Last Spring I Became Smitten, and Was Forced into Happiness

Aside

1452562_10152012126498810_283704191_n (1)Did you read the snippet I found on the internet yesterday?

I put it in this post:

Does Change Have to Happen All at Once?

How does change look in your world? This is a topic that my husband and I have always differed on.

Actually. I drive him kind of crazy.

I say no, all at once can be good…but not as a rule.

He says  yes, all at once is the rule…and is good.

Another difference between us is reflected in my unwillingness to talk about this or to have a debate.

I don’t care. Seriously. I have other fish to fry at the moment. If sweeping change is what floats your boat, then keep on truckin’! Bully for you!

Same token, I’ve done some serious thinking of late and have sobered up to the fact that if I don’t grab these last several “working” years that my body will hopefully give me, I will have missed an awesome boat ride indeed.

When we first moved to Iowa I was certain that I was interested in anything that did not include working in a school. My years as a sub, and various teaching jobs of many sizes and colors never left me disappointed in the magic of children or the power of falling in love with an idea or a letter of the alphabet. (Seriously? You’ve not had a conversation or contemplative moment about the bold roundness of the letter “O”? Odd.)

1477677_10152061644043810_1326140848_nI arrived to our new city life sorely let down by the adult world though and it’s bitter, whining approach to what we as educators should feel lucky to be doing each day.

Iowa being a writing mecca, I wrote. Day after day, blog post after blog post. I read, fed the dogs, wrote, deleted, read, fed the kids, and reread my way into being ready to step out the front door and actually talk to people.

And then there was the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, soon after at a religious temple, and shortly after at Sandy Hook.

I went from afraid, to sad, and continue to feel intensely angry about these events.

During that same time period my family was saying: “You seem bored, how about a job?”

No change.

And, “You seem cranky, how about a job?”

No change.

Then, “We can’t take it any more – get a job!”

As luck would have it – a ruby of a job I landed indeed. I’ll spare you the details of how I stumbled into the one I had in the Spring, and the one that I have now – but lucky I am indeed. And, now I know that the computer dying as the spring blossomed was a gift as well.

I had no time or way of processing how happy I was to be working with the hard of hearing Kindergartener for whom I was a communication coach. Being unhappy became a most boring and lonely consideration. Written, or even spoken words not needed.

480201_10151552955388810_1938698632_nI was trapped, smitten, and humbled by his eyelashes, wit, and ornery moves. And, I’m now eagerly re-enrolled in school to help increase the odds that I can keep on working in a series of best jobs ever.

As my cousin said on the phone the other day, “This is my last job, and I plan to make it the one that is the most fun!”

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Confession: I’d Rather Type Than Talk to You

Knock, knock? Anyone home?

I always feel bad when I’ve not been here posting or reading. When I take these breaks it always begins with busyness, but ends with pitiful return to the computer with the mindset that no one missed me in the sphere.

That’s the problem with the internet. It’s all so, so sphere-y.

For ultra introverts like myself, social media is a haven and a temptation. It is so, so much easier for me to sit here and converse with friends, foes or figments of real communication when it is by way of the word wide-spread.

I

have

complete

control.

No seriously. Yeah, yeah, bla, bla – the net’s a powerful and potentially dangerous place and invariably leads to lots of eye poking.

I’m pretty scrupulous though, even in my emails. Most of my grandmother’s were much more wild than I am. This makes it hard to go with Dr. Phil’s advise to never type anything that would be embarrassed to have my grandmother see. I use my youngest son as a yard stick though, and try to not to even go all sister potty mouth in email or chat functions.

He’s hitting fifth grade in a week though, so now that I think of it, I need to start typing with my little niece in mind.

For me, the slippery slope is that belief that the internet IS the communication I’m working toward, not a means to an end which is “real” connection.

Real connection, as in, just a few minutes ago I caught a friend from the little town we moved from a year ago. I’ve not seen her in person on any of the multiple trips back.

