Falling. Stumbling. Slipping. Stubbing.
We all fall down.

I fall down.

It’s why I grasp onto the prayer of the Stations of the Cross.
Because Christ falls, not once, but THREE times, as he carries his cross. And today is Friday and so I am thinking about this, tis the season….yeah, for falling.

Thus, as I fall, every darn day…it helps me. It helps me to pray the stations, to read and contemplate his exhaustion, how very hard it was to take the next step, any step, to just hold.
And he needed help…or, more precisely, he ALLOWED help.

Now he allowed help in order to let us participate, in order to show that through weakness we can be strong, together. He allowed help because that cross was SO. VERY. HEAVY….from us.
Perhaps if he hadn’t fallen, and allowed help to get up and keep going…just contemplating this walk would break us too. It would break me, I know. As it is, just contemplating it is heavy on my heart, every time.

And yet, it’s also such a help. Because I fall.
I’m falling. I fall again and again, ever, in carrying this measly hollow reed of a cross that I’ve been given.
I throw it down, tired and fed up. I gripe, I moan, I whine. As if that will help. It doesn’t. It only annoys everyone, not the least of which is myself (I offer a blanket apology to all my long suffering friends and family).

It’s OH so easy to compare crosses. Such a trap.
I do, though. All the time. And then I want to skulk away, knowing my cross is a twig, a hollow twig. It is filled with sweet kisses and belly hugs, soft sighs in the morning, and inside jokes.
Even so, I know this but some days I drop it, again and again. Because too often I focus on the struggles the fussing the attitudes the physical tiredness. But that mere twig, woven from eight (ok, nine) special souls in my care, grows in my selfish tired heart and hands into a giant redwood.
On those days, I strain to see through the gloaming…the shadows are long.
But I have blinded my own self. I am only looking at the hard, the tired…me.

Then another blessed Lenten Friday arrives, again, and I kneel to pray the stations.
I sing, off key, the Stabat Mater, in between the Stations.
And I blink to keep the tears back as my eyes, my heart, comes into focus again.
My twiggy cross is filled with sweet kisses and belly hugs, soft sighs in the morning, and inside jokes.
It is MY cross.
It is MY joy.

I fell down.
With help, and new eyes again, I get up.
It’s Friday…time for the Stations…again.

>Roll on up!

>Ok, I don’t usually do this, but I am taking a break from my usual blather to point you in the direction of a happy fun worthwhile thing.  This is a win-win deal all the way around and so, I’m gonna do you a big favor and shout it out. 

You see, one of my friends, the amazing Adrienne Parks (and another post will have to do her and her program justice, this one is focused), is doing a fundraiser for her adoption from Bulgaria.  Now, I know, I know, we are all fundraising weary.  It’s a weary time of year: the winter blues, seasonal affective disorder, spring fever, Haiti needs, and so on.  

However, do yourself a favor and head over to her blog and check out her stuff.  Because after much pestering persuading by myself and surely others, she has expanded her stock. 

So, what is it?


What do I mean? Well I mean the cutest rollups for crayons or pencils or markers that you could imagine.  I know from personal experience.  I ordered a few, both boy and girl versions, of the crayon ones and liked them so much that I started nagging politely requesting her for the marker or pencil versions and for bigger/older kids.
  And now they’ve got ’em!

They really are very cute, and well made.  They have cute fabrics for girls and cute (read boyish, cars etc) fabrics for boys.  They stay closed well with a nice springy band/button latch and they DO stay secure.  They are perfect for backpacks and cars and travel.  I’m thinking spring and summer travel coming up: a great option for those hard to corral pencils and crayons and pens.  Fun, clever and well made.  Now I know  you can get these here and there online or now and then in one of the stores, but honestly, these are by far the nicest I’ve seen and they are for a great cause: bringing home a particular little girl who is waiting in Bulgaria for the process to clear. 

So it’s money for a good family, and a good cause, and you get a useful cool tool.  It might even be add a bit of sunshine to the winter blahs……What’s not to love?

I’m going to go order more for big kids now.  Go, check it out and tell Adrienne I sent you and said hello!

