The Radical Act of Bearing Witness

This weekend is Hamilton’s James Street Supercrawl which is a fabulous annual street festival to promote music, art, dance and culture in Hamilton’s north end.

SupercrawlMichael is two weeks into grade 7 and is right back into the swing of his social life after a fairly quiet summer. He has been out every day after school this week until at least 5:30 and is enjoying the freedom and fun of friends. After a quick check-in after school yesterday we didn’t see him until well into the evening (and even then, he was texting his friends while playing on the Xbox).

When Michael arrived home last night, he announced plans they had all made to go to Supercrawl this afternoon. My initial reaction was one of those non-committal parental responses that is so annoying to the child; ‘we’ll see‘. Michael told me that Max had been allowed to go out with his friends to Supercrawl in grade 7, so why shouldn’t he?

Michael knows me well enough to drop the subject and to give me time to think. And, it was after 8:00pm!

By the time I went to bed last night I had given it some thought and (pending Simon’s agreement) had decided that there was absolutely no reason that Michael should not be allowed to go down to Supercrawl today. It will be broad daylight, he will be in a huge throng of people (lots of them friends and neighbours), and in a big group of friends. He also has a phone and could reach us at any time.

Nervous MotherAnd so, a few minutes ago, I dropped him in the north end.

As Michael was getting out of the car, my stomach started to tighten with the angst of letting my baby boy take yet another step farther away and I found myself getting a little fluttery. To cover my nervousness I started firing ridiculous safety tips at him; ‘don’t get separated from the group’, ‘if anything happens I can be there in 5 minutes’, ‘don’t eat anything you are not sure of’.

My parting safety pearl was that I would wait in the car until he texted me that he had made contact with his friends and to call if anything happened. Michael gave me an adorable grin complete with eye-rolling and said; ‘mom, I’m in grade 7, I have a phone and I’m fine.” I agreed that I was being a little over protective and a tad nervous. He gave me an awkward hug and a big kiss through the window of the car and turned to walk away.

He did turn back once to give me a little wave and my heart broke with love for him.

I will admit that I watched Michael until he rounded the corner. And as I drove home I reflected on the Radical act of bearing witness to my children growing up and learning to fly on their own. There is absolutely no rational piece of me that wants to hold them back. However, there is that little corner of my heart that wants to wrap them all up and keep them close like a fierce and protective mother bear.

I must say, though, that there is nothing quite so adorable as watching your child walk away from you with a spring in his step and the heady feeling of freedom bursting in his heart.

Go, Michael, go! 🙂quotes-thich-nhat-hanh-02-600x411

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Ships That Pass

Simon and I have been like ships that pass in the night this summer. Between the cottage, my trips up north with the kids, drives to Pennsylvania and back, and work days for both of us, we have spent more time apart than we have together.

Ships That PassAnd, tonight, the Universe, in all its profound wisdom, decided that we needed  a special night together.

Zachary, Michael and I arrived home from up north with minutes to spare before the neighbourhood birthday party to which they were both invited. We had just enough time to unpack before they were whisked off for hours to a trampoline and dinner party.

With Max at camp and Simon running an evening workshop, I found myself in a blissfully empty house. And, with two weeks of family holiday and uber-togetherness ahead of me, I really felt the perfection in the aloneness.

With Simon coming home for 8:00, I decided that I would use my time alone to sing along to my favourite music while cooking us a beautiful dinner. I had just shopped for the ingredients when Simon called to say he would be early.

And, as it turned out, there could not have been a more perfect ‘plan’.

We drank red wine and talked while I cooked and connected in a way that we have not had the chance for many weeks. And, as we sat down to our Goddess Bowls (thank you Lettuce Love Cafe for the inspiration, complete with the Lemon Tahini dressing), it felt like the perfect date!

Feeling happy, appreciative, connected, and in love with my husband.

Thank you to the Divine forces that decided it was time for the ships to pass on the same course! 🙂Coming Together

All the Diamonds

One of the aspects of this blogging project that I love the most is the invitation to seek out and capture the extraordinary in the ordinary of my day-to-day life. When I started this project I wondered if I could actually find something Radical enough or extraordinary enough to blog about every day.

Well, I needn’t have worried about that!

BlogMost days there are so many extraordinary tid-bits that I want to capture, it is hard to pick just one. It is amazing to me to realize how truly extraordinary life is. And, that it is the noticing of all the little things that make it so.

This morning, as I was heading into Toronto to run my workshops, the traffic on the highway was congested, so the GoBus driver dropped down onto Lakeshore Blvd. I am one of the few people who do not sleep on the bus so I have the opportunity to meditate, read, and look out the window as the world is going by. This morning, after meditating, I did not feel like reading so it was a window morning.

And, man, was there ever a lot going on down by the waterfront in Toronto this morning!

Lakeshore Bike PathJoggers, cyclists, kids, old people, dogs, tennis players, roller bladers, tai chi masters, rowers and sailors. As I observed it all, I realized that it was the people out walking that seemed to capture my interest and imagination the most. Some of them were walking briskly all dressed for work, some were strolling at a leisurely pace with no discernable destination in mind, and some were all decked-out in their athletic finery and power walking. And then there were my personal favourites; the old women with their huge sunglasses, their freshly done hair, their massive sun visors placed just-so on their heads and their teeny-weeny and yappy dogs.

