A reason to hush

Sometimes she looks up at me with wide blue eyes and says “you are the best mom I ever could have wanted.”
Truthfully, it takes my breath away.

But still I wonder why, when I truly feel that she’s the BEST daughter I ever could have birthed.
I also wonder at what age she will stop feeling that way.
I generally tell her “I am so glad you feel that way today.  I hope you feel that way for a long time to come, because one day you may not…”
As it slips from my lips, I both nod to myself in truth and kick myself, under the table.  Why can I not allow the full and true joy to pass over me at such an amazing compliment?
And yet, I still wonder how long they will find my a good or acceptable mom.  I am fully attune to my faults.  When will they see them for what they are?  Do they already, perhaps but simply lack the words to call them what they are?

All manuals of development tell me that there will be a day that they don’t like me anymore.  A day when they won’t understand how I have made my decisions or why I stand for my convictions.  The manuals say that while hurtful, it’s also celebratory – as they are coming into their own.  They are moving toward adulthood.

I know these realizations and feelings are years off.  I know I have time to enjoy the family joy, but the planning side of me wants to be prepared for the heartbreak of the future.

But this year, I am going to try something different.  I am going to lean even further into mindfulness.  When the future me tries to whisper into my ear to warn me about how things will change, I will say “hush”.  Not because what she says is wrong or invalid.  The reason I want her to hush is because I don’t want my memories to be salted with her words.  I want a memory of my girl telling me I am the best ever without the doubtful words of “forever” from my planner.

This year she will hush.

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Just people

I surrounded myself with women. Women teachers, employers and friends. I did “work out” in a predominately male sport, only so I could learn how to “game the system” if I ever needed to “defend myself” from a man. However, I realized that I would be “safer” when I stayed out of the sight and reach of men. I can’t explain where this compulsion came from, but in the days after the “me too” movement, I am glad I listened to that quite voice deep within me.
I was fully out of college before I had an employer and managers who were male. I was a complete adult with a student loan payment, rent and a car payment before I ever met the “glass ceiling”. Yes, I did have college professors, but I considered them my employees. I had my safety net – that included their fully understanding that I a) pulled no punches and b) kept no secrets.
The first “evaluation” under a male manager had me literally in tears. I explained that I hadn’t spent time around “men” – having always had female managers etc. I explained that these felt like very uncertain waters and I didn’t really know “how to be” as an employee. The total confusion on that poor mans face, I still cringe for him even today. His beautiful reply has stayed with me nearly twenty years now. “Well, we’re all just… people.”

“We’re all just people” was so true and so false that it still stings a bit to say it aloud.
From his mouth, it was true.
I’m sure he never had higher ranking managers brush off his ideas to his face and then run to the owner of the company and present them as their own. I did.
I’m sure he never has those same managers tell him he would be so pretty if he just smiled more.
I feel pretty certain that he was never ‘forced’ to watched female upper management adjust her breasts in the bra cups like I had to watch, first hand, the scrotum pulling/scratching/etc of higher up management.
And really, what a funny situation to be put into – DARED to increase sales and improve the quality of the product and improve customer retention (with a contract and my signature). You know, to be asked to do all of the things that a manager would do WITH a pay raise, but not the title – because of a lacking… scrotum (literally).
I bet that very nice manager was never taken to a conference room and sat down and then demanded to disclose other sources of work. Names of companies that *he* gig’ed for because he wasn’t receiving a living wage WITH his college degree in said field.
‘Cause, see, those things don’t happen to everyone. They often don’t happen to men. They happen to scrotum-less women. Women like myself, back then. But please don’t worry. At some point, this particular company realized that a better fit for them would be to move their “workload” to India (true story). I don’t know if they now employ men or women. Whatever their employment practices, while we are “all, just people” – I have no doubt that it’s still not EXACTLY how everyone else sees it.

Coffee, my love

For nearly a decade, I have used a coffee brewing method that makes one cup at a time.  There is a vessel that fits over my coffee mug and a plunger that moves the fluid down the vessel, past the coffee filter into my coffee cup.  I used it happily for over a year, but then the plunger stopped fitting the circumference of the vessel.  It was too skinny and would no longer move the fluid.  Instead it would fit IN the vessel and make a huge mess of boiling hot water and coffee grounds that would spill out over the vessel and fall into the coffee cup and the counter top.  I replaced it.

