Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2017, CampNaNoWriMo, CampNaNoWriMo 2017, Challenges and Contests, July CampNaNoWriMo 2017, Life Writing, Parenting, Round Three 2017, Unschooling, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

Preparing for New Growth; July 19, 2017

For the last twelve years, I’ve not-so-secretly dreaded July 13-25.

In 2003, the year Elijah was born and died, life was in limbo. We were afraid for our baby’s life, and didn’t yet know how significant those 12 days would become – that they would mark out an extremely abbreviated lifetime.

In 2004, Lise was 5 days old when those days started. Needless to say, I had other things on my mind and in my heart than the calendar.

Since then, though…

It’s been hard, every year.

Until this one.

It’s not that I don’t miss my baby who never had the chance to grow up. I’m aware of this 12 days, and I know what they mean in my life…

But I’m alive. WE’RE alive, as a family…and we’re an especially busy family, right now:

  • It’s homeschool reporting time. I’ve got Lise’s test scores to send to the district, and IHIPs to draft and finalize this month.

  • In addition to the weekly local farmer’s market where we have a table this summer, this weekend Jim and I will be working a charity food event for his employer, and we’ve secured permission from him to also offer his sauces, which will open another new market for us.

  • I’ve got a short story to revise and submit by month’s end, and, as always, writing and fitness goals, and a home to tend.

It turns out that when life is full of things that nourish myself and those I love, there’s less space available for dwelling on the tragedies that are part of life.

I’m just too focused on these various leaps of faith to sink into the deep well of anguish and “what-ifs” for which there never have been answers…my focus is more on the here-and-now of life.

Is this what acceptance feels like…knowing that some things can’t be, that they will affect me more powerfully at some times than others – and still going on with the daily stuff of living, simply because I and the rest of my beloveds are alive?

What do you think?

 

Drafting:

  • CampNoWriMo: Write 66,666 words (average 2,151/day) of Still Nameless (Kifo Island #8). 38,798/66,666 words; a bit less than 1K from Tuesday’s goal. Primary goal; On target plus a bit.

Naomi’s regard was intense, and a little threatening; Ophelia went back to staring at the pizza, her stomach twisting as though Pandora’s creatures were whizzing around in there, banging against the sides and stirring up the acid.

  • Blogposts: Write new material at least 2 hours/week. Continue on with series in progress/JuNoWriMo words. 15 min/2 hours. Secondary goal; progress.

Revising:

  • Blogposts: Revise JuNoWriMo blogposts one hour each week. Secondary goal back-burnered till August.

Social Media:

  • Other Platforms: Post twice weekly to my Facebook Writer page; and once weekly to Instagram, and Pinterest.  Complete Patreon profile and launch. 1/ 2 FB page. Lots of pinning! Secondary goal; good progress.

  • Continue in Twitter #writingcrew and #AllStarTrek sprints/chats regularly. Dabble in other social media (LinkedIn, Medium, Quora, Wattpad) if/as desired. Stretch goal; good progress.

Business:

  • Complete my writing business plan using this excellent article by Angela Ackerman as a guide. Step 4/7 in progress from June. Primary goal.

  • Assist my Accomplice with his labeling/branding/platform/marketing (if this is scary for me; it’s completely alien to him). Got the PayPal Business account and new email/Google identity set up, all sauces in Facebook Business Page Shop; which is now open for business! Also set up Pinterest/Instagram accounts, and failed at setting up Twitter. Dipped toe into website/blog. Secondary goal; a dizzying amount of progress!

Tending goals:

  • Hometending: Spend 30 minutes at least 5x/week in mindful cleaning and/or yardtending; draft kids’ 2017-2018 IHIPs (Individualized Home Instruction Plans); complete testing submission and reporting; deal with subscriptions and other business that tends to get pushed aside. Hometending: 1/5. Received Lise’s test scores in mail Tuesday; will copy and send to district this week.

