reverse threading

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snow angels. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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it wasn’t exactly a blizzard, but it was a great snowstorm.  it makes me wonder what would have happened if i had wished for something else….

every weekend My Girl drives back and forth across the high mountains.  she is a head coach for a snowboard team in aspen and instructs in telluride, so this four-and-a-half-hour-each-way-she’s-driving-where-there-are-no-guardrails-worry-zone for me is a necessity in her life.  i check the weather and implore her to stay in touch as she goes.  this last week, both of these towns and pretty much every town in-between had “winter storm warning” and THIS posted: avalanche warning copy

not exactly words that warm a momma’s heart.  but kirsten knows i am worried and, probably rolling her eyes, generously lets me know how things are as she goes.  she has good snow angels and i count on them.

i always say things like, “someday you’ll understand” to kirsten and craig, but i know that right now my mom-worrying might just be a burden to them.  i’m grateful they humor me, and i do know that someday they’ll understand.

when we were driving across the country in really bad weather, wendy had the ability to locate us and we were both really relieved for this.  checking in every so often, had something happened, at least she knew where-in-the-world we last were.  a good snow angel.  both The Girl and The Boy can locate me at any time too.  this is not an uncommon device used by families and i know that every mom has eternal gratitude for such a thing.

we took a walk in the freshly fallen snow.  It was very cold out and the wind was blowing, causing drifts across sidewalks and the waves to slam against the rocks on the lakefront.  i was glad not to be driving and my mind wandered back in time to other snowstorms….ones where my children bundled up and ran out to build snowforts and snowmen, ones where i was the one on the road and my sweet momma was the one worrying.  snowstorms when i went outside and played in the snow laughing with beloved old friends.

it had been kind of a long while since i’ve made a snow angel.  we got back from our walk downtown and were in front of our house.  i took david’s hand and we fell backwards into the snow.  i drew in my breath at the cold and laughed, my arms the wings of a snow angel.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

bong trail, wisconsin website box copy

 

 

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the storage unit. [two artists tuesday]

storage unit copy

on my nightstand next to the bed are two frames.  both written in little-kid-writing, they are notes i saved from long ago.  one is from My Girl and it reads, “goodnight mom” surrounded by hearts.  the other is from My Boy and it has two words on it, “craig” (with a backwards g) and “mom” and has hearts filling up the rest of the notepaper.  each night i see these as i wish them both, from far away, goodnight, sweet dreams, restful sleep.

i come by this threadiness honestly.

we were in florida visiting; two of the days we were there, despite bright sunlight and temperatures in the 80s, we spent in a storage unit.  what was left of my parents’ belongings was packed in boxes, stacked in a unit, waiting for us to put our eyes on all of it and decide what to do with each of these things.  my mom’s impulse was to keep things, especially paper.  photographs and slides aside, there were files and files – some of which we will wade through later.  there were boxes of mugs and baskets and trinkets, a kaleidoscope of the pieces of life, carefully packed by my sister and brother-in-law during a time of sadness, a time that was not ripe with paring down or organizing, a time that is difficult for anyone who has packed up a house. larger items were already distributed – furniture given away or passed down to the next generation.  but these boxes….

i was quite sure that, even if i hadn’t seen anything in any of the boxes, i had all i needed….my treasures of my sweet momma and my poppo are tucked in close to my heart and i have physical memories of them around me in our home.  they are not the high-priced treasures you might think people would save or claim.  instead, they are small, meaningful, invaluable and thready things that speak to me.  old calendars of my mom’s, my dad’s small rickety wooden boxes from his workbench, glasses from which my dad sipped his scotch, a flannel shirt my mom wore that matched my dad’s, a board with hooks that is wood-burned with the word “keys” and hung in our growing-up house for as long as i can remember…

spending time in the storage unit, surrounded by memories and the fading scent of my mom’s perfume and their house, i was heartened to see that i actually could go through and pare down.  it gives me hope about our own basement.  the real things of our past – sweet treasured memories – are not things.  everyone gets meaning from and sees value in different stuff.  two days in the storage unit reminded me again of that.

