~:: Solstice Thoughts ::~

I was thinking about a reply I made this morning to a dear friend’s comment on my little Christmas card.  I’m going to repeat it and embellish a little here because—well, sometimes I worry that people don’t understand why I choose to write what I do.  That maybe they think I’m misrepresenting my life, trying to make it all shiny and successful and American Dreamy.  My friend observed that the pictures of our family at Sunday dinner were full of love.  And they were because we were.  But our get-togethers are not always totally harmonious.  So this is what I said:

You do know we fight and get huffy and misunderstand each other and act badly, too – right? I know you know this.  Because you live in a real family, too. I think we bloggy sorts don’t choose to write about those acrimonious bits because life, love, family – all are a work in progress. We strengthen ourselves and choose our path each time we recognize the brilliant loving patterns working—realizing that this is the path we want, and want badly.  So we are moved to write in a state of wonder and gratitude, focusing our own hearts on what is strong, growing and healthy.

I think that the darker side of blogging is to write in the hopeless or bitter moments instead. And I think, also, that there are people – like those folks who hate and resent and love to sneer at “mommy blogs,” – who think we are just lying and bragging and distorting the realities of life by not sharing images of darkness and disappointment.

The thing is,  I choose hope – and I love light – and that is where my heart will dwell. That is where I sing. Husbands and wives are never perfect – harmony is never perfect – we are not built for perfection in this world. It’s the direction the face faces, the direction the foot reaches out for a hold on the path—that decides which paths we propel ourselves along—toward light or dark, toward growth or a simmering bitterness.

I am afraid that there are people who do not want to be happy, who embrace cynicism and bitterness as though they held a lifejacket in their arms instead of a choking weight. It’s clarity, love, hope and joy that I want to grab with hands and arms and legs – and I will fight for that. Just as you do, and Rachel does and my sister does, and Donna and Linda and Dawn and Jenni, and my daughters and the rest of my truly dear friends do. And we will make it—because we are deliberately cultivating light, and we will turn and look back as we go and like where we have been, simply because we keep moving in the direction of light, our resolve lit with hope and made material in gratitude.

I capture these loving family images because I need never to lose them.  Not that images can freeze anything so that it will keep forever.  Nothing will keep that long in this life.  But the point is, I deliberately choose these images—I choose them to define me, and then I do whatever I can, deliberately – hard-scrabble little loss as I am – to bring myself into that definition, to fit it.  Sometimes this is great work.  But I choose that, too.

————-=0=————-

I wanted to tell you a little more about the party group.

It’s an eclectic enclave of folks, the core of which are people we’ve known for more than thirty years.  But also there are people we’ve only known for five or six years.  Old college roommates.  Musicians we’ve been working with for that long.  Some are songwriters.  Some arrangers.  Some singers and players.  We have electrical engineers, too.  And one who used to sell radio ad time, but now does fencing material.  We have famous writers and unknown writers.  And people who have dedicated their lives to bringing up their children and creating the micro-cultures of home.  A couple who repair cameras.  Some who make stained glass windows.  Several who are teachers or librarians or who work in school administration offices.  Animators and artists.  Illustrators.  Fathers and mothers and children.  Tech guys who train people on complex computer programs.  Great cooks.  Lousy cooks.  One who is the DP on Bones.  Firemen. Radio show hosts.  Teachers of chemistry or dance or other things.  People who have lived in Brazil, England, Argentina, France – so many countries, so many languages.  People who have never lived outside the country at all.   Runners.  Cyclists.  Horsefolk.  We have brilliant crafters and people who hate crafting like poison.  Some are quiet.  Some are very funny.  Some are close to or over seventy years old, some who are under twenty four.  The things we have in common are our faith and just general good will.

And that’s what makes the party so fun.  A lot of these people are close friends with each other now only because this party exists – might never have known each other at all if we hadn’t gathered them in and thrown them together.  And that’s my favorite, VERY favorite part about all this.  I feel like a Yenta, thank you very much.

