Splitting the Holidays

At 4pm 3 days ago, Christmas Day, I walked my son down the stairs outside our apartment and toward the open arms of his father, who'd driven 40 minutes to pick him up. So went the fourth-in-a-row such Christmas day, the fourth since his father and I separated.

In the immediate moments leading up to the hour of exchange, and in all the underlying moments during the two days leading up to Christmas Day, I was torn by the desire to enjoy every second of the present, and the sadness accompanying the knowledge that my son would be away for 5 days.

I felt guilt for every moment I was shopping for gifts instead of playing with him. I dreaded the thought of cooking all morning on Christmas, wondering how many times I'd have to tell him I was busy and couldn't do whatever it was--any number of sweet and curious-minded little 4-year-old things--he'd try to pull me into. I was plagued by a series of questions that I know many parents, regardless of their marital status or custodial arrangements, are all too familiar with: am I a good mother? Do I give enough of my time to my son? Will I have any regrets later about what I did and didn't do?

I'm not going to try and answer any of those questions right now. Not here in this blog. I'll save further thoughts on those questions for the middle-of-the-night terrors when he's a teenager. Or when he's left the house for good and all I can do is ask myself again and again whether I've effectively prepared him for the world.

For the time being, I was dealing with Christmas.

The day was made doubly strange by the absence of my boyfriend Kevin's son, who (although his father and I aren't married), I consider my stepson. Though he'd spent every single night since mid-August with us, sleeping in his bedroom down the hall from ours, he was away that particular Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, with his mom. What an odd kind of quiet had settled over the place. How lonely his presents looked under the tree once Kevin's folks and my folks and my son had opened theirs.

How exceptional, to have these two boys apart on this day of all days.

My stepson returned home at about 8 that night and he wanted to wait until the next morning to open his presents. But because of my early departure for work, I missed even that. It was the most disjointed Christmas I'd ever experienced.

Kevin and I only yesterday finally got around to opening gifts from each other, and my son still has an untouched stocking hanging in the living room, awaiting his return.

Part of me wants to feel (again) sadness and guilt about this.

And then there's this other part of me.

The other part reminds me that this is the reality, and that nothing will change that in the time it takes me to come to terms with it; all that coming-to-terms-time is just wasted moments of the here and now. It reminds me that life is not all perfect plans and days that work out just like they do in your mind, or in the lives of others. Christmas Day does not have a rubric that we must aspire to follow. It just has this history in my mind, this vision of the way I celebrated it.

But my parents were together then as they are now. My brother was my blood brother and he was never further away than across the hall from me. Step-families were a thing of lore, and--as I got older--a something I encountered occasionally among friends; at that I never had a clue how complicated the schedules of these friends' families must have been.

What to do then but to take lessons (one each) from two of my favorite members of the male gender?

From my son: to follow his example and go with it, whatever the "it" is and to handle everything in stride as it comes to me, as it is explained to me; to never once pause long to complain, to be absolutely present in every moment and to enjoy the company of those around me.

From Kevin: to keep in mind his consolatory words to me that evening before Christmas (after all, he's been sharing holidays for years now), that "there is a certain amount of acceptance that has to accompany these choices we made." And yes. Yes! That's exactly what was in order and the only thing that stood to bring about peace-of-mind. What else is there to do, really?

What else but to keep in my mind that my son knows I love him, even when I'm not near. To remember that he is loved very much by the people who surround him when he's away, people who are very happy to have him there with them. To remember that mine and Kevin's sons' inability to be in the same house at the same time one Christmas is no tragedy. It's a chance to make the holiday whatever we want it to be. It removes the pressure of that ONE morning. It says well, if we can make two days of it why not 7? Why not stretch the festivities out over the course of a month, as my grandfather did with birthdays in his later years?

Why the hell not?

And while I'm at it, why not also remember that every single moment I do spend with my son is a gift I can not possibly over-appreciate.

That Christmas morning I spent cooking? The one I'd worried so much about? It turned out to be wonderful. My son played with his new Ninja Turtle and Lego toys nearby peacefully and contentedly. When he came around it was well-timed such that he had my complete and joyful attention. He was full of affection for me and I for him. It was one of my favorite mornings of all the mornings I've had the chance to spend with him.

My hope is that, with mindfulness and acceptance, I can truly enjoy all the these holidays exactly how they come, dis-jointed and funkily timed and oddly shaped and all.