  • Selftending: Spend time with my beloveds, friends, and myself; get at least one hour of physical activity 5x/week, and two hours of strenuous activity weekly (including Baby Steps to 5K); meditate and journal 8x/week. Activity: 1/5; Strenuous: .5/2 hours; Meditation/journaling 3/8.

Kait Nolan’s  ROW80  

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life!

ROW Along, or Cheer Us On!
We’re on Facebook, too!

Posted in Life Writing, Parenting, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Unschooling, Weekend Coffee Share

The Practicing Mindfulness Edition: #weekendcoffeeshare and #SoCS

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I thought I’d get to this post earlier in the day, but that earlier in the day was instead filled with the ever-present Other Things.

You see, my Accomplice is starting a business, I am engaged in goals around that, my writing (it’s July #CampNaNoWriMo, and I’m writing a book without a plot for the first time in a few years, so the writing feels more…vivid than it has of late), and learning about marketing, platform and design. More, my daughter became a teenager a week ago, and my son will be going on a camping trip out of state with friends. He’s visited out of state friends before, but never for camping.

My kids are growing up, and their parents’ horizons are expanding too. For all of us, this is a time of exciting change and shifting. They are becoming adults. Jeremiah will be 16 in early September. He’s been studying the driver’s manual and the state licensing laws already, because he’s a practical, safety-minded person who also happens to love doing research on things that interest him.

We’re at that point where many families are dealing with “teenage rebellion.” As a matter of fact, I was told be a family member, back when the kids were 8 and 5, that “all teenagers rebel, even if only a little.” Because we don’t impose rules on our kids, and haven’t since they were 7 and 4, I was assured their teenage years were going to be disastrous.

And they certainly could be. I wasn’t a very nice mother, before I made a conscious, and very difficult to enact, decision that I needed to become a kinder, gentler, more respectful version of myself.

My kids, shortly after this change, referred to my former self as “Mean Mommy.” As in, “Back when you were a Mean Mommy.”

That hurt, to hear them say it. It still hurts that it was true, even though it’s been years since I lived up to that title.

But that’s a litlte off topic. I wanted to say, that if I had gone on down that Mean Mommy path I was on, I would almost certainly be in big trouble right about now. I’ve spawned a fifteen year old who is about 6’3” tall – and burly about the chest and shoulders, like his father – only bigger.

If I had made myself his enemy, way back then when he was still much smaller than me, I might be in very deep trouble now. Instead, I have an almost-a-man son with whom a maintain a close and connected relationship, even as he stretches toward independence. We don’t just tolerate one another, or have a state of truce.

We enjoy one another’s company. We take long walks together, where he shares his thoughts, and, sometimes, asks me for advice or opinions on his plans for the future. He’s recently discovered an interest in in local history, and we’ve visited several significant sites together.

I know that if I need to tell him I disagree or have serious plans about something he wants to do, that he’ll consider my opinion – because I’ve earned his trust and his respect.

As I said above, it wasn’t an easy change. The life I had as a child offers little in the way of positive examples, beyond that my parents did foster a sense of curiosity and a desire for learning, and they could be goofy and loving.

But the reality includes the shadow of abuse. Physical violence, screaming and shouting, inconsistent and sometimes harsh punishment, emotional manipulation and abandonment, and intentional, systemic humiliation were all a part of my childhood, and, at one point, I was very close to bequeathing them to my own children as their birthright.

I didn’t decide one day to change the entire way I raised my children, and then do it. The process of deciding took nearly a year. That was followed by a great deal of research and learning.

At first, I had to be mindful every moment – every thought, gesture, and word. I made a tremendous number of mistakes and missteps. I relapsed more than once, falling back on those old patterns I’d known since I was a small child.

If I hadn’t practiced mindfulness, I wouldn’t be here, wouldn’t be the mother of two teensI know I can guide without controlling. Whose judgment I trust, within the parameters of the maturity they’ve attained.

When I think about the way life might have been, I’m profoundly thankful that I chose mindfulness instead.

