Saturday, April 13, 2013

Memory

Memories are funny things. Some have a tactile quality: like my memory of a family trip from a few years back. I take out it out like a smooth beach pebble. It's a round, sun-warm memory to rub through my mental fingers -  and it's unexpectedly pink.

{I think because it was such a spontaneous trip. The spontaneity created enough anxiety to make the relief of the fun, carefree days all the sweeter - yet how does that translate in my mind to pink - a color which I hold no affection for whatsoever? Cotton candy, saltwater taffy? My sweetie-pie little girl?}

There is a malleble quality to most memories. They are warped depending what our minds emphasize.  It's intriguing to spend a day with a story-teller friend,  knowing it'll be so fun to hear them tell others about our day. Often when I hear the stories they recount, I'm surprised by the adventurous life I've unwittingly led. (What a talent that kind of memory is! A dangerous one if, say, you publish your exciting, embellished memories as a Memoir and people want it to be factual truth, a la James Frey)

As I get older, the children grow, my mind is getting forgetful and the memories of their hilarious comments fade, I try to write more down. The other day a friend reminded me of a story another friend had told her about an episode with Sam. Shockingly, I'd forgotten about it. But in her retelling my memory awoke and there it was, the car ride, my puzzlement, and the punchline - so fresh, funny and 4 he is.

He was talking about spelling his name and was trying to figure out where the "o" was.
This had been an ongoing conversation that hadn't yet been resolved, since Sam doesn't have an "o" in his name - and I'd told him that, multiple times.

Samuel Frank Buttner. No "o!"

 Finally, after spelling it, re-spelling it, firmly denying the presence of an "o", I asked, "Why do you think you have an "o?'"

"Because you say "Oh, Sam"and "Oh Sam". So where is the "o" in my name?"

It still cracks me up, 3 weeks later. And now I wrote it down so even if I forget it, I can remember it here. And laugh like a 4 hear old laughs in sunshine, splashing down.

I know it's easy to remember the worst things, unkind words, crushing disappointments. But it's equally easy to remember the love you felt, the crashing joy, the belly laughs. And the positive echoes reverberate around your present day and bath it in a rosier glow.

Or ...just forget everything, including the bad stuff and the day you're having is the best ever. That's Murray's strategy, "How's your day?" "Never Better!"

Here's to life, and the best memories of it.



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The best laid plans....

Sometimes I get sucked into this amazing blog maze of uber-crafty, oh-so-talented moms/homemakers/artists. And I begin to think, because of their chirpy, can-do tone and beautiful "Ta-Da!" pictures, that I, too, can whip out a well-crafted home in the time it takes me to run a load of laundry.
And this virtual encouragement adds fuel to a not-so-closely held secret: I'm a closet crafter. I love to submerse myself into a project and come up hours later with...something. I don't have loads of talent or time, nor have I developed great skills, so my finished products are not usually what I had envisioned, but they make me happy in that crafty "look what I made!" way.

Along with crafts for myself, I often embark upon ambitious craft ideas with my kids. Which almost always go awry. And takes great willpower to keep a positive attitude so as to not quench my childrens' creative joy.

Take last Tuesday for example: it was a snow day. But one of those faux snow days our school calls which means the weather is just unpleasant enough to get administrative types worried about a lawsuit but not bad enough to keep anyone trapped in their home. So we called a friend over for a playdate and I conceived the brilliant idea of having the girls make flowers on sticks.
How perfect; the girls would be occupied while I got a ton of stuff done and the flowers would, of course, be adorable enough decorate with at Easter.
What is wrong with my ever-optimistic brain?!?

After reading through some nifty tutorials, I cut some strips of paper and set the girls up. (I have a lovely box of patterned craft paper from Michaels. This paper is the best random Michaels sale product I ever purchased. It's a never-ending supply - I bought it 3 years ago and am still using it. Better yet - I still like most of the patterns. This weird box of scrapbook paper has been the source of much crafty joy in our house. Thanks, Michaels!)
Once I had cut the paper and given the instructions, I instantly realized that, instead of freeing me up to do the myriad of chores I had to get done, I was now tied to supplying them with information, assistance and supplies.
In fact, 2 hrs later I was the only one still working, as I hot glue-gunned flowers to sticks while deflecting impatient demands from the girls as they cycled through the kitchen in their running games. ("Are you done yet? Can we make more?" The answers, "No and No.").
3 hours later we had 4 flowers done, the table covered in scraps, the rest of the house chaos and no dinner. Hmmm.
But big smiles on the little people!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Attention!

Detox lesson thus far: Pay attention to what my body tells me.

If I feel great - strong, light, cheerful - after a few days of eating well, that's my body being happy.
If I'm sluggish and want to sit on my bed and stare into space after eating a meal, listen up! My body is struggling to process something I'm digesting.

All the (helpful) detox reading I did had this in common - whether they loved or hated fish oil, pushed the fruits and abstained from all sugar, a recurring theme was: It's your body, it has it's own chemistry and it tells you when it's running well or not... if you listen.

Teaching childbirth class I speak the same theme, but in a different context. My spiel includes a reminder that our bodies know how to grow and birth a baby, even if our minds don't. Otherwise we'd be extinct, right? Kinda common sense that rises when you silence the fear/negativity that surrounds pregnancy and childbirth in our healthcare professions and culture.  So many of my nursing triage calls would answer themselves if people took the time to know and trust their own bodies.

But life is so busy we don't have the time to learn from our bodies, about our bodies. We're running from one thing to another, usually in a car, while talking on a phone and eating. This frenetic activity results in a lack of connection with our physicality. Body awareness is one of the unsung benefits of exercise. I would add that it's helpful to step away from loud music, classes, reps counting or workout targets. Removing the distractions allows us to pay attention to how we feel and what our body thrives on.

And attention is powerful stuff.