Monday, April 18, 2011

Stefen Turns 20

So many of you know my son, Aiden.  His journey of transition and triumph have occupied my writings and my days.  He is my role model of resilience and hope.  Today, however, I want to celebrate my son, Stefen, who gently and quietly turns 20.  He is my role model of unconditional love and acceptance.  

I remember a time when Aiden was 12 and Stefen was 9.  Both of them golfed in a church tournament.  Since Aiden identified female at the time, he received endless compliments and praise for his skill and accuracy. Stefen received an occasional “nice shot”, but none of the accolades that surrounded Aiden.  When they golfed together, this seemed to be a repeating pattern.  On this day,  I wanted to make sure that Stefen knew that he had as much talent and value as Aiden in my eyes, so I checked in with his reaction.

"Hey Stefen, I wanted to ask you something", I began

“Do you feel bad about all the attention that Aiden is getting?” I continued.  Stefen turned to me with a puzzled look on his face.  “No” he replied.

“Do you feel jealous?”  I probed


“Do you feel anything?” I continued


I braced myself hoping to find the right words for his answer.  “What do you feel, honey?”

“I feel proud.”

This statement of “pride” very much sums up Stefen’s relationship with his older brother who he continues to support today. And so I celebrate the day my son, Stefen, was born.  Without him in my life, my picture of unconditional love and acceptance would take on a whole different meaning.  I like the definition that his presence provides my life and I love the spirit he brings to our family.  Happy Birthday, Stefen!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Inspired Surroundings

As a writer, the words on my pages are so affected by what surrounds me.   I love the scent of candles made by my personal assistant, Melissa, and her sister from their company Just the Moon.  I love the pictures of family and friends scattered around me in various places, softly chanting “I believe in you and all your dreams.”

In my writing room, which used to be Aiden’s bedroom,  I have the most beautiful view of the mountains and my front yard.  And next to me is a handmade quilt which was the last thing my mom wanted to complete before she died in 2001.  She began this quilt many years before hoping to pass it on to me but when she became ill with Parkinson’s she thought this dream would never come true.  Her hands shook too much to make this possible.  But she happened to mention to a  quilting friend this unrealized dream and suddenly Mom had someone who wanted to help her.   When the quilt was finished, my mother presented it to me with eyes that sparkled with pride.  For years, I stored the quilt under my bed, not wanting to use it for fear of damaging it.  But recently, I decided that I wanted this gift to be a visible reminder of my mother’s strength, compassion and love, so I placed it on the bed next to my writing table. 

When my creative words fail to flow, I just look to my left and see the quilt my mother who had Parkinson’s found a way to complete.   Mom . . . you continue to inspire me to be more than I ever thought possible . . . I miss you . . .