September 7, 2018

Losing Someone


Last week a former student passed away. It was tragic and a shock to everyone in the school. This came only a month after our friend lost their middle school child. The loss of young lives is so devastating.

I don't know how to deal with grief, I really don't. It's such a terrible beast to engage with and yet there is something strangely beautiful about mourning a life. The pain is equal to the love and because of that, it's worth walking through.

I'm more comfortable with my tears than I've ever been. I let them fall when those waves arrive. My children have seen me cry in recent years and I wouldn't have let that happen when they were growing up. But I'm more comfortable with walking beside loss now. I don't want my children or friends to be afraid of grieving openly.

I'm normally a pretty upbeat person. My life hasn't lent itself to many hardships, so optimism comes easy for me and I like to spread it around. But I also like to be sincere. So when I'm in the middle of grief, I allow myself to go under and feel it deeply.

I used to feel guilty for grieving if I wasn't the closest person to the one who died. But now I see the grief of acquaintances as allowing their tribe to see the impact of how far a person reached.

There was a time I avoided grief and those grieving. I didn't feel like I had anything to offer, any hope to give. I was afraid I would cry or make them feel bad. 

But I've learned that the opposite is true. You can't make someone feel bad when they have a loss, because they're feeling that loss constantly. You didn't remind them of it, they never forgot. As for crying around them, it's comforting to see that your loved one impacted others. It's healing to hear stories you might not have heard about them. It's soothing to be among those who loved them.

Nowadays I find myself more likely to show up than run away. I'll admit, I always feel a lump in my throat before stepping into the doorway of a grieving family, but I know I'll be glad I came. Even when I bumble my words or cry snotty tears, simply being there reminds them we are not alone in this pain.




September 6, 2018

Guilty Pleasure, The Bachelor


I am ashamed to admit I have a guilty pleasure of watching the Bachelor shows. When my family comes home and I'm in the middle of an episode, there's a wash of shame that comes over me and an apology escapes my lips; but there is no attempt to change the channel.

When asked what I love about it, I can't pinpoint the reason. The truth is that I roll my eyes several times an episode and sometimes get really annoyed. Yet, I am drawn back in when the time comes around. I don't truly consider myself part of the Bachelor Nation. I think of myself more of a so-so fan who just can't look away.

Maybe it's the romantic in me that wants to see a "happily ever after"? Although the success rate is dismal. Or it might be the puzzle factor, trying to see if I'm right on who they'll choose. I always feel a huge sense of accomplishment if I'm right (which is only half the time).

Whatever it is, I continue to watch it. And when pushed on my choices, I 'maturely' remind those living in my home about the shows they watch which I hate!




July 27, 2018

Learning Spanish


I'm learning Spanish. It's a super slow process, but extraordinary. I'm blown away by the beauty of the words. I've started and stopped several times throughout the last five years because life got in the way.

This summer as I restarted practicing again, it came easier for me. I recognized many of the words and phrases. I still have a long way to go to get to fluent. I can only speak Spanish like a very young child, but I'm excited about the prospect of getting better.

We live in a Hispanic community and I desperately want to be able to communicate. I work at a high school and would love to freely talk to our Spanish speaking students and teachers. I don't like being singularly lingual. It feels uncomfortably elite

Spanish is such a beautiful language. I attempted to learn it in high school, but learning it conversationally is much different than shuffling through all the grammatical lingo.

I'm hoping that in the next few years I will be at the point of fluency. I know it will take tons of hours and practice to get there but I get giddy about the possibilities it could bring.




July 24, 2018

"Don't Worry" Never Helps



I understand why people say, "Don't worry", I've done it myself ~ but it never helps. As I write this, my son is attempting to travel home from China. I say attempting because it's been an ordeal. Due to an airline mistake, he ended up missing his connecting flight to the States and had a twelve hour layover in the Shanghai airport.

ALONE.

He's seventeen and has never traveled out of the country by himself or even flown by himself before this. No, of course this isn't my worst nightmare and I didn't lose my mind. (yes, I lost my mind)

The last two days have been intense! I don't handle stress great. I often want to lose myself in a pile of sweets and come out on the other side with a migraine. Handling my anxiety is not something I've succeeded at but I'm trying to do better.

Instead of running for sweets today, I've given myself a poster project. I'm attempting to distract myself with new episodes of Anne with an E, The Bachelorette (yes, I'm ashamed of this one but I can't help myself) and tons of art supplies to make Welcome Home posters because I choose to believe he will make it home tonight.

Of course it was then that I learned at his next connection, my young son has to race through customs, re-check his bag and arrive at his gate to get on his next flight in about an hour and a half. Is this real life? Sigh. The worry monsters raise their ugly heads. I hope he finds a good person who can help him get to all the places but I know that's the stuff of fiction. For me, the overwhelming terror is that...

I can do nothing about it! Nothing. Nada.

So here I sit, knowing I have no way to help other than being moral support. What do I do? I usually just sit here worrying about all the things that could go wrong; running every scenario through my head making myself a terrified mess. 

BUT

I could accept that I have no control. I could hug it in like a long lost puppy and just sit with it. The obvious fact is that I can do nothing about the situation (believe me, we've made all the calls possible). So I can opt to keep my hands occupied, my mind busy and let it go. What happens happens. I have no way to change it.

Letting go is so desperately hard. Why is it so hard?! Is it the Mom part? the scared little girl part? the sky is falling part? I'd like to think it's the optimistic part that wants to believe there is STILL something I can DO.

But at some point, one has to either go crazy or stop.

So today, I'm choosing to stop. I'm going to believe that my son can survive, even if he has to wait for another twelve hours to get home. I'm going to watch the inventive, cheerful Anne of Green Gables to distract myself from obsessing while I drawing fancy hand-lettering on cheap poster-board.

(And I wouldn't be opposed to a box of chocolates or a plate of cookies!)




July 23, 2018

5 Simple Goals


I used to write five goals for the month and track my progress with them. Usually half of them were something I wanted to accomplish and half just fun. I want to get back to that because a.) I love goals, and b.) It keeps me accountable to have fun. I may do them weekly just to watch my progress.

1. See Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! with my oldest daughter. She and I have an obsession with this movie and the music. She's the only one of my three kids that doesn't gag at my musical theater obsession!

2. Walk 30 minutes a day. I've been walking with good regularity this summer but I haven't been consistently at 30 minutes. Sometimes I just fit in 15 or 20 minutes but I'm hoping to up my game and stay at 30.

3. Read Just the Essentials. I've been intrigued with getting more earth-friendly with my cleaning supplies/household items. I've heard good things about this book and picked it up from the library.

4. Weed my front flower bed. It's terrible! I need to put some weed killer in it I think because as soon as I weed it, it's back again. Maybe this is the perils of having a yard, but I've never noticed it being so crazy. We've had a lot of rain, so maybe that's causing it.

5. Replace my empty gel pens with refills! My friend gave me a huge amount of gel pens in December that I am STILL using. About an 1/4th of them are needing refills and the whole pack came with refills so I still won't be out of ink for awhile. I'm guessing it's going to last me all the way to next December ~ it's the gift that keeps on giving! I love using them to color, highlight and write. If you've been around long, you know I'm crazy about my pens and these feel like a treat every time I use them!