Archive for Life’ Category

27

Mar
2011

Daffodils in the Burn Pile

>Those who know me best know two things: I love to laugh and can be very funny AND I am very melancholic. Perhaps I am my own best medicine or my own worst enemy. What is clear is that my posts have been a bit weepy, but then the world has been that way, hasn’t it? I don’t want to distance my readers by ruminating on the tragedy of what is going on across the Pacific in Japan. Despite the horrors of thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of homeless, and the mounting fear of nuclear contamination, stories keep pouring in about compassion, sharing, kind-spiritedness, and love toward one another in Sendai, Japan. On my facebook page, I have highlighted a number of these stories and blogs. One tells of a woman, who upon arriving home, straightened up a few things, then set about cooking pounds of rice, as she knew people would be hungry soon and she had a giant rice cooker. Notice how she thought little about her own inconveniences. Another story out of Sendai involved an American who walked about her neighborhood, going door-to-door, asking if her neighbors were okay, only to come home and find water and food at her door…anonymous…no thanks required.

There are so many lessons woven in here.

If you live in Northern California like I do, then you know that we’ve endured more rain than we have in years. I expected two elk, two deer, and two giraffes to make their way down our street by the end of this week if things didn’t let up. Seriously, an ark was in order! More than once, I caught myself saying, “This is enough, really! This is so depressing.” And within seconds, I’d immediately think of the quake victims sitting in shelters with kerosene heaters with only the clothes on their backs, wondering where they would live in the future. Ack. It really hit home when I received a message on facebook from a friend in Japan telling me that she was safe, but living in one of these shelters. “It’s a disaster…like war. I have never felt this way. We have no heater, not hot water,” she wrote.

I don’t know about you, but I have been uncomfortable in my life. Six times to be exact, and all of them were basically self imposed by being a chaperon on one of my kids’ field trips! Temperatures dropped, we weren’t really prepared, but guess what…it was really temporary…as in several hours to two or three days.

So, one day this past week, I went out in the rain. I’ll say that again, as you may not understand what a big undertaking that is for me now that I don’t have toddlers that “need” to play outside in the rain. I went outside, and I looked around. I don’t live in a neighborhood, per se, that has cracks in the sidewalks where daisies grow, but I do have property, and here’s what I saw: way out in our burn pile, something yellow was glowing. Last summer, I had my son dump a bunch of potting soil into the burn pile from pots on our old deck prior to it being ripped out. I squinted at the pile of branches, leaves, and debris, and saw what that bright yellow glowing thing was: daffodils! I rushed into the garage, threw on my boots, grabbed a pair of scissors, and made my way down to the burn pile. Those daffodils had survived the fall, the winter, and into the spring amidst piles of rubble, intense heat, even fire, then later snow, wind, and rain. There they stood, smiling at me. I couldn’t help it…I cried!

You see, that’s what our friends across the Pacific are doing. They are thriving amidst the harshest conditions. Yes, they need our prayers. Yes, they need our support. Yes, they need help. But they are strong and they are resilient and they will continue to bloom.

When I talk about the quake now with friends, it seems we all have our own “daffodil” story. By that, I mean stories that involve great beauty through giving. Everywhere I turn, I see another organized relief effort for Japan, from American Idol, to Ellen’s show, to our little California Montessori Project school. There’s so much beauty in the human spirit. I’ll never look at the daffodils in my yard quite the same.

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14

Mar
2011

No words…well, a few

>There are no words to explain what my brain and heart are holding for Japan. It’s a little like PTSD-ish. I’ve cried, wept, watched too much television, poured over the Internet searching for old friends. Later today I will re-join Facebook. You see, my husband and I once lived in Sendai, Japan for two years. I feel like a part of me has been ripped apart. I know that in a few short weeks, the cherry blossoms in Sendai will hang in the air like little fairies. Families, school clubs, companies, and churches would normally pour into parks and bring picnics, sit upon blankets, laugh, share, all for the joy of sitting beneath these trees to celebrate sakura matsuri–the return of another spring. This will not be so this year in Sendai or the neighboring communities. Instead, rubble, debris, death. It’s too much. It’s too much. It’s so incredibly sad. I want to thank my friends who have listened to my stories. I want to thank my church who is praying. I want to thank my children who have been compassionate, for I have been inattentive and highly distractable. I want to thank God for getting me in touch with my beloved friends in Sendai who are alright. I encourage all of those reading this to give…find a reputable organization (Clark Howard has a list on his website). The mission organization that sent us, the International Mission Board (imb.org), is also a reputable site. Thank you for letting me vent. Even in despair, I guess I always have words.

