Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ten Lessons My Mom Taught Me

Ten Lessons My Mom Taught Me

Perhaps, it's because my mother will turn 75 this fall.  Perhaps, it's because I turned 45 this spring.  Or, maybe, it's because my son turned 21 this year, and I hope, like all moms, that I have instilled lessons in him that will stay with him forever. 

Whatever the reason, I have spent a great deal of time this year contemplating the lessons my mother has shared with me and how they have shaped the person I am today. There are far too many to list, but these ten lessons my mom has taught me are among the ones that will stay with me forever.
  1. There is an adventure waiting for you in the pages of a book.
  2. What we create in our kitchens will be remembered.
  3. Giving a gift is better than receiving a gift.
  4. Watching movies is a great pastime.
  5. You can never say please and thank you enough.
  6. Cranking the radio on high makes the housework get done quicker.
  7. Always keep a few dollars in a zippered section of your purse--it will come in handy.
  8. Home is where your story begins.
  9. Marriage is for a lifetime.
  10. Wind Song really does stay on your mind.
I plan, in the next few weeks, to expand upon each of these lessons, one-by-one in this blog.  Thanks, Mom, for being my first and most enduring teacher.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I Believe In Super Heroes

Super heroes are real.  I’ve known this to be true since I was a little girl. 
Here’s how I know…
  • In the middle of the night, when the house was creaking and I was scared, my super hero came to my room, sat on my bed, explained why the house creaked, and stayed with me until I fell asleep.
  • When I was under the water in the hotel pool with my hair caught, my super hero saved me from drowning. 
  • When I fell asleep before the church service ended, my super hero lifted me in his strong arms and carried me safely to the car. 
  • When I was twelve and crying over a bad perm that I had received three days before the start of junior high, my super hero told me I was beautiful and “so much more” than my hair.
  • When I wrecked my bike and skinned my knee or, later, had my car break down along the side of the freeway, my super hero came to the rescue and made everything alright.  
  • When I graduated from high school and college, walked down the aisle to be married, and gave birth to my son, my super hero was there supporting me and celebrating with me. 
Since I was a little girl, my super hero was merely a call away.  He didn’t have a cape or a big fancy name.  I simply knew him as “Dad,” and he always made me feel protected, beautiful, smart, and capable. 
Super heroes are real.  I’ve known this to be a true since I was a little girl.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Canine Lessons

I have owned four dogs in my life: Bay, Daniel, Macey, and Emma. They have each taught me unique lessons and helped to complete me as a person.

Bay was my childhood dog. Technically, he was my oldest brother's dog, but he became my dog when my brother got married and left our parent's house. My comfort with Bay struck my mother as odd. Prior to this German Shepherd/Doberman Pincher mix coming to live with us at Baltzey Valley, I had been petrified of dogs. But Bay changed that. Bay made me feel safe. Bay made me feel loved. And, most importantly, Bay gave me a purpose. The first book I ever checked out at the public library was a book about how to teach your dog tricks. With the passion that only a third grader can possess in the summer, I taught Bay how to sit, stay, lay, rollover, and shake. I spent my days, from sun up to sun down, with Bay. He taught me how to take care of something beyond myself, and he taught me how to be a true friend.

Daniel was my teenage dog and the first dog my father ever allowed to cohabitate with us. I chose this little Border/Lassie Collie mix from a neighbor's litter of pups. He was black and white and possessed that Border Collie spark of intensity and focus. He dominated obedience classes, and he knew it. Through my teen and college years, Daniel waited up for me no matter how late. He sat under the dining room table while I typed term papers and pulled all nighters. He loved late night snacks and Saturday Night Live. When we were relocating after Stuart was born, we moved in briefly with my parents and Daniel. Daniel loved Stuart instantly and got up with me for every feeding and every diaper change. Daniel taught me the importance of hard work and the satisfaction of accomplishment.

Macey at 12 years

Macey was the first dog of my adulthood--the first dog for whose care I was totally responsible. She was a concious decision--we researched breeds before ultimately deciding on a Border Collie, we read every puppy book we could check out at the library, and we put up a fence in our backyard--all "before" we brought her home. I distinctly remember the moment when I fell in love with her. We were teaching her how to go down the four front porch steps. She was at the top, and I was coaxing her, "It's okay, you can do it." She was looking at me right in the eye with that Border Collie intensity and focus. It was clear that she was weighing what seemed an impossible feat against her trust in me. She stared intentily at my eyes and, then suddenly...LEAPED into the air toward me. She obviously didn't connect that she could come down the steps to where I stood; she simply connected that this human standing four feet away, whom she had grown to trust, wanted her to come to her. When Macey took that leap into the air, she also took a leap of faith--faith that I was trustworthy and would catch her. I caught her, and--in that moment--I fell in love with her. Macey was the fourth member of our family, and she knew instinctively how to fulfill that role as playmate, problem solver, protector, and confidente. Macey taught me about trust and giving, and she reminded me that home is where your story begins.

Emma was a wish that came true. We had talked about adding another dog to our family for months. On a warm spring day, Macey and I visited the park and headed out to buy lunchmeat in Amish country. We came home with lunchmeat...and a Border/Lab mix who we would name Emma. She is now five and continues to teach me lessons. Emma has taught me the importance of having fun...and that the best things in life often happen when you allow yourself to depart from the original plan.

Emma won't be my last dog. I have lessons to learn as I complete my journey...the kind of lessons you can only learn from man's best friend.