Sunday, January 29, 2012

Views From the Buena Vista

The beginning of our week started out like this.  Threatening clouds, wild waves, and just enough pounding rain to keep me inside with the shades raised high and a stack of books close to my side yet my eyes remained mostly trained on the horizon, my mind thick with thoughts.  I enjoy the sun, but I live for these dramatic days on the Pacific shoreline in which nature puts on the most spectacular of displays.  There is something about the turmoil on the outside matching the turmoil on the inside that creates a feeling of symbiosis deep within my soul.  I am drawn down into thought.  Thoughts about where I have been, thoughts about where I am now, and thoughts about where I will someday be.  The notary came by, last week, to have Mark and I sign paper after paper after paper as we are refinancing our beach home for a much better rate than we were able to lock into almost four years ago.  The words "in thirty years" flowed easily from the notary's mouth and stopped me cold in my thoughts as my hand systematically signed and signed and signed and signed and dated.  In thirty years I will be eighty years old.  80 years old.  My four Angel Daughters will be as old, or older than I am right now at this moment in time.  My nieces will be in their late thirties and early forties.  My parents will, most likely, be gone.  Long gone.  And my brother, he will still be only 41 years old...Has he had the chance to meet one of our heros, the larger than life Clarence Clemons, yet?  Dear God, I hope so.
Rainy days cause these kinds of thoughts to bubble up to the surface of my being.  The thoughts simmer there, oftentimes for days, bringing with them feelings of nostalgia, regret, hope, and renewal.
And as I take my old girl, my dog, Becca, outside, something in the water to the left of the bluff catches my attention and I am momentarily caught off-guard.  I hold my breath so as not to lose sight.  The surface of the water breaks with circular swirls of tiny bubbles.  Breath.  Air.  Life.  And then a fin...
And as I look down, she appears, gliding lazily along on currents.  My breathing somehow syncs along with her graceful dance along the water.  Under, above, under, above, like my moods when the rain comes and then leaves.
That evening, the sun returned just in time for sundown, the water smooth as glass.  It is 80 degrees outside here today.  The only clouds in the sky are wisps of cotton against the most beautiful of blues.  I am here, back to today, back to thirty one years away from my 80th year, back to life as it is.  I like it here. How to make the next thirty years slow down to a pace which does not feel like here and then gone?  That is the question that lays heavy on my heart.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Because We All Matter

I am sitting here seething suddenly, trying to keep the lid from exploding off of the top of the pot that has been simmering steadily inside of my mind for the past week or so.  There is a family that I have come to care deeply about who is facing something that no family should ever have to face and I have been trying to collect the words, the right words, to write about their situation.  This is a married couple who has been together for twenty-two years.  This couple met in 1990 and immediately knew that they were meant to be together.  As a bi-national couple(one from the US and one from France), they made things work by juggling what they could to keep themselves together.  They adopted four beautiful children, now ages 6 (twin boys whose eyes twinkle), 8 (a sparkly little angel girl)  and 11(a handsome, growing young man).  In so many ways, I have grown to admire this wonderful family.  They represent so much about what is right with this country.  They are cohesive, innovative, filled with love and mischief and joy.  They are a family so much like my own.(Although in their forties, they are crazy enough to still talk about adopting another child which might possibly put me over the edge!)  Yet herein lies the difference, instead of their names being Mark and Deb, their names are Mark and Fred, and although their marriage is legally recognized by the state that they were married in, it is NOT recognized as a legal marriage by the federal government, nor is it protected by something called The Defense of Marriage Act(DOMA, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996) which would allow Fred to stay in this country only if this were a heterosexual married couple.  So, as with too many laws in this country, one law has been negated by the other creating an uphill battle where there should be none.  Mark and Fred and their children are now waiting to find out what the result of their request to stay together as a family in this country will be.  We are talking about five American citizens and their husband/father.  This is insane.  The possibility that they could be torn apart as a family is insane.  But, as I ask myself whenever I am faced with a decision to act or to not act on something that might be extremely difficult to battle, here is the question that Mark and Fred must answer right now; Is this the hill you would be willing to die on?  And as they forge ahead into the battle to keep their family together, there is only one resounding answer...Keep fighting the good fight, my strong and brave friends.
*Borrowed from Mark's Blog, Our Simple Lives:)  Aren't they Gorgeous???
You can read more about this family's battle here on Mark's blog and on CNN.  And for some touching perspectives, read here,, and here, and on the January 12th post here,  If you feel at all compelled by this story and the many others that are just like Mark and Fred's story, feel free to express your outrage to these individuals:

Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
393 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
P: 202-224-6324
Toll Free: 866-802-2833
Fax:  202-228-0604

Secretary Janet Napolitano
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528

This family deserves the same rights as any other family who celebrate anniversaries, are raising children(or cats or dogs or birds or llamas, etc.), who drive in carpools, pay taxes, do mounds and mounds of laundry, clean up after sick babies and honor one another through marriage in sickness and in health!

I have now contained my anger, but the lid will not be placed back on this pot.  Oh no, it won't...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

United we Stand

Why is it that whenever my family has the choice of where to go for dinner, they usually choose a place where it is okay to play with the food?

A place, where the chef throws food at us and we ask for more???

And while I am pondering the important questions in life, why is it that Angel Daughter Number Three and Angel Daughter Number Four always seem to be in cahoots with one another?  I swear they are planning to take over the world someday and they are just practicing on me.

And while I am at it, why is Joshua clapping for AD2's birthday but mysteriously staring off into the distance?  Hmmmm.

I might not have most of the answers, nor would I ever claim to, but there is one thing that I am absolutely sure of...

I adore these people more than I ever thought it could be possible to adore anyone.  We are such a mish-mash of varying personalities with different likes and dislikes, and a mixture of thoughts and opinions about everything.  Yet even when they are being irreverent, or goofy, or using me as the butt of their sisterly "inside" jokes, my heart just bursts at the seems knowing that they are all mine, and I, am all theirs...

I am one very, very lucky momma.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Taking Flight-Happy 22nd Birthday

*Self portrait by Angel Daughter Number Two

Angel Daughter Number Two celebrated her twenty-second birthday yesterday.  She has always been my free-spirited child, twinkle in her eye and a purpose in her step.  I spent many years chasing after this child(exhausting at times!), trying to make sure that she wasn't running too fast for her own good.  If my other three Angel Daughters were standing below the tree staring up at it, I knew that this one was already at the top trying to go higher before I even looked.  Not always a good thing for a mother's heart!  But with all of the excitement came adventure and jubilant laughter and sweet moments, very sweet moments, and as I prepare to go out to dinner with my entire family to celebrate this child, I am filled with nothing but love and gratitude.  Gratitude for my husband, gratitude for the qualities that he imbued upon AD2, qualities that I imparted, gratitude that our girl is growing up healthy and creative and strong enough to take on her own dreams at such a young age.  Gratitude that God trusted us enough to parent all of our beautiful daughters.

Happy, happy Birthday, AD2.  I love you more than I could ever express in words.  You are simply amazing.

Below is a link to the online layout(the hardcopy is even better) and a video that AD2 made to commemorate her latest fashion spread in Palm Springs Life magazine.  It is an eight page layout(!) filled with absolutely gorgeous photos that she shot a couple of months ago.  Her vision is what makes the models and the clothing take on a life of their own.  She has the eye of someone who is well beyond her twenty-two years.  I am so happy for her.  Watching her take flight has been both an honor and a privilege.  I am one very proud momma.

Thank you for supporting my girl.  She definitely appreciates it, too.  Enjoy!

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