A New Word

There is little more precious than experiencing joy through the eyes of a child. It adds more than happiness, another layer of contentment.

However, this week, I experienced the phenomenon on a different level. And this level requires a new word.

Thinking back to when my kids were young, several events come to mind. Times I was able to see and feel their joy. Viewing star clusters and planets through Uncle Larry’s high-powered telescope. Fireworks displays on the Fourth of July. Their first time to experience snow.

I can picture them all bundled up in coats, hats, and gloves. Red glowing on their little faces. Also, of course, the plastic grocery bags covering their feet. The kids still chuckle at that one. I like to think of it as being resourceful. We did not get snow often enough for snow boots. 😉

Just this week, we had our first significant snowfall in seven years. Many little kids were building snowmen and sledding down neighborhood hills for the very first time! However, it was the reaction of a young adult, two actually, that caught my attention.

My daughter’s boyfriend, Mike, happened to be visiting when the snow arrived. Rachel has experienced snow. Mike had only experienced it one time when he was two years old and had very little memory. This was like his first snowfall. At least, that is what his reaction said.

Seeing that white powder outside turned him into a little kid once again. Excited, bundled up, and ready to explore. Such happiness and joy! Not to mention wet clothes from immediately falling into the snow to make a snow angel.

Yet, this is not the joy requiring a new word. No, this has more to do with being a parent, witnessing your own children’s reactions to others. I felt it as I read Rachel’s tweet later that same day.

“In the midst of an incredibly trying year, watching Mike experience snow for the first time in his life brought me so much joy today.” ❤

Rachel is a high school special education teacher in her second year. She is beginning her long-planned-for career during a global pandemic. “Incredibly trying” is putting it mildly, but she is doing amazing things despite the situation.

Something about her reaction struck my core as a parent. Hearing her describe her own joy over watching Mike play in the snow was powerful. Knowing that she recognized how magical such a simple thing can be…made me feel?

Well, here we are again. I still need a new word. For this is more profound than joy and greater than pride. I will continue searching while this feeling plants itself deep in my heart.

SAFE PASSAGE

The journey was
Not always what I
Thought it would be-
Rocking chairs
And lullabies
Bike rides and
Skinned knees
Tiny pieces of
A bigger picture
An incomplete map
Unfolding one
Step at a time-
The middle leg
Of the journey
Was much harder
A trusty compass
Guided through
Growing pains
Broken hearts
Moving, marriage
Letting go while
Pushing forward-
Current stopover
Mixes deep joy
With sadness
Yet, comfort is
Found in knowing
The sweet souls
Entrusted to me
Had safe passage
Along this path of
Discovering what it
Means to be a mom

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!

Coming & Going

This Labor Day weekend, I am looking forward to an extra day of rest following the two first weeks of school. I need to relax and take care of myself. Part of that care includes time with family.

That is one of my first thoughts when it comes to holidays-who is coming and who is going.

This time, Gart and I are staying put. Though not always the case, a welcomed choice this weekend. Even after our recent extended time here, we need to be home. Sleep in our own bed, sit outside in our own backyard…welcoming the ones who are coming.

On this Saturday morning, the house is quiet. Our youngest, the last one at home, is at a friend’s. Our daughter, who recently moved out, is traveling. Our oldest and his wife will be here this afternoon.

Witnessing my kids at this age causes me to reflect on my own younger days. Days when I was the one always coming and going. Days when my Mom and Dad were the ones staying put.

It’s a funny thing, seeing myself through my parents’ eyes. Waiting patiently to hear about a friend, that recent trip, or to actually be together in person.

These are the moments that remind of the beauty of life-moments of growth and understanding. Realizing what a privilege it is to be the one staying put. To be the one watching and waiting, experiencing all the comings and goings from my front door.

Kids Grow Up

I wrote this poem several months ago after a conversation with my oldest. This seems like the perfect time for sharing.

Parenting is a lifelong adventure. And though responsibilities change as time passes, some things never change. Like that struggle between worry and release.

The temptation to hold on too tight is strong. And even after successfully letting go, certain events bring me right back into the battle.

Currently, it is a concern for their safety as public school teachers and a working college student during this pandemic. They are all adults. They know how to take care of themselves. But I will always be their mom. ❤

No Longer a Kid

How are you today?
A simple text
Sent to my child
Nothing urgent
Or momentous
Mom checking in

My eyes well up
With tears before
The swoosh sound
Of the sending text
Has even faded
What? Why now?

A flood of memories
Instantly fills my mind
A million questions
Where did the years go?
Did I do enough to
Prepare you for life?

The phone rings
Jolting me back
To the present
Tears turn to smiles
Questions fade away
The world is okay

Hey Mom, thought
I’d call and talk
Instead of just texting

And so it goes when
You are the parent
Of adult children
A simple thought
Becomes a rapid
Onslaught of emotions

A myriad of questions
And concerns
Instantly erased by
The sound of a voice-
My kid who is
No longer a kid

…always

The wind blows
A sturdy tree
Leaves dance
Branches wave
As if to say,
Come with me!
Like a mom
Calling to her child
Run to me!
I will catch you
The wind will
Carry us away


Where will it take us?
I do not know
But we will go together
Our very own adventure
How long will we be gone?
I do not know
Only time will tell
Minutes, hours, days
One thing is certain
Each journey will
Stay with us
For a lifetime

As the steadfast tree
Continues to call
Waving branches
And dancing leaves
Waiting to embrace
And carry me away
I also stand
With open arms
Ready to embrace you
To share another journey
Wherever the wind
Carries us…always

For Robert & Erin, Rachel, and Ryan~The reasons I love being a mom. ❤

Beautiful Technology

I would never have thought of using those two words in the same sentence, until today. Our current state of social distancing and quarantine, however, has given me new perspectives on many things. And after my experience this afternoon, I can safely say technology can be beautiful.

