As Summer Fades

I’m ready for fall. Summers are wonderful, but autumn in Ohio is hard to beat. The cicadas hum amidst their leafy homes. The air gently gathers that perfectly cool crispness. The sun starts to set a little earlier in the evening. Slowly, the trees begin to shift from their lush yellow-greens to deep autumn oranges and reds. Change sets in all around as children make their way back to school, and the lawn chairs and water toys find their place back in the attic.

This summer has brought about many changes in my life. I was laid off from my job after several years. A close family member passed away. I had the incredible opportunity to travel to the West Coast to meet one of my favorite authors and an amazing group of dear friends. My boyfriend and I moved in with his parents a few hours away to try to get our commingled butts on the right track. He began a new job. I began seeking out new opportunities with my craft hobbies. I found a new library to scour (while this wasn’t the best part of my summer, it was right up there!)

While many of these changes have already made positive impacts on my life, I still find myself longing for the comfortable changes- the familiar and simpler and natural ones that take place each year as summer fades. I’m ready for the warm colors- the burnt oranges and cranberry reds. I’m ready to go to the park and watch the leaves fall. I’m ready to pack away the tank tops and mosquito-inviting shorts. I’m ready to curl up on the couch with a bowl full of chili and a football game on the TV. I’m even ready to eat a bag full of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups all by myself on Halloween if the trick-or-treaters don’t show up.

The season of fall is, without a doubt, a season of transformation and change. As I look forward into the next few months, I am reminded that I will surely undergo the same in my own life. Though the word change causes a panicked reaction in my head, I believe I can find peace in the reliability of the natural world around me. My life is undergoing many twists and turns, but I am ready. I’m ready for fall!

-Sara

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Eglute’s evening at the residence of the Florin General Consul and his wife at a dinner honouring Master Printer K. and his wife M. – as told to the shoutbox last Monday – (spoken word)

The limo came to pick us up at 6

How bourgeoisie – a Hummer stretch!

The honourees had the primo seats and we peons had to contort ourselves into the row reserved for children and small pet animals

It was at that point that my pants began their journey to where they would eventually pool around my ankles

The ride to Manhattan usually takes about 1 1/2 hours

– but the driver was good –

We were expected at 7:30PM but made it in by 7:10

The limo pulled up to the chic-est, historic Rockefeller brownstone

The address was assured to be one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in NYC

We were dropped off –

I unfurled myself from the back row hiked up my knickers

and went in

We had to sign in at the guest register with the doorman

and were escorted to the waiting area which looked out over the gardens

(Yes, I know, gardens! in Manhattan!) and the East River

But we were early

And they made us wait

and wait

and wait

till 7:30 when we took the elevator up

the door opened up to a glorious apartment where our names were announced by the Cambodian butler – he completely mangled “Eglute”

The receiving line included the ruddy faced, athletic-looking General Consul

and his small-boned, big-headed American socialite wife

I blabbered something like “thank you for inviting us into your home”

I swear her lips barely moved when she whispered…

“Charmed” (I think – couldn’t really tell for the botox)

We were ushered into the living room again with views to die for

A young man in a rented tuxedo was propped in a corner, softly strumming something classically Spanish on his guitar

The interior design ran to overstuffed, ornately-coloured, silk covered chairs and settees with bleached whitewhite walls that wouldn’t ever, heaven forbid, see a child’s dirty fingerprint

Yet another Cambodian servant was handing out glasses of sparkling water and

wine while his sister slave handed out meagre canapés

sigh – so few canapés – and I love canapés

I paused to study the females of the group

Two kinds of women there

Florin born and bred – sturdy, horse-faced

and their NY counterparts – socialites, size zero (if that) – tan, manicured, adorned with simple but expensive gold jewelry on muscular arms

and LOTS of eye makeup

at times I thought I was at the circus

I couldn’t help but watch the rise and fall of the fake eyelashes

The men, for the most part, looked as if they were born in suits

None of them anything to write home about

a few people introduced themselves to RFH and I

and made desultory comments about lilacs, the Hamptons, and yachting

after 15 minutes of such exhilarating(not) chumming

it was announced that dinner was served

We entered a formal dining room where a LONG (read: how many trees were felled to make this furniture?) table set for 22

the bad part was that I knew I was now going to be separated from RFH and that I would be seated next to strangers from a foreign land

