calling

I can hear him calling me from the other room. There are other things crying out to me as well like the laundry and the dusting and the chocolate cookies in the fridge. But today I seem to know that Harley’s call is the one I need to answer.

I open up his silver frame and feel the gratitude all over again. Harley was a gift to me. He used to belong to my friend’s twin sister. And then a few weeks after I confessed to my sweet friend that I want to write a book, she told me she had something for me.

We walked out to her car. I imagined the fun scarf or accessory she – the hip young single girl – was handing down to her fashion-challenged mom-friend with no time to shop. I knew it would be something with a flair that I would love.

Never in a million years would I have guessed that she would hand me a laptop. She made all sorts of qualifiers about how it was so old and she didn’t know what programs were on it and on and on. I stood there with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.

When I got it home, I discovered my friend’s twin had named her laptop and he seemed a beloved old friend of hers. I carried on the tradition and welcomed Harley into our family. Even my four year old will call him by name when he asks me, “What is Harley showing you, Mom?”

So now Harley is my beloved friend. And today he called to me as only he can. Tugging on my heart, I could hear him a mile away. He knows I have much stirring inside me and he can help me in a releasing and peace-making sort of way.

Harley was a gift of faith, a tangible “I believe in you” from my friend. But he has been so much more. He has been my safe place.

To create.

To let go.

To try.

Not just for the sake of a product but for the sake of me.

Because as a writer I have found that writing has become a part of me and a part of my life. Not just to produce for a blog post or to plunk away at a book that seems such an elusive endeavor at times.

Harley shows me that writing is where I find myself, where I work things out, where I let things go. And I know that because I can hear his call from way across the house, as though he were whispering from right inside my heart.  

Who is calling you today?

Advertisements

my revivers

Sometimes when I get to them, I am barely breathing. Life has a choke hold around my throat and the air hardly whispers through me. I am moments away from running out. Of air. Of patience. Of endurance. Of me.

I collapse in their arms. Their hearts enfold me. They cover me with themselves. They listen. They wipe my tears. They let me be a mess. They love me. And I think for the first time in what feels like forever that I just might make it.

My friends are mighty warriors who go to bat for me against the demons I fight. They remind me of truth. They cheer me on. They let me rest my dry and weary bones in their arms and they hold me.

They may do this over the phone or through an email. Maybe on the playground at school. They may do it in one of our homes in between kid squabbles and snack making. Or maybe on the steps of their porch in the one and only moment we have which will be over before we want it to be, but we take what we can get.

And I love them. Each and every one. I know I could not make it through this life without them. Because I have had some fierce battles to fight. Battles that would have done me in if I did not have them in my corner.

Surely I would have lost myself along the way if they were not there to find me. They forever remind me who I am and that I am worth fighting for. I owe them everything and yet indebtedness doesn’t compute in friendship.

When I walk away I know they have just breathed life back into me. They haven’t solve my problems or fixed me, but they have kept me alive. They have heard me and understood me and loved me – whether we talked at length or just a hello – and my airway is clear once again.

whispers and a break

My heart is twisted and wrung completely out as I watch my son struggle. Four out of the five times I have been to the hospital with a child have been for him. IVs, staph infections, broken arms, and ear surgeries are petrifying for children.

I have seen more bravery from this child than I have living in my entire adult body. Because of course, I don’t define bravery as the absence of fear but the overcoming of it.

And with all of those trips to the hospital, I could offer my son comfort with my very presence. Hugs and kisses from mom softened the pain and made things more bearable. Just being there with him. Never leaving his side. Whispering encouraging words in his ears. Telling him I love him.

But in this moment, I must simply sit and watch. And make no mistake, it is excruciating.

Karate testing day always throws him. Most people don’t notice. He hides it like a master illusionist. But I, his mother, know exactly what his face looks like as he holds his tears at bay. And every time, I squirm inside.

But this is the absolute worst it has ever been. He is required to break a youth board, as he should be. We all know he is plenty strong enough to do it. If he came at the board the same way he tears through the practice target, there would be nothing but splinters left.

But he hesitates every time that board shows up. Of course he does. He is tender. He is kind. He is a lover.

So I watch him struggle. And fighting the instinct to swoop in and save or help or whisk him away from difficulty is one of the most difficult things for me to do as a parent.

He is in the best of hands, though. After more tries than it should take of kicks and elbow strikes, as we see him breaking down and wiping away tears he wishes were not coming down his cheeks in front of all of these people, his instructor pulls him close and tenderly whispers to him. He hands him the board and sends him back to his spot on the mat.

My son covers his face, pushing his nose into his elbow in a way that I know he wants to disappear from this moment. One of the other instructors goes to him, sits next to him and gently whispers in his ear.

A few minutes later, as class is excused and the children get up to have their boards signed (karate tradition), there are more whispers to him from a third instructor who walked around for days, perhaps even weeks with an unbroken board. He knows better than anyone in the room what my son is experiencing right now.

I have no idea what all these whispers are. But I am eternally grateful for them. Because I sit frozen on my chair. All that is in me wants to go and hug my son.

Instead, my hand grips the thigh of my friend next to me. She whispers me through this, reminding me of what I already know. That this will require something from my son that he has to find inside himself.

He waits patiently next to his instructor until the last board is signed. And then he says, “I want to try again.”

He throws a few elbow strikes as we all hold our breath. The tears begin to well up again when his instructor suggests a spinning back kick. On the first try, the CRACK of the board rings out followed by an eruption of cheers and applause.

I couldn’t be more proud. Not because my son broke a piece of wood. But because he refused to let that piece of wood break him.

discovering hope in the cold

What is your favorite season? I am always curious to hear what people have to say in response to that question. To me it is so obvious that spring is the best season of all. The sun is warm but not hot, the land is waking up out of the slumber of winter, leaves are turning green again, the hours of light are increasing, and the air holds the aroma of hope and potential and that is why I love it so.

But some people love winter. Perhaps you are one of them. It seems a little bizarre to me, but then again, I choose to live in San Diego where it can be argued there is no winter.

Even in San Diego, my winters are a constant attempt to get warm. I have a bag of rice that I heat in the microwave at night to snuggle my toes against. I shake my fist at the sky when it pours rain during school drop off or pick up. I have even begun to dress as strategically as possible with my under shirts and scarves and socks and boots and jackets and it seems like such a bother. I hate to be cold.

So of course I wonder why anyone would like winter. But lately I have been thinking metaphorically about seasons, and I am beginning to have a new respect for the winters of my life.

I am hoping against all hope that the snow is melting and light is over taking dark at the end of what seems like a much too long season of winter for me and my family. A few years ago I incurred a trauma that lead me to deal with some nice items of baggage I had collected in my journey through life. That took its toll on our little family of five.

We made it through that just in time to have the economy and some investments catch up to us, thus giving my husband his turn with the bags he has collected along his way through life. Add to that my oldest son starting middle school, throwing our family dynamic on its ear and leaving us groping around in search of a new normal.

And it has felt very dark. But just in the last few days I have seen some glimmers of hope that spring will in fact come and bring life to my weary soul once again. And I just want to stand in front of that rising ball of light and weep with exhaustion from enduring such a lengthy time in the cold.

Winter Snow - Landscape

I realize with this dawning hope that we are making it through this difficult season. And our family will be stronger for it. We will be deeper. More bonded for having weathered the storms of a bad winter together.

Things happen under that mysterious layer of cold. Often I can’t see what it is until the snow melts, but I am beginning to realize that the season of winter has depth, beauty, and value all its own. Even if it means months of cold feet.

What beauty do you find in winter?