Sunday, January 31, 2010

Live Your Best Life 2009

The scene is set.  I have cast the roles, laid the table, and thought and prayed for who might benefit from this evening.  Live Your Best Life 2009 is ready to begin.  I decorate to validate and show love for my friends.  My message is that this evening spent with you is important enough for me to spend a bit of extra time. I've laid the theme around out greatest treasure, our time... thinking that all of us have one year, 365 days that we used up. Tonight is our night to reflect and share how we used it to better ourselves and others.  

There is a bit of trepidation in hosting this event.  Each woman must put themselves, their thoughts and actions "out there" and hope the rest of us will embrace and celebrate with them.  Sadly, there have been times when some have left feeling invalidated and small.

I must trust each and every woman that comes to love the others like I love them.  I must believe that they will lift, share, and teach.  When a group of great women come together and honestly share, magic happens.  But, I can only set the stage.  Each person brings their own personality, ideas, and zest to the night and adds their own "ingredient".  Some nights we are all a bit sour and though it happens to all of us, a sour lemon can change the flavor of a great evening.  
So, I wait, wondering what flavor our night will be tonight.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Weekly Jobs

It was a good week for Sunshine.  She had her favorite job, laundry.  Each child has a reason they love a week of laundry.  Little Mother loves to iron.  It makes her feel so grown up.  Ladybug likes to clean out the litter box and organize the crafts.  She finds more junk she can collect.   But Sunshine likes to "swim."  

Each load is painstakingly sorted and placed in the washer.  Then clothes are rolled up or completely removed as she begins using her feet in her own sloshing cleaning method.  

Many months ago, Briz walked in on her  sloshing away in her panties.  He marched in to me.  "Do you know what your daughter is doing in there?"  "Yes."  I replied.  "Aren't you going to do something about it?"  "No.  This is how she washes the clothes.  When she gets tired, she turns the agitator on."  He rolled his eyes and walked out.  Luckily, I have a husband who tolerates my sometimes lax parenting.  

I am so happy she gets happy goosebumps at the thought of doing laundry, and I'm not ready to take that away just yet.  In fact, I hope when she's my age and shoveling in load after load, she takes off her shoes and tips her toes in.  Perhaps she'll roll up a pant leg and do a little slosh.  If that helps bless her family.  I say, "GOD BLESS IT!"  then I creep into the bathroom, shut the door and spray Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Aromatherapeutic Household Cleaner in Basil scent anywhere and everywhere so I can smell it.  When there are no more places to wipe, I sneak into the childrens bathrooms they are supposed to clean and spray some more. 

I like sniffing.  Sunshine likes squishing.  I'm okay with that.   

Howt Cookies

Sunshine had her heart set on "howt" cookies today.  I obliged and in our matching aprons, we creamed, measured and added.  Just before bed, I set the timer for 7 minutes for them to decorate and eat all the cookies they could.  Is this a great idea to stuff with sugar right before bed?  No.  But it is fun.  Little Mother was having an attitude problem and chose not to join us.  I wrapped the rest of the dough in plastic wrap and sealed up the frosting for another time.  "I know what yow saving the cookies for Mom.  Elisabeth Day.  She said she was definitly going to have a cookie day with us when the snow stopped.  It's stopped."  These few, Elisabeth are for you. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Shoveled Driveway

After two nights on 2 hours of sleep, it is understandable that I did not get up bright and early to help the morning run smoothly.  So, we left the house in a flurried rush with me barking like a sergeant.  The garage door raised as I ordered all to their places.  I looked down on our uphill north facing driveway to see that it had just been shoveled of the freshly fallen snow.  Across the street I saw my beloved neighbors, the Wilsons, finishing up another neighbor's drive as well.  

This would be a welcome good deed from anyone, but, I couldn't  help but remember that he is in his early 80's and she her late 70's.  

