Archive

Be Present

“Trust this love,” you tell me.

Can I just trust you to love me
how you love me,
which seems rather wonderful.
Instead of all this
looking back at past
sorrows that I cannot
change or correct.
To let go into this moment,
into you and your
deep pools of
understanding–
the way you
can join together my
disconnected thoughts.
The way your quick mind
sends forth this salve; just
the probing question to
turn me from the infinite
trail of “what ifs;”
the way you can intuit
what you are feeling and
tell me when I am hurting you,
at the time I am hurting you,
rather than carrying it
around silently in small
atomic packages of
cold war sentiments,
never knowing when
DEFCON 1
will be achieved.

The way you turn in your sleep
to hold me once again
after I’ve moved away.

This is the photo of me he loves; the one in which I see my wrinkles, and big nose, and lifeless middle-aged hair. And he says again: Trust this love.

This is the photo of me he loves; the one in which I see my wrinkles, and big nose, and lifeless middle-aged hair. And he says again: Trust this love.

I have this thing I’ve been doing this winter: I stand over my stove most mornings stirring chocolate chips into steaming milk; I use my grandmother’s hand mixer to whip full-fat cream and maple syrup together. The whipping cream tops my homemade cocoa. Did I mention I want to reduce my sugar intake?

I have this thing I’ve been doing for years: I clear out a build up of life junk, bringing it through the drive-thru at the Goodwill because I long to live a simpler life. Did I mention that sometimes—most times—on my Goodwill visits, I park my car after unloading it so that I can peruse the Goodwill’s diverse section of used books? I might bring home an old book simply because I like it’s cover. “Check out that Mid-century design—they don’t make covers like that anymore,” I tell my husband when he questions why I purchased a book on football in the 1950s. I also pick up vintage maps, old family photos, and other ephemera.

I have this thing I do when I’m sick: I binge watch old TV shows about large families, like Eight is Enough, The Partridge Family, and The Brady Bunch. Did I mention that I suffer from cyclical—yet profound—longing for uninterrupted solitude?

Life is filled with opposite pulls. While it’s still common for me to struggle against the opposing poles of my life, through studying yoga, I learned that to be alive is to suffer the pull of opposites; hatha yoga creates a path towards the union of opposites. The more I can get away from black and white thinking, labeling emotions as “good” or “bad” and just rest in my knowledge that the whole of my life has the capacity to work with all experiences, the better I live.

A battery derives power from both a positive and negative charge.

IMG_2446

“If you can sit quietly after difficult news, if in financial downturns you remain perfectly calm, if you can see your neighbors travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy, if you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate and fall asleep after a day of running around without a drink or a pill, if you can always find contentment just where you are, you are probably a dog.”

Jack Kornfield, from A Lamp in the Darkness

Chloe Coleman: Zen Dog

Chloe Coleman: Zen Dog

The Kneading Dough Blessing

My Blessing to My Three. That even if you are kneading dough, perhaps especially if you are kneading dough, that you be fulfilled in each moist, sticky moment of contact. That you have mind-bending conversations while pouring the heavy whipping cream in a bowl or sprinkling poppy seeds throughout the batter. That you feel immense joy when returning phone calls over your lap top at a coffee shop, running your small business. That you smile while you ride your bike down the streets of the new city where you have moved, exploring each little organic food co-op and french bistro. That you know both the thrill of nose-diving in the air, and the centering pull of regaining balance. That you face each day’s battle with the confidant knowledge that it is the very battle that is meant for you. That you celebrate the shape and outline of your nose each time you look in the mirror. That you always leave room in your life (and your belly) for an occasional bowl of ice cream. That you spend time meandering through used bookstores and have the pleasure (often) of seeing the exact book you “need” jump into your hands. That you might someday be kissed in the stack of books of a library or in a parking lot by the person you’ve been waiting all of your life to meet. That you might find the perfect pair of leather boots that will travel decades of your life with you. That you have many crisp, well-seasoned pickles to accompany your deli sandwiches. That you go skinny dipping and swim with dolphins (perhaps at the same time) at least once in your life. That you will participate in a post-secondary learning situation, which will open your mind and enliven your soul. That you will have some friends who will know you all of your life and hold up a mirror to help reflect back all of your many gifts. That there is never enough room in your suitcase to carry around any bit of regret. That your siblings will join you on your path, from time to time, to remind you of where you’ve come from. That you always know and feel the love that has brought you here. That you will always know and accept the peace that passes all understanding.

* * *

I wrote this poem four years ago now, when my daughter was about to return from a Rotary Exchange Year in Japan and now, she is graduating from college in two weeks with a degree in Japanese Language and Culture (which she did in 3 years–see The New Global Student for benefits of study abroad including reducing time in college). My blessing remains–although I am not so sure about the swimming with dolphins. I’ve started to believe that is an unethical practice, at least as a commercial venture. Also, for at least one of my kids, the ice cream may need to be made from coconut milk.