Sunrise on the Ohio River, Ripley Ohio

Her life is busy beyond busy, and when we visit – so is mine as we only have a few days to catch up with a lot of folks. One of the last times I visited I had an hour window of time and sent her a wake up text at 7:00 a.m. (this indicates that she is “real” friend).

She’d been up for an hour or some such and actually had to be somewhere for a photo shoot or some such (no joke, she’s kind of a celebrity), so we started planning for a visit this coming fall over labor day weekend.

All of this is to say, that this morning when we were typing our hellos we could have called – and “voice connected.”

Ha. I just made that up and it sounds so millennial when used as a verb.

definition (verb) Voice Connect: Expressing such euphemisms as “I miss you” and “you are SO bomb” by way of vocal cord vibrations rather than digital typenations that involve kissy faces made of punctuation marks.

I was so excited to catch her by “chat” and thought about searching out the phone and calling. It would have made her late for work probably, because we would have had a hard time hanging up. As an ultra extrovert though…she would have handled it fine and loved it, because her days are filled with conversation and noise so she can safely assume that we’ll pick back up as planned in September.

Me. Introvert? It would have woken up my son and I’d be on early toast duty. For me, It would have been emotionally hard to hear her voice since I (voluntarily) spend so much time in the quiet and know that chances are good that the only voices that I hear at length will be some or all of my family of men today.

I’m cool with that.

Really. It’s why I love the sphere! I can surf my heart away and connect by way of the net any time I want.

I need to be careful to not get too much virtual groove on, because it’s the means to connect, not the goal, rightO?

Forgiveness Friday: Speaking for Myself, ‘I did that.’

“Give yourself grace,

but also hold yourself accountable.” ~ Jeff Goins

I just put my pen down from a little bit of journaling, and guess what I just realized?

I’ve mentioned that my husband and I moved with two of our three sons to Iowa. Actually we’ve, this week I think, hit our one year anniversary of living in our new house and town. We also successfully moved our oldest son to Dayton Ohio to an apartment about three hours north of our small town and country home and rural life.

The realization? I’ve not written here about how this career opportunity for my husband landed several of us smack in the middle of our personal field of dreams. Nor have I explained the extreme transition from country to city. I think it’s been more of a mention in passing.

After a year, I know that now.

As one of my son’s friends would say: “We live close to the field, for realzies.”

No. Really. The mom of this kid who is a dynamite athlete on Joe’s little league team told us that the farm that was the set for the movie Field of Dreams is about two hours from here.

So, I say myself, to me and I: “How’s come? If this blog is supposed to be about grace and you were struggling with the transition when you started this writing project, why not write about the baby foxes and magical dew on your porch? Why not go on about the early morning sound of metal scrapping the road as a cattle trailer drags down your one lane road? About how cool it was to say, with eyes closed, ‘Yup, Cluxtons are going by. Must have some calves.’ Or about how joyful it was to know that spring had come and the winter mud would soon dry?”

I couldn’t.

I just couldn’t.

I think I can now. Now our family of five has made it through a year of transition. We still have all of our limbs, the sky hasn’t yet fallen in, and apparently our entire hearts didn’t break with the fear and sadness, just little parts. Even the little parts of broken heart seem to be healing for each of us as we settle into the corners of our individual field of dreams.

Speaking for myself,

I did that.

I did that work of grief that is almost all about personal accountability. It’s like how our son who is a runner quickly dropped his mile per minute time last summer and fall. He’d not met a soul. And yet, Will didn’t do it by just meeting some cool guys and cute gals that ran with him. It certainly wasn’t the hundreds of dollars that running shoes demand. It’s not like other sports. Runners don’t run plays or pass balls on the running trail.

They run.

I can start to wax sentimental about what I was sure for years, 20 years actually, that I could never leave behind.

I can now, because I got up and ran my mom miles this spring. I can look back on some unexpected difficult trail turns and say, “I did that.” Pardon a brief brag, but you know, I didn’t make it through this particular spring with my eyes closed. Our youngest son seemingly suddenly, started having some transition troubles at school. It created, for me, yet another (thankfully temporary) heartbreak.

