Wednesday, May 15, 2013

is it real?

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room.

"Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

-Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

yes. yes. yes.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

the lone black dress.

we were coming off the fastest moving experience: boxes in seven cars, twelve people, two trips, two hours. boom. we were ready to relax with the rest of the pizza and some board games.

we walked in the house to find her in her puddle of tears. she could barely breathe and the one with her didn't know what to do.

i don't know where i learned it; probably a combination of watching my mom and training in trauma. after she told us her dad had passed we all stood there, frozen and awkward. the thoughts of what do we say? what do we do? ran through our minds as we stood at the top of the stairs. i sprang into action and started directing traffic. "we need a one-way ticket out tonight; if the airlines give you any trouble, someone call kimberly." i demanded. "tell her- don't ask her- to drink this water." "what's the weather in rhode island for the next five days?" i asked.

we took turns rubbing her back as she sat doubled over. we kept packing and guessing what you think one needs to attend their father's funeral. i choked up as i looked in her closet to find the lone black dress; she's worn this dress many times before but never to represent mourning.

she soon departed for her flight and we gathered in the kitchen. our energy shifted so quickly from joy to sadness; a fresh chapter for friends in their new home and a daunting chapter for another friend as she moves into deep loss and mourning. i sat down and as we prayed, i asked God to give her rest. the shock she's in will only drain; any extra rest would be vital. my love reminded me of the value of our community-- that we could be present and support, that we arrived when we did, that we leaned in instead of standing frozen.

i cannot imagine wearing that lone black dress at twentyfive. i cannot imagine ever wearing it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

flying in space shuttles.

to know me is to know that when i get (or am a part of) an idea i'm really excited about, i can quickly become attached and fixated on the implementation plan. i begin dreaming and researching and planning. sometimes it even takes over my life enough that i'm caused to make up work hours late into the evening. let's just say that when i'm in it, my loyalty kicks in and i'm gonna win it. sometimes this can result in being seen as inflexible.

and him, the one who has my heart, he brings me to relax. he reminds me- without audibly saying it- to take big deep breaths. it's the look he gives or the question he asks that allows me to be me- the one who is driven and dependable and faithful- but sometimes inflexible.

sometimes i imagine this process like taking flight. but not just on an airplane, more like on a space shuttle from some nasa launch pad; it's like the flames are coming out from underneath me and there's no stopping: it is what it is, i am what i am, green means go. but then there's him, the one who knows me. how he gets me to return to earth, back to the reality of a life dashed with a little ambiguity, i don't always know. he asks me, without asking me, to remember i can be inflexible.

it's almost that these ideas and my excitement are fulfilled because of an anxiety that propels me to do, make, get. and sometimes that's okay. but this isn't wise or leading me toward the path of wisdom. accepting this piece of me is good, but knowing my weakness is even better, recognizing i am inflexible.

so this is to being known in a deep way; to surrounding myself with grace and gentleness and learning how to be less anxious. to getting ideas and thinking instead of reacting. to researching without stubbornness. to not getting hope mixed up with determination. here is to being with someone who allows me to be me but helps me to be flexible.

here's to being wise about really big decisions. and safely coming back to earth in my space shuttle.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


time flies when i share a meal with rusty.
her fingers are slowly becoming harder to manage,
they angle in different directions now.
it's hard to open jars and hold two cups.
she allows me to wind her clocks, which feels oddly familiar.
not because i ever wound the clocks growing up,
but because it feels like i'm sinking into my roots,
like i'm coming closer to who my father is and who my grandfather was.
or maybe i should say who my father was.
thirtyone years he wound clocks and made magic
happen for those intricate little pieces.
his fingers are so thick and his hands are so large,
i don't know how he did it, day after day.
i suppose it was a labor of love
where his commitment and knowledge allowed for a skill
to fix things, making them better.

i grew up with grandfathers and grandmothers and anniversaries and
carriages and regulators. brackets and tambours and schoolhouses.
their nightly noise became soothing; to not have them would bring
unfamiliarity to my slumber.

when i go to wherever my dad makes his home,
there's always the sweet sound of his clocks.
we have to turn them off for guests
as they've not known the pendulum's swing
to soothe and comfort,
but rather to annoy and distract.

but rusty knows.
and so does my late grandfather,
and my father.
they understand the warmth and ease
of the repetition.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

the lives they lived.

i always seem to skim the year-end articles that capture things like "the best ___ of the year" or "the twentyfive ____s you should have ____ this year"; it reminds me what happened as i'm often wrapped up in the world of me.

this year i read almost every "the lives they lived" put out by the new york times magazine. there's something about celebrating life, but also about remembering what one has left behind that i connect with. ariel kaminer wrote a heart warming letter to david rakoff, who passed away in august, and it caught my attention as he seemed to leave three meaningful lessons behind. i've heard many of david's stories on this american life, and after reading ariel's letter, it made me want to do better and be better.

this led me to think about those in my life who live out these lessons:
thank you lisa for never trading up.
thank you molly for always being kind.
thank you peter for living out gratitude and humility-and meaning it.

i have much to learn, but i'll remind myself that i mustn't rush these lessons.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

the transition between twelve and thirteen.

twothousand twelve was marked by:
-a move to the castro and its many unexpected rewards
-breakup nights with three girl roommates
-failing my exam and later becoming licensed
-celebratory flowers, dinners and boots
-journaling for threehundred and fifty days
-the end of a twelve month stint as a hostess
-a redemptive wedding in april
-the best birthday ever, complete with a vitamix
-a most courageous love letter
-cleanses and conscious eating and thinking
-welcoming baby brennan
-family reunions, complete with horse races
-coordinating in july and august
-"he's the one before the one"
-a new job, a new car and a new haircut all in one week
-the "guys weekend" in december
-wonderful holidays with family, old and new
-understanding more about love
-realizations about privacy and patience and trust

in twothousand thirteen i'm looking forward to:
-not studying for my mft exam and reading for pleasure
-a trip to hawaii with moose's parents
-learning more about slowing down