Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Mindfulness + Nature = No Tears #SOL21

 Earlier this week, I spent some time writing outside for a Mindful Journaling class.  I walked to the schoolyard at the end of my street, a place we visited almost daily when my children were younger.  It holds so many memories, and I felt as if I were walking through the past.  Normally, this type of writing would bring tears to my eyes, but this mindful moment allowed me to enjoy reminiscing and not think about the future.  Yet again - another discovery.  I need to be more present to enjoy the gifts of each day.  

Ghosts from the past
whisk in an out
on the breeze, 
tickling my shoulder -
gently reminding me
of days from long ago.

sledding down the hill, 
soccer games,
wall ball,
field days,
riding bikes,
walks along the nature trail,
mapping the United States,
clearing a nature's classroom,
sliding through the rainbow slide,
climbing the rock wall,
monkeying around on the bars,
literacy night,
harvest festivals,
4th-grade celebrations.

Floral Street School,
a spot in the neighborhood
that was a second home
to our family
for nearly a decade.
Now, it is haunted by 
youthful versions 
of ourselves.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

A Treasure Found in Writing

I love when writing leads to discovery and growth, and I feel that this has been the case for me over the last few weeks. These small treasures come out in the places I least expect.

I was working on a writing exercise in a Mindful Journaling workshop while I was visiting my parents in their new-to-me home in Venice, Florida.  We were charged with making a list of things around us that appealed to our 5 senses.  Since I was writing, some of the things around me were familiar, such as my journals, pens, and phone.  However, some of the items were foreign because of my setting, including a succulent, flip-flops flipping, the washer humming, a wall clock, and more.  

As I reviewed the items and then started to write from one, I discovered something very important.  Here is my writing discovery:

Grilled cheese!  Made for ME by my dad!

Usually, I am the one cooking for everyone else.  It is a rare treat to have something made for me.  Although when I am with my parents, they still try to take care of me even though I am 50 years old.  

I struggled with their move from Connecticut to Florida.  I knew I would not see them as much because of the distance.  I was afraid of losing another home, a place where I felt safe, comfortable, and taken care of.  The idea that I could just get in the car and visit my parents or call them if I needed them always provided me great comfort.  They have always been there for me and my family.  

In Connecticut, my parents lived in the town where I spent my early childhood, got married, and baptized my children, and they lived on the hill next to my great grandparents’ house.  It is the place of my roots, and I have always felt a special connection to that place.   

Ambivalence swept over me as we were driving to Florida; I was afraid that their house in Venice would not feel like home.  I had only been there one other time since their move over two years ago.  Honestly, I have felt a bit lost without them close by in Connecticut.

However, sitting there, still and present, I felt comfort surrounding me. In that mindful moment, I realized that home is not a particular set of four walls measured by time and place but rather any four walls containing the people you love.  

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

The Road Trip of Letting Go #SOL21

My mom just spent the last month with us, and we knew we would eventually have to get her back to her home in Venice, Florida.  We decided we would go back with her to enjoy more family time on the beach.

Many factors played into our travel arrangements, but in the end, Scott and I decided we would drive to Florida and Ashley would fly with my mom.  We left a day ahead of them, planning to meet up the following Sunday evening at my parents’ house.  

Ashley is pretty well-traveled, so we figured she knew the drill and would need little direction.  

However, Scott printed their boarding passes at home and we took their luggage with us to make it easier for them to get to the gate.

On Sunday, we communicated with them through text, and they seemed like they had things under control.  However, there were a couple of signs that it might have been a more eventful trip.


  1.  Text from Ashley:  What is our gate number?

 30 minutes later:  Nevermind 

Scott and I were so engrossed in a crime Podcast that we did not see the texts until later.

  1. While listening to said Podcast, a thought crept into my head - I hope Ashley remembered her ID.  However, a text that they were at the gate and a call to Cameron put my mind at ease.

Little did I know that all three of them had made a pact of silence.  They would not reveal the truth until my mom and Ashley were safe in Florida with my dad.

The Truth:

  1. Ashley DID leave her ID in the car.  Luckily, she realized it quickly, and Cam was able to turn around to deliver it to her without much trouble.

  2. Ashley lost her boarding pass while going through security.  However, she obtained a new one at the desk at the gate once they figured out the gate from which they were departing.

  3. My mom had a seizure on the plane.  Ashley woke to her shaking and quickly started to take care of her and found help.  Luckily, there were two nurses close by who took care of my mom by giving her an IV and bringing her back to consciousness.

Once they were safe, they could talk about it with a bit of chuckling. It was obvious they were trying to conceal the fear and anxiety they had felt in the moment.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Ashley and Mom can and did take care of themselves and each other.

  2. Ashley needs a purse, especially for traveling (already taken care of by Grandpa).

  3. Mom (me) does not need to know everything right away.

Note of honesty:  My first thought had been that Ashley still needs her mom, but as I wrote this, I realized that experiences like this are how we all learn and grow.  Ashley is ready for the world, and I am extremely proud of how she handled the bumps in her trip with my mom.  The truth of the matter is that I still have a bit of time left on my road trip of letting go.

Only One Vowel #SOLC23

 Betsy Potash of Spark Creativity always has wonderful ideas for the classroom.  Too often, I don't have the time to sit and read her po...