Tag Archives: possibility

Inheritance Week

There was a tiny visitor in our home for a week – an adorable replica of her Dada – a little 1 1/2 year old who has her Bubbe and Grandpa utterly smitten.

As her parents traveled the southeastern states for a wonderful road-trip week of re-connection, we traversed the roads back to parenthood with a sudden immersion into the world of the toddler.

The first lesson – do not disregard nap times!  We may be the adults and we may be in charge of the schedule, but passing over the nap was such a painful experience come bedtime, oh my!  Right back to the toddler schedule we went!

One of the interesting things I observed that week is the propensity for this little one to gravitate toward little girls things.

As a mom to boys, I have a good stock of toys that boys enjoy:  cars, trucks, planes, boats, ninja turtles and the like.  We’ve stocked plenty of girl things as the years have passed, to appease the nieces who visit.

So I set out an assemblage of age appropriate things – and her little self was smitten with the baby dolls and stuffed animals, and the purse!

Not that any of this matters.  I just found it interesting, in a Bubbe sort of way.

Now that the time has passed, and work has resumed, and gardens have taken all of my home attentions, I look back on the week and smile.

That was the most amazing week of my life.

I’m glad her precious little self has her very precious Mama and Dada back within reach, and I just hope that this was the beginning of a family tradition.

 

Sober and Scribbled Pictures

I can’t really describe this funk that settled upon me since leaving the hospital.

Deflated.  Perhaps.

I relayed to My Love that I’d painted this perfect little picture of the moments I’d share with the new family and how those would feel.  But the reality is that reality happens.

Boom.

Pow.

Scribble, scribble.

Other people are living in the picture, and other needs and feelings and goings on are happening.

My picture got scribbled upon.  Oh poor, poor, pitiful me.

Yeah.  It’s like that.  I’m processing it, preparing to put the hurt aside, but I’m allowing the feelings to marinate just a bit first.  I’ll not share them, you see.  So before I tightly contain and seal them up, I need to feel them – that way they won’t fester and become some ugly wound.

We’re the family members who reside farthest, so I had it in my mind that we’d have a good portion of touch time before we parted.  But those who live close angled in for their firsts at the same time and mommy and daddy got a bit overwhelmed.  Time for everyone to go.

But those who live close will be able to resume quickly, where we’ll need to parcel out time and funds from our schedules and pocketbooks to make another run.

No blame there.  It just is what it is.  Reality.

Not what I’d had in mind, silly me.

So I’m oozing emotions today.

On the bright side of those funny little emotes, I saw the man who is my son stand tall and proud this past week.  I saw his capable hands change a diaper, saw his jaw set firm with concern for his wife’s well-being, and saw his compassion flesh out as a bright shining thing.  I saw his impatience as well, the niggling little allowance of we intruders.  He’s fully entered his own now, and that – that there – that makes this mom proud.

Painful as it may be.

 

Cultural Days: Bittersweet Pages

Today marks the cultural page turn – from 48 to 49… meaning that I’ll begin telling myself that I’m 50 now.

It’s a bittersweet change, a journey-marking and emotion-stirring sort of transition.

I love who I’ve become.  It’s been a long hard journey, but I feel it’s come full circle now – I found the girl I lost a long, long time ago.

A woman now, but with a girlish joy, a girlish energy, a girlish view of life – with a firm foundation of reality and knowledge.

Oh, I don’t know it all – hell no I don’t!

But what I do know gives me courage.

It gives me strength and fortitude.

And I can now look in the mirror and say “I love you, you beautiful bad-ass you!”

That took a long time, and I just realized today that it’s real.

Sadly, I’m now the number my grandmother reached, never to count another.

Did she ever reach a satisfaction point?

Was she ever able to look at the mirror and love those eyes looking back?

I’m only two years from the number my mother last counted.

I don’t know that she had the satisfaction of self-acceptance either.

This anchors me, holds me firmly on my feet.

I think of their end – to feel as young as I feel, yet to have lived as much as I have lived now.  To realize how precious life is – I mean, we finally really get that at this age!  Then to be done?

Finished.

No knowledge, no history to follow.

Missed opportunities, missed grand-kids, missed great grand-kids…

That rocks my world a bit.  It makes their absence seem off-balance, skewed and unreal.