>Fish Eaters – What’s up with that?

>Ok, so here we are in Lent, officially in the first week of Lent (because even though half of last week was Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday, those days aren’t counted in the “weeks” but they are counted in the days.  Yeah, it messes me up too.)  Anyhow….. so we’ve already had two official days of abstinence and one of fasting.  

So, what’s the diff? Abstinence, fasting, no meat….but fish, isn’t fish meat?  
Join the club, you aren’t the only one.
In fact, I am a what they call a “Cradle Catholic;” by which I mean, raised Catholic from birth.  And even I still have to scratch my head and think hard on the specifics of the days sometimes.  {Although, admittedly, lately that’s been more because of the softening of my mind and loss of brain cells due to this blasted middle age.}  

But folks always ask about the fish.  Specifically, “What’s up with the Friday Fish?”

Ya got your fish fries, your fish sandwiches, tuna fish in every way you can dream it up.
Personally, I prefer the veggie route…but that’s just me maybe.  Anthony, my little man, he will vote for the cheese pizza, every time.  But I digress.

Anyhow, so what IS up with the whole “fish” thing?
Well lots.
The rudimentary part is we abstain, we Catholics, from meat on Fridays.
It’s a small mortification.
Some have speculated on why we do it.
But as with most things in the Church, there is always real history and tradition behind what we do today.  For a good article on the history and reasoning behind this, go here, it’s an article written by my real world in person I just hugged her at Mass yesterday morning gal pal, Sonja.  She’s brilliant and writes lovely intellectual pieces that explain so much about the church (as opposed to my stream of consciousness blather).  So read, you’ll learn.  You’ll be glad you did.

So, we fast and abstain in order to experience the spirit of this penitential season of Lent.  We make small (measly, really) sacrifices in order to train our bodily selves to look beyond our lives here, moment to moment.  We offer that small suffering to Christ, in thanksgiving for all he went through for us.  It is a small teeny tiny parallel to Christ’s forty days of prayer in the desert.  We are in the desert, during Lent. We try to train our minds, bodies and hearts to turn to what is actually real and important.  And it’s not the hamburgers…or the fish sandwiches.

So, yeah, we don’t eat meat on Fridays.  Mostly during Lent, though some try to observe this throughout the year.  And it may sound like no big deal.  But I’ll tell ya, maybe it’s because I have the self discipline of a four year old….but when I KNOW I can’t have meat, all of a sudden I am craving a big ol’ steak, or bacon, or a chicken sandwich. It’s as if I was thrown back to the caveman era, before the world knew the  wonders of spinach salad with goat cheese, or hummus, or a good caprese salad.  And I sulk a bit.  I mope around and suddenly can’t find anything to eat. Because I am an infant.  And so, Fridays are tough.  But I guess that it how they are supposed to be.

>Song on a Sunday: The Marti Song

>Because I still miss him, although I’m very happy he’s having such a great time in Rome.

And because we were watching this yesterday and realized that this is now, in our  minds, “The Marti Song”…..because this is the song that we used for the court pass.  So, this is an old version, Chris was younger, still in high school (the school talent show, kooky fun)…..but still makes us all smile.  So I think it’s perfect for this Sunday.

>…Her Station Keeping….

>It’s Friday.
It’s Lent.
It’s the First Friday of Lent.

So. You know what that means:
Fish sandwiches.

Ok, it means more than that.  It also means Stations of the Cross.

This is a prayer that I am particularly fond of.
It speaks to me.
It combines my interest in art with my love of story.
I mean, as an art major in college and a folkore and lit major in grad school, what brings those two together better than the Stations of the Cross?? Well, in my not nearly humble enough opinion, nothing!

Every Catholic church has a set of the stations. And while I tend toward the more classical in my aesthetic, I always like to check them out.  They are a visual story. An artistic storyboard…with all due respect.  An illustrated art/prayer event.  Sometimes antiquated, sometimes profound, sometimes dreary, sometimes modern or abstract. Sometimes they are even 3D.  But, they are classic and installed in all churches, typically lining the perimeter interior walls.

