16 April 2015
Flight Patterns of the Atypical
The phone rang as I happened to be near the office of Little A's pediatrician, which is close to the office of the secretary of the physician that was calling me.

I was at a four-way stop in the complex.

My blinker was flashing right and I turned left.

The man at the opposing stop sign shook his head at me, the disbelief and contempt unmistakable, likely blaming my errant turn on my preoccupation with my phone rather than focusing on the most elementary routines of driving.

It wasn't the phone distracting me, mister.

It was the words being said to me on the phone. 

--

"The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blind side you at 4 PM on some idle Tuesday." 

Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune, Wear Sunscreen Commencement Speech, 1998.

It was a Tuesday.

--

After dropping off paperwork for Little A's doctor to sign, I'd agreed to just stop at the Center for Women's Health to talk to the woman who called to schedule another biopsy for me.

I was near, I said.

"I can't really process and drive," I'd thought.

"What can you do," I'd thought. 

"Stop." I said aloud.

Then louder, "Stop."

I got out of my car. 

I walked in, smiled, and quietly asked for the receptionist.

I believe I appeared calm. I'm certain I remained polite.

In whispers that I could feel others in the room straining to hear, she said words like, "Atypical." "Larger sample size."

I nodded and blinked.

I nodded and blinked.

I nodded and blinked.
  
"Thank you," I said as I smiled at her, then turned and walked away.


"Take a step. Take a step. Take a step. Good. Open the door. Good. Walk to your car. Okay."

Unlock the doors.

Put the key in the ignition.

Check side the view mirror.

(Objects are closer than they appear.)

(Unless it's an object in your blind spot. The kind that doesn't appear until it's either struck you, or you've slammed on your brakes, heart racing, wondering how you didn't see that coming.)

--

Next Wednesday, I will drop Big A off at 4:15 a.m. to put her on a bus that will take her to World Competitions for Robotics, states away.

If you'd have told me that I'd miss an event like that previously, I'd have thought you insane.

Now, however, I am beginning to truly comprehend the roots and wings concept.

Roots to give them a place to come from.

Wings to give them the ability to fly them away from here. 

It's an excellent theory.

It's a more difficult practice.

--

Next Wednesday, at 7:30 a.m., I'll drop Little A off at school to get on a bus to take her to a two-night science and nature camp. She's never stayed anywhere where I didn't personally know someone there.

She's never stayed somewhere where I had to trust that the medical forms and directions would be followed and that she wasn't allowed electronics, just in case she needed to send a message for comfort rather than picking at herself or rocking.

She's excited.

She's nervous.

I can see her wings sprouting from her shoulder blades, strong and vibrant, and I want to scurry with her back down to the roots.

--

Next Wednesday, I will come back home and the house will be very quiet, I would assume. 

I'm actually going to be part of a presentation at 11:00 on something that I've been working very hard on...I'm excited about that; that there is still growth and wisdom and ability growing within me along with atypical structures. 

I will have plenty of work to do. I'm grateful for that.

I will have some letters to write. 

I will hope to have a bottle of wine in my refrigerator for when I sit down to begin composing.

I will remind myself that if life were typical, it would be boring, even, smooth, predictable, and that it's usually the other areas of life that aren't typical that bring us around to discovering the best that lies withing all of us, that teaches us what we are made of.

I will remind myself that atypical is merely a word.

Nothing more.

Nothing less. 

--

On Thursday, I will wake up and go in the bathroom and look into the mirror and read the quote that I finally got around to putting on the glass where I see my reflection staring back at me:

"And if I asked you to name all of the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?" 

I will shower.

I will floss.

I will brush.

I will swish.

And I won't put on lotion.

And I won't put on deodorant.

And I will likely braid my hair off to the side and try, once again, to be able to feel the physical manifestation of the atypical cells within me.

And I will turn to the side to peer at my body in the mirror; to see if there are any remnants left of my wings.

