Collage

What makes a year?
Logic says
Seconds, minutes, hours
Days, weeks, months
Equally spaced
To help us keep track-
Of what, I’m not sure
Oh, there’s no denying
The answer when
My birth year
Is subtracted
From the current year
But the larger
That number grows
The less it represents
Anything equally spaced
What makes a year?
My heart says
The love of others
The beauty of nature
Grief, heartache, and loss
Faith, hope, and love
None of which
Fit into any calendar
All of which
Even the torn edges
Can be transformed
Into a much-cherished
Collage of memories

This is 80!

I first met the birthday girl a little over thirty years ago. She was kind and accepting even then. It is hard to believe she was my age when we met. Maybe a little younger. A mom and grandma, it seemed her life was already complete. At least, that was my perspective.

Here we are, thirty years later. It seems a lot more life has happened in that time. More grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and the death of a spouse after fifty-plus years of marriage.

So now, as we celebrate her, I try to imagine her perspective. Those thirty years, though eventful, only represent a portion of her life. She did a lot of living prior.

She speaks lovingly of her parents. Just yesterday, about how her dad played the piano. Talks regularly to her siblings who are still living. Keeps up with distant relatives and old friends.

Has a love of horses that began as a child. She recalls fondly walking with her girlfriend to the stables. Pretending to gallop as they walked, then riding horses before returning home. She even bought two horses in her lifetime!

Her second horse was sold before she moved from California to New York. A job as a flight attendant at American Airlines called. And that move, that job, lead to meeting her husband. The rest is history, as they say.

So, how would such a girl celebrate her 80th birthday? Surrounded by daughters, granddaughters, great-granddaughters, daughter-in-law, granddaughter-in-law…you get the picture. Eating, laughing, remembering, and enjoying time together. And, of course, attending a horse show.

This birthday girl wears her crown of white with pride. As well as her life experiences. Sharing what we are willing to hear. Continuing to move forward, making new memories.

I can only hope that 80 looks this good on me!

Happy birthday, June! ❤️

Did Someone Say Birthday?

There are few things I enjoy more than celebrating our children’s birthdays. Favorite meals, cake and ice cream, candles, family and friends singing.

These days fill me with questions about the passing of time. It appears so logical when looking at a calendar or clock. And yet, within the heart cannot be explained. For there, it is intertwined with memories and feelings.

Today is the twenty-fifth birthday of our daughter. And I find myself pulled between two points in time.

First, remembering those early days. Crying all the time, both of us. 😉 Never physically far away from each other. Feeling exhausted but so happy.

And the present…watching her passion for life, others, and education. Her strength and determination. Enjoying our conversations and shopping trips. Feeling proud of who she is.

Two different times, with lots of journeying in between.

Happy birthday, Rachel! We love you! ❤️

My cheerleader on our recent hike.

Beyond Happy Birthday

It’s all a matter
Of perspective
Well-rehearsed
Full of love
Celebratory
Happy Birthday!
Performance
Complete with
Full chorus
And orchestra

Impromptu
Full of love
Rambunctious
Happy Birthday!
Complete with
Kindergarteners
School hallway
Their stage
It’s all a matter
Of perspective

Each rendition
Delightful
In its own right
In its own space
But those sweet
Kindergarteners
Singing in
The school hallway
Provided a harmony
Beyond music

My birthday celebration this year was topped off with a special treat. My husband surprised me with tickets to see James Taylor and Jackson Browne in Kansas City, MO last night. Road trip! ❤️

Four hours of life’s soundtrack from these two artists who are still going strong. Both in their seventies, I was amazed at their energy. Inspired by their love for what they do. Sharing the power of connection that lives in their music.

I hope to write more about this event. But right now, I want to bask in the harmony beyond music. It started with those sweet kindergarteners and continued right until the final note of last night’s concert.

So close your eyes
You can close your eyes, it’s alright
I don’t know no love songs
I can’t sing the blues anymore
Oh but I can sing this song
You can sing this song when I’m gone
-James Taylor

Twenty-Seven Shares

Early in the morning, on my twenty-seventh birthday, you made a mom. And today, you turn twenty-seven. The significance is not lost on me.

The weeks leading up to your birth were traumatic. Your birth itself was traumatic. Waiting to hear your first cry. Seeing your tiny translucent face. And though I remember those moments well, I now see them thru a different lens. Your dad, me, and you were covered in love by family and friends.

You were a good baby. Your dad and I had no idea what we were doing but figured it out. You always loved music and books. Oh, and Legos. When your sister and brother came along, you loved them, too.

We’ve hit quite a few milestones together. The day you turned thirteen, I turned forty. I took you to your first rock concert. How old were you? Marching band, guitar lessons, prom, high school graduation. I will never forget the day we dropped you off at college. I cried the whole drive there and back.

Now you’re married to the sweetest girl and have your own life. Both of you are passionate about education. And you are working toward your doctorate in educational psychology. A life-long learner if I ever knew one.

I have the privilege of watching as you figure out this crazy, wonderful, beautiful life you get to live with a gentle spirit.

I am so proud of you. And I am thankful we share this day. Happy twenty-seventh birthday, Robert Allan Morris! ❤️

Questions and Answers

Opening doors
Requires
Asking questions
Whether seeking
Knowledge
Creativity
Relationships-
Some we ask
Almost every day
How are you?
What’s wrong?
What do you think?
How does that work?

