Just remember in the Winter
Far beneath the bitter snow
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the Spring becomes the rose.
~ “The Rose”/Lyrics Amanda McBroom
The season has changed and Spring has finally found us. The promise of renewal, rebirth and hopeful thoughts surround us. The sun is shining warm again. Seedlings that were planted falls-ago have taken root over the winter’s long days and new life is emerging. Vibrant bursts of color are popping up daily. The unexpected is happening. Everywhere. Be alert with eyes wide open or be jarred, as I was the other day; halted by beauty; startled in an unanticipated moment, forced to pause and see the sweet rose that shot up before me.
How did this happen right before my eyes without me seeing it?
Parenting is busy, worrisome work. It’s constant, at times, all-consuming. It’s a life-long learning adventure. Like most things I become immersed in, the deeper I’m in it, often times, the harder it is for me to step out and back and linger in the minutes of the milestones and accomplishments of our ever-changing, day-to-day lives. Hours become days. Days extend into weeks which turn into months that become years. Even though I’ve been there all the while, the details are clouded and what seems like, in the blink of an eye, the bud becames a blossom and I’ve been caught completely off guard.
That sweet seedling that was just laughing-it-up in the park yesterday...
…has grown into a flower, more beautiful than I could ever have imagined…
… and is laughing-it-up on her way into the Spring Dance today, in concert with these other lovelies who are flourishing in their own beautiful gardens.
In the new storefront a man stood in front of the huge glass window watching people, including us, walk by his establishment. My eyes met his as we passed and then I couldn’t help but notice the two, large, empty chairs that sat in front of mirrors behind him. There was a quiet look of discontent on his face. I felt bad for him. This poor man I thought, wondering how he could have chosen this location.
Doesn’t he know?
We had an appointment two doors down from the empty store where there was a bustle of activity. It was busy here and even though we had called in advance, there were three people ahead of us, waiting patiently, for his time. He glanced up stopping what he was doing, only for a moment as we entered and offered a substitute, as he usually does.
As usual, we thanked him and respectfully declined.
It will be a while, he said.
It’s Okay. We’ll wait.
You can’t be in a rush when you come to see this man. You don’t want to be in a rush.
Finally, he beckoned us over. I took my place, off to the side. Shortly after, the discussions began. I listened intently, chiming in occasionally as they spoke of worldly things like the flu epidemic and how dangerous it can be for sick people to be in the hospital. Margaret Thatcher’s passing was brought up and he talked about her great personal achievements and the contributions she made to the advancement of women and our political world.
Then his thoughts turned to North Korea.
What do you think of this guy, Kim Jong Un? Do you think he’s being influenced by the men that used to rule with his father? How do you think the US will respond if he fires a nuclear missile?
He was genuinely interested in my son’s response and in the 30-minutes that the job took, there was a lively exchange of meaningful topics. Solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems were flirted. It’s always interesting to hear his views but fascinating to watch this man’s skill, as all the while, he continues laboring, never missing a beat, meticulously working his craft like the artist that he is, coming back several times to the same spot until it looks or feels just right. He’s consistent and a constant. He’s reliable; a friend and the only person we’ve ever trusted with this task. And despite the seriousness of his work and the broadness of the topics he covers, it always begins with the same question, prompting the same response.
What number will it be today, Noah?…
…is the question.
…is the answer.
At least it has been, for the last 14 years.
Photo Credit #1 Google Images
Photo Credit #2 -#3 Karen Szczuka Teich & Takingtheworldonwithasmile.com
“Is the spring coming?” he said.
“What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Frances Hodgson Burnett,
The Secret Garden
This weekend was opening day for town soccer in the Hudson Valley.The first day of soccer is always a clear indication that spring is truly here! Indeed, starting at 9am, the fields were flooded with kids ages 5 to 16, each one of whom came out ready to play ball!
There was just one problem.
It was 32 DEGREES!
Ehem!….that would be the temperature at which all things freeze! Including humans standing on a field.
But, Spring is here! Phil Said So! Remember? Two months ago in front of millions of people! Live! On television.Well Phil, it’s not and there’s a bit of an uproar here on the East Coast about it.In fact, there’s been talk of a lawsuit by a prosecutor in Ohio who wants to indict Phil for incorrectly predicting the weather, some back tracking gibberish about Phil’s “handler”mistranslating the prediction and even the calling of the poor fellow’s head by a radical few.
People who live on the East Coast take their weather very seriously and talk about it all-the-time! They really enjoy their four seasons: the (temporary) heat of summer, the cool of fall, the (temporary) cold of winter and the warmth of spring.Yes, the warmth of spring. Even though it made it to 50 degrees later in the day, well after the soccer games had ended, it was too little, too late. Thirty-two degrees at the start of any day is not spring. We were promised spring, an early spring! We’re waiting and we’re over due.
But heck people! We really can’t blame Phil. Even though Punxsutawney Phil has been predicting the start or stall of spring for the last 123-years amidst great fanfare, pomp and circumstance, and even though he predicted an early spring for us this year (back in FEBRUARY) let’s face it; no matter how you slice it, the truth is, Phil, is a groundhog! A GROUNDHOG! And groundhogs really don’t have special communicative or weather related powers.There is no such thing as “groundhogese“. I don’t think they even make good house pets.
You never hear anyone talking about their pet groundhog — ever.
It’s Mother Nature who’s the real culprit here.
She’s the one to blame.
I dare you!
