Brotherly Love

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At 7.5 weeks, I feel like we’ve begun settling into a sweet little family routine. And the love between these two (well, it’s one sided from Potamus to Lil G at this point, right?) is so sweet.

Yesterday I took Lil G down to Olympia to hang out with my bestie. When I came back it was late afternoon, and so we spent some time outside looking at the trees blowing in the wind and feeling the sunshine on our faces. Of course Potamus wanted to snuggle his baby brother and I captured this sweet shot. Be still my heart.

These moments are why people say they’re glad they have two or more kids.

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6 Weeks: Twitterpated in the Sunshine

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My parents came for a visit. Three nights. They’ve never been allowed to stay three nights in a row before (I have a two night policy for guests, and a two night policy for my own visiting. It’s best to leave feeling like “I wish I should have stayed longer,” rather than “I wish to never see these people again.”), but they recently bought a motorhome and the extra private space provided a nice respite from them staying in our house. Potamus loved going out to the motorhome to play games with them at night, and when my dad needed to take his real estate calls, he didn’t have to do it in my living room with a 4 year old saying “grampy, grampy,” an infant crying, and my mom sighing. It was a lovely visit.

And the sun was out.

Seattle has been unseasonably warm and glorious in the past two weeks, and I was able to get a few lovely shots of Lil G in our backyard. I’m surprised everyday at how much I love this child. It is such a sweet feeling to have again. And a sweet feeling to know that this is the moment, one to never be repeated again. There’s something about it, like the flowers in the background, opening to beautiful blossoms and then dropping off to the ground after their moment of glory. ❤

Precious Moments

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This picture is how I want to remember Lil G’s infancy. I look at this picture and already want to cry from nostalgia, and I’m still in the thick of sore nipples and sleepless nights and too many crying spells (me). This moment, though. This is precious.

Nanny Trial

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I told her that my goal for Fridays, spending them with my son while I’m gone at private practice, was for him to feel loved and cared for and that the structure of the day can be free flowing, as he is in ‘school’ the rest of the week, which is a very structured setting.

And I came home to find her handwritten note, and the dishes put in the dishwasher, and a little Christmas ornament made.

All of my initial fears of her being flaky have yet to come true. She was 5 minutes early, very communicative, and had a cheerful disposition at the end. I am hopeful that she will be the nanny we can keep for awhile while I get to explore whether private practice is a good fit for me or not.

The Passing on of Sacred Experiences

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the elders initiate the youngest on the sacred path of Mt. Rainier

Of all the fire mountains which like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest.”- John Muir

It has come time, to pass on the sacred experiences to my son. This place has been in my family for generations. My great grandma came here to ‘camp’ in the Ohanapecosh Hot Springs. There were cabins then, and now, a pristine meadow surrounding the burbling sulfur water next to the nature trail. My dad talks about trips as a kid, dipping a tin cup into the glacial river for a cool drink on a hot day. I tell stories of the giant stump we used as a tree fort every year, whether it was our campsite or not. I talk about the time in college I camped alone for 3 days, encountering a bear on my hike, and the 10 mile impromptu hike I did with a college chum on another occasion.

I am so tied to this mountain that soon I will get it’s beauty permanently marked on my body. When I die I want my ashes scattered here.

The sacred experience lives inside me. And so, this weekend, we had a meetup with my parents to pass along the wisdom to Potamus. The mountain was socked in. It’s so massive that it creates its own weather patterns. I knew it was there, majestic, behind the mystical fog. I only feel sad for the couple from Boston who was hiking for the day, that they wouldn’t get to see the glory. They seemed content with the view of the Tattoosh range, but they don’t know the glory up close. Like mistaking a statue for God.

We hiked to Myrtle falls with a bunch of other tourists. Potamus ran the .5 miles up the paved trail. We made friends with other ‘hikers.’ We saw a hoary marmot and the last remains of the wildflower season. Is winter coming early to the mountain this year after a glorious summer? When we were thoroughly tired, we explored the ‘new’ Jackson Visitor center. I marveled that I hadn’t been here since it opened in 2008. How could I go 6 years without visiting my spiritual center? Only getting small drinks in from a distance on clear days as I commute across the I-90 bridge.

When I was a child, almost through the end of high school, I wanted to be a park ranger in the Mt. Rainier National park. When I met my biological aunt, many years later, I learned she had. Perhaps this mountain is in my blood as well as in my experience. And now, maybe, it will live in my son’s blood and experience, as well.

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batman doesn’t need no trails

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stopping to educate himself on the various wildflowers present in this alpine meadow

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Myrtle Falls

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family portrait

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 “The mountain receives our expression and becomes part of us; we imprint our memories on it, and trust it with our dearest divisions of our lives. Mt. Rainier does not exist under our feet. Mt. Rainier lives in our minds.” Bruce Barcott

My Empty Classroom

I’m sitting in my empty classroom on the last day of lecture. It’s lunchtime, and I am alone with my thoughts. Alone with the memories of the quarter. An hour ago the class was full of students, who, for the first time since I’ve taught this curriculum, made one big group to do the final reflection exercise. They pulled the chairs out and formed a big group, reflecting on the quarter, writing advice to the newbies to come in the Fall.

