Sunday, March 29, 2020

Beautiful Memories, Motherhood and Love

Being at home for so much of the last few weeks, I’ve had these stirrings of memories from days long gone by.  Not just a flashback of a picture but the whole thing of it, the feeling, the scents, the sounds, the quality of the light and even the physical feeling.  The moments of holding my babies in my arms snuggled up nice and warm after a bath and a bottle.  My heart is filled with these memories-feelings-pictures and moments.  As I see each of my children, fully grown now, I remember the moments before they were born and all the hope I held for them.  Then, after birth, I remembered the intensely overpowering love I felt for each of them as I held them close and took great care with them.  I remember each of the pains of their growing and that was so bitter sweet to me.  I remember with pride each of their milestones, their dark days and light days.  I remember their smiles each and every one. When I close my eyes, I can still hear their laughter - the laughter of discovery of simple things like gravity, the creative things like using my nail polish on to repaint hot wheels, Legos (especially found by my toes in the middle of the night), movies, creating art, dancing, singing and just listening to music, the love and play with animals, and pure joy with this and that and everything else under the sun. I remember the look of love in their eyes.  As I recall these sweet and precious memories and find that I’m over come yet again but in a different way now in this moment.

There were times as they were so very small, we struggled so much to get by. I shielded them from as much of some of the harsh realities of our existence as I was able and I kept them focused on what we could do.  I worked hard and  I did the best I could to give them all the things I never had.  I did my best to raise them with empathy, understanding and compassion. I tried to teach them about unconditional love.  I have to say that I’m just so completely proud of the people they have become on their own terms.  The youngest baby now is finishing high school and she too will be on her way into the world to make a difference in her own unique and amazing way.  I remember when I held each one of them close, wrapped safe and warm. I remember treasuring the moments and intentionally committing those moments to the memory of my heart.  I used to think of them as my babies.  But in reality, I love them too much to consider them just mine. I realize that they are not mine.  They never were.  They are the true loves and lights of the whole of my life - in the whole of my existence but each of them is their own person, being, and force to be reckoned with.  Each has his and her own great and special purpose in this world and to see them live it is a precious gift to me. I was just lucky enough to have each of them in my care and to hold each of them in my heart.

I’m so very grateful that I was given the honor to be their Mother, the opportunity to know them and to love them as well as watch them grow into amazing human beings. Parenting is hard work, so very hard but it is truly the most precious gift in the world.  Every time I see them, or even hear them speak, I’m instantly transported to many moments backwards in time.  I smile, fight back tears sometimes and take a breath -   a very long, slow and deliberate breath and I smile from the depths of my soul.  It’s such a strange time to be alive and I consider them among the bravest of beings for choosing to be here now at this time in this crazy, mixed up and beautiful world.  I pray that they always, always see pink clouds in a sunrise or sunset and remember the days we shared noticing the beauty, looking for the bright side, and capturing a moment in word, in photo, in hand drawn impression of a view, any view and  I hope that they one day - each of them - have many moments to feel all the love in the world I feel right now for each of them, always, still, and forever. 

Count your blessings every day and be grateful for every  moment that you have ever shared with those who mean the most in life to you.  Let them know, every day and in every way that you care, that you love them and want the very best for them, even when they change, grow and move away from you.  As a parent, you know that IS the goal, right?  I’ll tell you a secret, love does not just live in proximity.  Love lives period.  The more you love, the more you are filled with infinite gratitude for all that you love.  I wish you many beautiful blessings in these challenging times.  I wish you strength, health, abundance, love, laughter and great hope.  Don’t miss the next sunrise or sunset without holding pure gratitude for existence.  

For my children, I wish every joy, happiness, life lesson, and the feeling of overcoming challenge, adversity, tears and more.  They are strong and amazing. Hold onto the the good memories and consider the lessons of the more difficult ones and know that above all else you are loved so powerfully and so completely no matter what it is you do in this life!

