Aug 16, 2016

Making It Fit.

Have you ever been shopping for shoes? My whole life shoe shopping has been a challenge. My feet are little, I actually wear a kid size shoe. It is extremely difficult for me to find grownup looking shoes in my size. When I was a teenager I would regularly buy shoes that did not fit me, they would be so pretty and I would want them so badly that I would just convince myself that they fit me even though they really didn't. My deep dark secret is that I would stuff the toes of these shoes with enormous amounts of Kleenex or toilet paper to make them fit me. It really was not comfortable but I did not care. Even though the truth was staring me in the face I would ignore it and convince myself I could make these shoes work.

Maybe it was after one too many people saw the wad of Kleenex in the toe of my shoe? Maybe I finally got tired of uncomfortably walking in shoes that flopped? I am just not sure when I stopped buying shoes that did not fit me but eventually I did. I had to embrace my true shoe size and just be happy with what I could find in my size that looked close enough to grown up....you know, avoiding flashing lights, neon colors, Dora, or Velcro. 

There is this fabulous shoe store in Eugene called Burch's. The shoes in this store are truly beautiful. Every time I go in the store I head for the smallest size in women's and stare longingly at the amazing shoes that I know would make all my dreams come true. I always try them on hoping they may fit, but they never, ever, ever do and after about ten minutes of diligently trying to convince myself that they fit I dejectedly head over to the kid section to find size 3 shoes for me. So many times I have had to leave a pair of shoes on the shelf that I am sure would change my life if they only fit.

What about puzzles? I can vividly remember times in my life when I have been working on a puzzle  and I find a piece that has all the right colors and shapes to match the surrounding pieces. I put the piece in it's spot fully expecting the satisfying feeling that comes from a perfect fit but something just does not seem right and inevitably someone doing the puzzle with me will doubtfully say "I don't think that fits there." I will ask back, "Are you sure?" I will give it few confident pushes and wiggles to show that I am confident with my decision. But then they try another piece there and I see how smoothly it fits and I have to bravely admit, no matter how hard I tried, it did not fit.

Natalie my thirteen year old is growing like crazy right now and every single piece of clothing she puts on does not fit. Every time she comes out of her room I have to say, "Oh honey that does not fit." She looks at me like I am crazy. Then looks down at the high water pants or the tight shirt and looks at me with complete confidence and declare flippantly, "Yes, it does." We see what we want to see.

I was laying in my bed last night thinking about making things fit and how it appears that I am the kind of girl that is always ignoring the fact that something does not fit. (I have no idea where Natalie got it from :) If I really want something to fit whether it is clothes, shoes, or even...gasp... a relationship I will figuratively stuff Kleenex or toilet paper everywhere I can, trying with all my might to make it fit because I really, really, really, really, want it to. I can not tell you how many times I have embarrassed myself fighting for a relationship that I needed to just admit did not fit. Or wearing a dress that was too long or not long enough, or pants that needed a belt. Because I am petite I need to wear things that fit perfectly and yet sometimes I find something in the store that is so not fitting me right but I refuse to see it and decide I can MAKE IT WORK. I am not sure what made me this way but lately I am seeing that this darling tendency I have may someday be the death of me. I need to learn how to stop pushing and wiggling on the piece and just.... let it go and move on. Maybe if I find a mountain with beautifully smooth snow on it and I run up it wearing my cape (that fits) singing at the top of my lungs, "Let it go. Let it go it will help me :)

Aug 14, 2016

Have You Seen My Spark?


So today I was going through my folder of blog drafts that I had not posted and this one caught my eye. I am not sure why I did not post it but when I read it today I realized I needed to post it so do not get to tangled up in the time just sit back and enjoy :)



Cloudy, rainy Saturday morning. I have a pile of homework. I need to get my singing time ready for church tomorrow. I have a list a mile long of things I seem to never be able to catch up on. I have relationships that I can not figure out that are weighing so heavy on me. I have so much on my mind. I need to write and write so I can feel better but how to do that and not freak everyone out with my oversharing, possible complaining, and wondering. So bear with me as I ramble and attempt to help myself to feel better and make sense of things. I need someone to talk to and it is going to have to be handsome, fabulous listener, Mr. Blog.

