My time in Austin with Odin, Ren and Eric was incredible. The feeling of family, and knowing that we are there for each other was truly the essence of the trip. It began with the four of us walking to a nearby Mexican restaurant, ordering foods that we could share, while at the same time respecting each other’s preferences. Watching Odin enjoy his food, is such a beautiful reminder to treasure each morsel I put in my mouth. He picks up each food, looks at it with curiosity, but with complete trust that he will be experiencing a taste, a texture, a smell that is unique to that very moment. He usually loves whatever he tries, but every once in awhile he’ll be surprised and he’ll simply spit it out with the perfect face of ‘yuck’.
Ren was coaching the Brooklyn/New York Skeeball team at Nationals, and my job was to spend time with Odin, make sure he takes his naps, eats his meals, and stays on his schedule. heaven. We went on three days of discovery and adventure. The Austin Children’s Museum and the discovery of giant music chimes in a local park, were highlights of the trip. Odin is beginning to talk and to sign. He’s learned the signs for ‘bird’, ‘milk’, ‘more’, ‘all done’ and the beginnings of ‘eat’. His most wonderful sign of course is his smile and laugh, which I suppose is the universal sign for joy. He is pure joy.
I’m in Providence, RI now with Chih. We made potstickers with his friends – such a blast! and then we sat around and I listened to them share from their hearts. They are all teachers working their butts off in under-resourced schools, and they just love these kids – they want the best for them. I could tell they were trying to talk about things other than work, but the conversation kept coming around to the kids, and what was and wasn’t working for them. I loved the way Chih could see the goodness in every single person, even the kid who was caught with a knife in his backpack. Some of the older teachers wanted the 14 year old kid arrested, but Chih wanted to understand him, and his situation. I wanted to cry.
I’m off to a women’s leadership conference in Williamstown, MA, where I will be surrounded by powerful women making a difference in the world. I continue to be in awe of my blessings, and grateful that I have the freedom to travel, learn and grow.
My mom’s health couldn’t be better. She’s eating pureed foods, getting extra nourishment through the tube, and having fewer cramps. When I set off on this trip – the longest that I’ve been away – my mom looked at me and smiled. She was happy for me.