Simmer down now

8 Sep

All right, all right, I hear you.  I’m writing, I’m writing.  Jeez, people.

Where to begin?  So very, very much has happened this past year, both good and bad, and then this summer threw me for a loop. August was about regrouping; a solid month of reflecting, reevaluating, redirecting.

I needed to come to terms with my first baby going off to college, and my worries about him being alright in his new world.  Would he be happy?  What if he wasn’t?  What about the empty space he’s left?

I needed to understand that I will never completely understand the romantic relationship I left behind earlier this year.  At the time the relationship was ending,  Karen commented that people expect of others what they, themselves, are capable of.   She wasn’t referring to me, but I applied her words to myself.  I suppose I’ve naively lived under the assumption that we’re all trying to be good; trying to love well,  with honesty and kindness.  When people intentionally hurt others, my first reaction is to assume they didn’t mean to;   surely, if they knew something was hurtful, they wouldn’t do it? Sometimes, it seems,  they mean to be mean.  Sometimes they are mean because they can be, and I will never understand that.  I’ve become a tiny bit cynical,  and I think that’s a good thing.  Suddenly, I find myself with new walls, and it seems natural to expect others to earn their way in.

I’ve been worried sick about Matt going into middle school.  Given his temperament, will he be alright?  The middle school grades are kept separate for a reason:  humans of that age are insane.   Remember the movie, “Escape From New York?”   It was originally to be titled  “Escape From Middle School,” and the plane of the fictional President of the United States would crash onto an island of middle schoolers, necessitating rescue by Kurt Russell.   The producers had to rewrite the script after parents complained, saying they’d never get their kids to go to middle school if they knew what it was really like.  I’ve been worried that middle school might not bring out the best in Matt.

And then, you know, the other thing.  At the time, it felt horrible.  In retrospect?  It was really horrible.   This, like the romantic relationship, caused me to question so many things.  Were there red flags? How did I not know what this person was capable of?  How did I miss that?

Now that I write it all out for you, I realize August was not only about regrouping, but worrying.  I needed a lot of time to worry.  A whole month.

But, this evening is the start of Rosh Hashanah,  a time to reflect upon the past year,  and prepare for the new.  What perfect timing.

Tashlikh, Rosh Hashanah’s symbolic casting off the year’s sins by taking small pieces of bread from your pockets and tossing them into a stream or river, is done tomorrow afternoon.    After a day of reflecting, my little Jewish/Catholic household will make its way to the creek and toss away the old, readying ourselves for the new.

But thank you, all who have written/nagged/nudged.  It’s lovely to know my voice and work were missed, and I appreciate how you took the time to tell me so.  You rock.

L’shanah tovah! For a good year!

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6 Responses to “Simmer down now”

  1. jimazing September 12, 2010 at 6:42 pm #

    Welcome back, my friend.

  2. dullgeek September 9, 2010 at 6:11 pm #

    I was wondering when you’d post again. I’m glad you’re back.

    A few reactions to your middleschool conundrum.

    1) Here’s an article by Paul Graham on why nerds are unpopular: http://paulgraham.com/nerds.html. I think this article points out how, left without any purpose, kids become lord of the flies. So our task as parents is to give them something that helps them see a much bigger perspective of the world.

    2) A book written by teens for teens addresses this topic also. It’s called “Do Hard Things”. http://www.amazon.com/Do-Hard-Things-Rebellion-Expectations/dp/1601421125. My (almost) 13 year-old middle schooler has read it.

    3) The lesson of doing hard things can also apply to adult lives. A book by Don Miller, called “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” is excellent. It talks about how it’s important for your life to have many, if not all, of the same elements as a good story: http://www.amazon.com/Million-Miles-Thousand-Years-Learned/dp/0785213066

    My favorite part of all three of those is chapter 9 in Miller’s book, that’s available to read on the web: http://books.google.com/books?id=ts0EsIYrVc4C&lpg=PP1&dq=a%20million%20miles%20in%20a%20thousand%20years&pg=PA49#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Chapter 9 doesn’t end that abruptly in the actual book, but them’s the risks when you’re reading a free preview online.

    I should mention that both of the books I cited are written by Christian authors. So there’s a lot of Christian worldview contained in them. I think the advice is sound independent of what you do or don’t believe about God. But FYI.

  3. Carol September 9, 2010 at 12:11 am #

    I missed you more than I realized I would. I’m glad you are back and that you are okay.
    I can totally relate to how it feels to find out people aren’t always trying to be as kind and loving as you are. I’m 50 and still figuring this out.

    • vakadesign September 9, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

      Thank you, thank you, thank you, Carol. It’s nice to get back in the swing of things.

  4. Carol September 8, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

    I’ve been wondering where you were. There are always worries and problems in this life, and sometimes the only way to deal with them, to work things out in our minds, is to hide out for awhile. Burrowing into myself and being quiet is my way of dealing with things – which often is not understood by those around me.

    Welcome back!

    • vakadesign September 9, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

      I rarely realize I’ve hidden out and burrowed into myself until the hiding and burrowing are drawing to an end. My friend Joan jokes that I “go dark,” and that’s probably a pretty good term for it!

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