After a beautiful long weekend of watching my grown children resume their younger selves at the cottage (with the addition of significant others in tow) I have returned to reality…and a huge dose of miss-placed motivation. I can’t seem to convince myself to get past the indulgent joy of a summer day, or two, or three for that matter and get back to the everyday list of things to be accomplished. I would much prefer to linger on the edge of the dock and watch my strapping youngest son in the midst of a quest for the largest snapping turtle any of us had ever seen-which is no joke- this turtles head was the size of a dinner plate!
This weekend genuinely helped me understand the concept ‘halcyon days’.
Our family, with all of its quirks, idiosyncrasies and standard issue inside jokes can be a daunting group and me?-I have a propensity for being on the sensitive side of the spectrum which leaves me frequently feeling overwhelmed by what goes on. Sooo, after twenty-five years, I signed a truce with myself to sit back and enjoy it for what it is. I came away from this weekend happy to sleep in my own bed again yet filled with this enormous gratitude for all the moments I was able to be fully present in. What better thing than see, I mean really ‘see’, the individuals gathered around the table (which was small at 13) and accept each individual personality for what it was. To recognize the reversion to children that each of us undergoes when under the roof of parental authority again. Which means that my husband and his brother assume that familial place they occupied as children-and continue to visit when on the hallowed ground of the family cottage. I have to say, for the first time. I enjoyed it instead of dreaded it. I allowed myself the freedom of letting go and just observing. Don’t get me wrong-I got my digs in from time to time but it was with relish and not resentment.
The other joy in observation is recognizing new things about my children-who are now adults when I allow myself to accept that fact. I still needle them about wearing sunblock or my desire for them to quit smoking (the list could go on…) but I took time to notice different things about them. My daughter marveled at the handsomeness of her brother’s and the pleasure of the back and forth of sibling goofiness and I, in turn, marveled at her observation. Hmm, yes, she was right! All parents, at least I think all parents do, think that their children are handsome, strong, witty, beautiful, intelligent and blah, blah, blah but what a wonderful thing to know with a deep inside knowing that they are all this and more. That may sound a bit solipsistic-and in fact may be-but it is the pleasure of finding a satisfaction, a pride in those gathered around you that renews something intangible and reinvigorates the soul. I have never been one given to syrupy Christmas letters where children are always perfect and life is always just great-I am more of a realist or pragmatist; so to find myself in the condition of being totally smitten with the day, the people around me and getting gushy about is-well-uh-out of character. Or is it?
I have been indulging myself with the book Style Statement by Danielle LaPorte and Carrie McCarthy. I freely admit that I am more of a frumpanista than a fashionista so I really don’t know what compelled me to order this book. I know that when I thumbed through the pages my first thought was more uh-oh than oooh! It is a beautiful book-that is not my point-I just felt like I have always felt in the presence of ‘style’-oh, this is so not me. What I have discovered after diving into the pages more thoroughly is it that my addiction to overalls and T-shirts is legitimate, that my proclivity for divining history from the objects around me could be considered-dare I say it?- a form of normal! I think some of my new found ‘permission granted’ behaviour is due to the idea that I might just be OK.
I am a child of faith-a Christian-and have been told over and over that I am loved and cherished but that “I” am not enough-I need to change-be better-be more. I can live with that -I know I need work-but what I am finding difficult to live with is the inability to really know just what this ‘I’ means. Who is this woman who prefers baggy overalls, t-shirts, old stuff, childish things (like Harry Potter), the opera, the theater, is madly in love with her children and her husband, fine art, children’s art, flip-flops and driving with the windows down and the radio up. I may never find the satisfaction of discerning the full answer but I am learning to accept that what I am at this moment is cool and that each and every quirk of my overalled existance ain’t so bad after all. In fact it is all pretty darn good.
I will continue to be a frumpanista-I am cool with that. I am also cool with marveling at my children(always will be)-halcyon days-inside jokes- roasted marshmallows-fireworks, the worlds largest snapping turtle and enjoying the day by accepting that I don’t need to know all the answers and knowing it is all so worth it-