Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

March 30, 2006

with love, to Rachel

So here's what I want to say about Rachel (see previous post if you don't know who Rachel is). She was a Quaker who became a Baha'i and has a very interfaith sort of family. She was very smart and very funny. She would make literary references to classics in the course of everyday conversation that would make me wish I had been paying more attention in Humanities class. She had a very loving eye for children and was so kind and caring to everyone- she always called people 'dear'. She has a very powerful spirit, it seems to me, to be able to have such a deep impact on me when I visited her lately- even while she was unconscious! While sitting with her I would wonder to myself what she would want or what she would think of all that was happening. And what I came up with was that she was very brave about it and just too focused on getting to whatever comes after this life to be conscious in this life any more. She was almost there and she wasn't going to miss her chance to go join her husband (who had preceded her) and see what the next world was all about. I imagined her to be really excited and just working really hard on being patient and getting through the end of the whole body thing. And I knew she wouldn't want anyone to be sad or dramatic about it all- just simple and reflective and happy for her. I could hear her in my mind comforting me, 'It's alright dear. I'm fine. Are you ok? Don't worry." I'm sure she's very happy now- reunited with friends and family and welcomed with great joy to her new home.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 06:57 PM | Comments (3)


Happy Birthday to Billy,
you live in a silly
house with three little girls
and your wife and two other grown-ups.

Uh..let's try that again.

Happy Birthday to my sweetie
I'm glad it's sunny, not sleety
Such a beautiful spring day
to celebrate your birthday.

Ok, the meter on that one is messed up, but rhyming poems are not my speciality.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 01:05 PM | Comments (2)

March 28, 2006

a gentle brush with someone else's death

I had a really interesting experience lately that I haven't found closure for yet, so I'm all wiggly and agitated about it (although less so than when I started writing this post). I friend in the Baha'i community died this past Friday. Rachel Weller. She was 100 and SO ready to go. Ever since I've known her (about 10 years) when asked how she is, she always replied 'clinging to the wreckage'- and she really meant it. Well her grip loosened last week when she had a couple of falls and became weak and lost consciousness. Her son knew she was near the end, and the Baha'is here (who all loved her) swung into action and came to pray by her bedside so she wouldn't be alone and also just to say good-bye. I got to go there and sit with her for about an hour. It was a really great, intense experience. A couple of us sang prayers and songs quietly that we thought she would like and said prayers and I held her hand for a while. It was so sweet. A little unnerving though. She was breathing hard kind of like I did in labor! (those transitions-birth and death- seem to be so alike) And she would stop for a second and then breathe quietly for a while and I kept being scared that she was going to die right there in front of me and I wasn't sure I could handle that. Well she didn't die right then, and I also picked up a book of poetry from her bedside table and read a couple of them to her. They were so sweet I copied one down to take home (I'll post it later). I felt like I had been given a precious gift in those moments. Appreciation of the preciousness and sanctity of life and the clarity that transitions give you, things like that. I really wanted to do something more for her and be involved helping in any way I could. I got my chance the next day. She died the next morning and I was asked to help prepare her body for burial in the way Baha'is do that evening. It was very simple- just wrapping her up lovingly in a white cotton cloth, putting a special Baha'i ring on her finger, and putting some good smelling rose water on her face and hands. Doesn't that sound nice? Kind of sounds like taking care of a baby. All the while, others were praying outside the room. I would like to gloss over the fact that I was dealing with a dead body in a very icky, sort of dirty and messy, medical-y room in a mausoleum- out of respect for Rachel- but I will say that I was not ready for the grim reality of it. It felt very raw and bright and more real than I really wanted to get. Very much harder than the sitting with her that I had done 24 hours earlier. I'm getting a little shaky and hot and buzzing in the ears as I write about it. It's going to take me a while to really integrate that experience with the knowledge that her spirit was elsewhere, happy and free, and that I was just looking at the temple of her soul, getting it ready to return to the earth. As easily as I can say those words, they never really meant a whole lot except a nice idea until I had this experience. I tried to get a little farther in the integration of it all by helping out with her memorial service- arranging great armloads of tulips and cutting up oranges and strawberries, etc. but it didn't do a whole lot for me. It was nice to be to the celebrating her life part and past the ceremony of death part. I ended up missing the storytelling part where people talked about her life though because the kids had had enough and needed me right then. So I'm still trying to put it all together. How about if I tell you, dear reader, about Rachel? Maybe that will help me. I'll do that in the next post.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2006

