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Practice, Practice, Practice – Practice Part I January 31, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart,mom writer — heartwriter @ 12:53 am
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Today at hot yoga, in the final pose of the ninety minute class – I did it!  I grabbed my knee.  Just about everyone around me, day after day, week after week, grabs their knee in the final spinal twist.  Everyone just about, but me.  I wasn’t too concerned; my body wasn’t ready and just couldn’t make that final part happen.  Frankly, my arm just wasn’t long enough.  For nearly two years I kept showing up to practice, trying to twist and contort.  The practice paid off.

Yesterday, I left a public place with one of my children kicking and screaming – I didn’t swear!  I brought my kids bowling as a reward for working out their sibling frustrations in a kinder manner for a whole week.  They had demonstrated that practicing different ways of communicating other than hitting had its positive results.

Into our second game, around the fifth frame, they hit each other.  Game Over.  Cute bowling shoes off – we were outta there.  I’m pretty sure after seeing me “practice what I preach” and hauling their asses out of there, (oops! 50 cents into each piggy bank) they won’t be hitting each other again – at least not at a bowling alley.

Practicing yoga is so much easier at times than being a parent.  It’s just me – my body, my mind and my spirit connecting in a hot room.  But in the real world it’s two other beings contorting and twisting into their own identity, bumping up against each other and their parents. 

That evening at the dinner table the elder sibling confessed that she was the one who threw the first punch.  She actually confessed at the bowling alley it was just hard to hear her over the screaming completion as we exited the premises.  We praised her for coming forward. Talked about how much we valued the truth.

I’d like to think we provided the space for her to practice integrity.

Grabbing my knee today, toe stand tomorrow. $1 today, nothing tomorrow. Oh, wait, they won’t read this I can keep the $1. Whew.

by J.G. McGlothern

 

“Awesome, thanks.” by J.G. McGlothern January 29, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 5:58 am
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I had an experience this past weekend that made me stop and ask myself, Who are you?  Was that really me?  Did I just do that? And it felt good in the new role, struttin’ this new attitude, wearin’ my new shoes.  Strange shoes but good ones.

I was driving on to the ferry.  The ferry worker signaled me to drive ahead and board.  I moved ahead until I noticed a car on the right side of my vehicle swiftly approaching and cutting into my lane.  I stopped.  From my angle if I kept going forward she would have run into me.

This is at least how my two passengers and myself saw it. Yes, I know, there are three sides to every story. (Car #1’s side, Car #2’s side, and what really happened.)

I gave the other driver the wave to go ahead.  Trust me a “look” accompanied the wave. Not a scowl, not the finger, just a “look” that could have been interpreted in many ways, but trust me, the “look” was harmless.  I didn’t’ mouth a thing – cussing curtailed, thank you very much.

She went ahead and when she got on the ferry she rolled down her window saying something to the ferry worker.  They seemed to share a chuckle.  I no dummy, I know what the chuckle was over, but I was the new me without knowing it and I didn’t say a thing. (The passengers in my car may have another story.)

Parking on the ferry behind said vehicle, I noticed her get out of the car and march toward me. I rolled down my window as she approached my side of the car.  I want you to know there are two lanes to get on the ferry. I wasn’t cutting you off.

I smiled.

We both can drive on at the same time, she went on. I wasn’t cutting you off, you looked at me like you thought I was cutting you off.

I smiled. She turned and walked away.

Awesome, I called out to her, thank you.

The old me would have gone into a long debate, trying to prove that either my “look”, wasn’t a “look” or that she indeed was trying to cut me off or I most definitely would have flipped her off behind her back.

I think, but then again, this is just my side, one side of a three sided story, that my brevity took her by surprise.  Her “look” seemed to say, You bitch, for not saying any more, for not defending yourself, for standing there and smiling.

