Heather Jackson Posts

Lost and Found

It started to drizzle with the kind of fine mist that slicks the pavement into a mirror and seeps steadily through each layer of clothing. Almost simultaneously, the boy and I lifted up our collars, buried our shoulders to our ears, and started to walk without speaking. There was a deserted bridge in front of us. It was a massive steel thing, born of sinewy cables and bulging beams and it perched over the city reservoir. He led us on our way over it, placing himself between me and the edge as we squinted into the idea of the water below. We could hear its agitated turning, but the darkness was so swollen that we saw nothing but an inky black void.

We were so fucking lost.

The boy and I had been introduced to each other hours earlier. Our mothers talked over us with teasing voices while we both stood mutely by, shrinking into our 14-year-old selves and consenting to eye contact in short, apologetic glances as if to say, I know, I’m disappointed with me, too.

How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse with a Special Needs Baby

Heather JacksonImmeasurable amounts of Internet memes and quizzes have confirmed that I’m far from alone in daydreaming about my personal preparedness for a full-blown zombie takeover. I mean, I wouldn’t say I’m Doomsday Preppers-level obsessed with the subject, but I do regularly have Z-Day strategy conversations with my husband (which I’m keeping under wraps because we have a legitimately solid plan of operation and I can’t have other survivors flocking to the same rendezvous points or utilizing the same resources.)

These fun and hypothetical talks have evolved over the years as we’ve moved locations from our tiny college town in Western New York, to cities in between, and our ultimate settlement in Duluth. With the birth of our oldest daughter in 2011, the well-worn subjects of head-smashing weaponry, classification of zombies, and go-bag contents expanded to include comfortable long-distance child wearing techniques and fail-proof ways to keep a kid quiet. Unfortunately, we can’t even manage that last one in this current, zombie-free reality.

Then last year I gave birth to our second daughter. Would two kids slow us down? Yes, almost certainly. But we couldn’t leave them behind because that would be totally inhumane, and if we strip ourselves of our humanity, then what is left to separate us from the zombies we might face? (Plus, we’re their parents and stuff so … responsibilities, ya know?)

Teen for God

Heather JacksonThe summer I turned sixteen the swelter at camp was relentless. Each afternoon the temperature peaked — 101, 102, even rising past 103 degrees — and campers dropped like flies from the heat. Or like grasshoppers, really. Have you ever seen a grasshopper before it keels over under a body-blistering sun? It jumps erratically, its center of balance overridden by an instinct of perpetual motion, and then it just stops, still and stiffening as its body bakes. The kids were like that — frantic in the sports field with Frisbees and soccer balls, fueled by mediocre mess hall food — and then they crumpled to the ground, unmoving until the nurse came to time their pulses and brace them for the walk to the infirmary.

The heatstroke hit the girls almost exclusively, until the nurse’s station was out of cots and they had to clear space in the back of the gym for a makeshift second infirmary. The rest of us were told to drink water and to sit in the shade as often as possible. We rolled up the legs of our pants and tucked the arms of our shirts up over our shoulders. Camp rules for girls: No tank tops, no two-piece bathing suits, no shorts shorter than an inch above the knee. Modesty always.

Spring Brings Unexpected Things

Heather JacksonLast March, like this one, was placid and mild; it was a true and distinct season instead of the usual Northland spring, which is often held hostage in an icy chokehold by winter. No, the days slowly and confidently transformed from ash and smoke into gently unfurling golds and greens.

This seems like an odd observation for someone who spent most of it in a dim, whispered wing of St. Mary’s Hospital. My second born, my new baby daughter, made an alarmingly early entrance into the world, interrupting a Friday afternoon’s planned errands: Target for hand towels, aspirin, and an indulgent Starbucks latte, and maybe the children’s boutique, Sproutlings, to fawn over tiny, unpractical pastel things — booties and bows and expectations of the chubby baby thighs to come.

For two days in that early March week, something was off about my pregnancy and I was torn between taking my intuition seriously by calling to move up a scheduled prenatal appointment or discrediting the feeling as merely nerves. The former won the battle. I hadn’t felt much movement out of my usually active, somersaulting babe. After a nurse on the phone recommended I head into Labor and Delivery at the hospital for a non-stress test, my husband left work early to accompany me and our 3 year old. We’d just pop in — it was probably nothing — and then head off to do some quick shopping before the weekend.

School Supplies

I’m wondering if anyone knows of any Twin Ports organizations or businesses that collect school supplies for low-income students or local classrooms. Cleaning out the office yielded a plethora of unopened packages of lined paper, pencils, etc. They won’t be used here, so I figure I’d drop them off if they’re being collected somewhere. Thanks for your help!

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