Reflection

Memorial Day is one of the nation’s most solemn holidays. May we all take more than a moment to reflect on those who have given their lives.

Reflection Pool

Hadley, Libby and The Edwards Girls Reflection

“That’s what it takes to be a hero, a little gem of innocence inside you that makes you want to believe that there still exists a right and wrong, that decency will somehow triumph in the end” Lise Hand

They Fought Together

They Fought Together

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” Arthur Ashe

Washington Monument

Washington Monument

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Different Vantage Point

Girls Watching Their Dad Do His Thing

Girls Watching Their Dad Do His Thing

All their young lives they have stood tall, sat patiently, cheered loudly, and proudly watched their dad and countless players run thru a tunnel and take the field to the game / job he loved.  I’ve always delighted in our ability to be voyeurs in their father’s career.  Many men go into an office and disappear.  Their kids not fully understanding what it is their dads do to make sacrifices for their futures.  However, mine have been on a college football roller coaster. They feel and have joyful pride with each win and on the contrary they hear, from their peers, personalize and worry after each loss. Their vantage point of NCAA sports has been different.  They aren’t “real” fans. They have yet to choose the school they will be forever loyal to, but they are “real” fans of the players they’ve come to know and their dad.  They are aware it’s not just a Saturday ritual but a lifetime commitment of good people and hard work.

As of late, the roles have been reversed.  This has been Don’s new vantage point.

Reversed Roles

Reversed Roles

Libby decided she wanted to learn and compete in soccer.  Our Saturday’s had been occupied with pigskin, but this year we decided to make a change and let the girls build their own Saturday rituals.  The competition level, slightly diminished (thank goodness!) Field a bit smaller but the heart is equal.

Libby Hamilton Award

Libby Hamilton Award

It occurred to me this weekend as Libby received from CASL, The Hamilton Sportsmanship Award, that the outcome is the same.  Don has spent a lifetime committed to helping build a better person / student athlete and he’s still doing just that, only from a different vantage point. It is much closer to home now. Parkinson’s may have sidelined him temporarily but never will he give up on making a difference in human beings.

Annals Of Long Term Care Review

Thank you Annals Of Long-Term Care for the product spotlight!

Annals Of Long-Term Care Product Spotlight

Annals Of Long-Term Care Product Spotlight

When Pigasso Met Mootisse – Mother’s Day

We are being besieged with print, television and corny radio ads recommending the best mothers day gifts to buy for 2013. My two are actually singing marketing jingles! Not to mention the flurry of media encouraging you that it’s not too late to send that special something to your mom. Equation: fed ex + you = happy mom. Top trending treasures this year, according to the Huffington Post, are a collection of perfumes, spa packages and home-made coupons. My children generally gift me the wonderful treat of breakfast in bed AND an explosion of their remnants in the kitchen. So when I attempt to wipe the dripping bacon grease from the knobs of my oven, I will look around and take in the vision of the real mothers day gifts my kids have made and we have preserved, framed and collected over time. Our very own exclusive art gallery. My youngest (5) recently took a session of classes on Henri Matisse. When our children were born into a competitive sporting world my main focus had always been balance. What better way to soften the edge of competition than the beauty of art.

Hadley channeling her inner Matisse

Hadley channeling her inner Matisse

These treasures litter my breakfast nook, bonus room and anywhere else I spend the majority of my day. Hadley’s teacher requested a family field trip this year. Temporarily housed in the Nasher Museum Of Art At Duke University was a collection of Matisse’s work and the modern masters, compiled together from the Cone Sisters. Prior to attending the exhibit we added to our library list for the week, children’s books on Matisse. Knowledge is power. They had a couple of great ones.

When Pigasso Met Mootisse

A Bird or Two: A Story About Henri Matisse

On the back of one book was a quote, that even if I had read it a hundred times, I only seemed to absorb it just this one reading. It said:

What I had to do, I did – the best I could – Henri Matisse 1869-1954

Libby Interpreting Picasso

Libby Interpreting Picasso – 2013

Libby's Matisse Inspiration 2008

Libby’s Matisse Inspiration 2008

Dear Girls,

Thank you for the gifts, your inner beauty and the heavenliness you create. It is something I treasure and in the end…..what I had to do, I did, the best I could is my offering back to you. I value you more than a Matisse masterpiece.

Love,

Mom

Four letter word……Help!

In a family of 12 you learn very quickly the meaning of the word HELP. Help your sister tie her shoe. Help drive your brother to basketball. Help your mom by doing the dishes. Sometimes you knew you were “helping” by not asking for anything – because your mom and dad may be consumed with something else. I am not a stranger to the word or concept of lending a helping hand. As a child I witnessed my dad help complete strangers. I recall hearing, “Mike, why are you late tonight?” “I helped someone who needed a lift somewhere.” “Who dad?” “Nobody I knew, just someone down on his luck.” My dad’s quiet, humbling kindness was always there and from my mom, the same. She would also throw in, after a search of something missing, “say a special prayer to St. Anthony”– the patron of lost things.

Back Bend Demonstration

Back Bend Demonstration

As a mother I witness help. Libby helping Hadley master a back bend – lesson I hear – You can do anything! Libby helping Hadley learn to read – lesson I hear – I know you are smart and capable AND worth my time. Libby teaching Hadley the rules of tennis and life – lesson I hear – I will always be here for you if you need anything . Hadley schooling us all on her made up knock knock jokes – lesson I hear – It’s important to always laugh. A recent favorite of mine… “Hadley, this is what you do if someone makes fun of dad”. (which unfortunately has happened) Lesson I hear – Siblings understanding strength and unity.

