Day #95: Safety, Love, and Contentment

After a grueling week of training, I was thrilled to finally get a “rest day.” It was also the much anticipated trip to Tulsa to watch the Sleeping Beauty Ballet.

It was quite the experience to get to our seats… having had a late breakfast we mostly snacked on the way there… this proved to be a grave error as little love got car sick in a potato chip bag just minutes after changing into her beautiful dress… she did so well though…we walked in the foyer, threw the bag away, and went straight to the bathroom to wash her hands and face. She never cried or really even whined… I called her my trooper the rest of the night. She was proud of herself.

As the ballet started and progressed, I felt the tears as always… first in my throat, then teasing my eyes. It seems as if any time I watch art… become… I have this reaction: at ballets, plays, and symphonies, to name a few. Because first of all it is truly like creativity breathing and there is something so magical about being in that moment with an artist.

Secondly, I can never NOT think about all the hours and work that has gone into giving me this experience and I am always overwhelming grateful. The artist picked up the brush and started with one unsure stroke, the dancer with warm ups and blisters and hope, the musician who has practiced every day for the last several decades. There is a nobility in fine tuning one’s craft but there is a joy in watching their art come alive on stage.

It made me appreciate the marathon training more. Made me feel confident that I could endure four months of training to create the finish line moment. My art in the making!

P.S. My favorite moment of the evening was little trooper sitting on my lap with her head leaned up against mine and feeling the pressure of my Love leaning against her on the other side. It dawned on me that she will not remember the details of this show or even possibly forget her unfortunate meeting with chip bag, but she will hold this moment of feeling completely safe, loved, and content in her heart.

And that is all a mama ever really wants…

A mom and daughter with heads together smiling down at the camera. adalie-dave-and-busters adalie-and-craig-at-dave-and-bustersBearded man with short hair and brunette woman with heads together smiling.

Day #29

Today was Winter Solstice. The shortest day and longest night of the year. Of course, there are many scientific reasons that today is what it is. But being humans, we have assigned it festivals and traditions, ceremonies and celebrations dating back and back and back. What I love about Winter Solstice is the opportunity to reflect…

I thought–as I made hot beef stew and gluten-free cornbread–about the hours I have spent in the kitchen this year. I love my kitchen, to me it represents nurturing. I cook and play here. I feed hungry bellies good, healthy food. I give life to the bones that live under my roof. Cooking has become such a powerful skill set with allergies and autoimmune deficiencies. I have seen the ability of food to bring illness or energy. I no longer underestimate the importance of food to our bodies. I have learned much this year in my kitchen.

A girl painting pastel colors onto birdhouse sections.
Adalie carefully painting the birdhouse.

I reflected as my daughter painted a bird house to help those little creatures through the winter. I thought of all the hours this year we have observed nature. How it never ceases to inspire awe. How it teaches me lesson after lesson when I tune in and listen. How it changes me, guides me, inspires me to be a better person. Every time I walk in to a quiet moment with nature, I never leave the same. I have learned much this year in the outdoors.

I laughed as we decorated crumbling sugar cookies. But even all falling apart, they were delicious with icing and sprinkles. And isn’t this the way of life? This year is probably one of the first in my life I didn’t have a “plan.” I ebbed and flowed with what came and went. It wasn’t always easy, but it was always beautiful. I have learned much this year in the everyday moments.

And I observed as we walked silently, except for the jingle of bells. A tradition started last year to teach my daughter how to walk quietly (you can’t be louder than the bells). I saw a

A man and a girl acting silly in the light of colorful Christmas lights.
Craig and Adalie before the meditative “jingle bell” walk.

husband that loves me endlessly with no reservation. I saw a little girl wild blond hair flowing behind her, free spirit growing inside her.

The absolute basis, for me, to all life is my connection to others and these two are my foundation.  I have learned so much this year from these relationships and so many others.

And as I sit here now, watching the glow of the Christmas tree and taking stock of my life. I realized something appalling… 2014 has been the best year of my life! In the past, I have always ended the year thinking, hoping, believing that next year “has to get better.”

For the first time that I can ever remember, I will end the year content with my life. While I am excited to see what 2015 holds, I am no longer desperate for it to change my world. I’m not sure if this is so much a reflection on my year or on myself, but either way–I’ll take it.

A platter of sugar cookies in assorted shapes.
Cookies make everything better.