Thursday, September 27, 2012

What did you do today?

What did I do today? I woke up, had coffee, did the dishes, studied my french lessons, sorted knitting patterns, went to a yoga class, read on the back porch in the late autumn sun, talked to my daughter on the phone. That is the stuff I did today.

What did I really do today? I took deep breaths. I sent prayers out to those that need them. I thought about my children, all my sisters and both my brothers, and my nephews and nieces. I thought about my Uncle who died earlier this year. I saw a picture of a dear friend when she was 16 and I thought about how much time has passed since that day in her backyard. I am glad we are still friends.

I thought about the ages of those I love and I can't imagine my life without them. And yet, I already live every day without those I love that have already passed onto the next adventure.

As I lay in meditation on my yoga mat I thought about how long I have to live. I am thinking 100 years old, aiming for 105.

That sounds about right. That gives me about 48 years to do something important.

What will I do tomorrow?
And go to a play of Saint Michael and the Dragon. We all have a dragon (or two) to tame, don't we? Some real, some imaginary. I am going to tackle the imaginary ones first.

Yes, that is now on my to-do list for tomorrow. I hope Saint Michael is somewhere nearby. I might be needing him.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

27 years of parenting

I bet you are looking for advice. No, no advice here. Well, maybe some, but more for me than you.

I have been a mother for 27 years as of about 75 minutes ago. 27 years. I remember those hours (days) that lead up to the moment of birth and I remember the two weeks that followed (10 days of them in the hospital). It wasn't seamless.

But parenting, kind of was. Even the hard parts. The parts where I didn't (don't) know what to do, or say, or think. They are seamless. The days flow into each other and the relationship that I have had, and continue to have, with my children flows from one stage to the next.

The stage we are in now is parent to adult children. Children making their way in the world, settling into their lives, struggling with what it is to be an adult.

It isn't easy. Some days are, but many aren't. Life, even a good, blessed life, is still hard. My children, like myself, are always striving. And striving, not settling, is hard.

That baby boy, born 27 years ago, is figuring it out. He is, as I have told him, someone destined for greatness. He has so many strengths. He has many roads open to him, and he is figuring it out.

So is his mother.

Sorting through photographs I see him as a new born, bruised from his difficult birth, then a one year old lifted high in the air, held fast by his father's arms. Then pre-school with his new-born little sister, kindergarten, first day of grade one and so it goes all the way to high school graduation. I can flip through them in a minute or so. Each picture tells the story of a year, and then a blink, and they are gone.

He is now a young man, but within him are all those pictures, and more. And he is making new pictures everyday in his adventure up north. He is learning. Alot. About farming, and fishing, and relationship and self-sufficiency.

He calls at least once, sometimes twice, a week. Sometimes he chatters away about this and that. Sometimes our conversations are harder, and sadder.

I am always happy he called. I am always happy he can tell me whatever he needs to tell me. That is a gift I have been given by both my children.

Parenting. Seamless. One picture flowing into the next. One day into the next. When something is seamless it can't unravel. It is continuous. Like a moebius strip.

Yes, parenting is like a moebius strip.

Happy Birthday, dear one. Happy Birthday.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Could be a metaphor for my life right now

I have dancing feet. My feet are never still. My husband often comments about this. Even when he thinks I am sleeping, my feet are in motion.

Since April 1 I have been suffering from plantar fasciitis in both feet. Both feet. So I have new orthotics, new shoes, new exercises to do, and orders to rest my feet.

Did I mention I have dancing feet?

So last week, I also bought night splints to try to speed up this healing process. Have I mentions that I am not a patient person?

So, now, here we have a person with dancing feet, and restless legs, having to wear very movement constraining splints to sleep. WTH?

Sometimes I think I will go mad. I am very sleepy, my legs are very jumpy, and I feel like I am in a coffin from the knees down.

So far I have only managed one night all through - usually I tear them off sometime around 3am. Some nights, like last night, I finally took them off because I had tried valiantly to sleep for 2 hours and it clearly wasn't going to happen. (I also took 3 Taurine tablets, but that is another story.....)

So, as the title says, a metaphor for my life. I want to be doing things as a newly retired person - things that include being on my feet - and I can't. I just can't.