Listening
For answers
Is the key
I pride myself
On being
A good listener
Discovering that
Some questions
No matter
How many times
I ask them

Have no answers-
My youngest son
Turns twenty-one
Tomorrow-
Where has the time gone?

Happy Birthday, Ryan! ❤️

Birthdays

Today is day one of year fifty-three! How is that possible? And my oldest son, who was born on my birthday, turns 26!

Teaching school on your birthday means lots of kids asking, “How old are you?”  I always make the older ones do the math.  But if youngers ask, I just tell them. 

Their reactions are precious!  And good for my self-esteem.  At least one will say, “Oh, you look a lot younger than that!” 😉 Of course today, one also mentioned that 53 was almost 100!

Birthdays are a time for celebrating and reflecting. And I have definitely felt celebrated! I suppose this poem is my reflection. ❤

Digging Holes

Some days I am
Tempted to dig
Holes deep in
The ground
Deep enough
To bury regrets
Yet, experience
Teaches that will
Only leave behind
A landscape marred
By mounds of guilt-
Perhaps planting
Would be a better
Choice than burying-
Sowing seeds
Of encouragement
Instead of judgment
Acceptance instead
Of comparisons
Recognizing that
Each of us has
Holes we could dig
Regrets we could bury
But we also have
The power to help
Fill ones scooped
Out by others
Tending a landscape
Covered by the beauty of
Love and understanding

Musical Legos

I can’t think of too many birthdays or Christmases for our children that did not include Legos of some kind. There were superheroes, Star Wars, dragons, even the Friends coffee house for Rachel last year. Some of the more intricate sets remain on display.  

I remember watching in amazement as they tore through the instruction booklets. It seemed like building times grew shorter as complexity grew harder. Pieces were sorted according to numbered bags, carefully following each step. A sense of accomplishment once each piece was in its place.

Several months ago, I read a story about a new Lego creation-a baby grand piano. The creator’s wife is a pianist, influencing his idea. Amazingly, this piano was to have working parts, gears, Bluetooth-somehow allowing it to actually play music. Even the piano bench would be adjustable-every pianist’s dream!

Casually I mentioned how cool it would be to have that set. Of course, the actual process of building it didn’t enter my mind. I was, however, fascinated with the final outcome.

Yesterday, we had an early birthday celebration for me and our oldest son, Robert. We share a birthday. Our family loves us so well. We each received thoughtful gifts pertaining in some way to our interests.

But I bet you cannot guess what gift I received from my husband. Yep! That grand piano Lego set! I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. ❤

As I type, my dining room table is covered with bags of tiny pieces-twenty bags. Wait, now there are nineteen bags. With a little help and supervision, I put together the first two bags last night.  😉

This project will challenge my patience and fine motor skills. It will help me explore other areas of creativity, different from my usual. It will be good for my brain. But most of all, it will be good for my heart. Reminding me how much I am loved and that everything really does come full circle-even Legos.

Like Flying a Kite

It has been years since I have flown a kite. I remember many experiences as a kid, a parent, and even a teacher. Each one brought a different level of wonder. Running and watching with excitement as my kite took flight. Watching the excitement on the face of a child having the same experience.

Just picture it! See the kite itself, whipping in the wind, freely flying, having the time of its life. See the person standing firmly on the ground, holding the handle, making it all possible.

The person holds the handle tightly, releasing string at just the right amount at just the right time. Working hard while also enjoying the freedom displayed by the kite.

One time my cousin, Jimmy, and I were flying a kite. It was the perfect day. We held that handle so tight, guiding the kite as it traveled up to the clouds. Such a fun memory!

Until…the kite string, not tied to the handle, ran out. Our kite went on quite a journey! We watched until it flew out of sight, never to be seen again.

I suppose parenting is a bit like flying that kite. I held the kite string firm as my children grew and pulled away. My job was to guide, gradually giving more and more freedom. I was really just preparing to let them go all along.

There is one big difference. The kids often circle back and wave hello. Exactly how it should be. ❤

These ideas have been floating around in my head for a while. Since my youngest son, Ryan, turns twenty tomorrow, it seemed like an appropriate time to share. Happy Birthday, Ryan! 🙂 We love you!

A Birthday Embrace

As I have said before, I enjoy celebrating birthdays. Whether observing my own (which happens to be tomorrow) or those of friends and family, a birthday represents so many different things.

From the moment we enter this world, that date serves to remind us of important milestones. From the one-year-old birthday party all the way to a sweet sixteen, each shows us how far we’ve come.

The celebration itself doesn’t have to be elaborate. A favorite meal and cake of your choice are nice. A simple way of saying, “Today is your day. You get to choose.” This was often the practice for me as a child. And it continued for my own children.

Singing is also a must. Hearing friends and family crooning in unison, “Happy birthday to you,” never gets old. Followed by making a wish and blowing out the candles, of course.

Celebrating my own birthday also reminds me that I am getting older. I have some new aches and pains. I see new wrinkles when looking in the mirror. But that reflection shows so much more.

Hopefully, it is a reflection that shows growth. A growth that encourages me to push through the aches and pains and look past the wrinkles.

https://pianogirlthoughts.com/2018/06/14/birthdays/

Thanks for celebrating with me as I gracefully embrace my next over-half-a-century birthday. ❤

Well, my plan is for it to be a graceful embrace anyway. 😉