Back to School and What it Means to Fail

Dear O,

I will never forget that day this past June when I found you beneath the bleachers. It was the day of your first track meet and I swung by on my lunch break to watch you, to snap a photo, to thumb through all the red and blue ribbons on your chest.

Instead, I found you hiding, your backpack on, you asked me to take you home. And when I asked why your shoulders began to shudder and the tears began to flow. You had lost all the events you were certain you would win. How could they all be faster than you? You have always felt the wind in your hair, barely felt the ground beneath your feet. You were certain there wasn’t anyone faster…that you would win this race.

You didn’t though and pinned to your chest, just the purple participation ribbon.

I sat with you under the Apple Bowl and I accidentally cried with you. I didn’t mean to. It was ridiculous really.

It is good for kids to lose sometimes. I know this.

It is no big deal. Of course it isn’t.

It is just a grade four track meet. And yet…

You whispered “why is everyone better at everything than me” and I was undone.

I did not take you home. We pushed through the last events. We cheered for the other kids who feel like losers. You rode the bus. You were brave. I was so proud. And you need to know…THIS is what it means to win.

Life was easier, wasn’t it? When I made sure that the kids we played with were nice to you, when I choose activities I thought you would succeed at. You have to fail at things now, face conflict and I must confess, it is so hard to watch. In fact, it is nearly impossible, because the truth of the matter is  I have more faith in you than is logical too…you are a super hero in my universe and my eyes don’t seem to see you with much realism. My pride in you is something like intoxication, all I see is the miraculous wearing flesh, shock, and awe that you came to be in our home after I nearly gave up that dream.

We are not called to succeed the way the world sees it. I will never hope that for you. You are a part of the upside down kingdom where the last are first and the weak are the strongest. You are called to seek placement with the broken-hearted and the system weary and the unloved ones. You are one of the joy dwellers, the hope bringers, the peace keepers, the light holders. Most of all we are grace chasers, picking the crumbs we need, leaving a trail behind us. 

That is a lot of words isn’t it? It boils down to this: Our legacy is love…of God and man. That is all.

So forgive me, when the fear of man looms large and I care more about how you behave than where you heart really is, and I seek to compel your facade. Sometimes I want you to be the best athlete, the best student because it is fun to win and because it matters that you work hard in whatever is set before you. Always remember, your success or failure in any of it doesn’t define your worth, will not change your true status, cannot make your dad and I more or less proud of you. That issue is settled…remember? I have no capacity to see you rightly. I think mamma eyes are glory laden and perhaps we can only see the heaven in our kids…an extraordinary capacity to ignore the hell.

Wherever you fail, you will find me there beside you, seeking the hidden treasures and finding ourselves walking on water. We will find beside us those who fall through our societies cracks, the perfectly shaped holes for the meek and mild and we will walk beside them.


With all my love,

Mom

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Jump In…The Water is Fine

We will not go where we can't see our

Dear E,

Ever since your first birthday, I have had to hold you back from the water. You would run towards it and leap in to any lake or river, giving no notice to the fact that you could not swim.

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Much of the time, at snow-fed creeks in early June and waterfalls and oceans in October we would have to actually HOLD YOU BACK so keen you were to jump in.

DSC_0365Even with our deliberate and hands on parenting, even with our hand on your collar, even still you would often find a way to get your feet wet.

DSC_0117 So then, you can imagine my surprise when you would not get into the surf pool with your daddy. I had stayed in the hot tub and you returned to me five minutes later, tears streaming down your face,

“Mom, I am the only girl in there. I don’t belong”

I guess. Logic would tell you, if you don’t see yourself then, of course, you do not belong. But you and me? We are not only people of logic, we are also a people of hope. Some days, it is all we have. And so.

We walked hand in hand and you rode that wave with your face glowing. You watched those teenage boys, doing tricks, you asked how they did it. Oh girl you dove in. It was beautiful. There will be times my darling, to live life in the fullness you are called to, you will be the only one in the water. Do not be afraid.

So many would not have had the courage to tell me why they left the pool. I hear things all the time like “I just don’t feel like it”, “I am bad at math”, “I can’t do it”. But yes you can. Being afraid and being incapable are two very different things.

My girl there will be places that people have not been yet. Places that someone has once upon a time said you were not made for. But let us go there together. This week, I’ve thought of how you are watching me. I found the camera you used this summer. Of the 800 photos on it, 300 were of me. Me…jumping into lakes…freckles blazing, mascara washed off. Me…after a 18 km run…panting and flush. Me…camping without a shower, without any make up. ME. That is what scares me sometimes darlin’. The way you watch me, the way there is no mask with you.

wpid-wp-1421127837542.jpegBecause…I need to tell you. Some of this stuff scares me too. These are the days of Boko Haram turning little girls into bombs and unprecedented domestic murders in our own nation. These are the days of women of THIS LAND disappearing and dying and none of it is ok. These are days of terror. But do you know what? These are also the days of Malala and the days of MY Emily. These are still days of HOPE and do you know that you and I? Well…we were called and born for SUCH A TIME AS THIS. There are places that I have not been, that I am not sure I am meant to go, but watching you is teaching me that sometimes I am just afraid to go to places that I have not seen myself.

wpid-2014-12-22-10.14.19-1.jpg.jpegSo my sweet. Jump in. The water is fine.

With all my love and all the courage I can muster,

Mommy

Days Like This

If you love poetry get this beautiful piece by Laisha Rosnau!

If you love poetry get this beautiful piece by Laisha Rosnau!

