Mother Earth Day

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Forgive me blog-o-sphere, for I have sinned … it’s been MONTHS since my last update.

With every good intention, Georgia and I created this blog to share our mothering adventures and artistic lives, knowing that sometimes being a mom holds more drama than the drama, and the lines between art and life are difficult to discern! I’ve had so much that I’ve wanted to write about in the past several months, but the stories somehow seemed too daunting to actually get onto the paper (or screen). 2013 has been tumultuous, and I’ve had to process.

Life goes in cycles (trying to avoid a “Circle of Life” reference here, but failing), and I won’t say this year has been a bad one; I don’t recognize things as bad per se, but it has been … dark. The bigger picture, however, is that light is so much more evident when partnered with the dark. The year has already held more than I thought possible, but I know I’m being enriched by these experiences.

I’ve been planting this month. It’s time for the winter garden to transition into the summer (for those of you who don’t know Chance Gardener or the film “Being There,” you are missing the ridiculousness and obvious nature – pun intended –of this). I’ve had hours and hours of simple tasks like digging, re-constituting soil, starting seedlings, weeding … to reflect.

I miss my mother-in-law, whose perception of life sometimes drove me bananas – she was the most illogical person I’ve ever met – but whose presence tied this family intrinsically together with her threads of love. I am so blessed to have married into my husband’s nutty and marvelous family, and we all feel the hole that Anna has left. She passed in January and I delivered her eulogy, which is the most honored I’ve ever been to speak in front of a gathering of people. Just a few weeks following this, my beautiful sister-in-law (married to my husband’s brother) lost her own mom, Rose, and we looked at each other and asked, “why is everything happening now?” Rose was the last surviving mother of this extended clan.

My own mom has been gone four years this month, and I feel that loss more than ever. My girls are getting older and I see her in them. Everyday holds a question I wish I could ask her. Her birthday is tomorrow – I still get the email alerts, as I can’t bring myself to delete her from that app; she would have been 73.

My husband and I, for some bizarre reason, have lost several friends, quite suddenly, since January – ones far too young to be beaten by cancer, others inexplicably coming down with the flu and gone a week later. We’ve had half a dozen friends hit a wall in their marriages during this time as well, and I’ve had two pals diagnosed with cancer (both doing well, thank goodness). It has caused Robert and me to take stock and be grateful NOW. Now. Right here and now, Jack (please read The Talisman, if you have not). These events have changed the timber of our house. We’ve both been guilty of working towards the future at the expense of the present, wishing time away, getting bogged down by petty annoyances, you name it. We make those mistakes less now.

Enough has been written about Newtown and Boston, but suffice it to say the first in mid-December paralyzed me for weeks, and the more recent events broke my heart in myriad ways. It may seem cliché, and it is, but the truth is that after these tragedies, people do come together in ways that inspire. We do not lack heroes in our world; have you noticed that? In the midst of inhumanity, we remember to be human. It makes the losses no less devastating, but the healing does make us stronger, more empathetic, and hopefully more willing to make small changes in our own daily behavior that ripples out far beyond us as individuals. I’m witnessing this globally, and learning it firsthand.

The light side is this:

In my personal life circa 2013, the events surrounding me have put me in touch with literally dozens of people in my own past – all women, actually. Several friends have stayed in my house (which is very much off the beaten track, yet they were coincidentally nearby) – pals I haven’t seen in decades – for days at a time. This has led to talks late into the night, reminiscing, but also sharing – downloading, if you will – our experiences since last meeting. Despite the years, the friendships feel completely current; our shorthand hasn’t missed a beat.

Out of the loss of mutual friends, social media has also put me back in touch with women who were my nearest and dearest 20 years ago and beyond! I feel the need to see them in person, and have driven all over Southern California (and carried out plans as far as Seattle) to share a meal and not simply catch up, but to delve a bit deeper. Last week I did a concert with some local students, one of whom is the daughter of one of my best high school pals – a gal who, during rehearsal, sat in the back of the theatre, while I was literally on stage re-living every performance experience I’d had with her … only this time with her beautiful daughter. That moved me in ways I can’t even articulate.

I’ve learned enough to recognize there is no accident in any of this, and what I’ve gained from each and every encounter is nourishing soul food and beautiful wisdom. We have each gone on diverse life paths, but at this moment in time have come back together and are learning from each other.

So, it seems this year I am both sowing the seeds for a new kind of garden and harvesting the fruits from the one I didn’t even realize had been growing. I miss the people who have filled so much of my life, who have now flown off to that other place. I celebrate the journey but already miss the pal who, in this life, is moving to other coasts where she needs to be. At the same time, I am literally amazed by the friends (new and old) who are filling those spaces. This is a year of tremendous change and we’re not even five months in. Next month brings Mother’s Day. That will be a different celebration to be sure, but a celebration none-the-less … or perhaps more-the-more. And I’ll have berries and veggies from the garden to serve.

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