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Ferry Beach, year 9, leaving childhood behind

Ah.  Ferry Beach.  Our ninth year at our divine Unitarian Universalist camp.  The theme for the week was compassion, and I took a class on being a differentiated spiritual leader, which begins in compassion.  I don’t know what mythankfulboy got of the message of compassion, but I don’t worry a bit about it because of all the other things he brings home with him.

Before the trip, at our nightly chalice lightings, B was thankful that the trip was coming.  Then he was thankful that we were there, and for his and our friends.  He feels very valued by my adult friends there, and elevated to an almost equal status (my interpretation of his words).  We were thankful that our friend CB was going to make an appearance when there had been a chance she wouldn’t, then we were thankful she was there, and then we were thankful we’d had time with her and would see her soon when she will travel through our area.  We were also thankful that our friend KS, with CH and JSH, made it after foot surgery and on a kneeling scooter; I don’t know what we would have done if they had simply not made it to Ferry Beach.  B was thankful that he could have so much freedom; I was thankful that I had so much freedom, too, although I did miss the bugger.  I was thankful to be able to attend a moving and enlightening class with people I trusted.  B was thankful that I brought things that made our room comfortable, and that I took him the day of arrival north of camp for a haircut at a wicked cool barber.  We were thankful for good weather and cool nights, and B was thankful that JSH got to sleep over.

On the way home we took a side trip to Mystic, CT and had a lovely day there, as well.  Then home to the usual craziness of laundry and putting things away and getting back in the swing of things.  B leaves day-after-tomorrow for a week, and last night when I picked him up at his dad’s after work, we got in the car and we started laughing almost immediately about something I’ve now forgotten.  I’m sure it wasn’t much of anything.  When we quieted down a bit, he turned to me and said, “I missed you today.”  I was surprised – I’d worked a long day, but that’s not uncommon.  He went on to say, “Sometimes, when you pick me up from my dad’s, I say, “Hey mom”, but I’m thinking, “I’m so glad she’s here!”  I answered, “That’s funny, because I feel the same way, but I’d never really thought about it to put it into words.”  He said, “I know – I can see it on your face.  It’s like when I was little and I used to run and hug you when you picked me up from daycare.”

Now, this is a second reference to when he was little from this trip.  The first came when the tattooed, pierced, gentleman who cut his hair said to him, “Dude – you’ve got more facial hair than I do!”  (A slight exaggeration, but B is 13 now, and there’s a faint moustache…)  When we got in the car, B took a picture of his upper lip with my phone and stared at it a second before saying, “He’s right!”  Being the sensitive momma that I am, I said, playfully, “Yeah – when are you gonna shave that thing off?”  At that point, he turned to look at me and said with real emotion, “This is my childhood we’re talking about.”  Well, that wiped the smile off of my face.  I said, “I guess it is, isn’t it?”

Being in a beautiful place like Ferry Beach, where the big kids play and model loving values for the little kids, the little kids follow the big kids like puppy dogs, and the medium kids, like B, are in the middle, learning to be big kids and figuring out how to let go of being little kids, there is a sense of safety to be in this in-between place.  It’s a time when I can watch him from a distance, from a new angle.  It’s a time I can  ask for and compassionately get feedback on being where I am with this growing boy from parents I respect with older, even grown, children.  I’m very, very, thankful for the gift of a place to be safe and comfortable and known and valued, and for my son to know that such a place can exist.  I’m grateful for another year at Ferry Beach.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

The armchair chalice

Allow me to paint a picture.  I am sitting in a cushy red chair with my feet up, gray UU hymnal in hand, reading glasses donned.  Mythankfulboy, 13, and his 7 year old cousin, M, kneel beside my chair, B with his chin on his folded arms on the arm of the chair and M with just his big, wide, eyes peeking over the arm.  He’s not sure what to expect.  My daddy, their grandfather and great grandfather, sits in the background, working a crossword puzzle but listening intently.  Our chalice is lit on the table beside the chair.  I read the following, from W.E.B. Du Bois:

“The prayer of our souls is a petition for persistence; not for the one good deed, or single thought, but deed on deed, and thought on thought, until day calling unto day shall make a life worth living.”

I paraphrase as I go so the little one understands, and he nods his head gravely as I speak to him.  When the reading is done, I ask for what they are thankful.  B says, “I’m thankful that my cousin, M., is here.”  M says, “I’m thankful that I’m B’s cousin.”  I say, “I’m thankful that everyone is here together, and that you both are in my life.”  Everyone nods, and we sit quietly a moment, B’s arm still around M.

Then M says, “Well, my momma told me to go to bed, and I gotta go!”, at which point he hopped off to bed.  Such sweetness.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Managing

Summer!  Finally – school is out!  Mythankfulboy is adjusting to being on his own for the first time – I think he’s finding it’s lonesome.  Last night, at our chalice lighting, he asked me to wake him before work and kiss him goodbye.  Twist my arm!  The end of the school year is nutty for us – my work schedule is changing and parts of it are heating up, spring and summer baseball overlap for  little while, there are events to attend and vacations for which to ready.  We can stretch a little thin, but we always do our evening ritual of gathering together and talking about what makes us grateful (and often about what does not), whether or not we manage to actually light the chalice.  Last night B was thankful for me for getting him ready to go to the beach with friends.  I was thankful he was allowing me to shout out from my bed things for him to get together instead of doing it with or for him!

