all of our braves*


this phrase "all of our braves" was introduced to our family by a magical (be)ing that came into our life last year.  she cared for Cedar 3 hours a day 5 days a week while i worked on my ecourse and did my writing at a cafe.  she would take him on wild adventures and deep heart soul journeys and they shared a language, a language that infused itself into our hOMe and this one phrase has now filtered into my extended family.

all of our braves

this Christmas at my sister's almond orchard farm, each of us gathered "all of our braves" from time to time together under one roof for a week while being sensitive souls in our own unique way.

i observed a lot this Christmas, as i always tend to do in crowds but this holiday even more so than usual, i was feeling quiet.  i noticed in a deeper way how my parents, my sister and brother in law, niece and nephew, us and our cedar, each of us have our little quirky needs and ways.  of course these have always been there but something has shifted. what has grown between all of us in the last few years is an unspoken respect, an honoring of these ways, a gentler kindness than there was before:  an openness to accept the different.


i wonder if this is one of the many gifts Cedar has brought into our lives. i know for me personally, honoring his needs has helped me to honor my own.  it has helped me release the shame that may have been attached to anything that set me apart from others and as i embrace me more fully, i am embraced more fully.

...and we are doing this for each other.

the one who weeps easily.  the one who feels more comfy one on one.  the one who feels pain when things are out of order.  the one whose body aches constant but chooses to be present. the one who makes inappropriate jokes to connect.  the one who hums, clicks or talks over noise.  the one who feels every emotion in the room.  the one who is allergic to fragrance.  the one who laughs when nervous. the one who needs a hiding place. and so on.


...and i see all of us somehow functioning together and using ALL OF OUR BRAVES for a handful of days together and what comes to me is this:  kindness and openness.  each of us have become so kind and open to each other about our needs and the more we know ourselves and proclaim who we are, the more those around us can understand and love.  

we have all been through so much the last few years and with the worn out comes a wisdom and tenderness. do any of you know that old 80's song by Amy Grant called Tender Tennessee Christmas?  that is what this one felt like to me :: a Tender Orchard Christmas.

Delicious food.  Tractor rides. Belly laughs. A circle of unwrapping our gifts one at a time.  Rockets launched sky high the day after Christmas and a new wee soul growing in my nieces belly.  So many memories to tuck away.

The day me and my boys were leaving for the airport, everyone had gone and my sister's house was so quiet.  I watched my sister cradling Cedar in the big leather chair as they made goofy noises at each other.  I looked over at my dear brother in law, putting his house back in order and I could feel from him a deep exhale and I said to him "You gave us all of your braves!" and we all laughed with a deep knowing inside how much that really means.