed back at me, like she suddenly remembered breastfeeding. She, the one who decided to be done all in one grand statement in one […]

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My Facebook status, “It’s not that I’m more thankful than other people for my kids, it’s just that Asher has had this journey with hydrocephalus & we watch him so closely and every birthday that he has pretty much has me weeping with gratitude for his life. The Ash Man, The Noggin, the totally hilarious Asher Michael is FIVE today.” Yesterday he would touch his forehead and say ouch ouch ouch. A little pocket of panic always rises up from my gut to my chest when he does something like that. It’s probably the heat, the way humidity and barometric pressure play games with someone with head pressure issues like hydrocephalus. But I always watch closely for anything more and then I hope hope hope that it isn’t a shunt malfunction. He’s okay. He’s five years old today and he’s okay. He’s more than okay. He’s Asher. “Mommy, look! I put on your […]

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June 28, 2012

Oh Milesy, you’ve been here seven years and you are a million good things piled up through all your learning and then a million more things that simply came along with you, out into the world on the day you were born. I was reading this book about age 7, about what happens developmentally at this stage and it said something about this being the year of melancholy. A year in which kids start to spend more time alone and a year when the brain and body is doing things that make a person extra sensitive and frustrated. I thought, UH OH. But I’m glad to know this ahead of time because it already started. You’ve always done that. As a baby you did everything the books said right on target, or as the over-achiever that you are, sometimes a little ahead. Back then I had no idea what a content baby you […]

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these two photos were taken almost exactly one year apart.   we had a birthday party for EJ yesterday and she had the best day of her life. So much attention and cake. My girl, she loves to be the center and she now knows that most every girl is bound to love cake. She ate that stuff like it was her first and last meal. One thing I know for sure about her? She doesn’t hold back. we had a bounce house and she had no fear about the whole thing, she just laughed and laughed her deep guttural giggly laugh like Asher’s. then Daddy bounced her up and down in our small pool and she slipped around and laughed even harder, bare naked and splashing so hard everything everywhere was getting wet. then she crashed super hard at 6:45pm and then woke up four times in the night. I’ll take this […]

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walking baby

May 24, 2012

she says uh oh, so soft. her first words. ones that aren’t dada or mama, how she says those all the time because she’s asked to but doesn’t seem to know who they apply to and we laugh. now it’s just constant uh oh and that suits her our little bull in a china shop spitfire Have you ever held fire close because it asks you to pull it in slight tilt of the head big eyes engulfing? We’ve been set on fire over here… on my birthday, I felt sick inside no explanation something for a therapist’s couch. The morning brought me pain down deep and when she woke up and I walked into her room, there she stood on fire ablaze and I wept I don’t know she is a healing fire God put her here for my soul and the world’s… anything she does brings the gift of feeling that […]

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April 27, 2012

We have this crazy dog. She’s crazy around any other animal, no matter how big or small. She’ll charge a horse (yes, she’s done it) or a mouse or even a fly. She especially dislikes other dogs. It’s not awesome. We did all the right things, the dog park daily and all that and then suddenly, when I got pregnant, it was all over. No dog park for her! (There was a rat terrier incident.) Our Tia Maria became overly protective and has possibly even become more and more so with each new member of our family. She’s nice to people, but not to any other living thing, including trees–you know what dogs do to those. Now we have those baby chicks. We knew this would be an issue, so the chicks and Tia take turns being outside. We’re trying to slowly introduce them, like through the screen door and stuff like that, […]

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February 13, 2012

I kind of want to keep each little snapshot version of these children of ours. They just keep changing too fast with all that growing so fast. If we could keep each one, we’d have like 569 Miles’ and 348 Ashers and 72 Elsie Janes. That’s 989 varying sizes of the kids we’ve come to know that are gone and also not gone because they’re all way down deep inside these growing people. If we had kept them all, Newborn Miles and Infant Miles and another Infant Miles and then a Newborn Asher until a Toddler Asher–you get the idea–we’d be bumping around and into each other, and there would be babies and toddlers and preschoolers everywhere and more would be added all the time. They’d look around at their old selves and I’d be all, SEE? Look at you, that’s how you were! And now there you are! Here! And there and there […]

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You have lashes that go on and on with those always surprised eyebrows. You have less and less hair than the day you were born which seems a little unfair, a balding little girl. Of course at seven months old today, you do not mind at all.You are otherwise occupied with trying to sit up without falling over and learning how to belly crawl across the hardwoods. You don’t like to do your own thing for long. You mostly fight the exersaucer or walker unless your brothers are hopping and dancing and running around you, very close to entertain you. You love to be held and you grab on like a koala, long arms and legs wrapped tight to waist and neck.   Sometimes I just say right out loud, I have a daughter because I will always be surprised by it. Like your eyes with their eyebrows, full of wonder and delight. […]

