Outcome Uncertain

There are so many juicy things to worry about. I’ve got kids with health and learning challenges. I’ve got friends who are grieving. I’ve got friends who have cancer. I’ve got family with issues. I’ve got my own issues. I’ve got my book to promote. I’ve got more to write. I’m re-taking my nursing boards in the near future. I’ve got an ankle problem. I’ve got a messy house. I’ve got too much responsibility and not enough time.

A couple of years back, my New Year’s resolution was to quit blaming my children for not doing the things I wanted to do in life. I have done quite well with it.

My resolution this year is to make peace with uncertainty. I mean, what if I could even love it?

What if instead of worrying, I had a blast, visualizing best case scenarios!

Seth, inspired by his bout of tics as a child becomes a brilliant healer and helps hundreds of thousands of children!

Riley, because she wasn’t forced to conform to traditional schooling has a lucrative career doing something completely unconventional and just loves her life.

My ankle has been repaired and I am now bionic, and can run many many miles, no problem.

Cancer? Ancient history. No one gets cancer anymore.

Family? Healed. 100%.

Loved ones grieving? Peace envelops them like a warm blanket.

My book/my writing? Thy Will Be Done. Thy can do a better job than I figuring it all out.

Nursing? The perfect niche presents itself and I can give a really good part of me to any patients I see.

Messy house? Alice from the Brady Bunch lives with us. She has her own suite.

Every desire we have, is because we believe we’ll feel better if we get what we’re wanting.

To feel good, even though outcomes are uncertain is possible. Writing that list just now, felt light. It felt buoyant. 

If all those things happened in the future I’d be happy, but just writing it made me happy now. And it took about sixty seconds to rattle them off.

Pollyanna? Good. Whatever. It beats sinking into a pit of despair (ask me how I know).

With uncertain outcomes, the possibilities are endless. The possibilities might be better than I currently have the ability to imagine.  

Happy New Year everyone.

Open-endedly yours,

MO’N

14 Years

I was out doing some Christmas shopping and Todd was home with the kids. A song came on the radio, and Riley leaned over to Seth and out of the corner of her mouth said, “If Mom were home, she and Dad would be slow dancing right now.”

The song was on our “must play” list 14 years ago today at our wedding reception. And Riley was right. We’d have dropped what we were doing and been slow dancing in the kitchen. And soon a little guy in a fedora with a Chihuahua in his arm would have globbed onto one side of us, and then a beautiful tween, not wanting to be left out would smoosh onto the other side, and maybe even an Aussie/Shepherd mix would be encouraged to stand on her hind legs and join the sway. It isn’t a graceful dance, but it’s ours.

Happy Anniversary Todd. Thank you for your steadfast, unconditional love.

I could never do without you. You are my love, my treasure, my gift.

15,779 Days

Standing in the kitchen with a calculator, my daughter informs me I am 15,779 days old. I’ll take her word for it.

My heart has dutifully pumped for 15,779 days. My lungs have breathed. Blood courses through my veins. I’ve rarely been physically hungry (unless self-inflicted).  My bones and muscles have held up my body. I walk. I smile. I cry.

15,779 days and my skin has miraculously healed every little cut, every big incision.

Babies grew in me.

I’ve been able to feed them every single day.

I’ve slept.

I’ve woken up every day.

I’ve given love and received love.

I’ve laughed.

I’ve been in pain.

I’ve caused pain.

I’ve sung a solo.

I’ve written a book.

I’ve ridden a dolphin.

I’ve looked into the most beautiful eyes in the world.

I’ve bathed in bliss.

I’ve steeped in angst.

I’ve touched the fur of a bat (softest thing I ever felt, second only to a giraffe’s lips, and my babies’ bottoms).

I’ve water skied, gotten up first try, and never water skied again in thirty years.

So many lifetimes packed into 15,779 days.

15,779 days, and still so much to do.

So much more to grow.

