Thursday, June 10, 2010

Just Relax

....."Once again, I accept that life is uncertain-that the goal is not to become more certain about anything but to relax more into the mystery of not knowing what will come next." - Elizabeth Lesser

Months and months have gone by since I've written a post. Why? Not really sure...I think I get in my own way. My desire to know "how" I'm going to do something gets in the way of actually doing it. Or, is it just plain fear?

I've asked friends and acquaintances for insight and feedback. They all say the same thing, "just sit down and Write. Every. Day." I know that in my head, but doing it...surrendering to it is another thing entirely. What is it, exactly, that I'm afraid will happen or not happen? Haven't labeled it.

I love the quote at the top of my post. A friend posted it on her facebook page today and I borrowed it. The idea of "relaxing into the mystery of not knowing" - what a concept. It sounds so calm and peaceful....I could go for some of that right about now. My personal "mystery of not knowing" currently encompasses my writing, being in a relationship, figuring out my freelance work, and dealing with the practical concerns of raising two children as a single parent...that's a whole lot of "not knowing."

Even with all the uncertainty I get up every morning and move forward. I look for the light and the positive. Sometimes, my stomach knots up and it's a struggle to let go and trust, but somehow I manage to do it. And that makes me proud of myself. The relaxing will come little bit by little bit....I'm not going to worry about the "how" of it all right now.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

"...a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils* "

Fall is almost here....I can feel it.
Friday morning I woke up and sensed a change in the air. (No, it was not a shift in the wind which occasionally brings the delightful organic smells that remind me I live relatively close to a dairy farm.) It was a crispness that signals fall for me. Earlier in the week, looking out my bedroom window, I actually saw two leaves fall from the Sycamore tree in my neighbor's yard. So, while I know Fall doesn't technically begin until September 22, it's really just days away for me. The kids are back in school, the morning air is crisp, and the Halloween decorations are already out (ugh). I know we'll have more of the heavy, hot, humid days but the crispness has made it's first appearance - and that's what counts.

I've always loved Fall. The average temperature, the changing leaves, the start of school, the smell of burning leaves (illegal now I know, but still so nice)...I love it all. My oldest brother - an engineer - doesn't understand why Fall is my favorite season. He calls it the season of Death. He is brilliant: speaks seven languages, handles complex mathematical equations in his head, diagnoses an engine problem with just one drive & listen....but he doesn't seem to really see the beauty of the changing leaves or understand that the vegetation's temporary death makes the Spring so much more amazing.

I never really paid much attention to Spring until 2007. I tie my newfound appreciation of it to my husband's death in June of 2006. Rebirth needs death....somehow that helps me make some sense of the loss I feel.

But, I digress. Fall is where it's at! I'll get my sweaters out....can't wait to wear my sweaters! And my boots. I lived in Florida for 12 years and noting that I was wardrobe incompatible with south Florida is an understatement. Once my husband and I were looking at photos taken of us while visiting my family up north one Christmas. We were both wearing sweaters and he said, "I think we look better with more clothes on." He was right - I am not a tank top person! I love sweaters and boots, and scarves and hats....aside from the hats, not much opportunity to wear the other items in south Florida - unless, of course, you're a homeless person. So, here in south central Pennsylvania I get to wear all that. Another check mark in the "plus" column for PA.

In addition to the wonderful wardrobe options that Fall supplies, there's the start of school. I've always loved the start of school...the great expectations...the new supplies (I willingly admit I have thing for office supplies). I haven't been a true student in years but this fall I'm taking some online classes - not quite the same thing as walking into a brick & mortar school on the first day of classes, but feels good all the same. We are a house full of "back-to-school."

I've usually got the whole kid back-to-school frenzy under some loose sort of control, but this year I slipped. In a BIG way. I've nominated myself for Mom-of-the-Year because we missed my 9 year old's first day of school. Yes, that's right - I screwed up and, despite looking at the calendar upteen times, I put his first day on Sept. 2 but it was actually Aug. 26. So, after a call from the school..."Is everything okay? Is he sick?" I got him there by 12:30 pm. He missed the walking-up-the-steps-with-all-the-other-kids routine but seemed to handle it very well, thankfully. I don't think I could have digested a big plate of guilt from my kid this week.

My other child, a girl age 14, starts high school tomorrow. Yep, high school. I will be the mother of a high school girl. She is intensely ready for high school - me, not so much. She's going from this small, nurturing, gentle school to a big (well, relatively speaking) multi-floor high school. Okay, I'll admit concern about her having to handle the navigation of a big high school building fuels only a small part of my anxiety. The real fuel comes from me thinking about her navigating interactions with junior and senior boys. She is beautiful and smart and they will notice. In my mind, I see them circling the young innocent separated from her protective mom (no, I am not a helicopter mom). A frightening image and way too much to think about!

I keep asking myself what her father would tell her about dealing with these boys. He was once a teenage boy so who better to explain what they have on their minds. But, he's not here to ask or tell so we must work through this new Fall on our own. My belief is that he will be with her tomorrow and every other day, sitting on her shoulder whispering words of advice and witty comebacks. My hope is that she feels him there.

* From You've Got Mail
Joe Fox: "Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms. "

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Write Now

I call myself a writer but I haven't written anything of substance outside my head (aside from emails, a few letters, and sporadic journal entries) in almost four years.

Why now? Why start blogging now? I feel I have to or the thoughts and ramblings that bounce around my head all day will seep out in the most inappropriate ways. And - I'm ready to move on, start over, begin again....all those cliched phrases seem appropriate. I need to get back to "real" work and I want that work to be writing. I want to get back into freelance feature writing, but first I have to have an outlet for all the "other" stuff.

The other stuff includes quite a bit. I lost my husband to cancer a little over three years ago. That is such a stupid way to say it...he's not lost. Cancer killed him and I watched them wheel his body away from me. It was probably the hardest thing I've ever had to endure - letting the nice guy (the one with the long braid hanging down the back of his suit) take my husband away from me. Later, I watched them wheel his body to the crematorium and I helped scatter his ashes on a Florida beach - so I know he's not lost. he died after an 18-month fight and I still feel his absence every single day.

No, this will not be a sad, weepy...."oh I'm a widow, how will I go on" sort of blog. The grief will certainly be a part of it, but not the heart of it. There are many things for me to muse about....raising two kids alone, dealing with a neurotic dog, living in a bizarro Mayberry-type town, dating (yikes!), etc.

You'd think that with all I went through in the last five years I would have been busting at the seams to write things down. Well there was a lot in my head and in my heart but I couldn't get it out. Now it starts. We'll see where it goes.