Not just ours…

We watched it.

Mesmerized by it’s glow. It’s charm.

Its seemingly languid way.

Of slipping away.

Until it was gone.

Kind of like it was teasing us with a childlike chant…

“now you see me, now you don’t”

The afterglow was proof enough that truly we hadn’t just imagined it.

It really had been there.

But.

If we had blinked, we would have missed it.

We watched it slip behind the horizon, slip off the edge of our today.

A new thought washed over me.

We think of the setting sun as ours, the closing of but just one of our many days.

I, for the first time, realized…

that final slip, that closing…

…is not just ours.

It is now the beginning of something altogether new.

For someone else.

It is not just ours

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Mm-hmmm

Driving my almost a teenager kiddo to school this morning.

Silence and music for a bit.

My mind snaps to gear; plan for the day.

Must review the plan.

Remember, you have a game tonight.

mm-hmmm

Change into your your uniform after school.

mm-hmmm

Walk to the club like normal after school, ok?

mm-hmmm

I’ll call you when I am on the way to get you. We have to leave in time because of the Friday traffic.

mm-hmmm

Oh, make sure you order a snack too, there won’t be time to stop on the way and you’ll need something before the game.

mm-hmmm

___

Don’t say too much now.

You might use up all the words.

And, that would be such a bummer.

Snarky mama.

mm-hmmm

and an ever so slight and could-have-so-easily-been-missed

grin.

Or was that a smirk?

Have a great day, bug. love you.

love you too.

 

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Those Rocks. That Tree.

As time passes, and life happens to and around us,  we are not necessarily the same people year after year.

And, it seems, to me, that we shouldn’t be.  Without compromising who we are at the core; we learn and grow. As a rock erodes into a pebble and eventually into sand over time, we have the potential to change in seemingly invisible ways every day. Our minds can change. Lord knows our bodies change. Relationships come and go and add rich layers of memory and story and sometimes hurts and forgiveness.

Our kids, the people we are raising, leave us changed daily.  Responding to the struggle(s) of the day, whether it’s the 7th grade math, freshman year jitters, college goodbyes, first heart breaks, puberty, or the teething and diapers – it all becomes part of our core. Like cooking from a recipe made so many times we feel it more than we can explain it. It just is. We just are.

My son is on the early cusp of puberty, my father has dementia. I am still a mother and a daughter but what that means and requires of me is changing as they change. Some days it looks no different than the day before, and then suddenly it’s obvious we are all different.

That said, among all that we juggle – the balls we manage to catch, and the ones we simply know are hovering in the balance, seemingly invisible but so very present – comfort can be found when we return to a place that does not change. A place that is somehow a constant for us, a landmark in both the metaphorical and concrete kind of ways.  A place that somehow soothes our soul, beckons us to memories that we can smell and feel from visits gone by, but it’s as if it were yesterday each time we return.

When you recognize a tree in the forest like an old friend, and know the one rock on which to sit by the lake.  They are unchanged and exactly where you saw them last.

That.

A place where the soul settles and rests.

And exhales.

We should all have that kind of place.

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.  – John Ruskin

A place where we are sure of who we are, excited about possibilities we perhaps can’t even fathom (but like those balls hovering in the balance, we know they are there…) and revel in all that has been.  From good to difficult and everything that lies between. A place where –  no matter the season,  no matter the weather  – gives us just exactly the moments we need. No matter in what direction the winds may blow, to have and find comfort in a place that we are so very lucky to know.

And I’ve been lucky enough to learn that when someone you adore adores the same place as you – well, that’s one sweet exhale.

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Ps…thanks to Lori for the Ruskin quote!
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Wait. Just stand there for a sec.

He walked to the table for breakfast this morning.

He looked different.

He looked different than he did just nine hours ago when I badgered him about getting his nighttime reading done.

And when I tucked him in for the night.

He looked older.

I said to him.

Wait, stand there. Just stand there for a sec.

You look different this morning.

I looked at him.

I surveyed his face, his every hair and the space he occupied in the room.

I saw the baby I once held.

I saw the small boy who used to hold my hand and call me mama.

I saw the teenager he almost is.

I said to him.

Sometimes I miss my little little boy.

But mostly, I just really like who you are right now.

And.

And I am curious about who you are becoming.

He looked at me.

With eyes that almost rolled. Almost.

He said to me.

Ok mom.

3july

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Ready or Not.

Ready or not, here it is. A new year, a new cycle, a refresher course in day-to-day life. It’s been my annual practice to reject the making of a new  year’s resolution and instead embrace the choosing (or, as I maintain, being chosen by) a word that embodies what I need, where I need to be, and in what direction I must head towards.  A mini mission statement of sorts.  I learned it as ‘choosing an intention, or choosing your own personal theme to guide your year.

