I take great joy in observing life. I spend a lot of time pondering my observations. So, one day I thought I would write them down. These are my ponderings. -dana

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

When all else fails, be thankful.

It is almost Thanksgiving.  My favorite time of year.  My favorite time to gather family and friends together and count blessings.  Can you hear the sappy music in the background as you read this?  If you're not hearing it,  stop for a moment.   Close your eyes and find you some sappy music.  Got it?  Now start reading again.

This year thirty-ish people are coming.  Can't you just picture all of the smiling faces gathered around the table?  The turkey and dressing are cooked to perfection.  My sister, Kristi, brings her new brussel sprouts dish, which to everyone's amazement is actually quite delicious.  There's the traditional Patty's Fruit Salad we all love even though no one knows who the heck Patty is.  Perhaps Pearl,  our incredibly large dog,  will even don a festive fall bandana.  She will of course be on her best behavior,  along with all the relatives who will also be on their best behavior!  The rye grass has come in and is a beautiful green with bright orange pumpkins scattered here and there.  The weather will be mid-70's with just a hint of cool breeze--perfect for dining outside.  Lunch will be served at straight-up 12 noon.

Ahhh.  I am giddy at the thought!

I love the preparation.  The planning of the menu.  It's the only time of year I really enjoy cooking.  I love decorating the table.  The details--I love them.  It just makes me happy.

More sappy music.

Usually at this point in the countdown to Thanksgiving,  I enjoy my morning coffee with my notepad--making my to-do list.  I brainstorm with my husband on sleeping arrangements to accommodate overnight guests.  I love little details--oh wait--I think I already said that.  Silly things, like a small bowl of M&M's in the bedrooms, along with a bottled water on the bedside table.  I'm thinking about writing each person's name on a little pear and placing it at their table setting.  I need to get a few more plates this year since more people are coming.  I bought burlap for the tables, but I'm still working it out in my head.  At this time in the game I'm usually planning which day I will do my grocery shopping and which day will be my baking day and which day I will wash sheets and towels.   Ahhh.....wait!  What is that?

Stop the sappy music.  Something is interrupting my lovely scenario!

 Why, you ask?


Wait, what did I say?


As I write,  my house is being systematically stripped of its exterior.  The sounds of wood being ripped off, piece by piece.  Nails--holding on for dear life because that is their job--being ripped from old wood.  Quite like fingernails on a chalkboard.




 And when it stops for just a second, I can hear the happy whistling of a worker, as if to say, "Ha!  Let's see you pull together a 'Happy Thanksgiving' now"!!

Things are literally falling off the walls from the pounding.  Not joking.  The big metal "D" for Dana that hangs on my bathroom wall.  Down.  The stained-glass window that sits inside another window.  Almost down and saved just in time.  The plate hanging on the wall rattling a warning to rescue it before it's too late.  I'm coming......

This typically overly-organized girl is having a crisis.


Y'all.  "Help", she says weakly.

Surely you don't think that I actually planned this mayhem.

Well, actually we did plan it--my husband and I.  People don't just show up at your house and start ripping it apart for no good reason.  We planned it for October, which got pushed to the first of November and then landed right where we find ourselves today--ONE WEEK BEFORE THANKSGIVING.

It started at 8am yesterday morning, and it continues.  I can't see the end.  I have almost single-handedly finished off a full pot of coffee this morning.  Now I have the jitters.  When I peek out my windows, this is what I see.
no words.

a pile of my exterior walls.

my thanksgiving table and chairs that used to live on my porch.

jesse-head of demolition.
See what I mean?

I'm sending out an APB to all my guests to remind them to get a fresh Tetanus shot before coming.  All I need is for half of them to contract lock-jaw.  That could really put a damper on the festivities.

I just finished off the Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, and it's not even noon yet.  I didn't even bother with a bowl.  Just took the lid off the carton, found the chocolate syrup and poured it right in the carton.  Ate every bite and stopped just short of licking the carton clean.

I think I might be losing it.

Pearl needs to go outside and frolic, but all the gates in the yard are open. She seems to scare some of the workers.  Grown men.  I've never seen anything like it.    So she's stuck inside with me.  Whining.  Incessant whining.  She follows me everywhere I go because the hammering and pounding are stressing her out, too.  She wants some ice cream, but I fear it would mess up her system, and heaven knows that would be a mess in the house that I simply cannot contend with this close to Thanksgiving.

