Good morning, Morning Stars,
This morning, while I was standing in the backyard on Chasewood Lane, watching the sun glisten on the dew and waiting for the beagles to take care of their beagle business, I reached my hand into the pocket of my jacket for warmth and my hand discovered three small hairbands, one green, one pink, and one shimmery pink. When I pulled them out of the pocket, I smiled and closed them in my palm, because the hairbands were little fuzzy reminders of how happy I am when I am with you. Then I squeezed them in my fist because they were reminders of how I am not with you and how much I miss you. It’s very hard not to be with you, and that’s putting it way too lightly. I am struggling through every day that I am apart from you. I have always been prone to feeling sad, but being apart from you and not knowing when and if we will ever be able to be together again is causing me to feel the worst sadness of my whole life. I feel just like an ocean of tears. I’m not saying that because I want to make you sad; I am telling you because I need you to know me and I need to share very honestly what this journey has been like for me so when you look back and think about what it has been/is like for you, you can have this knowledge to factor into the mix of your thoughts and feelings. It doesn’t feel bad to cry; it feels good because it’s relief for the heartache.
When was the first time you felt heartache? That feeling in your chest and stomach and neck and jaw that is tightness made of love and sadness– that’s what I call heartache. I know you felt profound heartache when I told you I was moving. We felt it together. And I know we felt it before I moved, when we just held onto each other and cried. I know that heartache has changed you because I know how heartache changed me as a child. Change is not always bad, nor is heartache, but my prayer is that you never feel overwhelmed by heartache. And my prayer is that someday we are all together, living in the same region, so that we all, including Momma Si, don’t have to feel so much heartache. As the days pass too slowly and sometimes too quickly without you, that is my prayer.
Heartache can be a very good teacher. Heartache teaches us to have compassion and to be kind and gentle to one another; Heartache teaches us to express love; Heartache teaches us to treasure the moments we spend with the ones with love. It’s amazing how much we all share in heartache. I know that all of the Masons, and many other people in our lives, share in our heartache, because they love us and they know how much we love each other.
I have been thinking about rainbows lately, and about the word “rainbow.” It has the word “rain” in it because it is made of rain. It is only something that our eyes can make, so it doesn’t necessarily exist independently– but we know it exists through our eyes. Isn’t that weird? What I mean is that human beings perceive color in a particular way. Not all other mammals and not all other species perceive this thing we call light in the same way. You should ask your Momma Si for an official lesson, because she teaches college students about visual perception, but I can talk to you about rainbows in a creative way. Human vision, for many people, grants the opportunity to see– to see things similarly and differently. It all has to do with perception. When we look at a rainbow, do you think I am seeing the very same rainbow you’re seeing, in the very same way? I could only know that if I could switch places with you and see through your eyes. As long as I am looking through my own eyes, and until I can take out my own eyes, I cannot see through anyone else’s eyes! That’s why each person’s perception is limited. But we know that human beings can, and do, see things very similarly, at times. One way we know that is that two people can see the same thing, separately, and reproduce an image of it that looks very much the same. Another example of how we know this is that two people can laugh at the same joke, which suggests they are hearing something similar. The best example I can think of is what happens with music– not only can people sing, or play, the same note or the same song; they can also create harmonies that go well together. Despite our differences, we are very much alike and we are together. That’s what Kermit the Frog called The Rainbow Connection!
Love is the best thing in the world because it is the thing that transcends everything that separates us. It is the thing that makes us one. To me, love is a rainbow. I say this because a rainbow is a phenomenon. A phenomenon is something spectacular that exists but that cannot fully be understood or explained. When we ask why a rainbow exists, someone might respond by telling us that a rainbow exists because moisture in the air is reflected, refracted, and dispersed in a way that for some reason produces a certain pattern, or spectrum, of colors to form and that takes the form of an arc. But why does it take the form of an arc? We can go on and on, trying to answer these questions, which is great, but it’s also good to honor that there is some mystery in all of it– in both how it happens and why it happens. Why does it rain, we might ask. Because of temperatures and moisture that exists in the atmosphere… because of condensation, evaporation, and precipitation… but, still, why does it rain? Sometimes people make up helpful stories about why things happen. I think it’s fun to do that. I would love for you to write the story of why it rains, or of why there are rainbows, using your imaginations. Science is important and so is storytelling; they should go together, in my opinion.