--


 
26 March 2015
There Is No Digression
I feel a bit like the characters in Contact writing this post; sending out a signal, unsure if it will be heard or seen or responded to, or if this is merely now a place of dark matter that was once an existence. Either way, the words that I've been writing in my head, on scraps of paper, in notebooks, in emails to myself over the last few years are finally going to start making it back here.

They have to.

If you've ever used writing as your bloodletting, you know what I mean. If you haven't, I cannot explain it to you. There is, in reality, very little that I can explain to you. But you already know that.

First, to bring you up to speed on The A's: They have grown.

Mercilessly.

Without abandon.

I know that I'm extremely fortunate for that, but I've also come to terms with the reality that my genetic makeup is as such that I'll always be an inhabitant of a world where the sun is immense gratitude and the moon is deep sentiment.

--

Big A, as I suspected, has a mind that I cannot fathom. Last summer, for her first job, she was selected as a Research Assistant in a "Population Distribution of Three Crayfish Species in a Lotic System." (To give you an idea of the depth to which this seems unfathomable, "lotic" isn't recognized as a word on here, and I had to go and Google it just to make sure.)

There are no more arguments any longer over which of us is taller. She has me by two inches, at least. She's also young and beautiful and has legs that work and rock high heels, so if future generations rely upon photographs to recall me, they'll likely refer to me as the person that reminds them of The Leaning Tower of Pisa. I always sway a bit to the side when I'm standing on the tips of my toes.

 --


Little A will be turning TEN in July. TEN. Heed this as a warning now, because if you thought I waxed more nostalgic than usual around birthdays, please know that I have never been able to read "On Turning Ten" without crying.

In photographs, Little A is a mini-me. Genetically, she seems to amplify me and inherited my anxiety, OCD, and introverted tendencies to the point that it wasn't something I could brush off. It was the fourth doctor, a pediatric psychologist who is a pioneer in the field of autism, that I finally believed when he also diagnosed her with Asperger's. Asperger's is no longer a medical diagnosis, so now she is "on the spectrum." For her, that means that intervention at an early age makes her appear so well-functioning that initially, one doesn't believe that she has the disorder. Each teacher that she's had has scoffed at the idea and then apologized after recognizing her struggles with social interactions and her need for routine and her anxiety.

--

In September, we didn't get out of the parking lot on the first day of school before she vomited in the car. "Nobody wants to hear about the metamorphosis of the butterfly and they still make fun of me," she said between heaves. I'd locked the knuckles of my left hand down on the steering wheel while my right hand rubbed her back and I attempted to use a calming tone to deliver words meant to soothe her.

The following week, she started attending a school in a different district for "academically talented students", which roughly translates to "Please, please, please don't let her have Math for homework tonight" in the language that I speak.

--

She and Big A now have inside jokes about their mother and her inability to navigate anywhere without first getting lost, her delayed verbal responses to nearly any question and the look on her face when she's trying to understand the Common Core approach to previously mentioned homework.

Their mother is still somewhat of a stranger to me, a person that I'm still not sure I recognize, a person guilty of the same sins as all women that have become mothers: she became a mother. Which is to say that she is possibly no longer a person for a very long time, but rather a being, a form, an anything rather than a fellow human with a life that existed previous to motherhood.

Mom, I am so sorry.

A's, I harbor no resentment or anger, so please don't ever, should you become mothers, find yourself horrified that you've stumbled upon this previously unknown truth and look back and wish you could reverse time and make yourself more aware than you possibly ever could be. You cannot.

This just seems to be how it is in our society; that as women, somehow, when we become parents we lose validity in so many different realms.

Did I mention that Big A is unabashedly a feminist and that sometimes I'm stunned at how brave she is when she speaks up for herself or other women at such a young age?

--

I would say that I digress, but I no longer believe that there is digression. I formerly thought that my mind contained an infinite amount of endless looping circles that never silenced themselves and spun at rates alarmingly high upon any tool of measurement. Now I believe that my mind contains not circles, but parallel thoughts that aren't necessarily louder than others, nor that have different orbits. Ask me again tomorrow; I might look at you with confusion should you mention that I once believed there was no such thing as digression.

