Almost Graduation

Cake for my son and his girlfriend's "completed 13 years of school party."
Cake for my son and his girlfriend’s “completed 13 years of school party.”

My son and his girlfriend would have graduated from high school today except that they both are going to have to make up some credits.  My son failed Algebra II, which he will be taking this summer.  His girlfriend moved from another state with different graduation requirements, so she will be completing a PE requirement  as well as a History credit.

The line on top of the cake, “Look out world, here they come!” was my idea (in lieu of “Congratulations Grads!”).  The books with the stumbling block subjects on the binding was her mother’s idea.  (My aren’t we a clever pair?)  We still wanted to mark this occasion, since she had no control over the situation, and he struggled to get through high school at all.  We wanted to celebrate our soon-to-be grads.  So we did!

 

The wide spectrum…

The wide spectrum of mothering
To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you
To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food
stains – we appreciate you
To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we
mourn with you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and
disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t
mean to make this harder than it is
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit
with you
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your
experience
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of
motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst
To those who have aborted children – we remember them and you on this day
To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn
that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be
To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths
To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren, yet that dream is not to be – we
grieve with you
To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you
To those who placed children up for adoption – we commend you for your selflessness and
remember how you hold that child in your heart
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate
with you
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have
real warriors in our midst. We remember you.
By Amy Young (http://messymiddle.com)

This was read in my church this morning.  It touched me so I thought I would share.  The link to the pdf is here. It was originally part of Amy Young’s May 10, 2012 post, An open letter to pastors {A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day}, on her blog The Messy Middle   

Happy Birthday, Suzanne!

I attended service at the spiritual center to which I belong this morning.  Then we celebrated my sister’s 31st birthday with lunch at a Mexican restaurant.  I then spent some time with my two oldest children, their spouses, and my granddaughter.  Beyond that, I have been writing the better part of the day, either in my head or on the keyboard.  So this is the extent of my post today:  Happy Birthday, Suzanne!  

(Incidentally, I am inspired to write about my family and how we celebrate every chance we get… and how I learned that my grandfather was always hoping someone would marry so there would be a party and he could dance… but I’m too tired… perhaps later this week.)  The photo is completely unrelated, but I thought it would complement my sister’s birthday wish.  Suzanne, I hope you got some rest this cloudy afternoon.

My oldest son brought me this Easter lily last Sunday.
My oldest son brought me this Easter lily last Sunday.

 

Rites of Passage

Rite of Passage My son and his girlfriend, just before the prom.  I love this photo because they are on playground equipment, yet look so grown up.  My son will attend prom tonight.  Then he will finish high school and turn 18 later this month.  These rites of passage are somewhat bittersweet (as well as a relief), as my boy is becoming  man.

Holy Saturday

For many Christians, today is a quiet day of prayer and mourning prior to the joyous celebration of Christ’s resurrection.  My prayer today is for wisdom gained from introspection, peace within, and joy in the morning.  Happy Easter!

Traditions

 

My two youngest sons (17 & 11) dyed these eggs yesterday, as is our tradition.
My two youngest sons (17 & 11) dyed these eggs yesterday, as is our tradition.

 

As I watched my sons dye Easter eggs, I thought about our family traditions.  We always put up our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving night.  We go to my in-laws’ for Christmas Eve and my mother’s on Christmas night.  And we dye eggs for Easter.

These traditions help give our family predictability and identity.   Some traditions simply keep us connected.  We used to go to lunch every Sunday after church, but a series of events (losing a pastor, my accident, my brother moving) have made it more difficult and less frequent.  I miss it.

It makes me happy that my 17-year-old son is still voluntarily dying eggs (he shot this video), that my daughter and her husband now spend the night at my house the night before Thanksgiving so we can cook all the traditional holiday dishes, and that my husband and I take an annual anniversary trip.   I look forward to these rituals, big and small.  They help define who we are as a family.

Joseph Campbell’s book, The Power of Myth, addresses the lack of myth in our culture.  Much of the disconnect among generations, lack of familial and community responsibility, and individual identity issues can be traced back to a lack of ritual and story.  One way to remedy this is through family traditions.

What are some of your traditions?

 

 

Birthdays and Goodbyes

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Today was my mom’s 67th birthday. It was also the day we memorialized her father. He was a U. S. Air Force veteran, so he was given military honors. The day was sad, touching, and joyful as well.

We shared laughter and tears with my mother’s brothers and sister, their mother, and other relatives. We shared memories and a meal with friends who came to pay their respects. And then we shared my mother’s birthday with cake and presents.

