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I Wish I Could Eat a Rainbow

I wish I could eat a rainbowI wish I could eat a rainbow, Mommy.I would grab it in my fingers and slurp it like spaghetti, rainbow juices dripping down my chin.

What would it taste like?, I asked her with a smile.

It would taste like clouds and sunshine and mist and M&M's, lemonade and cherry with strawberries and whipped cream. It would taste like flowers and the green of spring-- maybe for you the purple would taste like wine, but not for me-- for me it would taste like grape popsicle. It would be very filling.  My belly would be full from eating that rainbow.

I wish I could eat a rainbow too, I said.

You can, Mommy! There's one for you, grab it quick before it flies away!

And so I closed my eyes and reached up, pulled the rainbow to my lips, and tasted a miracle.

©Heidi Howes 2012

What would your rainbow taste like?  Let me know in the comments below...

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On How I Never Wanted to Be a Mother and Why it's the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

MotheringWhen I was young, I never wanted to be a mother.  As a little girl I was a tomboy, worshipping my older brother and following my dad around. I don't think I ever even owned a Barbie doll or a babydoll.  I wanted to climb trees, play baseball, wrestle, and I never wore dresses.  Dresses mortified me.

Looking back I see the complex reasons why I wanted to associate with the male persona more, reasons like freedom and    going shirtless in the summertime (though that was forbidden after I was five).  Even as a child, especially as a child, I sensed the limitations and the lack of respect towards mothers held in our society.

Most of all I didn' t want to have my own children.  No, I wanted to travel the world and follow my own dreams and the message to me in my childhood was loud and clear that children are a burden and they keep you from your dreams.  Children limit you and hold you back and make you incredibly exhausted and disappointed.  No room for dreaming once they come along.

And so I lived for myself, for my own devices, going from thing to thing until one day I was 26 and suddenly I felt THE CLOCK.  Nothing so overwhelming as the urge to have a BABY.  It was a strange occurrence I never could've seen coming, until it was there smacking me in the face.  I had found my mate and it was time.

There is so little to prepare us for the complete life-alteration that is parenting.  The journey is mind-blowing to say the least, and sometimes I think so chaotic and insane that only in retrospect can we see how amazing it is.  My children are 8 and 5 respectively now and just as everyone tells you from the minute they are born (and man is it annoying how often people say this) it goes by so quickly, so painfully and heart-wrenchingly quickly.

Because I never rehearsed as a little girl nor dreamed of the children I would one day have, perhaps I bloomed late into my embrace of mothering.  But embrace it I do.

My children are my opus, my everything.  They are my reason for waking and my reason for collapsing.  I want to hold on to every second of their lives and remember, remember, remember.  This moment, gone.  That moment, so sweet.  A series of moments tied together by this rushing river of unbounded love.

How could I know?  Was I so naive to think there was any other miracle meant for me?

So if mothering these two children is the biggest thing--the only thing--I ever do, no matter how imperfectly or awkwardly, if this is my great body of work in this world--I am 100% at peace with that.  If I never write that book or screenplay or finish the album I feel compelled to record, I will be just fine.  If I never see Africa or South America, I will be fine.

Why is it the best thing that ever happened to me?

Little hands.  Sneaking into my bed to sleep next to me.  Laughter.  Screams.  Swinging in sunshine.  Playing for hours.  Pretending.  Seeing for the first time.  I love you, Mommy.  Little feet.  Bathtime.  Learning to read.  Prayers for strangers.    Why Mommy?  When Mommy?  Where Mommy?  Candy. Treasure Hunts.  Legos.  Spontaneous dancing.  Jumping on the bed.  Skipping.  Hopscotch.  Bedtime stories.  Lullabyes.  Backrubs.  Hugs.  Kisses.  Snacks before bed.  Climbing trees.  Sleepovers.  Playdates.  Skipping rocks.  Throwing ball.  Picking up from school.  Walking to the bus.  Waving goodbye.  Running to greet me.  Kisses.  Hugs.  Good morning.  I love you, baby.

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Is There Hope in Divorce?

hopeful divorce: field notes from a friend As with my journey through Postpartum Depression, my journey through divorce has been hard to talk about, and even harder to contextualize for my friends whose marriages go on while mine ended.  Bring into the equation the juggling of self-care, work, household duties, and 2 children now being managed on my own, there is little if any time to talk about it even if I wanted to.

I remember distinctly the day after the decision had been made.  I walked out into my small town community of about 2000 folks,most of whom knew about my divorce the second I did (as things go in small towns, word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing strategy).  There was a party at the local theater and a couple hundred of our mutual friends and acquaintances were there.  This was the first time I realized that marriage was something that held all of us couples together in a tenuous circle, that the dissolving state of my marriage was somehow,if only very subconsciously, threatening to those who were still maintaining theirs.  I tried to smile and engage and assure my friends that this was the best thing for all of us, because in these awkward social moments we must keep it together.  I spotted a woman who had been a single mother all these years among us very cliqueish couples, and I felt the weight of single motherhood drop like an anchor to the pit of my stomach.  I no longer belonged to the neat and pretty togetherness of marriage and family.  I was alone, de-husbanded, de-familied.  Suddenly the reality of it smacked me in the face and I felt utterly alone.

But at this point I was sure there was no going back,  and so I pushed forward reminding myself that fitting in was not going to bring me peace or happiness or anything.  I held my head high in public, though the inevitable sides were drawn and yes, there were those who shunned me.  I was demonized, gossiped about, judged and questioned.  I felt like I wore a scarlet letter everywhere I went.  Especially when messy decisions were made and life went on.

Even in the face of all the hardship that came with choosing the divorce, I continued to remind myself that better things were surely to come for all of us, and that divorce could be a way to truly finding those things we most needed but weren't able to find within the marriage we had created.  I made my own hope, in my heart, even when faced with excruciating decisions and questions involving the children I love so dearly.