Image

For the first time this spring, I can hear the beautiful evening song of the birds outside the window. Quite suddenly, it seems, they’ve all returned. Just heard thunder breaking open the sky. Rain pattering down on the roof now. Oh, how I miss these sounds all winter long. Soon the insects will start up again too. You’d be loving all of this rebirth. Wish you were here.

It’s been a long while since I’ve written an ear update. At this point, I am sure our ENT would categorize J’s tympanoplasty as a success. Our ENT not only repaired J’s ear drum (well, more accurately, he rebuilt a new one with cartilage taken from behind J’s right ear), but he also discovered the physiological reason for J’s congenital conductive hearing loss. He found that J’s first two middle ear bones were abnormally small and therefore, could not strike his ear drum. And, in any event, the right ear drum had been destroyed by J’s previous ENT who insisted on inserting tubes into his ears even after discovering in surgery how abnormally small J’s ear canals were. I guess fortunately, she never really managed to get the left grommet into his left ear drum.

During the tympanoplasty, J’s ENT emerged from surgery, told us about the deformed ear bones, and asked us if we wanted him to remove the first two ear bones and insert a titanium prosthetic device (TORP) in their place. We went ahead with the procedure and it restored J’s hearing to within normal range. In consequence, J has been unaided in the right ear for the past 19.5 months. Although J’s language development was coming along nicely once fitted with hearing aids that actually worked for his small ear canals at 18 months of age and with the help of a Moog-method based school, J’s language exploded in new and exciting ways post surgery. A few months post-surgery, J no longer qualified for speech services and in our recent check-in with a SLP, J’s expressive language ranked somewhere in the 95 percentile for his age group. For all of this, I am so grateful.

J’s right ear, however, has continued to drain intermittently post surgery. We’ve spent more time at the ENT’s office post-surgery than I care to recount here. Unfortunately, in the past two months, the drainage has kicked up a notch. His ENT thought J had an ear infection a month back, but the culture did not grow anything. When we went in for our follow-up appointment yesterday, J’s ear had begun to drain again. Our ENT suggested it was time for a CT scan to check for a cyst. I said, “Do you mean cholesteatoma?” He answered, “yes.” Well, if you want to strike the fear of God into a mother, just use the word cholesteatoma in the same sentence with her child’s name. Especially if the mother has already been through the horrors of ear surgery once before with her child.

And, sigh, . . . I’ve been working so hard on my fear-o-meter with respect to J’s right ear. In fact, I have a large number of alcoholics in my life–mostly past life but still a pivotal family of origin member who remains actively using. Let’s just say that since childhood, I’ve had a way of collecting alcoholics in my life. Countless times throughout my life, people have recommended Al-anon for me. But I always thought that I could go it on my own. Finally, however, I started attending Al-anon this past fall. Mainly because I realized that my living in constant fear over J’s right ear was impacting my health. I needed to learn how to turn that which I cannot control over to my higher power. I am working the program but I have a feeling I’ll be attending Al-anon for the rest of my life. Alcoholism is the family disease that keeps on giving. Anyway, the word “cholesteatoma” puts my mama fear-o-meter right back into the center stage of my life. Cholesteatoma is a disease that can be dealt with, but there is never a guarantee that it won’t return. I asked our ENT if J’s ear surgery increased his risk for cholesteatoma and he answered, “yes.” And then, of course, I had to ask what percentage increase came from the TORP procedure and he told me, “about ten percent.”

Well, I must admit, I thought I had finally found the serenity to let go of my desperate clinging to J’s ear health. On December 5th, we visited his audiologist for testing of his right ear post-ear infection (that really wasn’t an infection). We learned that his hearing had remained stable (no drainage at time of testing)–of course when he is actively draining, he definitely loses some hearing capacity in the right ear. I talked with our  audiologist (who is outside of our ENT’s office but we keep her because we love her so much) about J’s surgery and about how much hearing J will lose if the ENT has to remove the TORP (I wasn’t thinking about cholesteatoma at all at this point) due to the continued issues with drainage. Of course, it will be total conductive loss, which is about 55-65 dmb. When J still had his ear bones, it was about 35-40 dmb, with a reverse slope loss. His left ear still has all three ear bones, but was never quite as good as his right ear so about 40-45 dmb range of hearing. I talked about how I’d second guess our decision if he loses that much hearing in his right ear because we decided to remove the ear bones. And then, unexpectedly, she gave me a gift. She told me how she used to work as an audiologist in a clinic for kids who had lost hearing due to meningitis and she told me that even if they had had two years of natural hearing before meningitis took their hearing, it made speaking so much easier for them. She told me that this time we had given J of natural hearing (unilaterally) during his language formative years (0-5), was extremely valuable and probably weighed in favor of the surgery we had done. I left her office feeling lighter than I’d felt in 19 months. I left saying, “Okay, God (my name for my higher power). You know J’s every need far better than I ever could and I am going to stop taking this burden of worrying over this ear. I am going to stop second-guessing our decision. I am going to start being absolutely, joyfully, grateful that J is fully lingual at age 4 years, 3 months.