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28

Feb
2011

For one more minute…one more time

>Some friends of ours just sold their house and so began the packing frenzy. Somehow this was contagious and launched my family into an afternoon of attacking closets which spread to a ripping apart of the attic. Amidst sneezes, scoffs from the kids, and eye rolls that could’ve won Academy Awards, my husband and I had a come to Jesus meeting. Amongst unused Christmas lights, toddler toys, and baby accessories, we finally asked the question, “Why are we keeping all this stuff?”

Now, I know people (you shall remain nameless, but you know who you are) who have moved boxes of stuff from apartment, to house, to other homes, and have not so much as OPENED these boxes right through the 80s, 90s, let alone the early new millennium. This is not what we do. We are purgers to be sure. However…I am a little bit of a hoarder when it comes to my children’s things. I’m terribly sentimental. Picture if you will a bag of plastic interlocking blocks. My husband holds them up with a slight scowl as if to say, ’Toss these!’ I retort, “But don’t you remember how we thought our first born was a genius when he could stack them all by himself when he was only fourteen months old?” Then we came across the all-wooden kitchen set with the iron pots and pans and ceramic tea set. Same look. I gave the puppy dog eyes that said, “Don’t you remember how our daughter served us imaginary meals and fed her babies in her kitchen set all those years?” PLUS…here comes the best part, ”Won’t it be wonderful when our grandchildren play with those?”

Yes, I said those words, and if I were to hear the word “Grandma” in reference to me in the next decade, I might suffer from a major stroke. I’d try to be very supportive, but I’m really pushing for being a sixty-year old Grammy, cookie-baking, already have traveled some Grammy. You get my drift. But I digress. Back to the attic…

Here’s the bottom line: there was damage to some of the treasures saved for the future grandchildren and the stuff had to go. The highchair had yellowed and the plastic started to peel. The crib was missing some of its hardware (this could be just a bit of a problem). The wicker bassinet that I’d slept in…let me say that again…that I’d slept in, that my babies also has slept in, that my grandchildren were to sleep in, looked a bit…well…icky…allergy-laden, if you will. If I knew then what I know now about allergies, I would never put a newborn in anything like that; it had to go.

What didn’t get donated was the doll house. My parents, crazy as they were, had a wooden doll house custom made for me to resemble our real house with matching furniture and oil paintings. It was wonderful and creepy all in one! A bit of a psychotherapists delight! I had it repainted, carpeted, wallpapered and “decreepified” for my daughter when she was about six. I also had my husband attach it to a ”Lazy Susan” (hate that term BTW) so that she could turn it back and forth and enjoy the front and back of the house, which I could never do. This was the only toy my daughter never shared with others. I got it. I didn’t feel she needed to. It was fragile and it was her world. She played with it constantly for years. That is, until she didn’t. The dollhouse moved into the closet about two years ago. It’s a bit like Woody in Toy Story 3; just dying to be played with. Yesterday, that day came. I sat beside my daughter and watched her take every piece, look at it, and comment something like, “Remember this? How I used to love the way it would hold things?” or “Did you know I always liked to peek in here like this?” I cried. She knew I would. She rolled her eyes a little and gave me a little, “Oh, Mom,” but she wasn’t disgusted.

I told her I waited nearly 30 years for the moment I gave her my doll house. It might be 30 years before she has her moment with her daughter. “What if I don’t have a daughter?” she asked. I shrugged. I didn’t have that answer, only that it just felt like she would, just like I knew I would.

I don’t think we hold on to things because we want stuff. Stuff just takes up space. It doesn’t hug us or give us peace or tell us we are lovable. I think what we really want is to step back into that space in time: to watch my baby boy building his blocks, clap and cheer, and see his face light up and feel his little hands wrap around my back and squeeze him tight; to peek in my daughter’s room and watch her serve tea to her baby doll Marigold and then be invited for a cup of tea and give her a kiss on her neck that smells like roses; to see her at her doll house, creating a world that’s sacred, private, and wonderful; to savor those days that we rushed…we didn’t know they’d go so fast.

After I donated a truck load of things to the Hospice thrift store, I returned an hour later to stare at the baby bassinet. I had to hold it one more time. It was so silly, really. It was empty. What was inside once upon a time has grown into the most spectacular people and both are so wonderful…more wonderful than I could’ve ever dreamed. One of them is still awake…I think I’ll go give him a hug.

