I am honored to share with you these beautiful thoughts about the journey written by my oldest child and dear friend. Tonight I’m thankful for her heart and for the things she teaches me about this precious life. Let’s all take time to be Luna Lovegood for someone today. Love to all.
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen/read Harry Potter and plan to, you probs wanna skip a couple of paragraphs.
This post is the result of my journey with grief.
One of my favorite scenes in Harry Potter is in the fifth book/movie, when Harry returns to Hogwarts after witnessing Voldemort’s return and the murder of Cedric Diggory. The previously-driverless carriages that haul the students from the train station to the Hogwarts campus now have animals to pull them along–thestrals. Harry is shocked at the sight of these magnificent creatures, and asks his friends if they see them too–which they don’t. He thinks he is going crazy until Luna Lovegood tells him that she sees him too. This is when he finds out that only those who have witnessed death can see them.
The same can also be said for the Muggle world. Those of us who have witnessed death–whether by being…
So this is it. An ordinary day that has really big things attached to it.
And to be honest, I’m really excited.
For every single day, three years in a row, I’ve sat down at some point during my day, usually after all have gone to bed and the house is quiet, and I’ve shared a little bit of my day or my story or my heart right here.
And you’ve read these tidbits from my life.
With all my heart, I thank you. I know what it’s like to have all the things to do and little time to click on a link or pull something up on a screen and commit to reading it, especially when I get a little wordy–yes, I’ve been called out on this, you know who you are, and I love ya. And still, you’ve done this. You’ve listened to my stories about growing up, raising children, being married, struggling through food allergies, letting my oldest grow up and leave the nest. You’ve multiplied my joys and divided my sorrows, and you’ve raised your fist at injustices right alongside me.
You’ve read the goofy and the serious. The mundane and the meaningful. The poetry and the prose. You’ve sat on my front porch and watched the delight and joy of children and heard the beauty in the songs of the birds and the frogs and watched the sun go down as we sipped the perfect cup of coffee. You’ve laughed with me and wept with me.
You’ve given me the gift of your time and your presence, and as long as I have my memory, I will treasure this gift.
This week, anticipating this day coming, I’ve thought about what I’ve learned in the past three years, and if you will allow me, I’d like to share them with you.
*Sometimes you can put your whole being–heart, mind, soul–into something, and it doesn’t resonate with a single soul. Speak it anyway. You need to let that light shine, y’all. Just because someone doesn’t notice it doesn’t mean it’s not making the world a brighter place. Shine on.
*People can be beautiful, broken, hard, kind, mean, intense, easy-going, light-hearted, broken-hearted, funny, somber, sarcastic, caring, compassionate, salty, loving, oblivious, and we need to love them all. It’s basically our most important job and really, it’s what we were created for.
* My family–every last one of them–are incredible people. They might not set world records in things that will get them in that book that was the most checked out one in our school library, but they set the world record at loving me and supporting and encouraging and taking my phone calls even though they have all the things to do. My children and the Fella have put up with my glazed stares when they’ve caught me mid-writing or mind-writing, and they’ve supported my writing by giving me space and time to do it. They’ve read my stories and they’ve proofed my writing and they’ve given me permission to share our life with others. I’m getting way more love and good stuff than I could ever deserve in this life, y’all. When I sit and ponder on it all, in the words of my oldest, Aub, “I. Can’t. Even.”
*I set out writing this in 2013 in the midst of the grief of having said goodbye to my Mama suddenly and way too soon less than two months before. Mama told me a lot of things–two of which were “You might need a nap, go lie down, and you’ll feel better” (she was always right) and “Go write your story, tell all of this in a book somewhere.” (Turns out she was right about that too.) Writing has and continues to heal me. The words that I’m able to pick out and put on paper take a confusing, wonderful journey and make a little bit of sense out of it. For that I am thankful. Every single day of it.
*The ones who have already left this world and headed on up to the House left me a few things. Even some that could be loosely called “family jewels.” What I have discovered for the past three years is that the most precious things my Granny, my Great Aunts, my Mama, my Daddy, and the others I love, who are gone from my sight, have left me are the stories. The memories. The joy, the laughter, the shared tears, the tiny little moments and the big ones–all which led me to this place right here in this place right now. THOSE are the jewels they left me that I treasure the most.
