The More I Sit Here @ Deck Again on a Good Hair Day – Bellingham

The only thing about the house here in Washington that is like a thing is that we are up high and can look over and down onto our neighbor’s backyard.

Gordina – a house back and over – has a lovely garden with an enviable rosemary bush raised up in the pnw sun and veggies all year round under tinted weathered prayer flags. She doesn’t live right behind us though.

A young family does.

I look over and see chairs in random spots, that their gymnasium was moved, toy miniature everything galore and actually I think like 3 slides. On nice nights when we are all living that pacific northwest life, eating outdoors or with windows open, we are within ear and eye shot of each other.

I write out here. Sit out here. Close my eyes out here. Work out here. And I have noticed lately that their baby is probably teething. Or growing. Lots of baby cries.

But the more I sit here, I am also noticing how extremely patient the mom is. Sigh.

Deep breath and smile.

I think she must be a really good mom.

She must be – I can tell by the lack of anxiety in the air that she doesn’t let the fact her neighbors can hear her child carrying on put pressure on her to “fix the child”. I think she knows deep down she simply has a baby and they – simply- are crying.

Unlike most mothers I know who hush their babies to the self detriment of their own sanity, I am pretty sure this mom is like cool with reality and knows she is not annoying me.

Additionally, I have been out on the deck a lot lately. August in Washington is like perfect satin jambinos after a salt bath soak and a face massage; so relaxing and happy stupor inducing. The more I have been here, the more I notice when they are not in their yard.

I wonder sometimes if it is nap time. Or if she is cooking.

I wonder if they went for an outing and I picture them at the bay or on a hike or at the market.

Maybe they went to Target and, if that is the case, I send prayers and helpers.

One of my favorite things about being a spiritual mom is remembering I can send helpers. A woman I studied with a couple of years ago in yoga teacher training told me I was a white witch. I thought nothing of it but then when I close my eyes and bring a person to the center of my mind (like my friend right now who is waiting to give birth) and send supreme love and guidance and comfort and help and support and strangers to offer pieces of gum or cashiers to smile in just that way – I think maybe I am magical.

Wouldn’t mind it :)

Sighhhhhh… the rental lady just left here and the papers are signed to list the house to rent. David looks handsome and is probably getting ready for me to fix dinner. I am super excited about progress on perfecting pizza dough. So we are doing greek pizza tonight. But with goat cheese and not feta. Yum. Can’t wait.

The breeze is so nice, I just want to stay in this cradle of an afternoon sun forever.

But. Kalamata olives are calling my name.

One more glance back and over the fence. Smiling. Hope she is doing good with her little ones… wherever that mama is…

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.

 

Aces, Trust & Remedied Lilies

UB40 is playing on my “Three Little Birds” Pandora Station and the mildly annoying chatter of two teenagers and my sweet Lucy rattles and laughs against the clank of dishes and commands of dogs (<< plural for poetic effect, though I am so preparing my heart for the right puppy number 2) from the kitchen. Ranger is not by my side, surprisingly, but is in the kitchen – hoping for an Alfredo noodle or some cheese or pretzel crackers to be dropped to him during the process of cleaning up.

I? Am in my writing studio, wanting to capture this week – this moment in time. My whole life, it seems, is coming together – tightening correctly, woven seams. And the reason I am confident in this is based on the fact that it is based on what I am seeing happening in *other people’s lives*.

But, this is the fun part of trying to find the threads in my own life. Let’s start here:

IMG_0200

So, when I bought my house (two summers ago), there was this big circle pod of day lillies right in the middle of my lot. Pretty, but odd. So last year, I dug them all up and put them in new corners, some in new rows and some in the trash :) And when I finally saw this crew in the one corner of my house bloom – this fleshy peach and ruby – I couldn’t help but feel some sense of validation in me doing what I wanted to my yard.

Sometimes, I don’t do what I want because it directly changes or opposes something somebody else intentionally did. The way my yard looks lately is proof to experiment with your own way.

IMG_0187

This is from Tuesday. That’s my oldest daughter, rounding home – listening to music – with a pack (complete with a full water bottle) – on her scooter. She was coming home from my brother’s house who lives up a few blocks east of me. This sight of independence was actually a reflection of my trust in her.

And let me tell you –

Seeing your trust in other people is a beautiful sight.

<insert prayer for the spiritual math on trust, giving trust, and building trust>

IMG_0176

So, the other day, I did not could not would not cut my grass. But it was uneven. And there were weeds. And some high spots. And it just “didn’t feel right”. So I poured a little bit of margarita and weeded. Checked it out. Wasn’t good enough. So I got my edger out and trimmed it up. Checked it out. Wasn’t good enough. Pulled out my mower and whipped through it. Blew off the clippings. Hosed off my porch. Wiped things down. Put everything way. And… twenty minutes later when it started to pour – I stood on my porch, in my Superwoman tank top (picked out for me by my daughter in a California Thrift Shop) and felt the power of doing things to your personal standards, even when you really don’t want to – and that relief, that satisfaction of having it done right when it’s complete.

IMG_0197

Wednesday night was an interesting one. It came with a dose of “personal conflict” as I decided where to spend my hour by hour over the course of logistics, farewells and seeing one of my best friends. As I was leaving the house where my daughters were swimming, I saw this on the host’s wall. And I love it. Because, at the end of the day, there is family, there are friends who love like family, there are friends, there are acquaintances and there are complete strangers. And I grew thankful I have family, of course, but especially aware of friends who love like family.

But you have to prioritize those friends who love like family. Those don’t grow overnight. Seasoned friendships deserve you, in your fullness.

This week has been really full of a lot of happiness. I almost can’t believe it. It hasn’t always been easy. But I can gladly say I am no longer learning from certain past mistakes but that I am actually a learned person. On our hike Thursday, Ellen started her inevitable complaints. But as soon as my agitation grew, I remembered I knew this was going to happen. And I also know not to get worked up. Go slow. Offer lots of support and encouragement. Validate everything she is feeling. Kick her in the butt when she needs it, but coach her through the experience. Then be quiet. Draw boundaries (ok no complaining now until we are half way). Let her get upset. Let her cry. Watch her frustration and pain and suffering chip away at the outside. Watch the process. Don’t battle it. Then, on the downhill side, watch her joy emerge. Watch her adrenaline kick in, see her gem. Watch her get excited. Wait for her to say it wasn’t that bad. And be thankful you didn’t lose it, because that would have really ruined the time.

Then, go get a milkshake.

Then, go jump in a pool.

Then, go home and take a shower.

Put on your favorite V Neck tee and go to dinner.

With a deck of cards.

PEACE.

IMG_0232