We all rolled down our windows and screamed "We LOVE you!!!"  as we passed.  Somehow my day had changed.    I thought of the countless journeys across the street their feet have made to bring extra produce or a pumpkin for each child.  I thought of the cookies always available to each of my children and the late night phone calls to let us know our garage door was still up.  I thought of the times they have seen me struggling with a load too heavy, or the time I tried to hang shelves by myself when they dropped all they were doing to come over.  

They both still work due to financial set backs.  In fact, they work long and hard.  They always have someone living with them.  First it was three sisters from the Navaho Indian Reservation, then one child's family who had lost their house, now another son, fresh from a divorce.  Their lives are full to overflowing.  How do they have time for me?  What has their 70-80 years given them to make them so adorable and so out-reaching?  

I feel silly going back to bed after the car pool.  There is something highly motivating and very humbling about being served by someone you should be serving.    

Monday, January 18, 2010

Getting off the Swing

It drizzles outside, I walked home from my hair appointment in the rain and soggy snow underfoot.  My family has gone to bed and I remain, tortured of soul and deeply unsettled.  I sit down to write in an effort to create my own therapy, to soothe myself.

I like my hair stylist.  I enjoy her personality, her courage at looking at her mistakes and her efforts as a single mom to make things better for her family.  Currently, we live very different lives due to different choices.  The past year, she has been looking... searching for what her life is missing... trying to make the changes that will heal her broken life.  Tonight, I stayed in the chair for an hour after my apointment finished in an effort to offer whatever counsel and help I could.

She and her longtime boyfriend had been drinking heavily, a fight got out of hand, and the neighbors called the police.  Jail time is an option for him at the moment, their relationship is perhaps beyond repair, and their life is in shambles.  She takes responsibility for her poor choices...she is lost, without a rudder.   As we talk, I speak of true healing, and she cries.  We discuss the necessity of the 12 step addiction program for both of them.  She is supposed to call tonight for locations, times, and additional practical legal advice from my very smart husband.

Yet, I wait and she does not call.  I know that most people stuck in self defeating choices want a change, but sometimes when it comes right down to it ... they cannot bring themselves to do it.  I feel such personal sadness when this happens, such a loss.  I see such potential in both of them, Briz says I always see too much in people that don't deserve it, but I do... I see their capacity for good and the chance that tragedy always offers to choose a better path.   I long for their happiness.  I long to fix their hurts and fears that go into creating such an unhappy lifestyle for themselves. 

I also know that this is beyond my limited scope, that I can only offer a line to tools but oh, I wish they would grab on to that line.

We get on the swing set and go up and down and up and down, mostly enjoying the ride.  When we get motion sick, tired of the thrill, or loose our control, there is a moment, just past the lowest part of the arc when we have enough momentum to jump off, if we have the courage to take a new course.  The bottom of the ride offers us the chance to make a change.   If we don't jump off then, we wait another round of up, down and up before the next perfect opportunity comes.  I wish I could just push them right off the swing.  But if I push, they'll fall down and scrape their knees.  They must have the courage themselves to face what awaits and jump.

As I finished the above sentence and stood up to go to bed, the phone RANG!!!  She reached for the line!!!!!
 Briz and I bundled up and drove out in the rain to meet and advise in a coffee shop.  I sat back and observed my husband at work.  I was blown away.  He was kind, firm, wise, and helpful.  He offered every help she could have hoped for.  She was so lucky to have him to turn to.  An hour and a half later, we return home and I realize that really, he did that all for me.  He wanted an early bed, a good book and instead spent the late hours of the evening counseling a woman he'd never met.  I find that VERRRRRYYY attractive.  May God bless her in the coming days ahead.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lunch at Haggerman's

Briz stayed home today to help with house projects.  I don't think he loves them, he has to wait to get his courage up or something, then he goes crazy and works really hard.  What I love is that he knows that it is my love language.  A caulked and painted window trim does more to bind me romanticly than roses, dinner and a movie.  