Kevin's Sketch

In his words (further work on last week's piece)...

Inspired by my fascination with the eye candy of the Archimedean Solids, 13 of which were described by Johannes Kepler in 1619.  Their names are a mouthful—pictured at top, the Great Rhombocuboctahedron, middle, the Truncated Icosahedron, and bottom, the Great Rhombicosidodecahedron.


A Case for Loving Your Fellow Woman

A few months ago I came into contact with a lovely woman from Colombia who, at 50 and with grown children, was a picture of youthful beauty with a fit and shapely body to boot. Also, she was friendly and engaging and mellow. I liked her instantly.

How heartbroken I was on her behalf when she left the room and I heard two of the other women who'd met her at the same time begin to shower hate--as only women threatened by one of their own--can:

"Well I'd have a body like that too if my kids were gone and I could just spend two hours at the gym every day." (for example--and from a woman whose kids ARE grown and certainly self-sufficient enough that she could go to the gym, if that were how she wanted to spend her time...not that that's even the point.)

The display of jealousy was so unattractive, so thoroughly off-putting. And it made me really, really sad.

It made me feel like no matter what we women have to overcome in order to get to where we want to be, nothing will be more difficult than dealing with the enmity of other women who are unhappy with their own stations in life and seeking comfort through tearing down what others have built up.

I've made pit stops at a few difficult life stations myself. Hell I've stayed a night or two in some. And during those times I've certainly looked around at women who seemed to be having a better time at it than me, wanting too to be where they were. I know exactly where it comes from: this urge to question whether or not a woman deserves her good fortune, to cast doubt upon whether she's earned her place, to think of reasons why you could have/could have done the same, if only blah blah blah blah blah...

But these were child-like reflexes I was responding to, lacking not only in empathy and kindness, but in basic logic. I needed to ask myself this question: Will the negative thought or thing I have to say about that woman over there have even the slightest longshot chance of getting me any closer to where I want to be?

Of course the answer was no.

A couple of weeks ago I was seated comfortably in a warm dining room with my girlfriends Anne and Atiya, both dynamic and hard-working Mamas who are intelligent and funny and comfortable in their own skin--always uplifting people to spend time with. Atiya was talking about a former boss whom she'd always admired. She said, "when I see women with qualities like that, I feel like I wanna be like that. I ask 'how does she do that?' because I want to emulate it!" She mentioned this in mindful contrast to the common alternative, which would be to talk behind that woman's back, to make fun of her, to spread unseemly gossip, to betray.

That, I think, is one wonderful way to go about fostering happiness. You recognize that there is room for improvement in your own life, and you learn from the people you admire.

Simple, right?

If only.

In one interview I heard in advance of her book Lean In's publication, Sheryl Sandberg mentioned a widely read study that is now the inspiration for a hair commercial of much discussion. The study showed that men and women, after reading descriptions that were equal but for the gender of the name in question, labeled the men in favorable terms and the women in unfavorable terms, though they were doing the exact same things. (see commercial below)

Here's what I find most striking about that study: men AND women were guilty of judging the fictional woman of the study more harshly. (And I wouldn't be surprised if women did it even more often.)

The conclusion I'm left with is many women haven't yet discovered that there is not a limited amount of happiness and success and self-actualization out there that we must compete over; we don't have to go about life all Hunger Games-like.

My Mom gave me a book years ago that influenced my thinking on this subject quite a bit.

From Marianne Williamson's A Woman's Worth:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
I was probably 19 when I first read this, and despite my qualms or questions about Williamson's use of "God," I understood the message clearly. I've so appreciated this idea that this very quote has been posted on the bottom of this blog since I first birthed it.

I love the idea that our decision to shine brightly gives others permission to do the same. The assumed second part to this deal is that those others are indeed recognizing their own potential and deciding to go out and start building upon their own dreams. That second part often gets lost in the shuffle.

In the interest of driving the point home, I'd like to do a little exercise. I'm imagining myself in the happiest state I can possibly fathom.  In this daydream, I am writing regularly and with purpose. I have the job of my dreams and enjoy going to work most days. I am happy in my relationship and on the homefront. I am financially comfortable. I have a decent amount of free time to do the things I enjoy. My children are happy and my house is clean.

