Baby Love

In the midst of the pandemic as well as my deep despair over everything that is going on in the world right now, comes a welcome respite of joy and gratitude.

My only sister and her husband became grandparents last night, to a perfect little girl who was longed for and whose mom went nine days overdue before finally going into labour late yesterday morning. I am brimming with happiness for them all.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, my nephew was only permitted to stay in the hospital during labour and delivery, so like my sister and her husband and her other grandparents, he now has to wait until mother and baby are discharged to be with them.

A side note: when this same nephew was a baby and my firstborn was a young girl, she absolutely adored him. How do I know? Back then, she had a locket. She kept a pic of him in that locket along with a pic of herself. I smile whenever I think of it.

I can’t help but recall how thrilled I was when I became a grandmother fourteen years ago, to a dear little bundle who felt like a gift from heaven for all of us. And now my memories take me back to the day my own daughter was born.
I became a mom when I was barely a woman myself. So young I was, a child having a child. It didn’t take long, though, for me to make my baby a priority and to fall in love in a way I never had before.

Eight years ago, I wrote a short poem about it.

Baby Love

Remembering that day in June
when you were small and pink and new
your needs so urgent, your helplessness
eclipsing all I’d planned to do

Your eyes, the bluest I’ve ever seen
gazed into mine, I drank you in
strawberry mark on your behind
that perfect dimple in your chin

The tiny o your lips would make
when, nursing done, you fell asleep
that newborn smell, the lightest heft—
who knew that love could feel so deep?

My firstborn with her firstborn 

What are you grateful for today?

Sunday Snaps: Hope*

If ever there was a time to have patience, we’re living it right now.

While we each strive to do our part in what is expected of us during this pandemic, I hold onto hope.

I hope the global outbreak will become a distant memory sooner rather than later.

I hope common sense and cooler heads prevail. In many ways, the outcome is up to us.

I hope, above all, we remember to preserve the most precious part of our humanity: our kindness and compassion for one another.

 Embrace hope
and stay healthy, everyone.

*Photo Challenge: Hope

Perry Boys – a Look Back

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m having trouble concentrating long enough to compose an original post. So today I’ll share a post from exactly five years ago, a nostalgic look back to simpler times.

When my husband Paul was six years old, he and his family moved from Newtown – the little community in which we live now – to live in the capital city of St. John’s. Their parents relocated so that Paul’s oldest sibling David could attend the Vera Perlin school for his special needs.
On the day of the big move, Paul crawled up under the house – the actual house we live in now – in a show of protest. “Everyone should be able to live where they were born,” he argued through tears, but the die had been cast. He was pulled out and packed into the car with everyone else.

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On the very first day at their new school, Paul and his other brother Kevin, who is one year older, decided to walk home from school for lunch, despite being told to stay there and eat the lunch they’d brought. But when they saw other children going home, they wanted to go as well. Unfamiliar with their new neighbourhood, the two boys got lost, and Kevin started to cry.

Brave little Paul tried his best to console his big brother by distracting him. “Don’t cry, Kev. Look at the pigeons,” he said, pointing at a bunch of them as they waddled across the sidewalk, hoping the strange, tame city birds might cheer him up. It worked, and they ended up following a classmate to his house. Between the jigs and the reels, their dad had to leave work and go pick them up.

Let’s go back a couple of years when Paul was four and Kevin was five, to another time the younger boy displayed his wisdom. A new addition to the family of three boys had arrived, and this time, it was a girl! When their mom brought baby Julie Ann home, the boys crowded around to get a look at their new sister. Kevin’s eyes opened wide when her diaper came off to be changed. “Look, Paul,” he said, incredulous. “She ain’t got nar topper!” (penis)
“No, ya foolish,” Paul said, enlightened beyond his years. “She got whatever Mom got.”

Now before you think I’m beating up on my brother-in-law, I’d like to share one more tale. Okay, two. When Paul was about nine and enjoying his summer vacation in Newtown, Kevin saved him from drowning. Paul was diving with some other boys off of Burnt Island, but he tired in the deep water and panicked. Kevin grabbed him by the hair on top of his head and pulled him to safety.

newtown

Years later, when Kevin was just beginning his teaching career, he and Paul were driving along in St. John’s one evening. Without warning, Kevin pulled over, stopped the car, and jumped out. He’d spied two teenage boys in a fist fight near the local hockey rink, and he wanted to stop them. Paul watched as he parted the boys, reasoned with them, and ended the scuffle.

It was a day he never forgot. Where most people would just keep going and not get involved, Kevin stepped in and tried to solve the problem. It made Paul really proud of his brother.

Paul confessed there were other boyhood fights where Kev stepped in and rescued Paul himself, fights my husband started and couldn’t finish. I would say he’s grateful for those too. And so am I. 🙂

L to R: David, Paul, Julie, and Kevin
L to R: David, Paul, Julie, and Kevin
Thirteen-year-old Paul

Originally posted on March 24, 2015 here.

