April 25, 2012

all for her

photo by the beautiful suz
The senior year festivities have begun.
I thought I would be floundering, but my insides are only shouting happy.  The excitement level is on a steady high, and I hope we can sustain it all the way through. There is still much to do between now and June 1st.
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I hesitated as I hit send... not sure the announcements were quite what I had in mind. But when they arrived, there was a catch in my throat. They are completely and utterly her, just as her party will be. As I stitch her prom dress, I feel the same. It will be her, copper and shimmer. I can see the appreciation in her face... that I know her, and let her be.

It was not easy... throwing my own expectations of hair and make-up just so to the breeze. What my heart dreamed for my precious pink bundle all of those years ago is simply a faded vision...but the result is beautiful, and true. She is not pink and ruffles and lace... she is copper and old leather and typewriter keys. The things that are important to me are not necessarily the first things on her own list of needs or desires... and even my wanting it can not make it so. I choose to accept, and celebrate. And thank the friend who taught me this lesson. It is perhaps one of the most important choices a mother makes.

April 24, 2012

nonsense and love of a boy

We just needed to go pick up a prescription, but with our driveway now housing three cars and a truck, parking is tight. The truck went to choir practice and his car went to Boy Scouts. My car was blocked in by the police car. But after a glance I thought I might be able to get out...

me: Forward, forward, forward... drive forward first.
him: Nice manuvuering Mom.
me: Thanks!

me: Do you need anything else from the store? Deoderant, toothpaste... ?
him: Iiiiiceeeeeeeeeeee ccreeeaaaaaaam.
me: What?
him: Ice cream.
me: Did you bring your wallet?
him: Nope.

And so he started digging around in the car... looking for change. Laughter accompanied each announcement of a found coin... until he had almost two dollars. We decided on McDonald's ice cream, but right before we ordered, he decided on apple pie. Two. One day soon I predict that he is going to grow into his feet...

Thirty minutes in the car... just him and me.
Thirty minutes to chat, laugh, share silliness and a little serious.
Life seems to run on fast forward far more often than it used to...
and to pair thirty minutes of love with a to-do list is just what this mama's heart needs.

April 23, 2012


He asks and I say yes.  Always.  We might not need anything from the farmers market, but if he wants to adventure out on a Saturday morning, then I am going to be right along side.  It is our time... and it almost feels more intimate than a Friday night date. 

Eyes still just a bit sleepy, we let the sunshine soak in. Hand in hand we wander the loop... we admire the bunches and greens and the stacks of citrus.  We laugh. Together


April 19, 2012

a truth of mine...

My insides groan on Sunday night... here we go again.
I can breathe again Tuesday evening, knowing I am half-way there.
And Thursday morning my soul begins to sing.
I like my job, and I love the people, but...
I live for the weekend.
My soul craves the time... to do nothing, or everything.
I treasure the too-fleeting moments of the four of us all together and the times when we split off, two by two.
I live for the weekend.
The sun shines brighter, the laughter is louder, and the love is woven through all of it.

April 17, 2012

the balloons, part two

I was juggling my camera and my phone, snapping pictures with both. I was in awe of how close we were allowed to be, no one pushing us back except to say be careful of the tether rope, so up close, I was. I wanted to capture it all... the thin silk of the balloon, the heat of the flame, the air that was rushing, and most of all, the excitement and thrill that was running through me. The teen caught me jumping up and down and shook her head with a bright smile.  I just laughed back at her.

As the balloons reached skyward, the balloon tethers were stretched taut... and in the midst of the field, men were working the ropes tethered to the tops of the balloons. Something came over me and I asked if you had to be really strong to hold the rope. He smiled, handed me to loop, and off he went. I may have let a scream of excitement escape... I was holding a balloon!!!

But my fun did not end there. I returned Sunday morning with Eric, Laura & Cam. We were watching the magic when Cam was tapped on the shoulder and offered a job crewing Miss Daisy. He nodded, my insides screamed, and off we went. Half-way there I decided I was not going to just stand by and take pictures... I was not going to miss this moment. I jumped right in beside him when it was time to spread out the balloon. The next step was to closed velcro zippers around the petals... and all the while we worked, I thought of how dancing in Africa had brought me here. Here, where I banish fear and live in the moment. Here, with no regrets.