I have been that woman before, marching forward with a need to set a stranger straight.  In the grand scheme of things, does it matter?  Does it matter that I didn’t know she was not cutting me off? Does it matter to her that I was scared when I saw her car coming toward us? Letting go of the need to be known, understood and RIGHT is freeing.

It felt strange to let it all go and leave it there on the car deck.  A good strange.  In the past, interactions like these can absorb my being, turning me into an obsessed woman, who can’t let it go.

Letting it go leaves room for so much more.  I was lighter walking up the ferry stairs.

 

Add It to The List by J.G. McGlothern January 26, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart,mom writer — heartwriter @ 7:54 pm
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I am a list maker.  Daily “To Do” lists are found on my kitchen counter or attached to the fridge. I keep lists in my journal of dreams, goals, ideas.  Once in awhile my husband and I make a “home project” list.  I am a visual person so seeing my mind’s thoughts on paper helps me turn things into reality.  Plus like most parents, I forget stuff and seeing it in black ink reassures no one gets left at soccer practice.

When I need to remember to include self-care on my daily “To Do” list I put those things at the top of the list. If it’s at the bottom, I am putting myself last.  And that is just plain stupid. By putting my needs last, no one in the family is getting the good side of me now are they?

When my hubby and I get together with friends it is often expected that I get “The List” conversation started around the dinner table.  Yep, grown adults taking turns sharing which “top 10 celebrities” we’d have a one night fling with or sometimes I switch it up and we list dinner guests, dead or alive are acceptable.

For the next two weeks I have made a commitment to myself to try a new list.  Every day in my journal I am listing 40 things I am grateful for.  On day one, the list took awhile to complete.  I am practicing being aware of all there is to appreciate and give thanks for in my life.  I am not getting graded and no one else will see it.  It’s a list for me.  A reminder to be grateful, a kick in the butt to remember all is well and that life is good.

I am curious where my list of 40 will take me these next two weeks. On my third grateful list for the week, I am discovering, after practice, the list fills up fast.

 

Wanna Play? by J.G. McGlothern January 18, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart,mom writer — heartwriter @ 7:22 pm
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On Sunday afternoon I had two pigs and a bunch of farmers in my basement.  My son and daughter had invited three sisters over to play. They live across the alley and the older one has been playing with my older one off and on since they were three years old.

They go to different schools and both have various activities that conflict with play time but once in awhile on the weekends, one will call the other and they just get together and play.

In 1976 when I was eight and wanted to play with a friend, I walked across the street, knocked on Jill Nelson’s door and said, Can Jill play?  Her mom let me in and that was that.

Today if the neighbor girls aren’t home and my eight year old daughter wants to play with a friend she calls the friend on the phone and an answering machine usually picks up.  When the friend calls back or the mom emails me, we schedule a “play date.” After picking two or three different dates that don’t work we pick a future date that looks good, free of soccer, swimming, piano, dance or homework commitments and put it on the calendar.

These days of homework, over scheduled children and so much happening during the week with after school activities it’s hard to avoid whipping out the calendar and making a plan with school mates.  It’s the only way play will happen, if it’s on the calendar.

Downstairs I hear laughter.  It reminds me of me and Jill, building forts, spying on her brother, chasing each other in the back yard, selling lemonade on the street, playing in the street.  We pledged our friendship by creating a private two person club, the ’76 Club.  We crossed our hearts and linked our pinky fingers in a rabbit’s foot key chain, promising friendship.

More laughter comes from downstairs.  My kids probably don’t realize now how special these friends will be to them.

Even though Jill and I grew apart when we were older and I moved away at age 15 we reconnected during college becoming housemates, renting our first apartment together.  Decades later, we live in different states and keep in touch by email mostly.  But through all the friends, the time passed by…it is Jill who I think of when my daughter asks if E can come over and play.

I respond enthusiastically – You bet.  For it is in the spontaneous free play time that these kids discover who they are.  Kids.  Wonderful free spirited kids. No schedule, agenda or calendar attached.  Just kids playing.