I just received word that the window order was messed up.  I'm on the hunt for who's to blame, and when I find them...I will of course do nothing because I'm all bark and no bite.   It will be Friday before my old windows are taken out and new ones put in.  Then the siding can be finished.  Then the painting can begin.  We should have everything wrapped up by Monday before Thanksgiving.  Okay.  That will have to work.  My mind is working like my GPS when I make a wrong turn.  Redirecting.  Okay.  New route established.

But wait.  There's more.

 I just checked my handy-dandy little weather app.  Rain this weekend.  On painting days.  Hello?  Am I the only one who checks the weather forecast?   Just me and my friend Nat.  She does, I know.  But the fella who is painting my house?  Uh-uh.

So the most recent update goes like this.

Painting Monday, Tuesday and done by Wednesday.

The day company starts to come.


Honey are you reading this?  Can you hear my cry for help?  I need a hug.

Now I'm laughing.  Because I want to cry.  My husband is not laughing, though.   He just wants to go somewhere--anywhere but here I think.  He's the greatest "fixer" of all,  but this is.... just is what it is.

So here's what I think must happen.  Maybe I need to let the M&Ms on the bedside table go.  And maybe the pears.  You know the ones I was going write everyone's names on for the table?  Yes those. Maybe I should release the idea and save the idea for another Thanksgiving.  Or share it on Pinterest and maybe someone else could use it this Thanksgiving and I could live vicariously through their Thanksgiving.

And here is another idea--I mean with it being Thanksgiving and all.  Maybe I could just sit down in the middle of the dust and noise and just give thanks.

For this old, old house and for God's provision that has poured down and allowed us to make some much-needed repairs.  For my husband who works long hours to provide for our family.  For the workers who work right up until Thanksgiving to make sure the job is done. For the family and friends that are traveling to be with us and who couldn't care less if we were having dinner in a tent.  For the freedom we still have to sit down at a table, join hands and give thanks.

Hey.  I think I just wrote myself down from a ledge.  To some degree anyway.

This Thanksgiving will come.    I don't want it to go without being thankful.  There will always be a crisis of some sort to be reckoned with.  Sometimes silly ones, like mine.  Sometimes overwhelmingly serious ones.  They are all around us.

My heart knows the only real way to deal with it is this.

Give thanks.  Always.  In all things.

Sometimes my head is just late coming to the game.

So in the midst of this life, let me say to anyone who has taken the time to read this:

From my currently broken-apart house to yours....

Happy, blessed Thanksgiving.

Wait.  You can't hear me?  Yeah, well there's all this hammering going on...


Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Whistle

There were plenty of things about me that my husband didn't know when he married me 31 years ago.

He'd never noticed that I swallow really loudly when I'm drinking.  He didn't know that I slurp my coffee when it is really hot.  He didn't know that the grossest thing in the world to me is a bandaid detached from its human.  He didn't know how badly clutter bothers me. He didn't know that I have a habit of leaving the vacuum cleaner out--sometimes for days at a time--and that when I wash bed sheets I often forget to put them back on the bed until bedtime.   He didn't know Vicks is an important part of my bedtime routine.  He didn't know he would be getting up on a regular basis to check that the doors were locked just to reassure me. He knew I had no sense of smell, but he didn't know how often that would translate into burning things in the oven.  He didn't know how often the smoke alarm would sound!

On the other hand, there is much I didn't know about him either when I promised him my love at the ridiculously infantile age of 22.

I didn't know he procrastinates.  A lot.  I didn't know how loudly he crunches granola in his yogurt early in the morning.  I didn't know that I would need to place his bath towel in the hamper myself, or he would use it indefinitely.  I didn't know that he is more of a "big picture" fella rather than a "details" guy-that although he would  surprise me often with flowers, he would never really remember the ones that are my favorite!  I didn't know that he's messy in the kitchen.  I didn't know his favorite lounging shoes would one day be Texas Longhorn clogs that I would trip over a dozen times a day.  I didn't know that he would have no problem sharing my deodorant when his ran out.  (I think I speak for all women out there when I say yuck).

I've decided that in the first 10 years of marriage, these kinds of things might bother us a lot. 

In the second decade of marriage, we're simply too busy to give much thought to them.

In the third decade of marriage,  those things we thought were big things fade in comparison to real big things.  It is in this phase of marriage that I was reminded of one little thing.  A little thing I didn't think to love until it wasn't there.