————-=0=————-

I was just listening to a song G recorded for our dear friend, Mike McClean – it’s called, “The Greatest Thing I’ve Ever Done.”  And I started thinking about that.  About great things, and whether I had ever done any.  And I decided I had.  And I decided to try to make a list, however short.  And of course, I’m putting that list right here:

1. Getting pregnant the second time.  And the fourth and last time.  In spite of what I knew might be coming at me.

2. Teaching.  And one or two things I chose to do while I was teaching.  Like standing by one of my students, who was wrongfully accused.  And loving the ones I once would never have given a second look.

3. Saying no when I needed to.  When it was right.  When it wasn’t easy.

4.  Admitting I am wrong – which I have done at least twice in my life.

5.  Learning my lesson – ditto.

6.  Getting out of bed on those few mornings when I was afraid to be alive.

7.  Being there for my kids.

8.  Living so I could go to the temple.

9.  Forgetting some things I would have loved to hold onto and simmer over.

10.  Planning the trips to Paris and England and Disneyworld.  Not because of where we went, but because I just, for no apparent reason, cowboyed-up realized that dreams were about to slip away and actually DID something, instead of just meaning to.

11.  Keeping the horses even when I was terrified of them.

12. Paying tithing.  Amazed that I can let the money go.

13.  Going to see my mother in the rest home for the first time.

14. Writing just a very few letters when I’d finally had enough – and eventually seeing them change the world, at least part of it.

I know this doesn’t sound like much.  No statues or immortality here.  But these were great things for me, because I am a small person and a big scardy cat and lazy and apt to dream instead of do.  I could also make a list of the most terrible things I’ve ever done, mostly on this same under-the-radar level, but things I still hurt over.  Like the time when I was in fourth grade, collecting newspapers for the paper drive in LA – the girl across the street came with me, a harmless, willing person – but at one corner, some mean little boys came up and started calling her “ree-tard,” a term still, sadly, in use today – and I denied knowing her to keep myself safe from them.  I’ll never get over doing that.

Anyway, that’s what I was thinking about this morning as I fed the horses.

So I just wanted to ask you: what is the greatest thing YOU have ever done?

I think my word for 2012 may be BRAVE.  If I take it on,  maybe I’ll digest it.

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45 Responses to ~:: Solstice Thoughts ::~

  1. Donna says:

    OK. I had to stop and think of my Great Things before I read your list just to make sure they were my ideas and not reflections of yours…so, here are 3 great things I have done…mayhaps there are more for another time.
    1. Teaching and standing for my kids against other kids, other teachers, administrators, and parents…standing for them even when they didn’t know they needed it or know that I had gone to battle for them.
    2. Helping my mom finish her battle with cancer with dignity.
    3. Starting over…sometimes each morning…starting over and believing I could make things better…do more good…starting over when I wanted to hide or run or run and hide.

    And my word for 2012 might well be JOY. I want to live joy-fully. I want to dance with abandon and dress with whimsy and laugh…a whole lot. I want my joy to be obvious….and to do all this I will have to be brave. I will share what joy I wrangle and encourage your brave adventures….

    Thank you for this sharing and this challenge.

  2. Kimberley says:

    I heard Michael Wilcox talk about losing his wife at a singles’ fireside a month or so ago. One of the many things I loved about his very brave presentation was his comment that his job was to remember her at her very, very best; that it was not only permissible but right to let the rest just drop away. It reminded me of the time a colleague at Waterford was up one night with a colicky baby and happened on a rerun of To Kill a Mockingbird. He’d loved it when he’d seen it a couple of decades earlier and now, to his surprise, it had gotten even better. He said that was the way it was with anything really good–that time was always its friend. I think that’s a really useful heuristic when we’re flailing around trying to figure out how to cut a path through the murk of life-to choose to invest in things that grow, whose eventual strength and beauty will so vital, so deep, so true that the missteps and mistakes and confusion and half-hearted drifting that was part of our journey are rendered beside the point, and quietly drop away.

    • webmaster says:

      Yes. And the strange propensity in our present “culture” to fasten only on that which is wrong or disappointing or dark – what does that indicate for our minds or our future? Satisfied with failure? Anxious to make sure that the bar is so low, that everyone can only be equal if they are all devastated, without hope, without accomplishment or fascination with the mysteries? Yes. I very much love your way of expressing it.

