February 24, 2009

I'm bored.

I'm bored today. I don't want to do anything. There's nothing to do anyways. I'm not interested in playing on the computer or dropping cards. I don't feel like scrapping or making cards. I really just want to crawl back in bed.

I have to get the girls dressed and ready for a trip to Grandma's house. I promised we would come spend some time over there today. I don't really feel like hanging out anywhere today. I guess I have to go, though, because it was technically my idea in the first place.


February 20, 2009

I am so blind.


And so blessed.

Watching a show with a dear friend of mine tonight, I became aware of a certain horror that I've been oblivious to up until this time. We were watching Law and Order: SVU tonight, and the episode was very harsh and difficult to see. I can't tell you what the title was. I didn't really notice. But the story line revolved around a "family" in the city (New York? Is that where the show is "located"?) underground. The family consisted of various street kids that united together under a set of leaders - The Father and The Mother - to form a tight knit group of people who look out for each other.

The story itself was of no real consequence, just much of the same when dealing with these types of programs. It was the family that really caught my attention. I've known that there existed "shanty towns" and cardboard neighborhoods. This is not a concept that has escaped my notice. I know that kids run away from home for many reasons - some legitimate and some just petty issues from bratty kids - and many of those kids end up on the streets with nowhere to go wither by necessity or by choice. This isn't something that I was blindly unaware of. I guess I just didn't realize what happens underneath the knowing; what the reality of their lives became after they took to the streets. Yes, I have some understanding of the horrors that street youth find themselves enduring just to have a bit of food to eat, but only just some. It isn't concrete or tangible for me because I'm not a part of that world.

I came home wondering what could be done for such a horrible, heart breaking ordeal. Really, what could I ever do to make any difference in the lives of those children who bound themselves to a family such as this? The enormity of the situation, when I think of how many of these families must surely exist, is more than the human mind can comprehend.

Consider that there is at least one of these families living in every large city across the country. Many cities probably have more than one family, though, when you consider that major cities are often very large in both population and acreage. How many large cities are there in the USA?

Excuse me while I go look that up. I don't happen to know that off the top of my head.

Well, the best I could get was around 250 large cities. That document was from 2005, and I have no way of guaranteeing the accuracy of the information. But it sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

(If my husband was awake, I could ask him. He could probably tell me right off the top of his head because he is the owner of vast quantities of useless information.)

So I'll figure for arguments sake that there are 250 large cities where these families take up residence. That gives me 250 families, right? No. Of course not. Many cities - I would say at least 50 of them - are large enough to accommodate more than one of these families. This is particularly true in the largest cities that are so well known for being able to get lost if you want to become unseen. So in Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, and I'm sure there are many more, it would be safe to figure that there are 2 or 3 of these families. Each family houses multiple children, probably at least ten children in the family and possibly even as many as fifty. That's such a mind altering number when you consider the mathematical magnitude of all those nameless, faceless souls that are left wandering the streets in some hopeful attempt to eek out a life for themselves.

I happen to live fairly close to one of those large cities. I've no doubt that there are more than one street families among the homeless of the city streets. Yet I find myself still wondering what, if anything, could I possibly do to make their lives better. I suppose if I even knew where to find their concrete and cardboard homes that I could take blankets or food and leave it on their doorsteps for them to find and make use of. (That is, if I were even brave enough to wander into the perimeter of their world...and I'm not really sure that I am that brave.) I could take clothes, shoes, other such necessities... all the things that I - as one of the fortunate ones - take for granted.

But really, is it enough to do these things?

Doesn't it just scratch the surface of what these children really need in their lives?

Where does their help come from if there is no way to rescue them from these streets that are filled with codes and rules and laws that have nothing remotely resembling the traces of the society that they find themselves to be cast out of?

Where does one begin when trying to save a world that does not see that it needs to be saved?

For more information, visit this link.

February 17, 2009


I'm feeling particularly sad today. It's taken me a long time to figure out what it is that has been bugging me, but I finally managed to locate the source of my dismay.

Sometime in the night, a little person crept into our bed. This is not unusual, though I typically wake up whenever this happens. My husband assures me that I woke up, and even got out of bed to help the little one find her way in the dark.

