March 3, 2015 § Leave a comment
This past Christmas my husband bought me a watch that could bear the brunt of my clumsy tendancies, weather my forgetfulness around water, and count the circles I tend to chase. I began to time my days by footsteps, nurturing movement more mindfully and measuring health with tidy markers of physical productivity.
Last week I shucked my new accessory and ceased to watch my wrist. I stopped measuring my footsteps and instead gauged my relief and worry, responsibilities and priorities against the sweeping arc of my daughter’s fever as she slept through entire days. Sensitive to light and sound the house was a tomb; stillness settled against our attention, blurring time with a void of activity.
Today was my daughter’s first day back to school and we all teetered between breakfast and school with efforts that felt calculated and forced; as if we were moving under water with heavy limbs. The minutes gained momentum as eagerness and caution cycled into a rusty routine.
I accompanied my daughter into the empty hallway before school, toting the weight of her books while she settled her bulky winter gear. It was only after I said goodbye that I recognized the tension of my own worries too long coiled against nervous stillness. Hurrying home I fished out the forgotten gadget and ran, pushing myself into a measure of strength that cleared my head and tired my limbs with a calmer energy.
I am not a runner or an athlete by any creative stretch of imagination, but this sense of self found in the flex and stretch of muscle and mind is a timely reminder of the value of counting self-care. The physical, mental, and emotional balance we so often overlook in tending to others, essential to the balance of home.
March 2, 2015 § 2 Comments
Some days I scribble the word or sketch the number with the same curious fascination I once drew my husband’s family name, sounding out the word for reassurance and resonance. It seems at once amusing and impossible, a trick of deception that I might wake up months from now another version of myself. Names and numbers inconsequential mirrors of meaning.
Unlike birthdays past that welcomed the weighted freedom of driving or the privilege of participating in elections, this new milestone seems an elaborate illusion of make-believe. Like misfit toys or an island of lost boys I feel contentedly unqualified in my absent maturity with no desire to feign a more sensible expectation of adulthood.
There are no aspirations of accomplishment to mark the occasion; no destination that designates the culmination or commencement of adventure; no marathon that tempts my endurance or material possession that honors the accumulation of years. Not one for extravagant displays of celebration, I want to invite a childish enthusiasm to this occasion least I take myself too seriously and the blessing of good health for granted.
I am reminded of discarded notebooks crafted in the unknown in-between of college friendships on the cusp of marriage and motherhood; empty pages weighted with magazine cut-outs collaged into a subconscious map of dreams. I’m looking to the margins of my thoughts for an excuse to doodle the future into my consciousness with playful anticipation and personal significance. Collecting my wishes long before I have an excuse to circle candles on a cake.
March 1, 2015 § 2 Comments
It’s been a week to remember. Scary for the uncertainty and exhausting for the roller coaster of emotions that swept through sleepless nights and interrupted our collective routines. We are tired, restless, overwhelmed. We are also patient, generous, thoughtful, and invested. After days of feeling ill or overlooked, it would have been easy to excuse short fuses, but we found a gentler way to work together and I couldn’t be more proud.
To my husband, You chased after spontaneous food cravings at every untimely want and shuttled our son between work day responsibilities without complaint. When I moved our daughter closer to my side, you slept uncomfortably in the disruptive company of our pup. Gone are the hallmarks of family meals, morning coffee, and evening time alone. Most of our time together has been in passing, as we trade places beside a child or share updates. I haven’t been able to tell you how much your circus of comedy in the hospital lightened my spirit or how grateful I am you held my fears gently as I fussed over each decision. You have been a sounding board and silent support system I couldn’t have done without.
To my son, This week you grew into added responsibility. Your father and I have drifted through the days tired and distracted without the reserve of energy that would have normally been yours to claim. You found your way through your school work and helped around the house, prepared a simple meal and tended to the needs of our pup. It would have been easy to disappear into more frivolous interests while our attention was occupied, but you matured into demonstrations of respectful consideration and I am so proud of your effort and selfless concern.
To my daughter, Even on the nights you were feverish and miserable there wasn’t an unkind demand or selfish exclamation. There was no entitlement or pity party between your please and thank you. We’ve hidden from the worries in the language of a new story, tumbling into the elegant imagination of H.G. Wells while we travel through time a little misplaced ourselves. I miss your smile and spunk, but I’m thankful for the minutes we have collected in conversation when light and sound were too intrusive to your overwhelmed senses.
To my family, Thank you for making a difficult week, easier; for nurturing one another with kindness and generosity; for sharing responsibilities, respectfully.
February 28, 2015 § 2 Comments
I’m sure we seemed unexceptional upon our arrival, a little cautious and confused we carried our worries like the bulky winter coats that guarded us from the evening cold. The experience had the surreal experience of a dream, one I kept expecting would dissipate into the comforts of another reality.
