Blue Dog Gone

I’m not sure that I ever explained where the Blue Dog comes from.
I’m not certain I know precisely myself.

It has something to do with this very black dog.


© Ze Bernardinello

Who, over time, became this quite old black dog, with beautiful white and silver streaks.


It has something to with the blue carpet in the picture, at the bookstore where I worked for ten years.
Something to do with the light and the shadow in the photograph’s composition, which is a reflection of how I have come to see myself.

I started this blog shortly after we moved to Ohio. It was a hell of a move. Jonah had just had heart surgery. John had a new job. Gabriel was five months old. A month before the move I slipped and dislocated and broke my long finger toe (if you have seen my feet, that description makes perfect sense), next to my big toe. We moved into a house that was and is so beautiful and full of promise and character, a house that needed a great deal of work. We poured ourselves into all of it, with all of ourselves.

And then Jonah was diagnosed with autism.
And then I was diagnosed with PMDD.
And then I very nearly had a nervous breakdown.

So I wrote (and I started taking Prozac, and then something else, and then Zoloft), because I was losing it and because I have proven to be nearly incapable of making sense of my life if I don’t write it down. But it wasn’t enough to write it in a journal because I needed someone to read it. I needed someone to see my life, see me in whatever way they were able, through the light and the shadows I cast. Call it a testimony to my introversion.

And over time, the need to write remained, but I allowed the circumstances of my life to convince me that I didn’t have time to right (interesting mistake there; I think I’ll let it stand). And sometimes I didn’t have time, because I started edited books and I also needed sleep. But here I am again—with my need, knee-deep in loss, another big move ahead.

Sophie died a week ago.
We are moving to Alabama.

It’s good to be back.




One big love

“Anxiety in children is originally nothing other than an expression of the fact they are feeling the loss of the person they love.”  Sigmund Freud

Or as Jonah said the other day, “My stomach is punching me in the guts!”

He’s had a time of it, that one.

For one thing, we had company–which is terribly exciting but emotionally demanding. The visit coincided with a return to ESY summer camp, which was followed by John leaving for a six day solo journey. There were swimming lessons cancelled and thunderstorms. A bowling party and highway trip to the farmer’s market with friends.

He’s starting to hate ESY by the way. And it shows, because all of that progress he made in handwriting last year is disappearing fast. He just doesn’t care, unless he thinks he’s writing a secret message (his OT informed me). I haven’t been enforcing handwriting practice at home either (multiple worksheets and booklets keep appearing in his back pack). It’s this delicate balance of he needs a break and he’s got to learn that there’s things we have to do, even when we don’t feel like it. Though some (including my husband at times) would take issue with that last point.

The strain he’s experiencing is palpable. When we’re in the house together but not in the same room (i.e., in plain sight), J anxiously calls out every 2 minutes or so, “Mom?! Mom!”

“I’m right here Jonah.”

He shouts, with palpable relief, “I love you mom!”

Two minutes later, hit repeat.

The constant need of my (or his father’s) presence can be draining. I sometimes get irritated. This is as much about me (a professed introvert) as it is about him.

Jonah is very sensitive to my moods. Yesterday I suggested, “I bet I drive you crazy sometimes too.” His quick reply: “No mom! You never irritate me, because I love you so much.” Though his behavior often makes it seem as though the world revolves around him (a blissful kind of oblivion over which he has very little control), that boy has one big love.