"Don't it always seem to go that we don't know what we got till it's gone."


That is the one thing.  

I suppose it was there all along in our marriage--my husband whistling a happy tune.  After all, he's a really happy guy.  Strangely though, I don't remember noticing it before.

Before.  When life was a merry-go-round of spaghetti dinners, three active kids, summers in the river,  homemade ice cream, skiing down mountains, hamburgers on the grill, friends and family and birthday parties.  I'm sure the whistling was there then.  I never noticed it, though.  

When those real big things came along,  it seemed something went missing from the house.  I couldn't put my finger on it.  Of course, there were the obvious things that made life significantly more difficult for some years--those joy-sucking soul-bottom dwellers who constantly tried to usurp all the good.  But there was something else-- a subtle shift in the atmosphere of home.  Something gone.   Some little something that had the ability to calm my angst and quiet my soul.  Gone. I couldn't put my finger on it.  For a few years I couldn't put my finger on it.

I couldn't even give it a name until one day it came back.

Like a familiar, old friend.

It was a whistle.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  A simple whistle.

It was the morning when the joy-suckers got booted out and hope found its way back to me.

I had yet to get out of bed.  It was still dark outside.  I could picture where my husband was at that moment--his morning customs were as familiar to me as my own right hand.  I knew he would be sitting on the couch in our dimly-lit living room, praying and reading his bible.  As I lay in bed a bit longer, waking up and thinking about the day ahead, I heard him move into the kitchen to get the coffee going.  And that is when it heard it.

The whistle.  The sound of my husband whistling.

That is what I had missed!  That is what had left when real stuff happened.

Instantly and miraculously a peace and a hope washed over me--a calmness and relief-- assurance that all was well.  It made me smile and cry just a little.  The "it-is-well-with-my-soul" kind of tears.  God knew that I needed to hear that whistle again.  He knew how much I had missed it even though I didn't know it myself.

So the whistle came back with a wonderful vengeance!  

When I told my husband exactly what his whistle meant to me, you know what he told me?

He told me that he had basically the same experience.  For him, it was my playing the piano.  For months, I felt like the music just left me, and I quit playing.  But it came back!  My husband didn't know he was missing it until he heard it again as he walked up the steps to the house at the end of his day.  It told him I was okay.  Which made him okay.  Which made us okay.

So as the day to celebrate our marriage draws near, I am thankful for so much in my husband.  I am thankful he chose me.  I am thankful I chose him.  I am thankful for the sacrifices he has made for me and for our children.  I am thankful for what an excellent father he has been.  I am thankful for how he has loved me so, so well.

And I am really thankful that he is whistling once again.  

When I imagine us growing old, here is how I see it going down.  Me playing a simple tune on the piano with him whistling along.  

It is well with my soul.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

You three.

How in the Sam Hill did I get to be a mom?

I know.  Deep thoughts for an early Tuesday morning.  But with a pot of coffee in my system, along with a hearty breakfast consisting of a Nutrisystem breakfast bar, I feel well equipped to chase this rabbit!  So here we go.

I don't know if early on I would have been considered the mothering type.  I had an extremely active, creative imagination. Extremely active.  When I wasn't convincing myself and everyone else that I was dying from a rare disease,   I was playing dolls.  Sometimes my dolls were dying from a rare disease, too.  I played dolls until I was in my early teens.  I know.  Weird.  My older sister thought so, too.

Anyway I didn't play dolls in a traditional way.  I didn't swaddle my baby dolls in blankets and feed them with those play bottles that had the pretend milk in them.  I didn't play with baby dolls that could really burp and really wet their diapers.  I didn't take them for walks in doll strollers or rock them to sleep.   No.  I played with Barbie dolls.  But I didn't play with them in a traditional way.  I just talked to them.  Actually I talked AS them.  I became them.  Odd, as I think back on it.  Therapy anyone?

I created careers for them.  They lived in exotic places, had fabulous boyfriends and were very popular.

I lived in Denver City, Texas, rarely had a boyfriend and wasn't all that popular.  I had acne.   But in my imagined world,  I was "all that" and a chocolate shake--with glowing skin.

When I was pretending, though, I don't ever remember pretending I was a mother.

