Category Archives: enjoying

Saturday’s End

Saturday’s end finds me sitting in my corner in the space of in between.

I am waiting for Steve to get the girls settled for the night. I am searching my brain for words that keep drifting just out of reach. I want to write, to keep up the momentum, but there is not much coming.

Saturday’s end finds me both wrestling with and resting in enough. The things did not all happen today, but enough of them did. What constitutes a good Saturday?

For me it was the impromptu phone call after lunch when I was ready to jump out of my skin. Hearing my sister’s voice on the other end as I walked the neighborhood alone was both comforting and clarifying as she talked me through the struggle to the other side.

It was the father/daughter yardwork , the sound of a chainsaw cutting stray tree branches allowing more sunlight into the yard and the smell of cut branches burning in the fire pit.

It was the smiles and laughter and engagement I witnessed through the window, because close up it is difficult to see.

It was the joy of finished chores after the angst of wrangling everyone through them, because no one wants to pick up after others, but we all live here and have responsibilities.

It was dinner around the table with enough asparagus for all, because it is the current favorite vegetable.

It was the laughter following dinner as an impromptu photo shoot took place. So much laughter. Sibling love is the best.

It was a son preparing for homecoming and another preparing for work and daughters doling out shower time to ensure there was enough hot water for all.

It was the realization that here we go again with the refrigerator that is never fully stocked and the people that have lots of things to say and the laundry pile that is never ever finished and the hot water tank that is never quite full.

It was being reminded that there is life in this place, even in the midst of all that is hard. There was a lot of hard today, too.

At Saturday’s end, I will choose to rest in enough. It was enough to have been given another day to live and to love and to laugh. Because those things all happened, and it has not always been so. Today it was.

Scenes From Seattle, part 3

The following pictures are from my January trip to Seattle. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

All packed up and ready to go. My four-legged little friend wants to join me.

Nothing beats a thoughtful suitcase-surprise!

This is the room waiting for a special visitor to arrive!

My beautiful sister, Deborah, flew in to join me!

This was a favorite space in our room. I loved the fireplace and the footrest. The chairs were comfy, too.

I still had to go to class during the day. Coffee and coloring helped me keep my focus on the task at hand.

Evenings were made for Lavender and Lemon Drop Martinis! Nothing beats a martini with the sis.

Seafood night! Dinners out together were the best. They were the highlight of my day. (Sorry, Group. You were a close second!)

My face when I am sitting across from one of my favorite people ever and cannot believe it is really real. And seafood skewers and wine make me smile, too.

There is so much love in this picture. And so much longing to not be so far apart. And there is also Ubering. That happened.

This is the smile of denial that we are getting ready to board the light rail to the airport. It was too soon to think about saying goodbye.

All aboard! A new experience awaits on the light rail ride to the airport.

A bag of goodies is tucked safely into my satchel. Bath bombs for all! They made it home with zero breakage.

I always appreciate the space for sitting with coffee and reflecting on the weekend as I wait in the airport for my final connecting flight following the red-eye.

I left this,

. . . and returned to this!

Drummer Boy

This is it. Graduation day. I am so proud of you.

You broke the mold, Son. So many molds of mine, actually.

You broke my birthing mold.
You broke my parenting mold.
You broke my teaching mold.

You were born with a free spirit, to the beat of a different drum.

I didn’t know it.

I had a lot to learn that only you could teach me.

  • Start each day with breakfast. As you came downstairs each morning, your first words were “Need bekkis”
  • Ask for what you need. “Need kiss” as you took your paci out of your mouth to kiss me with your toddler mouth
  • Laugh in the funny moments. like when a new mattress was delivered, and it looked like my bed had grown two feet taller, and I stood with four year old you as we spontaneously laughed
  • Sing your own song. As I’m changing your diaper and singing your nigh-nigh bed song and you chime in with a “Play toys” descant. At 18 months.
  • Weigh your options. When reading blends and words wasn’t really worth it and made you cough until mini marshmallows were on the line. Then you were a reading pro!
  • Be helpful. As four year old you carried newborn Kirk down the stairs to me because “He was going to cry.”
  • Use your voice. Yours was loud and insistent and challenging, but it got my attention. And that of anyone within hearing range in a parking lot or grocery store as you threw one of those tantrums that “my child would never throw.” And that of the neighbor when you were yelling out of the window with your friends.
  • Love people and make friends. Like you do so well.