The servant motioned me towards one end of the table between two gentlemen

on my right – CEO of Commonwealth Bank of Florin

and to my left – The Cultural Liaison from the Embassy

the CEO was a stuffed shirt

every time he spoke his pushed in face would swim before my eyes

and all I could see was a pig rooting for truffles

but he was genial and on his second pre-dinner cocktail

so I was assured of light, inane conversation in the least

The cultural liaison was younger, but had a thicker accent –

so I found myself nodding sincerely quite often in agreement

to who knows what

the table was simply gorgeous

elaborate linens, 4 crystal glasses at each setting

silverware of varying shapes and sizes

some to the sides

some above the plates

mini gilt-edged menus were placed in small silver knob thingies in front of

every place (as were dual-sided place cards – oh dear, both sides of the table would know my name now!)

Feeling a little lost – I brightened with the thought “dinner – finally!” – I could make small talk and hide my emotions in my cheek along with a mouthful of veal piccata

each crystal glass was a wine flight tasting with each course

white with Butternut squash soup

red with veal

sweet with dessert

the food was meh – spare – the socialites pushed it around their plates and ate

nothing

so as I said – I was looking forward to a lot of listening and nodding

when all of sudden

before the soup could even be served

the Consul stands up, welcomes everyone, says a few nice things

and announces that as no one knows each other at the table

that we would go around and introduce ourselves

and say a few words

I almost spit in my crystal water glass…

First one around the horn says –

Hello – I am the Florin ambassador to the US

Blahblah

the second one says

I am an expert in the indigenous Art of Florin blahblah

the third one says I am the cultural liaison from Florin to the US….

and then it’s my turn

WTH am I going to say?

my blood pressure crept up the charts

I burbled something about the honourees being dear friends

and having worked for said honouree great Master Printer

and, and….I’m blurring…. I think I said something else that was perceived of as witty and polite as I was rewarded by a collective murmur of approval from the table –

I took a sip of wine –

I had done it –

I was home free – onto the next course and the next goblet of wine!

when I took the moment to look across the table towards RFH

he was, IMHO, uncomfortably sandwiched between two gnashed-toothed socialites

one looked like Jackie O and I strained to hear her undertone to RFH-

“Your hair …just like a rock star”

Wuh?

the other one on the other side had her claws dug deeply into dearest’s arm speaking earnestly and occasionally licking her lips

Gah!

she looked exactly like a bleach blond version of Elvira – the vampire woman

complete with collagen swollen smile

the hair – was – how shall I put it?

– shaped into a very uncommon hairstyle

sort of like the Pope’s hat

perhaps a unique Florin custom

whatever – I truly was looking forward to dessert – Profiteroles!

of course, it is proper to wait until all 22 are served before digging in

it took a while for the waiters to make the rounds

I waited and chafed and chafed and waited

– when I glanced up to the head of the table –

noting in horror that the Gen consul was rising yet again to intone another pearl of diplomacy

“And now we would appreciate a moment to hear some stories from our guests”, he pronounced,

Eglute would you care to begin?”

I looked down at the glistening profiteroles and swore under my breath

A story? Me? – Who do I look like – Isak Dinesen?

I am without a clue

I begin a ramble (and I have a voice that projects)

I seem to remember something about art, rocks, trucks, sleeping

I know not what I uttered

RFH’s eyes were widening with every word

I think I had finished as the table sounded with polite applause

I have a face that blushes easily

RFH told me later that by the end of the story I was crimson

So duly chastened and mortified… onto cream puffs at last!

