My Earliest Memory #MFRWAuthor

Welcome to the second week of the 52 Week Challenge – My Earliest Memory.

My earliest memories are like a series of old movie clips that occasionally play in my mind but without sound or a connection to other moments, they are a little disjointed and hard to say how much is a true memory and how much is my imagination filling in the gaps.

At the time, my parents lived in a trailer park in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. Being 3 or 4 years old, everything felt big to me even though logically now I know space was likely cramped. I remember my bedroom and my bunkbed. I slept on the top bunk and from there, I felt like the ground was miles away.

My dad worked second turn as a truck mechanic so my days I spent with my mom and our little terrier named Flea. But occasionally, my dad would take to the woods behind our trailer where we would sit on a huge hill drinking chocolate pop and watching the trains pass by in the valley below. I was fascinated with trains and of course, I loved special time with my dad. I remember one afternoon, however, I must have sat in an anthill and there were dozens crawling all over the place. I didn’t want to sit down.

Then, another flash of memory. Nighttime. I was standing at the screen door in awe because on the street outside our trailer a car had caught fire. I remember my parents being panicked, rushing. I remember being taken down the road to my aunt and uncle’s trailer for the time being. But to this day, I always wonder how that car caught fire and whether or not the driver was okay. In my memory, I see him in the car but I don’t know if this was the case.

I remember kids who lived in our trailer park. Next door, I think? They seemed so much older than me even though probably the oldest was around 10. I remember one time they kept telling me to calm down and stop crying because they knew if my parents saw me they would get in trouble but I don’t remember why I was crying. I just kept wondering if the older one was a girl or a boy.

I remember my parents bringing home my baby brother, wrapped up in so many layers. And then, not long after, they bought a house and I remember running around the empty living room the day it became ours. I remember being in the car as we pulled up to the trailer for the last time and thinking that it wouldn’t be my home anymore. I felt a little sad but I was eating a McDonalds Happy Meal with a milkshake so – not too sad. 🙂

Thanks for reading my post on the 52 Week Challenge Blog Hop. Click the link to read memories from other authors participating in this challenge.

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Happy October from the Mom of a Kid Who Hates Pants

autumn colorful leaves backgroundThe sun sets earlier now, the days are slowly cooling down. All around us the trees gradually change from green to varying shades of reds, oranges and yellows.

I love this time of year for so many reasons. I embrace the cooler temps and the cozy sweaters. I happily trade in my flip flops for a pair of cute boots. I look forward to making a cup of hot tea before I sit down at the desk in the morning to write and actually drinking it without breaking into a sweat.

I love everything about fall.

Or at least I did until I had kids.

Spring and Fall are seasons of transition, at least in this part of the globe. While I may be thrilled to change over my entire wardrobe, there are others in my home who are considerably less enthusiastic about changing theirs.

As a mom to a kid with autism, even high functioning, I anticipate some of the challenges I will face from day-to-day while other challenges still seem to hit me completely off guard even when I know they are coming.

Even when I start giving warnings in mid- September with concrete boundaries. As in, “On October 1st, I am putting away the shorts and we will have to wear long pants.”

Period. The end.

It’s still a struggle. Who knew that long pants could cause so much revolt and strife? To me, they are simply shorts, only longer. Yeah, okay, it feels a little weird on my legs after so many months of being bare, but I adapt to the funny feeling quickly enough. To me, it’s more important not to freeze.

But maybe I’m just an odd ball?

For my son, who doesn’t adapt quite so easily to different sensory inputs, the day I declared it “no more shorts day” I might as well have been heralding the apocalypse. The world will never be the same. How will we go on?

Yes, even with the warnings that this day would come, my morning was met with screams and resistance.

Why do I love this time of year so much?

When my brisk walks through the park kicking dry leaves under my feet are overshadowed by the constant fight to get dressed in the morning?

Because you know, long pants are only the beginning.

There will be coats. (shudder)

Sigh. No matter what, being a mom is never easy and there are always going to be battles whether they are battles of will or battles of routine and sensory perceptions.

Put on the pants and maybe, just maybe, I’ll treat you to a cup of hot chocolate to make up for it? 😉

Just breathe… And let there be pumpkins and Halloween decorations! It’s October!

 

End of Winter Survival Plan

winter 009This is my plan. What’s yours?

I love living in an area where we get to enjoy the change of seasons. Each season offers something unique that I look forward to experiencing, some more than others. And when we’re stuck in a rut, sometimes that change is exactly what we need to breathe new life into our daily routine.

But by this time of year, I reach a point when winter has lost its charm and I am itching for that change. Bring on spring, those warmer temperatures (hey, I’ll settle for above freezing), hints of green, and daffodil sprouts. It’s so close we can almost reach out and feel … yet, still oh, so far away. Winter doesn’t want to give up her grip.

winter 006

This is my backyard. The sun shining on the snow is pretty, I admit. But the negative temperatures that delay school for the umpteenth time this year… that has got to go.