There was something intimidating about the unfamiliar routine of the hospital emergency room. The staff navigated the chaos with a quiet confidence and practiced protocol, a language we stumbled through clumsily. The only thing more discerning than our own displaced equilibrium and anxious disbelief was our daughter’s desperate misery.
Our daughter cried outside your entrance and begged us to go home, her feverish limbs were fortified by a nervous fear. An old experience in another hospital, a casual untruth and empty reassurance, undermined your care. She felt every discomfort with the magnification of these memories and there was no reassurance that could endure the balance of this debt as she measured words for trust.
You called our little girl brave and smart, despite her panic, acknowledging her fear and building a relationship based on respect. She challenged every fact and questioned every uncertainty until her tension slowly unraveled into rest that accepted care. The tears faded into a smile and we left a little more trusting than we arrived, unhealed as yet, but mended.
For the exceptional care that is your standard, thank you. The kindnesses will not be forgotten.
February 27, 2015 § 4 Comments
Over the years I have tinkered with social media. More often than not, it feels a little like peeking in the privately public space of an acquaintance’s medicine cabinet. There are labels and indulgences, personal and generic tells that give away more than I need to know; some of which, in hindsight, I would rather not see.
For some, the public domain of personal sharing is little more than a day planner or scrapbook; an open journal among friends. For others it is a platform for opinions, a resource that invites conversation and change. An outlet for creativity or resource for connectivity we use these spaces in curious statements of self as we draft images of our lives into a light that sometimes illuminates fragments of self we might rather leave to mystery.
I wonder often what we might take back, the casual harms of public insensitivity and the intimacies we unintentionally expose; if we are braver for the illusion of privacy or more vulnerable in our accessibility. Some days I consider the chaos of my eclectic online companions with the same measure of enthusiasm and caution I once gauged school cafeterias.
I’m saving seats for those who share opinions respectfully, who speak first with kindness. I want to sit with the dreamers and thinkers, the doers and believers who wear their truths comfortably with room enough for tolerance and curiosity for differences that inspire and challenge assumptions. I want to earn my place among these people and walk gently in their company.
February 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
There was never an expectation of extravagance. From the very beginning we have been mindful of the balance of responsibility and indulgence. We travel when we can, nestle our home in comforts that lend joy, and temper our splurges with small sacrifices. It is a life of saving up and spending thoughtfully. Investing in our relationship with measures of time and compromise in place of grandiose demonstrations of appreciation.
Last week we crafted anniversary plans that we could share during our children’s school day; borrowing a moment to ourselves to honor the day with a leisurely breakfast and a meaningful venture to a new storefront. Rather than travel from home or mark the day with gifts, we chose time together over a meal and an opportunity to celebrate your newfound culinary curiosity with a sprinkling of new spices.
Instead, today arrived and our daughter is still resting from the fever that has stolen so many moments this week. A school meeting and lecture, time with friends and school work. Unglamorous and far from the celebratory tone of the day, it is a significant and timely reminder that years are culminations of imperfect days. There was no remorse or bitterness in our canceled plans, rather an understanding that we would celebrate another time and make time today to enjoy the meaning of the day no less ours for the absence of festivity.
We create our own enthusiasm, the burden of ceremony and sentiment is ours to share. Today it is enough to begin in gratitude for the resilience of our promise over years of uncertain challenges, to stand together, still, in a place of intention and tenderness with respect and kindness for the life we share as a family and our individual aspirations.
Fifteen years ago we promised to find our way into the unknown together, never loosing sight of ourselves while creating a home that would honor togetherness. Each year I stand on the threshold of our anniversary and marvel at the path of our efforts and wonder at the days untold.
Here’s to the mystery of what will be and the certainty of what is. Happy Anniversary!
February 25, 2015 § 3 Comments
There is little glamour to housekeeping and errands, but creating and nurturing the atmosphere of home with small obligations of care create, for me, a sense of purpose. These same tasks also validate the flexibility of my days as a homemaker, allowing for the luxury of selfish indulgences that nurture independent interests and creativity that sustain my spirit for more mundane moments.
This week, when my daughter fell ill, the frivolous pieces of my days and routine responsibilities alike were quickly scattered like errant crumbs. Instead of chasing calendar commitments, I marked time by my daughter’s inconsistent sleep and our puppy’s predictable needs. Without opportunity to invite company or pursue distractions, I shifted between loads of dishes and laundry with an almost meditative leisure. When my daughter would rest, I was forced to stillness; reading and resting at odd hours that contradicted natural tendencies toward busyness.
In times of necessity our world shrinks to the capacity of our ability. A fevered hand absently wrapped across my own shifted the balance of my attention with such clarity that I was more mindful of even the simplest effort. So many of my efforts to care for our home and those who fill the space with meaning are lost unintentionally in empty concentration or rote attendance.
Today I am thinking about how we love, the pieces of our routine that sustain us and the commitments of care that inform our intentions. The space of home as important as the language of family.