So much more to learn.

So much more to love.

Lunch Time Compliments

We were sitting at the kitchen table for lunch yesterday, and I made a request,

“Riley. Tell me something good about your brother!”

Munching on a piece of apple* she said, “Well, he’s fun to play with and he does nice things.” She paused, and added,

“He’s a do-gooder.”

I don’t know where she picked up the term. You don’t really hear “do-gooder” very much anymore. And if you do, it’s usually in the pejorative sense, but she meant it absolutely sincerely. I almost fell off my chair from the love.

Seth considered this, and smiled shyly.

Next, I asked Seth to tell me something good about his sister.

“She’s nice. And she’s a good listener.”

It’s true. Seth is chatty. And he’s home all day. And mothers have many, many things to do, like check Facebook, so they aren’t always available to truly listen. Riley is much better than I at absorbing him, and being interested in all he has to say about Lego and Michael Jackson, and Chihuahuas.

One do-gooder.

One good listener.

And one mom who is head over heels for both of them.

*I  put a little cinnamon and sugar in a sandwich bag and put the apple slices in and shake it up to coat them. It’s a quick, easy, healthy-ish treat and jazzes up the apple, because let’s face it. Apples get boring. I added this just in case you care.

 

Every moment is a teachable moment…

HT had a minor surgical procedure recently, and the kids and I were waiting in an operating room lounge. A surgeon came out to talk with the husband of another patient. He sat down in a chair next to the guy, and said,

“I just want to give you a heads up on what happened in there.”

The guy looked concerned as the surgeon continued, “Your wife is fine, everything went fine, but when we got into the operating room, the instruments weren’t sterilized yet, and that is unacceptable, so I was… pretty hard on the nurses,” he kind of patted the husband on the back, like a co-conspirator.

The husband nodded, relieved. His wife was fine. Whatever about the nurses, not his main concern, obviously.

The surgeon was covering his ass for having a major temper tantrum in front of his patient. Does a patient, all prepped for surgery, probably nervous, really need to witness that?

It must have been a doozie of a meltdown too, because word of it had trickled over into HT’s operating room. He’d heard all about it before he went under anesthesia.

Really professional.

People like this surgeon think they’re tough, but they are not. They are weak. Too weak and powerless to have a handle on their own emotions. They are abusive. And it appeared this guy thought he was perfectly justified.

And hospitals allow it to happen all the time with physicians. Surgeons are the worst, because they are the big money makers, so no one holds them accountable for their bad behavior, and everyone kisses their butts.

I’ve worked in an OR. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Many times. Of course not all surgeons are pricks, (I’ve met plenty of nice ones) but there is definitely a higher prick percentage among surgeons than the general population.

This is all anecdotal of course. I have not done a double blind placebo controlled study on the prick ratio of surgeons, but if I did? I bet there’d be a statistical significance.

Our homeschooling that day consisted of a wonderful discussion about the abuse of power. About treating others with respect. About holding people accountable without resorting to temper tantrums and verbal assaults.

Every moment is a teachable moment.

Annoyingly good things my yoga teachers say…

“The way you do anything is the way you do everything.”

“If you create drama in your ab workout, where else do you create drama?”

“The pose begins, the moment you want to leave it.”

“It’s okay to be uncomfortable. It’s not going to kill you.”

“Think about raising the corners of your mouth.”

“When you move away from your core, that’s when you fall.”

“So what if you fall?”

“Come back to your breath.”

“Try again.”

Censorship

So I have this idea for a new book. And it is of the “inspirational” variety, but it has a different spin than most inspirational books. And I really, really want to write it, but the thing is, I keep censoring myself. I keep feeling like an inspirational book ought to be more pious or something. Like someone writing an “inspirational” book maybe shouldn’t be as rough around the edges as I still am. Maybe someone writing an inspirational book shouldn’t even be thinking the F word, let alone writing it. So I keep edging my real voice out of it, for fear of what a potential audience might think of me. I hate when potential audiences look down their noses at me.

