Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Ultimate Tag - You're It!

Are you up for the challenge?!

O.k., so I'll either thank Tara Marie for this or I'll haunt her after my death, lol...but won't you join us?

November is National Novel Writing Month. Click on the link above, and get addicted, just like I have! Can YOU write a novel in November? Can you pump out 50,000 words just to prove you can? Can you drop any self-criticism, and just write, write, write?

Be a part of our mania. Send us late night or early morning e-mails cursing us for your lack of sleep. Post excerpts of the Great American (or Canadian) Novel for us to read...let's challenge each other to push the writing button and see what we come up with!

Sign up now, but don't start writing until November 1.

And for the record -- I'm tagging my very good friend CAMILLE!!! She's definitely got 50,000 words to share in November!

Saturday, October 21, 2006


I have been so restless the last couple of weeks. I think its because I have this kind of pseudo "list" of things in my life that I'm supposed to do. I'm so antsy, for lack of a better word. Often when I feel that way, I feel very overwhelmed by my everyday life...the frustration of the time I spend doing mundane things really gets to me.

Always, but particularly since Paige's birth, I have felt like I have been called to do certain things in my life. I feel as if I have been given a message that I am supposed to be sharing.

My friend Camille and I spoke about this the other night, as we often do. She is such an amazing person...someone I look up to so much. She has such a full plate, yet never ever turns down a friend in need, or forgets to check in on someone who might need a hug.

This week, she helped a very sick friend of hers get through a very rough patch in her life. She took extraordinary steps to make sure her friend would be o.k. and to help her friend try and remember the beauty of life.

Of all the gifts having a child with Down syndrome has brought to me, Camille is so high on that list of blessings.

And like we often do, we try to figure out how we can make this "ministry" of ours profitable, lol!!!! Because unlike God (not that He isn't pretty busy, haha), we also have to take care of so many everyday things...laundry doesn't do itself, someone always has a dentist appointment, and no matter how many times we feed our families, it seems like they need to eat again just a few hours later, darnit.

Although we both live very nice lives, and have everything we need and then some, we also fret about income, and worry about our family's financial futures, like everyone else does.

So, we're always wheeling and dealing ideas back and forth to one another about how we can earn money without it actually taking any time or effort away from what we really want to do.

I have a part-time job -- and although its a job I like well enough, and can do well enough, I am constantly resentful of the time it steals from me. I thought if I did something totally removed from the "realness" of my life, I would feel like I was getting a break.

I was wrong. I NEED to be doing something of importance -- something that is significantly touching the lives of other people around me. I have a message to share, and its starting to scream louder and louder at me.

And...I have a book in me. That I know, and have always known. I cannot remember a time when I didn't say I was going to write a book. Certainly as soon as I learned to read at 3 or 4 years old, I fell in love with words, and never stopped loving them...I cherish the power they have to fill hearts and souls with hope, and love and gratitude.

So...I'm trying to make peace with this restlessness, and trying to hear the message that it is sending me.

Perhaps its time I stop daydreaming about "someday" -- someday when I have more time, and someday when I don't have as many obligations, someday, someday, someday...maybe that's what I'm feeling lately.

When my life is over, and my days are done, I want to be remembered and cherished for being a good person, for making a difference, even if its just in this tiny part of the world I live in.

I want to have lived an extraordinary life. And God, in all of his goodness, has given me all of the tools I need to make this life quite extraordinary.

This weekend, Wayne is away, and I am home for a quiet weekend with the girls. My soul has felt pretty tired lately, so I'm going to give it a good rest, and spend these two days listening to what it is trying to tell me.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Moral of the Day

This is a very busy weekend for us. Dakotah will be turning 13 on Tuesday (and Wayne will be 43 on Wednesday!).

So, this is Dakotah's "Birthday Weekend". Last night she went to her first ever dance at school - I'll write more about THAT another day! This morning, she had a toll painting class with one of her favourite teachers from her old school.

Tonight, we are going to "McMaze" - a big farm of cornfield mazes, and haunted buildings and scary trails with about 8 of her girlfriends, who are then (Lord help us) staying overnight here.

Anyway...this morning, Dakotah is in class, I have showered, blow dried my hair, etc, and Wayne has not been in the shower yet. We are doing the last minutes stages of cleaning that must be done before guests arrive.

Wayne is vacuuming away, and I am organizing knapsacks in our hallway. *Knock, knock, knock* at our door.

OH NO! I'm about a foot away from the door, and am in just a t-shirt and undies!! No pants!!! I jump a mile, grab Wayne's arm, as I run to hide in the dining room..."Someone's at the door!! Someone's at the door."

Just then, Wayne realizes that he is stilll just in boxers, as he hasn't showered yet. So he runs to join me in the dining room.

Realizing we've made a strategic "wrong move" because our stairway to our upstairs is actually the other way, where we will now have to pass by the front door in order to actually attain clothing, we are trapped!!!!

But, the vacuum cleaner is still going! I peek around the corner--its Wayne's friend Mike, who now sees me. I put my finger up like "Wait a minute" only he interprets it to say "Come on in!!!"

We are now stuck in our living room, scantily clothed, while I am laughing hysterically, the vacuum cleaner is running, and Paige has gone to say hello to Mike.

I finally tell him to turn it off so I can talk to him...and explain our predicament, much to our embarrassment!

He was like...o.k...half-naked with the vacuum cleaner running -- I do NOT want any further details.

We are never going to live this down, lol.

Two lessons of the day:

Never clean house half naked.

After 17 years of being together it really IS quite possible that all you were actually doing was cleaning!!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Freedom's just another word...

