Tough Mudder #3

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Ian participated in his third Tough Mudder last weekend on July 13th at Northstar at Tahoe. (He’s been diving into a number of really challenging things lately.) He was in great shape for it and he went through the course really quickly.

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It turns out that you really should read the whole packet about boring stuff like parking. We had to park far from Northstar and take a bus in; the trip took 45 minutes and Ian was late for registration and his start time. But, it really doesn’t matter all that much. I waited up the hill a bit, listened to the pep talk (“I do not whine! KIDS whine! … This is a challenge, not a race.”) and the national anthem, and watched the start of the race as the Mudders charged uphill to begin the 10 mile course.

Then I found the lodge, an electrical outlet, and sat with my laptop and worked. I bought a sandwich and a beer. I’ve got loads of terrific pictures from past Tough Mudders, but I don’t really know what to do with them, and so this time I opted not to stand in the sun taking pics of athletes I don’t know—even if they are incredibly beautiful. Besides, I was under a deadline.

Eventually, when I figured Ian might be nearly done, I walked out and watched at the earliest place I was likely to spot him. While I was watching for him, he came up behind me, beer in hand and headband already on. I completely missed seeing him do the final three obstacles, which were the only ones I was even likely to get to see him do. Anyway, he finished in 3 hours and 18 minutes! Far faster than I had guessed.

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And then he enjoyed a really good burger and a beer. And we found we had some extra time…

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So we rode the chair lift up to see a couple of obstacles on the course, Electric Eel and a wall obstacle that I’ve never seen before. I have to say, it’s kind of fun watching people crawl through mud and cuss when they get shocked.

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We were on top of the world on that mountain, with brilliant blue Lake Tahoe in the distance and fabulous views in all directions.

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A great day, to be sure. Many thanks to the Bennetts for taking care of our boys while we were gone all day.

Congratulations, my love! I’m very proud of you.

Fifth-Grade Pentathlon

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What a day! Last Friday we attended with Pentathlon for all area Waldorf schools’ fifth graders. It was held a Live Oak Waldorf School in Meadow Vista and it was nothing short of spectacular in every way. Honestly, I couldn’t be more impressed with the way this event came together. Approximately 300 fifth graders from 12 classes joined together in a spirit of peace to compete in five athletic events. This is the culmination of their studies of the Ancient Greeks and Greek mythology. They have studied and trained hard for these celebratory games.

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Before the games began, there was a very stirring opening ceremony. Prior to arrival, the children were divided into five Greek city states, depending on temperament, and each had its own color. So our class of 26 competitors went into five different cities. Each city had a set of parent and teacher judges, who were specially trained before the Pentathlon to judge the five athletic events.

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They rang a gong to quiet the crowd. We were welcomed to this special day of fellowship and competition. Musicians played lyres and sang. The Olympian gods were invited to witness. The children chanted and sang in both Greek and English, in honor of the gods.

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The gods were invoked to bless the event and to inspire the athletes to do their very best, to let their highest selves come forward in their conduct for the day. Aphrodite, Poseidon, Artemis, Zeus, Athena, and Apollo each gave speeches, calling on the athletes to hold in their hearts peace, beauty, courage, compassion, fairness, friendship, and good sportsmanship. I just let the tears roll down my face. It was perfect. (Thomas, Janelle, Suzi, Steve, Anne, Sandy—I wish you could have seen this!)

As part of their main lesson studies in class, each class wrote odes to the gods, and then chose one student to read his or her ode aloud to all assembled on this special day. The poems were marvelous and full of epithets for the gods and imagery evocative of the Homeric hymns. The whole ceremony set a beautiful tone for the day and by the time it was done, there was no doubt in my mind that these kids were transported in spirit, and were the embodiment of the Greek ideal of ἀρετή—excellence—for the duration of the Pentathlon.

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Then the athletes processed, carrying flags of the color of their city state, around the entire field.

