Saturday, February 11, 2017

Treasures


Almost 20 years ago, I met lots and lots of people who stopped me as I was walking my girls in their double stroller. Usually they'd ask "Are they twins?" One time my father told somebody who stopped to peek in the stroller that "We charge 25¢ to look." Occasionally, someone would say, "I have twins. They're xx years old now." And, they would often want to talk about their twins with matching names or their fraternal twins or identical twins. 

I know I'm biased, but I can see why they wanted to look at my babies... not only were they matchy little babies; they were beautiful (if I do say so myself). 

The ones who always got to me, though, were the ones who would say "Treasure these times. They go so fast."  For the mother in the thick of trying to raise little twin baby girls, the time was not flying by... or it sure didn't seem like it. There were lots of diapers to change, bottles to feed, clothes to wash, picky eaters to figure out / handle / ignore, nap times to manage, baby brains to develop, etc. There was lots and lots of "the everyday" every day.  "The everyday" was more intense when Harv traveled for work... and that was fairly often. It was more intense when they were little bitty babies, but everything seemed MORE when I was doing it by myself.

When Harv got sick, I knew I should be treasuring the moments that we had 'cause we didn't know how many moments we'd get... But the truth is (and I think I've said it before), I didn't want to "force" the treasuring of the moments... I wanted to just live as regular a life as I could -- which would sometimes include grumpiness and not-treasuring.

I think I've said this before, too, but I kinda thought that after over a year with some drastic changes in "the everyday," that I would sort of settle into a routine and things would feel "normal." 

First of all, it's still not normal that Harv's not here... especially when I want to discuss politics, or annoyances, or our children's lives, or my insecurities, or I wanna go for a walk with him or I want HIM to take the dogs for a walk so I don't have to... It's not normal that I am celebrating various birthdays and holidays without him. 

But second of all, I haven't really figured out how to be okay with my children no longer living at home. I am very fortunate to have them close by... I see them fairly often -- which I really am thankful for... But every day they mature and make new decisions and do things on their own and make plans that don't include me... And even when I have wonderful advice to give, they often want to do things their own way... (which is as it should be -- even though I have some excellent suggestions!).

This post is not really about my children; it's about me... I'm trying to learn how to be me...all by myself... What do I want to do? Where do I want to go? How do I make giant decisions alone? How do I learn to enjoy meals with just me?  What can I do that feels like I'm contributing? When am I gonna be ready to contribute and try something brand new? I keep thinking that a year is long enough, but I'm beginning to think it's not... at least not for me... 

But what I've realized recently is that those people who told me to "treasure these moments" were right.  The moments do go pretty quickly. Little baby girls DO grow up and need me less... (which is as it should be)...

So, these days I'm praying for eyes to see and ears to hear all the good around me and to TREASURE all of it...and to be ready for whatever the next thing is...and to figure out how to be the best mama I can be at every stage of our children's lives... for them and for me.

 
True words in this song. ❤️

Monday, January 2, 2017

GoFightWin, Country!!


In a few weeks, we will have a new President of the United States. 

I'm trying to worry less in 2017 than I usually do, but his impending presidency really concerns me. I'm trying to find the balance between being informed and being overwhelmed with a feeling of doom. 

There are people out there in the world whom I love who voted for this man. They believe he was the better choice. Their conscience dictated that they vote for the party even if they may not agree with everything about this man. I can respect their commitment to their values -- even if we have different values.

But from where I sit, I don't see a man who is committed to this country. I see an egomaniac who puts himself and his gain over that of the country and perhaps the world. He hasn't yet demonstrated that he's looking out for our environment and the well-being of those who are called the "working class." He has selected cabinet members who don't have a history of looking out for the interests of minorities and those at an economic and social disadvantage. He appears to be in cahoots with the leader of another country who also seems self-absorbed and very dangerous. Our future president won't share his tax records with us -- which every other president has done. He seems to have multiple conflicts of interest. He has yet to actually have a press conference where we can actually hear him discuss his plans. He TWEETS seemingly his every thought. He TWEETS. That means he only communicates with 140 characters or less. Not much depth of thought in a 140 characters.  