The post is a joint venture of Stream of Consciousness Saturday, hosted by Linda G.Hill, and the #weekendcoffeeshare, back at its original home at Part-Time Monster Blog.

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2017, CampNaNoWriMo, Challenges and Contests, July CampNaNoWriMo 2017, Life Writing, Round Three 2017, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom

Growth, Transferred; July 12, 2017

I’m skipping my usual cheery greeting today.

It’s not that I’m not happy to see you – it’s more that tomorrow is the kind of day that jars with a flippant approach.

Tomorrow, our second child, Elijah James, would be 14 years old. Instead, he died at 12 days, in the hospital NICU where he spent his entire life.

Somewhere, his heart valves open and close in the chest of a teenaged girl we’ve never met. I hope that heart is full of far more joy than sorrow. I’m glad our son’s death meant a better life for her. 

At the same time – he was my baby boy, and I watched him die. Time smooths some of the edges, but it doesn’t take the pain away. Nothing can. Being a writer, sometimes I pour that pain into stories. I’m doing that this month, with my CampNaNoWriMo novel, Still Nameless.

The next days will be – emotional. I don’t know yet what direction the emotion will take, or exactly where this story is going, either. That’s yet to be discovered.

Both will be as they will be.

 

Drafting:

  • CampNoWriMo: Write 66,666 words (average 2,151/day) of Still Nameless (Kifo Island #8). 25,124/66,666 words. Primary goal; caught up, and moved most of a day’s count ahead.
  • Blogposts: Write new material at least 2 hours/week. Continue on with series in progress/JuNoWriMo words. 20 min/2 hours; worked on ROW80 post intros. Secondary goal.

Plotting:

  • Still Nameless (Kifo Island #8):Use a hybrid form of The Writer’s Coloring Book  and The Story Toolkit to finish plotting this novel. 21,064 plotting words; Antagonist #1 in progress; Step 5/22 (TST); just need to do coloring materials for TWCB. I’m debating setting this goal aside, until and unless I get stuck. Right now, I’m finding the writing is flowing without going further. Primary goal.

Revising:

  • Sea Changes (Kifo Island #1): Organize the manuscript – one of the cats dumped it a week or two ago. Most of manuscript organized; missing some pages. I found some pages; not all of them, but close. Will reprint missing pages, and call it good. Stretch goal; a little progress.

Social Media:

  • Other Platforms: Post twice weekly to my Facebook Writer page; and once weekly to Instagram  and Pinterest. Complete Patreon profile and launch. Posted a photo of Chef Bluebeard at the farmer’s market to Instagram (see below). Secondary goal; some progress.

  • Continue in Twitter #writingcrew and #AllStarTrek sprints/chats regularly. Dabble in other social media (LinkedIn, Medium, Quora, Wattpad) if/as desired. Sprints and chats each day applicable; read a bit on Quora. Stretch goal; on target.

Business:

  • Assist my Accomplice with labeling/ branding/ platform/ marketing (if this is scary for me; it’s completely alien to him). New labels; new signage; posted to Facebook Business Page twice. Farmer’s market on Monday; we more than qudrupled our sales, garnered a lot of interest, and picked up some tips to look into over the coming week or two. Secondary goal; great progress.

Tending goals:

  • Hometending: Spend 30 minutes at least 5x/week in mindful cleaning and/or yardtending; draft kids’ 2017-2018 IHIPs (Individualized Home Instruction Plans); complete testing submission and reporting; deal with subscriptions and other business that tends to get pushed aside. Hometending 2/5. Jeremiah’s test scores are in; he easily surpassed the 33% minimum required scores. Will submit to school district later today. Miah chose to attend Unschoolers Rock the Campground with friends. I updated our info on the database to reflect this.

  • Selftending: Spend time with my beloveds, friends, and myself; get at least one hour of physical activity 5x/week, and two hours of strenuous activity weekly (including Baby Steps to 5K); meditate and journal 8x/week. Activity: 2/5; Strenuous: 1 /2 hours; Meditation/journaling 3/8.

