Holly dazed

Hot chocolate.  Candied apples.  Godivas.  M&Ms. Peppermint mocha.  I've had my share since Thanksgiving.  And now part of me is in a holly daze.  Christmas arrives in four days.  

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre, I continue to cry.  I've read the obituary of each child and adult angel.  I've watched the updates as the Newtown community digs deep into their souls to find a new normal.  As my new normal now includes a four-month-old, the Sandy Hook tragedy touches my heart in a way I could never have imagined.  A new mama, I look into my daughter's face, and she peers fiercely into my being. Her wide, innocent brown eyes light up my every day when I pick her up from her night's slumber.  Babbling, she smiles and greets me "good morning."  

How to forge a sense of hope through the holidays in the midst of what has become not just a small town, Rockwell-esque, but international loss?  How to go from mournful shock to a faithful holly daze?

As festivities approach, the meaning of Christmas makes itself known as each Sandy Hook family survives each passing day through the death of their loved ones.  As members of a human community, our task is to continue to grow our hearts for the miracle of every day . . . and share the job of that miracle - Life.  It goes on.  The best way to celebrate the miracle of Life is through authentic interactions with others.  Those around the world have demonstrated the appreciation of precious lives, little miracles, through their outpouring of support.  

The holiday spirit asks us to put the true meaning of Christmas into action because the Christmas spirit is alive not just during Christmastime, but through the entire year.  

May your holly daze be earnest and full of grace as you find quiet time to be intentional.  May your days always be merry and bright.



i listen –
to her breath
to the beat of his heart
to the tap of my foot on the side walk
i listen –
to her coos, her giggles, her smacking lips
to the tone of his voice, to his culinary artistry
we are in the groove
i embrace the rhythm of my soul


My new normal

There’s the new normal following a health scare or loved one’s death.  There’s also the new normal following the birth of a child. Since N.'s birth, I've been struggling a bit with our new normal.  Safe to say I've always been a mid-morning person, my most productive between the hours of 9am to 2pm.  Still a mid-morning person despite the fact that I have to get up first thing early morning – anytime between 3.30-5.30am to attend to N. The latest she’s awoken is 6am.  And when that happens, I’m thankful.  Being at home to see her smile as I pick her up for her first feeding of the day and hear her first giggle has more than made up for whatever wicked morning agony I might momentarily suffer.    

I recently had a few family friends over, including their kids – two toddlers and an infant.  I believe this is what people with children call a "play date."  As we chatted about the challenges of motherhood and our kids, I realized I need to stop putting members of my secret Mother Council on a pedestal.  These are the mamas who inspire me with their parental ways, their super powers to discipline their children effectively, and their extraordinary courage to maintain their sanity (and identity) despite the sometimes madness of child rearing.  The members of my Mother Council are loving and proactive in their daughters' and sons' development and are willing to take a stand at school for what works best for how their kids learn.  To me, they are always composed.  Nothing breaks them, not even when their kids display the worst of meltdowns.  They are well read on the latest parenting techniques, and they know intuitively what to do.  They are naturals, and they've had years of experience. Much more experience than I.

A member of my Mother Council is more than their children. While it's perfectly fine for her to identify strongly (and solely) as a mother, she's more than that. She is a combination of elements - earth, fire, water, and air.  She's an environmentalist who embodies the Mother Earth spirit.  She's also a family woman who supports both her immediate and extended family as well as her local community. In the spirit of a warrior, she's an educator and activist whose fire keeps up with the demands of the most prominent issues that affect humanity.  With intense focus and in the spirit of water, she's a healer, health professional and advocate for alternative medicine.  A yogi and an artist, she embodies the spirit of air and provides insight to the present through her role as a sage and visionary.  

As amazing as these women are, they have their moments, and they can be broken.  They need their time out too. They need to refuel. How? Might be a glass of wine, a weekly yoga/massage session, or a good cry.  Or any other combination.  I haven't yet established a set routine of feel good activities as I'm still grappling with new mamahood.  But for sure, I continue to seek the wisdom of my Mother Council as I navigate through my unfamiliar normal.