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17

Feb
2011

Who’s Teaching Whom?

>Never mind if I’m using who or whom correctly; this past couple of weeks our little community has experienced mountains of grief. A grade school principle was shot and killed. Days later, my son’s former teacher, Mrs. Kelleher, died after battling cancer. The sun disappeared giving way to the more typical weather of this region: gray, rainy, freezing. It’s as if God commanded the sky to weep right along with us. I teared up to a Katy Perri song just now…I know…that’s bad…really bad…but I felt like Mrs. Kelleher was a firework that went out a bit too fast.

I thought I was the teacher about grief around my house; I mean I have letters after my name. I have a special grief certification. When there is a death, we talk and talk and talk in our family. We’ve buried birds and said special prayers over them. Years ago, we dug a grave for our beloved dog Charlie in the yard, wrapping him in silks, placing treasured drawings, crystals, and precious stones beside his body. We’ve stood beside a friend, holding her hand, keeping her company, watching her take her last breaths, and tried to make sense of her loss. We’ve discussed suicide and how it robs so many of their loved one, but moreover, how despondent that person must have been to take their life. We’ve covered it…

Yet, here we were, a few days after this precious teacher’s death, and I said, out loud, (buckle up…you may not like me after this) “It’s too bad that we’ll be out of town for Mrs. Kelleher’s funeral.” I know. I take my own breath away with my blatant insensitivity. Even I don’t like me very much as I write this. In all fairness, I had been thinking how much we all needed to “get away” and regroup as a family, but my children looked at me as though I’d just beaten a kitten with a bludgeoning stick. “Really, Mom…I think we should stay for the funeral,” they said. I’d wished a trap door in my kitchen could’ve opened up and let me fall through straight to hell.

This was one of those absolutely, clear moments when the saying, “Your children will teach you more than you will ever teach them,” rang so loud that it was like a gong in my ear. My ears are still ringing from it, although I’m starting to forgive myself…a little…maybe.

Then the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had taught them well. They didn’t grab this out of the air. They are seasoned in the bereavement department, I just had a moment of insanity. I guess we’ve taught each other well. It’s a give and take. We remind each other when we’re off kilter (me, lately reminding them that their rooms resemble Templeton’s nest and they reminding me that the funeral is clearly more important than going out of town-insert Bart Simpson “Doh” sound effect please). The act of going to her funeral; of honoring her life and her death; weeping; laughing; eating; serving–these are the things that glue family together and remind us to love harder and forgive quicker. It’s ironic that death often steers us towards living.

To you Mrs. Kelleher. Every day when I pull up to the school, I see you in your darling green capris, holding the walkie-talkie up to your ear as you stand on porch. You gave much. You will be missed.

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18

Jan
2011

Be Careful Little Eyes What You See…

>Picture, if you will, a little girl of three. She’s clothed in a hand-knitted cream colored sweater and matching mini-skirt. Her hair is the color of flax, as thin as the wind. She’s standing in front of a red door, her hand poised as though she’s going to knock. That was our family’s Christmas card circa 1970. I lived in that house (which cost my parents roughly $20,000) for a little over three years and any memories I do have are more likely based on pictures. Although there is one that was triggered by the smell of bourbon in my adult years. Sadly, it jogged a memory of what my baby sitter’s mother smelled of.

But this is not a sad tale of an alcoholic neighbor. Rather, it is my yearning to see that little red house with the white picket fence (really!) to which I was brought home in the late 60s. Since I’ve never been back as an adult, I can only imagine that it has switched owners numerous times. Perhaps the red paint’s been replaced with a more suitable tan or brown. The giant maple that grandstanded not only me but my father might remain. I dream. I envision.

Well, today I had to retrieve my birth certificate from my safe deposit box and as I read over the familiar information, my parents’ names, birth cities, etc., I saw my original address. Hm…could I find it on the Internet? I thought to myself with a bubble of excitement.

I came home to an empty house (remember…everyone is at basketball these days) and clicked on Google, then typed in my address. That little bubble of excitement grew as my address popped up as a listed house for sale! What were the odds?! I was going to see the house of my baby-hood with such little effort after all these years of wondering, pining, dreaming.

And then the picture appeared: a newly constructed stucco house, beige not red, no picket white fence, no maple tree. Instead, there stood a fountain in the circular driveway. IT SOLD LAST FALL FOR OVER A MILLION DOLLARS!! Oh…Ugh…my heart hurt. Maybe it was a mistake. I double checked the address. Yup. Same address. My little house had been torn down.

