Day #88: Cuddles and the Fear of Being Discarded

Today I reveled in having my little love around. She is often gone on the weekends to her dad’s house and while I understand her need for her father and agree that they should share a relationship, the selfish part of me misses her like crazy on the weekends.

Mr. Meander had to go back to Fayetteville for some new running shoes because the ones we bought Friday were too big, so he was gone a chunk of the day. We missed him terribly but set about to busy ourselves until he got home.

I took her to the indoor pool at the gym where we played mermaids and horsey and anything else her mind could dream up. We grabbed Sonic on the way home and watched “The Book of Life” together as we devoured our food (after swimming for two hours we were both pretty ravenous) and then cuddled. We colored together and talked through it all. It was an amazing day of quality time that was much needed for me and probably her too.

My biggest hope in all the world is that one day she gets how awesome she is and how much I love her. I spend so much time worried at his point that maybe I’m screwing it all up… I know every good parent feels this way but still… my greatest parenting goal is for her to always feel like she can talk to me about anything, that communication stays open no matter the age… my biggest fear as a divorced parent is that she will choose to get away from me at some point.

But today in the midst of play and cuddles, I laid down the future angst and I just enjoyed her. It felt good and without agenda, I should really try it more often.

Bearded man in black hat, sitting on couch with his arm around blonde girl, wathching television.

Day #87: Valentine’s Day and Living with Passion

Valentine’s Day… a day for romance and love… sweetness and hearts… passion…

And running. Today was our first long run (to me) at 8 miles. We had our little love this weekend so we asked Mimi to keep her while we ran (it was an awesome date, lol). We took off and about two miles in I was wiped out… thanks to different trails and gear… my passion for running was at its lowest and if I had been alone in the run I would have walked away for the day. But I wasn’t, so I didn’t. I trudged through… and as with most things… the endurance paid off and I picked up a second wind… I ended the 8 miles running although I could not run it all… it was a start… and it felt good to finish what I started… to taste the victory.

I thought about this as I ran… I thought on passion and how passion demands you to be all in… no sitting on fences, no pretending to be unbiased. I realized that I often fear becoming too passionate about anything or anyone because that requires me to become vested in how things turn out. On the one hand, I like this about me. In my job, it becomes important to give space for people to do their own work. If a counselor becomes too enmeshed it becomes difficult and often unethical. However, in my personal life, I find this is also a trend. If I don’t care too much, it won’t hurt if I fail, if the friendship fails, if the plans fall through.

The problem becomes that living without passion about anything means also living without profound joy, the taste of victory, the pounding heart of pride, the hot passion surging through your bones. So maybe I save myself a degree of pain, soreness, and possible defeat, but I also never know the sweetness of eight miles done and the lightness of victory at hand.

I hope through this journey that 2015 becomes my year to learn the impractical necessity of living passionately.

Bearded man in black hat, sitting on couch with his arm around blonde girl, wathching television.

Day #86: Blanket Tents

It’s Valentine’s Day Eve and we have the little love this weekend so we decided after her party at school to hit the road. Mr. Meandering had to get his new shoes at the running store in Fayetteville, so we decided to eat there. We found a pizza place on Dickson Street that actually has gluten free crust. It was amazing!

It’s rare that it’s just the three of us together relaxing. Most of the time we are either all busy at home or other people are around or she’s with her dad for the weekend. It felt nice to just enjoy one another and have dinner together. It was fun to listen to her stories, to watch her face light up, to hear him interact with her.

We got home and she asked to build a tent to sleep in for the night. While doing so, I realized the difficulty with fun for me as an adult. As I built the tent, all I could think about was having to clean it up the next day. I often do this kind of thinking… feeling guilty about everything I need to get done if I try to relax… forgetting to enjoy the moment because the laundry is piling up or dishes fill the sink. I think there is an element to this that is good and helpful in running a home, a career, a life. But on the flip side, it gets tiring… the to-do lists, the endless tasks that require more than I want to give, the time that slips away in the mundane, causing me to lose sight of my extraordinary life and all the lovely people in it.

So yes, I built the tent and she slept in it last night and was so excited that she was yelling, “I’m the luckiest girl ever… you’re the best mommy!!” And yes, I cleaned up the tent today with her help and it took about five minutes. So an extra five minutes to be remembered at that moment in time as the best mom ever… so totally worth it.

Brunette woman smiling, wearing a Mickey and Minnie Mouse shirt.