The new unit would intermittently stop working.  Always stymied, I would throw it in the dishwasher.  That may or may not help it work again.  Over the last decade, I have probably replaced the coffee maker four times.  I shouldn’t have been surprised that this winter it stopped working again.  One day it was fine, and then – just like that – it was done.
My mornings are VERY hectic and I do better AFTER a cup of coffee, so you can imagine my frustration.  I am not a huge fan of cold brewed coffee in the winter, a counter top unit or Kuerig are not appealing to me – at all.  I considered all of the options, then, I did something different.  I walked it to the sink and poured boiling hot water over the plunger and then walked back to the coffee unit and it worked like the very first day it came in the mail.

There are times, that I find it appropriate to turn off the heat and air in the house.  It’s generally in between seasons when it gets chilly during either the day or night and then very hot on the other side of the day.  I don’t like asking the house machines to try to play “catch up” and heat the house for half of the day and then cool it the other, so I turn it all off.  I have an outfit for the cool part of the day (heavy pants and a fleece) and for the warm (capris and a tee) and I consider that I am living closer to the trees and flowers outside.  Taking the moments of constant change, as nature does for the duration of its life.
In truth, my house is well insulated, so the temperatures don’t swing wildly inside.  With that said, I am a creature of comfort.  I don’t like to be too cold or the air to be too dry or the house to be too loud…  Somehow, in these “in between seasons” I manage because I consider it the appropriate choice in the circumstance.

We all have to consider and change with the environment, right?

“Even non-living things?” they ask me.
The answer is “of course, my love.”  Something happened, and society lost the ability or the value of “consideration”.  There are some that still teach and practice it, but not like before.  We want to practice it here, but know that it is a tricky thing to learn.  Look, my decisions about the heat and air could wreck my morning coffee – and it took me nearly a decade to figure that one out.
How often in our lives do we make a decision that is best for the circumstance – unaware of how it will change other areas of our lives?

Alike but different

You were gone before I could truly know you.
I have been told about you.
I am told that:
you were lazy and self driven;
you were opinionated and fully sway-able;
you words cut, but your eyes that were as soft as clouds;
you didn’t drink, but you kept whiskey in the cabinet;
you were the keeper of the rules, but watched the soap operas;
your skin was fair but those freckles irritated you to no end;
you had your degree but were a master of the silence treatment;
you were a lady but you were feared;
your eyes kept watch on the moon but in light, your fingers made green things grow;
your brain was full of thoughts and words but your need for privacy kept your mouth quiet.

I sometimes wonder how much we would have liked each other. I know you would have loved me but I wonder if you would have liked me. I guess we’ll continue to wait to find the answer. For the record, the freckles don’t bother me at all – because they remind me of you.

tick tock

The alarm rings and there are thirty minutes.
Coffee, shoes, dog ready to go.
The alarm rings and there are thirty minutes.
In the dark, house after house. Lights off, lights on, lights off, driveway.
Treat, scoop poop into the poop bag. Step after step, short and quick, making our way back to the beginning.
The alarm rings and there are thirty minutes.
To do it again. Already on the second lap. Jump at a frog, bark at a dog, keep taking steps until we are back to where we began.
The alarm rings and there are thirty minutes.
Do morning work. Empty the dishwasher. Make a cup of coffee. Check the interwebs and start breakfast for the duckies.
The alarm rings and there are thirty minutes.
Finish the first meal and clean up the mess. Prepare the second meal and put it in thermos. Teeth, clothes, hair, shoes and bags.
The alarm rings and there are ten minutes.
Sign the papers and pack and bags and line the duckies up in a row, at the front door.
The bus will be on the way. It will arrive early, like always. The duckies will flap their wings and run until they jump the steps of the bus.

…and time slows and the oxygen flows and it’s time to take a moment… for myself.

HOME

Full Definition of home

  1. 1 a :  one’s place of residence :  domicile b :  house

  2. 2 :  the social unit formed by a family living together