Thursday, October 21, 2010

oh dear!

I am trying to "practice" my writing on a somewhat daily basis.  I don't always do that by blogging.  Sometimes, it means writing in my journal, sometimes, it means scribbling down random thoughts or ideas in a notebook and on occasion it is just me writing in my head as I walk or as I drive.  It's those times when I wish I had a recording device.  It usually only manifests itself into a blog when I have something to write about.  I know, there is always, always, SOMEthing to write about.
I just returned home about 25 minutes ago.  It has been a full morning.  I dropped kids off, visited at my in-laws for a bit, headed to my old high school to do a suicide prevention presentation to a group of freshman, volunteered at Ruby's school, picked up the two younger kids, returned home, got them down for naps (actually I can hear Elsie squawking in her crib, but she needs a nap, so I'm going to leave her be for a bit) and then I have an hour or so before we head out the door again.  I'm tired just typing all that and man, why don't I feel exhausted after doing it?  I'm choosing to use this precious time I have with kids napping and no demands of the moment for myself.
I've got these 2 things I keep is how we spend our time and the other is what we hold as dear.  I am going to try and find some common ground between the two, forgive me if I'm not all that coherent in my thoughts.
Most people I know are busy.  Well, let me think, I don't know anyone who is not busy.  Everyone's plates are full, whether it be with kids, volunteering, working.  I don't know anyone who sits idly and watches the day float past.  Really.  That being said, we have all the time we need.  We just don't always make decisions about how we spend our time that match what it is that we value.  I had this busy morning and as I ran home for 10 minutes in between my time at Ruby's school and picking up Willis, I thought to myself, phew, it's been a packed morning.  And then, I smiled.  I wouldn't choose to spend my time any other way.  I can't say that for every day.  Some days I waste my time.  I go buy stuff I don't need, I eat chocolate chips or other goodies because I am bored, I spend time on the computer window shopping or being a cyber-snooper on facebook, or who knows what.  I'd feel much more satisfied, I am sure, if I made a conscious choice to spend that time doing something that nourishes me than to just let the time pass.  It's like the difference between taking charge of your life and letting life happen to you.  There is no question in my mind that I am, in the bigger scheme of things, in charge of my own life. 
And what we hold dear...that is my other food for thought at the moment.  The latest American Girl catalog has this line on the front "What is dear to you?".  My mind immediately listed off a whole bunch of things as I walked back from the mailbox with it.  Here are a few...
my kids.  chubby little feet and the smell of baby's breath.  blankies.  my mom, her relationship with my kids, with kids who aren't hers biologically, but belong to her heart.  my dad, his passion for literacy and the way he lives that out, his willingness to help me whenever I ask, his love of nature, his wild grey hair.  my sister, the way she can make me laugh like no one else.  watching my children laugh with each other the same way.  watching my daughter laugh with my sister's daughters that same way.  knowing i am loved, always, no matter what.  having friends i can call to pick up my kids from school in a pinch, or can call on whenever i need anything.  my sisters-in-law, treasures, sisters of my heart.  my girlfriends.  mom squad.  my mother in law, she will always listen, always encourage, always offer her wisdom.  my father-in-law, he is so generous, sees the good in people, always supportive. teachers. my husband, his laughter, his commitment to me, his playful spirit, watching him with babies.  yoga, other yoga teachers, anyone who does yoga.  prevention work and those who do it.  meeting new people that you know get you.  people who express themselves through art.  generous acts of kindness, like friends who bring over a meal unexpectedly or a chocolate treat.  chocolate in general.  laughter. morning walks. dates with my husband. babysitters. a good book.  feeling connected to another human being.
This list could be endless.  I could go on and on.  We have so much to hold dear and I guess what I have been pondering is whether or not I always spend my time on those things I hold dear?  Not so much.  Sometimes because things like the dishes have to get done, but sometimes because I am just not mindful of what I am doing.  I've got 30 minutes left before we go to pick up Ruby...I'm off to make the most of it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

