Because, Mum: How Nomads Do Mother’s Day Cards

I said:

I think I’ll try field hockey/piano/gymnastics/viola/dance/volleyball/basketball/madrigal choir/jazz band/youth orchestra/art/rock climbing/voice lessons/theater/insertgazillionmorethings.

You said:

You know best. I’ll help you.

I said:

I think I’ll drop out of school.

You said:

You know best. I’ll help you.

I said:

I think I’ll live in India and help orphans and not go to college.

You said:

You know best. I’ll help you.

I said:

I think I’ll get married young and move to a new state and become a nanny/diamond sales associate/barista/chocolate seller.

You said:

You know best. I’ll help you.

I said:

I think I’ll study Midwifery and try my hand at being a doula. No wait, now I’ll go to college for Human Development and Family Studies, now Classical Studies, now English, now back to Human Development.

You said:

You know best. I’ll help you.

I said:

I’m hosting a boy from the Ukraine, and maybe we’ll adopt him, but probably not, but maybe we will change each other’s lives all the same.

You said:

You know best. I’ll help you.

I said:

I’m getting divorced; I’m leaving my career in social work; I need to move in with you.

You said:

You know best. I’ll help you.

I said:

I’m going halfway around the world to walk to the end of the earth and find my heart.

You said:

You know best. I’ll help you.

I said:

I’m back and I don’t know what I want, but I’m going to teach gymnastics and walk a lot and learn to play the accordion. And, can I live with you?

You said:

You know best. I’ll help you.

I said:

Now, I’m selling everything and going out into the world to seek my fortune on the open road with this gypsy man I love.

You said:

You know best. I’ll help you.

This openness I learned as an adult to embrace others as agents of their own destiny, and to honor their choices, ideas, and decisions isn’t something that stems from any special wisdom in me.

This value system I carry that believes others know themselves best, and no matter the bumps in the road, all will work out for them if they follow the compass of their heart was not something I discovered on my own.

The basic human dignity and respect I give to others, and a desire never to give advice because I know little about what is best for their lives; this trust I give people knowing they will figure it out and choose what is best for them in any given moment was being nurtured in me long before I was aware of it.

It came from years of being consistently supported no matter what, no matter when, no matter how and never, once judged as being fickle, inconstant, naïve or wrong. I was just human. Just an explorer, wonder-er, and dreamer who was and is ever unfolding and evolving as a woman.

You always just said: Okay. Yes! I see you. Sure. Why not? Give it a go. Sounds good. You know best. Yeah! Get it, girl.”

Damn, Mum! Your faith in me wasn’t small like a mustard seed. You faith in me was dis-proportionally ginormous compared to the knowledge and awareness I actually had at any of those given moments, but I needed to walk through life and experience everything if I was ever to come out as my best and truest self. And, you knew that.

You knew I was stubborn, and that I knew myself best even if I didn’t know myself fully.

So you sent me on my way with love notes and cards hidden into pouches, purses and inner suitcase pockets to remind me along every step of my unknown journeying that all was well. I was loved. Telling me I was awesome, brave, brilliant and how proud you were of me.

Whatever I was, it was because you were first.

You sacrificed a lot, so I would always have an open door to follow my dreams.

Bumps and obstacles might present themselves along the road, but walking through that doorway of opportunity  was never part of the difficulty.

What is very often the most difficult part of any journey, change of heart or growth, you made the easiest to say “Yes” to.

Just begin.

Thanks for always walking alongside me and believing in my ever changing plans and notions. I’ve always been a ridiculously happy person, and you are a huge part of that joy. I hope you know how irreplaceable you are to me.

I love you.

This is no handmade Mother’s Day card, but I think you’ll understand why this year.

 

Any Reason to Celebrate Love and I’m In: Why the child in me still loves Valentine’s Day

Does the world really have such a tumultuous relationship with Valentine’s Day?

Consumer Driven Day

I have never fully understood the disdain or discomfort this day has for people.

And it has nothing to do with having a significant other in my life or not or being a feminist or not.

It has everything to do with my family.

All growing up, Valentine’s Day was one of our favorite holidays. I have two sisters and a brother.

I am not sure it was Andy’s favorite holiday, but for three girls with a love of arts and crafts, it was heaven.

With mounds of doilies ribbons, stickers and stamps, we were one legit Valentine Day card making operation.

We made beautiful, old-fashioned style cards, and thought up clever poems to write on the backs. We made them for each other, our friends and our relatives and even for our dolls.

Not to mention, we lived next door to Loveland, Colorado, which meant we could take our envelopes to get a special stamp from the Sweetheart City before being postmarked.

Valentine Mail

My older sister planned a Valentine’s Day tea for our American Girl dolls with tiny treats, which we partook of sitting scrunched close together in her closet.

Valentine’s Day makes me long for my mom and my sisters. It makes me want to sit around the counter baking different chocolate and strawberry treats, cakes and tarts.