 

The Piggy Is Getting Fat by J.G. McGlothern January 16, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart,mom writer — heartwriter @ 5:04 am
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50 more cents into each kids’ piggy bank. I said, God Damnit, not just in front of my son but to him tonight. I knew what I was doing. It’s not like an alien overtook my body and did things out of my control. It was fully in my control and I take full responsibility.

Many of you know about my truck driver factor and for those of you who don’t, you may be surprised. Yep, I swear like a trucker. I really, really, really try not to swear in front of my 8 year old and 5 year old but sometimes an alien overtakes my body and I am completely unaware of the words falling from my lips.

Tonight different story. My son lost it at bed time. So I, for the briefest of moments, lost it too…God Damnit knock it off, I said to my son.  I got the evil eye from my hubby and my daughter knew not to pipe up with her standard, You owe us 50 cents. What she always says when I let one slip.

In the morning I will apologize for swearing and hand over 4 shinny quarters.

Now I will take care of me by making a cup of tea and reading my book.  I will write about my humanness in my son’s journal and ask him for forgiveness.  I will crawl under the covers without beating myself up but with a vow to try again tomorrow. To start fresh.

If our children’s college funds crash and burn there will always be their piggy banks.  I wonder if anyone has ever paid for college with quarters.  There is a first for everything.  And damnit if they don’t accept our quarters we’ll try a new college.

 

Chocolate Wishes, Chocolate Kisses and Those Chocolate Eyes by J.G. McGlothern January 14, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart,mom writer — heartwriter @ 7:46 pm
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As much as we struggle – I’m gonna miss him.

Next year my son starts kindergarten so on Tuesday we walked hand in hand down the long hallway of the registration building and together turned in his paperwork. Afterward we drove to Krispy Kreme and I let my little five year old order a chocolate covered donut with chocolate milk to wash it all down. Sipping my tea and eating my chocolate glazed cake donut I watched his every move. Taking in all his sips, swallows, gulps, paying attention to his jaw as he chewed and his eyes when he paused to look around. Those big chocolate brownie eyes. We have the place to ourselves, mama – he tells me with his chocolate breath.

He exasperates me, stretches me, pushes me, but my little buddy will be off to big school next year. This is my wake up call to enjoy every minute for in a blink those minutes will be gone.

When we walked hand in hand back to the car, I was taken back to a time when I was four and I had my mom all to myself while my siblings were at school. I especially remember going to the Orowheat bread store, filling the cart with day old loaves of bread that we would store in the freezer. I was in heaven. Mama and bread – did I need more?

On Tuesday as me and my boy were together I vowed to cherish, value, appreciate, honor our time because do I really need any more than him and a chocolate donut? Isn’t this gift enough?

As much as we struggle – I’m gonna miss him.

 

Routine by J.G. McGlothern January 8, 2010

Filed under: mom writer — heartwriter @ 6:35 pm
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I couldn’t wait for Monday to happen and for my kids to get back to school and all of us get back to our schedule.  Kids thrive on regular routine and structure as do I.  But this week through me for a loop.  I was looking forward to my four days of hot yoga, by two walking dates with girlfriends, then the unexpected happened.  My ankle woke me up in the middle of the night with shooting pain traveling up my leg and in the morning I discovered I needed to ice my ankle.  How had my ankle become swollen?  What did I do?  I didn’t remember twisting it or falling or drinking so much that I blocked out a period of time waking up in a strange place.  Did I time travel?

Two friends think it is O-L-D – A-G-E, another says tendonitis, and my acupuncturist is stumped.

I was forced to live simply like my resolution suggested.  Every night the family was together instead of me running off to exercise or meet with friends.  We played games and spent more time reading.  I didn’t go nuts knowing my ankle will heal soon and I’ll be back to my routine again.

Getting off schedule helps us appreciate routine and teaches us that veering from our regular route can bring new inspiration, new growth and yes, joy.

But don’t talk to me next week if my ankle is still swollen, I might have to time travel.