Recently, Michael bought me a glazed ceramic bird bath, its bowl the shape and texture of a sunflower, to put in the garden just outside the window from where I do my writing. It took a while for the birds to discover it, but now I'm seeing creatures frequent it at certain times of day—chickadees, jays, bees, cardinals, squirrels—no doubt very thirsty from a drought-stricken summer and autumn.

One of my favorite birds is the robin. Scads of them lived around where I grew up. I know their familiar chirp, and when they arrive here in Maine when snow is still on the ground, I'm heartened knowing spring is not far away.

The past few days I've seen a baby robin appear, one with a white ring around its eye. Though it's nearly full-grown, when its mother is near it hunches down, opens its mouth and flaps its wings for feeding. My boy Calvin also tips his head back—mouth open—when he wants me to spoon in more of his favorite foods. He's my little birdie, albeit a thirteen-year-old one in an elfin body whose happy chirps and hurtful cries still sound so much like a toddler.

On strings of days like these when I'm mostly trapped indoors with my seizure-ish child, I pine away for nature, to be outside, to be therapeutically immersed in sun and sky and green and clouds. Thankfully, our house is graced with lots of windows on all sides, so I've got plenty of vantage points from which to observe nature's goings-on—wind ruffling the leaves of the Japanese maple and rippling the water in the birdies' pool, squirrels skittering up rough trunks, bees humming around blushing hydrangea blossoms, woodpeckers scaling trees upside down searching for bugs.

Still, I can't shake the feeling that I'm missing something, that life is passing me by as I while away indoors being my son's nursemaid. I wonder if I'll ever get back to San Francisco or Seattle. I wonder if I'll ever again see Paris or Rome, Istanbul or Rio. I wonder if I'll ever again be able to venture into lands unknown. And if I do, what might that mean for Calvin? Will he be with me? Gone? Neglected in some group home?

But for now I'll have to be content here while watching the robins, perhaps letting them take me along—in my mind's eye—as they soon start traveling south.


  1. Katie lives in a sort of group home. She lives with two other women, both older than her. Angie is 35 and has Down syndrome. Katie's other roommate is older and in a wheelchair and I've haven't yet met her because she visits her mom on weekends, which is when I visit Katie. Katie is well cared for. It is her home. The agency that cares for Katie is amazing. They take people that others have given up on and help them to live normalish lives. Katie's roommate Angie was living in Alberta hospital because she was so violent (towards herself only) and Angie is now able to live in a home with two other women. They are a family, even though caregivers come and go. Some of Katie's caregivers have known her for years now and they are also part of her family. Katie's family has grown instead of shrunk, something for which I am so thankful.

    It's not easy but there are many good people in this world who help Katie live a better life. A group home doesn't have to mean neglect, it can mean love and caring and an expanding world. When I have expected the worst from Katie, when she's had to move, when she broke her arm, not only has she fared much better than I could possible have imagined but all of the people around her have been much kinder and more compassionate than I thought possible.

    I hope this helps ease your mind a little. The future can be better. I didn't know this when Katie was younger. I could only see more of the same but I was wrong and for that I'm very thankful.

    1. thank you lily (i forget your "real" name). this does help. xo