Posts Tagged With: joy

occasionally I burst into song

Standing in the bathroom yesterday morning. YBW is shaving and I’m doing my hair.
I begin to sing about what I’m observing. Just belting it out, making it up as I go along. The tune comes from nowhere, the words are silly and mostly make a kind of sense that doesn’t.
He chuckles.
I say, “See! Real people sometimes burst into song in their daily lives!”
He nods, “Yes, but you’re not singing verse after verse.”
“Neither do I have a choreographed dance number.” I say with a wink.

Folks really do sing at random as they go about their day.
Sure, huge orchestral music and background dancers aren’t involved. (At least not in my random song bursts.) But there are times that life really is a cabaret, old chum, and one must burst into song.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to have the Sherman brothers

or Stephen Sondheim

be our personal lyricists.
But that’s OK. When you’re moved by the situation and need to create a little music about it, go ahead. Belt it out! Sing as though MGM has created an entire technicolor soundstage as a place for you to stand.
Sing the song of your life.

After I sang about personal grooming, I switched into Libertines mode and sang I Get Along

So sing your song. Sing loudly or quietly. Sing on or off key. Sing with your eyes wide open or shut. Sing the song of your life. Sing the words and tune that happen in your soul at any moment.
It’ll make you feel good and if someone gives you grief or causes you to feel embarrassed, just remember my favorite line from I Get Along:

I get along just singing my song, people tell me I’m wrong.
F**k ’em.

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Another Day of Sun (from) La La Land

It’s raining here again. And to be quite frank, I tired of it.
I’m sharing with you a little song from La La Land to perk us all up.
If you haven’t seen this film, you’re missing out on something wonderful!

Please listen responsibly.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas up in here!
And I couldn’t be happier!

This is the tree in our living room at the back of the house, where we spend the most time each day.
I’ll put YBW’s and my pressies under this tree for us to open Christmas morning.
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Pencil tree in the basement. I’ll be enjoying this as I wrap pressies and watch Christmas movies!
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The big tree in the front room will go up when the boys come home this weekend. Their pressies will go under this tree to be opened Christmas Eve before they leave for their mother’s house.

Thing 2 and I found these trees when we were out one afternoon and I absolutely could not resist them! The kind of remind me of Dr Seuss trees. I just hope the Grinch doesn’t show up and stuff them up the chimney!
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I absolutely adore Christmas kissing balls!
Traditional kissing ball painted with mistletoe.
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YBW found this ball of cotton when we were in Savannah, and we knew it would be a new kissing ball. It took me a bit to find the perfect ribbon to make the bow, but it turned out perfectly. When anyone walks into our house, it’ll be there waiting…and let me assure you, I’ll be right there under it, waiting for my kisses.
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All the baby Jesuses are out…but you’ll have to wait to see them.
Oh how I love Christmas! I can’t wait to start wrapping pressies!

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pretending the bed is a raft

I once had this book called Pretending the Bed is a Raft. It’s a collection of short stories written by Nanci Kincaid. I remember the stories were beautifully written but devastatingly sad. I’m not sure what happened to that book. A quick scan of my shelves and I don’t see it. It may have gone to the used bookstore during one of my annual book purges.
What I have to say isn’t really about the book anyway. It’s about the title.

Pretending the bed is a raft.
I love this concept! Let’s pretend the bed is a raft.
I feel like it’s a game of make believe we might have played when Thing 1 and Thing 2 were little. They would have wanted to be pirates on that bed raft. They would have had us all dressed up with scarves and eye patches and Thing 1 would have wanted to be the captain, but Thing 2 probably would have been calling the shots. I would have been the dutiful first mate, responsible for the safety of the crew while the captain(s) lead us into death or glory. I can hear Thing 2 in her ‘little old man’ voice saying, “Storms a-brewin!”

Pretending the bed is a raft.
I feel like I’ve done this my entire life, only I never used that phrase until I’d seen this book. It stated simply the concept I’ve always understood.
With absolute certainty, my most fundamental belief is: When the going gets tough, get in your bed.

