give them wings

Lindsay, over at Suburban Turmoil, beautifully described an analogy that is not new to any of us that unfolded outside her front window.

And now I miss back home and cardinals because you just don’t see cardinals around here.

She then posed a question on Facebook:

To all of you who’ve raised children to adulthood- Based on your experience, what’s the best advice you can give those of us who’re still in the trenches of parenting?

So much wisdom was shared. And then I added my 2¢ worth because I am the mother of four children over the age of 18. I’m no expert but I somehow managed to get this far so why not offer? After all, she did ask.

Patience, lots of patience. From the time they are walking and talking teach them and expect them to take on self care, taking care of their own things and doing things for themselves.
As they grow and discover their passion and interests know that it isn’t always going to be the same as yours or what you imagine or expect it to be and begin to learn to be okay with that.
Let them fall down or fail sometimes. Then love them and guide them as they get back up and try again.

Not bad considering I was dispensing such wisdom while standing in line at Safeway on stop number four of today’s errands, which my 12 year old, who accompanied me,  was cool with during stop number one. As I was trying to form a coherent thought to share, he was making sure that I knew he was over my errands. And it was then that I remember why it was I rarely took his older siblings with me on errands once they were too big for the baby sling.

Clearly I need to work even more on the patience. I can’t imagine that I will ever have the patience that it takes to be an extraordinary mom. Still I press on.

But I have managed to nurture and teach these clowns how to take care of themselves. They can do a pretty good job at it too. Some of them are so good at it they are taking very good care of others too. I can thank the time I spent with other people’s high school aged children years ago for the inspiration that someday my kids would know how to keep track of their own toothbrush, do their own laundry, hang up their own clothes, clean their own room, pick up their own prescriptions from the drug store, carry their own suitcase, yada, yada, yada. Sure I failed at teaching them how to bargain shop because Safeway time was “me time” but they have managed just fine because they have come to realize that yes, they can take care of themselves.

The learning that their passions and interests are not always the same as mine has been an education yet surprisingly not nearly as hard to accept as I imagined that it would be. Well, after I accepted the passion that Hollie chose to pursue because suddenly parenting her wasn’t nearly as exhausting when I was watching her do and create and beautify the way that she does. It actually was kind of exhilarating. Added bonus is she makes me look good. These adult children of mine are really just barely getting started still I am working hard at just cheering them on as they chase those dreams, explores those interests and live those passions. Theirs are not mine. They shouldn’t be. Not ever. Still I get to passively live them with my adult children and my world opens up even more.

The hardest part of all has been letting them fall or fail. I am a parent of millennials. Any good parent of millennials would never, ever let their precious angel baby fall or let anyone fail them ever…no, not ever! I’m not really a very good parent of millennials still how could I possibly just stand there and watch them fall?

Right?!

But I do.

I have. I probably have Daniel’s former physical therapist to thank for being brave enough to do just that. But just like when they were wobbly toddlers, they somehow manage to get back up again and again and again. And I praise them because they did it all on their own. I also quietly heave a sigh of relief because I am still mom.

I’m sorry dear parents in the trenches, it doesn’t get any easier even as the nest empties. It’s a lot quieter. There is (sometimes) less laundry. You learn not to cook as much for dinner every night. You answer every phone call, every text, every FaceTime and you hold yourself back and mostly just listen because, more than anything, that is what they need.

Hard?

Hell yes, it’s hard.

How much easier it would be for me to lecture them, tell them what they are doing wrong, what they should do, what they could have done.

But I gave them those wings; wings that were made to fly. So I take a deep breath, I say a prayer, I bite my tongue and sometimes I shut my eyes tight as they do just that. They fly.

Today’s reward:

Clearly I’m not the only one impressed with the magic she makes.

 

 

local flavors

I learned a few months ago that much to my surprise, and amusement, someone apparently nominated Adventures in Juggling for KCRA’s A-List. Nothing to get too excited about considering the rich field of Northern California bloggers out there. But thank you, whoever you are. Meanwhile check out KCRA-List’s top 5 best local bloggers for 2014.

More local flavor blogging style is someone I am slowly becoming acquainted with, the lovely Nina of The European Redhead. Her writing about fashion, thrifting and life as a “Decided Redhead” is a delight as is her breath of fresh air into the local newspaper.