We took advantage of the two hours Sunshine was in preschool to sneak away to lunch at Haggerman's Bakery.  I admit, I had an ulterior motive.  I want to start studying my husband again.  Somewhere over the last 12 years, I've come to the unconscious conclusion that I know all there is to know about this complex and interesting human being.  

Over a Turkey Pomadoro Sandwich, I began my interogation.  "What did you want to accomplish by now that you haven't accomplished?"  I had a whole arsonal of questions waiting, but surprisingly, this one question started a beautiful discusion that helped us set some goals for the future but more importantly, gave me a greater appreciation for the content and happy man I am linked to.  

"I have most everything I wanted.  I wanted a nice home, to be a good Dad, to have a lovely wife... I've got all that.  I did want to be further along spiritually, but I'm back on track.  The only thing I'd like more is a cabin to escape with you to.  I know if I asked you the same question, you'd have hundreds of lofty goals you haven't yet achieved but I'm not like that."

We talked and planned cabins, locations, finances.  Hours later, I was still so pleased with being bonded to a man that is content.  It is such a joy to know that I am enough... that the kids are enough, that our home is enough.  My husband is not out there looking for fulfillment, he already has it in simple things. 

I'm Lovin' Cinderella

All scoffers of Disney flicks, I defy you.  You say they teach feminine helplessness and foster unrealistic expectations?  I say "DISNEY FOREVER!!!"

Why?  example.  Sunshine had a friend over today.  The activity of choice was to fill a bucket with soapy water and scrub scrub scrub.  "You don't have to do that".  I say.  "But Mom.  It's our game.  We are playing sewvants.  We aw like Cinduella."

Fine.  No arguments here.  I wonder how Em reported her playdate? 

Cheap Entertainment

There is never a shortage of cheap entertainment around here.  The problem is, trying to find enough time to watch all the shows created for my enjoyment.

Tonight, two maraca and booty shaking girls offered me a Vegas style program.  Their ensemble was created by the finest designers.  The creativity is amazing.  Is that a tail?

Who would have thought ... underwear on the head and over tights. And swim wear?

"What did you think of our show Mom?"  The only answer I could come up with tonight was, "WOW".

Friday, January 15, 2010

Parental Excercise

I putter in the kitchen and watch amazed as my three little butterflys flutter around their father like moths to a flame.  They cannot pull themselves away.  Their voices raise in animated excitement as they manuver and position themselves around and around the object of their affections.

I work.  I clean.  I put away.  They play.  They laugh.  They bond.  I remind myself that it isn't a popularity contest.  That Briz and I are a team.  That his popularity is good for us as a team. I remember that someone must do the work so others can enjoy themselves.  Plus, I am unable to offer his kind of fun.


Tonight, he has invented a new kind of excercise.  Triceps get a workout with several sets of the "Sunshine Dip".

 The bench press has nothing on the "Little Mother Press".  The extra wiggles and floppy bodies must produce extra strength.

  Finally, Ladybug Push Ups give a real burn. 

Parenthood is quite a workout.  And I thought he was not a great multi-tasker.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An Empty Square

The beauty of an empty square on the calender is hard to describe to some.  I have been euphoric, energized and calmed all at the same time by this marvelous little square.  No meetings.  No children activities to chaufer, no demands on my time unless I place them there.

I offer to tend a friend's child so she can prepare for a luncheon.  I shampoo the carpets.  I read, ponder and pray.  I read stories to a little one.  I condition the leather.  I sneak into a child's room to perform a secret act of kindness.  I switch the laundry, and take out the garbage.

Perhaps this would not be everyone's ideal day, but I got to choose today!  Somehow focusing on all the home making tasks that need to be done is theraputic.  I ponder on life, improvements to make, and blessings.  I would be sad if every square on my filled up calender was blank.  But one delicious square is to be savored like a treasured See's Nut and Nougat Bar.