Monday, July 30, 2012

ABO MORNING


The morning whispers of perfection.  The birds outside are singing softly and no cars are audible on the road.  The sweet wet grass smell of early summer morning slips in the window.  It is the perfect morning to lay still relaxing.  It is the perfect morning for a walk.  It is the perfect morning for coffee on the deck.  But this morning is a special morning. This is the first day of camp morning for Cadence and I hear her rustle through the beads that cascade from her doorframe; up and moving without prompting. Cadence loves camp.
Bushy Hill Incarnation Center is the home of Bushy Hill Day Camp and this year, Cadence is old enough for the teen program called Abo; short for Aboriginal, it is for ages 13-16 and a 4 session program teaching our instant, techno, electrically connected youth how to live close to mother earth. She will re-visit skills taught in years past about shooting arrows and building fires and starting them without matches.  She will learn tree identification and how to recognize edible plants.  She will learn tracking and shelter building and will sleep out one night under the stars in a shelter she creates herself. She will get dirty and exhausted and refreshed and recharged.  She will re-connect with all that is essential and all that is to be cherished.

The commuter lot is filled with campers and mothers, some toting cameras and most drinking coffee.  Cadence is the only teenager in the lot. She stands in line when the bus arrives towering over the little people all scrubbed and sun screened, lugging their essentials in backpacks with excitement and hesitation. She glances in my direction and I wait for a cue, fully expecting an embarrassed eye roll with a curt dismissal or a look of regret that she has gotten into something too juvenile.  Instead she smiles and gestures how little they are with sweet nostalgia on her face.  It will be a good couple of weeks.

At home the dogs are awaiting breakfast and the birds looking to begin their day, peeking out of holes they have chewed in their cage covers and trying all of the human communication they know to get my attention.  I settle the fur and feathers and sit with my coffee, overwhelmed by the quiet.  Tyler is sleeping after a late night with his band and Trevor is off to Hampton Beach for 4 days with a buddy; a summer ritual that is welcomed and needed. I have no assignments to fulfill for work today and I am paralyzed by the list of choices before me.  Most of the college preparations are completed for Trevor and I am free to choose….really choose how to spend the quiet time before me. Clean my office/ paint the hallway/ weed the gardens/ fold the laundry…..

I rest my hands, wrists down, knuckles up on the black, plastic keys. 

Double click Microsoft word. Hello Blank White Page.  It’s me again. J 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

THE BUCKET LIST



I have been working hard on The Bucket List.  No, not THE Bucket List; the list of everything I need to do to transition my fledgling out of the nest and into the world.  A thorough, over-the-top, exhausting list of everything my son needs to survive away from here and from me….and more.

When Trevor was eighteen months old, he wanted one and only one thing for Christmas.  Mr. Bucket.  Mr. Bucket was a yellow bucket with a big smile and large red and white striped arms. He rolled around the floor, changing directions and waving his hands over his head.  He popped balls out of his mouth and the players needed to scoop up their balls and try to get them back into the bucket.  Trevor was obsessed with Mr. Bucket; so much so that we began calling him Mr. Bucket.  Over time, our endearing tag line went to just “Bucket” and to this day, we occasionally, lovingly refer to him as “The Bucket.” Hence; as we prepare to send him off to college, the Bucket List.

I have been accused at times of being over-prepared for things in life; for overthinking, overanalyzing and as my mother-in-law put it, I am like a dog with a bone when I have something that I need to sink my teeth into.  Making sure my son is “all set” to move out in 4 weeks has me in hyper drive, over-everything mode. This is not because Trevor is not capable.  On the contrary, Trevor is the one I turn to when I need something figured out, when my car battery needs to be jumped or when I need someone that I know I can rely on. Trevor is self-sufficient.

Coming back from visiting his new college last spring, he told me that I have “overdone” things for my children….done too much for them, even though it seemed they always felt it was never enough.  He said he wasn’t sure he knew what he needed to know to live on his own. He does.  

I suppose I am guilty as charged.  

Looking at my lists and the pile of stuff ready to move with him, I appear to have prepared his departure as if he is moving to a remote, uncivilized location where they do not have stores and as if he will not be back for the October break 5 short weeks after moving out.   

Clearly, this is about my needs, not his. Perhaps it is my last infusion of feeling needed, knowing that from this point forward, the parent-child dynamic is changed forever.  Knowing that in a few more weeks, the 6’ tall, buzz-cut blonde with big blue eyes will no longer appear in the kitchen doorway rubbing his stomach and saying “Mom, I’m hungry.”  The boy who is beyond capable of making himself a sandwich, but still asks me to make them, either because he doesn’t want to do it, or because he knows I like to.  He says it taste better when I make them and I tell him it is because I add something….Love. I don’t suppose there will be love in the sandwiches at college.