this time i didn’t cry.  i laughed with my momma, who, no doubt, was rolling her eyes in heaven over the fact that she had saved sooo many pieces of paper…paid bills, old house contracts, warranties from appliances long gone, car receipts from several cars ago.  a collection of life gone by, i know she smiled when every now and then we stumbled onto something i loved to touch….i kept the little scrap of paper that fluttered to the floor that my mom had written my full birth name on…i kept a couple calendars with my poppo’s handwriting…i kept a tiny folder of maps my mom collected in her curiosity about the changing world…i kept my dad’s brown suede cap, the one i bought him a million years ago…i kept a manila folder of letters i had written to them over the years – that my momma saved…these pieces of evidence of who they were, heirlooms of what was most important to them.

i vowed, once again, to go through, give away, sell the things in our own home that are not necessary.  but those bins in the basement labeled “kirsten” and “craig”?  those will stay.  i will delight in going through the artwork and stories and notes and school projects from their childhood and growing up.  and some day, maybe they too will see how infinitely important each of the baby steps and adult steps they have taken are to me.  and maybe some of the thready treasures i have left behind will give them pause and, maybe, they will save a scrap or two, a calendar, a notebook of unpublished songs, photographs, something that reminds them of what was most important to me – the thready things that are memories of love, of family, of them.

it wasn’t sunny or 82 degrees inside the storage unit.  but it was warm in a whole other way.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

mommaandpoppo deer ridge website box

 


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wondrous things. [merely a thought monday]

wondrous things copy

a couple of weeks ago i ran into a couple i hadn’t seen in many years.  they asked me about my children and how they were; i excitedly rambled on about them for several minutes, explaining where they were living – 20 hours west and 20 hours east – and what they were doing in life.  then they asked me how i was.  i said, “you can always gauge a mom’s happiness by how recently she last got to see her grown children.”  i was fortunate enough to see my daughter in november AND my son in november, so i was happy-happy-happy.  time spent with them. a wondrous thing.

i was perched on one edge and My Girl on another, a ways down the side of the canyon.  we yelled back and forth, listening to the echo, ultimately dissolving into laughter.  the beauty.  the joy.  the echo.  the laughing.  a wondrous thing.

it was not his best bowling day; the planets clearly were out of alignment for My Boy, who pretty much rocks at bowling and many other sports,  but he goofed around and cartooned and had us all laughing. so much fun on that lane.  a wondrous thing.

we stood around the piano and sang in my studio, wendy’s voice next to my own.  suddenly, that thing-that-happens-when-two-people-who-are-related-sing-together happened.  my sweet niece’s voice and mine had the same timbre and it took my breath away.  i had to stop for a moment to take it in.  a wondrous thing.

from the moment we walked into their house, my girlfriend-since-elementary-school and i laughed.  we told stories, reminisced, struggled to remember details, poured a little wine, shared some more.  our husbands sipped lemon drop martinis and we talked non-stop.  i wanted to stay longer, talk more, remember more.  so much of my growing-up-history was standing next to me, hugging me as we left.  a wondrous thing.

we don’t really leave the kitchen table when we are there.  we sit on high stools and the chatter starts as soon as we arrive.  our dear friends jen and brad and the two of us have potluck dinners on many friday nights; each couple has leftovers from the week and no one has to worry about cooking.  we just heat up our leftovers and plate them and talk, wine glasses (or a beer in brad’s case) in hand.  conversations about our children, our work, politics, travel, ukuleles, npr…the spectrum is wide and we relish the time that flies by; six hours later we glance at the clock pointing to post-midnight.  a wondrous thing.

as glorious as the high mountains, ocean-front waves, flowers birthing out of winter, exquisite melodies, the first sip of coffee in the morning, a magical snowfall, texts with heart emojis, a hand holding yours, finding an old note in your child’s little-kid handwriting, black and white pictures of your parents in young days, shooting stars and sunrises…the list of wondrous things we can see around us is endless…limitless…boundless…

and moments shared?  also endless…limitless…boundless…

and we get to embrace all these wondrous things.

read DAVID’S thoughts about WONDROUS THINGS

chicago at christmas website box