Thursday, September 27, 2018

All Will Be Well

I have a dear friend who closes with all shall be well. It's a battle cry and motto, but it's also a deep seeded belief. A series of words that she holds to when the sand passes through her fingers or there is no foothold in the wall. She's beautiful and kind and full of Jesus. She loves her family and her community. She brings awareness to what is important to her. She's also not long for this world.

It makes my heart squeeze in a manner I'm only too familiar with.

Growing up, September was about the roar of that big stadium in Ann Arbor, the crisp bite of a breeze, the cheer in the air. It was back-to-school clothes and waiting at the bus stop and the first hint of the brilliance of the trees. I met new teachers, lost teeth, found a routine, and loved every minute of all of it. Fall was my favorite, and September brought about all of the things that made it so, for she was the promise of all that was to come.

Promises are interesting beasts. As kids, we pinky-swore, crossed-our-hearts, and made pacts. I believed in the power of promise, much like I believed in magical creatures and fairy tales. Those letters strung together held power, the "I promise I'll be your friend forever" or "I pinky-swear you can spend the night at my house". In that era the words were simpler, but no less genuine. They were the deals that we thought would last forever in those days that went from long to short. They were the vocabulary of childhood.

As I've grown older promise doesn't hold any less weight, but I approach her with care. It's not that she's failed me, but rather that I view her with caution. We think, as kids, that we'll have all the things as we age. The friends and the life and the career and the dreams and none of it will be transitory. As adults, we come to learn that we do have all the things, but in different measure and time than what we imagined them to be. All shall be well is too a promise of sorts, in different nature. These are not words that assure us our lives will be easy or perfect, but that they will be full. That they will hold weight and matter. That it will be according to what is intended for us, not for what we hope and dream and plan for ourselves. It will not be good. It will be well.

Which is why I ache.

Sweet September was always a promise of what I held dear and treasured. Now she's a reminder of it. In the leaves I see a million variations and colors. I watch them start to fall and reminded of how quickly they move from vibrant to fading, and the beauty that occurs in the transition. It's in the in-between that we see that all will be well. Even as each brilliant leaf begins her trajectory toward the ground, toward home, she's stunning. Ablaze in color she dances through the air, fulfilling the promise of change.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Cha-Cha-Changes

In a year of uncertainty, we've stood together, arms linked both literally and figuratively. But in the spot we're currently in? I'm ready to let go and get all schlumpy.

My gracegirl has flown the coop for extended periods, little bit took on the responsibility of a new puppy, and we changed nest locations. Phew. Too many life events in the span of five months.

I'm. Exhausted.

Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. Worn. Out.

I'm not a woman who stops. It's one of my great features and also one of my almost fatal flaws. I go and go and go. Until I'm no good to myself or anyone around me, unless the "around me" includes the public. Then, I'm peachy. I'm "fine". You've heard what that stands for...right? Yep. I'm that. The problem being, that when I'm that I don't like me.

I'm a rare bird. I usually like myself. I don't worry about what others think. I believe that stems from riding the short bus, being in a wheelchair and basically having no friends for most of my preteen years. You learn to not care what others think of you when no one speaks to you. You learn to be okay with the body you've got when it works better than it did almost three decades ago. You appreciate life in a myriad of ways when it's not from the confines of a vantage point where you're usually looking at people's pockets or gimping around with a heart-stickered cane. It's all about perspective and gratitude. So this whole unsure-not-okay-with-myself thing has thrown me for a complete loop.

I'm not a complainer, but I've caught myself doing it lately. I despise that feature in myself. I work on joy and love and graciousness and meeting people where they are at, despite my ridiculously high standards for myself. I would surmise that this stems from my worn-outedness. I don't cope tired. Although I play it off well, my tank is never actually full. I liken having a chronic autoimmune disease to having a newborn while being struck by the flu. Yep. For real. Most of the time you wake up tired, go to bed tired, and are tired all day in-between. I've stopped saying I'm tired. I figure the chicks and the professor accept it as part of our daily life by now.  I add in the whole "flu" thing because most days with disease mean weird fevers, joint pain, or rashes, or even the general feeling of fighting-something. Fighting yourself? It's a bitch.