I look around and the skinny women were using a spoon and a fork, at the same time, to attack the little globes

I am amazed but decide WTF – when in Rome/Florin…

I almost caused an international incident

the cream puffs (which should have been soft and luscious)

were frozen and cold …..and hard!

In my attempt to bisect one (as one couldn’t really stuff the entire golfball-sized sweetness in one’s mouth – could one?)

with above mentioned etiquette-correct spork-age

my hand slipped and managed (mayhaps subconsciously with malintent) to launch a solitary chocolate sauce enrobed orb into the air

in slow motion I perceived the projectile volleying its way towards blond Elvira’s uncommon hairdo

I must have been nodding to something of great import in the minutes before

as the thickly accented cultural liaison was paying close attention to me and my plight

in mid-incoherent-sentence he deftly plucked the sphere from the air returning it to my bread dish with aplomb

and a smile

how grateful was I?

I salute Florin

Just when I thought the evening couldn’t offer any more labours

at 9:30 on the dot – the Consul (slurring now)

says all guests that wish to leave could do so now

the rest could join the Ambassador and the Mrs in the parlour for coffee

how regimented!

I looked longingly over at the honourees we came in with and then towards RFH

but they were deep in sober convos

and were herding themselves towards the living room and “a cup”

that’s one cup – tea or coffee – that’s all you get

milling…I can do that – that’s when you pretend to admire the artwork – everyone was exhausted of chatter anyway – edging closer to the door and goodnight…right?

what! a final dreadfulness! – Consul rallies the remaining guests with….

”…and now, can we all stand for a group picture?”

my pant waistband is at this point slung well below my hips

I potato-sack race for the B-room

where a scented candle burned in the boudoir nook (as the bathroom is not just a toilet – it is made up of three rooms – the toilet room, the sink room and the boudoir – albeit with low ceilings) – the vervaine taper was using up all the available oxygen – I was beside myself – and feeling faint

I endeavoured to wrestle my clothes into submission

and frantically washed my hands with cold water to rouse myself

I espied a wrought iron tree next to the sink with linen hankies on it

is that what I dry my hands on?

no – there are towels here – and there and there

I probably soiled the family crest linen – whatever –

the swoon was accelerating, I willed myself to stay in the here and now

in a flash of reverie I saw them all leave and my body only discovered the following Tuesday slumped over the commode

(as socialites don’t pee – you know)

I burst out – smiled for the Cambodian slave photographer

and joined the conga line as we were politely ushered out

just before the stroke of 10

With a weak handshake from him and herself and the parting favor of a CD of the classical guitarist’s greatest hits, we hit the street in search of the Hummer stretch and home

It’s tomorrow and I am not quite right yet –

I play scenes of both ceremonious spectacle few are privy to and self-conscious discomfiture in my head

I know it was a once in a lifetime experience

But I am happy to be back in my house/castle

and pantless if I wanna be

Cream puff – anyone?

-Eglute

Oy to the vey

I was invited to spend the weekend with a friend (Emily) and her family at their cabin (fancy schmancy). Her older brother brought friends along as well, so luckily I didn’t feel out of place in a family setting. Oh, except for when I made myself feel out of place by being a dork.

The first day, we went golfing. (BTW: the price of a golf game=muy ridiculoso.) Anyway, Emily was driving the golf cart and, going around a little corner, I sort of fell out. Of the golf cart. All the way out. Her brother and his friends pulled up behind us, their riotous laughter carried away by the afternoon breeze. At least they stopped to ask if I was alright. Between guffaws. Oh, did I mention that her brother is uber yummy? Yeah, his friends aren’t hard on the ol’ eyes either.

The next day–or should I say the next really, really ridiculously early morning–we went fishing. Long story short, I got the hook stuck in my hair. Emily and I had a grand time getting it out, too. Yummy Older Brother and friends had a fun time laughing at me some more.

