autumn days

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Whatever Place We Need to Be in this Moment

Dearest Readers,

So much has come to pass since my last entry.  My daughter's use of our computer for homework led to my inability to access the site for weeks.  In those weeks I had a lot to say.  And when I finally had access, my life was too hectic to make space for writing for myself here.

I spent the entire day with my three children yesterday, half of it in pajamas.  We cooked, brined a turkey, counted up 24 guests we will host for our Thanksgiving feast today, ran the dishwasher and washing machine three times each, ran to the bank and library, chatted with friends there, read a pile of children's books, and somewhat cleaned our home.  I also paid bills, called several agencies about account changes and inquiries, and sat down with my children for two meals.

All that productivity leaves me a bit of space to roll away in the wee hours of the morning from my breastfeeding-while-teething toddler.  Just for a few precious minutes, until my warm place in the bed begins to cool.

My beautiful, loving partner of 18 years died two weeks ago of lung cancer.  Only four months after diagnosis.  This horrible disease has left me the single parent of a then-13 month old, six year old, and nine year old.  I am so thankful for my partner's extraordinary siblings and cousins and the supportive community in which we find peace and respite.  I am thankful for the planning and generosity of our people.  I am thankful to get to host Thanksgiving in our home, to have help with cooking and playing and resting.

There is a hole within myself that my kind, young partner used to hold.  Now I try to fill that hole with mindfulness, gratitude, productivity, patience, and chocolate.  And I take the time to lay on the kitchen floor to sob and gasp and feel many emotions before my children arise for their day.

I am able to tackle the tasks my two-parent household could manage, with less grace and time for play.  We will slowly regain these two, though it will never be what it was.  My son talks about how we used to do things when Papa was around, how he wants things to be the same, yet nothing stays the same.  My friend with cancer says "We would give everything to go back to the day before this illness began."  This gets to the heart of my pain.

My partner had an amazing life.  With all my pushing to come up with a bucket list, he said he was perfectly content in his life to raise his children.  I always respected his perspective, even more so now.  Raising healthy, whole children in our world is a big job.  While I thought about one day learning to surf, my partner's focus was at the bull's eye of the matter.  What a focus.

Today I try to bring in that focus.  I increase my focus, my efficiency, and I try to hold onto what is most important: loving and caring for my children, teaching them the principles of a life well lived, nourishing our relationships with extended family and friends.

On this day created to sell turkey and an outdated story, I choose to give such great thanks for the blessings we have known, know now, and will know.  I am thankful for my ancestors who allowed me to be here.  I am thankful for this land with clean water on which to grow.  I am thankful for rising to the occasion in these extraordinary times with these extraordinary children.  I am thankful for this life I get to live and getting to share in this human adventure with my children.  I am thankful for being proactive in standing up for what I believe is most important: kindness, respect, compassion, generosity, forgiveness, soulfulness, and loving one another in our human family.  I am thankful for the ability to stand in a dark kitchen and write about where I am and what I love.  I am thankful for you reading these words and moving into a place of love and grace and gratitude with me, or to whatever place you need to be in this moment.  Such infinite blessings.

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