I feel like a little piece of me disappeared. Now, I’m not talking psychotic break or even a need to call to a therapist. But something inside me shifted. Loss. A part of my life is gone. Forever.

This must’ve been what my little neighbor-boy felt (who’s now 18!) 12 years ago as we constructed our house on the empty lot beside his. With a down-cast expression, I remember him saying, “I used to cut through your yard to go home after I got off the bus.” Loss.

The Internet, for all its convenience, sometimes offers us things we shouldn’t see. The obvious: porn, violence, slander on social networks. But there are the small things, too. I hope the memory of that fancy new house fades. To me, my house of Wildwood Lane will always be the red house with the white picket fence…oh, and in front stands a little, blond girl knocking at the door.

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14

Jan
2011

Winning is everything…or not

>Right now, I have one foot in the competitive, aggressive, exciting, but sadly, often shameful world of high school sports. I also have one foot in the encouraging, also exciting, “Aren’t they darling,” and frankly,  honorable world of junior high sports. It’s a bit schizophrenic, and I have to remind myself each time I transition to the “other world” to adjust, adjust, adjust.

Point in case: a few weeks back, my son’s high school team was crushing their competitor; not a point scored for those other poor souls. As a former therapist, I worry about those young, developing boys whose self-esteem could be scarred by such a defeat. Some shared my lamentations of, “Oh please, let’s let them get one basket.” Others were mortified by these thoughts, as this shut-out was an opportunity to drive up the stats of our own teammates. Alas, success and notoriety at this level often trumps the feelings of others. I know, my bleeding heart is pooling around my feet. 

Contrast this with my daughter’s first game yesterday: They were crushing their opponents. Not to brag, (okay, maybe a little…it is my blog), but my daughter scored the first two baskets. When the other team finally scored, the girls AND the parents clapped for the other team. I teared up. Ah…back to the days of “feel good” sports, no stats, and the threat of not getting that scholarship for basketball.

I’m not naive; I get why some folks get riled up. They really want their children to succeed and have a chance at their dreams of playing in college and even the NBA. And I do really want my kids’ teams to win and to play well! But for me, this whole intensity, not wanting to see the other team have a good play or two, is sort of how I feel about clothes. Yes, I look fabulous in skinny jeans, black boots, and a fitted sweater. It makes me look as though I’ve really got my act together (ha!) Oh…but the feel of soft stretchy pants, the “yumminess” of a favorite, well-loved, slightly frayed sweatshirt…is there any contest? I like to feel good and somehow, I feel good when the pants are looser or the competition is less intense, and the atmosphere is one of mutual admiration and self-control.

I will savor these last two years of middle school sports. Soon, the heat will be on both of my children to step it up and not have empathy for the underdog. My inner-melancholic already pines for the simplicity of early childhood and grade school days when the drive to win, be the best, and fight for a position were as far off as getting a driver’s license. For now, I give myself a little pep talk before I step into the high school world of often vicious competition, and remind myself that everything we do is a lesson in life. My children are learning life lessons, even though some of them are painful or the antithesis of what I embrace. Alas, tonight is another game. I will cheer, scream, shout, and by the looks of it, I’m the crazy, overzealous mother, hoping we smash our opponent and that my kid will shine above all others. I guess a part of me is; I just hope I do this with integrity, grace, and compassion.

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17

Dec
2010

Slowing down the Train

>Last week, I had the privilege of accompanying 60 + kids from my daughter’s school to a field trip in San Francisco. The idea was to help our country kids learn about public transportation as well as cooperation and service. As I sat on Amtrak (which, let me say, is hugely underrated), watching acres of land and cities fly by, I couldn’t help but feel that my life was mimicking this fast moving train. December is a sacred, holy time, and yet, if we don’t tell the conductor to slow the train down and let us off, we might just miss our stop; we’ll miss our true destination.

The City (as we northern Californian’s call S.F.) holds many extremes: wealth and poverty; beauty and filth; hope and despair. Our kids got to see all of it, from the bright Christmas lights of Union Square filled with shops sporting $6000.00 dollar dresses, to the homeless huddled in doorways late at night. I wondered, as I took in the loneliness, homelessness, and hunger around me, how would these sheltered children handle such pain when coming face to face with it.