Right, sorry, what are they: The Stations of the Cross, Via Crucis, Via Dolorosa?  The Stations are a visual depiction of Christ’s Passion, from his prayer in the garden of Gethsemane to his entombment.  They are a stationary, historical, art event….Mel did his own version in his famous difficult graphic hard intense sometimes controversial movie.

But they are also a prayer.  Preferably, a communal prayer.  And during Lent, most churches will have a communal time to come together to pray the Stations on Friday’s (right after the fish fry, no kidding).  And the people gather in the evening and take the small hand sized books and follow the priest or prayer leader as a group.  They walk from Station to Station, set around the church.  And they pray together.  And in doing so, they are meditating on Christ’s passion and what Lent is all about.  Because it’s not only about the swearing off of chocolate or, um, swearing or drinking or whatever.  Lent is about the person.  Not us the person…. And the gift given, and hopefully turning our hearts back to the giver.

And in praying the Stations, even a small child, or I, can wander the aisles, gaze up, and follow this story.  And wonder.  And even in doing that, begin to pray.

We adore you O Christ and we praise you….
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

>Mardi Gras!


It’s Fat Tuesday! Mardi Gras! 
Carnivale! Shrove Tuesday!
Yup, it’s the last day of Ordinary Time, the day before Ash Wednesday.  So, today is the feast, the fest, the fete…the party.  I love the folklore and history of today, the tradition of pancakes for supper – to use up the fats and dairy stuff in the house before the ascetic season of Lent.  Now, that “using it up before it goes bad” isn’t a factor so much, but I love the tradition anyhow.  
Today I am stewing about finalizing my Lenten efforts.  This article is a good one, with a good reminder and perspective…but it has thrown my ideas on their head a bit and now I am rethinking.  It’s very easy for me to give up too much of or the ‘wrong’ food items.  It’s so ingrained for me to give up some foodstuff that I feel like a cheat if I don’t somehow.  And  yet, I have food issues (Because I have arrested development and am like a 4 year old if told I can’t have something……infantile, I know.)  due to my lack of discipline, the effects of said infantile issues on my children (Yes, cranky much? And, yes, again, my failing, I realize that, thank you very much), and being diabetic my body just whacks out easily somehow it seems.  So…not sure if I will do food at all again this year or focus more on this issue, also a struggle.  
Yeah, I think that the bulk of my Lenten consideration needs to be centered around prayer and silence.  I’ve been crazy distracted lately in prayer, and well, I’m  never very good at silence.  I crave it, but even when I find it, I can’t seem to get my whirling dervish of a mind to slow down and shut up.  Really.  So, to that end, I think I need to work on that.  Shush up and listen for pete’s sake.  Please.
I will type more tomorrow about this whole Lent thing, and my personal Lent thing (because I know that’s keeping you up at night….).  But for today, I once again refer you to the marvelous supersite of all things Lent: questions, resources, history, ideas: Aggie Catholics
So, tomorrow: Into the Desert, Lent begins.
Laissez les bon temps rouler!

>Song on a Sunday

>Because I miss him.

That’s my boy: Buddybug.  Ok, Chris, in the middle on the keyboard.   Playing the last time of the semester with his friends Katie Buetow (cello performance major), and Daniel Tostado (former vocal performance major) at Legends, up at college.  And gosh, a sad song: a cover of Ben Fold’s “Fred Jones.”I know I’m just the mom, but I think they sound good…and it’s nice to hear him sing and play.  
Note: I’m not techno-literate enough to get it the video sized right and keep Katie from being cut off.  So if  you’d like to see her play (and she is terrific, I love watching her play…ah a cello…) then go here to see it full size and full resolution.  And yes, Chris does need a shave!


>I can say that, can’t I??
That’s not too frivolous, is it?

I mean, this is a somber season….but it’s still in front of us and it’s almost Mardi Gras folks….so I’m running with it. Carnivale, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras. It’s all about the feast and the fest, you know – the pancakes – until Wednesday that is.

Because Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and its’ the beginning of Lent. And as I’m feeling it starting to press toward me, I am riffling through my lenten resources and ideas, prodding friends and family for their thoughts and ideas and being a general pest.

