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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it just keeps getting better…

When you don’t do something for awhile, it can seem unfamiliar and the starting point anything but obvious. So, somewhat recently on Live & Learn, when David shared three lines of a poem in the midst of one of his posts, it stopped me in my tracks. Not just because the words were just spot on truth for me. Not just because I found myself wishing that I had been the one to assemble them in the way the author had so eloquently (and seemingly so effortlessly) done. But because those three lines capture what had been elusive to me: what I needed to get this post started.

The three lines by poet John O’Donohue posted on this blog read like this…

Unknown to us, there are moments

When crevices we cannot see open
For time to come alive with beginning

and reminded me that much as we try, we can’t know what is to come.

In months that have somehow managed to have sped by, under the hood has been an ongoing process.  An examination of not my conscience, but rather my very consciousness and a riotous path of change and growth. Big things have ended, little things have cropped up and simmered right back down and all along there has been an eyes-wide-open-deer-in-the-headlights-bring-it stance on it all.  I like to think of it as beginner’s mind, which for me is any time we find ourselves in some degree of both amazement and trepidation – and often, dogged determination – in some kind of new or changing time.  But beginner’s mind cannot last forever, for eventually a beginning moves to somewhere in the middle. Yes?

There is the saying that all good things come to an end.

I think perhaps that is not always true.

And, on the contrary, it can actually get better.

However we slice it, in review, it might help for you to know that as I cast my glance in the rear view mirror, I see a marriage that ended, and necessarily so; and subsequently I see a rift in a family for a young and yet so wise and resilient young boy; I see a move to where less truly became more in ways so unexpected and a brand of co-parenting of which I am proud of for my son.   I see professional hurdles and challenges and just a whole lot of unpleasantness that are best described as hanging on tightly to a ship’s mast out on a stormy sea. I see a bank account that some days had more question marks than dollar signs.

But in the midst of all of that: endings, upsets and so many unknowns, there has also been grace and goodness, and so much understanding and without question,  many unanticipated lessons.

wrong roadI have navigated these last few years, with my kiddo and I, bolstered of course by our magical friends and family, in an intentional and optimistic way. I found a way to go at it at my own pace and in my own way.  I wanted to – I had to – go through the pain, not around the pain.  I wanted to understand, and to admit where the wrong turn(s?) have been made and why. So, the kiddo and I, we have laughed, we have logged miles, we have sat side by side on the couch checking off episodes of our favorite TV shows. We created our signature ‘funk-food-dinner-and-movie nights‘ (sometimes, mama’s in a funk and can’t find her way around the kitchen…). And, we have done our own thing – he with his friends, me with mine. Sometimes that happens all together. I dipped my toe in the dating pool. Murky waters I tell you.  But that is another story for another day. Or not.

With this in mind, almost exactly a year ago, I took a few days away to reset, and continue this re-evaluation. I went up to the mountains, a place that I consider a second home.  I spent nearly a week: I went driving around the entire lake, hiking, sitting, walking, and chasing sunsets.  And thinking. A lot.  And learning. For example, one night the power went out. All of it. Guess what I learned? That I really am a little bit afraid of the dark!  Who knew!?  

I learned something else equally important.

On my last day there, I positioned myself at a stunning location facing west and since the summer rush had subsided, the beach was nearly left just for me. And my glass of wine.

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I sat in wait and I was not disappointed.  The sunset was literally spectacular. And slow. And evolving.

Like we are.

I savored each moment as the sun performed right in front of me.

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As the sun sank lower and lower, and aware that I had parked somewhat far away, I – so reluctantly – left in time to get to my car before darkness set in fully (I’d  already completed my Intro to Darkness course, successfully, I might add). I walked along, hopping over some boulders, looking back to catch every last possible glimpse. I wanted that image printed in me as much as in my camera’s SD card.

We all see sunsets, it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Right? The sun sets every day. It has to.

I thought I’d seen the last of it, but the sunset had changed once again.

It was like it had one more act, an encore perhaps?

I found myself smiling, relaxed and leaning up against a railing on the boat launch and muttering to myself, ‘it just keeps getting better’. And then, I thought to myself, huh, and nodding, and thinking, realizing…

…it’s all going to be ok. It just keeps getting better…

I was smiling.

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I’m not going to lie.

The last few years have been enlightening, maybe you could even say “exhilarating” at times. But not easy.

But, I realized what I was saying. Out loud.

As I heard myself, I smiled bigger as I realized, yes, it does. It just keeps getting better.

It’s true.  There have been moments unbeknownst to me where things were at play and I had no idea.

My kiddo is doing awesome. He continues to teach me and surprise me.   His resilience is not just comforting; it’s affirming. At work we have a new captain of the ship and while you cannot turn a ship on a dime, it seems the seas have calmed and we are headed in a better direction; I am excited to be starting a new academic year, energized and maybe somewhat overwhelmed, but excited.