Learning a Back Bend

Learning a Back Bend

As an adult I’ve helped. I make an attempt to help families, both that I know and who are complete strangers. I volunteer my time, thoughts and resources – all of which I know I can do more and should. I am trying to being an advocate for Parkinson’s. One of the manifestations of the disease is a quiet voice and I am happy to lend mine for the cause. I try to help my own family build the tightest indestructible wall of love, that no one OR disease can break.

H E L P

But this four letter word has been haunting my soul. I am an avid reader, lately, not as much for pleasure but for research. The Michael J Fox Foundation published a Facebook post that encouraged people to “share” or comment. Most were lengthy compelling stories about life challenges and changes. I read them all but when I close my eyes at night I still see one mans response. It was four simple letters – one simple statement and if I were being completely honest, a desperate plea. It simply read “Help”.

Today I feel like asking. Help us find sanity. Help us find patience. Help us find peace and if I could channel my mother, St. Anthony, Help us find a cure!

Sisters

Click Here For Audio – Carly Simon

 

Two Little Gazing Standing At The Sea

Two little sisters gazing at the sea,
Imagining what their futures will be.

TWO LITTLE SISTERS LYRICS – CARLY SIMON

Two little sisters gazing at the sea,
Imagining what their futures will be.

The older one says, as her eyes look around,
“I will go as far as the corners of the town.
I’ll plant a little garden, flowers everywhere.
And pluck the most fragrant for my hair.”

I will go as far as the corners of the town

The older one says…..

Two little sisters gazing at the sea,
Imagining what their futures will be.

The younger one stands with her eyes open wide.
And says, “I’ll go as far as the corners of the sky.
I’ll gather all the stars each night as they appear,
And pick the very brightest one to wear in my ear.”

I’ll go as far as the corners of the sky

The younger one stands……

I didn’t choose you and you didn’t choose me.

I didn’t choose you, who would guess we’re from the same family?

But, what will you do when the nights get cold?
When the stars grow dim and your dreams seem old.
Watcha gonna do when winter calls,
And your flowers fall from the garden walls?

I’ll come home to you, you’ll come home to me.
My love will be your remedy.
I’ll choose you and you’ll choose me.
We’ll be two daughters dancing by the edge of the sea.

DSC_0658

I’ll come home to you, you’ll come home to me.
My love will be your remedy.

The best remedy for Parkinson‘s.

Expect The Unexpected

I grew up in a family of practical jokers. Sandwiched between boys, it was common place to be the brunt of a punchline.  What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger mentality. We never took things too serious, the boundaries were always being stretched.  My father was right there as an instigator, although he would deny it.   During my high school years he thought it was comical to slip a bread tie into our sandwich while my mom was making our lunches.  Yes, a bread tie.  So while talking to friends, catching up on the days after school activities, homework or sports and testing schedule, you would bite down and feel a crunch.  The visual of a half dangling bread tie outside of your mouth and half in was mortifying to any teenager but it did make you chuckle a little too – just on the inside.  At some point I began to roll with the punches – and declare “oh, that’s my dad,  just trying to be funny”. I learned to always check my sandwich before devouring it but, then the day I would ease up and forget, it would be there again. Uncanny sense of timing.

Overnight Beach Field Trip

Overnight Beach Field Trip

Libby is on an overnight beach field trip with her school. An event she has been looking forward to since 1st grade.  They travel as a collective group, explore battleships, marine biology, spending countless hours with each other and bunker down at a campsite.  Her enthusiasm was contagious, at first how exciting, wonder what it will be like, but then I heard a report on the camp food as being described as “wonderfully delicious” and thought maybe this trip was being over sold.  We all became excited for her, the hope of something new and unexpected.

The Unexpected Surprise!

The Unexpected Surprise!

The overnight bags were packed for a solid week in advance.  Double – triple checking constantly. Water Shoes – check – Sweatshirts – check – Pillow – check – Camera, Money, Outfits and Sleeping Bag – check! As I tripped on the overflowing duffle bag and backpack for days, I thought, what could I leave in her bag that would remind her of us. Some moms leave loving notes or pictures…… some leave threatening reminders “to behave”……. I had decided, I was leaving my loving note in the form of a snake / serpent, tucked in her dark sleeping bag- sure to evoke a shrilling scream as she placed her tiny legs inside to sleep. It was also a reminder that when she laid down to close her eyes she had comfort  knowing, we can’t be with her physically but she’s always on our mind.

Life is full of unexpected surprises and last night as my youngest and I lay there and wonder if Libby had “discovered” her love surprise and if she had, why we couldn’t hear a ear piercing scream all the way in Raleigh, my phone beeped with an email.  Here was our unexpected surprise…. the FDA has issued a recall for the DBS (deep brain stimulator) cap manufactured by Medtronic‘s.  Seriously, a recall? We JUST had the surgery… how can this be? It’s not like taking your car in to have an airbag replaced.  There are no “loaners” to request.  I am not sure to date what our path will be to make the correction, but it takes me back to my family and the lessons they taught and we hope to teach, of expecting the unexpected and trying to roll with the punches.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-05-02/medtronic-s-deep-brain-stimulation-device-cited-by-fda-for-flaws