Well, sometime in the early morning hours I became aware of the presence of little legs laying beside me. I wrapped my arms around the snuggly little body and in the dark I determined which child had come to our bed. Imagine my surprise when I awoke later to realize that the child in the bed was not my oldest daughter. Instead, it was my youngest child who had crawled in and snuggled up with me. In my state of sleepiness I had translated the size of the legs and arms into belonging to the oldest child because they were so big.

It turns out that sometime after 9:00 PM and before Midnight my little baby took a growth potion and sprouted into something strangely resembling a - a - a - BIG GIRL! Oh my gosh! How on Earth has this happened? Can anybody please tell me where my tiny little baby girl has disappeared to?


I suppose I should be very thankful that she is still super cuddly and lovey most all the time. I have reached a point, though, where I now have to face the reality that she is no longer a baby at all. There isn't even a little bit of a trace of my baby to be found.

So now I'm just a bit sad. Okay - let's be honest here. I'm incredibly sad. These early years just go by so fast. Even one blink can cause you to miss the entire event.

February 9, 2009

Bird's Nest

I spent a couple of hours out in the yard with the girls today. The weather was so nice, 72 degrees in the middle of February. It would have been sinful to stay indoors. While we were playing, a bird's nest from last year fell out of one of the trees in the front yard. I took the opportunity to let the girls examine the nest in great detail. We talked about that nest for quite some time today. That one little nest led us to an entire day of school lessons when we had not actually planned any specific school work for the day.

I sat in the yard with them and slowly dismantled the fragile little nest that we had happened upon. It was really interesting, as I've never examined a bird's nest so closely. We started with the bottom of the nest and unwound the long strips of bark that the bird had used to create the foundation. Then we discovered a few strips of thin plastic. That plastic was probably plucked from one of the nearby dumpsters or construction sites last spring. On top of the plastic was a neatly woven bundle of very bendable twigs. It looked as though it would have taken hours to weave those pieces together in such a perfect bowl. There were a couple of dry leaves that had been used, but the main portion of the nest was made mostly of those twigs that curved so easily without breaking.

I sent Marisa off to spend some time with Grandma so that Kira and I could focus a bit more on the lesson of bird's and their nests. We did some research to find out what types of materials a bird might like to use when building a nest. After that, I got a big plastic bowl and we filled it with various materials for our neighborhood birds. Kira managed to find some piles of cat hair that had blown into a corner behind a bookshelf. I pulled out the dryer lint that was still in the lint trap. I pulled out a skein of yarn and let Kira cut strips of yarn for the birds to use. I even added some strips of paper. Then we ventured outside to find twigs, leaves, moss, and grass to add to our collection.

After we gathered up all our offerings, we placed the bowl and all the materials that wouldn't fit inside the bowl on the ground underneath one of our bird feeders. The location was chosen mostly because it is easy to sit inside and watch the bowl to see if any of our birds take an interest in our gifts. I think Kira was be so thrilled to watch some of the birds take away her bird's nest materials that she gathered.

I feel good about today. Even after two hours working in the yard and running around trying to gather materials for the bowl, I still feel really good physically. I'm not hurting more than a bit of muscle soreness which is a huge accomplishment from how things were this time last year. It's so nice to have a bit of strength back and be able to do things again.

Kira wants to build a bird's nest. I have to figure out if it's even possible for us to build one and what I will need.


February 8, 2009

Peaceful Night

It's nearly 8:30 here and the girls have been in bed for over a half an hour now. This is perhaps a new record in our home. I'm experimenting with their sleeping habits to see if I can find something that actually works for everybody. They've both been particularly irritable over the last two weeks, due in part to the general stress in the household, but also to a bit of disruption in even the slightest concept of a schedule. I hope that eliminating nap time and instituting a relatively early bedtime - 8:00 PM - that they will both get a sufficient amount of sleep and stop being quite so cranky. I think my husband going back to work tomorrow will help, too.

