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With the definition of “tolerate” being to “allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference,” I need this year to be about not tolerating things anymore.

This is why 8 months ago, I wrote that my focus-word for 2017 would be “intolerant.”

This has been a solid focus for me. Not an easy one (but seriously, when did I ever do easy?!), but solid in that it’s propelling me to startling new directions.

With what just happened with Medi-caid and and now with the racial riots, I think “intolerant” remains a focus that speaks to me.

Put more positively though, “intolerance” feels more like “change”.

Like Angela Davis said, “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change, I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

I’m going to say: this sounds really strong, fierce, noble. It looks great in a quote and fantastic here in this blog post. In real life, on social media or interacting with others, it doesn’t usually feel fierce or noble to me.

It feels scary. It feels tiring. It feels  difficult. It feels like it takes consistency (something I’m not good at), vigilance, courage. It takes thought. It takes action.

It takes time.

It takes attention to detail, care about consequences, planning, foresight.

It’s takes showing up. It takes people thinking you are a bitch because you pick at things or ask questions, and the discomfort of that experience.

With relation to disability, I experience daily discrimination and lack of access. This world is not made for us deaf. I also enjoy tremendous privilege based on my white skin, light eyes and hair, and the fact that I can “pass” as non-disabled. People think I’m training my service dog, not that my service dog is actually working, serving me.

With as frustrated as I can be in living in an inaccessible society for me (and for my daughter who has Down syndrome), I still struggle with internalized ableism. That is, I think my own access is not important enough to do something, to speak up, to be intolerant about.

These two aspects: internalized ableism and an awareness of racial privilege, couple together and breed all kinds of flavors of low self-esteem which in turn affect how I live my life, how I express my intolerance for the things I do not want to accept, how I consciously move towards changing the things that I find unacceptable.

So many times I’ve found myself left out of something by dint of deafness. On a personal level, I shrug, feel sad. When I transfer that experience to others in my deaf community, I am galvinized into action, as that’s the easiest way for me for me to gain the courage to stand up to something that should not be tolerated. It’s easier to stand up for others than it is to stand up for myself.

Is that noble? No.

Is that honorable, a great selfless expression of how to live? No.

Why? Because I’m a mom; I am raising three little kids who are constantly looking at me and learning how to navigate the world. They are learning by my actions.

What I’ve learned to do at this point is to start off with the easier route, use that as my jumping-off point. Use the injustice of something happening to another (even if it’s a shared experience) to get myself to act. Then make it personal when and if I can and if it is relevant.

This post isn’t an answer or a how-to. It’s a conversation that I hope you will join in honing our change-advocacy skills, in really thinking about why this is important, the challenges we face (particularly in the parent and disability communities) in expressing our intolerance of things we cannot accept, and ways to work through those challenges.

 

 

When I was a kid, I thought it would be pretty cool to be a nun and live on some moss-drenched green hill in the middle of nowhere, free to really delve into all aspects of holiness, the universe and God.

Careful what you wish for, kids.

This is the yurt at night. Uh huh. Up on that hill of green, all alone.

Isolated, with neighbors a few miles away.

It’s absurdly gorgeous, other-worldly even. The perfect setting for midnight meditations, morning yoga and other spiritual delights.

It’s the absolute-perfect place to shave your head and go monastic.

Totally, utterly THE BEST PLACE.

With 3 kids though, it’s full of choices like, “hey guys! want to hike?” or, “how about a hike?” “Feel like a hike this morning?” “A little hiking for ya?”

he is not amused

Ha.

That hill is not an easy place to hang out with these guys.

It’s challenging on a “real-life” spiritual way that I’m sure that God loves and gets a kick out of, and even while I can feel the universe laughing around me, I hightail it out with the kids as often as possible during the summer.

So we went on over to Eureka to house-sit for a friend of a friend.

So, there we were, staying in Eureka
So, there we were, staying in Eureka
and Micah turns to me and asks if we can make some pie the next day
and Micah turns to me and asks if we can make some pie the next day
It was around 11am, so I asked, ``why tomorrow? why not today?``

``Well,`` he said, ``we don't have enough time to drive to town and get the ingredients, drive back and still make it``

It was around 11am, so I asked, ``why tomorrow? why not today?``

``Well,`` he said, ``we don't have enough time to drive to town and get the ingredients, drive back and still make it``

There you go, friends.

I have given you CULTURE SHOCK from within California!

I laughed as I explained to Micah that we were about 10 minutes away from a store. Going and picking up whatever we needed, coming back and whipping up a pie would be a piece of, um, cake.

We went to Agate Beach

One of my favorite places. I have memories of tearing that place apart with Dana, looking for those elusive agates.

My kids tore the place apart looking for clay instead.

I have no idea how or why that happened (where’d they get the idea for clay at a beach?)

They went all ‘Lord of the Flies’ and marked up their bodies in tribal “tattoos”.

Mine too

I missed Dana viscerally that day

I miss him every day, but on that particular day at Agate Beach, it struck me hard that this time next year, I won’t be able to say that that this time last year, Dana was with me.

Because this time last year, we were hanging out on weekends when I went to Blue Lake to spend the night. This time last year, he was making stupid, funny bets on snickers candy bars with me, we were sitting on the swinging bench together talking about things we wouldn’t tell anyone else. He was being my best friend.

As always.

I took an accidental selfie while I was lying on the sand, trying to get the perfect angle on one of these photos of the kids.

I like this picture because it’s a real visual of me in this moment of time.

I am 44.

I am holding on.

My body is a mother’s.

I am trying to grasp, frame and treasure what is beautiful to me in this here and now, and I am praying that God will keep me while Dana sets up the net for me to jump.

Mack and Moxie, Humboldt County, California, 2017
Mack and Moxie, Humboldt County, California, 2017
Dana and Meriah, Humboldt County, California, 1980

A Message for My Patrons:

First of all, THANK YOU.

You are inspiring me and helping me right now when I really need it.

Thank you for that.

On a super-awesome-happy note, the swag bag that one of you awesome Patrons will win is plumping up. I’ll select one Patron at random on August 1st to win, and I’ll send it off.

The photo of the month:

Mack and Moxie, Humboldt County, California, 2017

That means that everyone who is PADD level ($5/month) or more will be receiving this in the mail.

If you want to be a Patron, the link is here.

It does not have to be big bucks, you guys. Those dollars add up and I appreciate everything.

I over think everything.