And I hope that’s what these stories, these three years of writing will be for my own people one day. The ones in my family now, and those who will be. Because my family is not complete. We’ve all kinds of branches and leaves yet to grow…..we’ve got strong roots to grow from, and that’s a precious thing. I hope that all of them will find something here in the meanderings I’ve shared to lift them in the dark days and something to laugh about on the joyful ones.
*Finally, I’ve learned that there is something worth writing home about in every single day…..if only you are willing to look for it. (And believe me, some days I was turning over rocks to look, but there was never a day without something, some thoughts or words or stories to share.) This is a journey made of many footsteps and many stories. One day, one moment at a time. The truth is that February 29th comes around once every four years. It is special. But if we are looking for it, March 29th can be just as amazing. As can September 19th or March 3rd or November 16th or February 10th or December 14th or the twelfth of Everyday. Each and every day can have a bit of light in it, if we stop searching for the big and amazing and star-studded. The journey of an earthworm can be just as fascinating as the snow that falls from the sky, if we open our eyes to the beauty embedded in all aspects of the journey.
All this leads me to this. I am taking a break from writing for I Might Need a Nap for a while. It might be a week (I have folks enforcing this, so yeah, it will be at least a week), a month, or maybe even longer. I will come back and write here when the story is there. But I am not going to stop writing. It would be like no longer breathing to stop writing at this point in my life.
I have a project I’m working on which I am very excited about. It’s coming together nicely, but it requires more attention from me, and since that means letting go of the blog or my family…..well, in a saner moment, I made my choice. I am looking forward to sharing more details when the time comes.
I’ve also had someone come round who wants me to tell her story. I tried to explain real kindly that her timing wasn’t ideal. That made her harrumph. (That’s a real thing. If you’ve seen it, you know it.) She crossed her arms and stared me down over her glasses and just nodded and kept on rocking. That worried me more than the harrumph. I have tried to placate her, but she looks up at the clock and back at me from time to time, and I realize our time to tell her story is dwindling, so that’s on my agenda next as well. Helping her tell her story. She’s a character for sure, and I love her. So I’m going to spend some time with her. Because that’s what we do for folks we love.
Unlike other times when I’ve contemplated stepping away for a little bit, I’m excited. That’s how I know the time is right. I will be back, as there are more stories to come. But for now, I’m going to go to bed before the chickens are waking up, I’m going to read good books, I’m going to take long walks in the evening, and if anyone asks, I’ll visit and tell my stories in person. Because that’s something I want to pursue as well. (So yeah, holler, and I’ll come spin a tale or two–bring the back porch to y’all, so to speak. Turns out I get a kick out of that too.)
Thank you for sharing the journey. If you have a moment to click the follow button over there and sign up with your email, you’ll be sure not to miss any future stories. No worries if that’s not your thing. Just please come back to visit from time to time. Like I said, all kinds of good things going on over here at the house.
I am in a new season of life it would seem. The one where I am called out on my assumptions and the conclusions I’ve jumped to. I am fascinated and intrigued by it, because the message to “chill” and “give things a second or third glance” continues to come from the strangest and most unusual of places.
This time it was a parking lot.
And a story.
Yesterday, my sweet friend Miss Carolyn shared about her trip to take some items to our local Hospice Thrift Shop. She was loaded down, and when she got there she was grateful to find a shopping cart that someone had left in the parking lot. She started unloading her car and putting things in the shopping cart when someone came up and asked if she needed help. He not only finished loading the cart, but also helped her get it all inside. A blessing for sure.
Huh. How many times have I pulled into a parking lot and seen a stray cart and had some seriously unkind thoughts about the person who made the decision to leave it there?
And here was just such a cart blessing my sweet friend.
Well there you go.
I thought about sharing that story last night, but I didn’t feel like it was quite time. That happens with the stories sometimes. They have to ripen, so to speak, so I was content to let it sit.
