Ever have a terrible start to the day? Here’s what happened this morning;

My art studio is packed in hopeful expectation of our move. In the meantime one of the retail outlets selling my cards, is in need of more cards. I thought I would … just stop. But the impulse within me to create hasn’t stopped. So I scrounged through the 2 medium storage containers I’d left out, and yesterday managed to create 3 new cards. In fact I left them on “my” end of the dining table, so that today I could create more, of different colors and styles, hence why they were left out.

This morning I found the cards had migrated to the middle of the table, and there was a pen nearby. I knew with nothing more than intuition and knowing my son, that something had happened. Inside two of the three cards, he had written messages to family members.
CardJuly31- 13
Aw cute? Not really. I had spent more than the usual amount of time finding the right combination of scarce materials to create pleasing collages. I ranted and raved at him for about a minute, cried in the bathroom for 20 seconds, and then just sat in this chair for awhile, staring into space.

There have been plenty of incidents/ mistakes over the years of my life. Some I’ll own up to, and some as the result of others that have impacted me. And no matter that my mind goes to the biggest ones, like probing a sore tooth, there is absolutely nothing I can do to change my history or the events that occurred in the past.

And would I want to change my past? In my growing up years there was a television show called; The Twilight Zone. But that’s not where I want to live. I’m present in my here and now. I own all of it; carelessness, cruelties, bad judgments, misunderstandings, etc. And mistakes. All because there is a flip side to all of these negatives.

Like two sides of a coin; like right and wrong; the other side of a mistake is some lesson. Here’s a great quote I use from time to time; “It seems necessary to completely shed the old skin before the new, brighter, stronger, more beautiful one can emerge…I never thought I’d be getting a life lesson from a snake.” Quote by Julie Ridge. I also know things don’t fall into categories easily- there are many sides to a story, a problem, a lesson.

I believe there are some occurrences in a person’s life that cannot be written off as having a “positive” side. This morning I read about a rape victim who is fighting a custody battle with the rapist/sperm donor who petitioned for his rights as the father. This is a crime that gave her a beautiful child and love, but has irrevocably tied her to a person who forced an intimate and evil act on her.

By comparison, my son’s act is very small potatoes. Easily rectified. Really. I will cut and paste- sort of- and not be completely happy with the results but do it because I want to, because I can, because ultimately it is not worth raising my blood pressure, or getting more gray hairs over this small thing.Card2July31-13

And now I realize; it is a lesson for me. About where I expend my precious emotional energy. And about how much responsibility I take for my son’s actions- when his actions are his, and not inspired by any of my teachings or examples. Ultimately, his smaller brain size, due to Down syndrome, means a lessening of his cognitive abilities, including judgment. Sigh. Deep breath. I’m headed out for a walk to clear the cobwebs especially after letting the morning slip away from me. Nato’s out of the house with a care giver so I’ll make the most of my alone-ness.

*Top picture of new card, bottom inside of card; a love note from Nato to his sister.

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How do we live in the “now” or phrased another way; be present in our lives? This is the first time I’ve written since mid-October. Card2-10-12I chose not to feel pressured to write. I keep this blog because it suits me. Living in the “now” to me means being grateful for every breath, for rainy days which depress me a little, but feed the trees and the grass and next year’s gardens. To choose how I use my energy.

Being present in my life means that yesterday with the news of the horrible events at an elementary school in Connecticut, I contacted each of my children and told them, reminded them, that I love each one, including my 2 grandsons.

Card4-Dec12   Perhaps this says it best?
Yesterday is gone and took away its tale. 
Today we must live a fresh story again!
~ Rumi

 I’ve learned what I need to recharge. I hope to get rid of the huge pile on our dining room table before I go into work tomorrow afternoon, but if it doesn’t happen on time, it will when my spirit can no longer allow it to be put off. And I try to honor my body/spirit by disconnecting from too much stimulus,  deadlines and demands.

Yesterday my friend Peggy and I spoke by phone, beginning and ending the conversation about the children who died at school. Years ago and way too soon, Peggy’s daughter died leaving her husband and 3 small boys. When her husband died 2 years later Peggy and her husband took their 3 grandsons and raised them along with  Bob who has Downs. My friend and I often talk about the big subjects; LOSS of a child or parent, raising our sons who happen to have Down syndrome, and what we do to recharge ourselves in order to meet the lives we inhabit.

Orange:YellowKNitting

A survivor of Hurricane Sandy, quoted on Salon.com, 11/5/12;  ”..it is a beautiful life. It’s beautiful and it’s cruel and it’s amazing and it’s horribly unfair and all that we have within it is each other. All that endures is not how badly we feel about ourselves but how kindly we choose to treat each other.”

How we treat ourselves, how we treat others; these are what I believe to be the measure of our humanity. If we would pay the toll for the car in line after ours, why not also treat ourselves with gentleness, thoughtfulness, no, not an extra handful of greasy potato chips, but an extra dose of compassion. Best to you and yours. Remember to tell them you care. Live each day as if it is your last. It might be!

*Cards shown here recently made and property of EsthersGirls. Please do not steal my work.