Case in point: I’ve been sitting here, sort of half-watching “Blue’s Clues” while trying to figure out how to start this post. I want to be funny but I’m not funny so nix that, I want the post to be deep but not toooooo deep or people’ll get lost, and I want it to be full of a wit and wisdom that I simply don’t have. And my house yurt is a mess because I’m gutting it for a full-on feng shui because I need CHANGE IN OUR LIVES and that just isn’t going to happen without some feng shui action. So this is more stream of consciousness than anything, right?

I’m 44 now, guys.

Forty-four years old.

This is a big deal for me because Dana was 44 when he left last year. I’m the same age as he was. Am I going to go this year too? Who knows. Who knows when any of us will go. But I do know that I want my affairs to be in better order than they are. I don’t want a lot of stuff untried, undone. So I’ve scheduled my tattoo appointments, clarifying the legacy that I want to leave my kids, and pulling out all of my unfinished paintings to finish.

The world is a beautiful one on the Lost Coast right now.

Flowers are everywhere, especially California poppies and yellow mustard.

When I was a little kid on our sheep ranch in Cloverdale, I loved that mustard. My mom had a vegetable garden that was fenced (because, deer) and it was choked up with yellow mustard growing wild.

My dad went to whack it all out and I was so upset. I cried and wailed and begged him to leave the mustard because I loved it so much. He was annoyed, “it’s a WEED” but my mom took pity on me asked him to leave it. He grudgingly relented.

It’s weird, the things that we remember.

Half-jointed stories of moments that meant something to us, or simply moments that stuck to the crevices of our mind. Golden balls of “core” like they chased in the movie, “Inside Out.”

I don’t know what my kids will remember; I’m trying to make their memories something beautiful – always a hard thing when I’m solo parenting and stressed out, overwhelmed and under-supported, with the sadness from the loss of Dana always, always being just under my skin and at the ever-ready to spill forth into full-on grief.

Then I’m just kicking myself for yelling at them or being angry when there really wasn’t any need to be, you know? I was reacting on reactions and then more reacting. This stupid vicious circle that solves nothing.

I remember to breathe sometimes.

I guess this is my version of a mid-life “crisis”?

But it’s not a crisis.

It’s a step back and an evaluation of my life as I’m making it. It’s a mid-life re-boot.

I don’t feel the need to prove anything or do anything, but I need to do with absolute surety, that I am doing my best, that I’m going forward in directions that I know I will regret if I don’t.

Like figuring out how to parent.

Not in the way that my parents did with me or Dana – or rather, maybe I’ll take a few things and not the rest.

But like, how to do this?

That picture of Micah fake-meditating reminds me of real-meditating, and of course that leads me to what I feel is the answer to this whole parenting thing.

I just have to research, try, try, try.

Breathe, let go, breathe. On repeat.

Mack’s growing up.

And with that comes his own personality blooming, full-force.

He’s flower-loving, hella creative, independent, fun, sociable, eminently likable. He’s also so sensitive that he’ll pack his bag and leave if he’s upset with us, and he’s 4.

He’ll also just curl up and cry with upset or just need to “be ALONE.”

And he he likes dance parties, making books, creating “masterpieces” and all things SuperHero/Pokemon/whatever-Micah-likes-now.

Back to my mid-life re-boot

44.

My brother left his physical life last September when he was 44.

Think about all the things you want to do before you go, or who you want to be. What kind of person do you want to go out as. It can seem like an overwhelming amount of BIG-ness (I mean, there is so much to do! And learn and grow and be!), until you kind of break it down into bite-sized chunks. (It should go without saying that I’m guessing my way around this, because like everyone else, I’ve never done this before.)

So, bite-sized chunks.

Bite-sized chunks. Using the visual analogy of the maypole, I need to not look up at the distance that I need to climb, I need to focus on the ribbons.

The color of the ribbons. The length. The pattern they will weave. All of that to me is a metaphor for what matters most in this world.


That answer will be different for everyone.

I think for me, relationships form a big chunk of my bite. Like, the relationships between me and my kids, me and Mikey, my mom and I. The relationships between people that I’m angry with or want nothing to do with – because if I believe (as I do) that we’ll have life after “death”, then relationships naturally carry on. I need to learn to take the difficult pieces and resolve them.

That is SO. FREAKIN’. HARD.

So, yeah. Maybe if I focus on the smaller pieces – like the color and weave (- the feeling, intuition, words), the larger pieces will come together? Because I know I can’t focus on the larger pieces. It’s just too much.

Art’s in there too, on my list of things that are really important to me.

You know, I used to wake up naturally at 5 in the morning to charge out of bed to edit photos and blog. Since I’ve been changing the format of this site to “more helpful; less me” I’ve been sleeping in. It’s super weird.

I need to figure out a balance – so that I can make this site what I want it to be – which is, super helpful – and also get my art-rush in. Because clearly, art will get me out of bed when it’s dark outside but even though writing a post on Down syndrome Resources is fun, it won’t.

I miss Hawaii too.

I miss swimming and the warm ocean. I miss being able to just take the kids to the beach and stay all day, only worrying about sunscreen and if I brought enough snacks.

The ocean up here is so glorious and powerful, but it’s like this constant tease of being so close to it and not being able to go in because of the freezing cold, sharks, riptide, and currents.

I know even after we move back to Hawaii, this place will stay in my heart. Northern California has always been in my heart, with it’s majestic beauty, greens and lush loveliness.

I’ve loved to live in a place that I’m from, too.

I mean, I wasn’t born on the Lost Coast, but with my Grandma having been born in Blue Lake, my Grandparents living in Big Lagoon when they were first married, my Great-Grandfather and Grandpa both loggers (and my Great-Grandpa actually killed by a falling tree), and with cousins, nephews and family that I can run into at the market, it’s pretty sweet. The third culture kid part of me always craved this.

And that’s a cool mushroom thing that has no place in this story! (but it sure is cool, isn’t it?!!)

Over and out.

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Let me tell you a story.

When I was 17, I was living in a tiny rice farming village in rural Taiwan with my brother, his wife and new baby.

I was terribly, achingly lonely. There were not many people my age in the town at all – but those that there were, were in school, or preparing for university. They definitely did not speak English. My Chinese being shoddy, the only people I could really talk to were old people – who knew Japanese by virtue of Taiwan being a colony of Japan in World War II – or “mountain people”, the indigenous people who also knew Japanese (because they liked the Japanese better than the Chinese).

I was lonely. Very lonely.

So what I got to doing every day was bicycling over to a mountain I was fond of. I’d hike up to the pagoda on top, smoke a closet cigarette or three. Pray. Study holy writings (I’ve always loved religious studies).

