It Takes Kids


If we are lucky, we end up getting more than we expect from something we undertake. So has been the case with the job I started back in December. Just a very part-time and simple one as a lunch room monitor in a very small Charter school, something I honestly felt might not fulfill me as much as my career as a paramedic, but took because of logistical reasons. As it turns out, this non-career position may end up being one of the most satisfying jobs I’ve ever had in some important ways.

I was asked a month or so ago by a co-worker if I would be interested in participating in a 5K race that a bunch of kids and staff members were doing. This race was a two-part thing: one a regular 5K to benefit the Girl Scouts, but the other was called Girls On The Run to get local girls to get psyched and get out there and see what they could do. My co-worker knew I worked out, so approached me and I said: of course! Not really knowing what I was supposed to do though, I registered for the Girl Scout part, which was timed.

Meanwhile, the girls at my school trained, and in the lunch room, we all talked about the upcoming day which happened to be today.

It was held in a lovely park right as the sun was coming up. I haven’t raced in years and planned to just speed walk. The girls were excited and it was great to see some of the teachers out of work.

When the race started, I held to my plan for a bit, but since I had been having a pretty good work out regimen lately (and I’m way too competitive), I thought I’d try jogging just a bit. The paved trail in the park was surrounded by grass, so I was able to jog on it for much of the time. Since the Girls On The Run race started 5 minutes later, a few of the kids passed me and we cheered each other on. One teacher (who had planned to walk too, but was running), passed me also as did a friend’s son. I ended up jogging slowly almost the whole way. It was a miracle.

At the finish line, we all had fun cheering the school in (and collecting thin mints). And it was really crazy when we found out some of us actually placed in our age groups; including me! I was second in mine! Pays to be old. Of course I was 10 minutes behind the first woman, but hey: as a famous woman runner once said, “A win is a win!”

But the really best part was having the girls calling out my name along the way and saying hi, having one teacher telling me how much she loved me (I actually thought she never noticed me), having the kindergarten teacher introduce me to her Mom telling her about how I’m in her class and just hearing from folks how the kids love me (I was asked to be one of the coaches next year).

I worked for 20 years as a medic and rarely got warm fuzzies. Maybe it just takes children and their natural ability for giving joy and love to finally make someone like me feel good in my place of employment!

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Poem: Convergence


We meet upon the rubbled path

as comrades often do

weary travelers in a lonely place

not by chance the journey crossed

By the crackling fire

shared stories told resting long and slow

of future climbs and mountains high

and moonlit rivers flowing near

Our hearts have been separate

but souls have been in sync

recognizing kindred spirits

and distant hopeful dreams

With these bonding moments

promises are cast

someday in a future life

the trail may yet converge

A single road then

we shall walk

together side by side

To create a burning reality

from a bridge of given thoughts

that passed between

us two

 

 

 

 

Poem Art: Elusive


poem art 3

I had a conversation today with a person who played a prominent role in my past. He said something that triggered a visceral, and for me, odd reaction. It was odd, because it surprised me, that I could feel such a ‘gut’ feeling (like I had been punched in the gut) to a very simple thing this person said in a perfectly normal conversation. It wasn’t like we had delved into the past or were reminiscing… and yet, the comment, in a sense, was about the past, because it referenced a place we had shared together.

This moment touched off many thoughts in me. Like what constitutes relationships and ‘falling in love’ with someone? And is love¬†even the right way to approach a relationship? Should it be more about wanting or needing something–for yourself; in others?

Certainly at my age, love seems a far cry from where I am these days. My relationships with people close to me seem to be based on things much more involved than love. Things that seem even more important and lasting than love if that makes any sense. The things that keep people together–the glue.

Those of you that have lasting relationships of any kind know what I mean here, so I won’t explain what I am talking about. Love can be fleeting and fickle and hard to get a grasp on. But we can still build strong, solid and meaningful bonds even after the love may turn into something strange or convoluted. Or maybe if the ‘love’ was strange from the start.

So can I re-evaluate life and how to live it more openly? To be open to a different way to to be with someone if love isn’t the defining point? It’s another perspective really, but not unfamiliar. It’s a theme that has repeated in my life.

What is the ‘want’ then…or the ‘need’? These become the hard questions to ask. Because simply hoping to exchange love with someone, I feel, is not where I should place my hope.

It seems it should be in far more reliable, tangible and maybe simple things that will help to grow a connection with someone else; things that will ultimately not vanish, just in case the love remains elusive.

 

Symbiotic Tie


best friend

 

I saw this today as I was thinking of my blog post and googling ‘protection’. Yup, it seemed about right, although I’m usually non-violent. But recently my best friend (and chosen sister) and I have been each going through some hard things. We each have our allotted time to speak about our stuff to each other: first one, then the other. It’s obvious who is the person speaking, because they are often sad, upset, cranky or even depressed. The issues that run in our lives are not usually new, and we seem to loop around them quite frequently with each other.

