anxiety, discretion, friendship, leaving home, life lessons, love, moving, sisters, Uncategorized

Before The Sun Rises

Hi Deb,

You have helped me through these last few weeks more than you know.  And my gratitude is inestimable.  Thank you for understanding that new chapters are exciting and daunting, bold and frightening, hopeful and rife with doubt.  That I swing between these extremes from one minute to the next, like the proverbial cradle in a treetop.  A precarious position from which to observe one’s days, let me tell you.  Have I snuggled in yet?  Hardly.  Right now I feel like I’m invisible in my own life.  My son and daughter-in-law and granddaughter know me, her family has welcomed me warmly.  And that’s all I know.

And that’s all who know me.  Well, my neighbor Mike – who has graciously welcomed the Sirs, despite Archie’s early morning sun salutations that arguably could wake the neighborhood.  Poor guy, he spent his life with acreage separating him from the rest of the world, so he and Bogey could greet the day with unbridled enthusiasm and only risk the ire of some late-rising birds.  He really doesn’t understand why I’m telling him to ‘shhhh’ at 5:00AM.  I’d like to know that someone knows I’m here, but not necessarily because my dogs insist on it.

Because of my geographical challenges, Andy keeps encouraging me to purposefully get lost each day and find my way back to home base.  Funny guy – his rationalization for my GPS not being updated, I guess.  I’m lost already – and I’m sitting at the kitchen table!  Oh, and did I tell you how I took out my side view mirror as I backed out of the new garage?  Yup – thought I saw a snake (it was an extension cord).  And you wonder about my hesitation to just go?  I’m intrepid in my imagination – it’s safer.

Ah well…life transitions.  I’ve never been good with them as you know, though I’m damn lucky that they happen despite my reluctance.  Just when you feel like you’ve got one aspect of your life down, fate yells “Plot twist!”.  Children grow before you’re ready to let them go; newlyweds get used to each other and morph into something familiar, but different from that frenetic excitement; our inside age begins to disconnect from our outside appearance; life laps at the shore as we’re standing on the boardwalk wondering what the hell just happened while we were looking for the concession stand.  I keep looking at everyone else and wondering why I’m not getting my feet wet.

The truth is this is the perfect time to wade in – because no one knows me, because I am not really visible.  I can try anything I want and it will make no difference one way or the other.  But for the fact that I tried.  And that’s what I’m slowly starting to understand.  I spend so much time fretting over what I did or didn’t do, wondering if I’ve pissed someone off, what I could do to make a situation better – it’s kinda exhausting honestly.  And I don’t have any power other than to try to be a decent human being.  To love wholeheartedly and let go when asked, try and be a little nicer to myself as I haltingly begin to walk to the shore.

And so I circle back to you – and your loving reminder that I’m not untethered, that I belong even if I’m not sure at this point where I am.  Your refusal to let me deflect the conversation away from me (and we both know I’m pretty good at that).  Maybe it’s just knowing that you remind me I’m ok, that you’re my sister,  and when one is loved, precise coordinates aren’t necessary.

discretion, humor, life lessons, love

Sex And The Single Bird

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I lay no claim to being an ornithologist – but I’m telling you, spring is most definitely in the air in the bird kingdom.  You should see and hear what’s going on in the trees around our house.  It’s a veritable conclave for coming together (so to speak).

Apparently cardinals are monogamous, but the guys still go through a very touching courtship routine each season.  They ask their prospective baby-mamas out for a date.  I gather this tryst is always about food – no ice-skating or movies involved.  But if the meal is good and the guy is cute, he can seal the deal if he sings well.  Personally, I have heard some very impressive trilling lately.  And my hunch is that he’s got to bring something more than a McDonald’s Happy Meal if he’s hoping for a long-term relationship.  It’s good to be discerning I think – regardless of your species.  And I think it’s good for the kids to see their parents being nice to each other.