I got to looking around and realized the mountain was even higher in the back, behind the pagoda. Full of tumbled bushes, weeds, trees. Taiwanese Jungle. I started to bring a cane knife (-machete) with me and began the process – one that would take me over 5 months – of whacking out a path all the way to very top of the mountain. The very top.

Sometimes as I struggled, whacking, pulling, cutting, heaving, I wondered why on earth I was doing this. Why I felt so bloody compelled to create this path. Why? When I’d be leaving Taiwan for sure, when it would go back to being bush. Who would use it, what was the point?

The only answer I could ever come to within my heart was that I wanted to. I wanted this path. I wanted to sit on the very top of that mountain and pray. That’s what I wanted. Waste or not, I reckoned, it was what I needed to do.

****

6 years later, when I was 24, I went back to Taiwan to see my brother. Out of old time’s sake, I wanted to visit my old mountain. I drove my scooter there (an upgrade from my bicycle!), Parked it at the base,hiked up to the pagoda. I thought that for sure my path would be gone – it had been 6 years, after all, but I wanted to check it out nonetheless.

And.

I found that someone – who? – had discovered it. That someone had carefully lined the sides of the path that I had spent so many hours creating with beautiful smooth white stones. I couldn’t believe it. Stunned, I raced on up to the next level – and the next – and the next – and the next (there were 5 levels that I had carved out) and they were all lined, all cared for.

When I reached the top that day, I threw myself on the ground and cried that something so unforeseen had happened. I had created something from love with no expectation that it would live beyond me – but it had. My heart was full and happy and the beauty and magic in the world shone clearly.

****

Yesterday a new member of a group that I’ve started asked me why I bother doing what I do. “What’s the point? Why bother with this anyway?

I thought of my path in Taiwan. I thought of Martin Luther King Jr’s words: Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Sometimes I can’t see the end in the beginning – sometimes it’s only recognizing that it matters to me and so it is important and should be acted upon. Sometimes it’s simply responding to a feeling that I am compelled to respond to. Create this , do that. It doesn’t always make sense. It doesn’t always have to.

“Why bother?” Indeed. Why. When we know we are facing an uphill climb anyway. 
“Why bother?” It hurts to be misunderstood.
“Why bother?” I should focus on myself, right.
“Why bother?” It’s going to die off anyway.
“Why bother?” I won’t be here forever.

*****

“Why bother?” Because I care
“Why bother?” Because I can do no less
“Why bother?” Because it matters to me

*****

The universe and God are mysteries. They operate in ways that I will never fathom. But I trust that good will come from a first step that is made with love, from care, because it matters. I know that it is only mine to act; not necessarily to see the end. To have vision, yes, but more importantly, to trust that it will all unfold as it should.

Because it matters.

_________

_________
Originally published on August 7, 2012

There have been a few time recently where I’ve been almost desperate to laugh. On my hill up there on the Lost Coast, with my kids and husband visiting my mother in law, I did what most anyone (without streaming ability) would do – I reached for my satellite TV remote control and started cruising channels, trying to find something funny.

It was ridiculously easy to find something violent. Almost everything on is violent, and not just violent, but violent. Like, in every sense of the word – psychologically violent, physically violent, spiritually violent. Our culture is draped in violence (and some wonder why we’ve got the shooting problem?!), and any quick stroll through the TV guide makes that crystal clear.

But this post isn’t about that. I don’t want to talk about that because it reminds me of how Dana died.

I want to talk about laughing.

I want to laugh. I want to have those huge laughs that make me cry and my stomach ache.

So I went to Comedy Central (satellite TV comes with cable) and it was boring and stupid. Same with the shows that were on MTV and other channels that were supposed to be funny. They weren’t. Watching something that’s supposed to be funny and isn’t makes me all kinds of annoyed.

I ended up wandering over to Roseanne – the early shows – because those are guaranteed to make me laugh at some point, even if I’ve already seen them all before. Then I found Tracy Ullman and that got a few laughs, same with the Graham Norton Show. That was it, though – I don’t remember if I ran out of time because the kids and Mikey came home (that’s probably what happened) or I just got tired of trying to find something funny so I settled for a movie from the 80’s (no wait, that’s what happened!).

Seriously real though: what the heck?! Why are we choosing all this gun shit over a good laugh? How did that even happen? Where did all the funny people go? I miss them.

In the meantime, the election is happening tomorrow – no joke – and so long as Hillary wins, maybe I’ll be able to relax with my remote control and review stuff from this past few months that will be funny with perspective? The Martha Stewart & Snoop Dogg Show also looks promising.

Tell me what makes you laugh on TV right now.

Thanks

I wasn’t going to talk about my actual age anymore. It feels limiting and makes me feel boxed in a bit. Like, you are supposed to be or do x,y.z by the time you are 1,2,3. You are grown up and responsible at given set of numbers and you aren’t supposed to live boldly anymore (if you ever were). You are not supposed to do things that scare you.

I was thinking about that for a long while. Because, you see, when I was a kid, I was fascinated by a particular Baha’i writing – paraphrased, it is that if you are afraid of things or people, you will never be truly afraid of God, and if you are afraid of God, nothing but God will make you afraid.

I was on a quest for quite a while to do the things that made me afraid. Small stuff: like I took a volleyball class in college because I was scared of volleyballs (uh huh, really). I took care of old people because I was scared of sickness. I didn’t do things that scared me against my instincts (- like walk down a dark alley or jump off heights), but I pushed myself to do the small things that scared me.

And then – partially from necessity – I pushed myself to do the large things that scared me. Like having a child with Down syndrome. Like embracing my own disability. Like being absolutely honest with myself. Like changing my website to meriahnichols.com and laying claim to my own words in the most public way possible.

At this point, I think of fear – and God – in ways different than I did when I was a child and wanting to understand the quote.

I feel the interconnectedness of us all more, which is a way to say that I feel the spirit of God in all of us. And “God” has never been the old man in the sky for me. It’s always been the Source – emanating energy, love.

I feel this Source.

As I stay on this planet and pass around the sun more times, I notice that the smaller stuff doesn’t scare me much anymore. Continually facing the volleyballs just makes me see that they really are just big, white, round balls. It’s not them I’m actually scared of; I’m scared of being hit.

I see that the smaller fears have deeper roots, and the deeper roots are sometimes tangled in the deeper fears.

It’s okay to feel fear. In fact, I think it’s very important to feel it.

