Oh, My Girl

Girl Heart

Oh, my sweet, sweet girl.  I’m lying in bed at 5:28 pretending to still be asleep, though I was awakened by the beeping of her alarm clock at 5AM sharp.

It’s been a rough tween-attitude-filled few weeks at our house. Yesterday we had a heart to heart about humans, our limits, and how to help.  More specifically, Mama’s limits (both physically and emotionally) and how she could help more. How as a family, we don’t expect one person to manage everything alone. We help. We share the responsibilities. We love.

During our chat, Mama broke down a little. I used to think this was unforgivable, to show my child my limits. But some time ago I realized that by (carefully and safely) showing her and talking to her about the fact that I am not super-human, that I have bad days too, that I also need help, I am teaching her something valuable. I am letting her know that SHE doesn’t have to be perfect either. That it’s okay to ask for help, and it’s okay to break every once in a while. Carrying the world and keeping it all inside is a damaging habit to fall into.

And I think, for at least a small moment, she heard me. Because sometime last night, completely un-prompted,  she set her own alarm for 5AM. This amazing girl who plays hard all day and sleeps like the dead, who I have to pry out of bed every morning and cajole and badger to get out of the house (usually late). I can hear her in the other rooms getting dressed, brushing hair and teeth, getting her lunch packed, starting breakfast (mine, I believe). Some time yesterday, she made the choice to help. To be present. To give of herself and her own precious time.

At 11-yrs-old, this is not a small thing. For a kiddo with behavior challenges, it’s kind of a game-changer. It’s huge. Almost as huge as her beautiful heart.  Oh, my lovely amazing girl.

LIVE

9-11-14It’s the 13th eve of the 14th year. Pictures, comments and remembrances have already started, as to be expected. But this one caught my eye. And in my head, a resounding reply. “NO.”

My brain, my heart, my soul cried out “No more silence!”.  Not because I don’t honor them – all the beautiful souls lost and affected that day – but because I am tired of silence.  I am tired of solemnity.  And I think they would be tired of it too.

Don’t stop the world in their memory.  Don’t turn down your eyes in sorrow.  Don’t remember them only in that small window of time where there is no sound.

Live.  If you really want to honor them, honor their memory, share the legacy, then God damn it, LIVE.

Laugh out loud with your head thrown back.  Hug someone with all your might until you both tumble over.  Go outdoors and breathe the sun-warmed air of a late summer afternoon.  Sit and quietly watch the wind blow softly through the trees.  Read.  Talk.  SHARE.  Feel the music in your bones.  Eat and drink with your tribes until the last story is told and the embers grow dim.  Dance.  Sing.  Cry.  Run.  Explore.  And love.  Love.  LOVE.

But DON’T go silent.  Not anymore.  If you really want to remember them, it’s not about just one day.  Remember them EVERY day.

LIVE.

The Flow of Joy

water1

It’s been a bit of a rough road, all this moving business.  New town, new house, new school, new friends.  All the “newness” has taken a toll on my daughter lately; it can be a drag being the odd-man-out when you’re nine, you know?

To combat the strain of the unfamiliar – and maybe even to foster a bit of nostalgia – we’ve been trying to find places in our new town that are similar to our old haunts. Tonight we stumbled onto a really cool fountain that, on a 90 degree evening, just begged to be run through. We had a great fountain in our old town, and my girl was so excited to find a new one here to check out.

She wasted no time getting the lay of the wet-land.  I had settled on an outskirt bench with the bag/towel/flip-flops.  The sun was at that pinnacle where it shimmers extra brightly, knowing it only has about an hour or so before it will lazily sink down for the night.  The water bounced off the beams of light in the magical way that rivulets do when they move in time with the glimmer and glow.  And as I looked over at my girl, running and jumping through the liquid, I was moved in the most interesting way…

I quickly felt pulled inward toward the action.  I simply had to move closer.  Not because I couldn’t view her from my original perch (as I could, easily), but because I needed to be close enough to see her joy, up close.  To watch her weave in between the water spouts and see the gape of her mouth as she laughed.  To hear her squeal as she soaked herself in the lazy creek bed.  To be near enough for her to attack me with a drive-by sopping hug and spray me with her long winding wet hair.  To witness her exuberance at catching the last little waterfall before the water shut off for the night.

How much I would have missed by staying at the edge of the action, with my nose in a book.  How grateful I am to have lifted my head up, instead, and moved close enough to be in the moment with her.  To not only see her joy, but to feel it.  And just watch it flow.

Yom HaShoah

‘A moment of silence’.  We’ve all observed them, have we not?  That’s what I initially thought of when clicking the link to the video of the observance of Yom HaShoah, the Holocaust memorial day in Israel.  (Please click here to watch it.)

But this is nothing like what you may have observed before.  It’s certainly nothing I’ve seen before.  This is entirely different.  What this is, is true OBSERVANCE.

They literally stop.  Everything. Stops.  Not only do they stop, they get out.  They stand.  They are silent (with the exception of the siren that, itself, harkens an air raid siren in an eerie shadowing of war time).  They do not move.  They have completely and fully given themselves and this moment to the memory of the 6+ million souls that this observance is for.  It is one of the most amazing and honorable acts I have ever seen.

In the video, suddenly, on the left-hand side, you can see a white bird fly upward.  Clearly it’s too far away to identify, but  for just a moment I imagined it was a dove, come to remind us of peace, and love.  This is what true observance should be.  The memories of those people deserve no less, from ALL of us; not just those observing Yom HaShoah in Israel.

#NeverAgain

Chess

Chess

“Would you like to play chess?”, she asked, holding out the wooden set she acquired from her father not too long ago.

As she looked up at me, waiting expectantly for my answer, it all flashed so quickly through my mind…

In reality, I did not.  I’d had an exhausting day.  Full of meetings, spreadsheets, calculations, problems, solutions, more meetings, fire-drills, moving targets, and on, and on, and on.  My brain was fully and completely worn out.  The last thing I wanted was to try and tax it further with a game of logic and skill.  What’s more, I don’t know how to play chess; and truth be told, I don’t have a desire to learn.  Never did.  And now was certainly no different.

But tonight, she was calm.  Happy.  Focused.  She was smiling, and excited about sharing her knowledge with me and teaching me something new.  Who was I to squelch such wide-eyed wonder?  No one, that’s who.  I am a Mother.  A tired, worn-out, day-weary one, but a Mother none the less.  And Mothers always have time, do we not?  Certainly for things like this.

So I did the only thing I could.  I looked her right in the eye, and gave her my answer:  “I would love to.”  Her broad, glittering grin was all the reward I needed.