Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Life lessons from a child's pure heart

I was in a rush today, as usual. I ran in McDade's grocery store to use the atm, because it's the closest one to the starbucks I give all my paycheck to. They have a floral section inside, where a florist was working. She had just put the finishing touches on an array of spring flowers--the yellow & white daisies most prominent in the bouquet caught my eye and made my heart long for spring breezes, the sun on my back, flowy dresses, fuzzy puppies, soft as angel hair baby bunnies; my mind became engrossed in the vision of the green buds of grass, tulips, gladiolus, amaryllis, all the beautiful colors and newness as the Earth awakens and is reborn; emerging so dazzling & breath taking as it rises from its long winters nap. I could almost smell the azaleas in my Grandmothers front yard as I gazed longingly at the flowers the florist had placed so carefully in the vase.

I must have looked a little lost, because I didn't even realize I had approached her counter. The florist touched the back of my hand gently and softly said, "Are you okay, sweetie? Can I help you find what you're looking for?" I nodded my head to clear out the mental fog, and replied, 'Yesmam. I want those flowers you just put together. I want to buy those flowers, right there, please?" With a tinge of despair in my voice, I'm assuming. She handed me a price sticker and gave me a knowing look, and her  parting words to me were, "I hope these flowers bring you as much happiness as they brought me, I always hope my work goes to someone who will love the flowers like I do."  

As I paid the cashier I reflected on what the florist had said. Where I was taking these flowers-- the person I was taking them to--would never caress their velvety petals, never marvel at their breathtaking colors, nor inhale deeply their intoxicating sweet smell....because where I am taking these flowers, the residents are at rest, and the flowers and mementos brought here are for the living. For us left behind to leave in memoriam, in honor, as a memento of the love we still feel and the loss we deal with every day. I bought the flowers because I wanted to share spring with Marriah, to leave them at her tombstone as a token that I realize this is my first spring of the rest of my life without her riding shotgun, peals of her infectious laughter filling my car as we travel the highways of the beautiful south.

I think it goes without saying that this pattern of thinking got me pretty down in the dumps. Moon knew something was up as soon as I walked in the door. "Mom, what's wrong? Who gave you flowers? What's going on?" As she tried to wrap her arms around me, and comfort me, pull me back from the place where my mind was dwelling.

I told her that we were going to go by the cemetery and leave the flowers at Marriah's grave, and just visit there for a little while. We loaded up in the car, solemn in our moods and steady at our task. We arrived at the graveside, picked up the leaves and stray plastic flowers around her tombstone, and set the vase in front of the headstone. But something didn't seem right. I got down on my knees and looked, and realized that a formal vase of flowers to celebrate spring would not be what Marriah would want.

I turned the vase over and pulled the flowers out gently with my right hand. I began to arrange them on top of her headstone, informally and free, loosened from the grip the arrangement had on them, set free to celebrate their individual beauty. Because if Marriah were still alive that's how she would celebrate spring. Running barefoot through the soft new grass in her favorite comfy cut off jeans, spending every second outdoors reveling in the suns rays, counting down the seconds til the water was warm enough to swim in, planning Easter egg hunting with her two year old son.

I stood up and appraised my handiwork, talked to her for a minute and was interrupted by the sound of Moon calling my name. "Mom, did you see this at the end of this grave? It says, 'Clifton Edward Bales, World War II'." I walked over and kneeled down by her, took her hand and told her, "Moon, this is your great grandfather. This is Mimi's Dad, and this symbolizes where he served in that war." She looked very curiously, "did he die in the war, Mom?" "No princess, he lived a long happy life. See this headstone up here? Clifton & Kathryn? Kathryn is the person we called Great-Great. Do you remember her?" "Yes, I do, Mom. I remember Great-Great."

