The first week of summer vacation started with a sneeze and a cough and 3.5 ear infections (2 for Max and 1.5 for Zoey) poor babes. So far we have laid low turning down 3 play dates, abandoning vacation bible school (sorry Jesus), and learning another lesson in letting go. (Funny how these opportunities for learning find us?) I have tried to limit screen time, one reason is because my children engage in prolonged imaginative play and practice problem solving. Their creativity astounds me! In the picture above they are driving into “infinity…” Which then initiated a conversation regarding if there is a beyond infinity? Now I’m not a quantum physicist but I said, infinity goes forever, “forever? It never ends ever?” Nope.
Now many parents might not share my excitement for summer, but I am excited. I am excited to be with Amelia full time! I’ve missed her so much. I love her and who she is and the lovely kid she is growing up to be. I am so honored to be her mama.
Max is in heaven now that Amelia is home. He missed her so much last year. He thrives with people, he is not introverted. Amelia is a bit of an extrovert and introvert. We will need to communicate to protect her much needed down time from her gregarious brother.
This school year was sandwiched with transition. At the start, with the birth of Zoey in September and at the end of the with a diagnosis of stage 3 cancer road tripping to the Mayo Clinic. Both experiences have been hard on my eldest child, Amelia who also started and completed kindergarten. It’s been a hard year for her, lots of transitions. Some overt, like above, some a bit more hidden in her space, her personal experience with our world. A place I can try my best to understand, but will never fully experience. This is part of her individuating from myself and my husband, and it’s sometimes appears to overwhelm my 6 year old. But she needs to stretch, not until it’s painful, but until she feels the release in her own time, I her own space. When it is too much, I want her to know I am here, we are here, to support her, love her, and be her haven. We all need a haven. Some of us never had the soft landing, the unconditional acceptance of our parents. As I raise my children I see more and more how this was lacking in my own childhood. I am blind, not really sure how to do this, how to provide a soft haven for my little chicks, but I’m trying while simultaneously creating one for myself, within myself. And this might be the best example my children see is a woman, their mother, accepting herself as she was, as she is, and for who she will become. To see their mother love herself, not in a way that diminishes or distracts from her love for them but mirrors it.
Schools out for summer, but the learning never stops.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Mary Oliver, Dream Work, Grove Atlantic Inc., 1986 & New and Selected Poems, Beacon Press, 1992.
Living in a “small big city” some people become regulars in the day to day hustle. Like “Guitar Dude”, an older man likely retired who I see often sitting enjoying his joe and strumming. I usually notice him while driving, but Thursday I had the luxury of sitting outside with Zoey and taking in the tunes and the sunshine while enjoying my own cuppa.
He wasn’t playing any particular song – often just tuning, his ear to the upper bout. Nonetheless it was a slow moving moment of community, a sense of contented calm, a sweet smile on my babes face stretching her neck in curiosity. It felt like I am “home.” Thanks Guitar Dude for being you.
I often trade creativity for a clean home. The predicament is I have an overwhelming sense of failure when our home is in disarray. Learning to let go of the voice in my head, the voice that says,”remember you told yoursellf you would keep a clean home when YOU were a parent.” It’s absurd, but I feel like I’ve down my inner-child. Again. But, in consolation, regardless of the devolved state of our home I’ve ALWAYS allowed my children to have friends over. Which was another childhood mantra I promised myself, “If my house is too messy to let my kids invite their friends over, then my house is too messy.” So at least I’ve got that.
My Amelia has nearly completed her first year of school. Our kindergartener no more, she will soon be a first grader, “In ten days mom!” She likes to remind me daily counting down each day. Yesterday I attended a production at the Ordway with her class of doe eyed six- year-olds. Myself along with her teacher and 2 other parent volunteers weaved a thread of 27 children through 3 blocks of down town streets (due to construction). Keeping them in a line almost seemed criminal, because there was too much for them to explore, but for safety and time’s sake we gently coaxed them into the building and into their seats, not losing anyone along the way. (Thankfully!)
We saw “Step Afrika” which is an African American dance group promoting educational excellence, teamwork, discipline, and commitment through the arts and “stepping.” They were electric! The children were enmeshed, moving their arms and tapping to the beats. Amelia was a bit overwhelmed through most of the performance, so I held her close. (My girl has a hard time in loud busy environments.)
It was blessing and no small feat to be available for her yesterday. Though we parted with tears because I needed to jet away to pick up her brother and sister, she said she was so happy I made it. So was I. Being fully present for our children, no matter their age is what matters.
Love, love, love – hanging clothes out to dry. Hello Spring. Nice to meet you again.