Nice Wide Turns @ David’s Office in Bellingham 8.4.20

Feeling compelled to write current thoughts after a lunch break comprised of kundalini yoga for the hips & a piece of sea salt caramel dark chocolate.

One of the main themes in my personal evolution is letting go of the need to address change in others. There are things I want our kids to learn (like cleaning up toothpaste on the counter or being considerate of what you leave in the sink) before they turn into college roommates.

Yet, the management of 5 project plans (one per kid) and the coordination of said plans with David layered by the actual household projects and pantry management on top of “work” work, desired creative bandwidth and personal time is just too much.

And… based on recent findings… unnecessary…

On my flight in on Sunday, I had just had one of those glorious crafty moments where I think of a game that is actually a great way to manipulate the kids into doing what I want them to do when I noticed how the plane was turning.

A nice, wide turn.

I felt the control of the plane, the perfect balance of steadiness and direction, and recalled this double stroller I had when Ellen and Lucy were little. It was a high end stroller, a gift from a wealthy aunt on my ex’s side, and it could turn – literally – on a dime.

Crowded zoo? #nobigdeal Packed Saturday market? #bringit The thing was engineered for quick control and change. The plane turned much differently than the stroller.

In my awareness of these two very different calculations of engineering, I realized the fault in my quirky little game that would trick all the kids into doing what I wanted. What I need to bring to this family is not control, it’s indeed a balance of steadiness and direction.

It’s a steady application of everything I am learning by allowing others their life.

Yesterday afternoon, David and I went walking in the park. I had thought a lot during the day of our household and how to set us up for healthy meals and virtual learning. I was excited to share slash just wanted to hear myself talk so I prefaced myself… I said, “Babe, I have been thinking about how I want to manage the household and I am going to tell you about it but don’t worry – you don’t have to have an opinion or feel any pressure to build on or expand the idea.”

He started to laugh. He was so grateful to know I just wanted to talk and he didn’t have to do the whole sharpen my iron thing. I have learned from experience, my zealousness and excitement can put undue pressure on his pscyhe… he ends up problem solving the thing I figured out… we get lost in words… I just wanted to talk to begin with, so this time? I released the valve right away.

After a brisk walk around the lake, pausing only once to social distance / check the view, we stopped by Whole Foods to pick up an order and David was growing hungry. I could tell because, when he is hungry, he exercises his world class ability to be mad at everything and mad at nothing at the exact same time.

I have learned to shoulder him, like how he shoulders me when I am tired and can’t think straight enough to sound anything other than curt.

His hunger also can invoke “hyper management protocol”. (I watch a lot of Avengers.) With the edge of his stomach somehow triggering a survival mindset, he will question  whether or not we need X or have Y, whether I have done X or if I know Y.

Historically speaking, I take this personally and feel a lot of pressure to know answers to all these questions. However – a key thing I have  learned is “No, babe” is the perfect answer and – most importantly – it is 100% rhetorical when he asks me “Now what, babe?” about things he knows I have never done before or places I have never been.

(PS: This is very much unlike when my children ask me where things are in CVS, like I work there.)

I have learned I do not need to take anything of the energetic imagination on; it is easier to smile, to be equally curious, to be kind, to continue.

I am not perfect at this. But I am prefacing and I am adjusting.

That turn into Sea Tac on the final descent was really fascinating to me. I have a feeling a lot of life is going to be served well by remembering the truth of staying steady and keeping my focus when maneuvering my proverbial plane.

With the kids, this looks like “invitational awareness” and tailored choices.

“Do you want to put away the clean dishes or do you want to wipe the table?”

“Feel this dough – it is so smooth!”

“Would you like to hang out with me and load the dishwasher or come in when I’m done and clean up the pots?”

“Next time you’re in the bathroom will you see how many things on the counter – toothpaste, trash, pants, nerf gun, gum wrapper, small plastic spider – are yours and see if you can count them up and then take care of your mess? Let me know if I can help you.”

Because I would be happy to.

I could tell them to do it, to fix it on a dime, but the nice, wide turn feels a lot more accommodating.

It also seems to make way for a lot more believable story as to how they became such a kind, helpful roommate.

 

You are Going to Be Okay if the City and County Merge

I am growing impatient with stale voices opposing Better Together in the spirit of self-preservation and fear of losing what is “so perfect” and “so good”. St. Louis’ embodiment of familial traits offers a literal investment in the evolution of our city. Evolution with potential so great and profound that those faithful in this region would be wise to consider. Think of your family: you have each individual personality (your Webster, your Kirkwood) and you have your family name. Better Together is positioning our region to be a family. The threat of losing individuality or care for individual needs is not real unless you allow it to be real. Be an advocate for the components you care about (for me, it’s police oversight) but resist being a show stopper. Become educated on Better Together rather than simply reading one-sided fear mongering news. Think about the possibilities for future generations: what if our kids’ kids had a city that is on the map in a way that has re-engineered community for all? Use your voice to influence change, not to stop it. The only thing to fear is limited thinking.

 

Heart Opening

I am overwhelmed.

I think probably the only person who knows the depth of my heart ache on Thanksgiving is my niece, Aila. Who – under the stunning glow of the moonlight – in the crisp evening before a round of rain – kissed me so sweetly in astonishment of my tears. After a hug from her plastic horse, I laid down on the earth and looked up to the sky. My heart was in pieces as I talked to my mom about my pain, my faith, and my desire to love.

Struggle goes through phases as does merit, reward, and courage. Pain and regret happen as randomly as upright clarity. In the questions we ask of our past, we find our future. In the requests we make of others, we find God’s requests of us.

My emotions are so deep – I was with a writer friend a week or so ago and in her critique of an incredibly sensual piece she asked “how deep are her emotions? how much more can we know of her?” And though the woman in my piece wasn’t me, her feminine core was my reflection. To that, the answer to that question simply brings images of oceans, galaxies, and – oddly enough – a muddy puddle.

In my suffering, I have asked God to show me beauty – to help me understand how his love radiates and to put it through me: to my daughters, to my family and friends, to the world. I am really moved – I am crying, actually as I write this – because I have found so much joy in my confusion and in my sadness, I have found so much strength. I have peace in my change. In my worry, I have gained confidence.

And, well, receiving so much love through posting a picture of me and my daughters is so much more than a nice photo – this picture is all of what I described, not just for me but for my daughters as well, and – with snot running out of my nose right now – I just want to thank God.

 

Thanksgiving Profile