Happy Mother’s Day

I originally published this here five years ago, but feel it’s worth a second shot today. Love you Mom!

This is my mom when she was four. She gave me this picture last year on my 55th birthday.

There are so many things I love about the photograph. Mom wasn’t sure, but suspects it was taken by my Great Grandmother Powers. She was a photographer and was the one who colored the picture.

As I look at the photograph now I think of Sandra Cisnero’s story “Eleven”. It is about a young girl just turning eleven, but the day doesn’t go as she hoped. She reflects on how, sometimes, “What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six and five, and four and three, and two, and one.”

I realize that never before have I thought of my mother as any age except the one she was at any given time. Today I know that she, like all of us, has carried all her ages with her through her lifetime.

I wonder how many times in her 80 years she has felt four. How many times has she gone back to that day on the beach when she was alone with her thoughts, listening to the sound of waves and laughter behind her?

I suspect there have been many of those days. Perhaps in July of 1951 when she married my father she was feeling timid and naïve, like a girl younger than she was. Or in May of 1952 when her first child was born and she held him with the same love she’d once felt for her dolls, when she was four. In November of 1963, when her first love passed away suddenly; unexpectedly, she must have wanted to crawl onto her own mother’s lap for reassurance and comfort.

When I look at my four-year old mother on the beach I see the precision she is using to place shells on the sand. It is the same precision she used when she cooked for us or when she created quilts, or rugs, or stained glass. I can see her in her forties kneading bread dough on a Saturday morning with that same concentration, and I can see her in her fifties planning lessons for her students, and in her sixties reading to her grandchildren.

Having lived as my mother’s daughter for more than 55 years I recognize that look on her young face. It is the same as mine and underneath it I know she is thinking deep thoughts, even at four. Thoughts that she may never share with anyone because then they would not be hers alone.

She seemed content to be four years old. And today, she seems content being eighty. I understand now, that when you’re four, or forty, or eighty you are all the ages that came before. You don’t leave them behind, but carry them with you, and sometimes clutch them tightly like a child clutching seashells in her hand.

Thank you Mom, for being there for me, no matter what age I am or what age I’m feeling.

Happy Mother’s Day.

When You’re Missing Something

It has been months since I wrote an actual blog post and I miss it terribly. Not having time to write creatively has made me realize how much I enjoy that kind of writing. And how much I miss it.

So, today, as I sit watching the first storm of April 2017 outside my office windows, I’ve decided that I am going to take the time to do some free writing. My hope is that it will be today’s blog post AND that it will spark more regular writing, and therefore more regular posts here again.

When life gets busy the natural consequence is that you have to give up some things. With a new job, finishing my yoga certification, taking some courses, having a new grand-baby, beginning to teach yoga classes. . .it’s the writing that has fallen by the wayside. Throughout the last few months I have realized that I need creativity in my life. Creativity and the space to be creative.

In recent weeks some parts of my job have become particularly challenging and I found myself falling into some old patterns of negativity and angst. Both emotional reactions that can result in an overall sense of unhappiness. I know from past experience that in order to bring stability into my life a creative outlet is necessary.

It is the habits we cultivate in life that make us who we are and we certainly can cultivate negative habits as easily as positive ones. Any habit is the result of practicing that habit, therefore I will need to get back into a routine of regular writing. It is not easy to change habits because it requires a great deal of commitment, will power, and focus. Sometimes a mantra (“Just write” ~ “You can do it”) is helpful and making the time is essential.

Starting small will allow me some feeling of success and that will be a reward in itself. This is a time to let the ‘noise’ of the world around me dissipate ~ listening to the voices that say “not good enough”, “not enough”, “no one cares” will not prove helpful, so I will practice pushing the negative noises away and replace them with affirmations like “I did it”, “every voice is important”. In this way I am creating a sense of positivity related to the habit I want to increase.

To cultivate is to prepare and use something, so in order to cultivate the habits I want in my life I will need to dig, hoe, mulch, and weed as necessary to ensure I am providing the most fertile ground for the habits to thrive in. As the words begin to take root and grow that will be the encouragement to maintain the habit and return equilibrium to my world.

An Edit Button?

Admittedly, I am a facebook addict. One of my tendencies is to be nosy, but in a sneaky kind of way. Like snooping at Christmas presents when your parents aren’t home. With facebook, that’s what it’s really about, right? Snooping on others to find out what they’re up to. And they don’t even have to know that you’re snooping (except of course they did post much of their lives there for you to see so they kind of should know that people will be looking. . .) But I do have the option to admit that I’ve been snooping by either clicking the “LIKE” button, sharing their status, or leaving a comment.

Another tendency I have is the need for immediate gratification. I don’t want to wait for a package to come in the mail, I don’t want to wait weeks or months to find out if my work will be published, and I can barely even stand waiting for a batch of cookies to finish baking. Needless to say, I have compensated by going directly to stores to shop; writing my own blog; and eating a lot of cookie dough. Again, this is why I love facebook. I can post something there and have feedback almost immediately. That little ding goes off on my computer telling me someone clicked the “LIKE” button for me or left a comment on my status.

however

Another tendency I have is to be hyper-critical about writing errors. Yesterday alone I read these comments on facebook:

It’s great to see your dad, he was mine to,taught me alot about everything. he looks great. i think of him almost every day. Please say hi to him for me.

Awww to cute!!!!

absolutly beautiful!!!

What if someone try’s

Maybe it comes from a career as a teacher, but there are days when seeing so many spelling errors makes me crazy!

That is why I would like to propose that facebook put an EDIT button on the site. The way it would work is that if I wrote a status on my wall and knew it might need some work I could click the EDIT button myself, indicating to all my friends to go ahead and help me edit my work. Or, if someone were reading my status and noticed an error they could click the EDIT button to let me know that I need to fix something.

As an educator I recognize the value of lifelong learning, and I believe that if you are going to write in a public forum that writing should be of the highest quality. Now, I am aware that I have published writing that contained errors on facebook, on this blog, and certainly other places. I have caught my own mistakes many times and edited them, and am not opposed to people letting me know of errors.

So, what do you think? Should I advocate for that EDIT button, in the name of better writing and life long learning?

Once a teacher, always a teacher.

Writing Prompt #160

blog wordle

Today the writing prompt is an image. I may have used this one before, but it’s okay, because it’s a great one.

hands

The artist is Daniel Maidman and I originally found the image on Pinterest.

When I came across it again today I discovered that it originally came from Paper Images.

I love the image – there is something about it that makes me ask questions about whomever those hands belong to.
There you have it – you might write your own questions about the hands, or create the character they belong to, or create a story about the artist, or. . .

Oh, just write!

Writing Prompt #159

blog wordle

I couldn’t decide today between a musical prompt and a ‘phrase from a book prompt’ so I went with both.

First an unusual music video, and then some random lyrics from a song. . .
watch and read and then write whatever comes to mind.

And I’d give up forever to touch you
Because I know that you feel me somehow
You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be
And I don’t want to go home right now
Iris – Goo Goo Dolls