Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Did You See That?

Headed out on a major errand run with a few of my children.

Rushed, always.

Unwashed, since who knows when.

Hat wearing, with sunglasses, LA incognito style.

Holey, not holy, leggings tucked into my oversized, fur lined boot-type footwear.

Full mommy mode, focused on the list and not the self.

Hoping NOT to run into anyone I knew, please.

In an uncharacteristic display of mindfulness, just happened to look up at a billboard that was rushing up towards me on the side of the highway.  It said:

Complacency leads to sweatpants.

And there it is...once again.  We see what we need to see.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Buckle Up.

I don't know if I'm apologizing explaining this to you or to myself.   Maybe both.

I can appreciate how sometimes when you read what I've left here you might feel like you need to wear a seat belt as I crash from spiritual re-construction to ranting about to grocery store distractions to professing my love for engineered produce to poems written by 12th century mystics...well.  There it is.  Lately I feel like I need to wear a seat belt to keep me safe from me.

I can't put my thoughts on a schedule.  I can't always write about what's going on inside my head.  I can't always write exactly what's true.

I can choose to be inspired by what's on my mind, even if it ultimately results in a piece of writing that's slightly embellished. 

I can choose to write about what I'm seeing.  When I see this you get that.  When I feel this you get that.

Don't call me and ask me if everything is "okay"...no wait, do that, but not in response to something you read on my blog about a life crisis or a difficult parenting day.  TheMiddleBit is where I write stuff.  TheMiddleBit is not me.  I cannot be the only blogger who feels weird talking out loud about the content of their blog?  maybe...sigh

Back to who I'm explaining all of this to.  I think it's me.  Not you.  Because you're free to go somewhere else and read.  But I'm here.  In my head.  And I'm learning how to be here.  Here.  I'm not going anywhere else to think.  And be.

Now I'm ranting a bit like an impetuous child, but there it is.  Buckle up.  Know that what you read here is not always exactly what you'd see if you looked into my life.  Know that even if it's not all exactly true, it's always honest.  Honest.  I started writing here more than a year ago because I started to be full of things to say about what was going on in my life.  There are all sorts of things going on in my life.  Some of them are funny.  Lots of them are funny actually.  Some are maddening.  A few things recently have been quite scary. 

Tears keep falling out of my eyes lately but I don't think it's because I'm sad.  I think it's because I'm so full that something needs to spill over. 

Tears quietly.  Privately. 

Words here.  Publicly.  Spill over.  My words are bit more edited than tears but just as spontaneous, I assure you.  A wise person gave me some advice in the early days of this blog,  "Give yourself a time limit for writing your posts.  Don't let the writing become you.  Let it stay about you."

Yeah.  I'm certain now that this post was for me.  And as soon as get over the audacity that I seem to have in putting this out there, I'll go back to re-writing Mother Goose, posting soup recipes, falling literally in love with coffee and apples, reeling from the wisdom I see in the tiny moments I have with my precious girls, and being more present in my life than I have ever been before.  You may find that presence here.  In the Middle Bit.  That seeing and believing.  From time to time.  I'm seeing things these days.  I'm seeing me these days.

 And I like what I'm seeing.

And that's the truth.


Monday, September 20, 2010

The Apple iOwn

The wildly anticipated Apple iPhone.
But there's another apple that is just as sought after.  

Just as hoped for.  

People who know me are aware of how I feel about Honey Crisp apples.  People who follow me have read about various atrocities committed by me whilst under the influence of this magnificent piece of engineered produce.  People who love me, madly text me upon discovering the first signs of these glorious fruits in the local grocery store.

Well, people.

They're here!

And they're wonderful.

And I'm not sharing.

So there.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Check This Out!

An open letter to the CEOs 
of all major grocery and retail stores 
including but not limited to Target, Kohl's, Cub Foods, 
Albertson's, WalMart and Trader Joes.

Let me begin by reminding you that the customer is always right, which of course, you already knew and is certainly the reason you rose to the top of the retail food chain and became the giant you are.  Please allow me to continue by congratulating you on your complete monopoly of the way a busy mother shops for everything from fly swatters to gym shoes to goldfish crackers.  Well done.  Thank you for selling it at all at one store.  Thank you for organizing all of your stores the same way so whether I'm shopping at my small town location or the fancy one in southern California I always know where to find the things I need, quickly, as I drag along three tired children.

And while I'm on the subject of dragging children, bless you for finally getting the hint that many of us have more than one child that is incapable of walking through a store and providing a supply of shopping carts that hold two bodies in the front and come complete with harnesses so these two children can be strapped way too close to each other and will not fall out of the cart while I am failing to give them my full attention as I wander down the aisles continually drawn towards the clearance items on the end caps like a raccoon mesmerized by a shiny nickel.  But I digress....

Certainly, my inability to focus during retail experiences has rubbed off on my children.  I will own up to being chronically incapable of sticking to my list, regularly guilty of buying duplicates of things I already own and spending $100 on food only to arrive home and discover that we have nothing to eat for dinner, but my suffering as a result of my lack of focus and the pains inflicted by occasionally overspending or under-buying are nothing compared to the level of suffering I am subjected to the moment I start my journey through the check out line.  With children.  Multiple children.  Three, usually.  That fully experience every single thing in those rows and rows and endless rows of tiny cardboard boxes with 3 pairs of eyes, 6 hands, a total of 30 grubby little fingers, an ability to touch more things in a 5 second span of time than a plastic tub full of hungry octopi and possessing the begging and pleading skills that could talk a dog down off a meat truck.

