Whisper 1.25

Years pass. Our lives settle into simplicity. We read. We play. We eat. We sleep. I grow my garden. We watch leaves fall and snow pile and melt again in the spring rain. We celebrate birthdays. Dante visits at night, after Marigold sleeps. I’m happy: for years on end, I am peaceful and happy.

And when I turn around, it’s another birthday, and the next day, Marigold will be going to school.

I throw her a big party, and her Uncle Frank comes dressed like a Futuristic Cowboy Crime-Fighter with running shoes.


“This is the biggest cake I’ve ever had,” Marigold tells Joe MacDuff.

“But is it the best?” he asks.

“Yuppers,” she replies.


“Mom! Great cake!” she calls to me.

I’m worried about Hetal Anjali. Her mom, Jin, passed on not too long ago, and I’m not sure how Hetal is holding up. She’s never been the most stable. She and her mom weren’t that close, but I’ve heard that sometimes makes it harder to lose a parent.


But Hetal seems to be hanging in there OK. We share some small talk, and she’s one of the last to leave. It was a great party.

“You ready for your first day of school tomorrow, Bunny?” I ask Marigold.

“Can I take Riley?” Marigold asks.

“The teacher said big toys should stay home, unless they’re for a special show and tell. You can take Lamber in your backpack, and Riley will stay here with me. We’ll bake cookies to welcome you when you come home.”

Marigold sits on the floor and snuggles Riley.

“It’s OK, Ri,” she says. “You’ll be so busy having fun with Mom you won’t even notice I’m gone. And don’t worry about me. Mom, do I have to go to school?” she asks.


“Yeah,” I say. “I think so. At least give it a try. We can talk about it as we go along, and if it absolutely doesn’t work for you, we’ll find an alternative. But I really think you’ll like it. You’ll meet friends your age. And you’ll get to go on field trips and learn things!”

“I can learn things at home,” she says. “But I’ll give it a try. Do you think I’ll like my teacher?”

“I do! And even better, I think your teacher will like you!”


I tuck her in, and she falls asleep while I read to her.

I am amazed at how she’s grown.


It’s strange to think back that there was ever a time when she wasn’t with me. I think about how my life felt ungrounded and rootless before she came. I was a pinball ricocheting off random meaningless events, and nothing connected, nothing fit.

Now, everything fits.


Everything has a purpose now, a meaning, and that meaning is Marigold, my daughter.


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Aimless: Birthday Rambles


The solar return offers a chance to look back and look ahead.

This is the day of my solar return, and so my thoughts ramble back through the year.

It was a challenging year, personally and astrologically. I lost a few friends (though I gained a few more!), and I’ve been moving through an uncomfortable and restricting astrological transit.


Sometimes this year I felt under attack by what I loved most!

For the past seven months, Saturn’s been square my natal Moon and Venus, which are opposite each other in my natal chart. As the moon is the ruler of Cancer, my sun sign, and Venus is the ruler of Taurus, my rising sign, my energy flows through the pathways of these two planets.

So when Saturn passes square, the expression of my energy for communicating, writing, creating, relating, and even living is restricted. Add to this that Neptune is currently conjunct my natal Moon and opposite Venus, so there is a lot of extra numinous energy wanting to flow through these two channels. I often thought of river levees and sap running through constricted cells.


Structure and growth side by side in a forest… it can be a good thing, right?

During the first pass, I found myself resisting everything. As this came to my attention, I developed the mantra, “Don’t resist the resistance!” I suppose it helped a little bit, as the internal structures where shifting and being reformed.

During the second direct pass, roughly a week ago, I was given a direct lesson and some new tools. The lesson involved trauma. One evening, I found myself feeling uncomfortably anxious, which is not a common state for me. As I felt the anxiety increase, the words came, “You are reliving past trauma.” Understanding that this was what was happening, I breathed my way through the experience and calmness came within twenty minutes or so. I had never thought of myself as one who’d experienced trauma, yet for the next few days, I realized that, like most of us living on this planet, I have.

In one of those beautiful gifts of synchronicity, a few days later, I learned that Doreen Virtue and her publisher, Hay House, were making available free e-book versions of Virtue’s Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle, a book that provides techniques to heal from past trauma. (Later note: the limited time e-book give-away was part of a promotion for an online class offered by Virtue. The book is no longer available for free.)

Reading the first third of this book prompted a shift in me: Virtue discusses the brain chemistry and hormonal changes that occur after trauma and the ways that people become addicted to these stress chemicals and hormones. That’s when they crave drama and fear boredom. Understanding this opened up space so that I could find my way back to peace.

She offers, too, useful tips for difficult relationships we have with others who have experienced trauma:

  1. Have compassion.
  2. Don’t take it personally.
  3. Take care of yourself.
  4. Know that you can’t fix or change the other.
  5. Be a good role model.

(Source: 5 Healthy Ways to Deal with Difficult People in Your Life – Note: this video is also no longer available for free.)

