silver linings

April 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

In each loss the sad pieces are made bearable by beauty we cannot always see until life moves us out of our own way. Yesterday’s loss was unbearable, my mind snagged on each irretrievable image in a miserable goodbye until my daughter held my attention with kindness enough to invite perspective.

Mom, we still have each other and we can always make new memories. 

The most important of my blessings cannot be measured in print. Photographs and words are poor substitutes for my children’s company.

I cannot undo what is lost, but I will be more responsible in my guardianship of technology in the future. I was lazy in my use and ignorant in my application. I will be more intentional in my care.

My truth is, I hoarded excessive images; hastily snapped photographs of fleeting importance. There were other images too structured in their effort. Moments of life interrupted for forced documentation; we were here. Among the thousands of images I lost, there are very few I can’t imagine living without. 

For all my minimalist tendencies, the unseen space of my unprinted photographs and unshared words were stashed in the darkest most cluttered corners of appreciation. So much joy shuffled out of sight, marginalized in my priorities.

Sometimes we have to lose something of value to recognize the value of change and be more intentional in our actions.

a picture’s worth

April 18, 2015 § 5 Comments

It seems impossible that on the most unexceptional day, in the middle of nothing extraordinary, an assumed piece of our day can be lost in plain sight.

Today, in a technical conundrum outside my expertise, I lost months of writing and years of family photos. It was an error of ignorance and arrogance; I had never paused to consider what I might lose or the recklessness of my conceit.

It is a mysterious grief, this loss I cannot measure. Even now it seems I should wake tomorrow in time to prevent what I cannot escape.

Pictures lost to memories and words whispered against the wind. I would trade the most extravagant of my possessions for a handful of what I cannot spare.

happy excuses

April 17, 2015 § 3 Comments

This past week my husband celebrated his fortieth birthday, my son his fifteenth; one embarked on an exciting new chapter of a much anticipated career change while the other stumbled through a messy adolescent lesson in responsibility. There were highs and lows that swept through our home and rattled my bearings, but today the sun shook me from my routine and I settled into a gentler rhythm.

In stillness I recognized the tired muscles that spoke of holding myself taut in each experience, reaching through discomfort toward my best self. I have marked milestones and the mundane, struggles and celebrations with intentional gestures of sincerity in such a way that my heart and mind feel centered in a mindset of quiet gratitude while my limbs moved with the weighted resistance of leaden steps beneath unrippled water.

This morning I hesitated to meet the pace of what must be done and indulged in small gifts of self-care. I allowed myself the fleeting rest that rejuvenated my spirit and refreshed my smile that I might have more patience with myself and those I love most. I procrastinated the maddening rush of productivity with guiltless defiance and conjured happy excuses to heal the tired places of my spirit.

Tomorrow is a new day, built on the fullness of today.

to my son

April 7, 2015 § 4 Comments

There is a moment from last week that I keep returning to; an image just askew of my periphery that pulls my eyes off task and towards a recent memory. It is a small thing, but in each remembering it offers a lingering delight.

We had just delivered your sister to a lesson and I had dragged you, to your great disappointment, on an errand. As I combed the store for the necessary items, I caught a sudden movement and turned to see you dancing. It’s the kind of performance most would leave for the privacy of their room, an exhibition I myself would probably reserve for the borrowed bravery of a rarely indulged second glass of wine. Uninhibited you snaked your way through the empty store intoxicated by the music.

I’ve spent so much of your life noting the social norms that it was second nature to entertain a lesson. The words felt bitter on my tongue, puckering my thoughts from the ease of the smile you had only just gifted me. I told you then how much I envy your reckless disregard for thoughtless rules that bind us to a hyperconsciousness for others’ opinions. If I were braver I might have danced with you.

We talk of dancing like no one is watching, but you live with a truer fearlessness. I hope you always hear the music in the mundane.

Love, Mom

off track

April 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

There is a singular line of questioning at my children’s more formal education meetings that perpetually derail my confidence. It is a whisper into an uncertainty that leaves me raking my thoughts for better answers than the truth.

What are your child’s interests?

