to my daughter

November 22, 2016 § 5 Comments

It’s been six days since we picked up your back brace. In that time there have been no complaints, zero drama. You’ve been stubbornly independent and quietly determined as you muscle through the awkwardness of limited mobility and disrupted sleep.

Your doctor, orthotist, and nurses encouraged you to take your time, to settle into new routines, but each day you’ve challenged yesterday’s goals with your own ideas.

It was your idea to try sleeping through the night that first day; your idea to invite friends over to share your news quietly; your idea to wear it to school without a plan.

When teachers and staff offered to educate peers, you postponed the extra attention and planned for an upcoming health unit; a time when your experiences might complement the curriculum rather than interrupt routine.

You aren’t one to call attention to yourself, make excuses or seek special treatment. Humor and humility have armored you with a resilience that fortifies the tenderness of your self-awareness with grit.

A time will come when you don’t remember the sore muscles or cumbersome brace, so I’m stealing a moment today to remember your grace that you might one day know how very proud Dad and I are of your unassuming nature and uncommon courage.

At an age when so many worry about how they look, there is no vanity to your pride; no boastfulness in your effort.

Only the beautiful way you walk tall.

Love, Mom

 

play lessons

November 12, 2016 § 6 Comments

This morning I chauffeured both children to a robotics meet. We were there for my son, that he might support his team, but I quickly lost my daughter to new friends and a budding interest.

We fell into easy conversations as the teams competing worked collectively through individual challenges.  They were patiently competitive, generously cooperative.

I was reminded of another day, years ago at a neighborhood park. A spontaneous collaboration between sand and water with young children whose age, skin color, needs and abilities were as diverse as their language. That day, like today, I marveled at the partnership and individuality of their effort.

Today I’m giving thanks for the lessons in play, the ingenuity of arts and science that foster appreciation for creativity and community. The universal language of respect and curiosity that invites hope with humble gestures of kindness and bold acts of imperfect effort.

If you want to see tomorrow’s leaders at their best, offer them an uncertainty and then give them room enough to play at creative solutions.

parenting & politics

November 9, 2016 § 2 Comments

The morning after the election, breakfast was a conversation in tolerance and respect. Educated, kind individuals are already speaking hate, fear and panic in the wake of yesterday’s election.

Some threaten to abandon America, passively pledging to list their homes and apply for Canadian citizenship. Others who once echoed the elegance of “when they go low, we go high” are speaking a different language.

I am reminded of the post-election rhetoric just eight short years ago and I wonder when we will learn the lessons our children are being taught in the midst of our distraction.

Today I am tasking my children with a responsibility to listen gently and speak kindly by modeling a discussion around opinions and emotions.

World leaders may be looking curiously at our choices, but our children are listening to our language.

to my daughter

November 2, 2016 § 8 Comments

Today is game seven of the World Series, your team is on the verge of something extraordinary, but here’s the bit of magic I hope you remember: win or lose, the real game is about living out a dream with passion no matter the odds.

We’ve watched as seasonal fans waffled between idol worship and pessimistic snap criticisms, but your team keeps showing up and challenging us all to believe. This is the thing, underneath the media clips, there’s hard work and messy failures. The team you champion are made up of imperfect individuals who show up no matter what.

Maybe this is why you love them, because you’ve felt like an underdog and recognize the vulnerability in daring to dream beyond others’ expectations. Perhaps you recognize the burden of carrying others’ hopes among your own and the inner strength it takes to balance that weight.

You’ve dismantled others’ assumptions despite unfavorable odds and set your own goals, doing the unglamorous work of struggling out loud under the watchful eyes of peers and educators. There aren’t awards or cheering sections for failure, it’s the standing back up that counts.

Win or lose, we play for the love of the dream; the song in our heart that only we can hear.

Love, Mom

presence

November 1, 2016 § 3 Comments

As the structure of my days has aligned to accommodate work outside our home, I have become differently mindful of messages that shout quietly in the busier minutes of my day; the often serendipitous hints from an expansive universe that when connected by presence speak to purpose.

Personal invitations in unassuming choices that invite greater consciousness in how I invest my time and conquer distractions. Messages of gratitude and joy that reinforce personal values with lessons in wholehearted presence at work and home, offline.

There is so much grace to the tidy time commitment of my work schedule, an unarguable need that allows me to prioritize my days around my mornings; delegating time for necessities, self and others with a hierarchy of responsibility to essentials over emptiness.

The greatest change was an unintentional vacation from social media that underscored on-line distraction cloaked in real-time attentiveness. My new routine left little time for senseless scrolling. The passive voyeurism that kept me entertained by other’s choices was a hamster wheel of reactivity over ingenuity.

Each day begins with family routines and self-care that allow me to indulge in single-minded attentiveness, offline. As we eat breakfast together and walk to the bus stop I am mindful of these ordinary moments with the same appreciation I then exercise and ready myself for work. The uncomplicated demands are a permission slip for an elegance of simplicity.

At work, the hours away from e-mails and texts have established new boundaries around my time, replacing a false urgency with greater peace. Everything can, and does, wait; there is nothing nearly as urgent as I had allowed myself to believe.

Outside of work, errands have become less an excuse to sustain a distracted restlessness and more an efficient accounting of time. I am using my afternoons in rest or purpose that I might structure my evenings for family and weekends for play. Folding clothes and sifting recipes are no less valuable than time given to a new book or old friend.

There is nothing novel in these personal revelations, it is merely a new attentiveness. Others more eloquent than I have written in greater length on the same subject. Neatly itemized suggestions for greater mindfulness offline are ever-present on-line in cleverly articulated Pins.

I won’t pretend a pledge to forgo online indulgences or pass judgment on others who spend their time differently. My mother would say: everything in moderation. 

I can speak only for myself, in this season of my life as I sway with and against distraction for balance. As my days have become fuller, I am finding my choices are becoming more intentional and my practices, simpler… online and off-line.

grace & growth

October 25, 2016 § 3 Comments

It’s been a week of ups and downs, watching my children grind through the mechanics of personal struggles. Some common to their age, others unique to their personalities. The only universal space between their discomfort was my reaction, the language I used to acknowledge their emotions.

I’m working to listen through the urge to guide, offering empathy over direction. In trading the wisdom of my experiences for serving as a witness to my children’s challenges, they’ve gained greater authority and accountability for their mistakes as well as their success. They are growing up and this task of mothering is no less difficult for their independence.

There’s grace in the growing.

autumn

October 20, 2016 § 4 Comments

It was a day like so many, an indecisive in between; cool breezes and scorching sun.  I waited on my daughter’s bus, curled into our porch chair, book in hand and sandals kicked aside. Propping my feet onto the little side table, I marveled at the sensation of heat against my heels as the air chased my coat collar closer to my chin.

I’ve been savoring these afternoons in between, steeping in the late afternoon sun. Our dog and I collect painted leaves while the wind tugs recklessly at my hair. Wandering our neighborhood I gather the discarded riches of bare limbs, golds and reds I will later find forgotten as I empty pockets to launder pants.

There’s magic in the brevity of this moment and I’m in no hurry to forecast early flurries or daydream of daffodils.