Now, the male robins show up a few weeks ahead of the girls, to scope out neighborhoods, do a little house-hunting, and sing threateningly to establish property rights (I guess this is analogous to going to a closing on one’s house).  Far be it for me to let them know that what they perceive as threatening sounds pretty damn glorious to me.  When the ladies arrive, things move into a mode similar to “The Dating Game” (yes, this dates me significantly).  The female has her choice, gets to ask a lot of questions (do you believe that parenting responsibilities should be shared; would you describe yourself as a romantic; if you were a human, what kind of human would you be, etc) and once she chooses her mate they head off for a brief honeymoon at some undisclosed location up the street.

We have a lot of different birds around here – I’m just mentioning these two types because they’re the least intimidating.  And because this topic could get a little tedious.  Let’s just say that turkey vultures courting other turkey vultures is nightmare-worthy and so frightening to Bogey that he barked at the sky for twenty minutes after witnessing their efforts at seduction.  There’s just nothing romantic to be said about turkey vultures.  Unless of course you’re a turkey vulture.

So as the buds begin to wink suggestively, promising more beauty yet to come, there’s even more salacious activity going on within their branches.  Listen up, it’s the music of love.

 

discretion, friendship, inspiration, life lessons, love

Considering A Legacy

Soulgatherings.wordpress.com provides a daily quote that invariably touches me.  Sometimes it is the words themselves, other times it is a thought that adheres to my brain and requires my attention for hours at a time.  Either way, it’s all good.  Yesterday’s poem by Carol Adrienne is fresh in my mind –

“Our purpose, I believe

is not a thing, place, title or even a talent.

Our purpose is to be.

Our purpose is how we live life,

not what role we live.

Our purpose is found in each moment

as we make choices to be who we really are.”

I had the privilege of circling in Fran’s orbit for twenty-two years.  She was my brother-in-law’s mom – no true familial connection that I can trace, yet a connection that I felt deeply.  She passed away last week, quietly, without pain, turning her slumber into what I hope is a new chapter in a story none of us fully understand.  Her son is choosing to remember with happiness and grace, the amazing woman he loved so deeply.  Denial?  Perhaps.  I’m not judging, for it would be hubris to suggest how one grieves.  That said, I think he’s on to something.  It resonates when thinking about what Fran would want.

What was remarkable about Fran was her insistence that she was not at all remarkable.  She raised two children, worked side by side with her husband and loved unconditionally.  Her life may not have been perfect, but it was perfect in her eyes.  Her son, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, niece – all human, all subject to the qualities that define our humanity (the good and the less-than-ideal) – could not be more marvelous, gifted, loving, generous.  She would not brook any complaints, whines, dissatisfactions – her purpose was to live with love.  Period.  Fran didn’t try to change your point of view to hers; she changed your mind because you would look at her face and see a sense of peace that few reflect so consistently.  And so you’d wonder what she had figured out that completely eluded you.  And you’d want to spend more time with her – if only to bask in the reflected light that she saw in everyone.  I can’t imagine how it must have felt to ever disappoint her and she would never tell you.  Fran left it up to you to figure it out.  How one human being treats another; how we show our love to those we ostensibly hold the closest.  She taught you by showing you, there were no words or reprimands or chilly shoulders.  She lived her love.

And though it’s been a while since Fran was at Thanksgiving, she will be remembered next Thursday with wine glasses raised and full hearts.  For to have known Fran was to be given a chance to see someone live her life with the highest purpose; to be loved by Fran was to have your heart opened to the incredible power of simple goodness.  Safe journey Fran and thank you for those many mornings all those years ago, when we watched the sunrise as your family slept, and wondered aloud at the fantastic serendipity that brought us to those two chairs by the sea.

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anxiety, discretion, friendship, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, music

Why Is Patience So Important?

“If you want to know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees.” — Hal Borland

It seems that in the fall, I spend a great deal of time feeling tremendous respect for trees.  More than the richness of their colors and the dignity with which they prepare for their fallow season, I feel humbled by their grace.  The manner in which they bend when the wind demands their attention;  the stately pride with which they accept that time will effect its plan.