--

"This is the letter we were going to mail you, but you wouldn't have gotten it before you came back." I signed the insurance paperwork and took the envelope.

I didn't open the letter.

There were two areas of concern; one of them "disappeared" when they performed two of the mammogram imaging tests. The other did not.

(The name brand on the equipment was "Hologic" and that bothered me. 

"How do you pronounce that? 

Holo-gic? 

Ho-logic? 

Holog-ic? 

Why would someone that manufactures these types of machines have equipment emblazoned with a word that could remind someone of the word "ho", as in "whore"? 

Everything and everyone today is so sensitive. I'm too sensitive. 

Why do women get labeled like that? Why, when we're talking about promiscuous men, do we call them "male sluts"? 

Jesus Christ, I hope the A's don't ever have thoughts like this. 

Everyone has thoughts like this. 

No, they don't. Yes, they do. 

Please shut up. Please.)

The radiologist appeared with the tech for the fourth image that he wanted her to retrieve. He explained density and opacity. He explained why I needed an ultrasound. He was certain that the ultrasound that they were working me in for that very afternoon would verify that the still-existent, non-disappearing image was merely a cyst; nothing to worry about. I was young. I've heard this before. 

He seemed positive about this. I believed him. Because he believed him. There was no doubt in his face; no offer of false hope in his voice or demeanor. I was young.

The radiologist, not the tech, came in first after the ultrasound. He said, "I'm sorry. I'm surprised to be here. I'm sure you're surprised to see me."

(Sometimes time suspends itself for an indefinite amount of time.)

He began to explain hardened masses that aren't cysts and what else they could be: lymph nodes; anomalies; calcification; tumors. "The bottom line is that it's a hard matter and it didn't disappear."

(Do the hard matters ever disappear? Isn't it always the hard matters that remain?)

"I know what you're thinking here, really, and I can't say anything to give you comfort because what it comes down to is, 'is it cancer, or is it not'? And I can't answer that right now."

"But you're young," he said again.

(Mister, I am not young. 

I am 1,000 years old. I had no idea that it was my soul that felt so heavy as a child until I came across other souls that contained immense weight and recognized them. 

I am not young. I have scars in places that I shouldn't have and worse scars that aren't visible. 

Please, don't tell me that any odds that are good have more merit based upon me being young. 

I'll never get to sleep.)

He gave me the odds of it being malignant: 2-5%. "Small," he said, "very small."

"Never tell me the odds," I half-smiled; the kind of half-smile that you give when you want to appear alright but aren't.

(If you're still reading this, I know that you know which smile I'm talking about.)

He looked at me quizzically and I tipped my head to the side, "Star Wars? Han Solo? 'Never tell me the odds'? It's a quote from the movie?"

"You're witty; you're young; you'll be fine. We'll see you in here sometime next week and this part will be over."

"Which part?" I asked.

He paused. He cleared his throat. He looked directly into my eyes and didn't look away when he saw my secrets and my fears and my hopes spilling down my cheeks. I respect him for that; for looking me in the eyes when he said, "The not knowing. The not knowing will be over."

"I'm not sure that ever ends," I replied.

He nodded. I believe it was in agreement. "See you soon," he said.

--

The door closed quietly behind him when he left; it was one of those doors that is so carefully and skillfully constructed that you have to strain to hear the click of it opening or shutting.

And if your eyes were looking elsewhere and if you weren't paying close attention and there were other sounds around you, you could easily be startled to look about and see that some entity had entered or departed while you were completely unaware.

--

Ping.

--

18 October 2013
A Letter To My Grandfather In October
Dear Gramps,

October.

I can tell you that I have no idea where the year has gone and also that I cannot believe that it is only October, this year has been so long.

The Tigers are, again, teetering on the edge of an epic collapse. I know, I know; when you are teetering on that edge, you don't know if you're staring upon the brink of a disaster or an amazing story that you will tell your grandchildren about.  It's what you do when you're on that edge that matters.  I think about that often.

