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Archive for March, 2017

I think self-knowledge is the rarest trait in a human being. (Elizabeth Edwards)

Instead of buying cards for my husband, I make them. Simple, fashioned from photos. Personal, displayed for just the two of us to share. He taped the most recent ones along our bedroom windowsills.

In one of my designed-for-him creations, is a picture of the two of us at our wedding reception. We look more than a tad younger—because we were.

In my mind, I speak to that young bride accepting a bite of cake from her new spouse, as she offers a bite to him. Gently.

Intellectually, I knew I wouldn’t be twenty-five forever, but the turn of the century was more years away than I had already lived. An eternity from a new bride’s perspective.

You have an…I pause…interesting road ahead.

No way could a photo of a long-ago-me hear my thoughts, and yet I feel a sudden urge to protect this former image, as if a flat scanned photo had listening power. Not everyone who attended my wedding would be alive as time moved through inevitable days and years. I would lose parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends. A pulmonary embolism in my lung would bring life-long change.

This young-bride-me didn’t know what crises would arise, what joys or challenges. I thought I was strawberry-blonde hair and a well-shaped, pain-free body. (My hair is the only thing that remains remotely the same.) However, wonder also awaited. Two sons. Grandchildren. The joy of art and words. New friends. Love for my husband that reaches deeper than romance.

“Hey, just enjoy the moment,” I say. “As fully as possible. Celebrate who you are, and who your husband is.”

The phone rings—one of my newer friends. “In fact, I think I’ll follow that advice right now.”

picture taken in the Redwood Forest during a California vacation

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Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. (Dr. Seuss, author and illustrator)

 Caring isn’t necessarily the difficult part; fighting through the messy stuff in the real world is. Sure, I’ve met folk who seem to have as little compassion as an exploding grenade. Fortunately, not everyone fits into this category.

“I really have a busy schedule today,” I say. And then, the universe hears and grins with a peculiar plan for mischief. “Uh, huh,” it responds. “So do I, and I’m a lot bigger than you are.”

And that’s where priorities come in. Okay, the story I wanted to have critiqued for tomorrow night’s writers’ meeting won’t be as polished as I want it to be. My fingers won’t get the practice they want on guitar chords. These arthritis digits may need to settle for half the time—my eyes may not waste the few minutes I do have staring into space between songs.

I don’t waste time. Do I? Well, yes.

Another cup of coffee? Uh uh, Terry. Try water. More basic. It doesn’t contain caffeine or further complications.

Is family first? Will the world fall apart if I miss a self-imposed goal? Is my heart well-positioned, or do I have reservations? Okay, at least I’m working on it.

Next?

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The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved—loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. (Victor Hugo)

Ella has scarcely removed her coat when she runs to a shoe box full of small toys. A special Friday. A day off school. Time to play.

She grabs the plastic slide and the character, Diego. I know she will want Dora the Explorer next, so I reach for the figure closer to the same size. (We have several Doras in the box.) Ella chooses the slightly larger figure.

Size is not significant in the world of make-believe. I forget. Play is my granddaughter’s realm. She makes most of the choices here. She needs to yield to the adult world often enough. In make-believe, she has more experience.

We take turns leading the figures down the slide: on their bellies, head first, up the wrong way, and one friend giving the other a gentle nudge to move faster. Then Ella decides head first means vertical, with feet facing up. She laughs.

She is a child, but she lives in the real world, too. She is aware of the attitudes others have toward her whether she can verbally express what she knows or not. Talking about her struggles in her presence, is unfair. Even cruel.

Yes, Ella has Down syndrome. She needs to work harder in some areas. However, she has been reading for several years—sounding out words, not simply memorizing them. Ella has a sense of humor.

“Look!” she says. She turns Diego’s head around.

“Are you doing that again?” I say for Dora. Then I turn Dora’s head around. “But, you do it so much better, Diego.”

Ella howls with laughter.

I suggest placing the two figures on the back of a plush ladybug. “Let’s fly.” Our fantasy world continues.

That’s how I know I’ve been completely accepted into her imaginative space. I consider it a promotion.

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Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. (Anthony J. D’Angelo)

I’m quickly sending a few documents to my publisher before leaving for writer’s group when I glance outside. Huh? Snow? Was this in today’s weather forecast?

Before long I realize today is going to be a plot-switch experience. I’m not really feeling top-notch anyway, and several other group members won’t be able to make it. Roads are closed in an eastern area of town.

One writer friend calls me to say her family members warned her about slick roads in a section close to me. They canceled travel plans for today. She doesn’t want me to risk the forty-five-minute drive. I appreciate her compassionate call.

Okay, we’ll plan for another gathering next month. The group member I asked this morning to take over for me as facilitator, cancels the gathering for this month. Mother Nature has preempted our show.

Within an hour, the temperature moves above freezing. Our street is wet, not white. I’m ready to move in typical Terry frenzy—but then, I pause. Maybe I’ll slow down instead. My husband, Jay, points out an article I need to read. C’mon Get Hygge: Unlocking Denmark’s Secret to Happiness by Lisa Tolin.

Hygge, pronounce hoo-ga, refers to a conscious kind of coziness. The Danes pay high taxes, but these funds are used for the people’s welfare. Cold weather rules their world, yet, through hygge, they seek the good in what they have. Hygge is not isolation; it is social celebration, simple and natural. Life is okay as it is.

Okay, utopia doesn’t exist. Denmark has its problems, too. Negative thinking and its many cousins exist everywhere. Look for them if you choose.

I struggle, like everyone else does. The bluebird of happiness is an illusion. For today I savor a few hours with a husband who loves me—and I love him. I choose to look at that gift and let the gray exist since I can’t change it anyway.

Peace upon all.  

march-snow-3_li

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