“I don’t do this anymore, it just isn’t part of my life…it used to be though.” I said to my dear friend Christa as we sat and watched our kids play on the beach.
“What? sit? or just be?” she replied.
“Both.” I answered.
It was an impromptu trip, an idea you say out of loud to a friend but not really expecting it to happen. You know, the “You know what we should do? we should…” …but this time I just said yes. So we booked a cabin in a Virginia Beach camp ground for a couple nights. I didn’t really have money, time or energy but all of those things are short these days and some times you just have to call it in. Since money was tight, my friend did what any good girlfriend does, she slipped me a $20 and her dear husband Cris went out and hooked us up with a mad amount of groceries…then he sent a lasagna. And with way too many bags (plus some christmas lights)
and even more children, we were on our way.
We arrived and within minutes someone named the cabin, and it turned out to be a very fitting name- The Magic Cabin. I slipped a sign on the door, one invitation of kindness and the magic began. We didn’t really have a lot planned, a little, but not a lot. I was just too tired to do all that making memories stuff, but I am starting to think the best stuff just happens on its own anyway.
It started with a failed and messy Pinterest craft…but no one seemed to care.
…and there were visits from a kind Granny, and kid conflict, and frolicking, and eating way too many clementines, and chai tea with homemade maple syrup whipped cream, and scary bugs, and laughing so hard your side hurts, and snoring, and exhaustion from packing and unpacking and packing again…and epiphanies about your parenting.
The kind that was so gentle, and unfolded just so, so you could see it on your own, without judgement and surrounded in so much love. I could see just how much my kids need me in an intentional way to hold experiences of kindness for them, and just them at times. For so long I have secretly feared my kids will grow up and feel like they didn’t get enough while I shared and invited kindness for the whole world…and I realized how open they are and how little it takes, and how over the last few years, little by little, I have lost bits and moments of family kindness.
And it was so sweet to just be, to be in the place where it all started, and to be in the only place that matters…and to know you can always call it back and decide to be a new way…and to be a little sad for how you lost your path and yet so hopeful and happy to know what you can do to find it again.
So the last night, we decided to give the kids a blessingway. (a blessingway is a ceremony rooted in Navajo culture and history as a way to “bless the way” of someone walking into a new part of life. Women often give them to pregnant women about to have a baby.) After about the million I have been to over the years, it never occurred to me to have one with my kids.
So we made a fire and gathered a circle with candles and decorated with the left over defunct Pinterest art that Josiah made into a nest. It was perfect. We called the kids in one by one, and whispered by name, “We are glad you are here ______.”
They sat with wide eyes as Christa explained what a blessingway was and the history behind it…and how we wanted to bless them as part of our families together. Over the weekend, the kids had been learning about animal totems and trying to figure out which animal best represented them and their spirit. Some kids knew and others weren’t sure. So we gathered some items from nature to represent the animal we chose for them. We presented the items and told each child the things we saw in them and the blessings they hold.
Josiah was a deer, Roman a buck, Lucy was a bird, Jack was a wolf…and I watched as they soaked it all in. And one we were totally wrong about and have to still figure out. It was almost as if the little guy knew himself, knowing who and what he is so clearly…but we didn’t have the match right. It was a lesson in the value of struggle and finding your way to your kids, to listening and honoring each other in the process. It was the beauty of the kid bs meter, and that it’s worth it to be real and true, whatever that looks like. (and that s’mores can right almost any parent screw up)
It was finally Lyra’s turn and Christa started her blessing. She explained how Lyra was playful and engaging like a dolphin…inviting connection and love. And I watched as Lyra nodded her head in total agreement, while she whispered “yes” as she sat in my lap and listened to Christa’s wise words. Her eyes sparkled, it was as if someone just saw all of her for the first time. I was shocked by her response and how deeply she felt the connection, even at the age of three. It was a true soul experience, for all of us. She hugged and thanked me 3 times after we were done, and asked if we could turn her dolphin shell into a necklace. I don’t think it has left her neck yet.
I walked away once again amazed by how capable kids are, in their minds, in their hearts, in their souls- the magic they are..and how much they hold and have to offer…and amazed how magic comes in so many forms, the magic of not knowing, the magic of struggle, the magic of being discovered and blessed and mostly, the magic of just being.
you can see the rest of the pictures from our adventure here.
October 2, 2011
Fall found her way to us this weekend so I pulled a folding table out onto the front porch, well, that and the laundry has been folded so nicely on the dining room table (thank you Jorge) for over 2 weeks now. Who knows when the clothes will find their way to the drawers?
So our family is about to take on a new adventure. It’s the kind that will require a bit of sacrifice from each one of us. I have to be honest and say I’ve been dwelling on the sacrifice part all weekend long, with a touch of worry thrown in. I find when I get stuck and need to be in a new head and heart space, the best place to start is my home. Maybe it’s because hope is cultivated in the places we find rest in, our haven.
A dear friend brought a beautiful bouquet of flowers from the farmer’s market, I carved pumpkin and gourd votive candle holders, we made homemade pizza with pepperoni stars and I wrote messages left on each plate.
The kids took turns reading their messages, the energy shifting little by little, someone made a toast and then Lucy decided we should all make a wish on our pizza stars. Most members wished for more pizza and voila!- more appeared. We talked about all the things that would suck about the changes ahead and all the parts that would be great.
My message said- Our LOVE is BIG and can hold and fuel our dreams!
Boy, is it true. I wonder why I don’t do this more. Invite our worry and uncertainty to a giant beautiful table of humanity and love, with space to voice our concerns but meet them with intentional hope and goodness. I think this may be the way to do hard and great things, along with some pepperoni wishing, of course.
What helps you when you are worried or facing something big? I usually start with a freak out and end some where in something beautiful, eventually.