In early high school, one of my best friends and I decided to save our lunch money so that we could one day move to NYC and become stars on Broadway.  Thoughts of mothering weren't in that dream.  The dream never panned out, anyway.  Our resolve always crumbled when it came to burritos and Fresca.

But just as well, as a boy entered stage left.

We fell madly in love.  We got an education together.  We got married.  We bought a Volkswagon Jetta.  We bought a house.  And then we made a baby.  And then another.  And then another.

For a girl who had never given much thought to being a mother, that in itself is pretty amazing.

It expanded me. Both literally ( I still carry baby weight-see above reference to Nutrisystem) and figuratively.  It made me a better person.  They made me a better person.  Everyday they make me a better person just by watching how they live their lives.

They've taught me there is  little value in material possessions.

They've taught me to look and see need, and to hurt for that need as if it were my own.

They've taught me that a single peanut butter sandwich given to someone hungry means something.

They've taught me that dreaming and praying big is way underestimated.

They've taught me compassion.

They've taught me there is much joy to be had in this very moment.

They've taught me not to hurry so much.  There's time.

They've taught me that if I go two, maybe three, days without washing my hair, the world won't end.

They've introduced me to beautiful music.

They've taken me on trips to faraway places by sitting with me for hours and telling me stories of their adventures.

They've taught me to let go. To wait.  To be patient.

They've encouraged my creativity.

They've taught me that on any given Sunday,  if I must choose between going to church or being the church, I should always choose the latter.

They've modeled "not judging" for me.

They've helped me get through when the shoe is on the other foot.

And best of all, they've taught me the most pure, raw and unchecked way to love.

So back to my original question.

How did I get to be a mom?

Certainly there must have been more to it than merely the fact that I was born without a sense of smell, and could therefore handle dirty diapers, vomit, and nasty gym shoes quite easily.

Surely there were girls way more qualified than I.  Girls that were better groomed for the job after having played with real baby dolls in a motherly way.  Girls that didn't throw out an expletive here and there when overwhelmed with the moment.  Girls who could quote more scripture from memory.  Girls who really loved to bake chocolate chip cookies and wear aprons.   Girls who would grow up to be award-winning scrapbookers.  Girls who wouldn't one day take great pleasure in putting a dead scorpion on a son's shoulder and then say, "Jake, don't panic!  But there's a scorpion on your shoulder".  I mean, who would do that and think it was funny?    Clearly that person should not even consider procreating.

Surely others were more qualified.

So I've chased the rabbit and this is what I have come up with.

I got to be a mother only because somewhere in God's infinite grace he looked right through all these inadequacies and he blessed me anyway. I believe he looked at me and thought "this will make her better".  And it did.  Beyond that, there is no other explanation. None.  Zero, zilch, nada.

So let me take this moment to raise a glass--actually a coffee cup--to three of the most wonderful humans walking this planet.  So happy to know you.  You've taught me everything that really matters.  This and most every other happy day is/was brought to me by you three.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Love is all around us.

Kids are far away.  Husband is working long hours.  Weekends pass too fast.  Hot flashes come too frequently.  My knee hurts.  My back hurts.  I need to clean the bathrooms.   I need to wash my car.  The basket of laundry needs to be folded.  So I decided to close my eyes.

It doesn't happen often, but sometimes an entire week will pass before I realize I've gone through it with my eyes tightly closed.

To everyone else, and physically speaking, I appear to be seeing, but I'm actually not.  I don't see hurt.  I don't see need.  I don't see beauty.  I might as well be blind.

The week before Valentine's Day was kind of like that.  It wasn't that anything was bad really, it was just kind of "blah, blah, blah".  Just going from point A to point B to point C and then coming back home again.  The next day, I just hit repeat.

I don't think I'm an anomaly.  Well wait, let me think about that a minute. (tick-tock).   Okay.  I think that mostly  I'm not an anomaly.  I think it happens to most everyone from time to time.  I don't like it one bit, though.

This is the story of how God opened my eyes yet again.

It was a rainy Monday morning--the week of Valentine's Day.  I slept too late so even though it was "hair-wash day", I didn't have time.  I left the house in what Beth Moore calls "yesterday's hair",  and I didn't feel good about it.  I was driving through my neighborhood heading for the highway, lost in my own thoughts, when it happened again--always a surprise.  The little kissing couple in the truck appeared right in front of me again.   For those of you who might have read earlier blogs, you'll remember my writing about this couple who, seemingly by chance, ends up driving in front of me in my neighborhood.  I don't know them.  All I know is that at one particular stop sign--the one before you pull out on the highway--they always kiss.   Over the last 15 years I have observed this about seven times.  She is always sitting right next to him in their truck.

the kiss at the stop sign.