Am I going to look like that someday? Oh dear!

I was thoroughly enjoying watching and appreciating the motley crew of people taking advantage of the beautiful summer morning as we made our way into the city and I felt a deep sense of well-being settle over me.

The feeling of well-being, however, was soon replaced with heart-stopping awe as the morning sun hit the lake at just the right angle to light it up like millions of sparkling diamonds. It was so beautiful I almost wanted to cry with the sheer wonder of it.

And that feeling has been with me all day.

Isn’t it amazing to think of how many of those heart-stopping moments of awe pass us by in the course of a regular day?

And, I wonder, what would be the impact if we were all taking the time to notice even just a few of the extraordinaries nestled so brilliantly within the ordinary?yLPld

 

Bird TV

I was under strict instructions yesterday afternoon to ‘do nothing‘. Little did I know when I headed out to my back garden to follow my husband’s do-nothing orders, that I was going to be involved in something truly miraculous.

BIrd in the GrassAs I made my way across our tiny patch of lawn to set up for my nothingness, I almost stepped on a dead bird nestled into the grass. My heart clutched and I felt that horrible regret that our cat had killed yet another innocent little creature.

As I looked a little closer, though, I realized that it was not dead at all but just resting in the long grass. Fortunately, my cat, who was following me outside for some shady afternoon dozing, had not yet noticed it. So I scooped her up and shut her in the house (much to her very loud annoyance).

I wasn’t sure if the bird was hurt and didn’t want to frighten it so I just stretched out on my comfy chair and watched.

It wasn’t long before the bird hopped across the grass and up the two stairs to our small back porch. The bird was trying desperately to fly and was not having an easy time so I figured it was hurt. I called Animal Control to see if they could help. They feel kind of like my new best friends after the baby bunny incident that I blogged about a month ago. The incredibly supportive woman at Animal Control asked me a few questions and we determined that the bird was a baby who was in the middle of flying lesson from its mother (which explained the larger two birds that kept flying down periodically…mom and dad were both in on this lesson).

Unfortunately, mama bird picked a yard with an incredibly vicious cat!

Flying LessonI kept the cat in the house and watched for three hours as the baby bird tried valiantly to fly. It looked so demanding on the poor little guy that I just wanted to lift it up into the tree above. However, from one mom to another, I don’t want anyone uninvited near my babies, so I left hers alone.

Max and his buddies drifted into the back yard a few times to check on the progress, to shout encouragement and to take selfies with the bird. There was something so endearingly adorable about those great big skateboarders cheering on a baby bird’s flying lesson that it just made me love them even more.

I never did see the baby bird take flight but when I went out after dinner it was gone so I am assuming it managed the gargantuan feat.

I am not very good at doing nothing. I don’t sit around very well and there is only so long I can read before my body wants me to do, to accomplish, to cross off my list, to be productive. However, the gift of my very own big-screen-front-row-seat-baby-bird-flying-lesson meant that I had miraculous, tiny, and valiant company for my afternoon of rest.

Just gotta love how the Universe conspires to line it up so exceptionally! 🙂Perfection

Do Nothing!!!!!

Girls day out was absolutely smashing!!!!!

Phineas and FerbWent to bed at 1:15 this morning and was so wired up and happy that I couldn’t sleep.

So tired today I can hardly string a sentence together.

The Universe has arranged it so that my house is empty this afternoon…I mean, really, talk about extraordinary!

Just got a text from Simon with two words in it…DO NOTHING!!!!!

Okay, baby, if you insist! 🙂

Girls’ Day Out

Girls Day OutJust finished painting my toes a very hot pink.

My new outfit is packed and ready for its debut.

My sexy black strappy high-heeled sandals are nestled into my suitcase.

Massage at the spa, rooftop patio overlooking Toronto for cocktails and then a delicious dinner at a funky bistro on Queen Street East.

And to top it all off? A sleepover with my sister (the bride).

I can’t wait.

Gotta love a girls’ day! 🙂

Pier-Leaping

One of our most favourite summer pastimes is hurling ourselves off the Thornbury pier into the glorious waters of Georgian Bay. We have oodles of family pictures with various Geoghegans leaping from the pier and we always know that summer has arrived when we have made that first leap.

Well, today was the day!

Pier JumpingWe awakened this morning to a pristinely blue sky and hot temperatures and decided it was the perfect day. The only tiny drawback to our pier visit was the fact that, after the gruellingly cold winter we endured, the water temperature was, well, absolutely freezing!!!!!!!!!

As we arrived at the pier and I listened to the cries of anguish from the bodies hitting the water, I decided that I would be a lifeguard and not a pier-leaper. My teenager, however, had different ideas for me. After informing Max that the water was too cold for me, he called me a wimp.

Well, I’m sorry, but I am absolutely not going to be called a wimp by any of my sons!

And so I leapt.

The pier is about a ten-foot jump, which is not a problem for me. The problem today was the lineup at the only ladder to get my frozen body out of the water. Oh boy, was my skin tingling when I made it up that ladder.

I have to say, though, that the subtle and uber-cool nod of approval from Max at the top of the ladder was entirely worth it!

Go mom! 🙂download (17)