Then there is this perfect yumminess made for a certain dancer and her dance team to celebrate the fact that very soon she will be turning 18.

Yes, Christina’s Cupcakes. If you need delicious treats you need Christina’s Cupcakes. So delicious. Seriously. These aren’t your grocery store bakery cupcakes but they cost about the same.These are home-made, made from scratch and made to order. These beauties, for example, were made with the dance team colors and with the fact that one would be used for a birthday facial. Oh, and, she delivers…Central Valley, Modesto, Stockton, Manteca, Tracy, Sacramento, Bay Area. Follow her on Instagram too. Just be careful not to drool on your smartphone.

Yummy in the tummy and, it seems, on the face too!

#NaPhoPoMo

By now I would hope that you all have figured out that I take a few pictures and sometimes share some of them online here and there and over there and, oh, and here under the Big Top too. I take a lot of pictures. What can I say, I am surrounded by inspiration, love and beauty and the extreme need to capture it all so that I will always have it with me. And because I am always up for being inspired and trying to take at least one picture every day, I am all about an exercise like the lovely Karen Wahlrond’s NaPhoPoMo – National Photo Posting Month. In the spirit of NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo, Karen calls us out to take this challenge to push the habit of online creation, quantity-over-quality, just to develop the discipline of a creative practice. To anyone who has ever offered one single compliment for the photos I have taken I have always thanked them telling them that I take literally thousands of pictures and occasionally I get lucky with a few.

Truly.

Karen writes:

My friends, the time has come for a National Photo Posting Month.

Every day, for the month of November, I’m going to take a photograph and post it here, supplementing my regular posting schedule.  I’m doing this for a couple of reasons:

1.  I love the idea of a daily challenge, but I love the idea of a daily challenge that has an end date even more.  I like the idea of creating a body of work — in this case, 30 successive images — even though I have no real idea where this will take me.

2.  I love the idea of taking a moment every day to work on my photography.  Because I think no matter where any of us are in our photographic journey, practice always helps perfect, you know?

3.  I love the idea of stopping and looking around me.  While it’s possible that some of my photos might be staged, my goal is that they’re not — that the 30 days becomes a gratitude practice of the beauty that organically exists around me.  Because really that’s what it’s all about.

So, get ready:  it’s about to be all photographic up in here.  And you should join me.

Starting today, keep your camera on you, and photograph something — anything — and save it somewhere.  To be clear, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to do this — just have a camera (of whatever type), and a willingness to stop and take a photo every day.

And to make this fun, how about we do this:

If you upload any of your pictures online — on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, whatever — tag it #NaPhoPoMo — that way, we can watch all of the amazing photographs as they come in.  See?  They’re coming in already! 

It really is that easy. Have a camera? Have a smartphone with a camera? Stop. Take a picture. Post it on your Facebook or your Instagram or wherever.

I’m all in and yes, I will be sharing here, on Instagram and the #NaPhoPoMo tagboard because it’s nice to share and to be challenged and inspired all the more. All part of the creative practice, yo.

My first official #NaPhoPoMo shot. What? Too obvious? What can I say? This sweatshirt is so me…even if it was in the mens’ section at Target.

good things this week

It’s been a pretty good week, you know. It has been. As long as I ignore the pain in my left foot, which I believe is never going to go away and will keep me from wearing pretty shoes forever unless I WANT to walk like a hobbled, old woman.

I don’t want to.

But yeah, ignoring my left foot, it has been a pretty good week here under the Big Top.

There’s the delivery of next month’s Norditropin. What can I say? Having dealt with not so great service from durable medical supply companies in the past so far I am very happy with the pharmaceutical company that delivers Daniel’s meds and other supplies.

Picking up Hazel from kindergarten and sharing lunch with her is REALLY good. So are the fried egg sandwiches she insists I make for her. I don’t know what they do to her in that kindergarten class but she will eat said fried egg sandwich, a bag of chips, a cup of yogurt,sliced fresh veggies and fruit, two glasses of pink lemonade and she is STILL hungry.

Discovering just how delicious beer steamed potatoes arewith freshly ground Himalayan pink salt…my new obsession.