The Tigers have the greatest hitter in the game; I wish you could have seen him.  I know you'd want to argue that you've seen the best hitters and remind me about Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron and Ted Williams, but there are whispers that truly he is at least among them.  He's been playing injured since I would suspect mid-summer, but is very obviously badly injured now and hobbles along at times, so people are calling for him to be benched and calling for him to D.H. and forgetting again, too easily, who their heroes are.  How they got here in the first place.

Heroes.  A word I've heard too many times this October.  Our government shut down because our elected officials couldn't agree on a budget, so instead of agreeing to compromise, they just closed it down.  Except they still got paid.  The Congressional Gym remained open.  And both sides were pointing fingers back and forth, carrying on about veteran services being cut, how the other side was to blame and all I could think about while I was watching it was what you told me of the war; what you'd done; how many you'd seen die.  I thought of other deaths in the name of country; a funeral where I watched you watching a flag-draped coffin and the tears rolling down your face.  "Never makes sense," you'd said.  I thought about those things and I grew more and more angry, so I tried to think about the things that made me smile about you or I thought that the hatred would eat me alive.

I thought about sitting in your basement, you tapping on your ham radio and telling me how you were talking to someone from around the world.  I thought about how I'd search out that spot on the huge map on the wall and stare in amazement, trying to comprehend how we were in such a small place, the middle of nowhere, and yet you were tapping out messages across the globe. I remember you letting me think of a question to ask each respondent; I thought about the notebook that I kept of the questions and answers; I wondered where that notebook was.  I wondered where your radio was.  I wondered how I could wonder those things instead of knowing them. I wondered if I could get in my car, drive through the night and open the door to the basement and slip into your chair and tap out a message.  I wondered if anyone would respond even if I could.

I remembered the professor in college who had used his red-beamed pointer to repeat a message over and over during a lecture.  It was odd because initially, it was distracting me from what he was saying.

Then it was odd because I could feel something in my mind shifting and I couldn't figure out why.

Then it was odd because I thought, "he's sending a signal" and couldn't understand why I would think that.  I remembered squinting, hard, for about ten seconds and seeing the dots as I closed my eyes.

I remembered that I'd startled in my seat and then looked around to see if anyone else was seeing what I did.  They all seemed oblivious, so I began to doubt myself, even though I was so sure.  I remembered sensing the agitation of my classmates with the distraction of the beams interruptions; how the professor kept apologizing and saying it was "on the blink."

I remembered at the end of class when he turned to us and asked, "Well, then, can anyone answer the question?"  There was a marked silence.  "Nobody?" He'd asked and I'd slowly raised my arm, cursing myself the entire time. (Are you crazy?  Are you INSANE?  Everyone is going to laugh.  He's going to laugh.  You'll have to drop this class.  Put your arm down.  Put.  Your.  Arm.  Down.  Oh my God, I hate you.)

"Ann Arbor" I'd murmured, "The University of Michigan."  He asked me if I was aware that the military was no longer taught morse code.  I said that I wasn't; I couldn't believe that could be true.  Then he told the class that morse code was now considered obsolete because new technology had taken over and told us that we should think about who we trusted to deliver messages to us; what we would do if we had to communicate on elementary levels when we were being wired to communicate on much higher levels; what would we do if we relied upon technology that was overseen by the government and then he dismissed our class.

I remembered how at your funeral there was a place in your casket where notes could be placed; how we were encouraged to write something down; how I was instantly suspicious and how my mom had said, "Jennifer, come on."  She looked so exhausted and Big A was watching, so I complied.  I remembered how, on that day, when I tried my absolute hardest, I could not remember one single trace of morse code.  I couldn't remember one abbreviation.  I couldn't remember one word.  I couldn't remember one letter.  I couldn't even remember "SOS".  I had shut my eyes to try to remember and I couldn't.  Then I started panicking, trying to remember when I forgot.  Then I started needing to take deep breaths and then I remembered that I had to stop panicking, because Big A was there, watching.  So I wrote.  Bled myself out onto that final letter to you and folded it up two (alright, maybe three) more times than necessary, just to be sure.