  • Paying It Forward: Finish back business for local crit group; and one chapter/week for Spellfire’s Kiss and Stained Blood. Working through a questionnaire for local crit group member. Next chapter of Spellfire and a story chapter I promised Fallon before I began Stained have been highlighted for notation once questionnaire is complete.

Kait Nolan’s ROW80 

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life!

ROW Along, or Cheer Us On!
We’re on Facebook, too!

Chef Bluebeard and some of his flavor enhancement sauces, July 10, 2017.
Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2017, CampNaNoWriMo 2017, Challenges and Contests, July CampNaNoWriMo 2017, Life Writing, Round Three 2017, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom

Rampant Growth; July 9, 2017

Hi there!

Yesterday was my daughter’s thirteenth birthday, which means we now have two teens in the house, and both of our children are on the cusp of adulthood. Eight weeks from yesterday, our son will turn sixteen.

I know everybody says it, but it’s true. If you have older offspring, I’m sure you already know. If you have younger ones, particularly wee ones, and it seems like you’ll be inundated in the immediacy of their needs forever –

Tempus fugit. Especially, maybe, when it comes to children.

My son towers over me by nearly a head (and I’m 5’9”, so it’s not like I’m easily towered over!), and now Lise is up to my eyes. It looks like I’ll be the shortest person in my family before much longer…

With the obvious growing up happening, I have much more time for my own pursuits than I did a few years back, and I can look forward to the time when most of mine will be my own, to do with as I want…

There was something wonderful about those little-kid years, and I know many parents yearn to have them back as kids grow up. But me?

I’m really enjoying taking a step back and seeing what they choose to do with their lives. I love being with them here at home, or out and about, and I love knowing that, when they’re off doing their own things, I have more freedom to do mine, too. It’s a different type of relationship, as they outgrow the need for their parents to parent actively, and become the adult versions of the babies I rocked and nursed.

If you have or have had teens, what is/was your favorite part?

Drafting:

  • Blogposts: Write new material at least 2 hours/week. Continue on with series in progress/JuNoWriMo words. 50 min/2 hours. This didn’t really take hold; homeschooling stuff took precedence. I did my WIPpet Wednesday and a combined#SoCS/ #wwekendcoffeeshare  post Secondary goal; some progress.

Plotting:

  • Still Nameless (Kifo Island #8):Use a hybrid form of The Writer’s Coloring Book and The Story Toolkit to finish plotting this novel. 21,064 plotting words; Antagonist #1 in progress; Step 6/22 (TST); 21,064 words. Just need to do coloring materials for TWCB. Primary goal; solid progress.
  • Play with fan fiction as desired; because Trip and T’Pol say so. Wrote 5 paragraphs for WIPpet Wednesday, here. Stretch goal.

Revising:

  • Sea Changes (Kifo Island #1): Organize the manuscript – one of the cats dumped it a week or two ago. Most of manuscript organized; missing some pages. I found some pages; not sure if that’s all of them, but looks like it’s close.Will check early this week. Stretch goal.

Submitting:

  • Miss Spider and Mister Fly”: Complete any details/authorize copy edits needed for publication. I’ve received the edits; read through, and simmering. I’ve got till the end of the month, but I don’t want to use all of it. I’ll give myself the rest of the week to simmer my first impressions, and work on revisions Sunday – Tuesday (this week, just noodling with freewriting ideas and mind mapping the biggest issue the editor had). Primary goal; some progress.

Social Media:

  • Blogging: Polish/package/schedule/publish relevant blogposts to return to restore/maintain regular blogging schedule for July. Slow, gradual start; posted to WIPpet Wednesday. Primary goal; some progress.

  • Other Platforms: Post twice weekly to my Facebook Writer page; and once weekly to Instagram,  and Pinterest. Complete Patreon profile and launch. Secondary goal.

