My sister and I

Daily prompt – Agree to Disagree

Immediately I thought of my sister. Ellen is two years older than me, and we love each other dearly. We’ve had many parallelisms (is that a word?) in our lives, but in so many ways we are different, and so there are a few things that we just don’t talk about.

We both married at 19, the first time, and without expecting it, we both had more than the usual amount of children – she had 5, and I, 7.  They are all grown now, but we did have our differences in raising them. I homeschooled, hers were public schooled. I was pretty bossy back then, tried to convince her to do things my way quite often. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t have been so pushy. Each of our children have become awesome unique individuals, in spite of and because of their mothers.

We both divorced our children’s fathers after long marriages – mine 23 years, hers 29. We both married again, me within months, she took a little longer.  We both divorced after much drama, difficulty, and grief, around the same time. No arguments there.

She met Todd right after her divorce, and married him a year later,.  I dated a bit before I met Robert, my boyfriend, and there is no talk of marriage at this point. We are blissfully cohabitating, something that I never would have dreamed of doing in my younger days.

The biggest things we don’t talk about, just silently agree to disagree about, are religion and politics.  She goes to church every week, and is a conservative Republican. I quit going to church two years ago (although I have strong spiritual beliefs), and although I don’t affiliate with a political party, definitely have made a strong left shift in my voting.

She lives in Arkansas, I am in Texas. She has her own business, Ellen’s Airbrush. I work in a hospital and have only just begun to pursue artistic endeavors. My sister inspires me,  but I am glad we live 400 miles apart. We have lovely short visits, and know we are there for each other.

Sara and Ellen 2014

 

 

Thanksmas

For the last several years, the gathering with my  seven children during the holiday season has been between Thanksgiving and Christmas, due to the complications that come with adulthood, like work, and relationships. We’ve gotten away from gifts, for the most part, and simply enjoy the presence of family we once shared daily life with.

My five offspring still in Texas, along with a few significant others and one grandbaby, got together for what used to be “Mom’s Black Bean Enchilada Dinner.” That was always a favorite, and favored this time of year because turkey is plentiful at other tables.

This year my daughter, the one with the baby, took over the cooking duties and hosted the gathering. I live in a small apartment, and really didn’t want to do the work of cooking. And Hannah wanted to use organic, non GMO ingredients, as has been her philosophy for at least 2 years. She is a really good cook, and I was happy to turn it over to her and have it at her house.

Great. Date set well in advance, yes RSVP’s all around — a-and — the baby gets a bad cold, won’t sleep, mother exhausted — so I spent half a day at her house “helping”. It involved a lot of baby holding, which was nice, but before everything could be put together, mother and baby disappeared to nurse and sleep and I, along with Robert and another daughter, put the casseroles together and cleaned up. Way more work than I had counted on, and I went home and crashed.

But– yesterday, when we all got together, it was all worth it. The food was good, the company was great, and we all had a good day. Five siblings reuniting, reminiscing about their childhoods.  Hannah says she’s not doing it again, others suggested doing something completely different, or catering. I know a lot can happen in a year, and the most important thing is to keep getting together with family, whatever that looks like.

Here’s my Thanksmas tree.

Christmas tree 2014

I am thankful for my family. And actually, am thankful for the empty nest, because I don’t have the energy it takes to have a full one. I am thankful that my kids are all ok.

And life goes on.

A poem by Hafiz

Where Dolphins Dance

Again the work starts

as soon as you open your eyes in the morning.

Hopefully you got some good rest last night.

why go into the city or the fields

without first kissing the Friend 

who always stands at your door?

It takes only a second.

Habits are human nature –

why not create some that will mint gold?

Your arms are violin bows always moving.

I have become very conscious upon

whom we all play.

thus my eyes have filled with warm

soft oceans of divine music

where jeweled dolphins dance

then leap into this world.

              –Hafiz

The view from here

I am a watcher, perched above the lake, as high as the tops of the palm trees that have survived years of battering winds, sometimes hurricane force. The expanse of sky with the lake below brings me joy every day. My window faces south, so I get to observe sunrises and sunsets. During the hot summer afternoons, I will occasionally wander down for a dip in the pool, but more often I find myself observing the changing scene below.

I see two women deep in conversation at a table by the boardwalk. Nearby, on the small bench, crowds a family of four, parents and their young boys, fishing gear scattered all around. Richard, the neighbor everyone knows, is working on his sailboard. I see him often, even during the winter sometimes, catching the wind and skimming across the surface of the lake. Here goes a young teen boy, skateboarding carelessly through the parking lot.

The pool is crowded today, the temperature being in the high 90’s. There are many babies and children, slathered with sunscreen and watched with eagle eyes, or so I hope. There is the party bunch, more middle aged, gathered in a corner with their beer and cigarettes and classic rock. And over there are the sun worshipers, girls in bikinis, and the young muscled men with tattoos nearby. I should add, since I mentioned tattoos, that it isn’t really gender specific. I have one myself.

My gaze travels over the lake. A couple of boats sail in the distance, looking very picturesque. The water is cut by the power boat zooming past, seemingly recklessly. Where are they going in such a hurry, I wonder. Occasionally I have seen kayakers and people on standing paddle boards, but that is rare. Above all, the birds fly. Always there are seagulls, and often pelicans. They find roosting places on the old pier that juts away from the pool area. On rare occasions, when the weather is just right and the fish are jumping, the pelicans  swoop and swarm frenetically all over the lake.  The pelicans are rather ugly until they spread their wings and float ever so gracefully on the currants of air.

My gaze goes skyward. The blue of the sky is reflected in the lake and the pool. Cottonball clouds drift without care. Oh to be a bird, to always be able to look at life from a higher perspective.  I lean back, close my eyes, and think about that for a while.

pelican poem