Mothering teens

photo by Wolfgang Stearns
photo by Wolfgang Stearns

When my kids were younger I wanted to instill grand ideas; how to be a kind person, how to have empathy, how to be honest, how to have good manners. They were so little and I was so adamant.

Now they are teenagers.

My ideas have changed. I remind them to wear coats, I remind them to eat. I remind them that mistakes happen, sometimes, big mistakes happen. What path is to be taken after making those mistakes? What wise choices make themselves available? Will they avail?

Be happy, not necessarily behaved. (but don’t get arrested)
Be strong, not necessarily compliant. (but don’t get expelled)
Be true to yourself, not to society’s expectations. (but don’t break your curfew)

This part of parenting, this evolution and expansion of thought makes me wince and smile and stare out windows with glassy half-closed eyes in the midnight solitude.

Before I had kids, I knew exactly what kind of mother I wanted to be. I knew the rules, I knew the consequences. As the years go by, I know less and less. Who’s rules do I follow? What really are the consequences?
How can I know less now than I knew then?

Make mistakes, take chances. (but be safe)
Take a risk, don’t always take the safe way out. (but be wise)
Strike out a new path. (but don’t forget where you came from)

Of course, it’s just a matter of what I thought I knew. Now I really know, that I don’t know anything.

A cup of tea

Illustration by Sylvia
Illustration by Sylvia

 
Sometimes I rip my tea bag when I open the packet.
If I’m feeling ambitious, I will use it anyway.
Straining the leaves when the tea has steeped fills me
with confidence. If I can do this, I can do anything.

Wrapping my hands around the cup, inhaling the steam, I remember other cups of tea.
Morning cups with cold pizza,
afternoon cups with crispy cookies,
evening cups with conversations,
midnight cups with ticking clocks.

Sometimes, I heat milk for my tea.
this is a special occasion and its novelty soothes my senses.
When I drink tea, I forget that I actually prefer coffee.

Reading: Creative Block

creative block book

Creative Block
by Danielle Krysa (published by Chronicle Books SF)
from thejealouscurator.com

This is a beautiful book featuring 50 artist interviews and photos of their work. I’m really enjoying the gorgeous images printed on velvety white stock. The interviews make me wish I was having a steamy cup of coffee with each artist and the author.  Love.

Things I love (an incomplete list in no particular order)

photo by Sylvia
photo by Sylvia

maps
pine cones
laughing with Philip
watching birds fly
watercolors
reading
the smell of old books
soft blankets
morning cup of coffee
jewelry with exotic stones
photography
velvet
soft white rice
sunday mornings
the moon reflecting on the water
BellaDonna following me from room to room
books about art
the smell of pencils
a new notebook
the forest
rainy nights
the sound of geese
creamy lipstick
the smell of spring
blue hydrangeas
spicy perfume
acoustic guitar
the blue light of dawn
glass marbles
a pot of rosemary
white cake
collage art
the smell of a simmering breakfast
gin and tonic
1967 Shelby Mustang
a worn side chair
steamy cup of tea
tree branches
a walk in the woods
the sound of a distant train
fresh black pepper
friends on a porch
afternoon nap

A Gratitude List of 12 random days

 

photo by Wolfgang Stearns
photo by Wolfgang Stearns

 

Day One — Today I’m grateful for my family. I’m grateful for my husband, for our apartment with the views of the river, for my warm safe bed.

Day Two — Today I’m grateful for my work. I get paid to pick colors and move images around on a page. That’s amazing, and I am so grateful for this.

Day Three — I’m grateful that I have good friends. I’m grateful I live in a beautiful city.

Day Four — I’m exhausted. I’m not feeling grateful. I’m feeling spiteful. Should I start a spiteful list?

Day Five — I know I’m supposed to pick something to be grateful for even though I don’t want to. I’m on day FIVE and I’m feeling done with this exercise. I am an ingrate.

Day Six — I’m grateful that I take Lexapro. Clearly, I should be taking more.

Day Seven — I’m grateful for my family. Also, I like chocolate.

Day Eight — Today I yelled at a guy in a parking lot who was sarcastic with me. I should have let it go.  It wasn’t important. I’m grateful that I didn’t slap him.

Day Nine — I’m grateful that my kids are really nice people. Most of the time. My kids are teenagers and they do things that teenagers do. I’m grateful that I don’t want to give them up for adoption. Most of the time.

Day Ten — I’m grateful I can say “I’m sorry” when it matters.

Day Eleven — I’m grateful for strong black tea and pumpkin scones.

Day Twelve — I’m grateful for the sparrow that visited the table yesterday while Neve and I ate Brioche at a cafe.

 

thoughts from the forest

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