TREASURE

prayer

The other day I talked on the phone with my mom.

This is kind of a big deal because we did not always talk on the phone.

But now, as I get older, things are changing.

 

So it is the other day and I am feeling some type of way.

Instead of texting, I decide to call my mother. I decide to tell her what is going on with me, even if this feels a little dangerous.

 

It feels a little dangerous because we do not always see eye-to-eye. And sometimes talking to mom can be ,well, a little unpredictable.

 

Mom answers the phone: “Hello!” she says.

“Hi Mom.” I say. And I hear my dad chime in HELLO from somewhere in the living room.

 

We start to talk. We talk about our upcoming visit to see them for the holidays. I tell her about my recent sleep schedule changes. And we try to work out a schedule that works for everyone during our visit.

 

This is kind of a longish conversation, which also involves my brother and his family and his schedule. Suffice to say I come out of it with the clarity that I will do what I need to do to take care of myself while visiting.

 

At one point in our conversation I start to cry. I cry because it has been a rough year. I cry because I want my Mom.

 

I tell her, “I want my Mom.”

And then she says, “Now I am crying.”

 

Those of you who know the story of me and my mom KNOW what a moment this is. We are really connecting. We are vulnerable. I am telling my mom something and she is really REALLY hearing it.

 

We start to talk about the past and how much she and my dad do not know about me. My dad says, “When you get here we will all sit down and talk.”

 

I know he wants to understand more about me.

 

And I know I want to understand more about him.

 

It has been many years of therapy and working in the 12-step rooms of recovery that has brought me to this place, this place of letting go of resentments and recognizing and embracing the love that IS offered.

 

I hang up the phone, still with tears. And so very grateful for this moment and for every person who has given of their time and attention to help get me here.

 

You are a treasure.

Thank you.

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The Sunlight of the Spirit

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Next week son starts his new job.

 

He will be working for City Harvest with their Institutional Partnerships Team.

It is a non-profit in NYC.

 

I am very proud of him.

 

When son was a younger son, he volunteered at City Harvest for community service requirements in high school. Maybe college too. I can’t remember. I do remember he really enjoyed working there.

 

I am happy. I am happy because I really wanted to raise my kids in an urban environment so that they reap get all the benefits such an experience might offer. And I feel son is reaping some of those benefits right now.

 

He is leaving a job that Wuzzy got for him in Educational Publishing. It was a very nice start but it was all the way up in Pelham. Which is pretty far from Brooklyn, or even Queens.

 

Now he will have a simple commute and get to work in Manhattan with all the convenience that brings. And all the luncheon choices.

 

When I see son over Thanksgiving, we talk about his new job and I am reminded of my 20’s, working in Manhattan, dashing about here and there, squeezing in the gym at lunch, lurching off to a doctor’s appointment before work. And, of course, many, many after work Happy Hours. Which sometimes got a little bit messy.

 

I don’t do that anymore.

But you already know that.

 

Son also got a promotion at SEEN, a company he does freelance writing for. He used to review shows. Now he is copy editing as well.

 

And next year, he will be MARRIED!

 

: O

 

I feel son is hitting his stride.

Walking in the sunlight of the spirit.

Son, I am so very happy for you.

Yes, I am.

The Ordinary Holiday

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This weekend son is here for the Thanksgiving Festivities.

 

Daughter is here too, although she is not sleeping over. She is going home at night to her very own apartment.

 

Still it is very nice to have them both here together.

 

We have our usual Thanksgiving with turkey and gravy and mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes and broccoli and carrots and crescent rolls and cranberries. Before we eat we do our grats, which everyone pretty much hates except me. This is when you have to write things you are grateful for down on a little card and put the card in a bowl and we all pick a card and read the cards out loud before we eat.

 

My card says I am grateful for my family all being together.

: )

 

So we eat. Afterwards daughter makes brownies. Now we are really stuffed. After the clean up, everyone piles onto the couch to watch football. I don’t know when I started liking to watch sports, but I think it has to do with moving to Philadelphia.

 

Not too long and I am falling asleep on the couch. My bedtime seems to be getting earlier and earlier. I tell everyone, “I have to go to sleep.”

 

“Ok.” They say. “Goodnight mom.”

 

I am very lucky Philly stays up late. He takes care of all the late things like driving daughter home.

