Thursday, August 2


I got a late start this morning, due to a late night. Don and I were in Leiden last night for a results meeting on this latest round of genetic tests on our growth and development delayed youngest son, Andrew. It was a meeting which is best summed up with the phrase "no news is good news" as we have come to call these visits with the geneticist. Nothing obvious showing. No known cause at the root of his issues. However, instead of leading to more questions or uneasiness, this particular meeting left me with a unwavering form of peace.

For the moment anyway, I am breathing easy about the prospects and future of this little man.

And I am still from the inside out.

Perhaps that is resignation to the obvious. I like to think of it as acceptance of the present.

At any rate, when we stepped out of the hospital corridors, we stepped into a serene summer evening. The sky was clear, the sun just waning toward sunset, and the air was dry and warm. Rather than clamber aboard train and tram toward home we decided to linger in Leiden for a few hours. When it was time to return home, it was quite late, and as a matter of fact--with Don picking up his bike at Central Station to ride home--I was the lone rider on the #3 tram for the last few stops before reaching my neighborhood.

It doesn't often happen that I am out this late, or on my own at all, but each time I am I like to breathe a little deeper, notice a little more. Last night I once again acknowledged to myself just what a gem of a life I lead. As I took the short walk from the tram stop to my home, I listened to my new boots strike the footpath with a steady clapping rhythm.

I gazed up toward the flat building which towers over the houses of my neighborhood and smiled at the sight of lamp-lit windows with unique displays on each ledge.

I admired my neighbors' gardens filled with summer flowers, red gardenia spilling out of containers displayed in nearly every yard or hanging in baskets from balconies.

Holland is such a lovely place, so quaint in so many ways. So safe, and so secure. I can't remember a time in the US when I felt perfectly content to stroll darkened streets alone in the wee hours of morning; yet this is common here in The Netherlands. It is a country which boasts virtually no violent crime. I feel confident sending my children off to errands at the local shops without me. Our two oldest have far more freedom to wander here than was granted to them in Phoenix.

I am grateful that we are in a place I can offer that to them. And give that to myself as well.

This morning when I woke I was so pleased to note the feelings of the night had not faded in sleep. As I rolled out my yoga mat to practice alongside my husband this morning I was filled with that same sense of peace and contentment. This sense that everything, everything, is going to be okay.

What a way to start the day.

sun salutation
breathe deep. inhale the new day
exhale the nights' sleep*

*You knew there would be a haiku!
This is going to
Leslie's contest too.


  1. I loved getting back from downtown The Hague to Scheveningen late at night! It is indeed very peaceful. I preferred to ride tram 8 (not sure if it is still the same, I think HTM renumbered the lines) from the beautiful Lange Voorhout, the static peacefull houses around the Javastraat and then best of all, get a glimps of the lighted up Vredespaleis (Peacepalece) at night to then head towards Scheveningen in between the trees! I never felt unsafe either and there were always still people out there.

    I've also sometimes taken the night trains from Amsterdam back to The Hague...but those I would not want to take on my own. there can be weird people on them!

    I loved living in the Hague too. I understand your feeling!

  2. I think that's line 1 now, but I am not certain. You are right though, that tram line is so nice through the wooded areas and off to the oceanfront!
    I love The Hague.

  3. I feel the same way about my quiet little corner of France. I feel safe, I feel safe for my children.

  4. Hi Jenn- I'm happy for you that you have found such a life. And I like you rolling out that yoga mat first thing in the morning. Makes me feel like a slob!

  5. Yeah about the tests/appointment. You are a terrific mama!!

    Lovely photo. And yes, lovely haiku.

  6. Keep the faith. Life doesn have a way of working out! When you enjoy the smaller things, like the beauty of the environment and the small but excellent things, it's amazing how it makes the big events seem more copeable.

  7. Oh, Jenn, WHAT a lovely post! It makes me "homesick" for the Netherlands, too. Isn't it amazing to be able to walk in peace in certain foreign cities - a peace we just can't experience here in the U.S.?
    I'm glad the meeting about Andrew was good, too.

  8. That picture is a perfect complement to your post -- just beautiful, Jenn.

  9. I love walking in the evenings here. Everything is so beautiful.

    I'm quite lovestruck with the NL at the moment after visiting Enkhuizen and Medemblik on the weekend.

    One of the scenes which really encapsulates Holland for me is the poplars trooping across the polders. I love the way they break up the landscape.

  10. I'm so glad that haiku brought me to your blog. I'm adding it to Google Reader so I can keep up with you.

    I've been an expat, too. In Japan once by myself, and in Syria with my Hubby. Would you believe I felt that same sense of safety there as well?

    We hope to live abroad again, this time with children.

    I loved your haiku for this morning. Makes me want to stop work and get out my mat to salute the sun. Maybe I will.

    I will be checking in about your son. Best wishes for continued presence and serenity.

    I promise to not always be so long-winded!

  11. It sounds like heaven. I'm packing my bags right now... Seriously. You're leading a life that I yearn for.

    As for "peace", I don't see that as a resignation whatsoever. I see it as the universe letting you know that everything's going to be okay, whatever that means. You'll be able to handle whatever this turns out to be.

  12. Thanks for sharing that bit of peace, Jenn!

    I actually had a bit of a moment... I'll try to savor it while I battle the Washington, DC traffic later this afternoon.


  13. Brillig's right: it's acceptance of what is and what will be. You'll handle it because it's what you do. You live your life. Well.

  14. Look at Andrew go!
    Marching to a dif'rent drum.
    This is not perfect?

    No news is good news.
    Man cannot know everything.
    That's what God is for.

    Time without children,
    Scare moments to be savored,
    Few and far between.

    What will be, will be.
    And yet free will plays its part.
    Slow down. Choose wisely.

    Must stop writing now.
    Brain stuck in 5-7-5.
    Time to go to bed.

  15. I am glad the meeting went well and all looks good for Andrew. That was just a lovely post! I know that feeling of contentment and peace. I feel that where I am now. How lucky we are!

  16. Am glad to hear that things are going well with Andrew. And that you have found such peace in your surroundings.

    That's one of the things I like about being here too-- I feel like I can let my children develop their sense of independence in small pocket of safety. This would have been unthinkable if we still lived outside of Detroit.

    Enjoy your sun salute. Am about to go do mine... :-)

  17. bike-riding, walking...and now yoga?? You are making me feel like a slob too, Jenn! I trust that you roll out that yoga mat and roll it straight back up again...???? Don't make me feel bad, now.

  18. Hi jenn, I have been reading your blog for some months now, and I really like it. I really enjoy your reflections on everyday things, such as a green peg...

    This post, especially the last part about children doing shopping on their own, made me think of this incredible sweet children's tv show called "Knofje". The only film I could find on youtbue was this one,
    but all the episodes are just briljant.