Photo Credits: #1 & #3 – Google Images
Photo Credit #2 – Karen Szczuka Teich & Takingtheworldonwithasmile.com
I had really good intentions this week. Maybe that’s why we ended up in hell for a while.
The saying is right up there with Steinbeck’s….
And so it was this week. There were good intentions and best-laid plans. Heck, the table was practically set!
Heading into the week thoughts were on the baking and making of good food, the joining of good friends, a long weekend in the good woods, some good puzzling, and a good, old-fashioned, awesome egg hunt around a great pond!
Who needs the White House lawn when you have this?
Instead, our intentions and plans were ransacked by reality. Spring Break was anything but a break and I had to remind myself (more than once) why I named this blog what I did, when we ended up with this…..
…..a trip to the ER Thursday night that lasted well into the wee-hours of Friday morning.
De-hy-dration. Not eating a full meal for nearly a week, having fever and losing body fluids from every possible body-crevice will put your girl on a fast-track to needing nutrients from an IV bag for sure but it was the nosebleed that just-would-not-stop that sealed the deal and sent us to the hospital.
Damn you this year’s flu!
Both A & B strains have descended upon our house for the third time this season even though we’ve all been inoculated.
“Go back to the science lab!” I say to the medical team that concocted this most ineffectual vaccine!
“You missed the mark — completely!”
The second time we visited our doctor this week, she advised us that this year’s flu shot was approximately, only, 10% effective.
Taking the world on with a smile. I needed to remind myself. Did I mention in-between doctor visits, the diagnosis of flu and bronchitis and just before our jaunt to the hospital that it was my girl’s birthday this week also?
“Roll with it.” I kept telling myself. Take it all, on with a smile.”
When you have kids, some days just get like this and sometimes those days turn into weeks. Patience and flexibility are key. Plan B is always helpful. Life after all, is full of surprises, the good and the not so good.
As a parent you accept that the best-laid plans are well, tentative at best.
So, I’m taking the world– my world — on with a smile. And even though it’s mostly just on the outside for now, I know, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, this too shall pass.
Happy Easter!~ Happy Passover!~ Happy Birthday!~ Happy Holidays!
About a week ago, I spoke on a Victim’s Impact Panel.
Somehow I ended up speaking last. For the past two and a half years, each time before this time, I spoke first. Not that it matters what order we go in. It’s just how it’s been. And even though going first was the same experience before, there’s always a different kind of vibe to being in front of this room-full of offenders. The first time was scary, kind of like having an out-of-body experience. Surreal. I was fixated and fascinated by the men and women who sat before me. I knew I was speaking but I couldn’t really hear myself. Six months later, the numbness had worn off. My wounds resurfaced and there was anger in my words. The anger stayed with me for the third time as well. Time I have discovered does indeed heal wounds but it does not take them away, completely.
After that, I realized in having their undivided, mandatory attention, if I could manage to get over myself and my hurt, maybe I could seize the opportunity and convey a message. One that might say something like…
“Hey, you had no right to do what you did!” with composure and conviction instead of anger.
So that’s what I did.
There’s a certain kind of pressure that comes with going first though that leaves you wishing you had said ‘this or that’ by the time it’s over but this time, I spoke last.
This time, I began with the words “I’m blessed”, because I am. In so many ways.
Being the last to speak gave me the opportunity to really hear the others’ stories in a way that I hadn’t before, even though I had.
After hearing the other women panelists’ speak, I realized in comparison, how truly blessed I was to be in the company of such courage. I also realized how truly blessed my family is. We did not suffer physical assault. We were not beaten like the two brothers that were jumped for their iPods on their way home from school and ended up in the hospital. There was no loss of limb like the carpenter whose thumb was taken from him by a machetes-wielding, teenage boy who pushed his way into his home looking for his daughter. There was no rape; no loss of life. For us there was a repeated home-invasion over a period of several months, there was, the not knowing who or why for so long, but our obvious losses were only material ones.
This time despite how different our stories are I set aside the details and through all of our anguish, heard the common threads.
Fear. Stress. Anger.
We are bonded by these common threads that continue to reappear in our lives as a result of the actions of another human being. We are all still trying to pick up and put together some of the broken pieces of our lives.
So, yes,“I am blessed” I said,
“…the tentacles of your crimes extend further than you can see. Further than you can imagine. Further than I ever imagined they would continue to go even after you were arrested.”
And still, they reach.
No matter how far we move away, or how much we move on, no matter how long it’s been or how incredibly, fiercely, strong we have become, the domino effects of what you did lingers in the lives we live today.
We all have them, now. Once, we were whole, in a way; in our own livable way but what you did served to sever that. We became unraveled. All of us have children that were affected. All of us felt helpless when it came to protecting them. This is the saddest common thread of all. All of our families are fractured now. Alcoholism. Separation. Divorce. Suicide. Everyone copes differently with any given circumstance. When a tragic event occurs, some of us find the strength to keep moving forward. Some of us get stuck and can’t move forward. Some of us never will.
My message this time was that your actions affect other people – hugely—in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.
At that moment in time, when you did what you did, you couldn’t possibly have thought ahead, to what your behavior then, might bring two or three or five years down the road. There is no way you considered how many lives; children, families would be negatively effected by your deeds. If you had stopped and thought about it, even just a little, maybe, oh, just maybe, you would not have done what you did.
I’m blessed it’s true, to be bonded to these women who continue to be a power of example to me, who continue to help me move forward in gratitude.
Photo Credits #1 & 2 Google Images