Friday, September 22, 2017

Better

One of my favorite bloggers, Karen at Chookooonks, has lost everything (both cars were totaled, their home completely destroyed due to water, nearly all of their material possessions gone) as result of Hurricane Irma.   And yet she continues to write with such grace and steadiness.

I have so much admiration for people who can remain calm in the face of chaos.  It is an area that I will improve, must improve....  Inevitably, life will test us all in ways we can't imagine and in our response and reaction to those tests, we realize who we are.  

She concludes her post with a line from Former President Obama (how I miss him!) and says, "Ever forward.  And while it doesn't feel accurate to say that things are "good," things are definitely better.  And as Obama says, better is good.  In some cases, really good.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

True North

The compass rose is nothing but a star with an infinite number of rays pointing in all directions.
It is the one true and perfect symbol of the universe.
And it is the one most accurate symbol of you.
Spread your arms in an embrace, throw your head back, and prepare to receive and send coordinates of being. For, at last you know—you are the navigator, the captain, and the ship. - Vera Nazarian



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Parenting with a thought from Glennon

Each of us must carefully decide what our job description as a parent will be.  Mine is to raise J into a courageous young man who can love and is loved.  He is confident and secure.  He has passions worth chasing and work ethic that will carry him through the storms.  He is curious and kind.  Respects his parents for the humans that they are - imperfect but always well-intentioned.  I hope he sets healthy boundaries with how the world treats him and how he treats the world.  I hope he travels and sees things very different than what he's ever known.   The job of a parent is complex.  I am a student and not a day passes that I don't wonder how I can do it better.

A thought from Glennon: 
I always feared that my babies’ pain was my failure.
But if learning to step into life’s struggle is my warrior journey, isn’t it theirs, too?
More than anything, I want my kids to grow to be a brave, kind, wise, resilient humans.
...
So what is it in a human life that creates bravery, kindness, wisdom, and resilience?
What if it’s pain? What if it’s the struggle?

The bravest people I know are those who’ve walked through the fire and come out on the other side. They are those who’ve overcome again and again - not those who’ve had nothing to overcome. They are the ones who no longer avoid the fires of life - because they have learned that they are fireproof.
What if we are trying to protect our kids from the one thing that will allow them to become the women and men we dream they’ll be?

Maybe our job as parents is not to protect our kids from pain, but to hold their hands and walk into their pain with them.

If we want to invite our children to be Love Warriors, we need to look at them and say: “I see your pain- it’s big and it’s real. But I see your courage, too - and it’s bigger and it’s more real. That fire won’t burn you up, baby, You’re fireproof."

Last night at bedtime you read to me (you know many of your books by heart).  Growing, growing, everyday!  

Monday, September 18, 2017

Belonging

In college, I filled most of my electives with sociology courses.  As an adult, I never get tired of Brene Brown and other sociologists.  I'm almost always reading something - currently Bowling Alone - previously One and Only, which blends psychology with human social tendencies.

A primary theory is Social Bond Theory.  Originated by a criminologist, Hirschi argued that social bonding in its four stages, attachment, commitment, involvement and belief, minimize the likelihood of deviant behavior.   Most research agrees that "belonging" is a primary human need.

In 2014, we moved to the suburbs.  A nice place with the promise of a wonderful childhood for J, easy living and space galore.  I was surprised to realize that it was not a fit for me.  I felt extremely isolated on my acre of land, simultaneously claustrophobic and alone at the end of my cul de sac, and uninterested in the child-centric lives most of my neighbors appeared to be living.   I began to daydream of moving to the city when J finished high school.  He was three.

Life didn't have to be this way.  Just because I purchased the home that we thought would make us happy, didn't mean I was obligated to it for the next 15 years.  A strong real estate market meant selling the house was fantastically doable.  In April 2017, I sold the house and moved to Cambridge.  The need for an intentional life was stronger than the fear that I might be wrong.

And here we are.  In a lovely community.  J has made, and continues to make, so many friends in the building.  I am reconfirmed of my decision every time a little neighbor pokes her head at our window and asks if Joe can play hide and seek before it's time to go to bed.  I am energized when I open the window and see people walking, jogging, and riding their bikes on the bike path behind our place.

This weekend I coordinated a BBQ for the residents of our building.  It was a fantastic turnout! Neighbors from the UK, France, Italy, Switzerland, China, and all over the US joined to break bread and watch the kids run around.  The kids played for hours just like I had dreamed, but never saw, in my previous suburban neighborhood.  For a moment, there was only clarity.  This was where I belonged.





Tuesday, September 12, 2017

My friend, NW

In 2011, I took my first trip to the Pacific Northwest.   The water, the mountains, the evergreens, the coffee and the people really spoke to me.  I felt relaxed and happy.  It was a fantastic trip with my old college roommate.

Last week I returned for 4 days with my childhood friends.   We focused the trip on Oregon - visiting wine country, the coast, Portland and Hood River.  We went white water rafting and drank plenty of good wine.  It was as great as the first time I visited.

Both trips made clear the great friendships I have in my life.  Similar to sisters, we have known each other for a long time.  We have also celebrated marriages, babies, new homes and promotions. We have gone through divorces, illness, difficult families, job changes and relocations together.    We move through life - its highs and lows - together. True friendship is unconditional and loyal. Supportive and energizing.   It gives and it takes, depending on the season or the need.

Cheers to my girls and to the Northwest, friends forever.



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

First Day

Off you go to your first day of Pre-K.   You're in a new school (St. Joseph's) and you were both nervous and excited.  Mama and Daddy brought you in, you had a new backpack, your first lunch from home and you found some friends and started playing cars right away.   You told us - bye mama, bye daddy.... and off you went.

Our happy boy!   You make us so proud - I don't have a doubt in the world that you'll do great!



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Next Generation

We had our last day at Next Generation, Andover last week.   It was your first true school experience and you adapted really well!   You were shy in the beginning but we made sure you were in the same class with Emma, you were happy to see a familiar face.   In time, you warmed up and found a best friend in Max.   You two loved to play police on the bikes at recess and bristle blocks and legos during free time.

As the year continued, you got really comfortable with all of the kids.   Your teachers said it was a great class - I could feel that.  You all got along really well and mixed up who played with who.   You would introduce James and Robert to your Grammy when she picked you up...  you loved when you got assigned a "job" - lights, meal helper, line leader....   

You weren't sad to transition on to a new school. You tell me you're excited to start St. Joseph's. You have handled the changes this year so well.   I like to believe it's because the people in your life - me, your dad, Grammy & Papa, Tia Ane - are the rocks that ground you.  You never doubt how loved you are.  I admire your ability to be flexible and adaptable.  It is a gift that will always serve you well.  

Onward we go, little angel.  A new chapter awaits.