Day #23

Conflict… not my favorite word.

Definitely not my favorite thing to do. And although I have evolved in my ability to handle it, it eats away at my body.

I walked today, on the phone most of the time with a friend enduring conflict. I walked and noticed the contrast from the angst in her voice to the peace in the trees… We try to control so much as humans: ourselves, others, the environment… I just feel that in doing so we cause so much unnecessary conflict. Why do we attach ourselves to an outcome, an ideal, a expectation?

Because it’s human, I suppose…

I walk and talk and breathe and hope for the best.

I think there is so much we could learn from nature. It’s so intricate but not at all moody. It’s so powerful but not all arrogant. It’s so vast but not at all demanding. Maybe I should take those characteristics into MY next conflict…

Nature also expresses itself without fail, without fear, and without fakery. It is what it is and never apologizes for what it is not. Maybe I should take that with me as well…
I tuck these nuggets into my jacket pocket and walk along to the human voice that pleads for understanding in a conflictual world…

A vibrant purple and pink sunset over a shadowed neighborhood.

Day #22

Today, nothing has gone quite as I had expected.

Not enough time to get ready this morning. Accidentally putting a hole in a closet door. Not being able to print tickets. Adalie getting in a fight with the lipstick and the lipstick winning. The canon blast in the Nutcracker production that about made me come out of my chair. Getting home late. Rainstorms rolling in. Adalie passing out at 7:45pm. It was a day and a series of unexpected twists and turns–and no walk in sight.

About 9pm my Love says,”I’ll stand and watch you if you want to walk down the hill to the stop sign and back. It feels amazing outside!”

The rain had stopped for a moment so I grabbed a jacket and took off. It was not amazing… it was SUPER windy and cold! Another unexpected turn of events!
But as I walked up the hill and saw him waiting for me, the warm glow of the Christmas tree in the window, the assurance of a softly snoring girl dreaming her night away, I realized this… life will throw me curve balls and lemons but I am one lucky girl who has both Husband and daughter who adore me.

And that, my friends, is all I really need.Man sittin on a tailgate with a christmas-light-emblazoned home in the background.

Day #21

It’s an odd feeling to observe your child on “the outside.” I know exactly how she will react to things almost every single time at home. The dynamics are set, the routine is steady, and the rules stay the same. But last night and today I was merely present with her at two different parties and the behavior was fascinating. To see her interact with other children, try new things, and observe and adapt her own behavior based on those around her, made me realize a few things:

  • I way underestimate her and I have much to be proud of in her. She went out of her way to be kind and make others (especially younger or shy) feel comfortable.
  • She went out in a crowd of perfect strangers and skated her heart out while singing despite her uncertainty on skates.
  • She continually put herself out there at a birthday party where she didn’t know anyone but the birthday girl… introducing herself, giggling, and talking with everyone at the table.

Blonde child skating with assistance in a purple and red rink.It also made me realize the importance of adaptability and resiliency. And I may not get it all right on this parenting venture; however, this weekend watching my girl, I know I’m not getting it all wrong either. This leads to a deep sigh of relief and about 7 seconds of not worrying about her.

In the spirit of change, we drove instead of walked tonight. We packed the dogs in the crew cab, stuck Adalie in the front between us, and with hot chocolate and Christmas-light-scavenger-hunt-list in hand, went for a long drive. We oohed and wowed at lights and music and decorations. Until two tired puppies and one sweet girl whined to go home.

He came around to my door to help me with a sleeping Adalie.

“This has been the happiest year of my life,” he whispered, taking her to her bed.

I teared up… Adaptability and resiliency win again.young-girl-sleeping

Day #20

Today is Friday. This is the most profound thing I will say this post.

The weather was yucky again so I decided to hit the treadmill at the gym. Not my favorite, but desperate times and all…

I have a confession about the treadmill though. Secretly, I love it. I love setting the speed and knowing exactly how fast I’m going, how many calories burned, how many miles gone. I love the fan in my face. I love not having to watch where I am going. And my favorite… sticking the buds in my ears, cranking up the music, and zoning OUT!

