holding space

Our culture doesn't place enough value on hobbies. Things that don't make us money are relegated to corners of our lives, and we don't give them the time, the attention, and the devotion they deserve.

The baby boomers told us to turn our passions in to profit; do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life. But if we had all listened, I can't help but wonder who would perform any number of jobs that seem unlikely to be loved on their own merits.

I think the boomers were misguided on this point. I think we should be doing what we love because we love it. Because it makes our lives richer and more joyful. Because it brings purpose to jobs we quite possibly don't adore. 

Mothers, in particular, are encouraged to strip away every extraneous part of themselves to devote themselves wholeheartedly to the task of raising children. And while motherhood is obviously a worthy calling, I often meet women who have become shadows of their children. And I worry for the women. And I worry for the children.

I'm attracted to the women who hold a place for themselves. Who find time for the things that they love. Who show their children that the world has untold adventures and who enthusiasticallypursue their passions.

Last Saturday I woke up before the sun to meet Corrina at Lucky Cricket Farm. We spent the first light of the day honoring a hobby that is so much more than a hobby. Her love for Caleb isn't passing, and the sacrifices she makes for him aren't trivial. This is a part of who she is. It is a part of her core. And so she does what needs to be done. 

She talks about the weekends spent at the barn with children in tow, How her kids played in the fields and on trails. I can imagine them, hair matted with sweat, shoes dirty, cheeks flush. I can imagine the community they felt enveloped by. The lessons they learned as seasons passed. As animals came and went. Their lives was richer and more joyful because she honored her passion. 

it happened on a tuesday

Sometimes it happens so easily. Sometimes the light is perfect. Sometimes the children are happy and well-behaved. Sometimes the beauty is there, right at your finger tips. Ready for the taking.

That was Tuesday.

Their beautiful house in a South County beach neighborhood just a block to the water. We smelled the honeysuckle before we saw it. And the ospreys were in their nest, right where they belonged. And there were no tears or attitudes. And one thing led right in to the next and the evening stretched and held it all.

Dimpled baby hands resting on a father's knee.

Games of chase.

Peals of laughter.

A playful duet.

The cat prowling the porch's perimeter.

Mating lightening bugs.

Mama's milk.

Love.

Shadows. 

But even more light.

i am home

Someone who lost her mother when she was young once told me that it feels like being homesick.

I think of it often.

It's been years since I felt that desperate longing, but I remember it.

Mothers are our first home. And they remain our homes for as long as they live.

And when they are gone, we remember them still. In our blood and bones. In our heart and soul and mind. In our memories. In our code.

 

what she teaches

I'm hard on words. Especially words for labeling. Even more especially words for labeling that people use to describe themselves.

It is completely unfair, as my wise twelve-year-old daughter pointed out to me. We need those words, and even though it can be uncomfortable to use them, it's all we've got.

One such au courant label being creative as a noun. In case you aren't familiar with somewhat self-involved arty circles, it's basically used to mean artist. However, in my own mind, it also seems to leave open the possibility that you may or may not have to have any particular skill or talent, but rather just want to be attached to a certain vibe/group/ idea. 

 

Again, I'm not really being fair. Because as much as I hate the way the word is being bandied about, it is sort of useful. I think there are a whole lot of us out there that feel like we are artists somewhere deep inside, but we don't really know how to bring that desire to light. We like to make things and play with words. We notice light and pay attention to color. We try our hands at different mediums and want to think about what it all means, but we would never really feel comfortable with the word artist. So maybe creative feels like "artist lite",  but it also feels like at times it is "artist who has yet to settle into a few select mediums".

This second possible definition is my daughter Sena. In November she wrote a novel. She art journals every day. She designs spaces in her mind. Memorizes monologs. Is teaching herself how to sing watching youtube videos. She acts in plays and practices yoga. She studies medicinal plants and challenged herself to write 30 scenes in thirty days. Her newly launched Instagram melts my heart.

She is a creative, whatever that word means, but stripped of all artifice or pretension. She does this stuff because it is central to her being. 

What just might be most touching of all is the way that she encourages her wannabe parents. The way she makes us want to keep creating and experimenting and exploring. 

drenched in grace // spring session at annmarie gardens

Their gentleness defies those redheaded stereotypes. It drips from their soft, melodic voices, a mother and daughter I spent sitting poolside with last summer, as Sarah wore her youngest and her oldest splashed in the baby pool, her own mother, Sue, nearby to help.

Gentleness is often misunderstood, mistaken for weakness. But there is something about this family of women that speaks to a strength wrapped in compassion. Sue and Sarah are drenched in kindness. They radiate grace. And in turn, the next generation seems just as thoughtful. Two little girls who I am not so naive to believe are always as well-mannered and joyful as they have always appeared before me, but who I know are shown so much love that they can't help but reflect it back.

In short, I treasure this family which, when they were still not much more than strangers, encouraged me and supported me. They are the sorts of people it makes you feel lighter and brighter to have been around. I so look forward to another summer spent with them, three generations of beautiful women living in love.