20130615_171944It’s been a roller-coaster, I won’t lie. But so what, life is, no? Unless you choose to stay safely under awnings that will not let you feel the rain, but might not let you feel the warmth of the sun either. You need both.

That’s how we embraced another school year. Jumping in, both feet. Oh come on, you will say, the boys, they are the ones who go through it no? Yes, and I walk alongside, I hear the stories, I hear the grumbling, I am there to celebrate the great things along the way and make bad days better. So it’s us, never just them. Fortunately.

We had rushed mornings when moods were exploding and causing some collateral damage but oh, when you’re just so angry who cares? Hmm, you should, the one who is in the middle of it, you know and feel that getting angry will get you nowhere good, but how to, how to get to the other side and not drown or push someone into the deep end while swimming to safer calmer grounds? We’ve learned how to. It took a while…It will take another.

We had good hugs on the way back from school, we had sharing of this and that and we had carefully guarded secrets shoved deep in our soul pockets, let no one see them, because what if others judge? What if they don’t? We had time and opportunities to learn about trust and being there for each other, meaning well and ahem, missing the point or forgetting to just listen… We’ve learned how. It took a while…We might still forget how to, but we’re willing to learn, again.

The boys had the experience of unkind people and they were frustrated with it. Why, they’d ask, why would someone say something mean or inconsiderate? Because they hurt inside? Because they feel unsure of themselves? We never know unless we ask and someone is willing to answer. Never judge. You never know. Talk about actions, gestures, words, they can be mean. A person is… well, just like we all are, prone to make mistakes, act in haste, anger, often falling into unkind patterns and yes, stuck in patterns that could create hurt. We sighed a collective sigh and decided that learning from mistakes and wrong patterns rather than just pointing our finger at them would serve us better… Oh, it hasn’t been easy.

The importance of smiles. They matter, and that’s a fact. Our early morning crumpled moods were once smiled upon by a lady, a city worker who was directing traffic with smiles, plus some dancing. We looked at each other and de-crumpled. I thought “Ha! It’s that easy…” and then I said out loud “See? She made it look so easy…It must be.” The boys nodded and smiled. It was that easy. It will be a memory we’ll always hold dear. Smile, dance, sometimes silliness is how we attached ourselves to warmth.

We’ve learned that the old “a journey of a thousand miles starts with a step” (Lao-tzu?) is always true. Modern versions address the same topic as question and answer, but the meaning is the same. How do you eat an elephant? Bite by bite. It figures. We would never eat an elephant, they are too majestic and yes, threatened by extinction in some areas (too many areas like that?…)

We’ve learned to never forget to celebrate all victories, and we now know that big or small, they all matter in no particular order of importance.

Patience, understanding, kindness, being quiet and listening, being reminded that listening is when you just listen and what a gift that is… all of that and more. We’ve learned.

We laughed silly laughs on our way to school and from school, and talked about all the things I never thought I’d be able to talk about so openly. I was also reminded that when one is past the age of ? (care to come up with a number?) we hug discreetly, or just as discreetly allow the mother to place a much needed but “what if my friends see that” kind of kiss on the older boy’s head, a much needed and enjoyed by both “see you later.”

Learned that hugs are to be had, never to be missed because when you do miss them, no matter the reason, your heart stings a little. Or more. Hugs are precious.

We’ve learned all of that.

To be continued…