Now I am imagining that all these things are true of me and I am constantly coming into contact with women who wish me ill, are envious of my good fortune or are otherwise unsupportive of my happiness. These women are waiting for joy to find them, and in the meantime they have decided to poo on mine. I find myself feeling guilty about my achievements  and constantly downplay my part in them.

Then I imagine this same scenario except that I'm surrounded by women who are equally committed to taking responsibility for their own lives and are doing what they can and must in order to find fulfillment. In this second scenario, we women are mutually supportive of each other and eager to help when we can. We cheer unreservedly for each others' successes and we KNOW those others will do the same for us when we ourselves have cause to celebrate. We look upon each others' mad skill, beauty, charm, magnetism, work ethic and success with deep and sincere reverence and esteem. We allow ourselves to be drawn to and enraptured by each others' bright flames. We bask in the glow.

Just as a woman can't honestly take credit for any natural physical beauty, she should not be expected to apologize for it. And as a woman has worked diligently to cultivate her admirable qualities, she should be able to show her pride in them and confidence in herself as a result.

And she shouldn't have to be extra nice in order to ward of the evil eye of other women.

I've known some extra nice women in my day (women seemingly in possession of every enviable (read: threatening) quality out there), and while I did find this eager outpouring disarming, I recognize and lament that they probably felt forced into offering it, just to avoid starting off on an otherwise inevitable wrong foot with so many fellow females.

I'm not claiming to never experience moments of jealousy. I do. And during those moments my fiercest judgment is directed at myself, as I find jealously to be a strikingly loathsome quality.  I read a meme just now that referred to jealousy as "the only vice that gives no pleasure." And how!

These days, when I feel threatened in the presence of another woman, I know the first thing I have to do is check myself. In what way do I feel inadequate at the moment? What is my fear? Do I have a legitimate reason not to like this woman, or am I being catty? Most check-worthy: How would I want other women to respond to me, if I were in this woman's situation? That last one tends to straighten me out quickly, makes me suck it up, reboot, come again.

Check thyselves, sisters! It's humbling and eye-opening.

The first time I reported for work at my current location, I was nervous upon entering. I didn't know what kind of staff worked there or if/how I would be welcomed. The first person I came into contact with was a woman named Yaz (now one of my favorite people of all). I told her I'd just transferred and that it was my first day.

To my relief--in lieu of looking me up and down or brushing me off only to huddle with another coworker and dissect the new girl--she greeted me warmly and sincerely. She gave me a tour and introduced me to every last person there. I thought, 'this feels good.' And I've thought of that moment every time a new woman was hired or came to help out from another location. I've thought that I wanted to make them feel like Yaz made me feel that day: like I was a welcomed and valued contributor, like I was with her, not against her (and I was!), like I was now an acquaintance who could one day be a friend.

What a lovely, powerful sisterhood we could create together if we all began viewing each other in this way.

Kevin's Sketch

In his words...

Kepler’s  Trio.
A portion of a piece in progress inspired by my fascination with the eye candy of the Archimedean Solids, 13 of which were described by Johannes Kepler in 1619.  Their names are a mouthful—pictured at bottom is the Great Rhombicosidodecahedron and above it, a Truncated Icosahedron.

The Door.  Inspired by a hand-carved wooden door from Sumba in Indonesia that lives in our home.  These doors are made in pairs, however, this one is mysteriously missing its chiral alter-ego.  I hope to find her other half one day.

Scenes from Manzanita Project Work Time, Week 5

I used to find it difficult-to-impossible to get any kind of work done when my son was awake. He wants my near-undivided attention (even when he's doing something else, like watching T.V.) and his questions seem to come at the average rate of 4 per minute. As he grows, however, I'm experimenting with insisting on some work time when he's around: it's not easy, but in small increments it can be very enjoyable. Here he's taking in a Christmas cartoon while I work on my draft.


"You've Joined the Miscarriage Club"

At the end of October, 2008, I was seated in my car outside a community center, waiting to take my polling place worker training in advance of the upcoming election. I was talking to my Ma on the phone, and as is often the case when I talk to her, I ended up disclosing something I didn't think I wanted to talk about yet; I just couldn't help myself.

"I'mpregnantbutdon'tgetexcitedyetbecausetheyaren'tsure" I blurted out.

Imagine these words landing on a Mom. She was, of course, overcome with excitement (jeez I told her not to get excited!)...and some confusion.