So, because I’m stewing about this, I’m posting. And if you want to shortcut this post and go to the mother of all lent round ups, go here, to Aggie Catholics and their yearly “one stop shop” for all things lent. You can also go here, to Sister Mary Martha, for her usual clear eyed, cut to the chase info on lent; what it is and shouldn’t be. Worth a peek, there.

Now I always like to plan on some spiritual reading during lent. No kidding, I do. Now, that plan often gets derailed, but really, I try, I do. TO that end, my list from last year, bookwise, still stands, go see…lots of good ones there.

Now, if I had to pick one or two…..and I might…I would recommend you look at these. The first one is a big bite to chew, um, read. It is dense and one of those books where you have to put it down every few pages to, um, digest it all. But, oh so worth the time:

Fire Within by Thomas Dubay : One of the best books I’ve read, especially for Lent. Deep, challenging, powerful stuff. One of the ones at the top of my list of great books, for years and years.
The second top of the chart lenten good reads is below. I’ve given this book out a number of times and it’s just a good retreat in a book, and great for retrackign your conception of the term “love.”

I Believe in Love, : Great book, a mini retreat in a book. Very powerful. Simple but very good. Don’t be put off by the simple title, it is still full of deep richness to dive into, especially this time of year. Because lent is exactly that, a time to declare our love…for others, and Christ (Not ourselves, like we/I usually do).
Ok, that’s it for the moment. I also have thoughts about things to add to your/my lenten observance, the really rich part of lent, in my book: confession, stations of the cross, devotions…

I actually really like lent and this whole season – even as I kind of brace for it. It’s a bit like setting out to train for a marathon or a half: you know it’s gonna be oh so difficult and probably painful, but you also know that you will be glad for the training, discipline and strength that results.

Hmmm. I am still pondering and pestering everyone quite a bit about that whole fasting part of lent, but if you all have any ideas or thoughts on it all, I would love to hear them. and when I can steal another few moments I will try to post some good links on it all. Great stuff out there on fasting, prayer, all the richness of the Lenten season. But until then I’m asking around about folks Lenten observances.

And now I am stepping it up to the cyber pest level. So, are you observing lent? If so, how?

>M is for Mountain


flikr photo by raspberryfairy
We are kind of being buried by an avalanche of letters here.
Or, maybe it’s just me.
Stumbling over a landslide of large letter boulders and formations…
Climbing across acronyms and peering through words, condensed into letters, that somehow take on a whole ‘nother life in their meanings and connotations.
No, we are not just learning our letters, “A, B, C.”
Though we are learning our letters, on that level, with multiple kiddos….and that is a lovely thing.
We are learning all new letter sets, and these letter combos have, or take on, a life of their own.
In some ways, and some instances, these letter sets and acronyms are very helpful, insightful even.
And in some ways, they redirect in the wrong way.
They are purported as helpful but in fact they direct your attention away from what is important and off to that ever so enticing realm of speculation and worry and discrimination and stigma.
I know, this is so vague. In a way it has to be, due to all that discrimination and misinformation and stigma. But it just sets me afire to think about all that and any of it lobbed at my kids. So I get a little protective (and then get all bent out of shape that I even HAVE to be). Because really, these are NOT in ANY WAY qualitative words and letter sets. They may well be descriptive, especially if you take the time to look at the objective definitions of the terms. But then again, they sometimes are a catch all…and are not all that precise after all.
I know, at this point you’re thinking, “Just what the heck are you talking about?” But then again, I suspect some of you might be nodding your heads, you know exactly what I’m talking about because you are living it too. You know some of these fun combos: ADD ADHD BP SPED LD DSLX ODD MR ID CD SZD ED IEP IQ MDD ESL ELL …buried yet? Blinded by the letters? Maybe you want to shout out loud sometimes too? Maybe you want to know that you’re not scrambling across all these letters, through these rocky hills, alone.
Well, that’s what I want to know.
Anyone out there?
Because if I just keep this all tight, close in, then I go into the indigo blues and I feel like a big faker of a mom in the know.  And yes, that does make it all about me, and that’s wrong on so many levels. But it’s right on the one level that I know: this forum. I think I can trust this blog and the folks I know who see it. This blog has connected me with amazing wonderful folks, moms, people.
And I think it can again. . People who can let me know that they know some of those letters, with their child. And they have been there, done that. I have been there, done that, with many many of those letter sets. But there are new ones too. And those are the ones that it would be nice to compare notes about, maybe.
We moms, we tend to unite, to get behind and give a tug or a shove or a nudge when needed. We brainstorm and compare ideas on what worked and what didn’t. And as I’ve gone through the many years of raising kids, that assistance has been invaluable (if a little late, ahem, Jean). So, as I am once again wandering a new road – left turn – I know better now. I know to reach out and shout to see if anyone else is here.
I’m all ears.
And I always read that you shouldn’t cross the mountains alone, take a buddy.
And these acronym mountains, how to cross through them as a parent, with school and life in general?
I think I need a sherpa.

