Sunday, June 19, 2011


It took 40 hours but Harry finally arrived in Buenos Aires last night just past midnight. He was greeted by his lovely and warm hosts, who apparently said, "Welcome home, Harry!" He sounded exhausted but quite happy when we talked to him last night at almost 2 am Argentina time.

Throughout his ordeal at Dulles International Airport he kept such a cool head, it was astounding. His plane took off 15 hours late and through it all he was riding the wave, just dealing with it like a pro.

Oh, and texting his mama.

I had a deja vu moment yesterday morning. He texted me at 6:45 am west coast time to tell me he was finally boarding the plane. We texted back and forth for a couple minutes and then he found out that they'd changed their minds, there was some mechanical difficulty and everyone needed to sit down. Though it was probably the hardest moment for Harry (he had stayed up all night long and was totally and completely exhausted), he sat down and waited. We texted back and forth on and off until he actually did board (at 11:45 am), buckled himself in and shut his phone off.

At that moment I realized it was just like a morning about a month (to the day) ago when Ben and I had texted back and forth for a few hours until the moment he was wheeled into surgery at Shriners Hospital. It felt so familiar, the light-hearted chit chat, the reassuring comments I would make, the palpable nervousness on their ends, but the good humor throughout it all, the fact that they both came to me, their mama, in this time of anxiety and anticipation because that was safe haven.

I love that. I love this technology. I say "bah" to all the folks out there who judge the texting generation as not being connected enough. I don't believe it. Those "textversations" are real and deep and would have felt awkward and irritating if we'd had them on the phone. Somehow the silences between comments don't add up the same way in a textversation as they do on the phone. I suspect if we only had the phone we wouldn't have talked for an hour and a half.

And you can't do the cute little emoticons if you're talking to someone, either. ;)

I also love my relationship with my boys. I love that they open up to me, want to be with me during those times, text me. Me! I love that we are so connected and I am their safe harbor. It's a wonderful role to have and it's really all about the relationship.

I urge you to read Harry's blog: Don't Laugh at Me, Argentina. He's quite amusing and has a strong voice. He's already devoted to filling us all in on the details of his life across the equator.

Today, on Father's Day, I am thinking of my father, of course, and feeling bittersweet about Harry's trip. It's a trip my father would have been so thrilled to observe. He would have read each of Harry's blog posts with a huge smile and a large and loud chuckle at the end. He loved good stories, especially about foreign ports, dashing young men (dancing tango?) with sexy young women. Harry's story would have fed him immeasurably. Today I am feeling the space my dad left behind this past year...and am still baffled by the fact that he won't be coming back. I really keep having this sense that he's just on a long vacation...out to sea in a way. But, I remind myself, he's gone...the final voyage, I suppose.

I won't be writing much in the next few weeks [we head off to a LARP campout tomorrow (until Thursday) and then send Toby off to Camp Tawonga on Sunday, Ben to Nana's house and Mark and I head to Rancho Pescadero for our 20th anniversary celebration week], so check on Harry at the link above and I'll catch you back up when I can.

Friday, June 17, 2011

red-eye night

Did I say momentous? Did I imply today would be a new beginning, his first solo flight?

No one knew what the universe had in store for Harry today, now did they?

I am exhausted, so I will make this short and to the point: Harry is stuck at Dulles Airport in DC, the entire United Airlines computer system having crashed around 7 pm tonight. For hours we texted and called back and forth trying to support him in dealing with this very unexpected situation. Finally, about 30 minutes ago he found out that his flight will be taking off tomorrow morning at 10 am, only 12 hours late.

Quite the adventure for my hatchling, no?

Waiting for his plane in SF...this one was on time and we were blissfully
unaware of the chaos soon to hit airports worldwide!
What is so amazing to me is that Harry has always been a person for whom changes in plans are very distressing. It's not that he's inflexible, just that he likes to know what's coming down the pike. Last minute changes throw him way off balance and cause spikes of fear and anxiety. He doesn't just get upset or grumpy, he goes sky high in his response. With Harry it's always ExTrEmEs. Never gray areas. He's either c a l m or he's on HIGH alert.

I knew that this trip would push the envelope on that because I would not be there to help him navigate. (I am often a buffer.) He'd have to ask for help, make his own plans, be responsible about schedules and waking up on time, and the like. He'd have to roll with the punches (as my master teacher, Polly McCall used to tell me). All of these things are challenging to him, but they're all a part of living in the world, so I looked forward to him having to figure them out.

But not quite like this. I never envisioned the universe saying, "You don't like last minute changes? You don't like not knowing what's coming next? Oh, do we have a situation for you!"