It has been over ten years since I taught at the University of Tulsa. Two of my then piano students, now friends, convinced me to get a Facebook. This kind of technology was definitely new to me at that time. I was a little hesitant but soon embraced it as a way to communicate and connect.

These two girls, Sara and Grace, are now married. Grace has three precious children and Sara is expecting her first. Even though they initially helped me appreciate the usefulness of social media, I did not think of it as beautiful. Wouldn’t you know, my change of perspective involved these girls.

Today I attended a virtual baby shower via Zoom to celebrate Sara’s baby girl. Grace was one of the hosts. Was it the way we hoped to celebrate? No. We would have preferred to be physically present, giving hugs, eating cake, and drinking punch. But right now, that is not possible.

Celebrations, however, are still possible! Thanks to technology, a group of people came together. We came together to express our love for Sara, her husband, and for this precious baby who will be here soon.

We watched as Sara opened gifts that had been mailed or dropped off. We laughed and looked at baby pictures of each other. We listened as she received parenting advice given with love and wisdom. No, we were not in the same room. But our celebration was no less meaningful.

Yes, it was different from our usual traditions. Yes, I would have loved to hug my friends today. But the most important thing is for the expectant parents to feel loved and prepared to welcome their little one. And hopefully, today brought both. I’d say today was a picture of beautiful technology at work. ❤

No Pictures

I love pictures. I have loved them since I was a little girl.
My Grandma Mahar had a round metal container with a tight-fitting lid. I believe it was ivory-colored with gold stripes. But more importantly, it was full of photographs.

I would sit at her dining room table with this treasure box, take off the lid, and spread out the pictures. There were old snapshots, mostly black and white. There were also old school photos of my mom and her siblings.

Thumbing through the photos was like taking a trip back in time. Seeing the old cars, the clothes they wore-reading the notes written on the backs. Thinking about it now makes me smile. I can still see the container and some of the photos in my memory.

My love of pictures readily transferred to adult life, particularly when I became a mom. I know there are times my kids have rolled their eyes upon hearing once again, “Hey guys, we need to take a picture!” Of course, my next line made them smile. “Act like you like each other.”

This past weekend was our oldest son’s wedding. They had prepared a couple of decorative signs to greet guests as they entered the venue. One politely announced that the ceremony was to be “unplugged.” The idea was for guests to put away their phones and just be present in the celebration. So that’s what we did-no photos.

I started thinking about that fact this morning. And even though I love looking at and taking photos, I’m so glad I was “unplugged” for their ceremony. What a joy to be in the moment. Listening as they repeated their vows. Watching them smile and giggle, so happy to be starting their life together.

I will be anxiously awaiting the professional photos from the wedding. I’m even thinking about starting my own container of photographs. Who knows, maybe someone else would enjoy spreading pictures all over the dining room table with me. I can always hope. 😉

Imagine this lid on a deeper tin. That’s what held my Grandma’s treasures. ❤

In the Quiet

For Rob and Erin ❤

The house is quiet
Guests have all
Gone home
I am tired
A good tired
Resulting from a
Weekend long celebration
A momentous occasion
Symbolized by
Prayer and scripture
Rings and vows
Flowers and music
Beautiful bride
Handsome groom
Surrounded by friends
And family, making
A commitment to be
Faithful and true
In all things
Accepting each other’s
Strengths and weaknesses
As they join their
Lives together
The wedding
A clear reflection
Of their hearts
A beautiful beginning
Built on
Faith, hope, and love
A lasting reassurance
Forever present
In the quiet

“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” I Corinthians 13:7-8

Wedding Week

Well, it is wedding week for our son, Robert, and his fiancé, Erin. By this time next Sunday, their celebration will be added to our family album of wonderful memories. All the hard work and planning worth the outcome.

Of course, that outcome encompasses so much more than the wedding day. Yes, that day will be a beautiful reminder of a new beginning. But it’s just the beginning. There is so much more to come.

As parents, our roles are continuously transforming. Yes, we are still here to help and offer advice. But they are now adults, making their own way in this world. Walking more often beside us, instead of viewing us as the guides.

I must admit, this change brings some rollercoaster moments for me. Questions. Am I embracing my new roles with the same excitement as when I was first a parent? Am I providing enough support while giving needed space?

Truthfully, their questions are more important than mine. How do I know they have questions? Because I remember our beginning. The excitement and the uncertainties.

Right now, at this moment, I want them to know how much they are loved. And how excited we are to celebrate with them. I also want to remind not to sweat the details. It is going to be a beautiful wedding!

So, bring on the vases, lights, flowers, and music. The dress, the suit, the rings, the promises. Get ready for family and friends to surround and lift you up. Expect lots of smiles and laughter, and maybe a few tears. But most of all, enjoy your day! ❤