"What do you mean they aren't sure."

I explained that I'd taken a positive pregnancy test at home but that when I went to the doctor's the pregnancy test was inconclusive and they said it might just be too early (because when you're a certain age and *looking* to conceive--feel me ladies--you know the MOMENT it occurs). Still though, something didn't seem right.

I would be heading into a lab a few times in the following days to have blood drawn, which would measure my levels of hGC, a hormone produced in pregnancy. The levels rose as they should, but the doctor still seemed reluctant. She wanted me to come in in a few days for another ultrasound. She said if my date of conception was correct, by the time I came in again (what would be the 6-week mark) we should see a heartbeat.

Those were a long few days.

I steeled myself for the possibility of heartbreak, expecting the worst. See, my two best girlfriends had both had miscarriages in the past year. All of a sudden the reality of mis-carrying, as a thing that happens, was on my radar. I had the memories of the phone calls with these women fresh in my mind. I'd been in my friend's living room, helplessly watching her curled up on the couch, in pain--the physical pain that the doctor had sent Vicodin along to assuage, the emotional pain, about which there was nothing to be done.

These thoughts close at hand, I headed back to the doctor. During my ultrasound, she pointed to a teeny tiny, rapid flickering on the monitor and she smiled for the first time I'd seen. "This is good news," she said. "See this? This is the heartbeat. Once we see this there is a 98% chance the fetus will be viable."

I left the doctor's feeling overwhelmed with relief and happiness. I called my then-husband to share the news. Then I called my Mom: "What do you want to be called...Grandma or Nana?" I asked. I could hear the joy in her tears.

This was the free-and-clear, wherein women begin cruising the Babies R Us website and making big plans.

But this wasn't the free-and-clear. Everybody knows 12 weeks is the free-and-clear. (And if you're around this planet long enough, you learn that the free-and-clear is a myth; there is no such place or time or state of affairs.)

In the bathroom at the gym a few weeks later, I noticed I was bleeding a little. (Pregnant women don't get periods!) A feeling of dread took over and I called the doctor immediately, but since it was late on a Friday, I wouldn't be able to see the doctor's midwife for a couple of days.

In that meantime--the meantime that now takes the position of the very worst meantime I have ever lived through--I did the only thing I knew to do and the thing that many women between the ages of 30-45 who are trying to conceive (TTC) do: I took to the internet.

I spent 2 1/2 solid days surfing around every possible site I could get to. I Googled word combos like "spotting during pregnancy" and "symptoms of miscarriage" and "miscarriage after heartbeat" and "conception after miscarriage" and so very many variations of the theme. TTC was just one of a number of acronyms I learned: the secret language of a network of sisters trying to help each other propagate the species.

I read the tales of dozens of other women who had at one point been in my position. I joined a sad, sad club of frantic others grasping impossibly for some kind of control over a situation so entirely out of our control, the effort would have been comical, if it hadn't been so despairingly tragic. So thoroughly futile.

My husband accompanied me to the next appointment. He held my hand while a midwife performed the ultrasound, and I watched her face as she moved to deliver the news. I won't try to quote her because I'll never remember exactly what she said. The point that came across was that things were not developing normally--that my pregnancy was not progressing.

I remember throwing a Hail Mary pass of a question her way, mentioning that the doctor told me the ultrasound machine in this office wasn't as good as in the other. Was it possible this machine just wasn't accurately conveying the information?

The midwife looked at me with pity (my ignorance was so complete), yet no trace of condescension. "I'm sorry," she said, and then, very definitively: "there is no fetus present anymore."


The midwife told me I could expect bleeding and abdominal pain. I could either have a D & C (a procedure in which the uterine lining is scraped to remove the placenta, etc), take a medication that would cause the onset of the miscarriage, or wait for things to occur naturally.

I waited.

And despite the protests of my rational mind, I read more internet tales, instances of rare, mis-diagnosed miscarriages. They were the pleas of women imploring other women not to take their doctor's word for it. They were miraculous tales of babies that weren't supposed to be...but were! They were mostly to be found on religious websites with strong Pro Life undertones. It didn't matter to me where they were coming from. I held on to a small belief that I had some kind of beat-the-odds wonderchild brewing inside me--why NOT my baby, if it could happen to these women?

But I knew. Really, I knew.