This question of interests has the unpleasant sensation of a dream interview for which I am inexplicably naked in my choices.

At a time when so many children are committed to interests whose measure of success are weighted in structured programing, my children stumble through quieter demonstrations of creativity outside extracurricular agendas or team schedules. If you looked into the chaos of their rooms you would find hidden troves of reappropriated objects crafted into physical representations of daydreams from play interrupted.

I sometimes wonder if I have shortchanged them an undetermined future experience of success without the childhood reference of more consciously choreographed practice and play or the shared responsibility of accomplishment and failure. Today, I tried desperately to frame my daughter’s interests into an answer that felt appropriately conformed and felt shamefully tender to the realization that the very act of shaping her interests into another’s category undermined the unspecific fluidity of her meandering.

My daughter’s interests are undetermined, she’s finding her way into herself and I am trying to refrain from molding what is hers to define.

picking & choosing

April 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

Fresh flowers are an intimate indulgence; inexpensive clusters of personal favorites a simple joy. I’m grateful for the luxury of this weekly whim of sunshine on my window ledge. The colorful distraction is a smile that pulls at my attention as I sweep through daily tasks. It is a small kindness to myself, a doting attentiveness for my home, an uninhibited appreciation for a modest beauty.

I am familiar in my choices; seasonally and sentimentally. Today, in anticipation of Easter, I lingered over the colorful exuberance of perky blossoms begging a broader canvas than the tightly packaged company of their neighbors. I hesitated between favorites seeking a color and bud that whispered of childhood Easter eggs and the sweetness of forgotten traditions; little girl bonnets and the stillness of Sunday service.

Then, I remembered my daughter’s face just yesterday as she swept through the front door with two bundles of carnations, contrasting shades of pink highlighting a prideful blush as she gushed over the care with which she choose her bouquets. They weren’t my choice and I promised myself a tiny concession; planning my morning errands to facilitate this moment among quiet friends.

Mentally I gathered my bundle, already nesting them in place in my mind’s eye. Juggling vases and rearranging. My choices kept drifting to my daughter’s blooms, trying stubbornly to compliment her choice with my own. I saw her disappointment as I rearranged and suddenly my choice was more complicated.

I recognized my daughter’s unpretentious heartiness in the carnations’ blossoms. I heard the same language of care and choice, celebration and ceremony that are quiet hallmarks of our home. This Easter I am choosing my daughter’s expression of beauty and creating a new memory, honoring the care with which she made her choice and the joyful practice of picking flowers.

sorting self

April 1, 2015 § 4 Comments

I am minimalist in my preferences with little need for material keepsakes or decorations. Clutter in the context of home carries a burden of distraction that suffocates my serenity. It is a comfort I grew to recognize as I stumbled through absent-minded gestures of nesting in the earliest days of marriage and motherhood; a trial and error of expression first based in assumptions of expectation and later honed to a more sophisticated sense of self.

My initial efforts at creating a home were centered in hand me down necessities and frivolous decorations; inexpensive trinkets and dated discards that anchored our home in a mismatched hodgepodge of others’ generosity and my well-intentioned eagerness to fill nooks with expressions of the Us we were ever evolving into. Our first home was a time capsule of nervous uncertainty; each choice made with desperate hopefulness for traditions newly formed and fears poorly hidden.

It was only in moving, discarding everything for something unknown, that I grew into my preferences. This awakening was slow then sudden; it began as we prioritized what we no longer wanted against what we could not bear to leave behind. Somewhere in the interim between leaving our first home and living through the construction chaos of our second home, we learned to live with less and became more intentional about items that brought us joy and purpose; individually and collectively.

The more complicated pieces of home, the most colorful and uncoordinated accessories were never the discarded relics of outgrown phases of interest, but rather the less functional evidence of uncertainty as each of us grow into new curiosities. Those items we purchase or keep to moor ourselves to something intangible, they are the objects that clutter our spaces with divided sincerity that pulls at our attention with remorse or resistance.

It is a lesson I have yet to master as I look past the distraction of my children’s untidy spaces to the more recklessly procrastinated and deceptively attended uncertainty of long overlooked corners of self.


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