Sandra Dodd

On the "phrases" topic, we were talking "only a phase," and what
wasn't mentioned there was perspective.

The first time I went to a La Leche League meeting, there were two
leaders named Carol and Lori. Carol is the one who wrote about her
son learning to read in his tens, when the three others had learned
much earlier. The other was Lori Odhner. I credit them a lot. I
credit them in my book. I've arranged for Lori to come to two
homeschooling conferences where I was also speaking, to do workshops.

Lori does an interesting marriage counselling ministry for her church
(The New Church, it's called) and I've been following it more closely
because I'm speaking at a marriage conference she runs every year, and
I want to be up to speed so I don't say something offensive to their
religion. So I've been reading on their site, I ordered a book, and
I'm getting her daily e-mailing, "Marriage Moats."

Lori is a great writer. She wrote articles for La Leche League
magazines and newsletters and sites. She has written beautiful
songs. Today she sent this. Benjamin is Down syndrome. She has nine
children now, but when I met her she had four, and when she had
Benjamin she was in the middle of that series.


Sometimes scary things feel big and long.

I know the eleven days I spent with my baby in the hospital when he
was five months old with severe failure to thrive felt like eons. I
forgot what sunshine felt like, and was shocked to blink in it again
when we went outside to go to another building for an MRI.

Then they actually let me take Benjamin home. I panicked. Life was a
blur of caring for him, and I had no idea what my other six children
wore or ate for those eleven days. All I remembered was holding
Benjamin, nursing him, feeding him whole mashed avocados, taking
copious notes, and praying.

Gradually I began to calm down a notch. In fact there was a quilt
meeting that I wanted to go to, which felt incredibly selfish to even
consider. Yet, if I took all his medical equipment, just in case, and
stayed only an hour, perhaps I could risk it.

I gathered him up and started the drive along the Pasadena Freeway.
Looking behind me to check on him every twelve seconds was reducing
the quality of my driving, but I was nervous. Then the little voice
inside me, the one I tell people they should listen to, said, "Go on
the side streets."

What? That was ridiculous. The freeway is faster and... and...

"Go on the side streets." it repeated.

Reluctantly I steered toward the off ramp and started up California
Boulevard. This blue blooded street is lined with fifty foot palm
trees. The car's speed decelerated. My heart rate slowed down. On my
right was a hospital where I brought flowers to a baby who later died.
At least my child is alive, I thought. Then I passed the rehab center
where I had visited a teenager who swallowed a bunch of pills. At
least I am not facing that.

Then my car went over a bump, and in that instant my voice said, "This
is a bump."

I was outraged. How dare anyone suggest that this huge ordeal was only
a bump. Harrumph.

I arrived at the quilt store, and overheard the other ladies kvetching
about the traffic on the freeway. Maybe that voice knew more than me
after all.

Twelve years later, it does look like a bump, if only because the
bumps have gotten bigger. I am not suggesting that it was easy. It was
the on ramp to life with a special needs child that still leaves me
scanning for the exit.

But it has also been the road that John and I have traveled together,
taking turns driving, sometimes playful enough to turn on the music
and sing.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Sandra Dodd

-=-Carol is the one who wrote about her
son learning to read in his tens, -=-


and I meant to put the link.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Sandra Dodd

Someone wrote this, and yes.

-=-That article Lori wrote was so lovely. I could feel my shoulders
relaxing, as she turned onto California Boulevard!

-=-I would like to read more of her writings, so could you send me a
link to her "Marriage Moats" emails? Are there other places to read
her articles?-=-

There is a religious component of Lori's life and beliefs, but it
might only rarely be obvious in these posts.
Click on Marriage Moats and you can subscribe. If one ever comes that
seems odd, you can skip it by, but most will be as the one I sent.