I got my answer. Our group was the first to have the honor of serving at Glide Church, an outreach that offers meals, shelter, counseling, etc..to the homeless, the marginalized, the hungry. After a thirty-minute session with the volunteer coordinator (who, by the way should tour schools and talk to children about knowing who they are…that’s for another blog), we were led into the various cafeterias where we would serve drinks, meals, wipe down tables, and most of all, try and make eye contact, greet the hungry with a smile, and welcome them into our lives.

Boy, that was the turning point: our train slammed on its breaks and we were hit with real life…real love…the meaning of Christmas. I watched those children, who, with GREAT joy, smiles, and kind words, serve people who, some, smelled like garbage, or were difficult to look at. They offered water to people who wrapped bits of their leftover food into used Dinty Moore canned stew containers. They sang Jingle Bells at the top of their lungs and the entire place erupted into song, smiles, and clapping. My heart, like the Grinch’s, grew 100 times its size that day.

When we asked the group at the end of the trip what was their favorite part of this field trip, nearly all agreed it was serving at Glide. They got it! They let their train slow down and found that true love, compassion, and grace is more meaningful than any shiny present, any tree, any tradition. They found the true meaning of Christ’s Christmas.

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3

Dec
2010

Crying at the DMV

>I know what you’re thinking…who hasn’t wanted to shed tears at the DMV? Typically, the process of awaiting your turn at the DMV is akin to a root canal without anesthesia. On the upside, I’m never disappointed by the people watching! Someone’s bound to pitch a fit, speak way too loud on their cell phone, scream at a bored child, and bare a mid-section. Hey, it’s great fodder for character development in writing.

These recent shed tears are different, though. To be fair, let me back up and say that my past few trips to my local DMV have been fairly benign. Despite the lobby being packed with the above mentioned crowd, I’ve managed to slip in and out within an hour, often under the scowls of angry consumers who’ve yet heard their number announced. No, these tears were about transition, the rite of passage, another milestone, another letting go: I brought my son in to get his driver’s permit.

Now, my daughter is anxious to point out that a Charmin commercial can make me teary eyed. She’s right. I blubber through movies (completely bawled when Mr. Magorium died in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium), get misty eyed during every, “Happy Birthday to You,” and weddings, well…thank goodness for waterproof mascara.

I work hard at trying to not publicly embarrass my children, so when we went down to the DMV, I told myself, be cool…don’t whip out the camera and shoot 75 photos as he takes his test. I was really okay as we waited for his turn. We discussed the book Dracula, which my son is reading for his Advanced English class. Even when he was called up to window 4 and asked to show his birth certificate, proof of driver’s ed completion, etc., I held it together. But I’ll be damned if it didn’t take the DMV lady complimenting my son on his good manners, offering that she could see he’d been raised well, to break me down. Oh crap, I thought, here come the water works. Still…I could feel the vibration reverberating off of my son as if to say, “Don’t…not here. Not now.”

I stuffed the emotions down inside and lugged his twenty pound back pack over to a chair while he began his test. Something about seeing his six foot frame hunched over that little piece of paper ripped me up, and all I could thing was, “I just had you! I was just chasing you around the playground, standing beneath the play structure in case you fell.” And the thought occurred: I won’t always be there to catch him when he falls…or crashes, or swerves to miss a deer, or skids in the rain, or, or, or.

It’s huge, this process of letting go a little at a time. I’ve loved every stage…okay, not the crying at 2:00 am after I’d gotten off work at 11:00. And maybe not the tween, “I know, Mom. GOD!” Sigh, mutter, slump off to the other room. But this feels really big. This is real independence coming down the pike. It’s wonderful, painful, joyous, and terrifying all wrapped up together with a big frickin’ bow on top!

You’d be really proud of me; I only teared up. Not even a sniffle escaped me. I saved it all for later.

When I told him later what emotions were hurricaning through me, he rolled his eyes–not in a oh brother, sort of way, but rather, more like a wise old turtle saying, “Oh Mom, what are we going to do with you?”

The answer to that question remains to be seen. I’m banking on a blossoming writing career, book tours, signings, and more writing to filling that space. It’s optimistic, but then again, all of my young adult life, I dreamt of having two wonderful children who would make my heart sing. I’d say, it’s paid off to dream!

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19

Nov
2010

We missed it…or did we?

>While checking the headlines on the Internet a couple of days ago, I read about an amazing meteor shower that was to take place. The day went on, kids, housework, my battle with not writing any more on my new book, dinner, etc. At about 8:00 that night when the boys were out and all was quiet, I remembered the meteor shower and jumped to my feet, urging my daughter to come outside with me.