  • Continue in Twitter #writingcrew and #AllStarTrek sprints/chats regularly. Dabble in other social media (LinkedIn, Medium, Quora, Wattpad) if/as desired. Twitter stuff every day; Answered two or three questions on Quora; read more. Stretch goal; good progress.

Business:

  • Assist my Accomplice with his labeling/branding/platform/marketing (if this is scary for me; it’s completely alien to him). Printed labels; discussion. Secondary goal; great progress.

Tending goals:

  • Hometending: Spend 30 minutes at least 5x/week in mindful cleaning and/or yardtending; draft kids’ 2017-2018 IHIPs (Individualized Home Instruction Plans); complete testing submission and reporting; deal with subscriptions and other business that tends to get pushed aside. Received confirmation of LOIs; that gives me four weeks to complete the IHIPs; will work on these Wednesday- Saturdays, till submitted. Hometending complete; 5/5. All testing completed; tests mailed for scoring. Canceled our reservation for Unschoolers Rock the Campground – with the car issues, we just can’t do it as a fanily this year, although Miah has been invited to tag along with friends and chose to do that.

  • Selftending: Spend time with my beloveds, friends, and myself; get at least one hour of physical activity 5x/week, and two hours of strenuous activity weekly (including Baby Steps to 5K); meditate and journal 8x/week. Activity: 5/5; Strenuous: 1 hour; 40 min/2 hours; Meditation/journaling 7/8.

Kait Nolan’s  ROW80  –

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life!

ROW Along, or Cheer Us On!
We’re on Facebook, too!

On her twelfth birthday….wasn’t that just last week?!
Posted in Just for Fun!, Life Writing, Parenting, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekend Coffee Share, Writing in Freedom

The Time Plays Tricks Edition: an #SoCS #weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that it’s quarter after 9, Saturday night, and I’m just getting around to setting up this post. I’d say that I wrote it in my journal about twelve hours ago, and that the hours between have been filled with productivity and celebration…in a low key, as befits the wishes of the object of the festivities….but, maybe it’s best if I just pour the drinks, and let you read for yourself…

Age 3 months – already brightening our lives.

July 8, 2017 –

In less than an hour, now, my daughter will be a teenager.

It doesn’t quite seem possible.

Wasn’t it only a couple of years ago that we brought home our sleepy little yellow-tinged bundle, and laid her in her bassinet in the living room?

Where, shortly after that, her brother, not quite three, almost smothered her because he thought she needed a pillow, and couldn’t figure out how to get it under her head?

Has it really been twelve years since her first birthday, when she’d just (finally) gotten her first tooth, and could speak in complete sentences?

Eleven years since the doctor’s question, “Can she say at least six words?” came only a few days after her question,”Mommy, what kind of medicine is this?”

 

Christmas time silliness with her big brother.

Ten years since she could tell you what DNA stood for, and even make a joke of it – “deoxyribonucleic BACID!” – and could quote Shakespeare, but still said, “aminal”, “Psghetti”; “allgalator”, and “NimM’s”?

Nine years since she turned four, and first met Sheet, who would be her constant companion for years to come?

Eight years since she proved herself a natural horsewoman in the making (who later outgrew that passion)??

A day at the races; age 5. Can you tell she had a good time?

Seven years since she lost her first tooth, and made a new best friend?

Six years since she launched her first cottage industry, selling art with her best friend at our local unschooling conference?

Five years since she learned to read – naturally, and quite suddenly?

Four years since she wrote her first poem, largely by accident?

Three years since she attained her first decade, and rediscovered her passion for Littlest Pet Shop characters?

Sometimes she needs to stop and smell the irises….

Two years since she got her American Girl doll, Grace, after half a lifetime of choosing something else at the last moment, when the opportunity came?

Already a year since she started blossoming into the first flush of womanhood, expanding her horizons and refining her passions?

Time plays tricks, I tell you.

Here’s this girl who comes up to my eyes now, who is lovely and mature and silly and moody and still the Force of Nature she’s always been…

Self portrait of a lovely young woman in the making, in her last days of being twelve.