Day #85: Childhood-Wild and Free

I was sitting on this bench waiting for Adalie to come out of her school. First, I heard a mother scolding her child for honking her horn. Then I hear a daycare teacher hushing a group while she was waiting on the rest of the children. Finally, a little boy runs up to my bench, climbs up it, jumps off, and rolls down the hill in the grass. His mother, close behind, immediately starts in on him. Now he’s dirty, now he’ll get her car dirty, now she’ll have to wash his jacket.

And it all made me realize how hard we work to contain children. The wild, raw energy that’s so curious and uninhibited. Such beauty in their excited voices, their wild eyes, their never ending flow of body, and their wide, wide smiles.

I watched her later that evening, dancing around the living room in her sequins and wild colors. Her body vibrant with movement, her checks flushed, and her voice strong.

And I thought about what all we do to quiet that voice in a child. In the hallways and the lunchrooms, in the night hours and church services. We “shh” their comments and frown at their inquiries. I send her nonverbal cues that her continuous talking annoys me.

I didn’t want to run today. I’m still just so tired. But I got out there and I chose to do it, it wasn’t even too bad. But I thought as I ran about how life can feel like this run, obligated, serious, and necessary, but not fun. I vowed to enjoy my ball of fun as much as I could tonight with her loud ways, her literal comments, and her ever-changing moods. I vowed to enjoy her sparkles and laughter, her stories and energy. I vowed to love her tonight with as little control as necessary. Because we are given the freedom to be and express ourselves–why shouldn’t a child?

Young blonde girl with flushed cheeks asleep on a colorful blanket.

Day #84: Grumpy

Three miles after six days off from running. I’m easing back in…

However, my energy has been very low this week. Mostly due to lovely lady problems.

Therefore, due to irritably and emotionalism… this is all you get today.

You don’t even get a picture because I said so.

Grumpy face!

Day #83: Tearful Reunions and Exquisite Exhaustion

We made it home… and through the day… and for the day after coming back from vacation, that’s pretty good.

I went and had lunch with my little love because I hadn’t seen her in five days and I couldn’t wait one more minute. She didn’t know I was coming… when she walked in the cafeteria and saw me sitting there, her face lit up and her arms reached out for me before she even realized what she was doing. The pureness of wanting me was so sweet on her face that it choked me up a little. She came over to me and kept looking away… refusing to say anything initially… I thought maybe she was mad because she’s not a kid that particularly loves surprises. But as I looked closer, I saw the un-shed tears in her eyes. After getting a hold of herself, she turned around and the talking began 🙂 After not seeing me for five days, she had a lot to discuss with me.

But her prolonged pause reminded me of how I felt this day. Not really ready to jump in, not sure about how I feel, and maybe a little tearful. It was in this state of exhaustion and confusion I was able to pass out at 9:15 without a thought to anything else except the beauty of a little girl safely tucked in her bed, a pair of arms holding me tight, and my own marvelous bed.

Day #82: Childhood Daydreams and the Reality of Right Now

And now twelve hours back home… I’ve got work that needs to be done, pictures I can color, music we enjoy…

But it’s still a long ride.

I remember as a child loving road trips. We went camping frequently and I would beg to ride in the back of truck with the camper on it. We would pile up all our supplies and then I would make a bed on top and just lay back there by myself and daydream. I recall as a pre-adolescent sitting in the bucket seats of the minivan with my pillow propped and my headphones in and staring out the window just thinking the miles by.

As an adult I continue to love the open road, the distinct taste of possibility, the beauty of adventures not-yet-had, and the forced stillness in the holding cell between what is and what will be. But I wondered as I sat here today, what on earth did I think about so much and so deeply as a child, a teenager?

Most involved visions into my future, as I recall. Who I would marry… Where I would go… What I might accomplish with this one life… I’ve always been a planner, a dreamer, a doer…

But today I heard some news about a friend who is struggling with cancer. Way too young, way too healthy, way too close for comfort…

I’m thankful that science and technology have advanced to the point that prognosis is generally good. I hope her experience with this is as quick and painless as possible.

But what hits home for me is the reality that shit happens and it spares no one. No matter how “good” of a person you are, how health conscious you try to be, etc. etc. etc.

The rain just falls where it will… just and unjust included… and future daydreams seem silly in the vastness of all that is not guaranteed.

I find myself clinging to what today holds because it is all I know for sure.

