Thursday, February 7, 2008

Puddle Jumping

"Gulp down your fear and jump in the water. You won’t drown."
~Carol D. O'Dell

My last post was on January 21st. I have to be honest, I don't know where the time has gone. It's not that I haven't considered posting a simple thought or two; I've had a few ideas. I have self-diagnosed my problem as not being able to serve two muses at the same time. While I haven't been writing, I have been sewing. Making quilts is all about bits and pieces so it's no surprise that my creative process(s) has been in fits and starts.
My sweetie actually mentioned the other day that he'd like to see a table/sewing area set up in his office space so I wouldn't have to use the dining room table. Reading between his lines I figured he was letting me know the ambience of fabric, thread, pins, ironing board, and sewing machine was less than pleasing. He's right, of course. I had to remind him, however, that the dining room table has been the sewing table of choice in this house since 1962. I'm not sure if I could thread a needle in any other room! He nodded his head like he understood, but I could tell his OCD desire to have everything in its place was in overdrive.

There have been a few things worth writing about in the days since I've last posted. The words just never seemed to materialize. Here's a brief recap:

1. My sister Jean downsized most of her earthly belongings, packed them into her car leaving just barely enough room for driver and passenger to squeeze in. She headed for California with a willingness to go where life might otherwise lead her.

When Jean moved back home last August, she was in need of some TLC. In the six months she was here she seemed to blossom. She gives me credit for "swooping" her up and wrapping her in a blanket of love. I think she just needed breathing time and space.

I was only eight when Jean was born. My mother persona was already well-formed. I was used to playing with my Tiny Tears doll, so think of how thrilled I was to have a real baby in the house. As expected the "real"ness of a baby eventually lost its luster. The years passed and I concentrated on growing up and moving out. I lost interest in my little sister and what made her tick. Sadly, that's a better testiment to my honesty than my sisterhood. As Jean and I shared the living space and a few kitchen duties recently, I learned that I needed the time to get to know my little sister as an adult woman.

Of course it was no surprise that Jean is a bit of a religious zealot. She is not shy about letting the world know exactly what she believes when it comes to being a Christian. She works hard being the person she thinks God would have her be. Her preaching wasn't always easy to take, but it was heartfelt. I've got to give her credit for trying hard to practice what she preached.

I also learned, to my surprise, that she's inherited a goodly amount of Dad's engineering left brain thinking. She reads instruction manuals and measures small spaces for their most efficient holding capacity. Living on a shoestring budget for most of her life has improved her ability to stretch a dollar. She makes a great chicken pot pie, eats lima beans and brussel sprouts ... brussel sprouts?? When she laughs she it's from her gut.

All in all I think it was a successful growing experience for both of us.

2.)Another milestone that occurred since I last posted was Robert Belcher's 12th birthday. I know I've said it more than once before, but it bears repeating. When it comes to loving a little one, why do the days pass by so quickly? In my mind's eye Robert is still the little boy who taught me how to jump in puddles and listen for garbage trucks. I'd never given either their just due. When my children were small, puddles were to be avoided and trucks just made a lot of noise. By not getting too uptight by the sight of a wee lad spashing and kicking in a muddy hole, I learned how to release a few childish squeals of delight myself.

Nannying Robert came much easier for me than mothering my own children. I felt less pressure to do "it" right. The joy came from the doing not the perfection. I wish someone had told me that when my kids were little; and I hope they've learned this life lesson sooner than I did.*

3) I went to a writers' club meeting last month. Not knowing exactly what happens at a writers' club meeting I was tempted to skip it when I saw that the sky was full of dark clouds. That seemed as good a reason to stay home as any I could think of. But my sweetie/coach posed an interesting question. Was I expecting inspiration, he asked, or intimidation? I didn't have a very good answer so I pulled on a rain coat and ventured into the unknown.

I've got to tell you, it was both inspiring and intimidating, but not so bad that I won't consider going back. The cool thing was that a couple of days later, Carol O'Dell , of Mothering Mother fame (see previous post), sent me an email that said: "I’m glad you came to Kalliope. It was so nice to meet you and wrap my arms around you! "

I remember thinking here is a lady who's written a book that speaks to peoples' hearts and she's standing here wearing blue jeans, and hugging me. My inner child wanted to ask Mom if I could ask bring her home for dinner. Funny how making friends brings out the child in me.

4) Jack and his coach friend Dale held a relationship workshop. They'd been putting ideas together for months, but it finally came together and people actually paid to hear what they had to say! Jack arranged for dad to be cared for which was a generous gift from both the asker and the askee. The responsibility of deciding whether to go or stay home was taken out of my hands. Ah, freedom!!!!

There was a lot to process at the workshop. Thoughts about core values, personality types, sacred spaces, communication and relationship "bliss" is pretty heady stuff. Mostly I watched Jack, he was in his element. It's clear that when someone is doing what he/she is called to do, there is a natural ease to the job. He and Dale shared the stage and the mix of their male/female energy was just what the participants needed to feel comfortable.

The hours passed quickly, like watching a good movie. But before the closing prayer, Jack asked that I stand beside him while he explained to the group how we'd met and how our relationship is validation for everything he'd been saying. Then, in front of a room full of perfect strangers, he recited a song to me. He was going to sing it, but couldn't quite get the tune. Tune ...schmune. Who cares? It was a totally blissful moment. And the weird thing, even though it's not really weird at all, is that it felt perfectly natural. I wasn't embarrassed or nervous. My sweetie was saying to the world, the same thing he says to me every day. Woohoo!

When I started writing today, my goal was simply to exercise the discipline of writing. I'd put it off too long. I've sat at the computer much longer than these few words should take. Clearly, exercise of any kind does not comes easily for me. As I near the end of my stamina, I realize I had a message inside me after all. I needed to hear - again - that it's okay to try new things, to put myself "out" there. Life isn't going to come to me. I've got to go to it if I expect to enjoy it to the max. Like jumping in a big muddy puddle or traveling through uncharted emotional territory, I may end up a little wet but I may also receive a hug I hadn't expected.

Can't make any promises about future posts, I've got a quilt to finish!
Merry ME

* I walked into Walmart today, a woman on a mission. Like a horse with blinders on, I went directly to the fabric department. Not looking right or left I headed straight for the thread rack. I picked up the three colors I needed and made for the cashier. I was almost out the door without any extra temptations when I saw a pair of rain boots. "Oh my," my heart sang. Good thing I was in the children's shoe department or I might still be there waying the pros and cons of owning pink plastic boots. Is there a lesson to be learned there?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This post is just what the doctor ordered. I'm sittin' over here, thousands of miles away with a head full of snot, and I'm smiling. Lovely, lovely post -- and I'm so glad you and JC found one another. Happy quilting! (Just signed up for a sewing class --not sure when I'll be able to turn out a quilt, but I see some new pajama pants in my future!) ~w