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Posts tagged ‘mothering’

The Extraordinary in the Ordinary

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times, in life after life, in age after age forever.
Rabindranath Tagore

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I told Dad what you said about him . . .

“I told dad what you said about him,” my fifteen-year-old daughter said to me the other day. A stab of panic gripped my stomach. Had I said something derogatory? I knew I wouldn’t have, couldn’t have, especially to my daughter. But that irrational thought still crossed my mind and my heart. Maybe I had made a joke about him and she had taken me seriously? Maybe I was feeling some residual guilt from a time in my life when I was often careless and callous with my words about others. (It still happens, I’m no saint, but I work hard at being more aware of harsh words before they pass my lips.) She must have seen the worry on my face, because she quickly explained;
“I told him what you said about him being so good and kind and funny, and how you felt grateful to have him as your husband. When I told him what you said, mom, he smiled.” As she told me this, she smiled too. So did I.

It is so easy to tell our children how much we love and appreciate them. Through this conversation with my daughter I learned how important it is to tell them what we love and appreciate about others too, spoken from an easy and casual place of truth and sincerity. Out loud.

I think this may apply to how we speak to others too, not just to our children.

What do you think?

Mammaste

There is so much Divinity in the Everyday.

Morningside Miracles

And then she told me her story. She told me about preparing for the very real possibility of her death as she fought Cancer. Of meeting a man at a laundromat where she had to use the cart to steady her frail and weak body. He asked her to coffee. Later, she explained to him her dire situation and the futility of new beginnings in the face of a life ending. He told her it was not the end. He told her she would live and they would marry and have a daughter. Against all odds, he was right.

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The Oxymoron, a Mother’s Privacy

When my oldest was about four, she was trailing behind me into the bathroom when I turned to her and said, “Honey, could you give mommy a little privacy while I take a shower?” To my surprise she replied, “Sure!” and left.

As I stepped into the shower, I could hear her rummaging in the hall closet. Soon she returned, yanked back the shower curtain and announced, “Mom, I looked everywhere for your privacy, but I can’t find it. I don’t know what it looks like.”

As every mother knows, truer words were never spoken.

Mammaste!

There is so much divinity in the everyday.

Beautiful Boy

I like to imagine that during the short interval of days between her death and my son’s birth on the day of her funeral, they met each other in that mysterious place in-between this life and the next. I envision them together, with heads bent, foreheads touching, sharing the secret of the amazing gift that awaited me with his impending birth.

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The Tao of Parenting

It is the one book on parenting I feel absolutely confident in recommending. It’s short, concise, relevant, spiritual and practical. A good parenting book, like this one, appears to be teaching us how to raise loving, balanced, well-rounded and grounded children but in essence it is teaching us to learn from our children how to become loving, balanced, well-rounded and grounded adults.

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Welcome Wagon Wisdom

Dear people next door, Welcome to Minnesota. Please write your name here ___ then please send back the card, but before you do that, please write back. You can write whatever you want. From your neighbor Harper and Family. (It included a nice picture of flowers and clouds.)

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A Love Poem from My Daughter

Her hands have always been a comfort to me.
They wiped away my salty tears,
picked me up when I was down,
and led me in the right direction.
Beautiful and giving. Firm and capable.
These are my mother's hands. ~

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The Great Maxi-Skirt Debacle of 1972

Me and my maxi-skirt in happier times.

The year was 1972. I was a shy, awkward eighth-grader at Fridley Junior High in a working-class suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It all began innocently enough when my mother sewed maxi-skirts for my sisters and me one winter. Maxi-skirts were skirts that went all the way down to the floor and were high fashion in 1972; all the cool girls wore them.

Even though my mother warned me there would not be enough of the red fabric I picked out for my skirt, I insisted she use it anyway. The skirt turned out to be more of a red corduroy maxi-tube than the full, flowing maxi-skirt pictured on the front of the Simplicity pattern envelope.