This morning I felt the way a coffee cup fits perfect in two relaxed hands.

I listened to the children have a conversation about what colour is more beautiful in the sky, how the snow was uninterrupted, how they could hardly wait to traipse across it, leave a mark.

I sat with poetry open, the perfect black pen, a journal itching to be filled up.

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The blue sky peeled open, the sun rose all pink and fired up to blaze.
Me too.

DSC_0286We rambled into the woods, let’s be the first explorers shall we? Notice the way the crystals blow from the tree, hear the squeals from the sled behind us, feel the wind in our hair. Notice the way that sun broke the trees wide open, as if it was a gift just for us.

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I should be scrubbing the floors, folding the laundry, washing the windows. I could be out visiting, returning important emails, writing a grant application. I could…but. I am glued to this seat by the weight of what feels like quadruple the gravity of a regular day on earth. The man asleep on the couch, the dogs napping at my feet, the children building snowmen outside. I am stuck by the beauty of this sun on my back, the words on the page. There are days we produce and days that produce in us. We must be wise enough to know which one we need and how to notice the chance for either one.

Love Is Long (Five Minutes With the Word Prompt LONG)

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It was past midnight when he found me, cold and frustrated, by the side of the road. He was from Iran. The minister of health. His wife? A chemical engineer. Both of them tricked. His heart-broken by children who do not love well. His money stolen. After awhile he shut off the meter, would not take my money. When I got out of the car I said,
“I will be praying for you peace”. I have been. I am. There are times when loving well lays itself before you. You know exactly what love is. Sometimes being heard and being loved are so close to the same thing that most of us cannot tell the difference.

A man I work with died this fall. I liked him very much. He was one of the sly and quiet empire un-settlers. He planted rogue gardens that went against master plans. He helped me collect cigarette butts to make a display about second-hand smoke because he hated what cigarettes did to people. He had tried to quit for years…cancer took him in the end.

I want to be like him in the ways he steadily and quietly did what was right for people, despite what the bureaucracy would suggest. Despite his own best intentions and worst outcomes. Let it be so in me. Most of the time, loving people means our own weakness is publicized, there is no hiding flaws if we are loving with all of ourselves.

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It is funny to me, the ease with which we speak about love, describe it like it is a simple thing, like we understand it at all.

What is love? The racing heart? The sweaty palms? The lust and the hunger? The sticky sweet voice? The hugs on your approach?

No. if mothering has taught me anything it is that I love the same with the stern voice as I do with a whispered I love you.

Love is in the patience. Love is not rushing a heart that just needs to catch up. Love is not looking around you, past you, through you. Love is in the waiting for you no matter how long it takes you to approach, how far off the prodigal might be. Love sits at the bedside of the dying, of those who don’t get better- are never healed.

Love is kind. It does not speak in acid tones but in encouragement. Love does not leave the other alone in the pain, love sits in the middle of it, moves in, digs in stiletto heels.

Love is not in the envious, the boasting, the pride. Love does not make you feel “less than” in its presence. It learns the art of confession, of apology. Love is not demonstrated by the insecure, love cannot exist when we are trying to prove ourselves.

Love is not in the push for self, or any agenda. Love flexes and moves,shapes itself around you. Love is in the way it forces itself into the jagged cracks, the broken pieces.

A heart can spin like a bottle but still end up pointing the right way and you prayed for this…but then forgot. Life is tedious in its unfolding and we don’t have the patience for a plan that looks more like eternity then a lifetime. Because Gods heart beats with the rhythm of forever while we force the beat of dying flesh. Because love…sometimes…means we just keep showing up, bringing all of ourselves. Love is long.

OH HI THERE! Joining with the five minute free write community…just to get the words flowing again!

First Days: E in Grade 1

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An interview with Emily on the first day of grade ONE

My favorite food is: “PASTA and CANDY! (and I think you can guess that one)”

My favorite colour: “Blue and pink”

My favorite toy: “I don’t have one”.

My favorite TV Show: “Barbies Dream House and other than that my second favourite is Garfield”.

My favorite movie: “Frozen”

My favorite thing to do outside: “Relax in the hot tub”

My best friend: “I have lots of different ones but not one. Jaida, Zaire, Leah and cousin Meg”

The coolest person in the world is: “Daddy and Mommy and Owen”

My favorite sport is: “Mini golf and soccer”

My favorite animal: “tigers and cats and dogs’

My favorite thing to do with daddy: “Going on daddy daughter dates. And go to Scandia and get slushies”

My favorite thing to do with mommy: “”Girl time”

Favorite place to go: “Energyplex and our house”

When I grow up I want to be: “Dog trainer”

My favorite snack is: “Apple chips and pickles”

I LOVE to…”PLAY”

My favourite thing about me is…”I’m FUNNY”

This year I want to…”I want to learn about Ears”

 

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Who me? Get carried away?

So. The truth is…I have a bit of an addictive personality. When I play tetris…I play for a week. Same goes for sudoku, solitaire, reading and…party planning. (I will never try heroine, in case you were concerned).

I love it.

This spring, the kids and I made a fairy garden. Then we made an ACTUAL fairy hollow. Then? Well we planned a tea party and just went crazy with all things toadstool and fairy like. We had a wonderful day with all of Emilys classmates, their moms, and a few special friends. I promised MY mom I would share the photos as she could not make it! Here it is!

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The girls each got a little toy fairy and the moms and girls took one of the dollar store trays that I had collected some nature goodness in to make a fairy garden.

I overheard two little girls chatting and one said “I wish we could do this every day”. Me too…