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In the center of the field, the gods assembled around a giant torch. A child ran a small torch around the length of the field, entered the center, and then Zeus lit the big torch to officially begin the games. Such pageantry! Such effort! They really spared no expense to make this day a marvel.

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Naturally, Ian and I followed our own sweet fifth grader around and snapped shots of him competing. (He’s in dark blue with a ponytail.) I also tried really hard to get pictures of all the fifth graders from Sacramento Waldorf School. I don’t know how to say it really—they were truly inspiring. They gave it their all.

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I know for a fact that our fifth graders have been training all year for these events. They had great form and confidence, having practiced discus and javelin, long jump, and both dashes and long runs.

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After each event was done, the whole city state trooped up to Mount Olympus to receive the awards of the gods. Laurel wreaths were given for first, second, and third place. And two wreaths were awarded to athletes who exhibited excellence in Beauty, Grace, and Style.

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These children just flew!

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Lucas won a laurel wreath for Beauty, Grace, and Style in the long run, which was a race around the entire field. I am so proud of him!

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Javelin was the final event and all four corners of the field were used at the same time. Hay bales were put up to separate the areas. Here is Lucas getting ready to throw the javelin. Both of his throws were good and stuck, making them count. For a little while he was in first place, but then other children got greater distance with their throws. I think Lucas would really like to continue with this sport.

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Every athlete received a medal for participating. Some kids won several wreaths; many won none. But I think everyone had an amazing day.

There was a closing ceremony, of course. The gods were thanked for attending. Each of them spoke about the noble qualities they saw in the children: perseverance, bravery, honor, kindness, fellowship. They chose a winning ode, and one more laurel wreath was awarded to the poet.

The day was challenging, long, and tiring for the athletes. They were physically competing from about 10 to 4, which is a long time for 11- and 12-year-olds to stay focused and follow the rules. They comported themselves with such maturity and determination, even when struggling or disappointed, and also with camaraderie and good spirit. Oh, the GLORY!

 

HPV Vaccine

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I love vaccines. I love that we have them, that my sons will never have measles or diphtheria, will never die of whooping cough or worse—from some Dark-Age disease that we can prevent.

Today, we went for vaccinations. (This does not make me the most popular person in the family, but that’s OK. I have broad shoulders.)

Today, my son received the first of three anti-HPV shots. (HPV is a sexually transmitted infection, or STI; about 20 million Americans have it, with 6 million more infections occurring each year. HPV causes cancer. It causes cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women. Almost all cervical cancer is caused by HPV. Cervical cancer is the second leading  cause of cancer deaths among women around the world; 12,000 women in the US get cervical cancer each year and about 4,000 are expected to die from it. HPV also causes anal and oropharyngeal cancers in both men and women. Plus genital warts and throat warts.)

These vaccines (Gardasil is the kind available for girls and boys) are effectively the first anti-cancer shots, folks. Hopefully they are the first of many future anti-cancer vaccines. Go Science! Go Science!

I know some people debate against vaccines. Not me. I know some people have a hard time confronting the idea of STIs in relation to little children of 10 to 12 years of age. Not me. The point is to get them protected before they become sexually active and exposed to the HP virus.

I love that because of this vaccine my kid will face one fewer obstacle in what I hope will be a long and healthy life. I love that he will never catch or spread this virus to a future lover. We will have plenty of challenges to face as he grows through his tween and teen years, and I’m quite happy to take this one off my worry list.

I’m a Waldorf mom who is decidedly pro vaccines.

Imperfection and Joy

There’s a lot of that going on around me and inside me. I have had so many great posts brewing in my mind lately, but have managed to get exactly none of them onto this blog, for lots of reasons. I wanted to write about Earth Day, and about our first trip to the SCA, and so many other things. I have been otherwise occupied with important things, though beyond work and family and service to others, I’m not sure I could tell you what they were.

At the moment, I’m sick, although I feel a bit better than I did yesterday afternoon, when I was feverish and achy.