Feeling it for me helps me acknowledge it. It allows me to think about the deeper places that the fear is coming from. Knowing where it is coming from lets me meet it head-first, address it and move on.

Coming back here scared me sick. It wasn’t the actual manual work that had to be done or the fairly rough living conditions or even the mice! It was the isolation. Feeling that – really feeling it, really getting to the core of what was making me so scared – was helpful for me because I could make a plan to catch myself when/if I needed it.

42.

I switch those numbers around and they are 24. When I was 24, I had arrived on a hill in Vermont from Guangzhou, China. I attended graduate school. I met some of my best friends in that year, people that are very much a part of my heart still. I didn’t realize at the time how incredibly lucky I was to have like-minded people all around me then, I didn’t know how much I would miss that later. All I could think about then was how much I wanted to be married and have kids. I didn’t see what was fantastic about the situation – the friendships! – because of what I thought was lacking.

42.

I’m again on a hill. I have the exact opposite of what I had on the hill when I was 24. I am married with kids, but I don’t have friends around. I mean, the irony is hilarious, right?!

This time I am not going to focus on what is lacking, because what is lacking will come in its own time. It always does. In the meantime, I have exactly what I wanted back when I was 24: 3 little kids and a pretty cool guy. I relish this opportunity to savor this moment.

42.

I think everyone has an abiding thread in their lives. Something that they face repeatedly, or some particular piece that they struggle to make sense of. Something they are passionate about and want to truly understand. I know that for me, it is fear. Living my life with courage and understanding the nature of fear, feeling the roots of it, moving on and through it is very important to me.

It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done; it’s the best thing I have ever done. And ultimately, it’s what I feel will move me closer to God. God is still the point here for me – I suppose that is the simple result of my going through the windshield of a car when I was 4 years old. After that, God has always been the point.

42.

I look in the mirror and I see my face has new wrinkles. The texture of my skin is changing. My body is changing, responding to the gravity of time. I am not particularly relishing these changes. In fact, I am scared. I’m back to that fear – and I sit with it. What am I scared of? I’m not scared of dying.  So what is it? The change itself? Being considered ugly or irrelevant because I’m older? Yes, maybe. I’m not completely sure. I think I need to sit with this some more and breathe it in before I can figure it out and move on.

42.

It’s the oldest I’ve ever been and even while the changes scare me, the numbers please me. I like their symmetry.

42.

I’m glad I’m not 24. I’m glad this show of mine is moving forward and not back.

 

 

 

Mikey and I agreed that after my heavy solo-parenting gig of the summer and also solo-care of our chitlins during stretches when Mikey left the farm to buy a truck (or visit friends), I deserved a break, a Momcation. Like, a real momcation, without even one child with me, completely solo.

So I signed up for StoryCorps, bought tickets to Superfest, contacted some friends to interview for my Beyond Awareness Project, and headed south to the Bay Area.

It was so strange to be without the kids. It was the first time I’ve ever left them, all of them, overnight.

This was the first time in four years that I was well and truly alone.

I kept automatically doing things, like looking back in the rearview mirror to the kid’s seats, or thinking of what I had to feed them, thinking of re-filling their water bottles or snack traps or whatever. While driving down the 101, I passed through Willits and thought, ‘hmm, good place for a break and diaper change’ and then realized, d’oh! Don’t have to! HAHAHAHAA! Hope you are having fun, Mikey!

_______

I missed them terribly and yet I also terribly needed some time to recharge my batteries. I needed to reconnect with the disability community, I needed some SOUL POWER for my juju. I needed to hang out with Katherine and talk about Deaf education and what’s going on, I needed to hear ideas about disability awareness/acceptance, about our empowerment and what makes sense for those of us on the disability spectrum to focus our efforts on.

I needed to hear disabled jokes – here’s a good one,

how many disabled people does it take to change a light bulb?
– one.
then 5 able-bodied people to tell us what an inspiration we were to change it, and another able bodied person to take a picture of us doing it and exploit the hell out of it on social media!

I got my surge of connectivity that I needed, I got to sit in a space and look around and see every flavour of those of us on the disability spectrum represented: the autistics, blind, the chair users, the couple with CP, little people, people with any and every number of disabilities, visible and not. Sometimes I feel like no one has really experienced diversity unless and until you hang out with the disabled community because we take it to a whole new level.

I want to say that I did some other things like… I got a pedicure or went to the Berkeley Acupuncture Project for some relaxing needle work…or a massage or something. But I didn’t. I walked around with Kianna. I thought a lot. I enjoyed thinking and walking. I mean, I really enjoyed my walking and thinking, so I walked and thought some more. I also thought about how much I love Kianna, who was right there with me every step of the way.

Speaking of Kianna,we had her rec-certification test on the way home. I thought she might flunk it because she absolutely refused to go up the escalators we encountered in San Francisco, but it turns out that’s not a critical element. I was told to just take the stairs or elevators, because given that there is no way to practice walking up and down escalators where we are, it’s not fair to expect that of her. So, YAY! Kianna passed!

And with that, we were homebound.

I was laying money on Mikey being really glad to see me.

I was right.

Bee on my windshield while driving in San Francisco, Alice Wong and Story Corps, Kianna
Bee on my windshield while driving in San Francisco, Alice Wong and Story Corps, Kianna
meriah nichols_-4
at the ed roberts campus
meriah nichols_-5
the beautiful hallways in the Ed Roberts Campus
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My beloved Katherine (and I)

 

meriah nichols_-11
Crossing River Road in Cloverdale, CA – where I used to live when I was a very young child
meriah nichols_-10
right by where I got in my car accident when I was 4 years old (and went through the windshield)

 

meriah nichols_-3
Katherine, Corbett O’Toole, and I at Super Fest
meriah nichols_-2
My sister from another mister

 

meriah nichols_-9
on the way home: cows on the hills of the Lost Coast
meriah nichols_-7
my little babies – xoxo

 

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WINNER:

random.org picked Comment #2, Diane S as the winner of the “Special  Joy” Down syndrome Doll giveaway.

Congratulations, Diane!

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Hey! I’m still at it!

Chugging away at the weight loss, one pound at a time. I had a rough go of it recently with one of my best friends coming to visit and we went The Ice Cream Route because really, that’s So. Much. Fun!! It was worth it, but like anything that’s a lot of fun but not so good for you, I had to wake up, wipe those doritos off of my backside and get back with the 21 Day Fix.


