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. 😉

Presents of Presence

My birthday is rapidly approaching. It falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving this year. My oldest son, Robert, was born on my 27th birthday. This year, he turns 25 and I turn 52. I am always happy when we can celebrate together.

Robert called yesterday about last-minute Thanksgiving plans. He also asked what I wanted for my birthday. I really could not think of anything. “Since we will be together for Thanksgiving, I thought we could celebrate,” he said.

Later in the evening, I told my husband about our chat. He quickly responded, “Did you tell him his and Erin’s presence here for Thanksgiving was enough?” No, I had not thought to say that.

Reflecting on those conversations caused me to consider the idea of presents. My thoughts quickly turned to presence. The older I get, the more I realize the preciousness of someone’s presence in my life.

The occasions when all my kids and soon-to-be daughter-n-law are together, sharing the same space and time? Those are the times I am truly filled with joy and contentment. Instances when I share space and time with my parents? Feelings are the same.

I could go on and on. The presence of aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends remind me how quickly time passes. And time spent with them, even when brief, is a gift.

Just this morning, my daughter was reviewing our plans for the next few days. Thanksgiving dinner, birthday lunch with a friend for me, a movie outing for her. Then she smiled and said, “Don’t make any plans for Sunday.” I don’t know what she has planned, but I know it involves her presence.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. Our home will be filled with good food and laughter. But more importantly, it will be filled with presents. Not ones which require unwrapping, ones which allow embraces.

Embraces which say:

I love you
I've missed you
I'm so glad you're here
Your presence is the best present I could ever receive

The Rest of the Story

I have already shared events surrounding the birth of our first child, Robert, in two separate blog posts-Thankful and The Struggle for Control.  You would certainly think those events provided enough excitement for one pregnancy…but that was before he actually arrived.

One month had passed since our car accident.  My cracked ribs were beginning to heal, and I was ready to meet our baby boy.  Despite reassurances from the doctors that he was fine, my worry would not completely disappear until we actually saw him.  So a date to induce labor was set.

Gart and I arrived at the hospital early on December 1, 1994.  All checked in, the process began.  Doctors, nurses, monitors, IV…contractions. He would most likely arrive sometime before midnight.  That’s what they thought-but they thought wrong. Midnight came and went.  I was in active labor, but something wasn’t right.  Of course, this was our first baby, so what did we know?!

At some point during the late night/early morning, the doctor came in and things changed quickly.  Apparently, she should have been called much earlier.  Once she arrived, the whole room transformed. Suddenly it was full of additional medical personnel-a neonatology team, nurses.  Lighting in the room was adjusted, and the mood became extremely serious.

My mom and mother-n-law had been with us through the entire labor process.  But as the room began to transform, they were asked to wait out in the hall.  So they did.

We often see childbirth portrayed as an intense experience followed by this beautiful first moment.   A pink, crying baby is handed to the new mom.  She’s crying and the strong, supportive dad is leaning over-everyone is smiling and eternally happy.  Photos capture the moment, assuring it will never be forgotten.

When Robert was finally born, I can remember waiting…waiting to hear him cry.   Doctors and nurses were busy doing their jobs and there was nothing we could do but wait.  There was a flurry of activity and none of it sounded good. It felt like an eternity.  Then finally, a cry.  The sweetest, tiniest little cry.

A nurse brought him over so we could see him-not hold him-only for a few seconds.  He was pale, almost translucent, but that sweet face.  I can close my eyes right now and still see that face.  There are no pictures from that moment. Time and the seriousness of the situation did not allow for pictures.  Just as quickly as we’d seen him, he was whisked out of the room.  Gart followed.

Our moms, still waiting in the hall,  did not know what was happening. They’d witnessed the influx of medical personnel and their quick exit with the baby, Gart following close behind.  He was stopped at the nursery.  The blinds were closed.  Now he had no idea what was happening with our sweet boy.

Returning to the delivery room to check on me, he was once again stopped at the door.  I had suffered third-degree trauma, and the doctor was with me.  Poor Gart, it’s a miracle we ended up having two more children.

Finally, I was in a room.  Family there.  Waiting to see Robert.  Four hours later, we held him for the first time.  An IV had been placed in the top of his little head.  He had lost a lot of fluid during the trauma of his birth but was going to be ok.  Once again, we were thankful.

There were birthday gifts and cake later that day in the hospital room.  Because not only was December 2, 1994, the birthdate of our son, Robert, it was also my twenty-seventh birthday.  A birthday I will never forget!

I think I can safely say that is the rest of the story.  At least for today!

 

Twenty-One Today

Twenty-one today, how can that be?

Seems only yesterday, you were just three

Bossy at times, so sassy and sweet

A perfect description, your Dad would agree

 

Today all grown up-compassionate and strong

Advocating for special needs, desiring all to belong

Embracing the future, choosing hope in the world you see

A beautiful young woman standing in front of me

 

Today I remember your blue eyes and curls

Treasuring sweet times with my sassy little girl

Remembering the past but not lingering too long

Learning from you what it means to be strong

 

Letting go while holding on is where I find myself

Cherishing the pictures which sit on my shelf

So thankful I’m your mom and you’re my sweet girl

Happy Birthday, Dear Rachel!  Today is all yours!