A good friend of mine has been on a fantastic roll lately.  Meeting new people, finding that her voice has more range and depth than she imagined (reminds me of Katy Perry‘s song “Roar”).  Her life – her new life has reflected  her enthusiasm, zest and openness to the thrill of possibility.  I’ve shared in this delight of course, just as I am here today when the rhythm slows, the endorphins need replenishment and the bubbles are now on simmer.  Nothing is wrong, yet what happened to the effervescence?  The days of delight?

Jo wonders about her ‘next whatever’, feeling that its elusiveness is akin to a burr under a horse’s saddle.  Itchy and unsettled, we spend many an email considering the what ifs, could bes, and shoulds – and we end up back at the reality that life is going to unfold whether we are patient or not.

Patience.  The art of being still.  Of understanding that there are fallow periods, which require only that we gain strength and sustenance and an understanding of who we are becoming.  There’s something a little unsettling about it I think.  It took me two years to undo the pleasurable and neurotic remnants of working in biglaw.  To finally realize that the primary takeaway – the only takeaway – is that I made a difference, perhaps to a few people over the span of decades.  I choose to hold onto some cherished memories.   I didn’t leave the firm with grace in my heart – a story for another day perhaps.  I struggled to understand that my next whatever would be as serendipitous as the one I had just experienced.  I still do (struggle that is) – just not as much.

I write a lot about duality; it’s so much a part of our human construct.  Yet in the fall I look to the trees.  They are indomitable and unfazed, welcoming both bird and squirrel, a child’s foot nestled between its trunk and branch.  Silently knowing that regardless of preference or wish, hope or daydream, the most important element it brings to the fall is its presence.  Its being.   Time I think to take a moment  under the trees, sway under the harvest moon and just watch life and love unfold.

discretion, life lessons, love, parenting

To Honor A Memory

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If my mom were here to celebrate her birthday, she would be eighty-six years old today.  It seems a bit surreal to think that she has been gone for eight years.  In our eulogies, both my sister and I acknowledged that she was a complicated woman, and arguably a complicated mom.  That was said and is written,  within a far broader context of how deeply she loved us and how much we loved her.   Not a day goes by…

I spoke to my parents everyday.  And when work kept me from my 9AM call, my assistant would call her to tell her I would call later.   It was a simple thing to do;  it made her feel good.  Honestly,  I remember sometimes it felt like a requirement instead of a joy.  She knew I spoke with my dad everyday until he no longer could (often acknowledged with the half-serious comment “you always loved your father better”) and I knew that if I ever curtailed those calls she would be deeply hurt.  Ironically, I still look at the clock at 9AM and feel the incompleteness that comes with a conversation that no longer occurs.

Why do I write something about mom on her birthday?  Because I want her memory to remain as alive to my children as it is to me.  Because I want those who know me to know that she was a remarkable, vibrant, artistic, beautiful woman.  Because some passages take a very long time to find one’s way through, and it’s possible that some  never really end.  Because my beloved niece still wears her grandmother’s gold whistle around her neck.  And because when my sister laughs so hard she ‘strips her gears’ (as my dad used to say), it evokes a delight in my heart that reaches far back to another place and time.  Dad and Deb laughing so hard they’d eventually start to hiccup and mom’s laugh bringing her to tears as she would hug her stomach with a delicious pain.   I was good for a laugh.  Don’t get me wrong – I was also good at causing my share of frustration too.

I re-printed her obituary from the New York Times last year and I will do so again this year.  Perhaps wherever she is, she will know how much she is missed,  how much she is loved and how today each falling leaf seems to echo her name.