Balloons continued to be rolled out and inflated, side by side by side. The field was covered with splashes of color, lines of rope and bustling people. It seemed there was hardly room to walk. And then... in what seemed the next moment, the ground was bare and it was the air that had donned the colorful wardrobe. Eric and Laura lended their leverage to Tequila Sunrise and visited with its pilot while Cam and I wandered off to find a pilot I had met the morning before.
by laura
And when we found him, he put us to work. I didn't mind the balloons being deflated if I could help! We steadied the basket while it tipped and then worked bundling the balloon. I loved the process... air released, silk rippling, and then putting it all back in its bag. There was lots of laughter and joking while we worked... and joy over being able to do more than just admire. I suppose for me, the beauty of something has become more than what my eye can see... it is also in being a part of something, being all in and the excitement that blooms in my soul.

Someday I want that up, up and away...
but these six hours {over two mornings} were life-filled.
Colors billowing, tethers reaching, and me throwing caution to the wind.

April 16, 2012

the balloons, part one

My love affair with hot air balloons surely began the year I was in first grade... the year the Double Eagle made its attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean. I was there when it lifted off, in my hometown.
I remember the sand pit, the orange helium balloon someone passed me, and rays of sun so bright and low. And I remember the cake my Mom made for the pilots, a replica of their black and silver-y balloon. There was a photo of her with the cake and the pilot, too... and her smile was as bright as that sunshine.
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I have dreamed of going to a hot air balloon festival... even schemed crazy treks across the nation to try to get to one. But the timing has never been quite right. Last September I found out that a local group was planning a festival, and it has been on my calendar ever since. And this past weekend... the balloons arrived.

We planned to on Sunday, but the excitement of it all pushed me to gather a couple people to drive out on Saturday too. The early morning was a tough sell... but in the end, everyone agreed that it was worth it. Pulling up to the lot, I spotted my first balloon aglow, and all my giddy spilled over. My friend's teen turned and laughed... telling me I was acting like a five-year-old. She was not wrong... but what is life if we do not let our laughter and excitement spill over the top?  

The morning was glorious... and too windy for the balloons to lift off. Eric asked it that ruined it, but truly, nothing could have ruined for me. Heat of the fire, race of the blowing fans, brilliant colors almost aloft... and I was right in the midst of it! I love those flying colors... and could have watched them all day.
But it turns out, even though no one was flying, I could do more than watch...

to be continued...

April 13, 2012

five minute friday: goodbye

I am the hug police.
Watching, counting... as each little one, and the not-so little ones, say goodbye in their own special way.
A real hug, please. Both arms, please. I love you.

I hold back and wait.
When the line begins to dwindle, I lean into Bob's arms and give my own hug & kiss, and tell him I love him.
And then I wait until the last of our group passes through my Mom's arms. I want to be the last.

It might be about the best, or it might be about that last lingering touch.
I don't want to be rushed though... holding her close for more than a moment... until the next time.


April 12, 2012

the visit that really wasn't

Long ago, I was given one of the most perfect gifts. Bob. He fills the space in my life where my father should stand. His love for me and my Mom and our family fills the space... and spills over the sides. I am thankful for that every day. Every.day.
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Last week my father came to Florida for a visit. I haven't seen him in at least two years. Maybe three. Our relationship hasn't been close since he walked away... sometimes though, I wonder if it ever was. But life moves on and forgiveness moves in... if only to heal my heart. His coming feels like someone I used to know passing through... an obligation without joy. I can't even decide if I wanted to feel more...

We were on our way... and anxiety snuck in. Tears slipped out. Eric continued to drive, and wondered if he should just turn back. My heart was a mix of sadness and anger. The angry tears slid... frustrated that I could let my father do this to me. Because I don't want to hold expectation. I don't want more. My hand clutched in my love's, breathing by his coaching... he asked what I wanted to do.

My father was waiting out front. I had no choice but to pull myself together. I chatted over the silence. I created conversation where there was little. I let my husband make decisions over details, my mind so engrossed in getting through this. There was a little laughter over catching up... and kids filled the space where there was nothing else. He was here a week and I spent six hours with him.

I say goodbye and tell him that I love him.
And then I wonder if it is really true, and sadness sneaks in again.
But maybe sometimes you have to love the space that was given him, even if he can't fill it.


