Some Days I Just Show Up

Recently, more than one person has said to me, “I don’t know how you do it,” in reference to the latest volunteer position I’ve put myself in: 10 year old boys soccer.  Yesterday, as I drove away from the field feeling like I’d spent more time scolding than coaching I thought to myself, “Some days I just show up.”

I thought about that a lot last night, initially feeling rather defeated.  I’m here to tell you, though, that I’ve decided that showing up is a good thing, not anything to beat myself up over.  It’s perfectly fine that I showed up and maybe wasn’t a five-star coach for a night.  Here’s why – because I showed up!  I chose to volunteer and I did.  I said I’d be there to help the kids learn and I was.  And that’s what matters sometimes – having someone there.  That was me last night.

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High School is Hard

High school might be hard for me.  I’m not in high school, mind you.  That shipped sailed a couple of decades ago.  I’m talking about our first child’s next four years.  It’s actually taken me so long to write this that we’re almost at the end of his freshman year, though.  We have two others right behind him, so it’s completely possible that the next several years are going to be rough for me…in ways I wasn’t ready for this at all.

I knew we’d have to deal with expenses like prom and homecoming, dating, and balancing sports with classwork.  I didn’t realize I’d have to deal with my own issues quite so much, though.

I was braced when my son turned 13.  A previous therapist had the foresight to warn me that I might react to my rape as my children reached the age I was when it happened.  So, I was ready.  And it hasn’t been so bad.  Maybe it’s because he’s a boy, maybe it’s because I was ready.  But it hasn’t been bad.  Until a few moths ago.

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Tie a yellow ribbon ’round the old oak tree.  Isn’t that how the song goes?  Apparently there’s some discussion about whether the singer is returning from prison or war…but does it really matter?  He’s asking to be remembered and for the ribbon to be a symbol to him that he’s still wanted.

Today, ribbons still signify awareness – thinking of someone, remembering something.  Ribbons for cancer awareness (pretty much every kind), other medical diagnoses (anything that ends in ‘syndrome’), causes like sexual assault awareness and prevention, infertility and loss of a child, free speech…ribbons show how aware we are.  Even when we’re not really sure what that means, who we’re reaching, or what the point is.

And then there are all those days, weeks, and months meant to (I presume) bring even more awareness to cultures, causes, and conditions.  If you do a quick search for what national campaigns are in the spotlight in April you’ll find at least 25!  I knew of a hand full, but didn’t realize there were quite that many.

When does the call for prevention, understanding, remembrance – awareness – become white noise?

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Open Up Your Heart

Yesterday I woke up with a song in my head.  I hummed it all morning, but just this one part, which wasn’t even the chorus.

Open up your heart and just let it begin.
Open up your heart and just let it begin.
Open up your heart and just let it begin.
Open up your heart.

At first I didn’t think anything of it.  Songs meander around in my brain all the time.  Two of my three children are always humming, singing, or whistling something.  Or some I’ll be reminded of a song because someone says something and I finish the line either outloud or in my head.  (‘Stop’ – ‘collaborate and listen’ and ‘take that’ – ‘and rewind it back’ are two of my favorites.)  But late in the morning I starting singing the words that were repeating in my head, not just humming the tune, and realized that perhaps there was a message I needed to listen to.

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I haven’t typed anything in almost a month.  I don’t know why.  I haven’t felt especially down about anything.  I haven’t been itching to write but just too busy.  I have no good reason and no real understanding, which is hard for me.  I like to get what’s going on in my own head!  But, alas, some things aren’t meant to be.  In the meantime, while I wonder where my mojo has gone to, I scroll through social media…not even commenting all that often, just scrolling, reading, and wondering…

A few days ago, I was looking through my Facebook newsfeed and stopped to read a post made by an incredible friend of mine who is fighting breast cancer.  Sara’s posts usually make me smile…you know that kind of subtle, upward tilt at the corner of your mouth when you feel for someone that you’re inspired by, but don’t really understand the extent of what they’re going through.  It’s not pity.  It’s not empathy.  It’s some combination of awe at how honestly and openly she’s tackling this battle, compassion over the fact that cancer does indeed suck, and relief that it’s not me having to be so strong and wise.

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Birthday Surprises

I remember when I turned 30 I was a little surprised that all the goals I’d made at twenty hadn’t magically happened!  I realized that not only did one need goals, but a plan for achieving them as well.  So I worked on that, and now…it’s been another decade, and there’s another surprise!

I’m almost 40 years old, which my children will quickly tell you is definitely ‘mid-life’ (“Eighty isn’t a guarantee for anyone, Mama!”) and am still learning about who I am.  I wouldn’t say I’m finding myself.  I haven’t necessarily felt like running off and searching for who I am (although some days that’s tempting).  I’m certainly still learning and adjusting to new knowledge and tweaking my goals based on all that, though.  I’m realizing what my natural gifts are.  I’m still finding ways to be comfortable with me.

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Journey On

Healing isn’t a destination.  At least that’s my educated guess, based on my experience.  Whether healing from a physical scrape or any number of unseen wounds, healing happens with time.  With some bruises, the ones on your skin, there comes a point when we can clearly state, “It is healed.”  For most, if not all, of those unseen hurts, though, healed may not be a destination we ever reach.  Healing may be continuous and forever, a journey.

Recently it occurred to me that I’m almost 26 years past my rape.  A quarter century has gone by.  I was thinking about it because someone who’s story I follow is now six years past her own rape.  I first met her when she was only one tender year into her healing journey.  She spoke to a class of people learning to be victim’s advocates to anyone who’d been sexually assaulted in the Navy.  There were other people there, but she spoke directly to me.  Or so it seemed.

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