Monday, May 13, 2019

Some days are hard. Some days are impossible.

Even the impossible days are spotted with beauty and hope. Sometimes, I feel like my life is a canvas with paint carelessly thrown upon it in great clumps and as another paint glop is tossed upon the canvas, leaving it's clashing colors running in streaks, I feel frustration mounting and I am left to fight the beast of discouragement while blindfolded by my own choice(s). Then, I look back (or sometimes, just up) and I see that the morass of paint on the canvas is a work of art, a thing of beauty, a (possibly less than) perfectly spelled out story that is unfolding and becoming. I stand very still, holding my breath and hoping to never leave this moment with this picture in front of my face. It fills me with renewed hope and strength for the coming days/happenings. But, the painter keeps painting...

As I prepared to walk into the grocery store with all four of my charges in tow, the stench of anxiety began to permeate. Ever since I was a halfling (teenager with large feet), I've always wanted to blend in and "Please Dear Lord, help me not to stand out, even though I'm almost 3 feet taller than every other human in the building". The agony of walking into a business with a child who screams incredibly loudly because he can and is fundamentally not able to be corrected by traditional/expected/acceptable methods is actually impossible to describe. Let's add in the fact that if he's not strapped into the cart, he will take off running wildly through the store and usually for the exit, often (to my horror and mortification, and yet much to their credit) with his brothers cantering after him in the hopes of thwarting his success at ultimate escape. Oh, don't forget that he knows how to unstrap himself - congratulations, you're toast Mom! But, let's be optimistic and assume he's going to stay in the cart like the docile child he isn't, he is now tall enough that navigating the aisles with perfect precision is an absolute requirement or items may or may not go flying off the shelves or out of the cart. And when the bag of kale hits the grumpy grandma in the next line over, no amount of groveling or apology can really explain what is going on, what has been going on for "Oh so long", or depict the mountain I'm climbing. It may not even hold back the wave of emotions threatening to drown me in that simple, embarrassing and utterly profound moment. It's not really about the kale, of course. It's about the locks on the fridge, on the laundry room, on the pantry, on the gates... it's about keeping the locks off my heart that try to keep out the hope. It's about seeing the boy trapped behind those beautiful blue eyes that wants to be set free to express himself and be understood. It's about the hope deferred, again and again.

So, when I arrive home from the grocery store, the anxiety and humiliation, the ignominy of being in the unwanted spotlight of "parent's with ill-behaved children" has left me stumbling forward, a shadow of the mom I want to be in that day to all four beautiful humans I have been entrusted to parent. My beloved friend, Kathy, arrives to pass out morsels of deliciousness (cookies, treats, suckers, apples, carrots... I could go on) to each member of the family, four-legged and two-legged alike. Lochlan rushes down to meet her, locks eyes with her and smiles, laughing out loud. He's overjoyed to see her and even digs through her satchel to see what she might be hiding just for him. She reminds me that this is utterly astounding and that his progress is absolutely measurable and evident. She tells me I'm doing something right and that I need to stay the course and keep doing everything I'm doing and she helps me see (really see again) the beautiful painting that is morphing from the glops that have been thrown onto the canvas, even this day.

He is finding himself more each day and to see his joy in those moments when he discovers another part of himself or understands something new in this life, takes my breath away. He is so filled with love and joy... it is locked up, yes, but he is slowly being unlocked. That, my friends, is pure joy in this Mama's heart.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

It's a Secret

Canyon. No, really. Secret Canyon is a treasure to be found in Sedona. We passed only a couple other people on the trail, probably because the trailhead is incredibly difficult to access by road, unless you have a very capable off road vehicle.

We actually took this hike several weeks ago, after copious amounts of rain had filled these canyons with flooding waters. The water damage in some areas was pretty extensive, but the majority of the canyon was unmarred.

Gumpai accompanied us, much to everyone's delight. 

We abundantly failed at keeping our feet dry, as the creek crossings were plentiful and quite full of water. 

The boys have been carrying their backpacking packs on each adventure, with a little added weight to each hike, as we work our way to the Colorado hike in June. Hopefully, this will help the overall weight on that hike to be less daunting for each of them. 

We simply couldn't do it without her.... Aberdeen, you are the best dog in the world. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. 

Man and his dog. Aberfeldy is turning out to be a fabulous dog for this boy and we love him to pieces.

Look at that moon! 

Madigan carried this rock for over a mile. He was pretending that it was a meteor that was flying through space until it landed dramatically into the large body of water (presumably the ocean, but adequately represented by the obliging creek). There were, of course, scads of personnel (both military and civilian) attempting to thwart the course of said meteor and each of these and their role(s) was brilliantly portrayed by Madigan as we walked. 

Paugie has an eye for every heart shaped rock that makes it's way into our pathway, and he enthusiastically collects it for me because "I love you so much I want you to know it in every way possible." Because this rock weighed 900 lbs (or thereabout) and we still had 900 miles (or thereabout) to walk, I convinced him that we could take a photo of the rock to keep for all posterity and future reflection.