community, humanity

I once did a series of artworks about human commonality. How, all over the globe, our similarities hugely outweigh our differences. Everything from loving our children to liking a full belly to enjoying the wheel invention.

It’s Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. I can’t stop thinking about Haiti. I want to help. Sometimes my own effort, as one mama in Montana, can feel so small and I wonder if I can really make a difference. But then I remember

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. – Anne Frank

We can do no great things, only small things with great love. - Mother Teresa

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again. -Stephen Grellet

A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching. - Sri Swami Sivananda

I learned from you all during my own struggle last month that love and thought sent from many lone individuals can heal big stuff. And while I can’t go to Haiti and physically move pieces of that horrible tragedy, I can do something. There are many options to participate and I have chosen to donate a few handmades to Craft Hope for Haiti. The site is full of crafty goodness, donated by hundreds of artists, with 100% of the proceeds supporting Doctors Without Borders.

The title of this blog post came to me as I was thinking about world dynamics, unfathomable tragedy, senseless war and what’s my family’s place in all this? How can we best contribute to our community, to humanity? In a smaller way, the title also applies to my own struggles right now and is quite applicable to my new mama digs piece.

:: :: ::

The other night I was stirring corn into risotto and realized Ruby had been asleep for several hours. What if she is dead?, I wondered as my wooden spoon moved the creamy rice. I have these thoughts several times an hour. I hold my breath and brush the side of her cheek, exhaling when I see a palm stretch open of her little chest swell with air. She’s alive.

I am still unwinding from the trauma of Ruby’s sickness and hospitalization…click here to read the rest of this essay at

21 Responses to community, humanity

  1. Sage says:

    I was worried that I wouldn’t beable to relate after my own small tragedy (which seems less and less a tragedgy as time passes), to your beautiful life and adventures with kids, or worse yet I would let my jealousy overcome me…. but this piece was so relevant to me. I feel so raw and vulnerable to what can so quickly be taken away. How dreams and hopes can vanish before you know they are gone. And it is so unfair. But I suppose that nothing has changed except me and my fears, and I will hope that with time they will change to something more positive, but deeper and more acute. Glad I can still relate to you… I treasure it so. xoxo

  2. booksNyarn says:

    Tragedies seems to have abounded this week – I am fortunate none of them were directly linked to me and mine, but even those that drift on the outskirts touch as you see the pictures, or talk to those who hurt. We may be drops in the buckets, Nici, but it is wonderful to know we are not single drops, but part of an overflow of compassion and caring.

    I check in each night on my niblets before going to bed. I don’t think any mama stops looking for that breath. :)

  3. kelle says:

    beautiful…but so sad you had to go through it all. i know those feelings…still feel them at times, but the joy of her life fades it all so, so much. last pic is radiant.

  4. Katie says:

    That quote by Mother Teresa has been my personal motto for years. Such a small sentence; extraordinary, tangible inspiration.

    So many nights, Eric and I sat after our loves went to bed and prayed for your family~Eric and I talking about how terribly scary this must be for you & Andy. When I’d ask my close girlfriends here to tuck Ruby and her family in thier good thoughts and prayers they’d say…I just can’t imagine..all of us being mamas.
    I think it’s normal and not crazy at all that you’re still feeling what you’re feeling. And I think you’re right on, following your two chickens, their moving forward, yet staying present, telling you…It’s all fine, Mama.
    As for Ruby’s irregular heart rhythm, I would hugely encourage getting another opinion at some point. Another opinion saved Theo’s life. We have an amazing team of pediatric cardiologists here that see Theo if you ever want a rec.
    Love & Miss you…k

  5. Jess says:

    Sulli came home with a monitor too due to apnea and bradycardia and it was horrible, one of the worst things. The false alarms are only false for the machine, still brought me close to cardiac arrest each time. If Sulli sleeps too long I still wonder if he is breathing, don’t know if that ever really goes away.

  6. heidi says:

    hate that you are scared, but what went through…powerful stuff. beautiful photos and words!

  7. Jennifer says:

    Good stuff – like comfortable cadence, your last pic & that you wrote about this common mama-nerosis. Looks like Ruby’s heart found a comfortable cadence, too! What a cutie.

  8. TRB Holt says:

    Nici, you are so beautiful, inside and out.

    I am still learning from my children…which is a good thing! I am not sure if we as mothers ever get over the fear of loosing a child. I think it is because we love them so much and the thought of loosing the most important beings in your life in incomprehensible. I remember getting out of bed, too many times to count, checking on you and your brother. This continued until you went away to college….so don’t think you have a problem of being a dwelling mom. Not unless being a super caring, want to do right for your kids, loving mother is a problem…I think not!