How much embarrassment can I cram into my next weekend getaway?

Oh well. I’m hoping that since it made Hunky Boys laugh, it might bring those who read this a chuckle or two.

~ Alysia

Knowing your limitations

I have a tendency to overload myself with chores and projects. I can write a gazillion to-do lists to fill my days, but there’s one problem: I’m not the best at following through. (Apparently I’m not the only one in my household, either – my husband has admitted that he’s the same way, but minus the list-writing part. I hope that doesn’t mean we’ll never get to the renos/maintenance our house needs…)

Sometimes I have days when I try to do too much to compensate, and others where I have very little motivation.

But it’s not always my fault that I’m inconsistent. Yesterday, for instance: The baby and I had had a rough night – not as bad as it could have been, but less sleep than usual. Waking up was difficult and even then I only had a few hours of energy before I had to face an important fact – I just couldn’t continue without arranging for a nap as soon as I could manage it.

To most people that probably sounds like nothing important in a mundane day, but as a mother who struggles with the extremes of overdoing and underperforming, it was a big deal to me. Knowing my limitation at that moment turned the day around. I can’t say it was perfect after my much-needed nap, but I didn’t beat myself up about my lack of energy as I’ve done in the past.

I guess that was my lesson of the day. (You know that saying “You learn something new every day”? Happens to be true in my life, if I’m paying attention anyway.) Wonder what today’s will be…

~ Becca

I Dare You

I’ve recently started doing something that I used to do 20 years ago and which, at that time, I would never have believed I’d ever stop doing. That’s how important it was in my life. I was certain I’d be doing it all through my college years, all through my adult life, and watching it become part of the lives of my children.

And yet, before I went to college, I quit. I thought it would only be a hiatus, of course. Just until I got settled into life away from home and life as a college student. Sadly, that point never really came for me until now. But I’ve thought about it often and even dreamt about it many times, and so I really shouldn’t be surprised that I’m doing it again, and yet, I am.

What is this mysterious venture that has me grinning like a little kid once again, and brings me such amazing joy? It’s horseback riding! Yep, I was a horse-crazy girl who was lucky enough to take riding lessons starting when I was 8 and who was even more fortunate to have parents who realized their daughter had a mad passion for horses and who supported her dream even though they had no clue where the horse mania came from. They bought me my first horse when I was 10, I think, and when I outgrew her, they bought my second horse, Dior, with whom I had a deep bond.

But, as with many horse lovers, when it came time for college, even though I had sworn just years earlier that I’d be taking Dior with me, I realized how unrealistic that was. I knew that college would be so different from high school and that I’d need time to become accustomed to a new life. A new me. And so I made the difficult decision to sell Dior to someone who’d make the time for her that she needed. I went off to college knowing I’d never be away from horses for very long.

Fast forward 20 years, 2 marriages, and 2 kids later, and here I am, taking riding lessons again. And loving every single minute of it! Maybe even more than I did when I was kid, taking for granted the weekly lessons my parents paid for, the money spent on riding pants, gloves, boots, and a helmet. Oh how I wish my parents were still paying for my obsession! But maybe it means more to me now? I know I appreciate my gorgeous new breeches more than I did when I was 10, and my boots call to me when I pass them in the garage, just begging me to put them on and go ride. Seriously!

And even though I feared that my body wouldn’t be able to handle the requirements of riding again, I’m finding that 20 years has just melted away. My new instructor tells me it’s evidence of excellent instruction when I was younger that I can still do what I was trained to do so long ago . . . . I think it may just be my pure joy at doing what I love to do once again.

This excitement has bled over into other areas in my life as well, including my writing. I was worried that resurrecting an old love would force my muse into hiding, but she seems to have found inspiration in the horses as well. I feel invigorated, sore, exuberant, and just plain HAPPY again, almost to the point that I wonder how I managed to live without horses in my life for so long.