I pointed to my beloved grandparents headstones, and said, "Moon, do you know that when we were younger Marriah & I made a pact that whomever had a son first got to name him Clifton, and whomever had a girl first got to name her Kathryn? That's how Marc got his middle name. I had a boy first, so I named him Marcus Clifton, after my grandfather. And Marriah had a daughter, so she named her Kathryn Payton, after our Great-Great."

She let this sink in for a minute. "Really? Does that mean I have to name my son Clifton one day, also?" I shook my head at her, "no, angel. You are free to choose any name you like when you have a son."

And we stood there for a minute, gazing at the three graves of those we love dearly, the sun was almost set and the twilight sky was more beautiful than anything man could ever imagine, and Moon reached and took my hand. As we turned to leave she looked at me with all the sincerity a nine year old can muster and said, "Well, Mom, maybe me & Payton will have a pact just like that, one day."

And the serenity and peace that washed over me from what she had spoken restored my soul, and from her young mind I grasped the beautiful message that I sense now had been in the base of my mind since the first moment I had gazed at those flowers.

Life goes on, and we have to accept it. There are still celebrations to have, milestones to conquer, laughs to share, lives to live. It doesn't mean that we don't miss our loved ones, or that we've completely healed, it signifies that it is the duty of the living to carry on, and share the memories of those gone ahead, to teach the lesson of how to truly define that simple yet oh so complex six letter word, family.

(Thank you, Moon. Thank you so much, my sweet baby girl. Mom loves you.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I decided I needed a monogram stamp. One with my last initial on it, you know to use when I mail my bills and letters. The one I purchased only has a W, to signify our last name. I have still been debating on whether or not I should get the one with our entire street address and family name on it....

Tonight I was in my bedroom having my daily five minute phone conversation with Big. He has rarely anytime to talk, and has to drive to another location to even get good service, so we don't get to talk long. Therefore I try to fit 24 hours of family 'goings-on' into a very limited amount of time. It's time like those, when you're so focused on what you're doing at that exact moment, that you kind of lose focus on what's going on around you. For example, your children. I could hear the two teenage boys watching Ax Men on the Discovery Channel, and I knew when I had left the room Moon was with them. Well, in hindsight I see I shouldn't have assumed I knew what was going on in Moon Land. Hind sight is 20 20, ya know.

I hang up the phone and walk into my room, and sitting on my bed are Moon & our puppy, Lily. Lily is predominantly white with red spots, but when I looked at her I saw she had black spots on her now. It flashed through my mind that she must have gotten into something, fireplace soot, dirt, who knew?

As I moved closer to inspect Lily, I noticed that Moon was hiding her hand behind her back. I looked really closely at Lily, and noticed she had several "W" stamps on her. I said, "Moon, WHAT are you doing?? Do you mean to tell me you STAMPED the DOG???"

Moon was very serious. She pulls the stamp out from behind her back. "Why, yes, I did. It's kind of like a tattoo or a brand. I want people to KNOW Lily is OUR I gave her some W's for Wilson!!" All the while she was grinning, like she'd really come up with something.

Fingers crossed, the ink is not permanent on dog hair or skin. That kid even stamped the dogs belly! Where there is no hair! What she will do, I can never predict. But I can promise you this....if the stamps do stay on Lily, I will elicit a million laughs when I tell the story, and I can smile inside at what an extraordinary out of the box daughter I am so fortunate to have.  :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Popsicle Sticks....le'ts give those little kids crafts another look, shall we??

I can not lie. I have been feeling extremely overwhelmed lately. Taking care of two people in the house with strep throat & the flu, trying to keep me, Jake & Marc healthy, be a nurse to the sick ones, do my professional job, keep my house clean, the bills paid, the dogs & turtles fed,  the groceries stocked up, reminding the sickies to take their prescriptions, and still have time to take atleast a two minute shower daily.