    • Donna says:

      I love that idea…that time is the friend of anything really good…it will last.

      • webmaster says:

        well – and usage does the same things in some ways – the way wood smooths under the hands over time, and stone under the foot.

  3. Rachel says:

    Oh boy. Here’s my answer. Get ready for a long one perhaps. I’ve many things going through my mind. In response to the first part of this post. Blogging and keeping it real in a positive way. No one likes to be around a downer. We all have bad days and we can write about them but when it is day after day and feels like a sink hole, we mine as well tune into daytime tv and just watch soaps! I like to surround myself in positive uplifting full of light things. When I am feeling down it is those blogs which I go to to help me see things in a brighter light and help me pull up my boot straps, grit my teeth, and carry on. The friendships I’ve made…….. though I’ve not met these bloggers in person……… are such a great group of friends and support!!

    One of the things The SM and I promised to each other when we got married were two things. One, if things arose in our marriage we would keep it there and work it out together. No running to mommy or daddy or friends. The second was we wouldn’t say negative things about each other to anyone else. No husband or wife bashing. It is the same for my kids, for my friends……….. if you can’t say something nice………….

    In response to the ornament party. If it weren’t for that party I would have never met Ginger and I love Ginger dearly……..

    Finally, an answer to your question. What is the greatest thing I’ve ever done? Please tell me I don’t have to choose one……….? Not that I am full of greatness, it’s just……. I’ve had 8 children! How can I choose one over the others? The greatest thing I’ve ever done is be a wife and mother. First to my daughter who I gave up for adoption. The hardest thing I’ve ever done. Then the rest of my children as they’ve come along……….. raising them and mothering them. Homeschooling them………… loving them on days when it is hard to love them……. giving up a lot to be a stay at home mom……… when it would be easier to leave each day and have a ‘professional’ career…………….. kneeling by Levi’s crib and begging Heavenly Father to please not take Levi, to please let him live, and then saying, “Thy Will Be Done” and meaning it………. doing that many many times…………. standing up for my children when I can’t stand contention and making my voice heard………… feeling myself slip away and making a decision, a decision to stay. Asking to please be allowed to stay on this earth long enough to see my children raised and if possible to see their children raised, when it would have been easier to slip away, easier for me anyway, knowing I had a fight ahead of me and I was exhausted…… choosing to see good in others when they make it difficult……….. and last but not least, choosing to set some personal goals and see them through that are bringing me closer to our Heavenly Father.

    The End!

    • webmaster says:

      I see all of this in you.

    • Ginger says:

      This was as thought-provoking and inspiring as the original post. In the comment section, I’m used to Rachel’s teasing Kristen and then the ball being tossed back again!

      Yes. Slipping away would have been far easier. How well you manage, Rachel, in spite of your exhaustion! Maybe you envision what you COULD have done if your body hadn’t been so ravaged. I used to torture myself, thinking what a better mom I would have been with a husband and a serviceable spine and a less demanding career path. However, I now see that my kids recognized my intent, despite the fact that I rarely met up to my own envisionings of what I could have been. It was enough. In fact, the struggles I faced made my meager efforts all the more meaningful. This is sounding trite.

      Anyhow, we truly must thank Kristen for being the Yenta AND I love you back again.

  4. marilyn says:

    I love your explanation of why we focus on the good. Maybe the best one I’ve read. I sometimes feel almost defensive about it, like that people think if you write about good and light it means you are trying to FOOL them, trying to set yourself up as BETTER, etc. But I love what you said! “But the point is, I deliberately choose these images—I choose them to define me, and then I do whatever I can, deliberately – hard-scrabble little loss as I am – to bring myself into that definition, to fit it.” Beautiful!

    I also love your list of great things you’ve done. They DO seem great to me. I want to do some more thinking about it and come up with a list of my own.

  5. I choose to focus on the uplifting and positive because when I have gone to other blogs, so often they were places of whining, complaining, and telling about how awful life was. I felt down after reading them and I felt that I didn’t want to come back again. I want to focus on the good things, like you do. These are the things I cherish and want to remember.