Tomorrow we head home, and we will celebrate my mom’s birthday with my siblings, my children and grandchildren, and my nephew. And life will go on. Hopefully , our next gathering will be another birthday. No matter what, we will be together.

The Help

The primary focus of my blog is support.  The support we get from others is what makes navigating our paths easier, if not more enjoyable.  Today I want to acknowledge some of the help I’ve had this week as I travel my path.  I am grateful that these people have helped me this week.  By no means is this an all-inclusive list.  It is simply a representation of how blessed I am.

To Karen, thank you for helping me get more connected with my spiritual community.  To Laura, thank you for sharing your trials and triumphs with me, as well as breakfast.  To Kimberly, thank you for sharing your daughter with us, and for taking the time to find out we have so much in common.  To Laurie, thank you for your gift of music and your smiling face (and for helping me find what I needed a couple of weeks ago).  To Antoinette, thank you for helping me find a piano teacher for Taylor.  To Bailey, thank you for putting together my raised bed and planting my veggies.  To Colette, thank you for helping me rephrase my self talk.  To John, thank you for helping me find my inner warrior again.  To Todd, thank you for lifting me up in prayer daily.  To Aunt Andrea, thank you for your love… you’ll never know how much I admire you.  To Kelly, thank you for your endless love and support… without you, life would be much harder and much less fun.

Today I encourage you to express gratitude for the help in your life.  Express it to them, and express it here if you like.

Finding Dimes

finiding dimes

I have to preface this post by saying that I had drafted a post prior that was about writing “fluff” for the sake of keeping my writing agreement.  I wasn’t judging myself, but I was committing to writing the posts that had been lurking in my head but I had not taken the time to write.  Ironically, I lost the draft in cyberspace.  I have never had that happen.  It literally disappeared.  So instead of trying to recreate that post, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and get one of the defining moments of my life out of my head and out into the blogosphere.

People that know me know I tend to be a bit “airy fairy.”  (If you are intuitive, a healer, or have some other spiritual gift, please don’t think I am being flippant.  I believe the reason Angels can fly is because they take things lightly… including themselves.)  I am always looking for signs and symbols.  I consult my dream book on a regular basis.  And I have had lots of uncanny experiences.  I have no problem with the the notion that I have these because I am looking for them.  I do believe that perception is reality.

A few months after my dad passed away, I began finding dimes.  It struck me as odd because I began to realize it was always dimes, not quarters or pennies, not other objects, but dimes specifically.  I found them everywhere and often.  The first few times, I thought little of it.  After a few weeks, I began to think about this oddity more and more.  I had never heard of anyone else having this experience, but it had become so pronounced that I began to talk about it to other people.  Finally, my teenage son decide he would “Google it.”

Knowing my son, I don’t think he really expected to find anything.  I think he was doing it more for comic relief because he was sick of me telling him where I found my latest dime.  I was blown away when I read all the accounts of people who had begun finding dimes after losing a loved one.  Much of what I read held that finding dimes in random places were signs from a loved one that had passed.  Some think the message is specific, other think it can be very individualized.  Now before I lose you, hear me out on this.  It doesn’t matter whether you believe this or if you think it is utter nonsense.  When I read the internet articles on the subject I gained something very valuable.

I chose, after reading extensively on the subject, to view these dimes as a message from my father.  This message was one of love and comfort.  My dad had a way of letting me know things were going to be all right, especially when it seemed as though things were hopeless.  Notice I said, “chose.”

Whether the fact that the dime is the thinnest coin, with the smallest diameter, thus easily lost, or whether it is an instrument of communication used by those from the great beyond is irrelevant.  For me, the end result is the same.  When I find a dime in the washing machine, on our lawn, under the seat of my car, or at the bottom of a swimming pool, I heed the message.  It doesn’t matter whether this message is from the great beyond or from my own memory banks.  “Dad loves me, and it’s going to be all right” comes across loud and clear.

I didn’t do it initially, but now when I find a dime, I keep it.  I had a pile of them on the nightstand beside my bed.  Now they are on the top of my dresser beside some flowers from my father’s memorial service.  They serve as a daily reminder that I am loved and that everything will be all right.

Do you have any signs or reminders for yourself?

Hoping Spring Has Finally Sprung

Although we have certainly had warmer days already this year, I heard something tonight that was music to my ears.  As my son and I got out of the car, I heard frogs singing from the nearby creek.  We stood outside and just listened for a few moments.  I am hoping spring has finally sprung.