It has been a little over a year since the beginning of my divorce process, and I can say a lot of it was very lonely.  But I have made it and I continue to make it.  I wish I had heard of a Hopeful Divorce then, but it is a brand new course from Hopeful World Publishing, and even though I am already past my first year, every field note I receive in my inbox helps me move forward, stop looking back, and breathe more easily knowing there are friends out there who understand.

So yes, there is hope in divorce.  Lots of hope.  And we are gonna make it okay after all.

hopeful divorce: field notes from a friend

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As if Noone is Watching

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/18446531 w=400&h=225]

Girl Walk // All Day from jacob krupnick on Vimeo.

Have you ever lived a period of your life in which you remained trapped in a certain mindframe or paradigm that didn't serve you?  You were doing everything you were supposed to do yet still you were unhappy?  Do you know how long  it took you to break free?

We can become prisoners of our own reality, prisoners of our own misconceptions about what life is and should be.  We make assumptions and take conventions as truth rather than following our heart's call to what we truly want.  The heart sings a song and we don't listen because our mind will not budge from its rulebook.  Our mind says things like I have to work full time, I have to make x amount of $, I have to give my children these things, I have to have this large house, I have to have a car, I have to relinquish my joyous hobby for the day to day grind that sucks my soul...I have to stay here because of family, I have to stay in this marriage for the kids, I don't have time to eat healthy, workout, declutter, play music, write poetry, laugh, cry, write letters to my best friend...

I remember my mother taking a long time to recover from leaving my father.  She knew it was the best thing to do and it had been a long time coming, but she struggled for years to come to a new place of peace about her decisions.  Then years later, in my own marriage, she told me I didn't have to be in a situation where I struggled and fought and felt unhappy.  I remember being angry with her because I felt that stepping away from something I should stick with was a ridiculous notion.  Even though it was eating me up.  She could clearly see my unhappiness, which I was unaware of because I had forgotten what my happiness looked like.  Now I see that she was right.  When the pain became too great, I finally made the change I needed to make.  And it was as simple as making a decision.  Unbelievably simple.

When you forget how it feels to be happy or free, you also are unable to envision such a life for yourself.  Without vision, we cannot alter our reality to become what we wish for.

I know many people who are trapped in this kind of mindset.  Again, it is the shoulds which enslave us, or as they say in "The Neverending Story", it is The Nothing.  It is the numb and stark position of forgetting who we truly are and what our heart truly yearns for.

I suggest we take it by the hand, that Nothing, and let it be our most beloved teacher.  I suggest we stare our unhappiness in the face and smile.  Find your bliss and the Nothing will disappear.  We have forgotten how to feel joy.  When we find it, a revolution ensues.

The longer we stay in our self-made prisons, the harder it is to get free.  But the freedom is all the sweeter, and it can happen whenever you decide to step outside the unlocked gate.

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Sibling Love: From Dawn to Dusk

sibling loveOur brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk.  ~Susan Scarf Merrell

Ask me who I am and inevitably the conversation quickly turns to my three siblings.  The people they have become, and the person I am becoming, are thoroughly intertwined, and I couldn't be happier about it.

I realize that not everyone beams about their siblings the way I do.  I see myself in my mind's eye stacked in order of our birth.  I am the 2nd child, the oldest girl.  As we have aged, however, we have become equals, and the best of friends.

This year our Thanksgiving brought us all together in one city, in one home, around one table, and my sister and I were blessed to cook for and host the feast.  This was a special occasion, as in years past we have been scattered about the country or the world, and in this day and age it is amazing we are all centrally located.  Moving "home" with my children earlier this year was in large part due to my desire to be close to these amazing people I am honored to be related to.

What I know is I never feel so whole as when I am surrounded by my siblings.  When we are together the energy of our togetherness alone propels us.  When we laugh, it is with years of common history, the chorus of laughter echoing behind us.  No one else can understand the intimate threads of my past as they can, and only rarely is that a bad thing.  Perhaps it is because the common tribulations we have endured brought us closer rather than tore us apart, as it may have other families.  Perhaps it is that we can make each other laugh so hard that we cry.  And we've had exciting adventures to round it all out.

Certain memories of each of them stand out in my mind as solid metaphors for who they are, and how I love them.  I have written poems for each of them, and songs, and they are my lifetime muses.

When we were young, my older brother was my complete idol.  I worshiped him as much as he dismissed me.  Anything he did, I wanted to do.   I remember laying on the floor outside his bedroom, listening to him play the violin, year after year.  He and the sound of the violin are one in my memmory.  The beautiful music of my big brother.

My younger sister is like my heart outside of my body, walking in the world.  We possess an understanding of each other that no outside relationship could ever rival.  Attending the same college, we were roommates, and now in our 30's we are roommates once again.  Whether cooking the Thanksgiving meal, watching reruns of Sex in the City, or visiting our father, together we flow smoothly.  Still today my image of my sister as a child remains how she found her own happiness in every moment, no matter what was going on around her, her world was filled with beauty, and she still lives this way today making people's special life moments perfect.

My youngest sibling, my little brother, is a hulking gentle giant whose hyperactive affection and infectious enthusiasm will make him live on forever as his 7-yr old self in my mind.  He was everywhere as a child, neverending energy, and his sweetness and literal love for sugar are the cornerstones of my memories of him.  He now spreads that sweetness and enthusiasm all over the world through his work.

A sibling may be the keeper of one's identity, the only person with the keys to one's unfettered, more fundamental self.  ~Marian Sandmaier

I feel blessed to have my brothers and sister as a part of my life, and the closeness we share is such a gift I will never take for granted,  for all this I am so grateful.

Do you have a sibling story to share?

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