For me as a mom, it was like what I would guess a trail runner would feel if when on an unfamiliar trail, just when you start to get some relief in the form of an end of the run high, suddenly a unicorn butt pops up in the form of crappy mud mile.

When our little guy Joe started having some hard days coping at school this spring, I was on the verge of getting my “I’m a writer” badge in gear. I joined a local writing group, announced to the budget committee that mom is going to writing camp this summer, started writing two books, and generally said to myself,

alrighty then, here I am. Game on.

Did I resent and whine and groan that my needs and dreams had to go on the shelf again over the needs of one of the kids, for, I didn’t know how long?

Does Kevin Costner still make many America’s middle age women say meow? Umm. Yes. They do.

So, yeah.

It took a lot of work, but last night when our little guy was kicking up dust after the game I was glued to the chair with exhaustion, it was okay.  He was with new Iowa best friend #3, after having played for a bit with former bests friends #1 and #2, and with potential other neighborhood best friends #4 and #5.

And I’m not sure. But I think I agreed to let them all come over this afternoon to play.

Game on.

Forgiveness Friday:Easter in Iowa

“…in the real world it may take you many years to find out that the stranger you talked to once for half an hour in the railroad station may have done more to point you to where your true homeland lies than your priest or your best friend or even your psychiatrist.”

~ Frederick Buechner,

as quoted by Anne Lamott in Bird By Bird

I read this quote by Anne Lamott just a few minutes ago. The book is a “why to” and “how to” book for writers. The reason I highlighted that passage that is in her chapter on character was that it hit home on another level first.

Moving sucks.

Beyond the joy, excitement, and surprise of how great life has become in the past year (that’s how long it’s been since we started working on our move from Ohio to Iowa), now that the moving part is over and the visiting part has started, I’m not sure if the hard parts are over or just getting started.

You know, the whole, making friends thing. “I would hate that” a friend from years ago told me on the phone the other night, and she is at the tippy top of my most friendly and extroverted peeps list.

Don’t get me wrong…over all even the friend making part of the process is going well. In my family of five, I’d say that two of us are fairly introverted, and the other three extroverted. When I take an objective look, we are all moving along in this department at a healthy pace.

The extroverts have been out there doing their gregarious thing which is paying off in the form of being less worried about joining three versus five different groups – it’s all good and layers of bestest friends seem to have potential in days to come as I see it. Half-court shots, new baseball hats, and lazy days of frisbee golf were beyond my imagination a year ago. Couldn’t of thunk it if I tried.

And the normal people my more introverted son and I are doing just fine as well. We’ve scoped out our environments, our assessments are fully filed in our mental file cabinets, and what the heck, we’re accepting invites to coffee and pizza anyway. Why not, right?

For me, I’m fairly adjusted to the reality that for many friends and acquaintances that we left behind in Ohio, out of sight is out of mind. It’s just life. The first few times we went back for a visit we got some reactions like, “Huh? We thought you moved? Git along little doggies.”

Now, what I hear is “So you still like it out there? Good. We miss you, but we’re glad you are happy -that’s what counts. Don’t worry. Nothing has changed here…” (Which is true…we were in a Mayberry type of community, so no worries on corporate take over or closed highways).

I can choose to sulk and analyze this out of sight/out of mind thing, or just roll with it and be honest that the same is true on my end. I’m already forgetting names, connections, scuttlebutt, and am getting mixed up on big events like divorce and illness and new-found love. That’s me though…I’m the know the forest not the trees person, so it fits. But, even if I was a detail person…the energy that it has taken to adjust to our new surroundings would have me mixing up the oaks and pines on occasion I’m sure.

So, Forgiveness Friday. It’s the week after Easter, and that quote from Buechner fits just right, as this is the week that we hear readings about a lot of walking and talking with the resurrected Christ. Indeed, at this point in the Gospel story, strangers on the journey become a source of truth and clarity with as much validity as the original disciples.

Who knows, maybe strangers are more objective and therefore quite wise.

How interesting that mourning, and fear, and surprising moments of joy get all jumbled during these type of days and phases of life.

‘Scarcely take it in sometimes, you know?