    • webmaster says:

      Yes. We don’t want to gloss over the things we have to learn about ourselves, but hold a bar in front of ourselves that’s worth jumping for.

  6. Dawn says:

    What a great list. Those are huge things, not small at all. And I love the word you have chosen for the next year. That’s something I want more of too. I love your style of blogging, and I do believe that you are authentic and real, just choosing to focus on the light.
    The greatest thing I have ever done? My thoughts instantly drift to a conscious decision I made to just trust God with my life. It changed everything. I don’t think it’s really to my credit though…it’s all grace. The phrase “trusting God” went from being a platitude I had heard all my life, to something more real.

    • webmaster says:

      And isn’t it odd that we do that trusting? Sometimes I just wish I had five minutes to spend, talking to the Lord. A performance review maybe. Or maybe just a lesson in the truth of the tremendous love we turn our faces to but don’t begin to comprehend. I envy the woman who travelled to find this Chris, and who got on her knees and reached through all those legs and feet simply to touch his robe. When I think about that, I know I’d do that – maybe afraid to stand in front, but certainly not to reach out from ground level behind.

  7. I’m still thinking of this one, I’ll get back to you shortly :-)

    • webmaster says:

      You don’t really have to answer the question. I know one thing already, anyway: moving that snake out of the bird enclosure. That was a heroic deed. And loving your family the way you do. And working slowly and with great kindness to bring that frightened little pony into a place of peace. And supporting friends here, where I can see them – women who are quietly great inside of themselves, but who need the propping up of other women who know them and see what they do. See? I can make a list for you.

  8. H. says:

    I am divided on this topic – There are times when we need to accept and change what isn’t right; not talking about certain kinds of dysfunction can do tremendous damage to those around us, especially our children. We owe it to them to be honest and responsive. There are times when seeing the best in people (and I am chronic at finding the bright spots) has made me ignore things that weren’t quite right. Literary case in point – the “gut feelings” Rennie had in The Gardener. Why is it that our worries about offending people tend to overshadow what our hearts are telling us isn’t right? Not necessarily a concern here, in your Christmas post, more of a big picture wonder at truth and beauty on the internet.

    • webmaster says:

      No – what I meant to write should not have sanctioned turning a blind eye. If it did, then that is a fault in the writer, who is pretty well riddled with fault. Any time you get all carried away with the bent of your thought, caught up by it – there’s always collateral damage. You are entirely correct about this.

      I feel that we do, when we chose a direction for our own personal work (work at becoming), have to increase our buffer so that we don’t get stuck on the small, really mostly insignificant stresses. Like knowing someone and drawing a line in the sand – as I’m sure people have to do with me: on this side, I will let it slide because I know (and the word KNOW here is pivotal – I don’t mean “assume”) her heart; on that side, I will rise up and refuse to except the behavior.

      I’m not talking about lying down belly up to preserve the appearance of peace. Which people do. Which wives sometimes do (often in history – too often in reality) when they should be spitting fire.

      You know, I think about that. Women who are generally physically weaker than men and really, most of whose brains (according to the science I have read) are built for emotional consensus and alignment rather than physical domination, hunting, protecting – the women are afraid, then, of confrontation. There have always been female bullies. But I think most women will keep quiet in the moment and try to fix the damage to themselves later with large doses of oxytocin – self administered by talking things through – with anger, with emotion – to another woman. Then go on as though everything is just fine – in the public face? That isn’t going to change the problem relationship into a good one, or a nasty little life into something wonderful and healthy.

      If we dance around the realities (which we all do all the time to one degree or another) too much or too often, then you have to know the balance is out, unhealthy. You either have to do something to restore balance – maybe even going to counseling if that’s in the cards – or you suffer your days out, turning the blind eye and compensating through other means – or you ditch the situation and find something that will actually work for you so you can be happy. The problem with that, of course, is this (told to me by my friend, who had cut herself and children loose from an irresponsible young husband who was making her life scary (spending the entire paycheck buying buddies beers on the way home from work) and unhappy and who later remarried – evidently an older version of the first husband): if women only knew that they are only exchanging one set of problems for another, just slightly different . . .

