Wednesday, June 30, 2021

New Hampshire and the White Mountain Adventure

 I've been having a fabulous vacation. It's only Al and I here at the farm. It's kind of like staying with a total stranger in some ways, except that he and his wife were friends with my parents many years ago. Fifty years seem such a short time when I'm looking backward...

He's a young almost 82 year old. It can be slightly disconcerting when he takes me to places where one has to watch their footing, but really the scariest place was on top of Mt Washington, and that mostly because the wind was gusting at 55 mph. 

It's a big house for just the two of us, but he says it's just as big when he's here alone. He doesn't actually live here. It's a family vacation home that his grandmother bought in 1908. I didn't know what to expect when I made my plans. My sisters were invited, but neither one was able to be here and so I've had all the attention, which come to think of it is highly unusual for me...

I arrived early Friday evening. On Saturday we went out to see the waterfall at Glen Ellis and Thompson Falls, and then he took me to see the little known George Washington Boulder just up the mountain from where we are staying and we checked out Flossie's Country Store. Before the day was done we took a short drive to Jackson Falls. There isn't much water due to the dry conditions this year but it was beautiful just the same.

On Sunday we drove the Bear Notch Rd to the Kancamagus Highway. There was a scenic overlook, a venture through Clark's Trading Post in Lincoln, a ride on the Hobo Railroad, and a drive through Franconia Notch to where the Old man of the Mountain once kept watch. 

Monday found us taking the Thorn Hill Rd to avoid traffic delays in North Conway. After a quick stop in Lowe's Al took me to Freyburg, Maine where he attended Freyburg Academy as a boarding student during his high school days. From there we drove north, threading in and out of Maine and New Hampshire up Rt 113 through Evans Notch all the way to Gilead, Maine. From there we went west on Rt 2 to Gorham, New Hampshire and then south on Rt 16 all the way back to Jackson. That was the evening we went to the Red Fox and shared a Fenway Pizza, and then took a walk down the road from the house since we'd been in the car most of the day.

We got up early Tuesday morning in order to leave the house by 8 am and be to Diana's Baths in time to find a parking space. It was a pleasant hike back into the woods where we found the most amazing waterfalls. I even took my shoes and socks off. Cathedral Ledge was the next stop where we drove up to a spot overlooking Echo Lake and the village of North Conway. Since it was still early in the day, we then drove south to Albany, New Hampshire and found the Madison Boulder. It's ginormous!That afternoon I ventured out by myself and stopped at both the White Mountain Puzzle Company and The Covered Bridge Gift Shop.

That brings us to today, which maybe I will write about tomorrow...

Thursday, June 24, 2021

A Little Return to My Childhood

I stared at the picture on the computer screen in front of me and was filled with a mix of emotions... A space of open field, a woods of autumn trees, a sky full of clouds, and mountains in the distance. Yes, I knew who had posted the photograph. My reasoning told me it could have been taken anywhere, but my heart knew different. Even without turning around, I knew exactly where it had been taken, even though almost 50 years had passed since I was a little girl standing in that spot.

"Looking at this photo instantly took me back 50 years in time." I wrote, "It wasn't autumn when we stayed in the White Mountains with your family, but I still recognized it right away. I spent quite a bit of time playing alone in the back of the house while my little sisters and your little daughters played closer to the adults. I am amazed at how vivid the memories are all these years later."

Tomorrow a fifty year old dream will begin to come true as I travel back to the White Mountains of New Hampshire to meet the only living adult left from my time there as a child. My parents are gone and Al's wife Nancy is gone too, but Al remains and he has invited me to be his guest in the 8-bedroom farmhouse in the mountains.

I haven't made an itinerary. The only set plan we have is to ride the Cog Railway up Mount Washington. I hope the weather cooperates. This week I've begun to think perhaps this trip is part of a reckoning with a younger Martha. There is some unexpected emotion brewing inside and I am looking forward to Jesus healing apiece of my heart that maybe I hadn't realized was broken. I'm also looking forward to some fun and adventure. I'm "just a little" excited.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Bits and Pieces

* It's been a week since I posted anything. *horrors!*  

* The daycare (hopefully) is getting back into a normal routine, just in time for summer which will turn normal on its head all over again.

* I can't tell you often enough how much I love those snotty-nosed, sassy, naughty, wonderfully adorable little people who fill my work days. Last week I overheard my friend Sophia say, "Let's go in the kitchen (center) and pretend we're Miss Martha making lunch." How sweet is that? A little later I stepped into the classroom so their teacher could use the potty and a conversation ensued.

Sophia- "Miss Martha, what's for lunch?"
Me- "Ravioli."
She makes a face and says, "What else?"
Me- "Broccoli and cantaloupe."
Carissa, looking distressed replies- "I don't like any of those"
At this Sophia wrinkles up her nose, smiles a little, and says- "Yeah we don't like those roly polies."
They really are the best!

* I took my chiropractor's advice and ordered a pair of shoes. Oboz. I looked and looked for something I liked in my size, but couldn't locate them anywhere but Amazon. They finally arrived on Friday, a size and a half too big. I shipped them back via Kohl's and would have ordered another pair in the correct size, but they wouldn't have gotten here before I leave for my vacation. Instead I did another search online and found a nice pair of Merrells at Dick's Sporting Goods here in town.