The Illusion of Separateness & Ethical Responsibility

In the wake of WWII, a German pastor, Martin Niemoller (1892-1984), penned this poem:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–because I was not a Socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out–because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak out for me.

This wonderfully articulate quote speaks volumes concerning the paramount ethical importance of speaking out for minority views.

We may not directly see the immediate ramifications of minority views being suppressed, but from a globalized and society viewpoint, we will all experience those effects.

We may not fully understand how our current selfishness affects the coming generations, but without question, it will affect them. That responsibility is placed upon our shoulders to create a world in which our children and grandchildren can freely express themselves and lead meaningful lives, without the fear of subjugation based on personal preferences.

The spirit behind this quote is my reason for being an Ally for the LGBTQ community. It is the reason why I believe in providing a living wage for those who work hourly-wage jobs.  It is the reason I believe in conservation, and reducing manufacturing processes that are crippling the sensitive ecosystem of the earth, which we are leaving to future generations.

Regardless of philosophy or theology, it is inarguable that we share our very molecular make up with everything else in the Universe (even in the same proportions). In a very real and non-metaphysical sense, “We are the Universe aware of itself.”  There is responsibility in that truth. Responsibility to others, to ourselves, and to the Earth that bore us.

Watch at least the first minute of this video, and stand in awe with me, of our fascinating origins.

Day #81: Comfortably the Same, Tantalizingly Different

Today was surreal. I was in Albuquerque. I lived here for two years. And Adalie happened to be born while I was here… I got to show my Love the apartments we lived in, the mall I often frequented, and introduced him to several of my friends and co-workers at a late lunch. It was fun to listen to conversations all around because several of them had moved on and everyone was catching up on the who and what and where…

cottonwood-mallIt’s incredibly grounding to see how people change and don’t change in the space of time. I have this distinct memory of my experience at this school doing this job as a team with these teachers. And in a lot of ways I have frozen pictures of this time in my brain. Frozen moments, snapshots of events, whispers of feelings that tinge my recollections. I look around at the table… at personalities that still shine through, at physical features that remain true to memory, but I see growth, too. I see depth that wasn’t there, courage showing through in who they have become, and I feel so proud of these souls who have continued to evolve… some despite… others because of… but we all showed up a delicious mixture of being comfortably the same and tantalizing differentA man in a black hat and beautiful brunette woman drinking yellow Boba tea together in a mall.

This was also my experience with some of my favorites in Albuquerque… the BLT with egg I had so adored at Flying Star… very different although not bad… the Boba Tea in the mall I was addicted to… comfortingly the same and still just as decadent.


Day #80: Tread Lightly, and Laugh Loudly

Another day of skiing, another wonderful adventure…it was a bit windier today which kept things more…”interesting”…and cold.

We both only fell once today. Him while standing perfectly still, and me when the lift chair decided to give me an extra push… we laughed both times till we cried…

On the way back down the mountain, we stopped at the overlook and took some pictures. The aspens were breathtaking… they stood so white, so stately… so unassuming in their pale nakedness… and I could feel their energy… their whispering… as I stood there…

I am not generally a mystical person but I felt so drawn to these trees… I felt compelled to touch them, to take them into me… a reminder… “but for what,” I wondered… and then it sang in my heart…“tread lightly.”

Smiling brunette woman wearing heart-shaped glasses, purple beanie, and wearing pigtails.
I spent the rest of the day contemplating this… my mind took it all over… to Theodore Roosevelt’s similar advice to “speak softly, but carry a big stick” to thinking about the footprint I leave on this earth and what we can continue to minimize that we haven’t (we currently recycle and compost).

But it took on a completely different meaning for me that night at dinner… we met up with an acquaintance from my hometown and her significant sweetheart. She is a couple years older than me, so growing up she was a grade or two ahead of me. She was super popular, wealthy, and a cheerleader. She was beautiful and outgoing and smart. And to me, growing up knowing of her, she had it all. So I was nervous as I got out of the truck and headed in for dinner. I could have never dreamed or hoped for the shared connection that transpired. She is going into the same field I am in and we have similar interests. She is still beautiful, and outgoing, and smart… but as she shared her journey with me… the good, the bad, and the ugly, I listened in awe of how perception and reality are often so contradictory… and it reminded me of how we see people two-dimensionally and think we see it all.

We forget the depth, the shadows, the corners of a person that actually gives them sustenance.

It was a beautiful reminder to tread lightly because it’s so much easier to not know than to know… 

Smiling man woman bundled up on top of a ski slope.