I looked up morse code when I'd gotten home, back to my home, where I had access to the internet and found it:  30.  No more.  (End.)  And I'd shut my laptop and didn't think about morse code anymore.  Except when I was tapping on my chest, but even then, I wasn't thinking about it.

God; how have I gotten so far off track?  I wanted to write to you to tell you that the goddamn Tigers are on the edge of collapse, again, and instead it's me collapsing.  I suppose it'll be winter before I get back up there and I suppose there will be snow waist high blocking off the road to the cemetery where you are buried and I will think, "Can't go visit his grave now."  And I will be relieved to have put off once more what I've yet to bring myself to do.  I've no desire to see your name etched in stone, to stand upon a spot which to me simply does not exist:  A spot where you are buried; for you are everywhere, still.

It should be enough, I think, that I weep upon the grave of your memory every day.

But I never cry as hard, it seems, as when the Tigers are playing in October and I find myself stunned to find that Kirk Gibson is not waiting in the wings to deliver a miracle and it is not 1984 and I remind myself that you are gone; those days are gone.

And to calm myself I begin to wiggle my feet and tap on my chest.

30.

No more.  (End.)


I miss you, Gramps.

I miss you so much.

Love always,
Jenn


09 October 2013
And What Will You Do?
 *This post has been edited; please see below for updates. 

I cannot express how sad I am to write this post.  I have written drafts with many paragraphs, linked to many sites, raged many rages, cried many tears, but we've all read enough words and seen enough news.

Ultimately, I don't believe that I can write what I want to say.  Instead, I am going to use minimal words and try to get my point across in photos.

I ask that you click on each one; study each face; memorize each detail, for those details are important.  

This is Sergeant First Class Matt Blaskowski with his parents, Cheryl and Terry, on his wedding day:


This is Matt, with his beautiful bride on that day:


This is Matt, with his only sibling, his younger brother, Stan:


This is what Matt said to his father in 2005 while he was home recovering after having been shot during a firefight in Afghanistan.  Despite being injured, he had continued to drag a fellow soldier to safety:  

"I'm not a hero.  The real heroes are the guys that don't make it--those that are killed in action."

Matt recovered and went back to serve his country again in Afghanistan.  He told his grandmother that serving his country was his job and he was proud to do it. 

He was awarded a Silver Star and a Purple Heart for his courageous actions.  Here is a photo of him from that day: 



A bit after midnight on September 23, 2007, his parents heard a car pulling up their driveway.  

They opened the door to the military representatives standing outside of it, despite knowing what would happen once they did.  

They were informed that Matt was shot in the chest and killed by a sniper while his base was under attack.  Matt was 27 years old when he died.

Here is a photo from the last time that Matt arrived home: 


Matt was an outstanding athlete in school.  Here is a photo of the last time that he went by the school that he attended: 


Here are some photos from the last time that Matt traveled through the streets of his home town: 








Here is a photo of Matt's parents on the day that a memorial was dedicated to him:



Here is a photo of Matt's brother with his daughter on that same day:



Do you see the differences in their faces?  Do you see what losing him did to these people?  Do you feel sick to your stomach with the thought of it?  

I'd ask you to imagine losing your child, your brother, your sister, your husband, your wife, your friend, your uncle, your aunt, your cousin, etc. while they fought on behalf of our country.  

Then I would ask you to imagine being told that the government that sent them off to war, that the country that they died for, was not able to assist you in bringing them home.

Angry yet?  The services that we provide and fund for our veterans and their families should not be selected one by one, the services that we provide to our veterans should be funded, in full, without further ado. 

Enough with the speeches.  Enough with the rhetoric.  Enough with the finger pointing and hyperbole. ENOUGH.  These pictures speak the truth.  Our government is not working for any of us.

Please, speak up; make your message to your "representation" in D.C. clear:  Do your job.  NOW.

"Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state."  Thomas Jefferson

*Edited:  I wrote this post with regard to the death benefits that were being withheld from the families of those that lost their lives fighting for our country.  Today those benefits were restored, but MANY, MANY veteran services are STILL NOT EVEN CLOSE to being funded.  You can follow this link to keep abreast of what else our government is not doing for us. 
_________________________________________________________________________________

Following are some other links to stories about Matt. 






