A Calling

My word for 2012 when I picked one (choosing amongst plenty is so very difficult for me) was FOCUS. And upon reflecting today, I realized that while I am distracted by an endless list of interests, I have managed to pull some focus. What helped was moving away from the Cape to New Bedford for not even a year (!) and learning that I missed my family and the community I have created here. Terribly. And that it’s also okay to miss Vermont after 15 years, but that Hyannis is now my home, for better or worse, and I am ready to commit.

Having a house with a bit of land certainly helps with the commitment factor, but I returned here with no thought of ever owning again, and I was fine with that. Then a well-loved house down the street from my Dad’s (Home has been a vision I’ve held in my heart for close to the 15 years I’ve been back here) manifested. I am fortunate to have a generous father. He’s a quiet, simple living, traditional and conservative sort of guy, but he is so good to my sisters and me. And if that isn’t love, then I don’t know what is.

The folks I sold my Vermont home to sold it this past year (I dreamed about buying it back) and that probably helped me move forward too. And there is a vibrant community here on the Cape, I had just dropped out of it for several years. Got tired of working at it, the ups and downs, slips and slides, big fish in a small pond syndrome, cliques, and all that. But not anymore. Belonging, to myself, to a community, to the landscape, is WORK. And it is my Work. I thought my word for this year was going to be HOME, but after writing this I am not so sure. My word for 2013 may be WORK. It is a good 4 letter word.

St.Stephen’s Day

Yesterday was St. Stephen’s Day, also known as Boxing Day.  Have no idea why it’s one of my favorite days of the season. Perhaps it’s because I like to believe and practice that there really are 12 Days of Christmas beginning with the big day and leading up to the beautiful Feast of the Epiphany, or Little Christmas.

Molly and I drove up to Vermont yesterday to join old friends and family for hugs, visiting and good cheer. We’ve woken up to a gorgeous snowstorm, albeit we must take care in it.

Wonder, magic and love swirl around us amidst the twinkling, drifting flakes falling softly around us.

July 1st in the Summertime

I love July 1st in the summertime. It is Canada Day, Jimmy’s birthday and my daughter’s birthday. When she was little she always referred to it as “July 1st in the summertime.” So, the day she was born 20 years ago, I woke up and figured, “yeah, this could be it.”

She was actually due on Bastille Day. Rather than waiting around, we all went strawberry picking that morning with her “Evelyn Gramma” and her big brother “Guy Guy” (her babyhood names for them). We always called Anthony the “little guy” when he was younger. He was 5 when she was born.

I was scheduled for my evening shift that afternoon, 3P to 11P. I was a unit secretary in a trauma unit in Burlington, Vermont. It was a Saturday and sometimes weekends could be quiet. I went to work and as my contractions were increasing, I popped upstairs to L & D on my dinner break. My nurse-midwife, Linda, was on call that night,checked me out, and said “yep, you’ll probably have your baby by the morning.” This was around 5:30P. It ended up being one of those quiet Saturday evenings when the work is done early, and it’s pretty laid back around the nurse’s station.

Around 7:30P, I went to the bathroom, and my water broke, soaking my ankle socks and the floor. Rita, our housekeeper mopped up after me as Lorraine, our nurse’s aide wheeled me off the unit in a wheelchair, straight up to L & D. The nurse manager, who was there for Molly’s birth was quite impressed and asked if I’d be interested in working on L & D when I returned from my leave? We were all getting quite the chuckle out the whole scene.

By the time I had arrived on the unit I was 9 CM dilated so things were happening fast. Jacqueline and Anthony arrived before Jason did. My twenty-something sister was Anthony’s support person, but at one point I looked over at her, and it looked like Anthony was doing the supporting. She looked like she was ready to pass out. Jason arrived a bit toasted (celebrating beforehand I suppose) about 15 minutes before Molly was born at 8:48PM. All 6 pounds 9 ounces of a wee baby girl whom I was not expecting — for some reason I just figured I’d have another boy.

But, nope, I had the baby sister her brother had wished for just the day before. Only I didn’t name her Mary Anthony like he had asked, but rather Molly Rose. Here she is today with her friend Brian on their way to Provincetown.

(No birth pictures — they didn’t turn out except for the couple her brother took with his little Kodak 110 Instamatic. I was devastated when the film came back undeveloped from our camera. It was a 35MM and the film hadn’t engaged, so we basically shot a blank roll. However, the adorable little guy in Mickey Mouse scrubs, and the just born baby girl are treasured visions I hope to always remember).

This entry was posted on July 1, 2009, in Vermont.

Sisters of Mercy

My marriage, on the other hand, was not like Amanda’s. If it was, I’d have 3 children instead of two. I miss that third child every day. As it was, Molly almost wasn’t. Although I was married, I felt like I had no business being pregnant when the marriage was unhappy and volatile.

I loved my little boy fiercely, with all my heart, he was the light of my life, the apple of my eye, in an otherwise soul-killing marriage. I loved being pregnant with him, the childbirth experience, everything about it. I remember his first movement in utero. We were on a hill on Cheese Factory Road in Hinesburg — a country drive like so many we did, that was when we were happiest as a couple, when we were on the road.

I imagined working right up until he was born the way so many women the world over have — working in fields, squatting and having their baby, and then returning to work. I did work right up until he was born — not in a field, but in a convent kitchen. I began labor before my shift that morning, but only told Brian, the main cook and Leitha, the housekeeper and my neighbor. I didn’t want to worry the nuns, because I knew I could handle it. And I knew they’d be all worried and possibly send me home (or to the hospital) if they knew. They were very good to me, the Sisters of Mercy. They are not departed or gone., experience

And to think I knew her when…

I first heard her singing Paper Wings and Halo on a wintry drive back from Vermont after a Burlington First Night celebration maybe 10 years ago. It was a snowy drive and my Molly was sleeping while I listened in the twilight to Lori on WUMB. It was magical. I was hooked. Her music was a comfort to me back in those days when I was still reeling from my move from Vermont back to the Cape. She helped me feel at home in a place I struggle to feel at home in still.

I then started following her on UMB, listening to any interviews with her, when gigs were, etc. and was delighted to discover she lived in a town not so very far away from me. I went to see her at First Encounter Coffeehouse in Eastham a couple of times (once when she was very pregnant with her fourth or fifth), the old Sippican Hardware Coffeehouse (long gone now), and finally in Easton at the Blackthorne Tavern for a Sunday morning in May. She was the reason I went to brunch. So I could listen to her.

That was when I got a chance to chit chat with her and it was when she only had the three kids and was only doing local and regional gigs. I ran into her in a McDonald’s in the Mansfield area when we were both on our way with our kids to a pre-teenybopper Nickelodeon music Stars sort of show at the Tweeter Center. Every once in a while I look her up – on the net of course – with 5 kids, a husband and a music career, the woman is busy! – and was delighted to discover almost two years ago that she had been “discovered” beyond our borders. I am looking forward to catching up with her again sometime.