Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stinkin' Thinkin'

There's a family story that my father in law used to have a word... "photorectimyesis" which for him, translated into "a poopy outlook on life."

Lord, how easy it is to fall into THAT kind of stinkin' thinkin'!

Today's view from the porch needs to be abundance, not scarcity. After a delightful six day vacation hosted by my dad and stepmother to the Black Hills with my family, I returned to clogged floor drains, again, in my basement.

Today, my mind went directly to scarcity. "How much will this cost?" I thought of backhoes and tearing up concrete. Roto-rooters and then to refinancing my house...and my credit score is "risky" and how will I ever get a loan again? What about retirement? What about my kids' college education? What if I end up losing my house?

You get the idea. Geez, girl. Get a grip.

It's not fun. It is stinkin' thinkin' at its very best. It is not how I had planned to spend my last day of vacation, trying to get a sewer unclogger to call me, or spending precious hours talking with loan officers just to be told that I would have to do some serious work on my credit score...

"Mama, you are thinking overtime today," Emily says. (yes, she is brilliant, isn't she?)

OK, Laura, you let those waves of doubt overtake you today. Time to get back on the board and get on top of the waves instead of letting them capsize your peace of mind...

Peace! Be Still! Surf's up.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Either/Or Neither/Nor

Have you ever noticed when you held two opposite emotions at the same time?

If you are a parent, perhaps you felt an overwhelming sense of joy at the same time you realized that this tiny little person would rely on you as their parent for the rest of your life. Fear and elation...

If you have ever chosen to commit yourself to another person, you know that feeling of love and terror...

If you have ever had a pet that you simply adored, but knew that you would outlive that pet and someday it would die...

If you have started teaching your child life lessons such as doing laundry, cooking, completing a deposit slip, driving a car, you are helping them to eventually leave you to make their own mark in the world, taking your heart with them.

The view from the porch today is the middle. As I say, I am a middle aged mom, living in the middle of my block, in the middle of Iowa, which is in the middle of the country. Today's view is both sides, all sides... and what a gift. Being in the middle allows for appreciation of what has happened, the ability to do a little course correction, and to look to the future with hopeful expectation and the second half of childhood.

Last summer, I was in the middle of a separation from my husband. Our summer both flew by and dragged on... This summer, we're in the middle of divorce and the kids and I are making this summer one to remember. Emily and I will go down the blue slide at the pool at least once a week together. We will enjoy fireflies. We pick strawberries from our garden and made JAM for the first time. We will travel to exotic places like the Black Hills and Detroit Lakes, MN. We will celebrate our country with 100,000 other people on the west lawn of the Iowa capitol. We will worship together. We will see "The 39 Steps" in Lincoln, Nebraska with Uncle Rob. The kids will attend a family reunion. I will spend time through the summer with dear friends I do not see nearly enough. We will really live and experience our summer.

The view from the porch this week is as rich and lush as the exploding fields of corn, the deep blue of a baby's eyes, the wide smile of a friend, the warm embrace of love. All the while holding the feelings that remind me I cannot stop time and keep my children at this moment, that they continue to grow as independent (very) individuals. I can pause, and appreciate, and therefore be present to experience it all. I would not trade a single moment.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Women of a Certain Age

I finally feel officially 'middle aged.'

I care about my lipid profile and know that a statin is something I want to avoid having to take. And I actually have conversations, lively ones, about things like cholesterol, triglycerides, LDLs, and other things that I don't exactly know why I should be concerned about them, but I am.

I'm not ready to stop coloring my hair.

I notice that it takes more effort to look "polished" than it used to.

I have had conversations recently with physicians about permanent birth control who have all said, "Yeah, you really don't want to have a baby at your age..."

I remember thinking that I would have a freshman and a senior in high school at the same time, but just recently went to the next step and realized that I will also have a freshman and senior, hopefully, in college very shortly thereafter...

I don't like to drive at night. I wear trifocals. A bottle of beer gives me a buzz.

I order coffee with lunch.

I have a sense of confidence that comes only with twenty-odd years of life and work experience.

I have friends who are celebrating 25 years of marriage. Friends with grandchildren. And they are in love with life all over again.

I care less about what people think of me, and more about what they think about their own lives.

I can get really angry with God, and know that she's okay with that.

I know that every single day is a gift, not something to "get through."

And I know that life isn't about being happy, it is about living.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

As Yet No Sign

What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade. - Gertrude Jekyll

I didn't know anything about Ms. Jekyll, other than I knew that roses had been named for her. According to Google and the link above, she looks like my Great Aunt Florence and was a phenomenal gardener of the English tradition.

The view from the porch today is June. In all its loveliness.

As I went for my walk last night, this quote gently came in and out of my thoughts... I had planted a garden of my own earlier in the day and the walk was to hopefully work out any sore muscles I might discover this morning. While I did enjoy other's lovely plantings and blooming flowers, there are no gardens that rival Ms. Gertrude's. But, we do what we can.

Iowa gardeners tend to be reserved. Gardens are plotted and landscaped. Flowers, like mine in my cutting garden, are planted in rows. Our gardens reflect our personalities. We line up well. We tend to be rather nice and don't draw a lot of attention to ourselves. There are some of us who will blaze the trail for the rest, try new plants and such, but by and large, we plant the gardens of our grandparents.

I know that I do. Pearl enjoyed her flowers regimented along the fence line. Peace roses and zinnias. Lester had a wonderful vegetable garden. I am certain that I planted the same things yesterday as he would have chosen, HE would have added a few things I did not. I have a few tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers...I doubt he had basil or any herbs that I love. He would have planted hills of potatoes back on Good Friday and all the onions they would need for the year. Maybe a muskmelon or watermelon...

This is the time of year when June is so lush with promise of things to come. How interesting that it also has the power to make me pause and remember people and moments of my childhood.

Margaret Atwood once said, "At the end of a spring day, one should smell of dirt." It is hugely satisfying.