Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Person

At forty –five I thought I’d have more things figured out.  I am not so na├»ve, or rather self indulged, to think I’d have it all figured out, but I expected that the things I know for certain would vastly outnumber the things I don’t.  And I’m not talking about book facts, or the theoretical or practical understanding of subjects, but rather those inherent truths that we assimilate about the world as we live longer and longer.  I’m talking about the depth and breadth of understanding that comes from experiences and relationships that inform, shape and sustain us.  I’m talking about the knowledge that serves as foundation, compass and sanctuary.  The things that define and empower us: the bedrock of our beliefs and the balm of our existence.

I thought, at what is more than likely past the midway point of my life God willing, that I would have more conviction for who I am, what I know to be true and how I fit in this world.  I am a woman.  A wife and mother.  A daughter, daughter-in-law, an older sister and sister-in-law.  I am a niece, an aunt and a friend.  I am an employee and a neighbor.  These are roles I have fulfilled for many years, and a few for all my life, and yet I often feel like I’m still learning the very basics, which is a tad surreal and a bit panic inducing. 

Relationships are complicated.  Dynamic.  Two-sided.  And also difficult for these very same reasons. I throw my hands up thinking this shouldn't be so much work or this shouldn't be so hard.  But then I feel silly because we all know that nothing good is free or easy. When I'm feeling the disconnect, which I am in a few principal relationships, it really effects me because I care. Does that mean that the other participant doesn't care?  No, but I am seeing things from one side: my side. My side that evolves with my changing mood, my sensitivities and my selective memory.  What I pray for is a good old fashioned come to Jesus because I'm a fixer.  And I've had an epiphany: I'm not as adept a communicator as I once thought and also that many of the people in my life are worse than I am even before the effects of rampant social media and impersonal devices as medium.

It's times like these that I find myself missing my Mom more than usual.  She was my fixer.  Our relationship wasn't perfect.  She did things that frustrated me and I did things that disappointed her, but we always accepted one another right where we were for exactly who we were.  We always knew where we stood too. We talked about everything.  Everyday.  Multiple times a day.  We argued and sometimes said not the right thing or hurtful things, but we always knew it was just our fiery tempers. We didn't tiptoe around one another or stuff feelings or ever feel OK when we hurt or slighted one another.

I feel at such a loss.  She was my person.  She's gone.  I'm alone.  I'm without that person I could always return to for unconditional love and understanding and a few laughs too.     

Monday, March 30, 2015

On My Mind Monday

Perhaps most of us never stop needing a person from whom we can fledge and return repeatedly, continually trying our independence in the knowledge that there is somewhere and someone to which we can return.

~ Alexandra Fuller
Leaving Before The Rains Come

Friday, March 27, 2015

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

That sometimes she still wants to hold my hand.

An after school stop at the nature center.  We found many heart shaped rocks to add to our special collection, and we mused that we will be swimming in these waters sooner rather than later despite the fact that it doesn't much look or feel that way now.

Fresh air and broody sky.

Calzones and Coach for making them after a long day of work.  They were maybe even better than pizza so I hope that he will oblige us soon again.

The Washington Monument by Ted.

Cuddle buddies.  (Yes, he looks huge here!)

No phone call from the clinic where I had my very long overdue mammogram this week.  They said no news was good news.  Whew!  I was really angry at myself for putting it off for so long.  Never again.

The Badgers made the Elite Eight.  Atta boys!

The huddle.

The conversation reading this sparked with T. Bone yesterday.  He's just firming up his course schedule for his freshman year - his freshman year of high school - but he already has college on the brain.  His top 5 are all Ivy League Institutions.  I applaud his goals and confidence, but this offered a nice little segue into possibilities and potential outside that elite echelon.

Commencement addresses.  There have been so many inspiring speeches delivered over the years, but This is Water is one of my personal favorites for many reasons.

Happy hour on the farm with Jess tonight.  We'll sip wine and eat cheese while Miss Bit canters her heart out and it should be a satisfying end to a full week.. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

2 day pass

friday on the farm.
it was all so familiar.
admiral remembered lily.
more importantly, she remembered how to ride.
she was comfortable and even commanding in the saddle.
ted had friends over for bagel sandwiches, pizza and the badgers in that order.
growing boys!
saturday around the house.
it was gratifying.
it felt good to get things done before a night out.
a date to celebrate a friend's bar mitzvah.
dancing and chatting the night away.
miss bit even joined the circle for the hug dance.
a more mature musical chairs.
sunday at church with the family and then the theatre with lily.
in the audience to support a friend on stage.
we loved it...her.
home to work side by side in the kitchen.
first with ted for frosting 101 to curb immediate sugar cravings bought on by baseball practice both days.
then with lil to make a batch of mac & cheese for the week because she likes to cook.
last with coach to make dinner: chicken cordon bleu, risotto and asparagus because i was too tired to do it myself.
asparagus that i am happy to report was eaten by all family members with less enthusiasm than i like, but zero complaint.
the boys then gathered to watch the victorious badgers.
lily and i snuggled up to watch the firm circa 1990s.
yes, already 20 years old, and by her definition still "intense."
i was ready for bed before the news, and yet not ready for the weekend to slip away.
there was so much more i wanted to do.
but in truth, i usually feel this way come sunday night.