On Monday, at dinner at my brother and sister-in-laws, we started talking about my sister-in-law's niece, who is 27-years-old and handicapped.

When I first met Wayne, my SIL spent lot of time with her neice, who was then much younger of course. Since then, there has been some dissention in the family, and she doesn't see much of her niece.

So, we were just chatting about her, I was asking how she was doing, etc. She is basically non-verbal, and prone to some pretty violent rages. Periodically, she is placed in one of the many residential homes in our area for people with developmental delays and disabilities.

I asked my SIL what her diagnosis is, and apparently, it has been pretty hush-hush, although most of the family suspects fetal alcohol syndrome.

My MIL has often referenced her when we get into discussions about Paige, and I am always rather annoyed by that, because it seems as if she just lumps Paige in with this woman because they both have developmental issues.

Frankly, I don't like the concept of lumping any child in with any other, so its just "the point" that bothers me about it. My MIL seems to think this woman's life is my future...in some ways, it may be, and in others it certainly will not be.

Just in a fleeting comment, my MIL says, with great pity in her voice, "Its too bad, you know..she's 27 - she could have been married by now, had her own children..."

In one way, it IS too bad if this woman is a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome--a completely preventable condition. But, by all accounts her mother has not drank for many years, and loves her daughter dearly...dotes on her and misses her so horribly when she places her that she always brings her back home.

And my MIL expressed great sympathy for her--being forever "burdened" by caring for this now grown woman, who still acts very childlike. She said, "its so sad...she will never be free. She will always have to care for her."

Although I've heard that statement many times before from my MIL, I have thought a lot about this "parental freedom" she refers to.

What does it mean to have our freedom from our children? And...do you really want it?

My mother is free from her children. By her own choice, and own actions, she has conducted herself in such a way and victimized herself so much that her three children, save one who still contacts her periodically out of guilt, have come to know that they can not rely on her for even the most basic of "mother" care...we have had to make conscious decisions to stop her manipulation and attention-getting ways by stopping contact with her.

We have had to say "no" to all of the times she has disappointed us by not showing up to an important event, or telling so many little white lies about us that it leaves us with our mouths hanging open.

So...she is free. She no longer has to "mother" any of us.

There is not enough money (or chocolate) in the world to make me crave that freedom for even a split second.

I chose to bring these children into the world. And God chose to give them to me to raise and love and cherish for every moment of my life.

I intend to do that. At various times throughout their lives, my children will need me in differing degrees. Sometimes, it will be hard to meet their needs, and it will feel heavy on my shoulders. I pray during these times that I will be reminded of their inate joy, and that will carry me through.

Their needs will be much different throughout their life times. But neither will be more troublesome or burdensome than the other. My ache for freedom from either of them will be limited to needing a few minutes to stop and breathe, or say a little prayer that I find the right words or the right actions to support and meet their needs.

I still ache for my children when they sleep -- I sneak into their rooms and watch them sleeping peacefully, although one of them is already nearly a head taller than I am.

Freedom...freedom is the ability to reach out and hug my kids.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Happy Fall!

This is my favourite time of year. Well, not counting "strawberry season" of course. And if that isn't a real season, it should be!

This is also the time of year I miss living in New England the most. There is nothing more beautiful than autumn in New England - driving through the White Mountains, and seeing all of the changing colors of the trees on the mountains is just spectacular.

My favorite colors are all of the natural colors of the changing leaves - brilliant oranges, deep reds, golden yellows -- colors that only nature can make perfectly.

There is no joy more pure for a kid than raking up a big pile of leaves, and just jummmmpppiiiiiing!!! Seldom do we find any other time that we are totally free of all worries and lost in the moment of childhood.

I love these crisp mornings when there is just that threat of frost, and the fallen leaves crunch beneath your feet. You don't quite need a winter coat, but your favourite fall sweater is a welcome addition to the wardrobe.

All of you who live in a "seasonal" area know the challenge of the furnace -- where you try to go just one more day before you add heat to your house. Somehow we always remember what day we finally gave in the year before, and try to hold out for just one extra day.

When I was a teenager, and young adult, I declared October 17 as my favorite day of the year. I would hold yearly "October 17th" parties for my friends. I thought it was just short of fate when I met Wayne and his birthday was the 18th -- just shy of my "best" day.

How wonderfully ironic that Dakotah would be born on October 17th, even though her due date was the 4th, and I went into labor with her on the 15th.

Dakotah even brought a extra nice Fall surprise to me. During my pregnancy with her, I craved squash & pumpkin -- something I never liked before. Now, its a wonderful treat to eat warm butternut squash, with salt and pepper on top--yummy. And every year I find some new pumpkin recipe to try -- pumpkin pie, bread, pudding, etc. Last night I had a taste of a pumpkin blizzard from Dairy Queen...too good!

This morning, Paige and I are the only ones up so far. We snuggled under a quilt and caught an episode of Arthur together before she wandered off to play with her Leap Frog toy.

Our weekend will be spent simply as a family, before the craziness of birthdays and day surgery comes upon us next week. This is the first weekend that we've not had something planned (baseball, etc) for months, so I've got a great big list of things to do for all of us.

I love those "at home" weekends where we work on house projects. The rest of my family, eh, not so much. But its a good feeling of accomplishment as we begin to transform our house to the next season...taking out winter clothes, tending to flower gardens that are being bitten by morning frost, raking leaves...

Its a good reminder that life passes us by quickly, that one season, one year, turns into the next in the blink of an eye, and that we better take the time to go fishin' once in a while, to stop and smell a rose, to marvel at a bright orange leaf.