dear laura

I was talking with a new friend the other night, about the work I do, youth suicide prevention.  She asked me if I do that work because I lost someone in my life to suicide.  I wasn't entirely sure how to answer.  I think most people know someone who has died of suicide, although that isn't exactly what got me in to the work.  Eleven years ago, my friend Laura took her life.  I haven't thought about her death for some time, the aftermath that followed me.  When I began to tell the story of losing Laura, it became more about my own story related to hers.  I had saved my last correspondence between us and 2 letters from her sister written after her death.  Talking about Laura on Friday night, made me want to find them.  I hunted for them yesterday and couldn't find them.  I had an aha this afternoon and found them in an old filing cabinet in the basement.
I met Laura in Seattle during the summer of 1999.  She was dating a friend of mine from college, Dan.  They had spent the past 12 months traveling around the world.  We met at a restaurant, waiting for another friend  to get off his shift so we could go out.  Laura and I became fast friends.  Laura was tiny.  Despite her size, she had this huge, open heart, sweetly loving everyone who crossed her path.  We left the restaurant and hopped in the back of her boyfriend's VW bug to head out on the town with friends.  I remember sitting next to her, completely drawn in by her presence, talking non-stop.  She kept articulating things I had felt but never spoken.  I remember feeling a sense of great relief to know that I wasn't the only one that felt like the world was messed up, like I didn't quite fit in to the world I lived in.  I went back to her boyfriend's house with her, we danced for hours.  We stayed up the rest of the night talking.  We watched the darkness of night be overtaken by light.  I had to go, there was still more to say.  We agreed to see each other again in a couple of weeks.  We made a plan for her to come to Yakima with her boyfriend on Labor Day weekend. 
Laura and Dan came over Labor Day weekend.  We drove up to the mountains with them and spent a night camping on the river up near Chinook Pass.  At some point in the night, Laura disappeared from around the campfire.  I asked Dan where she had gone and he said not to worry, that she liked to go off by herself to be alone.  She didn't come back to the campfire before I went to bed that night.  We saw each other in the morning, went to Boulder Cave, hiked through, stopped by Sean's family cabin and chatted with his parents.  Dan and Laura went back to Seattle, Laura was headed back to California where her family lived.  She didn't want to be there but felt obligated to be.  She was torn between this world and another, the world as it is and the world as it should be.  We corresponded through email over the following weeks. 
The last correspondence I had from her was on September 28.  Here is an excerpt from her email to me:
"Life is such a mystery, full of so many unanswered questions, presenting us with so many options.  We are always reaching and searching for happiness.  I know happiness comes from within, I just don't know how to find it with my eyes open.  All I know is that I appreciate more than ever the little beauties in life.  The sound of chimes, the color of a flower, the smile from an elderly lady.  I feel weak and so the essence of life as it was meant to be understood speaks clearly."  I would venture to guess I wrote her back, but I couldn't be sure. 
Sometime in early November, I received a letter from Laura's sister.  She wrote to tell me of Laura's passing.  I had not heard from my Seattle friends and I was shocked, my heart cracked open.  I remember tossing and turning that night, trying to make some sense of the letter, struggling to catch my breath.  I couldn't sleep, couldn't articulate the pain I was feeling.  I felt lost.  Laura had felt like a kindred spirit to me.  If she couldn't survive this world, how could I?  I spiraled into a depression.  I cried often, felt lost, alone.
I'm not sure how much time passed, but I think it was that following spring before I recognized how far down into the darkness I had journeyed.  Sean and I had dinner at my sister's one evening, by now we had moved out on our own, were living in a little duplex.  He was talking on the phone at dinner, making plans to go out with an old friend.  On our drive home, I asked him not to go out.  He questioned why.  I remember being afraid to tell him and more afraid to be left alone.  I was scared of what I might do if left alone. 
It was the first step toward finding my way back to the light.  I still think of Laura often.  I think of her beauty, her gentle spirit, I wish that I could have saved her. 
Having our last exchanges in writing, gives me peace, I know that she felt loved, that I said the "right" things.  Not because I had been trained to, but because I knew where she was coming from.  "You said everyone tells you that this will pass.  I think it passes when you find a way to express what you are feeling and know that you are heard.  Tell your story until you feel you are listened to.  I think there are many of us who can understand what you are experiencing.  I wish I knew some answers to how to leave that state and let go of the emotions that go with it.  You must find what gives you peace in your heart and live that, regardless of what those around you may be pushing you to do....I wish I could be there with you and assure you that life is sweet.  As you said we are spirits in a complex world, but not misplaced." 
Knowing what I know now, I can see that she felt trapped, alone, hopeless.  I'm so sorry she left this world so soon.  She brought such light and joy to the lives of others.  Her sister read these words from a card at Laura's funeral...I couldn't say it better.
"Laura was a healer, but she never swallowed her own sweet medicine.  Life is not always sweet and in life there is sadness and trouble-filled times.  I hope she has found sweetness.  I see her dancing to the music of freedom from this world."
dear Laura, I still miss you.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