And I know how she got here, and I can do the math….she is 13.

But, somehow, the time elapsed between her arrival at 9:33 on a Thursday morning in 2004, and this moment – 9:02 on a Saturday morning in 2017 – seems like a sustained, mostly happy blur, carrying us along as time works its tricky magic.

Today. Lise is 13 years old – and I am a proud, amazed, and slightly bewildered mother, shaking my head at the perfectly normal tricks time plays.

This post was written for Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday  where today’s prompt is “ick” – by itself or as part of another word. And #weekendcoffeeshare, hosted by Emily at Nerd in the Brain. To learn more about either challenge, click on its title, or the associated icon to beam on over.

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2017, CampNaNoWriMo, Challenges and Contests, July CampNaNoWriMo 2017, Life Writing, Round Three 2017, Unschooling, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom

Historic Growth; July 5, 2017

Hi there!
This morning’s journal entry:

Yesterday was amazing!

Miah and I went to the July 4 festivities at Schuyler Mansion – his first visit there – and then to Panera and to shop a bit before we came home.

Then, I got a migraine. That was a little less amazing…

Between the two, I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped…but I did get at least a start on many of my goals, and, other than a laundry run where I could read or write (I’ll have wifi), I don’t have any more away missions scheduled this week.

I may have to learn to accept that things move slower, and my focus is more diffuse, when I am out and about, “filling the well.”

Truth is, we had a lovely time, I took in a lot of inspiration and detail, bonded with my almost-a-man teen, and restored my soul…

That’s worth a few unfinished goals, any day! =)

How do you handle balancing outside activities and writing goals?

Drafting:

  • CampNoWriMo: Write 66,666 words (average 2,151/day) of Still Nameless (Kifo Island #8).  7,169/66,666 words. Primary goal; a bit below target, since I didn’t write on Tuesday.

Plotting:

  • Still Nameless (Kifo Island #8):Use a hybrid form of The Writer’s Coloring Book  and The Story Toolkit to finish plotting this novel. 18,979 plotting words; began Antagonist #1; Step 6/22 in progress (TST); just need to do coloring materials for TWCB. Primary goal; solid progress.

Social Media:

  • Blogging: Polish/package/schedule/publish relevant blogposts to return to restore/maintain regular blogging schedule for July. Missed Monday post; began prepping ROW80 Round Three goals and this post. Primary goal; a bit below target.

  • Continue in Twitter #writingcrew and #AllStarTrek sprints/chats regularly. Dabble in other social media (LinkedIn, Medium, Quora, Wattpad) if/as desired. Sprint Monday; chats Mon-Tues. Answered two or three questions on Quora; read more. Stretch goal; on target.

Business:

  • Assist my Accomplice with his labeling/branding/platform/marketing (if this is scary for me; it’s completely alien to him). Added to Facebook Business Page; discussed posting, signage, and sales. Scheduled Thursday as a focus day for moving forward. Secondary goal; great progress.

Tending goals:

  • Hometending: Spend 30 minutes at least 5x/week in mindful cleaning and/or yardtending; draft kids’ 2017-2018 IHIPs (Individualized Home Instructin Plans) and complete testing submission and reporting; deal with subscriptions and other business that tends to get pushed aside. Hometending: 2/5 (and some on Tuesday); brainstormed a bit for IHIPs; Lise testing completed; Miah in progress.

  • Selftending: Spend time with my beloveds, friends, and myself; get at least one hour of physical activity 5x/week, and two hours of strenuous activity weekly (including Baby Steps to 5K); meditate and journal 8x/week. Time w/writing group, all beloveds, and myself; 1/5 activity – 27 minutes/ 2 hours strenuous (BSto5K); meditation/journaling 3/8.

Kait Nolan’s ROW80  –

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life!

ROW Along, or Cheer Us On!
We’re on Facebook, too!