This week the illness seems to have subsided, and everyone in our household is seemingly healthy. However the challenges requirements that I need to meet daily have kept rolling in. I have appraisals due at work this week, inventories to audit, a meeting with all my general managers to conduct, all while my work laptop has decided this is the perfect time to throw in the towel and not operate. On the personal front, I have three kids to keep out of trouble, in school, fed, provided with clean clothes, lunch money, dogs, horses, & don't forget the turtles! to feed, and all without going insane. The appraisals are difficult and time consuming, but a great tool to use with my employees. They get a little sticky though, because people as a whole always think their performance is better than it probably actually is, and I have to come to a happy medium with them and stress their weaknesses and where we have to see improvement. I never relish the reprimands, or hurting feelings, but I'm pretty good at keeping it separate. Everyone knows if you're a good leader you're objective and keep a broad line between friend and supervisor, and that makes the critiques more credible.

Anyway I know we all have a thousand demands on our time every day, and I am not the exception to the rule by any means. Just because I'm an employed mother doesn't indicate I work any harder than stay @ home mom's, or people sans children. We are all stretched entirely too thin.

But today was really hard on me. I was officing out of my home due to the laptop issue, so I could use my personal laptop. I don't know why but my mind kept wandering to the things I wanted, rather than what I have. Perhaps my mind kept drifting because I had no adult interaction, outside of NPR programming. I can't stand daytime TV, so there was no use turning it on. I couldn't keep my mind in one place, couldn't keep it kept drifting to the things I need that I don't feel I get. I am NOT referring to material posessions here. I am talking about things like friends who check just to make sure I'm okay, or just to say a quick hello, I keep waiting for phone calls that tells me vengance is no longer sleeping and what I've been praying for is finally happening, just the things that validate the good deeds I have done and the good works and deeds I pass on and pray that the recipient is blessed by every single day.
Today I just felt like my being kind, loving, sharing what I can, forgiving when I would rather attack, being patient with the kids when I'd rather yell at them, "We've covered this a thousand times, you KNOW to pick up your laundry!" Just isn't getting me anywhere. I was frustrated with being nice, and wanted someone to be nice to me in return. I'm not ashamed to admit i was having a little pity poor Trin party. The running mental diatribe....nobody likes me, nobody has time for me, nobody appreciates me, blah blah blah. Luckily I kept to myself, buried my head in work and the kids, dogs & every other living thing that crossed my path came out unscathed.

Moon & Jake went to church tonight, as usual. While they were gone I stayed in my funk and worked on this 1000 piece puzzle I've been punishing myself with the last week. It has three colors. Red pieces, blue pieces, and golden pieces. Yeah, 1000 of them. I'm telling you, nobody punishes me as hard as I do.

Moon came in from GA's with a craft, as she always does. (Thanks to those Mrs. Pam & Mrs. Karen for their volunteering of their time!) Anyway, Moon has a fistful of popsicle sticks wrapped up in a rubber band. She calls me to the table and says, "Mom this is a puzzle. Time how fast I can put it together." She begins lying out the sticks and I see there's a bible verse written across them.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people."
Galations 6:9-10

Everything you do affects someone, somewhere. You never know how far your good deeds, kind words, simple smile or a text to check up on an old friend will go. Same goes for negativity, so let's keep that to a minimum. I hope all of you never grow tired or frustrated of being kind, and don't waste your time on a pity party like myself. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Healing Notes of Music

There is an underlying (main) reason I began this blog. To help me heal, or at least deal with the grief & guilt I feel over losing my cousin, my closest confidant, Marriah Elizabeth, last May. However; I don't feel strong enough to reveal all the thoughts and feelings I have pertaining to her at this time. I have been wanting to share so many things, but don't know how to get it all together into cohesive sentences.

I have found some solace in visiting her grave and letting all the sadness pour out in the form of sobs & tears, those episodes where your pain is so very real you can't have coherent thoughts, you're crying just for the release and relief; because the pain not only lives in your chest and stomach, it's dug it's claws into you so completely that you can almost hold it in your hands, an orb shaped ball of despair,  that you turn over and over in your hands examining it as if it's some alien object. That's how palpable grief can be.