This evening Cooter and I were on the way home from meeting the Fella at our Princess’ swim practice. We made a quick stop at the Mart for broccoli and the new Star Wars movie. You know, the important things. (I’ll let you guess who was wanting which item.) It was starting to rain as we pulled into the parking lot. The closest spot was desirable, seeing as we did not have any rain gear with us. The only problem was that it was near the Garden Center entrance, and they don’t usually have carts available in that area. (And yes, it’s the Mart, I was going in for two things, but we all know how that goes in such a situation. I would definitely be needing a cart.)
As I pulled into the very first spot in front of the Garden Center, I saw a break in the clouds to the west on the horizon, and tiny bit of sunlight shone through despite the rain that was starting. And that was when I noticed my own little blessing. Two of them.
And I laughed. Remembering Miss Carolyn’s angel, I was glad that the angel had visited the Mart parking lot as well. That cart let us dash in the closest door and not have to go back to the front to get a cart.
I am thankful.
I don’t think I’ll ever look at and judge a stray cart again.
I guess that’s the point though, right?
Tonight I’m thankful for a world of beautiful people sharing stories that can enlighten us and help our eyes be open to so much more good that what is readily apparent at first glance. Thank you, Miss Carolyn, for letting me tell your story and for helping me to see Good and Light in a misplaced shopping cart.
This morning I took my littles to their last STEM class for the school year. It was on Robotics. They got to build their own robots as teams, and they seemed to really enjoy it.
When we first got there this morning, we parked the car and began the trek to the building where the class is held. As we started down the pathway, a woman–another Mama I’m assuming–was walking towards us. We caught each other’s eyes and smiled. I nodded and as she passed she smiled again, and then was gone.
But her smile has stuck with me all day.
I didn’t know her. I may never see her again. But there was something about her, the way that she carried herself, that was intriguing.
It was like–
it was like she was comfortable in her own skin. With her lot in life. Like she was not sorry for the joy she feels getting up in the morning.
It was almost like being a World Greeter is her J O B.
You know, like the Wal-Mart greeters? They are some of the most precious folks I know. The one I know best, I guess, is Miss Mary. I will go out of my way just so I can speak to her, ask her how she’s doing, and have her say, with her smile and unique manner, “Hello. Welcome.” She doesn’t know my name, and whether or not she actually remembers me from visit to visit is debatable, but her welcome and her expression makes me feel as though she does.
Wouldn’t that be awesome? If we had World Greeters or maybe Day Greeters–folks who welcome us to our life each day and ask if there’s anything they can do to help make the experience even better?
What would that look like for us to be that for each other?
Pretty doggone cool, I’m thinking.
Tonight I’m thankful for folks whose joy overflows onto the paths I walk on. For folks who are always there when I call or let me know when they’re not, just in case. For smiles from strangers and from folks I love. For birthdays of good friends and songs on the radio that stir my soul. For movie previews of books I love that have me ready to BUY MY TICKET NOW. For classes on robots and the little people who will one day take that knowledge and do amazing things. For friends with musical talent and texts that have me laughing for days. For ideas of what to cook for supper that arrive earlier rather than later and for all the fixings close at hand. Most of all, I’m thankful for people who know me and call my name. I think I might have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up.
A World Greeter.
Welcome, folks. How can I help you find your way to fabulous today?
I just finished watching the first episode of “The Story of God” with Morgan Freeman on NatGeo Channel. This episode explored what different religions from the past and now believe happens when we die.
There were a lot of moments that had me going “Huh” or “Wow” or “That’s really fascinating.” One such moment was learning that the ancient Egyptians believed that the afterlife of their Pharaoh was crucial, as it ensured the sun would rise each morning. All I could think is that yes, after both of my parents passed on, the thought that they are continuing on just on the other side of the veil, that’s pretty much the only reason I was able to get up with the sun each day. Any thoughts otherwise and I would have given up. It was an interesting connection with this ancient civilization for me to think about.
It was, however, the story towards the end, that blew me away. A couple have designed a robot (head and shoulders only for now) that will be a storage unit for memories, beliefs, and values of someone who has passed. Morgan Freeman met the android which replicated one of the creators. It was eerie, listening to her speak (the android, not the person). The idea is that this will allow people and their thoughts, stories, and memories, to live on forever.