When the pain began about a week and a half later, I was resolved and prepared. I spent that day--Thanksgiving Day--at the restaurant my husband and partners were working to launch, and I began to look forward--toward the possibility of conceiving again.

That part was probably at least as bad as the pain of losing a pregnancy, the part where I worried that I wasn't actually able to carry a child at all. I wondered how long it would be before I'd know for sure. Another friend of mine miscarried during her first pregnancy and another her first three. Both went on to have multiple children, but the anguish of those initial failures (because that's what it feels like: failure) is haunting and anxiety provoking. 

As with so many things in life, it's the not knowing that causes so much fear.

People say all sorts of things in an effort to comfort women who've suffered a miscarriage. All are well-meaning, and so they have no idea how entirely unhelpful their words can be. "At least you already have _________" or "You can always have another" are common. No matter that to the non-pregnant person, the mis-carrying mother's "baby" was just a cluster of cells that determined itself to be nonviable. To many of those mother's what was lost was a child. A person. An already-loved and often-dreamed-of world of possibility. It really doesn't matter which children may have come before and who will come after. That Mama wan't that baby to live.

Fetus at 10 Weeks
I was incredibly fortunate to conceive again two months after my miscarriage. I'd found a new doctor with a much warmer bedside manner than the first (the comfort and value of which cannot possibly be overstated), and I enjoyed a complication-free pregnancy.

Except that for the first few months I couldn't shake the fear that it would happen again. I kept checking the tenderness in my breasts (since this was the first symptom I experienced in both pregnancies and the one which I noticed had ceased when problems arose the first time around). Though I knew the gym had nothing to do with my miscarriage, I didn't go back to working out until I was at least 5 months along, and at that I mostly kept it to water aerobics.

I gave birth to a healthy boy 9 months later. 

But the pain of that initial loss took a long time to shake. I've never stopped wondering who that child would have been, if that child could have actually been. And  I can still, suddenly and shockingly, find an aching in my heart when I think about that child that wasn't.


These thoughts are with me right now because, as the 5th anniversary of my miscarriage passed, a good friend of mine--a mother of two beautiful girls--came to know that same pain. Which means that my three best friends from high school all had miscarriages. I know three other women who experienced them in the past couple of years (and these are just the ones I'm aware of). I can't believe this wasn't something I heard about growing up, or even through most of my 20's.

My good friend mentioned that it's the thing nobody talks about. She suggested most women have no idea how common it is until they themselves experience it and people come out of the woodwork to tell their own stories. Like suddenly, she said, "you've joined the miscarriage club."

I knew exactly what she meant. And of course it's not a club that any woman wants to be part of. But it can be comforting, or normalizing at least, to know that so many other women have lived through this same trauma in their desires and efforts to help bring new life into the world.

In writing this, I read that as many as 15% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage (from WebMD). The rate is much higher (as high as 50%) when including those pregnancies that end before the mother even realizes she's pregnant. Those numbers are staggering.

But see, creating a whole new life is a complicated and incredible thing. Our bodies reject pregnancies for any number of reasons, all boiling down to this: that particular cluster of cells could not have been life, ultimately. Different people have different opinions about whether or not a cluster of cells attached to a uterine lining is already a life, but that doesn't change whether or not that life was viable to the extent that the mother's body could bring it to full term. Viewing it as a life cannot will the body to keep it alive.

And that might be the most difficult part of miscarriage: acceptance of the idea that no matter how badly we want to have a child, these things can't be measured in or outcomes predicted by our amounts of love and devotion. But we don't mindfully enter into relationships thinking about biological responses. We feel love, and we want to surround ourselves with more of it.

So a friend probably shouldn't bring up the science of miscarriage with a friend who has suffered one. She shouldn't remind her of the blessings she already has and those to come. She should hug her and tell her she is sorry for her loss and for her pain.

To my dear friend and to all women who are part of this club, this sisterhood of mourning: I wish you healed hearts and the knowledge that there is no correct amount of time to spend with the news, with the sadness.

Years after my miscarriage I was driving down the freeway when I was struck with the memory of that child that wasn't. I felt tears come on suddenly, warm in my eyes and on my cheeks. It was a reminder to me that my love for that child was real and was strong. And it didn't make me so sad anymore. It made me feel alive that I could have wanted so badly to know that person. And yes, it made me thankful for the lives and the blessings that I'd come to know since.

If you are so inclined, please feel free to share your story here...