I don’t want to rush the days by too quickly but enough is enough. Raise your glass in a toast to the end of winter! Cheers. 🙂

 

In Return

морозное утро на озереOne of my favorite poems comes from the author Wendell Berry. I first discovered it in Narada’s CD collection called “Earth Songs”. In the CD’s insert, each of the songs is inspired by a poem which the creators share along with what it was about that poem that inspired them to write the music. Both the music and the poem make me think about endings and new beginnings, constant cycles within our lives and our world.

The topic of reincarnation came up at dinner last night. My youngest told me that when he grows up, he will be a carpenter so that he can build his own house. Once his house is built, however, he is going to find a different job. He decided this would save him money. I told him, well, in order to become a carpenter, you need to train and learn the skills that the job requires. It takes time and money to do that. According to him, he already learned those skills “years ago”. I laughed and said, “When you were 2?” (He’s only 5 now.) Very seriously, he told me it was before I was born.

Silliness from a five year old, perhaps, but conversations like this always remind me of a book I read a long, long time ago about reincarnation. The author recounted an experience in which her daughter relived memories of a past life. She knew the sort of things that a typical 4 year old shouldn’t know. Kids have great imaginations though and I don’t remember what it was about the author’s description that gave me chills but it stuck with me. It made me wonder “what if”.

Who is to say that there aren’t memories of lives lived before that are tucked away in our unconscious? Who is to say that every once in a while we don’t have some glimmer of feeling to remind us of those lives that came before? That we don’t recognize another soul in a person we’ve supposedly just met but seem to already have known for so long? Places we’ve never been that feel so familiar?

I’ve always believed that we’re all intertwined in ways that we have yet to possibly understand. We’re alone but not alone.

I asked my kids what they thought about this idea – that maybe once we die, our bodies return to the earth but our souls are reborn to live again. For the most part, I think the concept went over their heads. They were concerned mostly with (1) that they have only ever been boys because being a girl would be gross and (2) being my dad in a past life would have been fun.

Ha ha Payback. 😉

Who knows what really happens after death. It’s a mystery to all of us and will remain that way until we do die. But when we look around at nature and see the cycles of life that are constantly in motion, it’s hard to believe that death is truly “the end”.

Something to think about.

Song (4)

Within the circles of our lives
we dance the circles of the years,
the circles of the seasons
within the circles of the years,
the cycles of the moon
within the circles of the seasons,
the circles of our reasons
within the cycles of the moon.

Again, again we come and go,
changed, changing. Hands
join, unjoin in love and fear,
grief and joy. The circles turn,
each giving into each, into all.
Only music keeps us here,

each by all the others held.
In the hold of hands and eyes
we turn in pairs, that joining
joining to each all again.

And then we turn aside, alone,
out of the sunlight gone
into the darker circles of return.

~by Wendell Berry

A Foggy Morning October Run

October 008Dressed in my orange ‘Happy Halloween’ t-shirt and a pair of black running shorts, I laced up my sneakers and headed to the park for my morning run. October settled over the area in the form of dense fog which certainly added to the pre-Halloween atmosphere.

Although I love summer and the carefree days hanging out with my boys, I have to admit October has always topped my list of favorite months. There is just something so invigorating about the cooler days and the colorful leaves. I love apples and pumpkins and looking at Halloween decoration. I love wrapping myself in a blanket on the couch and getting caught up in a great ghost story. But most of all, this is a great time of year to be an outdoor runner and I’m making the most of it by getting out to enjoy it while it lasts!

Cooler air overnight brought powerful thunderstorms. I’m not usually one to wake up to the crash of thunder but this time, it was hard to miss. Those sunny warm days we were enjoying are suddenly replaced by a fall morning chill. This is the first morning I have felt compelled to grab a light sweatshirt before heading to the park.

The fog is lingering and the ground is wet from last night’s rain, making the leaves that have already fallen a little slick along the trail. It is also quiet. I suppose many people looked out their window this morning and decided today is not a good day to go outside.

Me, I’m still running. As a matter of fact, I am pushing myself a little harder in preparation for my second 5K race coming up on the 11th of October. I was so exhilarated after the first 5K (The Graffiti Run in early August) that I rushed to find another one I could participate in before the cold weather sets in. Now, I’m starting to think maybe I was a little crazy.October 016 Am I ready to do that again? I don’t feel ready. Then again, I said the same thing the first time. All I can do is keep running and on race day, hope to be a little less anxious, and definitely ready to run.

I’ve started getting off the main trail to explore paths through the woods, not just to run farther, but because I like to explore. My current favorite path is barely wide enough to walk but it’s a peaceful meander amongst trees with lots of twists and ups and downs. And okay, the occasional spider web that I’m forced to walk through – but I’m less impressed with those.

During my time in the woods, my mind is free to start thinking about my day ahead, especially what I will write. I like to imagine my characters walking with me. What would they do?

Where will they lead me?

It’s a new month and a new day to explore. I’m ready to sit back with a cup of tea, stretch out tired muscles, and put words to paper to weave new worlds…

October 020