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Showing posts from 2016

Lessons From Semester One

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He's home! He's home! I haven't written much since he left. That's not even true.  I haven't written anything of any worth in months. Since we dropped him off to be exact.  A few sentences, a few strings of words, disconnected from each other with no true band of thought.  Cooper leaving for college is the single biggest day-to-day change in my life since Aiden was born, completing my tribe of five. We survived all the messiness and struggle of the first months of separation, of wings branching out and of one less heartbeat under my roof (most of the time).  I know it's a small milestone, one semester out of his widening horizon, four months into a future that will continue to change and evolve. I know there are many challenges ahead and so many times I will again feel like a duck out of water. But today, today I am grateful. Grateful for this kid.  Grateful for his resilience and grit. I am grateful for his short comings and his weaknesses, without them the s…

You're On Your Own Kiddo

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I wrote so often about Cooper's Senior Year, about his impending graduation and moving away that I have found myself, now that those events have passed, with very few words.

I didn't cry. Well, that's kind of a lie. I didn't cry ... too much. And not in front of him, but save a few tears when I hugged his big bear chest one more time, wrapping my arms around his broad shoulders and hiding my face in his arm. He said, "Hey, hey, hey ... none of that momma." I kissed my hand and placed it on his forehead, just as I have every. single. time I have left him for 18 years and 9 months. As we walked away, leaving him in academic meetings, Eric, Aiden and I walked the pathways and the sidewalks of campus. I tried to envision him there, walking with buddies, backpack slung over one shoulder. He would be laughing, his baseball hat on, the curls hidden behind his ears. I looked for places he would be drawn to - the small lake on campus, the football field. I felt the O…

Be Kind

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Yesterday I came home after a 5 day trip with Jackson out east to play lacrosse. We had risen at 3 am to fly home, I was exhausted. Not just from travel, but from the weight of life. But the fridge was unbelievably bare (does no one know the way to the grocery store but me?). Grocery shopping isn't my favorite job to begin with, let alone on little to no sleep and without a list - and I was too tired to make one. 

Two full carts later I landed in the check out isle ... working quickly to unload my cart, feeling the eyes of those behind me wondering what the hell I was doing with so much food. I assumed they were irritated that I would be taking so long. I apologized to the gentleman behind me -- he was there with his grown son -- for having so much to unload. He smiled and said, "You don't worry about it. Not a problem at all." We continued chatting -- he laughing with me at the trials of feeding teenage boys. 

At some point he started unloading groceries from my car…

27 Ways to Score from Third Base

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I know he's not on third ... it's the best I could do today. :)
Let's see if I can make this make sense ... I am not at all sure that I can. 
I haven't written in a long time. A couple weeks before Coop graduated was my last entry ... and it's been over a month since then.  In part, I have found myself at a space in life where the story I am living is not mine to tell. Things happen in our lives that impact us greatly, but for which we do not own the copyright. That's where I am. It makes it difficult to write, because what I want -- need -- to write about isn't mine. 
What I can write about is a train of thought that has taken several weeks to form. The idea, floating in my mind, my thoughts mulling it over like my fingers would a worry stone. I feel its edges and learn its curves. It makes sense in my mind, the translation may be lost. It is wrapped in the events of the past 6 weeks, both personal and public, and it has brought me clarity, if not always p…

22 Wake Ups

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I should love this photo. Just a quick snapshot of brothers. Of math homework. Of team work. I see that in their faces and in their postures. But it's also a photo of frustration, of disappointment, of indifference. It's the portrait of homework in our home.  
I was reading an article today from a teacher who had fostered self choice when kid's selected books in her classroom. Her guidance and courage in allowing them to choose their own adventures fostered a love of reading, it created readers and lovers of learning! It was lovely, well written (you can read it here) and full of excitement and passion for kids, for reading, for education. As much as I loved her words, her love of her craft, I felt sad. I felt a bit ripped off. 
We have had some teachers with true passion, a flare and a fire in their bellies they willingly shared in hopes of igniting that same fire for learning in my boys. We have had others who came, did their job and went home, offering an organized, co…

And Still ...

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It's one of those days.  A day where the clouds and the rain seep into my bones and the nostalgia of these past months makes me weep. I walked by a picture of Cooper today as a baby.  It stopped me in my tracks, sucking me into the time sucking whole of memories and whispers of where the time went. I am trying to move toward the after, trying to move toward a space where the thought of him leaving doesn't move me to tears and physically hurt. I could wish it didn't, but it does.

I am embarrassed. I have friends who lost their daughter this past year. I have friends who are fighting cancer and life threatening health issues. I have dear friends who are grieving failed marriages and some who are facing financial catastrophes. And yet. I can't move past the grief I feel. I read on a Facebook post somewhere these past few months that your child leaving for college isn't everything. But it isn't nothing, either. It's something. I am trying to tame this somethin…

Thoughts from a Recovering Control Addict

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When I was still coaching skating, my boys were young. In fact, I retired shortly after Aiden was born and Cooper went into first grade. While I have an infinite number of wonderful memories, one that comes back to me often was an off handed comment a mother of a school aged skater said to me.  Her son was new to private lessons and she was visibly anxious, nervous. I wasn't her son's coach, but we were chatting while the Zamboni did its job and she said, "It's hard to put him out on the ice with someone I hardly know. It's like opening up his little brain and letting someone dump into it whatever they want. I have no control over it." I'm paraphrasing of course, it was nearly 15 years ago, but the sentiment was powerful for me. I regarded her words as a coach, being careful my instructions were chosen wisely, making certain my criticisms were coupled with encouragement. It wasn't until my own sons went to school that I took those words to heart as a…

