Christmas Memories, Barefoot Fields

This Christmas Wellington pranced around the house in shiny black Mary Janes (two sizes too big) that he decided were his “ballerina shoes.”

It made my heart ache a little bit, in a good way, to see his eyes shine when he buckled on those beauties and high kicked and jigged so earnestly. It takes a lot of courage to show up with your soul shining like that; to know what you love and to do it with so much focus.

Also on Christmas, Pearl shocked us all by saying “baby” which sounded more like “buh buh,” when she unwrapped a baby doll gift and then kissed it over and over. I stared at her, and really saw her for the first time in awhile, knowing she was crossing some invisible line of growth and that from now on, I would only remember the tiny baby that she was in snatches.

Laying in bed that night I thought about both my kids and how they’re stretching my heart in places that I didn’t even know I had. They’re challenging me to my core, asking me to be awake when I’m much more comfortable numbing out and isolating the parts of my life that need light and breath and healing.When something gets stuck in my life, I can no longer just detour everything else around it.

For a long time I’ve been wanting to find the right way to be their mom and the right way to be everything else that I think I need to be. If trying to get it right actually got me anywhere, I’d be halfway to the moon right now. It’s exhausting and I’m ready to move on.

Rumi said, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing, and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

That field is where I want to be all the time. I’m going to find that field and flop my tired bones down in it for awhile.

I have a memory of my best friend and I as teenagers, running through the hay field next to my house under the full moon. The hay had just been cut so the stubble was sharp but if we kept moving, it didn’t hurt our feet too bad through our flip flops. Everything glowed – familiar and new at the same time, and we ran until we couldn’t run anymore. Then we crept back inside to eat some Doritos and paint our toenails lime green.

I can still remember what that running felt like and now that we’re older and worn down a bit from the hard work of raising kids and being married, all the while trying to grow up ourselves, I still imagine that we’re sixteen, dancing under the moon. Our metabolism has changed though so Doritos are out.

When I look at the people I love most, including myself, I hope that I can find the courage to bring my whole heart to them this year and to meet them in the kind of field that Rumi talked about. The one where we give up on trying to get each other to change or affirm how right we are.

There’s enough space in that field for all of us to live in all kinds of ways, and to need all kinds of things. Also I think there is power there that can repair our broken hearts and heal us.

Much love and Happy New Year to you all!


Do You See What I See?

Sometimes I go into crazy-control-freak mode. It’s usually when I’m trying to avoid some emotion or other without knowing it.

When I’m in this state, it’s easy to think that my kitchen needs retiled, my hair needs to change, the kids need a new wardrobe, and my husband needs to change his personality entirely. Less than half of those things are true.

Also the house must be spotless and twinkling with Christmas lights NOW. Oh and we must be smiling while holding hands and singing carols. Even the baby. I become sure I’m the only one in the whole town who doesn’t have their sh&$ together enough to make their house sparkle. I start grasping and striving and It’s hard to prioritize and decide what really matters to me.

After I cry, or take some space for myself, or reach out to a friend, I can see things more clearly. The crazy-control -freak thrives on isolation, so once I connect with love, inside me or through another person, I come back to myself again.

And with my own two eyes, I see things differently. I see how I’m here with ratty hair, a messy but loved house, and one strand of battery operated Christmas lights sputtering on the porch.

Thoreau said, “it’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see,” and tonight what I see is beautiful, and perfect, and more than I wanted.