I am in reverse-nesting mode; disassembling part of our home to send away, knowing that the time has come; the time that I have been preparing him for all along, with roots and wings.

I will continue to work on the Bucket List, launching my son and myself to the next part of the journey with one revision. At the bottom of the list, I will add… ‘Let Go,’ knowing I have sent everything he needs to be prepared on the outside, the way that I know he truly is on the inside.

The Piano Teacher~ Love. ~ and the blank white page

I used to sit here, fingers tapping on the keys with such regularity, spilling thoughts across the blank white space with only a corner of guilt residing in my brain. That corner was the busy spot, filled with ‘important things’ that needed my attention and the free-flowing of my personal ideas and feelings was unwelcome there; colored with self-indulgence when viewed from that daunting place. But the guilt corner was kept tightly contained by my rationalization that I had a right to connect with others through wordy essays and a duty to preserve our day to day story for my children. Oh, I ‘wasted’ many hours blogging and reading blogs of fellow writers under the guise of enriching my muse and making a contribution to the betterment of the world…at least within the blogosphere. I had readers. That was validation enough for me.

Somehow, over the last several years, my brain became slowly re-arranged. I felt the movement within, but did nothing to take command of the newly developing layout. The guilt corner became overcrowded with busy necessities and the retaining walls bulged and crumbled. My ‘real job’ became more demanding and my time tapping the keys needed to generate income. My children’s lives evolved. As they emerged from being completely mother-managed to places beyond the nest, I felt myself drawn into the wake of their journeys, maintaining my tether and more busy being their mother than ever before. The time reserved for thinking my own thoughts was replaced with college application deadlines, audition preparations, rehearsal schedules, homework help and car troubles. My need to connect through tapping keys and reading inspirational words still existed, but was reduced to checking emails and ‘sharing’ inspirational one-liners while scrolling through my Facebook news feed.

And then something happened.

I began to hear news of tragedy. People that I know, that my husband knows, diagnosed with terminal illness in the middle of their life’s story.

Right smack in the middle.

Right where I am now.

Feeling overwhelmed by these sad situations, I went to the center of my busy brain, no longer a guilt corner, but a full-blown stadium of ‘to dos’ and began spinning with all that had to ‘get done’ while I was still able. I felt the need to ‘take care of business’ and tie up loose ends, since one never knows when their own story will end and it felt more important than ever to set everything right; check off the nagging tasks on the ever-procrastinating lists.

I have been spinning for a while now.

I spent yesterday doing aerobic list checking. Puppy to the vet- check. Old dog nails trimmed-check. Dr. Appointments scheduled- check. Dentists, parking passes for college, register for college emergency alert system, talk to camp counselors regarding bus schedule and asthma inhaler, book hotel for overnight stay to move Trevor to college, call banks to find one in his college town, order prescriptions, check on financial aid, check dates for available phone upgrades…..check, check, check!  

I wrote new lists of things done and still to do and finally at the end of a productive day, took Cadence to her piano lesson.

Sandy is her piano teacher. She is an amazing teacher, amazing mother, an amazing musician and an amazing woman. She is also somehow a stress diffuser. I plopped down on her couch and she asked how our time schedule was, as she was in the middle of a moment in the previous lesson that she wanted to continue. Having nothing else pressing after the lesson, I said we were completely relaxed with our time and didn’t need to run out anywhere. I sat on the couch absorbing my surroundings; an eclectic swirl of creativity. Some photography in progress here, guitars there, piano books stacked high and sewing projects in the corner. Her family planned to leave the next day for a trip and yet, there was no sign of frazzled, frenzied preparation; hers is a busy home in balance. 

As I listened to the lesson wrapping up, I felt inspired by the student in front of me. She was a woman in her 40s at the beginner level of piano instruction. She had her 7 and 9 year old girls in tow; no less busy than the rest of us I am sure but finding…no, making the time to learn something new. Something that is not going to get things done or earn a living, but something that simply brings pleasure to her life.

The woman stayed with me off to the side of my busy brain all evening. She was there again this morning. With no assignments looming today, I began my usual ritual while the teenagers slept. Coffee on, dogs out, email checked, Facebook checked and then I looked at the clipboards, lists and piles that have become the new d├ęcor on my dining room table. I pushed them aside and headed to a place that I have not been in so very long. I opened my browser and sat still, trying to remember where I kept the bookmarks of my favorite writers. I attempted to log in, but was astonished that I did not remember my password. Finally, I went to the place that I go for inspiration. 

A blog site called: Love.
 
Carrie Wilson Blog http://carrielink.blogspot.com/  somehow always has the right words at the right time and there they were... "College Angst." Carrie's life is in no way less ‘busy’ and yet, she writes. She creates. She inspires.

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