Marriah & myself shared so much of a taste in music, that it is now a comfort to me. She would come to my house and we could talk for hours about music, and our playlists were almost identical. That particular memory of our friendship has been a place I can run to when I get overwhelmed with missing her. We discussed music so often, that actually we discussed what we wanted played at our funerals. We had just sat by one another through another cousins funeral, and had went for a cup of coffee and a catch up session. We discussed what would be the best songs to have played at our funerals. I remember her vetoing many songs because she thought they'd be too hard on her Mom. That was her, always thinking of others. It kills me now, that we were just talking casually, and little did we know....she would only be with us for three more weeks. It's a hard pill to swallow, but I'm choking it down a minute amount every single day.

I find music can be a healing river, the rivulets of notes running down, washing through my memories,  I can close my eyes, breathe deep, inhale the solace of the old spirituals that reassure me Marriah is in Heaven, and has found a peace and happiness that she so much deserved.

I have seen, my last tomorrow
I am holding my last breath
goodbye, sweet world of sorrow
My new life begins with death.

I am standing on the mountain,
I can hear the angels song
I am reaching over Jordan,
Take my hand, Lord lead me home.

All my burdens are behind me
I have prayed my final prayer
Don't you cry over my body,
Cause that aint me lying there.
Take my hand, Lord lead me HOME.

There are probably millions of songs I could use to describe what I feel, and it would take a million words to describe how much I miss her. How much I wish I had just one more second. To take her face in between my hands, look her in the eye, and tell her how much I loved her & believed in her. And tell her I know that she loved me purely & unselfishly, and I strive to emulate that in my friendships, which in my mind is a memorial to her. Enjoy, appreciate, show the friends that still remain how much I love them, so I won't repeat my past transgressions.

I love one particular song, (the Jamey Johnson version) entitled "Dreaming my Dreams." It is written from a male to female perspective, but just minor word changes describe exactly how I feel. The way the song resonates with me is more about how one interacts with their best friend, the ones we're not too self concious to reveal our deepest, craziest ambitions and plans to. Marriah never laughed at me or my crazy hair-brained schemes. She was never, ever negative about my opinions or decisions. Perhaps that's why I love this song, because it helps me realize one of the things I miss most about her, her energy, zest for tackling life, and her undying optimism. Her belief, her dream that everything would just work itsself out.

Here's the version of words I hear, when I listen to it:

I hope that I won't be that wrong anymore
Maybe I'll learn this time
I hope that you found
what you were reaching for
that way that you are
in my mind.

Someday, I'll get over losing you
I'll live to see it all through,
but I will always miss
dreaming my dreams with you.

But I won't let it change me,
not if I can.
I'd rather keep believing in love
And give it away
As much as I can
To those that I'm fondest of.

Someday I'll get over losing you,
I'll live to see it all through
But I'll always miss
Dreaming my dreams with you.

Yes, I will always miss dreaming my dreams with Marriah.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pass me the mascara & nobody gets hurt!

I have a natural reaction whenever someone tells me "love and accept yourself as you are." It's called my gag reflex. It just sounds so cornball. Who truly loves themselves, completely? No one does. Well, perhaps people that reached a level of altruism that brought them lifetime & posthumous world name recognition, (i.e. The Dalia Lama, Gandhi, & Mother Teresa.) See? I can only think of three! Watch out, I'm proving my own's scary! 

If we loved ourselves, accepted ourselves, there would be no gyms, tanning beds, no billion dollar plastic surgery, fashion, & makeup industry. We wouldn't pad our resumes or our online persona's, now would we? Who would want to improve or change anything if they were content with the DNA they were given at the roulette wheel of birth?

