Tag: kipp

It really is all we need, you know.



Alison’s recovery is nothing short of remarkable.
Yesterday, her surgeon came into room 713
and sat on the bed with Alison to remove the drainage tube.
Dr. Shaw: Now sing me an “eeeeeeee”.
Alison sang an “eeeee”.
Dr. Shaw, with a big smile on her face: “That was beautiful.”
Alison: “But it was only a G.”

Art and science collide.

Dr. Shaw,
the surgeon who loves science,
speaks in terms of the particular sound
that will allow her to gauge the performance of Alison’s vocal cords.
the professional singer with perfect pitch,
and for whom music is oxygen,
hears and responds in terms of musical notes.





This is a love story written by a friend and former coworker of my son, Kipp.

breadcrumbs of my yesterday

we walked to city park in denver yesterday,
where my son, kipp, and marnie will get married in may.
will you promise to put in a good word
for weather like this on their big day?






we saw an eagle,
and i’m pretty sure
the eagle spotted us, too.



and on our way back,
we stopped off for some
voodoo doughnuts.
it’s the law, you know,
if you walk more than 7 miles.
(and yes, that really is a maple doughnut
topped with bacon)



my granddog, otto,
feigned disinterest.
but i still put the doughnuts
out of his remarkably jinormous reach
because i really didn’t find his performance all that convincing.



and as if all that wasn’t enough,
i began work on In Our Own Language 3 . . .


(it’s my second start, really.
forgetting i’d bought this yummy cream colored thread,
i started stitching with white embroidery floss.
glad i remembered before i stitched much further.)


yesterday went down in the herstory book with a gold star beside it. today we’re back to cloudy and cold, but i’m pretty sure it’ll go down as a gold star day anyway. you know, sometimes i think it’s all that effort to Be Happy and Think Positive that makes us miserable.

A Perennial Special Day


Today is my son’s birthday. If you’re lucky enough to know Kipp, you might celebrate different things about him – not because he transforms himself into someone different with everyone he meets in hopes of gaining some invisible stamp of approval, but because he is such a delightfully complex and multi-faceted person who is interested in and excels at so many different things.

I celebrate his willingness to take risks – not stupid risks, but educated risks. He digs in, researches, asks questions, and learns before he leaps. Most of the time, anyway. There was the StartUp Weekend in Boulder when he’d gone to scope it out in preparation for presenting one of his three good ideas the following year. But at the last minute – and I do mean very last minute – he stood up, presented one of his ideas, formed his team, developed the prototype company over the weekend, and 48 hours later, he’d won the big prize. (So it all worked out.) There’s also the fact that while he was still sleeping on the floor of some friend’s uncle, he learned his way around Los Angeles by delivering food. And there’s the skydiving, which is pretty daring, if you ask me. (He’s also a certified skydiving instructor, too, if you’re interested.)

Speaking of skydiving, I’d like to take this opportunity to say how much I celebrate the caring and consideration he shows by calling me on the way to any jump then calling me again on his way home from the jump.

I celebrate his willingness to say “I don’t know” right out loud.

I celebrate his knowing that you can learn more about humans and their relationships from poetry, music, art, and literature than from any psychology class or textbook.

I celebrate his creativity that erupts in the poetry, songs, and essays he writes; in the acting he does on film and on stage; in the open mic events I hope he’ll find his way back to.

I celebrate that he is a wildly creative young man who also balances his checkbook.

I celebrate his dependability – if Kipp tells you he’ll do something, you can move on to something else knowing he will do what he promised. And he holds himself accountable, never accepting the blame for others but not shoving blame on others, either.

I celebrate his unwillingness to take a bunch of crap (which is to say his willingness to stand up for himself). On his first day at the new, private middle school, a big fat kid looked at the short, small Kipp, got right up in Kipp’s personal space, starred down into Kipp’s retinas, and barked “You ought to go back to kindergarten” to which Kipp said without missing a beat, “And you ought to go back to Weight Watchers.”

I celebrate his whipsmart and varied intelligences that spring from all parts of his brain.


I celebrate his gentleness and his love of traditions. Kipp got his first stitches when he was in first grade, and we went for ice cream afterwards to make this a celebratory Milestone Life Event. Years later when Alison got her first stitches, Kipp called me in the ER to say that he wanted to pay for her celebratory ice cream.

