Love and Loss

My
mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and
being.  I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the
tune.
 

~Graycie Harmon


Recently on my FaceBook profile, I wrote in my status that I wished we could talk about that which we most feared.  I wrote this because lately I have wanted to talk to people about death, even their own, but haven’t felt that it is socially acceptable.  Who am I even to feel I have the right to ask them about what might very well be their greatest fear?

But if we can’t speak truthfully and honestly to each other, what right have we to call each other friends?

I hope that I never let that opportunity to pass me by again.  I hope I have the strength to put what is most important first because it hurts to feel that I didn’t say what I was led to say,  that I stifled a responsibility — even if it’s just known between God and me.  May I be so open not just with friends but with my own family as well.  I must teach by example radical love, a lovingkindness that will leave an impression unmistakable, unforgettable, yet so subtle as to be felt without words and blatancy. 

We do not know the number of our days.  We may not know until the very end when our work here is done.  In that simple knowledge, we live our lives.  In that knowledge, we trust that every moment we share is significant, that we have work to do, even if it’s just offering a smile of maternal love, an assurance to a friend, or accepting that we do not know but surrendering ourselves to that which is Good.

May Wendy‘s soul rest in peace, her love surround her husband and boys, friends and family.

The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks. 

~Carrie Latet


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Season of Christmas

Weeks leading to the season of Mystery.  Joyful days of Christmas, living into the heart of the mystery itself.  The Church’s New Year begun.  Days left on the calendar year.

Where to go from here?

Quite obviously, I took time away from the blog-front to finish up the last-minute gifts.  Now I have to deal with the consequences of house neglect and the incoming gift explosion.  But more than that is the continual contemplation of my life as it is.  My husband says this next year is “the” year.  It’s his 30th.  I think I thought the same for my 30th, too, but that has come and gone.  I’m hesitant to say life is what it is with a sort of resigned sigh, but that’s what comes to mind.

Unfortunately for me, I have a hormonal challenge to overcome this week of weeks to bring back the optimist in me.  I hope to make the right lists, the right resolutions and the right choices.  I’m barking at the kids to make the right choices.  They know what is right and wrong (i.e. be kind, put things back,etc.).  I know what is right and wrong, too, supposedly.  Often, though, I don’t make the right choices, either.

So, here’s to getting the funk out of the system, to making the right choices and to living lovingly and simply.  Our T days this week will include lists, lists that I hope will help me in the coming year.  If they help you, consider it a late gift.  đŸ™‚

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A Birthday, an Anniversary

Ten years ago yesterday, my husband and I went to our 37-week check up to find out that we were going to the hospital to be induced due to pre-eclampsia.  I was huge and swollen but felt fine.  I wouldn’t be going back to class, though.  (I was still in college at the time.)

Ten years ago this evening, around 7:45 to be more accurate, our baby girl was born in the hospital, and I morphed from a pregnant mama into a mom — drugged, clueless, bewildered.  I had just done the hardest thing ever, experienced the greatest pain ever, was in the hospital for the first time in my life as a bed-ridden patient, and now I was responsible for a baby I couldn’t even see or care for properly.  It may be easy to understand now why I work closely with pregnant mamas and support other mothers.

I teach Bradley classes to help all who want to be healthy and know about the process, all who don’t want to walk into their birthing situations not knowing what’s going on.  I serve as a doula selfishly because it is a window into a sacrament of life, in my opinion, but I also sacrifice my time to help others have a more calm, peaceful, empowered birth.  I hope to advocate for mothers, to help them when they feel they need it.  In my ten years as a mother, I have learned these things can make all the difference.  All these things help mothers in their role, in their lives.

Being pregnant and mothering is not always easy.  It’s hard, frustrating and exhillarating all in a day, with windows of peace of calm (and not always just when the kids are sleeping, though that helps).  Time is our best teacher.  We cannot always go up to a woman and tell her the things that will make her “job” as mother easier.  I don’t know that I would have listened and heeded such advice.  Many of us have to experience it for ourselves, learn in our own time.

So on this, my daughter’s tenth birthday, I also celebrate the anniversary of my motherhood and revel in all the lessons I’ve learned along the way, a few of which I share on this blog, most of which I’ve either internalized or will experience again and again until at last I truly learn what it is I need to know.  I’ll always be learning.  Whether we have one child or four (or heaven help you if you have more!), we will never fully know or understand everything.

As I kiss the kids good-night I always wish them peace and love and hope that when it’s their turn to be parents, they will know more than I.  We do the best we can with what we have, which may sound cliche, but it’s true.

We didn’t plan the timing of our first child, whose birth was also induced, but maybe that’s what I needed to become the mother I am.  Maybe I needed the divine intervention because Lord knows if I knew what I would be getting into, I may not have been humble enough to choose this route!

Blessings and gratitude to my eldest child and to all us mothers who should celebrate our motherhood daily if for nothing else than for the fact that we are doing our best.  The rest is out of our hands.  Here’s to the decades to come.

*Cheers!*
 

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A Selfish Mother

She looks like an ordinary woman, except maybe her quick smile and honest eyes.  Before long you notice her children, the whole lot of them.  Now she’s a mother, and from the looks of it, she has her hands full; she has your sympathy.  Then you start to talk to her.  She’s kind and smart.  The more you talk, though, you notice that you start to hear some of her interests but the list keeps going.  Wait a minute.  She’s a mom, right?  She doesn’t have time to be doing all that stuff.  What about being a mom, being there for the kids?

