Wisdom

If You’re Happy and You Know It, Shout Hooray!

He chuckled as we sat around in a circle just outside of the kitchen. My knees kept bumping cold metal as they bounced nervously against the top of the table. I was anxious and I didn’t want to hear the truth in what he was laughing at.

“No month is safe,” he said.

“What do you mean?” my little heart whimpered, ” I thought we were heading out of the dark?”

He was years ahead of me in this journey of losing someone you love and while I nodded in agreement to his jovial nature, those four words sunk in deep.

Sitting around the table at grief group, my muscles tensed yet again, absorbing his chuckling blow.

A truth bomb.  Shit, I hate those.

This year we made it through the death-aversary, four birthdays, Father’s Day and even the 4th of July. We skipped our old family vacation and planned outdoor adventures. Summer, apparently, has come to a close.

It’s still August – although my brain keeps fast forwarding into the next calendar page and despite Starbuck’s efforts to launch fall preemptively, I’m craving September. I’m sitting in what I’d like to think is the safe season. July through September. Free of triggers and holidays, fewer milestones where the cut out of him missing isn’t supposed to be so obvious.

And yet, like he said, “there’s no safe month.”

For pre-season football has started, and we’re planning vacations, and their wedding anniversary lurks down the road, hiding two weeks before the Halloween decorations come out flailing their skeleton legs – thin, white, and wobbling about.

After that will come Thanksgiving and feasts at tables where he won’t sit and strained family relationships become more obvious.

No month is safe. Grief is an ever present partner that lingers. She’s big at times and smaller at others and in this respite time of early fall, she’s giving me one swift kick in the gut to say “Ha! I’m still here and if you look, he is too.”

I was at Target yesterday, stocking up on staples like soap and toothpaste (ps. Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste is silly expensive – but ya know…. the environment). As I was walking the aisles, wandering, hoping for sales racks, I happened upon two kids in their cart.

The older sister, probably five or six, sat in the front basket, her legs dangling between the cut-out holes as she showed her younger brother the hand gestures needed for this moment’s activities.

His hair was sticking up in the back and his tiny-toothed smile caught my eye as he repeated his sister, “If you’re happy and you know it, shout hooray!”

He threw his little hands in the air, arms shooting out of a dinosaur t-shirt into his mother’s space with enthusiasm.

Fits of giggles erupted and they started again.

“If you’re happy and you know it, shout hooray!”

Hooray!

Some days, I can’t fathom how it has been over two years since he died. Or that I hope to live 57 more years without him. Or that other people I love will kick the bucket too – I won’t know when or how and thank God for that.

What I do know, and what I can fathom, is I want to be like that little boy – tucked in a gentle embrace of a loving guide who shows me how to do the appropriate hand gestures in these never-safe months.

God and sure, Dad, are tapping on my shoulders, saying look around, there’s much to be happy for. Shout hooray!

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Photo by Kyle Johnson on Unsplash

So here’s to hooray for this weeks beautiful, beautiful things:

Target – I made it out of there with spending $96.48 – for those of you who know the Target rules – if you get a cart, plan to spend $100.

Sunsets at softball games

Clients who send you care packages just because

Other people who get it – the ones walking and wandering and hoping for reprieve.

Crunchy apples with almond butter,

Puppy breath,

Honest, authentic, brave sharers of personal truth,

Dr. Bronners,

and for carts with leg holes and the wisdom the little ones give.

Hooray!

 

 

 

 

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I am Enough

“It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine.” – Eeyore

I need this reminder today. It has been cloudy and raining for the last seven days. Now here comes a Colorado privilege rant – ie. We haven’t seen the sun for over a week, and we are stressed out about the implications of hovering gloom in the mist and the wet. I know that a large portion of the country lives in this guck all the time. Not me. I need my sunglasses for 300 days of the year. As my alarm went off and the obnoxious beep, beep, beep roused me into a Monday, I opened my eyes and thought SUN! Light was shining in from the windows, and dancing along the wall as I awoke. I suppose it is a miracle, really, to be thankful for the sun. Thankful, as my yoga teacher always says, for the beautiful gift of another day to breathe.

I thought of Eeyore this week, as doom and gloom never seems far off – right? The what if messages, and the I’m not good enoughs and fears of what could be can consume us and eat us alive. I was talking this week with Dylan about how I need to be nicer to myself – in my thoughts, and in my actions towards my own perceptions of myself. My mom wants a tattoo that says, “I am enough.” I’m not brave enough to get that tattooed on my body, but I am brave enough to start saying that to myself over and over again. This week, I think that message is satisfying to me as I settle into a slower paced job, without as many every day demands.

That message is satisfying to me as I watch my family dynamic change and the formation of a “we” in a marriage continues to develop. That message is satisfying to me as I try to problem solve or scrimp and save to compete with the big achievers – the homeowners, the grad students, the young parents that I am not. Whew (I don’t want those things yet. No, not really.)

This week, I had the privilege of having family dinner with my parents and Dylan. After sharing a meal, we turned on the music and my mom screamed, “Dance Party!” Entertainment factor – huge! Watching my parents move their hips to “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars, with me in my bright blue yoga pants and Dylan moving his head in full force – the joy was flowing. I felt filled with immense beauty in the very nature of having the ability to stand with people I love and tap into a dance.  I’m learning that it is the cultivation of these fun moments that make my life worth living. My career feels unsure, owning a home because that means stability to others feels insincere, finding worth in checking things off my master to-do list is not where I am going to feel content. The beauty, instead, is in the cultivation of joy at my own hands. Or choosing to participate in the joy that others have created – there is contentment to be found there as well.

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This weekend I got to partake in two Mother’s Day celebrations and am thankful for the wonderful feminine legacy that has been created by my mom, and now my mother-in-law. I am thrilled to be able to stand, to hug, to bask in the presence of women who have made me, and the ones I love who we are today. Thank you – Christine and Cathy – for setting such a high bar for what it means to beautifully experience life as it comes, and love in the midst of uncertainty. For teaching me to turn my head to the sun, and to dance.

Biscotti: None

Essie Nail Polish: Bass Fiddle

Stay tuned for an exciting announcement on Friday, May 15