This morning I woke him and kissed his forehead, told him not to forget to eat something of substance, to vacuum the living room chair and couch of dog hair (because he allowed the dog to sleep on both yesterday), and to remember that I love him.  He said, “Yup”, “Yup”, and “I think I can manage that”.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Potentialities

“Some day, men and women will rise, they will reach the mountain peak, they will meet big and strong and free, ready to receive, to partake, and to bask in the golden rays of love.  What fancy, what imagination, what poetic genius can foresee the potentialities of such a force in the life of men and women.”

Emma Goldman, #559 in the gray hymnal

This was our chalice reading tonight, Mythankfulboy and I, on this Memorial Day.  Tonight we were grateful to have been born to privilege of so many kinds, and for those who have protected us in our freedoms.  We tried to envision the “potentialities”, as Emma Goldman put it, of starting from a place of all people being safe and free and strong and able to soak up love and to begin from love.  We were also thankful for peach water ice on a hot day, and for time to move at a slower pace.  Blessed be.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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A happy child

Baseball season is in high gear – B is playing on two teams, which is the result of two seasons, spring and summer, overlapping.  Very different teams and coaching, to boot.  He seems okay with the running around and the transitions.  The hardest part is making sure the correct pants and practice or game jersey is clean.  There are worse things.

We’ve had a wonderful visit from Grandaddy and Nini, and they are planning a return next month, to which we’re looking forward.  There were too many “thankful for Grandaddy and Nini” nights to count – before they got here, while they were here, and after they left.  I do remember one night, though, when B said “I’m thankful for all the things Grandaddy is building, and for Nini for being awesome.”  He saw the look on my face and quickly added, “Not that Grandaddy isn’t awesome.  He’s awesome, too!”

We also had a fantastic “crew” weekend of just the boys and moms, or at least some of them, at the beach, thanks to one set of grandparents who own a beautiful beach house.  Best Mother’s Day ever.  Precious people, precious time.  10 boys getting along beautifully.  Even 2 Mother’s Day serenades (sweet, yes; also quirky, but that’s our boys).  B and I were thankful for the trip and the people for days on end, and I found myself just yesterday telling B, a little tearfully, that I was thankful that he gave me new friends I didn’t know I needed.

Tonight we studied for a math test, and, for once, it wasn’t all that hard to decipher what was being taught (thank heavens for the internet and smart people who like to talk about math). B picked it up easily once we did a little of it together.  This left time to cut up, resulting in tickling, pinching, and wrestling, and he sorta fell off a chair at one point (I barely tapped him!)  When we lit the chalice tonight, he said he was thankful for me for explaining math to him.  I said I was thankful for how much we laugh, which can even make math fun.  He was clearly not ready to settle down, and he started doing a sound-switch technique he borrowed from his friend O, which involves swapping the first sound in two words or two syllables, so that “math test” becomes “tath mest”.  Once he started, I couldn’t shut him off, so I eventually kissed him loudly on the forehead and shouted goodnight over his verbal antics and laughter, and he continued until I couldn’t hear him anymore.

It is a blessing to have a happy child.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Savoring

It’s been a while since I have sat down with the computer to record Mythankfulboy’s evening thoughts.  Baseball season hit and grandparents visited and I acquired pneumonia – sometimes life feels too big for quiet reflection.  Of course, that is probably precisely when it should be done.

For days and days of the period, B was thankful for his Grandaddy and Nini – my father and stepmother.  He was thankful for them before they arrived (because they were coming), while they were here (“For everything Grandaddy does for us and for how awesome Nini is.  I mean, Grandaddy is awesome, too….”), and after they’d gone (because we had such a great time and Grandaddy brought and built a cover for a generator for B’s pitching machine) and for the generator for my house and he took B bowling and, and, and…

Last night, around 10:30 (WAY too late for B to be going to bed on a school night), I flopped down on the side of his bed and said, “Honey, I am just plain thankful for you.  For everything about you.”  He smiled a knowing, but appreciative smile in the chalice light.  He said, “I’m thankful for you, too, and that we’re going to the beach with our friends this weekend.  It’s really nice that I can be with my friends and with you at the same time.”

13 years old, still wants to hang with his mom.  Still snuggles with his Nini, even when she falls asleep on his shoulder.  Savoring…

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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What if, one of these days…

Another bomb threat at my son’s school this afternoon.  A teacher friend pointed out to me that April 20th often evokes such threats, as it is the anniversary of Columbine, and Hitler’s birthday.  Mythankfulboy, tonight, said, “I hate these bomb threats!  They’re never real!”, which gave me a chill, because they feel like a big annoyance to him, when I am thinking, “I hate these bomb threats!  What if one, one of these days, is real?”

So, no baseball practice.  I gave him some time on the Xbox, then put him to work cleaning.  He moaned on and off for the first hour or so, then just did what was asked without apparent concern.  I thanked him at one point for just saying “Ok mom” and doing what was asked.  When we sat down for the chalice lighting, he said, “Thank you for helping.”  This seemed like a genuine statement, so I asked with what I had helped.  He said, “Everything around the house.”  I laughed; “Oh, you mean thanks for making you work when you didn’t want to?”  He said, “I guess – it came out funny, but I guess I meant thanks for making sure it all gets done.” I said, “Thank you for kicking in, too.”  After that the conversation turned to the state math testing they’re doing right now, and whether or not the bomb threat would keep him from school tomorrow (nope).  Then, in a moment of quiet, I said, “I’m thankful tonight that you and all your friends and teachers are safe.”  “Yeah”, he said.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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