I spent the day yesterday in Seattle. I have a eency weency, teeny tiny assignment for my 30th class reunion that will be in August and I needed to pick up some things from some class members for it. Since I was already going to be there I scheduled play dates with a few of my favorite Snohomish/high school peeps who had time to play. I was really looking forward to the day.

I left Oregon at 3 in the morning. My alarm rang at 2:40 am and I decided not to think too much about getting ready for my day. I grabbed the first clothes I saw. I put on minimal makeup. Put my hair in a side ponytail. Got a box of granola bars, water bottle, grapes, and headed out. There is something very therapeutic about flying along the freeway in your car in the dark. I did not turn on any music. I just rode in complete silence. I thought and thought about so many things. I tend to imagine that I have always been a "glass overflowing" happy, energized, positive kind of girl. I have been known to unhealthily power through my days without stopping to acknowledge the immense things that are happening around me that could be affecting me....but who doesn't do that? :) I actually did not even realize this was happening until my dear friend Gail came to visit me a few weeks ago. Gail knows me so well and happens to have been through all my huge life events with me. Yeah, lucky her :) Within 12 hours of being back together with me she confidently and correctly declared to me, "Something is wrong. Your spark is gone." A spark by definition, "is a trace of life or vitality." I am confident it makes me who I am. I had not even realized it but as I thought about it I knew she was right. Mr. Spark was gone. I have not given enough credit to all I have been through the past two years and so my spark just left. I have no idea where it has run off to. I wonder if I will recognize it? I wonder if it misses me? How do I get it to come back? These are the things I thought about as I was driving.

It was a gray morning and I love those sort of mornings. The skyline of Seattle always thrills me when I came around the corner on I-5 and see it looming ahead. I immediately pick out the space needle. And I often think about how many times I have rounded that corner. I smile to myself as I realize I am almost always thinking about the same thing. Going to Seattle is my favorite thing but there is a small price to pay for these visits the memories are everywhere, very thick, and tend to make me feel a little melancholy as I drive past places I have met friends or done fun things with my family or friends.

I stopped in Snohomish to pick up a poster from a friend. I was very proud of myself because I used google maps on my phone to find where this friend's parents house was. I felt like quite the tech savvy girl as I figured out how to get the voice on google maps to tell me the directions out loud. Yes, I am bragging :)

Then I worked my way up I-5 towards Camano Island. This is where my dear friend Shelley lives. The views are spectacular and I love to visit Shelley. She and I immediately head out to take an enormous walk whenever I show up....no matter the weather. We catch up. We attempt to solve the worlds problems and we reminisce. We never really have the answers but it is fun to commiserate.

After spending an hour and a half with Shelley I got in my car and headed towards Marysville for lunch with my favorite teacher from high school, Mr. Castro. Mr Castro taught me in jazz and concert choir. He gave me chances like nobody's business and I will always be grateful to him for that. I love to connect with him when I can and I always have a great time learning from him and listening to his experiences.

After lunch I headed out to Monroe to meet Loretta. She was Lorre in high school. We do the same thing Shelley and I do, we walk and talk our guts out. We always meet at Lake Tye in Monroe. Lorre and I both have seven kids so we have a lot to talk about. She and I spent lots of time when we were in our teens talking about how life would surely turn out when we grew up and now we sheepishly smile to each other when we remember those dreams :) The talking and walking is so needed and every time I do this with these friends I feel so overwhelmingly grateful for where they fit in my life and that we have kept in touch and of course wish we lived closer. 

All the reminiscing and talking in one day does tend to wear me out so by the end of the day I feel satisfied but my mind is so full. Verbalizing what is going on in your life. Bringing it up and talking about it makes you think about it more. Which is good but also means it needs to be dealt with. Everyone is dealing with things. Some are better at it than others. Some figure it our sooner than others do. Because I am an over thinker the plan for the dealing part often comes later than sooner.

