For my husband of 21 years

The Wild Rose
Wendell Barry

Sometimes, hidden from me
 in daily custom and in trust,

I live by you unaware, 
as if by the beating of my heart,

Suddenly you flare again in my sight,
A wild rose blooming at the edge
 of the thicket,  grace and light
 where yesterday was only shade,

and once again I am blessed, choosing 
again what I chose before

1990






2012


12.21.12

It’s the end of the world today.

It’s dark, raining and cold. My high school son sends me an angry text message telling me of a gun threat at school. It is only a rumor, but still….Why did I make him go today? It is my fault.

My oldest son is thousands of miles away and I miss the smell of him, the feel of his reluctant hug. He will be absent at Christmas, like he was at Thanksgiving. Like he is every day now.

The tasks I need to accomplish today all seem repetitive, boring, senseless. I almost go to that bad place, but I just happen to look to my left and there they are:

Life tries to catch me up in her dramas and I almost start spinning away with her, but the sweet, simple discussion between two 5-year old boys anchors me.

They save me once more.

Serendipity, angels and one fat cat

I believe in angels. I like believing that the people close to me who have died are still with me somehow. I like feeling that angels are around me or can be summoned at a moments notice when I need comfort or support.

There was a time when I didn’t give angels any thought. That was the time before I lost someone I loved. Once a loved one “transitions”, you start to really wonder where to. Of course, no one has the absolute truth about the matter, so we all just go with what feels best, with what we believe.

I am a stay-at-home mom and have been doing this glorious job for over 18 years. It is the best job there is and my life has been very full, but lately I have been starting to feel like I need something more. Something for me.

I started to think about writing.  Jeb and I have had a pretty unique parenting journey; I could write a few of my thoughts down, share some adventures and work my brain a bit in the process. I could write a blog maybe? That would be something I could do and still keep my current job (my 5 year old twins are building a fort with the couch as I write this). Now if I only knew how to write a blog…

I jumped in and wrote a piece that had been on my mind to share for a while. The post  was about two of my angels: my fifth child and my mother. This child came to us in a special way and she and my mother died within weeks of each other. I named my daughter Ava Mae because my mother’s nickname was May. I knew they were connected and I wanted Ava’s name to reflect this. It was a very personal and got some of wonderful feedback (with the help of my brothers, Ned and Drew, and Facebook). I enjoyed how it felt to create it and the connections that were born from it. I was fueled.

During the time I was writing the piece, I was looking into going to a yoga workshop in Rhode Island. Well, it turned out the workshop got cancelled, but I happened to notice that the center that was holding the workshop was also offering a one day class on blogging.  Huh. That ‘s weird. I was just thinking I needed something like that… I clicked on the link. It was a four hour class, held on a Saturday in an area that looked like fun. Why not? A few clicks later, I was headed to Rhode Island.

As a mom of 6 kids I’m always looking for some time alone. My job is a dream, but sometimes I lose myself in it and I crave a little solitude to clear my head. So, click, click, click.  The four hour workshop became a full weekend away alone for Mom in R.I.

not bad…

I’ve done this before: run away for the weekend. My understanding husband gallantly and expertly holds down the fort while I go searching for my sanity. The pattern is always pretty much the same:
Stage 1:  anticipation and excitement of going away alone
Stage 2:  the stress of actually making the break
Stage 3:  the relief of finally arriving at my destination
Stage 4:  missing my family.  Oh, the irony!

But this time I had some company. The owner of the house had a cat that came with the rental. She was a sweet, fat tabby that looked like my favorite cat back home. It was comforting to have another living creature in the too quiet house. We chatted for a bit and she sat next to me on the couch as I ate my dinner and watched a movie.

The next day on the way home from the blogging class, I drove by an ice cream shop and craned my neck as I realized, “Hey…I’ve been there!”. After a few moments, the rusty wheels of my brain started turning and I recalled I was indeed in this area for a training about 12 years ago. Not once when I was planning my trip did it cross my mind that I had been here before.

When I came back to the quiet house, the cat was happy to see me. She cuddled up next to me on the couch as searched the internet to encourage my brain to bring back a few more memories. It popped into my head that I had lunch with a few of the other attendees at the training over a decade ago. A few clicks later I found the restaurant we went to. It was only three doors down from where I had just spent my day. I remembered the name of the restaurant because there was a feeling of discomfort attached to it. My companions were discussing the name of the restaurant. It was called The Mews, but another thought it was Muse. I was uncomfortable because I didn’t quite know the meaning of either word, but acted as if I did.  “Muse” was always one of those words that I knew I should know, but never made the effort to look up.

Well, dammit, 12 years later, I was gonna look up those darn words! I zipped on over to Wiki (and of course made a donation) and first looked up “Mews”. Mews can be a British courtyard or the sound a cat makes. I smiled and gave the warm lump purring beside me a pat.

Under “Muse” was the following:

Some authors invoke Muses when writing poetry, hymns, or epic history. The invocation typically occurs at or near the beginning, and calls for help or inspiration, or simply invites the Muse to sing through the author. Some prose authors also call on the aid of Muses, who are called as the true speaker for whom an author is merely a mouthpiece”.


Wow. When I wrote my piece on Ava Mae, I asked her to help me. At one point, I even closed my eyes and asked her to speak through me. She was my Muse. 


While I was retrieving memories with the help of the web, the owner of the house texted me to see how things were going and if I needed anything. The only thing I needed was to know the name of the soft creature now on my lap. I felt like we had a connection and it felt strange not to know her name. As I was stroking her head, in came his reply:



May. The damn cat’s name was May.

Ok, do I really think the fat cat belonging to a complete stranger actually had some type an angelic message for me from beyond, just because she happened to have the same name as my mother and daughter?

Sure. As a matter of fact, I do.

And why the hell not?

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~Albert Einstein