The ancient Greeks tried to understand things like rain and rainbows, and they used their creative minds to come up with stories to explain them. For instance, the Greeks believed there were these beings called Nephelae. They were thought of as “the nymphs of the clouds.” In other words, the Greeks thought there were watery spirits who drew water from the ocean in order to make the rain. They thought the ocean encircled the earth. Were such stories accurate as we understand rain today? No, not exactly; but they were not entirely inaccurate and they were very creative and intelligent when considered in their context. Drawing water from the ocean, does that sound like anything to you? Evaporation!
I wish that when I was in school learning about science and the weather, I would have had a teacher who tried to explain evaporation to me using the story of the nymphs! Maybe I wouldn’t have bombed the quiz on the water cycle if I could have drawn a picture of the nymphs drawing moisture from the ocean on the side of my paper. Let this be a little lesson to the two of you not simply rely on your teachers when it comes to learning: find ways of learning about concepts that are difficult for you by seeing them in another way or by using another language to speak about them. Your creativity and ability to find out your own way of learning will go a long way for you, in school and in life. Just think about what it would be like if Zeus, himself, came in to your classroom to teach you about the water cycle. That would be one heck of a class, and you would be learning about history, mythology, science, and creative thinking, all at the same time. When a teacher does something to help you learn, we call that “pedagogy.” And this particular example is pedagogy that uses performance and theatre! Such fun! Zeus was thought to rule over the gods and the heavens, as the god of thunder, rain, clouds, and lightning. I can imagine that a lesson from Zeus on the weather would be one hilarious lesson!
Personally, I would love to learn about rainbows from Iris, the goddess of rainbows, who was also a messenger to the gods. She was the daughter of a cloud nymph and a marine god, so it makes sense: clouds and water make daughters who rule rainbows. I also just read that Iris is depicted in art with gold wings and holding a jug of nectar; apparently she was also the cup-bearer of the gods! Pretty neat. I bet we could come up with a creative story out of that. We could use her sister Arke, who had iridescent wings but whose wings were torn by Zeus during a war! Imagine if Arke’s tears over her torn wing formed the rain-nectar that her sister, Iris, caught in her jug, and imagine that those nectar tears rose up out of Iris’s canteen, forming the rainbow. Then the rain would be sorrow and the rainbow would be love, the beautiful transformation of sorrow into beauty. Something to think about. I like it.
Back to your hairbands. They are my lucky charms, reminding me that the gold isn’t at the end of the rainbow– it is the rainbow. The two of you are my DOUBLE RAINBOW. They exist in nature, in you and in the sky.
Yesterday afternoon, Elanah, you and I had a chat on Facetime, and we talked a lot about rain. Well, we talked about sadness. About heartache and missing each other. You told me that you asked Momma Si if you could talk to that counselor at school again, because you have been missing me and feeling sad. I told you how glad I was that you would be able to have a counselor help you. You also told me that you have been crying, missing me, and that you look at the photo album of you and I that I gave you a lot. I asked if it makes you feel sad to look at it. You said it does. I asked you if it makes you feel happy sometimes, too, and you said, “Sometimes; sometimes I feel sad, sometimes happy.” I could feel the weight of your sadness, my baby, just by looking at your lips while you were talking to me. I could also feel it in my heart, aching, because I feel exactly as you feel. It’s that thing called heartache that makes us rainbows.
Another thing I told you was that I am going to try to see a counselor too, to help me, because I am having a hard time, too, feeling sad a lot and missing you. I am trying to look for a counselor who will take the health insurance that New York State granted me through universal health care. Right now I see that only psychiatrists (people who can give people medicine) are available to me, but I am going to keep trying to find someone with a really big heart and open mind to talk to who can help me feel better and make good decisions for our future. I know the sadness of being separated from you is not going to go away while we are apart, but working toward the goal of us being together will help me deal with the sadness. Talking to a counselor about the sadness you feel, I hope, will be helpful for you, too. I believe that family counseling, with all four of us, is a very good idea, and maybe someday that can happen, too.