“….Dee was the loving mother of daughters Deborah…and Mimi… .  She was the proud grandmother of Matthew…, Aaron…, Tess…, Seth…, Spencer… and Paul…, and generous mother-in-law of Roger … and Andy… .  She was the devoted wife and indispensable partner of the late Jack W. Jerome.  Dee was born and spent her early childhood in Vienna, making her one of that shrinking cohort who experienced and survived the monstrous storm of Nazi violence.  Her father and mother, Michael and Miriam Intrator, took the family out of Austria shortly after the Anschluss, making their way first to Belgium and then through occupied France.  The family made its way to Portugal, where on August 16, 1941, they found passage among the 765 other refugees on the Spanish freighter Navemar – one of the last voyages of escapees from Europe.  Dee’s children and grandchildren bear in their hearts eternal, existential gratitude for her family’s valor and persistence.  Her intelligence, humor and immense energy were a gift to us all.  Our family is particularly gladdened that Dee lived long enough to know of the safe return earlier this month of her eldest grandson Matthew, from Iraq, where for the past year he has served in harm’s way the country that gave his grandmother safe haven.”

My dad died shortly before Matt left for Iraq.  Mom waited for all of her grandchildren to be home and safe.  I refer to that time as the year I didn’t breathe, for all I knew was that I drew breath when I knew Matt was breathing – and we weren’t in touch enough for me to know with certainty that he was ok.  There are some things I’m just not prepared to write about – my heart censors my fingers.  As it should be.  The point is not to return to that time, but to remember that today’s mom’s birthday.  And she would have been feted and celebrated.  As it should be.  So for mom – your birthday is etched in my heart.  I miss you.

 

discretion, friendship, inspiration, love, mindfulness, motivation, Uncategorized

Beautiful Blessings Remain

Last week, my wondrous friend Lori (donnanddiablo.com) sent me one of John O’Donahue‘s exquisite blessings.  I used to consider myself well-read – until I met Lori;  moderately well-rounded – until I started following David Kanigan (davidkanigan.com), a tad lyrical – until I found Bill (drbillwooten.com).  I also considered myself to have a modicum of some other qualities that have been brought into some question now that I am an avid fan of many of your blogs (and I could go on, but you know from my comments how highly I think of you very, very talented people who enrich my life so often).  Creative, courageous, innovative, funny, unbridled – some of the adjectives that come to mind..

Anyhow, Lori and I are connected in ways too cosmic for me to fully understand.  Our emails cross each other in the cyberspace almost daily, each of us thinking of the other simultaneously.  She can intuit when something’s wrong, and I will feel a shadow across the sun if Lori is troubled.  That I can sense something is ‘off’ with Jo for example, seems to come with breathing – we’ve known each other longer than we have known ourselves.  But Lori and I began in tune without ever having met.  I find it incredible and awesome.  I feel this way about all those I love – each is a blessing.  Corny?  Mea culpa.  Is there a way to say this without sounding corny?  Probably, but this is a reflection of my limitation with the language nothing more.

I hadn’t heard of John O’Donahue.  How I could have missed such beauty?  So I share this with you – though it is Lori who should be thanked for this introduction.  After emailing with a friend of mine earlier this morning, thinking about how we test ourselves and occasionally torture our thoughts and hearts, it seemed only right that I pass this along to you.  I hope you receive it in the spirit with which it is given – with hope in the sunlight.

A Blessing For The New Year

On a day when

The weight deadens

On your shoulders

And you stumble,

May the clay dance

To balance you.

And when your eyes

Freeze behind

The gray window

And the ghost of loss

Gets into you,

May a flock of colors

Indigo, red, green

And azure blue,

Come to awaken in you

A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays

In the curragh of thought

And a stain of ocean

Blackens beneath you,

May there come across the waters

A path of yellow moonlight

To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,

May the clarity of light be yours,

May the fluency of the ocean be yours,

May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow

Wind work these words

Of love around you,

An invisible cloak

To mind your life.

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discretion, friendship, inspiration, leadership, life lessons, management, mindfulness, motivation, training, work life

Sometimes I Get The Message

There was a comment waiting for me this morning that was posted on my “About Me” page.  It was from a manager with whom I used to work at the firm.  She moved on to greater professional opportunities years ago, and we keep in tacit touch on LinkedIn.  And though I remember her in detail, from her reluctant smile, that once shared lit up her entire face to her ardent wish to ‘do the right thing’ for her department – I never really expected to receive such a gift.