I know that I’m 90% likely to exceed this year by 20 or 40 (yes, I’ll take the positive view) years.  I’m thankful for what I have and what possibilities exist…

And I’m so happy with where I am, where we are, my spouse and I – where our kids are, and what our lives are about.

More importantly, I’m so thankful to Almighty that I’ve been allowed the opportunity to see today.  We really never truly know if we’ll see tomorrow…

Sigh.

There you have it – it’s bittersweet…

But there’s more — I’ll share the “cherry on top” moment for the day:

Moving slowly this morning, just a little worn from four hours of road time yesterday, topped by a 5K mud dash for a fundraiser, I was feeling pretty good about myself.  I’d accomplished a physical feat that I had been unsure of, and I had met new people and enjoyed myself thoroughly.

lozilu profile

I took my sweet time, finally taking time to run through the edits and uploads for my niece’s bridal shower pictures.  Much later than my usual time, I was ready to eat breakfast and get outside to monitor the poor, neglected garden.

I was in such a hurry to get outside, I decided to take my yogurt/granola out with me and eat it as I walked through the garden.

There I was, granola bowl in hand, rounding the corner of the garage, noticing that there was a strange chair peeking out from behind the camper.

As I continued my approach, the accompanying bistro style table with colorful flower mosaic tile and second chair came into view!

I have to admit, the smile on my face was the biggest I’ve had, and the tears that streamed down my face were pure joy.

I slowly set my bowl down and admired his choice, feeling the sudden rush of contentment that comes from someone just knowing me so well.

Yes, I feel pretty good, pretty grounded about the number fifty.

 

Mountains

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”

John Muir

Journeys

“And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.”

Wendell Berry

To Lend An Ear, Opening to the World Around Us

pebbles and shellI don’t often get the opportunity to step out of my daily bubble, to see the world from a new perspective.  This recent work trip allowed me an education I hope to carry for life.

What I’ve been reminded of, had reinforced in short successive meetings, is much broader scope than my personal epiphany.

The glimpse we’re given into the lives of Abraham and Sarah sets the tone:  belief in and worship of Almighty Most High, deep family ties – not ties that choke but ties that rescue when in need, hospitality to travelers, and care and concern for others unknown.

Application of those principles is something I often struggle with.  I don’t know which upheld “I need ______” sign to trust as I pass a forlorn beggar, nor do I trust my ability to judge safety when a traveler is sitting along the ramp of a busy interstate.

Touched with emotion, I keep moving past.  I don’t stop, I don’t make eye contact except to flash a quick smile of greeting, hoping that they understand my dilemma.

What I’ve just found that I am able to do is to lend an ear when an opportunity arises.  My opportunity was four plane rides during the transport to and from our work conference destination.  Safely ensconced in a crowded plane, my trusty coworkers scattered throughout the cabin, I was able to let down my typical guard and converse.

Through the brief conversations, I met several people, and received a distinct impression – a heart print – from each and every one.

I’d like to introduce them to you:

Passenger One, the tall, balding NY Times reader, with a paunch.  He was likely in his early to mid-sixties.  He was very polite, yet somewhat brisk and professional, nearly British in his demeanor.  He exchanged basic pleasantries and asked where I was going, then a little about my employer.

Side-tracked by the pilot announcements, I left it at that and chatted with the very helpful passenger on my left side.  Once that conversation had run its course, I recognized that I had not inquired about the Times reader’s destination.

There was a shift in demeanor, a sudden letting loose of the rigidity, the polite standoff.  As he turned to answer, I saw the pain in his eyes – a soft pain, but still very evident.

He was going to New York to visit his mother.  She had recently had a very serious illness (which he did not elaborate upon and I did not ask) and was still hospitalized.  He talked with a wry smile about how she loved the city life and he could not get her to budge and move closer.

No other family in the area, her friends long gone, this 93-year-old city gal was going out in her own terms.  And he was dutifully and frequently doting upon her to see her through the journey.

I told him I hoped the best for her and for him as well when we parted.  His thank you and kind smile were genuine.

Passenger Two, the frumpy, nervous-Ned, whose eyes darted frantically out the window, then to the onboard monitor.  He was likely in his late 50’s, salt and pepper, with submissive demeanor – self-deprecating almost.

