• What’s Your Excuse?

    She works out, has three young children, and wants to ask you, “What’s your excuse?”

    Apparently, people are freaking out about this. There really is no reason to do that.

    I think it’s just great that people who love fitness and working out have found something they enjoy and find rewarding. I confess that they make me chuckle sometimes, but only because they, like anyone who has “discovered” something that made a big impact on their lives, tend to go all ego-maniacal and think that the rest of us want what they want in a literal way.

    We don’t.

    But I do think most of us want something that we may be struggling to achieve but are holding out on making real. That is the way I read this photograph and this question.

    What do you tell yourself you want, but are avoiding?

    Most of us have something inside of us that we wish was part of our real life and not just part of our dreams. I don’t care about having a hard body. Yes, if a genie wanted to grant it to me I would accept it, but that is not the thing that I really wish were my reality.

    So I think Maria can help me, and she can help you, by pushing the issue if we only will drop the take-everything-personally drama and give it some thought.

    What do you really want, and what is the reason you give yourself for why you don’t yet have it in your life?

  • To Everything, Turn.

    To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

    A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.  – Ecclesiastes 3

    My family said goodbye this week to our patriarch.

    My grandfather was nearly 100 years old, and his presence in this life was powerful. He was loving and strict, easy to laugh and just as easy to eagle-eye you into a corner if he was concerned about your direction. He fought the Nazis. He gathered wildflowers. He ran businesses and raised a family. He loved life, and life loved him right back just as hard.

    So saying goodbye has been a challenge. I spent the first week after his death in a weepy haze. I know it’s perfectly natural that a person this old should pass away, and yet I just didn’t really know how to let him go. He has presided over all of the most significant moments of my life to date, and thinking about how to anchor anything without his involvement has been difficult. I just kept thinking, “He’s gone.”

    Then, it happened. At a 30-plus family member dinner on Saturday night, the cousins started dancing.

    These were the little ones, ranging from 3 years old up to 10.  Some of them knew my grandfather, but many were too little and lived too far away to have any memory of him. I had been agonizing over the fact that they would never really know him, that without his guidance and influence our family couldn’t go on as it had been, that this gathering would be the last of the great family gatherings because without Poppa we would not really know who we were going forward.

    “Look,” my husband said nudging me, “It’s a cousin conga line!”

    All of the little ones had lined up and were kicking, dancing, and laughing their way through the restaurant we had reserved for the night. I can still see Jennings’ face. My first cousin once removed, he is a live wire and known to be the child who took Poppa’s death the hardest to heart. This was his first real family loss to death, and yet here he was, leading the party.

    In that moment, I found myself looking away from the past and toward the future of my family. As The Byrds’ song suggested, I turned. Instead of seeing what was lost through heartbreak, I saw all that is dancing before me into the future.

    Such moments are a rare gift. When I was younger I can remember older generations losing loved ones and me wanting to scream, “They are gone! I am right here!” Now I see the pivot point.

    And now I turn.

    (This piece first appeared on January 22, 2013, on The Mommyhood, a blog of The Charleston Daily Mail.)