Through the eyes of a two year old

I spent some time with my granddaughter yesterday. She is at that age where she has started to think about things, but is not yet able to express all her ideas verbally. She is stringing words together, but most of what she says is delightfully unintelligible.

“Swing and slide?” she asked in her sweet baby voice. So I put her in her stroller with her baby doll and pushed her the mile to the park, a green patch in the city. I wonder what she thinks, as the cars swoosh by, and we pass random people. She puts out her hand to touch some hedges along the side walk. We stop to smell some flowers.

She got restless the last quarter mile or so, asking me questions I couldn’t understand, talking and occasionally singing. I was glad she was happy, and I would point out things along the way, telling her we were almost there. Finally, we were at the green, first passing the dog park, which brought on a stream of dog like sounds from baby, then there we were at the playground. There were a lot of other kids and parents out on this warm February day.

wp-1456191076862.jpegI helped her out of the stroller and she headed for the swings. All but one were occupied, so I lifted her up into it, and “swing, swing” she laughed and sang as I pushed her. She gazed in fascination at the little girl in the swing next to her. “Baby!” she chortled with delight.

I spent the next 45 minutes following her around the small play area, guarding her as she climbed ladders meant for older children, laughing with her as she slid down the numerous slides, pleased that she cooperated with other children. Often she would stop and just stare at another child, and I wondered what she was thinking. Another little girl around her age was not having a good day, and as my little sweetie observed her crying, she said “baby cry? night-night?” Good observation, I thought!

I was wearing out before she did, and, anticipating the trek back, coerced her back into the stroller with the promise of a snack and taking her shoes off. Thus settled, we made the journey home, with her chatter and singing delighting me. She tweeted with the birds, and, pointing out a squirrel, “get nuts?” she queried.

Arriving home, I took off my sandals and sat on the tub to wash my dusty achy feet, which turned into a bath for her!  We splashed and laughed and it was absolutely delightful!

It wasn’t until I was leaving that she had a meltdown. She was trying to communicate something to do with a toy car that looks like “Sassa’s car” and it seemed to be important that she take the car outside but since she was naked Mama and I were saying no. So she threw the car and quietly crumpled and threw herself around a bit. This is when parenting is hard. What is it going on in the mind of a two year old that is inexpressible and therefore frustrating? What is a grownup to do?

Fortunately, her mother practices gentle parenting, and spoke to her gently but firmly. She offered to put a diaper on her and take her outside, which was satisfactory. There was still something on baby girl’s mind, but she was less upset, and was happy to see my car, for whatever reason, and we kissed and hugged and I went on my way.

All this to say, a two year old lives moment to moment, joy and frustration being dealt with as it comes, and we grownups have lessons to learn from it. If you have a two year old, remember this the next time they throw a tantrum. They don’t have the words to express themselves yet, so it’s not a punishable offense. And you? Take life a little less seriously, and enjoy each beautiful moment.

 

 

7 things I learned from raising 7 children

1. Love multiplies

2.Mistakes will be made

3. Spanking doesn’t work

4. Everyone is unique from birth

5. It’s better to minimize toys and “stuff”

6. Pick your battles

7. You have to let them go.

 

Here’s 7 more:

1. Some children bite, and won’t stop til they grow out of it no matter what you do.

2. Some children will do anything to conquer all obstacles

3. Some children are dreamers

4. Some children ask questions about everything

5. Some children are born comedians.

6. Some children are born with heartache.

7. All children are gifted.

image (16)My oldest is 36, my youngest just turned 20. And there are really 5 in between. While they were small, and my life was busy with their needs, I was often overwhelmed. Now that they are all grown, I look back on the years and they flew by. I am very grateful for each one, and for what I learned from having them in my life.

What have you learned from your children?

Plans, time, and intentions

wp-1454259597628.jpegI have been writing in my Penzu journal quite a bit, and have let the blogging go. The last couple of evenings I wrote longhand, reflecting on my day and planning for the next. Usually the planning is way too much. I have so much I want to do. Blogging is one of those things, so here I am!

I am often struck by profound thoughts and I think, wow, I could write about that! Then something else demands my attention and that thought drifts away. So I decided, this beautiful Sunday morning, to sit here and write about whatever comes to mind.

January has flown. After all the traveling and days off in December, I put my nose back to the grindstone and haven’t taken any time off from my “day job”. I have had plenty of opportunities to show compassion, to listen, and at times even to empathize with the people at the hospital who are in crisis. I am grateful for those opportunities.

I made a decision to deepen my Ayurvedic studies by joining the live online class instead of the independent study. I love the topic and the coursework, and had come to a point where it was time to participate in the first Clinical Intensive. I realized that I felt too scattered, and fitting it in around my work schedule, social activities, and visiting with my granddaughter wasn’t the best plan for me. So I talked with my teacher/mentor, and am now dedicated to the weekly class, and will be traveling to Portland, Maine the first week in April. I am very excited!

Another thing that has affected me, this past week, is that my father is in the hospital. He is almost 88, and his health has been failing, so this isn’t surprising. He’s in the hospital I work at, so the blessing is that I got to go see him. I haven’t seen him in over a year, due to the deep rift that his wife of five years has caused, keeping my siblings and I from being involved in his life. I wrote a long letter to him last year, and if you want to know the details it is published in two parts, here and here.