Undeterred by the fact that my stride was roughly as long as that of a Geisha’s, I wore my maxi-skirt proudly to school that fateful day. I was shuffling down the hallway in a sea of my baby-boomer classmates, school books clutched to my chest when my friend Karen swept by me and gave me a slap-on-the-back greeting. That little push sent my torso flying forward at a velocity faster than my tightly bound legs could pedal. Factor in the weight of the books and my 80-pound frame and, well, you get the picture . . . an object in motion and all.

When I tell this story to my kids I insert a little lesson about the physics of this experience just to keep it educational. “Notice how ‘Turning Point’ becomes both a scientific statement as well as an understatement in this example,” I say.

My books flew ahead of me as I slid down the hallway on my belly. To the fast-moving current of students rushing up behind me, I was a rock in the rapids. They were stumbling and lurching trying to avoid stepping on me.

All the while, the tube-like geometry of my skirt and lack of traction supplied by my fashionable, but not-so-functional, ballet slippers made it physically impossible for me to stand up. I was flopping like a fish and polishing a nice, shiny clean spot on the dusty floor as my fellow classmates began parting behind me like the Red Sea, casting horrified backward-glances in my direction. My popularity, already weak and sickly, suffered its last agonizing death-throes right there in the hallway.

Enough humiliation you say? Oh, contraire my friends, this was just beginning. In the midst of my flailing efforts to stand in this sea of inhumanity, I felt two hands under my arms lifting me up from behind.  Guess what? Yes, it was the guy I had a huge crush on. (My compliments to God and his impeccable comic timing.) He was a big, handsome, popular, red-headed football player who smelled like Brut cologne, or maybe it was HI KARATE.  He was the lead actor in my romantic adolescent daydreams, all of them set to a score of David Cassidy ballads. (Heavy sigh.) What? I’ve already admitted I was not cool. Full disclosure.

After he placed me in an upright position, he steadied me for a moment to make sure I wouldn’t tip over again. He then handed me my books, gave me a quick nod with only the tiniest smirk passing over his dreamy lips before he quickly moved on. I scurried, face flushed red as my skirt, into the nearest girls’ restroom and tried to figure out a way to flush myself down the toilet.

Little did I know when I was experiencing my most humiliating middle school moment back in 1972, this story would become a favorite of my middle school daughter all these years later. She loves to laugh with me every single time I tell it, which she requests I do often. I like to think I am teaching her that seeing the humor in humiliation is all about not taking yourself too seriously, or some other equally noble life lesson.  More likely she just loves a good laugh at my expense.

The moral of this story, you ask? I have no idea, but my daughter seems to find comfort in it during her own awkward middle school years, and that’s enough for me. Fortunately for her, I’ve got plenty more stories I’m saving for her high school years!

Mammaste.

There is so much divinity in the everyday.

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The Special of the Day at Harper’s Cafe

I was half-heartedly playing “restaurant” with my six-year-old daughter Harper one day. I was there with her, but I was completely disengaged from her and the game. I distractedly placed my order and she busily chatted up other imaginary customers. I was definitely just doing hard ‘mommy’ time, having logged countless hours playing make-believe games not just with her, but with her four older siblings over the past twenty-plus years. I was feeling, on this particular day, more than just a little lost.

As I stared off into the distance, contemplating my existence and my meager contributions to building a better world (something I do much too often for my own good) she placed my meal in front of me and waited patiently for me to notice. When I looked down I saw the special of the day at Harper’s Café smiling back at me.

I looked up into her face. She was looking straight at me with a proud smile as big as the one on she had served up on my plate. That’s when I remembered. This happy, confident, compassionate child is no small contribution to a better world. So I enthusiastically ordered dessert and left her a big sloppy kiss for her tip as she laughed and wiggled in my arms.

Mammaste.
This Mammaste moment is for all you mammas, grandmamas, aunties, or mentors to children everywhere, women and men alike.
There is so much divinity in the everyday.

Feel free to share this post, and share abundantly.

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