I'm not pretending that I don't 'fake out' and use every tool available to try to make myself decent and presentable. I love love love dressing up, wearing perfume, and nothing sets my heart aflutter like a shiny brand spanking new tube of lipstick, (in a color that makes my teeth appear whiter!!)
Okay, maybe new jewelry does....or a new pair of heels! Perhaps a just embellished enough, still smelling of quality leather handbag. NO! Wait...a new pea coat, with a nice hounds tooth pattern. OK I digress, now I'm going to go shopping if I don't find a point and attempt to reach it in this century.

I'm not a free range turkey eating, non arm pit shaving, tie dyed skirt wearing, save the earth hippy. I am also not a blatant "waste all the fresh water; who cares about the dolphins I want my tuna; use plastic & Styrofoam every day and what point is neutering your pets? type of person. I'm middle of the road on some things, and other things I just let slide. It depends on what is the most important to me.

As I (age) ahem, mature, and events of life mold and form me into what I hope is a better, more aware, open minded individual, I have developed more sensitivity to the differences between us, and I appreciate them more than I (at one time) resented them. This is America, we are free to choose, and free will is one of our greatest gifts. It takes self discipline in amounts that billions of us don't posses, myself included.

This is not an indicator that I will accept every type of person, like the pit bull fighting Michael Vick imitators of the US, the pedophiles, the racists, or those ignorant because they choose not to utilize their ability to learn, and don't get me started on selfish parents. I WILL NEVER understand selfish parents. I abhor the religion of the insecure, which in my opinion is gossiping/degrading others.

What is one to do? I think, as always, there is a happy midway. I will always love to dress up and be feminine, (i got that from my grand mom!) and I will always love to shop. I will always love irony, and I will never cease to be a devoted Mom & friend.

However, I don't have to 'just accept who I am." I can accept the factors I cannot change, age, race, sex, heighth, etc. But I, nor you, have to accept every single psycho graphic that we were dealt. We can open our minds, attempt to learn and understand one another better, we can atleast just smile at one another. If we would be more accepting of one another, then we would accept ourselves as what we are with more securedness.

I have heard this for years, "It is what it is." Not necessarily. How about this? "It can be what we are willing TO WORK towards it being?" We can apply this adage to our marriages, friendships, encounters with strangers, trips to the shopping mall, our weight, our brains, our careers, our total mind-set. It would change our lives, it has mine.

Do me a favor, throw this out of your mind. Forget you ever heard the words, "I know my limitations." No, you don't. What if the pioneers in multiple fields had lived by that? A world with no creativity, no living outside the box, no free thinking, and no one that is the opposite to keep us balanced? What a sad picture that is in my minds eye.  What if, whomever first thought of something as amazing as the internet itsself thought "I can't do that! My mom/dad/wife/2nd grade teacher told me so!" What a waste.

I personally don't think outside the box. I, like my niece Kaylie, my daughter Moon, & my friends Krysten, Julie & Michele' think outside the triangle. It keeps life from ever being boring. Accept others, and you will accept yourself more readily. Blaze your own trail, be the captian of your own cruise liner. And know that just because you are the way you are, and posess the beliefs you hold dear, doesn't necessarily mean that those beliefs are the only one, true, "right" way to think. People don't have to look, think, smell, worship, study, parent, travel, learn, speak, LIVE the way you do--to be people.

Everyone has a place. Everyone.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Don't gripe because you have choices

It's so hard to get out of my warm, dreamy sleigh bed in the morning, especially this time of year. I rush around getting the kids dressed & out the door, off to a public school where they receive a quality education, and I am allowed to question things if I choose about what they are taught there. I complain that I never have any clothes to choose from for work, (understatement of the century) that my high heels hurt my feet, and I'd rather just wear my Justin Boots to work every day with some worn in jeans. I complain about the price of gas, even though I have a company gas card. I gripe about having to work, about having to boss so many people around, make decisions for them, audit them and point out their shortcomings. I get aggravated because I don't think my office is insulated enough, therefore it stays too cold in there.  I get frustrated when people discuss other people's private business at work. I get angry when the weak are singled out by the bullies.