In my head, I am grooving, singing, jamming out. On the outside, I am a respectable adult human.

I don’t think deep thoughts. I don’t worry. I don’t even plan my next move. I just breathe, sing at the top of brain, and smile. Sometimes–zoning out, taking a break, setting a pause–is the best thing you can do. Sometimes–thinking it through, feeling it deeply, talking it out–is not an option. And sometimes, you just need to have a liberating dance or cry or whatever sets you free… today I danced on a treadmill.

It’s a good day my fellow travelers..A POV image looking down at brightly-colored shoes walking on a treadmill.

Day #19

Faces glow with health and wealth
Of love returned mightily,

Linked arms support each other in grace and awkward equally,

Voices dance together in passion and mirth harmoniously,

Feet step together, a concrete picture of abstract melding lovingly,

Hearts beat as one, knowing how to love and be loved blissfully,

I walked with my Love today, and it took my breath away, endlessly.

Day #18

“Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

A cloud-speckled sunset over dormant trees, with a path to the left, leading off into the horizon.
We walk along and “shoot the breeze” and hold hands and just be…

The inevitable comes up… the future… our plans… what to do… who to be… finances… stability vs. dreams… confusion, angst, uncertainty…

We are dreamers! he and I… and I adore it about us. We go on long treks across the U.S. in an RV. We travel to Ireland at Christmas and China, just because. We own land and have a small hobby farm. We have successful online careers that allow us to come and go as we please… In our dreams

Some days it’s a burden on my bones. Because I talk of all the things we could do, should do, would do–and I become so discontent with where we are NOW.

I shake my head a little and we keep walking. I notice a cat and a sunset and a warm hand wrapped around mine. And for now, it is simply enough… until we dream again…A tabby cat looking mischieviously up from the bottom of a concrete drainage ditch in dusk lighting.

Day #17

Relief is a beautiful feeling. A stomach un-knotted. Shoulders lightened. An unexpected moment to breathe.

Today has been laced, sweetly and simply, with relief. And it brought a smile every time…

Medical tests results that were good after years of uncertainty.
Extra time to get caught up at work ended with an empty “to do” list.
Paid leave so a fella could give his body rest when it needs it most.
Dinner cooked when arriving home from work after 6:00pm.
Tickles, giggles, kisses, and joy together before bed time with no attitude or arguing.

Relief… one of the simplest pleasures life has to offer, if we take notice.

My final moment of relief was upon having such a crazy, busy day–my Love walked a mile in my shoes (figuratively), and will share his thoughts with you tonight.

Click or Tap to read his post.

As I sit here now: pjs, hot tea, and good book in hand, I wish you all a good night my gentle readers… I wish you all blissful relief.A green tea cup with panda bears perched on a lap with a backdrop of pin-striped pajamas.

Venison with a Side of Exhaustion

The Mrs. wrote a short post today about relief. You can read it here, if you didn’t get here through those means.

Relief can come in different ways at times. Sometimes, it’s a relief to have fears confirmed, because at least there is closure. Other times, it’s a relief to find out there is nothing to worry about. I took a walk today, for the Mrs, and as I walked I considered the leaves under my feet, the scents in the air, and I observed the random thoughts that flooded my mind when I let down my guard.

I walked to the Mrs.’s mother’s house to fetch an armload of venison that was to be prepared for when she got home from her very long day of counseling, teaching, and foster-care interviewing. I considered the warm welcome I got when walking into “Mimi’s” home. Two smiling faces, welcoming me with cheer. Two happy dogs eager to receive my affection. Oh, and an arm-full of assorted venison.

As I departed, my heart was full with this thought: Home is a beautiful thing. It knows no geographical location, nor is it limited by any physical constraints. Home is where they love you.

