Sunday, December 5, 2004

4 pm conference

Posted by Hello
Heat, taken away from matter causes volume to decrease and density to increase. Volume is the space that matter occupies. Heat energy is determined by the temperature of an object’s mass.

I didn’t understand grade 5 science when I was in grade 5. And now, 33 years later, I still don’t get it.

Neither does Drew.

We spent the evening trying to, first of all, figure out what it means. After a frustrating hour, we switched over to straight memorization of facts. I suggested we try to put these words into a rap-song type chant… it’d make it easier to remember. His response was tears. ”I don’t get it. It doesn’t make sense. I’m stupid.”
Once he gets going, he gets all caught up in a downward spiral of self loathing and it takes a whole lot of effort to get him back on solid ground again.

It’s that “whole lot of effort” that I’m struggling with.

It’s taking a whole lot of effort to learn my new job.
To keep the house clean.
To stay on top of the laundry situation.
To have ‘lunch foods’ on hand at all times.
To think about Christmas.
To make sure the kids’ home work is getting done.
To find room in the garage for my truck.
To deal with my hair.
To put on a pair of tights/panty hose every morning.
To help Drew with his homework.
To build him up when he experiences failure.

To find time for me…

I guess that’s the crux of the matter. My time is not mine. Just when I think I’ve blocked an hour for myself, something more important (“Mom. Can you drive me to…” or “Mom, I need help with…”) inevitably pops up like a groundhog in February.

Like every other woman on the planet, I feel torn. Being pulled at from all sides.
Being a perfectionist, I desire to do my best at all times.

I’m compromising a lot these days. Or, in layman’s terms; doing a half-assed job at everything thrown my way.

That’s where the conflict lies. I want to excel, but due to my humanness, I’m forced to accept my mediocrity. A bitter pill to swallow, let me tell you.

My usual way of dealing with bitter pills is to sweeten the experience by adding some sugar to the procedure.

For me, sweetness comes when I escape to the lake. When I can’t take real life one more minute, I zip up to the cabin and indulge in things that bring peace to my soul. Surprisingly, solitude is not a requirement. I brought 6 kids and 2 parents along. And still managed to recharge my dying batteries.

This weekend, for a 24 hour time period, I didn’t think about dress clothes, press releases, Christmas shopping or science tests.
I went for a walk with my Minolta, baked a double batch of Christmas goodies with Mandi and Drew. Read the People magazine from cover to cover, uninterrupted. Designed the Christmas cards I hope to make this week. Prayed. Appreciated the decorating my mom was doing to make the place festive. And for the first time in 3 weeks, slept 8 solid hours. Eight hours.

It was wonderful.

But to make it even better, we had a magical moment, right at the end.

Drew and I have observed, on previous visits, that at 4 pm in the winter, just before it gets dark, that a gathering of white birds takes place on the lake across from the creek. You could set your watch by their reliability.
Today, at 3:50pm, I had the kids lined up on the shore so that I could take a photo. I wanted to capture the mountains in the background, as it had snowed on them last night. When the final shot on my roll of film was taken, Drew turned to look at the lake.”Look mom. They’re coming in.” he observed.
“What are you talking about?” Clint asked.
“The white birds. See that line? Those are birds.”
“I can’t see any line. Don’t know what you’re talking about.” Clint scoffed.
I suggested he put on his glasses and take a better look.
“Those are birds? That whole line?”
“Yup.” I answered. “And look at all the ones still coming in.”
There were probably a couple hundred more arriving from the west.
“They do this every day?”
“Everytime we’ve been here in the winter, Drew and I have seen them gather.”

We leave the beach area and head back to the cabin. The last of our things get packed and we pull out of the gate at 4:08. I stop at the end of our road and take a last look at the lake.
“Holy smokes! Look how many birds are arriving now!”
Everyone scrambles to look out the windows.
“Wait. Don’t go. I gotta put on my glasses…” Clint says.
Everyone is quiet as we watch thousands and thousands of white birds flutter over those already in the water. The descending birds look like big fat snowflakes, gently falling to the water.
It was enough.

Enough beauty and magic to get me through another week of compositions, quizzes, dirty sock balls, and muddy floors.

Take care,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I saw the picture of the birds on our lake I thought of this:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. This a such a moment.