reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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their slippers. [two artists tuesday]

slippersbw

linda and jim were doing the swedish death cleanse.  linda was determined to de-clutter their home of anything that could potentially burden their children one day.  once on a mission there is no stopping her, so they were diligent about going through every corner, nook and cranny of their home, eliminating anything that was not needed, anything that hadn’t been used in ages or was just simply extraneous.

now, we all talked about that around the table.  with the sun setting on lake michigan and wine in our glasses, our little neighborhood group discussed how hard it is to let go of things,  especially things that have some meaning or are mementos of some sort.  add to that the fact that many of us were raised by parents who had experienced the great depression and you have people who are pre-destined to keep stuff, repurpose it, re-use it, save it for sometime you might need it, save it for when it comes back into fashion so you don’t have to buy it again, etc etc etc.  (that’s definitely my experience and my excuse.)

many times i have entered the basement storage room and gazed at the bins.  in years past, we have eliminated most of the boxes and traded them for these bins, throwing out some things, giving away some things, donating items that are useful, so we have made some progress.  now there are bins with christmas ornaments, bins with artwork and stories and projects created by The Girl or The Boy, bins of things my sweet momma felt too guilty to give away, bins of sewing paraphernalia, bins of art supplies, bins of old music (for everyone gives the musician they know all the old sheet music they come across in their own basement and then that musician, who feels like it’s a mortal sin to throw music out, is compelled to keep it all in file cabinets or, yes, bins.)

from time to time i get a wild hair and go through a bin or random remaining box or pile in the basement workroom.  sometimes i am pretty successful at eliminating clutter.  trust me – i have been in peoples’ homes who have been hoarders and just seeing that makes me want to get rid of everything and live in a tiny house (well, one that would fit my piano.)

this winter perhaps we will tackle this once again.  one more layer of cleaning out.  it is possible.  it’s just tough for me to be ruthless.  i am too thready to be ruthless.  touching memories or seeing them around me is reassuring and fills my heart.

one day in more recent days i went upstairs to look for something in the closet in the hallway.  on the top shelf sat these slippers.  stored here, they are my sweet momma’s and my poppo’s.  they kept them here for when they would visit.

i know that they won’t visit our home again.  noticing the slippers stopped me in my pursuit of whatever-it-was-i-was-looking-for.  all the moments of having my parents present in my home swirled around me, the finality once again a reality.  i struggled with what to do.  i took them out of the closet and brought them downstairs to show d.

laying them carefully on the floor, i took this picture so that i could look at it and remember.  and then, i placed them in a bag so that someone else – a woman with smaller feet than mine and a man with bigger feet than d’s –  could have slippers.  slippers with a bank of memories.  slippers worn hugging my children as they grew.  slippers worn around the christmas tree.  slippers worn in the cold winter sitting by the fire or in the summer drinking morning coffee on the deck.  slippers that lived here, just waiting for their owners, my beloved parents, to put them on.  slippers with big heart.  slippers with profoundly good juju.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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wear the crystals

today is my sweet momma’s birthday. she would be 94 today if she were still on this earth. i suppose she is 94 anyway, only this time i can’t celebrate with her in a traditional way. i know that i have been writing a lot about her these days. i am filled with memories, surprised in a moment by tears, and i can hear her voice in my head. i’ve been so lucky. i had the privilege of her on this good earth for 56 years. but i truly miss her. jen wrote, “that relationship with our mom is so grounding and when it’s gone or changed, life feels so different.” yes.

yellowdragonss2 copyon april 11 the first of momma’s books was released, the first of The Shayne Trilogy. her joy at that reading and signing was a pinnacle moment for us – watching her, at almost-94, surrounded by people, sharing her writing. today, at would-be-94, we announce the release of the second in the trilogy. we thought it would be finished a bit sooner, but we kind of fell off the pony for a bit, so to speak. all of a sudden last week though, we felt infused with energy to get back to work on it. it is one of my greatest honors in life to make these children’s books happen. despite everything amazing she was in this world, i cannot think of something more important than to have given momma something she valued after-the-comma-after-her-name. someday, after a millionzillion of The Shayne Trilogy have sold to children and schools far and wide, i would love to set up a beakybeaky foundation to help other women, later in life, late in life, do exactly this-find what’s after-the-comma-after-their-name, the thing that they have wished for, the thing that they value for themselves and have put off, delayed for reasons that are valid and important and what women do. but for now, i wish i could see her face the first time she held Shayne & The Yellow Dragon, the first time she read through it.

today i am wearing a crystal necklace of hers. when i put it on this morning, i wondered, in my crabmeadowbeach kind of way, if it were too fancy. i decided to wear it regardless of its appropriateness. it’s her birthday and so, it’s perfect.

“live life,” she said. i keep remembering that. i can hear her saying it. i know she could see i used one of her favorite big stainless steel bowls for a huge salad for guests yesterday. she could see us slow-dancing on the patio early in the day. she was there at the fabulous fireworks last night, which she adored. she was there this morning when ptom told everyone to “slow down.” my sister said, “i kind of thought that for once mom could actually see me riding my bike today.” yes, my beeg seester. i’m quite sure she was riding along.

wear the crystals.  photo

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itunes: kerri sherwood


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and i wondered

growing up on long island, my mom and dad always were bird-watchers in our woodsy back yard. their favorite bird was the cardinal, its brilliant red and beautiful voice. they would identify other birds for me but i knew that this was a special bird to them.

this morning i sat on the deck, sipping coffee in the sun, feeling disoriented and raw. today is one of those anniversary days that you mark in your heart, whether or not you want to remember the details. my sweet poppo died three years ago today. and tomorrow it will be a whole month i have missed my sweet momma. it is hard to believe how much it changes things, even for a “grown-up”, when both parents are no longer in the same plane of existence. it takes you off your axis, uproots your root, slams into you when you least expect it.

then the cardinals showed up. there were two of them…a couple. they flew across my path over and over, landing on the fence, landing on the roof, flying into the trees, landing again on the fence. i watched and wondered. and cried.

we were out and about at lunchtime, doing errands. we hadn’t eaten before we left and we were hungry, but we usually don’t eat lunch out. there is an olive garden in our town; we have only been there once. but in florida it was one of my parents’ favorites, especially my mom’s. she, ever-practical and thrifty, loved the soup-salad-and-breadsticks lunch. so we decided today was a good day to maybe slow down and sit with some soup, salad, breadsticks and memories.

we weren’t there very long, sipping our soup, idly passing the time, chatting, half-listening to the soundtrack playing. we were talking about noticing things that change moments, change the direction of a day, change your balance, maybe tilt your axis a little bit back to center.

my sweet momma & poppo. always.

my sweet momma & poppo.
always.

and then frank sinatra started singing “always”. this was my mom and dad’s song. it has huge significance. great meaning. i listened and wondered. and cried.