Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Dad

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cartwheels to Car Wheels...

Yesterday a child came out to wander/Caught a dragonfly inside a jar/Fearful when the sky was full of thunder/And tearful at the falling of a star……
…and that little girl turns 15 today… and I realize that 15 springs and 15 summers later, well, not much has changed…She burst into this world with so much wonder AND so much anxiety. She was so easily over stimulated. If I could bottle the energy and creativity, the wonder and the anxiety, the dreams and the determination, the concern and the trepidation, it would be my HANNAH. Born under Haley’s Comet, which comes only once every so many years, so does this unique and special ‘once in a lifetime’ person. As easily as she would startle as a baby with loud sounds, she now has music flowing through her veins AND her bedroom door. As she used to delight in the daily walks to find her favorite ‘tiny, baby flowers’, she now adjusts, daily, the theme of her bedroom. As she used to suck on a binky until her Kindergarten year started, she now has an iPhone permanently installed to her ear. As she carefully turned cartwheels over and over in the yard, she will now be turning car wheels by the end of this year. As she took her first steps that led her to horseback riding and eventually dancing on a daily basis, she continues to try her wings in this big, big world. I have guided her and instructed her since the beginning, and I still do every day of her life (whether she knows it or not). She has taken on her own life and created beauty all around her. When you have a teenager you begin to notice little snippets of beauty that are present. You see, at one time I even had to vacuum the house with her in a baby backpack, she now is rarely seen on a daily basis, as she fills her days with friends and events. As she creates her own life, I am witnessing a beautiful person emerge. She has strong beliefs that she never bends upon. She has an infectious laugh that lights up her entire face. She loves with a faithfulness that most adults would long to possess. She can NEVER, EVER bear the thought of any person being alone, hungry, or sad. She believes in angels and spirits who guide her. She follows NOONE and creates her own path. She possesses ‘emotional turrets’ and says whatever she feels, whether appropriate or not. She has dreams to be a doctor, and a firefighter, and a missionary, and a forensic scientist, and a volunteer in an old age home, and a world traveler…sounds like a lot, but they are HER dreams. I’ve told this story before, and if you’ve heard it, tough, you are going to hear it again; we frequently search out fires for the pure thrill of it. During a recent ‘fire stalking’ my daughter said, and without conviction, “UGH WHY CANT I JUST GROW UP SO I CAN DO THAT AND BE A FIREFIGHTER!”. I instantly knew what she meant by this comment. She wanted to help, experience it, live through the emotions of it, and feel the excitement!!! So many teenagers are lost in boyfriends, drugs, and fitting in, that they lose that LUST for life. Hannah hasn’t! As Lonestar sang in a song, “Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle”, because it passes so fast. So As I go through these last couple years with her living in my home; as I hear her say that ‘she’s not a baby anymore’, as I watch her love and care and dream; I am reminded how important it is to always give her hope and praise; never let her ever forget how beautiful she is; and if she ever feels that there’s no one else and she is alone, I’ll be there! (I may be standing outside of a bedroom door which was slammed in my face, but I’LL BE THERE!)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rock of Ages

Oscar Wilde said that enemies stab you in the back, but true friends stab you in the front. What does that mean? Does it mean they tell you to your face how they feel about you…or does it mean that they ‘stab’ you in the heart, like in a good way? I would like to think the later. So I stole a yearbook today. Some of you know that because I have blackmailed your Facebook walls with lovely images of yesteryear. The thing I did notice while flipping through the pages was that A) We apparently went to the river, often (I don’t remember this), B) We weren’t quite as cool as we thought we were, C) lots and lots of hairspray. Then I began to read what I wrote in my friend’s yearbook. It was about things that I ‘would never forget’ about that freshman year in school. Well, guess what? I DID!!! I forgot all of it. I also didn’t even recognize my signature (or my own handwriting). How does that happen? How can a time in my life be so important and yet there is zero recollection of it. It reminded me of a conversation I had with my son about a vacation to Florida when he was three, maybe four (I forget that too). I planned and saved and organized activities for that ‘perfect’ trip. Guess what? HE DOESN’T REMEMBER IT!!! All the time that parents spend trying to find a learning experience in everyday activities and suddenly the whole family is Alzheimer-ed up! I search for the photographs from that trip and I see smiling faces and sand-filled diapers, and they seem as though they never want the trip to end. Now no one remembers?? The point I’m making is this... I DO remember that I’ve met some pretty amazing people in my life and I’ve had some wonderful trips to beautiful places. I have laughed a lot, and I have cried a lot! When I look at myself through a young girl’s eyes I seem happy, healthy, and loved! I share this with my daughters and find a learning experience in this for them to ‘forget’ someday. I say, don’t sweat the small stuff. All the little arguments with friends or fits of jealousy won’t matter someday. What will matter is how special people made you feel. Maya Angelou said that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will NEVER forget how you made them feel. And I hope when my daughters crack open their yearbooks some day it is filled with people saying ‘keep in touch’, ‘you’re my best friend’, ‘I liked having you in my class’, and they will know that they made an impression on someone at one time in their lives. I guess what I mean is that I may not always remember the details, but I can see the whole picture. Oh, and also, I didn’t marry David Lee Roth, in case you are reading through your old yearbook, too……………..