21 Day Fix

You might be hearing a lot about it? It seems like my own Facebook feed is full of it, but that might be because of Facebook’s “like” algorithm. Anyway. The 21 Day Fix: it is remarkably similar to the old school Weight Watcher’s Core Program. It’s like a big lasso, pulling you back into clean eating and moderate portions, but without gold stars, weigh-ins and meetings. (I liked those gold stars, so that part’s a bummer.)

Portion ControlThe Concept: they give you these little boxes and you can eat a certain amount of food for each colour, based on your poundage and weight loss goals. Green stands for greens – haha, clever, huh! – and they give you a long list of all the greens that are allowed. You can fill that green box up a certain number of times a day, according to how much you weigh. Same goes for the yellow, blue, orange, and red boxes. I’ve learned already that that yellow box is the most fun – that’s the carb box, and the box that you substitute goodies with!

I’ve noticed that:

  • it’s plenty of food. Noone is likely to get hungry following the 21 Day Fix
  • it’s hard to keep track of how many boxes I eat in a day. I developed a spreadsheet for that and it really helps – I just check off how many of the boxes I’m using at a given time
  • this is CLEAN, CLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAN eating, y’all! I can make this work because I live in hippie crunchie granola land, but I’d feel sorry for someone trying to do this in say, the south or wherever it is they deep fry pickles

Exercise:

With the order of the boxes comes an exercise DVD. I follow it, and it’s not that hard to as they are all only 30 minutes long!

21 Day FixI exercise 5 days out of 7, I’d say. The plan calls for daily exercise but that just can’t happen sometimes for me. And that’s okay. I am a Humboldt Housewife and that means that my butt is moving all day around here anyway – if I’m outside working on my garden, it means I’m swinging a pick-axe into rocky soil and shoveling hard dirt like it’s mush. Or running after small children who either run UP hill or DOWN hill but either way, it equates A LOT OF EXERCISE for Mama.

Shakeology:

This is the shake thing that BeachBody makes. I ordered the box with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry and thought the chocolate and strawberry were good and the vanilla was a good base for other stuff (- “disguiseable” in other words). I did notice a different right off the bat with it – it is filling, it tastes good enough, and it’s filling. It’s very low calorie and full of nutrients. And did I mention that it’s filling?!

My second box of it was the vegan chocolate and tropical strawberry and the tropical strawberry was just nasty! Ewwwww. The vegan chocolate isn’t much to write home about, either. So I’m going to stick to the mix of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, at least until we hit the road again and I can’t receive mail.

meriah nichols aug (2 of 2)-2Results:

BeachBody sure does deliver them if you follow their plan.

I am staying pretty much with it and I’m and easy size 16 now (-started at size 22, remember), I have lost 20 lbs.

My goal is a size 6 and to lose 50 more lbs.

I’m pretty sure I can do this because I’m approaching it more as of a lifestyle change than as a “diet” – I have  no idea how those 21 Day Fix coloured boxes are going to work when we hit the road, but I figure that I can guesstimate how much meat is in a taco (- red box), how much of a tortilla goes into a yellow box.

 

UPDATE:

I still have over 20 views of this post EVERY SINGLE DAY, so I wanted to let you all know a few things:

  1. This program really does work if you follow it. Full stop.
  2. It’s super hard to untangle yourself from BeachBody, should you get a coach or become a coach (for the discount or otherwise). Be wary. I think it’s easier to just pay straight up for what you want. I have an affiliate account with them because like I said, this system works. I’ll vouch for it. Just not some of the company business practices. My affiliate link is here for the 21 Day Fix (which means you pay normal price for it, but they give me a share of their profit for referring you)

 

 

I AM DONE.

This is what happened: a couple of months ago, I thought I’d froth in the mouth if I had ONE.MORE.NIGHT of the nursing scenario that Mac-Q went through: the kicking, pushing, pulling, biting, squirming misery.

On that night, I (somehow) got him to fall asleep without it and crept down to my own bed, completely ecstatic.carlton

CARLTON DANCE TIME!!!

So the next day, I kept pushing the nursing back a little, seeing how long I could get him to go without. To my surprise, it was bedtime and we still hadn’t nursed – and I thought I may as well push my luck and see if I could get him to go to sleep without nursing… and SHOCKER, he did!

I was a little nervous at this point, wondering when the other shoe would drop (- would it?), I had absolutely no idea.

But that was it. That was really, honestly it. I didn’t plan to end nursing just then, but he didn’t go nuts, there were no screaming fits, I didn’t have to use cabbage leaves or anything for engorgement – it was just over.

Completely, unexpectedly, suddenly and blessedly over.

download (2)I don’t understand it anymore than I’m sure Carlton does, but there you have it.

Three live children, all breastfed, and that includes one child with Down syndrome.

52 months of milk production.

That boils down to 4.3 YEARS, y’all, or 208 weeks, 1,456 days, 34,944 hours (is it fair to count hours? probably not, huh?)

I had moments that I recall (or just recall as I look at the photos), moments full of tenderness and love, that feeling connected in a way that only a mother and a child can. They are beautiful and tender and worthy of slow music and a tear-jerking video but at this point you guys, it’s about the Carlton dance for me:

Done, baby, DONE. D-O-N-E, I did it!

  • 4. 3 years
  • 208 weeks
  • 52 months
  •  1,456 days
  • and 34,944 hours, if you count hours

 

carlton

*******

If you are still breastfeeding and need anything – think pumps (wince, I’m so sorry), bras, nursing shirts/tunics/dresses/scarves/whatever – or just post partum stuff (- belly/hip wraps, bags, pampering items..), head on over to Zulily because they have special sales going on now for World Breastfeeding Week. Link is HERE – World Breastfeeding Week at Zulily– and yes, I will make a some money if you buy something from them, so thank you for using my link!

 

I used to think that when you were 40, you were an adult. You were old, you knew what to do. And now that I’m over 40, I realize that there are no adults. The kids who played with their cabbage patch kids are now in charge of other human beings, that’s the way it is and that’s the way it has always been. A cycle of kids getting old enough to have kids of their own, but noone is really an adult in the sense that a door is opened in the recesses of yourself and you have the answers all of the sudden.

I used to think that when you were married to your One True Love – the person that you have never doubted that you should be with – it would all be okay, you’d be happy together. I mean, this is the person for whom “how will I know?” never applied because unlike other dates or people, it was always clear with this One. I never imagined how hurtful marriage can be, how complicated it can be, how you can love someone and still want to leave them.