 

Next day I get up and go for a 17-degree run followed by yoga. When I get home son is just waking up. Daughter is on her way over so we can have leftover lunch. In between I am hungry so I eat a Millet Muffin.

 

While I am eating I tell son, “Kind of tastes like sand.”

“Sand?” he asks. “Why are you eating it then?”

“I like sand.” I say.

Which is true.

 

Daughter REALLY loves sand. When she was a toddler I used to have to chase her around at the beach and unfurl her little sand filled hands before she put them in her mouth.

 

We eat lunch and now we are stuffed again. We shuffle back to the couch. I sit next to son. I tell him, “It is nice to have you around son.”

 

Son says, “I know you like to have me around.”

“Ha! You’re a funny guy.” I say.

“I have picked up a few things over the years.” he says.

 

He is funny, right?

 

Then he says, “I am waiting for some mom classics like:”

We should go for a walk!

Give me a hug!

How about a kiss?

Let’s have a talk!

 

Actually, I do want to go for a walk with son. We have nice talks when we walk.

“Yes!” I say. “A walk!”

 

Pretty sure I see eyeball rolling.

 

Next day comes and I get THE WALK! We go down the street and into the field that leads to the woods. We walk on the path and talk about his upcoming wedding, and the quiet nature of son. We talk about daughter and about all the recent happenings in Philadelphia. I tell son how much I miss being able to be part of his day-to-day life.

 

“I know mom.” he says.

 

When we get back it is time to go bowling. Bowling is a holiday family favorite event. We pile into the KIA and drive to the bowling alley.

 

Philly takes command of the score keeping. Son goes first, then me, then daughter then Philly. It takes awhile to get our groove going but after awhile daughter is throwing strikes! I am still winning however. Mostly this is due to my experience on a bowling league when I was 12.

 

Philly is trying really hard not be all competitive. But really he can’t help himself. He is pretty competitive for a Buddhist. He makes a joke about all sentient bowlers.

 

When we are done daughter tries her hand at the giant claw machine. You know the one with all the stuffed animals packed into it that you can never get out? Wuzzy used to be very good at this trick. Daughter is not having the same luck. She really wants the toad. She almost has it, but then the claw releases.

 

“Aw!” she says.

 

A few more tries and we give up and head down towards daughter’s work to drop her off. On the way we listen to The Strokes and The White Stripes and Nirvana and have a KIA SOUL sing-a-long. This is one of my very favorite things. The sing-a-long.

 

We arrive. Before daughter goes into work we all do a little shopping along the avenue. I walk into a store and am immediately overwhelmed with a sudden no-sense-of-identity or idea of what I want. Thankfully daughter is thinking way more clearly and helps me pick out a very cute hat. The very same hat she has picked out for herself.

 

I am honored.

 

Soon it is time for daughter to go to work and so son and daughter say their goodbyes since son will be leaving tomorrow. I feel sad seeing them hug goodbye.

 

Soon it is time for dinner. Philly makes us a lovely salmon dinner. Son gets the plates and utensils.

 

“Look at all these plates.” he says, “You should donate some of them.”

“Donate?” I say. “You know what would be more fun? We could take them outside and smash them and make a mosaic.”

Son shakes his head. “Mom kind of likes violence.” he says.

 

!!!!!

 

“Not true!” I say.

“Well you do like to smash things.” he says.

“That is different.” I say.

 

We talk. We watch more sports. I go to bed early like I always do. When I wake up I have a little sad feeling because I know it is the last day of our little holiday.

 

It has been so nice. Just to be together.

An ordinary holiday.

Extraordinary.

Home Cookin’

tony and me

Last night Philly made the dinner.

This is notable because in the past Philly has not been much of a cooker.

 

Actually, neither one of us has been much of a cooker. Most of our meals come from the delivery person. Yes, I am embarrassed to admit this. Our other option is homemade Nachos. We are expert at the Nacho dinner.

 

I was a cooker for a short time when I first arrived in Philadelphia and had lots of free time. Almost every night I cooked. Then I got busy and the cooking just sort of slid off the radar.

 

However, many people are busy and still find time to be cookers. Because they really like the cooking. Son is like this, a cooker.

 

I am not sure where he got it from but perhaps it is due to his food allergies. It is so hard for him to eat safely in a restaurant. But at home he can make whatever he wants dairy and nut free.