My next to youngest child turned 22 a couple of days ago. He lives in Massachussetts, is happy in his life with his partner and his cats, living out in the country. My hope as a parent is that all my children find love and happiness, as well as independence. Better that than wealth with loneliness and sorrow.

I like to think that I have some control over my perception of time, like not getting in a hurry and that sort of thing. But when I look back at my life, and raising my children, all grown now, much of it is like a vapor. Thinking about three years ago, just finally having freed myself from a very difficult marriage, and all that has happened since then, I am amazed. Looking back 20 years, to the birth of my youngest child and what has happened in her relatively short life – it is hard to believe.

Speaking of amazing — I’m going to be a grandmother, again! My second oldest son and his wife announced this month that they are going to be parents – of TWINS! Talk about uncertainty there! Embrace the unexpected, right? They will be wonderful parents.

Do you set intentions? I do all the time!

Lake morningToday, I have the intentions of finishing and publishing this post, walking outside in the sunshine, cooking a nutritious lunch, putting paint on a canvas, and spending the evening with some friends celebrating a birthday.

This week, I intend to show compassion to everyone I meet,  do some yoga at least 3 times, take a couple of long walks, study and practice ayurveda, spend time with people I love either on the phone or in person, and eat fresh nutritious food. I intend to write and paint, too!

What are your intentions? What are you grateful for?

May your day be merry and bright

Peace on earth, good will towards all. Joy to the world! I am happy and grateful for the peace and joy that I have in my own small world. I pray for the peace and happiness of all beings.  I hope for an end to strife and prejudice everywhere.

Christmas treeI have started my 60th year of life on this earth, and plan for 60 more! I remember the wonderful Christmases of my childhood, always plentiful, without much thought of the rest of the world. Then  I think on the Christmases of my 20’s and 30’s, with many children, trying to teach them about giving, not just receiving. The Christmases of my 40’s and 50’s were more difficult, having to deal with divorce and teenagers, but still we lacked nothing. The last few years have seen another shift as my second marriage came to an end, my spiritual beliefs continue to evolve, the rest of my children left home, and I found myself in a new and wonderful relationship.

I treasure each of my children and my grandchild, and have hopes that we can all spend a Christmas together again. Over the years we have drifted away from that, finding other days of the year for reunions. I have even purposefully worked at my job on Christmas to avoid family reunions, partly due to my own sense of inadequacy. But that is behind me, as I have embraced forgiveness of both myself and others. I am hoping that the pendulum will swing back, and that we will again enjoy the magic of Christmas as a family.

In the meantime, I am happy for the near-to-Christmas celebration earlier this month, the travel to North Carolina and time with old friends on my birthday weekend, and a quiet Christmas Eve with my partner.

May the spirit of the Christmas season stay with us throughout the year.

 

September!

This is one of my favorite months! I live in the south so it is still hot, but the promise of cooler weather is there – although not for at least another month!

wpid-wp-1441467245884.jpegLife shifts and changes, and I haven’t been here so much lately. After my two  out of state trips in May and June , I felt a bit unsettled for a while. Taking a weekend road trip to Austin in late June capped off the summer travel, and left me wanting to move there! My son has lived there for five years so I’ve visited quite a bit since then, and every time I go I want to stay!

July was very hot, and my spare hours were filled with finishing Term 1 of my ayurvedic studies. The term concluded with a Nutrition Intensive, so I spent extra time in the kitchen. A major change that has happened since I began these studies is that I have become much more particular about what and how I eat. I prefer fresh food, and have learned that it’s not hard to prepare simple meals of grains and vegetables. I haven’t eaten meat since April, and over all feel much more balanced. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain prana, or life force, and it just feels better inside.  So one of the things I hope to do is develop ayurvedic cooking classes to the end of better health for more people.

Carol Nacogdoches Aug 2015August was hotter than ever, getting up around 100 degrees in the early part. I took a day trip to Nacogdoches for a visit with my youngest daughter, and found that it has a great oldtown shopping center. Carol and I had a great time shopping and cooking and getting her more ready for the next school term at Stephen F Austin University where she will continue her vocal performance studies.

David and RoniLast week my oldest son, David, got married. I have to say that when he announced his engagement earlier this year, I was surprised, but not surprised. He and Roni have known each other for 13 years, and it was on again, off again, and they finally decided to take the leap. They got married on a Carnival Cruise Ship before taking off on the cruise ( I didn’t go!) and it was very nice, lots of fun, and a wonderful opportunity to spend time with people not often seen.

Now I am looking forward with great anticipation to Sept 28, when Robert and I will leave the heat and humidity and fly north to spend three weeks road-tripping from western New York through Massachusetts and Maine to Nova Scotia and then back down to the Boston area before flying home. I have been wanting to do this for years, and am very excited! We don’t have a real fall here, so the timing of it is to experience peak fall foliage.

In the midst of all these experiences, I go to work, I watch a movie, I take a walk. I meditate, I do yoga. I visit my granddaughter, I try to stay connected with all my seven children. I meet new people, mostly only in that moment, then we each go on with our lives.  I occasionally write and paint. I ponder the meaning of life, but less frequently than when I was younger. I look for ways to practice kindness and compassion every day. I embrace uncertainty.