Colleagues have said to me, “I’m so glad you hung in there…”

And, I met someone. Someone most special. In the most unexpected of places.

People keep telling me, “You look so happy, it’s good to see you smiling again…”

It just keeps getting better.

Kiddo and I mixed it up this summer and instead of hitting the road, we jetted off through the friendly skies to enjoy our annual summer trip. Let’s just say, it was monumental.

So lessons learned:  Don’t get stuck in the dark. And it can definitely get better.  Sometimes we just to have to trust the wisdom penned by John O’Donohue.

And a ps…to the ‘nudgers’, you know exactly who you are, and thank you.  You have no idea…

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A Castle, A Campus and A Coast

Hello Roadies!

Though we are out of cherry sours, and may have slowed our pace ever so slightly, the adventures continue and the road trip carries on…

…a castle …
We spent a day looking into the lives of the rich and famous in an era gone by. Hearst Castle, visioned and built by none other than William Randolph Hearst is nothing short of opulent, stunning and rich with detail. It took 28 years to complete the masterpiece!

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Hearst Castle

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The Neptune Pool – come for a swim!

…a campus…
Our next stop was a look back and a look forward. We visited the university I attended for my graduate program. It was a study in contrasts – witnessing the incredible changes made on the campus over the years since my last visit, contrasted with the parts that remain not only unchanged but incredibly familiar; it was exciting to see the improvements and comforting to feel at home. But, it wasnt just a stroll down memory lane, it was also seeing it through the eyes of my friend who now works for this university and will be part of future change and so many young lives. And… exposing The Kiddo to life on a campus and all that his future may hold.

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The halls of academia

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My old building, with a ‘fresh’ face!

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Kiddo, I can just ‘see’ you here!

…a coast…

And yet another study in contrasts; one coastline but two different experiences. Just minutes apart but one is socked in with a freezing damp marine layer and the other glimmering in the sunshine. We have one more day in this seaside gem, guess which beach we are choosing?!

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Pismo Beach

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Avila Beach

And now, for your
CA DREAMIN’ TRAVEL TRIVIA QUESTION #5 (4pts)

…Googling encouraged… 🙂

Hearst Castle took 28 years to complete, and was designed by the famous and foremost female architect in California. Who was she?

A. Julia Morgan
B. Julia Roberts
C. Julia Stiles

The Road Trip is nearing the end of the road, but we may have one or two things still up our sleeves…you will just have to keep riding along! We love having you along for the ride 🙂

Until next time, you know..
Safe travels: wheels, heart, mind and soul.

Bonnie & The Kiddo

Time Warped

Between my real life and my reading life, It’s been a whirlwind of a time travel tour over the last week.

Since last Saturday, I have been fashion forward here in 2013 , fashion backward trying to pass as Laura Ingalls [or more realistically, her mother], and a little of everywhere in between.

Come with me, won’t you?

Just a little jaunt through time…

…Saturday:  I tried on and picked up our costumes for my son’s class trip to what is known as Sutter’s Fort where we would spend the day [and for the kids, overnight] living as if we were in the year 1846. Yes, really.

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Sutter’s Fort. Life in 1846.

…Sunday: I co-hosted a clothing trunk-show party;  fashion forward fun with 12 lovely ladies and shopping in my friend’s living room for unique items to add my to my 2013 wardrobe. Like this coral trench that I simply could not say no to. Could not. My wallet says ouch, but I say heck yes.

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That top under the trench? Yep. That too. Ouch!

…Sunday evening: I begin reading Austenland, set in Regency England; where a single 30-something [Jane!] embarks on a 3 week trip to the Disney-equivalent of Jane Austen’s world – an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women –  dialect, dress and daily routine and of course the quintessential, yet ever elusive [right?], search for Mr. Darcy. I am of course, fully immersed in Jane’s immersion experience and must remember who and where I am.

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Sigh…

…Monday evening: Out with one of my girlfriends, to a modern hip spot in our downtown, having Margaritas on a Monday. Why not?  And then a little more of Austenland as I drift off to dreamland, sigh..

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Yes, they tasted as good as they look. I think I want it to be Monday again.

…Tuesday. All Day: I looked like this. But, I did smile. A lot. My son is a 4th grader and much of the year has been spent studying CA history.  The end of the year culminating experience was a day and night in 1846 at Sutter’s Fort. Parents were into it as much as the kids, everyone assuming the role of early CA settlers. Food was made in a fire, after the folks in the kitchen made the fire, of course. Butter was churned, yarn spun, bonnets donned, lunches wrapped in bandannas,  cameras called boxes, and purchases made with ‘gold’.  And photos with no smiles; ‘the way they did it back then, mom”.

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Who knew that Ma Ingalls knew General Jose Castro?!
I am thinking that I’d rather be wearing the coral trench right about now…

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These kids know how to ride in style…horse drawn wagons from school to the fort.