I’m a big fan of getting in my bed when I’m feeling…well, anything actually. I mean, obviously when I’m tired. But, I’m thinking about all the other things I feel. Emotional exhaustion, frustration, or illness. These could all be considered fancy words for depression. Some people use ice cream. I use my pillows. Because nothing comforts me like my bed.
Loneliness and heartache send me straight to my bed.
When I’m craving peace and quiet. If I’m overwhelmed or overjoyed, I take to the comfort of my bed.
That bed is my raft in the seas of all feeling.

My perfect bed is a dark wood farmhouse canopy, made with the most crisp white cotton known to man. This bed is my cocoon. I bought it to keep me safe the first time I ever lived alone. Newly separated, children part time at my home, part time at their father’s, I knew I would need a haven that made me feel safe and sound.
This bed carried me safely through the feeling seas for many years.
Sweet Izzie kitty, so grouchy with everyone but me. She would curl up next to me in that bed and her soft purring would match my breathing and we’d sleep happily together.
My girls snuggling in that cocoon with me. Thing 2 coming in every night for months with her pillow and sleeping with me. Thing 1 didn’t sleep with me that often, she’s an active sleeper, making full use of her bed. But when she came for a snuggle it would be an event.

YBW was invited into my cocoon.
He invited me into his bed, he named it serenity.
The first time I came here, we went to bed and he told me to close my eyes…when I opened them there were stars all over the ceiling. He told me on the phone that when I came to his home, I would sleep in serenity in a sea of stars. He made that happen for me. We could be together in the cocoon or in serenity and it was lovely.

When I moved here, the cocoon moved to the guest room.
We bought new mattress and foundation and I began to sleep full time in his bed. I’d lived here for almost a year when we had a little mishap and broke the bed. I fell in love with a bed and took him to see it. He agreed and the new bed came home to our room. The bed we share is a beautiful dark wood, with a very high headboard and drawers in the footboard. It is made with crisp white bedding.

When I’m in need of pretending the bed is a raft, I don’t often take to the bed I share with YBW. I’ll go to the cocoon. It’s not that that I don’t feel comfortable or safe in serenity. It’s just different. I think it’s tricky when you share a bed with someone. That bed is our shared space. Where we have conversations. Where we make love. Where we occasionally keep the other awake. The bed is lovely, especially when properly made, but it’s not a bed I’m inclined to pretend is a raft. I think it’s because it doesn’t fully belong to me.

In the old days, my bed was a place where everyone just kind of piled in and we hung out. Small children all in it together with story books or soft toys. Grown up girls doing each other’s make up. Sometimes, if they were very lucky, little girls having their make up done. It was a place for snuggles and giggles and opening birthday gifts first thing in the morning. It was a place to simply be. And to feel loved.

My sister in law’s bed is like that too. We all just go in there and pile up on the bed. Sometimes the TV is on. Sometimes there are books or computers or tablets or smartphones. Sometimes we just all get in and talk and talk. Kids, grown ups, boys, girls. It doesn’t matter. We get in her bed and without even knowing it, pretend it’s a raft. It is one of those rare places I feel nurtured without having to do the nurturing.

When my heart was freshly broken, I came to be with Sundance. Her sweet husband went to sleep elsewhere in the house so I could sleep in bed with Sundance. She helped me heal as we talked quietly in her bed. We poured each other into that bed after we’d had way too much to drink. Her bed was a raft that I didn’t have to be in alone at the lowest point in my life.

I have a friend who has the unbreakable rule that no one is allowed in his home. He never shares his bed. I sometimes wonder if he feels like his bed is a raft in a safe way, of if it’s a raft in which he drifts, lost at sea. I respect the desire for privacy. For boundaries. No one in your sacred space ensures safety, but it seems to me a lonely life.

