One could go on and on forever talking about anything, but I'll just touch on it here.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Winter's Apology

Winter tiptoed in this year, afraid she'd be unwelcome after last year's frozen fairy tale turned ugly. She asked forgiveness for ice-capped streets and cars stranded in driveways and roofs caving in or leaking. All dressed in white for Christmas, she showed us her best side. We welcomed her with tongues lifted to catch all the flakes and arms and legs in jumping-jack form to make angels. The little red sled learned to bobsled and luge and carry snowmen home. Snowballs sailed over snowfort walls, and the shovel happily scooped up fluff instead of chipping away at ice in the street gutters. Winter waltzed around, relieved to see we weren't holding a grudge.

But something went wrong because Winter left abruptly. 

She left in tears, melting all but the tiniest of snow piles. She took the snowmen, Snowy and Brian, sphere by sphere, until they were nothing but memories. She took the icicles, drip by drip, as if a hairdryer burned them out. She took it all, dance over, song done. She took it well before Spring.

Did we step on her toes? Did we say something rude or sarcastic? Did we get nervous that she was settling in to stay too long? Did she get scared we'd remember running out of ice melt, falling on our backs, breaking down on a friend's street?

Maybe it was part of her apology to leave while we had only laughter and celebration on our cold cheeks. Or maybe she'll return before the tulips to give us another dusting of beauty, deciding that we like her best in short visits. We hope she comes again this season, because we aren't ready to pack up the sweaters, stow away the scarves, push the boots to the back of the closet, and hang the sled in the rafters. Our dance card isn't full, and we've got some new steps to try.





Friday, January 5, 2018

And Now I Wait

I ordered a sweater the other day with some Christmas money. It isn't here yet, and although I purchased it from "that" company with the free two-day shipping deal, I am feeling impatient. I want it now.

My son is always hungry, starving he even says. If I'm making a meal I say, "food will be ready soon." He says, "can I have something to eat while I'm waiting?" My son's got my impatience gene. Ok, so perhaps I nurtured that one into him. Whoops.

The calendar changed again, and while I didn't exactly make any new year's resolutions I did mentally prepare for a fresh start to do better, be better. But I want all my goals accomplished NOW. This is why too often I fail to get any of them done. Failure is good for a person, but not when it happens from inaction. This year I really do want to have more failures, but I want them after trying and giving something my all, and then I hope to turn them into successes. (A new spirit of patience would be great to have immediately so I can get started on all this trying and waiting!)

Reading over my journal from this past year, I laugh, as I do every year, about some of the goals and promises I made. They were good ones, ones I should have been able to keep, but I didn't. This blog, for example, did not get much attention from me in 2017. I wanted to post something new every week, even twice a week. As I think about that goal for this year, I think I'll put more try into it, but I think the most important focus for me should be writing something, somewhere, every day. I might not have anything I want to share publicly every week, but through lots of writing—and writing whatever, even junk—I will find success on the slower goal of writing better.

____

It's tough. To tell you the truth I've been working on this blog post for a few days (or at least thinking about working on it over a few days, impatiently wishing it was finished) and, in fact, my sweater arrived and I like it, but I'm waiting on something else. Never content, huh? I want to learn to celebrate what's happening in the moment, or at least the moment before I go to bed and the house is quiet and still. I don't want to feel guilty about what didn't get done or feel upset about what hasn't come.

I want to wait in the stillness and in the noise. I want to work hard for something that might take months or years, and I want to be patient when there isn't anything I can do at all but wait.

Blessings to all of you who are learning to wait.

I can hardly wait to visit this beautiful place again! 



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

I Dance Anyway

Gyms have never been my thing. The hamster-wheel monotony of what I call a treadmill prison is strictly punishment. Exercise was never something I had to schedule; being active was just how I lived my life. Now, however, I'm pushing forty and somehow the last few years I have given in to the little voice that says, sit down, relax, take it easy, have a muffin—more often than I should. So I agreed with my husband that joining a gym might be a good idea.

We joined the YMCA, and, yes, it has the rodent rooms—and I've spent a few hours running to nowhere—but it also has a plethora of classes that don't involve machines. I tried out a dance class and got hooked after the first day. It helps that the instructor is jubilant and kind and that the class isn't designed as a bootcamp but a place to learn some steps and also express a little freestyle. There's no judgment, which is great when I can't follow the arm and foot motions at the same time. I can hide in the back and not get called out for it.

The difficulty is that, though I show up week after week and mostly keep up with the group grapevining right and horsetrotting left, one key element of dance that I can't seem to master is the booty bump. My booty just won't bump.

