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Archive for May, 2010

On Mother’s Day I woke up to a funny revelation.  I don’t particular relate to Mother’s Day; I really do feel like every day is Mother’s Day.  My kids are amazing at acknowledging how much I matter and I find little gifts to be quite meaningless.  I do, however, love the intense love I feel from my children nearly each and every day of our lives.

Parenting has given me a work ethic that runs core deep.  There is always so much to do and just when you think you might get a moment to put up your feet and ‘smell the chumus’, the moment is gone.  There is always work to be done.  I feel like the mouse in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. On Mother’s Day, I was thinking of that children’s book when I woke up and started my day.

I saw that a water bottle needed to be filled, but the top was dirty.  I washed the top, refilled the bottle.  Finished putting away the dishes and then washed more dishes. . .then I found a couple of kitchen towels that needed to be put in the washing bin.  The bin was full, I finished collecting towels and then started the wash.  There is more, but you know what. . .I love having my family to do these things for!

My work as a mother is a metaphor that can easily be found in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. And I love remembering this children’s story whenever I start to kvetch about the never ending job of motherhood!

Motherhood is absolutely a gift, but I don’t need milk and cookies or any gifts to remind me of how beautiful my children are and how grateful I am to be their mother.

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Learning from our aging dog

Most of you know I adore creatures, all creatures.  Having said that, you should note that I still have so much to learn about human interactions and my relationship to those interactions. I don’t like conflict – no one does, right? I am an incredible optimist, so those that often wear their heart on their sleeves challenge me.  Yet I am still a present friend; people cry on my shoulders and allow me to be there for them when they are in time of need.  Internally, though, I sure have a lot to learn from Mukseh, one of our aging dogs.

Sometimes we find Mukseh looking at us and just crying.  She reminds us that even though she is no longer in the center of attention she needs to be loved.  Mukseh loves human contact; she thrives on being stroked with whatever limb is available to her.  She loves to be raked out (similar to brushing) and included in all of our conversations.  Just because she misses a little more about what is going on doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to be part of things.  Once she notices that she wants to be nurtured, she let’s us know. And sometimes all she needs is for our presence.

Have you ever tried to walk with an injured friend, a elderly parent/grandparent, or a friend that is just a little slower than you?   The truth is that I can and do walk with people at their own rate fairly easily – mostly because I know it is a limited time commitment.  At 13.5 years old, Mukseh is a member of our family and she needs to be walked three to five times a day.  She also struggles with aging and arthritis.  We have always loved walking our dogs a lot over the course of the day.  Well as Mukseh has grown older, she wants to walk less and she walks so much slower.  Lately, I have taken to walking her by herself allowing her to choose how slowly or quickly she wants to walk on a specific day.  The walks are so much more pleasant when I am not trying to coerce her into going where I want to go as quickly as I want to travel.  And when I allow myself the time to walk as she wishes, Mukseh is so much happier; I don’t even think she misses her walks with her other canine siblings.

Each of us has days when all we want to do is relax and take it easy.  Lying on a hammock in the trees would be blissful if we could take the time.  I love how Mukseh can just find her place and chill.  Her favorite spot in the world is lying on the cool wooden floor in front of our front door.  We have all learned to open the door very slowly for fear of hurting her as we barrel through the doorway.  I love how she is happy just being close to us, but also likes having her own space.

Sometimes when she feels pain, Mukseh cries.  Sometimes she allows herself to take the steps real slowly.  What I love about Mukseh is her ability to listen to her body.  She doesn’t do what she can’t do.  She now sits down and let’s life happen around her without being the instigator.  Her love is pure to each and every one of the creatures in the house.  No one is sad without Mukseh checking in to see what she can do about the situation.  And she is often the one who just sits near a sad person without need to get in their space.

Mukseh is one of the most present beings in our world.  She nurtures our family and she still protects us by letting us know when evil is emerging.  I will always treasure that Mukseh has taught me how to allow life to be as it is.  We can’t fix everything we want to; sometimes we just need to be present and to live simply live our lives.

Thank you Mukseh – I love you! We all love you!

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We’re Going on a Bear Hunt :~) Take 2

I don’t remember the first time I heard Michael Rosen’s song/book, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, but I do remember that once I heard the words, I knew I had one of my few motto’s for life!  I love it so much that I have made many of my classes, campers learn the words.  I think I even translated it into Hebrew once!

This single folk story guides every aspect of my life.  Perhaps I am just a mere child, but I think the teachings go deeper than almost any other story I have heard.  Life is full of challenges, but we have a choice how we move through each part of the journey.  Each of us are on pathways to gain knowledge, perspective, materials, or even the intangible.  We are searching for something, the bear is a metaphor for that something.

Any trek is much easier when you move forward with a gentle disposition or even better  positive energy.  When my heart feels heavy, I struggle to move forward; when my heart feels filled with life, the journey goes so much easier.  Positive thinking makes some very painful moments a little easier.  Life isn’t easy when times are tough, but it can go more simply when one faces each moment with even the tiniest thread of optimism.

And yes it is OK to admit your fear.  I have so many deep seeded fears, but I have learned to move through the fears and not let those fears keep me from doing what I need to do. Listening to my inner voice is so important.  That voice has the ability to protect me, but it also has the ability to nudge me forward.  The key is finding the balance to do what I need to do.

The main verses/refrains go:

We are going on a bear hunt.
We are going to catch a big one.
What a beautiful day!
We are not scared.

Oh-oh!
Long, wavy grass.
We can’t go over it.
We can’t go under it.
Oh no!
We’ve got to go through it.

I love that this story is about going through all that you need to go through in order to get where you are going.  If you don’t do the work you need to do, you won’t move in anywhere.  When I do the necessary work, success happens.  Regardless of what is going on, each of us  have to keep on moving.

When Aryeh, my son, was sick for nearly three years, it was horribly painful.  That didn’t mean I sat in the shit and didn’t allowed myself time to sit back and do nothing.  I never had a moment to do nothing.  When times were desperate, my job was to love him and remain present during each and every moment; when times were easier, I had to empower him to take care of himself and then I still had to remain present.  I always had to be mom.  The bottom-line is that I “couldn’t go over it, couldn’t go under it….I had to go through it.” So I did!!! Every one in my house did the work so that we could move forward itn the best possible way.

As the story continues, we have to not only go through the grass, but the river, the mud, a forest, a snowstorm, and then finally a cave.  There is always more and more to every journey.  As long as we are living; we have some place to go.  (Note: When I think of this story, I never remember the ending because it doesn’t necessarily fit into my framework for life.) In the end of this folk song, everyone goes home and decides they are never going on a bear hunt again.  So we will skip the ending for my purposes.  ☺

I have rarely backed away from a desired journey.  I embrace all parts of life, even some of the darker passages.  But embracing life is the only way to go!!!  I truly do love life!

Live, Love, and Laugh – I do!

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