Back to life…back to reality…

Me and the kids
Me and the kids

Well, today’ it’s back to school for the kids, and getting back to the mindset of prosperity, writing and productive work for me! This year was the first year that I stayed home with the kids for their entire winter break and did not schedule them for day camp at the Y or any other place. I thought that I deserved to have just one day to myself during their ten day break, but intuition told me to just enjoy them. Sometimes when I hear that voice that whispers to me to take time out for them, I can become fearful that I’m getting a message that something may happen to them or me and that is the reason we should cherish this time. But then I realize that sometimes it may just be their subconscious speaking to mine and they just need more mommy time. So, I made sure we had groceries and that the cable bill was paid and made no plans other than to attend a local Kwanzaa celebration and enjoy our family and friends during the holidays. We had a few impromptu yet fulfilling lunch and dinner gatherings with friends, some football, board games, reading, lots of movie time on the couch, a few pajama days and even some days that they were both not feeling well, and recovering. It was the first time that I purposely chose not to try and “use” the time to cram in every library, museum or other extra curricular event that looked exciting and intriguing during the holiday break. They both get so over-worked (in my opinion) at school that I wanted them to just do nothing for a change. Yes we may have put on a pound or two and the kids may be raddled due to the relaxed sleep schedules, but their bodies are healed, they got lots of love, snuggles, family time and cultural enrichment, and most of all a break from the day to day stress of school and extra-curricular activities.

They are not over-scheduled like many suburban kids I know of  these days, but I do try to balance the lack

of gross motor activities in the schools with sports and dance and other physical recreation. Aside from the recreation, they both will be taking Mandarin Chinese this semester on Saturday mornings (my son is in his sixth year, and my daughter wants to do whatever her big brother does), so we have a few commitments but not excessive. I don’t do more than one sport in a season unless it’s swimming lessons, and unless they are with their father for the weekend, or beg me to see the latest Disney movie, we spend Friday and Sunday nights at home. Even energetic and/or brilliant kids need down time too. They need time to relax and release and not worry about time and schedules and assignments. And for this reason Friday nights at our house are sacred. They are almost  always reserved for what the kids refer to as “movie night”. We get early showers, get in our pajamas, pull out the fleece blankets, search for a great family movie, pop some popcorn (or grab a bag from the Wawa) and head to the couch for snuggle time. It’s the most inexpensive way to treat them to a special night and after all of these years it’s still their favorite night of the week. They love it because they get uninterrupted quality time with me and I love it because I know there will soon be a day when Friday nights will be spent with a blanket, myself and a good book because they’ll be at the mall, going to a movie or a party with their friends. So for now, for reasons I don’t necessarily share with them, it’s my favorite night of the week too!



This is the best time of your life


The new year always bring with it the opportunity to sit and look back on the past year and of course to think of resolutions or goals that you have for your future. We all have the excitement on our tongues as fresh as the taste of the first snow flake and we sit waiting for the clock to count down so we can charge forward into the next 365 days of opportunity. This was probably the first year that I didn’t wish the previous year away, nor make resolutions for the new year. I wasn’t happy to see one end or the other begin. But I did look gently over the challenges and victories of the past year and I said a prayer to help me face the new year with the same courage. I was just content with being in the current moment and almost forgot it was New Year’s Eve. I was home with the kids and we had our usual toast with sparkling apple cider and our midnight hugs before bedtime, but I didn’t feel anxious nor cautious about the new year; just grateful that I made it through to enjoy seeing another day.

I almost surprised myself because I am usually the first one to run to the nearest party or firework display with urgency and fear that New Year’s Eve would not be the same without it. I always had to have the traditional black-eyed peas and collard greens on the stove so that I could have it to eat for luck before the ball dropped, and if I hadn’t hit the store for some champagne, the night would be a disaster. None of those things were at the forefront of my mind and although I thought occasionally about them, I wasn’t in a state of remorse for not having all of the superstitions on deck and in place. Maybe I was so exhausted from all of  the holiday preparations, or exhausted from taking care of my sick four-year old, but it didn’t really hit me until after the kids went to bed and I sat down on the couch to watch the Twilight Zone marathon.

My dad Jabez is a lover of science fiction so I grew up watching the Twilight Zone and reading Stephen King, and I look forward to the New Year’s Eve marathon each year to get caught up on the episodes that I missed years ago.  One particular episode really hit home with me, especially during this time of contemplation and personal inventory. I don’t recall the name but it was about a thirty-something man who had travelled back in time to give a message to his younger self, who appeared to be about 7 or 8 years old.  When he found him at a carnival,  he said (or something similar) “I just wanted to tell you to enjoy this time in your life to the fullest because these are the best days of your life.” 

These words really hit home for me because aside from me taking my own personal inventory, I often wonder what others see when they look at the past year of my life. What do my ancestors think of me? What compliments or constructive criticism would they offer? Do they even see what’s going on, and if so what’s their perspective? With all of their wisdom, what advice would they give me for the coming year? What would my seventy-five year old self say to me now? And when the questions stopped flowing, the answers came rushing in. They would tell me how proud they were of the strength, the courage, faith and compassion that I’ve embraced over the past year. They’d say what a great mother, writer, sister and friend I am and that they know how difficult it is sometimes to love unconditionally, but that I strive for that anyway. They would say that I am blessed to have such beauty surrounding me, and such love from my children and that I need to remember to celebrate them and our special bond every day. They would say that I take life too seriously and that this is the season to let fall  the cloak I have woven of grief,  fear and of loneliness and to embrace the unspeakable joy that awaits me. They’d tell me to write more, to take more chances, to have fun, travel and make an extra effort to spend quality time with and surround myself with true friends. To remove anyone or anything that speaks doubt or negativity into my world, and to be a good steward of my finances so that the blessings will manifest ten-fold. And I know they would say that this is the best time of my life. Right here, right now, so make a conscious effort to enjoy it to the fullest.

And if I doubted that any of the thoughts that came into my head were truth, my Aunt Daisy, my mother’s sister, echoed almost the exact same words after our Kwanzaa feast on New Year’s Day. She has such wisdom and a huge spirit! Throughout the night she complimented me on how well I was raising my children, and empathised with how stressful it can be to run a household and raise children independent of their father. And right before she walked out the door, she stopped, turned to me and said the most profound and confirming words. She told me to keep speaking wisdom to my children, keep the lines of communication open, and do the best I can to point them towards their destiny. She said that I can’t force my expectations on them, because their purpose on this earth has been predestined and is out of my hands. All I can do each day is my best to love and nurture them for just those 24 hours. And when the day is done, lay my head down and rest because I am going to need the energy for the next day!

We laughed and hugged and she said to me “until we meet again!” and walked off like an angel in the night. I soaked it all in – the words she said and the meaningful tone that she used as well as the humor. I cleaned up the house and went straight to bed with a knowing that  all I need to concern myself with is the task before me for this day and trust that with all the wisdom passed down to me, that I will do exactly what I need to do. No resolutions to list.No pain carried from yesterday. No worries of tomorrow. Just taking on what’s in front of me today and laying my head down to make sure I get enough rest for tomorrow.

How will you celebrate these 24 hours – the best time of your life?


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