Yesterday was my sweet son’s eleventh birthday, and I can tell you it did not fall neatly into “perfect” like I had hoped.

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He, too, was sick and stayed home from school for two days, including his birthday. This was disappointing because one always gets special attention on one’s birthday. I felt so bad for him, missing that opportunity. So, yeah. Imperfect. We managed to give him his gifts in the morning, and before I got ill I cooked him a special breakfast.

Ian came home from work for a while to stay with him when I went out. They finished watching “The Two Towers,” which is something they can do only when Asher is not at home, so there were a few perks to the day. But no cake and ice cream. No dinner out at the restaurant of his choice. We improvised the best we could. Ian went out for take-out Chinese food and brought home ice-cream sandwiches for the boys.

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He woke up to this—a cool new mountain bike with 24-inch tires and, like, a 100 gears or something. 21? And his collection of dragon books grew considerably.

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Grandpa gave him a nifty LEGO Darth Vader headlamp. You know, for reading under the covers late at night.

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So while this birthday didn’t meet my expectations, it was OK. It was imperfect and still joyful. Eleven is rather mature, I’ve decided. Although Lucas was sad when we took his temp and told him he couldn’t go to school, he adapted to the new plan of staying home relatively quickly. He understood when I worked a bit during the day. He understood when I napped. He understood when I collapsed on the couch at 5 p.m. and started mumbling with fever. He took it in stride. There were plenty of snuggles.

And as the day wore on, I was well mothered by my sweet children, who told me they were worried about me, and wished I was feeling well. It’s so wonderful to see how they express care and concern and empathy for me at times like this. It makes me feel like we’re doing a great job in raising them. (Thank you, Ian, for doing all the heavy lifting of the evening.)

I’m glad that Lucas is well again. He trooped off to school today, with his violin and a big box of homemade chocolate chip cookies to share with his class in celebration of his birthday. (I’m grateful that I made those on Tuesday night so they were ready to go this morning.) And I am home today, recuperating, with some opportunity to reflect.

I’m sure all of this “perfect” silliness is all in my head. I’m the one with the major expectations. I wanted to post yesterday about May Day. The fact that Lucas’s birthday is on Beltane has elevated this holiday to one of my very favorites. This is a busy, beautiful time of year. The flowers, the celebrations, the handsome, growing boy—to me they are all so life-affirming and glorious. I feel alive and in love with everything at this time of year. Normally.

But things don’t go perfectly, and the trouble with expectations as we all know is that they lead directly to disappointment. I’m learning to live with imperfection. It’s not easy for me because I. Want. Things. Just. So.  But I am learning to take pleasure in little things, year by year. It seems to be one of my great lessons in this life. And so I look. And I listen. And I learn a little more. And I find all the joy I can in all these many imperfect moments.

Happy May, my friends. I’ll be back here again soon. Until then, enjoy.

 

The Miracle of Eggs

Two days' worth

I get it now. Although I’ve always loved Easter and the springtime, I think I really get it now. I’ve studied Christianity and the goddesses of world religions and I’ve done my share of pagan festivals. The rites of spring have always been glorious and inspiring.

But I really get it now. The miracle of eggs.

I keep hens, and I currently have 15 beauties in my backyard. They range in age from 5+ to 1 year old. All are mature enough to lay and their eggs are delicious.

Sweet hens Feeding time

In the wintertime, the hens stop laying, or slow down to an unbearable trickle. They slow down so much that it’s frustrating to be feeding them all winter long and getting so little—especially when the chicken run gets cold and sloppy with mud and manure and I have to tromp out there daily to make sure they get fed and watered, and to collect my rare, occasional egg. In the wintertime, I buy eggs at the supermarket and I buy feed for my chickens.

As February arrives, the hens start laying a little more. Some days I get two or three eggs. Some days it’s back to one.