Scenes from Manzanita Project Work Time, Week 4

I've been enjoying being indoor lately, taking in the sight of our totally over-populated-with-ornaments Christmas tree and welcoming the refuge from the cold. 40 degrees in California during the DAY?!

I just like the pachyderm background/pachyderm foreground thing going on here:


In the Event of A Ridiculously Unlikely Emergency...

Forgive me and hang tight for a moment while I discuss something I don't think we're meant to discuss. I only say that because I have never in my life heard anybody discuss it, save the times I myself brought it up.

So it may very well be the case that I'm alone in this, and it is not normal. It may also, perhaps, be the case that you (parents) know *exactly* what I'm talking about.

Here goes: when I became a parent, weird shit started to brew in the quiet moments of my brain.

No, I mean WEIRD shit.

At some times, weirder than others.

While there was a wide variety of scenes my mind's eye constructed, it all worked around this central theme: my child was in danger, at times Xtreme! danger, and I was mentally going through the steps to protect/rescue/resuscitate him.

These were not dreams. At least they were most often not dreams. They were vivid-as-all-hell waking fantasies of the oft-disturbing variety.

A scene would form in my brain, and then I would watch myself try out a variety of methods to solve the problem or change the terrible circumstances.

Sometimes the situations were plausible bordering on likely. For example, after working out the practice scenarios in my mind, I now know exactly how I would have reacted if my son had wandered into the middle of the street when he was just beginning to walk. I also worked out what I would do if he ever fell into a pool or waded too far into the lake.

However, when he was just two months old--based on one of these out-of-nowhere fantasies--I worked out a number of methods I would have employed to respond to the extremely unlikely possibility that Talibani fighters had abducted him. Like, in Afghanistan (a place I'd never been to nor had any plans to visit).

As my son grows and my living situation changes, the thoughts expand and shift to include my steppy son as well. I know how I would handle it, for example, should an intruder break in and Kevin were out of town and I alone were tasked with keeping the boys safe. I know what I would do first and second, and so on.

I also happen to know JUST what I will do should my 4-year-old somehow and for no reason whatsoever insert his head all the way into a blazing gas stove and catch his hair on fire.

There is no filter, see?

There is no part of my brain saying 'How stupid. When and how and why would that ever, ever happen?' Instead it says, 'Well this is a new variety of clusterfuck. How are we gonna handle THAT one?!'

I discussed this with my mom a few years ago because it had started bothering me, and she told me the same thing happened to her when she became a parent, and my dad, too. She always felt it was a biological response: sort of the brain's dress rehearsal for if/when an emergency situation should actually arise.

That made sense to me.

As parents we are suited for this type of thing. It is both our duty and our primal instinct to keep safe the life we have brought into the world.

So I suppose it makes sense that our minds would do what they could to prepare us for those moments when we may have to step in and save the day. And if all those imagined scenarios work to heighten our senses and awaken our instincts in normal life, that's all good, too.

What remains terrifying is the knowledge that, however many imagined crises I can work through in my head, there is no way I will ever be able to safeguard my children against all possible dangers or ward off all possible pains.

Have you ever seen the Planet Earth footage of the mama Grey Whale who tries in vain to protect her baby calf while a pod of Killer Whales stalk and drown the little one? Damn! (Do not watch it if you're sensitive.) I love the Planet Earth series, and I've watched plenty of predator/prey footage, but that particular segment makes me cry every time.

I just can't even imagine (well clearly, I can imagine--but not comfortably) having to endure even a moment of time during which my child were being harmed.

If I felt I could have turned off these wild imaginings, I think I would have. I think I would have. The hesitation in making a definitive call on that comes from knowing that when I feel my mind and body's immediate response to the thought of my child in danger, I know things are working as they should. I know my parental instincts are in-tact because on some whole other level that feels almost outside of me, a danger/response sense has been enlivened.

I hope I should never have to rescue him from the mundane OR the fabulously absurd threats created in my brain, but in the event that I'm called to, I would hope one of the fabulously absurd solutions I've created will come in handy.

Scenes From Manzanita Project Work Time, Week 3

It was to the library for us this week. As I suspected he might, Kevin has decided to work on his original sketch and add detail to it. Last week he was out backpacking with his son--very cool, but this week it was back to the Indonesian wooden door. I'll post it when he's satisfied with it :)