My Middle

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Jackson was put on this earth to challenge me, not always (if ever) an in-your-face-teenage-boy-challenge, but a subtle request to do better. He challenges me to be my best, to follow my moral compass, to not only seek justice but to redefine it, to find it hiding in the nooks and crannies of life as we live it. Don't get me wrong, he challenges me in other ways as well -- many of them -- but none as important as his quiet request for me to do better.  He asks me to go hunting, he invites me to swim with sharks, he begs me to try hot sauce. He talks me into wake surfing and wants me to climb rocks with him when we hike.  He is the definition of "getting out of your box", in fact, he dances on his daily.

I remember, very clearly, the day I knew for certain that Jackson would no longer be "the baby" and would move up a notch in the design of our family. He and his brother were running out the door, heading to Grandma's house. I knew a pregnancy test was in m…

Eyes Wide Open

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I typically stay off of the "community" Facebook page for our little town. I find it mostly uplifting, but also find the complaining and lack of compassion at times too much to deal with. After all, I shouldn't walk away from reading my news feed irritated at random strangers for their narrow minded views, or their disagreement with my sensibilities. So, I usually stay away.

The other day though, a post caught my eye. It was written by a father who had witnessed (with his daughter) the rather unkind taunting of a girl his daughter's age by a group of three same-aged girls in a public restaurant. The point of the post was to draw attention to bullying, to draw parent's attention to their children's behavior -- as it seemed during the interaction that the trio of girls were with an adult who seemed unaware of what was transpiring. It was a well-meaning, well-intentioned post -- and as I skimmed the comments waiting to pick up Aiden after school I remembered wh…

12

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He runs ahead of me, kicking up a dusting of the few inches of fresh fallen snow. He's wearing a hand me down pair of tennis shoes.  He said he doesn't have any boots that fit, honestly I'm not sure he does and I feel a vague sense of guilt. We are walking along the rock ledges that line the river in town -- his brother and dad and I. The sun is shining, so we came hiking.

He tries, no less than three times, to make a walking stick out of branches he picks up on the side of the path, all the while running, shuffling his feet in the snow creating a small white dust up under his feet, just like Pig Pen. Twice the branches he picked up were bigger than he is.  No mind, he whittled and twisted and molded the sticks as he runs ahead and then doubles back to touch us.

He yells, "Momma come look at this ice! It's water seeping right from the ground through the rocks! Isn't it cool? You gotta touch it!" It looks like the blown glass we saw at Greenfield Village …

All Alone

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Every time we go for a walk, Eric and I wonder how many miles our footsteps have carved out. How many times we have walked down our road, looked at the same trees and the same houses. Passed the same mailboxes and kicked the same stones. We walk a lot, passing time, getting exercise, spending time together. In college we once took off in the morning, bare footed, and walked until dusk. We came home with filthy feet and happy hearts. Our walks are our time. Solving, strategizing, dreaming. Last week, we were gifted with a walk in a soft snow fall.

Big snowflakes fell so sweetly from the sky, the kind that are really hundreds of flakes stuck together, like a family. There were no cars on our little dirt road, and for once there was no wind. The flakes floated gently toward the ground their path uniquely their own. We even stuck our tongues out (well, I did) and caught a few. The prick of icy cold marking success. Lulu, our lab walked up in front of us, sniffing, mouthing and investigat…

Me, The Scale and I

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To say I always battled my weight would be a lie. In fact I don't remember even knowing what my weight was until shortly after I auditioned for Disney on Ice. I was a floundering sophomore in college and until I heard the words, "As soon as you can get your weight below 120 pounds you can come join us on tour!" I am not sure I ever stepped foot on a scale. In fact, over the next ten days as I tried to lose the weight (I needed to drop 8 pounds off my already thin frame as quickly as possible to join the company at their next city), I ventured up to the hospital floor where my momma worked to use the admissions scale at the hospital.  I didn't even own a scale.

That phone call started an obsessive relationship between me and The Scale. I lost the weight for Disney by starving and three times a day workouts, by dehydrating myself through water pills and restriction of fluids. I plummeted down in weight - obsessing over the blinking neon numbers to the exclusion of loo…

Finding Happy

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It's January. It's cold. It's Michigan, so it's also gray and snowy. The post-holiday blues, lack of sun and time outside (plus the new year hard reset on my diet and exercise that I neglected over the past few months) make this time of year difficult for me. I struggle to sleep, struggle to wake up, struggle to enjoy the days. Add in nearly 44 years, an aching, aging body, a heart that is wistful as the clock winds down to graduation and a spell of time where I actually have .... well, time ... and I am restless. Not the kind of restless that smacks some 40-somethings upside the head, where they become immediately aware of the passage of time and the fact that youth has passed them on the left and they leave their wives, divorce their husbands, change careers and buy a new red sports car.  Rather, the kind that finds me reflective, thoughtful. Even more so than usual.

I was talking with one of my dearest and oldest friends (old as in we've been friends since we h…