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Every Last Drop

I have been thinking about the concept of a Rain List, instead of a Bucket List. Things of beauty that have already rained down into my life’s pail. Puddles of joy. Pools of happiness. Little lakes of bliss. These are the things that, unlike the Bucket List, make me feel alive each day; NOT things that need to be done before I die. It is the whole concept of needing much less that than we think we need in our lives. It’s what already there! The obvious is family and happiness and all that goes along with that. This list won’t be about the general facts; it will be much more specific, although it will involve ALL of that! Maya Angelou said, “Life is not measured by the number of breathes we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”. My teenager saying ‘I Love You’ without being prompted; my son high fiving me after a baseball win; my daughter telling me a ‘private’ teenager story; Ashley’s eyes when she talks about her next show: so filled with excitement; the kiss Parker gives me when he’s tired and knowing that I’m the last thing he sees when he falls asleep and the first thing he’ll see in the morning; my husbands arm wrapping around me when he’s sound asleep knowing that even in his dreams I’m still on his mind; my dog (Squishy Face) tirelessly following me around the house at night until I get into bed so that he can settle next to me for the night; a friend who tells me that they need some ‘Amy-ism’ to get them through a hard day; Hannah making me stop at every homeless person to make sure they have water and a dollar for the bus; my dad calling just because I’m on his mind. It’s the little moments when they don’t think you are listening that make the greatest impact.So I’m starting to keep little notes in a box. You should do it too. They will be little notes to remind myself that when everything seems to be going wrong (and it will) that I can open my jar and be reminded of what truly makes my life special. I hope that everyone has to graduate to a larger box every couple of months…We need to keep this rain going…

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Now What?...

One of the hardest things to teach your child is the concept of death. Unfortunately, my children have lost some serious role models in their short lifetimes. Death isn’t something you can teach. You have to experience it to feel its effects…and everyone feels it differently. Unfortunately my children have to experience it again this week when they attend a funeral of a true role model in their lives. I’ve taught them to be caring, to be loving, and to focus on the ‘details’ of their lives…but how do you teach them that death is a part of life. Truth is, we can’t teach someone how to ‘let go’. It is virtually impossible to teach them why bad things happen to good people. I like to tell them that bad things happen to BAD people, too, it’s just that not as many people notice or feel it! The saying ‘time heals all wounds’ doesn’t really work either. Often a song will come on the radio, or a dream will appear, or a random thought will come screaming through, and once again the wound is open and the pain is REAL and any steps forward that were accomplished suddenly bring you back to point A. Seventeen years later, and ONE scent can bring you back to that person! You cannot teach them that grief is actually a journey…a marathon, not a sprint. It’s impossible for any one of us to know how to react when your bottom falls out. You try to hold onto every last memory, a facial expression, the sound of a voice, the touch of a hand… You search frantically in those first days to find your connection to that person: a symbol, a photograph, a video…you are mourning the relationship. Maybe grief is different for each person. What I hear are very similar stories of people who can’t move forward, of lives that become separated into life before the death and the new life after. One author stated that when someone dies it feels like the hole in your gum where a tooth falls out. You can chew, you can eat, you have plenty of other teeth, but your tongue keeps going back to that empty place where all the nerves are a little raw. There have been many people who have died in my life where I’ve had a little time to prepare for it, instead of being a sudden loss. A situation where I knew it WAS going to happen but I just didn’t know WHEN! I had a little time to rake those leaves of emotion into one BIG pile..and THEN let go! I had a chance to say “goodbye...for now”! Yeah, that doesn’t make it any easier either. SO, there’s no RIGHT way to let go; there is no magic word to ease the pain. I wish my children didn’t have to feel this pain EVER; Hell I wish NONE of us did. I can wish for beautiful memories to last a lifetime. I can wish for the sensation of them being close to us and protecting us! I can wish for the tears to be more for the beautiful memories and less for the pain! So I believe that if you miss someone it’s because they taught you about something or changed you indefinitely..that doesn’t die..that is always with us..cherish it, grow with it…and remember why it’s there, everyday! Oh, and also, FUCK cancer…

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