It is hard to silence those dancing feet.

I did go to church yesterday - and sat when others were standing - but it helped. It helped because as usual every hymn, every reading, every word spoken was something I needed to hear.

We all have our constraints. All of us. Mine is far less serious than many many people in, and out, of my life.

There is a lesson here for this woman with her dancing feet. I hope she takes advantage of the time, and listens carefully for the lesson.

There is always a lesson.

And, swimming.

There is always swimming.

Monday, September 3, 2012

A letter to my students as they begin high school

And so it begins. Tomorrow. You must be excited, and nervous, and wondering how it will all unfold.

I wish I could tell you it will be easy. Sometimes it will, but often it won't. You will have new relationships to navigate, new teachers to get to know, new thoughts to ponder and new experiences to, well, experience.

I can tell you that you are all prepared for this. I can tell you that you have learned alot in your eight years of schooling and you can do this. I can tell you that I believe fiercely in the abilities of each and every one of you. I can tell you that there will be decisions to make along the way, and those decisions shouldn't be taken lightly.

So, if you will allow me, I have some advice.

1) Be kind to people, including yourself. Unkind actions hurt. Unkind words hurt. Unkind thoughts hurt. Don't exclude yourself from getting to know someone because they seem different from you and your friends. Give people a chance. You aren't going to like everybody, but it doesn't mean that you can't be kind just the same.

2) Whatever you say to someone, about someone else, make sure you would be able to hold your head up as if it was spoken directly to the person in question.

3)Don't do something you don't want to do because you are embarrassed to say no. There will be lots of situations in your life where your inner voice is trying to be heard..listen to it, follow it. It won't lead you astray.

4) You will be truly loved for who you are, not what you look like. Be gentle on yourself when you look in the mirror. You are a child of the universe. You have been given a gift, this physical body of yours, that houses your indomitable spirit. I have seen that spirit in each one of you. Each spirit is housed in a perfect vessel. It may not be the vessel that the media appreciates and respects, but I hope it will be one that you will respect. Treat it kindly.

5) Don't try to grow up too fast. There will be time. You don't have to experience life all at once. There will be time. Time for first true love, and first true heartbreak. I wish I could tell you there won't be heartbreak. But there will. And it will be ok. You will recover and it will be ok.

6) Be who you are. Speak your mind. Walk your walk. Each one of you is unique with your gifts and challenges, but each one of you is destined for something remarkable. It may not present itself for many years, but it will present itself if you show some patience.

7) Be kind to your parents. Believe it or not they were your age once, and they truly want what is best for you. They don't want you to make the same mistakes they made, and sometimes, in their parenting of you, they will make mistakes. Forgive them. And yes, be kind to them too.

8) Have fun. Enjoy life. Pay attention to this beautiful world around you. Yes, it has its flaws too, but it is still a beautiful world. Appreciate nature every single day.

9) Make a difference in someone else's life. Be charitable with your time and actions.

10)Don't settle, in your life, for mediocrity. Strive.

Ok, end of advice.

Here is a promise.

If you need me, and it is at all within my power to be there for you, I will be there.

As I said on our last day of school together - I will always have your back.

And so, tomorrow high school begins, and I will officially let you go.

But, unofficially?

Unofficially you are always in my heart, and my dreams, and I am there behind your shoulder wishing you well.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Because I Love You

My Dad
William Donald Burton
January 15, 1924 - September 1, 1973

And so it is September 1st once again. Funny how it comes around every year around this time. Usually I am busy getting ready for school. But not this year. This year I can just spend it wrapped in his memory.

Sometimes I wonder. What is the point? What was the point? Why was his destiny to only be here a short time? He left behind six children, and 10 grandchildren, and now 4 great grand children....and so it goes.

He worked hard. He had his demons. We all do.

But still, and all, I wish he had stayed longer. To share in my life, my children's lives, the lives of all his children, and grand-children, and great grand children.

He would have liked that.

I would have liked that.

He was my father for almost 18 years in this physical world. He has been my father in my heart for almost 57.

And yes, I still miss him.

Every day.

This one's for you, Dad. Because I Love You.