to my daughter

February 5, 2016 § 3 Comments

Hands in your hair and only minutes from goodbye, I was mindlessly patterning a braid this morning when we fell down a rabbit hole into a story.

I love these casual outpourings. Much like the confetti of broken treasures you used to covet in your pockets, clues to your days discovered in the wash, these snippets of humor and heart are my favorite minutes together.

The teacher who taught a lesson on kindness and empathy with a tender childhood memory; the boy who tested mature language with a misshapen compliment; witty one-liners and curious critiques of superficial nonsense. Fragments of whimsy and philosophical musings freckled with questions and certainties.

Colorful bits with imperfect edges, words that tumble over one another and long thoughtful pauses with dramatic performances. Prisms of personality that capture your light in your telling.

Love, Mom

 

 

 

 

silence

February 4, 2016 § 4 Comments

It is my favorite sound. Second only to my children’s laughter or our pup’s eager paws scrambling an anxious greeting.

Peace pregnant with ideas that move fluidly in the space between speech; truth we hold tightly against the brashness of daylight, like a sacred mantra of self.

In my stillness I am more intuitive, less responsive to my surroundings; more attune to a gentler voice.

This week I can feel the conflict of thought against the noise of the mundane, the friction of demands that interrupt a sanctity of silence.

Words like promises on the tip of my tongue, lost to a language of busy distractions.

Rather than wrestle the noise, I am moving more stubbornly within it; reaching just past the cacophony for quiet.

 

book ’em

February 2, 2016 § 7 Comments

On Sunday I escaped the loosely configured routine of our typical Sunday to explore our new public library with both children. It was a homecoming of sorts, a happy reunion of lost afternoons; memories of old experiences in an unfolding moment of discovery.

For the past nine years we had lived in an unincorporated neighborhood, where the cost of joining our local library was beyond the limitations of our budget – with one exception. On a singular occasion, several years past, we invested our holiday savings into twelve months of indulgence; scooping piles of books into heavy bags, weekly, to fill endless hours of adventure.

At the conclusion of that year, we returned to supplementing our personal library with our children’s school libraries, friendly exchanges, school book sales, and e-readers. Still, we reminisced the luxury of squandering afternoons among shelves of unread stories. The liberty of endless titles.

Frequently, as our errands lead us past the grandness of a building to which we so fleetingly belonged, we would find ourselves lost to sentimental musings of that year among her walls. We resigned ourselves to contentment with the library we built at home.

Books gifted from family friends, keepsakes of my husband’s and my own childhoods, beloved series of our children’s early favorites and required school readings endlessly stacked and reorganized with great affection.

shelved

Here, in our new community, it took me too long to consider the possibility of a different experience. Having moved at the start of the school year, my children’s backpacks and hands are perpetually filled with those titles that follow them home from school.

Sunday, I was more a child than my own children.

I visited familiar stories as I sought specific titles, let my hand linger in acknowledgement along well-worn bindings. It was the place of every library I’ve loved and ever story I have lost myself to.

I was a child with a wagon and a girl with large dreams.

A new mother in our first family home, a closely knit community with a modest library just an unhurried walk away. The place of my son and daughter’s first library cards, hot summer days and cold winter afternoons given to stories.

A mother to older children squandering savings on a passport to a year of privilege among so many pages.

A reader and dreamer once more entitled to travel the world of storytellers and sages for free.

a mused

February 1, 2016 § 4 Comments

I worried for a time my joy was too intricately tied to my children’s. From the moment they were born, I could lose myself just marveling at their presence; counting fingers and toes as if to challenge the impossibility of their reality.

Its undeniable, children radiate the most gorgeous, extravagant love. It’s the purest, most uncomplicated and terrifyingly all consuming affection.

I wondered if that energy would change as they matured into new phases and tested expressions of self. It didn’t. Their humor and compassion, the messy mistakes and the perfect clarity of innocent wisdom still leave me winded with gratitude for their presence.

In motherhood I found a new calling of self, too.

