Standing in the Shadows

Beach and Sun and Air Makes Three

We’ve made it to Florida—for a week that’s started off on the very brisk side but seems to be warming up. Regardless, the light is so bright. The sky is so blue. The palm trees are so ridiculous and Seuss-like.

Also, pelicans.

Shifting gears from regular life to a different mode takes some internal reorganization. My cell phone decided to pave the way and even with a brand-new battery could not be revived.

But we’re figuring it out.

The small girl plays miniature golf like a field hockey star in training.

As has been the case many times before, the sand is a wonderful place for all.

I’ve read about fifteen pages of my book.

I’ve had maybe three half-conversations with my mama.

Like that.

The dear hubs left last week for San Francisco, so I’ve been the parent in-situ (and that’ll be the case until we get back on Saturday evening). Vacation might be a word for a different week; my friend Susan explained to me what I am doing is “travelling with kids.” She has a point.

Time to be with them, to focus upon them without our focus on getting here or there or to homework or whatever, it’s a gift, if not always an entirely relaxing one. Time with my mom, that’s a big gift, too. The kids are—even with the moments that challenge—pretty remarkable people, each and every one of them. They amaze me (so does my mama). I’m grateful for the opportunity to remember this. Another time, I’ll just read more of the book and walk without feeling I should get back—if I can walk away at all.

Many of my writer friends these days share their personal gratitude daily online and as a gratitude junkie, I really enjoy reading every list I see. It’s nice to be reminded that gratitude is a practice and that like so many practices the details are the interesting part, even when you think the big idea is what matters. It’s not, not really. Because what we notice makes us happy—cold medication when we’re sick or hot tea on the worktable beside our words or whatever it is—that’s the happy stuff and the happy stuff comprises the big idea, which really is if you let yourself notice the good, it surrounds you. Over time, it not only is everywhere, you feel it more readily.

I made a New Year’s Resolution to praise myself every day and it’s kicking my a*&. Nearly two months in, the best thing I can say to myself many days is this: you’re doing the best you can. I note that how I say it to myself is from a place of praise. Some days and some things are challenging and I am DOING the best I can. I am rising to the best each day—and that’s big and strong and yet I’m also saying this to myself with gentleness and kindness, even empathy. It’s kind of profound, really.

So, I’m grateful for gratitude and self-praise, too.

It’s Tuesday and I have to give some link love, just because:

This essay about family and a gay ex-husband absolutely having remained that as he and his ex-wife grappled with the fact that theirs wasn’t a romantic union really blew me away: beautiful, poignant, and she posed some very important questions about “the times” a person lives in.

Holyoke, permaculture and love (and Hampshire folks) in the New York Times represents some of my favorite things together.

And you know I devoured this long profile piece about Connie Britton, actress I most wish to interview.

© 2014 The Valley Advocate