Category Archives: #family

The Grace of Reaching Out

created by Kepler, February 2015

When I awoke yesterday, I was completely dismayed to discover that my wicked bad sore throat was back in spades. The idea that I was getting better was completely decimated. In desperation, I reached out and asked for help.

I let three lovely someones know that I was in pain, struggling, and in need. All three immediately responded. Throughout the day, I was blessed by my angels putting Kepler on the bus, rubbing my feet, making me smoothies, soothing me with a warm cloth, picking up the slack for all the driving I was supposed to do, washing my damn dishes, getting Kepler off the bus, and speaking words of support and love. 
Even writing that paragraph is difficult if I focus on the fact that I was in such a low position, one where I could do little more than receive. 
On the other hand, I love it when I have the opportunity to do something for someone who truly needs me. I know the women I reached out to; they all have giving hearts, and I believe they treasured the opportunity to give. 
So, I accept it. When the critical voice scrapes across my consciousness, I remind myself that I believe in interdependence; that we all need a little help from our friends and family; that the presence of need means I am human, not defective. 
With the space provided by my mom and sisters, I could finally think about turning down the intensity and volume of my everyday existence. Remember I mentioned being overwhelmed. I noticed that every nook of my bedside table was full to overflowing. Before bed, I decided to calm that space down. The drawer is slightly larger than an iPad box. It’s pretty tiny. Here’s what I pulled out of the drawer: mail, 3 pocket knives, a shot glass, jewelry, nail clipper, lip balm, unopened medicine spoon, earbuds, 27 vials of prescription eye drops that i do not use, replacement earbud pads, lightbulbs, trash, glasses cleaning cloth, a key, ink pens, wristwatch, lifesavers, a 2 oz bottle, mouthguard, a little black mysterious thing, and a scrunchy. That is a ridiculous amount of stuff to have jammed into that tiny drawer. 
Now that I’ve solidified my reputation as a packrat extraordinaire, let’s just focus on the fact that the sheer volume of what I had stuffed in that drawer is kind of a perfect little picture of what I’ve been doing with all my “too much.” Stuffing it here and there. And there. Here’s more. And under there. 
Everyone needs the space to clear their space, and I’m sure that means different things for different people. This illness has been a time for me to slow down long enough to notice the pot I’m boiling in. 
For someone with as strong a Meyer’s Briggs “J” as I have, I LOVE the journey. I love the opportunities that arise to learn. I love sharing my journey with others.

What are your tried and true methods for clearing YOUR space? 

Mom, You are a Hero (well, technically, a Heroine)

When your child really doesn’t want his fingernails … or toenails … trimmed, and you patiently work with him to get it done.

When your child does his best to declare he is all better so he doesn’t have to see the doctor, and you take him anyway.

When you help hold him down for Dr. Shott to look inside his ears with the microscope, although you’d rather be the one being held down.

When you try to console him afterward, telling him it’s all over now.

When he cheerfully says, “Sure!” after you’ve heard “No” a hundred times.

When he is so proud of himself for brushing his own teeth, and you go ahead and get the spots he missed.

When your child has you close your eyes so he can surprise you with his clean hands by letting you smell them.

When he is sleeping, and when he is awake.

When your child is in pain and doesn’t understand it, and you do your utmost to comfort him.

When he asks loudly for the window lock to be turned on, instead of just leaving the window up himself, and you cooperate.

When he is so delighted about giving or receiving an “appise” (surprise) and you recognize that he has caught your generosity.

When he notices that the picture on the book page matches the cover and shows you, and you marvel at his ability to notice such things.

When you manage the logistics for multiple children and one of them gets sick, and you have to quickly shuffle things around.

When you observe each and every single step he makes toward being more independent.

When your husband travels for work, and believes in your ability to manage your home, even when you feel like you’re too tired to move.

During the times you marvel at the blessing that your child is, and you recognize the gifts that come to us through no action on our own part.

During the times you wonder how things can be so hard, but you wouldn’t trade it.

During the exhausted times when he has been getting sick, or needy, and asking for Something Different than he just asked for, and you stay patient (or sometimes, not).

When his little body snuggles up against yours and you feel his gentle breathing, and you are reminded what a gift he is.

When he gets out the pictures of his big sisters and brothers and talks about them, clearly adoring them, and you are grateful for the gift of family.

When he mispronounces words and it’s too cute to try to correct, and you even pronounce some of his words the same way.

When he pretends to be Santa Claus by making a finger mustache over his mouth, and you act surprised.

I’ve read some blogs where mothers don’t want to be considered heroes. But when I consider the definition that a hero is someone who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self-sacrifice for some greater good of all humanity, (definition from DuckDuckGo), it seems to me that it fits.

Life move fast for me. Taking time to write slows me down and reminds me of all that I do, imperfect though it is.

Mom, You are a Hero!

Ah, Wilderness!

Yes, home again, home again, jiggety jig! It’s already Wednesday and we have been back since late Saturday night.

Sunday, I TOTALLY had to sleep to recover from the long trip home. Monday, I TOTALLY wanted to spend several hours helping my sister work through her garage full of stuff in preparation for their move Saturday. Tuesday, I TOTALLY was busy with Thing A in the morning hours, Thing B in the afternoon, and Thing C in the evening.

Finally, today I am here to tell you I am here!

Back to work at the store last evening. I enjoyed my five hours working. At one point, though, a store manager asked me to take on the responsibility of selling something (for a good cause) to at least four people during the evening.

And that reminded me …

While we were on vacation on the Island of Intermittent Internet, I had a realization …

The wilderness isn’t trying to sell me anything. It’s not trying to get my attention with more choices, louder commercials, or faster images.

 The wilderness is made up of many parts that all just do their own thing. Although there are some male birds who do try to get the attention of their female counterparts, the colors and sounds there are peaceful and unobtrusive.

No signs advertising anything. No evident government intrusion into my experience of the wilderness. Small notices — two buoys signaling “no wake.”

I realize not everyone loves the wilderness like I do! I wonder where others get this kind of quiet, this being apart from the noise and chaos of the city.

While I sat writing this post, on the bank of the channel, I saw:

Trees leaning out over the water;
Tangles of lilypads on the water surface;
Partially submerged branches;
The reflection of the trees in the water;
Slow-moving clouds;
Water skimmers;
Concentric circles appearing in the water, then dissipating;
Towering white pines;
The shimmering reflection of the water scurrying along the underside of overhanging branches like natural chaser lights;
Everything swaying gently in the breeze.

Even the canoes full of campers would make very little sound if the campers were listening instead of talking. “Let’s play the quiet game,” I heard one of them say. “OK,” says another, “I lose!”

There is a reality that we can damage our natural resources; the oceans, the waterways, forests, and I wonder what difference it would make if we considered that it is beyond humanity’s capability to create an ocean or build a mountain range or do anything more than observe or possibly explain how such ecosystems work.

One cannot find a person or government agency that put these lilypads in this lake (although one can believe in Someone who did). No one who decided where the actual lilies would float. No one who engineered the coasts, riverbanks, lakefronts.

Being in the wilderness always reminds me of the vastness of the universe. The quiet refreshes and calms me. I come away from such a journey with a peaceful heart.

Where do YOU find such refreshment?