My recent subscription to Medium has been arriving in my inbox every day. It’s a breath of fresh air. Here is my favorite Medium article from this morning’s delivery. Written by author Ayodeji Awosika, the words are uplifting and thought provoking. They reset my thinking today, reminding me to tune in to the present moment and recognize that “the sky is not falling.” This describes just how I’d like to live my life. It is so easy to forget without a reminder once in a while.
Best wishes to everyone for a happy weekend.
Tonight I arrived home to a special dinner, flowers, cards, and dessert made my sweet family. I did not take pictures, but I think I just might remember it forever, anyway. This is the recipe that Anna used to make the super yummy chocolate mousse we had for dessert. We also watched a cheesy, romantic movie tonight (I loved it and I think the rest of them did, too) and went to bed really late. Clearly, I am still awake but the rest of my loves are asleep, including the dog and cat.
Mia recorded two songs at a recording studio that will be included on her first album that we hope to complete this year. We are working on making a website for her so she can promote herself. It’s slow going for us on that front; none of us are particularly gifted in the area of website design and self-promotion. I’ll share it here once it’s up and running.
A work opportunity presented itself in recent weeks that required a lot of thought and decision making. Ultimately, I decided not to join a private practice that would involve working with children and families in the areas of trauma and attachment. For various reasons, I decided to turn down the opportunity and keep the stability, legal protection, flexibility, and independence that my current job provides. It was not easy saying no, explaining why, and dealing with the disappointment of the team who wanted me on board. The experience provided a refreshed appreciation and commitment to my current job– which has had me a bit bored and uninspired lately. While this was a somewhat distressing experience, the practice in setting boundaries and following my intuition seem to be another trial on my journey. It seems this same situation has repeated so many times in my life now that it’s almost ridiculous. I should be well versed in it by now. This time, I was less impulsive and more cordial than usual. So, that is probably a good thing.
Instead of making a photo book for 2018 (I’ve been trying to catch up on the 10+ years of not making any albums), this mom figured out how to use iMovie and make a little film about our family life in 2018.
Today, my mom and dad came over for a few hours to spend time with my girls. I had a couple of hours off in the middle of the day, so I dropped by home to spend time with all of them. My mom had baked a cake with Anna, the recipe shown below, and it was so good that I ate three pieces in a row!
My mom showed me the recipe they used for the cake and explained that I’d made this same cake back in August of 1994 as a surprise for the family. What? That 15-year-old insecure girl who couldn’t seem to do much right with her life made a CAKE? I remember those days painfully clearly, but no matter how hard I try, I cannot remember this cake-making that evidently occurred. As you can see by the recipe below, my mom takes very good notes! That makes them extra fun to read 25 years later.
Learning about my teenage cake-making episode transpired just at the right time–as these things often do. Recently I’ve been processing my long-held belief that “I am a bad person.” Memories of my mistakes and all of the bad things I have done are plentiful and easily accessible in my busy, ruminating mind. Not so accessible, however, are the things I did that were NOT bad. Like baking.
Back in August 1994, I was the age that Mia is now. Through Mia and with the help of this new cake-making information, there is a surge of compassion and love for my younger self. It’s like water is flowing into an empty cavern, filling it with life. The cavern has been dry for a long time.
Mia is wise beyond her years, a kind and genuine soul–which perhaps I was not. But, like Mia, I was trying to figure things out and doing the best I could. Figuring things out when you’re 15 years old is not an easy feat. I gossiped about people. I talked behind people’s backs. I went along with teasing a girl for being fat. I cheated on tests. I complained and was ungrateful, and the list goes on. But, was I really as bad as I’ve been telling myself? Look, I made this cake. For my family, as a surprise that made them happy. That is pretty sweet. That sweetness came from me.
Today, this was an epiphany: I am not an all-bad person.
Mia turned fifteen. We had a wonderful day of celebrating. Here is our joyful, loving, lovely girl, and behind her are photos of her when she was a wee one.
With just two days left of this year, my heart is contemplative and nostalgic. 2018 was a year of change and challenge for me and probably many others in the world.
I wonder what 2019 will bring for the world, for our country, for my family, for myself. We can never know, and this terrifies me a bit. And then I remember that the best we can do is to surrender to the unknown–to God’s will.
This year the realization of my mortality and the mortality of those I love weighed heavily on my heart. I take with me into 2019 my fear of dying young and of leaving my children motherless–and perhaps will find peace with this fear in the coming year. I also take with me the dreadful knowing that if I do not die young, I will lose my parents someday, and that day looms closer and closer.
The real work of my life seems to be this inner work that I constantly feel driven by. In recent years, this inner work has been more rewarding than burdensome and I’ve begun to embrace it more. Themes from this year’s inner work that will lead me into the new year: unconditional love, forgiveness of self and others, loyalty, generosity, the courage to be myself.
I am indebted to so many. I have taken more than I have given in my life so far, or maybe just broken even. I want to pay it back, pay it forward. I want to give more than I take.
That said, I am grateful. Grateful for the hardships and the lessons as well as the many joys. It is all a part of life, of our common, shared, brief existence on this earth.
Love, peace, and happy new year to all.