It's strange to sit here in a virtually silent house so early in the evening. I have time to think, to write, to create. There are so many projects that I have on my mind, but never enough time to really focus on any of them for more than a moment. The one I'm most excited about right now is the quilt that I found in my mother's house. It was destined for the garbage, but I rescued it in hopes that I can repair the seams that are torn and make it worthy of being loved again. I'm not terribly experienced with a needle and thread so this is a pretty lofty goal that I have created for myself. I started today and managed to repair two of the ripped squares before my attention was needed elsewhere. I'm pleased to say that the sewing looks quite nice. It's difficult to tell that there was a rip in those spots that I've repaired. It isn't perfect, of course, but it isn't dreadful, either. I can't wait to finish with the quilt and launder it so my girls can enjoy snuggling underneath. Kira has one "pattern blanket" that she adores so I know she'll enjoy having another one that is bigger.

Sewing the seams are not nearly as tedious as I had expected. It's actually very calming to work the needle and thread. The motions require a good bit of concentration, so there isn't much opportunity for stressful thoughts. I've often wondered why someone would spend so much time sewing by hand in this day and age. I do believe I've figured it out.

I've checked on the girls and they are fast asleep. Imagine that! There wasn't even a hint of argument when we put them to bed. They didn't even fight it a little bit or try to sneak out to play. Perhaps the lack of a nap will be useful in getting them to bed at a reasonable hour. And since they are both sleeping soundly, I'm going to take myself to my own bed and sit with my new quilt, a needle and thread.

The First Nightmare

I hadn't expected the nightmares to begin so early. I knew they would come, but I really thought I had more time. This one tonight was startling in so many ways, partly because it is so soon. I suppose you're wondering what I'm talking about. After all, everybody has nightmares. It's just human nature, right. I guess some background information is in order so that you'll understand why this nightmare was so horrid.

I was five years old when my mother married him. He didn't waste any time, either. I don't really wish to discuss all the details of the abuse, but it was - what word does one use to describe such a life altering occurrence?

Significant? Well, yeah, I suppose it was.

Damaging? It was definitely that.

Devastating? Perhaps not so much at the time. I was so young that I did not fully comprehend what was happening.

Forever? Yes, I think forever is a good word to use in describing abuse. It is forever. Even when the actual abuse has ended, the affects linger throughout our lives and invade every inch of our world.

I know it isn't much of an explanation, but it's all I have right now. It's nearly 3:00 in the morning now and I'm still shaking from this dream that ended over an hour ago. I hope writing about it will help rid the images from my mind so that I can return to sleeping, though I doubt sleep will be an easy accomplishment now.

You may wonder why this nightmare was different from the many other nightmares I've had. It's simple, really. In this nightmare, it was Kira who was being attacked. Kira, my precious four year old daughter who looks so very much like I did when I was that age that it's strange for me at times. I knew the day she was born that I would have difficulty as she got older. I knew that I would have to temper my own need to protect her in order to allow her the freedom that all children need. And I knew that there would come a time when I would have horribly vivid dreams of the dangers that I fear for her. I just didn't know it would be this soon. I thought it would be another year or so before the dreams came. I also thought it would be less horrible when they first began. Silly me expected that the dreams would be tame at first and work their way up to the worst possible visions. I didn't expect such an onslaught of images that would keep me awake for hours just trying to eradicate the pictures from my brain.

In my dream, I lost sight of her for just a moment only to find her being assaulted by three men around the corner. I think I arrived on the scene "just in time" to rescue her from the danger, but I'm not really sure because that was the moment when I startled awake. Unfortunately for me, that image is burned into my memory. I don't know how long it will take for me to shake that. No doubt I'll be crying for a while over this one. I'm comforted to know that she is safely snuggled into her blankets sleeping without even the slightest idea that I'm so terrified over something that didn't actually happen to her.

Until Kira came along, I never fully realized what I had lost when I was a child. Watching her grow up has given me an insight into what childhood is supposed to be. It's such an amazing thing to watch.

I hope I can protect her and her little sister from anything that might destroy their precious childhood.

I hope these dreams don't come often.

I hope I can close my eyes at some point tonight and not see that horrible vision again.