this moment: pronouns and plane seats

I am sharing this thoughtful post by my blogging friend Laura at Riddle from the Middle. Thoughts on listening to others as they navigate their way through the world.

Riddle from the Middle

There are times when I’m listening to people in this great big world of ours, and I can’t help but notice how careful we’ve all gotten.  How the explosive nature of the general public has pushed some people into the shadows and forced others to tread oh-so-gently when meeting someone new.

Hearing folks hold back, hush up, or dance around an issue isn’t just annoying anymore.

I’ve found it’s almost painful listening to someone walking on eggshells.

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Lyme Awareness #1

I recently learned that May is Lyme Disease awareness month. Most likely, May was chosen because this is the month when nymph ticks are most active—from May to July. And because nymph ticks are so very tiny, they are extremely hard to detect….

I was feeling pretty good the day I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. I was tired, but I had been traveling with my daughter. Under the circumstances, that was normal fatigue, right? Then again, as a single mother, I am not sure I have any idea what “normal fatigue” is since I seldom get more than five or six hours of sleep at night. I scheduled a visit with the doctor because I had a strange rash—large blotches covered my torso and had begun to spread down my left arm.

I had first noticed the blotches in the hotel bathroom mirror.  The first day, I had a couple of spots. Strange, I thought, examining what appeared to be a welt with an odd grayish color at the center. I touched it. It didn’t itch, and there was no pain. Huh, I pulled on my pajama top, dismissing the spot from my mind, as if covering it up would make it go away.

The next morning, the spot had faded (though it hadn’t disappeared), and I dressed quickly to get to our morning commitment. We were attending an athletic competition that kept us busy and away from the hotel for the majority of the day. We also spent long hours sitting around—in stadium seats and on the floor of the field house.

Back at the hotel at the end of a long day, I stumbled into the bathroom, exhausted. As I lifted my shirt, I caught my reflection in the mirror. My heart skipped a beat. The two spots had multiplied, and now covered my torso in angry pink and grey blobs that wound across my side and on to my back. The sight was startling. I took a deep breath and tried to compose myself as I dressed. My brain was reeling while I consciously tried to calm myself enough to go back into the room without alerting my daughter to anything unusual. Funny how deep-rooted our mom instincts are.

It’s nothing, I told myself.  I probably picked up some nasty fungus or something from the field house floor or the hotel or….  I breathed slowly, deliberately. My thoughts were convincing enough that by the time I was ready for bed, my mind had moved on to other things.

The spots remained through the following day, Thursday, and when I finally arrived home on Friday, I was able to schedule an appointment with the doctor for that afternoon. By this point, I had convinced myself that it was something I had picked up from one of the many unclean surfaces I had come in contact with on my trip.

The doctor took one look and immediately said, “That’s Lyme.” I was shocked. But then again… Suddenly, all the other symptoms I had been experiencing over the previous months came together. A series of odd, unexplained viruses? Not at all. One diagnosis and everything made sense.

I consider myself lucky that I had that rash. I was lucky that I didn’t brush it off as nothing and wait for it to go away on its own. I very well may have contracted Lyme in my house from a tick that hitched a ride on my cat. But I was lucky. I am lucky.


Zigs and Zags #atozchallenge


Recently, I departed my parents’ home to drive to a college visit with my daughter. The road was circuitous, winding through small towns, farmland, and valleys on its way to our destination. This trip was one that I had taken many times throughout my youth and college career, though I had not traveled the road in decades.

As we zigged and zagged along, J dozed in the seat next to me. While I was confident in our journey, the landmarks had changed over the years of my absence, and buildings existed in new forms along the route. I was hit with an occasional twinge of uncertainty.

It suddenly struck me just how deeply my children trust me. When my daughter gets in the car with me, she assumes that I know where I am going. Despite the zigs and zags of our path, she is right there, believing in my ability to get us from point A to point B safely.

Fostering and maintaining such a deep and abiding trust is a huge responsibility. I hope I never lose the trust of my children as we travel life’s zigs and zags together.

Yesteryear #atozchallenge

This evening, I was looking through a closet to see if we had some black drawing paper. I didn’t think we actually had any, but since we have a number of art supplies acquired through a factory clearance sale, and I wasn’t exactly sure of our “inventory.”

As I looked, I came across a tattered pad of newsprint. It was an 18×24 pad, and I could picture my children much younger, lying on the floor drawing sprawling pictures. Nostalgic, I pulled out the pad, and flipped it open.

On the first page, there was a child’s drawing of an airport. Planes sat on runways. There was a plane on a flatbed trailer, and some maintenance vehicles. “What nerd drew that?” W asked, looking over my shoulder. He stepped in closer.


I turned to the next drawing. Wind turbines, solar panels, and water wheels dotted the landscape of the large white page. I smiled at W. “There’s your answer.” Only W was constantly producing drawings that had to do with alternate energy sources, vehicles, geography, etc. And as we looked through the drawings, this pad held it all.

By the time we had flipped the last page, we were laughing at the spelling he had used in labeling various elements of the drawings, the complicated yet simplistic concepts, the lists of supplies necessary to build some of the things he had drawn, and the calculations—always in extraordinarily large numbers—he had completed.

At the same point, we realized we had stumbled upon something that C would later label “a keeper.” This pad of newsprint was truly a gift from yesteryear.

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