I wish I could go back to that 27-year-old mama of four and give her one of the hugs that infant and toddler you so lavishly bestowed on me.

I would tell her that it really is worth it and really is a blessing amidst the tantrums and struggles over raincoats and putting away sandals and clipping into car seats.

I would ask her what she was afraid of and stop to listen to her answer. I would show her the very things she feared she was creating if she didn’t slow down and live in the moment. I miss the moments. I’m sorry that it took me so long to recognize them. I’m sorry that I thought I could control what I feared.

I’ve always said that I wanted things to be what they really are, even when it is painful.

I remember how painful it was to make the decision to enroll you at THMS. That was really hard in many ways due to my background and story, but I knew that it was the right thing for you. Even though the middle school years were messy, it was worth it that day as we were riding to or from high school when you spontaneously thanked me.

Thanks, Mom, for sending me to THMS so that I could meet my friends.

You have always loved to be with people and to have lots of people around, except maybe at the dinner table if they were under three feet tall and in high chairs. The conversation we had that day in the car confirmed in my heart that the right decision was made for you.

And now here you are.

What’s next?

That’s the question of the season. Friends ask me. They ask you. Everyone has an idea. A suggestion.

It’s okay not to know. It’s okay to be real and unsure and to march to the beat of your own drum. It’s okay to live life and be present in the moment and be open to the future and to not have all of the answers, yet.

Whatever is next, know that you are loved. I am proud of you for who you are. Congratulations on reaching this milestone!

I love you, Drummer Boy.

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Remember this feeling. Keep following your dreams and your gifting! You are a rock solid drummer.

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I love the way it ended where it began.

 

 

Friendship Friday ~ Making it Happen

I planned a date night.

This may not seem like a big deal to some, but for me it is. For me it is saying, I really care about spending time together, I know Steve will enjoy this, I know I will enjoy this. Even though there are 1,001 reasons to not make it happen and then feel disappointed, I am going to TRY.

When I saw that Second City was returning to JMU, I wanted to go again with Steve. We attended a show a few years ago with No Strings Attached, and it was fun. I participated in a Second City workshop in Chicago while chaperoning a school trip for my son and learned a lot.

I desired to do this together.

Several weeks ago, I checked out the tickets and pricing. Seats were going fast. There were a few left scattered here and there, mostly in the balcony. Asking Steve what he thought about going, and not hearing clear Let’s do it! in his voice, I let it go.

Several weeks ago there was also great letdown as a failed communication between us resulted in an anticipated longing falling by the wayside, unmet. I struggled through deep disappointment and wrestled with how to let go of past hurts while communicating present ones honestly.

It was difficult to admit to myself and my husband that I stuff pain and quickly say, It’s okay, or It’s no big deal, when it’s not and it is. I had to acknowledge my hurt, disappointment, and true feelings without accusing, blaming, and attacking. It was a difficult time. We are still learning to communicate honestly and to hear one another in a safe space.

Steve can’t read my mind.

I minimize desire. I long for more together time but don’t take action. I wish for connection but grow busy with distraction.

It was time to make something happen.

Last night, out of curiosity, I logged onto the theater website to see what, if any, seats were left.

The seat map showed two yellow squares at the edge of a sea of x‘s. And by sea, I mean every other seat was marked taken.

Two seats at the end of a row! A countdown timer at the top of the laptop screen ticked away the minutes I had to make a decision while Steve was out walking Dewey. Two seats. At the end of a row! (Can you tell that part in itself was HUGE for me?) The last two seats. My favorite spot in any row.

I took them.

Almost immediately, contempt and sabotage began to creep in.

What did you just do? That was stupid. You don’t even know if you can get a babysitter at this late notice. Steve didn’t act as if he wanted to go when you mentioned it before. You just spent money on something that you don’t know will work out.

And on and on.

I began my usual pattern of faux-not-caring. He can always take a friend if we don’t get a sitter. I can be here with the kids. It doesn’t matter if I go or not.

It mattered.

I tried.

I told Steve when he returned and was met with a positive response. He helped me begin looking for a sitter, which in the end I secured.

Thanks, Mom and Dad!

So tonight is a real date night, not that popcorn and Parenthood at 9:30pm doesn’t count. It’s the fighting forward for fun together that doesn’t just magically happen because I wish it would. It’s being in the moment in our marriage, knowing that it is worth it.

We are worth making it happen!

Friendship Friday ~ Puppy Play

Dewey’s first day with us overlapped with a visit from Wren.

