Tag Archives: family

The Separation… tales of an Outbound Exchange Student Parent

I realized today that the crying is lessening. One week and two days have passed since I put my third son, the exact middle child of my five, on an airplane to Brazil. Before, I wasn’t crying necessarily because I missed him because he’s gone away to camp for longer than he’s been gone, but the loss of childhood… because surely after a year in Brazil, not only will he be a changed person, he will most definitely be a man. But time passes, and here, a week later, I am already moving from the mourning phase to the acceptance phase. He’s OK. He likes the people. He likes the food. He has a personal trainer, and the family he is currently staying with has a maid. Life is definitely good for this boy of mine. The Rotary Club warned him, and us, that homesickness will most likely set in around the three week mark, so now I wait to see if he follows the norm. Honestly, I don’t want him to be homesick. I want him to soak up every moment and life experience while he is there, but the fact is that I think he will soon start to learn the common threads that tie all of humanity together- we live, we care for our families, we love, we die. We are the same, and probably in that new realization, the day to day life in a different country might lose it’s luster because it will become everyday. But, there will still be new moments and adventures to be had, they just won’t come on a daily basis.

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+28 Winter Birth

bday1-2Today is my birthday. Much of my journey of the past year has been focused on my physical body and trying fervently to rid myself of the extra baggage it has acquired over the past twenty three years. This year I am continuing to focus on the physical but added this blog in as a way to return to focusing on my soul and creativity… perhaps to shed the baggage of accumulated negative waste in my head. I shot this photo during my birthday run on my favorite trail. As a January baby, I tend toward the thread of melancholy that weaves it way in and out of the winter months. I love  how silent snow reflects the moonlight, cold yet inviting.

Memories to savor from my birthday:
– running through the brisk air at a faster than usual pace.
– realizing that despite our immaturity as young parents and our weaknesses in general, we have raised a well-balanced, loving adult son. I treasure his visit for my celebration, the dancing to Just Dance 4, and the conversation about emotions we had.
– time around the diningroom table with 4 out of my 5 kids, my hubby, my Mom, and one of my sisters… of special note was the very odd sounding rendition of “Happy Birthday” sung in varying accents.
– a delicious flourless chocolate cake with fresh raspberries, blueberries, bananas and peanut granola lovingly prepared by my husband.

And, another pic from my run…

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+15 Family trumps all

+15 Family trumps all

I always find ice and snow captivating. This morning I awoke to ice-covered trees. The landscape reflected shades of gray and white with warm flecks of rust and gold. I embrace the feelings that a gray and desolate day can hold. Little glimmers of hope amidst desolation. A visual representation of the valley of death with a shadow of light hinting at the coming renewal.

I spent the better part of today thinking I’d be writing a poem about what was occurring in nature but life and the mundane had other plans. My son needed to make a recipe from Madagascar to bring into his Global Cuisine class. What we thought was going to be a simple coconut pudding turned out to be a late night cooking fest. The recipe stated that it only served 4, so we doubled it in order for us to be able to sample some at home. Little did we know that the Madagascaran (?) appetite must be huge because the recipe made enough to serve at least 20. While the recipe’s name indicated it was a pudding, it most certainly was not, nor was it a cake by any true definition of the word. It involved boiling large quantities of coconut milk and then cooking a whole box of Cream of Wheat in the milk with a fantastic assemblage of spices. The topping was made out of carmelized sugar which took an eternity to achieve the correct consistency. Below are a couple of photos of the “cake” and my son experimenting with the carmelized sugar.

What was learned in the kitchen tonight? My son is enjoying listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, has a knack for choosing the most time intensive recipes as this was not our first foray into lengthy food creations (don’t get me started on homemade ravioli), and that spending unplanned time with my son in the kitchen into the wee hours of night will always mean more to me than expressing myself through a poem.

So… family trumps all.

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+12 My muse for nemesis

+12 My muse for nemesis

Today during a conversation over breakfast with my husband and eldest son, the inspiration for my Soulful Saturday theme of “nemesis” came to me. I know exactly what my nemesis is and I am using a painting by one of my favorite artist’s, Gustav Klimt, to inspire me further. In particular, “The Three Ages of Woman,” featured in the photo above is what came to my mind when I figured out what is my nemesis. I truly hope I find time to devote to the project this week since it’s been next impossible to do anything more than live and research coal boilers recently.

As a side note, here are some things I am grateful for this weekend:

1- Being able to see a tiny bit of God’s plan at work.
2- The unexpected help of a complete stranger expecting nothing in return in helping us with this coal boiler process.
3- The much appreciated help of friends coming together to figure out the logistics, lend tools, and lend muscles in moving the very, very heavy coal boiler into the basement via very small stairs.
4- The generosity of friends providing hot showers throughout the week.
5- Breakfast out with my eldest son and youngest daughter and hubby today. It’s always amazing to me how the participants in Sunday breakfast change each week. There used to be a time when it was all 7 of us. Now, that combination changes on a weekly basis.

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