>Getting sucked into American Idol

>Yeah, I’m procrastinating from getting a jump on my Monday morning…I know, I know. 

OK, I normally really don’t watch American Idol.  I admit, I have been known to veg out with television after some long days: House, Amazing Race, Biggest Loser.  I can get sucked in.  But American Idol, while a favorite with my girls, is something that I find almost painful to watch, at least in the beginning of the season when they are doing first cuts.  It’s hard for me to watch the really really bad performances; I feel SO bad for the contestant as they are performing and then as they stand there being shredded by the judges.  It’s almost a physical “ow” watching.  So I don’t.

But my Chris tipped me off about this girl.  Said I would be interested in her and she was good and I would want to see how she did.  He was right.  See for yourself.  I love this and will root for her; not only a family I can get behind, but her head and heart are in the right place and she has a great voice.  And she picked a great song.  I hope she goes far. 

>And Now We Are Six. Happy Bday Little Man!


Happy Happy Birthday my Little Man!
You are six years old today!

And, this year your birthday lands on Superbowl Sunday! How cool is that?
You get all the birthday fun and all the Superbowl fun and football and football food, all together.
Sounds almost like a birthday wish come true.

Oh my boy….
You’ve been waiting, impatiently, for your sixth birthday.
Jumping and hopping with excitement just thinking about it.
I think you know it’s going to be an especially good sort of year.

When you are six,
you get to do cartwheels in the hallways,
and talk after bedtime with  your brother
and have jumping contests off the stairs
until your mom hollers at you to stop.
You have car races in the foyer,
and wrestling matches in the study,
practice roaring like a dinosaur with your brother,
and pester your big sisters until you all get in trouble.

Outside is for snowballs
and sleds
and bikes
and worms
and cannonballs
and skateboards
and finding the perfect stick.

You love to run fast,
jump high,
shout loud,
laugh hard,
and flop down on the ground to catch  your breath,
before you jump up to chase your brother again.

You love to eat.
Most anything.
But especially, pizza and cheeseburgers,
pancakes and eggs,
french fries and grilled cheese,
pasta and chicken fingers,
and more cookies,
most anything, really…
as long as it doesn’t have peanut butter in it.
Because peanuts and peanut butter are just gross.

You don’t like chores, but you know how to do them when you set your mind to it.
You don’t like homework, but you love school.
You think Miss Thompson is the “greatest kindergarden teacher in the universe.”
I think she is too.
You like to try out new words like “spectacular” and “ridiculous.”
You wonder if I can make you an eye doctor appointment, so you can get yourself “some laser eyes.”
You don’t like thunder or bad dreams, but like being able to snuggle back to sleep.
You don’t like bedtime, but do like singing “Hail Holy Queen” with mom every night.
And you say, “We sound good.”
I think so too.

Oh my six year old son.
I love you so.
We all love you so much and can’t imagine this family without your big happy grin and loud bouncing running joking you.
You are happy and cuddly and smart and full of life and full of love.