This might be how I describe a selfish mom.  At least, it’s how I might, hypothetically speaking, describe myself if I were to meet her for the first time.  How should I feel about this?  How do you feel when you realize that your commitments in the day take the focus off of the kids?  Maybe this doesn’t happen to you, but you’ve probably met women like this.

Are mothers so stereotyped that we have a guilt complex if we don’t fit the bill?  Isn’t that why working mothers often experience or receive so much grief?

I know mothers who seem like the “perfect” mom.  They have lots of kids, homeschool all of them (though some send them to school), and every moment of their life seems to be for and with their kids or the family as a whole.  I admire that . . . because that’s not something I can do.

First, I was a young woman.  Then I became a wife and mother.  Always, I will be a woman through it all.  I cannot imagine my life when I forget that I have my own being to nurture, too.  The wife and mother that I am suffers when the woman that I am is not loved, supported, growing.  Can you relate to that?

Rather than calling ourselves selfish, why don’t we just say that we’re wonderful women, and as such, we make better mothers.  Maybe then the “perfect” moms can pause and take a breath for themselves.  Or maybe they are so perfect because they already know how to do so in each breath, and I just didn’t notice, being too busy judging and all.

Let’s sit back and enjoy the day, our kids, all the shtuff we do for everything and everybody.  While you’re at it, mark a day in your calendar for a date with yourself.  Do something nice for you.  I plan to go to a writing workshop on Sunday, that will make my second one.  Indulgent?  Perhaps.  Necessary?  Absolutely.

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Cleansing from a Mother’s Perspective

lemons_yellow_fruit_240661_tn.jpgToday marks Day 1 of my Master Cleanse.  I promise I won’t carry on about it, but if I need an outlet, I might add some in the comments sections here.  I mentioned before that I was considering a cleanse.  My body has been giving me cues that I need to do something.  Just as with my house, I need a drastic makeover . . . or, rather, a start-over.

The most challenging part will be cooking for the family while I drink my “lemonade,” preparing snacks while I drink water, facing meal times with my glass and watching the rest of my family eat.  To get everyone to the table, we have to sit together.  Chaos ensues if one person gets up.  (Think of The Breakfast Club — “If he gets up, we’ll all get up.  It’ll be anarchy!”)

Sometimes we have to take drastic measures for our benefit.  My kids have lost all their toys before and got back only half.  They never missed the other half.  I need to seriously consider my personal habits and decide which I need to keep and which need to go.  I need to do the same for all the stuff hidden in my kitchen cabinets.

In the end, I’ll have a new perspective and a new lesson learned.  In the meantime, I’ll have lots of time to do other things while I’m trying not to think about food.

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How Do We Do It?

One thing at a time.  It’s not one day at a time.  It’s like labor.  You cannot take another ten hours of contractions, but you can take this one right now.

Perhaps it was because of my 37-week pregnant belly, my rambunctious two-year-old and my five- and seven-year old chattering at me that I got a lot of sympathetic looks and comments that basically said, “I don’t know how you manage.”  It’s not much different now that I’m not pregnant and the kids are all a couple of years older; just add an attached 18mo to the mix of older siblings!

I understand a little more when a man says he doesn’t know how I manage, but often it’s women, especially older women or those with fewer children.  To the mother of fewer, I do it the same way as you, as I mentioned above.  I just may have to take more breaths, or gasps, as the case may be.  The older women amuse me because many times they say they even had as many or more children than me but cannot recall how they made it through.

The truth is that we do what we have to do, and maybe nature plays another one of those mind tricks so we forget how difficult life, especially childrearing can be.  Undoubtedly it’s every bit as difficult as childbearing, if not more so!  Se here we go, off to do more breathing.

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What Is EverydaySimple?

In the era of internet, my husband and I have had this domain for years. Just now are we using it for something other than an e-mail address. But what does it mean? If it’s the title under which I’ll be submitting a blog, shouldn’t I have a clear idea? After eight years, don’t I already know?

Most of us would probably like to live every day simply. We want our lives to be easier, and we’ll listen to all the tips and tricks that will help simplify our lives. Perhaps I’ll have something to offer along this line. If I do, rest assured that I’ll share.

Everyday. Simple. At best, it is a way of being, part of the journey and process. From my perspective, it is being a wife, mother, woman, seeker, educator, advocate, each in their right time and in balance. It’s having a home, a garden and hobbies, perhaps even some work that brings insight. It is taking the complications in life and mulling over them just enough to find the reality, the truth and humor. For me, it is a recurring lesson. Every day, life is simple. Everyday life is simple. Being a parent, a partner, a friend — all simple. I picture a Buddhist monk handing me a cup of tea. “But don’t you see how hard my life is?” I wail. He smiles omnisciently. “Have some tea.” “Don’t you understand? It’s difficult. Hard. Everything is so complicated!” He puts the tea in my hands. “Everyday simple.” We drink our tea.

This koan of sorts will remain with me. Perhaps it means more that what I even thought. Chances are, probably not. It is probably much simpler than that. Let’s just enjoy this journey with the understanding that we don’t have anything figured out. We’re just taking the lessons as they come, finding love and laughter along the way, and trying to keep everyday simple.

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