I've been thinking lately...who me? Couldn't be.  Then who?  Yes, you.  No, me.  If you are wondering if I have lost my marbles, no, I haven't.  I am just tired, a bit exhausted and rummy.  I went out last night and didn't stay up that late really, I think I was in bed by 11 p.m., but I have a sick baby and she was up half the night, or so it seemed, and you'll have to forgive me if my thoughts aren't exactly coherent.  I'll do my best. 
My thinking...I wish we could see ourselves more purely.  I think we all have these interesting distorted lenses we see ourselves through.  If we are lucky, we get a glimpse of the real deal, who we are at our core, when we are taken out of our comfort zone or when we are completely embraced by unconditional love. For some, this happens more often than not.  The rest of the time, I think we see ourselves as labels..I am a mom, I am an artist, I am good at this, I am not good at that.  I talk too much.  I am the junk I ate today.  I am a bad driver.  I am a good driver.  I am impatient.  Anyone relate to this?  Why don't we ever just think, "I am."  We label ourselves all the time.  We label ourselves as who we want to be seen as, and we label ourselves as who we have been taught to think we are, too. 
I think it is safe to say that we often have a hard time seeing ourselves as others see us.  I know when I hear people describe me, (which I love to, who doesn't like to hear people talk about them, unless it is bad or mean, of course) I am sitting back thinking, really?  Is that what they see?  It fascinates me.  It isn't necessarily that I don't think I am who others describe me to be, its just that it isn't what I see when I look in the mirror.  I am sure I am my worst critic.  I judge myself harshly at times and can be very critical of myself when I do something I wish I hadn't or say something I wish I didn't.  How often do we get to stand outside ourselves and watch our interactions with others, to see ourselves at our best? 
I watch my children look at themselves in the mirror and they are so enthralled.  They smile so beautifully when they see their own face.  Ruby can't get enough of herself.  She eagerly runs to the mirror in the mornings to see how good she looks and then models her outfit for herself.  It's a kick to watch.  I think she is most interesting to herself to look at.  Willis looks at himself and tells us how strong he is or how brave he is.  Elsie's whole body gets excited when she sees herself and she smiles so big.  Why do we stop being so in love with our reflection?  When do we stop seeing beyond the surface when we look in the mirror?
The function I went to last night was held in a room that had mirrors all over the walls.  There were enough people and artwork around the room, that I didn't ever really see myself.  I heard someone say at some point that they kept catching a glimpse of themself in the mirror and that was when I noticed the walls were covered with them.  The only time I looked at myself in the mirror was in the bathroom, to check myself out, was my hair messy or flat, did I look tired?  I didn't really See myself.  Why is it so hard to see our best self when we look in the mirror?
Next time I look, I'm going to say...Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?  You are!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm Late, I'm Late

....for a very important date.  No time to say hello, goodbye, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late.