* Saturday's weather was warm and humid. In the early afternoon I met my friend Adam at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, NY and we went on a photo taking excursion. (You never know what you might find in a cemetery...) After we had traipsed about for a couple of hours, he left to take his mom out for dinner and I headed home where Hannah and I fixed up a dinner of our own.

* Nathan, my child Number 5 and fourth son, had his 31st birthday on Saturday. In years past, before he was stolen away by Sweet Sabrina, we always celebrated his mid June birthday with homemade strawberry shortcake. This year we decided to continue the tradition without him as Sabrina always has some kind of birthday plan for him and their little family. (It was delicious! Such a shame they missed out.)

* The 20th of June was Father's Day and also what would have been our 40th wedding anniversary... Sergio was working and I didn't have any plans, so Hannah, the boys, and I spent the day together. After lunch we met my friend Gail at Bruster's for a celebratory ice cream cone. It turned out to be a very pleasant weekend.

* After work today I took my car for an oil change in preparation for my up and coming drive to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I'm just a tad nervous and a little more than a bit excited.

Monday, June 14, 2021

A Little Piece of Peace

This evening I took a ride down to the lake. I didn't expect the shoreline to be clean, and it wasn't. I only hoped the rain would hold off for a little while, and it did, but only for a very short while. In spite of the sprinkle of raindrops, the sky was magnificent! And I was blessed by a little band of ducklings swimming in the creek.


In my travels my phone let off a chime letting me know I had a message. I pulled into a parking lot to check my phone and found a text from my sister Rachel. It's been a very long time since we took a walk together. Tonight we walked and it was good.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Truth is Hard To Swallow

Forgive me a heavy post while I sort my thoughts...

My biggest regret in life is inadvertently teaching my children to tolerate and accept abuse. My greatest heartache is seeing the effects of my failure to teach them otherwise. I thought I was teaching them love and forgiveness. I somehow thought they would automatically and instinctively know what abuse looked like. I didn't realize they would come to view it as "normal." Instead of teaching them to choose healthy relationships, I modeled enabling, and I failed to protect them when they were abused. How often did I bite my tongue in order to avoid escalating a situation? How many times did I cover for him because of my own fear or embarrassment? How regularly did I tell myself "It isn't that bad" or "It could be worse"? Why didn't I realize how deep and long-lasting are the wounds of spiritual, emotional and mental abuse? How did I come to believe the lack of physical evidence equated the lack of actual abuse? How did I slip into focusing only on what was good in our family when in actuality so much was out of line?  The price is astronomical.

Today I have a divorce, but it took extenuating circumstances to get us here. I didn't arrive in this place without an incredible amount of inner conflict. It has been incredibly painful on every side. I have felt the crippling inability to respond, the suffocating agony of straddling disbelief and acceptance, and the fear of losing everything I loved including my relationship with my children. I have both kept silent and shared secrets, attempted to gloss over pain as well as expose it, and to be honest about our issues while not tearing down the other. It's an impossible balance and I fall multiple times on a daily basis. Sometimes I have a painfully difficult time getting up to try again.

When I walked away from my marriage, it was my desperate hope to set an better example for my children, but they were already grown. I finally saw a boundary that had to be enforced, even though there had been boundary crossings trampled long before. (Sometimes it takes my breath away when I realize the extent of what I have tolerated.) I am finally beginning to understand why outsiders are so furious with the "non offending" parent, even though I understand her place because I am her.

Where do I go from here? What can I do? It is impossible to travel back in time and do life over again, to make better past choices myself and set better past examples. I'm struggling to not make excuses for the younger me, while at the same time realizing that the younger Martha did the best she knew how to do. This is a painful process full of icky feeling emotions. My hands feel dirty but no matter how many times I wash them, I can't seem to get them entirely clean... And just when I feel utterly hopeless, God steps in to remind me that there is always hope with Him. I don't have to be an enabler. I can make better choices for the future. I can heal from codependence. I can be a better mom, grandmother, and friend.

Friday, June 11, 2021


 It's come to my attention that I haven't written a blog in close to two weeks! Things have been a little hectic at the "office" since my return to work after the long Memorial Day weekend. Our lead toddler teacher has been out due to circumstances beyond her control, and so I was relieved from Kitchen Duty to fill in with our "older toddler" class. (They're all 2.) Our site director not only did her own office job, but somehow managed to get lunch out too. She's absolutely amazing!

I spent many "fun-filled" days with some of my favorite little people. They are feisty, sassy, and downright defiant, and I love them with all my heart. We spent hours on the playground and I gave out tons of hugs and kisses. I reprimanded, consoled, and encouraged and when I happened upon the babies down the hall, they looked at me as if to say, "Where in the world have you been?"

A little more than a week ago I finished my last pottery class, and two weeks ago I spent an evening at my cousin's house decorating a ceramic fairy door with several other women. They turned out fantastic! The installation might take some time, but stay tuned. It could happen.

Let's see... What else is going on? 

I went for a walk at Mendon Ponds with my friend Adam on Memorial Day, and spent this past Sunday afternoon at my son Dave's house. I've not been to the lake much as the algae has washed in making the beach gross.  Last evening I took myself for a walk.

I've been having a few back issues lately... Not sure if it stems from walking the shifting sands and stones of New Hampshire beaches, hefting toddlers, or something else, but my left foot has decided to tingle. I put a text in to my favorite chiropractor who looked at my back and gave me some stretches to help get  me back on track again. Growing up sure is interesting!