“Mimi, I saw this recently and thought of you.  So many times as a leader I reflect on your teachings and I am so very thankful to have them in my toolbox.  Thanks for the Lollipop and for the ones I’ve received because of you.”

And she forwarded along this Ted video.  And I cried (no surprise there).

www.ted.com/talks/drew_dudley_everyday_leadership.html

And the bottom line to all of this?  Be transparent, bring joy, offer people the best you have and if you can’t give them your best, certainly don’t bring them your worst.  Sometimes the farther one travels up the professional food chain, the more likely it is to see people getting by with the most off-hand and dismissive of efforts – after all, there is so much one has to do (yes, this is sarcastic).  I am humbled and honored that Vivia took the time to send me this.  I am appreciative of the reminder that this is really what it’s all about – period.  And my lollipop of choice?  Tootsie pops, hands down.

anxiety, discretion, humor, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

You’d Think I’d Know By Now

I recently received a comment about one of my posts, which I have let drive me crazy.  The person (whose blog I read regularly and enjoy – particularly for the  fabulous photography) wrote candidly that he didn’t read my posts frequently because he found them “too sweet”.  Now before you say anything – this isn’t a referendum on whether he’s right.  He’s right – I’m not the type to disabuse anyone of their feelings and after obsessing about this for days now, I see his point.

I assure you I’m not all that sweet.  Well, I’m sweet, but I have as many snarky moments as the next person.  And I can be sarcastic.  And if you’re a friend or relative of mine, I can be an absolute lioness – with both chuffing and growling sounds perfected.  You get my drift, though believe me I could go on and tell you all the reasons why I can compete with the best provocateurs, devil’s advocates and cynics.  Just ask Andy.  But I digress (again).

What gets me is how much I let this thought consume me.   I have held onto this like Archie covets a new bone.  The circuitous breeze in my head blows relentlessly and none too gently.  “Have I become saccharine?”  “What do I want this blog to reflect?”  “Is it honest” “Am I still thinking like Pollyanna?” (answer to this question is  – yes).  “Do I have anything new to say or have I become Mimi One-Note?”  “How much do I want to put out there”  Of course, the answers change direction depending on the time of day, the state of my hair, and whether I have eaten recently.  As of this writing, I’ve decided that I’ve got to let it go.  Must be time for lunch.

I began this blog with a thousand different ideas about what I wanted it to be like and then zeroed in on a year’s worth of entries that I could print out and give to my sons – a somewhat morbid, but well-intended gesture for them.  I’m now well into my second year and I can’t see giving them a flippin’ tome, so what am I doing now?  Honestly, I have no idea.  Given that I’m a big believer that certain answers come with time, I’m giving it time and just moving forward.  What I do know is that I’m as transparent as I feel I can be.

On Monday we were out to dinner with friends of ours who have had a really challenging year.   Her son was diagnosed with a serious illness, she was just laid off for the second time in less than a year.  The company he works for is on the brink of going under.  And yet, there we sat genuinely aware that we were all beyond lucky.  First and foremost, her son is much, much better – and that offers a perspective like nothing else.  We live in far better circumstances than most people in the world.  We laugh – a lot.  We know love.  We’re more aware that the concept of happiness is not something that is a given, rather more like snatches of sunlight between the cracks in a day.  The key is in noticing those spaces.  I’m trying to look for them, choosing to find them.  I don’t want to miss my chances, for the weather changes with little warning.

Lately, I’ve been acutely aware of time speeding past.  When the hell did I become 59 when I still hold on to such immaturity?   I’m not ready to age-out of life just yet and would prefer to be in the game with some well-preserved naiveté and faith in a whole bunch of things that are bigger than me (note to David Kanigan – no height comments here, pal).  I’d rather be acknowledging the spaces in-between and delight when I find them.  Pollyanna?  You betcha – though I don’t do braids.