Copyright 2020, Jaie Hart

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Real and Surreal of Life Just Now

 A year ago I left the State of California to make a new home and life in the beautiful state of Arizona.  We’ve been here almost a year now.  The living and dining rooms that once were crammed full of boxes from the floor to about 4-5 feet high, are finally cleared, furnished and decorated.  It’s the most peaceful part of my home.  Yesterday was such a beautiful day.  After getting required outings completed quickly, I sat for a time looking at the space and imagining how it looked a year ago.  I’m so pleased with the transformation and also so very grateful for the opportunity to be here, to own my home (or at least hold a reasonable mortgage to one) and find a measure of comfort and peace. My community now is smaller, we’re close to the very edge of town where it’s quiet and less chaotic.  I truly love it.

The heat of the desert here in Arizona takes some getting used to.  But this time of year is so beautiful.  It took me a year but we finally got screens on the windows and I took full advantage yesterday throwing the windows open wide to let in the most delicious warm breezes. I sat quietly and listened to the birds sing, children at play and the sounds of my part of the city absent the usual consistent drone and hum of air conditioning units. I’ve been out of the house only twice in the last two weeks.  It is a troubling time and getting necessities has been difficult.  But, when we can get a hold of those things that are missing, I completely reject every urge to stockpile.  We take just what we need so that there will be enough for all.  After four days of searching the internet, I actually found a place to order Toilette Paper from.  Sheesh!  But I still ordered only one 10 pack.  That will arrive about the time we run out.  I refuse to hoard and so every week that goes by, I pray there will be just what we need somewhere.

Grocery store shopping yesterday was better than the week before.  But it’s funny the things people are hoarding.  There was hardly any meat left in the stores, no rice, no pasta, barely any water, no snacks, ibuprophen gone, no Tylenol, no hydrogen peroxide, no laundry soap, no dish soap, and no cleaning supplies or paper products and we went to two stores.  I refuse to contribute to the problem.  I rearrange our meal plans to work with what we’ve got.  What else would we do?  We continue to support the local restaurants with orders several times a week because, again, what else would we do? We stay home unless absolutely required.

I’m fortunate that no one in my household is ill and I pray for all of those who have been exposed and those who have lost loved ones.  My heart aches for them.  I could swear one of my kids had this nasty virus back in January based on the symptoms and the duration.  But she made it through just fine and fortunately, the rest of us did not get it.  One in my household has a compromised immune system so every day, I pray.  With such a long duration of the incubation period, I think we still have another 7 days before we know if he was exposed.  After going out and about yesterday, I suppose we have another 14 days until we know if we were exposed.  Is this how we have to live now? I can't hold these kinds of thoughts for long. I have to learn to just be in the moment, accept what is.  Worry won't change this situation we all find ourselves in will it?

It’s quiet here now.  I’m sipping coffee in my beautiful home, cat purring beside me, birds singing joyfully outside.  It’s a cool Spring morning and I’ve opened the blinds to let the beautiful light in.  I don’t know what this day will hold but I pray it is quiet comfort and simple tasks.  Mundane and the ordinary are what I look forward to.  Peaceful activities, maybe some creative ones too will ease the back drop of anxious undertones for existence at the moment.  The world seems a bit surreal just now.  The things we're used too are different and we must strive to do our best to just be present, let go of the worry and just be here now.  In the now, it is less surreal, less worrisome, and holds this vast sense of just okay and you know what?  That’s not so bad considering the state of affairs.  Keep your chin up, take a breath, try to make a positive difference, check on your people, your neighbors and your friends.  Try to find ways to keep yourself up, going, and healthy.  Pray, meditate, and use this time to relax as much as you can.  I don’t know why at all honestly, but I still have this sense of everything is going to be alright.  Maybe not instantly, or even overnight, but this feeling is comforting and whether delusional or not, I’m going to try to hold onto it, breathe into it and do what I can to send that energy outward – calm, peaceful, healthy and okay!  Blessings to you all.

Copyright 2020 Jaie Hart (photos/words)