    PS…talk about good moms…I miss your Grammy.

  9. It is hard to let go of that hospital trauma, also hard to know when it’s safe and appropriate to let go.

    My son was on a pulse-oximeter monitor overnight (and oxygen 24 hours/day) until he was 15 months old. So many false alarms, wires to navigate while nursing, so much worry.

    He is now five and has been off 02 and monitors for years. I think I’m just starting to let go of the hospital/medical trauma.

    You will let it all go too. Really! One day you’ll be gazing at Ruby and realize “I haven’t thought about her scary 12 days for a full day, and then a week …”

  10. Melissa says:

    i know; i feel obsessed w haiti, too.

    and i think that when we go through trauma, we feel more connected, somehow, to trauma in the world.

    leeor dreamt that he went to haiti w his parents, and they certainly come from a lifeline of trauma. anyway.

    i love the way you write about your experience. i hope it helps you, too.

    that photo of you and ruby is so beautiful. we are visiting friends on bainbridge and i showed our friend your blog (you will love her, i said, and she said, oh, and she’s so cute, too). spread the love!

  11. I’m LOVING Ruby’s hat. Can you tell me a little about it? I’d love a pattern, if you know the maker?!

    Happy day, Nici …

  12. Also, I think I just spied some of your artwork on the Purl Bee’s blog … … the fruit and veggie notecards?!

  13. Tammy B says:

    I’m in agreement with April, I love Ruby’s hat too! That picture of the two of you is stunning.

  14. Malissa says:

    I too think that is a gorgeous picture of you and Ruby’s hat is adorable. I cannot imagine going through what you have since Ruby’s birth. You really are so strong. I have a constant phobia of losing my daughter. She is nine and if she sleeps in later than usual I find myself in a small panic until I go and see her beautiful, snoozing little face all peaceful and healthy. As soon as you become a mom there is a big, vulnerable space opened up in your soul! I agree with your mom’s thoughts that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a dwelling mom! That is what mama’s are all about as far as I am concerned! :) Have a great rest of the week! Thanks for the link on Craft Hope for Haiti. I am going to donate some stuff from my shop! Great collection of quotes. Inspiring like you.

  15. Staci says:

    your essay is a perfect reminder that just because the outward drama of a tragedy (or almost tragedy) has passed doesn’t mean the support and love is needed any less… it is in the quiet days afterward, when you’re alone with your thoughts when a boost is especially needed. here are some warm and positive (yet likely slightly soggy) vibes from Olympia! :)

  16. Nicole says:

    your raw honesty is refreshing..i too am sad you and your family had to endure what you did, but Oh, is she is beautiful, and healthy looking little thing today. I dig your style.

  17. Ruby’s hat was made by Melanie Gardner. Her etsy shop:

    Also, 6152, your story is incredible…I read it on your blog. Thanks for your strength and sharing.

  18. Melissa says:

    You aren’t crazy, Nici. It takes time to heal from trauma and for your body to remember how to not be ‘hyped up’. Then you’ll think you’ve moved past it, and your kid will sound croupy one night, and your heart will pound out of your chest in panic. I think we need to get together for that beer!

  19. MTShadow says:

    Last July (2009) our then-4 1/2 year old was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. We took the life flight to MSLA and week at Community as a shock to our somewhat-broaching-normal lifestyle. He and his then-2 1/2 year old sister are reaching those ages of less-dependance. For some weird reason, I rid the house of ‘baby things’ as quickly as the kids outgrow them. I now realize that I should have saved the monitor. I sleep more lightly now than when they were infants. I’d had a bit of practice however. Their Dad is also type 1, and during our years together PK (pre kids), we’d experienced several ‘episodes’ in the middle of the night where, had I not been there, I’m not sure what the outcome may have been. I’m haunted too…my husband (who’s the stay-at-home while I’m the bacon-bringer) AND our now-5 year old. I don’t think I’ll ever know sleep again the way I new it 5 years ago or 14 years ago when my husband and I met.

  20. I did however expertise a few technical points using this site, as I experienced to reload the web site lots of times previous to I could get it to load properly.

  21. Soldes Sac Longchamp,Sac longchamp Pas Cher,Pliage Fraise avec une haute qualit茅 et bas prix.Est devenu un sac 脿 main de l茅gende.