“Look for shooting stars!” I urged her.

After craning our necks for a few seconds, we decided to lay down on the deck and look straight up into the sky. It was a cloudless night and the sky twinkled like bright diamonds. We started to shiver from the November cold.

Through chattered teeth, my daughter pointed to a blinking light. “Is that one?” It was a plane…rats.

“Keep looking,” I said.

“I’ve never seen one, you know,” she said. “I don’t know what to look for.”

Imagine your heart hurting a little bit, like when you see an injured bird; that’s how I felt. How had she not seen a shooting star yet? I explained what they looked like, but inside, a rush of memories flooded me from my childhood: sleepovers outside; summer evenings spent laying on the cracked sidewalks looking at the stars. Had we forgotten to do this? Had the business of life in the 2000′s crept into our house, too. Of course it had. However, in my defense, to be out in the dark, lying down, unprotected in mountain lion and coyote country is a bit unwise.

We waited a while longer, then shrugged and agreed that we were freezing. “I guess we missed it,” my daughter said.

I was awake for most of that night. For some writers, it’s when thoughts swirl the best. I really wanted her to see a shooting star. Why hadn’t it happen?And then I realized, something magical did happen: we got quiet, held hands, and looked up. It seems like such a small thing, but it felt very cosmic…very “hand of God” to have stopped our evening routine of television viewing, and to journey out into the cold, look up into space, and marvel at the sky. Ahhh…so beautiful.

The next morning when I stepped out onto the deck to fill the bird feeder, I looked for some evidence that we’d been there. An impression…a sock…a hair clip. Nothing. Then a smile grew inside, crawling across my face. I realized that special moments with my kids takes little work or energy, a little spontaneity, but a great deal of presence. Be careful, I thought (and not for the first time), or you might miss it!

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1

Nov
2010

Then, Now, and What’s to Come

>Something shattered in me as I took a walk this past, crisp fall morning as I began re-entering the world from my surgery: I realized I was all alone. One child was sleeping in, another was at work. At work! There are no longer lazy days filled board games, digging for quartz crystals after the rain, or pulling on Land’s End rain gear and boots from Lee’s Feed to slosh around in the puddles and go “exploring” on the property. They’re gone. They’re really gone.

Now, I know what you are going to say: Susan, it’s your hormones. And you are probably right, to some degree. But, like a good former therapist, I reached out to my other forty-something friends whose children are growing up and away, and you know what…they are having those same weepy thoughts.

It’s crazy to remember the endless days of wondering how I was possibly going to fill an entire day for two toddlers (and an ever-exhausted mother) when it rained, or when it was one hundred degrees, and all the days in between. There were days of making home made play dough, finger-painting, long walks picking up treasures in nature. But quite frankly, some days, I can remember myself thinking, “I can’t wait until they’re older.” Be careful what you wish for, right?!

The truth is, I love the meaningful conversations I have with my teen and tween. I also delight in their unique personalities and interests. But I feel very much on the sidelines instead of in the mix of it all. This was probably the last  year of trick-or-treating: I watched my daughter scamper off with friends. Sports is all consuming: I watch them play, cheer, take photos. It’s a different season with them and I wonder what’s to come, fearing the absence of the space they’ve taken up.

What’s to come, of course, is more independence, less reliance, and finally, departure. I’m left with a huge question: what will I do with myself? I know that moms who work full-time might be having angry thoughts like, “Must be nice,” or “You really need to get a life.” I can understand that. My fellow SAH moms “get it”, though. Yes, we can return to our careers (if there are actual jobs in the future.) We can do volunteer work, get involved with the community, yada, yada. I know. I’m already working on it. Not so secretly, I’m hoping my writing career takes off and I’ll be texting the kids about what city I’m in for my current book tour while their pounding out research papers and feasting on Cup-of-Noodle (the staple of every college kid’s diet.)

A friend from church yesterday said that she tells herself not to be sad over what is gone, but to be happy that it happened. She’s right. And yet, as I type, the tears fall. “It” happened too fast. I worry I wished it away on crabby-Mommy days. I guess this is emotionally preparing me for the joy of grandchildren- not too soon (!), but someday.

As I make dinner at 10:30 in the morning, knowing the rest of the afternoon will be devoted to picking up, shuttling, serving, I will make an effort to cherish the benign…the tedium…the inconveniences, delighting in the passing smiles and thoughtful brushes on the shoulder. Soon, they will be gone, too, and so I will cherish what is.

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