05 March 2013
Fifteen

Dear Big A, 

Fifteen. 


I have to pause and take a deep breath as I try to wrap my mind around this moment, this day.  I remember when you turned five that I was thinking, "In five more years, she's going to be ten, five years after that, she's going to be fifteen" and on and on.  At that point in time, the concept seemed impossible.  It still does, except this morning you blew out fifteen candles on your birthday pancake and there I was, drifting between five and fifteen and stunned, still, with the realization that I have no idea where the time has gone. 


I know I tell you so many times that I think that you are amazing.  I know that hearing it from your mom isn't the blanket of comfort to you that I mean for it to be.  I'm aware that me loving you doesn't solve anything for you; that it isn't the salve that can heal the wounds that come with being a teen; that it  doesn't make things easier.  I know that my kisses don't make things better anymore and that your belief in my magic is gone.  My saving hope is that your belief in your own magic remains.


Could you bear it, one more time, me telling you of how much I loved you the moment that I saw you? I know that you cannot, but I think that I cannot tell you it enough.  You sliced my world apart; cut me to the core and filled it with such a light that I was momentarily blinded.  I still feel that each time I look at you.  "How can something so wonderful be mine?"  And then I remember that you're not mine, that you are yours and then I hope that someday you will feel something so powerful that it moves you to beyond anything that words can describe and you will think, "That is how much she loved me."


So many times within the past year I have seen you from afar and not recognized you.  I knew who you were, of course, but to see you, really see you, that slayed me each time.  You are so beautiful, so composed, so gifted that I have to remind myself of the moment that I met you, that you were a part of my being, because I cannot imagine having created and nurtured someone so wonderful.  I'm sorry for all of the times that you felt that I didn't think you were anything but my world.  I'm sorry if you ever thought that I pushed you too much, that I wasn't happy with something that you did--it's just that I want you to see how the world is in your hands and all of the potential that you hold--it's much different than where I am at now in my life; my world being in the hands of you and your sister. 


Today I couldn't stop myself from thinking that in five more years, you will be twenty.  You will be gone from our home, out making your way in the universe.  I know that you will come back, but that it will never be the same, nothing is ever the same anyway, so that doesn't bother me so much anymore.  What makes me ache is how much I miss the little you, your precious cheeks and legs and how you would lay on my chest and sleep all night.  


I don't think of time as passing and the moments being gone so much as I think of it as the moments remaining there forever, each second living on within its own universe. That thought soothes me some, thinking that those precious minutes exist still and that I can visit them, feel them, smell them whenever I wish.  The trick is not staying there reminiscing too long, for I want to make sure that I participate in today and tomorrow and each gift of time with you that I have. 


I love that we can speak fluent sarcasm with each other and know that it's a language of love.  I love that you can sing the words of my favorite songs.  I loved that last night when we were singing in the car and you said something about being embarrassing and got out to run into the gym and I rolled down the window so that Little A and I could belt out, "Born and raised in south Detroit", I could see your face in the glass door and that you were laughing.  Your beautiful face grinning from ear to ear made even the saddest corners of my soul smile. 


Fifteen, Big A.  You are my sunshine; you always have been from the moment I laid my eyes upon you.


Happy, happy birthday my love.


Love always, 

Your Adoring Mother


17 January 2013
A Letter To The A's Following 40
Dear A's,

I always write a birthday letter to you on your birthdays, but I figured for this milestone that has just passed that I would write a letter to you following my birthday.


40 is different; an age that I'm sure feels a million miles away from your beautiful faces; I hope it always does.There are things I want to tell you, sitting here at 40, realizing how time does really does pass and immortality begins to wash away as the moments that add up to a lifetime march across the decades.


First, you are my entire world.  It's crazy that I know that an entire galaxy exists around me, yet you hold it all within your hands.  I hope that you never love anyone this much, but I hope that you are always this loved.  I know that if you have children, you will understand what I mean when I say this--unless you do, don't try to dissect what I've said--the words will never make sense to you. 