Reflecting on the Little Things

For me, this winter has been a time of deep reflection. The dormant months are ideal for slowing down and looking inward, giving one a chance to rest, to heal, to quiet the mind and to focus on the spiritual side of life.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about and missing my mother more than usual. She has visited me in my dreams quite often in recent weeks.

I wonder why.

I suppose I could chalk it up to growing older and becoming infinitely more aware of my own mortality. Or maybe she knows I need her more right now.

Today, I dedicate this post to you, Mom. I wrote the following piece in January of 2012, ten months before our final goodbye.

 

The Little Things

 

You always hear people say that we shouldn’t love the material things in life, and usually I am inclined to agree. However, in one particular area of my life I must beg to differ. Sometimes we have certain items that are so very precious to us because they keep our memories bright.

My mother is now in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She has changed so much in the past few years, from a vibrant, independent and beautiful woman, into a person who needs constant care. She can still smile in recognition at me but can no longer carry on a conversation of any sort. We are losing her, bit by bit, with every visit and every passing day. This is probably why I hold on so tightly to a few items that came from her.

As I write this, I am wearing a pair of wool slippers that my mother knitted for me. They are teal blue and white with little bows sewn on the top. I found them a couple of months ago when I was sorting out some storage items, and even though they are a little tight, which was the reason I had put them away in the first place, I’ve worn them ever since, stretching them so they would fit. Just knowing that she had made them for me gives me comfort.

While I was looking for Christmas baking inspiration a few weeks ago, I came across a recipe for cherry cake in my collection, written in Mom’s elegant handwriting. I remembered her making that recipe many times over the years. My heart ached with loss as I read it, but I knew I had to use it. Now that Christmas is behind us for another year, I still have some of that cake left, and I savour every bite.

And on my right hand, I am wearing my mother’s wedding band. It had been sitting in a little box in my dresser drawer for months, waiting until the day it would go on her finger for the last time. So for now I am wearing it because it makes me feel closer to her, and to Dad as well.

So please don’t try to tell me that things aren’t important. Sometimes it’s the little things that we need to hold onto, the touchstones for our priceless memories. Sometimes it is all we have.

Our lovely mother in her younger days

Menopause…or “Perry” Menopause? An Update

Last week, while looking back on a few of my January posts from the past, I hit upon the following that I’d written exactly eight years ago. I thought the timing was perfect to provide an update as the last line suggested. I had mentioned that “The Change” can take anywhere from two to eight years. Thankfully, it didn’t last anywhere near eight years for me, and yes, Paul survived. 🙂

By the way, he still plays floor hockey on Monday nights and I never turn the heat off anymore in the dead of winter. I hope that brings a measure of comfort to those of you who are dealing with menopause or perimenopause at the moment.

January 30, 2012:
So here I am, on a frigid January evening. Outside, a bitter wind chill of minus 10 degrees Celsius (that’s 14+ degrees for you Fahrenheit folks) is blowing directly off the North Atlantic  just a few yards from our door. Husband Paul is gone playing floor hockey at the high school gym, so I’m alone, trying desperately to chill out. Not figuratively, mind you, but literally. I turned down the thermostats so there is no heat on in my house, simply because my body feels like a furnace turned up on cremate.

This is a new and fresh hell for yours truly, only making itself known within the last couple of weeks. Somehow, I had let myself believe I’d be lucky enough to escape the discomfort of “tropical moments” at this time of my life. How I used to chuckle when one of my friends or coworkers complained of a hot flash. Ha! The joke is now on me. And for the uninitiated, it doesn’t feel like a source of external heat that hits you. It’s more like internal spontaneous combustion, where you think you just might suddenly burst into flames.

pexels-photo-207353Stripped down to a tank top and appropriately, sweat pants, eating blueberries out of the freezer (still frozen), I’m trying to hold it together. I made the mistake earlier of googling other menopause symptoms, and started ticking off other lovely ailments I’ve been experiencing. Brain fog? Check. Anxiety? Check. Night sweats? Check. Mood swings? Okay, that one is just me, can’t blame that on The Change.

The website also warned that the whole process could take anywhere from two to eight years before it is done. That’s just terrific. Think I’ll go out and stick my head in a snow bank.

And now Paul is home. “It’s freezing here!” he says. He looks at my red face. “Is it alright if I turn up the heat?”

“If you must,” I bark, fanning myself with a throw cushion.

Then I realize something. In our house, PMS always stood for Paul Must Suffer. Well, the PMS might be coming to an end for me, but it won’t be ending for him any time soon. Will he survive? Will I?

Check back in two to eight years.

*Images courtesy of Pexels

Tree in Autumn*


On the cusp of her dark autumn

November gathers and descends
once bright in October’s glow
her fallen raiment of gold
now flies upon the wind.