Being six is kind of magic and especially wonderful.
There was a special writer named A.A. Milne.
He said it best, about being six:

Now We Are Six – 

When I was one, I had just begun, 
When I was two, I was nearly new, 
When I was three, I was hardly me, 
When I was four, I was not much more, 
When I was five, I was just alive, 
but now I am six, 
I’m as clever as clever, 
So I think I’ll be six now and forever. 

Author A.A. Milne

Happy Happy Birthday Little Man!
We are so glad you are six!

>Saturday Roundup

>So….I have all these little bits and pieces rolling around my brain. Making me all distracted..or, erm, more distracted than usual. So, in order to get something done and move forward, I’m kind of downloading them into a roundup post.
It’s Saturday, chore day, time for tidying up.
Today, I’m tidying my brain.
Fair warning.

Let’s see (in no particular order of importance):

Just talked w/ Chris. He’s safe and sound in Rome, he’s ensconced in his dorm and happy as a clam. Jet-lagged excited happy and hungry. Four course dinner tonight to welcome them after Mass. Ah, what a life!

The group in Haiti who was detained for taking the kids across the border…? Makes me nuts. I don’t pretend to know what they were doing, or if it was criminal or not. But, IMHO, it was simply, if nothing else, stupid and damaging. Possibly criminally stupid. It was not only, at best, good intentions run amok, but it appears that it was deceptive. And that is always wrong. Setting aside the trauma of these kids, families, parents in this event, if you can, (and I know, you can’t, but I told you my mind is all over the map lately)…it is the worst of the ugly American. At best, it was thoughtless and arrogant.

And that gets me riled. That somehow, taking these kids to live across the border in an orphanage, and possibly adopted out of their home country, is better than keeping them with their families and in their home country? Really? NO. Yes, the hardships before and even more so now after this quake were and are overwhelming. But those kids have parents, families and a village and a culture and HOME….and that trumps all. That is what is best for them, not a removal of that, swayed by nudging and promises made in desperate times. And further, this just continues to give international adoption a bad name. It adds to the misinformation and misunderstanding of orphaned and relinquished and abandoned kids…to the whole system and process and complex nature of adoption in general, and internationally in particular. And that, the broader scope of what these folks have unwittingly accomplished here, just kind of ticks me off. Ok, sorry, rant over.

Next, still working on school fine tuning, especially with Marta. And realizing that being an advocate for your kids is never done. I mean, I knew it…..but sometimes you kind of think, “Ok, whew, done for now. Hoorah.” Well, no. Especially with regard to special needs, and school stuff….its a marathon, an ultra-marathon…and I’m strapping on my shoes for the long haul. Because, well, it’s gonna be a long haul. But then again, I guess that’s being a mom. That’s the job description in one way or another.

Special needs stuff is a huge jungle to hack through. I mean, just when you figure out one tiny part of the map, or how to read that map and begin to make sense of it…well, then you have to start reading a whole new one. And it’s very hard to parse out. And the road ahead…well, it’s hard to see. I guess that’s where we are supposed to work on one day at a time. Living in the moment, and all that. I’m really bad at that, good thing I have so much opportunity to practice. Ha!

Been thinking about the blog a bit. I think I have been using a double standard and I think I might change it up. By which I mean, I use nicknames for most of the kids…..(and did for Tom and I before all the Marta Visa/TB stuff hit the fan) but never have with Gabey or Marta. Well, that’s not entirely fair, is it? So, do I add nicknames to Gabey and Marta? Hmm, that bell has already been rung. Or do I go for equity and just start using the rest of the kids given names? At least sometimes. Stewing on this. What do you think?

Last: Lent approaches. I have much pondering to do about that again. I want to think about fasting and get that all sorted out before Ash Wednesday….Stewing about what I will do for this lent, how to have a spiritually productive season.…surely there will be posts about it all. And it seems unrelated but its not (at least to my jumbly mind): I was wondering if anyone knew a reasonably priced way to reproduce original artwork…..paper mixed media into a print form and downsized considerably. I have a series on the Stations of the Cross that I was thinking about making into a manageable form, like printed together on one sheet or a few….but not sure how to do it without spending a fortune. Ideas?