It’s March now. It’s the Spring Equinox and the girls have fully ramped up. In the last 24 hours I’ve collected 15 rainbow-hued eggs. Just in time for Ostara. Just in time for Easter egg rituals and children’s hunts. Just in time for the eggs to take their exalted place in our cultural observances for one day.

Rainbow Eggs

So let’s look at that a moment. All winter long, if we were subsistence farmers, we would be eating mostly last year’s food—stored or preserved food. When it comes to protein, that means either a winter slaughter or dehydrated, salted, or frozen protein. What if we, like previous generations, didn’t have freezer technology? That leaves us with the risky expenditure of energy on hunting for fresh meat, dehydrated or salted protein, or the sacrifice of a valuable animal.

Signs: Eggs

But with the coming of the springtime, the eggs return. The flow of fresh, nutritious protein begins again. Bellies get full. Muscles get stronger. People can return to the hard work of living because they’ve got the fuel to do so, and it comes in safety-sealed, perfectly portion-controled little packages— boxes without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid.

And so the egg is naturally the symbol of renewal, of hope, of plenty. Chicks hatch from some, and that’s delightful because they are cute and fluffy (and because when they fall asleep they instantly flop over and doze, awkwardly and ridiculously, however and wherever they fall). But really, baby chicks mean more eggs will come.

Lucas in the school orchard #waldorf #spring

Eggs aren’t the only symbol of springtime renewal, of course. And we honor them all: workable earth, seeds for planting, tender sprouts, fresh edible greens growing where there had been snow. Flowers mean bees and bees mean fruits. Pregnant livestock give birth. Milk and honey flow.

All of these are longed-for signs that life will continue, that mothers and fathers can feed their babes.

Happy Ostara!

Recovery and Thanks

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Hello, I’ve been absent from this space due to a nasty virus, which is lingering and has entirely overstayed its welcome. I came down with it on Valentine’s Day, which is a special kind of meanness, in my opinion. It has caused me to need extra rest this past week, and since I’m still working because of deadlines despite being sick, it’s my fun blogging time that gets cut, unfortunately. But, I’m on the mend.

I just want to officially thank everyone for voting for Love in the Suburbs during the Circle of Moms Top 25 Creative Moms blog contest. Thanks to your support and diligence, I was voted into the Top 25! In fact, I landed at position 10, which is just staggering to me. Thank you again for taking time to vote for me—and for reading here in the first place!

Signs: Chinese Fringe Flower

I have a few posts brewing, so I hope to share them with you soon. In the meantime, I want to share simply that Eileen, of Little Acorn Learning, and I are hard at work on our next e-book about Spring Festivals. We’re hoping to release it in about a week.

Blessings and good health to you!

 

 

Tough Mudder 2012

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Once again, my dear husband tackled a huge dragon and completed the Tough Mudder in Patterson, California. He trained hard for it and had a great time. Somehow this was a kind of birthday celebration for him. I don’t know. He’s kind of weird. (That is a safety pin in his mouth, not a piercing. He was pinning his number onto his shirt when I snapped the photo above.)

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Ian joined our friend Cherylyn and her family’s team, the Jog-or-Naughts. They were all in pink, and Ian gamely donned their color for the event. I was able to follow them from the start and to the first couple of obstacles.

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We mistakenly thought it would be relatively flat terrain. Wrong. Tons of climbing through hot, dusty hills.

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I soon lost track of Ian and the team because I couldn’t follow. I spent my time eating a hot dog, drinking a beer, and taking photos of hunky hot athletes. That was just fine. The mud spatters on my clothes were worth it. I got some terrific photos.

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It was a very hot day, 95 degrees or more. I never really could check because I had no Internet connection. Unlike the previous Tough Mudder he did in Squaw Valley up on Tahoe, in Patterson the water/mud events were actually a little refreshing, and not freezing cold. I sat a very long time by this muddy pond to wait for my Mudders to swim and wade through here and to get this one close-up photo of Ian. I also got a stinky, muddy kiss for my troubles. After hours of waiting while my friends were miles away, climbing hills, slogging through mud, going over and under umpteen yucky, dangerous obstacles, I was very relieved to see them coming down the hill and entering this gross pond, hale and safe.

