Don’t know much and learning

I turned 50 this year. My body is tired. I grieve for the could-have-beens, the should-have-beens. I am disappointed by what I’ve learned about people I loved and respected.

But the exhaustion, grief and disappointment are invitations that I’ve been accepting again and again.

To attend a new party, to gather a new people, to do what brings me joy though it may appear illogical or a waste to others.

And I am learning how much I did not understand about myself and my place in the world. I am learning that I love learning new things and new people. I love learning what I didn’t know before.

I am learning ….

  • how necessary good counseling is to mental health
  • new insights into my life partner
  • how to play with my young adult kids
  • how important it is to spend time with friends who like and respect me
  • what resurrection really means
  • that I really do need to read and write and walk every day
  • that I am not weak because I have an autoimmune disorder and I don’t need to apologize or hide for my choices related to that condition
  • that I am smart and capable of making good decisions in hard circumstances
  • And I love recording what brings me life on my little blog. No one needs to read it but me. I am enough.

So I turned 50 this year, and I feel so thankful for this body that has carried so much, I am thankful for the grief that propels me to write a different story and I am thankful for the disappointment that forces me to build more life-giving relationships.

Doing all the things

Settled in the couch corner with my laptop and working through my to-do list — schedule Rachel’s orthodontist appointment, research a new Spanish curriculum for the girls, order the next violin book for —

“Mama, I just want to snuggle,” Prairie says, plopping down next to me and curling close.  She chats about her hair, aerial silks, the dog, her sinus headache…

Back to my list — I search for mattresses which the boys will need for college next month —

“Mama, can you rub my shoulder right here.  It hurts.”  I move my computer from my lap and turn to dig my fingers deep into Lincoln’s muscle.

Next on my list — pay the credit card —

Rachel settles beside me without a word, waiting for me to look at her.  I glance up, knowing I will see her smile, the one that says “I want you to pay attention to me but I don’t want to ask you to pay attention to me.”  Her back is conveniently located within my hand’s reach.  Just in case I should feel like giving her a scratch.

Soon after, I run up the stairs to change clothes.  I have 5 minutes to get ready for a 3 o’clock meeting in town.  “Mama,” says Sidney, catching me midway up the stairs, “I have a video to show you.  I think it will make you smile.”

I think about my to-do list.  I should start every day’s list with “Focused, in-the-moment, attention to each child.”

Lest I forget … while they do need me to be a responsible adult who pays the bills, schedules their dental needs, plan for their education … they need hugs, an attentive ear, massaging fingers, an interested eye, and a scratching hand more.  They need all the things that say “Love.”

Or maybe my to-do list can be squashed to one word — mothering.

The Benediction of a Moment

It is not even 8 am, and I hear

the engine of your pickup zooming up the driveway.

You have forgotten something.

Truck door slams, your steps thump across the porch,

the mudroom door opens, closes …

My ears trace your journey through our home,

up the stairs.  You are close enough that I hear you humming

or maybe singing under your breath.

There is a rushing in my chest —

tinkling, playful,

joyful.

I allow myself to receive it —

Gratitude.

You are alive

Your body is strong enough to rise early,

to work,

to run up stairs,

to sing.

Son, I was not sure this day would come,

(Can we ever be sure of days to come?),

but here we are

living

an ordinary day in which you swing a shovel,

work up a sweat in the summer sun.

So many weak, bed-ridden days we have had together, you and I.

We are forever changed.

And this Ordinary day of an Ordinary Life feels unbearably beautiful.

Even more so, when I reflect . . .

Could we have had THIS day, this moment

without all that came before?

Did all those sleepless, trembling, chemo-soaked yesterdays

lead us to this place?

Where we see ordinary as exquisite, dear and remarkable?