Sharing Pearlz of Wisdom

When I was young I met an old woman who was working under a car with a wrench. She heard my steps and slid out on her dolly to greet. I was surprised by how she looked, she was a joyfully aged person in overalls and a bit of car grease. Her wrinkles shouted happy. I decided at that moment, I would set my life course to attain wrinkles of happiness – little did I know the cost.

For forty years, (yes, that dates me) I have been the parent or caregiver of persons who have lived through complex life trauma. I began parenting as a foster parent and my husband and I adopted a little person who joined our home as an unattached, failure to thrive infant. At five months she had already lived with four caregivers, her mother passed away when she was two months old and from the beginning she was an adventure.

As a parent or caregiver of persons who have come from or live in hard places there may be, can be — there ARE — many days of struggle. And if that struggle is with invisible disability those days are long – no longer – some days never END! — and they are filled with misunderstandings, frustrations and overwhelmed feelings.

I want to help you find shimmers of joy in the daily muck and balance in your weary days.

Note I said days, because on some days there won’t be any place to find balance except inside your heart and spirit and I want to help you learn to do that.

When my mother died, I ordered seven pearls from China to honor our family history. I ordered four pink, two white and one unusual pearl. They arrived in a small package and none were perfect—all were flawed, all were strong—and natural. They surprised me in their brilliance and the way the light connected and reflect out into the darker room. Most surprising was the unusual pearl—shaped like a six winged creature.

Real pearls pass the friction test and feel gritty when rubbed together, not smooth. Real pearls have flaws, imperfections, and slight variances in color, shape, and texture. My six winged pearl creature is a REAL pearl from an oyster did very hard work in dealing with the friction and rough adventures in life.

When a particle becomes lodged inside an oyster or mollusk, the animal reacts by secreting a type of calcium carbonate, along with some organic material, to smooth over it. You can see how much smoothing my poor little wild pearl had to do! This process creates layers around the particle: an iridescent coating called nacre. Together, the particle and nacre constitute a pearl. Depending on factors such as the size of the particle and the pearl, this activity can take years to complete.

I cherish my gift from that small oyster, who created my wild and crazy shaped pearl to remind me how important it is that I share what I have learned. I cherish all the grit and friction and flaws in my life and I hope to be your a beacon of hope in 2017 on “this very difficult and adventurous parenting path.”

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