I wish I didn’t give a rip. I wish I could just feel safe, and not really care what others thought of me. I know of plenty of writers who are far more edgy than I am. My perceived edginess would be a joke in their world. I also know plenty of writers who play it safe. Some play it so safe I want to like their book, but something is missing. Technically it has all it’s supposed to, it’s followed the formula to a T, but somehow it’s a little…oh…squeaky clean and flat.

Maybe the safe writers really never say the F word in real life, so for them, it is legit to never write it. (And I’m not just talking about the F word, I’m talking about all the dark places we don’t want others to see).

I am not a mean person. Never is it my intention to hurt anyone. And yet, I feel somehow wrong, just for thinking what I think, and feeling what I feel. I’m guarded. You would not believe how much I self-censor, even on this blog. Can’t write that. Can’t write that. Can’t write that. I’m so afraid of offending anyone. This didn’t used to be the case. In my early blogging years I was so angry, I just didn’t care. Somehow over the years I’ve unconsciously begun to equate spirituality with not offending. But that feels like shrinking. And that can’t be right.

Writers especially get all up in arms over banned books. Censorship! Bad!

What about the books that never get written due to censorship in the writer’s own mind?

Potential audience? I’m asking you to move, and I’d like that space in my mind back. You’ve been squatting there too long.

You go be you.

I gotta be me.

“If you were a musical instrument, which one would you be and why?”

Playing Chat Pack yesterday after dinner, the question was, “If you were a musical instrument, which one would you be and why?”

These were our responses.

Seth(9): A keyboard. Because I am fun and like doing a lot of different things.

Todd: Acoustic guitar. Steady. Uncomplicated.

(And beautiful I added. There is something so pure about the sound of acoustic guitar. I’ve always loved it).

Riley(11): A flute. Kind of shy, but with a pretty voice that loves to sing.

Me: Piano. Eight octaves represents huge range of interests and responsibilities, and the black and white keys represent the contrasts in how I feel. Either really really really good, or everything is the end of the world, screw it, what’s the point.

Funny how our responses to these questions pegged us so well.

If you were a musical instrument, which one would you be? And why?

Appreciating HT

My husband knows every word to every M*A*S*H episode. Every word. He loves the show. So of course, he “had a moment” over Colonel Potter dying this week. RIP.

My husband’s favorite movie of all time is It’s a Wonderful Life.


He knows every word. Every single one. We attempted to watch it our first holiday season together, but we got to neckin’ and missed most of it. True story.

When we were dating, I asked him who his favorite actress was, who would be “on his list” if you know what I mean, and you know what he said?

Susan Sarandon. Not some Hollywood bimbo, but a talented and smart woman of substance. Well played HT.

I think a guy who loves M*A*S*H, and It’s a Wonderful Life, and Susan Sarandon(and dolphins) is a real catch.

I’m just glad I’m the one who caught him.

 

White Elephants

Great review for Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar at Chynna Laird’s White Elephants blog! I thought writing a memoir would bring up a lot of stuff, and it did, but releasing it has excavated more layers and levels of insecurity in me than I ever knew I had. As I continue to work through it all, it’s nice to receive a positive review from someone I don’t know.

Chynna’s White Elephants blog covers lots of well, “white elephant” issues. She also has a child with sensory processing issues and writes about that journey here. I appreciate that she took the time to read and review my book, and I look forward to reading more of her work.

Meditation Before Glee

Busy day, and now in the first lull, the the kids want to watch Glee, which means I have to sit there with them because there are parts I must forward through. Not really into it but it means the world to them. I strike a deal.

“I’ll watch Glee with you, but first we do a meditation.”

Riley groans. Seth shrugs compliance. I bring my computer into the living room and sit on the floor, Riley sits next to me, Seth on the pink couch.

