Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day

Tomorrow officially starts the school year for my boys.  The backpack is packed, the pencil box filled and the required 6 folders in their assigned colors properly assembled.

Tomorrow my 8 year old starts second grade.  Gone are the worries he wouldn't be able to read.  Forming relationships became easier and those 'problem' behaviors all but disappeared.  In the midst of preparations, I realized something.

He will enter the bus a completely regular kid.  No deficits.  No interventions.  Nada. 

He's looking forward to seeing his pal Eli.  He is bummed to go back and promises to still only really like recess.  He didn't really care what he was going to wear, only that it wasn't 'fancy'.

I see the shape of the young man he will become forming in his features even now.  I see time leaping forward.  I see him growing increasingly-himself.  And I am completely fascinated by this new person.

With a son, there is a bittersweet mix.  On one hand is it really possible he can't manage to find his shoes most days? Or remember to brush/wash/clean/anything for longer than 5 minutes or until something electronic and shiny happens by? 

On the other hand is this knobby kneed body which is all angles trying to fit in my lap.  A boy-baby who leans into me just because he can.  He still tells me first of all the newly acquired game characters or levels attained on some beepygamethingy.  He falls asleep reading and comforts his brother when I am mean.

I love him.  I am made crazy by him.  And tomorrow, on first day, I will miss him very much.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lucky Charms

As I sit silently, eating my bowl of Lucky Charms, I fight tears.  I fight the sinkhole suddenly appearing in my chest where my heart once resided.  I don't want to cry in front of my son because I know it wouldn't be the Julia Roberts sniffle, it would be a full on, Oprah style 'ugly cry'.  My mother in law, my second mother, my friend and his Nana is gone.

He reaches across the silence and puts a horse sticker on my hand.  A reminder, when you are four, stickers are the currency of friendship and love.  And I wonder, will he ever know?

Will he ever know his NaNa loved he and his brother with every fiber of her being?  She gave them everything she had and more.  She gave money, "I'll give you a dollar if you eat your peas!"  She gave them laughter in knock knock jokes in the backseat.  She gave them adventures big (vacations at the beach) and small (forts made out of her comforters and every cushion from the couch).

Will he ever know his Nana loved when it was difficult, sharing grandson time with an ex-husband just so the picnic was a success?  She laughed when it was painful finding joy in the midst of sorrows.  And she shopped because she could.

Will he ever know his laugh echoes hers-bouncing off walls and making every room a little brighter?  It's the only sound, besides my children's cries, to which I wake with a smile.

Will he ever know he sparkles with the same effervescent personality which drew people to NaNa? I know tomorrow 100's will fill the funeral home to bid her farewell.

Will he ever know his little body and soul wrap around you with every hug, as hers did? Short of 5'5" her hugs landed not around your shoulders but right near your heart.

Will he ever know she sacrificed her own badly needed sleep for a few extra hours to lay beside him on the medieval futon? She needed to hear he and his brother breath and dream.

Will he ever know she was a Spartan warrior in the ICU, battling through two heart attacks to stay with him and his brother?  Will he know she died fighting for him?

Will he ever know?

He will.  Because I and his father will tell him.

And this morning, over soggy cereal and with eyes even soggier I tell him how lucky he is to have had a NaNa like her.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Be Present

"Today is a gift that is why it is called a present.  Cherish it."

Saw that once on a poster and laughed out loud.  What cheeseball psychobabble.  Seriously, today is a gift?  (I think on that particular day I was unemployed, broke and more than a little bitter.)

My counselor has been working with me on being 'in the present'.  To recognize what I am thinking and feeling at any given moment so I can learn how to understand and navigate my life in a far more healthful way. 

As I drove home from the airport yesterday, I finally understood what it meant to be in the present.  I was returning from "The Ragged Edge" writing conference (a blog on that glorious encounter later).  In the privacy of my car I was sobbing.  My heart was in a vise grip and my breath seemed to come from a very narrow place in my chest.

How was I going to pay this bill or that bill?  How was I going to have a career, a marriage, a ministry AND write?  How was I going to care for and nurture this infant artist and writer I just gave birth to at the conference?  How was I going to survive when I could count on 3 fingers the creative and artistic people I knew (and could stand)? How? When? Where? Why?  Add this to my general pissed-offness at God that I was in this dry place AGAIN.

Somewhere between stress eating a ham and cheese pretzel sammich and reaching home I discovered a truth.  I only have control of and participation in the present. 

My past is past.  I own it.  I also possess every single piece of wisdom gained from walking every solitary, broken glass covered step.  I can't change it.  God can't either. (Try that little theological nugget on for size.)

My future isn't up to me.  I can't choose who will love me or who will hate me.  I can't make a job happen or money appear in my wallet.  I can't build my dream home or spit out a published novel (or trilogy or two).  By worrying I can't make a single blade of grass grow.

What I can do is decide that at this moment, in this minute, how I will feel and what I will think.  I can decide to express my fears at the top of my lungs to a God who feels as far as the east from the west.  I can then decide to remember that He draws near to the broken hearted.   He also perfects that which concerns me.  And baby, I gotta load of concerns.   I could also put on an 80's pop tune, sing at the top of my lungs and 'drance' (dance + drive)-which is exactly what I did.

Today I practiced being in the present.  When I was working I was at the laptop, with planner and pen ready.  When I was with the kids I left my phone on the counter, looked them in the eye and played 'rain golf'.  When I was writing this blog I let my husband put the kids to bed.  I was present and fully accounted for.

Am I less stressed?  Most certainly.  Have the answers, provision and opportunities suddenly burst forth with an orchestral musical flourish? Um, no. 

I am content to merely hold my present.  And, for the first time in a long, long time I am looking forward to opening my new present tomorrow.