Monday, April 25, 2011
Have Boat, Will Travel
Easter has come and gone. Ours was great. Despite a freak mini snowstorm the day before (an hour and a half of snow, people!) it was a beautiful day up here. We had a pancake breakfast (Nana’s Famous Yeast Pancakes!), went for a hike to Picnic Rock (that’s what I named the quarry pond, because I like to name things) and ate a late lunch in town at a restaurant that was just barely appropriate for the girls (i.e., all crystal glasses, no children’s menu, lots of cloth and two kids who think it is funny, no, hysterical to yell out POOPOO DIARRHEA). All this, followed by ice cream and a relatively smooth bedtime for the girls, which meant Nicole and I could watch not one but two episodes of Modern Family. Easter miracle: she actually laughed out loud a few times!
I was having some Easter insecurity. Last year, my niece and nephew were up here with us and their absence this year left two little holes in my heart. I did not spend nearly as much time this year basket planning as I did last year, and I wonder if this is in part because all Easter prep work made my thoughts turn to Leif and Skye. Avery asked several times if they would be with us again this year. It was so hard to tell her no, they won’t.
This year, I didn’t even have a theme. I know, the horror. Nicole reassured me by saying how many themes can there really be, without getting redundant. But still. Bugs would have made a really get theme. Our eggs were sloppy (is there some sort of trick to this? Mine were awful!) and our house decoration almost nil, though I must say that is because I am not a fan of pastel or overly cutesy decorations. And I even waited uncharacteristically to the last minute to finish up basket shopping. Still, the girls seemed happy and I can always save my “bugs” theme for next year.
While we were all about chocolate bunnies and jelly beans, a friend of mine celebrated her 40th birthday on Easter. All I could think was, wow, what a great thing! Turning 40 on Easter, a day that celebrates rebirth and renewal. Imagine focusing being ‘reborn’ on your 40th, instead of feeling ennui and dread “the end is near”, as many do? Imagine thinking, this is a new day, a new start, a new birth?
When I was younger (yes, this means my 20s) change was elusive. I was more likely to float along and see where the tide took me instead of actually steering my boat. That lead to all sorts of chaos and interesting situations. By “interesting” I mean not good. This is not a recommended nor beneficial course for one’s career, social life, or romantic life. By 30, I patched up my hull, started steering, navigating by both stars and GPS. There was wind in my sails, a back-up engine to boot, and even a pair of emergency oars to help me push out of particularly murky, sludgy spots. I still take wrong turns and sometimes spend a little too much time in Toxic Coves, but eventually I remember, oh yeah, I don’t have to wait here for someone to tow me out. I have my own engine, and I am getting the hell out of here. And I’m really trying to remember this good advice I got: You can be upset for the next hour, then move on. Because, really, life is too short.
The older I get, the more cliché I am. To wit: It really is ALL in the journey. How often are we focused on that end goal and forget all the work that leads up to it. There are lessons in that work, and value in it, and fun. And that the decision to make a change in itself, that split-second moment when enough is enough or your back is against a wall or you are just ready, carries more weight and importance then the goal itself.
Like running a marathon. The reward is usually said to be crossing that finish line and getting that foil blanket. But really, what about the hundreds of miles of training? What about all the effort and time and dedication put forth? What about the lessons one learns about prioritizing? What about the days when you pound out a bad day with a good run? What about the bonds created by sharing this journey with others? So really, is the finish line the reward? Or just the start line to a new goal?
All things I need to remember: Boat, engine, stars, power, change change change and one hour, people, just one hour.
Pictured above, look closely at Avery in that top picture and, I hate to say this, but doesn’t Avery look a little…. possessed? But so cute in her little dress! I am destined to NOT have one good picture of me with my children!