      I don’t really buy into that total assumption there, because every person really is different, within genders or without. It’s what we, ourselves, look for in people that is telling. And you can’t choose a friend or a man based on the potential you see. Not if you want happiness. Unless you are a some-assembly-required sort of handy-girl, which is not the way I want to spend my days, actually – and you get off on the process of trying to fix people. What we want to look for what IS in other people. Find something great, and then make sure we can match that greatness so that WE are not the one who is throwing the balance off.

      In the fifties, the philosophy of parenting was to present the positive face. Make everything seem wonderful when it wasn’t. Not to admit that your situation stank – because you KNEW absolutely that everybody else’s situation was PERFECT. Shame, then. That isn’t the kind of thing I meant to convey here.

      What I meant was to was we need to see the reality in the moment – that table actually was full of people who were getting along, talking, laughing, being grateful for what they had and loving each other. And grabbing that as a template – using it to try to figure out how to get to that place more often – because that harmony is not always the case here. Treasuring the blessing of the moment and using it as a carrot stick for MYSELF, so that I could have the courage to keep trying (a courage that has failed me off and on these last few days – too much sugar, not enough sleep, too many challenges) to grow and to learn how to manage the flow of personalities.

      Life is an uneven proposition – as I pointed out just now about my own self, sugar and sleep – a little thing, as Dickens noted, can upset the balance and call into being demons that are only real because we have called them up. True demons need to be dealt with. Well, the fake ones do, too – but one requires rolling up the sleeves while the other may only require eating more vegetables than peppermint cookies.

      i think what I was really thinking when I wrote this was that, when all we talk about or think about are the ugly things, the disappointments, the hurts – and I know this well – we make them more and more corporeal, a substance made out of allowable truth, but made heavier with the weight of words and fretting. Complaining doesn’t change stuff. Writing blogs about how rotten things are doesn’t make them better. DOING something, making decisions, changing behavior changes stuff and writing about what you want is more likely to goad you into demanding it of life than writing about what has disappointed you will.

      This phrase: “We owe it to them to be honest and responsive,” is absolutely what I believe. And my children have heard everything straight from me from the beginning. I made up my mind back then – when I was teaching them to speak English and to handle gravity – that my job was to explain the good and the bad, to ask them questions about how they felt, to answer their questions with honesty – to teach them hope, but to acknowledge difficulties and analyze them the best we could. To give them formulas for recognizing emotional reactions in themselves and others – ways to deal with apology and embarrassment and awkward moments. To admit my own faults and apologize for mistakes made (which my mother-in-law had carefully told me I was NEVER to do) – to give them real tools for understanding real situations.

      I never wanted them to live with the conflict between fairy tales served up as “the way life can be” and the bumpy truth. I wanted them to love intelligently and passionately – with eyes open. And to roll up their sleeves and do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. And to allow people to be who they are without feeling like they are obligated to live with that, or trust it or keep the peace at the cost of their own dignity, safety or truth. That allowing people to be what they are can mean patting that person on the head and shutting the gate between that person and where you live.

      And have I written way too much? Oh, yeah. And have I made sense? I’m guessing not – or i wouldn’t have used so dang many words.

      But you made sense, and I enjoyed the thinking in my head that followed the reading.

  9. H. says:

    Yes, and I actually was thinking after I posted the comment that what was on my mind was somewhat left of center from what was *actually* being discussed. I wanted to come back and explain but I was in the car all day driving to Pittsburgh. So I couldn’t get back and finish that disconnected thought. Anyway, sorry about that. I grew up with people who pretended everything was o.k.; and I made it my life to make sure I didn’t do the same thing, until I did just exactly that. And I did it again on Christmas when I chose not to answer my teenage grandchildren’s phone calls instead of allowing them to hear my tears that we were not together, for the first time ever. Honest? Maybe. Good for them? No. Call when we can talk about our next visit; our good Christmases past, remembering the best of everyone in our family because that is what we all deserve. I don’t know. I’m definitely moody at the moment… ;)