P.S I did not find my spark on this trip. I hope wherever it is it is safe. It will be such a relief to get it back and be me once again. If you find it please feed it Reeses and give it a hug....I am not much of a hugger that is probably why it left :)

Reunion

You get all sorts of reactions when you declare to someone that you are going to a reunion. For some reason the reactions are most interesting when you admit it is a high school reunion. I know this because my thirtieth high school reunion was this weekend and most people I told I was going have had a pretty intense opinion about whether reunions are a priority or not. Some people think it is living in the past but the past is what made me who I am and I do adore going back to visit it and see if I learned anything :)

A reunion is defined as an "act of uniting again." So when things/people have been apart for a long time and they come back together again it is called a reunion...a gathering after a separation. I spent at least four of my very formative years with these same 300 or so people. Some I was closer with than others. Some I kept in touch with more than others. But no matter that, the truth is that our lives were all tangled together for at least those four years even if it was just a passing smile in the hall or someone loaning you a pencil. We definitely affected each other for good or bad. Most of our identity is forged in high school, it is a most fascinating thing.

Some people love to go to reunions others don't. I have thought about that a few times this weekend as I observed the classmates of mine that did decide to come to the reunion. What made them decide this was a priority? What makes others cringe at the thought and stay away? I go because I love people. I love to see what they have learned and what they have become. I don't care how they look. I don't care if they are successful or not. I just like them. It delights me beyond belief to see them loving to see each other again. If you administered a personality test to people who go to high school reunions would there be a commonality? Some piece that all those people have that makes them value re-connecting at any cost? I wonder if all the people who could not come realize that we all wondered where they were? How they are? And that we genuinely miss seeing them at our reunions?

It is not really possible to get a high school age kid recognize the value of each of these people they are going to school with, individually. And it was simply not possible for all of us to really know each other when we were in high school. It is sad but true. I am so grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with these people and hear about their lives, smile at the mannerisms they have that are still "so them." I felt an overwhelming gratefulness for how kind my classmates are. I saw them all talk to each other, reach out, and laugh about not recognizing each other. I deeply hoped everyone had a good time and got what they hoped they would get out of reuniting.

As I think about the definition of reunion I realized that there are lots of sorts of reunions in our lives. Times when we unite again.
 I have had children leave on missions and be gone for 2 years and then they come back and we reunite.
 I have had old friends come back into my life after years of being apart and we reunite.
 I have given up Reeses and then ....we reunite :)
 I have lost weight and then...we reunite :)
 I had friends I watched years of the television show Survivor with and we used to reunite years after we all moved away.
 What about when I find a missing match to a sock? Yep, reunion.
 I had my darling old college roommates come to Massachusetts a few years ago and we reunited and it was so fun.


 I remember the first time I experienced the joy of reuniting. (You have to have lived awhile to get to the point that you recognize the power of reunion.) I was living in Indiana at the time and my high school choir teacher in Washington was retiring. I had been out of high school 19 years. All of a sudden everyone who was in choir was reconnecting. This retirement was big, we had all been touched by this teacher and his life, we all wanted to acknowledge him. I had been knee deep in raising my seven children and had not had a moment to stop and think about high school, let alone the people who were part of my life then. But before I knew it I was reuniting with friends from choir and my high school choir teacher. All of a sudden there were people back in my life who had known me before I was...gasp... a mom. It was a most surreal feeling to hear what they remembered about me and to ponder on how they had affected my life. I really needed it at this time in my life. It really helped me to get some much needed perspective on who I was and where I was going. I was so grateful.

So in the end even though we know it may not end up to be the best thing we have ever done, going our high school reunion. I it is still so amazing to see what the ending is turning out to be. How can you not want to know what the end is? I loved spending the last two days watching and listening to my old classmates from the class of 1986 form Snohomish high School. To admire what they have become. To marvel at what they are figuring out and how they are learning from hard things in their lives. We are such better versions of ourselves now.