OK, I’ve swept my brain clean for a moment or two. Now to do the same to my house. And find some more coffee to jump start those sleepy synapses again.

>Tom’s Home….and Chris is headed off to adventure.


Tom and Cindy, the invaluable nurse on the team, flying home; 
thanks to the generous Haitian pilot Jorge Paulhiac who let them  hitch a ride.

Tom, Coffeedoc, is home! It was a long haul home, but he made it safe and sound. Chris, Buddybug, is gone….off to Rome to study for the semester.

In less than 24 hours we’ve had incoming and outgoing bags and packs and airport runs in both directions.  A revolving door to this house this week.
The good part is that Tom is back and we are all so very glad!  And we were all glad to have had one last family dinner together last night, and for Tom to be able to see Chris a bit more before he left.
Was it hectic?
You betcha!
Was it worth it?
But of course!

So, to follow this new adventure in Buddybug’s life, go here.
He’s gonna post from Rome, often enough to keep us all happy.  Or so we can live vicariously, or virtually, and follow the fun, frustrations, faith, liturgy, beauty, silliness, art, food and adventures of a semester in Rome.
That’s the plan at any rate. 

As for Tom….I think he has some decompressing to do.  I think it was a great trip, seems like it was a good team to work with and much good work was done.  And I know for him it’s very satisfying and rewarding to be able to go and do all this. He loves doing it…on so many levels.

There were many folks to help unfortunately, due to the quake. But happily enough, many docs and teams working hard throughout the country.  Tom enjoyed working with other docs from all over, and was glad to be able to!  Docs and teams might pop in, lend a hand and move on.  Other areas would send patients over to Cayes Jacmel, knowing Tom and their team would fix them up.  It was a nonpolitical effort of focusing on what needed to be done by all; the Canadian military did an outstanding job securing the area, getting runway lights (by the time Tom left) and opening the road back up to Port au Prince.  So it was a good trip.

But, it’s never easy either.
I forgot…when he comes back from Haiti, there is always some re-entry decompressing and sorting out to do for him.  For anyone I expect.  It is exhausting as well as exhilarating, on all levels.

Evening at the Hands and Feet Children’s Village project.

That’s the nature of this sort of thing.  It happens whenever you (ok, I) travel outside of your sheltered, carefully crafted and whittled world – you/I have to recalibrate, take in all the sights sensations sounds smells, the spears that pierce your heart.  And then you/I have to sort of heal it up. For yourself/myself.  That is not to say that you make it all disappear.  It can’t.

But… this trip is his story to tell.  I’m just observing from the sidelines.  But I see it, that jaggety little edge. And I want him to feel welcomed home, and have time to settle back in and refresh, recoup, re-enter life here too.  

It’s the juxtaposition: the beauty and the hard.

 On all levels.

Just like when we’ve gone to Ethiopia and elsewhere….you get a little bit torn, a bit of you is sheared off.  And you have to learn to live around that scar once you are back home.

It takes a bit of time.
And even with all this, it’s so worth it.
I am proud of him, and also so glad he’s back.
And for Tom?  Well, he’s a little tired, but happy too, quiet.
He said it’s wonderful to be  home.

We think so too.



Rumour has it that this guy, the cute one with the beard above, is heading home!  The team has caught up on all the orthopedic work in and around (folks were coming from hours around, very cool, and they were very glad to help) Jacmel and another orthopod is arriving today as well.  So, it seems it’s time to come home.  We are glad. 

He has to wait at the Jacmel, Haiti airport for a plane and then talk them into a ride, wherever they might be going.  With luck, that will be Florida.  With a little less luck it might be the Dominican Republic.  With crazy luck it might be Nassau and then we will have to coax him back off the beach!  Anyhow, that’s the rumour.  In fact, he is at the Jacmel airport with the team now.  So, not telling the kiddles yet, so as not to get hopes up.  But mine are!

And, just in the nick of time, if it happens.  As that other cute boy in the ND sweatshirt, above, my Buddybug….he’s heading out for Rome to study for a semester early Friday morning.  And I just know his dad would love one more hug before he goes.