    • webmaster says:

      No one would blame you for feeling so. Shoot – I’m feeling moody myself, and I haven’t got any justification except being in temporary terror of life. I figured this out: December has shape and direction. Heck, starting in October, all of life and time has a shape and direction: we know what to do then. Leaves turn, holidays have to be prepared for, decorated for, one after another in a lovely train of purpose. Christmas is like childbirth. Suddenly, life falls back into your lap – and you’re on your own with it. You are the one, as the first of January dawns, who has to create the order and shape from there on out. And that’s a lot of space to fill – especially if you are the kind of person whose inner imperative demands that you fill it significantly, meaningfully. This is my crisis: knowing what to do next and how to do it. I don’t feel equal to it. This won’t last, but for now, it’s making me weak in the knees.

      I was lucky: nobody in my family pretended anything. My mother was as solid as mothers come. Solid, practical minded, dependable, loving and present. But I have seen what you’re talking about, and I’ve seen the aftermath in the lives of some people dear to me. It was not an unusual pattern of behavior, as I suggested above. The devastating effects of it on the people who are now my adult friends continues still.

      We do our best, H. And the little bit I have known of you? I know that about you. That you do your best.

  10. Ginger says:

    This conversation between you and H. just blows my mind. It’s as significant as the hearty original post. I like the way you talked about grabbing those real, wonderful moments and turning them into templates. Life does have rotten stuff and we can make those things heavier with focus and rehashing. I’ve certainly watched myself do it! “Forgetting some things I would have loved to hold onto and simmer over.”

    I was very impressed with the way you differentiated between your intended message and the pretending which messes up families.

    Great solstice thoughts.

    • webmaster says:

      You do realize that I can write about stuff without really having a grasp on it, jah? Of course you do. You’ve known me since I was – omgsh – eighteen? That’s a flipping long time. I even still simmer over things that happened in the summer of ’76. Like I say – work in progress. You seem to achieve peace, though, Ginger. You are just so strong.

  11. Emily says:

    First off. Blogging, Let me share a story. I was at an RS activity sometime last year. A sister approached me and said (in a slightly joking but sort of serious way) ” I hate you”. I was completely taken aback. I laughed a little and said “excuse me? Why?”. She went on to tell me how I had the perfect life. That I run marathons, a perfect marriage a great calling, a spotless house, good kids….etc the perfect life” I really didn’t know how to respond. I think I explained that my life was far from perfect and then went home. What she didn’t know was that, at the time, I was going through one of the biggest trials I had ever faced. That I felt completely and utterly alone. That I cried myself to sleep most nights. I’m not going into any details, we’ve all been there we’ve all felt heart wrenching pain. I guess what I’m saying is you never know what someone is going through. All of us will go through several bad patches. So when you read the blogs about beautiful and happy moments, be happy for them! Be happy that things are good at that moment. Joy with them. Don’t be jealous of their happiness, they have trials too. Anyways that probably makes no sense. Just FYI I totally have unpublished blogs where I get all that awesome ugliness out. Or when it is too personal to share I don’t publish it.
    Great things I’ve done….um none. No jk I’m awesome there are too many to count. ;) ;) I can only think of a couple great things…..
    1. When going through a really rough patch, as mentioned earlier, getting up each day and facing it all. Giving life every ounce I had in hopes (and many many prayers) that things would work out. ( and guess what? They did!!! Life is so good)
    2. Running a marathon when I was always the slightly chubby kid that couldn’t even run around the track. And then continuing to run many more marathons.
    3. Giving birth to each child. And then not sending any of them back after months and months possibly years of no sleep.

    Okay there’s 3 things. Enjoy!

    • webmaster says:

      well done! And what a strange experience, having somebody come up and say that to you. We’re always trying to judge ourselves by using other people as mirrors, somehow – it’s just absurd. G’s grandma lived down the street from a woman who had several young daughters who were always perfectly dressed in matching outfits with perfect hair. It was an intimidating thing for Grandma – and she just had rowdy boys. But she’d look at those girls and wonder how that woman had the time to do all that – great organizational skills? Perfect attitude? Then one day the woman got sick, and Grandma took a meal down there for the fam. It was the first time she’d been in the house, and all she had to say about it was, “Then I understood how the woman had so much time to spend on the girls’ hair.” Meaning: the house was a terrible mess inside. Intimidation immediately diffused. I think I’d rather have everybody be happy than be comforted because they’re all as freaked out as I am. Well, most of the time.