Which brings me to the point of my correspondence today.  I have a proposition for you.  You retail giants that have an opportunity, almost daily, to sell me everything single thing I need to function in my tiny little corner of this world.

Take a hint from the brilliant folks who began designating conveniently located parking spaces for "Expectant Mothers" and designate a check out line for "Mothers with Young Children".  Place nothing for sale in those lines.  Nothing shiny.  Nothing to drink.  No battery operated lolly pops or magazines with Justin Bieber in skinny jeans.  No princess key chains for children too young to drive or Sponge Bob flashlights for children who sleep with the lights on.  No candy bars masquerading as granola goodness with their nature names and pictures of apples on the front or bags of honey roasted anything.  Nothing for sale.

Make it a narrow aisle.  Just wide enough for my cart to squeeze through first, followed closely by me and my brood.  The frazzled mother behind me in line can then drive in behind us effectively cutting off any escape for my hooligans, trapping them nearby while I commence the check out process.

Staff it with teenagers who are oblivious to everything but the beepbeepbeep of the barcode scanner or kindly grandmother types who will not judge me for my inability to make my offspring behave or condemn me for being stupid enough to attempt a shopping trip with three urchins in the first place.

Do this for me and my fellow suffering mothers and in exchange for the potential lost revenue you might experience as a result of a check out line completely devoid of annoying sundries I would be willing to pay you admission to this check out line.  Yes.  You are understanding me correctly.  I will pay an extra fee every single time I go through this line.  Give me priority check out.  Eliminate the distractions.  Contain my progeny.  Give this tired mother some peace during her final transaction as she prepares to exit your establishment and you may collect a fee.  Every time.

Please consider my simple suggestion for enhancing the retail experience of shoppers in your store.  If there's a mother out there who wouldn't be willing to pay for this kind of ease during the check out process, I haven't met her.  And if I did, I'm sure I wouldn't like her.


Mother of 6 year old Marge, 4 year old Mona and 2 year old Minnie.

Friday, September 10, 2010

You Have to See It AND Believe It

The Alchemist calls them omens.  The Godfather refers to them as signs.  My sister knows the hand of God places things directly in her path.  Karen says the things we see just at the right time would have always been there, we just have to be ready to see them.

I'm certain they're all correct, because everyone sees things with their own eyes.  We all have our own reasons for seeing things.  Our own sensibilities, our own minds, experiences, history, needs.

I don't know what I think, but I do know I've been seeing things lately.  I know that a book a received months ago and never glanced at until two days ago just happens to have a Forward written by a man whose class I will be taking next week.  An omen?  Maybe.  I know a fragile twig in the neighbor's yard was planted on the same day I decided to name the tiny seed of spirituality that I have been cultivating for months.  A sign that I'm on the right track?  Maybe.  I know that a 4 year old's request to have a red ribbon on one pigtail and a pink ribbon on the other pigtail is the simple whim of a child but a grounded reminder to a grown child of how her own mother is battling heart disease AND surviving breast cancer.  Ribbons or mindfulness?  Both, for sure, if you see it that way.

I thought for a long time I wasn't looking in the right place and that's why I was coming up empty in the inspiration department.  I blamed it on a Faith that didn't fit me and a venue that didn't ground me, but that's a cop out.  What's true, is that I was searching without looking.  Seeing things without really being mindful of what they were telling me.  Well, like I said before...I'm seeing things these days.

But then there's the next part.  Seeing it AND believing it.  Seeing it and believing that it can have an impact on your choices.  Seeing it and being mindful.  Seeing it and allowing it to nudge you towards your next move.  Seeing that it's there for a reason and it's not just a coincidence.

I'm seeing them.  I'm believing them.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Make a Space.

On the occasion of the one year anniversary of this little blog here in the Middle,
With great respect for making a space and then filling it with something,
And because sometimes you're just out walking the puppy and something hits you so hard you stand there awestruck for several minutes...

It's growing in the neighbor's yard and it's one of the most clear representations of faith that I have ever seen.
It's almost ridiculous.  A tiny plant here in the middle of this vast sea of grass.  I wouldn't even call it a tree yet, but that's where the beauty of this whole thing begins to unfurl.  He, the confident neighbor who nudged away the tiny piece of earth to place this tiny bit of potential, knows it's a tree.  He saw a space that needed to be filled and put a tree in it.  Tucked it in with mulch and watered it like it was already something, not that it might someday be something.  With care, it will certainly grow into something more, but even at it's tiny beginning, he knows it's a tree.

Impossibly over-sized is the stake that's driven into the ground alongside this tree as a sturdy warning to the distracted teen with the mower, "There's a tree here!  Be careful!  Don't run it over.  You are powerful and this tree is tiny, but it's worth saving."  That warning stake will someday lend support when the wind blows hard.  There are always things to be weathered, especially here in the Middle.

Confident was he that planted it, that the twigs that can barely support the weight of a single leaf could someday support the weight of other beings.

Make a space.  Plant something with potential.  Nurture it.  Give it the support it needs.  Raise a sturdy flag and tell people it's there, even if they don't see it yet.  And the tiny branches that are so fragile now may someday extend far enough to give you the shelter you crave and the support you need.

That's faith.

Happy Anniversary to Me!