My children were playing “little fucker” at Home Depot?
Now, look, before you get all judgy, let me just preface this with a post I wrote two years ago to prove I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent. Ok? I had a plan. I had a theory. That theory sucked.
In retrospect, the “time and a place” mantra could work. Teaching your children that anyone can say anything as long as it is the appropriate time and place is rather discerning. I don’t want to shield my children from the world but would rather teach them how to navigate the gray areas of society including cussing, standing up for oneself and when an appropriate toilet joke is funny.
I guess at 5 and 3 they’re not discerning yet.
Case in point:
“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
There is so much for me to tell you. There’s the conference I spoke at in Manchester with some pretty fantastic people last week. There is the amazing opportunity for work that I have right now pushing my own boundaries to places a sherpa is necessary. There are the stories from Japan, where I am now, working with a team of people who are brilliant and outspoken, winning clients and conducting business in which I am proud to be part of.
I’ve been on 8 planes in less than two weeks. I’ve touched three continents, four time zones. If I was to write down my perfect life, it would include these two weeks of chaos, exhaustion, work, people, sleeplessness. I am happier than I have been in a long time, finally actualizing dreams.
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
1. When your priorities are all effed up.
2. Pondering ways to move the earth’s orbit so days are 31 hours each.
3. I have a blog??!?!?!?!?!!11111!?!?
Years ago Mr. Flinger and I found a book called “Burnt Toast” while dragging our new 3 month old daughter around Powells in Portland. Forgetting that it was written by a pretty famous actress who probably never struggled with baby weight five, no six, years after her first child was born or had to wander the bookstores at 10PM because HEY WHY NOT WE ARE ALL AWAKE, the book made an impression on us both. Having only read the excerpt of the book from the flap, we still talk about how easy it is to give your priorities to things other than what you find important: your family, your health, maybe, I dunno, breathing deeply every so often. The book’s premise is that while you are giving the best parts of the loaf to everyone else, you’re taking the burnt toast for yourself.
Throughout the years we find ourselves saying, “I’m not going to be all burnt toast about this.” About a week ago we decided to spontaneously give our family three entire days together. We’ve been working insane hours, never seeing each other, hardly ever in the same house more than 2 hours aside from sleeping time. The children see us both, but never together. The four of us spending time together is as mystical as Santa or that damn Tooth Fairy that always forgets to put money under the pillow. Three entire days to be a family, while ridiculously short, is more than we’ve experienced in months.
And so we went to Wenatchee. Why? Well, why not?
It’s funny the things people will say when you enter a difficult situation. My family was uprooted from the upper-middle-class subburbs of a major metropolitan city with 300 days of sun at the end of Jr. High. We settled in a mill town in a small rural area of a state that sees 30 days of sun a year. The entire time my parents sang chorusses of “But you can remake yourself! You can be anything you want! You get to start fresh!”
Dude, I was 13. I was fresh. I had no idea who I was in the first place. Also, these people don’t peg their pants like we do and why aren’t they wearing neon?
Did I mention it was 1989?
Similar in a way only I could make the metaphorical leap, learning Java in grad school brought me to tears. I remember telling people I’d rather have sharp pins stuck under the bed of my toe nail for fun. “But you’ll refresh yourself! You’ll learn something so useful! You’ll be renewed!”
Did I mention it was 2004 and Java was the de facto language for All Things Ever? And oh, memorize this chart and create a program like pong. Thank you.
He shuffles in from the rain. He is going as quickly as he knows how, realizing there is no reason to go any faster. He carries a vase of fresh flowers. He is walking in to Starbucks.
I watch people while I work. I am working as quickly as I can knowing there is no reason to hurry. I’m as vibrant as a vase of fresh flowers.
The man joins a table of elderly people. He has a community and they welcome him. He places the vase in the middle of the small, round, wood table and leans back to smile.
I can’t help but compare my own table to theirs. To them I am sitting on a computer, alone, in the corner. But you and I both know I am among friends; my own community of peers and friends and well-wishers. While you do not hand me flowers in a vase, you provide me with the same joy and comfort. As I start a new beginning, a jump off a precipice if you will, I am greeting with my own well wishers. And I sit back at my small, round wood table and smile.
The heat kicks back on and I know it won’t warm me. The walk to the car will be wet and cold. I wear a layer of my body like an extra coat of energy, just waiting, hoping to be used. I drink another cup of coffee and turn the heat as high as I can while I drive. I will struggle with children, putting coats and hoods and boots on and splashing back to the car again. The effort nearly crushes me.
It is May. The realization nearly takes my breath away.
It is May.
Seattle just finished the coldest April on record. Even after two amazingly sunny days this weekend, we return to the usual rain and high of 55 degrees.
“The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea”. ~Isak Dinesen
The first time I went in a boat, a canoe, I cried. The little boat would rock too much. I was too young. The water was too wet. I didn’t want to fall in.
The second time I went in a boat, a sweep, I wept with pain. My teammates and I pulled and pushed and pulled and pushed as our coxswain yelled the tempo. It was an ugly love, but I found it there on Lake Samish in Bellingham.
The third time I went in a boat, a kayak, I found joy. Pure solitude, soft gentle rocking, swaying of heart and soul. I may have been on something, but I swear dolphins swam with us and sea otters bobbed their heads to greet us. Birds sang specifically to us and little animated hearts floated out of my head like a cartoon.
A girl and her boat: Oh, to be one with the water.
Last night as you were falling asleep, you could barely keep your eyes open (much like your mother after 9pm on two glasses of wine) and you asked for your story. “You want to know about the day you were born?”
Your eyes lit up and you stuck your tongue out in that way you do when you get excited and I think you’re sort of proving evolution isn’t just a theory.
“Actually, I don’t wear boobies right now because I’m a little kid. You wear boobies because you’re a mommy. When I grow up and are a Mommy I will wear boobies, too, right? And OH LOOK my race cars just crashed that was funny. Whoever gets to the side of the closet first wines. Are you still getting dressed? Oh, you’re wearing a red shirt like I am! Look I’m wearing red, too! Did you see? Now can you see? I’m wearing red, too! SEE? IT IS RED? DID YOU SEE IT? RED. RED. Oh, can we do pizza tonight. Now can you play race cars with me? Why are you still getting dressed. It takes FOR EVER TO GET DRESSED, hu. Why are you brushing your hair? I brush my hair, too. See? Now can we do race cars?”