The walk home was filled with thoughts of all that needed to be done. Anxieties were fully felt, and I allowed them to pass by. Again I focused on yellow tree leaves under my feet, the smell of burning wood in fireplaces, and the bite of the cold on my lips.

I acknowledged the perfection in nature.

I appreciated the work those trees did in producing that leaf that now lies dead up the blacktop. I appreciated the scent of smoke from the trees that now serve a different purpose. In those few moments, I chose also to appreciate myself and those around me.

Why? Because I’m actually alive. And in choosing to appreciate, I’m choosing to acknowledge the incredible work that goes into even one element of order in this world. One successful relationship, one completed project, one well-deserved evening of exhaustion.

And as the Mrs. and I ate our venison and veggies, we appreciated the light cast from our Christmas tree. We appreciated the savory flavors and aromas from our meal. And most of all, we appreciated the presence of a fellow world-worn sojourner.

We found life in our shared experience… of exhaustion.

Day #16

Progress is sometimes hard to see, hard to know. It’s like the colors at dusk changing– subtle but constant.

An image of a path lying before dormant trees in the last lingering light of the day. At times, it peaks in glory and color and we see the culmination of all the work and planning.

Sometimes it shifts slow and steady, one step melting into another until we’re there.
The path never stays straight or short as we trod to that next hope. It’s curvy, it’s rocky, and it’s exactly the right way, every time. And hopefully, we get the opportunity to share it with someone we love… this journey toward progress.

I just walked and talked today with my Love. We dreamed future dreams. Discussed bold decisions vs. reckless actions. Held hands and laughed. A mile and a half later my heart knew progress toward hopes yet unrealized.

Talk about your dreams my dear readers, for in speaking you find courage to create the life you love.

Day #15

An led Christmas light display in the figure of a Poinsettia flower.It was dark when we got to the park. The air was crisp but refreshing. The lights were glorious and all around.

There was only one problem… a terrorist was following me around. She was female, long blond hair, about four feet tall. And she calls me, “Mama.”

Most days I love that title as it rolls off her tongue and straight to my heart. But today, right now, it came only with demands.
“Mama, fix my gloves.”
“Mama, I’m hungry.”
“Mama, follow me now.”
“Mama, stay behind me, I said!”

And this was after her complaints about the new jacket (too puffy), the new gloves (too hard to hold things), and new hat (honestly, I’m not really sure why she won’t wear the hat–I don’t think she even knows!) had all been voiced all the way here.
Inwardly, I cringed at her attitude, her tone, her words.
I tried ignoring. I tried stern talking. I tried distraction. I tried playful interaction to lighten her mood. None of it phased her for long and she was back to “terrorist” status.

I struggle in these moments. I believe strongly in healthy attachments. I recently read an article about doing “time ins” rather than time outs so you don’t teach a child that they are only acceptable as people when they are happy and perfect. I see this as a vital concept. I also believe children need their parents to help them organize and regulate especially when upset. I don’t generally agree with leaving a child who is spiraling out of control in a room alone. As a counselor, I rarely see good come from this scenario.

But damn it’s hard to connect with and support a child who is acting hateful.

We get home from our “fun” Christmas-lights walk. Dinner, PJs, a show, and brushed teeth later, she is flat out refusing to go to bed. I have had enough. But thanks to my meditative, although un-peaceful walk, I am prepared to discipline and not punish.

“You’re going to bed without me tonight because I am not going to reward your disobedience.”

Wailing, crying, yelling, tears, pleading, and sniffling later, she finally falls asleep.
I left the door open, I left her lamp on, I checked on her every 5-7 minutes. I kissed her, wiped away tears, and tucked her in. But I did not sit down, rub her back, or read her a story.

She knew that she was loved but also learned that it’s okay to be alone with unsettling feelings. It’s a lesson most adults are still learning…A young girl standing mezmorized inside a tunnel of dancing lights.