A Central Organizing Principle…

“I’ve figured it out,” I declared to Keith. “I know what I need.” He raised an eyebrow at me. It had been months since the kids had left home. I was still rattling around our big old house. Sometimes, I felt like I could still hear their voices echoing off the walls. After they all left in a rush, I had sat quietly. Feeling the sadness, fearing the end. I was listless and avoided many of the things I had once poured myself out for. Evenings when Keith worked, I poured a glass of wine and retreated to my “studio,” which was newly decorated to finally declare it my own. There, I listened to audio books and knitted. Continue reading “A Central Organizing Principle…”

The road ahead…

It’s been 17 years since Mom called to tell us the news. Dad had prostate cancer. It was already metastasized. The doctor said six months to two years. The world spun a little slower that day. There were treatments. Dad responded to these treatments in amazing ways. We prayed for him and the cancer’s growth slowed. Every time there was an uptick in his numbers, there was a new treatment plan. Radiation, hormone therapy, and new drugs that promised time. He has been a true miracle. Continue reading “The road ahead…”

The crying day…

Portland International Airport (PDX) is the background to so many memories of my life. PDX was the airport I first flew out of, in the middle seat, squished between my grandparents. I wanted the window seat, but Grandpa Malone said I could get sucked out the window, so he had to sit there. I looked over my grandpa’s shoulder, watching the plane lift off, feeling the weight in my stomach and the pop in my ears. My grandmother ordered a seven and seven as the stewardess walked by. I ordered orange juice and plastic airline wings. Grandpa began to snore. Continue reading “The crying day…”

Adding to the family…

Rain dripped off the eaves as we peered out the window on Sunday morning. The forecast called for a little light rain in the morning. We were confident it would clear, in spite of the blowing trees, leaves, and sideways rain. When you plan a wedding outside, you plan for contingencies… the tents were in place, the food tables under cover, and we were still hoping to see the rain stop. Nothing was going to get in the way of this special day.  Continue reading “Adding to the family…”

She loves him…

I only have one son. From the time he was little, he was momma’s boy. Sometimes (often) he got in trouble in the primary Sunday school classes. He was a talker, a joker, and always on the move. I could tell how bad it was when I looked up to see his teacher walking down the hall toward me, and he was tugging on my arm to tell me how much he loved me. When I scolded 5-year-old Brian, he would drop to his knees and put his face in his hands as he wailed, “I’m sorry, so sorry.” When he felt that he was not getting enough attention, he would put his fat little hands on my face to bring my attention to him and say, “Momma, pay tension to me. Pay tension to me.” Continue reading “She loves him…”

Wedding hats…

The phone rang, my sister was calling from a pay phone in a North Carolina airport. It was 1989 and she was on her way to my wedding. The call was to ensure that I knew when her plane was landing. She said, “I just saw mom running to catch her plane. She had a huge bag and all I could see were some feathers sticking out of the top of the thing. Who knows what she has planned!” Keith’s young face went pale when I told him. He had no idea what to expect and his conservative New England upbringing had not prepared him for the women in my family.

Continue reading “Wedding hats…”

Learning to play…

A few years ago, in the midst of a crushing time at work, a colleague said she was learning that the antidote to stress and fatigue was not just rest, but fun. She said she was scheduling lots of fun into her time off. She found that she was more able to handle the complexity and stress at work after having spent her time playing. Continue reading “Learning to play…”

Again, in a new way…

My life is full, fuller than it’s been in a long time. The long season of waiting seems to have ended, and life is moving forward, filling up. Some of this fullness is situational. Kids are home, filling in the gaps their absence left behind. They are not always around, we often pass like ships in the night, but their presence is tangible in the house… I can see the stacks of mail, the dirty dishes in the sink, and the laundry piling up in the basement. I also recognize that this is a moment. A precious moment of rediscovery. Their lives are moving forward in a not so straight line, but they are moving inexorably ahead. I will appreciate this moment as a gift. Knowing them again, in a new way. They are still mine, but not so much. Continue reading “Again, in a new way…”

The after years…

I snapped a picture in front of the fire place. Their faces shining with life and friendship. Ten years ago, we snapped a picture of them beaming in their caps and gowns as they prepared to march to Pomp and Circumstance. They are older now. One with babies, a husband, and the other with a couple of degrees. Both of them hold wisdom gained from walking out their paths. Their lives couldn’t be more different, but they hold on to one another. I love that. Continue reading “The after years…”

The view from here…

My eyes are weary from scanning the horizon looking for the next thing. I’ve spent so much time in the past couple of years looking off in the far distance for what is coming, that it feels like I am missing the beauty in my every day. Like a sailor looking for land, I’m missing the color and movement of the waves and sky in this moment. Continue reading “The view from here…”