I celebrate his sense of place . . . when the last box left the house he’d grown up in, Kipp and I spent a few minutes sitting on the front stoop, laughing and crying as we told stories as our way of thanking the house for sheltering us while transitioning into new shelter. It was a tender moment that I’ll remember long after I’ve forgotten his name.

I celebrate his thoughtfulness, his empathetic nature, his bend towards self-reliance.

I celebrate his self-awareness . . . Though he was slow to warm to swimming lessons (I don’t mean swimming lessons in general, but slow to warm to each and every weekly swimming lesson), afterwards he sat in the backseat shivering partly from the chill of a wearing a wet swimsuit in an air conditioned car and partly from the excitement of going straight to his grandmother’s swimming pool for more swimming. The day he went off the diving board at swimming lessons, he went straight to YeaYea’s diving board, walked resolutely to the end of the board, and stood there shivering, his little hands clasped in front of him as he looked down at the water, eventually turning to me and saying, “Mom, I guess you’re just gonna’ have to push me.”

I celebrate his attention to detail and his strive for the remarkable, though he is overly hard on himself sometimes . . . like the time he was learning to ride his bike. He got to the end of the driveway, and as he attempted to turn onto the road, he fell. He took a minute to look at his scraped knee, then picked himself and the bike up, walked it back up to the top of the driveway, and started over, falling again. This time he boo-hooed (and I mean loudly). “Are you okay?” his dad asked rushing over to check on him. “Yeah,” Kipp said, “I’m fine, but I FELL IN THE SAME SPOT.”

I celebrate Kipp’s sense of hospitality, his sense of humor, his precociousness. When I asked our pediatrician why baby Kipp wouldn’t stop crying, she said it’s because he was a 40 years old man trapped in a baby’s body. This woman of science told me that, and she was absolutely right.

I celebrate Kipp’s willingness to be vulnerable and his ability to let other people be vulnerable without rushing to make it better or fix anything. I celebrate his sensitivity, his desire to be his ow man, and how he lives with diabetes, taking good care of himself without whining and complaining of all the extra steps that involves for him.

I celebrate my lucky stars and swimmers and eggs that all came together to place Kipp in my arms, in my heart, in my life. As he said that one Christmas, rubbing the sleep from his eyes as he looked down on what Santa had left under the tree: “I didn’t know I be’ed this good.” Whatever I did i a former life, it had to be pretty darn special.

I call him Slug because he is the hottest coal that keeps my fires burning. Happy birthday, Kipp. I love you more than my pocketbooks.


If Mothering Came With Do-Overs, I Know How I’d Be Spending the Rest of My Life


I try hard not to pine for days gone by because it makes my heart hurt too bad, but it’s easy to do when it’s my children’s birthday. So many memories – some I’d love to relive just for the glee of it all . . .


I’d still treat your first stitches as a rite of passage, celebrating with the biggest of all big ice cream cones on our way home. No, no, I wouldn’t change that.


I’d still encourage you to dress up and take to the stage at every opportunity. (Ahem . . . by the way, when do you think you might get back around to that?) Like the first day of ninth grade when you just barely got the car door closed before the dam broke, your tears filling the car. You hadn’t been cast in any of the first school plays, and you were understandably devastated. I drove us straight home, and while you stumbled about your homework, I found an audition notice for To Kill A Mockingbird at a nearby community theatre. We shoved homework aside, gobbled down some supper, and drove straight over. After two nights of auditions and one callback, you landed the role of Dill, a role you’d put on your Dream Role List not too long before. That’s a keyper.


I would still move the earth and moon to find that Georgia Tech wallpaper you demanded as a condition of moving with us to the new house when you were six years old. And when we moved out of that house some 14 years later, I’d still hold a parting ritual for you. You with your keen sense of place. We’d probably still sit on the front stoop laughing and crying and telling stories . . . but on a do-over, I might plan it ahead instead of having it be a spur-of-the-moemnt-we-can’t-leave-without-marking-this-occasion event.



I’d still say “Yes” when you, a four year old, asked if you could walk to see YeaYea and CarCar who lived just out of sight, waving you off then rushing inside to call and alert them that you were on your way so they could just happen to be working in the yard when you arrived for your surprise visit.