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anxiety, discretion, friendship, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

With Props To Ashton Kutcher

It’s kind of hard for me to give props to someone I don’t know much about nor have followed for his artistry or contributions to humanity.  To me he’s a cute guy who is starring in “Jobs” – and that just opened here yesterday, so how familiar should I be?  Oh yeah, he was married to Demi Moore – someone else I haven’t befriended (well, in fairness she hasn’t befriended me either, so…).

Anyway, this video is traveling the circuit that arguably could have been the Borscht Belt circuit before technology.   Although he was reaching out to a screaming bunch of teenagers (and skip the first 1 min 44 seconds unless you like to listen to hysteria), the message is ageless.  As we weave our own stories, jumping in and out of costume changes as we try on new iterations of ourselves…wondering how to make our next chapters meaningful while we re-define its definition…This is for us too.  Happy Saturday all.

discretion, friendship, life lessons, love

For Andy

Although our anniversary isn’t until the 15th, we’re heading back to the mountains tomorrow to look at some real estate and see if there’s a weekend getaway home in our future.  As you know, the connectivity up there isn’t perfect, so I’m posting this early.

We met because of children, had children of our own and have held onto our own immaturity for more than twenty years.  Tess and Amanda –  two of the most edible four-year olds in the universe became friends, their moms (our sisters) started talking about their siblings and a blind date (did I tell you I swore I would never go on a blind date, marry again, or risk more than required by serial monogamy?).  We met at the harbor in Georgetown (I was waiting inside so I could see him before he could see me – moi?  self protective?).  I walked up to him and say “Hi, it’s me”.  Andy insists he knew right away.  I just knew he was very cute and interviewed me more thoroughly than any candidate I had ever spoken with in my HR career.  Before we were done with drinks, he had gone through his checklist; I was just getting giddy.  I was being interviewed!  And I laughed – a lot.  I still am.

Andy made plans – not just namby-pamby plans – concerts, trips to B&Bs, romantic restaurants.  I was blown away.  His generosity was unequivocal; he took notes the first time I was upset because he wanted to make sure he heard all I was saying.  Honestly?  That did it for me.  No one had ever tried to listen that hard.  Ironically, it’s not his strong point – but a lot is forgiven when you realize that this is the only person in the world who is going to make sense for you.

In twenty-one years you don’t have a tale that just offers giggles.  We’ve had our share of challenges, distances and silences, days of doubt and frustration.  Loss and anger, fear and uncertainty.  My health issues have certainly thrown us for a loop on occasion.  Me with my sneakers;  Andy with his games.  I read and escape in books;  Andy plays pinball and darts.  I was a parent driven by the word ‘yes’;  Andy needed reasons to answer in the affirmative.  I’m always early; he’s always late.  We can make each other crazy and we will always have each other’s back.  I have said before that he is the anchor to my kite – my tendency to fly away is far less precarious knowing that he is holding the string while he waits for me to come back to earth – so I will never get stuck somewhere from which I can’t return.

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So after twenty-one years – which have flown in more ways than they have crept, I am beyond grateful and acutely aware of blessings, as corny as that may sound.  I looked at him this morning and thought “my guy” – a thought I have had on more mornings than not.  I’m still having  a pajama party with my best friend – even if we are on different sleep schedules.  We played impromptu charades in the driveway yesterday and ended up in hysterics.  Whatever he maintains he knew  when we first met, I was slower to embrace.  But there is no doubt that we were brought together by familial love and have grown together with a bond that is cherished – both for its fragility and unbreakability.  It’s a wonderful life, and a wonderful love.  I love you Andy…

 

discretion, friendship, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness, parenting

Holding August

Many associate August with the fading days of summer,  final trips to the beach, last gasp efforts to take it all in so that some of that warmth can stay in our bones as we turn towards the fall.

Not me.  For me, it is a far more complicated month than that.  I was born in August, I got married in August and my dad passed away in August (these three moments in time did not happen in the same year if you were wondering).