Ink-smudged copy of the American Declaration of Independence, Schuyler Mansion, Albany, NY July 4, 2017.

 

Posted in Challenges and Contests, JuNoWriMo, Just for Fun!, Life Writing, Parenting, Unschooling, Weekend Coffee Share, Writing in Freedom

The Countdown to Thirteen Edition: #weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that we’re on the final countdown to a major event – the girl I’m watching Gravity Falls with is in on her last month of being a preteen. So, today, once we’re settled in with our beverages of choice, I’d like to take you on a little journey into the life and times of Annalise (who, these days, goes by simply Lise).

It seems like just yesterday she was a baby, wearing the bunting that was mine when I was a baby. Or nine months old, speaking her first words and giving us a hint of how articulate she was going to be in a matter of months. One of her first words was, “happened.” She used it for an impressive variety of purposes. It could mean something was funny, broken, inexplicable to her inexperienced mind, or that she wanted me to think she had nothing at all to do with whatever had gone wrong…


Or she’s fourteen months, throwing herself on the floor while yelling, “I’m FRUSTRATED!” It took me a while to understand that being able to name the emotion she was feeling didn’t mean she had any capacity at all to deal with the emotion rationally.

She might be two, able to quote Shakespeare or repeat anything we challenged her with. She might be giving the chemical formula of DNA – almost: “deoxyribonucleic BACID”. From a very young age, she had a facility for wordplay that has been a constant ever since. She brought me a folded piece of wrapping paper and “read me a story.” And yet, she said, ‘aminal. Algalator. Psghetti.’ like so many other tiny children. The combination was absolutely endearing, and I missed those mispronunciations when they were outgrown.

She might be three, staring up at the airplane that didn’t answer her pleas of, “Wait for me!” The to me, and the words that revealed a broken heart a mommy couldn’t fix. “Mommy, I’ll never really be able to fly, will I?” How hard to have to tell her she wouldn’t. And how surprising to hear her, all alone in her room that same year, spelling out “A-N-N-A-L-I-S-E”, and seeing her writing it – by herself, when no one had “taught” her.



Or at five, taking her first lessons in Parelli Natural Horsemanship, fearlessly leading animals many times her size, or directing them with a stick, learning their habits and how to befriend them.

Or making her first steps into independence at age 6, at an unschooling conference. Losing her first tooth.

The world opening up at 8, when she went from non-reading to reading at warp speed.

At nine, when she wrote her first poem, without really meaning to, and could read pretty much anything.

And then a whirlwind of growing up and up and up, and all the things that happen as girls transform, as if by magic, into women.

Yes – she’s transforming. New curves, a face grown more beautiful than cute, a fresh maturity in the way she sees things….

And yet, she’s still wonderfully a child. Not quite ready to be an adult just yet.

I’ve been here before, in another form. Her older brother is closing in on sixteen, now – but it wasn’t so long ago that he was where his sister is now – just at the threshold to the foyer that leads to adulthood, with all the possibility ahead, and the inner stormy chaos of hormones and physical and intellectual growth that is greater than at any point since infancy.

It’s an interesting and sometimes challenging time. But we all survived it with my son – and learned some things along the way. Even though it’s different, and maybe even more chaotic with all the added extras of impending womanhood, we have learned a few things that are easing the transition for all of us.

Self-portrait by Lise Burton, June 2017


And I have the example of that boy, now very near to manhood. He’s – impressive. Seriously. Helpful, kind, thoughtful, and testing out the waters of adulthood in ways that are, well, more and more adult.

No, I don’t think my daughter will be just like him when she moves into her teen years. But she will be her own kind of teen, and, eventually, her own kind of woman.

And there’s a magic in that.

This post is part of the #weekendcoffeeshare, hosted by #nerdinthebrain. Clicking the link will take you to more conversations – and please leave a comment in the box below, because it’s not a very good conversation if I’m the only one talking. =)

As you venture out on your way, I wish you a week that’s filled with all the joy you can imagine – and then a little more!