Tag Archives: Family Time

Showing Up, Every Day

About a week before the Women’s March on Washington, I was feeling overwhelmed… friends had shared their safety concerns regarding marching in D.C., and the reality of what would happen after inauguration began to really sink in. I knew well that the march was not going to be an arrival point, but rather a starting line. The work seemed insurmountable and I was emotionally drained.

Retro Drama Woman

On this particular day, I was heading to the GYN for my annual exam. I arrived about 30 minutes early and decided to hit the nearest King Soopers Starbucks for a cup of mint tea. Being new to mint tea and not a regular Starbucks customer, I didn’t know how to articulate my order. I wanted it minty, but not too minty… sweet, but not too sweet.

As I approached the Starbuck’s counter, it became clear that the barista was on overload. She avoided eye contact for a few minutes, said a few things under her breath, and seemed rather huffy. My mind said, “great, this is going to be a ‘fabulous’ customer service experience. Hold on for the ride.” When I told her my hopes for the perfect minty cup of tea, she patiently explained why the Jade Citrus Mint Tea would be just what I needed. The perfect mix of citrus and mint.

While she clicked my order into the register, it seemed like she was about to start crying. Her face was reddish purple and the stress lines on her forehead were turning white from pressure. By that time, I wondered if she was in physical pain or something serious. I took a chance and asked her if she was ok.

With tears streaming down her face, she said “I want to call the cops. I feel that I’ve been kidnapped and I’m stuck at my job. I have so much to do. I’ve been here since opening and I can’t get it all done. Here’s a sticky note from last night’s barista.” She handed me the sticky note which read:

Sorry! I had to leave an hour early.
I know the place is in shambles.
An emergency came up and I had to leave.
I will be late in the morning.
I’m so sorry!

After I paid, she stepped aside to brew coffee for customers who were lined up ahead of me. I heard a guy holler “Great cup of coffee! That was the perfect amount of espresso!” To which she replied in a comforting tone, “I’m so glad you liked it. See you next time.”

Her emotions seemed to range from “I’ve got this thang” to “help, I’m completely overwhelmed and I don’t know what to do!”

In that moment, I realized that I was watching a living metaphor of my life. The political landscape is like a war zone right now. There is so much to do, and some days I don’t know where to even begin. On top of that, there’s no way I can do it myself. At times, it feels overwhelming and there are moments when I’m even tempted to crawl under a rock.

Cartoon Animal Eyes Under Big Stone

As I watched and engaged with her a bit, I said “don’t worry. Just do what you have to do in this moment. That’s the best you can do, right now.”

As soon as those words spilled out of my mouth, something clicked inside of me. I realized that I had just articulated an answer for myself.

Don’t worry.
Do what you have to do.

Do your best right now.

Those words set my spirit free. I realized that I don’t have to take on the entire world. In fact, in that particular moment, I could do something meaningful for something happening right in front of me.

I walked over to the gift aisle and picked up an inspirational card. Then, I grabbed a $25 gift card to Gordman’s. I realized that in that moment, I could be a kind stranger to someone struggling. In my zest to head to march in D.C., I had almost forgotten how important the human-to-human contact can be in our lives.

I anonymously filled out the card, let her know that her work mattered, and thanked her for introducing me to the perfect cup of mint tea. I also wrote down that seeing her struggle reminded me of some important lessons in self care that I needed to remember in my own life. Specifically,

  • Take a breath
  • You can’t do everything at once. Prioritize.
  • Take care of what’s most important in that moment. The rest can wait.
  • Remember that you are not alone. Help will surface in meaningful ways. Be open to receiving help from family, friends, and strangers.
  • A cup of tea can literally change the trajectory of someone’s day.

As I sealed the envelope, I saw that she was removing her smock and getting ready to clock out. When she came from behind the counter, I handed her the envelope. She burst into tears, and I asked her if she needed a hug. “Yes please!” As we embraced, she looked up at me and said, “When someone is supposed to show up, they need to be there. They need to show up. People are counting on them. It’s the right thing to do.”

Honestly, those words from this stranger helped me reach a new level of clarity with regard to this human rights movement that I’ve stepped into. We don’t have to do it all. And there will be hard days. However, people are counting on us to “show up”. Lives literally depend on it.

I didn’t sign my name to the card, and I don’t expect to see that barista again. However, I think of her from time to time and remember the importance of “showing up” daily. In the midst of the work we are continuing to do with the organizers of the Women’s March and other progressive  groups, we must also show up daily to those who are counting on us. For me, that includes:

  • Listening attentively when my teenagers need to talk about school, friends, social struggles, current events, and their views on politics.
  • Carving time to spend with my husband. We’ve been together 25 years and investing in meaningful relationship time is critical to us making it another 25 years.
  • Checking in with friends regarding their life outside of politics (there’s still day-to-day job stress, financial hardships, health concerns, faith struggles, and good times to be had). Maintaining these personal connections is deeply meaningful to me.
  • Doing some legwork for friends who want to be civilian activists but have a more limited schedule: adding helpful links or phone numbers to posts on social media so that their words can help others take easy action; or inviting them to events or activities that are already in the works so that they can easily join in the effort.
  • Injecting light in the midst of the barrage of “more and more work to do”. I think it’s important to help my community of civilian activists celebrate milestones and wins. Kind of like the volunteers who hand off water at marathons, I want to help refresh the energy around the movement going on in our country. We really are in the midst of a long marathon, not a sprint.

I hope some of what I’ve shared somehow resonates with you. As you move forward in your life’s journey, remember:

Don’t worry. Just do what you have to do in this moment.
That’s the best you can do, right now.

