Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nothing gold can stay...

"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air. " (Nathaniel Hawthorne)

I took a break from blogging for a minute or two. Partly because my house seems to be one giant petri dish meant solely for breeding rhinovirus carriers, and partly because I had a touch of ennui. Such a pretty word, isn’t it? Ennui. I feel sorta exotic just saying it.

I tried explaining this lame feeling I’ve been carting around to my poor husband and I’m sure I only served to confused the man even more. How can I be absolutely fine on the surface and yet feel so sluggish and down on the inside? The same dork in pajama pants doing the running man at breakfast day in and day out that fights this nagging sadness that looms just around the corner and at the blurred edges in my vision? I don’t get it.

I think the crux of the problem is that I am used to working towards something. At any given moment in my life, you can ask me what I’m into lately and I always have a fire-burning passion about something. MMA, jiu jitsu, knitting, sewing, writing, Warcraft, running, yoga, swimming, baking. Something. And yes, I love all of those activities, but I think I might have burned myself out when the realities of my life as it stands now hit.

Life is busy. And not always in the carpooling to soccer/swim/baseball practice, but in the everyday reality of raising a family, working full-time with one of us in school full-time. It’s nuts. And it leaves precious little time for selfish pursuits. (I know it’s selfish to want to be able to sew for four hours straight, and it’s a notion I’m adjusting to. My boys saved me from my own vanity and self-interest, but I am not an overnight success. A work-in-progress at best!)

Each night at 4-ish when we get home, a part of me sighs heavily, knowing that the longest four hours of the day are about to begin. Between picking up after our morning rush out of the house to doing the daily upkeep chores, to cooking, bathing, and cleaning the wild apes running through the house, I’m done by 8 p.m….and that’s assuming the wild apes actually stay in their beds and sleep and don’t stand screaming for 45 minutes until we can’t stand it anymore and go get them.

But today on the drive in, the leaves are changing. My town is green and gold and full of crisp contrasts in every view, and around here, it doesn’t last. Fall is orange and red, full of pumpkins and chilly evenings, tempered with bright, warm afternoons, and it’s gone all too quickly—replaced by overcast, snow-threatening days and sad, bare trees.

Much like this stage in life, right? Our boys are young and they’re needy and it’s a beautiful time that’s fleeting at best. Perhaps I ought to reconsider my viewpoint and be happy they require so much work, because if I remember my teenaged years correctly, the times coming where they want to be on their own and away from the house.

And what would I do without lunches to pack and babies to bathe? Where would I be without 24-hours of Dragon Tales and Spongebob.

Lost, my friends. I’d be lost.

So here's to folding mountains of laundry and endless bowls of macaroni and cheese… beauty in the small details. Happiness in the everyday...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lessons I wish they didn't have to learn...

We are blessed. Our lives are filled with Elmo and Dragon Tales, Legos and Scooby Doo. Our boys (and family, I suppose) live in a mostly sunshine-filled bubble were everyday is mostly the same glorious experience over and over again. I am so thankful for that.

But we’re moving into an intimidating age with Boy Wonder—one where he’s beginning to sense that everything is not always right with the world, that people aren’t always kind and patient. And that superheros (fictional and real) can’t always save the day for us.

We don’t watch much violent television in our house. Truth be told, Boy Wonder and Boo dominate the channels and they choose either Sprout or Cartoon Network (and even then, it’s usually Chowder, Scooby Doo or Phineas and Ferb.)

But every once in a while, I need to see something, anything, not animated and I turn on the news hour while I’m making dinner. And sometimes our local news is scarier than any horror movie Wes Craven can come up with.

Last Saturday in the small village of Hoonah, Alaska two village police officers were chatting in a parking lot with their families and were gunned down. On the spot. In front of their children and mother. (You can read the heartbreaking story of the village’s police chief’s reactions and remarks here. But keep tissue handy, especially if you dare view the slide show. The officers were larger-than-life, good people that Alaska was privileged to call their own the past four years.)

So when the news is covering the lives of Anthony Wallace and Matthew Tokuoka, it breaks my heart. It’s senseless and violent and so horrendous it shakes your faith in human beings. I’m standing in the kitchen glued to where I stand, dinner boiling over, tears streaming down my face.
My reaction was not lost on my sensitive, all-seeing first grader, who wanted to know what had upset me. What had broken the hearts of all Alaskans...

How do you explain this to someone who stills sees the world in black and white? Where bad guys and good guys meet on epic battlegrounds, where good always prevails and the heros go home to their families every night for dinner.

I included the information about Officers Wallace and Tokuoka for folks to remember them, their families, and the Hoonah Police Department in their thoughts and prayers. I’m sure they could all really use them right now.

I don’t have the answers when Boy Wonder wants to know how such bad things can happen. I try to explain that God’s got it all in control somehow and we’re not ever going to understand, but it’s not our job to worry ourselves into a frenzy over it.

And Boy Wonder, our little “rev” said he was going to pray for the policemen—and did so, right on the spot in his beautiful, simple prayerful way. He asked God to give the policemen who were killed hugs and to help their families stop crying.

Maybe he’s got it down. Maybe Boy Wonder and Boo really need to teach me a little more about blind faith and not losing hope in humanity. But every now and then, I wish my son didn’t need such a highly developed sense of empathy or understanding.

Sometimes I wish the world really was Dragon Tales and Transformers and would stay that way forever…
And to Wallace and Tokuoka, rest in peace. Thank you for your service and your selflesness. You will be missed by an entire state of grateful, heartbroken people.