They are no different from anyone else’s issues: work and co-workers, ex’s, other ‘friendships’ or our own complicated journey on this planet. The interesting thing is that even though the speaker may be down and sad while telling their tale of woe, the minute the other one begins to share, demeanor changes–for both of us. Somehow, for the initial person, she can gather strength, resolve, anger (if appropriate) and energy to deal head on with the second person’s dilemma. Her issue becomes secondary for a bit.

It’s quite an interesting phenomena to witness and participate in and happens almost without fail. Certainly there are times that one person’s troubles are too grave to bring your own to the table, but this is usually sensed and obvious. But for the most part, it’s give and take–she has my back, I have hers. And for me, having no blood sister or brothers, this is such a comfort.

When I am feeling broken, lost, confused or just needing someone to stand up for me–it’s good to know I have someone who will puff up, get on her warrior gear and go to battle. If something happens to me, she knows the stories and will be there to pick up the pieces and give the proper people a piece of her mind…and Goddess help them!

So not only do we help each other by being there for one another, but by virtue of this special bond and fierce protective nature of our friendship, we naturally come out of our own funks when we listen (and therefore prepare to help) to the other person’s story. It’s the symbiotic tie that holds us together.

Hopefully this bond will never be put to the test in a physical sense by anyone because we are like Mama bears. Words may be enough to scare anyone away. Don’t mess with us! Because two of us together are like vinegar and baking soda–we’re going to fizz up and boil over and anyone trying to get in our way will be left empty.

It’s Not About Temperature


Going away on a trip gives us perspective. It can be a few days or a long vacation. Either way breaking our routine can be very cleansing to the soul.

I just returned from a short journey to visit old and dear friends. It was in a part of the US I really enjoyed living and was during a very happy time in my life. At that point I was raising my babies with a man I figured I would be with forever.

Instead I ended up with memories and incredible friends. The women friends from that era of my life played vital roles in my development as an female person. We have watched each other divorce, change jobs, marry, move, have children and now get ill.

One main reason for going was to see a friend with cancer. She’s a very private person so it was hard to know details. It was just time to visit. I needed to see her, touch her, hug her, laugh with her and cry with her! See with my own eyes what the truth was about the damn disease. And joyfully she was well, as well as could be under the circumstances! And she was positive and happy and looked radiant!

It was not only the warmth of my friends that struck me, but the genuine warmth of strangers. This is something I recalled about that area and find so different from where I currently live. On my morning walk, most everyone would say hi, even if they had a headset on. Or in the store folks would comment on random things, so unlike my New England town. I walk by neighbors twice a day and they never say hello!

I mentioned this to my friend and said that it may not be about moving somewhere where the weather is warm, it’s about the people. She called it “social temperature”. Very true. I miss it– that sense of community and feeling like I fit in. I’ve never felt that way here.

I’m hoping someday to feel that way again. To find or go back to a place where there is warmth and acceptance. Where the warmth is so common place that it’s every where you go: in a store, on a walk, in the bank or across the street from where you live. Because goodness knows as this world becomes a colder, harsher place–we will all need as much warmth as we can get!

Making Room


 

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This weekend was spent with a dear old friend. It was a short, but sweet visit as the saying goes. I didn’t get all my chores done, but it was worth it. I haven’t seen this friend in a very long time. Her hair was more gray, but she looked just the same. We laughed at the same old dumb jokes, and looked at old pictures wondering where the time had gone.

After she left another extremely important friend (like a sister) called having some issues. I was on the way to the grocery store, but I pulled over and we worked on things. Cars went by, and I sat right there until I felt things were resolved enough to head on my way.

My Mother always said: the sign of a true friend is one that if you called and said start walking, they would hang up the phone and do it–no questions asked. True that! These two friends are those kind of friends, ones that I have known for 30 years or more.

In years past it would have bothered me and my OCD that I didn’t get to my chores and the things planned for the day. But not anymore. Now I have my priorities set straight–I know the value of a good day. It’s spent with someone we love, someone who tomorrow we may never see again and someone who would do anything for us. Mowing the lawn, cleaning the house and all those kinds of things can all wait. Nothing is more important than laughing, hugging and talking with a dear and wonderful friend.

So don’t ever pass up an opportunity. Take a day off if you have to. Forget old fights. Go out of your way. Do whatever you have to do, but make it happen. They are our greatest treasures, sometimes more valuable than family!

The Value Of Friendship


Being an only child, my friend are everything to me. We all have different levels of friendships, from acquaintances to best buds. Some may be new budding relationships and some may go back years and years. But whatever they may be, our friends fill a gap that family can’t really fill. As a friend said, “You’re really stuck with your family and can’t get rid of them, but friends you get to pick.”

