Posts Tagged ‘ Velveteen Mind ’


Birth and Adoption Blog Nosh Magazine{by Heather from The Extraordinary Ordinary}

I can’t. That’s what I thought.

I can’t.

We pulled in the driveway over four years ago, me in the back seat with this new foreign person, aching in every way. And I thought those words. I thought, I can’t.

I asked Ryan to take the baby in without me, to introduce him to the dog without the excitement of me, the dog’s everything, in the picture. So I stood outside and shivered in the heat, looking around at everything being different than it had been just a few days before, all overly bright and textured from the pain pills. Standing there in my suddenly roomy maternity shirt, I shivered. Empty.

Ryan came out and said everything was going fine. The dog sniffed the baby and the baby slept. There were no big events as I had imagined.

I walked up the steps, not quickly because of the surgery, and passed through the door. I looked down at the sleeping child in the car seat. Our child. My child. In our house. My house.

I walked slow circles in our tiny living room, trying to figure out what to do. My mom and my husband said that I should take a nap, but I don’t do naps. I just nodded and repeated over and over that they should get me if the baby needed to eat, and I disappeared into our room, knowing I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I sat down, frozen and staring, thinking and thinking.

Running on hope, holding up the world

Overcoming Adversity Blog Nosh Magazine{by Erika from Be Gay About It}

The holiday season serves as a lap marker for me, that pristine line on the track where time is measured and recorded, where, at the end of the race, the ribbon snaps against the heaving torso of the runner, his arms splayed in euphoric victory, holding up the world.

We expect the race to end because that’s what races do.


Five years ago, my brother began to swell. Fluid filled him from the bottom up, an army of ounces colonizing territory after territory in

his feet, his ankles, his calves,

his thighs, his waste, his abdomen, his chest.

Before he entered the hospital the first time, he visited me at my apartment, a sort of willful last act of normalcy and wellness. I remember that we sat on the floor because that was the only place comfortable enough for the sixty pounds of fluid that had inflated his trim, athletic frame. I don’t remember what we talked about that morning, just that we spent the time together.

That was before we knew what was happening. Before I knew the starting gun had fired.

In the weeks that followed, so did the tests and the doctors and the questions until, ultimately, our family lexicon had no choice but to admit cirrhosis, terminal, and transplant into membership. He spent four days in the hospital that first time and all I could do was try to cheer him up. I wheeled around his room in his wheelchair, crashing clownishly into the vinyl visitor chairs and tray table at every pivot. When he slept, I watched him, my eyes squinted in the flannel light of the over-the-sink fluorescent, wondering why he had been drafted for this particular marathon, while I had been spared.

When Every Little Bit of Hope is Gone, Move Along…

Personal Blog Nosh Magazine{by Melissa from Rock and Drool}

It was August 1999. I was a 30 year old mommy of two small children. I was the wife of one really screwed up little boy stuck in the body of a 33 year old man. Yet, I was no one. Just an empty shell.

Things looked pretty from the outside. Pretty house. Pretty cars. Pretty kids.

On the inside. It was ugly. I was dead and rotting. I felt lifeless and completely without any hope.

I was teetering on reaching maximum density. I was also precariously balancing my sanity. I was beyond misery and I didn’t want company. I wanted to stab my husband in his sleep. We couldn’t have that though. Because who would raise the kids if the dad was dead and the mom was in jail? The system? Hell to the no. I hated him though. With every fiber of my being.

It was bad. Not in a violent sense. There was just nothing worth saving there. But I wasn’t ready to jump off that high dive.

Until, one afternoon in early August. I snapped awake from a short nap. He was the first thing I saw. I looked at him, sweating on the exercise bike that was in our huge bedroom. And I knew it was finally over. Whatever guilt that had been holding me captive in that house, it had lifted. My fears and my conscience screamed that I was free to go.

And I did.

I grabbed clothes and toys. Enough to keep my 1 1/2 year old and 3 1/2 year old dressed and busy for the next couple of days until I could come back to the house when he wasn’t there. I grabbed some essentials for myself. Loaded the stuff into laundry baskets and placed them in the trunk of my car.

The Hope of Magic

Family Blog Nosh Magazine{by Jennifer from Playgroups Are No Place For Children}

One of my children’s favorite books is The Polar Express. They’ve been begging to have it read to them nearly every night since the first Christmas commercial was broadcast back in October. I also love this story, it’s beautiful illustrations and the reminder about the true magic and spirit of Christmas.

On the other hand, BAH HUMBUG.

I think I first began to lose the magic of the Christmas season the first December after Tate and I were married. Instead of looking forward to all the merriment and celebration, it started to feel like nothing more than a to-do list.