Stiff limbs scrape the starless sky
mute shadows fill her spaces
so no one sees the cracks
wrought by her many seasons
of frost and limp regret.

©J.K. Perry

***

*Photo taken November 14, 2019 in Grand Falls-Windsor

Nighttime and Here I Stand:
2 titles in #2019picoftheweek challenge. For details see MariaAntonia

Are You More Creative in the Morning?

newtown Sunrise
Sunrise in Newtown, Bonavista Bay
Newtown sunrise 2
Ten minutes later

 Research has proven the brain is most actively creative immediately following sleep.

Your subconscious mind wanders and makes connections while you sleep. That is what creativity is – making connections between different parts of the brain.

This makes sense to me. I think my writing is better and more productive in the morning.

Yet I hear some writers and creatives say they are more attuned to creating in the afternoon, evening or night. Is it simply a matter of being a morning person or a night owl?

Still others say they have no choice but to write whenever they can find the time.

When do you do your best creative work?

Invincible Summer

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger — something better, pushing right back.” – Albert Camus

This is one of my best-loved quotes.
Small wonder the author won the Nobel prize in Literature in 1957.

Do you have a favourite quote to share?

Wild Geese

Beloved poet Mary Oliver passed away on Thursday at the age of 83.  Oliver’s poems were much inspired by the link between the natural world and spirituality.

When I read her poem Wild Geese back in 2015, it stirred me to write about my feelings of belonging, or lack thereof, and of my own place in the world.

Having lived through a number of moves, changes, and upheavals, my transitions often deemed me as a newcomer who will probably always feel a little like someone on the outside, looking in.*

Yet, when I read that poem and let the words sink in, they seem to grant me the freedom to love and experience all the things that mean the most to me. I can now belong in this life I’ve created, just as everyone belongs to the bigger picture that is the universe, to bear witness to a journey filled with joy, sorrow, and exquisite beauty.*

Of course, Mary Oliver said it better than I ever could:

photo: jenniferkellandperry.com

*Excerpts from my blog post: Belonging, March 12, 2015.
Many of the comments on your own feelings of belonging were a real eye-opener for me!

What is “your place in the family of things”?

My Eighth Year in the Blogosphere

Dear WordPress bloggers, fellow writers, followers and friends,

December 31, 2018 marked my seven-year blogging anniversary.

Yikes! I’m into the eighth year! Who knew that when I published my first post, Follow the Yellow Brick Road on New Year’s Eve of 2011, my blog would still be active in 2019? I genuinely hope I’m not wearing out my welcome here and that you continue to let me into your in-boxes, your readers, and your lives for my brief visits once or twice a week. 🙂

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I’m not one to get hung up on blog statistics, as I value quality of interaction over quantity any day, but I’d like to share a few highlights from my 70 posts of 2018.
I’ve set aside statistics on my About Me and Author Page  to concentrate on regular posts.

The three most-liked posts of last year:

Beach Love
When your address is Sandy Beach Avenue and you live near one of the longest beaches in the province, posts like these are bound to show up regularly. These photos taken at Lumsden North Beach grabbed the most likes of 2018.

Winter Morning Haiku
Summery beaches didn’t get all the love.
A haiku poem with one of my best-loved winter photos,
taken from my back yard.

Book Review – Encounters: Relationships in Conflict by Fred Rohn
So happy to see the traffic this one generated.
I loved this book and I love my book friends.
Rest in peace, Mr. Rohn.

The three most-commented:

Imagination
Kids with coffee filters.
How could one possibly resist a click?

Morning Coffee
(Again with coffee?)
No surprise – this beverage is a vital part of the day for many of us.
Even some of you who prefer tea were moved to give your two cents worth!

Blog Hop: Born in a Treacherous Time by Jacqui Murray
Once again, I’m delighted to share news from my author colleagues.
I loved this book of the prehistoric fiction genre.
So much so, it got me reading the Earth’s Children series by Jean M. Auel.
I look forward to Murray’s next novel in her Man vs. Nature saga.

***

2018 was a special year all around, but it didn’t exceed previous records set by my blog.
January 18, 2016 still holds the favored position as the day that generated the most views thus far, when I introduced the ever-popular Newfoundland and Labrador page…

Newtown, Newfoundland
…and the individual post that has scored the most views to date under that Newfoundland banner is Berg Watching, originally shared on June 2, 2015.
Springtime in Iceberg Alley at its beautiful best.

Iceberg Alley

The Sunday Snap series has gained in popularity since its inception in August 2017, and my new addition for 2018, Friday Fiction, has met with positive reviews as well.

Many thanks to everyone who visits my blog. However long I continue, I appreciate all the follows, likes, comments, and shares. Love to you all, and blog on!

Sincerely yours,
Jennifer

P.S. to bloggers: Have a favourite post from your own blog I may have missed or you’d like to highlight? Don’t be shy – share a link with me in the comments below. 🙂

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com