Happily, I’ve been so blessed over the years to have friends that have been like family (or maybe even better). Not having siblings, this has been vitally important to me. Having gone through ups and downs, and having been far from my Mother, my friends have pulled me through very tough times. I’ve gone through divorces, child-birth, illnesses, breakups, deaths, job changes, moves, marriages, graduations and a multitude of life changes that most people would share with family. I had my friends.

My friends have pulled me off the brink of depression and made me laugh so hard I thought I would wet myself. We all know those inside jokes that only the oldest and dearest friends understand–the rest think you are nuts when you relate the story. You share the good times, but they are there too to scoop you up when you make your stupid mistakes they told you not to do. And they don’t say: told you so. One friend once said: I know you AND I love you!

I’m getting to the age in life where I am losing friends to cancer–and this is so very painful. It slams mortality right in my face. These people have been my buoys, ¬†lighthouses and life vests…and now they are floating away. A part of me dies every time one of them dies. And I can do nothing to save them.

My Mom says you should be able to count your truly good friends on one hand. And that if you picked up the phone to them and said: start walking, they would hang up and start coming–no questions asked. I agree. I feel like my friends are concentric circles with the very dearest in the middle. That’s the smallest group and the circles get bigger and so do the friends in them. I cherish them all, and they may move in and out of the circles.

I honor loyalty and friendship highly. Not everyone does these days. It’s a throw away world in general, but making vital connections to others makes our web stronger. So work on the friendships you have every day and create new ones. You never know who might be your best new life long friend.

Weather The Storm


It never ceases to amaze me that after someone makes the move to cut you out of their life, they often turn around after with great remorse. Seemingly it always seems to be the people who do this without care or tact, they do it rudely and hurtfully. And then, either shortly or some time after, come swooping back gushing flowery words telling their true desire or care for you. It totally baffles the mind!

So, why then, did they go in the first place? It has become apparent to me that either don’t make the same long-term commitment to others that I do, or they base leaving on a particular act or feeling. One moment in time constitutes enough of a reason to tell the other person to get lost.

While it is true that not every case is like this and many relationships/marriages/friendships may weather many storms and then finally hit the tornado that breaks the foundation apart. I understand these situations. But I have found more and more this not to be the case. Rather no-one seems to want to put their heads into the wind anymore with someone else and face the winds together. It is just easier to say: I’ll push you out there yourself and close the door to the storm cellar where I’m safe.

But then, why stick your head out again looking for that person? They would have been bruised and battered by the storm. And adding insult to injury by claiming love or cherishing when you pushed someone out there simply sounds utterly, well, ridiculous!

How then, to avoid these kinds of situations? Well, we can just never trust anyone! I’ve tried that before. But the storms can be dark and lonely to battle alone. And it can be nice to share an umbrella now and then. Getting to know someone takes time, so not rushing that can be helpful.

More importantly, the burden falls on the people who do the dumping. Although we can’t control them, we can try not to be them. Thinking before we leave a friendship, marriage, relationship is critical. Thinking about the devastation we leave in our wake is critical! It’s not just about us! Empathy-even when we may feel like garbage-is the key. And remembering that at one time at least, we cared about this person we’re about to wreak havoc upon, even if we’re not crazy about them presently.

Finally, thinking about why you are doing it. Is it because you are in some moment that is ticking you off? Is it something that will pass? Maybe you can do something instead of telling them to take a hike: maybe you can GO for a hike, go talk to a friend about it, write, listen to music, run, meditate or whatever it is you do to come down off your anger (beside use substances to excess). If the moment passes, then you won’t make the dumb mistake and be writing that person the idiotic email saying how much you miss them! And they won’t be telling you what a jerk you are later. If it doesn’t pass, then communicate in a mature way with the other person. At least let them know there’s a problem! If it isn’t solved them–seek help together! There’s so many places to get help: professional or otherwise.

There’s no need to just be cruel. If you did indeed love or care for someone: friend, lover or spouse–then don’t let anger or hurt blow it. Just stop and think before you do something that may end “the best thing you ever” had or make you lose “someone you cherish” (these are both quotes -post dumping-from two people who ended it with me)

No-one says it’s easy getting along with someone else, but walking away during the storm will only leave you standing in the rain.

Poem: Twins


It feels like twins

When she gets hurt

A friend you love

Her love twisting at the gut

From secret moments

Hidden away not meant to be found

But tripped upon

And the power of the words

To tear apart what was whole

Leaves you too half

As you remember

Love once promised

The gifts placed in your

Unsuspecting hand

Your open heart

You recall the sense

Of pain and despair

As you open your eyes

To find no-one there

You know what she feels

In her gut

Deep in the pit

The swirling terror

Of disbelief

In yourself

In them

What is true?

What comes next?

And each time it sprang forth

Each time you open

To be closed

You open less next time

Until finally

You just don’t open

At all