Sending peace and light and love. Stay strong, take care of yourself in the journey, and accept love and kindness in whatever form it takes.

 

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© 2017, The Musing Maven, all rights reserved.

 

Our Kids Are Watching At Christmas

Claire Davis. Another victim in a senseless shooting…

Our heart breaks as we ponder what the family is experiencing during this difficult time. Amidst loss and pain, they are forced into funeral preparations just days before Christmas. Packages are now filled with haunting memories that will, no doubt, resurface every Christmas for the rest of their lives. No amount of tinsel and holly will masque this grim reality.

As bystanders, questions resonate into our collective consciousness: Who could do this? What was the shooter thinking? Why did he do it? How could such an atrocity take place? Could this have been avoided?

Unfortunately, no amount of rationalizing, judging or questioning will bring Claire Davis back.

Our community is paralyzed by another act of violence. There’s no way to make sense out of the senseless. A young, beautiful, vibrant, caring, smart and thriving flame blown out. Extinguished. Vanished.

Flame

And yet, Claire Davis leaves a reminder that in a world of perceived darkness, hatred, fear and loss – there is a beauty, peace, love and kindness. In the midst of grim stories making headlines, it’s touching to see a community, nation and world rally and send love to Claire’s family during this horrific time.

The Davis family has taken a huge blow, and yet they released a statement of appreciation for the heart-warming embrace from those near and far. While they mourn, they feel an overwhelming sense of love. That part of the story is beautiful.

According to what I’ve read, the shooter snapped as a result of being ousted by the high school debate team. Evidently, he decided the best way to cope was to go all G.I. Joe one afternoon.

I guess my takeaway, if there is one, is to do an internal audit in my life. Am I teaching my kids how to deal with adversity? Do they realize that they won’t always receive a medal for simply participating? Will they be able to cope if they are demoted or fired? Will they have the tenacity and work ethic to push through hard times at college, work, marriage, parenting and life in general?

As parents, we have a limited time to teach these lessons. For the Davis family, that time was cut short.

I believe that everyone is capable of snapping at some level. For that reason, it is so important that we share our hearts authentically with our kids. We must teach them that it’s okay to fail. We must love them even when their dark sides rear their ugly heads. We must teach them that light always shines after darkness. Most importantly they need to know that they hold a source of light within them… even in the darkest moments.

Flame of Hope

Our kids may not have the name “Karl Pierson” and their passion may not be debate. However, they feel pressure to perform on the soccer field, TCAP (state testing), in popularity contests and the other “debate clubs” that we create for them.

As a community, it seems that instead of pointing a collective finger outward, perhaps it’s time to look inward. Hug a little firmer. Love a little deeper. Forgive a little more.

Most of us will never experience the grief that the Davis family is going through. However, we can’t help but question if or when a shooter will take the life of our child. For that reason, today is a great day to spread some love, joy, kindness, patience, tolerance, peace and acceptance to this kids in our life.

They are watching and they need us.

Looking outside

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© 2013, The Musing Maven, all rights reserved.

The Best Christmas Ever!

Christmas Morning

Christmas Morning

As soon as our eyes opened, our toes hit the cold floor. We ran to see what bounty Santa had left for us. Cookie crumbs on an old porcelain dish sat next to an empty glass of milk — proof that the bearded miracle-worker had visited our home. And, to our relief, the container of leafy lettuce and carrots had been licked clean… our special gift to the reindeer who worked so hard to travel the globe in a single night.

"On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer, on Vixon..."

“On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer, on Vixen…”

While Christmas carols played in the background, we took a deep cleansing breath and allowed the the smell of cinnamon rolls to arouse our holiday senses. Beneath the ornately decorated pine sat an array of boxes with ribbons and bows. Over our shoulder we could see that Saint Nick also filled our stockings to the brim with magical goodness.

Stockings
Santa knew that more than anything we wanted the newest game system on the market. While many of our friends had enjoyed the latest technology over the past 24 months, we were eager to finally have one of our own. Unlike the older generations, this particular system could track our movements and was more interactive. It arrived with the promise of  broadening our universe – and our play time!

Granted, the present had a meticulously hand-written tag from Santa to our kids. Being an enlightened old fellow, he knew that the kids wanted the ground-breaking Wii system more than anything. However, we felt entitled… after all, my husband and I were hard working adults with adult stress like a mortgage, car payments, jobs and all the other grown up responsibilities that come with parenting 2 children.

We begged the kids to let us use their fresh out-of-the-box Wii system. Our first order of business was Guitar Hero. I stepped up to the drums while my hubby strapped on the bass guitar. After fumbling through a series of hair band tunes from the 80’s, we settled in on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”

Rock on!

Rock on!

Oh the adrenaline rush! With our Christmas-morning bedhead and festive PJ’s, we rocked the house. The kids were patient with us, for the most part. However, after about 3 hours of shushing them into the other room, my daughter – 9 at the time – stepped in front of the television to get our attention. With her hands on her hips she announced that it was time for us to allow someone under the age of 35 to play with the Wii.

What a killjoy…. She’s the most grounded one in our house. Her common sense will serve her well in this world.

With this intense proclamation, my hubby and I realized that it was probably time to start the Christmas clean up, fix some lunch, and allow the kids to play with their Christmas present.

Yup, this is one of my favorite Christmas memories. We nailed it for sure! That Wii got more play over the years than any other gift has since.

No matter what, we’ll always have Christmas 2008!

May the joy of giving come back to you in spades this holiday season!
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© 2013, The Musing Maven, all rights reserved.