23 November 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy Birthday to my Mother
Who taught me to be good and live from the heart
Who lived by example and comforted those in need: Not only in need of food and clothing, but in need of friendship, comfort, forgiveness and acceptance. Who was the first one to invite someone to dinner who was being shunned by our little society and the first to reach out, not just with a casserole but a hand, to those who were in pain. Who smiled through adversity and made everyone else comfortable even when she was in pain. Who tried to shelter me from those influences I didn’t quite understand and as a child resented her for – like taking away my Barbie doll and Mad magazines and not letting me watch tv; not letting me go to PG movies or stay out past dark. Who made everyday life fun as well as a learning experience: baking a cake for Washington on his birthday (with a tree and cherries on top of course!), following the make way for ducklings trail as well as the freedom trail and climbing the bunker hill monument. For simple fall days picking apples and picnicking on plaid wool blankets with a real woven wicker basket. For limiting sugar and feeding us vegetables. For all those things I completely took for granted. For creating a loving, stable home full of warmth – especially when there was a roaring fire in the fireplace (ok, that one dad gets credit for!). For all these things I am thankful. I wish I had gotten the chance to tell you so. I wish you could see how much they stayed with me now that I am trying to pass them along to my daughter. I like to believe that somehow you do see and see how she talks about her Grandma Gail when we sing the Moon Song at night or she plays with your ring hanging around my neck or hugs her stuffed bunny. I wish you could have known me as an adult and hugged me and my child goodnight. Happy Birthday. Happy Thanksgiving. It is more than a coincidence they happen together. We miss you. I thank you. I love you.

21 November 2008

The "Gift" of the Gab (or is is a Curse?)

Ever since my pregnancy and child’s birth, I have been afflicted with what has been called the “gift of the gab” by some. Since previously I have been much more laid back and quite a good listener, I am not sure what has brought this on. Perhaps it is the hormones activating an otherwise dormant gene (as there are certainly chatterers in my family) and/or sleep deprivation leaving my thoughts uncensored. Maybe living in the islands might have had an effect as there everyone has time to talk and listen and there is not much else to do. Or perhaps it is the isolation of single-motherhood that makes me unleash and process with whomever’s ear I get a hold of. Another theory might be that it is a form of controlling the conversation, since everything else around me seems utterly out of control. I have seen controlling people use this technique, whereby their reality is the only reality since nobody else can get a word in edge-wise. But the thing is I really don’t consider it a gift at all, but rather a curse. I often come away from visits feeling rather unfulfilled, whereas before I felt plumped up with good sharing about what was going on in my friends’ lives after a good give and take like a social dance between friends sharing their foibles and fables of the moment. I have also noticed that some people just stop listening as my voice begins to sound like incessant background noise. Yet, I just can’t seem to stop. This is my curse, which I am hoping will recede once my hormones disperse and I start getting some sleep again. But for now, I will rant on my blog and spare my friends…. Is anyone still listening? Hello? Anyone?

18 November 2008

No Sugar Added

It’s official. I am the crazy no-sugar-added lady at my 3 year old’s school. One teacher actually stopped me in the hallway today and asked “Is it true you don’t give your child sugar? What is your reasoning?” Perhaps I should see it as her search for truth and meaning, but I continually see such ignorance or lack of understanding in our society. Also, I am rather sure that it was more akin to “What are you crazy?” To me she might as well have asked, “Is it true you don’t smoke cigarettes? Why not?”

Our society is in denial – I mean, who wouldn’t want chocolate cake for breakfast (I had my leftover birthday cake with my tea just this morning, hypocrite that I am!), but come on, really, are we truly ignorant enough to think that our love affair with sugar is not going to affect our health? It is highly documented that sugar consumption is dangerous to our health given its effect to suppres our immune system; impede cellular function; stimulate overgrowth of candida (yeast); lead to obesity and tooth decay; wildly fluctuate insulin and sugar levels in our blood (and thus lead to major meltdowns in kids!); interfere with the body’s absorption of minerals; raise cholesterol levels; cause allergies, kidney damage, high blood pressure; and increase our risk of cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis.

What more information do we need? Yet we plan our school events around desserts; sweeten our children’s foods and even their medicines and then wonder why they won’t eat their fruits and vegetables. My daughter loves fruits and vegetables, but after an overindulgence of cake and ice-cream at a birthday party, she is less likely to indulge in carrot sticks or peas – which on most occasions she will eat with pleasure. We are not only risking our child’s health now by exposing them to excessive sweets, we are ruining their taste buds and their potential to choose healthier options when they are choosing for themselves later. So I am quite taken aback when people just don’t get it and wish that the understanding was much more prevalent so I wouldn’t have to be the crazy lady who just wants the options presented to my child at school to be truly healthy ones.

04 November 2008


My very first post on this blog was dedicated to my deep appreciation for my child and how she has graced my life with so much joy. It is that joy and love that a parent feels so deeply which can hardly be captured in words. And if that depth of feeling cannot be captured, words can hardly begin to explain the pain of losing a child. I have heard the analogy that “having a child is like having your heart running around outside your body”. We are so vulnerable as parents. From the moment we give birth there is an awesome and somewhat overwhelming feeling of giving life to this being. Each new stage of development gives way to its own stage of vigilance for a parent – from the basics of keeping them warm and fed; then they roll over and we must make sure they don’t roll off the bed; then they crawl and we plug the outets and put fragiles above their reach. But soon they are up on their feet and independently exploring the world and we serve a delicate balance of letting them find their way and providing love and guidance. It is then when your heart is literally running circles around your world and it is impossible to keep up with them. It is then when we are most vulnerable. A tragedy can take your little heart in a moment. I can only imagine how that feels: like you can hardly breathe – a dizzying sensation that struggles to make sense of how such a travesty could happen to an innocent whose whole life was before her. The pit in your chest where your heart used to be weighs far more than the emptiness it is. It is a travesty and no amount of analyzing it could ever make it better, rather would only make it worse. So we keep moving, with broken hearts and heavy minds, we remember all that was good in her short little life and tuck that into our pockets to rub like a souvenir stone while we keep moving and try to heal.