Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My twenty-third slice-of-life story...

Santa Shops at Toys 'R Us...

Reid's two and a half; he's curious, he's smart, he's creative.  He's fueled by books and conversation.  For the past three Christmases, more tales about Santa have shown up at bedtime than he could shake a stick at.  "Santa has a red suit, a white beard, makes his toys at the North Pole, and says 'Ho, ho, ho.'"  All these tidbits he holds onto as truth.

From a parent's perspective though, I'm wondering how to be Santa...how to grow the myth of Santa...and how to balance Santa with our belief system.  I've canvassed friends and family members with this series of questions, and what I've found is that answers vary like snowflakes.  And, we're late to the party --- we haven't yet developed our system.  But, the time is drawing nigh to create one. 

I'd admit, this year my Christmas shopping has been moved to the back burner more than old chili.  Procrastination landed us at Toys 'R Us Saturday night amidst the mayhem defined in my dictionary as 'driven {desperate} loved ones out in hard-core shopping mode for special wishlist items.'  I've never seen anything like it --- obscene lines, mountainous carts, a sea of serious faces.  And, there we were with our little one in tow. 

Which, now, brings me back to our Santa situation.

Behind fourteen other tired shoppers at check-out, we shifted our weight and clumsily balanced our patience and packages.  My husband and I tried like champs to keep our chosen items above toddler-eye level; but, with each passing minute they became heavier, more cumbersome, and droopier.

Until...I heard an unfamiliar sound...and looked down to see tiny balls popping like corn in the toy leaf blower my husband lovingly picked out for our little task master. 

"It sounds like a hand dryer but it isn't as lownd!" Reid pronounced.

Alright.  What do we do with the present now?  It's like damaged goods because the kiddo has a mind like a steel trap.  In the car, the bathtub, or at his sitters, he will at some point casually recount the shopping excursion in copious detail.  (He does this often with memories we assume he'd forget post-haste.) 

Maybe, part of the story we'll weave is that an invisible Santa does all his shopping alongside mommies and daddies at Toys 'R Us...

Write on,

Sunday, December 18, 2011

From Julia Cameron...

You know, it's been a while since I've been in Julia Cameron's The Writer's Life...but her familiar thoughts jump out at me from within other professional works.  I'm always glad when they do.

Today, here's one idea positioned so artfully by Katie Wood Ray within In Pictures and In Words:

Writing is the act of motion.  Writing is the commitment to move forward, not to stew in our juices, to become whatever it is we are becoming.  Writing is both the boat and the wind in the sails.  Even on these days when the winds of inspiration seem slight, there is some forward motion, some progress made.  The ability to show up brings with it the ability to grow up.  (2001, 96)

Write on,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My twenty-second slice-of-life story...


Black knees, blue knees, striped knees, two knees
Great-aunt's knees, cousins' too
And don't forget Trevor; his are new
Knees facing in:
Folded, bent, straight, crossed
A protective hedge for a child's loss.

Breaking through the circle, then outside
More knees were moving in a line
Walk a little then stop to talk:
Hug, cry, wish, pray
So many knees at the church today

Weaving through the loved ones standing way up front
There were Uncle Matt's hurt knees
and Uncle Tim's khaki knees
and Grandma's pretty flowered knees
and Daddy's shiny dress-pant knees

One pair of knees gone, hard to miss
The one in the pictures she loved to kiss:
Drip, drop, weep, wipe
A four-year-old's view of loss is slim
(An adult's, not so much, things look so dim)

A tip-toed child, chin raised toward the sky
Took the eyes of people as she reached up high
Standing next to Daddy her mission was clear:
Tug, stretch, grasp, peer
Find a way to get Mommy near

A glance right then was all it took
The grown-ups around shamelessly shook
A ballet skirt and curly pink hair bow:
Twirl, walk, dance, run
(Only a child would think this crowd is fun.)

Black knees, blue knees, striped knees, two knees
All these knees showing love today
Just keep coming through the big doorway
Knees facing in as she played on the floor:
Folded, bent, straight, crossed
A protective hedge for this youngster's loss.

Write on,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My twenty-first slice-of-life story...

You know, sometimes I'm so busy I can hardly see straight...

Designing and delivering this presentation or that,
or wondering what to cook my family for dinner,
or deciding (sadly) what I'll wear tomorrow,
or schedule-crunching to finish the shopping,
or looking ahead to when I'll wrap the gifts we buy,
or figuring out when I'll prepare all those Christmas cards...
But wait, we have to get our family picture taken first.  
Should our outfits coordinate?

It seems everything compounds until the only noise I hear is that of my stressed-out little heart thup, glup, glupping its way to the end of school, and then finally, the holidays.

When my vision of what's really going on in life is impaired...perspective always presents itself.  When the waves (almost) crash and the fury is (almost) at fever pitch, an attitude of gratitude seeps in.  I stop tonight; quietly contemplative.

Tonight, my cousin paces terrified to imagine the future without his young wife.
Thank Tom for being the man of my dreams.

Tonight, two tiny children snuggle tightly into Mommy to learn everything they can about her...almost as if by osmosis...before it's too late.   The unexpected lesson: cancer.
Attend fully to Reid during our short evenings...make every minute count!

Tonight, a family surrounds her silent and watching...believing in a miracle. 
Keep praying! The Hands that hold the world also hold Nikki...

Tonight, an older Mommy and Daddy would trade places with the daughter they brought into the world thirty years ago just so she could see her babies grow up. 
Parenting is an unselfish act...do I always treat it as such?

My presentations, gifts, shopping, cards, clothes, and menu choices 
are insignificant. 
And, that's probably being generous.
They don't matter in the grand scheme.

Instead of seeing my to-do list as obligatory, I should see it as a list of opportunity.
Opportunity for the family with whom I've been blessed,
for the job which inspires me and keeps me growing,
for the clothes I have to keep me warm,
for the food reserves I can pull from each mealtime,
for the means to gift special people at parties, gatherings, at home around our tree,
for friends' smiling faces on cards I love to receive each holiday season.

You know, sometimes I'm so busy I can hardly see straight; but mostly that's because I'm not focused on opportunity...

Write on,