Monday, July 6, 2009

When heaven needs butterflies.......

A five year old little girl exclaimed in excitement as she prepared her project for the science fair. She held in her hands a netted container full of pupas and painted lady butteflies. She couldn't wait to show her classmates the cycle of a butterfly.

As the day progressed, all the pupas but one hatched it's beautiful orange and brown butterflies. One pupa remained hanging with no sign of life. It wasn't wiggling anymore as the other pupas had.

When the week ended, the little girl looked into the netting and asked when the pupa would hatch. Her teacher placed a hand on her shoulder and told her that this pupa wasn't going to hatch. When the little girl asked why, the teacher told her that sometimes heaven needs butterflies.

Soon the weather became warm and school let out for summer break. Over the summer there was much excitement; days at the beach, camping, bike riding and lazy days reading in her back yard.

This summer was extra special. There was news. Her mama was having a baby. The little girl was so very happy. She loved placing her head against her mama's belly and feeling her new brother or sister kick against her check.

Fall came. The weather grew cooler and crisp. It was time for new school clothes and shoes. The little girl was mostly consumed with telling her friends about the new baby.

First grade was so very different. There were lots to learn and it was a longer day. Sitting in the chair still took a lot of concentration. The little girl focused on her new studies and it helped the days to pass while she waited for her new baby.

One day she came home from school to find her mother crying in the nursery. Her mother was rocking in the rocking chair where she had held her as a baby. She climbed up into her mothers lap, kissed a tear as it slid down her check and cuddled in her mother's arms.

Her mother kept crying. The little girl stayed there without questioning; knowing that the answer to whatever it was would be very bad.

She heard her daddy's footsteps as he came down the hall and entered the nursery. He placed his hand on her shoulder and told her that there was no longer a baby in her mommy's belly.

A tear slipped out of her eye before she could stop it.

"It is so sad" she said, "when heaven needs butterflies......"

Knott Goody Nuff

There once was a little boy with blond hair and brown eyes. His face was patched with cheeks of red. His smile was sweet, but his eyes shadowed pain.

His name was Knott.

Knott goody Nuff.

Knott was named after his grandfather...and his grandfather's father. A name that should have made his grandpa proud. A name that should have guaranteed that he was the special grandchild out of them all.

I watched as Knott went to help his grandfather, walk up the stairs to the family gathering. Knott wanted to help his grandpa who was now older and not as agile in his younger days. He went to gather the things grandpa was carrying to give a helping hand.

Perhaps it was pride in the older man's heart. Perhaps love in a displaced way. What came out was criticism, gruff and full of anger.

Knott walked away to the other side of the porch, and cried.

I recognized the color of tears that he shed as I have kept the same ones bottled up inside my own heart.

Knott is on the honor roll, he dreams of being in law some day. He is only in junior high and he is focused on his grades and future. Knott is a talented athlete. He plays football and baseball.....and plays it well. Knott is already a scholar athlete.

Those aren't even the qualities that make this child so amazingly incredible.

He is gifted with hospitality. Not only giving up his room for a night (without complaining like most pre teens) but gathering as many blankets and things he thought we would need to be comfortable.

In the morning he asked if I would like a cup of coffee. He made coffee for everyone and was asking people how they would like theirs. Hospitable at his young age.

He cares about the people around him. Conversations of family members that had him worried were held in my car as if he was a 40 year old adult.

Compassion, hospitality, intelligence, athletic skill, dedication.....and visionary.

Pretty close to being a perfect son.

Yet he feels Knott Goody Nuff.

I wish I had the answer for change the way he was treated in that moment. I wish I could make him the apple of his grandfather's eye. I wish I could explain why it is that the children who seem to have so much to give...are treated in such a way that they're self esteem gets clinked.

I too, was Knott Goody Nuff.

It took becoming an adult to realize that the sibling who was the apple of everyone's eye; was not what they had me believing she was.

The wounds in my self esteem are still evident today. Knowing in my head what I really was doesn't change the fear in my heart of rejection from those I loved the most.

Perhaps I could tell this child.....he is MORE than Goody Nuff. He is incredible.