I want you to know that it's OK to take chances.  And fail.  And get back up and try again.  Ignore what everyone else says and listen to what you hear within you; follow that course with all that you have, no matter where it takes you.  Just always get back up again.  It's with the falling that we learn to rise.


I beg of you your patience with me as you grow.  My direction is, sadly, but truly, what most well-meaning parents direction is made of--the realization of how truly each moment matters; how the smallest of actions can do or undo almost anything--an entire life can hinge on the tiniest of circumstances.  I would urge you to do it, whatever it is that you fear, whether that means jumping from an airplane or reaching out for a hand in front of you, speaking in a moment that won't ever come again or simply allowing yourself to be loved.


Whatever it is you choose to do, do it with wild abandon.  Be the scrappiest player on the court, be able to hold intellectual conversations and keep an open mind, but be able to hold your ground when you know from the deepest parts within that they are right.  Laugh--loudly, cry when you need to and always understand that not everyone can do those things at the same time.  Study the times when you feel the very happiest and know what it is that made you feel that way; don't let go of those things.


It's not easy to sometimes hear the loudest of sounds around us; sometimes you have to listen from within.  It's an acquired trait and I've seen it in both of you; please, wherever you go, whatever you do, do not forget that compassion and pass it onto your children should you choose to have them; it would be the greatest trait possible to pass on.


Hug more. Hate less.  Your energy is your energy--only let you decide how you use it, but do know that you only have a certain amount and you can use it positively or negatively, I pray that you choose positively.  


Books!  Don't forget books.  I hope that you always let the magic pull you in.  You cannot recall how religiously I read to you from infancy, but I know that you've both realized the magic and worlds that are within them. 


It's alright to be an introvert. It doesn't mean being anti-social, but it means that you are alright on your own--and that is the thing that I want you both to be, more than anything--good with being with just you.  Whether that means always having someplace or something for just you, or whether that means simply choosing to never anchor yourself to someone or something, I want you to know that it's OK. 


Baseball.  I want you to remember baseball, but I want you to be able to watch it without crying when you recall all of the Detroit Tiger games that we attended. It's tricky; I haven't figured it out yet.  I can tell you that one of the strongest dreams that I had while I was fighting in the hospital was me riding in a pick-up truck with my Grandpa, Ernie Harwell was on the radio.  It's why I couldn't watch the Tigers the year after he was gone.  It's why I cry still, three years after he's been gone, when the Tigers are on.  It's why I keep reminding you when we go to the games to shut your eyes and listen; study the field; stop; to remember the moment.  Because those are the moments that you will realize at 40 that were the best moments of your lives.  You won't know that until time passes and you will wish that you slowed down to remember.
 

I wish for you every happiness, but enough sorrow to understand that there are those that know nothing but that.  I wish for you enough challenges along the way to make you stronger; smarter; your very best and enough knowledge gained from those challenges to make you happy; so very happy that you never feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, but realize that there are those that feel only that and a heart wide enough and bright enough and big enough to help them.  

Realize that there is not enough good you can do in the world.  Take off your coat when you see someone without one on the street of a city that I hope you roam and give it to them.  Open doors for everyone, with a smile.  Pay the toll for the car behind you when you can.  It will come back to you; I promise it will; sometimes when you least expect it and most need it. 


Realize that beauty lies within almost everything; sometimes you have to look for it, sometimes you just feel it. Make sure that you, too, sleep with your daughters, should you have them, under the stars on a warm summer night on a trampoline.  Feel free to watch them as they sleep under the very galaxy that they hold within their hands.


Do not listen to those that tell you that you can hold your child too much, let them sleep with you too much or love them too much, for time passes quickly and before you know it they may stand taller than you and you will wonder where the time has gone, and no matter how much you held them, you will find yourself wishing that you'd held them more.


I love you both so very much.  


I love you more than love.


Your most willing servant, always,

Mom   

Wordle: future