birthday

Monday Musings 7-22-19

I found a picture recently that my husband took of me and our four kids when they were little. We’re piled on the bed with our new kitten. For perspective, my kids are now 26, 21, 17, and 15, and that kitty is 9 years old. I remember that particular moment, and I remember my kids being little like it was yesterday. Cliched I know, but true.

Last winter, Ray and I took a walk through our neighborhood one morning after a snowstorm. School was cancelled for our teenagers so they were in bed, and probably wouldn’t make an appearance until noon. As we wandered the empty streets, bleary eyed parents chased bundled up kids through the fresh snow. Those parents looked tired and frazzled, and we got teary-eyed. I don’t want to go back to an earlier point in my life. I’m really happy with where I am now. We’ve worked hard to get here. But with every birthday that comes and goes, I truly feel the passage of time.

When my kids saw this same picture, they made comments like how much they missed being all together now that two have moved out permanently. They feel it too, this change over time. I don’t think they necessarily want to go back either, but remembering helps us appreciate the sweetness and the ephemeral quality of those moments. Maybe remembering also helps us live more fully in the here and now.

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” - Sharon Salzberg

IMG_4860.JPG

Monday Musings 7-1-19

I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don't have to.” - Albert Einstein

This is my birthday week. Like many people around my age, I have mixed feelings about birthdays. I’m thrilled to have another one, because, well, the alternative isn’t too pleasant to think about. But, I’m also struggling with some of the less-fun perks of aging - like aches and pains for no reason what-so-ever, a body that needs to eat half and exercise double to stay in any sort of shape, etc.

It’s certainly easy to focus on what’s been lost through the aging process - they do call it the bloom of YOUTH for a reason. But, if I shift my lens even a little, and choose to focus instead on the full, rich life I enjoy, then my overwhelming emotion becomes gratitude. Gratitude for my health - because relatively speaking, it’s good. Gratitude for my friends - because I am blessed to have deep, meaningful friendships. Gratitude for my family, my kids, and for the flexible, satisfying home and work life that my husband and I consciously created.

Every year, after Thanksgiving, my family watches It’s a Wonderful Life. Every year, when the credits roll, my husband sniffles and says, “It truly is a wonderful life.” And it is. So this year, I am going to embrace my birthday fully - with joy and gratitude, and probably without socks.