Five Minute Friday: Miss

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300I miss my mini-van. It made life so easy with kids, pets and equipment. Everyone had a seat near a window and rarely did anyone complain that “she’s sitting too close to me”.  I had space to breathe in that car, space to be present but not super imposing even when all seven seats were filled.

Sometimes my memories become a befuddled mess though, caught between missing and longing.

I get sucked into longing for that mini-van, longing for the moments when the girls sang Disney tunes non-stop and we listened to children’s books on tape. I long for the cool spring afternoons a child would fall asleep on the way home from Mother’s of Preschoolers and I would park the car in the warm afternoon to read a book rather than wake her to come inside.

But longing is painful. It feels like grief and tarnishes the happiness of life’s moments. Longing makes me think that my happiness has passed, creating discontentment and a sadness that is not easily squelched.

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The Hare

Last night I took most of my home school materials to a used book sale sponsored by a home school group.  This is my last year teaching at home. After four years, The Hare is finishing 8th grade and will be attending a preparatory high school next year.I am already feeling that sadness seep in to my thoughts when what I should be doing is just acknowledging that it’s OK to miss her next year. I will miss our daily chats over breakfast. I will miss snuggling on the couch to read or watch a documentary. I will miss going on personalized field trips and learning side by side. I will miss hearing every detail of the book or show she just finished. I will miss listening to her same music playlist all day long. I will miss science experiments at the kitchen table and picnic lunches in the back yard. I will even miss arguing with this very analytical and opinionated little soul because at least in those moments, even in my frustration, I knew exactly what she was thinking.

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The Tortoise

The Tortoise is also graduating this year and will be attending college in the fall. I know I will miss the unexpected hugs and kisses. I will miss hearing the garage door opening after a night out and knowing that she is safely in her bed. I will miss hearing unguarded laughter both in and out of the house as we entertained small armies of kids most weekends and all summer long. I will miss the fire pit being in constant use and remnants of smore’s left on the kitchen counter. I will miss our driveway and garage crowded by a influx of cars coming and going. I will miss the impromptu runs to get ice cream and watching Grimm together after everyone else has gone to bed. I will miss her voice filling the house with beautiful music as she practiced and practiced.

I know that I need to be careful to enjoy the moments and miss the memories but not drown in the emptiness. I need to be careful not to long for days past but just be thankful or else I might miss the beauty in this next season of my life.

Now I drive a little hatchback that seats four comfortably, but rarely has more than 1 or 2.

At some point, I’m sure I’ll miss that too.

 

A Resolution I Can Keep

Mama Kat ButtonA couple of years ago I was really struggling with a mix of changing hormones and over all stinkin’ thinking. I allowed turning 40 to be a burden rather than a time to celebrate. Whenever frustration or disappointment crept in my soul, I foolishly gave it a place to hibernate. The heaviness sat there day in and day out.

At the end of 2012 I started going to a yoga studio, mostly out of peer pressure. My best friend was studying to be a certified yoga instructor and there was a new-found peace about her that I had not seen in many years. She seemed more centered and more in control of her emotions. She just seemed more present. So I went to yoga, off and on, for months. More off than on to be honest. I’d buy a block of time since it was less expensive per session that way, and because I thought maybe by prepaying for something I would be more apt to follow through.

Not so much.

But then one Sunday morning in January of 2013, I dragged myself out and showed up at the studio in all my bed head and morning breath glory. I can still picture myself staring at chipped toe nail polish and feeling very far away. Electric heaters carefully placed around the room helped block out the bitter cold of our Michigan winter, slowly bringing my body to a more comfortable temperature. I began to settle in to the space.

I remembered why I came.

I remembered why I should always come.

With it being the first classes of the new year, our instructor was focused on helping us concentrate on finding a purpose or mantra to carry us through each day. I had never thought to do this before. I  had always given in to the socially acceptable, perhaps socially driven, idea of setting New Year’s Resolutions. Mine was typical: lose weight, be more organized, volunteer, write more. Unfortunately, most of these resolutions would either be abandoned early on or just cause anxiety. But the idea of a one word or phrase to focus on all year seemed possible. A resolution I could actually keep.

I chose the word Joy.

wpid-20150115_125100-1.jpgAnd from that moment on, instead of worrying about the how or why of anything, I just focused on finding the joy in each moment. I even had a leather bracelet made with the word JOY and wore it every day so I could remind myself constantly to find joy. It worked too. I found joy more easily each day and by the end of the year my heart and head was overflowing with joyful memories. It changed the way I looked at everything. The next year I chose the word patience, although I did not make sure to put it in my line of site every day. I realize now that I need a very visual and tangible reminder. I am a list maker, a poster printer, and a task oriented nerd. There were far too many times last year that I lost my patience, perhaps didn’t even look for it in the heat of a moment and got distracted. By the end of last year, I started wearing my joy bracelet and suddenly, I was at peace again.

So this year, I chose the word and phrase Be Present and yes, I just ordered my mantra bracelet to remind me everyday to be the person I know I can be.

