Sitting in the stone pergola, sipping on an ice water and admiring the grapevines and wood fire pizza oven, I sat with my children and took a moment to talk about our days. It was a beautiful 75 degree day, sunny and breezy. I have come to really enjoy the calm few moment when I first get home from work, right before the storm of evening. Evelyn told me a story about how a little girl that she goes to school with, and has been playing with was making bad choices. This little girl is so much trouble that I went against my philosophy of "not telling your children who they can be friends with" and told her to disassociate with this child. It's one thing to not like your kid's friends, it is quite another to teach them about the power of association. I do not want my daughter to spend anymore time with a 7-year-old who calls her "friend" a bitch. SO...I told her she wasn't allowed to play with her anymore and let her know how to handle it at school. The hard part is, Evelyn's heart is like mine, and she wants so badly to avoid hurting anyone's feelings, that she would rather passively bow out than tell her the truth. I told her that it was alright to feel that way, but that she needed to let this girl know that she did not like the way she was acting and that she didn't want to be part of it. She was nervous at the idea of hurting this little girl's feelings. I felt as she did, it was a true empathetic moment.
Ronan listened with interest and patience as he awaited his turn to tell me about his day. He stated so simply, "Evie, you aren't mean. Why is your friend mean?" And she got it. "I don't want to be friends with a mean girl, and I don't want people to think I'm mean." I decided that Ronan gets to teach the life lessons from now on. Especially since not two minutes later, the heavens opened up out of nowhere and it began to rain. My immediate reaction was to go inside, but the children looked at me and Ronan just said, "Why, Mom, it's just water from the sky?" Two in a row, Son... you win. We sat, with warm end-of-summer rain coming down on us, and tried to catch the drops. I reveled in a still peace as we felt the breeze pick up and a raindrop fell onto Evie's eyelash. I love the rain. I have always loved the rain. As a teenager, my sister and I used to dance in the rain with our friends and in one wonderful instance had even gone so far as to stand in a down pour to shampoo our hair... no joke. I don't know when the moment came that rain became something to avoid. After all, it's just water from the sky. I let it happen. I didn't lament my hair style, I didn't squirm because I felt damp. My daughter stood up and let the hard moment of a friendship lesson wash away as she stood with her arms outstretched and her eyes closed. It was the way it should be. Sitting in the gentle rain and teaching my children that it's ok to just let go once in a while. They were thrilled. We did a rain dance and continued to talk about our days.
Later on, as I put Ronan to bed, he begged for a story, but not one from a book. He asked that I tell him one, "Just from your voice". My automatic response is to say no because it's time for bed. It was, after all, 10 minutes past his bedtime already. I thought of the moment in the rain, and how happy we were, so I let go. Out of nowhere came a story of a purple hippo named Cletus who asked all of the other animals on the savannah to teach him how to fly. It was a ridiculously cute story and we laughed hysterically at the end of the "just my voice" tale when Cletus put on his "wings" and flew. It felt so amazing. It was as if I had allowed myself some rare freedom.
The clarity of those moments came to me in a flash. The reason that I felt so happy in those instances is because they were examples of how it feels to be the person I WANT to be. I don't have any intention upon changing who I am fundamentally, but there are always things to improve upon. Everyone wants to be more of something, everyone sees that they have potential to be more, feel more, do more. I have the potential to just let go. I've always wanted to feel a bit more spontaneous. Don't get me wrong, I will always have a multitude of lists and itineraries, but I need to be resolved to the idea of letting things go. It is absolutely liberating, even in the tiny difference between saying No and Yes. How much, ultimately, would it have changed the outcome of my life to have gone in the house when the rain started? I'll never know, but I gave myself the freedom to say yes after years of avoiding activities if there was going to be water falling from the sky. I make the choice between making that moment an adventure or an inconvenience.
I brought a purple hippo named Cletus to life for my son. I can do that. I want to be the person that does that. I want to be able to take things in a little easier stride, and I proved to myself today that not only am I capable of doing that, but it makes me happy to do that.
When David and I started dating, we realized early on that we are not an ordinary couple. We make choices that other people don't make, and we handle things that other people don't handle in a way that they don't handle it. We like who we are and we are constantly focusing on the life that we are creating for ourselves. We work together as a team very well because no matter what life throws at us, we put our heads together and find a positive way to make things better. Our motto is "Come what may", and has been for 13 years. Until now, I didn't realize how much that can be applied to everything I do. It's not just about our home life, it's about our way of life. Instead of being fixated on how things should be, we need to be more fluid about how things are. Change is necessary and life throws punches. I like the way I feel when I don't try to force things my way and instead allow life it's flow and just go with it. Even if it just begins with a dance in the rain.
Moment of Design captured...