Rituals & Spirituality

Motherhood Is The Ultimate Blessing

It’s Monday night and the house is quiet.

Well, I take that back – it’s quiet except for Hayden, who is squirming and complaining on my lap. He’s been in a grouchy mood all day, and I think I’ve nursed him 49 times. Possibly less, but it doesn’t feel like it. Lily is chattering in the background too – covering her doll with a maroon plastic pasta strainer and singing “wash, wash, wash.” (Give that girl an A+ for creativity, because I promise she isn’t reenacting anything she’s seen here before.)

But. it’s more quiet here than usual, because the rest of my kids are dispersed throughout our town tonight….some are playing football in a park with their older brother, a few are off on an ice cream date with Daddy, and Mackenzie is staying the night with a friend from work whose husband is out of town. [Read More…]

The Long Wave Goodbye

Dear Reader: Each year, I repost this essay, written when my children were young. However, it remains true to me; the original wave is etched in my heart and mind forever.  school bus

Today, I waved to my daughter riding away on the bus. The silly kind of wave – two arms, as if flagging down a passing ship.  We both continued waving until the bus was out of sight.  Walking back to my house, I had a lump in my throat. I am sad.

I’m sad for the time which is passing so quickly; sad, too, that I see that my parenting must be working well – my own daughter still longs for me.  I did not have that with my own mother. I will continue to try my hardest to fulfill that need, until her hands stop reaching for mine, the arm waves stop and I see her waving to her friends, not me. That time is coming. In fact, it’s just around the corner.

\Writer Kelly Salasin blogged, “There are so many deaths in mothering, beginning at the beginning, and arriving every day after. But equally matched with these deaths are the blessings of a new life – new growth – new possibility.” These words resonate with me. [Read More…]

Back-to-School, But Why?

The end of summer approaches, and vacations that took months of planning are now nestled in camera rolls of our iPhones.  The baseball season that began with hope for every team now holds promise for a remaining few.  And, the season for summer squash and tomatoes is coming to a close.  But, as with all things in life, the end of one chapter marks the beginning of another. With the coming fall, we look forward to football, the changing of the leaves, and school.

It’s natural to be nostalgic at the beginning of the school year.  The next incremented grade is a hard number that reminds us that our little ones are taking slow but inexorable steps towards adulthood.  For some of us, there aren’t many more steps to take.  As those steps slowly add up, we parents hope that we’ve given our children the education they’ll need to make it in that adult world. [Read More…]

By |September 2nd, 2014|Categories: Adoption, Commentary, Daily Living, Rituals & Spirituality|Tags: , , |0 Comments

The Ocean, Buddha and Nummies

Amy Wright Glenn's oceanI stand in the ocean. The water is warm, placid, and crystal clear. Little translucent fish swim around my legs. I hold my 22-month old son Taber in my arms. He rests his head on my shoulder.

My husband puts his goggles on to check out a nearby Needlefish. It’s our family morning time at the beach. Having recently moved to south Florida, we are amazed by the world-renowned beauty found a mile away from our doorstep.

My son pulls my blue swimsuit to the side and begins to nurse. I stand tall, gaze at the surrounding beauty, and breathe in the powerful peace moving through my soul. I etch this tender mercy into my heart’s collection of memories. This moment is so primal, so right, and so beautiful.

I stand in the ocean’s magical waters and breastfeed under the sun. [Read More…]

By |June 30th, 2014|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Rituals & Spirituality|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Oranges for the Buddha

TFranz_OrangesBuddhaWhile living in our little semi-urban house here in Kumamoto, Japan, we are often visited by one of the neighbor ladies bearing gifts of whatever is in season in her well-tended garden. In spring, there are strawberries. In summer, eggplants and tomatoes. In fall, persimmons and squash. In winter, oranges. These fruits and vegetables then sit before the Buddha on our altar as an offering—for a short while, anyway—before winding up in our kitchen to be duly prepared and then consumed by the family.