…Wednesday:  A day off from school, to recoup and regroup. My kiddo and I became one with the couch and our modern-day electronic devices. Him the laptop and me the Kindle. It felt good to be back in 2013, but we both actually miss the dusty mess and one-of-a-kind excitement of the 1846 experience.   I finished up with Jane and no, no spoilers if she finds her Mr. Darcy or not. You will just have to do a little time traveling on your own to find out.

Too tired to cook, the kiddo and I walked to dinner and while waiting for our food, we realize it’s trivia night at the sandwich spot we chose.  Not playing, but listening along to the questions, we both responded to Q12: Who discovered gold at Sutter’s Fort?  Really.

…Thursday: I resumed reading a book I had started before dashing off to Austenland; The Gods of Heavenly Punishment.  This is a story in the genre of historical fiction, and set in Japan and Utah during World War II.  Where am I?!?

…Friday:  My profession is in academia and today we sent off nearly 1000 of our students into the world.  They have left the safe, if demanding, ivory tower and are now headed directly into their own amazing futures.  Truly, new, exciting and perhaps daunting times lay ahead for them. One day in sweats, the  next day in suits. I imagine they will feel some kind of time warp also…

…and here we are, back to Saturday: While it has not yet happened – [ and there I go again, warping time for myself ] – the plan is to once again step back in time and go see The Great Gatsby.  What shall I wear…the apron or the trench!?

When I wake up on Sunday, will someone please send me an email or a text and remind me what year it is? And what to wear.

I don’t know about you, but I really think it’s time for more margaritas, a little present-day serum.  Monday feels like a lifetime, if not at least a half a century, ago!  I was realizing, that if I were Amb from Words Become Superfluous, I could do a post on My Life as a Movie and it could be Back to the Future or Blast from the Past.  🙂

What era would you choose to get lost in, if you could pick just one?

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I dream of jewel beads and mopped floors…

Here’s to all the moms…

May your day be filled with jewel beads, clean counters and tidy rooms.

And if not, perhaps a lovely mess filled with love and laughter!

To the Mom’s – what has been one of your favorite, or most ‘memorable’ gifts over the years?

And to the rest of us ‘kids’, is there a gift you remember being so excited or proud to give to your mom?

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Not All At Once

Hi Kiddo,
{a letter to my son}

In the last week you have revealed to me so  many new corners of your character, and you simply amaze me.  You got some news that had to be the hardest thing you have encountered in your short but full nine and half years.  It breaks my heart to be the bearer of any news that interrupts your otherwise perfectly placed focus on MineCraft, Soccer, pitching for your little league team, mastering the kendama,  and of course chasing the dog around the backyard.  Someday, all of this will make much more sense  to you.  Maybe you will even see how it is in a crazy way even better for you.

For now, though, I wish I could really tell you how impressed I am with you, how in awe I am of your bravery, your determination to be a big boy. Your willingness to not only bend with and lean into this change, but that you can find some upsides so readily.

I can see the ripples of fear creeping up around your edges from time to time, and yet you somehow find a way to rise above it and knock it down, almost like your own version of emotional whack-a-mole.  That, Bug, is true courage.  If you only knew.

The questions you ask me are far more insightful than some conversations I have had with adults; you find the crux of it all more succinctly than I ever would have.  You face your fears and ask me the questions anyway, even though I bet you somehow know that you are not going to like the answer, or know that at least you will not totally understand it.  I don’t like ambiguity now, decades ahead of you; you somehow are able to roll with this ambiguity with no ambivalence.

I wish I had had what you somehow have in abundance when I was nine and a half. If I did, perhaps you wouldn’t have to.

When I pushed too hard, trying to help you, comfort you, I could hardly comprehend how you knew what you needed and even more, that you knew exactly how to ask me for it. With an analogy. “Mom, it’s too much advice. All at once.  Too much advice mom, is like a bunch of rocks too close together “, you said, and then told me that, “it should be more like a long string, strung out over time.  Not all at once. Ok?” 

I hear ya kiddo, you are speaking my language and I am astounded by your wisdom.  You have my word to not barrage you with too many words too close together; but whenever you need to take a rock from that pile, you know I am right here next to you and will take your lead. Maybe together we can out to ‘your bridge’ and go throw it in the river.

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We are just starting this new adventure and you have shown me that you are possibly stronger than your mom. You are showing me how brave you are, how truly adaptable and resilient you can be and I could not be more proud of the person I get to call my son.

You, growing up, is a long game and even though you and I both want it to all be ok for you right now, let’s both try to remember that you need to take your own time with things.  I want you to know that everything I do is for you – so that things are better for you.  So that your easy laugh and smiling eyes are always what people see first when they meet you.

Love,
Mom

Ps: that wrestling match tonight? I totally won!