On My Mind Monday

The fact that our heart yearns for something earth can't supply is proof that Heaven must be our home.

~ C.S. Lewis

Friday, March 20, 2015

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Lunch with a friend yesterday.  It was a nice break from the day...from the week.  I had the most decadent cup of reuben soup that I am now on a mission to recreate.

School teams.  Ted joined volleyball this year.  He's having fun and he's quite good too.

We're headed out to the farm.  The spring riding session starts tonight.  Lily is super excited to see Admiral.

We almost forgot the green freckles on Tuesday and then we didn't.

Soda bread for breakfast all week long.

My boys have Badger fever.  Go Bucky!

Dinner out in the middle of the week just because.  Just because I didn't feel like cooking.

Words and the books that are comprised of them.

My very own editor.

The vernal equinox.

It's the weekend!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March Inventory

Reading All The Light We Cannot See.  It was a haunting, but beautiful story.  The kind that you read and find yourself changed for good and forever. It was rich in heart and soul and conflict.  Conflict of character and plot. WWII is the setting.  I think that Doerr has proven himself to be a master of characterization and description once again.  I felt like I knew these people and was walking the streets of Saint-Malo or Zollverein along with them.   I so appreciated the short chapters seeing as how it was a more lyrical work. I can see this on the big screen without doubt.  I'm also reading Alexandra Fuller's Leaving Before the Rains Come and The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous and Smart About Money by Ron Lieber.  Fuller writes a most compelling memoir.  I've read her other two.  Lieber's book comes highly recommended.

Wondering what the next stage of my life is going to look like.  What I want it to look like, and then how to create that vision.

Noticing so much about what exactly makes me tick, and how these things both help and hinder me.

Watching Secrets and Lies despite the fact that it is chock full of plot absurdities and cliches, and devoid of nuances that would lead to a more believable story with richer characters.  Also The Slap, which has it's own cast of cardboard characters, but sometimes (like after a long day) bad television is good.  Lily and I saw Cinderella Friday after school.  And sometimes the happily ever after fairy tales promise is just what we need after a long week.  Platitudes along with an extra large tub of popcorn.  A simple message like: Have courage.  Be kind. may be just what we need to hear even if our step mothers aren't evil and we don't believe in magic or fairy god mothers.  For the record though, I would claim Helena Bonham Carter as my very own fairy god mother IRL.  Before Cinderella, a Frozen short was played.  Lily was almost more excited by that and the news that there will be a Frozen II than by the featured film.  I, on the other hand, don't remember much of Frozen the first or the very difference between Elsa and Anna.  Yet I know the Frozen fever is alive and burning for women of all ages, which is to say young girls and their mothers.  The fairy tale is an archetype that isn't going anywhere soon despite the fact that they are more romantic delusion than diversion, and I'm OK with that.  Last night we watched Foxcatcher.  It put me to sleep.  It was loooong and slow.

Listening to the last couple episodes of Serial.  I 100% think Jay is not telling the truth, and that he could have killed Hai.  I'm also still loving the Parenthood cd I mixed.  I have songs from Dylan, The Lumineers, Eddie Vedder, Ray LaMontagne, Amos Lee and Richie Havens to name just a few.

Eating the first grilled meats of the year.  Burgers, dogs and chicken all in one weekend.  Shepherd's Pie and soda bread on St. Pat's Day.  It was my second attempt at soda bread this month.  The first, a new recipe, ended up in the trash.  I made my trusted recipe last night and it was better than ever.

Drinking a Nutty Irishman last night for dessert.  (That may be partially responsible for putting me to sleep during Foxcatcher.)

Feeling unsettled.  Overwhelmed too.  Change...any change...even the change of seasons, and especially winter to spring, leaves me feeling out of sorts.  Akimbo.  But I know it just takes time. As simple as it sounds, I remind myself to  Right here right now. Not to worry about what is passing or what is in my purview.  Just to focus on the present.  The day, the hour, the moment, and then it feels possible.

Wanting to get the summer all planned.  It would be such a load off to figure out camps and lessons and summer school and a sitter.  All of the uncertainty of the upcoming 12 weeks only adds to my fractured feelings.  See here I go again.  I'm a work in progress.

Wearing my Mom's shamrock scarf yesterday.  No jacket most days.  Flip flops soon.  New walking shoes now.

Hoping we can get our summer trip planned.

Thinking that I emphatically know the answer to this question: Don’t you want to be alive before you die? All The Light We Cannot See lingers in the way only the very best books do.

Enjoying being able to take a walk after work with Mike.  Monday it looked, smelled and felt like summer. The longer days.  The tulips Jess brought me when she came for dinner Saturday night.

Loving watching Dancing With The Stars with Lily.  She voted for Noah Galloway, Patti Labelle, Robert Herjavec and Willow Shields.  Those ballots tell you all you need to know about my girl. That after 3 years and just before we get rid of it, Teddy is now starting to use the trampoline.  Of course, he thinks we need a new one! He kept calling me out to video his new tricks the other night while I was in the middle of making dinner.  My first instinct was to say, "In a minute."  It irks me to no end when they say that to me so I tried to be patient and present while he flung himself into the air again and again to do back flips and cork screws.  We all need an audience at times.