Thunder and lightening and rain last night. Just before bedtime. This morning everything is moist and cloudy. The bird and squirrel sounds come to my ears as if through fog. Sitting on cushioned wicker on the back porch, I listen to the uneven hum of the ceiling fans. Temperatures predicted to be summer like, so I open all the windows and turn on the fans. There is a disconnect between the wide open house and the gold-brown and worn green leaves blanketing the gardens. But the disconnect, the tilt, the slight unevenness of my world’s tectonic plates feel . . . right, correct, just as it is. Continue reading
Six hours at the Dane County Airport waiting for weather to clear in Newark, New Jersey, to take for a short, direct flight is enough to make anyone a bit of a philosopher. That or go nuts. Because I bought this summer’s tickets with credit card points and used the voucher we got in January, I sprung for flying out of our little, low key facility. Lines are short, seats plentiful but there are fewer food choices and what there is comes with NYC prices.
Julia did all her home work and her puzzle exercises and some extra of each. She worked on coloring a new dragon picture in her art app. If her cello had been here, we would have gotten in a good practice. Now, she is listening to music on her phone and watching videos of kids dancing and singing. She has not even cracked the sketch book or dot to dot book. The kid has learned to wait. She is developing patience. Continue reading
Feeling like a super mom today. Exhausted but endowed with power and magic. Today is never easy. 7 years. Another anniversary of the beginning of my unexpected life.
I have long entertained the idea that the cells of the body are recycled bit by bit every 7 years. Where did I hear that? I have no idea, but if it were so, there is no cell in my body left that actually knew David. Could that be? Even if it was the general rule, I imagine my cells clever enough to bypass such ignorance. They might have whispered and conspired, perhaps saving one very, very old seven or eight or nine year old cell and sitting at her “feet” to listen to stories of when I was not lonely. And really, there was that time when I knew joy without effort. And maybe in the stories of that old cell is the seed of a coming time of such joy. Just maybe. Continue reading
Countries, governments, empires rise and fall. I was not a bad student of history. I learned the three to five to seven reasons why Greece and Rome and the city states of Italy and England and France and various dynasties of China fell. Somewhere in those reasons was usually some catastrophic event— a war lost or a prolonged war won but leaving a weakened empire or a natural disaster. I imagined that the linchpin of any fall was that catastrophic event.
When David and I lived in Frascati, Italy, we would talk politics with our landlord and his young adult children. Mr. Maoli told us that the United States was powerful now but that as a nation we were children. He said that once there was nothing stronger than Rome, and in another age Venice, Siena, Florence and Genoa were all powerful. And now, they were not. I agreed. He made sense. Nothing, even a democracy, even the leader of the free world, lasts forever. Continue reading
Two deaths. One the wife of friend; the other the mother of a friend no longer. The first was a sound shake. A woman who was ill and being treated, who was expected to survive, to be healed. An unexpected death even though there was probably some scientific percentage that she would not survive. Like David. Twenty percent of those with heart transplant don’t survive. And we never considered for a moment that to be David.
We are all always part of the percentage. Continue reading
So much of life flies under the radar and goes unnoticed. By me. Sometimes I notice a new hair cut, I comment on a Facebook announcement of a new job or I ask about an increased spring in a step, but so many times I miss much of the lives around me. I don’t know whether to attribute it to self-involvement, a teenager who needs attention or a general character flaw. Continue reading
Sunday: 62 degrees at the end of February. We must be outside, but I do not feel free to dictate in public. Sigh. Ego or just not wanting mothers with small children to move away from me. So I type with one hand. Slowly and with fewer capitals. We’re at Burney’s Beach, a tiny made-beach on our bay, after a special ed advocate’s meeting in a coffee shop. Julia is sculpting in the sand and I . . . I sit like a turtle in the sun craving the warm, gentle warmth. This is the time of year when I can imagine giving up the four seasons in favor of eternal spring.
