Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Big, Happy Exhalation

     Somewhere on this playground behind my house, my son and his playdate are playing at this very moment while I sit on my back deck that overlooks the park, keeping one eye on them and the other on my laptop. I am exhaling deeply and happily as they play outdoors together without me! No waiting to exhale, although I am wondering if this miraculous event might be interrupted at any moment. Could it be that I am entering a new era wherein Knox plays with an age-mate in ways that don't involve mom??!!
     This half-hour is the longest Knox and a friend have ever gone without my involvement. This strikes me as so natural and healthy. It's the way my childhood was. I played for hours on end with my neighborhood girlfriends, outdoors and indoors, without any direct participation from our mothers. We even got our own snacks and drinks, as I recall. Perhaps they occasionally served a snack or procured some material we needed for our play, but we were blissfully self-sufficient for the most part, unless my childhood memory distorts the truth.
     I so want to raise a child who has the wherewithal to play with his friends unassisted and unrefereed. I want him to know the boundaries like I did as a child, and to have instinctive good sense about people to avoid or when to holler for mom. I remember when I was in second grade that my school in San Diego had a half-day each week, and my friends and I would walk unaccompanied across a major intersection to the Carl's Jr. fast food joint at the top of our street. We ordered our lunches and ate together, completely unchaperoned. We were allowed to walk without parents to Baskin-Robbins or the drugstore ice cream counter. I even walked two miles to a gift shop with a friend at age 8. We never went out of bounds or encountered any problems whatsoever. I knew to get away from any adult who made me uncomfortable for any reason, and I did have to do that on a few occasions throughout childhood.
     It will be interesting to navigate a shift toward more independence with my now 6-year-old son. I tend toward hovering and protecting, but right now I'm enjoying hovering from a safe distance and allowing both him and myself to taste some very healthy, happy freedom!

Thursday, October 07, 2010


I have an obsession. I'm obsessed with SouleMama's blog and the spaces she creates. I know I'm not alone in this because she (Amanda Soule) has thousands of devoted blog readers who have an emotional and visual connection to her blog because it feels like coming home to a place you love and want to be. I have collectively spent hours and hours reading and studying her blog and the comments people leave there. She reliably warms, soothes and inspires people with the way she lives her life as a nature- and beauty-loving creative mama. She uses her blog to focus on all the good and beautiful favorite things and moments in her family's world. She's extraordinary. Off the charts, really.

I come away from reading her blog wanting to be just like her and wishing I could go spend a week in her home. I would so happily follow her around all day and night (as I get the impression she stays up late sewing, knitting, writing, or painting and decorating her new farmhouse).

She reminds me of one of my favorite people on the planet, my friend Lauren, who similarly creates beautiful art and spaces and loves her children, friends and family well. Both women cook and craft and love nature. I have happily followed Lauren around her space and her family many times, just perfectly content to be with her in her world--a world where life is beautiful and children's hearts and creativity are cherished. It's not a world where no one cries or disasters and disappointments don't happen--they do, daily-- it's a world where these extraordinary women never allow life's stresses and strains to in any way slow them down or stop them from seeing life as beautiful and making it more beautiful for everyone in their life. They are forces of energetic creativity and love. They are as productive as I am lazy! They are as highly motivated to make things for people as I am to sit and read a book or browse the Internet. ;-)

The key here for me is not to fall into despair and discouragement that my life and my space don't resemble theirs. The key is to realize that people inspire others by living fully and richly their own lives in whatever way comes most naturally. I'm thankful to have so many inspiring guides and fellow travelers.