This week, leading up to my solar return, I’ve been practicing these techniques, and I like the way they make me feel: powerful, calm, loving, and peaceful.


And when you feel good, you can laugh!

In a few months, Saturn will pass for the third time through this direct square, and then it will continue its course, freeing up the Moon and Venus energy pathways.  I hope that during the third pass, I’m able to integrate what I’ve learned–both about the structure of resistance and about trauma–so that the lessons of this transit become part of me.


Integration: just look to nature to see how it happens.

And what will the new year bring? Once Saturn releases my energy, then Neptune’s gifts will flow unhindered. I’m open for a year of music, art, intuition, dreams, and imagination. It promises to be a busy year for me professionally, too.


I no longer feel under attack.

The solar return offers an opportunity to set intentions. Here are mine:

  1. Continue reading and writing SimLit.
  2. Continue my involvement with the Simming community through Book Club, Reading Circles, and the Kindness Bench for SimLit Writers and Storytellers.
  3. Play cello. Play piano.
  4. Be the best partner I can be to my best lifetime (and beyond) partner.
  5. Be mindful in daily actions.
  6. Do my best with the professional projects that have come and will come my way.
  7. Have compassion for everyone, myself included.
  8. Practice yoga. Walk.
  9. Treat everyone with the kindness, patience, and understanding I would extend to a best friend, while being my own best friend.
  10. Greet each morning, each moment, each challenge, and the end of each day with gratitude.

Could it be that gratitude is always enough?

Another year, another day, another moment: Vadish.

Wonder 23



Another birthday. Dad would always ask me on my birthday, “What did you learn this year, baby girl?”

What did I learn, this year? Oh, so much! And it’s what I’ve known all along. Family is more than those under the same roof: family is made of those individuals we move through time with, sharing affection the way we share meals, jokes, stories, and songs.

Berry spent the afternoon learning to play “Happy Birthday” on the guitar.

“It ain’t easy!” she said. “This song is so dang complicated. Let’s sing Frere Jacques instead! I got that one down. Or Down in the Valley.


As soon as Charlie got home, he texted all our friends to let them know the party was starting.

“By the way, Mae,” he said, “Grades are in, and I got an A!” Even more reason to celebrate!


Charlie’s grandparents came from the island. We didn’t get a chance to visit much. Carlo spent most of his time out in side garden with his neighbors from the island.


Every birthday, my dad would also ask me, “What did you give this year?”

What did I give? It doesn’t even feel like giving when it just comes out naturally.


I gave Charlie a lot of time.

Berry and I have stuck by our original decision to let him pursue his interests. He’s become a musician. We gave him so many days and nights when he could practice all day. Now he’s composing. Given a choice, he’ll always turn to his violin.

When I hear his talent, it would be so easy to pressure him to be a professional musician, but Berry and I have both decided that we’ll just support him in going the direction that he wants to go.


My dad’s third birthday question was, “What do you dream for the coming year?”

I dream of warmth. This love inside me–I’m not damming it up. This year, I dream of letting this warmth spread like sunshine, wherever it wants to go.


I watched Berry meander through the party crowds, gathering the dirty dishes. When she’s helping, she’s happy. That’s one way  of spreading the warmth.


Paolo’s mom made a side comment to me in the kitchen. “Seems to be an abundance of young single men here, mãe de meu neto.”


I guess she didn’t like to see her son, the father of her grandson, there with our other single guy friends.


“To my sister!” Berry called as the party was winding down. Everyone cheered, and I felt, suddenly and surprisingly, shy. I’m usually one to just laugh and deflect the attention. But feeling all eyes on me, including the eyes of Paolo’s parents, made me feel like a five-year-old again, and I darted off to the bedroom, hoping for a few moments alone to collect myself.


I ran into Paolo instead–or rather, into his arms.

“Mae,” he whispered, “you are to me always meu Mae.”

“Can you stay awhile?” I asked Paolo. Suddenly, I had this wish for us to be a family, and I could hardly wait for the guests to leave, so it would just be Charlie, Paolo, Berry, and me.


Paolo and Charlie talked about music–not futebol, but Berlioz.

I love to watch Charlie talk with his dad. I enjoy tracing the genetic patterns, seeing my dad’s nose on a face shaped like Paolo’s. But even more, I love the warmth in Charlie’s eyes.


Charlie’s stayed best friends with his dad. I wonder if they’d be this close if Paolo had lived with us during Charlie’s childhood, instead of just down the street. Because Paolo had his own home and his own life, separate from ours, I sensed a respect and a tenderness that existed between the two that the pressures of daily life never had a chance to erode.


And that same tenderness exists between me and Paolo, too. When I don’t have years of resentment built up over piles of dirty laundry, or morning breath, or forgotten bills, all I have instead for the father of our son is gratitude and love. Feeling this is the best birthday gift.


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