Mojave in my Heart

From a not-so childlike beginning in New York City to my child inspired world here and now


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the mountains

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We live in the mountains or rather the foothills of the Rockies at 5500 feet. After living here for awhile I’ve started to feel like I live at sea level and that being in the mountains requires 5,000 more feet in elevation. So, we went to the mountains.

We went to the mountains the week before Thanksgiving and had ourselves a glorious time! A friend graciously offered us her home in the mountains- stunning views, trails, meadows, wildlife and peace all around.  No one. No TV. No internet. No phones. After two weeks of being ill, followed by a an overly booked weekend of potlucks and birthday parties (4) and family visiting, I couldn’t have planned the timing of this retreat ANY better.

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(Above) This was the second sight of my first morning. First was Arlene’s sweet face beside me

The roses of our trip: watching coyotes walk across the meadow, hiking in wild woods, following tracks in the snow, discovering a bird “haven” in the forest, snowshoeing, sledding, waking up at night to admire the starry sky, beautiful dinners that began with hand holding all around, cooking  and baking (gluten-free cookies!) together in the kitchen, the howling wind, playing games, discovering “extra” time throughout our week– to read, play, take another walk…to just be.

There was a beautiful, seamless rhythm to the week- the girls created the most imaginative games and “worlds” together, were truly thrilled to head out into the woods for hours every day–even with gusts of 50-70mph one day! Stephen and I had wonderful talks together, truly enjoying one another without distraction and we totally geeked out reading natural science books. We diagramed the mountain ranges and various rivers and the ecosystems, we flipped through bird books to identify that unusual yellow bird (grosbeak) that came to our ledge.

The beauty and peace begins to seep into you. You begin to listen to your body a little more closely. You sigh more deeply.  You smile a lot more. I talk less –maybe an effect of the altitude? 😉 That’s the case for me. When I moved from NYC to upstate New York for college, I felt it. My blood pressure decreased, my awe increased.

We lose ourselves and rediscover ourselves. The girls did it and so did we.

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reflections on rhythm

I grew up under less than ideal or “typical” circumstances in NYC.- alcoholic, poor, pretty broken at times…I lived with my mother and 3 siblings, father was absent from a young age.

There were no rules, no expectations, no routines, no rhythms. In fact, by a young age, I started to make my own and embrace those that did exist in the world for my own sanity. We could do what we wanted, when we wanted and really, the sky was the limit. School for example, we just didn’t have to go. Neither of my brothers went much and suffered as a result. However, one day I decided I’d stay home from school and my mother said fine. Twenty minutes later, I thought, wait, I want to go! I don’t want to sit here and watch TV all day! I think because of the lack of structure, stability, safety in my home, I took to school and made it MY thing. In fact, as I look back that was the start of creating some sort of structure for myself– network of healthy adults (neighbors, teachers, etc.) that I took to running in high school, loved reading and doing homework, found outlets for my creative interests.

The lack of limits and routines made for an ungrounded, at times frightening upbringing–one whose lingering effects weave in and out of my life to this day, although infrequently now. I think about this often as I parent and school my children. I’m infinitely curious about this groundedness that folks grow up with (like my husband), the security he embodies because he grew up with boundaries, affection, care…

It is hard to reflect on our family rhythm  without touching on other aspects of my upbringing such as the lack of care, love and health of my family.

I intuitively came to know that I needed some structure and created it for myself as a child. Today, this path of parenting has taught me to see and act on things from love and practicality– perhaps the absence of parenting heritage might be a blessing in disguise as I’m not loaded with it’s weight and legacy.