It SEEMS as if leaders of his party, though they don't necessarily think everything he's doing is above-board, won't hold him accountable to high standards. They repeatedly allow him to get away with things that they wouldn't allow from a leader of the other party. 

All of the American people deserve to have a leader who puts country above himself. We deserve a leader who will abide by the laws and expectations that have been upheld by previous country leaders. We deserve a leader we can trust to stand by protocol when dealing with leaders of other countries or when conducting world-wide business. 

I know that the same friends of mine who voted for this man did not vote for the current president... There were other years when my candidate didn't win. But never before -- even when I was very opposed to the elected president  --  have I been as concerned for our country as I am today. 

Somehow, though, I have to continue to hope...to find the good in this scary place...and so I'm gonna create, love my people, smile at strangers, and keep looking for the things that make this world safe and happy and secure. 

I'm gonna pray. I'm gonna pray for my family, my friends, my community, my nation, my world. I'm gonna pray for this man who will be our leader and those closest to him -- even though it's gonna be hard for me -- because I see a lonely, scared, fragile man who is trying to act and feel important...

But he's not more important than the rest of us. We're all in this together.

STRONGER TOGETHER.
GoFightWin, country. GoFightWin!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

"Just for Friends"



I have just spent ten days with seven people I really didn't know before.
We came together over a love of good food and quality ingredients and a love for adventure and discovery of new places and things.

Mataio and Jessica introduced us to people who educated us about what makes good quality balsamic and olive oil and wine.

We met new people who shared their passions with us and invited us into a little slice of their lives.

We met people along the way as well... from different parts of the world who have the same interests as we do.

We learned the history of the regions we visited. We interacted with artisans and craftsmen. We shopped in the villages. We practiced and learned Italian.

We were exposed to great music and lovely surroundings.

We laughed. We cried. We relaxed. We ate. And ate. And ate. And ate.

This has been an experience that I shall not forget.

To say that I'm grateful is an understatement -- but it's the only word I know to use.

Feeling full -- of heart and mind and soul and body.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Clouds and Currents Inside


It's been a while since I reviewed the stages of grief... but I'm thinkin' that ANXIETY must be one of 'em...

For the past few weeks, I have had an underlying current of anxiety...about things that might seem reasonable to be anxious about and about things that seem ridiculous.  In my head, I am aware that all anxiety is kinda silly 'cause -- WHY? The way it should be is that I either do something to solve whatever problem is real or imaginary or I just let it go and move on.

But anxiety is alive and well in this girl who is a control freak.

It occurred to me today that I've been kinda hopin' that immediately after the one year mark, I would feel markedly better. That I could be cheerful and not-lonely and more interested in all the fun things about life. Just to be clear, I've tried to continue to live life all of these days...but I would say that there is a "Missing Harvey and Missing Laura" cloud that follows me pretty much everywhere... And occasionally a "Missing Sarah and Hannah being at home" cloud, too.... And, in some ways the missing seems a bit more intense now that I've passed the one year mark.

And, included in that missing is an unhealthy dose of anxiety... and a full & cluttered brain.

These are the parts of grief that my little ol' heart is not loving.

I will continue to be and will forever be thankful for the gifts of Harvey and Laura... I am thankful that they no longer have to battle against the evil that is cancer... 

But I would love it so much if their healthy selves were still here.

This verse popped into my head today. Perhaps it's my new prayer....
Be anxious for nothing but in everything with prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.                                             -Philippians 4:6, 7    (New American Standard Version)  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Lessons from My Dogs


Little Clemmie has been living with us and being my youngest child since the end of March. And, she has grown up quite a bit since then... She doesn't bite my legs anymore. She understands most things like "leave it" "drop it" "off" "stay" and what I call "play school." 

I have to remind myself all the time that she's still a puppy and that someday, in the not-too-distant future, she will be calmer. But I also realize that some of her behavior is just who she is. 

She's inquisitive, curious, a thinker. She doesn't sit still very often. Even when she's tired, she has a hard time turning her brain off. "Oh! There's a toy!" "Oh! Hannah's home from work!" "There's the cat!" "That dirt needs a hole in it!"