My daughter and son-in-law dropped her off early, giving us time to have a few minutes of conversation about the possibility of a puppy.

If you do bring home Dewey, and he and Wren play together in the backyard, Wren may nip at him, but she is only playing. That’s how she plays with other dogs at the dog park.

I appreciated this heads up for what to expect as she went on to describe other dog behaviors. After our time together, she left with her man, and Wren hung out with us. Sometimes she was in her crate. Sometimes she was in the yard. Sometimes she was chilling around the house. Sometimes, well, that’s for another post.

We left to get Dewey and brought him home.

When we returned, there was much excitement and overwhelm with this new addition to our life. We released the puppies together in the yard to see what would come of it. Would they get along?

Dewey and Wren

Dewey and Wren

Dewey and Wren

Yes, indeed! Their time together was a total success. Much romping and tumbling and barking and nipping ensued, all in the most playful of ways.

One of my favorites to watch was the game of chase that they played in which under the picnic table was Dewey’s base.

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When Dewey ran under the picnic table, Wren would find a patch of shade and hang out, acting as if she couldn’t catch or get to him until Dewey came running over to be chased again.

My daughter later informed me that Wren is all about the picnic table at the dog park and can get under easily if she wants to, which made their game even cuter.

So Dewey’s first day was full, and by full, I mean, FULL. There is too much to process in a single post, so on this Friendship Friday, it is all about the puppy-cousin love. There is lots of that going on.

Christmas Laughter

It wasn’t feeling funny at 2:00 am. Or at 4:00 when Steve finally went upstairs to sleep with the little girls who were up with the lights on playing in their room. I never went back to sleep. Wait. I guess I did, because by 7:47 it was determined that everyone had waited long enough, and it was time to wake mom and dad and send Little Mae to get Shani.

When adult children are home laughing hysterically over ridiculous international children’s shows at 1:30 am and eager little ones hear sleigh bells at 2, there leaves little room for actual sleep for the real Santa and Mrs. Claus who were up filling stockings and wrapping last-minute gifts and drinking a nightcap or two.

Such is life with bigs and littles in the now of enjoying adult children and the not yet of still having to actively parent several younger ones.

Gifts were opened with relative order and appreciation and cheer. I was moved by the thoughtfulness displayed in the gifts chosen by my husband and children for me. They know and heard me well.

After present time, breakfast was prepared by Steve and Shani. The smell of coffee and bacon began to fill the air while cheeses were sliced in the kitchen and hot dog buns warmed in the oven.

The Edible Arrangement was placed on the table. Thank you, Phil and Doris!

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Our traditional Christmas breakfast consists of toasted hot dog buns, bacon, and sliced smoked gouda and cheddar cheese with hot chocolate to drink. The addition of a son-in-law who doesn’t eat pork and my forgetting to purchase turkey bacon resulted in the addition of made-to-order omelets to the menu. An abundance of avocado inspired me to slice it up and add it to the spread.

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Delicious.

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After breakfast, or brunch if you consider the time, we sat around the table talking and laughing.

Ok, Mom and Dad, answer honestly. Go around the table saying which of us were accidents.

None of our children were accidents. Some God brought into existence through crazy bouts of human passion and some through technical difficulties, but all were planned by him, and we were more than willing to begin sharing some of their more interesting stories.

Ew! No, no, no! STOP!

So the topic changed to remember whens which is always risky family conversation.

But with great risk can come great reward, and we were rewarded with a time of rich laughter and discovery and truth-telling and family stories shared by young and old.

Oh tidings of comfort and JOY.

I have longed for laughter and joy around my table. I have fought for it for years. I have tried and failed miserably. I have felt discouraged by the strife and tension and angst. And there will be more of that.

But for an hour after Christmas breakfast there was lingering and laughter and love.

And it was sweet. And I was comforted. And there was JOY!

Today

Today is where I am.

In the grand scheme of life and the working out of the plan, today is where it is.

Today child #7 went up front at church for membership. This was the end result of a process started back in May. It was so precious to see our Roo up on the stage.

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Sitting next to me was child #3 who came in from Richmond last night. We had some multi-generational time together, great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, daughter.

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After church, while we were leaving, daughter #1 and son-in-law, also from Richmond, appeared in the parking lot at church unexpectedly. They were passing through and decided to stop and hang out for the afternoon.

Today is where I am.

This weekend has been full. This day has been full. I want to enjoy this evening with my family and sister, so I am signing off of the blog and heading downstairs to finish enjoying today.