Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Shared Story

I am certain that like everyone else, I should probably be sharing the ins and outs of my opinion regarding the results of the presidential election...but after five days of trying to collect them...I just can't seem to.

I remember the morning after--I'd barely gotten 3 or 4 hours of sleep and woke up to piece together peanut butter sandwiches for the kids' lunch containers, dark roast for the coffee maker, a quick shower for a work event and a blessing for my family as they headed out the door...and in those moments, there was a haze of disillusionment wondering, "how can I do this...the regular stuff...and just pretend that this big thing didn't happen?"

For some reason, as I was schlepping to and fro in the house, tired and bewildered, I remembered my grandmother.  She was extraordinary.  She was stunning on the outside and the inside.  And when I was at a loss to understand why someone had wronged me or made me feel less than or tossed me out to dry, she would reply with..."find yourselves in the same story."  It was such a painful process...but what she meant was that both the person and I were here on earth together.  We encountered each other.  We traversed the others' path.  We connected.  There was a reason.  What did I learn?  How much would I value their place in my story?  Because that was the work.  Finding common ground.

I stumbled upon this quote by the incomparable Maya Angelou moments before I found the words to say to my children as I sent them back into the world for the day

Like usual, they lined up and I put my hand on their head and said, "May God bless your mind so that it can be open and you will learn.  May God bless your ears to be a good listener, even when it is hard and all you want to do is to talk.  May God bless your mouth to speak kind words and to give thanks.  And may God bless your heart to feel love and to know that you are never alone.  I love you...."

And I reminded them that the expectation was that they would be kind to those they met, that they would do the right thing, even if others were not, and that they would do their best to make the world a better place.

And later, I'm going to teach them about finding each other in the same story...a hard lesson of recognition that we are all connected...sometimes, whether we want to be or not.  We share much common ground, if we could simply hear and be open to the other.

Until then, my wish for them and most pressingly for myself is to continue to be who I am and to revolutionize the world with acts of love, hope, and small act at a time.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

the becoming


The white iPad falls to the floor and the screen shatters.


Bang.  The bedroom door slams. Hard.

Kate yells, "Just LEAVE me alone and get out of my room!!"


The refrigerator door suffers an undeserved beating as Claire hangs on it yelling,

" said you were gonna buy yogurt?  WHERE is it?  And, why isn't my ballet leotard in the closet?"


And then the high-pitched knife murdering yelp by Sam who cries out,

"WHAT happened to MY iPad?  Kate, did you do this????"


I'm upstairs waiting for Sam to kill Kate, trying to decide if I can physically get up from my bed to actually give her a fighting chance.  It's 5pm after a day of working with 31 seven and eight year olds, ushering after school car pools, brainstorming dinner options and my feet really hurt, but not as bad as my head.

This is the reel going through my mind..."I hate them.  I love them.  I want to kill them too.  I would do anything for them.  I don't want to be a mom tonight.  I'm so blessed to be their mother.  I think if I close my eyes really, really tightly, I'll fall asleep and they will figure it out.  Rise up and make it happen."  God, it's all so exhausting.

Not long after that night, I had coffee with a friend.  I asked her if we made a mistake.  Remember when we didn't know if we'd get married or have kids or create the family we sort of desperately wanted?  What would have happened if we hadn't?  Would we be enjoying endless spa weekends, luxurious sugar scrubs, fabulous shoes, brilliant downtown condos, cashmere, sleep-in Saturdays, extraordinary careers?  I don't know, she said.  Who can know what could have been had we veered away from this path and chosen another?  It's really neither here nor there.  This is the path.

And then, I found this.

And I remembered-- because it's so easy to forget.

There are no real answers, just lots of little twists, turns and deviations along the path.

What works for one woman, one mother, one family is infinitely different from what makes sense to another.  And if we were smart, as women, we would videotape or journal or find some tangible way to chronicle where we were and where we are.  A picture or song or poem to capture the woman in our 20's, so certain and yet so yearning.  The woman in our 30's, softer, rounder, a little more tired, a little less certain of how it will all shake out.  The woman in our 40's, slowly, but surely releasing the expectations of the world and maybe even her own, ready to watch the magic of what emerges when you stop trying to force it.  Who knows what the remainder of the decades have to offer...

But what I do know is that it's hard.  It's tiring.  Sometimes, it's all consuming and drowning.  And sometimes, it's thrilling and glorious and you can't believe that you've been given all of it.  Every ounce of it.

I suppose, this is the beauty and anguish of the becoming.