Saturday, December 21, 2013

the ghost of christmas past

christmas cookies
 (pentax, film)

Wherever you are when you receive this letter
I write to say we are still ourselves
In the same place
And hope you are the same.

 The dead have died as you know
And will never get better,
And the children are boys and girls
Of their several ages and names.

So in closing I send you our love
And hope to hear from you soon.
There is never a time
Like the present. It lasts forever
Wherever you are. As ever I remain.

 (The Christmas Letter, John N. Morris)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

it's christmas time

Just after Thanksgiving, the tree was up. A family crisis of sorts pulled me away from virtual reality and deeply into reality. Meanwhile, a very dear friend battles for her sons life and I prepare my daughter for his hair loss. E and I sing Chinese songs together, over and over. I dive into one novel after another. I teach 2 new RNs how to juggle the demands of hospital nursing, and there are so many rewards in this. I listen to rain and thunder. I let the humid air sink into my bones and ask the sky for a real autumn, which has yet to show its face for more than a couple of days. I miss my mom to the point of tears. I contemplate Jupiter, writing a book, or returning to school. I browse websites hosting "orphans", wishing we could bring another daughter or a son into this small family of 3. I worry constantly, about everything: my weight, E's future, finances, outcomes that can't be predicted. E demands more math facts and floors me with her knowledge and love of a subject I never truly mastered. I imagine the crunch of snow under my feet, something I have not felt in so many years I'm almost convinced I dreamed the memory. I put on my headphones and practice my tones, anxious to be fluent in a language I barely understand. I go to a movie with a friend. I ask G if we'll marry soon and hardly wait for an answer. We are already married and the paper holds so little meaning for either of us. I celebrate my birthday (12/12), and it is very very good. I listen to music. Sometimes I dance in the kitchen. I hold my daughter's hand. I hold G's hand. I skip mass for another week and another and those weeks have turned into years. I miss God. I turn the music up loud in my car. And make silly faces with E. I snuggle with the dog, listening to his soft snores. I sit by the light of our Christmas tree, melancholy and joy abundant in my heart. I smile.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The beauty of this child is outrageous. And her inner beauty is equally astonishing- our girl is made of love, snuggles, giggles and apparently, lots of math facts.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

from light to light: Ellis.


It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

~Mary Oliver~

Saturday, September 28, 2013

spinal defects clinic: in which we meet with E's specialists from ortho to neuro and everything in between.

the prairie and elle

Last night in this house. 

E: I don't like my legs. 
M: You don't like your legs? 
E: No. I want normal legs (tears begin). I don't want these legs. I don't like the scars Mama and they don't go straight and one is longer than the other one. I just wish I could have legs that looked the same and so I can walk. I don't like crawling. 
M: (long silence, hugs). I wish you could have the exact legs you wanted Elle. But I have to tell you how very much I love your legs. Those scars remind me all the time of how brave and strong you are, so I love those scars. And you have strongest arms ever which give the best hugs I've ever had, so I love your arms too. 
E: Well I don't. My hands hurt and I don't want to crawl, I want to walk. But I never will. 
M: Maybe never. But we don't know what your future will be like yet. I hope you have a chance to stand and not sit all the time too. I wish I could sprinkle magic glitter over your legs, and make it possible for you to use them like your friends. But I still think they are the coolest legs because they belong to the coolest girl I know, who does amazing things not using her legs. Things no one else would be able to do- and that is really awesome. (More silence, hugs, and tears). 

Spinal Defects clinic is tough in ways that go so far beyond the physical.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Family Day 2013

First, when I was apart from you, this world did not exist, nor any other.
Second, whatever I was looking for was always you. 

4 years since anticipation, excitement, fear and grief culminated in the creation of our little family of three. 4 years since the seeds of love were planted in each of us, and slowly bloomed. 4 years since you, Elle: light and grace and courage in one very small, almost 4 year old body- you, the bravest of us all. Happy Family Day, 高梅, who we are privileged to name and call: daughter.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Sometimes if people ask why I can't walk, I just tell them I was born this way. Other times, I say- it's a long story and I don't want to talk about it right now".
(and a very smart girl, my daughter)