When she's in the car, she sits up straight and looks out the back window -- and the side window -- and the front of the car. There are lots of nose prints on my windows. Occasionally, she'll "talk" to a dog or a person she sees from her spot.  

She gets excited when she meets new people and new dogs. She engages almost immediately when she enters the dog-park. She runs directly for the group of dogs who have already introduced themselves and who have been playing well with each other for a while before she got there. She approaches as if to say "Hey! I'm here! My name's Clemmie. I love to play. Who are you? Betcha can't catch me!" And then, her new friends start wrestling with her and they chase each other and she plays and plays.  

Raney, on the other hand... is a different dog. She was once a puppy, too...but she has ALWAYS enjoyed hangin' out with people more than introducing herself to and engaging with other dogs. She's not unfriendly, but she simply prefers people.  If there's a park full of dogs, she almost doesn't acknowledge the dogs; she just heads for the people to say "Hello. Please pet me. Mmmm! I think I smell a treat in your pocket. I'd love to be your friend."

She played a lot when she was younger and she pulled some shenanigans, too. And, we had to teach her that she couldn't bite us and eat our shoes and stuff... But I don't ever remember her being as "on" all the time as Clemmie. She was a bit cuddlier -- still is.  Clemmie likes to be loved, but it's hard to sit still for all that.

The other day it occurred to me that both of my sweet baby girls have something to teach me about how to approach life. Clemmie is almost always smiling -- at everything and everybody (unless I'm scolding her for doing something that she knows is wrong.)... Raney (who also knows how to smile) is calm... just kinda goes through her regular routine. She loves to walk. She loves to simply BE with her people. She doesn't really need us to do a lot with her, though she's happy if we play. 

I think there's a lesson for me in their personalities: 
- Relax and enjoy what you have in your life.
- Learn new things! SMILE! Embrace adventure!

I have some good dog-babies.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Today's Thoughts


I've been thinkin' about Harv a fair bit lately. Most every day... All the time... But lately, I've been thinkin' about how I'm grieving.  

I think I'm figuring out that I want to grieve slowly and feel it all... And I want to hurry up and stop grieving. 

That's kind of a weird place to be.

For me, I know I "talk" in my blog about my losses, but when I'm in the thick of the emotion, I pretty much don't want to talk. For me, the grief is too sacred to discuss out loud most of the time. I don't want to talk when I'm having a special moment at the two rivers in Lytton. I won't want to talk when I go to see the graves of my parents and my sister. And, I certainly don't want to discuss my loss with the banker who is changing the signatories on our safe deposit box.

Grief is so personal and individual. It's also a day-by-day thing where one day might not look like the day before.

And, the other thing I keep thinkin' about is how having Harv here... in my life...  in this house... walkin' around in the yard... wrestling with Raney... teaching the girls different things... laughin' his laugh... playin' his guitar... bein' in his office... never bein' able to stop learning or trying new things... makin' me feel special

... that seems like a whole lifetime ago... a whole 'nother life... 

...I'm livin' a "new" life now... one where he's still here and he's also not here...

What a strange place to be.

What a gift he was to me.

What a great man.

What a great loss.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Where Two Rivers Meet


Harvey grew up in Lytton, British Columbia, Canada.... known for being "Canada's Hot Spot" and whose motto is "Where old friends and two rivers meet." 

The two rivers are the Thompson (clear, beautiful green river) and the Fraser (silty, brown, murky river). When you are there, you can actually see the merging of the rivers. Harv rafted those rivers as a river guide and those rivers are a part of who he is. 

This weekend Sarah and I went to Lytton to see Harv's parents. While we were there, we walked down to the point where the two rivers meet and each of us released some of his ashes as close to the point where the two rivers meet as we could get... And it just so happened to be at sunset. Kind of a lovely time.

Thankful we could visit with Joe and Peggy...

Thankful we could have that moment "where the two rivers meet."

Love that man. Thankful for that man. Thankful for all that he brought to my life.