Monday, February 24, 2014

Today's Fathers.

This statue of father and son can be found at Sacred Heart Hospital at Riverbend, in Eugene, Oregon, in the maternity waiting room. Here families wait to see the newborns.

The sculptor is a young man who was raised by his father. I do not remember his name.

Within my lifetime the role of fathers has evolved to include so much more than my father ever knew; or that my husband ever knew. Yes, my husband was in the delivery room for my last child, and then went home to collapse. He returned, well rested, and was able to help me with the baby for the amount of time that "visitors" were allowed to remain in the mother's room. Then, he was sent home too.

He was given leave from work to be with his recuperating wife for a total of ten days, during which he was  overwhelmed with all the care his infant required, and all the attention his wife paid this new interloper. He confesses that he looked forward to returning to work.

When my daughter had her baby last December, her husband was in the delivery room the entire time and stayed with her and the baby the entire hospital stay, day and night, sleeping in the same room. Thanks to the Family Leave Act he was able to take ten weeks off his job to get his baby up and going during the crucial months after birth. He and his wife have bonded with baby Nico from his first breath.

Today's fathers will be more understanding, more generous, and more connected to their children than our fathers were. What a wonderful world for baby Nico to grow up in.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I'll be seeing you..

Color. Our eyes look for it and rejoice. 
We are having a mild winter by past experience. Still...
Heaven help those in the East...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Each Decade has its Cadence

We notice children's growth, big ones in the first year. Then, as childhood unfolds in big ribbons of equal length, first word, first tooth, first steps, until school starts and new markers appear on the refrigerator, first smiley face, first A, first Citizen of the month.

A child fills the house with artifacts. Everything on shelves, in the garage, in bedrooms and playrooms marks the long decades of our lives with children.

Around the time our children reach middle school we begin to look ahead, at the adult they will become, the skills they will need, the connections and relationships they will make, the dangers they will encounter. We can be sure that worrying about their progress will take more of our time than worrying about anything else in our lives. We are parents for most of our adult lives, caring, sharing and worrying about our children's lives.

After our children leave, we begin to see what we have become; how our house is serving us at this stage; how our future will unfold. We'll spend the next two decades shifting between caring for ourselves, and finding ways to be of use to our children.

Retirement can start on a positive note, the idea of not having to get up and going at the crack of dawn, and end up with a strange feeling: how am I to fill this day?

People who travel, stay physically active, have civic engagements, have major family extensions, all have found ways to stay engaged without much change in their rhythm and cadence. The rest of us have had to make major adjustments.

I missed my work for years after I retired. I still do.To compensate, I volunteered in the same areas, and found ways to remain active in a different mode.
As the years passed, my health needs began to change, and at that time I appreciated not having so many responsibilities to worry about. Just getting to the doctor or to a test was enough of a stress for the day. While I still miss the excitement of work, I do not miss the daily commute, the long days, the stress...

What major adjustments have you had to make?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

You never looked lovelier...

Time adorned you on this ordinary day
a few strands of silver
set off that blue
sweater on this day
at Redfish,when you smiled across the table
at the man who took this picture
who knew you better than your own mother.

Time was
when you never
had all you wanted
when the meal was finished, and it ran off before you felt
with what your life became.

In each moment, like this one through time
you never looked any lovelier.
Too bad. You would have loved all you saw
even when your eyes were tearing
and your heart was broken
by life's constant waves of grief.