1. Attend the same Christmas party that had been cranked out every year before.
2. Fret and stress over over every gift purchase.
3. Travel long distances home for the holiday and bounce from one relative’s house to another, trying to keep everyone else happy.
4. Unpack 1,000 ornaments out of their boxes to decorate the tree, only to have to repack them three weeks later.
5. Hear the same sappy Christmas songs on loop, no matter your location.

And the list could go on and on. So for the past several years, I’ve invited Scrooge and all his angst into my heart to endure the purgatory of December.

Since having our kids, I’ve really have tried to feign a festive spirit during the holidays. Carson and Ella at least deserve an attempt at a joyous holiday. We’ve spent time drinking cocoa by the fireplace, baking cookies, and building gingerbread houses, all while wearing Christmas aprons. FESTIVE, I tell you! Both of the kids so young, I had no idea if my artificial attempts and creating an atmosphere of magic had made an impression on them.

Brown Paper Bag of Hope

Overcoming Adversity Blog Nosh Magazine

{by Sugar Jones from Sugar in the Raw}

Sometimes, we’re so far beyond done. We run out of hope. It’s in those times that we need others to remind us that there is still good in the world. That there is a sun in the sky and that we must lift our faces to it.

The other night, my son cut me to the quick. I had been so busy that I had ignored all his pleas for some family time. He finally looked up at me with glassy eyes, trying to stoically hold back tears, and said, “Sometimes, people say they love you but they don’t really love you if they don’t show you they love you. You have to show people you love them.”

You know that within thirty seconds I was on the floor hugging him and playing the game he had set up hours earlier hoping for a little time together.

His words sat with me all night. While I was nodding off to bed, I thought of a time when I had love, not merely spoken to me, but demonstrated. It was a time in my life that I had not yet realized what you could live through. I was too young to understand that, if I held out long enough, things would indeed change. I was tired and had lost all hope that things would ever be any different.

When I was a young single mother, I had plenty of struggles. Some seasons were tougher than others, but it was during the holidays that I saw the cold, harsh reality of my circumstances. One year in particular, I wasn’t really sure we were going to have a Christmas. During that time, my oldest daughter wore a uniform to her public school. It was a uniform-optional school. It sounded like a good idea until the school year started and I realized that only the poor families had opted for a uniform. My daughter didn’t mind. She thought her dress was pretty and loved the matching bow. Every day, I would dress my younger daughter in her uniform of hand-me-downs. She didn’t mind because she saw her big sister’s clothes as new to her. And every day, I would put on my waitress uniform. I didn’t mind because I didn’t have to worry about what to wear.

Victor Vito: Hurricane Katrina and the Impetus of Loss

Victor Vito:  Hurricane Katrina and the Impetus of Loss

Overcoming Adversity Blog Nosh Magazine

{Originally published on Velveteen Mind as Victor Vito}

Laurie Berkner’s song “Victor Vito” came on and I felt three seconds of pure happiness, and then I could not breathe. It was like the exhilaration of jumping into a wave, then realizing too late that it’s too high and too deep. Before you know it, you are going under. It felt like that wave.

No. More like a storm surge.

Two years ago this month, I was still unpacking boxes. We had been moved in for a month already, but I had been taking my time unpacking all of the decorations because I wanted everything to be just right. Although we didn’t plan to stay in this new beach apartment for long, it was going to be just the change of pace we needed while we looked for our new home. The home where we hoped to stay for years this time. In the meantime, let’s have some fun in the sun!

Pants’s room was done and it looked suitable for a Pottery Barn Kids catalog shoot, only for a really cool kid with some fantastically groovy stuff. After waiting over a year to bring in the ceramic giraffes inherited from my great-aunt (which I had admired since I was little), we had finally displayed them on the wall with the rest of his mish-mash of funky stuff and it couldn’t have looked cooler. So eclectic. So pulled together. So him.

The living room was coming together and I was so excited that I would sometimes just lie on the couch at night after Pants was in bed, turn off all the lights except for a warm lamp or two, and look around at our home. Everything was coming together. Everything just fit here, even if it was only temporary.

I don’t always tell people that the home we lost in Hurricane Katrina was an apartment we were renting. For some reason, they seem to sort of turn off when I tell them that. As though “oh, it was just a rental” means that it wasn’t a home. That our stuff wasn’t real.

Only the walls were rented. The home was ours…

Hierarchy of Suffering. Who wins?

After Hurricane Katrina, there developed something of a hierarchy of suffering along the Gulf Coast:

* You lost the bottom floor of your house? I lost my whole house.
* You lost your whole house? I lost my house and my job.
* You lost your house and your job? I lost my sister.
* You lost your sister? I lost my whole family.
* You lost your whole family? I am dead.

That’s right, the ghosts of the dead walk the streets of the Gulf Coast. Their presence is always there, reminding us that it could be worse. We could be dead.