And yet. Harry is hanging out at Dulles, on his laptop, watching movies on Netflix, texting his friends, keeping us up to date on Facebook. He's got a blue blankie from United and an outlet to plug into. Rather than a red-eye flight to Buenos Aires, he's got a red-eye night in Washington DC. Tomorrow at 10 am, so they say, his flight will take off.

I pray it is uneventful.

Until then, I'm keeping him close to my heart.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


photo courtesy of

Tomorrow will be a momentous day.
Tomorrow will be a life passage, a milestone.
Tomorrow your world will begin to grow in size, exponentially, immeasurably.

Tomorrow you'll wake up on one continent and journey to another.
Tomorrow you will really be on your own.

Tomorrow I'll wake you early: you'll be grumpy from a bad night's sleep.
Your expectation of it being so did not make this morning arrive more quickly, or come more gently.
I'll make you a cup of tea: you'll wimper a bit at me.
You'll shower and dress and look at me with soulful eyes.
Tomorrow we'll load up the van and pile in and drive the miles to the airport in the big city (stopping along the way in Chinatown to load you up with dim sum delights).
Tomorrow I'll walk you to the counter where you'll show your passport and deposit your luggage. Tomorrow, I imagine, you'll want to do it yourself.
You won't need me tomorrow as much as you feel you don't need me today.

Tomorrow your wings will fully come in.
Your feathers will fluff and you'll step to the edge of the nest.
You've taken some test flights, yes, but this time you'll step up to the rim and then push off.

You'll soar.
I will sit back and watch, feeling the mix, the familiar mix, of joy and sorrow, sorrow and joy.
Watching my hatchling take to the skies.

Every mother on the planet must do this one day.

My day is tomorrow as is yours.

Safe travels, Hatchling. I look forward to hearing about all that you've seen.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


About a month ago I started back up with my yoga practice. Well, that all sounds so professional…my yoga practice. Really, all’s I did was start back up at the yoga class I used to attend which has gone on without me for almost two and a half years. The last time I was a diligent yoga student was before Ben’s scoliosis situation had hit the headlines of my life, it was on the way back burner lurking. Once I got busy taking him to a million Feldenkrais and osteopathy appointments every week, however, those mornings on my aqua blue yoga mat fell by the wayside. In fact, taking care of me in many ways fell by the wayside.

Over the past many months I’ve been turning my focus back onto my Self: my body, my mind, my heart, my health (sounds like the 4-H club motto). I’ve been lightening my load in so many ways. It’s been an excellent process. Changing my diet (removing wheat and most grains), taking bio-identical hormones and a panoply of supplements and vitamins to bring balance back to my very depleted systems, hiring someone to do the heavy lifting in the pastures to relieve the compression in my upper body…all of these things have contributed to my feeling better all around. This wasn’t some overnight turn around, and it’s still in process.

But, I was surprised to find that returning to yoga has probably made one of the biggest differences of all. My sister, Mara, who I should mention is in the most amazing shape and is gorgeous, kept telling me that stretching would help my aching joints. I am not a physical person generally, the opposite of her. But she was right. As soon as I started stretching on my aqua blue yoga mat I started to feel better. And now my body is asking for more every week. It’s amazing.

I will admit that I didn’t return to the yoga class because Mara told me it’d be good for me. I returned because Mark and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary this month. Late in June we’re flying down to Baja California to stay at this most lovely hotel, Rancho Pescadero, for a whole week. A WHOLE WEEK!! Besides being remote, small, beautiful, on the beach, having their own organic garden, and no kids allowed, one of their offerings is yoga classes every day, sometimes twice! When we made the reservations for our penthouse suite I hadn’t even started back up with my yoga practice, but I knew I wanted to, I knew it’d be what I needed to get to the next level in my recovery. I returned to my yoga class because I didn’t want to arrive at Rancho Pescadero and look like a dork in their yoga classes. And now I’ve had a couple months to warm up, to stretch.

At the same time that I’m preparing to head to the beach with my most amazing of all husbands on the planet to celebrate twenty incredible years of togetherness and life building, I’m also preparing to send my oldest chick across the equator on the first huge adventure of his life. Harry has been studying ballroom dancing for the past three years and this summer will take it to another level in Buenos Aires, doing a month abroad studying Spanish and tango. He’ll be living with a couple in the city, close to the language school he’ll be attending. I imagine he will return quite changed. I’ve sent him off before, to camp, to the JC, to weeklong meditation retreats. But this is different. This is a whole new world for him and it’s causing me to really expand my world, too. So far…Argentina is soooo far away. Tell me that this stretch will feel good in the end, too!

The other chicklets will be at camp (Toby) and with friends and family (Ben). It took some serious planning to make this week available for a trip away. It’s been 17 years since Mark and I had a whole week away from home together just us!

I can feel my arms stretching, I see them reaching to touch my children in their far flung locales. It feels good to stretch. I might be wanting more.