Five Minute Friday: Belong

5-minute-friday-1I picture you here, snuggled under layers of covers, watching movies with your sisters. I picture Sunday morning pancakes, Friday night pizza parties, and ice-cream runs in the middle of the week. I picture Lego building marathons, afternoons baking cookies, trips to libraries, the museums, and the soccer fields.

I picture you.

You were not a mistake.

You were wanted.

You were thought about for years.

We planned for you in our hearts, made space in our home. Our family is your family and would not be complete without you. You belong here, with us. I don’t know your name or the color of your skin. I don’t have a clue if your hair is long or short. I’m going to make mistakes and forget important things like what is your favorite food, your favorite color and your favorite bedtime story. I’ll have to learn what makes you scared and take note when you smile. But I  will learn.  I will cherish every moment, even if you are angry with me for wanting you. I will cry in private, in the shower, away from you on the days that are harder than others because I will want to greet you with constant open arms, constant love and acceptance. Life will not be the same without you and we will wonder how we ever managed before you. I will want to kiss you goodnight and ask how you slept. I will wait for the day when you let me hold your hand.

But I will not force you.

I will not rush you.

I will just keep reminding you every day that you belong.

That you are important.

That you matter.

That you are loved.

There will be no division between the children born of my womb and you, the child born of my heart.

* Today I’m linking up with Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday. Each week bloggers are asked to write on a topic for five minutes. No planning. No editing. Just five minutes straight from the heart. This week’s word is Belong.

Writer’s Workshop: My house shall be a mast

Mama Kat ButtonI love when the jeweler cleans my wedding ring. Its renewed radiance resonates for days. It looks bigger and more brilliant than before and I am reminded of how it glistened in the summer sun after DW placed it on my finger over thirteen years ago. It’s easy to forget the beauty when it is dulled by the grime and dust accumulated day after day.

Recently, I have been painfully reminded how fragile relationships are, especially marriages. My daughters need to understand there are no perfect relationships. There are no knights in shining armor, no “one true loves” or perfect matches. These “fairy-tale” romances do not exist, at least not organically. After all, the word romance itself is based on feelings of exaggeration. It is associated with chivalric love and adventure. What can exist, I think, are two people who commit to loving each other and promise to spend the rest of their days actively courting and pursuing one another. One of the things I most value about my marriage is that we both choose each other. We both take care to affair-proof our relationship.

I’m not a follower of talk-shows, but I found this article by Dr. Phil to be pretty spot on. There is a lot of great advice, but here were my favorite points:

  • Don’t play games in your head. It is a short step from thought to action.
  • Don’t confuse reality with fantasy. We often forget that there’s a difference between falling in love and being in love. You can’t expect a love that grows to be like it was on the first date.
  • If you want to have a good partner, be a good partner. Put 100 percent into your marriage.
  • Work on your marriage every single day, not just during the bad times. Wake up each day and ask yourself, “What can I do today that will make my marriage better?”

There’s also a quote by Kahlil Gibran, from the book The Prophet, that found me this morning:

“Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast. It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound, but an eyelid that guards the eye.”  – Kahlil Gibran

I can’t help but want to substitute the word marriage for house, because, after all, my relationship with DW is my comfort and my shelter. It is what I call home.

Often people say things like, “They are my rock and my anchor” when describing their closest friends or partner. However, anchors are heavy and cumbersome, aren’t they? They are large weights tied by chains that keep us from moving. The whole purpose of an anchor is so that you can’t drift, but that also means that when you have dropped anchor, you can’t go anywhere. You are confined to the same spot, your view does not change. Opportunities for growth would be limited. I don’t want to be DW’s anchor. I would never want to be what keeps him from reaching his full potential.

The idea of our relationship, our marriage, being more like a mast is much more fulfilling. In fact, it feels almost enlightening. Together we can be tall and strong; together we can hold each other upright, letting the air fill our sails and carry us anywhere we want to go. A mast towers into the sky, a backbone like structure, rising above the deck of a ship to support the yards, booms and rigging.

I want my house to be a mast, not an anchor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Minute Friday: Friend

5-minute-friday-1Sit in silence.

Talk for hours.

You can call me in the middle of the night.

Your children have my number on speed dial.

It’s about presence, not presents.

Presence of mind.

Presence of spirit.

It’s not neat and tidy or sweet. It’s loud and honest. It’s telling each other the truths, even the hard truths, and loving each other because of it.

It’s about sharing the obvious, sharing the secrets, sharing the joys, sharing the fears and sometimes sharing the load.

Sleeping side by side, sometimes in mind. Sometimes in body.

It’s coming together to kick off our shoes and not worry about the holes in our socks or the dishes in the sink. It’s never having to worry about a bad hair day, wearing yesterday’s clothes or the last time you took a shower. It’s about being able to pee with the door open.

It’s the ability to laugh at our flaws, and encourage our strengths.

It’s about unconditional everything.

It’s about being real in all the moments. It’s about serving each other and not wondering when it will be our time to be served.

When friendship and family become seamless and it is just assumed that life will never cease to exist without you.

* Today I’m linking up with Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday. Each week bloggers are asked to write on a topic for five minutes. No planning. No editing. Just five minutes straight from the heart. This week’s topic is “friend.”