Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanks moment

What kind of non-writer would I be, during a holiday week, if I didn't not-write pertaining to the holiday? Being Thanksgiving week, I feel it only appropriate (and somewhat obligatory) to do a "thanks" piece. After all, with the exorbitant amount of change to have taken place this past year, it's only fitting that I find the joy and happiness in both past, present and future. I do have a lot to be thankful for, and as a rule, I am a truly and genuinely grateful person. However, I don't think I've ever formally pronounced my thanks. I'm quick to thank, but not to stop and praise, not to truly think about why I'm thankful.

Pink Elephant Thai Restaurant Swords, Dublin Ireland
To be honest, Thanksgiving has never been one of my favorite holidays. I love food, family and a warm home on a cold November day, but it has always seemed so much like a much-ado-about-nothing kind of day for me. I do not begrudge those around me a festive Thanksgiving, but I feel (as with so many holidays) that the point is so lost in the hubbub. I would be just as happy having everyone together with culinary endeavors even if the plates were paper.  Until recently, my favorite holiday was the one in 2002 that David and I spent in a Thai restaurant in Ireland. Despite the fact that both of us are at least moderately intelligent people (most of the time), we hadn't put it together that the Irish didn't celebrate Thanksgiving... it was just another day. Regardless, we called our families that day from another country to let them know we were thankful for them, thereby honoring the true meaning of the holiday.  This year we are gathering with a new group of people, but that doesn't mean that the spirit of Thankgivings past is not with us. That's the point- to hold onto the memories and be thankful for them.

My dining room last Thanksgiving 2011

More than anything, the people in our lives help us to become who we are, but I also feel that our life experiences shape us and are something to be thankful for. Our personal goals and qualities contribute to what we present to others and how we affect their lives. It's important to reflect and be grateful for all that has helped to mold us, who we are now, and what we are to become. 

This year I feel blessed because we have begun a new adventure and the path set before us is full of great opportunities.
I am thankful for the Colorado sun, Rocky Mountains and Illinois Rivers and forests.
I am thankful for getting to be greeted every morning by an original masterpiece in the sky, and welcomed home by the same.
I am thankful for the ability to forge new relationships, and the courage it takes to do so.
I am thankful for my husband... but everyone already knows that.
I am thankful for the Princess Pop Star in the backseat, and the Preschool Picasso.
I am thankful for their sets of matching sapphire eyes.
I am thankful for the stories they tell and the laughter they bring.
I am thankful for the dreams we have yet to live and the moments we are living right now.
I am thankful for waking up every morning and feeling progress.
I am thankful for the family that we're loving more every day and the friends that we love so deeply it hurts.
I am thankful for the freedom to change and the willingness it takes to do so.
I am thankful for warmth.
I am thankful for patience, which takes everything I have.
I am thankful for the moral code that I live by, and that it seems to be working.
I am thankful for my demeanor because it hurts too much to be mean or angry.
I am thankful for love and the universe's manifestation of that in my life.
I am thankful for inspiration, and hope that by being grateful for it I'll be rewarded with a constant flow.
I am thankful for ambition, and my ability to moderate it.
I am thankful for the strength to make hard choices that I believe in even if no one else understands.
I am thankful for conviction because it helps define my purpose.
I am thankful for ALL of my family who helped shape who I am, taught me right and wrong and how to love. We are all over the country, but we are bound.
I am thankful for my closest friend whose support is undying and everlasting even when I make her crazy.
I am thankful for knowing what it's like to have incredible neighbors and even more incredible friends.
I am thankful for being able to laugh easily. Finding joy in everything makes life more pleasant to live.
I am thankful for having a different definition of life than others and the fortitude to live it.
I am thankful for fluidity.
I am thankful that my little unit of four has such a strong and charismatic dynamic.
I am thankful for the perpetual music in our lives no matter where we are.
I am thankful for learning and life lessons and character building.
I am thankful for everything done in my life up to this moment.
I am thankful for the tears expended which have hastened my grow.
I am thankful for higher education and the enormous impact it's having on my present.
I am thankful for my healthy fear of mortality which keeps me cherishing every minute of life.
I am thankful for the future and the us to be created that we have yet to share with the world.
I am thankful for moments of design and being able to share them with the world if for no reason other than exposing them makes them seem more genuine and real.
I am thankful for every day. Even if that's cliche.

