"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

a new year starts with day one ... even when it's jan 7th

... and a whole lotta random thoughts smooshed together, quite possibly not making any sense at all ...

Christian saunters into the kitchen from school yesterday asking what is for dinner. "Chicken enchilada soup." I say.

"I love chicken enchilada soup!" says he.

"I love working over a hot meal for someone who loves to eat so much." say I.

Who doesn't love validation for the life they're living?

Annie was silent. "How was the first day back?" I ask and she shrugs, quieter than the last couple of weeks. I put my arm around her.

We'd had such a great time vacationing together. She's lighter without school and social stresses.

In the mountains last week, she'd stayed by my side filling my ears with unsolicited words of encouragement and never ending chairlift conversation. I could feel from her how excited she was just to be with me because I was slowed down by inadequate ability encumbering my pace; relying on her to pick me up, dust me off and tell me I was doing fine.

More validation, not under appreciated.

The kids each begin pulling out homework from the first day back. The banter light. I marvel at the amount of room around the table now that the high chair has been moved down to the basement for the last time.

I know I've said that before. This time, the moving of it was a little less sorrowful. Besides the fight against a little girl who loves to stand, we fill the space. And these people sharing the last of the banana bread and dragging feet to do homework, fill the empty nooks and crannies of my heart.

Celia's stalling by engaging me in conversation over new year goals she's set.

Smart girl.

She knows she can stall me with good conversation.

"What are your goals, Mom?" Annie asks.

I mentally sigh. There's all the same stuff. Always wanted. Never accomplished. I'd like to be on time. I'd like to make more healthful meals. I'd love to be a more present mother. I'd love to be more spiritual ... more scheduled ... more fit.

"I'm pretty happy with myself from last year." I say, "I set out to be 2.5% more engaged in my conversations."

"Set your goals high, do you, Mom?" they laugh.

"Hey, don't knock it. I'm feeling accomplished where I rarely do! And I'll push myself this year.  I'm planning to be 2.7% more positive in my thinking!"

"Did you say 7% more positive?" asks Christian.

"I think she said 27% more ..." answers Celia.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa ... " I say laughing at their smartypantsness, "Let's not over extend my abilities here."

And so the evening wears on.

During the nighttime preparations for bed, I learn of the passing of a dear friend from just up the road. The final progression of her illness being so quick.

We'd talked on the phone a few weeks back.

Seems like minutes ago, we stood on her porch talking about children and watching mine gather apples from her tree.

Her husband gave Christian his first job this summer and they'd both treated him like the amazing grandparents they are to their own grandchildren.

Beautiful and vibrant and devoted, she slipped away yesterday, surrounded by her children.

I lay in bed, heavy hearted, thinking on all that she'd miss. What I would miss, under similar circumstances. How much her family would miss her. What would mine miss about me?

I awoke this morning feeling a need to live more deliberately ... to validate her life .. to lend more validation to mine.

And maybe, just maybe, that wish list up there will get covered in some way because I hugged more, and laughed more, and listened more, and sat more, and played more, and smiled often.

So, though I've turned into not much of a new year goal setter because a non-setter doesn't have to stare failure in the face,

Let 2014 be the year I live more deliberately in every way.

... or at least 2.7% worth.


  1. Wow...so beautifully written...thanks for sharing Marlowe...your kids are growing so quickly and I love how they banter with you...so sorry to hear about your friend...I am sure she was grateful for your friendship and your presence in her life...hugs, cathy

  2. Thank you, Cathy! Hope you are well .. with ski season upon us, I couldn't help but wonder if you were doing well!