Never in my life have I ever stared so hard at other women's rear ends as I try to decipher how they are moving them so quickly and so separately from the rest of their bodies. When I look at the wall of mirrors I hope it's got that fun-house effect, because if it isn't distorting my body image then oh my! I twirl and spin and realize my back is doing all the work, or my legs, or maybe I'm just bouncing on my toes but my bottom just hangs out there, somewhere near the middle, doing nothing.

Some people speak of being double jointed, others are just super flexible, but I'm wondering if I missed out on some sort of built-in hinge that would allow me to booty bump my fat away and not look totally ridiculous. I can't even imagine scrawny eleven-year-old me back in the days of gymnastics capable of such dancing wonders.

So I guess I can't blame it on the muffins.

If I really want to get somewhere I suppose I could take hula lessons. Or try belly dancing. Oh well, no matter what my booty won't do I can at least work up a sweat to the music and just dance, dance, dance.

Creative Commons: Victorio Marasigan, 2008



Thursday, October 19, 2017

Maybe This Stubborn Boy

Maybe this stubborn boy will stand
for something bigger than himself,
when he grows beyond the center
of his world to see that others hurt too.

When he surpasses his now,
to find that empathy is love for more
than just Mommy and Daddy,
maybe his streak of "NEVER" will
fight for those broken under men
whose selfish egos festered
until they forgot that anyone else mattered.

Maybe this stubborn boy will not stay
quiet when the bullies come for strangers,
or friends, or him.
Maybe he will champion
the voiceless as the super hero
living under his pajamas.

Maybe this stubborn boy will not back down in fear
because he is made of steel-wrapped love.



Saturday, June 24, 2017

Hand in Hand

My parents have been married for 45 years. I sent them a text message on the morning of their anniversary. They acknowledged it with thanks, then promptly forgot all about the specialness of the day. Apparently some time later they realized it again and decided to go to the movies and watch Wonder Woman, which they would have done anyway. I think they walked there, as they walk almost everywhere in their countrified little city of two grocery stores (both owned by the same corporation, but that's another story). You might guess that many people walk around the town, but I think my parents are the most recognized residents to choose feet over wheels.

And they know almost everyone.

My husband and I grew up in their city, so we know quite a few people as well, including my father-in-law and many more family members, but my parents can't travel two blocks down the road without stopping to chat with somebody. This has a lot to do with my mom's occupation. She not only knows hundreds of people by name and face but could rattle off their phone numbers if she wasn't so trustworthy as to keep them confidential.

Since Dad's retirement he's become quite social, thus he knows a lot of people too. From playing piano at a local church to performing at many art shows and singing in the community choir, he's rather active. When he and Mom walk down Main Street, they might end up visiting with people outside of every other store. Usually what happens is someone will say, "I saw you walking the other day!" as sort of an ice breaker to a further conversation.

Walking is probably the main hobby or activity that my parents have in common. When they really want to do something together, it will probably involve walking, which is great considering the health benefits. It might be an early-morning venture to get in a quick walk before the heat of the summer settles in. Or it might be an evening walk when Mom needs to shake off the work of the day and Dad needs to step away from his computer. Then there's the walk to the library, the river, the ice cream parlor, the art showing, or the aforementioned movie theater when they just want to get out of the house.

When my family or my sister and her family visit, we get swept up in the walking schedule. I love it, as it brings back memories of all the walks of my childhood and teenage years. We used to walk for fun or when there was something important to discuss that just seemed easier to talk about side-by-side instead of face-to-face in the living room. Burning off stress while having someone to talk to makes walking, I think, a relationship must in our family.

What's also great about my parents when they walk is that they often hold hands. Maybe they've been frustrated with one another, maybe they haven't had the best day, but I'm willing to bet if they hold hands when they walk, they just know that they have each other's back. Love in the beginning is fireworks and fun. Love after 45 years is commitment and trust (and probably some sparklers and bottle rockets, but sheesh, I'm talking about my parents, so I can't really go there!).

A few weeks ago my parents shared a story with me about how their simple walking routine speaks a testament of love to all who see them.

They were not far from home, going or coming I don't know, when a young man walked past them on the other side of the street. They noticed him but just kept walking, as did he, when abruptly he stopped, turned back, and approached them. He told them that he had often seen them walking about town, holding hands, and he just wanted to say that it meant a lot to him, especially with the recent passing of his grandfather. Something about them made him think of his grandparents and the love they had. My dad shook his hand and told him that walking would be good for him, too, as he went through the grieving process. They then parted ways, walking into their separate spaces of life, having collided for one moment to recognize and appreciate a little bit of love.