And now my 8-year-old daughter has taken her first two riding lessons. Her teacher tells me she’s a natural. Well, at least she has a mom who totally understands her growing fixation and will encourage her to fulfill her horsey dreams.

My challenge for all of you is to revisit some old dreams you had as a younger you – whether it’s painting, writing, photography, or whatever you gave up for whatever reason and you keep telling yourself you’ll get back to it soon. Well, ‘soon’ is now! I dare you to rediscover a youthful passion and see what happens. You might just surprise yourself!

~Jennifer~

The Life of a Reluctant Drama Queen

All my life I have been accused of being a drama queen. From screaming at the top of my lungs in regards to the bugs crawling toward me in the front yard at the age of 4, to my teen years, lying to friends and family in order to make myself look better, or excuse actions, or to seem to be who they want me to be, and to simply prevent the people around me from seeing what is underneath the ‘tall tales’.

And sadly those actions have lead me to be known as the exaggerating drama queen in the group. Even if that person grew up after the birth of my first child 15 years ago. They have not stopped to see that the person I was has been gone for all of my adult life.

Its frustrating to get people to understand that most of us do change with time, and that generally there are reasons why some of us do & say the things that we say. Im very proud of myself for growing out of that person I was at 18…..and I look at all my kids & think, how can you hold things I did at that immature age against me still to this day?? Its part of the growing up process….it’s part of learning right from wrong.

I have always prided myself on a few good traits I have when dealing with the people in my life. #1….Pick your battles, if you’re not gonna win, or never get thru to that person, let it go!! If not for this rule of mine, I would forever be in a battle with my family & friends. #2….If the battle isn’t worth it, SMILE & NOD!! Let them think you get it. Its not gonna hurt anyone not knowing you disagree. #3…..When it comes to the big stuff, NOBODY wants to hear about my pain and struggle. Get over it, don’t dwell on it, let it go. Besides, don’t forget, EVERYONE around you has bigger problems & will NOT hesitate to point that out (which only pisses me off, or makes the hurt seem like more). So while, when things first hit, I turn to my family and friends for help, I am soon reminded that my pain can NEVER be as painful as theirs, and their hardships are more heartbreaking than mine.

So I bury my pain, my disappointment, my sadness, my stress….every major emotion I have had at every big moment of my life. I honestly thought that I was good at it. I thought I truly had let everything go as it hit. Sadly I have learned that I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Im giving this little background so that people can see how far from a drama queen I really am. On March 3rd, 2010, by the recommendation of my doctor (due to a complete mental breakdown 2 weeks prior), I underwent a psych eval. It was the craziest (no pun intended) 3 hours of my life. I must point out here that my ‘crazy doc’ is really very good…..she can pry things out that you thought were long buried, and not even break a sweat. At my psych eval I was officially diagnosed with Severe Depression & PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). This is my prize for not dealing with drama as it happens in my life…..this is my prize for trying to keep peace within my realm…..this is what happens when you let what people think of you influence your reaction to the chaos that ensues around you….this is from not being the drama queen everyone has labeled me.

As I go thru my therapy, I am hoping that you will let me share my progress thru this blog. I’m not asking for sympathy…..I’m not shooting for attention…..I’m not hoping for an instant cure by writing this down. I just need someone to share this with that isn’t my family & friends. With the exception of one person (you know who you are), I have no one that wont hold any of this against me. And I can only hope that what I share here can in some way help someone else.

Please feel free to rant with me…..If you have gone thru similar things, I would love to hear how you made it thru it……I promise to respect your opinion, and only ask that you respect mine. And please bear with me, most of the things I will be sharing I have held for many years, I’m not sure that I will always know how to express all that needs to be said.

Thank you for making me feel comfortable to share this, and future posts with you, this truly is the greatest group of women I have ever had the privilege to know! (And I promise, that wasn’t a suck up!!)

