I Once Was Blind

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Life, Life Lessons, Metaphor | Posted on 04-10-2016

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I once was blind, but now I see.

Or so I thought.

A few years ago, my eyesight was going. Each day my vision was getting blurrier. My eyes stung.

I squinted and Googled my symptoms. Sure enough, I was going blind.

I had to wait three days for my eye appointment. Those three days were agony. I’m going to miss my children’s beautiful faces. I’m going to miss watching them grow. I’m going to miss my husband’s reassuring smile. I’m going to miss the flowers that I love to photograph. How will I see the world? How will I watch movies? How will I drive? How will I experience all of the color and sights and richness of life?

My depression and worry and self-pity mounted with each passing minute. I wept.

Turns out, it a bad batch of eye drops I had been using. After some tests, the doctor reassured me that my eyes were temporarily burned and my eyesight was 20/20 (thanks to Lasik surgery awhile back). After flushing out with good eyedrops, I’d be as good as new.

The next day was Thanksgiving. No joke. And, oh, how thankful I was.

Sight! My children! My husband! Flowers! The world! Movies! Independence! The richness of life!

This is one of my favorite memes: I opened two gifts this morning. They were my eyes.

When I think back to “losing my eyesight,” I am reminded (once again) about gratitude. What prompted me to write this was seeing a blind woman with her cane the other day, while on my run. She was stumbling up the steep hill, navigating the cracks in the sidewalk and the bumps of the curbs. Meanwhile, I was across the street, running downhill. In sharp contrast, I have it so easy.

I paused to see how she was doing. From what I saw, she had amazing perspective. She was outside walking, taking in the morning’s briskness, crunching on the fall leaves, bundled in her hoodie, for goodness sake! Was that a faint smile on her face as she took it all in?

Watching her (staring, actually), I stumbled a bit. Maybe because I was in awe of her calmness and her strength. She seemed to have a good handle on her path, her life. That blind woman opened my eyes. To gratitude. To grace. To strength. To awesomeness.

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Mud Girls

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Attitude, Celebrations, Childhood, Childrearing, Confidence, Connections, Encouragement, Exercise, Family, Life, Life Lessons, Metaphor, Motherhood, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Relationships | Posted on 13-09-2016

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I can’t think of a better way to kick off Mother’s Day weekend than to run a 5K Survivor Run with my daughter, navigating obstacles, slipping and sloshing through the mud, having a blast, and learning a thing or two about life lessons.

This race–complete with obstacles, mud, exertion, and fun–is a perfect metaphor for life.

You put yourself out there. You try your best. You face obstacles and overcome them. You find support. You laugh. You get dirty. You find your strength. You fall and you get back up. You learn independence. You are reminded that you can do it. You have fun. You are empowered.

What better lessons for a mother to bestow upon her young teenager?

It was not the medal at the end that made me so happy. It was the journey through the race, together. Through the ups and downs. (Up dirt hills and down into mud puddles!)

That Saturday, we were Mud Girls. In my heart, we are forever Mud Girls. Also known as Survivors.

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The Journey

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Attitude, Beauty, Encouragement, Exercise, Metaphor, Women | Posted on 29-07-2015

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I try to get a run in whenever I have the chance. Always with my essentials:

  1. Otis.
  2. Two poop bags.
  3. Trusty New Balance shoes.
  4. A sturdy bra.
  5. A ball cap.
  6. A camera.

A camera?? I often stop along the run to take pictures of flowers (while Otis sniffs). For me, running is not only exercise and de-stressing. It’s me time, Otis-and-me time, time to enjoy the journey.

Maybe the flowers’ bright and smiling faces serve as encouragement along the way?

A quilt of flower photos.

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All Hail the Dandelion

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Magic, Metaphor, Nature | Posted on 29-06-2015

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California poppies grow in cement cracks and flourish amidst rocks alongside of the freeway. Similarly, dandelions can grow through asphalt cracks…or almost anywhere the wind takes them.