Just this morning my husband and I went on a walk in our slightly-bigger-than-hometown city. Our four-year-old son, not willing at first, joined us. We did a lot of stopping for ant inspections, stick collecting, and careful avoidance of "laser" cracks in the sidewalk and "lava" rocks that our son warned us about. But here and there we had the chance to hold hands with each other and with our son. I thought about the people who might be noticing us, out of the corner of their eye or through their windshield as they waited for us to cross a street. Would they see a little bit of love quietly passing before them?

_____

Love takes your hand, remembers the best, forgives the missteps in life, and walks with you side by side.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Geddy's Day Address

Four score and seven years ago—wait, no, just four years ago—we brought forth into this world a crying baby boy. And by we I mean my husband and I as well as the doctor and her medical team; my sister, who provided physical and emotional support; and God, showing up in the details small and enormous. We brought forth a baby, because he wasn't willing to make his own exit from his watery nest.

Four years feels like ten most of the time. How do I remember the baby so needy when my son stands before me independently wanting to do so much on his own?

Four years feels like a mere couple of weeks some of the time. How can I forget the worry that he wouldn't figure out how to nurse, the excitement when he first rolled over, the joy at his baby giggles?

This boy, ready to be big and ride his new bike but still wanting to be small when he crawls in my lap for a story or for comfort when he's sad.

This boy, so tall, so ready to race out of my sight as he has fun with friends but still clinging to my hand when he falls asleep, making sure I stay as long as he can get me to.

What a journey from wish to real live child! Our home before had no marbles rolling across the carpet, no Hot Wheels on the dining room table, no wooden blocks balancing in towers in the living room. Now we can't imagine a room without some sign of the child who lives here. A sticker on the wall, a stuffed animal in our bed, a drawing on the refrigerator door.

The years will continue and the signs will change, as they already have, with pacifiers and teething rings and burp rags already hidden away. But for now we celebrate today.

We celebrate in mud between toes and cake between fingers, friends flashing smiles and family sharing hugs. Balloons, new toys, and ice cream sandwiches. Batman, fierce, crouching on top of the birthday cake.

Today we celebrate the boy: four years strong, four years wise, four years ours to love.

Happy birthday, Geddy.









Friday, May 12, 2017

"Daddy, is That a Dang it?"

Parents worry about a lot when that first cry awakens them in the night, when the toddler takes her first steps and stumbles, when the five-year-old smashes his face from falling off his bike. They worry that something is worse than it is. They sigh in relief when the moment passes and their child is OK, all patched up in Batman bandaids or soothed to sleep again with a pacifier. They settle down to sleep at night, thankful that their child has made it through another day without catastrophe, or in spite of it.

But then, if any parents out there are like me, they might lie awake at night wondering how their great and healthy kid might still get hurt or sick the next day or, even worse, how they might be screwing up as parents, causing irreparable damage by cursing in front of their little cherub.

In this family, choice words sometimes come out of our child's mouth and they can most certainly be blamed on me. It isn't that Luke never cusses—he's not that squeaky clean—but with Mommy home all day carrying on with all the duties of house and child, she (I mean I) can sometimes let slip a taboo word or two. You'll laugh when I share what those words are, but, let me tell you, when I was a child the only expletives that were OK to use—because they didn't count as expletives—were made-up ones or those of the "shoot!" or "rats!" variety.

Fortunately, Geddy's first word in life was "more" followed by other G-rated words like "ball," "go," and "hot." Oh, and "Mama" and "Dada." As I weekly added to the list of words he was saying (I stopped doing this by the time he was two because it was hard to keep up!), they remained on the safe side, though we had to be careful to explain to others what he said for "cup," and "cracker." From age three to now, however, it has been common to hear "What the heck?!" and "Dang it!" come out of Geddy's mouth.

I could paint myself in a positive light by chiming in with, "Hey, at least I didn't say the other words in front of him!" but I think that's really just a way of patting myself on the back for the fact that I did a better job of whispering those so Geddy wouldn't hear. While you laugh, let me add that it is entirely possible that "crap" will be the next word in his vocabulary.

Send me some soap to wash out my mouth, but in the mean time get one last chuckle at my expense. The first time Geddy used one of these words from Mommy in front of Daddy he asked, in all seriousness and with great curiosity, "Daddy, is that a dang it?" Perhaps he'd been wondering for some time just what it was that Mommy was always talking about. Maybe at last he had solved the mystery and could identify a dang it. Luke laughed too hard to help poor Geddy out, so he may never know the answer.