April 11, 2012

spring break

Once upon a time, we enjoyed the most perfect spring break.
We were just home, taking each day as it came... and it became a string of simple, beautiful days.
When I grow antsy for spring break, it is that week I dream of... the one I wish every break to live up to.
Of course... it can't. It doesn't. Jobs change, children grow... and we make the best of what we are given.
We had a beautiful week. It may not have mirrored that week, but it was beautiful in its very own way.
Full of blessings, full of life and love. And I could never ask for more than that...


April 10, 2012

the trouble with yes...

I could barely get moving this morning, so weary from the weekend. I would have loved to crawl back under the covers and doze the day away... but life was happening, and I needed to get moving. It's been a while since I felt like this, and even through sleepy eyes, I send up a thank you prayer.
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This past September life caved in on me.
Perhaps the first warning signs came in whispers, but I was too busy to hear them.
Maybe if I had slowed down just a bit... or maybe just said no one time instead of shouting yes again...
But I didn't. I just kept on going, barreling through days and days of fully penciled in squares.
I just kept on going, until I couldn't.

The caving came in shortness of breath and red rash.
Gasping and scratching and buckets of tears... all laced around fear.
I wondered if I could stay home forever, in the safety of these four walls and his arms, because just the thought of walking out the door brought a fresh round of tears.  Anxiety, fear and me. It took me a week to realize that I couldn't do it all on my own. That maybe I needed... help. Because I didn't know what was happening to me and I certainly didn't know how to fix it...

It turns out, that some people do too much. I was one of them. I was selective, taking on only things that were important to me... things that were for my kids. Once in a while I realized that the things I was doing for them were taking me away from them, from dinner together, from the family life we have protected all of these years. But once I said yes, it was hard to say no. Until there was no longer a choice.
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A week or so ago I came across my fall notebook... the one I had carefully organized to keep up with it all, each section labeled with a sticky note. I peeled them off, one at a time, and ended up with a stack of six. Six volunteer jobs I gave up... and I still, on occasion, find myself running.

But sometimes... I have nothing to do but enjoy life.


April 09, 2012

this year was different...

I brought a hammer to church on Sunday. It felt strange to toss it into my purse, but I knew I would need it. All of Easter felt different this year... as if it was on fast-forward.
Perhaps for the first time, I did not cry at Good Friday service. The tears were lurking, but in my heart I could feel the victory brighter than ever before. That death had indeed died, and redemption was already living. The altar was stripped of all the things we knew, piece by piece... until only the Light remained in pale darkness. We left in silence. It all moved me... but still the tears were not shed. Minutes later, I re-entered the sanctuary and the bustling began. We spread rich white cloth across the altar, and the Alleluia that was embroidered along the front shouted to my soul! Forty days seems far too long to banish the Alleluias. Fresh white candles went into shining brass. And then the lilies arrived... trumpeting His glory, without making a sound. The calendar still read Good Friday, but we readied for the Glory of Easter.
Sunday just after daylight, I carefully removed the crown of thorns from where it set, and pryed the nails out of the black cloth that was draped for Good Friday. And then... I unfurled white satin and let it sail on the breeze. I pulled that hammer from my purse, and carefully tapped two nails into the cross... to hold the fabric in place so all would know that He lives.

April 07, 2012

Sunlight through red glass. 
Blood spilled beautiful. 
The good of Friday almost eluded me, until I remembered
Death died today, and redemption lives.
Blood spilled beautiful.


April 04, 2012

broken dreams

She dreamed.
She researched, she wrote.
She re-wrote, and then tweaked it some more.
We went over the check list once and then twice... made sure that all was in order.
Just before sealing, we tucked in the glowing letters that brought her to life on paper... and then off it went. Her heart, in word form, in black and white.
All the waiting while... she dreamed and believed. And we believed it right along side her, because that is what you do when you love someone. You dream and you believe... even as you let one strand of hope stray from the bundle, just in case.

And sometimes... just in case becomes the reality you are faced with. Her tears rocked her to sleep. And my heart broke with hers. I was sure that she would at least have the chance to show her passion for the world face to face, but it was simply not meant to be.

But oh, my dear sweet adventure girl... there is more than one way to see the world. And if Thailand is in your dreams... then I know you will someday find your way there...
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