sometimes academics happen at bedtime. the other night, quinn was trying to figure out what time it was and we ended up having a whole math lesson on counting by fives (he took over at 55 and went to 100 after i got him started) at which point we learned it had been 7:35 (but was now 7:40) and then we counted by tens. at 7:45, he exclaimed, “let’s count by elevens next!” so we did. bedtime was at 8… ish. and we went to sleep with a little more math under our belts. i’m not sure quinn is “into” math, as much as he is gaga for patterns.

the next morning when rich was waking me up (one funny artifact of unemployment is i can no longer hear the alarm, and instead i get wake-ups involving hugs, kisses, or songs.) that morning i heard him come in and i asked if he would plug in the christmas tree lights for me, and while he was over in that part of the room he put on marvin gaye’s every great motown hit album, which starts off with “how sweet it is to be loved by you.”

while i co-taught the thursday night yoga class, quinn went with my former boss to the high school holiday concert. i met them there at intermission, when the jazz band went on. after their first song, quinn said, audibly, “saxophones are cool, man!” then twisted around on my lap to ask me, “can you please make me a saxophone sometime?” pause. “and can it be red?”

he was a gem for 98% of the concert (counting out loud “a-one, a-two, a-one-two-three in between songs falls under the category of gem in my book), and then was atrocious all the way from the lobby to the car. i notice that i have been biting my nails again. quinn head butted me and was about to hit me, in a lobby of wall to wall people (whose feet i was stepping on as he knocked me off balance.) i found i did not deal with it as gracefully as i can sometimes find it in myself to do. i found myself feeling worried about scrutiny from the general public, and feeling more intensely the “you have to stop this” aversion/attachment. it does make me contemplate whether we are both responding to the upheaval each time his father decides to be confrontational and throw monkey wrenches into things.

our custody judgment is in danger of being thrown out at the end of the month because quinn’s dad is balking at signing it now. he would say that i am driving us to go to court, and luckily i have been through this routine enough to immediately remember that actually i have shown nothing but willingness to mediate and find solutions after being falsely accused of horrible things and having him try to destroy my life. he is going off on his own tangent where quinn’s “therapy” is concerned, and has failed to include me whatsoever in it (to the point where the caseworker he has apparently been seeing through his state health insurance has no apparent idea why or how i could be included in the therapy. hello red flag!? we are supposed to be, any day now, evaluating quinn to find out how we can best handle his behavior incidents which took place so many months ago at school so that he can go back to school. and just today i learned that quinn has been getting “white medicine” in the mornings and “purple medicine” at bedtime. he could not tell me for what purpose he is being given either medicine. (well, that’s not his job. he’s five. his parents are supposed to be big enough to talk about that kind of thing.) when i realized quinn’s pediatrician was sitting right behind us at the band concert, i wondered if i should ask her. finally, quinn let me know that he is “finally going back to school, but to a different one, to the abc one that z and a used to go to. we went and had a talk with sharon.” if i hadn’t been already onto the red flags of his dad’s departure from the plan (to get quinn back to school at ols) this would have seemed like bigger news.

i guess what i’m saying is, it’s not all sunshine and lollipops around here. i’m not sure what to do about any of it. (so i bite my nails.) and i can feel like a total fraud up in front of a yoga class, because yoga teachers should have their shit together and life is a big jumbled up mess for so much of the time.

the pickaxe 

some commentary on i was a hidden treasure,

and i desired to be known: tear down


this house. a hundred thousand new houses

can be built from the transparent yellow carnelian


buried beneath it, and the only way to get to that

is to do the work of demolishing and then


digging under the foundations. with that value

in hand all the new construction will be done


without effort. and anyway, sooner or later this house

will fall on its own. the jewel treasure will be


uncovered, but it won’t be yours then. the buried

wealth is your pay for doing the demolition,


the pick and shovel work. if you wait and just

let it happen, you’d bite your hand and say,


“i didn’t do as i knew i should have.” this

is a rented house. you don’t own the deed.


you have a lease, and you’ve set up a little shop,

where you barely make a living sewing patches


on torn clothing. yet only a few feet underneath

are two veins, pure red and bright gold carnelian.


quick! take the pickaxe and pry the foundation,

you’ve got to quit this seamstress work.


what does the patch-sewing mean, you ask. eating

and drinking. the heavy cloak of the body


is always getting torn. you patch it with food,

and other restless ego-satisfactions. rip up


one board from the shop floor and look into

the basement. you’ll see two glints in the dirt.




i tend to post the highlights and it’s not that i want to omit or gloss over the challenges, but i think maybe i’m often still processing the tougher parts at the end of the day when it’s time to write about it all, and waiting for some future moment when i have a better handle on the challenges to write about them. maybe in a book someday, i will go into the details of grinding through the several months of panic, torture, and insanity of being accused of abusing my own child. because it’s not like i wrote volumes about it here. maybe in a book someday i will be able to offer some insights on what it is like to wait months and months for anyone to care about whether it matters whether my son has something called asperger’s or not, and whether that even matters if he does.

but what i do know at the end of the day is how very much i love this little boy and this man that i have the privilege to call my family, and i know how sweet it is to be loved by them. after the demolition work, after the dust clears, there are always two glints, one red, and one gold, beneath the foundation. the day to day struggles will always seem less significant while life is built on red and gold bedrock.

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