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When you’re a child, summer birthdays are like always drawing the short straw.  Your school friends are away, so there’s no big birthday party.  I was always at camp, so I got to raise the flag, people sang to you at lunch and I was able to receive a call from my parents.  The good news was that the call usually came during swimming, so I managed to avoid the changing room.  But the whole allure of theme parties, giggles, gifts and giddiness are just not part of the summer birthday equation.  Over time, it all evens out – and one comes to appreciate that the celebration is not in the number of people surrounding you in the moment, but the number of people surrounding you always.  The reminder that to many you are special and loved, and to some you are just an afterthought.  I don’t say that with ill will – it is what it is.  I’m beyond rich in the love department – and I don’t need a day to remind me of that.

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Andy and I got married in August.  We get a little giddier this time of year – although it’s been more than twenty years since I broke out in hives under the chuppah and Andy and the rabbi walked me gently through my vows as my little one twisted his fingers in my dress asking for cake.  There were toasts – my dad insisted on reading his despite his failing voice and already-compromised health.  I don’t remember it all, but it began “Once upon a time there was a princess who met her prince..”.  His voice was hard to hear – even with the microphone – but the magic was clear.  The kids got their cake, my nieces jumped up and down with preschool exuberance, taking credit for this union (and were it not for their friendship their respective aunt and uncle would never have met).   We began our life with the knowledge that we weren’t lucky – we were blessed.  When we’re smart enough to remember this, we still are.

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And then at month’s end, I continue to say kaddish for my dad.  It is difficult to write about this without being maudlin, so I’ll aim for brevity.  He loved me in a way that worked for me.  I in turn drove him crazy.  When he left, he took all my secrets – every single one.  I censored little, though I’m sure he would have preferred if I had censored more; but I gave him all I had and I don’t think he ever doubted that.  And I ache when I think of him, I miss him with a longing that I can’t define.  Years ago I downloaded a voicemail he left me on my birthday – singing Happy Birthday and ending with “I love you sweetheart”.  I have to turn that cassette into a cd, just to hear him one more time.

Time – August plays a game with  my head when it comes to time.  I move from moment to moment without volition, allowing events and memories to wash over me as water from a cascading stream.  It has to flow in this way, and I have to follow its lead.  It isn’t easy, I slip, lose my footing, but ultimately remain standing.  Sometimes life compresses, other times it expands.  August is.

“No matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away.” — Haruki Murakami

 

anxiety, discretion, humor, life lessons, love, mindfulness

Is It A Women’s Thing?

We were gone for four days.  Four days, a mere three and a half hours away by car.  We try to do this every year – a long weekend with our kids, away from all the requirements of life as we define them when focused on our daily routines.  In the mountains, we are faced with intermittent connectivity, one tv (somewhat inaccessible) and nothing but the breeze and the vistas demanding our attention.

We played board games.

We talked with each other.

We napped (not together).

The guys golfed; my daughter-in-law and I read, spa’ed, and pondered nothing more serious than what to eat for lunch.

And I got the snippets that sustain memories and my heart…My son upstairs in the loft, while downstairs I could hear him sigh in his sleep.   He used to do that when he was a little boy.  Just a sigh out of the arms of Morpheus, tender and calm.  Listening to the melody of the kids caught up in unguarded laughter, oblivious to the delight it evoked in me.  Missing the one couple who didn’t make the trip this year.  Stepping out on the deck in the middle of the night and whispering thank you’s to the sky, so abundantly lit with stars that I was left breathless.   Another memory to include in the passage of time.

And then we got home.  And I become certifiable.

What is it?  Why do I feel completely obsessed with ensuring that the nest be properly feathered after such an abbreviated absence?  Get to the supermarket and refill the coffers (we were gone four days, there was only one woman here hangin’ with the Sirs – how much food was missing?  Not much), buy milk, extra coffee, juice, fruit…Laundry – after all, we must have sullied loads of clothes while spending a long weekend dressed in nothing but shorts and t-shirts.  Sheets?  Changed – though no one slept in our bed.  Quick trip to PetSmart for a treat for the Sirs who had to endure the indignity of being completely spoiled and coddled while we were gone.

One should never be her own therapist, for I am already scouring the DSM-V for my diagnosis.