Full to Bursting


These kids.  These days.


If you’d have told me two decades ago, at age 23, that there would come a time when sitting at home on a Friday night with my kids watching old James Bond movies would be preferable to just about anything else I could think of, I’d have scoffed.

If you’d have told me that I’d spend a lot of my time at age 43 in a state of worry because one of my children was learning to drive a car, or figuring out how to be a good boyfriend, or navigating the perils of being a freshman in high school, or deciding just how much mean girl behavior will be tolerated, or whether it’s cool to show how smart you are, or which socks go with which shorts, I’d have shaken my head in disbelief.

If you’d have told me I’d often not be able to sleep because I would question myself so critically about every decision I had made that day for, about or because of my children, that I would lie in bed and ache to go wake them up, snuggle up beside them and talk to them – to tell them there is nothing that would make me stop loving you, to say I’m so proud of you I’m full to bursting, I’d have laughed and said you were nuts, that no one was ever going to be as important to me as all that.

If you’d have told me two decades ago that my heart would forever be walking around on the outside of my body in three other people who would break it with their brilliance, and their curiosity, and their independence, I’d have laughed that scoffing laugh again, but deep inside, somewhere the universe was listening,  I’d have said God, I hope so.  

Morning Radio

Driving to work this past week, I just flat out refused to listen to NPR.  There was yet another piece on Donald Trump, and frankly, I was the slightest bit nauseous already (have I told you yet about how bad my motion sickness has become?  I will.  Another day, another time), and just the thought of that hair and that obnoxious arrogance…oh, it just about made me pull over to hurl.

So instead, I tuned in to 94.5, to “Bob and Sheri in the Morning,” to be exact, who are supposed to be very funny.  They were asking callers to phone in with an answer to this question:  If your marriage was a sport, what sport would it be?  

Someone said ‘ singles volleyball’ – which I understood right away.  You juggle responsibility, you take turns, you work together, etc.  Not a bad answer.  Another said ‘basketball,’ which I didn’t really get, but maybe if you finesse an alley oop pass to your partner who can slam dunk some situation with your teenager, I can grasp it.  It’s passable. (Still, who are the other 8 people on the marriage court? I must know.)

Then another caller answered ‘ bowling’ — which, I mean, WHAT?!  Is someone knocking someone else down , rolling over them, and then, when everything normalizes and everyone is once again standing up straight – doing it again? More importantly, if this is so, why are we laughing about it Bob and Sheri in the morning?

My answer came to me in a flash and made me laugh out loud:  three-legged racing!


Willingly, 17 years ago, we tied one of our own legs to one of the other’s, and we’ve been figuring out how to move forward together ever since, laughing most of the way.

It’s fun.  It’s funny.  It’s hard.  If one of us goes too far in a different direction, the other reminds the first of the path (or we both turn together and take a new one). Sometimes we fall down, but we fall together.  And then one of us eventually figures out how to stand up, thereby helping the other person to stand up, and we’re off again.

So there it is.  Three-legged racing.

What about you, readers?  If you’re married or in a partnership what sport would you liken it to?  I must know.


A Mild Case of Fernweh

Fernweh:  an ache for distant places, the craving for travel.  I’ll just get that definition out of the way in case anyone besides me needs it.

I learned this word this morning, as I sat drinking coffee preparing for my first day back at work.  It’s just a couple of meetings and a hot desire to cover up my bulletin boards, but it’s work.  And it signals the end of waking in the mornings and offhandedly deciding what to do with my day.

This makes me want to travel.

Because travel is waking up every day and deciding what to do with your day.  It’s the beach before 8am or dinner after 10.  It’s whatever you want when you’ve got nowhere you have to be, and no one telling you to be there.  Yes, it’s also seeing amazing things you could otherwise only see and do online, like taking communion at Notre Dame or having fish nibble the dead skin off your feet.  I have done both of those things, and what connects me strongest to those memories is that we stumbled upon both.  No planning.  Just hey, look!  They’re giving out crackers! and Fish!  That eat your FEET!  and off we went.

I want that.  I want that every day of my life.

I could, if it would please the audience, turn this little blog entry into a a realization that, in fact I can have that every day of my life if I just appreciate the weeks of freedom I’ve had in summer, and if I just find the … beauty in the dishsoap, if you will… but I’m not going to.  Do I have to shout about how grateful I am for my summer in Maine and about how much I love my job for anyone to come around to understanding my … my … fernweh?

It is this:

When traveling, my life is my own.

When home, my life is obligation.

Traveling is my own lack of obligation.  That’s it.

I want that.




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