December 19, 2014 § 4 Comments
The last day of school on the eve of Christmas vacation is always a messy culmination of anticipated joy. Teacher gifts and classroom parties, last minute errands and spontaneous gatherings; a chaos of intentions and accidents, I scavenge stolen moments for misplaced time before we collide into quieter pursuits collectively. It is a rhythm as predictable as the months of the year and yet today arrived dauntingly premature.
In all the enthusiasm of our new addition I had not calculated the debt of time I could not balance, absences and compromises accumulating as evidence of failure. My teacher gifts were lackluster and impersonal, generically uniform and in sharp contrast to the lengthy list of rare souls who shadow my children’s school days. Holiday cards were patiently and intentionally addressed only to be stuffed beneath the congested procrastination of my kitchen drawer with stamps yet unadhered. The tree stands naked in want of ornaments that guard memories of years past in anticipation of years to come, an unintentional watermark of where we have settled in comfort against the grain.
And then I missed my daughter’s holiday party.
Despite every effort to restructure my afternoon, I could not coordinate a way to divide myself between commitments and I canceled the task I most wanted to honor out of obligation to my other child. It was an impossible choice based on logic in defiance of want made easier by the presumed acquiescence of my daughter’s silent approval. I didn’t see her brave face in our frantic morning goodbye and so I misread her hasty hug for feisty independence.
It would be so easy to stack what did not happen today, what cannot possibly be fixed tomorrow, into a guard against joy. Sometimes our first choice does not provide a second chance, but then again some days the broken places of our best efforts invites grace.
Tonight I am dwelling on a casual exchange that might not have occurred had my daughter not needed comfort and had my day had ended inside her classroom rather than outside the festivities at the perimeter of dismissal routines. In a moment of tender confession my daughter declared to a well-loved, long trusted aide that our home is not perfect and that’s perfectly ok.
It was the validation I most needed to hear today and the gift I could not possibly have formed into a wish. The measure of home against the impossible standards of the holidays. Forgiveness and acceptance in a child’s love.
December 18, 2014 § 3 Comments
I have a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve, tucked casually beneath a coat of false armor. I guard my weaknesses with practiced disregard and posture an aloofness that undermines the tightly clenched fists that ball around worries or sadness. Joy and contentedness sneak up on me in happy moments of distracted vulnerability, tempting me into a tenderness that later invites fear and doubts.
I am learning to let the mask slip, to invite witnesses to the messy thoughts that trek through my experiences leaving muddy footprints across the story of my days. Gathering friends nearer to the voice that speaks more confidently, here, between the lines of silence.
December 17, 2014 § 12 Comments
It feels too recent that we tended to the emotions of an abrupt goodbye to our first family pet. Impossible that we could tread against the familiar landscape of our memories and love someone new.
The logical pieces of my brain have calculated the unavoidable messiness of sacrificing order while creating a new normal. Sleepless nights and inconvenient messes, hallmarks of a puppy’s home.
Emotionally, I can already feel the weight of my companion’s shadow and the eagerness of her untempered affection. It is a new beginning in an old love story, all for the love of a puppy.
December 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
This holiday tradition above all others is perhaps my favorite; wishes stretched into words. I can see each child’s age clearly in the evolution of their penmanship and the colorful missteps of uncertain spelling; personalities as certain as their signatures in each messenger of memories.
This year, my daughter drafted a wish that is a most wonderful work of fiction; an impossible request that celebrates her confidence in magic. It is the second year I have wondered at the vastness of her faith while embracing the certainty of her impending disappointment.
It must be said that my children ask for little, they navigate need and want in a language my husband and I first shaped for them. The holidays are steeped in tradition over extravagance and togetherness over selfishness. We temper our wants with logic, but in these letters to Santa there is an expectation of magic that invites the impossible.
As my daughter sounded out her dream last night in lines drenched with hope, I hesitated to guide her pen. To critique her wish would cast judgement and to contrive to manipulate her wants would only postpone the inevitable reality of unavoidable disappointment. Instead, I let my daughter send her wish, knowing it would be met with a measure of heartache, and crafted my own wish into words.
Sweet Girl, One day I hope you see magic in the love that guards your dreams. I hope you live in possibility with eyes that see potential where others see limitations. Mostly, I hope your faith is always greater than your doubts, your joy greater than your disappointments. Love, Mom
December 13, 2014 § 4 Comments
Lately I hover a little closer over your words, gathering sentiments like keepsakes, holding them tightly with a tenderness for the heart and mind who weaves poetry into unapologetic declarations of self.
Two recent favorites, quickly scribbled against the pages of remembering before the memories are muddled with time.
First, something from your school days. I treasure this fragment for the unapologetic honesty of your truth. During conferences your classroom teacher suggested that practice makes perfect when addressing an area of concern. As she extended examples to support the potential of progress within the exercise of practice you interrupted her well-intentioned rote message of success with contradictory evidence, assuring her that you were quite consistently horrible at the task in question. I wish you could have seen how you strengthened your posture; sitting taller in your confession of self, your eyes bright with accountability for your imperfections. May you always see struggles with humor and effort with ownership.
Second, a snapshot of home. So often the furnishings of our daily life are invisible to our experience. We move through the days without considering the presence of comfort or the distraction of inconveniences. In casually discussing the possibility of replacing our family table with another shape or finish to hide the unforgiving wear, you sprang passionately to defend its permanence, clinging to the scars as witnesses to our story with a fierceness that promised to guard our individual imperfections with the same measure of loyalty and honesty. I hope you will always see beauty in broken corners and memories in lines etched across time.
However uncertain you may feel of the world around you, the surety of self you carry in unextraordinary moments is exceptional. I hope you begin always, in each endeavor, from this place of self that claims imperfections with love.
To the Moon and Back,
December 10, 2014 § 4 Comments
The past week has been a whirlwind of ineffective busyness, exhaustive energy spent chasing dwindling minutes with endless tasks; places and people, projects and purchases. It all felt important, urgent even, until this afternoon.
Twice today a casual conversation invited an occasion to balance the frivolousness of holiday tasks with the reality of loss. A permanent goodbye shifting the value of impermanent inconveniences. Each unexceptional endeavor thereafter quickly became evidence of overlooked good fortune too easily dismissed with a debt of obligation over a wealth of privilege. Homework and mealtime, bathtime and bedtime all everyday blessings sometimes dressed as burdens; have tos and get tos too easily transposed.
The work of life is a beautiful mess, a riddle of intention I too rarely appreciate for the maddening uncertainty of a simple surety; everything and nothing in the balance of perspective.
December 8, 2014 § 2 Comments
Threads of thought tangled together like words that tumble into speech out of order. The days have crashed into one another with busy distractions and my mind wanders over parcels of prose, scattered in stolen minutes. Beginnings and endings rest like listless middles strewn recklessly in forgotten moments, begging time and stillness.