sticky connections

July 27, 2019

We are currently in the throes—about halfway through—the long and somewhat tedious process involved in becoming certified as Foster Parents. It is with a significant amount of fear and trembling that we do this; we question ourselves in our ability and/or readiness, and we also question whether or not we will actually be considered qualified (i.e. our present “income” and housing). But what we ended up with, after some emotional conversations about this process, is that, questions still hanging, we’re not ready to close the door on this. It’s not yet a green light; but it’s also not red. And until we get a clear “Stop!” we will keep moving forward. The past few months have had us all over the map, so far as future prospects go, and I think that is ok—not just ok: at this pivotal point in our mid-lives, it feels necessary to test out all our ideas and thoughts, no matter how random, different, or surprising (to ourselves and others) they may be.
It occurred to me today that, even if we do not end up having foster children placed with us, the process itself is good for us. Doing this training together is prompting good, and necessary discussions. Every once in a while, we also get breaks from the legal and logistic talk, and get to do activities like the one that this prompted me to call out (obnoxiously!) to the instructor, “That was fabulous!” [To my credit, she did ask what we thought of it :-)]
So this activity involved a series of sticky notes. We were asked to write down, one word per note, the 6 things that came to mind as our most important life “connections.” We then took our notes with us and walked in a circle while the instructor called out from the center. The idea was that we were traveling, but bus, no less, to Hawaii. But along the way, a series of travel complications required us to give up, one at a time, our connections. At the end, we were left with a single item left. With Peter and I walking together in this circle, some amusing interactions occurred over the course of the activity (i.e. “Watch it honey—you’re on a sticky note right now . . .).
The photo is of my 6 words. Your task, reader, if you choose to accept it, is to guess what order I gave them up in. I’m also curious what other people would choose as your 6 connections, and in what order you might give them up? Comments welcome!


July 7, 2019

It’s not hard because you’re failing. It’s hard because it’s hard.*

When I heard this quote today, I almost cried; it struck me as highly applicable to this season in my family’s life. We may not have young children, but we do have “kids.” I may not be a “stay-at-home mom.” But my daily “work” these days does, more often than not, consist of the sorts of jobs that have no resolution. No solution. The business of life, and of aging, is so very much harder than any official employment I have ever had. Activities such as shuffling children into a real bomb shelter is a [real] part of my [real] past. But somehow, these days, it feels like a distant, “was that really my life?” dream. These days consist of such business as coordinating schedules and planning meals, feeding goats and robbing chickens, calling doctors and dispensing medications, repeating conversations and relaying messages, fumbling for the “right” way of saying things and stumbling over words said—and mis-said— . . . the business of family.
And I cannot help but suspect that this business is just as real as the “real world.” Real-er, perhaps.
More often than not, these days I feel like I am failing. The words that come out of my mouth come out wrong. I find myself nitpicking when, moments before, I wanted to express the depth of my gratitude. I waste time instead of using it productively (and then I resent requests for that time I just wasted!). I feel aimless in the search for a job, and embarrassed by how hard it is to imagine making the time for one! And I wonder why I’m weary when nothing seems to have come from the day; it just felt inexplicably exhausting.
During this afternoon’s milking, I relayed the quote to my husband. I wanted to tell him that he was doing so well. That I’m so very proud of him. That I trust, and admire, him with all my heart. But when it came down to it, all I did was briefly explain how applicable to us I thought the words were. He held Lady’s legs firm for me while I squeezed out our daily milk. He nodded his agreement. Then I fed her a treat, and I kissed my goat. Peter fetched their “salad,” and took them for a walk. I kissed him goodbye and came to make dinner for my grandma. I overcooked the fish and I undercooked the okra. I am failing.
But she let it go. I washed her hair, and kissed her cheek. And we sat for a bit in front of the TV together.
This is hard. And it is good.

*I wish I knew who to properly attribute this quote to. It was not referenced on the podcast I was listening to at the time. But searching for it led me to this blog, so I hope this is the original author :-)