9/08: What's in a Name?

our next set of scans approaches, september 25th. please keep your prayers a-coming!

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random neat thing:
a dear friend of a dear friend who's becoming just a regular old dear friend wrote an article about this path of living we're on and mentioned our story in it:
www.elephantjournal.com/2015/08/pilgrims-on-the-path-of-birth-death-2/ 

thanks so much moana!
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news on the home front is scary, but only for good reasons. which is to say that solas is real close to crawling, and that is frightening to me. because it's gonna be hard on me when he moves out of the house.

 

in the meantime, i've been trying to teach him to ask for milk using sign language. it's a trick my sister jenny taught me. she said that little ones know the word for what they want before their mouths are physically capable of saying it, and that teaching a little ASL (American Sign Language) helps everybody out.

 

from what i can recall of that conversation, the ASL for "food goes here" is putting all your fingers together in a little cone and jabbing them at your mouth. something like that. anyway, yesterday when he was fussing and it was just about food o'clock i gave it a shot. but i think i need my sister to talk to him, because after i showed him the sign he just arched his back, threw both arms straight up over his head, and shrieked.

 

i showed him the sign again, and said, "food?"

 

he made it clear that he had no plans to change the course he'd set for our conversation.

 

i gave him the milk.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

rebecca's doing pretty well. mostly well. i mean, given her diagnosis she's doing great, but...well, one of the primary side effects (we're all friends here, right? i can talk about this?) from the tarceva is diarrhea, and this past week was pretty intense for her in that respect. she took immodium AD and it cleared up and she's been extra focused on hydrating and beyond just feeling extra exhausted has good energy. so. more naps than usual are needed. and sometimes she even gets them.

 

...i guess that's the craziest, realest thing is that her energy's good when she's not exhausted, and we're super happy when the sorrow doesn't catch us, and the kid's cheery when he's not cranky. i'm tired. and there's so much stuff we're just not getting to. kinda basic stuff, like keeping a supply of herbal/mushroom tea cooked. or using up the strawberries and kale we buy before they go bad. or going to the gym a few times a week. it's just a lot of balls to have in the air. and we never studied juggling.

 

i was checking in at group therapy tonight (more about that in my next post), and during my check-in i didn't know what to say. they knew my basic scene from the last time we met (which was my first time with the group). so i'd already done the big reveal: lung-cancer-plus-mom-and-bytheway-my-dad-died, ta-dah! how were your last two weeks? kinda the same. kinda still in shock, always, but not great or terrible, really. just off-kilter in a weird way. off-kilter in a way that's become the new normal. on-kilter, i guess.

 

anyway, as you can gather, i babbled for a bit and then came to this:

the way i feel is just totally unprepared.

 

the dawn's a surprise and the night falls too soon and all the time i'm leaning on something invisible to hold me upright. so that's how we've been, i think, and i thank God and i thank all of you for being with us in the dawn and the nightfall, and all the travels and travails and these invisible arms of support that prop us up. i've heard rumors that i've been strong. it's not true. i have strong community, and i have strong faith. thanks for sticking around, all of you. we really can't do this alone.

 

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okay, now i have some non-baby but related-to-baby news:

 

some of you know me as dave,

and some of you met me as meddle (long story).

 

dave is still a name i use (long story), but i'm no longer using the name meddle.

 

i have a new name. and the name is iridaea (pronounced [ear.ID.ee.yuh]).

 

(facebook friends of mine already have seen this in a post - this seems like the right moment to share here)

 

partially this was coming for awhile because the name meddle just seemed like it was falling off of me. not quite fitting right in my mouth and the mouths of the folks around me. more of a memory (and a fond one!) than anything else.

 

and that feeling moved from being partial to being total once we became pregnant. i've always been pro-reclamation of those things discarded and made repugnant and "other" by our society -- like the archetype of a meddler, or the label of "witch" or "anarchist" etc. -- as important ways to make sure we're not artificially limiting our dreams by submitting our language to the control of the herd...

 

...but raising a tiny human it didn't feel like i wanted him to leap those hurdles every time he needed his daddy.

 

but knowing your old name is fading doesn't mean you know which name is coming next. over the last year or so, i had thoughts about what my name might become. "nettle" was something that came to me, and i tried it on right after the birth but it also didn't stick.

 

but then in a stretch of solas care where i got stretched, i knew i needed help with focusing more on connecting with spirit throughout my days.

 

see, i'd fallen into a lazy habit of being Blah and blaming it on lack-of-time-to-practice. left to my own devices i'll do a couple hours of practice in the morning and then afternoon and evening prayers to keep me connected. Connected.

 

and in the last five months, i've averaged about 15 seconds of mindfulness prayer time per day -- in my solo practice, that is. the number skyrockets when we have pilgrims visiting our temple who can co-hold the prayer work. or just co-hold the babe.

 

so i wanted to find different ways of being more connected to God, to the Divine, throughout the day. some of it is reading sacred texts when i'm holding the little bean, instead of old tour diaries. some of it is singing sacred music to him as lullabyes. and some of it is taking on a name that conjures for me the flowing, encompassing love of the sea. the life of the ocean, she the source of all our life.

and when people call me iridaea, it invokes that presence in me. it waters my heart.

 

for iridaea is a seaweed. an iridescent rainbow dances in its flesh, and it populates the shores of northern california and cascadia, and it's always welcomed me to the summer harvest with a twinkle and a wave.

 

now, for those of you for whom calling someone "meddle" was a stretch, and who feel like a 40-year-old man picking out his name from surf vegetation is tasteless/impossible, please feel free to call me dave. my mom is, and she's good company to be in. no hard feelings, 'kay?

 

love,
iridaea

 

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may rebecca's lungs be restored to perfect health
i offer gratitude for the restoration of her eyesight
i offer gratitude for the continuing health of baby solas and his fat little thighs
in the name of Love