I used to think that if you had the number of children that you desired, if you had the wherewithal to raise them yourself and not put them in daycare or be separated with them, it would be hunky dory. I thought I’d be the Mary Poppins-esque Mama, all singing and dancing through cleanup time, never dreaming that I’d turn into a screaming banshee. Even though there is noone in the world that I want to love and understand more than I do with my children, even though there is noone in the world that I would rather be good to, a single moment has the power to strip me of everything but the need for the floor to be clean NOW, for them to listen and do as I say THIS MINUTE.

I used to think that when I had accepted myself and my disabilities, life would start shining. I thought that once I was okay – truly on good terms with – being deaf and all other quirks, things would even out. But what I’ve learned is that disability can be like pentimento: you have one layer that fades and reveals another layer that was created earlier. There can be more than one picture, it’s not always simple , nor is it cut-and-dried.

I used to think if I had the education, the power of imagination and the tools to actually produce what I want to make, I could. It never occurred to me that I could be well educated with an arsenal of dreams and projects that I would want to fly with and have the tools to make them all, and yet not be able to because of the demands of my children and the parameters of rural country living. Feeling stifled as the bi-product of a life that I chose was not something I even remotely imagined could happen.

So I’m over 40 years old. I feel like I’m floundering. Nothing is the way that I thought it would be, it’s all one unexpected maze with sharper twists and turns. I want this to end on a positive note, something about looking up, about rainbows in the rain. I know all of that is true, that rainbows come with rain, that colours come out sharper and clearer with the wet, that we can jump through and over puddles… I know that this is what I make of it, all my life is what I make of it, if this is going to swoop into something delicious from this flounderment… or what.

Is that what a mid-life crisis is all about?

If I was a guy, would this be when I grow a pony tail and buy a tiny little red car?

*****

 

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Let’s say you married someone that is the Love of Your Life but is the absolute worst at gift giving? We are talking purely hypothetically, of course.

And let’s say that this Love of Your Life gets overwhelmed because two of your three (hypothetical) children have birthdays right around the same time as YOUR OWN (hypothetical) birthday which is RIGHT NEXT TO Mother’s Day, and oh my God, it’s just nuts!

Soooooooooooooo, let’s just say that your birthday AND mother’s day hypothetically fall through the cracks every.single.year and you know what? That’s no fun.

This year I have created an affiliate-link free (no bullshit) handy dandy gift guide for this Beloved Person – it can be bookmarked, shared, printed and pinned.

And it doesn’t have to be about a birthday or Mother’s Day, does it?

I think just for being alive and present, not to mention for laundry, childbirth, c-sections, wiping snot and butts, for singing  “Wheels on the Bus” on an endless cycle of repeat at 4 in the morning, gifts are GREAT way to show appreciation for our presence and participation in the field of parenting!

Yes! For the hours and hours spent researching AND IMPLEMENTING every*single*thing possible to make those (hypothetical or not) kids well adjusted, happy, content, and “reaching their potential” – every exercise, therapy, book, app, game, pinterest playdough recipe. For the wrinkles gained, the pounds, the sagging skin, the stains on every garment owned.

I dedicate this list – which is listed in no particular order, and may be used at ANY time of the year – to you.

1. TIME

a. Time with friends:

Time to hang out with friends, time to TALK and catch up on everything that is happening in each other’s lives, time to sit and laugh and maybe cry a little too. Time to fill up on that special sauce that is ‘friendship’ and walk away feeling refreshed. This. Is. Gold.

Super awesomely thoughtful gift on the level of high radness? Arrange for Friend-Time.

Gold, I’m telling you.

b. Time with the Beloved:

mnmI love my One True Darling Man, Mikey. He’s my best friend and I find him wildly attractive. We haven’t ever been able to spend much time alone with one another since we had kids, but when we do, I treasure it. A marvelous birthday/ mother’s day present from him to me (NOT THAT I’M HINTING OR ANYTHING) would be to set up a great date night for us together. Love.

c. Time with myself:

I like doing things with myself too. I laugh at all my own jokes! Time doing things that relax or amuse me makes me happy, as I’m sure it does for most people. Things I like to do by myself:

– get a good haircut

It’s my belief, perhaps born from 10 years of living in Asia, that a good haircut can heal a whole lot. It’s maybe kind of like getting a great new frame that makes everything held a little better. Makes me look and feel thinner, younger, prettier, -er, -er, -er – all good, makes my world just more-er. If you are in the SF Bay Area, I recommend Remedy, in Emeryville. Any of the stylists; they are all great, and all awesome and all make me feel like a rockstar about once a year.

 

japanese bath– soak in a hot tub

I’d love to have a big, deep wood hot tub, preferably filled with hot spring water which may or may not be scented with natural oils/ candles… CHILDREN WILL NOT BE ALLOWED. Except by specific invitiation.

And children will be OKAY with that (- they won’t cry or scream or want me at any time in which I am relaxing in it)

 – indulge in the spa-tastical 

You know, diving into packaged kits and sets, made out of NICE INGREDIENTS (- Earth Mama Angel Baby has nice stuff, as does Kiehl’s, L’Occitane and our new neigbour, By Nieve. Massages, fluffy towels and aromas that make you sigh.

I love this stuff. I think all women do?

2. Stuff

Stuff is nice too:

a. Cards

I really like these, and I like the handmade ones. I know, it’s almost a cliché, but I really, honestly dig the handmade cards made in squiggly kid’s writing with their deeply abstract artistic renderings. Love! Love the glitter and splotches of colour, love the “love you”, love the fact that the little hands were pressed upon the paper and creativity was flowing all over them

grandmothers necklace674 (1) b. Jewelry

Yes, I like this too! My favorite? Stuff made my this company – http://www.brentjess.com/ is my favorite [reminder! that is not an affiliate link – I get not one penny from them if you buy any of their cool stuff]. Swwoooon!  Fingerprint necklaces, wee drawings made by our creative genius’, oh, the love. Sweet, sweet things.

danskoc. Shoes

Give me darling shoes of nerd-bent and I’ll give ya a big kiss. Shoes I like include these old school Danskos, Saltwaters, (Merrill) BOOTS and pretty much anything red. Did I already mention the Dansko’s? Yeah, I really, really like them. You can get these ones at REI – or the dansko website (- NO affiliate links here!)

 d. Makeup

My dear friend Terre was asking me what I missed about my life before I had kids. I said, “makeup” and she was surpised, she said she expected me to say something deeper/more meaningful like “reading” or something.

Um, no.