I complain about the light bill, I fuss about the cable bill, I whine about the price of groceries and I think to myself I'd rather scrub out the back of a garbage truck than set foot in wal*mart. I am never so tired as when I begin to cook dinner every night. There are a thousand things I could be doing in lieu of cooking. Expense reports, playing a computer game, getting on facebook, calling Julie or Michele', playing wii with the kids, checking homework, reading one of the dozen books I'm halfway through but can't ever finish. I gripe that the kids don't bring their dirty clothes to the hamper in the laundry room. I resent the dishwasher because it uses so much hot water and electricity, plus it has to be loaded and unloaded. I hate writing the check to the insurance company and the land tax man, because it seems like such a rip off. I hate paying the water bill. I can think of so many things I want my kids to have, that I want to have, that I would so rather spend my hard earned money on than the stupid water bill.

I get angry when the neighbors dog gets into my garbage. I get upset when I watch the morning news every day at 6am. I dwell on the negative, and that bit of bad news, that feeling that some poor kid was attacked by a pit bull, some slum lord has human beings living in squalor, that the murder toll in Jackson has risen another notch. I carry that taste in my mouth all day. The hopelessness, the despair, the frustration one feels when you realize what exactly it is you feel: When you discover that too much is just that, too much.

I realize now I've been looking at it from entirely the wrong perspective.

I HAVE a warm cozy bed to sleep in. I have a nice roof over mine and my families head. I have money to buy groceries, I have a car I can drive to wal*mart. I have a job that this economy has not taken away from me. I make the decision what I want to wear to work, how I want my hair styled, what jewelry goes best with what outfit. My kids have the same decisions when it comes to their lives. What will they wear? How will they behave? Will they apply themselves and study and behave in class? How will they treat their fellow students?

I cherish the ritual of sit down family dinners, why should I resent the fact that I have to cook them? The end benefit heavily outweighs the input. I get to have a quiet, family conversation and find out what's going on in every ones lives. I should rejoice that I have lights and electricity, central heat and air conditioning. I should thank God every time clean water runs out of my tap, enabling me to take a long hot bath to recoup from the stress of a work day.

I should be glad I live in a small community where the dogs do run free, where we all know one anothers names & histories, and we know there are no problems we can't work through. I shouldn't get so depressed by the news. I can't change the entire world in one day. I can only be who and what I was meant to be, and if I change the outlook of one person per day, and point out we should all have more gratitude and thankfulness, and stop blaming everyone else for our problems, then I have done a little good. I would rather share my positivity with one single individual than spread false hope like it's a new dope to the masses.

Do you see what this all relates to? Freedom. I don't have to worry about being killed because I'm not dressed correctly. I can pray anywhere, anytime I want. I can read my bible, I can preach the gospel, I can praise God whenever it strikes me. And I should. We should relish our opportunities, and cease being beholden to the rhetoric of politicians and more so the influence of our 'friends.' I can watch TV because it's not censored, I can take a job in a mans vocation if I so choose, I don't have to ask my families permission whom and when I marry. I can get whatever level of education I choose, I can have as many children as I want. I can have friends and family no matter what their race, religion, creed, sex, or sexual orientation. I can do exactly what i want, because the price of religious freedom and national freedom has been paid for me.

What a beautiful gift it is, Freedom. That word is so powerful, in and of itself.  Stop for a second and think about what it means to you.

Use thy freedom wisely.

Monday, January 17, 2011

January Discrimination

This barren, grey, dormant landscape of January makes it difficult to be enthused about much. While the majority of the animal kingdom dreams of greener days, and the fowl of the air make their thousand mile treks, we stay shamelessly wrapped in our snuggies, devouring bowls of chili or soup dinners. We take our coffee in front of the fireplace, trying to subconsciously block out the dank permeating wetness that pervades the dreariest month on the calendar. There are no neighbors working on their landscaping to wave at as you drive passed, no joggers lost in their ipod play lists,no young boys putting lizards in their pockets that will morph into a surprise for their mom's come laundry time.  All the excitement and excess from November to New Years Eve has bogged us down into an anti celebration coma, so we hide in our caves of brick and mortar and wait. We don't give any thought to the process going on out of doors, we only gripe about what the light bill is going to be as we increase the temperature on our central heating units.