I was not able to choose the time and day that each of my parents ceased existing as they had before and left this world. I am thankful it was not my responsibility to do so. Imagine, though, that we had had the opportunity, prior to their passing, to create such an android? How long would we want them to hang around? Let’s say my children have one such robot made of “me.” Who would be the person to turn me off and let me go? Finally? (Actually, I can practically hear my children, “Somebody go in there and turn Mama off. She’s making me crazier than she did when she was really alive.”) Seriously though, I cannot imagine making that choice about someone I love, robot or no. And I mean, you figure, enough generations will pass, and then the robot would be someone no one really knows anymore…..someone’s going to have to turn G’Ma off eventually. And let her go forever.
I shudder at the thought of all this.
I appreciate technology and all of its life-saving and life-protecting ways. But life-preserving? Like this? I really hope this doesn’t become a thing. I cannot imagine what it would be like–all the discussions and arguments about who gets “custody” or has to take “custody” and yes, in reality, when does the whole thing become mundane, and someone has to literally flip a switch and turn the robot, the “essence” of their loved one, OFF. Or refuse to pay to have him or her “repaired.”
Tonight I’m thankful for the mystery of life and the mystery of death, and I give thanks for the beautiful conversations Mr. Freeman had that, with the exception of the robot, brought my soul hope and peace and joy.
Yesterday morning I woke up to the sound of my cell phone vibrating repetitively against my bedside table. I barely had the time to pick it up and read that there was a tornado warning issued before the tornado siren a few miles away started going off.
It was startling to wake up that way, but we jumped up and gathered our littles and Miss Sophie and made our way back to my closet–our safe place in our home.
I have been remiss. This is not something we had prepared for or practiced.
Also, my closet was kind of a mess. And it was dark in there.
Still we squeezed in and waited while the Fella checked news reports. It sounded like the worst of it was a couple of miles north, but we weren’t sure when we would be safe to leave the closet.
Sitting there holding Miss Sophie, gently rubbing her fur to keep her calm, our Princess said, “You know, I know this is scary, but it’s really kind of exciting all at the same time, isn’t it?”
Ummmm, well, yeah, I guess that might be an understatement, but okay.
Huddled close on my left was Cooter. He was shaking. When I’d gone in his room, the siren had already awakened him. He was afraid we were being bombed, bless him. And though he knew that wasn’t the case, he understood the real threat of a tornado, and it had him very anxious.
After a few minutes of our Princess talking about things like how they are never allowed in my closet (one word–Christmas) and how she really hopes I will move some things around before we have to do this again, we got the all clear from the Fella. The meteorologist said the storm had moved to the east of us, and so the rain would be coming soon.
And it did.
That whole time, I’d been holding Cooter and rubbing his knee. I don’t know why, but that’s what I did. He was still pretty shaken when we finally emerged.
We spent the rest of the morning hearing about the damage and checking on folks we love and care about. Round two of the storm hit in the afternoon. We were very fortunate, and other than losing power for about thirty seconds, we had no issues. I am thankful.
I learned a lot from that storm. I need to have emergency plans for all of the emergencies, and we need to practice them. No joke. I KNEW this, but I hadn’t taken it seriously I guess. Day to day life carried on, and I didn’t make it a priority. That will change now.
I also learned something about people. Our Princess can be so sensitive about so many things, but in the midst of the storm, she kept her cool, and after her initial reaction, carried on as usual. I think she just trusted that everything would be okay. She has a quiet strength that we tend to overlook in the midst of her butterfly personality. On the other hand, Cooter has reached the age where he is trying to be tough. He will find things to laugh or joke about in a heartbeat, and he’s really clever and very funny. I do get glimpses of his sensitive side, but never more so than yesterday. He was concerned, and all of the potential outcomes ran through his mind.
Turns out strength can come from where you least expect it. And so can tender hearts.
Giving thanks for moments in the dark and those who hold me close when we are there, and even more so for the light that greets us when we come out.