I spent hours, literally hours in Sephora before I had kids, trying out EVERYthing, I read makeup reviews and new makeup reveals like novice runners read “Runner’s World” shoe reviews or tech junkies look forward to the annual Mac conference or those crazy-for-something people who sleep in lines for days waiting to buy tickets.

I loved makeup, I adored makeup! I miss it now. I miss the nice smells and colours of Benefit, the perfect lipsticks of Mac, the Nars glosses. I miss Urban Decay, their lovely fluid bold eyeliners, I miss Lancome mascara, Smashbox primers and shadows. I miss wandering around and testing, seeing what’s new, trying, mixing, shading, feeling.

Marvelous makeup, GUILT-FREE (- like, I’m not trashing my kid’s college fund for this blush) would be pretty awesome.

 e. Cute clothes

It’s been so long since I had cute clothes – or ones not stained, hole-y, pre-used, ill fitting in some way – that I’ve kind of forgotten what it’s like – but I vaguelly remember it was REALLY NICE and FUN! Like, fun flared pants, things that didn’t scream, “I WIPE BUTTS ALL DAY”.

***

Summing up, I’m completely predictable! I like clothes, jewelry, nice-smelling stuff (- but not perfume), flowers (I forgot to mention them, but I LOVE flowers!!), cards (handmade!), I like time with the people I love, especially the ones I rarely get to spend time with. I like hot tubs and relaxing.

Here’s the handy summary

giftlist meriah nichols

**

Another note: you can get GIFT CERTIFICATES for almost everything listed here! How great is that?!

 

An unfortunate fact of my life is that being depressed does not make me skinny. Nor does breastfeeding. Both of those usually suction fat out of those experiencing one or the other – and if you have both, well, most people seem to walk away from depression and lactation with less than half the body weight they had when they started.

 NOT ME THOUGH!!! Oh no! Not MY body!

Ha! As if. My body took one look at having kids, you know, the act of actually growing children in your body and was all, “that’s supposed to make you fat?! Let me see what I can do!!” (*rubbed hands with glee*), cackled and threw me DEPRESSION and BREASTFEEDING.

I know there is a growing movement here in the US to accept and love fat and trust me, I am ALL FOR IT. I grew up in Fiji for crying out loud. This isn’t a post about fat hate, and it can’t be, because I simply don’t hate fat.

But I am not comfortable in my skin right now. I’m uncomfortable with how my body moves. With the rolls of fat that now press into my back, the feel of the excess that moves with me in one fluid flow as I walk or “run” (- quick waddle). At the same time, I feel kind of trapped, not sure about how or what to do about it.

Here’s the point where I literally stop writing and have a conversation in my head (as I watch a moth that somehow got inside, dance around);

-you could bike instead of drive
nope, Micah can’t make it most places and back yet
– you could get one of the extension things or a big ass bike carrier and fit the kids in
nope, those are like, $3,000

you could walk instead of drive
can’t carry Mack all the way (while pushing Moxie in the BOB and Micah bike riding next to us)

– you could get a double stroller like a Phil & Ted’s
hmm. Yes. I can do that.

 

Then the next hour goes to Craigslist, checking out Phil & Ted’s strollers. But I’m still left without a stroller for 2 kids when everyone wakes up and the cycle seems to repeat itself.

I’ve tried various things – yoga, which I absolutely adore, and pilates which I like – and the reason I don’t go is because – honestly? – Mikey’s face when I get home is pretty drastic. He really has a borderline impossible time with all 3 kids.

What does that leave me? Morning jogs.

That’s cool and when I do it, I feel great. It’s the choice between writing/painting and exercise, really – I have about an hour, an hour and a half most mornings in which to call my own. Either I write for my sanity or I exercise for my sanity.

*Facepalm*

And then just thinking about it all makes me feel my fat a little more keenly and makes me a little more uncomfortable with everything and then I get depressed. Then… TAILSPIN!

You know what else bums me out? The thought that this is probably about not valuing myself enough to make time for MY BODY.

***

New season, new goal: I’m going to change this. I suppose I’m mostly writing this post to have something in the future to refer back to, talk about some progress.

My goal: take care of ME. Put my priority where my butt is (that sounds so funny!): walk, run, exercise daily. Get strong again. Lose the 50 lbs I’ve put on through growing and birthing these kids.

You mama/sisters out there who know what this is about, advice/tips are really appreciated.

Over & out.

 

 

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ModCloth:

Speaking of fat. Or sort of. ModCloth has a ton of really awesome – RETRO INSPIRED!! – clothes for us girls on the plus side of things. I don’t honestly understand how they keep their prices so low while having such cute stuff – their sales get down to $20 vintage-inspired dresses! From size 0- clear through 22+. Plus, tons of fun accessories like camera necklaces for $15. Anyway, check it out, it’s fun looking even if you don’t buy: ModCloth

 

 

The first time that little Micah, man of Munchkinling, came up to me with his sweet face turned up, tears in his eyes, his lips turned out and down in a tremulous pout and thrust his finger at me, saying, “hurt! kiss!” I couldn’t believe it.

I remember my eyes widening and looking at him in amazement. I was about to ask him if he was for real? I mean, you really want me to kiss it? Like that is going to make it better?! (everyone knows only tylenol makes anything better!)

But I stopped myself because it was clear: yes, he was for real. And yes, my kiss would make it better.

And it did and it does.

Moxie reminded me of that moment again yesterday. She was trying to climb a wall to get something (- something she probably shouldn’t have been trying to get) and bam! she hit her head and came right over to me, sobbing her little adorable heart out, pointing to her head, WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH and wanted me to kiss it.

I kissed it.

Wrong spot.

Kissed again.

Wrong spot.

She angled me to the right spot.

I kissed it.

Instantly, her tears dried, she said ‘yeah’ and spun on her heel, away from me, off to do something else (- something that she probably shouldn’t be doing)

I get confused by this still, incredulous over this power that my love has with my children, the healing and the safety that they apparently find with me. It kind of makes me feel like crying.

Mack’s body shakes with joy when he sees me – he’s like this little laser beam, honing around for it’s source for light and when he sees me – me?! – you can tell I’m it for him – he just lights up and he’s in total ecstasy (and woe to the world if I don’t pick him up that instant).

IMG_9316

I think it’s easy to forget who we are to our children. Between our insecurities, what the world has taught us already, between glossy talk about perfection and what being a mother is all about and what we can give to our kids, blah, blah, it’s so very easy to forget that we are their world.

It’s really that simple.

Whatever we think of ourselves doesn’t matter; we are their world. 