I’d still let you stay with Aunt Rene as often as possible so she could hide cheese balls in the azaleas and pecan trees, leaving them for you to find and enjoy before going inside to a feast of peas and bacon.


And those swimming lessons? Oh, you bet I’d still sign you up for lessons with Mr. Bob, even though the memory of it still gives both you and Alison nightmares. I’d still make you go even when we were late causing us to literally miss the boat, requiring me to walk you to the other side of the lake – you with all four limbs wrapped around my leg, hanging on tighter than awful (but comfortable) spandex leggings we once wore under oversized t-shirts. And later after swimming lessons, when you stood on the very end of the diving board, turned to me and said, “I guess you’re just gonna’ have to push me in,” I would still walk over and give you a nudge, knowing it would be the only one you’d need.


I’d still let you dig up the boxwoods at the front of the house, damn near killing them as you re-enacted tales of The Boxcar Kids. (Thank you, however, for not getting that involved in the Firebrats series.)


There was the time when I turned my back for a split second, giving you just enough time to crawl off behind your sister to her bedroom and, at her command, pull yourself up into the rocking chair so she could douse you from head to toe with baby powder. That’s one I’d do over just for the joy of witnessing you and Alison in your first act of independent thinking. You are a Southerner, you know, a Rebel through and through. And I don’t care where you live (well, I do, actually – just using a figure of speech here.) don’t you ever forget that.


Other things I’d like to do over so I’d have a chance to do things better, to do things right . . .

Like the day you were diagnosed with diabetes at 11 years of age. They delivered the diagnosis, then left us alone in the exam room. You were mad and scared and loud, and I shushed you thinking that if you proved difficult, they wouldn’t take as good care of you. I know – it looks really stupid. It was really stupid of me. If I could do that day over, I’d tell you to scream, to rail, to rip the paper off that exam table, to turn over the stool, to rip those stale magazines to smithereens, to kick the trashcan – whatever you needed to do to respond with honest, raw emotion in response to the news you’d just been given. I wouldn’t shush you and I wouldn’t rush you. And if they didn’t take good care of you, I’d go after them with teeth bared and fangs showing.


I’d love another chance to take action when the first grade teacher stuck you outside the door, setting you up with a table and an extra chair so you could teach the slower students. What would I do now? I’d probably commence homeschooling that very afternoon or sell my soul to raise enough money to send you to a private school seven years before I actually did. (Send you to a private school, I mean, not sell my soul.) I’m not real sure what I would do, but I can tell you what I am quite sure of: I would not stand there while she responded to my complaint about your needs not being met with her “Well, he’s smart enough to get it on his own, so what are you fussing about?” No siree. I wouldn’t sit still for that again. Not on your sweet patootie.


And the Thanksgiving you brought your college girlfriend down to spend the long weekend with us? Though I then only suspected what you’ve since confirmed, on a do-over, I would act on my suspicions, and instead of just taking her aside and talking to her about the nature of the good kind of love, how it brings out the best in both of you, I’d snatch her hair out by the roots, show her the door, sell the house, and move so she could never find you again.

(Another thing I’d do-over about that Thanksgiving: When your former girlfriend appeared, taking everybody but you – the one who invited her – by surprise, you’d hear me say “Whatever possessed you to think this was a good idea?” on the outside instead of just quietly thinking it to myself.)


If I could go back in time to the day you left for Los Angeles, I’d hurl myself into the back of the truck as a stowaway, without giving a rat’s ass about what psychologists might say while wagging a finger at me. (I would have, you’ll be happy to know, flown home.) (Eventually.) Another thing I’d change about that day? I’d tweak my parting words to you as you hopped into the rental truck that was taking you and your possessions all the way across the universe from me. Instead of saying “You were the best mistake I ever made,” I’d say “You are the best surprise I ever had.”

I call you Slug, a nickname taken from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, a word that refers to the hottest coal that keeps the fire burning so the train can move forward. I love you, Slug, with every fiber of my being. Though I’m quite sure you have other plans for how to spend today, I desperately wish we were closer so I could get my lips on you when I tell you Happy, happy, happy birthday, Slug. I love you more than my vintage suitcases.


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Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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