I’ve always been struck by this neat little cycle of generosity: neighbors sharing their bounty; our family engaging in ritual at the altar; my husband and I preparing meals in the kitchen; and the four of us then eating in proxy for the Buddha, just as it’s done in many households and monasteries throughout Japan. It’s idyllic. Almost. It’s that last part where my genuine feeling of generosity too often breaks down and becomes complicated. The fact is, mealtimes with young children can be very, very challenging. [Read More…]

The Value of “Tuck-Ins”

austin'sThere’s a saying in the South that goes, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  I was raised on this aphorism and felt it acutely around special occasions such as Christmas, Mom’s birthday, and, of course, Mother’s Day.

Growing up, it was always interesting to me that the same amount of fastidiousness wasn’t applied to Dad’s birthday or to Father’s Day.  As a boy, this seemed demonstrably unfair, but as I’ve gotten older and entered the ranks of parents, I think I understand why the disparity exists.  I think it has to do with our need for a protection that is both intimate and nurturing.

Now, right off the bat, I can hear the internet criticizing this opinion.  “Men can be just as intimate as women,” the web might say.  Or “This opinion of yours that mothers are more nurturing than fathers is sexist.”  And I am sure there are millions of counter-examples to refute everything I’m going to write. [Read More…]

Any Day Can Be Mother’s Day

The teacups are set out over the lace tablecloth. One teacup is from Ireland, one from Germany, and one from the Czech Republic. These cups represent our heritage, as well as the ritual of having tea with mom. The teas are chosen, too – one decaf green tea, a pomegranate, and a mint medley.

The teakettle whistles like a train horn to let me know it’s time. It’s Tea Time.

Time to sit with my daughters in the evening and to chat, to watch TV, and to read. Most likely we will be doing all of these at the same time because we are mulitaskers. This teatime is something I still do with my mother, too. It has been passed from one generation to the next, and it makes me happy when we have tea. I smile knowing that this is a mother’s day. Any day can be Mother’s Day. [Read More…]

Mother’s Day

Janice EidusMine wasn’t a happy family. My angry, volatile father tyrannized us, and my mother was depressed most of the time. Yet Mother’s Day was important to us, a day in which we could honor my mother without sarcasm or cruelty, both of which permeated our household. Out of construction paper, I made her homemade cards, and with my allowance money, bought her inexpensive perfume or face lotion.

I didn’t think much about the gifts. I just went to the local pharmacy and pulled them off the shelves. My mother was always very grateful, although I felt detached from her at the moment of gift giving: yes, she was my mother; yes, I loved her; but no – I couldn’t fully give myself over to celebrating her. Things were just too grim in our home. [Read More…]

Toddler Time at the Nature Center

nature centerIn 1916, the wild Cypress Creek wetlands of Coconut Creek, Florida were drained. This morning, I drive to Fern Forest Nature Center to visit the 247 acres of what remains. I want my 22-month-old son and to see our south Florida homeland untouched by housing developments, strip malls, and busy roadways.

I park and help my little one out of the car seat.  He wants to bring his “truck book” along. So, I tuck it in my backpack knowing that soon he’ll be mesmerized by tall trees, spider webs, and fish swimming in streams. It’s true. As soon as we begin walking in the woods, a calm energy surrounds us. He goes at a slow pace, soaking it all in. [Read More…]

By |April 22nd, 2014|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Mothers Over 40, Rituals & Spirituality|Tags: , |0 Comments

Easter on Bikes

Easter-Bunny-Bicycle-DeliveryUnlike Christmas, I’ve yet to really formally lay claim to our family traditions for Easter. So far, they’ve changed every year. Some years we travel to my parents’ house — about 6 hours away by car. We still dye eggs and hunt for candy, but my parents are not religious so there is no church.

Some years we stay home, and do a neighbourhood egg hunt, plus a hunt for chocolate on Easter morning at home, PLUS a hunt for chocolate at church on Easter morning.

I haven’t even quite managed to figure out who brings the eggs and candy and Easter basket filled with chocolate and books, new swim goggles, a fairy wand, and a plush bunny. I think the Easter Bunny brings the chocolate eggs around the house, and a hollow chocolate bunny, just as he did for me when I was a child. But I give the basket with the books and other little trinkets. No big toys — this is not going to be a second Christmas. [Read More…]

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