Summer Ducks, Eggs & Life

Behind my house, down the street, a ways, is a peaceful little urban fishing pond. It sits almost hidden among the 5 story apartments and towering businesses.

When I first moved to my little condo in 2016, I was thrilled when I came upon this jewel. It took me back to my country childhood full of ponds, rivers, and mountains. One of those rivers was the Sanpitch River.

The San Pitch River, extending 65 miles, is the primary watercourse of the Sanpete Valley and drains into the Sevier River in southwestern Sanpete. The river is named for the Ute chief Sanpitch, who also gives his name to the San Pitch Mountains and Sanpete County. Wikipedia

Many summer days were spent at that river despite it being a muddy, nasty adventure. It was common after swimming to climb into the shore and see your feet covered in little white bloodsuckers. We would scream and dance around and brush them off then jump on our bikes and ride home.

My urban duck pond is a bit cleaner, but not much. It’s full of debris and duck yuk but draws a few fishermen a day.

It has an attached playground and grassy area plus a Ferrell cat feeding area. On many hot summer days I would take my little chihuahua to the cool green grass and spend an hour or so.

On my most recent trip, I took a seat on the grass between the tall feather reed ornamental grasses and the ducks resting on the side. I looked over and noticed an egg sitting between me and the ducks.

Since it wasn’t in a nest, I could only assume the mother duck abandoned it due to it not being viable.

As I watched the ducks bask in the sun and stretch their wings; ignoring the egg; I couldn’t help but wonder how the mother knew the duckling had died. As I googled it, I came across this article about a duck who was retrieved from a mother and saved.

Mother duck dies, but removed egg hatches 26 days later

This sweet duck story could not have been more of a coincidence to my family’s situation right now. Some of my family members are exploring surrogacy to obtain a child for someone who doesn’t have any of their own. It’s radical since we have never done anything like this before. It’s exciting too.

I know that’s a little different than duck eggs but I couldn’t deny the relevance.

As I watched the ducks enjoy their day I thought of that abandoned egg in relation to just a few months before in my life. I have felt like I was fighting the battle of my son’s opioid addiction alone without a lot of family support for years. My husband has come a long way in his attitude toward addiction although he has always supported me and my efforts. It seemed to be just me and him against this monster of addiction that throws every axe and hot flame into every plan of action possible.

But 6 weeks ago on May 28th that all changed. My son was in ICU for difficulty breathing and low oxygen. He was intubated for 6 days. He was given a diagnosis of heart failure and given an unknown but bleak prediction of life expectancy. The cardiologist made it clear that the heart can only heal once so his lifestyle was paramount in making that happen.

The most amazing thing about it is the family support he and I received. His family rallied around him and he was even able to see his sweet daughter for the first time in years. I can’t even tell you how much of a difference that makes. The relief, the weight of the world seemed to have been taken off my shoulders and his. He couldn’t stop talking about it. I believe it made the difference between him giving up on life and going back to a lifestyle that would surely kill him.

I watched the ducks race to the water and seemingly play with each other. Or were they fighting over bugs? Whatever it was, they had to learn to survive and get along 24/7 in the confines of that pond. Some days I’m sure it’s a duck-eat-duck world, but ultimately they learn to survive and thrive.

Awee. My little fishing pond and the ducks that have been my summer friend for over five years now. They bring me a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of the city all while teaching me about life and survival. And now that life feels like a lot less pressure and despair, I’m hoping these ducks and this pond will bring me more joy and beauty until the cold winds of winter descend. Until then, I will enjoy the massive heat wave we are experiencing and find balance and joy in all seasons.

Trails of Smiles-ɢuɪᴅɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ ᴊᴏuʀɴᴇʏ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ Iɴɴᴏᴄᴇɴᴛs

As I watched the little boy in his navy blue fleece jacket; with his warm knit hoodie covering his wavy brown hair, happily bouncing along the sandy path, I couldn’t help but smile with grateful relief.

Every three steps, without fail, he would stop, bend down and draw a circle in the sand. “Look Nana! a circle!”

This was my grandson, 3 years old, diagnosed with mild autism a little over a year ago. I had limited contact with him, partly due to distance, but mostly because of a grueling 3 years dealing with my son’s (his dad) slide into addiction.

It has been heartbreaking to watch the events unfold like a classic textbook of addiction’s strange and darkened chaos. With the collapse of my son’s business he built for over 10 years, his 12 year marriage,and the loss of watching his 2 little kids grow up, my son had now isolated himself from everyone.

Relations had been strained with his now ex-wife, as the hurtful trauma of divorce along with everything else, had everyone scrambling to survive their emotions and salvage what was left of their lives as they knew it.

I was with this little boy for the first month of his life, as a preemie baby confined to oxygen until his little lungs could catch up.

I didn’t see him for almost 2 years after that, while his mom struggled with her transition from the marraige and her new home while ( hopefully) realizing that we were not the enemy trying to inflict more pain onto the situation. 

The first time I saw my little grandson again was Christmas 2019. My amazing daughter had somehow negotiated for the now ex-daughter in law, to come to our family Christmas party and bring the kids that all the cousins had missed for so long.

I can’t imagine her anxiety, walking up to the house we had rented for the occasion, to the family she had been a part of for over a decade. Not knowing if we held any blame or malice to her for anything.  Would there be an argument over the addict? I found out over a year later that she was fearful he would show up, wanting to see his kids,  even though he was safely out of state in his first rehab.

As the door opened and they stepped in, I couldn’t believe how big the kids were. I had seen occasional pictures that were swiped from social media discreetly since we were all blocked, but to see them in person was amazing. I especially was curious if the little boy resembled my son. I watched him be carried inside, with bright wide eyes looking cautiously around. His thick hair and smile was the image of my son.