I'll keep him in my prayers at night; asking that the love of his parents be more than Goody Nuff to keep him from stuggling like I do with a name like Nott Goody Nuff.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

feelings of home......

i love reading the ramblings of a father who writes about his days. Recently he wrote about the feelings of home, which reminded me of a post I wrote recently on facebook. His writings inspire me to share it in blog world as well. Here it is;

sometimes in the winter, I work third shift.

leaving my facility while it is still dark brings me a feeling that i have known before. street lights are dimming as the soft glow in the sky tells of a sun starting to rise.

reflectors of bright yellow and white flicker against the dark grey pavement as i drive onward towards home.

a slow changing of colors in the sky is like the yawning of the day.

there is often a birdsong heard right as dawn breaks. an offer of praise perhaps to the creator for a new day.

driving home after third shift brings me comfort.

brings me back to a place of childhood peace. a time when driving as the sun rose meant going home.

home that was never a place to live, but a place where i belonged, where family was in every face that you looked at; a place that you dare not date anyone until you conducted a thorough family tree.

many call it The Vineyard...and they say it with a cool yuppy like sound....that conjurs up thoughts of Black Dog, Democratic Kings and queens and Carly Simon.

for me, we called it The island. There was no other island and it was our island.

for me, it was about driving around the bend to see the Nautilus sign that causes you to immediatly turn your face left to see the Coast Guard ships and scan the ocean for signs of the ferry....

your ferry.

coming like a floating whale to open it's mouth...for you to return to the bosom of your homeland.

in the old days we would round the corner and drive right into the standby line. we would climb out of the crowded car and run for the bathrooms while someone bought ticketts. sometimes that car belonged to my father....and 5-6 kids jumped out of a smoke filled pinto with two huge old english sheep dogs...chet and Levi would sleep in the back of that station wagon curled up with two huge fur ball excuses for dogs. mac and minnie. or in the yellow opal. same kids except for the little one...would climb out with their crumbs from snacks falling down...probably bologna and bread sandwhiches..........and we would run pellmell from the bathroom to the fence of the dock. Watching in the morning night for the lights of the ferry....and we had favorite ferries....the uncatina (sp?)....for one. We knew the ferries by name and waited for bring us home.

the seagulls would call hello to us, knowing that the blood in our veins belonged to their island. wind would often be whipping the flags on the poles, clanging the ropes against the metal tune to the buoys calling out with fog hornes.......and voices of workers would be heard shouting with the vowels intoned differently than ours but more belonging to us...they would say, "pahhhk that cahh over thahhh...." we knew it was a directive to park the car over there. music to our ears.

The boat would come and we would jump with glee! Running to get into the car as if it would leave without us before the boat even docked.

The docking was an adventure as the mouth of the whale would come toward this giant square, and it would bump to the left and right as it aimed for the perfect dock. Chains would be clanking loudly as the ramp was lowered and positioned.......and then.....

the wave.

the men in uniform would start waving for cars to come aboard...and our car engine would start...and we knew by the clunk clank that we passed over the ramp and into the belly of a whale....

and the echos in the well of the boat, we would tap our feet twice as loud to hear them, stopping to look out large open windows (checking to see if there was a shark fin in the waves) before running up the metal stairs to the top of the boat. At every door, you had to step up because there was a metal raised plank in the doorway. The top deck is where we always ran unless it was storming or freezing cold. even then, you went to the top anyway for a brief acknowlegment that you had come home and all was well.

The churning of the motors would grow loud as the engines pulled water out of the ocean and into its machinary to begin the reverse. Chains and clanking would be heard again as the ship would be released from its docking. Shouts in the massachussets twang would echo through the walls...and the HORN would blow.

If you were standing near it, you would be lucky to feel the vibration of the noise in your every bone. Even in your bones, you knew, you were returning home.