Yep, that brings us to my other new flaw. Cussing. Not ladylike. I'm not saying I didn't do it before, but it wasn't a regular part of my vernacular. This has to change. In the whole scheme of things, it's currently one of my less fatal flaws, but a flaw nonetheless. Has. To. Go.

So here I stand at the crossroads of What The Heck and Where Am I Going. I would LOVE to actually find a place with those street names and linger there for awhile. But it's real life and ain't nobody got time for that. Which leads me back to how I might attempt to find me in the crazy that is our life stage right now. I'm thinking hiding under a rock is frowned upon and generally socially unacceptable, so the other option shall be to learn to say no.

That is a post for a later day, as it may require me to get my hyperventilating head out of bag. Because no is lately the only thing I'm worse at than stopping than go. Funny that they rhyme and both end with o...Which is where I'm at if I don't learn to stop both. A big, fat, 0, as in life = 1, me = 0.

Thank God I can still spell, am good at math (I know one is greater than zero), have a rockin' haircut, and maintain my sense of humor.

see, i'm still counting a joy list...it's short, but it's still a list...and a good one at that 



Sunday, May 8, 2016

Always, Always

Motherhood.

It's surprising and joyous and painful all at once.

It stretches you to elastigirl lengths. Mostly in your heart where no one else can see the bending and twisting that occurs as one comes to grips with the raising of these small (that become big) humans.

To My Dearest Chickadees,

I've watched you this year, my loves, leaping and soaring and standing precariously close to the edges of cliffs, both physical and metaphorical. I've watched you journey, with abandon. You're both so very very brave and strong and beautiful and kind. I'm not just saying this because I'm your momma and I have to, I'm saying it because truth words deserve to be spoken. I speak truth.

Grace Girl, we've had such a year of firsts and lasts. So many, in fact, that I'm downright worn out. I've heard teenagers do that to a soul. But despite it all you are so worth the loving. Worth every second of it. Remember the days when you were smaller than me? Now I have to tip-toe to fix your hair or help you with make-up. Let's be real...I actually have to ask you to sit to be able to reach you. Your poise? It surprises me again and again. You've gone for the near impossible and dealt with the no. I mean, who flies across the county to tryout for Julliard when they only take 22 students for their summer program and then says she'll do it all again next year? YOU DO. We don't come from big dance and all I desire is to give you the training you so deserve, but you've stayed here and worked your hardest. You go to every single class and you try. It's all I could ever ask of you. You care more about hearts than you do about fame and glory and you've taught your smallish sister to do the same. You love so big, even when you don't want people to know that you do. Your heart? It's so much more beautiful than anything else. It eclipses all of the sass and teenagerhood we deal with in our house. You're sixteen. You're not perfect. Nor am I. You're learning to be all grown up, and it takes my breath away. Covers of catalogs and modeling shoots and texts from amazing choreographers haven't changed who you are on the inside. Lately, you've surprised me with your intellect (I mean, we've always known you were smart...but THIS SMART???) and honestly scared me with the possibilities of all that you are truly capable of academically. My love, the sky is truly your limit. Whatever you decide to do I'll be here to cheer you on, pick you up, and send care packages filled with rice cakes and cookies and reminders of home. We're in our last year of high school early, because, like everything else, you've done it at your speed. You waited a year and got your driver's permit at the age where everyone else was getting a license. It wasn't because you didn't want it, but because you were busy pursuing things that were more important to you. When you're dancing 30 hours a week is there really time to learn to drive? May you always have priorities and may you never care to fit in with the crowd. Those people don't really count anyhow, and I'm grateful that you've learned this early. Do what you do at your own pace. I've watched you live this, both in your schooling and dancing, and it makes my heart swell. YOU, Hannah banana, are the real deal. The one that people want to be when they grow-up. You're all of the lovely things in this world wrapped into one unique package. When that new friend told you he'd never met anyone like you? He spoke truth. There is no one like you in this world. The mix of your determination, fiery spirit, beauty, kindness, gentleness, honestly, wit, worldview and wicked sense of humor are unique. As you prepare to head out from here don't let anyone take those things from you. I'm learning, bit by bit, to let you go. I know it is coming and I'm so proud of you. I'm also so sad for me. I've been raising you to fly, to have roots and wings, and in moments where the days are long but the years are short it's abundantly clear that you are so much bigger than where we are right now. I accept this, dear one, but oh how it will break my heart into a million pieces when you leave. If I've done my job, my heart should break. It will tell me that I did all I could to raise and prepare you before you left and that we've given you all of the tools to feel equipped to leave. That's what motherhood is...roots and wings. Just remember, as you head into all of the last lasts that lead to firsts, that until you find the one that makes your heart soar I'll be your last goodbye as you leave and your first hello hug back.