 

And so it is yesterday and Philly is cooking the dinner. He has chosen a nice piece of salmon. It looks very beautiful in the pan with all spices on top.

 

“Wow!” I say. “Look at you go!”

“I know!” he says. And he smiles.

 

He is also cooking rice. He wanted to make the little red potatoes but we ate them the other day when he cooked chicken.

 

“This is so great!” I say. Because I love it when food appears.

 

Not too long and it is time to eat. We set up the table. I find some beets I forgot we had in the fridge. We add them to the array. Also, lemon, for the fish.

 

Reader, I did not even know I liked salmon. Most of my life I have just avoided fish due to bad childhood memories of eating it.

 

“So good!” I say.

“Right?” Philly says.

“We should do this more often.” I say. Which really means I hope he cooks more often. Although I am a little inspired to get back into my cooking groove.

 

When we are done we kick back and have a post dinner chat. It feels good to have a home cooked meal.

 

Are you a cooker, reader?

What kinds of things do you like to cook?

Maybe we can try one of your recipes?

Maybe we can!

Toolbox

prayer

Today I do not feel good

And so I do what I know to do. I write.

 

My heart hurts as we have been breaking down the studio, emptying things out, boxing items up to go for donation or for sale.

 

I am feeling the loss.

 

At the risk of sounding like a whiner, I am tired of loss.

Daughter moves out.

Studio closes.

Therapist retires.

Politics all crazy.

Probably a few more things I am not thinking of right now.

 

Sometimes I feel frozen.

 

I have been knitting to help calm my brain. I think I am finally getting the hang of it.

Now I am making a potholder.

Keeping it simple.

Knitting helps.

 

I wonder what you do reader? I wonder what you do when you are feeling some type of way. What helps you feel better? What do you do when everything feels like too much and you just want to escape?

 

I am collecting tools.

I hope you will tell me yours.

Yes I do.

Yard Turtle

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The other day there was a turtle in my yard.

 

At first I was quite surprised to find a large turtle right in the middle of our yard. But day after day I am coming home to find THE TURTLE.

 

The turtle lives in the yard reader.

 

That’s right. A TURTLE. A big turtle.

 

Almost everyday the turtle comes out to sun itself. It likes the big maple tree right in the front of the house. I notice the turtle finds the exact right position of the sun and arranges the angle accordingly.

 

I want to take a picture of the turtle, but when I walk over to take my picture, the turtle hides.

 

Philly says the turtle is no coincidence.

Philly says the turtle reminds us to be patient.

Especially now.

 

Back in Brooklyn, we did not have yard turtles. But out here in the woods we do. And we have groundhogs and chipmunks too.

 

A few days ago I thought Yard Turtle was a rock. The turtle had crawled right up against the gate. When I opened the gate I just heard this big scraping sound.

I looked down and there was the turtle.

 

Today I am taking my lesson from the Yard Turtle.

Be patient.

It is ok not to know what is going to happen next.

Retreat into your shell if you need to.

If you find a good angle of sunshine, and bask in it.

 

Thank you for the reminders Yard Turtle.

Thank you.

Right Here

prayer

On November 3, we will teach our last class at the YOGA STUDIO.

I just today can start to write about it.

 

I suppose we knew it was coming. The first year is always a struggle. But the rent is a storefront rent and we have been having trouble meeting it.

 

I wish I had some profound statement to make here. Mostly I feel kind of numb. We worked hard to make this space come together. Over our short year, we built a vibrant little community.

 

I feel sad for all our students. Where will they go? Will they still practice? I hope they find a new yoga home.

 

We tried to negotiate. The landlord was wonderful. The gap was just too big.

 

And so we will close our doors. I feel sad. I am trying not to blame myself. Not to feel: FAIL. Some of you know this has been a hard year for many reasons I cannot go into here. Suffice to say, it has been a challenge all on its own.

 

I will do what I always do. I will look for gratitude. How wonderful it has been to have this opportunity. To teach yoga for a whole year in our own space. To meet so many amazing people and to learn so much from each and every one of those people. To work with my studio partner, with her big open heart and compassionate words. And to have the support of Philly, always ready to teach, to help and to solve any problem we were having.

 

Today I am sad. I know one door closes and the next door opens. I don’t know what is next for me. For today I just need to be where I am.

 

Right here reader.

Right here.