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Monday, April 21, 2014

I Let My Daughter Fail ........ On Purpose

The book was to be read by today.  She's known since before Spring Break.  She left it in her locker,  quite possibly on purpose.  She told her teacher she left it in her locker over Spring Break hoping she'd get more time.  She didn't.

She loves to read.  She didn't want to read this book.

Procrastination and bad choices eating away at her.

It's down to the last weekend.  The weather is warm and sunny for the first time in months. Spring Fever takes over her heart and her head.  She goes to her friend's on Friday night, they laugh, they play all day on Saturday.  Warm, sunny, wonderful days of play.

Saturday night the hangover of procrastination station is throbbing in her head.  She says, "I have to read this book by Monday."  I glance over, remind her that Sunday is Easter and we will be with family all day.

Easter comes, He is Risen, it is warm and beautiful. Church is good, the candy from the bunny is good, the dress looks good with the shoes.  Lunch comes with Grandma and Grandad in tow. We eat, we laugh, we enjoy.

Evening comes still warm and sunny. The bike and the skateboard and the sidewalk chalk call us out to play.

She states her intentions, "I'm going in at 8pm to shower and read until bedtime."  Sounds good, I reply, reminding her that it is Spring and 8pm will be as bright as day.  She sighs.

It's 8:30 with wet hair and jammies she climbs the stairs to pay her dues.  I braid her hair and watch her settle in.

I leave her to her work.

At 9:45 I tell her 15 more minutes and she's going to have to give it up for the night.  She's crying, crying for me to come and save her or comfort her or just share in her angst.

I climb the stairs and there she is, my small girl clutching the book with far more pages to read then minutes left in her world.  And there on her cheeks are the tears, big balloons splashing down her cheeks.

The remorse spills from her lips with excuses she knows are untruths but she says them anyway trying to comfort her pain.  I listen and tell her I'm sorry she's in such a bad spot.  She smells my "told you so" even though it's not been spoken.  It reeks and fills the room.  I wave it away and earnestly tell her I'm sorry she's in this place.  I help her decipher the magnitude.  How many pages, how much time?  There's the car ride to school, the first prep period before she must meet her judgement day.  She swallows hard.   I swallow hard.

I wanted to try and save her so many times.  I mentioned the book, she fought back.  I chose not to take on the battle with her and for her. I decided it's time to learn a different way.  The harder way, the kind that sticks.

This transition for my baby girl to young woman, what a beautiful mess.  Her trying to navigate the ways of the world, me trying to decide when to drive and when to ride along.  We stumble, we fall, her messes and lessons leaving matching scars in me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My First Day of Forty-Eight

Woke up this morning on the first day of my 48th year.  Blessing number one, I woke up.  My jaw aching from the problems that churn there while I sleep and stepping on the scale revealed that my extra pounds of pneumonia weight had chosen to stick around another day. I wake the girl and find that her morning crankiness has decided not to celebrate my birthday through its absence but is also alive and well today.

I feed all the fur babies and smile and tell them it's my birthday.  I look out to find a perfect moon still shining and sunshine on the horizon.  I'm alive.  Not perfect, not without problems or extra pounds but I'm alive.

My daughter has begun to count my birthdays as a count down.  "Two more years til your Golden Age birthday"  She's also now grounded until then. 

It's these middle of life birthdays that have me counting more backwards then forwards.  When we were 9 we couldn't wait to get to the next one and even added the half mid year, "Yes, I'm 9 and a half and I'll be 10 in 6 months".  Now I look ahead and I think, "I've got a lot to do, I better pick up the pace."  I've got books to write, schools to start, kids to raise, and travel to do. 

I want to live fully alive.  I'm not afraid of aging and the wrinkles and gravity taking over, that's a battle you can't win easily or cheaply.  I'm afraid I won't get it all done.  I'm a dreamer and a doer and there's so much more I want to do and see and know and be. 

In the words of my favorite humor author, Erma

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.”
Erma Bombeck

So if you'll excuse me, I've got to get back to living, dreaming, doing and using up more of what God has given me.  No resting on my laurels, I think He's still got big plans for me and I don't want to miss it.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why Don't We Ask?

A beautiful spring run.  Elated, strong, happy.........and thirsty.

I come back into my hotel room after a nice run. I remember that I drank my last bottle of water before I started out on my run.  As I come up the elevator my mind is thinking about the water that's in my car, and then I'd have to go to my room, get my car keys, then go back up - blah blah blah - I'm thirsty but not sure I want to go through all of that.

Then I come down my hall and there is the maid's cart.  I think, "maybe I'll just ask her for another bottle of water."

Immediately my 7th grade inner voice says, "but I'm not sure you're allowed to have another bottle of water, and what if they're supposed to charge you for it."  And then I argue back to my 7th grade inner voice. "But I'm a Marriott Platinum Elite member, doesn't that qualify me for more water?"

Then I smile to myself thinking, "this is the most ridiculous inner dialogue for a beautiful Sunday morning, geez, it's water for crying out loud."  So with an apologetic smile, I say to the nice young lady with her maid cart, "Could I have another bottle of water?"  Of course I say "another" because I don't want to appear ungrateful for the 1st bottle of water that I've been given.  I think I've been on this Catholic College Campus too long, the guilt seems to be seeping into my pores.

She smiles back and needs more clarification, words are not going to be our best form of communication and I hold my hand up like I'm drinking a glass of water and smile again.  She smiles back with her eyes that she understands and goes into the closet for the water.  She comes back with a pack of water and asks me how many.  "Oh just one" I hold up my finger and smile again apologetically wondering how she could ever find me so presumptuous to ask for more than one extra bottle of water.  She smiles a sweet smile and hands me not one but two bottles of water.

How often do we do this?  We want something, maybe something we won't die without but we want it and we sort of need it but we're afraid to ask. We go about figuring out how we can handle it ourselves.  Often it is the lack of courage that holds us back. And if we do in fact get the courage to actually ask for help, we're often surprised by the generosity we receive.  We get more than we asked for.  And isn't this because most of the human spirit, in spite of our often vast differences, wants to help us.  We just need the courage to ask.