We have to remember that Mummy came back to Buffalo so that Mummy could survive and become stronger, and, with help, eventually be able to have and give you the best life possible. It’s going to take a long time, but I cannot do it alone. And you can’t either. There are many wonderful people in the world who want to help you grow and be strong, healthy, and happy. We are not alone; we are together– in the rain and in the rainbow. Stay brave and strong, my beautiful ones. My stinkers.
I am going to send you a card in the mail today; you will get it in a few days. In it will be a note from me and a couple of others things, including a hot and cold pack for “ouchies and booboos.” One is an alien (that’s for my Space Girl Elanah) and one is a kitty (that’s for my Cat Girl Darah). The package says “Mommy’s Kisses.” I saw it at the store and thought about you and about me not being able to kiss your owies, so I want you to have these to put on them when I’m not there so you can have Momma *and* Mummy kisses.
I am going to be singing a song at a funeral at St. Paul’s this week, called “His Eye is on The Sparrow.” The funeral is for a nice lady named Marion Dodd, who was a teacher of Sunday school at the church for OVER FIFTY YEARS. Now that’s dedication! Pastor Wendy asked me to sing, and I am honored, and I have already decided to put the payment I will receive for singing as Sunday donations to the church. Isn’t Pastor Wendy great? She is. She might even be taking a couple of long drives with us sometime, because she has family in Indiana and that’s on the way to Macomb. When the two of you are in Buffalo in September for Billy’s wedding, I am hoping to take you to church on Sunday, before we have E’s early birthday party at Rolly Pollies. If we can manage it, you will see Pastor Wendy and Pastor Tim, and you can show them your Ninja Warrior garments!
I might become a funeral singer. I know that sounds funny, but it’s something I would be good at. It fits my personality, too. Oh, and, oddly enough, I recently came upon this note from Grandma Mel. I have it here next to me right now. It says, “Please ask Jessica and Melissa to sing this song at my funeral: “God of the Hungry”. 621 in the St. Greg’s missal. I love my whole family….” and then I can’t read the rest. I will ask her about this little note next time I see her. I saw her last night when I went to 800 Maple to celebrate Gramma Sue’s birthday. We had such a fun time, and I met some really nice people.
One of my favorite things about this week is the miracle that is DISNEY MIX. Darah, when you told me I needed to get the Disney Mix app, I’ll admit I was skeptical. But now that I have it set up, I realize what a dream come true it is. I love that you both can chat with me, and exchange little games and pictures and hearts with me, at any time. When you send me messages and my phone notifies me, you should see how I react– I get SO excited and I say, “my babies, my babies!” as I rush to open the phone and see what you have sent. It melts my heart when you send me a message. Elanah, even though you cannot yet read many of the words on the photos or type me out messages, it’s okay. You will learn to read as we do this, with the help of Momma Si and Darah. Love helps us learn.
The other day, when you sent me a slew of little Disney-show icons that said things like, “What’s up” and “We rock,” I knew you might not have been able to read the words, but that was fine with me. All I needed to know was that you were there, trying to talk to me, sending me fun pictures. I actually cry sometimes, from joy and love, when you are sending me hearts and fireworks shows and goofy jokes on DM. It’s just the best. I love it. I love that it connects us. I love that you can connect with me anytime you want, day or night; that gives me the best feeling. It’s better than Facebook; it’s better than Twitter: it’s OUR place. Our safe place. Oh, and I love the characters we created for ourselves. Momma Si looks great with purple hair; I look nice and witchy in green hair and with fangs; Elanah, you look great with purple eyes; and Darah, you look great with red hair and big green eyes. Of course, I expect you to change your look at any moment, which is what rainbow kids do. Disney Mix is just a little part of our Rainbow Connection.
I love you so much and can’t wait to talk to you after school, or in between dance classes.
Why are there so many songs about rainbows?
We know why! Rainbows have nothing to hide!
Mummy The Frog
P.S. We’ve already found the Rainbow Connection…