Pretending the bed is a raft means something different to each of us. Our bed means something different to each of us.
Your bed can be a haven. Or your bed can be the place where you live your life. Your bed can be a playground for children. Or a sexual playground for adults. Your bed is a place to rest your weary head.
You can share your bed or choose not to share it.
The bed I share with YBW is the place for us to be together.
But, my bed is a sacred place. The place I feel safe and sound. It is the raft on the feeling sea.
And even though it’s now the beautiful and comfortable place for our guests to lay their heads, it will always be my cocoon. My space.
If you’ve been invited into that bed, know how much you are loved.

Categories: around the house, love, me, on being a mom, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

least smile as you go by

Let’s end the afternoon with a little Zee Avi.
This is The Book of Morris Johnson from her album, Ghostbird.
Please listen responsibly.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

for that is the only place to truly live

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I long to remember how live fully in both fantasy and reality. To know my imagination is free to create absolutely anything. To know that I’m as grounded as humanly possible.
You need both roots and wings. I know that’s rather a mixed metaphor, but I honestly believe it’s the truth. If I am safely rooted in reality, I have the ability to spread my wings and soar into fantasy.
I can remain grounded in the real world at the same moment I am King of all the Wild Things.

Most grown ups do forget the delicate balance. Most grown ups don’t believe in fairies. Most grown ups are far too busy to play. Most grown ups don’t embrace the child within.
I am not that kind of grown up. I will never lose my sense of whimsy. I will always remember how to play. I will always always believe in fairies. I’m a grown up and oftentimes I want to actually be a fairy.

Peter Pan told Wendy, “You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”
The place between sleep and awake is where grown ups can remember how to live fully in both fantasy and reality. The trick is being able to do it when you’re awake.
Peter Pan also said, “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” So many grown ups doubt they can fly. I believe I can fly because I work every single day to remember how to move freely between the fantasy and reality. For that is the only place to truly live.

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in remission

I am thrilled and overjoyed to share the news that the darling young man I wrote about in inexhaustible love and loving yourself is now in remission!
He is cancer free!
We are celebrating with love and light and joy.
This was an arduous journey, but he went the distance and he is a hero! I am in awe of this lovely young man. Of his younger siblings and of his father, and his mother, one of my dearest friends.
He had so much love and positive energy coming at him, cancer had no choice but to vacate his body.
I am proud to call this young man one of my brood. My love for him is true and inexhaustible.
He took cancer head on and kicked it in the nutsack! (a little bit of testicular cancer humor for you)
My cup runeth over!

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

happy birthday to Thing 2

Today is Thing 2’s nineteenth birthday!
My sweet angel baby has been in the world for nineteen years.
She is a miracle. She almost died twice before she was eight weeks old. She’s a fighter. A survivor.
I went into the NICU to see her before she was even twelve hours old. I reached to touch her little hand and she grabbed my finger so tightly. In that moment my whole life changed. I fell in love in an entirely new way. In that moment I knew she was going to be fine. She was so strong, that tiny little girl.
She is my gift from God.
She is light and love and deep dark feelings. She of the waspish tongue and deliciously dry wit. She is hopes and dreams even though she’s forgotten how to hope and dream.
I love her more than the moon and the stars.

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

chaos and big love

Oh God! Will it ever stop raining? ~ The Saw Doctors

Chaos rained down in big fat drops!

My birthday was actually quite lovely. YBW surprised me by staying home and greeting me with kisses and pressies as I woke up. Then took me to my favorite “dump” for breakfast! Heading into work late, he dropped me off with Sundance. She and I went to see her folks and had a little lunch with her mom.

Graduation was long, but not at all boring. And though he’s not “really” my kid, I was filled with love and pride as Thing C crossed the stage in his green cap and gown.
The added surprise of seeing a girl who was absolute best friends with my own Thing 1 from the time they were four cross the stage brought me so much joy!

