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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Butterfly Clips

They say that your hair changes every seven years.  If so then I shouldn’t be surprised by the way Hillary’s hair has been acting lately, after all she turned 21 almost 6 months ago. That would make it the third time in her life that it changed.  For some reason, the wispy hair around her face always seems to be hanging in her eyes by the end of the day no matter what I do to control it.  I know that wearing the hood on her winter poncho doesn’t help, but I really don’t recall it being this out of control before. I need to go barrette shopping for her.  In the mean time when she’s home I’ve been using the ones I have on hand left from when the girls were little.  So far the ones that work best are the little ones shaped like butterflies as they have a claw like part that hold the hair in place.  They’re cute, but not particularly appropriate for my 21 year old; at least in my mind.  Those little shiny plastic clips bring back so many memories though.  In my mind’s eye I can picture my Anna, four years old, a long braid running down the length of her back all decorated with the little butterflies as she skipped up the center aisle of church to sit on the floor, her skirt puddled around her, with her friends for the children’s sermon.  My vision fast forwards a few years to a 5 year old Hillary, her hair in a bun on top of her head decorated with the same little butterflies, sitting on her physical therapist’s lap.  As her head bobbled around the therapist had to dodge the little plastic doo dads so as to avoid her chin being scratched. She used to joke that it was Hillary’s defense weapon. I used those clips a lot.  When Hillary turned 16 we were at the mall one day, and looking at her from a distance as my husband stood with her I realized how “not right” she looked in her little kid style clothes on her adult sized frame and butterflies in her hair.  I asked Anna what she thought and we agreed that it was time to redo the wardrobe so Hillary would look more her age, and fit in better with her school peers.  When I see those clips I recall the Halloween that we dressed Hillary as the Butterfly Queen.  She was dressed in black from head to toe, we made a large petaled flower out of her lap tray and put wings behind her, and topped her hair off with a small tiara and all the butterfly clasps and hairpins we had. She looked quite regal as we wheeled her around.  It’s funny how finding a solution to out of control hair led me to such sweet memories.  I like that.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


4:30 a.m. Saturday the alarm rings, I groan and force myself out of the cocoon of blankets and wonder why I am doing this, and if the pounding headache I woke up with two hours ago will go away soon.  I move through the house adjusting the heat in each room and turning on the kettle before settling in the couch corner to watch the Weather Channel for a few moments.  After a quick shower I check on Hillary and her feeding pump then, with a mug of tea in hand, resettle on the couch still wondering what I am doing this for.  Not too long after, I begin the process of getting Hillary out of bed before the sun is up.  Indeed, we have to be on the road shortly after the sunrise; and it’s snowing.

Hillary is uncooperative and unhappy to be forced from the nest of her bed so early for the sixth day in a row.  As I coax her to eat her cereal and drink her milk she gives me looks that could kill but finally she’s finished. Bruce has warmed the van by driving to the bagel store to get our breakfast to go so we load our athlete into it and start out for the Special Olympics Area Bowling Tournament.  She sleeps the whole way there, Bruce and I talk softly while he drives and I look out the window praying my headache, which has mostly subsided to a manageable level, will not return at the bowling alley.

Once inside, Bruce takes Hillary to check in while I locate and grab a nearby table as parents are not allowed in the bowling area once the competition begins.  I try the tea in my travel mug and find that it is still boiling hot so I set it aside.  Bruce returns briefly to let me know which lane to watch and continues on with our princess.  He will stay with her until the volunteers are ready to take over.  I watch them and as he talks to her she looks up at him from her wheelchair, adoring and laughing at her daddy.  She is Daddy’s little girl, even at the age of 21.  I see the other competitors enter the building, some with parents, most with attendants from their group homes or recreation programs.  Adults with children’s faces, some I recognize from years past, some new to me, all excited to be at the event today.  I notice that the man, Paul, who three years ago introduced himself to me by shaking my hand, asking my name and telling me that his father died, is there again, but now using a wheelchair instead of his walker.  I wonder at his age.  Then I spot the woman who asked me last year, with the trust and face of a five year old under her gray hair, to help her with the souvenir zipper pull the participants were given.  She looks the same.  As I make small talk with the two women sharing our table, who each work at a different group home, Hillary’s coach approaches me.  She lets me know that since this is her senior year and so her last on their team, she has arranged for my daughter to be the American flag bearer for the opening ceremonies and that her teammate Alexandria will be pushing her wheelchair.  I am touched by this and hope that we can get a good picture to add to the many I have taken of father and daughter laughing under the Special Olympics banner.

Finally the competition begins and I can look over the pictures we have taken with our iPhones.  Some are good, and I post one of Bruce and Hillary laughing, the excitement apparent in her eyes, on Facebook. It will get many “likes” and a few comments if history is any indication.  As we munch our bagels, chat, and watch the games we marvel that Hillary still is laughing as she waits her turn and her lane mates talk to her.  This is a friendly competition.  I cannot watch her laugh enough; she rarely smiles and rarely laughs. She wins the bronze medal which means in a month or so we will once again be up before dawn and sitting in a bowling alley much earlier than we would like.  It’s ok, it will be worth it if it makes her happy.  Whatever it takes to see that smile is what we will do. Suddenly getting up at 4:30, braving the weather, and sitting in a bowling alley with a pounding headache is worth it.   

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New Year Post 2014

One year ends and one begins, a chance to start anew
I'm glad to have so many friends, and things to choose to do
We celebrate the year gone by, with its trouble and its joy
And if the future we could spy, would it gladden or annoy?
Farewell to 2013! You kept me on my toes
Greetings 2014! Please have more highs than lows.


I’m a few days into this new year 2014, and in spite of resolving to MAKE time for writing, Life is holding on to time with a death grip.  In any case, that’s something I will have to work on.  I think that once I get past June I might have a bit more time at least for a while.  Last year set the stage for the big changes that are coming up for me this year, most of them within the first six months.  Hillary will be graduating in June, then (God willing) attending a day care program for a few hours a day five days a week.  So far it looks as if I will not be able to continue my current employment once that happens so I will either be looking for a new job or working different hours at my current one.  Either way things will be changing in a big way.

^^  On the first day back to work after the holiday break a co-worker lamented that she, unlike her teenaged children, has nothing to look forward to in the future.  For her, the New Year holds no promise of things being different or exciting.  It made me sad for her that she doesn’t see how her life can hold pleasant surprises and joyous moments. I wonder if many people feel that way.

^^Last Sunday we took a long drive.  As we traveled through the more open country west of us I looked out the window.  This time of year when there are no leaves on anything and the grass is hibernating is great for looking out the window.  I saw many houses that I didn’t realize were there when we drove the same route in the summer, and spied many country roads.  Country roads make me want to turn off the main route and follow them to see where they go.  Perhaps another day we will do that. 

^^My mind these days, like my house, is cluttered with things from the past, present and for the future.  Closets are time capsules here as are the boxes on the shelves in the laundry room where treasures and unwanted items reside together.  I’m hoping to make this the year that it gets whittled down to a more manageable level.  It would be much less stressful for both my mind and body to have fewer unnecessary items lying around.

^^This year I plan to get to know some acquaintances as friends, and deepen some of the friendships I have.  I think that walks, lunches, and other activities will be a good way to accomplish this goal.  How nice to look forward to having fun times with people I enjoy!

^^This post has been a little jumbled, but that is the state I am in; as if everything has been thrown into a box any which way and I am pulling items out,  moving things from the bottom to the top and trying to untangle the threads of thoughts woven through it all.