This time, there was a cute little twist.  They were both wearing cowboy hats.  Yep.  Two little seventy-something lovebirds in cowboy hats.  All of the sudden, my heart quickened and my day instantly took a turn for the better as we drove toward the stop sign.  I knew what was coming!   I slowly followed them and at the last minute, as they took off their cowboy hats to kiss,  I grabbed my phone and caught it on my camera.  The kiss at the stop sign on the rainy week of Valentine's Day.  Could it get any better than this?  Beautiful enduring love.  The couple is unaware that I have been following their love story for the last decade and a half  simply by quite accidentally following their vehicle.  If they could only know the joy their love brings to me.   God began to pry my eyes open just a smidge.

The week continued on, and then on Thursday it was Valentine's Day.  My true love worked in the city all day, and I had a day of teaching piano lessons.  When I got home, later than usual, my husband had beautiful music playing.  He was in the kitchen fixing dinner and he had taken the time to set the table pretty.  Candles.  Flowers. Tablecloth.  I will hover for a moment on the tablecloth thing.  As I began to take everything in and to relax a bit, I noticed something about the tablecloth.  It was a Christmas tablecloth!   It was a collision of celebrations  right there on my dining room table.  Perhaps a better wife would have let it go without comment, but being that I'm more of an average wife, I ran right through the door that the hubs had opened.

Me: "Oh honey, you even used a tablecoth".

Hub:  "Hey that's how I roll".

Me:  "How did you pick this exact one?"

Hub:  "It had red in it".

Me:   "Yep.  It sure does.  A little red cabin in the snow with Christmas trees all around it".

Then we couldn't stop laughing.  Gotta love a guy who laughs hardest when he's laughing at himself!   Romance aside, who doesn't love a little Valentine's Day humor?  

Christmas and Valentine's Day mash-up.
But the more I thought about it, I thought of two things.  First of all, how blessed I am to have the love of a man who goes above and beyond to make things special for me.  Pinch me.  Is this real life?  And secondly, and even more importantly, that it is beautifully fitting to be reminded of Christmas on Valentine's Day because Christmas is the greatest love gift ever.   I'm thinking that because of my husband's lack of attention to detail we have a new tradition.  Boom!   We will forever use the Christmas tablecloth on Valentine's Day.

And so my sight continues to improve.

The end of Valentine's week,  I was fortunate to get to photograph a mother and son.  They've struggled.  They've lived more years apart than together.  but they love each other I know.  I can see it in the photographs.  As the mom was getting ready, the little seven-year-old boy and I ventured out to get some shots of him by himself.  Behind their house was a creek bed with beautiful trees.   Little flecks of green were beginning to peek through all the brown-- hinting that spring was just around the corner.

The little boy had not explored the creek before, which surprised me as it seemed to be a place where the most incredible, imaginative adventures would surely happen for a boy his age.  As we began walking down the hill to get there, the little guy had a bit of a worried frown on his face,  with a demeanor entirely too cautious for his age.   He spoke of it being dangerous, with all the cactus and stickers.  Where did so much fear come from in such a little guy?   I wondered.

 I began to talk to him about adventure and pretending we were on a safari.  He reached up and took hold of my hand.  By the time we reached the creek bed,  we were Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus.  We fished with sticks, I bolstered him up in a tree.  We played hide and seek.  And we took pictures.  I say "we" because he was smitten with the camera.    He wanted to take my picture.  He began giving me directions when he was shooting.  "Move over by that tree," he would say.   When I started posing and acting silly, he ask me not to do that!!  When his mom arrived, he wanted to take her picture, too.  He wanted to take my picture with her.  It went on for a couple of hours.   It was just about the loveliest way to spend time.

photo courtesy of Marco Polo.

I think it was the moment that sweet little boy reached for my hand that my eyes became once again fully open.  Right there in that very moment.

In the span of one week--a week that is typically full of commercialized expressions of love,  God reminded me in three of the sweetest ways that love is all around us all the time.  We just have to open our eyes.

Occasionally I will wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air like I haven't been breathing for a while.  When I take that  first full deep breath of air into my lungs it is such a relief.  Almost like being brought back from near-death.