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September 8, 2011

  He forgot that he thinks he’s too big, he held my hand all the way to the cafeteria. Two friends at the table were crying hard and another was so brave, he said he was left all alone once and didn’t even cry. Miles didn’t say a word to that but his eyes said his wheels were turning. It was time to line up and head to class and so I bent to hug him and bit back tears and he made his MOOOOM face and bit back a smile. I didn’t make it back to the van, sob-walking and then sob-driving. I was left all alone and I did cry. ::: Back at home I fed Elsie and her blue eyes looked up at me and Asher whispered questions. Nanny came to be with Elsie and I took Asher to an appointment and we drove by brother’s school together, waving and […]

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looking in

September 7, 2011

I hope she always loves the mirror this much. I mean, not in a superficial way, but in a I-am-Elsie-Jane-and-I-am-so-lovable kind of way. Do you see the love in her Daddy’s face? I think that will help.   {Today our Elsie Jane is three months old}      

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perfect timing

September 6, 2011

Like good ol’ Hootie and the Blowfish like to say/sing, Tiiiiime, why you punish me? Tomorrow Elsie will be three months old, Asher will have his early childhood screening for kindergarten and Miles starts school on Thursday. When I started this blog, Miles and Asher were a toddler and a baby (WHAT?) and Elsie was what they call a glimmer. Miles and I were alone today, visiting with his teacher and then out for lunch. He asked me how he can go to school if he doesn’t spell yet. I explained that he’ll learn and it’s okay not to know things ahead of time. That toddler boy is still in there, wide-eyed and wondering how everything works. He will always be there. Yesterday Ryan took the boys to the State Fair while Elsie and I stayed home. The boys were so tired when they got home, I’m pretty sure they fell asleep with […]

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September 2, 2011

Miles – 2005   I say every mother needs to trust her heart-gut. She knows, I say. It’s hidden inside her, the answer. Answers to all the many many questions that rise up, all day every day. We’ve made our decisions about Miles and school after years of wrestling with homeschooling versus public or private out-of-home schooling. We made the decision to have him not start school at all last year, after doing more heart-gut wrestling. So now here we are. We’ve made our decisions and I even feel good about them, as good as I can feel when every decision we make always has its right and wrong parts. This boy is going to full-time-is-the-only-option kindergarten at a public school next week.   {Rain photo circa 2007}   Mothers dream of a person and then grow them in their very soul and bring them here and then release them with a great push. Unleashed […]

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July 18, 2011

he won’t be the bad guy. Miles asks, can you be at least half bad and he says emphatically NO. I’m good. he is. he is so good. he wants his sister close and he takes each of her knuckles one by one those teeny tiny knuckles between his fingers and he presses softly smiling his cousin gets hurt and he brings it up all day wasn’t that sad when that happened, mama? yes it was, sweetie that’s him. he is sweetness. He is four. We got to keep him, despite every fear and he is so much more than the boy who had brain surgery when he was one and the boy who has a shunt and tubing through his body and the boy with the adorable glasses. He is The Noggin but of course he is Asher. Everything about him is simply who he is, just parts making up the most […]

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June 28, 2011

An interview with Miles: On being five… Me: What did you like about being five? Miles: I can jump high, playing Legos and playing with cars and having races with them. Me: What was your favorite thing about this year? Miles: I liked the water park and I also like going to get Legos. Me: Is there anything you didn’t like? Miles: It’s hard to think of that…I don’t like getting itchy. Or ravioli. {at this point Miles declared the interview over. good thing because my next question was about the five year old boys’ attention span.} ::::: There are so many things I want to say to him and about him on his birthday. So I made him this video and he says it’s cool if I share it with you. {Hat tip to my friend Kim for introducing me to the song in the video so we could both get weepy.} […]

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Me – Asher, I want to tell you something. Asher – (eyes bright, runs right over) What, Mama? Me – Today you are THREE. It’s your birthday today! Asher – oooooh. Will I get a balloon? Me – Yes. Later today….what are you going to do this year, while you’re three?Asher – play wid Zach-Max (cousins)…and brudder…and you (pronounced jew. just sayin‘)….cause I missed jew (very very sad face, oh so downcast, oh his soul)Me – Oh. When was I gone? Asher – (long pouty pause, then giggles, throws his head back) I kidding! Me – Oh, you’re silly. I love you. Asher – I wuz jew, too, Mommy. (gives big hugs, then throws noggin back again to be silly and cracks said noggin on chair.)(just keepin‘ it real, peeps.)(he’s totally fine.) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Cue The Cute: End Cute. Happy Birthday, Asher. Mommy loves you to the sky and back and back up and […]