I woke Friday morning (Friday the 13th even…my favorite!!!) to the news that my darling friend and mentor’s beloved died the night before.
Yes, he had been ill. But after the news of “four to six months” his illness took his life in one short week.
I started my drive to Charleston at four o’clock Sunday morning and spent the next three days loving my friend through her initial grief. There was much wine and laughter and some sadness as we celebrated the life of this man we all loved.
She kept thanking me for being there. Truthfully, there was nowhere else I would have been. My place in the world in those days was with her. There was no question. I was where I belonged.

I was able to squeeze in time with my sister-in-law. (I got to keep her in the divorce, the love we share made us sisters in our own right, it just so happens she was the former husbands sister first.) Got to spend time with my nephew and niece. That little girl is a bundle of kookiness if I ever saw one! She so reminds me of Thing 2 when she was that age. All “chatty Cathy” and bouncy arms and legs, trying so hard to be grown and still so little. She’ll be ten next week. I can’t believe how quickly the time passed!

I came home in time to celebrate Thing G’s birthday on Wednesday. Celebrating sixteen is so different for boys than for girls. It isn’t quite as big of a deal. Thing 1 had a huge “Punked Out Wonderland” party for her “sweet sixteen”. Thing 2 and I spent the day at the spa…facials, manis and pedis and lunch. She didn’t want a big party. That’s her personality though…

Last night my Arizona friend and her two daughters arrived! So much Robynbird joy!! They’re here for the weekend and then just as they leave, her eldest son rolls into town. Getting to love two thirds of their family is nothing to sneeze at!
She and I will go to the ballet this evening while the girls go visit old friends.
The oldest sister, my Goddaughter, just woke up and now we’re going to have tea and visit before everyone else gets out of bed.

Yesterday afternoon, YBW and I were up the street at our neighbors for cocktails. I remarked that I felt like I hadn’t seen him in a month!
It feels like I got on a hamster wheel on my birthday and just yesterday finally got off. The last ten days were fast, furious, and chaotic, but filled with great big love.
It’s time for me to keep the love but say “Bye Felicia” to the chaos…I need the rest.

Categories: death, love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

mother’s day

I struggle with Mother’s Day.
My birthday is always the week of Mother’s Day. Sometimes even falls on that particular Sunday. I don’t remember it bothering me until I became a mom. First one precious little girl and later, two precious little girls called me their mommy. They were SO focused and excited about Mother’s Day that my birthday often fell by the wayside.
When they got old enough to understand, I explained how much I loved their beautiful appreciation of me. I explained that I was their mommy every day. That it was the most special thing EVERY DAY. But that my birthday was only one day and it was special. It took a bit for them to get it, but they knew how important I made their birthdays and they began to come around. So while Mother’s Day remained special, “birthday birthday” became the focus that second week of May.

Mother’s Day is painful for me because I don’t have my mom anymore. However complicated our relationship was, she was my mother and I loved her.
I took Thing C and Thing G to get cards for their mom. I went with YBW to get a card for his mom. I spent the day with YBW and his mom.
It was agony.
I no longer have a mom. It hurts more than I can even communicate.
Thing 1 called to tell me Happy Mother’s Day. She thanked me for being her mom. She talked about the life she’s building. She talked about going back to school. She told me she sent a little gift, but it was going to be late. She told me how much she loved me.
My heart sang with joy!
Thing 2 did nothing. (I don’t know if she was being purposefully hurtful or not…I honestly don’t think it matters. It was hurtful enough.) People that I did not actually give birth to called and texted to wish me Happy Mother’s Day. I’m just sayin’.

When my girls were little and I was teaching preschool, I was blessed to be surrounded by some of the most truly awe inspiring women I’ve ever known.
We were a family. If something happened to one of us, joy or sorrow, it happened to all of us. These women helped me realize who I could be. They let me help them see things from my unique and sometimes brash perspective. (I may or may not have publicly accused the director of being on crack at a faculty meeting…in my defense, it opened a new way of talking about a serious topic.)