Little Bit, you are growing up before my eyes. Your maturity and poise have skyrocketed this year (if it was even possible for you to be more grown-up than you actually are...). You, my love, are so incredibly special. There is a light about you that radiates for all to see. It's magical. Like your sister, you're kind, intelligent, witty, interesting and beautiful. But you are so much more than all of that. When you were a baby and we told people that you were the Mary Poppins of small children I never expected you to keep that quality. You draw people to you, Eliana. You create joy wherever you go without even trying. You, too, are the real deal. There is nothing fake or fabricated about either you or your sister, and I'm so proud of you for never caring what anyone else thinks or says. We've had a few hiccups this year as you've tried to make a path for yourself that does not include Han. Having you talk, with a thirty year old's wisdom, about her growing up and leaving broke my heart in two. Your grace in the situation and foreknowledge astounded me. Trying new groups because she won't always be here to do things with is so, so brave. Especially when you're still so physically small and people mistake you for someone half a decade younger until you open your mouth. Thank you for being my child that never gives up. Ever. The one that will try until she gets a skill or concept or even a friend. Thank you for the ways you grow and teach me. Thank you for always loving me as your mama and as a person. You have no idea what your sweet joy does for my soul. Traveling with you and getting to know you better both as a person and as an artist has been a gift. What 10 year old (who turned 11 this year) gets a lifetime appointment to something? YOU. You're just that unique. You are worth investing in, and watching you pour yourself into it has been something I cannot quite put words to. I'd go to the ends of the earth to watch you learn and stretch yourself and do what you love. Your growth in all areas has been exponential, and so has your heart for those around you. Nah-Nah, you truly are a future star. You're light and joy and life. You have so much ahead of you that I'm already thankful for. The ordinary that you make extraordinary is just around the corner. Breathe in these moments, my sweet girl, because your path is one of flight, too. You'll soar like your big sister. I'm just so so thankful I get you here with me for a bit longer. But, when the time comes, I'll be ready to let you go too, knowing we've raised you to be true to yourself and to share with the world beauty that you are daily becoming.

Girls, being your mama is my most favorite job. It's my hardest too. Do you know what it's like to raise two golden haired beauties with minds and hearts of their own? Exhausting...mostly because I know that loving and leaving go hand-in-hand. I love the ways you're in our world but not of it. I love the compassion you have for others. I love watching you grow, and I love the way your circle is constantly increasing in diameter. I love both of you for who you are, were, and will someday be.

For always and forever I thank you for allowing me to be called your mama. It's my hardest, best, most worth-it title outside of being your daddy's wife and daughter of our King. You make my days so very very full and amazing. Continue to let your light shine. Be you. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks. Choose the joy. Speak truth. Love well. Be strong and brave and bold and unique.

I'll always love you higher, deeper, and wider.

Always Always,

Mama