Sometimes I feel like the white rabbit in such a hurry, going where?  I find myself hurrying the kids along, getting impatient, frustrated with them for taking their time, dilly-dallying on their way to wherever I am herding them to.  And then I say to myself, what is the rush?  What if we get there 2 minutes later, does it really make that much of a difference? 
Once we finally got out the door this morning, I started to consciously breathe and I could feel myself all wound up because we left 5 minutes later than normal.  (We have a quick turn around time from one drop off to the next. It's enough time, there just isn't extra time, especially when we are running late.)  I don't want to be one of those people always hurrying my kids from one place to the next, not giving them time to smell the roses, or say hello and goodbye without them being a part of the same sentence.  We rush around too much in this life anyways, we are so tied to time.  Why don't I just take a breather and slow it the heck down?  So, as we drove to school, I apologized to my kids for being impatient with them as we got out the door, explained that it makes me stressed out, frustrated when they don't get ready in the morning when I ask them to.  I know they don't like feeling rushed and it sets the whole tone for the morning when we start out this way.  Ruby wanted to bring something to share at school and I was scolding her for not getting ready and not available to listen to why she wanted to bring her special huge ruby gem to school.  I don't like who I become in these moments.  I am not the mother I want to be.  I'm thankful that kids are so resilient, they just kind of go with the flow.  When I'm all wound up, they just keep their cool or remind me (directly and indirectly) that I'm not being very nice or patient and we get ourselves back on track. 
I dropped Willis off first and as we were walking out of school, one of the mom's asked me when Ruby has to be at school.  I told her and said "It's a mad dash from one school to the other."  She commented that I don't ever seem like I am in a rush (thank you, because I feel like I am).  It made me pause and slow down.  I may appear put together or calm on the outside and inside I am all a buzz.  I let Ruby play on the toys for a couple of minutes and then headed out to the car with her.  As we loaded up, I saw another mom, a week away from her due date, sitting in her car right next to mine.  I decided I would break my stride and check in with her, see how she is feeling, doing these last days of pregnancy.  I chatted with her for a minute or so and then we made our way to Ruby's school.  We arrived just after the second bell.  Her gracious teacher says, "Don't worry you aren't late, come on in."  Ruby settles in to class and I am out the door.  Our time together during the morning is so brief, couldn't I make it a little more pleasant by letting go of the worries about time? We always make it on time or close to it.  No amount of badgering seems to hurry the kids into getting ready quicker.  I've tried rewards, I've tried routine.  It seems like it is just part of what we work with as parents.  The other day Ruby said, "Mom, do you know that one of the hardest things in life is getting out of bed to go to school when you are still so tired?"  So true.
I'm hoping tomorrow I can slow down, take a deep breath, stop rushing and be on time.  And, if we are late, I will be calm, take a breath and hum that little Alice in Wonderland tune...I'm late, I'm late, I'm late.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Students and Teachers

