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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We All Carry On

It seems that over the last week, I have heard such heart breaking stories from every angle: a terminally ill young child, an astoundingly dedicated and innovative teacher who gives his heart to his students in incredibly creative ways, and then returns home each day to care for his achingly affected son; a young man raising money for his aunt who has been diagnosed with cancer; a regular person putting a crackled heart back together, a mom who struggles with her own kiddo, a friend who finds out the job he loves is not his anymore.

It goes on all around us; all of us, we each have a story.

And it’s true, being in touch with what is happening around us, really does help us keep things in perspective. How often do we hear about the circumstances of others, and then comment, “well, that sure put things in perspective!” realizing that the (fill in the blank here) we were fretting about really isn’t that bad.  It’s reminded me that it’s not just a matter of remembering that somehow someone has it worse off than we do; it’s the importance of keeping it at the front side of our brain how good we do have it.  Seeing things through a lens of abundance. Remembering that our pity-party hats are the most flattering when worn by the hat-rack. And, it seems that it’s just a good reminder to just simply remember to keep our ears tuned in to each other, our hearts soft for the person next to us; staying with the pulse of all that goes on around us.

Because it’s so very true; we all have holes…and yet, we all carry on.

 

Holes, by Passenger on their album, All the Little Lights

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Comfort Creatures

“There is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.” 

― Charlotte Brontë

Change and transition are not easy for the strongest among us, and perhaps take their greatest toll on the smallest of us.  In times of upheaval and transition, we are comforted by the familiar, the known, the safe. We want to be surrounded by what  we know and those whom we trust.  The familiar.

My son is truly a trooper and has given me glimpses of what he’s made of.  He’s smart, sensitive, intuitive and well, all the same, a nine year old boy.  The kind who loves to throw a football, giggle at bad words, deliver a curve-ball over the plate, get lost in video games.

And hang with his dudes.

To help ease some of the bigness of life, I got a few of his guys over for a sleep-over this last weekend. It’s called a sleep-over, but really, the boys were just over. Of course, there was some sleep involved, just not a whole lot. My Sunday morning began around 0-six-hundred as I heard something much louder than pitter-patter on the wood floor above me.

sleepover2These are boys that my kiddo has known since baby days and kinder days.

One thing I know, he knows how to pick good friends.

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The time together included dinner in the dark on the sidewalk out in front of the house; al fresco style complete with a flashlight.

Crazy made up games.

Laughing.

Challenges and contests.

Roasting marshmallows over the grill.

Silliness. Pure silliness.

Races in the living room with carpet skates.

A picnic style breakfast while watching YouTube on the tube.

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It’s clear to me, these boys are comfort creatures to my boy. They give him a place to belong. A place where his name is known and his laugh is met with more laughter. A place to trust himself to be nothing but himself.

How young it starts, when we begin to make such a difference in the lives of others.  If only these boys knew the importance of their presence. In time. In time.

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