That is what happened to me during Valentine's week.  I began to see again.  Which is kind of like breathing again.  Breathing is necessary for my body to live.  But seeing.  That is what sustains my soul.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Habit of Mothering.

A few weeks ago, our family of five was sharing a small lodge in the mountains.

Today the physically closest of my three children is approximately 1,500 miles away.  Fifteen hundred miles.  The other two are oceans away.

And here is the next part.  These three will maintain this distance for the next six weeks, at which time one of them will come back to me.  Okay, so he's not actually returning to me, per se, but I can imagine it so if I want!!  Don't judge.  The point is, he will return to within 70 miles of me.  Ahh, much better!

Here's a sample of the barrage of thoughts consistently weaving themselves through my mind for this week.

I hope he doesn't have the volume on his headset turned up too high when he's driving-- he won't be able to hear the horn of another car blasting. 

 I hope she remembers to keep her migraine medicine with her all the time--those things come on without warning. And drink water...she should be drinking plenty of that.  

 Gosh, I hate that he is going to be walking into an empty, cold house so late at night and with classes starting tomorrow morning!  

I wonder if she's taking one of those little puddle-jumpers way up north...oh dear Lord don't let the engine ice up!  

Surely to goodness he is wearing a helmet when he bikes!  

I wonder if he has his grades back yet.  Let them be good, but if not help him not to be too disappointed.  You is kind.  You is smart. You is important.  (Okay, I borrowed that from someone else!)

As one can plainly see, I am in the habit of mothering.

Hello.  My name is Dana.  And I mother.  A verb.

I can't stop.

When I verbalize these things, here are the comments I get.

"Mom, I'm twenty-five".

"Dana, they're grown".

No kidding?  Really?  Because I hadn't noticed.  Have I not planned collectively some 54 birthday parties?  If asked, I could more than likely tell you themes of said parties and I could probably tell you what the birthday boy or girl was wearing for each. So yeah.  I know they're grown now.  I get it.  I watched it happen.  Front row seat.

And I've lost my season tickets.  Now it's like watching the game at home on television rather than sitting in the stadium.  At times, I find myself glued to the TV.  Cheering and praying.  Praying and cheering.  And heaven help me if the satellite loses the signal!

Here's the deal.  Some might suggest that it's time I get up and make some popcorn.  Maybe make a nice dip for the chips.  Heck, maybe even leave at half-time and just hear about the outcome later.  That might be good and healthy.  In fact, maybe I should  forgo the game altogether and just tune in to ESPN for a recap a little later.  Then, maybe one day, I won't really need to watch the game at all.  Hmmm. Here's what I think about that.

When pigs fly.

I did cut the apron strings.  I really did.  Then I did what any self-respecting mother would do.  I replaced them with rubber bands.  They are the really big, stretchy kind.  So stretchy, in fact, that they can reach all the way across the world!  And yet.....well I think of it as a kind of safety net.  I know what you're thinking.  A safety net for whom?  Me or them?  Them.  Totally them!

It's not like I'm not good at other things.  I am.  It's just that I'm best at mothering.  It's not like I don't like doing other things.  I do.   It's just that the thing I like most to do is be a mother.  It's not like I don't find meaning in other things.  I do.  It's just that I find the most meaning in being a mother.  In that role are the metaphors for all other things in life.  That role makes everything else make sense.

They say that if we stick with something for 30 days, it becomes a habit.  I've been a mother for roughly 9,856 days. So, yeah.   Not exactly a surprise that I've grown into my role.

Oh, but let me be clear about something.  

I don't lie around curled in the fetal position all day.  No. I have come to love the freedom, possibility and simplicity of my empty-nest life.  I attempt to live daily with purpose and faith. I write stories. And music.  I teach children to play the piano.  I go out to dinner and the movies.  I snow ski.  I go junking with girlfriends.  I cuddle with my husband and watch TV.  Together we leisurely spend Saturday mornings drinking a whole pot of coffee in pajamas.  We have inside jokes that our kids don't get.   We've even committed to learning spanish together this year.   But still,  here's something you can take to the bank.  Between every little "Hola" and "Adios" there will always be a monologue whispering through my head questioning if my girl packed a warm-enough coat, if my boy is stressing too much over school, and if my other boy has enough protein in his diet.

Because I'm Dana.

And I am in the habit of mothering.

rubber bands.  a generous tether.