And you should have seen our dining room. Decked out in reds, pinks and whites…it was like a carnival of love in that room, and the table held the morning presents!

(Basically, every holiday was just a reason to reenact Christmas but in different colors!)

My Mother personalized these big, beautiful hat boxes in extravagant wrapping papers, laces, beads and gems for each of us. She then filled them to overflowing with Valentine’s Day goodies.

We received sparkly notebooks and pencils, stickers, rulers, socks, lip gloss, coin purses, books, and of course, chocolates and other treats like our favorite beef jerky and local dried fruit noodle things.

(And holler! This was all before the days of Pinterest! Way to go Mom!)

Pure and simple, we just made holidays fun. That’s the point still for me – to have fun in everything I do.

And, why not?

Sure, I guess we bought into the consumerism aspect of Valentine’s Day, but what about all the stuff about Love Languages? It feels good to give and receive gifts.

We can show love through service, words, quality time, physical touch and gifts.

When I got older, and heard the way women bashed this holiday, I was so confused.

Granted, I do understand it even if I have never experienced the frustration and isolation that can occur during this season.

I know Valentine’s Day is perpetuated commercially to primarily be about the celebration of erotic love.

Truthfully though, this holiday has always been like a bonus day to praise and adore all the really awesome women in my life.

Plus, we all really, really, really….I mean really, like to give each other cards.

Waffley Much

So, despite the fact that I am in fucking Chile with the god-damn-kindest-sexiest-most-brilliant-man-on-the-planet (I just like him), I still feel a little lonely like plenty of American women on Valentine’s day…but for a different reason.

 

I miss my family, who I love very much.

Love the ones your with, Lovey.

Sometimes they’ll be there, sometimes they won’t.

Sometimes it will be the love of your life, the love of a best friend, your pup, a stranger, or your sister.

Pugging Love

It all counts. It’s all good.

Love is the best and it’s way too grand and magical for us to think it can be contained in just one human body who somehow loves and completes us.

I complete me

It’s all around, all the time, and mostly in direct proportion to how much we love ourselves.

Your Task

I recommend getting drunk on some Rumi poetry this Valentine’s Day and going crazy with doilies and glitter.

Pass out flowers to strangers. Shout I Love You’s to people across the street.

Go mad with love for this world.

Life is too short to be anything but madly in love with it.

And Valentine’s Day is just the perfect opportunity, to be extra punny about it.

I like puns.

Skip a Beet

A Viking to You

Suit me to a Tea

 

When We Were Us

When you were the only boy,
and I the only girl,
I remember how you looked at me
from upstream
finding your way down slippery rocks.
I squatted on one and watched a spider glide across a mirrored bowl
of water,
but really
he was on a web
I couldn’t see.
Just like I couldn’t see
your eyes
without the look of love.
Tell me, do you love me?
We couldn’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t dare.
Bite my tongue
or he’ll run.
But seriously.
When you were my best friend,
and I your favorite pal,
I remember catching a dead fish
and stroking his belly.
Sushi tonight! We giggled.
You set him free to bob.
Bob, that should have been his name.
What was his name?
Gary.
You’re funny.
When you were Oberon,
and I a wood nymph,
I remember offering you a dandelion.
Make a wish!
“I wish for nothing!”
Then that is what you’ll get.
Silly me, I blew off all the cottony heads and forgot
my wishes
but I do so love to watch the seeds
fly to the forest floor.
Just like I love to watch your eyes
change color
in the sunlight and the shade.
We were made
for this.
This bliss.
When you were everyman,
and I was manifest beauty,
you told me
Thanks for being awesome!
But what you really wanted to say
was
I love you.
So you made me dinner instead.
And I sat in the dirt like the child that I was
banging my stick on the rocks
wondering how it could be
that you loved me.
Because I knew.
I knew.
When you were campfire guy,
and I was flannel girl,
you played my harmonica
like a sexy blues traveler.
Damn son.
You’re too good to be true. I wanna make out with you.
All day long, in the sun.
This sun
that won’t stop shining
on us.
Your puffy vest
and my skinny jeans,
is this 1963?
I think I’ve seen
you before.
In a dream, or on a train,
or way back when
when we were young
in those good ‘ol days
they talk about.
All the joy of yesteryears was ours that afternoon.
And you were the quintessential boy and I the quintessential girl
for a day
that stands carved forever
on my memory.
And after all was said and done,
you still let me
lay my head down
in your lap
to watch the night sky unfold,
and you saw the stars in my eyes
and wondered
if they were for you
or just a reflection
of my own eternal soul.
So you touched your nose to mine
and put your tongue in my mouth,
and you didn’t have to speak the words
that rose to the tip
because I could taste
your love
for me.
And honestly,
who says such things
but a woman falling slowly and madly
further down this rabbit hole?