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Sunday, May 30, 2010

More Rainbows of the Heart

Bruce doesn’t bring me flowers often. It’s ok, because I am notorious for forgetting to add water and then leaving them on the piano in the vase until they resemble potpourri on sticks. I love getting a bouquet of flowers, but since I don’t take care of them I can’t blame him for not buying them for me often. Even so, I know he thinks of me often throughout the day. Sometimes he’ll bring me a favorite treat from a vending machine if he happens to see something he knows I like but don’t often buy for myself when grocery shopping. Sometimes he’ll send me a text in the middle of the day if he knows there’s something stressful going on for me.
On a recent trip to the shore, I didn’t feel like walking along the beach, I just felt like sitting on a bench near Hillary and watching the ocean and the seagulls. He decided to take a walk by himself as we can’t both go at the same time unless Anna is around to stay with Hillary since we can no longer get her onto the sand due to her heavier wheelchair. After a time he returned to me. I could see that the bottom of his jeans were soaked, and laughed at the sight. Come to find out, he had gotten too close to the water when washing off one of the “treasures” he found. Along with the sea glass he found was a starfish. I had never seen one on the beach before, and this one seemed to be still alive. After we finished examining it and wondering at it for a few minutes, he walked back to the water and returned it to the ocean. I added the sea glass to my collection when we returned home, and keep the memory of the star fish in my heart. Who needs flowers?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Summer Memory
A warm sticky summer night and I’m lying in my bed with the little window fan going at full whir until my mother comes in when the air gets cool to turn it off. The cool fan-stirred air felt good after a hot day spent chasing butterflies, playing hide and seek, and riding my bike. It is this scenario that comes to mind on this mid-spring evening of an above average temperature day.
Sometimes I long to go back to those days. Carefree and fun with my biggest worry being whether or not any of my friends or brothers would be around to play with me. I remember hot pleasant days the summer between fourth and fifth grades, which I spent collecting butterflies and assorted other bugs. My father, always ready to build or fix something, used a cardboard box and a piece of screen to build a cage for butterflies. I filled it with grass, a few twigs, and a small jar lid with water in it, and headed across the street to the field in front of my elementary school with my butterfly net. Small yellow, white and brown butterflies were in good supply there, and it wasn’t long before I had one in my net to run across the street with and put in the cage. Once there, I spent time watching it drink some water, and crawl among the grass, occasionally testing out its wings. After a while I’d let it go and repeat the process. I also caught other bugs such as grasshoppers, holding them in my hands for a bit before letting them go. My mother provided me with a large mayonnaise jar for my observations of assorted other bugs. Our neighbor across the street, knowing of my interest in bugs, called me over to his garage one time to see a huge green dragonfly. It was as long as his pointer finger, with beautiful lacy translucent wings. Another time I caught a praying mantis. We kept it for a week or so in a gallon sized jar with holes poked in the lid. We put grass and some twigs in the jar, and my father caught spiders at the factory where he worked and brought them home in Styrofoam coffee cups covered with foil and a rubber band. After dinner, we fed the praying mantis the spiders, taking delight in the triangular head and huge eyes that watched its prey. When the time was right, it would strike out with its arms and capture the spider. I believe it crushed the spider before eating it, but I don’t quite recall that part. When we let the praying mantis go it hung around our yard for a while before flying away. Eventually I grew out of my fascination with insects, but I enjoy the memory of that summer.
Now that I am an adult, a wife, and a mother, we have central air conditioning. We sleep in the summer with the windows closed and the ceiling fans on, but every once in a while I wish for a small window fan whirring away into the night.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Despair in the Mail

There hasn't been much of this lately, but it is part of life. No matter if you have a special situation, or are just a "regular" person with a "regular" life, eventually something is mailed to you that makes you feel this way. Realizing the feelings of hopelessness are transient is the best way I have found to cope with them. This particular poem came about when we were trying to obtain funding for the patient lift system simultaneously with fighting with insurance for a new wheelchair. Feeling overwhelmed would be grossly understating my state of mind at that time. It was all hard work, and extremely stressful, but worth it to have what we need to properly care for Hillary.

Open the envelope
Out jumps despair
Stomping and jumping,
Painting the heart
Putrid black
Inviting Hopelessness, Isolation, Apathy, Worthlessness
To join the party.
From under the wreckage
Out comes Resolve
Lighting the ember of Hope.
Despair exits
Taking the others
Out of Hope’s light
Back into the darkness.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Strangers can make or break a day. An unkind word or action can be the defining moment of a bad day. On the flip side, and unexpected kind word or action can turn a bad day into a good one. Everyday errands can be good or bad depending on how strangers act.
We were a small percussion section. The sticking brake on the wheelchair clicking away and the thumpy rattle of the shopping cart as we made our way through the store was our convoluted cadence. Occasionally Hillary added her voice to the mix, just to keep it interesting, or maybe to warn the people coming out of the intersecting aisles. One of the challenging parts about shopping alone with Hillary is pushing all 230 pounds of girl and wheelchair with one hand and pulling the shopping cart behind with the other without running into other shoppers or displays, or knocking things off shelves by cutting corners too close with either piece of equipment. Trying to stop in time when someone stops suddenly in front of me adds challenge and interest. So far I haven't hit anyone. I have thought occasionally about putting spikes on the end of the footplates of the chair for those times when people just don't want to give an inch, but up to this point I've controlled myself. At times I have wished I had an air horn at my disposal for those talking on their cell phones, oblivious to other shoppers trying to navigate the merchandise. This particular day there was no temptation, it was Nice People Day. I love Nice People Day! The cashier helped unload my cart onto the belt without being asked. She was cheerful, effiecient, and used a minimum of bags. The day continued its pleasant theme when I exited the store as, amazingly, when I needed to cross the parking lot with my little caravan the traffic stopped to let us get off the curb and cross to our vehicle. Might sound like no big deal, but I assure you that it doesn't often happen and I sure do appreciate it when it does!
It is the simple things that strangers do that can sometimes either make or break my day, and this day they made it. Must have been the convoluted cadence was a happy one.