Both are examples of flowers that thrive, despite adversity. Both are symbols of strength and life.

One single dandelion can produce up to 172 seeds per head, sending its dandelion babies up to five miles. Oh! And the endless wishes and magic a dandelion brings when you blow its fluffy white head, spreading wishes seeds.

Beauty is everywhere.

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Today.

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Check out this cool video about the transformation of a dandelion flower:

 

 

 

 

 

In Like A Lamb, Out Like A Lion

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Metaphor, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, School, Sports | Posted on 12-06-2015

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Football practice at the high school started up a few weeks ago.

The soon-to-be incoming freshmen–still eighth graders–with their eager faces, thin bodies, adorned in Under Armour and Nike logos, get out of their Mama’s SUVs as they get dropped off for practice. These boys who are all big time in middle school get a reality check as they step onto high school grounds.

Their jaws sorta drop. Not so big time anymore.

As the boys look around, they are surrounded by men. Men who cut their t-shirts into tank tops to show off their muscles. Men with facial hair. Men who drive.

Hey freshmen! Meet the juniors and seniors!

Two years ago, I was one of the Mamas in a SUV who dropped off her eighth grader amidst confident young men ambling to practice, laughing and strutting. I remember thinking: whoa!

Now, my son is one of those…one who borrows his sister’s special fabric-cutting scissors to transform perfectly nice t-shirts.

Another season is upon us…

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Flying Away

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Love, Metaphor, Mothering, Parenting, Teenagers | Posted on 27-01-2015

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I have always heard that parenting is tough. Especially the letting go part.

Framed in a positive way, it’s about loving, encouraging, and supporting your children to grow and become young adults. You want them to learn, find happiness, be independent, and move forward. Try new things! Be your own person! Learn responsibilities! Do what you love! Become independent!

Leave the nest! (Yeah, no. I am not ready.)

The day I spotted these geese flying was the same day I dropped off my fifteen-year-old son in the school parking lot, as he headed off on a three-day wrestling tournament far away. As I watched him board the bus with his teammates–his bags and gear packed–he was happy, excited, eager.

Hug. I love you. I’m proud of you.

My son was doing what he should be doing. Growing, being challenged, taking chances, becoming independent, and moving forward.

But what was I doing? I was staring at the lake, with tears in my eyes. Watching the geese fly away.

Parenting symbolism.

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The Enchanted Forest

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Metaphor, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons, Nature | Posted on 21-10-2014

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Once upon a time, there was an enchanted forest. With giant, moss-covered trees with welcoming branches. With a bubbling brook that sang. With falling leaves that danced in the breeze. With miniature mushroom fairy homes sprinkled across the clover hillside. With a lake so still, the reflections of the trees were mirrored in the waters.

A girl with wings gazed in wonderment. A boy with magical socks ran with glee.

This magical, enchanted forest beckoned us on a sun-kissed fall day. On that day, she didn’t wear wings. She had wings. On that day, he didn’t forget his socks. He wore his mother’s magical socks, gifted with love when his blister appeared, preventing him from taking one more step.

We didn’t go for a hike. We went exploring. Exploring a fairy tale.

All kinds of awesome right there.

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We spotted fairy houses.

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My Teen Has Taught Me a Thing or Two Hundred

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Advice, Boys, Confidence, Connections, Encouragement, Exercise, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Memories, Metaphor, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Parenting, Teaching, Teenager, Teenagers | Posted on 17-04-2014

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My nearly-fifteen-year-old son is awesome. And an inspiration to me. Since starting high school, he has learned a lot. And he has taught me a lot:

  1. Push yourself.
  2. Take chances.
  3. Try new things.
  4. Don’t stress.
  5. Be responsible.
  6. Make time for fun.
  7. Prioritize your health.
  8. It’s OK to be quiet.

Case in point. Earlier this year, he and I set off on an adventure: A four-mile hike. Make time for fun. Try new things.