Over the last few years with this as my practice, I have seen over and over that this is the right choice for me. I am solid in my belief that new year’s resolutions are anything but resolute, they allow too much opportunity for failure. They are too specific. Too rigid. For me.

Choosing a word, or letting the word emerge has been transformational for me in the last few years.  I started with the word Nudge, it was perfect and over the course of that year I let the subtle nature of life’s little whispers be my guide and in the end, beautiful change occurred.

“I desired to move in a new direction and knew that I needed, well, a few nudges to get there. I wanted to be pushed. But gently.”

From there, Nudge made a new friend and we added Give.  The year of Give was full of surprises, the biggest being that in my need to make room for this, I found that in the end I received so much – and learned about the very act of receiving. It is an act. And one that requires a conscious decision most of the time and not always easy or comfortable.

“As I glance back over my shoulder at this last year; I realize something important was quietly occurring all along.  I see that in giving we also receive, and that I had some big lessons to learn about this.”

From there, Nudge and Give welcomed Intentional and together we formed a small gang.  It was what I needed, truly on levels I really could not have ever anticipated.

I realize as 2016 begins that in all technicalities, I skipped a year. Trust me when I say that was not Intentional. Or was it?  I had no word chosen for 2015 and there were no knocks at my door, so to speak.  When I thought about it, it became clear that Intentional was not done with me yet. Not ready to open the door to someone new.  It chose me again, so quietly and deftly. So we kept at it and in the mind’s rear view mirror where objects are never as close as they appear, I see how being intentional has yielded unexpected, but necessary, important and right, results. So for the combined course of Intentional 1.0 and then 2.0…

I look back and see an intentional spirit around co-parenting so my son is secure, even when it’s most uncomfortable for me.

I see intentional actions with my finances and getting things in order. The question marks are slowly being replaced with dollar signs.

I was super intentional in the midst of of a contentious process called mediation. I may have less enamel on my teeth from gritting them, but I chose intentionality at each turn to save my own soul. At least my sense of self. At the end of the day, we may no longer have to live with that person, but we will always have to live with ourselves. I wanted that to keep going well!

I see a list a mile long of tedious tasks that need to be tackled. And they were. Now if I can just muster the fortitude to finally paint the bathroom?

I set my mind to making peace with and letting go of choices made in ‘yesteryears’, so that the noise of then would not drown out what I need to be paying attention to – and enjoying – in these days.

I see the intention of planning a trip to DC + DE + VA  for my son and I, something I’ve wanted to do with him for a few years. I made it happen for us and it was monumentally successful and fun. And memorable.

I got intentional at work and it was noticed.  Changes started happening. Opportunities appeared. New ideas began to spring up and I was intentional about what I created from those ideas. And on the opposing side, when the unpleasant occurred, I chose to be intentional with my rebuttals, and choosing which battles to fight. Sometimes, being intentional means being quiet: watch, look and listen. I did a lot of that too.

I became intentional on where I stand, or sit, or kneel – or rather, where I clearly don’t and cannot – on faith and religion.

I was intentional about the holidays and this may seem trivial in light of all else, but last year I was Scrooge, Bah Humbug and the Ghost of Christmas past all rolled into one. I was miserable because I didn’t plan well. I just wanted it over.  I identified where the breakdown(s) occurred that led to such an unnecessarily disappointing and exhausting time, and from that I chose with purpose and made changes where things had failed – and it worked. Magically. And, this year?  I was legitimately bummed when it was all over.

So, with just those highlights, I see that Intentional knew what she was doing.  What a smarty-pants!  As 2015 rounded near the bend and 2016 was within view, I started to feel a shift. I wasn’t sure yet what or what it meant exactly.

At work, we have to change our log-in pass-phrase every so many months. And it has to be a certain number of characters at a minimum.  Like a lot. Along with my word for the year, I also choose a pass-phrase that has meaning to me. I’d read of a guy who changed his life with his pass-phrases and got over a broken heart, quit smoking (e.g. ‘Quit@smoking4ever’) and saved for a dream trip – each one month at a time, because he’d chosen pass-phrases that he had to type Every.Single.Day and as the days passed these desired outcomes became part of his consciousness.  It changed his life in significant ways over each month based on what he chose to focus on. What a cool idea I thought, so I’d started doing similar a few years ago.  But, as the reminders kept hitting my inbox recently, I was stumped at what to choose.

Until.

Until one day it appeared. There it was. It just stood up and said, hi!

I obviously am not going to tell you my pass-phrase. That would just be silly. And intentionally stupid. Intentional would not be happy with me! But I really want to because I really like it!

But I will tell you that in the midst of my pass-phrase also appeared my word for 2016.  I love the collaborative spirit working here!

