Friday, July 26, 2013

Birth Days

Today is my son's twenty-sixth birthday.  He came into this world fast.  I knew he was a he before he was born.  It was his kick.  It was more like a punch. Given I only had my first born to compare him to, her movement was more fluid, almost ballerina like.  He seemed anxious to get going from the outset. His legs, strong and solid to this day, gave my insides quite a work out.  A harbinger of  things to come - those legs would come in handy for Little League, Karate, Waterpolo, and Surfing.

From beginning to end, my son's birth took 45 minutes.  I barely broke a sweat. My hair remained neat and in place and given it was the middle of summer, my skin was suntanned.
My water broke and my labor came on hard.  My mother was summoned to sit with our daughter who slept in her new big girl bed happily oblivious to the fact that her life was about to change upon her awakening. So fast was he coming we had to hurry Mother up - fifteen minutes was going to be too long.  Mother made it and then she herself summoned my nephew to take her place, anxious to get to the hospital to see her new grandchild.
Two pushes and boom. There he was.  Our family was complete. A girl and a boy.

I've always said the two happiest days of my life were the days our children were born.  I feel enormously blessed to have had the privilege of being a mother. I think of my own mother, who always made a big deal out of my birthday - understandable because my birth brought my parents enormous joy given I was a replacement for a three-year-old child they'd lost.

Sometimes we take for granted this thing called birth. Not today.
Today, I am remembering twenty-six years ago like it was yesterday and I am grateful.
 Grateful to have experienced the miracle of birth!
Grateful for the gift of my children.
Grateful for this blessed day.
Happy Birthday, Son.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dear Diary

One of my favorite songs from long ago began, "Well hello there, dear old friend of mine. You've been reaching for yourself for such a long time. There's so much to say. No need to explain. Just an open door for you to come in from the rain."
That's how I feel about my writing.  I've been away for a long time.
When I was a girl, I kept a diary.  It had a lock. In the early days of my journaling, I wrote in what was called a 5 Year Diary - with space for about an inch of writing per day per year.  I soon moved beyond those limited margins and disregarded the lines converting five years into one day per page. I sometimes wonder what it is that draws us to this self-reflection process. As a young girl I poured out my feelings to my diary always with the opening "Dear Diary" as if it were a trusted friend.
Uncensored and emotionally raw,  my diary contained my secrets, my loves, my heartbreaks, my fury, my thoughts, my fears. It was a conversation with myself or perhaps more to the point, with my psyche. The compunction to keep a diary had less to do with self-importance or that I was recording anything remarkable.  It was a simple chronicle of my day to day experience as an adolescent coming of age in the 1970's.  Even that makes the process sound too lofty and purpose- driven.
Whatever the drive to write, it stayed with me. The little paisley books were replaced with various journals. Some with lines. Others blank. Some spiral-bound. Others with colorful covers and quotes.  Shelves full of them. My life is an open book.
Blogging, while not as uncensored as the pages of my personal journals, is an extension of that process. The pen, replaced by the keyboard, still unlocks insights, ideas, and feelings undiscovered, unexpressed - leading to a deeper understanding of myself.
It is a familiar act that brings with it a sense of well being.
So why have I stayed away from it recently?
Well for one thing, my computer blew up.
Fortunately, my trusty pen and newest journal (a gift from my sister-in-law) served as an outlet for my venting and spewing  just like in the days of my adolescence.
But in truth, sometimes our day in and day out experiences are so overwhelming that writing about them is the last thing you want to do.
Now that there is a light at the end of the tunnel I have emotional space to process my experience and to reflect on it.  When you are in the thick of it, sometimes it takes too much energy to even turn on the computer or to pick up the pen.
The fact that I've figured out how to write on my blog using an iPad instead of a computer is a sign of my recovery.  This hasn't been an easy task.  The touch pad drove me crazy until I discovered a little keyboard that can be attached to the iPad making it a mini-computer-like experience. I still have to point at the screen when I make a mistake which is annoying.   I find myself pointing to the monitor attached to my desk-top computer at school trying to get it to do something until I remember to use the mouse.  Such is the new technology.  At least I'm back to the page!
Writing is like an old friend.  I've missed it and it feels good to be back.