~Blessings~

~Dawn~

Blessings

There are still 318 days until Christmas 2010, but lyrics from my favourite Xmas movie popped into my head this morning:

“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep
Counting my blessings”

It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and the small things that begin to annoy. Dirty socks on the floor, the toddler who complains practically every morning when it’s time to change from PJs to shirt and pants – “What’s wrong with clothes?” I want to ask – and the grocery store cashier with the attitude. Then there are the major things, like an aunt’s recent diagnosis so close to the second anniversary of her father’s death from the same type of cancer…

But if I stop to count my blessings as the song counsels, I find that life is still good. I have a three-month-old who rarely needs to be rocked to sleep and often lets his mum sleep for five hours straight at night. (You don’t take sleep for granted when you have a baby.) Add in a two-year-old who’s too cute for words, especially when he’s inventing silly games with his daddy.

I can compose a much longer list as I begin to think of my parents, three sisters, niece and nephews, the bookshelf crammed full of novels (and boxes in the basement with even more reading material), the endless entertainment of TV shows past and present, a large and varied music collection that makes me dance and smile…

Once you get going with the blessings, it’s not easy to stop. But who would want to do so? This is what reminds us not to let the pet peeves and trials of life take over, and what matters more than the latest award shows, social updates, emails and message board chit-chat. Certainly more than this humble blog entry. 😉

– Becca

Mantra

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

I roughly remember the first time I heard these words. It was one of the many nights I was up late with mom, waiting for dad to get home. She was up wondering where he was, what he was doing, if he was ok. I was up worried about her, wishing things could be different so she could relax and not be upset. I hated seeing her upset. I didn’t really realize what was going on with him, but she did. I don’t think she wanted us to know at first, but it was hard not to notice.

That night, she repeated these words, over and over, like a soothing breath. The words seemed almost in a different language to me as I tried to comprehend what they meant. Individually the words are simple, but together the meaning is very deep and strong.

I heard them only attached to moments that indicated addiction. I never thought the words to be something to enjoy and share. I considered them to be private, and was embarrassed to say them aloud. I didn’t want anyone to know what was going on in my life, and I felt that if I said them aloud people would immediately see me differently. I started to hate the words.

Time has passed and I’m not sure what changed my heart towards these words. Perhaps I figured out that my hatred of the words was a cover of hating the disease, or perhaps I’ve just grown to accept it. Maybe it’s because I finally listened to the words, instead of just saying them. Whatever changed my mind, I’m glad.

Today, these words help me almost daily. When I feel overwhelmed, stressed, nervous, or upset I turn to these words. They help tone down my anxieties and it doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, I can say them. I may not like how I found these words, but I’m glad I did.

-Kayla

My Truth

What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?  The world would split open.

-Muriel Rukeseyer

I am a feminist.

This is not something my grandmother would have said, not something my mother would ever say, and I doubt they would be pleased to hear the words from me.

And yet, it is their gift to me.

My grandmother was a young woman in West Texas during World War II.  She and her sisters put their willing hands and strong backs to the work that needed to be done, and kept the family farm afloat while their brothers were away.    She fell in love with a young soldier who was shipping out soon to Guam, and they decided, together, not to marry until the war was over and he was safely returned.  They both knew far too many young widows struggling to feed their fatherless children.

The world of my grandmother’s youth was opening a door for women.  They went to work in droves, filling positions men had left empty, in factory and field, doing what they had known they could do all along.  My grandmother stood on the threshold and took one joyous step.

It was all the world allowed her.  The war ended, the men came home, the women were sent back to the kitchens and nurseries.

The frustration of having that hope stripped away, of seeing that new world split apart like the firewood she had chopped in her brothers’ absence, thrown back into the embers of the hearth, shaped my grandmother in ways on which I can only speculate.  She never told me any of this.  I wish she had, but the Fates cut her thread before I was ready to hear and understand.

