Thursday, December 29, 2016

Butterflies

There is something special about tracks in the snow. They show us where we've been... and a keen onlooker can see where they're going... but not necessarily why the tracks are leading in any particular direction. And unless you're there to witness the progress, each print looks the same.

As if there were no more angst or difficulty exerted from one step to the next. Tracks belie effort and purpose.

Ellie made these hand prints in the snow a couple of days ago. She said it was a 'snow butterfly.' Had she not told me that, I would have thought she simply put her hands down to rest... or to see if the snow under her warm little hands would melt.

Her commentary made the marks meaningful. They were a display of creativity and imagination. Soon after this picture was snapped, there was a whole crowd of snow butterflies fluttering across the deck. Her little foot prints interwoven in the joyful display.

If my career were like tracks in the snow, they would look fairly straight. You would see them headed in a similar trajectory, my stride consistent. Not always joyful, but the path would have a contentedness about it. But why did I choose this path? Are those tracks purposeful or was the course selected for safety?

I'm finding myself reconsidering and asking myself all kinds of messy questions. Maybe it's because I've been doing the same kind of work for so long. Maybe I'm ready for a new challenge... maybe I don't know what I want to be anymore.

Maybe I need to simply look at things in a different way... pause and make snow butterflies for a while.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Conscious

Some things never change.

The time leading up to Christmas is filled with activities and bustling. We make a conscious effort to drink it all in, trying to prepare for and enjoy as much as we can.

Cookies are made. Gifts are purchased and wrapped. Advent is observed. Special music is enjoyed. Holiday d├ęcor is displayed amidst the tree. Memories of those who won't be enjoying the season with us are shared. Maybe a tear or two is shed.

It's all done.

The actual day of Christmas, and eve of course... those race past us in a blur that is hardly recongizable. There is joy and enjoyment.

But some things never change.

I don't take enough pictures... I'm forced to rely on my fragile memory to remind me of every little detail. We don't play with the little people. We find the perfect items, just for each of them (or at least hope they think the items are perfect). But the playing is done in each of their own little worlds.

I'm always sad when it's over. Sad that it was wonderful... or sad that I wish I could have made it better or done something differently. But sadness is my companion in each case.

Some things never change.

I see that sadness in Benett's personality too. We have been working through it together. Hand in hand, a little something that we share. And that's where this story changes. While some things never change, life continues to carry us along this winding and twisting path, changing ever so slightly.

This year we introduced a new activity that I hope will become a tradition - the Christmas Pickle. I knew Gavin would find it. He is a resourceful child. It took him about two minutes of looking high and low to realize that laying on the floor and looking up would be much more effective. He won the prize, much to his sister's chagrin.

My kids are no longer the littlest people in the family. They haven't been for two years now. I look back on the time that they were so small and miss those little ones. But at the same time, I love who they are becoming.

I love that the biggest of the littles was the first one on the floor playing with his cousin. Even more, I love that it was his idea... I love his enthusiasm. I just love him. He's a teenager, so be drives me crazy (obviously), but I love him to pieces. Someday I'll find a way to make sure he knows that... he hears it regularly, but I'm not sure that his heart speaks the same language.

Some things never change.
Some things always change.

The conscious effort that we put into family means that what always remains the same is our connection to each other. No matter how much things change...