His long eyelashes melted my heart, taking me back 30 years to my innocent happy funny son playing in the dirt. How I wish I could go back to that moment and tell my son that’s he’s tough enough to resist anything that comes his way, that he doesn’t have to partake of anything that makes empty promises. But of course, I probably did say that. No amount of shudda, wudda, cuddas are helpful with addiction. It happened.

As the salutations and reacquainting took place, watched him casually but with inner analyzation; I won’t deny that my heart instantly sunk a little as I could see that he carried himself a little differently, maybe a bit stiff. I didn’t know what it was, but I hoped It was nothing. I found out later that night,that he had tested for mild autism.

Wow, this is huge. I couldn’t process it adequately while trying to do holiday party activities. I wondered if my son knew. They had talked on and off over the 18 months, mostly in regards to the divorce and bancruptcy and selling their beautiful new home, but I dont think she divulged much about the children, since there was so much hurt and abandonment. Would this devastated him and push him back into his addiction after rehab?

My son had wanted to see his kids at different times the previous 9 months to rehab. And even after, he wanted to be in their life. He asked me recently, “why do you think she wont let me see them?” I was so exhausted by then, trying to get him back into treatment and such, that I didnt have the energy to say, “ Because you are on drugs, you are not reliable and safe, and its better to not go in and out of their lives and have them see you like that”. All I could muster up was, “it’s probably better for right now.”

This is one example of how their (persons with a substance use disorder) hijacked brain lies to them, telling them that they are perfectly capable of using drugs and managing a regular life. They’re not. For one thing, they absolutely do not understand time management. An hour to them is a week in real life, I swear. The part of their brain that controls assessing risk and consequences, is basically in a coma. And future plans? Non existent as their reptile brain is the only one working for survival. “Get dope or die” it screams daily.

So now, a year later, to have my precious first born son’s kids with me, doing one of my very favorite things, -hiking; and in my very favorite place, was simply heaven. 

Such a mix of feelings as I was able to walk and talk and play with these two little humans. Their mother, despite so many ups and downs this year, so many disagreements and misunderstandings- the last one just a month ago- was pleasant and agreeable. It was just like old times, sans the elephant in the great outdoors- my son.

I was torn between feelings of sadness that my son should be here, jumping off rocks and acting goofy like he used to, and just accepting the situation for what it was: A family enjoying each other, healing from life’s traumatic experiences, and moving forward with love.

It can only help everyone involved. To see that life can go on despite a difficult diagnosis, despite a traumatic divorce, 2 huge bancruptcies, extreme lifestyle changes with no money to maneuver it.

These precious kids need to see how healthy people handle stress. How unconditional love with boundaries works. How cunning and false some things are despite shiney promises. They need to know that people can make the best of what life throws then, without bitterness and regret. Who knows, these lessons is adults are lovingly teaching, may come in handy when my grandkids’ kids are faced with challenges.

So play in the sand, my little grandson. Get your fingers dirty. Smile that smile. Blink those long eyelashes. Run and play and enjoy life as a child without knowing adult problems yet. Most of all KNOW

-ᗷEYOᑎᗪ ᗩᑎYTᕼIᑎG

that you are loved. You are safe and loved.

Why Can’t we Respect Differing Opinions?

It’s sad that we think we can only like or be friends with people who believe what we do.

It’s strange to think that the old debate rules we learned in High School are nonexistent anymore.  Yet history has shown us that it’s easier to divide and conquer if we want a certain policy passed or a way of life to be accepted.

Theres a video called hidden agendas (which btw won’t load-but it was originally on Amazon prime), is classified as  conspiracy theory, and is now unavailable with all the censoring. This only furthers the narrative to make us believe we should only watch ‘accepted’ media.

It’s sad that we’ve been taught that it’s ok to treat the elderly, or the cops, or someone of either party with such malice & hate in order to prove a point.

No matter who we think is right or who may have taught us these things, it’s unfortunate that we ourselves ‘are led to’ believe it to be true…..

Just like Netflix’s latest Social Dilemma shows, we CAN be swayed to believe things. Including that it’s OK to be so drastically divided and shame those who think differently.

Calling someone out on their behavior is different than shaming someone for their beliefs.

It’s sad that all sides of a story can’t be heard by all sources so that WE can decide for ourselves.

It’s sad that we can’t be trusted enough to decide for ourselves what’s true.

I’m especially saddened that one issue can tear apart families to the point of not being able to converse or strengthen family bonds.

You don’t have to believe in a God to believe in an evil force.

I truly believe that the devil is winning by using whatever device, tool, people, addiction or argument that it can muster up to cause such unrest & fear & anger in so many.

We can make a difference by doing our part & starting with what’s right in front of us.

Remember when we joined the big anti- bullying push in schools?  Yet nowadays, online, we feel justified to bully someone into compliance with what WE think. Is BEST for THEM. A complete stranger.

What are our kids learning?

People, ALL people, just want to be loved & respected…. The way they go about it is just different…

Some act out for attention. Some destroy things to feel empowered. Some deflect and cover up with substances or other addictive behaviors.

However, someone chooses to be heard and understand, I don’t think the answer is “raise voices through violence.”

It breaks my heart to see videos against innocent people such as the elderly these past few weekswith people cheering the attackers on saying “that’s go time”. Watch Here. Sad. Pray for peace. 

We ALWAYS Have a CHOICE what our next move will be

This will be the last time I share these hate filled videos, so not too give power to anyones “cause.” I sincerely hope that these viscous attacks fail to provide the wanted results. 🍀🤞🍀🤞🍀🤞

Pray for peace. Let it start with us