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Here is the last obstacle, named “Electroshock Therapy.” Those are electrified wires hanging down and the Mudders have to run (or fall, slip, crawl, and slide) through them, getting shocks all the while. This was the second obstacle with electricity. Ian had already gotten shocked pretty bad, which he says felt like being kicked in the head.

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All six of our Mudders completed the course. What I like about this event is the emphasis on camaraderie and helping one another through it. Our Jog-or-Naughts stuck together and everyone tackled the obstacles that were right for them.

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Here is their celebratory beer, which I am told, never tasted so good. I am terribly impressed by all of them! Congratulations, Ian, Cherylyn, Kimberly, Cybil, Susan, and Nina!

Michaelmas Is Nigh

 (Art by Bernhard Hoetger, 1874–1949; photo by Jürgen Howaldt )

Michaelmas Song

Wind in the trees blows for summer’s last song,
Threshing the boughs, pelting the leaves along.
Sleepers awake, hark to the word of the wind!
Breaking old summer’s dull drowsy spell,
Show us the way,  go with thy spear before,
Forge us the future, thou Michael.

Frost of the ground at misty dawning shines bright,
Cracking the clod, lining the twigs with white.
Sleepers awake, hark to the word of the frost!
Breaking old summer’s dully drowsy spell,
Show us the way,  go with thy spear before,
Forge us the future, thou Michael.

Myriad stars shine in the frosty clear skies,
Outshining all, the meteor earthward flies,
Sleepers awake, hark to the word of the star!
Breaking old summer’s dully drowsy spell,
Show us the way,  go with thy spear before,
Forge us the future, thou Michael.

With hearts aglow men mark the changing fresh world,
When from the stars Michael’s spear is hurled.
Sleepers awake, hark to the word of the world!
Breaking old summer’s dully drowsy spell,
Show us the way,  go with thy spear before,
Forge us the future, thou Michael.

—A. C. Harwood

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(Drawing by Lucas, age 10)

It’s that time of year again. Michaelmas time. Time for me to reflect a little on courage, on challenges, and on how we face them as the days grow shorter and the nights cooler. This is an election year, so a fair amount of courage is required to keep our heads up, our hearts strong, and our minds clear while we try to sort truth from fiction, lies, and mendacity.

I’ve lived in this Michaelmas mindset for several months now because my friend Eileen and I were writing a book on the topic. I thought I might have said everything I have to say on the subject of Michaelmas. I’ve flirted with metaphorical dragons while finding ways to creatively express the mood of the season and how to explore it with children. In the back of my mind, my real dragons have waited. In the forefront of my mind, they have called me out on the carpet more times than I care to admit.

If they can call me out, then it’s only fair that I call them out. Naming them has always been therapeutic for me.

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Fear

“Who do you think you are?” Do you ever hear this in your mind late at night when the rest of your family is asleep? I do. Another thing I hear is “It will never work,” and “Everyone else does this better than you.” Honestly, I think we face our fears every single day, not just at Michaelmas time. We face fear of rejection, scorn, and exclusion whenever we live out loud and express ourselves, when we make art, when we love whom we love, when we parent in a way that is contrary to how we were raised, when we bravely head for a steady job we dislike, or when we sit down to figure out a problem. We face our fears when we say, “No, no farther,” or when we say, “Yes, you can count on me to help.” We stand up to fear especially when we speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. That’s when we experience the courage of the Archangel Michael.