The horn was the call to the island, that it's children were returning.......home......home.

we would look into the waves, sometimes clear minty green with sunrays coming from the ocean's bottom, sometimes dark gray and onery with white caps that would rock the ship left and right, up and down, sometimes deep teals...always it's mood for the day expressed in a different color...the ocean cradled the ship onward towards the vineyard.

and we would watch.

as small mounds of land with sand and brush passed us...and buoys red with numbers and lights swayed and sang out....

as lights coming from the vineyard indicated another ferry was to pass us....

as the sun rose with the most miraclous of sunrises....placing it's rays across the homes that were coming into focus as we approached the island.

and always, looking to the right, tring to guess where between the west chop lighthouse and the gazebo (olin park maybe?) was the path from Ma's summer house....the beach with the boats turned upside down, with the lilac bushes taking over the fencing....where I spent numerous hours finding seashells with Ma (jane cleveland), watching sailboats and picking lilacs.... I never really can find it, but I tell myself that I do, each time.

The boat comes around the corner and into the harbor.

on summer days there is an onslaught of sailboats coming at your ship and around you. People smiling up and waving at you as they start their day out on the sea....

on cold winter days, the harbor is quiet. floating markers show either lobster traps or boat holds, I 'm not really sure.

As the ship enters Vineyard Haven, the Horn Blows loud again. Letting all know, even the dead in West Tisbury, that we have come home.

We would run down to the car, hoping that if the boat wasn't crowded, we could stand at the open door behind the mesh netting and watch as the boat came to dock. We would look into all the faces to see if there were familiar eyes.

If we came in the opal; there would be the eyes of MA waving. An older woman with grey hair, standing next to her car. Waving and smiling........ Later it would be Gram. A younger version of the same english strength, with a red lipstick; standing next to the same car......waving....... There were times when a jeep would pick us up; George or Untie Dot. There were times when Mikey would be fishing off the time chasing a humongous crab...he was my uncle jack cousteau..... he had stories of seeing shark....and buckets of squid that he would catch.

If we came with my dad, there wasn't anyone at the dock because they lived farther the woods. We would clink clunk off the boat...and drive past the A & P and bike rental shop, hang a right, then a left.....and drive on roads that took us up island. Roads paved with tar that had trapped sand and beachstones ...and a few shells....lined with oak trees that appeared to grow while ingesting salt and sand. Shorter than our oaks, twisted and gnarled...and well, salty and sandy looking.

up island.

Taking a left onto new lane as the road curved, we looked at grass. Grass that had sand at its' roots. We would turn left and look to the right for Uncle Cy's grey cedar shingled cottage...and then look for the dirt road between the trees that opened up to reveal the cottage.

A cottage with white triming and cedar shingles. A garage to the right...with the path to the outhouse.
A bunkhouse. Dogs, Aunts and Uncles running to say hello.......and gramma and grandpa. A house that had roses...and I swear I could smell the blueberries as we drove in...even though those bushes were out in back past the wooden swing that hung in the breezes.

Arriving at the the the feeling that I remember when I leave work at 7 am...driving on the empty roads, while the sun is rising......and a new day is coming.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Blue Glass

She was excited to see her grandmother again. She had driven 3 hours and taken a 45 minute ferry anticipating being with the family she loved. It was financially hard this year. She just graduated from college and hadn't started working yet. She had scrapped up her last change to pay for the gas and ferry. It was important to her to bring her son across the ocean and to be around family.

After her grandmother hugged her hello, she brought her to the living room to show her the new blue glass pieces, again.

The blue glass was everywhere around the room. Some hung in the windows, shapes of flowers and animals stuck with rubber suction holders so that the sun could reflect through the shapes. They were stacked on the shevles..... it was much like being in a gift shop. There were so many pieces of blue glass.

Gram knew exactly each piece, who had given it to her or where she had bought it. She was listening patiently, again, as her grandmother went through each story about each piece.

she wished she was a piece of blue glass.

Years passed. She returned to the island again, with her husband now and more children. She was happy to see her grandmother again, but had foresight enough to tell her husband that he would go through a tour of her grandmother's blue glass. Patiently they listened as she described each piece of blue glass.....each person that had given it to her...or where she had bought it.