thoughts on getting somewhere

I've been thinking a lot lately about where I'm getting in my life. Meditating on: what is really important/desirable to be my life's work right now? Read an (as always) amazingly insightful magazine called "Brain, Child" where a study is sited showing that all the media hullabaloo about mothers opting out of careers to stay home with children is only focusing on middle-class mothers with advanced degrees which only represents like 1% of mothers or something like that. Kind of released the pressure behind the 'you should be out of your home working in the field you were trained in in order to be making a valuable contribution to society' button that gets pressed sometimes from internal or external sources. Lots of moms stay home. Lots of moms work outside the home. It's going to be alright. I don't need to take it all so personally. I can just make the decisions that are right for me and my family. And what do I really want to be doing right now? I want to do my part to serve my family. Service is noble and exalted. Work is worship. I can see the work I do caring for my kids and doing my part in running the household as important work that's definitely worth doing. The housework I could do without, but everyone that lives in a house has to do housework (at least in my house). That's just a part of life. Now here's the part that makes this whole meandering mostly just an academic question: My oldest daughter really seems to need to be homeschooled right now. And I'm pretty opposed to the way our public schools are set up and can't afford any private alternatives. So if I continue down this path, that puts me right here, at home with these kids, all the time for their whole childhood. Is that what I want? So far, that's what I want about three days out of the week. I start off charged up and ready to do school and do projects and make messes and try to make good choices all day. But then by about Thursday I'm ready for a change. Something completely different. Not necessarily a break, but just a real change of pace. Like focused work where I can accomplish something and then it's done- not the work that gets undone five times a day, every day. I think some part of me really misses teaching. (Not that I'm not teaching my kids all day, but a small group of adults is very different from a group of small children.) All the constructive contact with other adults. Using the parts of my self and my brain that don't get much use at my present day job. And I feel like even if I homeschool my kids and really get absorbed in taking on their education personally, I can't just live through them. I feel myself wanting more than just watching them learn. Because they don't want me to teach them. They want to learn next to me, (and here's the important bit) while I'm learning too. (Heck, Georgia wants to teach me. As soon as she learns something, she want to be the teacher and teach it right back to me (which is a great way for her to learn actively and retain information! Go Georgia!)) Right now I'm learning how to teach them, and I'm sure I always will be, but there's more that I'm talking about. I need to be doing my own work too. It's not that I need more work to do, it's just that there has to be just the right mix of different kinds of work for my life to be sustainable.

So that's as far as I've gotten. In thinking all this out. I'm not sure what happens next, but I have this overwhelming feeling that it's going to be ok.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 11:15 PM | Comments (4)

March 03, 2006

on the bright side

That's where I'm living right now. The vacation seems to have refreshed me. It seemed like a lot of work at the time, though we had a great time, but I'm all happy and ready to go forward in life. I thing I like vacationing. It's good for me. Doesn't everybody need a little sun in February? And the kids are playing together really well since we got back. Much less fighting and much more imaginative play together. They've taken to having tea parties every day and have really long attention spans for quiet activites like painting and their 'projects'. And I am totally ignoring the bathroom construction. It's up to the flooring guys and the plumbers and I'm not even thinking about it anymore. Georgia has come to ignore the construction zone in her room and is sleeping in her own bed since we got back. Yeah! And here's the best part of the whole package- winter is practically over with almost no suffering on my part. My secret is being insanely preoccupied and busy with buying and selling houses and lots of drawn out remodeling projects. The vacation gave me that last push through February- both looking forward to it and being there- and that's it. It's already the Fast (no eating or drinking sunrise to sunset each day for nineteen days for Baha'is, though I haven't fasted for seven years due to procreating). And that means spring is on it's way. Hey, I've already seen robins around here. And there are daffodil shoots already poking up in my front yard. Woo hoo!

And then there's Teresa, who must have really taken in her 1st birthday on some level and benefited from the vacation because she's been just blooming since we got back. She walked into another room today, all by herself. Meaning- a room that I was not in. That was a first. And she's started nodding when she wants to say yes, and even shaking her head for no sometimes. She's making more sounds that sound more like pre-words too. She just seems really involved with the world and more aware of what's going on.

Billy says he's feeling renewed and refreshed too, and has gotten some good perspective away from daily life. He's happy he got lots of time to play with his children. And he also says he really benefited from hanging around the Allmarts for a week on account of all their good qualities in parenting and in life.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 12:01 AM | Comments (2)