I make it my work to assign value to the hours my children are absent in my days, to fill my day with purpose and interest, accomplishment and engagement. The small pursuits and larger dreams that by day’s end reflect my light in their company.

We inspire the best of one another, for one another, together.

a mused

This first day of February, I am dwelling in a sentiment of love, a muse of gratitude.

to my husband

January 31, 2016 § 7 Comments

It’s been an exciting couple of days. You’re on the road, re-introducing a body of work that has been a labor of love for many years; something that was previously a hobby is now your chosen occupation.

We’ve only spoken on the phone, briefly, but already the smile in your stories tells me everything I need to know. That’s the thing about doing what you love, it lights you up from the inside. You speak and act from a truer place and that energy is infectious, it draws people and opportunities into your life that fan the flames of passion.

I’m proud of you and excited for you, inspired by you and confident in your ability. I’m also encouraged by the message you are providing our children about living beyond the status quo; showing them with your actions the value of believing in yourself by taking charge of your dreams and making self a priority.

In all the daily demands of grown-up responsibilities we can lose sight of joy, shy away from risks. It’s so easy to strive for stability; consistency and predictability offer essential measures of peace – financially, mentally and emotionally. As parents we are providers of necessities, but also of inspiration.

We encourage our children to dream big and believe in themselves, but we must first demonstrate the work of living a dream with confidence.

This past year was difficult, it would have been easy to give in to hurt, anger, or disappointment; to be submissive and defer your happiness to predictable pursuits of less fulfilling work. You might have chosen something to get by, a job that you endured for chunks of time until you could dream out loud, but instead you invested, confidently, in self.

This is not to say the path you have chosen is easy. The pursuit of happiness demands attention and care.

You are teaching our children the work of dreams and the value of self so that they, too, might choose a path less traveled. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the past of couple days, excited about the work of months to come as you carve your way.

Love, Me

to my daughter

January 30, 2016 § 3 Comments

This week you were missing last year’s teacher. You lamented the injustice of having moved so far from the possibility of impromptu visits. It was a rite of passage, returning each year, chasing old memories across abandoned classroom desks to find your place.

Teachers are masters of recognition, holding past students present with a quick smile and easy hug.

Maybe for just a day you wanted to walk old footsteps with new confidence, feel wiser and revisit familiar certainties. Perhaps you wanted to disappear in sentiment or find a reflection of self in another’s hello.

It could be you just wanted to know everyone is where you left them and that you still belong.

library feet

We all need to know that we matter. Go first. Hold a place for someone else.

Write a letter, send a picture. Keep those who are important to you close with intention.

Meanwhile, let’s dig up last year’s end-of-the-year gift. Remember it? A collage of words collected by your teacher and classmates, shaped into art and framed for importance. They chose words to describe you, to hold a place for you, even before they knew you were leaving.

We’re overdue to hang the image, but it isn’t too late to write your teacher a letter.

Love, Mom

fifteen & eleven

January 28, 2016 § 2 Comments

This is the secret I’ve come to appreciate of fifteen and eleven – for all the fiery independence of their age, both children still clamor for borrowed time.

Some days I forget how little effort that takes.

This morning I leashed our dog and invited myself along for the short walk to their bus stop. Not because either child needed me, but because I could. There was no obligation to intervene in their time together and no vote to challenge my whim. There was also no resistance to my company.

The lawn crackled its protest against our footprints as we cut a path around the ice that mocked our cautiousness. Together we marveled at the pattern of stars scattered across the sidewalk as the moon lit the snow and ice with magic. Little clouds of happy exclamations against the crisp winter air.

I had forgotten how much there is to see and hear in the fleeting moments before dawn. So often I watch both children lingering distractedly over invisible interests, wondering at their amusement, but today I let myself entertain their discoveries.

Minutes stretched in frivolous excess, turning nothing much into something extraordinary for the effort.

As both children boarded their bus I turned my footsteps to walk my afternoon path in reverse; waving one last goodbye as the bus circled the neighborhood en route to school.

Stealing a moment for myself.

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