The community these students create is amazing.

And yet…

School is a scary place. I am so tired of current events where every other week I am bringing another school shooting up. This time last week it was at Seattle Pacific University, a place I interned as a counselor a few years ago. I sit in my empty classroom thankful that I can, unlike most of the classes here, lock the door and think…what would I do if it happened here?

I work with students on the edge of society. The misfits, dropouts, recovering heroin junkies, the students that many professors see as ‘throwaways.’ I love them all dearly. On our last day of class I tell them this. I tell them that I have never lost a student to suicide and that I care deeply about them and would be sad if they were not around to complete the program. I look them in the eye and tell them they are valuable and worthy and not throwaways.

I hope that I’m not just blowing smoke at them. That my words back up the actions I take throughout the quarter. I hope they can feel the love. I hope that they all succeed in their lifetime goals.

I hope than they embrace love and not violence.

 

Coming Out in Light of the World Vision Kerfuffle

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With my students I talk a lot about how we, I think as a culture, tend to define our things but what we are not, or what we don’t like. We might say things like, “I’m a Democrat,” but it feels more strongly like “I’m not a Republican, and therefore I have chosen the other box, default Democrat.”

But today, in light of the shitty week I had with the roller coaster of World Vision emotions (that you can read about how it started here and ended up here and some cool thoughts about it here), I thought I’d break a rule and tell you all:

I’m not straight.

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I fully recognize that I live in a world with a hetero normative story line. I am presumed straight by those who meet me, and ‘lie by omission’ when I don’t ‘set the record straight.” Because I am married to a man, I am assumed to be straight. Just like because I don’t have a wheelchair, or guide dog, I am assumed to be able-bodied (rather than looking at the invisible disability of chronic mental illness). This idea of ‘passing,’ is something I am familiar with on a daily basis, and get the privilege of choosing if, and when, and to whom I come out, if I do at all.

So last week I had drinks with a friend, and as we were discussing the World Vision drama, and all my frustration behind the big flip-flop, I said…

“I was telling Boof this, that people don’t realize. I have his protection in church. I am accepted and loved and welcomed with open arms because of him. They see me the way they want to see me, as a straight, married woman with a child. I am the walking white woman stereotype, in their minds. But without my husband, if I was on my own, and openly dating, or was married to a woman they would think very very differently of me. So this decision of theirs, it could affect me. I could not be hired because of who I am. “

And his response:

“Are you a lesbian?”

It wasn’t a question with judgment attached. He had been tracking my conversation and, since he’s in a relationship with a woman who identified as lesbian, seemed to be trying to understand. And that’s when I got quiet. Because no, I know I’m not a lesbian. I know that like I know I’m not black. But the question brought back memories, of being in high school, or after college with no boyfriend or ‘marriage prospects,’ and my sister saying to me ‘mom and dad think you’re a lesbian.” It brought back memories of being called ‘Sir’ when I had short hair and was shopping in the mall, or gasp, even wearing a bikini. I said, “no, I’m not a lesbian, but I’m not straight.”

My parents are deeply religious fundamentalists, and were probably part of the group of evangelicals that would take their money away from starving African children to prove a point. They will probably never know me beyond what they see on the surface. But I balk at the labels, because straight doesn’t fit, and lesbian doesn’t fit, and bisexual doesn’t fit either. A student once asked me if I was pansexual and I said I don’t know, because I’ve never been attracted to someone who’s trans. It’s not that I don’t like labels because they feel too labelly, it’s that I haven’t yet figured out what label actually fits. It’s like shopping for jeans, do any of them REALLY make my butt look good? I mean, for realz yo…

But what I do know, is that I’m not straight.

That’s the closest I can get to a label. NotStraight. Unless I tell you about energy. And how I am attracted to energies that complement my own, and that often means women. And sometimes men. And sometimes I’m not attracted to anyone at all (except of course my husband, right?). I’m married, to a man. If I weren’t married to him, I might be married to a woman. Or I might not be married at all. I might date a man, or a woman, or nobody. I don’t know. I don’t plan who I’m attracted to, or who ends up clicking with, and it goes beyond genitals, though those are fun aren’t they?

People who know me intimately will not be surprised by this news. It might give some an ‘aha’ to explain the previously unexplained. Some already know, like my graduate school peeps and some coworkers who I share openly with because it’s come up in conversation. This isn’t some big coming out manifesto, as I don’t even know what I would be coming out to or for, other than the fact that the World Vision kerfuffle affected me deeply. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of feeling like without Boof I would be less of a person in Christian circles.

Monday Morning