Having fun at Jodie’s last Back to School night. I warned y’all that this is going to be a year of lasts for her. Here’s one. More to come. I promise. You might have to hold me from time to time. Thanks.

Learning that a picture I took is now part of an awesome display at the Philip S. Raine roadside rest area on Highway 99 south of Tulare that depicts life in the Central Valley of California. Yes, I gave permission and receive photo credit. I just didn’t know that the project was completed. Hmmm…perhaps a road trip? If any of you just happen to be on CA 99 near Tipton feel free to stop and get a picture of you and my picture…please.

I cleaned my desk…sort of. It still is cluttered because I have too much stuff going on all around my desk but at least it is somewhat organized and on display. Yes my people, this is where the brilliance slightly-better-than-mediocrity happens. If only my blogging area looked like Jenny, The Bloggess’ does…just imagine the kick-ass writing I would accomplish! It could happen…okay, maybe not. Still I want to go to there and try to write and cuddle with Hunter S. Tomcat and Ferris Mewler. Remember that one time where I cornered Jenny in a bathroom and told her how her stories of Ferris made me smile and miss my then recently deceased bitch-kitty, Ginger? I’m thinking I will never, ever get anywhere near Hunter, Ferris or Jenny’s blogging space. I don’t blame her at all either.

Oh and three years ago today, these two gorgeous people promised to love, honor and cherish to infinity and beyond. Happy Anniversary Hollie and Ben! It really was a great wedding.

So yeah, the last week of August has been a good week with good things.

What left foot?

Oh yeah, that left foot.

no longer the somebody that I used to know

I posted on my Facebook that I was having one of those “Welcome to Holland” moments that only parents and families with children in Special Ed would understand. And yes, many of them did understand liking my status and commenting and some even commenting on yesterday’s ranting blog post. What can I say? You take the good…you take the bad…you take them both…and there you have…

Remember that show?

Yesterday was one of those days where I wasn’t enjoying the windmills, the tulips and the Rembrandts that is Holland. It was one of those rare days. No, not sulking and thinking poor, poor, pitiful me kind of days. It was just a day where I was reminded why it is so hard for my child sometimes…as if the challenge of 5th grade, preteen hormonal surges and keeping up with his mainstream peers wasn’t enough. The older he gets it does become more of a challenge as he sees, hears and understands all the time how different he is…thanks to some people and their thinking and modeling to their children (his peers) who begin to think and act just like their parents.

Good job parents!

That was yesterday.

Today is today and I did enjoy my life here in Holland with it’s beautiful windmills, tulips (my favorite) and Rembrandts. Life with my boy, my beautiful boy is good. It’s very good. He reminded me as he always does with his hugs, his laughter and his view of the world. His wise observations never cease to surprise me and make me think. And today I was reminded also by an amazing post by Suzanne that she wrote almost two years ago:

 I recognize where you are from. I used to live there too. I used to have checked off lists, awards of accomplishments, perfect hair, great skin, sparkly eyes, a quick wit,  a clean car, a social life, a large social network, an organized calendar , vacation plans set in stone, and a no overdue library books . But then I became a Mom. And unexpectedly, a mom of a special needs child. A child with no lifelong guarantee, no definitive prognosis and no detailed treatment plans. We have good doctors, we have a good attitude and we have a good family life. 

 My life is good, but not so easily structured. My skin not so healthy, my hair often flyaway, my eyes most often tired. I am up multiple times throughout the night, I rise at 5 and go full speed until 9 at night, still stymied and determined to do more each and every day.  I miss the friendships I used to have, the  once- so- easy to -achieve professional accomplishments- but I don’t miss that world you live in. 

 I am a kinder woman who lives in a world that is no longer black and white. Sometimes gray is good, a salvation, a retreat from something that could be much worse. My priorities were reshuffled for me, and now I would never think to judge another.

 I am always in motion and I am grateful . Grateful for the touch of my child who needs my hands to steady her,  grateful for my child who craves my words to calm her, my child who needs my hugs to soothe her. I am even grateful, that I no longer live …in that black and white world.

Like Suzanne, I also recognize the author of that note left on her car. I used to live in a neighborhood like that too. Thankfully I have moved away…to a better neighborhood….and the result is I am no longer like that person that I used to know.

Thank goodness.

I am so lucky…so damn lucky.