The Hardest Part.



I have my favorite seat, the one in the corner of the coffee shop where I can watch all the people and wonder about their stories. The seat where I can observe and listen and think; where I can watch and feel just enough removed and yet still part of the hum. I have my favorite cup of coffee, even topped with a little heart of froth. The music is even right this morning.

Everything is set up perfectly.

This doesn’t happen very often.

Everything is in place.

Everything except the words.

I have been grumpy the last few weeks. There has been a wall or something that I have not been able to break through; like a task that needed to be accomplished and I could not get to it and I knew until it was accomplished I was going to be agitated.


Have you felt that? Have you had that feeling of something undone, something needling you, something calling for your attention and not letting you go? Leaving you out of sorts as a result?


That has been the feeling of the last few weeks, and the result has been Steve and the boys pointing out that I have been, well, grumpy.


The task? Writing about Mom. Somehow bringing this life that brought my life context, a memory, for me. Maybe it is from a fear that my memory will eventually fail as hers has, and I want to set her story down for my children. I want them to know her. Maybe it is because she is right here with us still, and yet not with us, and there is so much I wish I could ask her. So many stories I wish I could ask her.

I want to find the words to begin to tell the story of my mother. I want to find the words to tell more than the story of loss of her memories. I want to find the words to tell more than the loss; I want to find the words to tell more than the present. Most of what I have written in the last five years has been about the decay of her mind. Most of what I have written has told of the failing of a mind, of the brokenness and the limitations.

I want to write more about the memories that I have of the power and the nimblness of a mind which was so quick and so full of wit, and yet when I begin I find the words faltering. I find them difficult. Becauase writing about the wit and the wisdom and the beauty is bittersweet as it highlights what could be right now. It is like a spotlight on the reality of today.
So, this is the start.


And there is a realization. Even if the task is not easy, even if the words are not flowing as quickly and as well as I would like…once the task is begun, the frustration and the grumpiness eases. The wall that has been blocking me comes down and that task that has been needling me and agitating is not there anymore, because it is at least begun.


The hardest part is starting.


That is not completely true, because in beginning I realized what was agitating me the most.


I don’t want to be writing about Mom.


What I really want is to be sitting and having coffee and talking with her.



Plans to do….something great.

The other night we were hanging out at the inline hockey rinks. Zachary had requested his birthday party simply be hanging out with his hockey buddies and playing hockey. After a weekend of…playing hockey. The kids loved it, though, and we played until it got dark. Then we pulled out glow sticks and attached them to the kids helmets and sticks, and we used glow-in-the-dark balls instead of pucks. I parked the truck next to the rink and would “charge” one of the balls with the headlights while the kids used the other one.

One of the parents standing with us mentioned that this would be one of the memories of the kids of their summer. Mom standing there charging up glow-in-the-dark balls while the kids played as long as possible. They didn’t even want the chocolate cake…they just wanted to play.

The parent’s comment caught me, though. I’ve been thinking ever since:

“What will the kids remember?”

Will it stand out in their minds that when they came downstairs I was distracted and on the computer; focused on the lives of others while they waited for my attention? I hope not. I’ve been more present to them and more intentional this summer about doing things. Enjoying them and enjoying the wonder that is summer as a kid.

Things like:

Catching Lightning Bugs (love living in the south)

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Playing with Baking Soda, Vinegar and Food Coloring



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Water Balloon fights

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Baby Pools!

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Dinners with an abundance of color and flavor

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What will they remember?

Staying up late, sleeping in, laughing and giggling.

Road trips to New Mexico.

Running outside and the feel of grass on bare feet.

Snow cones and swimming pools.

They will remember I was there and Steve was there.

They will not remember how clean the house was or if the laundry was done on time. They will not remember if the bed was made.

Lord, help me remember that those things need to be done without taking over. Help me remember to just enjoy these days.

Help me remember that these little souls are eager for affection and attention. Help me to remember that their wonder only takes a little encouragement to blossom.

Simple things. Attention. Intention. Just being present.

They laugh at me that I take pictures of our food and of them eating snow cones…but I know these days will be gone before I am ready. Taking pictures is part of my way of holding on to the moment.

I want them to know how to play and use their imaginations, but I think more than that, I just want to enjoy them. In my enjoyment I think they find a security and a confidence to just be themselves…and know that is enough.

So, this summer is all about memories of lazy things and “unimportant” things.

I have no plans to achieve great things this summer…I have plans to wear pajamas until noon and have tickle fights.

I have plans to whisper in their ears throughout the day that they are loved.

I have plans to lay in bed with them and read books.


I have plans to listen to them.

I have plans to look at the stars and tell them of a God who is filled with creativity and imagination…and that they are made in His image.  To remind them that they are loved by this God…that He delights in them and their laughter and their wonder. To point around them so that they can learn to look with wonder and hope and awareness.

Maybe I do have big plans after all.