It was a cool winter day–no rain for once. I like to hike light. No fanny packs (embarrassing!) or backpack. Just a water bottle, gum, and my phone. The essentials. My son, on the other hand, hiked heavy. Literally. Laden with a backpack full of weights–50 lbs. of metal weight plates–because football season had ended and he’s always cross training. Prioritize your health.

We traveled upwards, through a forest, until we got to a cliff with spectacular views of the river below. We took in the scenery with awe. Quiet awe–no blabbering needed. I tend to be a blabber head and he tends to be quiet. It’s OK to be quiet.

We continued onward, at his urging. Our pace was fast. We met a fellow hiker who cautioned us to turn back at the halfway point because it would be getting dark at 4:30. We chuckled. Yeah right, no halfway point for us. We’re going the full hike. No turning around. Take chances.

It was an unknown journey. We saw forests, ferns, waterfalls, moss-covered boulders, cliffs, a river. Two hours passed.

“How are you holding up with that heavy backpack?” I worried.

“Mom. I’m fine.” Push yourself. 

Well whaddya know. It was approaching 4:30 and the sun was starting to set. We were the lone hikers without any idea how much longer until we were back at the parking lot. Are we there yet?

Not even close.

The trail headed downward, with switchbacks, to the river. Surely after 30 minutes of switchbacks we would be there. Dusk became dark. It was getting cold. My map app on my phone didn’t work. Yeah, duh. No Internet in the middle of nowhere.

My thought was lions wolves and tigers cougars and bears. We had been hiking for nearly four hours. Up, down, side to side. My son led our journey, with the backpack increasing in weight as our my muscles tired.

Pitch black. No compass. No snacks. No coats. Why was his backpack filled with weights and not bananas and trail mix? Panic washed over me. What. If.

Don’t stress.

Then. Finally, we came to a road. Surely it was the road to the parking lot. No, not for another mile.

We hiked 10 miles that day. And oh, the relief when we spotted our car. Where we blasted the heat and turned on Bob Marley for the drive home.

“Next time, Mom, let’s bring a map.” Ah yes. Be responsible.

What a workout. What a relief. What an adventure. I will forever remember that day–and evening and night–with my son.

Awesome!

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Magical.

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Metaphor.

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Hike with my son!

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My Laundry Runneth Over

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Life, Life Lessons, Memories, Metaphor, Mothering | Posted on 06-01-2014

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My laundry runneth over.

At 365 loads of laundry a year, indeed.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed. The piles. The stench of soured socks. The constantness of it all. I have written about the mountains of laundry here.

But when I look at the laundry in a metaphorical way, I am truly blessed by so much laundry.

The cyclical nature of laundry. The minute you think you’re “all caught up,” another day goes by and you’re not. We are living, breathing, dirty clothes-wearing creatures. Doing what we’re supposed to be doing: working, playing, eating, being active. Aren’t we lucky to be so alive?

  • I have three healthy children who are busy and athletic.
  • I have a kind husband who provides for our family. He wears a lot of shirts.
  • I am active and sweat a lot.
  • We cook a lot. We bathe a lot. We dirty a lot of towels.

I am grateful for my powerhouse washer and dryer that work harder than I do. And for the blue liquid detergent and the hot water that make all the stains and germs disappear. I am grateful we can clothe our family from head to toe.

My daughter says she likes the rattling sounds of zippers and buttons hitting the inside of the dryer. Plink. Zink. Plink. Zink. My son says he likes the smell of freshly-washed t-shirts. I love the smell of bleach and how when you wash a load of towels, the fresh smell permeates the house. It reminds me of my grandmother’s hands that always smelled like bleach. Also, the warmth of my laundry room reminds me of going to the laundromat with my mother on Saturday nights. You may think, wow, totally boring. Actually, it was a warm and happy memory for me. Read about that here.

When I take a step back and gaze at the mountains of laundry look at the big picture, I kinda don’t mind. The Maasai people of East Africa have a quote,

“The more cattle a Maasai has, the richer he is.”

Instead of cattle, I have laundry. I am truly rich.

Mountains of laundry.

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