The meeting: Politically, I am totally out of the educational policy loop. It will be an effort if I want to catch up. I need to if I want to figure out what I can contribute. Believing that the way to change is at the local level where passion lies, the spirit is willing . . . Continue reading
I don’t believe that everything happens for reason. Or that there is some sort of divinity arranging events. However, I do believe that the examined life demands that I take advantage of my experiences as teaching and learning moments.
And that’s where I am today.
Last week I canceled almost everything we do. No cello lesson, therapy with Marilyn, speech therapy, reading group, Chinese brushstroke painting, ice skating for Julia or songha for me. We stayed home. I went to a show on Friday night with a friend driving and we went to church on Saturday Night which had the bonus of a potluck meal afterwards. I did homework with Julia every day and we found time to write to thank you notes that she owed but without other obligations she also had free time to play video games, listen to music, and draw Sonic. This morning I had a chilling awareness that what we did last week, no therapy and just a little bit of learning, could be what Julia’s life post high school could be like. It could become a lonely life of unrewarding work and coming home to an evening of mindless TV. I know it’s four years away and she will change between now and then but my mother fears bubble up. What if she doesn’t change or grow during these years? What if at 21 or 25, Julia is not curious and needs me to fill her days for her in some productive way? What if only me wanting this fuller life for her? Immediately, I went down the rabbit hole of worry and fears. What if… What if… What if. Continue reading
“You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all you have been and done… you are fierce with reality.” ~ Florida Scott-Maxwell
Last night I dream of David. I haven’t dreamed about him in a very, long time. I was one of those real-feeling, ordinary-day-feeling dreams.
This last week has been intense and concentrated, filled with reading and writing and two long phone conversations with an old friend who reframed some sad events of the last few years. During the course of our conversation, my friend told me about a phone call that she had with David. A call that either I did not know about or had completely forgotten. Either one is possible. It concerned her, not me any way. But hearing about it after all this time blew a little bit of life into the dusty ghosts of my imagination. Continue reading
Last year I began my resolutions by reflecting on the old year and reviewing the resolutions and goals that I had proposed. The process bore fruit. An overarching idea surfaced and I realized a guiding principle. Not that I always acted from that principle or could check off all of the tasks that I set for myself, but I appreciated the guidance. The principle was a simple one: To allow. Right now, I can remember so many times when I forgot it, when I pushed and strained, when I insisted. And many of those times turned out badly, or merely not in anyone’s highest good. Although I feel the need to move on from this principle, I want to remember to allow without thought of success or failure, without expectation or grasping.
This year there are two ideas surfacing: Use ego as a foundational tool and strength. Allow my generous heart to serve as guide. In one sense, the two may appear more active. They are. On the other hand, they feel like continuations of allowing. Certainly, the second grows from allowing plus a few resolutions that have been on my list for a few years. The first comes from need. Recently, I’ve come to a realization that I may never have a partner again in this lifetime. Okay, duh! To the extent that partner means an intimate relationship, I’ve been partnerless for six and a half years and perhaps I should have taken the hint sooner. But it is more. I have been dependent upon others in a way unhealthy for for my soul’s growth and it is time for me to find my own foundation and my strength. This is not the severing of connections. I am valuing my connections, my friends, my community and certainly, my family more than ever. But they are not purpose and not for survival. Those are up to me. Alone. And although feeling rather inarticulate about the fullness of this feeling, I hope to explore it and grow with it in the coming year.
2017 guiding principles: Use ego as a foundational tool and strength. Allow my generous heart to serve as a guide.
And now for 2017 resolutions:
Be gentle with dualities
Give more, expect less
Ask for help
Cultivate courage in fearful circumstances
Turn off the screens and read
And now some tasks for the first six months of 2017:
Teach Julia about friendship
Develop Mindful Circle
Question high school and contemplate home
Schedule posts for the website and blogs
Consider the possibility of home projects
*art by Duy Huynh