As I glanced toward the window, nervous-Ned mistook my glance as curiosity for his actions on the touch screen.  He began to explain that he had a short delay between flights and was previewing the gate for his next leg of the trip.

Curious, I looked to see what he meant and he helped me navigate the new American Air monitors to see ‘my flight’ and the airport terminal map.  A perfect opportunity to learn.

Continuing, in his nervous way, he explained that he was traveling to NV to attend two weeks of education.  He is an administrative law judge and I’m sorry to say that I got distracted by that fact as he further explained his job.  I was connecting the persona to the position and my prior experiences with such.

A very pleasant man, he talked a bit about his downtime and possible travel plans – staying in a motel in Vegas but with not one iota of interest in the gaming community.

Next leg of the flight, Passenger Three, the vivacious 62 yr old brunette, with fantastically lovely cornrow braids that sparkled as she talked – and talk she did!  Our conversation began when I stated with matter of fact that she had my admiration for stepping across me so deftly to access her window seat.  I didn’t see her coming and then she was suddenly there.

She launched right into her travel logs, excitement oozing from every word.  I heard of her overwhelm with work and living the life she thought she wanted in Phoenix, I heard of her HUGE family of origin and the pride and love for them, I heard of her welcoming her nephew who would live with her during his college education.  I then heard her dreams to return ‘home’, to get back to her roots and live closer to family – as soon as the boy’s college was complete.  She cautioned me to Phoenix traffic, told me not to take it personally when folks weren’t nearly so kind and we gave each other good cheer as we parted.

Flying back home, the flight to Dallas, Passenger Four, the intense and nervous beauty, with deeply drawn lines, but sparkling eyes (when they were not clouded with concern).  She was a quiet-ish sort, nearly suggesting submissive, yet her eyes held a longing to be close, to confide.

When I asked her destination, she said to a military stop, and then on to many flights.  My eyes held hers for a moment, hesitant to ask, not certain if she cared to share – and then she did.  She explained that she was going to Baghdad, as an interpreter at the embassy there.

Short notice given, she had packed as many belongings as she might possibly be able to carry, to serve in the ‘crisis’.  She would only have the things she brought, to begin with – her lodgings would be in a small box-like ‘room’.  The last time she was there, it was for three years.  Conditions were different, it seemed… this time.

There had been an emergency evacuation, you see, she’d heard from a friend there.  They were told to put what they could in backpack and get the hell out NOW!  Everything they owned was forever lost, unless it fit in the backpack.  This is where she was going, to do what she was hired to do, to fit the need she’d determined she could fill.

We talked about many things, and I can only hope that the unburdening gave her a small moment of relief.  There is a situation, and we only know the tip of the iceberg – and she didn’t share information she should not share – but I am an observer, that’s what I do best, and I looked deep into her eyes and saw sorrow that I only know the edge of.

She touched me, squeezed my heart – and I reached out a hand, placed on her arm and told her I hoped for safe travels for her.  Then she strapped on her 70 lb. backpack, this petite, yet sturdy version of citizenship; hoisted her second carry-on, and moved forward.

On the last leg home, I was pensive, seated for the late arrival of Passenger Four, the beautiful youth, a blond fawn-like creature, with demure eyes and obvious over-seas ways.  She strapped on a headset immediately and plugged in to the seat back, appearing to shut out the world around her.

Then, after take-off, she had removed the ‘electronic wall’ and glanced furtively at me.  I smiled.  She smiled.  She leaned toward me and asked if they would serve something to drink on the flight – yes, they certainly should.  ‘Good, I need fluids’, she said.

Definitely international – but very good English, I asked where she was heading and the conversation ensued.  A native Bulgarian, she was looking forward to college in a small Kansas town.  Her primary reason for the change was to play basketball, something she’s done for the past twelve years.  She wants to study psychology and be a mentor for at-risk children, particularly those entering school and kindergarten aged.

She spoke of home with a strong mix of pride, and sadness.  Her community is mired in hopelessness, you see.  They’re poor and give up all hope when their youth is diminished.  She challenged me to keep forging ahead, to live life as fully as possible – and to visit her country.

I challenged her to contact me, to have a home away from home, as a newly adopted member of our family.

We’ll see…