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On day one, you taught me that having a c-section didn’t make me a failurebecause I had you. On day 2 I studied all your sleeping faces, all day longand I loved even the frumpy grumpy onesand you still make themand somehow, I love them even more In your first monthsyou showed me what peace looks likeand how it would feel when you’re sickalways like I’m sick, but worse You’ve always shown mejoypure joyin the smallest things In your first few years, I learned that so much of what I know and believe is because of you.You are five years of love and light, struggle and growth and absolutely nothing I would trade.Because of you I know what an old soul in a small body can bring to this life, and I know that I will always always love and accept you…no.matter.what. And I know that I say be careful too often, but […]

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Little Brother, you’re up.No really. It’ll be okay… No. You may not have either of them.They are MINE.The End. Oh P.S. I want to say thank you for your comments on my last post. Because of this bumpy sobriety journey, that kind of post means much to me, and so your words of encouragement, grace, friendship, and love…well, they totally lift me up. Thank you. Thank you for allowing me to pop up in your inbox and for reading my words, silly or serious. I appreciate you. ~Heather

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I’m a fan

May 22, 2010

I’m a big fan of owls. The other day, my friend gave me a big fat owl to sit outside my front door. He greets people.(He’s not a real live owl, he’s a decorative one.) I would have taken a picture of him to show you, but it’s pouring outside right now, so he’s busy. I don’t know what I mean by that.Owls can turn their heads all the way around, isn’t that mind blowing?They’re like mothers. I’m also a big fan of garage sales. Yesterday we found an area rug that’s just perfect for our family room. It has orange and gray in it, and so do our family and dining rooms. So it matches.But my socks don’t.I’m not a fan of matching clothing. Ryan is not a fan of germs and so he’s a bit concerned that something horrible is lurking in this garage sale rug. He just told the boys, […]

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It lasts forever

September 15, 2009

Tuesday~September 15, 2009 I’ll never forget taking Miles to his first big event when he was about two weeks old. I was a mess of hormones, a lactating machine filled with angst, joy, and fear all at once. In short, I was a complete mess and somehow, I was absolutely loving it. Those first days, they all ran together and felt as if they’d last forever. Such a strange thing, being so tired that you just want your baby to hurry up and grow, and yet wanting them to be newly born and in your arms your entire life. And then you want a break so badly, you come close to asking the mailman to babysit so you can run around the block. And then you want to wake that sweet little monster up after he finally falls asleep because you suddenly miss him…yes, it’s crazy-making, alright. My mom was holding him on […]

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Say What You Need To Say

August 21, 2009

Friday~August 21, 2009 We’ve been waiting for words. He’s been waiting for words. He’s still screaming and stomping, frustrated with our not reading his mind. We’ve been guessing and shrugging and apologizing for not knowing. We’ve been explaining his non-response to strangers with, “He’s not quite into talking yet.” We’ve been waiting with the doctor who said his words aren’t enough, we’ll see. The words are still a bit stuck in his throat. But he’s finally trying. A little. Scuuuse-E, he says as he tries to squeeze by. Mmm–hummm, he agrees and UH EH, he protests. And then just like that, he said two things that make the waiting the easiest thing I’ve ever done. ASH…ER, he said as he pounded his chest and grinned. ASH…ER, spoken like two words,two perfectly clear little brilliant words. Then later, as I carried him to bed, nuzzling my nose in his neck.Honey, I love you, I […]

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Two looks good on you

July 16, 2009

Thursday~July 16th, 2009 Yesterday we made another trip to the doctor. Boy, you’ve spent a lot of the last two years in that place. This time, we were checking for a broken nose. You fall so much, child. I’m pretty sure the doctor is starting to wonder about us. So you’ll have an x-ray on Monday because it’s likely there’s a fracture in there. You poor thing. For your birthday? A broken nose? But you know what? You’re just so happy and strong, you don’t seem to mind a bit. The doctors and nurses love seeing you. They say there’s just something special about your happiness. They can’t believe how calm and peaceful you seem. They poke and prod and you quietly sit with me. They push on your shunt and feel all around your head and you kick your feet and snuggle me. You’re such a busy little guy, always climbing and […]

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