It chose me. Again. It always does.

Are you ready?

I’ve actually already told you.

ready

The word is ready.

The gang’s all here: Nudge, Give, Intentional 1.0 and 2.0, and now we’re saying howdy to Ready.

The way I see it, when we allow the influence of what the word is, what it means (to us) and why it showed up in the first place, we allow ourselves to move, to bend, to grow, to change. You become all of that, and because it happens incrementally, slowly (and almost) effortlessly, you just are.

And, that becomes you. It shows. It looks good on you.

Here we go, ready or not!

Oh, and I can’t stop myself. If you choose a word, I’d love to know what you choose or what chose  you!

Happy New Year!
Happy 2016!
Happy Words!

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Quit your whining. Move.

Running. Trying to run.

Gasping. Stopping. Whining

Two weeks off.

A trip.

Of gastronomic proportions.

Eating. It all.

Jet lag.

No movement.

One with the couch.

Gasping. Last one in at run’s end.

Feeling bitchy about how easy it doesn’t feel.

Round the corner.

Head down. Eyes to the ground.

Almost.

There.

Glint. In my eye.

A car. Parked. The door opens.

Eyes still down, in view are two rubber stoppers.

Those things at the bottom. Bottom of crutches.

Two stoppers. One shoe.

Shit.

I have two legs.

Shit.

Run. Run. Run.

Dig deep, woman.

YOU.Can.Run.

Heart rate picks up. Pace picks up.

Momentum surges.

Still last runner in.

Still gasping.

But running.

On two legs.

Quit your whining.

Move.

+

This memory, from a few months back upon returning from our Paris trip, is still SO vivid in my mind, in ME, and was triggered by yet another  lapse in momentum.

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A Dearth of Words

Dearth.

Yes. A scarcity of something. Words. Here.

And it’s noticed, I know. A few folks I know have commented, casually, ‘uh, you haven’t written anything in awhile….’

And, then leave the comment trailing…

All I can seem to muster in those moments is a quasi-quizzical look and a mild sigh. Then, I try to explain what I haven’t yet sorted out for myself.

They know all that you all know about the the circuitous and yet full circle path I’ve been on, and so when they say….

Maybe you don’t need to anymore?…”

… I am – every time – simply silent with no real meaningful response.  You might say, a dearth of wit in those moments.

In my silence, however, I am uncomfortable. Not at rest. Maybe even slightly agitated.

But – and because – I am unable to articulate why. Even to myself.

Until the other night, or rather very early morning, when I should have been sleeping snuggled and sound; instead my mind was busy. No dearth of 3 a.m. thoughts, of that I can assure you.  In that vast, wide open space otherwise known as the middle of the freaking night, I circled about, eyeing this notion like a bird preying it’s lunch down below.

I thought of something Mimi wrote in her last post about “becoming a paean to gratefulness.

I thought about how much that resonated with me.

I thought about why that is.

I thought about how as a young girl, I was drawn to writing my thoughts and how when I look back at my old diaries, I see many starts but not as many finishes.

I thought about the idea of why we write. Why I write.

And then…

I thought about all this thinking.

And then…

I thought about the satisfaction that comes from writing.

I thought about so many issues sorted and unraveled because I wrote.

I thought about the community of friends and writers created and curated here, over time.

I thought about how it feels when I do write.

I felt it.

….

I kept circling back in my thoughts,  back to the comment, ‘maybe you just don’t need to anymore…’

Like writing was simply a temporary friend during a lonely and unsettling time.  (You know ‘that friend’ who constantly cries on your shoulder about this, that or the other thing, and never lets you know how things turned out? )*

A band-aid to put on during something that hurt.

A salve to soothe an an open wound.

….

And then I finally landed on the morsel.

But I do.

I do need to write.

I need the writing.

It is part of me that I (re)discovered during all that. The silver lining, so to speak, in the mess of of it all.

maitriser-le-web-reseaux-sociauxIt’s how I distill meaning from what’s in and around me.

It’s a way of thinking that makes sense to me.

It’s like the friend who totally gets me. *(And I don’t want be ‘that friend’ to writing.)

….

And, I fell back to sleep, but not before imprinting this in my mind’s eye, to come back to. Here.

Because, I need the writing.

Even in the absence of angst, without a glaring problem to solve or sort. There will always be – the way I see it, the way I want to see it  – something to distill.

So, what does this mean? I am not sure yet; I just know that the next time someone says, ‘oh maybe you just don’t need it anymore?” I know that I will say, ‘oh but I do…”

And while it’s true, life as I know it now is so much brighter, full of promise and love and possibilities limited only by infinity, it’s ok to still need the writing.

I need the writing.

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