God’s Time Frame

I traveled to Chicago to be with my son and daughter-in-law to await the birth of their first child.  Ok, so maybe I was a little over anxious…like I was afraid if Katie went into labor it would take me too long to get a flight from Orlando to Chicago to be there in time for Maya’s arrival.  I did get that part right.  A few contractions and five pushes later, that baby was out cocooning with her Mom and Dad.  But…prior to her red carpet entrance, there was the waiting.  I was 8 days early.  I’m never early for anything.  I took up residence at a Best Western in Evanston, Illinois.  Every day I would go to the front desk saying, “I think I need one more day”.  The front desk clerks and breakfast room staff became fast friends, exclaiming, “That baby’s not here yet?!  All in God’s time, honey.”

God’s time-frame gave me an unexpected gift…time with my son and daughter-in-law.  David’s career obligations, geographical distance, and impending fatherhood, hasn’t left him extra time for connecting with his Mom. We are alike in our love of play.  And play we were able to do this week of waiting for Maya.  A soft, powdery snow descended on Chicago the day of my arrival.  Living in Florida all my life, this climate change was novel for me.  We spent hours hiking (or really crunching) on snow-covered trails; we walked on Lake Michigan, the ice was so compact.  (“See David, I always said you walked on water”, I teased my son.)

Not accustomed to sitting still, this week permitted me to do just that.  My daughter-in-law, nestled into her sofa, knitted her way through countless mini-contractions as we watched old movies and reality television shows.

Maya (named that after a strong female character in one of the movies we watched) arrived on January 20th at 12:30 in the afternoon much to the delight of multiple grandparents and many friends. I wasn’t able to stay much longer after her birth. I anticipate many visits in the years to come. But I’m profoundly grateful God’s time-frame allowed me to spend this precious time with my kids as they perched on the precipice of parenthood, a time that will never be again.

Warmed by her newly knitted blanket
Warmed by her newly knitted blanket
Baby Maya and Mom
Baby Maya and Mom
Snow time with my son
Snow time with my son

 

 

Life With One Hand

Well, I’m figuring out life with one hand.  I had surgery to replace the joint in my right thumb.  Years of pottery must have taken its toll, leaving bone on bone and pain after pain.  I started thinking about how opposable thumbs were a key differentiation between humans and animals, a thought persuading me to submit to arthroplasty surgery (an intimidating label). I at least want to be one step removed from my animal lineage.

I’m at last through 2 casts and 47 days into this 3 month process.  It’s been surprisingly painful.  I’ve had several procedures over the past several years- carpal tunnel, removal of a parathyroid gland, arthroscopic knee surgery, biopsies, and a couple of neuroma removals.   (Wow, just looking at this list makes me feel sorry for my poor husband who has had to assume extra household and business responsibilities, as well as nurse-maiding an invalid) but none quite like this.  I’m accustomed to having quick energy at my disposal (relentless energy as a dear friend once proclaimed).  With what smacks of arrogance, I’ve prided myself on my ability to accomplish much in short periods of time.  Perhaps I’ve been known to lose patience with those slower than I deem acceptable (particularly drivers and store clerks).

Well, I’ve been resoundingly put in my place, or rather unable to leave my place.  My exercise routines have been significantly disrupted; typing on a keyboard, a key part of my work-life is awkward and uncomfortable; I’m unable to carry a “lazy-man’s load” up and down stairs or to and from the garage; and I tire easily.  This experience is requiring me to live in place.  I wonder if the universe is wagging its metaphysical finger at me, forcing me to do less and “Be” more.  Well, the jury is still out on that one, but perhaps multitasking is not the meaning of life after all.cast

 

Kate and Howard’s Legacies

As I await the impending birth of my granddaughter, I can’t help but think about my Mom and Dad, the precursors of this little girl. My mom died when she was 49 and I was 30; my Dad passed away four years ago at 80. I can’t help wondering about the attributes my Mom might contribute…her hazel eyes (probably not, recessive genes rarely rise to the top), her writing skills, which my daughter, son and I value so much, or her nurturing nature. Perhaps Maya will inherit my father’s height (which saved my son from being 5’5”), his striking good looks and athletic ability. (Although my son has his own share of these qualities and might claim credit if Maya becomes a gorgeous jock). It doesn’t really matter. She will be her own person, possessing her own qualities and talents. But there is a sweetness to reflecting on the legacy of my parents. I, like most people I know am addicted to multi-tasking and to-do lists. I don’t often stop to think about my parents. This time of waiting has opened up space for mindfulness. It’s kind of surreal watching the past morph into the future.

Terrye Lang, Maya's great grandmother
Terrye Lang, Maya’s great grandmother
Howard Lang, Maya's great grandfather
Howard Lang, Maya’s great grandfather

Are You a Tweener?

My husband came up with a new word to describe me – “tweener”. It’s because I fall “between” so many different labels. I’m somewhere between young and old.  I’m sandwiched between my parents’ generation who said sex/drugs and rock-n-roll were immoral, and my children’s generation who says they’re unhealthy. (I think we were the only generation to really have any fun) Because the clay art I create falls somewhere between “fine art” and “arts and crafts”, I, once again, straddle designations (although, I prefer to call myself a “fun artist”).

Is “tweener” an accurate description of you? Tell me how.

Are You a Tweener?
Are You a Tweener?

The Yin And Yang of 2014

Today is the first day of 2015.  New Year’s Day tends to be a day of reflection as we review the joys and ordeals of the previous year.  And what a complex and complicated year it was.  First to the joys:

On one hand, I’m filled with gratitude and delight over…

-The impending birth of my granddaughter-to-be, Maya Rose, to my precious David and Katie.

-My daughter Tracy created her Wripen business and works full time as a writer, away from the soul wrenching life of an inner city high school teacher.

-The sale of our home of 32 years and moving to what seems a world away to a fun, urban area where we can walk and bike to restaurants, grocery stores, and other retail businesses.

-For a full year of unmitigated joy with Austin, our first grandchild.

-For health and surgeries which contribute to a better quality of life at age 61.

-For so much love in my life..my kind and romantic husband, children, and many treasured friendships.

Ok so enough with the schlocky stuff, now to the sucky stuff…

-Our impromptu and impulsive decision to list our house brought its share of heartache as one potential buyer after another rejected the crimson red kitchen with its seven color mosaic back-splash, and the fact we “only” had two bathrooms.

-The dryer fire prompting a late night phone call from my neighbor informing me firefighters were in the process of breaking down my front door as we vacationed in Chicago.

-The Noah’s Arc-like flood that engulfed my husband and our newly leased car for two hours last summer.  The car was subsequently totaled, as was my husband’s psyche.  The ensuing weeks of drowning nightmares plaguing his sleep.

– The financial hit on our bank accounts from homeowner’s, car, and medical insurance deductibles resulting from the above cited calamities.

So yes, every year plays host to sweet and sour moments. As a former Humanities major, I know life is comprised of a series of dualities- light and dark, fire and water, male and female. But I prefer to think of these Yin and Yang moments as complimentary, rather than opposite forces, thus creating a whole. Everything has yin and yang aspects. For instance shadow cannot exist without light.

So while the shadows of 2014 seemed a little dark at times, the light moments were positively luminescent.

Happy New Year
Happy New Year