Boredom

This dragon interests me a lot because I ask myself, “How can you possibly be bored?” The truth is I’m not bored, but I do crave newness. I crave novel experiences and new projects, new people and new adventures. One of the benefits of the life I’ve created with my family is that it is comfortable and safe, happy and healthy. We have a good rhythm for our family and our children thrive in it. The Boredom Dragon would sit there and tell me I should be doing something else, presumably something more exciting. I have no desire to trade my happy life for anything, so I beat back this pest with small personal and professional challenges whenever I can, like trying to learn something altogether new or adopting a new hobby or making a new friend.

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Ill Health

I’ve watched from various distances while several people I care about encountered some pretty serious ill health this year. Some are elders and their problems aren’t unexpected. Some are people in their prime of life, and I’m left thinking this is just not fair. There is a strange negotiation that goes into encountering illness and injury, a series of confrontations and compromises. I stand and witness without judgement. I admire the way they have faced their problems head-on, learning all the information they can, taking steps to mitigate symptoms and care for themselves and the people they love. I’ve watched as they reprioritize and embrace their new paradigms, while ditching those old patterns that no longer apply. It’s another kind of growing up.

Wanting and Lack

This dragon is a familiar companion and a master deceiver. It tells a tale that worms into the heart and I must ferret it out. We confront a significant challenge in our choice of private school education, and this dragon wakes up and rumbles at us at least once a month at bill-paying time. However, I have only to look around me and see abundant evidence that I am surrounded by love and beauty, friendship and plenty, opportunity and understanding. My life is blessed in a million ways and I know it, and so this dragon is ridiculous in its falsehood. The Lack Dragon is a seducer and a liar. There is enough. I am enough. I do not want for anything. And everything will be OK.

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Loss and Death

This is almost too painful to write, but I and my friends and family have experienced all too much of this dragon this year. Our tribe lost two beloved souls this year, one elder and one tiny child. My mother lost her best friend. None of these stories are my stories and I don’t feel I have the right to tell them. I can only say I’ve cried many tears of heartbreak and loss. Many tears of helplessness and sympathy and wishing things were different. I’ve also watched our community gather to witness, to greet reality in the light of day, and to say farewell. We’ve sent our love into the ether and into each other’s hearts. We put one foot in front of the other, day after day, and we do not forget.

I have referred to this year as the Year of the Big and Scary—and for good reasons. Ultimately, all I can conclude from this year’s many lessons is that courage is born out of love. Darkness is best faced with our beloveds at our sides and at our backs. And, as I wrote in our book,

“Michaelmas is also a community celebration, in which we are reminded that we succeed when we work together to overcome hunger, want, and disease, and the less visible dangers of loneliness and fear. It is our chance to come together on the good, green earth and declare to one another: We are alive. We are together. Together we are strong. Together and with pure hearts, we can overcome.

 

Care

Morning Light at Grandma's House

I spent some time caring for my grandmother today. It’s a long story, but her usual caregivers were temporarily unavailable and my dad asked me to step in and help. At first I was annoyed. I’m very busy with work right now and I’m facing multiple deadlines. I agreed to do it because—obviously—it is the right thing to do; nevertheless I was feeling put out. Even though I am never asked to do this.

Now I am so glad I did.

Beloved Grandma

This is my beautiful grandmother. She is 93 years old. I love her very much.

It is hard to see people you love changing as they age, changing noticeably each time you see them. I don’t like it. I am inexperienced when it comes to being around and caring for elderly people. I was scared to be in charge of her well-being.

It was fine. It was easy, thanks to my dad and others who have this territory all mapped out already. I just had to follow some simple instructions and all the difficult stuff was done when I arrived. I am grateful that grandma took her medications so easily at my request—that was part of what I was worried about.

I wandered a little while I was there, trying hard to notice things about her—about her home, about her likes and loves, her collections, her style.

Treasures

There are careful touches in every nook, beloved items placed with intention.

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The marks of her hand and her sister’s hand, Nana, with whom my grandmother lived for most of her life, are everywhere.

Just So

Photographs of family members cover walls, bookshelves, and tabletops. Paintings and prints, delicate wallpaper, rich drapes decorate the space. Beautiful light is everywhere. Everything is just so.