Moment of Design Captured...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Balance moment

In the car every morning, as I coffee treat the sleep out of my eyes and traverse the hour long journey toward the grade school and college, my sidekick and travel buddy greets me with the following statement, "Hey Mom! Can I sing you a song?" I turn off the NPR story that I've just settled in to and listen quietly as she sets up her act. "Ahem ahem" *throat clear* "You are listening to 'Rocky' (that's her stage name apparently) on 93.3 (our second favorite local station after NPR of course)" Then I hear a series of doo-doo-doos and she launches into a string of "baby I love you", "baby you make my heart feel like it's on fire", "baby you really hurt me but I still like you", and my personal favorite "baby we can do this, we can make it till the end of the world." Every once in a while, she'll change it up with a western ditty about riding on the range under the stars. After one especially thought provoking rendition of "baby we can do this, we can make it till the end of the world" she described a scene in a dark room with two people in love holding hands as the flame of a candle went out...

She then explained to me that when the candle went out the world ended. My mind went in many different directions after that one. Is she contemplating death? Does she worry about the end of the world? Is this an audible manifestation of a dark rooted fear? In other words, my mind went ridiculous. I projected some adult representation onto my seven year old's clearly descriptive and over dramatic image from some creative place in her head. She doesn't feel dark as dark yet. Depression in 2nd grade? I'm not saying it's unheard of or unrealistic, but it is highly unlikely for my child given the fact that the root of my fear for her feelings and darkness tendencies came on the tail end of about a hundred "baby I love you's". She is so deep. Funny with all the pop star imagery, but it's true. It sounds ludicrous, I know, but some of the things this kid says are so super serious and she thinks at a level that I no longer think even I am capable of tapping into. I'm not afraid of darkness, and I truly know she's prone to it. I just want her to harness it and use it for good.

It's humorous to me how I naturally assume she understands adult ideology with relation to the things she divulges and says without even knowing I'm listening. We were riding home one evening and she was pretending to have a conversation on her fake cell phone with a "partner" of hers who had just lost his job. She told her "partner" that he could go out and get another one- maybe one that was less expensive so he wouldn't have to give it up. As I stifled the hysterical laughter so as not to let her know I was listening it occurred to me that her impression of what "choosing" a profession was is how you would choose anything else. You carefully select one you like and can afford. I know we've let her know how it works, but she couldn't wrap her head around someone giving YOU money to do something you like. It was priceless.

It also made me realize how carefully she's listening and absorbing the things around her, in particular the very adult things.

With regard to occupation, I do want her to feel like she can choose, and should choose something she loves. I do not want her to strictly put financial emphasis on it, but I don't want her to devalue the idea of creating a comfortable life for yourself while doing something you love. It's possible, and though David and I have gone about it in a roundabout way, we continue to strive for that. We do what we love, but not to the detriment of the family unit, and instead to benefit it. Evelyn wants to be a pop star, which of course I'll support, but it's going to pain me to level the dream with some inevitable reality. She also laid out her plan for buying up every abandoned restaurant along our drive, rehabilitating it with immense amounts of sparkly things and renaming them all simply "Glow". (If I ever had a doubt she was still a 7 year old girl, right?) Regardless, I'll buy into that dream, too... once she shows me her business plan.

With regard to love, I know we're on the right path to leading that example. It's amazing to hear her depiction of the perfect relationship (which I have to hear every morning beginning at approximately 7:15 a.m.). I  am pleased that we are the model she chooses to emulate. No matter which scenario she spins, she explains that love is hard work, but they can do anything. I only know it's her father and I because she told me. "You and Daddy love each other no matter what. Even when you're both sad you still smile at each other." It broke my heart... in a good I'm-doing-something-right type of way.

With regard to darkness, I fell in love with a dark man, and had more than one child with him... it's inevitable. I am drawn to it. I actually prefer that she's not all rainbows and butterflies. I want her to be open about her thoughts about things that are different from "the norm". When she draws me a picture of gloom with her words, I only ask her to balance the gloom with a bit of light. I don't know if it's the right thing, but I only know that with most things balance is key. I struggle with balance constantly, and I expect that my progeny will do the same. I have to remember that it's possible for her to feel things bigger than herself, and it will take the balance to keep her from being swallowed by it.

My relationship with my daughter has always been one of challenge, breakthroughs, intensity and the deepest love you can feel for another human being.  I find moments of relief in our humorous times and moments of sorrow when we don't understand one another. Realizing that she is still a baby at times, who feels things with such depth is the key to finding balance with Evelyn.  My introspection for the past few weeks has definitely wrapped itself around the enigma that is my eldest, as she has helped me create so many defining moments. It's amazing when you become a parent- there is an immense amount of pressure to create these thriving and productive creatures of society, but as cliche as it sounds, they create us. We are left to strike the balance.

Moment of Design Captured...