I have never been a big fan of January as a whole. To tell the truth, I am probably the #1 most wanted person on the "January Anti-Defamation League" poster. It holds some very devastating memories for me, and I've always resented the entire month for that, if that makes any sense. (To me, it does. That's what counts) I seriously dread January. It's rainy, muddy, and crammed with work deadlines for the fiscal year. I find it hard to tolerate that people are so determined when they begin the new year so resolutely, but in a few weeks are back to their same old tricks. (insert leopard/spots adage here)

I hate January and I don't even have seasonal affective disorder. My vitamin D level is quite alright, thank you very much. It's personal between me and this----this, I don't know, most useless of time measurements. 

February is not too bad. At least their are beautiful flowers everywhere, albeit they are only around because of the much too commercialized Valentines Day, but it beats the crap out of a landscape of dying poinsettias and Christmas trees on the roadside waiting for the garbage pick up. I can tolerate February....March is good just because it's name makes me more hopeful, but the summer is what my heart most desires. The smell of fresh cut grass. Driving down rural highways and agreeing with the cows immersed in ponds up to their necks, acquiescing that if I could be in a pool instead of in a suit headed to work I so would be. Grumbling about the inevitable sno-cones in the car spills, and cleaning the mess that the sticky, bright yellow banana Popsicles my sons devour at the speed of light creates.

I miss the sights, the crystal clear blue of the swimming pool, the perfect red of a freshly cut watermelon, dripping with juice and the promise of a sweetness on your palate that only nature can provide. The color of blue the sky holds when you're on a quiet flight and you're high above the clouds, that pure crystalline blue, you look out your window seat and believe in forever when you see that blue.

I miss the smell of chlorine & sunblock that fills your nostrils as you towel off your kids after a nice cool swim, taken to combat the oppressive heat. I want to ride my bike and stop to pick wildflowers with my daughter. I miss trips to the zoo or the fair where you are 1000 degrees hot, the humidity is at 400%, and you think "Wow this was a dumb idea. What I wouldn't give for a cold winters day."

I get the January blues because my mind craves to see something in bloom, anything that signifies that life is moving forward and will continue, the same as it has for so many centuries, something that tells me it will go on. Sunshine will come again.

I was outside today, in a spot I often go to have quiet thought, and I could hear my 3 kids jovially pointing out the squirrels jumping from limb to limb, their initial surprise as a rabbit jumped in front of their path, and Crash's excited bark as they walked in the woods. Their laughter carrying through the hollows and hills, wrapping around the trees and brown leaves as it made it's way to fall upon my ears. And you know what? They didn't seem to be bummed about the whole bleakness of this time of year at all. They were genuinely enjoying one anothers company and the dogs, and I realized they had done something I have not. They have come to accept that what occurs with nature, the withdrawal of the breathtaking color surges and the inactivity of the land as a part of the natural order of things. And they were totally cool with it.

Perhaps we, like the world, are meant to experience periods of dormancy. We don't have to be at our peak performance at all times. We can, and should have times of reflection and introspection, when we build up our reserves of the parts of ourselves we must give to others. We won't always be a blooming bouquet of flowers, we can't always be on top of our game, have all the answers, or be everything we have to be (especially as women) unless we give ourselves a little time to rest. Rest and reflect. I can't look at it as a barren greyness of the landscape, any longer; for in doing so I am saying it's a barren greyness of my soul, also.

I should enjoy, no appreciate everything in it's time, and in it's season. Give myself time to be dormant, so I can fully enjoy the sunshine.