She worried that her children would touch the blue glass. Her children looking up in awe at the beautiful blues reflecting through the windows....magically making little ducks look like shimmery crystal creatures.. She winced as one of her little ones hands' reached out to touch the blue magic.

touching the blue glass might mean everyone would hear about how her kids weren't well might mean she wouldn't be invited back. She loved her grandmother, but in that moment she hated the blue glass.

she wished her and her babies were blue glass.

More years passed. She returned to the island again. One of her babies a man now, seeking secrets from the island as he passed through adulthood. She sought to find her grandmother out....longing to see the blue eyes and the love on her face. The years had taken grandma's ability to speak well and care for herself. She was no longer in her home with the blue glass shimmering around the living room. She was in the hospital, needing 24 hour care from the stroke that took so much of her strength away.

When she entered gram's hospital room, she was struck by the blue glass. Hanging in the windows and a few standing on her nightstand by her bed. " OK", she thought, this would give Gram comfort. She resigned herself to the fact that the hated blue glass was still around.

She was struck with emotional surprise that even though Grandma wasn't able to speak; she gave the tour of the blue glass. Using a board to write on and gesturing with her hands; grandma showed her and her 5 year old daughter, the precious blue glass.

sadness overcame her. she no longer hated the blue glass, she felt pity.

Later that day she took her daughter to the Oak Bluff beaches to play in the sand. They jumped over stones, picking up the most beautiful ones to bring home to treasure. They sang, they danced...they splashed water at each other from the cold ocean. She felt home in the loving presence of her daughter on the they gathered shells together reliving moments that generations before had beheld; mother and daughter gathering the gifts from the sea...

when her daughter looked down exclaiming in having found a beautiful piece of sea glass. The edges were softened from the salt and sand... her daughter held the sea glass up to the sun for it to reflect through....

and it was then that she knew.

the sea glass was blue.

she remembered being with gram and her great grandmother. she remembered childhood days of walking the beach looking for sea glass. Blue sea glass was the ultimate treasure. The ultimate reward. The ultimate gift from the sea....

she knew.

She was the blue was her mother.....her cousins...her aunts....and uncles...her grandmother....and now her daughter.

blue sea glass.

blue memories of stolen days on the beaches......

small tokens to remember each person that gave her the gifts of blue glass...

and she wept a few tears for all the years of misunderstanding. of wishing she was blue glass...and not knowing.

She clutched the sea glass in her hand, knowing that it would hang on a string in her window so that the sun could reflect the blue that she and her babies would know;

the love of Gram.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I haven't written here in a while...

haven't been reading the blogs that have become family to me...

I have been politiking,
and I have discovered facebook as a way to communicate to all the others that I need to politik with me.

I guess it took my job being placed on the chopping block for me to leave the busy schedule of my children to stand up and fight this travesty that is occurring in our nation.

I am so sick of hearing about cuts because of economy.

Money is coming to our state from the feds, but our governor has refused some of it based on principle.

My biggest issues is that she intends to shut down the place I work, a residential facility that takes in children with complex needs that have been refused elsewhere.

I will fall on my feet if I loose my job, I have a degree and experience...and I'm a tough fighter.

I am worried sick about the children that we serve. The need our facility.

Here are a few links to coverage...

and yes, those are my posters...and my daughter is seen on her dad's shoulder with a poster in her hand.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I haven't posted for a while, and frankly it is because I can't stand the layout here any more in blogger world.

some of you have changed over, any suggestions>?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Our governors budget.

She released it this week. I may not be able to write it coherently here. I am wavering between shock, denial, acceptance and fear.

She is proposing that to save money, She intends to shut down the residential treatment center of which I work.

I would like to write about how afraid I am of loosing my income. The irony is all I feel is fear for the kids I work with.

Instead of reducing the ridiculous top heavy management in my agency and every other- she is turning our kids out of their homes.

I am stunned.

I am praying for a powerful Democratic blockage.

Except our commissioner visited our place today. Do commissioner's visit places unless they know it is already a done deal?

She was just arrested for DUI last week, I think she has no strength to fight the governor who didn't fire her.

I am going to have to write our governor a letter. I will not be able to sleep at night worrying about these kids. and my lost paycheck.