Archives for October 2017

Mama’s Lego Ship

We live in a house perched atop a hill right above the Puget Sound. Our 180 degree view of islands and sea is stunning, and serves as a waterway for all kinds of pleasure craft as well as barges and tugs and ships carrying goods from across the earth. It’s fun to see the shapes and hues of the various vessels. One of them, always carrying an array of colored box-shaped containers stacked wide and tall, mixed and matched in various new patterns each time it glides by, has the appearance of a Lego project from back in the day when my boys spent hours building creations with Lego blocks. So, it’s been named ‘The Lego Ship’ by Yours, truly.

Just now hubby hollered, “There’s your Lego ship!” and his words rang through my empty house, bouncing off the wood floors with a hollow-sounding echo. I sneaked into the bedroom, quietly shut the door, and burst into tears.  If the boys were here a few short years ago, they would be running madly to glue themselves to the big wide windows, chattering about ‘The Lego Ship’, I thought, as I sobbed. I could hear Seth say,

“Levi, hurry! The Lego Ship is driving by – ooohhh, today he’s really loaded up with big blocks – WOW! It looks just like the one you made with the blue and red and green blocks last time!” then his brother would scurry out in his warm, furry slippers to join his little brother’s viewing adventure.

They would talk and wonder aloud about what was in those boxes and what it would be like to be on that ship and where did that ship come from and…and…

I miss those squeaky little voices and the running commentary on every little thing. I miss the noise and the mess and the innocence of those days gone by. I know we can’t stay there, but I’m pained to let go sometimes and at this particular moment, I’m feeling the sharp ache of life’s locomotive, chugging mercilessly down the tracks. I can almost hear John Mayer singing, Stop this Train…

Stop this train
I want to get off and go home again
I can’t take the speed it’s moving in
I know I can’t
But, honestly, won’t someone stop this train?

So scared of getting older
I’m only good at being young
So I play the numbers game
To find a way to say that life has just begun

Singing, stop this train
I want to get off and go home again
I can’t take the speed it’s moving in
I know, I can’t
‘Cause now I see I’ll never stop this train.*

Just as I blew my nose, composed myself, and wiped my tears away so that I could get back to work on the article I’m busy writing, I heard my phone beep. I looked to find a Twitter post from one of my grown-up boys, a shout out on the value of my book and me, the author/mom. How poignant. What a realtime, perfect illustration of the bittersweet loss/gain rhythm of life…my little boy had to grow up to be an adult man so that he could articulate my value from his big guy perspective. Wow. God moment. (Especially when you consider that I’m really not that great. <<click for the lowdown)

 Cue: train whistle.

 

*Stop This Train Written by John Clayton Mayer, Pino Palladino • Copyright © Reach Music Publishing, BMG Rights Management US, LLC

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Panic Room in Midlife

In midlife, sometimes
anxiety like a vice grip, comes to crush you.

Overwhelm like an ocean swell, looms large…
reminding you of all that’s undone, imperfect, incomplete, in disarray, off track.

The ‘whys?’ pile up, the pat answers aren’t working, the mountain before you seems higher, despite your furious toil.
Unsure of who you are, exactly, or what you’re doing or accomplishing…you’re busy piecing it all together sort of randomly with good intentions – but what is it you’re actually building??

The chaos whispers in your ear, taunting…
is this what failure feels like?

questions
fears
uncertainty
disappointments

The buzzer on the call pad jolts you from your inner downward spiral of contemplation…
and in the hand of an unsuspecting soul, a gorgeous bouquet appears. An everyday miracle revealed in this crucial moment. Life and beauty and color and fragrance, wrapped in love.

God comes in many forms, and it is Him,
and He reminds you of exactly who you are, what’s important, how much you’re loved, and that He sees all the hidden things others don’t see, all the seeds you’ve planted, all the love you’ve tried so hard to express, all the sacrifices and genuine efforts you’ve made, every fervent prayer you’re praying.
And you exhale…
and peace comes with strength and fresh determination.
Oxygen to fuel your fire yet again – the flame rekindled.
And you press on, even more determined.

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    The Ultimate Career

    I am a Homemaker.

    This means that most of my time the past 37 years has been spent making a home.

    Today I’ve refreshed my to-do lists, planned more meals, spot cleaned carpets, vacuumed, refilled all the stuff everyone needs like soap and salt and coffee beans and three-ply, peeled potatoes, baked the meatloaf and zucchini bread, prepped the week’s fresh veggies, scrubbed the dishes, pots and pans, arranged flowers, cleaned the bathroom, laundered towels and rugs, texted friends and family members and scribbled a thank-you card, while simultaneously calling doctors offices and insurance companies on my earpiece (with the usual ‘unusual’ long wait times), worked on calendar and budget, cleaned the fridge, diffused essential oils and organized stuff. Yesterday I made people lattes and breakfast tacos, shopped at Costco for more food to make for people, loaded, paid, unloaded, organized, ran assorted errands, watched the grand kids, ordered a gift and hosted dinner guests. And that’s just a sampling, because you and I know it’s always one more thing, right?

    “Waste of time,” some would say.
    “Tedious, mundane, unglamorous, no pay, very little appreciation on most days.”
    I know. On one hand, they’re right.
    No actual paycheck is written to me weekly, and ofttimes I’m invisible.

    But this is my calling, my life, my gift to the world…my passion and my burden, my exceeding great joy. To make a home, to build a family, to tirelessly toil on repeat as all homemakers do, and to flex with the seasons as my role has evolved.

    To make hubby soup and tea when he’s under the weather, to endeavor to encourage my kids and my daughters-in-law by being there, praying, believing and cheering them on. To love my grandchildren, to enjoy them and impart to them what I have to give, and all the other grands to come. To entertain friends, strangers and strays who happen along our path with a warm welcome, comforting aromas and yummy food.

    And somehow I believe that if more women were making homes, we would need less prisons, see fewer divorces and have more love and peace in the world. And if more men did the right thing, their women would be doing just that.

    “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career.” – C.S. Lewis

     

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