      Three great things, Em – truly!

    • Kathy V says:

      Ha! My husband is an LDS bishop and someone recently said something to him to the effect that he has no idea what it’s like to have challenges in life. I wanted to roll on the floor laughing. I don’t know anyone who is challenged in life as much as my husband. Isn’t it funny how things can be so well presented on the outside? I once wrote a blog entry about the problem of people mis-judging in the form of thinking bad of themselves compared to those around them. But I don’t even know how to find it again.

  12. Donna says:

    All kinds of amazing thinking going on here and I’m just happy to be a part of it all…blogging (with this group anyway) is not for sissies!

    • webmaster says:

      except for me. I still get to come.

      • Donna says:

        Of course! You are the head thinker of things that need to be thought about…and no sissy!

        • webmaster says:

          But maybe too dang bossy and big for my britches sometimes. I get a little angry when people I care about are hurt.

          • Donna says:

            And that is why we love you so. You are a defender! Are bossy and thoughtfully opinionated the same? I always get bossy and good leader mixed up…I think I am one and sometimes I get called the other. :-)
            No matter.

            • webmaster says:

              Two bossie cows together. No – correction – at least three or four if you count Rachel (you have to) and Geneva – and there’s my sister – hmmmm. Can you have a herd with all bossy cows in it?

  13. w-s w says:

    On your parenting approach – amen. From a basis of secure attachment, children must be given the tools for navigating life. Oh dear. Did I really just get all psych textbooky? Ugh. Love and wings, love and wings. Oh dear. Equally ugh. I wanna say something smart, but it just en’t there. But my heart is.

    Wait, Eldest, *she’s* smart. She once told her tantruming little brother, “It’s okay to get angry. It’s NOT okay to hit.” She was four years old. It’s entirely possible that she then thumped him one. (Kidding, she didn’t hit him.)

    • webmaster says:

      Okay – that exchange between Eldest and her brother – I am really impressed with that. Not at all surprised, note. This is exactly what I’m talking about – you have taken great pains to spell things out clearly and to give your children real tools to deal with complex human interactions and situations. That a four year old has the understanding to make that demarkation while understanding the natural link between feeling and action – you are really doing your job. Really doing it. And that’s what I am not surprised about.

      This little story has actually energized me – but after last nights’ neighborhood New Year’s fireworks (two hours of terrified dogs and rockets going off fifty feet from my bedroom window at one in the morning), and considering that I’m about to fall into bed for another try at sleep – that may not be such a great thing. “Smart” isn’t on my resume these last few days, either.

  14. Donna says:

    A whole herd of bossy? Well, we’ll always know where we are going and why, right? And because we are bossy with big hearts, we would learn to take turns being the boss in charge.

  15. Ginna says:

    There are so many lovely things about this. I’m really hoping that tomorrow I have time to read through all the comments and comment better myself. But for now I just want to say that I’m here and reading and thinking and I love you!

    • webmaster says:

      Yeah = you comment about it AFTER you come back from Orlando, dear little daughter. I love it that you wrote that much. And I happen to love you, too – as I noted on the phone today.

  16. Kathy V says:

    Wow. So much to digest, I almost forgot what the original post was. Greatest things. I’d like to make that list, when my head doesn’t hurt so bad. But I know what my word for the year is: PEACE. Thanks for that idea — word of the year. I’d like to hear Michael’s song.

  17. Ginna says:

    Still haven’t gotten to read all the comments. But I finally picked a word and wrote about it so I thought I’d let you know!!

    http://lifekunst.blogspot.com/2012/01/this-year.html

    LOVE YOU!

    • webmaster says:

      I loved reading your piece. It was really, really good. And your word – beautiful. Donna will love it. And so will Rachel. And Marilyn.

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