But that’s not all I noticed, while I was there. It’s not only my grandmother’s careful hand I see. I see my father’s, my uncle’s, and my aunt’s—they are part of her world every day, ensuring that she is OK, makes it to doctor appointments, and has company. They stay with her when her caregivers are away, do the shopping, and much more.

I see it in a hundred gifts given with love over the years.

Carnations at Grandma's House

The evidence of caring is all around, especially in the fact that my grandmother is still living in her home, despite her age and infirmities. It’s in the American flag that’s hanging on the house, just as it has done every July of my grandmother’s life. Someone put it there for her. It’s in the tiny china dish, fashioned in the shape of a teapot and painted with flowers, that holds her daily medications for after breakfast. It’s in the coffee, water, and orange juice that are served to her in the morning, and in the fact that they let her put syrup on her frosted danish. It’s in the special, mechanical chair that she sits in to watch her game shows. It’s in the living orchids and other houseplants that someone carefully waters. Fresh carnations sit in a vase on the dining table. Her pale yellow socks matched her pale yellow outfit, even though she cannot dress herself. I see it in her hairdo, which is set faithfully every week, and in her manicured nails.

None of this is easy, this maintenance that is done to keep her well and comfortable. I am full of wonder and gratitude, and not a little sadness.

Life is full of mighty lessons these days. I am trying hard to learn them.

Wishing Tree Tutorial

Wishing Tree

When cultivating optimism, which I posted about the other day,  it can be helpful to have a visual reminder of your intentions, hopes, and dreams. Make wishing flags to hang on a tree in your garden and sway in the breezes all summer long.

Materials
* assorted pretty fabric scraps, or watercolor paintings or pretty papers
* a permanent marker
* ribbon or yarn
* pinking shears (if using fabric)
* a hole punch (if using paper), or scissors
* beads (optional)

Tutorial
Take a moment to think of the good things you want to happen in your life. Your wishes may be as specific as you need them to be (new job for daddy, better health for grandma, college acceptance for sister, opportunity to homeschool, good teacher for brother, fun at camp, etc.). If you are doing this project with children, ask them, “What happy things will happen to us?” Chances are good that the children will have many joyful ideas to share. (Marvel for a moment at how easy optimism comes to them.) Write your ideas down in a list.

If you don’t have specific ideas or hopeful expectations, make a general list of positives, such as: joy, learning, rest, health, happiness, hope, peace, harmony, love, patience, safety, etc.  When my family and I did this project, we asked our friends and loved ones what they hoped and prayed for—we took their requests and made flags for them, too. It was a lovely way to share our goodwill with others.


Cut your fabric into skinny rectangles (or triangles) with your pinking shears. If you are using paintings or other papers, you can use regular craft scissors. You’ll need one rectangle for each wish, and they can be measured and uniform or free form and varied, it’s up to you. If you want, you can think of them as custom-made prayer flags.

Using your permanent marker, write your wish on your rectangle. Make a hole with scissors (or a hole punch, if you’re using paper) at the top, and loop your ribbon or yarn through the hole and tie a knot. Now it will look a lot like a bookmark.

You may like to add beads to the top of your ribbon. If you do, the beads will add weight to the wish and give it a finished look. Make as many or as few of these wish flags as you like. If you’re doing this as a class or as a family, make sure that everyone contributes some wishes.

Now find a spot in your garden or playground where you will be frequently and tie your wishes to a tree. They will add color to your garden and flutter in the summer breezes. Perhaps your wishes will be carried by the wind up to heaven, or to the four corners of the world, spreading your love and optimism over the globe to people everywhere. Whenever you see them, you will be reminded of all the good that is in your future.

 

(This article was originally published in the Little Acorn Learning June Enrichment Guide in 2011. Check out all their many wonderful offerings at Little Acorn Learning.

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    Thanks for visiting! I'm Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

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