Our kisses make things right; our love makes them grow. The light that we look at them with is juice for their soul.

We have slipped into this role that is deeper, bigger and more profound than anything we’ve ever done or experienced in our lives and it’s easy to blink and not even see it, not even realize it’s happening in this very moment.

That we are their world.

I want to have that tattooed on my arm, to see it always and never forget. When I get pissed off, depressed; when I say or do things I *know* I shouldn’t. When I believe in the bullshit that I’ve been fed along the line regarding my worthlessness or my lack. Lack of whatever, you know: I’m not smart enough, savvy, creative, pretty, skinny, talented, whatever – oh, and I’m deaf with an injured brain to boot! – so when my lack catches up with me, I want to raise that hand up with the tattoo on it to remember:

I am their world.

The power of “mom” is to be the centre of a child’s world. The sun in their system.

IMG_0779

There is no lack; there is only love.

 

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****

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Note from Zulily:

Labor Day Blowout sale is still happening today on zulily.com – polka dot squeaky shoes, moccasin boots with tassles, puffy vests, you name it, it’s for sale at prices hitting the 90% off mark.

 

 

Today is my birthday and I am 40.

I’ve heard people say now that 40 is the new 30, but I think that’s kind of a crock o’ crap.

40 is not the new 30.

40 is 40.

40 feels old to me. It feels like it needs to wear responsible pants and sturdy, sensible shoes that are capable of lasting a long time. 40 feels like it needs to be moisturized to look good, needs to be loved to glow. 40 feels like bad (yet thrifty) haircuts are on the horizon, right along with weird skin tags. 40 feels like it needs to be supported.

40 feels like it can’t take as many chances as 30 did.

If ages were cars, 30 would be the mini cooper and 40 would be the honda civic.

****

Looking back, my actual birthday absolutely sucked when I turned 30. I mean, big-time. It ended up with me standing outside the club, crying. Feeling so lonely and wrung out and…just sad.

I was 30.

I was new in the Bay Area (despite being born here), I had recently broken up an engagement, I had gone from being a fancy corporate trainer in Tokyo to taking care of old people. I was struggling through job interviews because I couldn’t hear and I had no idea how to get a job in the US.

****

I was  30.

The birthday was not what I would have wanted it to be, but the decade was. It was different than I planned, with the first part focused on my career and the second part focused on my family. It’s not what I thought it would be; it was more than I dreamed could be possible.

10 years ago, I was standing outside of a club in San Francisco, crying. I was alone and I was lonely. I had no idea how I was going to make what I wanted, happen. Being 30 was scary to me then because I felt I was dramatically failing in everything that society said a 30 year old could/should/would be/do/have.

And now I’m staring 40 straight in the eye.

***

40 is not the new 30.

40 is 40.

It’s nothing like 30.

I am getting the sense that it can be just as sweet as this cherry that Number One picked by hand and left on my table to enjoy as soon as I woke up this morning.

photo 4

40 is a number I’ve never experienced. It’s a new marker, a new benchmark, springboard.

I imagine it’s going to be just as frustrating as learning to crawl can be.

photo 1

My body is changing. I am feeling my mortality – which has never scared me but because my One True Darling is five whole years younger than me with his mother’s perfect (read: ageless, wrinkle-less) skin, I get nervous.

Not like I need to be, he says.

Okay, anyway. Where was I?

Right, 40.

40.

This brand new decade, full of promise. Promise of being able to still do cool stuff and having some thoughts worth thinking in my head. Issues resolved and I’ve located my baggage and unpacked a fair amount. 40, with the promise of big dreams that can be fleshed out. Promise of more juicy life, lying straight ahead, saying, “BITE me! I’m SAUCY! I’m FUN!”

40.

This new big adventure in which I have this partner that I love with all my heart, by my side

photo 3

Complete with small offspring! Woo-hoo!

photo 2

photo 3

40.

I’m going where I haven’t gone before.

And I’m not going to lie: it’s scary.

photo 2
(I wanted a bold, fearless kind of look here)

40.

It still feels like it calls for sensible shoes, thrifty and unattractive haircuts. Makeup that doesn’t sparkle much and “mature” moisturizer. But I look at myself and I really do look the same. Maybe more, on account of 3 babies and extra weight, maybe more, on account of becoming more comfortable in my own skin, with who I am as a person.

40 is already starting better than 30 did, thanks to the sweet “celebration cherry” left for me by my sweet son. And thanks to the delicious coffee brewed for me by my One True Darling Man, Mikey. The sounds of the kids playing – shreeking, maybe – as I type this post fills the air and their overall delight makes me smile.

photo 1

The start of things that are scary always seems to hold the potential for something really amazing. 40 is new for me, it’s scary. And like this day starting off so much better than my 30th birthday, I believe that this decade will take us further than the decade of my 30’s took me.

Hopefully. God-willing. And with some effort.

Just like the effort, hope and will that my Mom employed to bring me here in the first place (and thank you, Mom, for that!)

So, 40 isn’t the new 30. It’s nothing like 30. It’s scarier, it’s bigger. It’s more challenging, it’s riper. It’s smarter, it walks with more assurance and speaks with more soul power.

40 is on the way to knowing itself and doing something about it.

 

this is what i remember of that day
the day of the car accident.

****

i was four.

we were on our way to pre-school.
i couldn’t wait to get there
(i think we were going to stomp on grapes)
i was bouncing up and down, up down on the bench seat
of our white plymouth
‘mommy, hurry up! hurry up!’
we were going to be late,
i’d miss the bus leaving from the preschool to go to the vineyard
‘hurry up! hurry up!’

it was slippery, leaves on bendy, twisting River Road

‘hurry up! hurry up!’
bounce, bounce, bounce
‘mommy, mommy, hurry!’

and then

the world twisted all around
blurred motion, moving
a silence so profound
i could hear it in my marrow
a bucket of ice
poured over my head
freezing cold

a sudden fatigue

i was so tired
i put my head in mom’s lap
on her cream wrap-sweater

a man came, said he was jesus

(mom said later he said, “oh jesus!”)
he carried me
into his truck
his truck took me to
an ambulance

there was a young man in the ambulance

he said
“everything is going to be okay”
i was so utterly tired

the ambulance took me

to the hospital
where they sewed my face up in a hundred, a thousand?, or more small stitches
dipped in flesh, pulled tight
a needle, a thread
set, placed

when i awoke, it was dark

i looked into a mirror to see

and my face
was forever changed

 

memories of a car accident

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