I had about ten days of this blissful state. And then, yesterday, I heard about the “ten percent increase for cholesteatoma.” J’s ENT also conclusively diagnosed J with a perforation in his right ear drum yesterday. And so today, it’s back to working my Al-anon program.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

CT scan scheduled for January 15, 2014. And I am so worried about radiation exposure too.

In the meantime, I am hoping to relish this holiday season. E is already home from his first semester of college and got all A’s. H is coming home in 3 days. I am so excited for us all to be together and to cook for my family and to have us all under one roof. To me, there is no greater joy than having all of my kid’s together. I do not intend to “miss” this time by shouldering the heavy sack of ear worry that I’ve been carrying over the past 19 months.

God, you know J’s every need. You love J more than I ever could. You know far more about his ears and what he needs. I put his hearing, his ears, his health into your hands. I lay my burden down. I trust in you. If this is the proverbial thorn in my side (and I think it is), you’ve told me that the only remedy is grace. ‘Let my grace be sufficient for you; for J.”

Enough. There is always enough grace for ANY situation.

IMG_1229

E and J eating at my favorite restaurant (given I am gluten free–and I suppose I need to begin to tell you all about my health journey this past year) before J’s ENT appointment. E held J on his lap while ENT cleaned out J’s ear under microscope. Such a loving big brother.

Panida

Life & Endometriosis

Rich and Alice Go Globetrotting

Our Retirement Travel Awesomeness

about CHANCE

365 days of embracing the unknown... because frankly the know-it-all approach is exhausting.

Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50

Navigating the second half of my life

Empty Nest Man

It's Time to Reinvent Yourself.

Discover

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

poempost

Poems & Essays by Christine Kouwenhoven

Emmanuel's Light

www.emmanuelslight.com

FYI Divorce

Family law and the court system is complicated, get your divorce questions answered by a straight shooter. Topics covered include: The Truth About Attorneys, Divorce Emotions, Types of Divorces, Domestic Violence and more. There are too many biased resources out there, start reading FYIDivorce.com for the real life inside scoop before you file for divorce, during your divorce and after your divorce.

SKYLARITY

Mindfulness, Spontaneity and Authenticity

Writer To Writers

Creating a Collaborative Anthology

susan d abello

Painting pictures with words, sharing vignettes of a colorful life.

Maxxesbooktopia

A place where books and imaginations spring into life

Another Good Dog

Our adventures as a foster dog family

SCTCC Tiny House Project

Go tiny, and go home!

Blog about Mexico's Must Have Seen

Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cancun, Riviera Maya, Cenotes, Sian Ka'an, Cozumel, Bacalar, Mahahual, Monterrey...

Suzanne Strempek Shea

Writing, Art, Animals, Earth

Evelina

by Evelina Di Lauro

rae pagliarulo

: writer : editor :

Agate

Wonders of the Near North

Writers Envy

A Quest For Emotional Insight

Storm Cellar

A literary journal of safety and danger

Iris Graville

Writer. Book artist. Quaker. Believes everyone has a story to tell.

WroteTrips™

“Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.” - Mary Schmich

TheFeatheredSleep

Tigers not daughters

Publishing Advisors

The Way Forward

HunterGame1216

#love #peace #ppl #happiness #hardwork #paidsoff

Selected Essays and Squibs by Joseph Suglia

The Web log of Dr. Joseph Suglia

The Funky Little Chair

Dedicated to the preservation of top-quality upholstery education and services.

This Tiny Blue House

Frugal lifestyle & Parenting Blog

Helen Jones

lives in Uppsala

Jungo Books

Just another WordPress.com site

katehopper.wordpress.com/

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Josep Goded

Seeking Truth

O at the Edges

Musings on poetry, language, perception, numbers, food, and anything else that slips through the cracks.

ndquarterly.wordpress.com/

North Dakota Quarterly

Creative Talents Unleashed

"Unleash your creative talents and share them with the world!" ~ Raja's Insight

518-songofmypeople

A town everyone hates, yet no one leaves...

For What They're Worth

Thoughts on life, past and present. Good for me to write. May they also be good for you to read.

Finding Our Way Home

A Spiritual Journey Into Earth Community

%d bloggers like this: