Some memories cling to the hemline of your consciousness.  Dark pieces that hang like an unwanted thread from the blouse of your existence ...
12:49 PM

Secret Magic

He holds on to an innocence that shines through his eyes even when he tries to act older than the decade he owns.  He calls me Mommy and sti...
11:17 AM


She glances my way, trying to catch some emotion but I am dry.  "I'd be bawling my eyes out if it were me," she says.  I look ...

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Theft Of Numbers

I suppose it has made me a criminal - this numeral thefting - this stealing of a tangible black and white memory, rent from the dismantled flower-boxes that once graced 212 Queen Street South.  I suppose I should feel guilty - that remorse should cause me to hung-headed hand it back.  I suppose I should be all apology and oh-so-sorry and begging forgiveness for this address robbing.

But I am not.  It will always be a part of me and now the Chicken House stands as a memorial to that first place we stamped our name upon.  A dusty door and whispered nodding to what once was and is no more but for the shiny moments that are tattooed upon our Rusnak hearts.

Make It Monday: This Little Light Of Mine

We don't follow any rules and I'm sure we don't do it right but we end with something beautiful and that's really what it's about, isn't it?  It's not the wax spilled on the cook top (and the counter and running down the drawer faces and on the chairs).  It's not the burned finger tips.  It's not the oven mitt that accidentally gets dropped right in the yellow.  It's having something to do together.  Something that doesn't involve a screen or whining.  It's the building and the layering and the laughing and the teasing and the choosing and the all together of it all.

We chose pretty glasses and colours at the dollar store
We melted the wax in foil muffin tins on a foil covered frying pan
We rescued a couple wicks from the melting wax and held them over our glasses with pencils
We added colour in layers - letting each layer set before the next was added. It took a long time but looks so pretty!
And done!  The boys are proud of their creations....

...and they look so pretty now on the bookshelf

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Some memories cling to the hemline of your consciousness.  Dark pieces that hang like an unwanted thread from the blouse of your existence and you can't get rid of them.  To pull is to unravel so you let it be, swaying there in the wind of your living - this little shadow that scared you to death for a moment and you can't ever really get away from it because it is ever lurking and as much a part of who you are as your iris or your baby toe.

Seven years ago...

Lights are brilliant and assaulting and I'm wildly aware that beneath this short blue gown I am naked.  There is a chill at my feet and I am just furniture, laying still on a gurney as they bustle and ready.  I count five bodies without lifting my head because I am afraid to move.  I am afraid to be under their power.  I am here to be made better.  To be entered and scoped and violated by machinery that will tell them of the gallstones I already know are there.  Fear sits like bricks - sweat on my upper lip, the unknown, the known (that I do not trust all these shiny things made to make better).

He approaches with a silver aerosol, glasses reflecting back the sterile light double, asks me to open my mouth.  He sprays.  To numb my throat.  I am already dying.  Like cotton is slowly being stuffed against my esophagus.  I feel it swell and I can't swallow any more and I feel like I am gasping and my eyes are frantic and huge and my tongue is rolled burlap and can't make sounds and no one cares.

I watch the needle slip into the catheter on my arm - this highway to deliver poison so they might own me.  Someone is over me and upside down and their chin is large, bulging beneath a mask and I try to let him know - SOS with my eyes but I can't keep them open.  I am being stolen from myself - sucked out and tucked in a lab somewhere until they're done with me.




And then I climb through a fog.  Those lights.  They burn against my living.  There is only black and white and white feels like dying.  I feel the possession of steel in my body, how it curls down my throat and I gag against it, fighting the hands suddenly frantic to hold me against the table.  My whole being is recoiling and there's chaos all around and I'll never see my son again because I'm going to choke to death - right here in the place for the mending.  There is noise and hollering and fingers grabbing against my own and I want my last vision to be something beautiful but instead it is this mess and my heart is broken and I could blacken an eye if they weren't clasping so tightly.

That face.  That chin.  Over me again and administering something again and I'm feeling the theft - the me being pulled away - the fight being knocked into sleep and this is how I'll get to heaven...last moments stilled against the will to live that heaven gave...




And then I climb through a fog.  But now I am in a bed and half-upright and lights are dim but still hurt like blades.  There is fire in my throat where I fought to end the damming.  I hear them whisper against the thin curtain that separates..."woken"..."an episode" I am some crazed mental they are not at all responsible for the "episode" that may forever haunt me now.  And I seal up my eyes and let them call me Love as they oh-so-gently coax me from my medicated coma and oh-so-sweetly help me stand and oh-so-kindly help me to the car...when all I really want to do was cry or punch something or stand on a cafeteria chair and holler out like a beacon, "RUN!"

But demure and silent I climb into the car to go home.  And ten minutes later I throw up into a Walmart bag and settle into the knowledge that the rest of my life will be spent in radiating fear of medical procedures that deem me helpless.

I am forever ruined by the mender.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Secret Magic

He holds on to an innocence that shines through his eyes even when he tries to act older than the decade he owns.  He calls me Mommy and still asks to be tucked in at night, "You Are My Sunshine" his favorite lullaby as I tickle his back and bid him love and our own silly See You Later, Alligator version that he thinks is funny even though it's five years old.  Maybe he outgrew it on his seventh birthday.  Maybe he allows it just for me.  Maybe he thinks this one moment when he's turned from a video game or distraction is the one moment that I live for - the moment that dresses him as exactly the boy I want him to be: gentle and needing me for more than clean socks and hot meals.

We celebrate magic.  We encourage the imagination and blind faith that believes in fairies and gold at the end of rainbows and jolly men that bring gifts down chimneys.  I promote it through their play which such joy-passion that I almost believe it too - that moment when Noa and I tiptoe through the field and watch the fireflies flit over the ragweed and she says, "Look, Mommy, night fairies!"

There is that little self-war over teaching what isn't real.  And I do mean little.  Magic was the medicine of my own childhood.  Didn't the world get at little duller that moment we learned it was really mommy who loaded our stockings?  And it was to hold on to the brightness that I fought against the telling - the breaking through that childish view and crashing it with the truth.  What if it robbed him of all that sweetness he is yet to shuck off?  That sweetness that flows over me when darkness falls and I say goodnight?  I couldn't be part of it.

"I'm going to break your heart, Zander."  This is how he begins the rending of innocence.  The father to the son.  And I can picture him, fretting boy, worried that some tragedy might spill out on him.  But when the truth falls and magic is stolen he says simply, "Daddy, I've known for like two years!"

Can my heart get any fuller?  Is it possible to love someone more whom you've loved unequivocally since the moment of their very conception?  That he would live in this charade, playing his belief and making it real to a brother and sister who have no cup runneth over!  Magic isn't dead - it's born anew in the way he sees my love of this merry-man-fable and allows it without a question.  The encouraged has become the encourager!

There is the great debate over fervently teaching your child a falsehood, over the mistrust it breeds and the hurt it causes.  I fervently disagree and I don't care what anyone's opinion is.  Magic is real.  But secret magic is...well - magical!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Leaving Baby Behind

Four.  How in the world?  She dresses herself in sunshine and brushes my hair with sticky fingers and asks with a suredness beyond her four, "so, I'm gwowed up now?"

My best friend blinks against tears that hang in the pockets of her eyes as we talk of first days of school and sending that little bundle off on a giant bus that coughs exhaust and country road dust - "But she's just a baby!"

I want to hold on to her a little longer.  Protect her from the world that waits with curled fingers ready to grab her sweetness.  From mean girls and leeching boys.

I want to shield her from brokenness - but that is what will make her strong - that is where she will find the woman in her to take on the world and make it better.

So there I'll stand, at the end of that long driveway, waving through the choking dust as the bus swirls away...

But this I know with all my heart: I will always call her baby.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


She glances my way, trying to catch some emotion but I am dry.  "I'd be bawling my eyes out if it were me," she says.  I look around at the barren walls and clean swept floor, at nails that held our stories and doors that creaked our whispered passings.  It is not but a shell.  It feels plastic and impersonal - mopped of any little bit of me or us.  I don't feel like we're leaving anything.  I feel like we're going home.

There is an eerie feeling of deja vous as we turn into a laneway labeled "Austin" on an old metal mailbox.  I remember being small.  The rusted swing set by the barn creaking as I sat one-sided on the double swing, watching as the grey moving van rumbled down towards me, my grandmother and baby sister peering out the windshield to where I waited to plant our roots - here where berries grew wild and apples fell like bombs upon the driveway.

And here we are again.

I am sad to watch my mother load her life into a trailer and disappear from this place she poured her heart into.  Her touch is in every moment of beauty here - in the herbs that grow tall in the garden, in the flowers that colour the beds, in the warmth that catches under the branches where I will sit and be inspired as often as I can.  I am sad but I am honored to be trusted with this piece of her heart - this history upon which my family can grow on the old.

Already the boys have begun their plans for a tree fort in the old walnut.  Already they bound around the field, exploring and rediscovering what it's like to be a child.  Already we've painted the walls and railing and windows with our fingerprints - laid our claim out strong and mighty with a nod to the forever of this place.

Noa, sweet and soft, looks over the west field as the sun sets and gushes, "It's soooo pwitty!  We awer soooo lucky!"

And we are.  So lucky.  We are home.

Garden, shed and fire pit

The barn

Picnic arbor - front yard

Back yard

Memorial garden - front yard

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