She had great hopes for her daughter.  She launched her into the world, pushed her out of the nest.  But my mother had grown up a mouse of a middle child, bookended by two boisterous brothers with overwhelming personalities.  She never seems to have found her way.  After one semester in college, she married, and though she tried to continue with school it took only the disapproval of one backwards professor, who sneered at her that women could have an education or a family, but certainly not both, to discourage her.

A delicate flower, my mother today wilts in the shadow of the prevailing opinion of the strong-willed men around her, and it is only when we are alone with my sisters that I can coax her into blooming, a tame little root-bound rose.

Our freedom is new.  It is easy to forget that, since the overt oppression seems sometimes like such ancient history.  We are the first generation to really get to spread our wings; the first grand migration following the path of a sisterhood of trailblazers.  We are the first generation of women in millennia who have grown up believing on a grand scale that we could be who we want to be, that we are not less than, that we can walk our own path.

I am a feminist.  This is the gift my mother and grandmother gave me, and it is the gift I hope to give to my nieces, my young friends, my daughters from another womb.  I am not ashamed to say it, as if it were a dirty word.  I am not going to pretend that society didn’t force my mother, my grandmother, and countless mothers before them whom I never knew, into roles that were little better than the yoke on a team of oxen.

And it is my dearest hope that one day, among that next generation, there might be even one who will have the opportunity to look at my situation from a higher plateau of freedom than I now enjoy, learn from those things I am unable or afraid to do, and spread her wings wider still.

-Janet

Time Flees Irretrievably

“Each thing I do, I rush through so I can do something else.” – Stephen Dobyns

I never knew, until just now when I looked it up for this blog, who had written a phrase I have muttered countless times.  I feel the truth of this phrase more and more of late.  There is a constant barrage of things that must be done.  Things that stand up and scream for your attention.  Things that, no matter how much you would dearly like to ignore them, you know you cannot.

Were it just me in my life I would be the only one to suffer for lack of clean undergarments.  Alas, I have two people who look to me for just such things.  These things and oh so much more.  Two people.  Who let this happen?  Wasn’t I supposed to be the old spinster with copious amounts of cats?  That was the plan in high school as far as I can recall.  Yet here I sit.  A wife.  A mother.

No, I was not your typical little girl planning out her wedding in detail from a young idealistic age.  I did not pine for motherhood.  Yet these are stations in life I could not do without.  To lose either would be to lose large parts of my heart and soul.  To leave gaping wounds in my very being.

Important as these roles have become, I nevertheless find myself rushing through the everyday realities of them.  To what purpose?  Hurry up and get dinner done to hurry up and get a bath to hurry up and get in Pjs to hurry up and get in bed to hurry up and go to sleep to hurry up and get to work to hurry up… Time flies.  Such a cliched phrase never appeared more true.  I’ll be with the only man I’ve ever loved for 10 years this anniversary.  My daughter will be 4 in mere months.  I was impatient for her to crawl, to walk, to talk, to learn her letters, her numbers… what’s the rush?  There is no race.  Slow down, I tell myself.  Enjoy her!  Be silly with her!  Structure will come, as will knowledge, but she won’t want to build tents out of blankets and sleep under your desk while you work forever!  And still I turn her away, because Mommy has to work.  Mommy always seems to have something else that wants her attention.

Do I have a purpose or a point?  No, not particularly.  These phrases chase themselves around my head and so I decided to put them down on “paper” so that maybe they would give me some peace.  Maybe it’s to show myself how important it really is, that even though she is in the house with me all day, she still needs the quality time of my focus and attention for things other than bad behavior.  Maybe it’s just to appreciate mundane things like everyday meals and goodness forbid laundry.  Create quality time where before was a mad dash for the next task.

I have a cross stitch that hangs in my daughters room.  It was made by my great grandmother and was given to my mother when I was born.  It too contains a phrase that rises up now and again to catch my eye.  I hope I learn to heed it before it’s too late.

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait ’till tomorrow,
for babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobweb – dust, go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep!

-Shawna

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