When I started this blog I promised my family and friends anonymity. That’s why I never use anyone’s real name…apart from my own. My girls and Sundance have expressed their ambivalence regarding this promise. I keep it because YBW is especially protective of his identity, and the identity of his sons. I respect that. Nobody “signed up” to be part of my public words regarding my private life. I want to keep those who need to feel safe feeling safe.
That said, I’m going to use the names of the women from that perfect moment in time when we lived and loved and worked in the safest and most creative environment.

It kind of started this way:
On Sunday, Nicole posted in our private group chat:
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!! I would not have survived young motherhood without you all!!

I was thinking something along those lines when I was washing my hair that morning. I was thinking about some of the women that influenced my life. What I learned from each of them and how I incorporated that into my parenting style, and into my own personal development.

I learned from my mom that always having to be in control will wear you the eff out. That it breaks you and makes you miserable. My mom taught me the value of creativity and expressing opinions because she squashed those out of us as children. She taught me that love is conditional, you must be exactly what someone wants or they can’t love you.
She taught me that you just have to keep fighting for what you believe in. She taught me what true sacrifice looks like. She taught me that a color book and box of crayons eases heartache. She taught me that birthdays are the most important celebration, because the day you came into the world is sacred. She taught me to love books. She taught me Elvis is the King. She taught me that being redhaird is the most precious gift, and that only a few of us ever have the luxury to receive it.
Some of the things she taught me made me a better mom because I did the exact opposite of what she did. Love is unconditional. Creativity and expressing yourself are the most important life stills to possess.
Some of what she taught me formed my most basic ideology. Birthdays are sacred. New crayons are priceless. Books are uniquely portable magic.

Nicole taught me that organized chaos is a great way to raise children. She taught me that love is fierce. She showed me how to see things through the eyes of a child. She taught me the value of true and long lasting friendship.

Jessica taught me that I was more capable than I ever realized. She taught me to listen differently so I could truly hear. She taught me to ask the most important question: What’s best for children? She taught me the value of my own mothering. She taught me when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. She helped me believe in myself at the lowest point in my life. She showed me the fire in my belly still had embers to nurture. She loved me when I couldn’t love myself.

Becca encouraged me to trust my gut, because she never seemed to be able to do that for herself. She taught me to appreciate every contribution. She brought out even more nurturing in me, she needed and still occasionally needs to be taught self-love. She taught me how innocent kindness can change lives. She taught me that my tough as nails hide could benefit from softening up a bit.

Terri taught me to see my firstborn in a new and different light. She provided much comfort and support when I was struggling with learning how to mom a three year old and a new and extremely sick baby. She was an example of love and tenacity through her own terrible illness. She taught me how to approach the enigma that is the three year old with the perfect mix of fear and appreciation.

Nancy taught me that I must embrace and celebrate my gifts. She is the first person who said out loud that I am a writer. That moment caused a change in my life that I will be forever grateful for. She supported me with love and hope when I didn’t know who or what I really was. She taught me that life is so much more than simply putting one foot in front of the other.

Marianne taught me that letting go is so much better than holding on too tightly. She taught me the importance of repetition. She helped me realize that a classroom was one of the most loving environments in the world.

Cory taught me that I matter. She helped me understand how to be a mom and a real person too. She accepted me for who I am. She guided my learning of that most important skill. I’m not great at it, but I am working at it every single day…even all these years later.

Julia encouraged me to take risks. She helped me realize that fear is a part of life, but if I didn’t try new things I might miss out on something extraordinary. She taught me a new kind of patience.

Sara gave me the courage to breathe when I needed to take a step back. She showed me the importance of kindness when Thing 2 and I experienced serious separation anxiety.

Like Nicole, I would never have gotten through young motherhood without these women. The gifts they gave me have gotten me through the last twenty two years.
It takes a village to raise children.
It takes a village to raise parents too.

I’m so blessed to know and love these women. I would not be the woman I am without experiencing their love and support.
I saw Becca this weekend, we talked about how those years were a sacred moment in time. We will never be able to recreate that, but we’re lucky enough to forever be better mothers and better women because of it.

Categories: education, love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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