I bring up iTunes and choose a Martha Beck mp3 on anxiety. Riley and I snuggle up on a pillow on the floor, she rests her head in my arm, then moves it around in non-verbal insistence I stroke her hair. She’s pushy like that. Sometimes it gets on my nerves. The mp3 starts and it is nice and relaxing, and soon Seth is tucked in my other arm, and Yippee is on my chest, and we’re all in a heap on the floor, and yes, I’m stroking her hair.

And I forget being annoyed about it, because how lucky am I? To have these kids? Ones who at 9 and 11 will indulge their mother and get on the floor and meditate with her and how awesome it is that we came from a place of almost constant anxiety and walking on egg shells for years and now we pretty much just delight in each other.

Soon we’re all breathing deep and slow, and I’m no longer “the mother” but just with them, and we are all in a place of stillness, no thought, no time, together.

Twenty minutes later, we’re watching Glee, and the day marches on.

But the meditation, it’s there. It’s in us.

Our Hot Water Bottle

We are seeing a dog trainer to help get Yippee under control, so he can stop un-training Jingle. One of the assignments was to research what our dog was bred for, to help better understand his temperament and needs(yeah, we probably should have done that before we got him, but whatever).

Seems Chihuahuas were bred to be worshipped. Or at least to carry some sort of mystical spiritual powers. They were buried with their owners in ancient times, and there are pictures of them in hieroglyphics, etc.

They were also bred to be hot water bottles for invalids. They were therapy dogs before therapy dogs were cool.

We’ve spent the better part of this week attempting to teach him “down” to no avail. He is Mr. Alert. “Down” requires relaxation. He only ever does it for snuggling and for sleep. The day Riley and I brought him home to surprise Seth, that puppy stood in a little milk crate, so exhausted his eyes kept closing, resting his chin on the side. He never did give it up and lie down, the whole 1.5 hour ride home. He slept standing up.

He’s not having any part of “down” unless you plan on lying down with him, but he sure is toasty. He’s got the water bottle thing down pat.

 

Final Night/Cancun

The last night in Mexico, we went all out and stayed at the luxurious J.W. Marriott in Cancun. Below is the view from our room. Every room has a view of the water.

In the photo below, you see the little hot tub? Just to the right, past that little bridge? Riley and I sat in it and looked out at the ocean. And when a waiter went by and asked us if we wanted drinks, we said, “Yes.” So often in life it is, no, no, no…but this time it was yes.

I ordered a Mojito. Riley ordered a Shirley Temple. We clinked our glasses together, took a few sips and she leaned over to me and said out of the side of her mouth, “We’re really pampering ourselves, aren’t we?”

There is no describing how much I love this girl.

Below is the view from inside the dark blue infinity pool above. Seth and Todd spent a lot of time swimming in there.

I love Marriott hotels. They consistently have nice white bedding. Lots of pillows. These beds were so comfy. And Todd and I were able to sit on the balcony at night after tucking the kids in, looking up at a gorgeous display of stars. We also had an aeriel view of a young couple getting engaged, (though we predicted they won’t make it… based on what an ass he acted like in the pool earlier in the day)…but whatever, it was romantic.

Seth looking out in the morning.

I had already been up and out on a sunrise walk on the beach before any of them rose. It was glorious. Twice on this vacation, an idea I’ve been tossing around for a new book came into my head. Once it was during a massage on the beach (did I mention I had a massage on the beach our first morning)? Once was when I was getting sonar from the dolphins. The idea just floated in and hovered there during those states of deep relaxation.

Standing ankle deep in the wet sand, looking out at the sunrise I agreed to write it. Again, I said, “Yes.”

Below is a picture of my friend Clarissa. I don’t know who took it and I don’t know what beach it is on, but I am ever so grateful to her friend Dave who sent it to me. I felt her presence on this trip. Such a magnificent gift she gave us.

One we will never, ever forget. Thank you Clarissa, for being a friend to me and my family.