Last week, I got a phone call from an old colleague of mine, Susan.  She was calling to ask if I would teach yoga to a group of women in a parenting class she is facilitating.  Susan is one of those people that embodies what is right in the world.  I think she always does the right thing.  She was a home-ec teacher before she had kids, has raised 3 beautiful daughters, has more Cougar spirit than most men I know, fights against injustice, stands up for what she believes in, even when its hard. She is one of those people you feel privileged to know.  I don't see her often or catch up with her on any kind of a regular basis, but when our paths do cross, I am always thankful.
When she called, I, of course, said yes.  Susan is one of those people that I would probably say yes to just about anything she asked me to do.  She proceeded to describe to me the women she is working with.  They are living in a clean and sober house.  They are all mothers, but none of them have custody of their children.  They are completing this parenting program as a part of their treatment and what they have to do to get their children back.  They live in a highly structured environment, express feeling very judged, watched, and have very little free time or time for self care.  She described them as needing deep healing, many having suffered significant trauma and abuse in their lives.  I asked myself, can yoga begin to heal them? I believe it can.
I have never taught yoga in this way, to a group that hadn't necessarily chosen to do yoga.  As I agreed to do it, I thought to myself that I would have to really plan for this class, that I couldn't just wing it so to speak.  I wasn't really sure where to begin.  I believe in the power of yoga and trusted that if I sat with the idea, with the intention to do the right thing, to offer these women something that could be of use to them, it would come to me.
One morning on my early walk, I started to craft the class in my head as I walked.  It seemed to come together in my mind, make sense as to what would work and what they would be open to.  I spent some time last night outlining what I would teach.  I don't pretend to know what goes on inside the head of anyone else, but I did have some ideas about what these women might be feeling, about what ideas they might have about who they are or what they are.  I believe with all my heart, that at their center, they are light, radiant beings, filled with potential for joy, love, and compassion and without saying that, I wanted them to feel that. 
I had my regular noon class today at the yoga studio and then headed over to where the parenting class meets.  They took a break when I got there, so I could set up the room for the class.  I laid out the mats, put them in a circle, hoping that it might foster a sense of unity, as opposed to a sense that I was the teacher and they my students.  The two mats on either side of mine were the last to be taken.
I talked for a bit about what yoga is, about why I do it.  One woman said to me, "You aren't going to make us like to downward dog or warriors or that s#it, are you?"  Another woman asked me if I had been to a studio in Spokane where they talk about "tapping into your divine energy".  I could see that they were nervous, definitely out of their comfort zone.  I was too, not nervous, out of my comfort zone.  I just held on to the notion that if I practiced what I was there to teach, it would all turn out okay. 
There was lots of giggling the first 15 minutes or so, side conversations, inappropriate comments.  At one point, one of the women who had looked skeptically at me when we began said, "This actually does feel good."  I stayed with it and they began to soften a little, to get a little more comfortable.  I almost felt as if they were testing me, seeing if I was the real deal or if I was just preaching something I didn't practice, if you know what I mean.
The last 10 minutes or so of class we practiced savasana.  Rather than simply let them lay there, I talked them through a guided meditation/relaxation.  I could see the feet of two women tapping, could see them struggling to completely relax.  I kept talking.  Eventually, they all settled in.  They all became still, quiet, a couple might have even fallen asleep.  It worked.  Yoga did its trick.  I could see as they came out of savasana, they all looked a little calmer, more peaceful, more centered.  As we brought our hands together in prayer at heart center to close the class, I shared with them why we say Namaste at the end of each class.  As I spoke a heartfelt Namaste and bowed to them, I felt immense gratitude and respect for what they taught me in our time together.  I just hope that they got as much out of the experience as I did.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I see you and I hear you

My husband and I are big fans of the show Parenthood.  We meet on the couch most Tuesday nights, kids are in bed, hopefully the kitchen is cleaned from dinner, lunches are made for the next day, living room is picked up, etc.  There is something about this show, the complications of family, both the immediate family and the larger extended family, that speaks to us.  I find I always laugh at some point in the show and I almost always cry (well, actually always, anything touching usually moves me to tears).  A couple of episodes ago there was an exchange between the mom and dad or should I call them the grandma and grandpa.  They are going to couple's counseling in an attempt to salvage their marriage.  The husband says this line to his wife, "I see you and I hear you."  as a way to acknowledge he is getting her.  It's obvious that one of the sources of discord in their marriage is her feeling like she isn't seen or heard, like he doesn't always connect with her in that deeper way we all need.
My husband has taken to saying this to me periodically when he knows I am trying to express something significant to me.  The first couple of times he said it, I probably rolled my eyes.  I was a little ruffled by it, felt like he was patronizing me.  As he has continued to use it, I see that he really does get it.  Just yesterday, he had done something that got under my skin.  It was something small, something I figured I could probably let go of if I just pushed it out of the way. Then I remembered, the little things lead to bigger things, and so after I wasn't feeling irritated about it any longer, I shared with him what was bothering me.  He initially started defending himself, trying to explain why what happened, happened.  I didn't really care, frankly, I just wanted to feel heard.  He could see my frustration and he stopped talking, looked directly into my eyes and said it..."I see you and I hear you."  I felt myself soften.  He got it. 
I came across this quote the other day from one of my favorite author's..."Writing a book is an acceptable form of being completely naked in public."... or something along those lines.  I've said it before, we all want to be seen and heard.  We all want to feel like we can stand naked in public, so to speak, and be embraced, be loved for the essence of who we are.  Any close relationship holds that possibility, we just don't always choose to reveal ourselves enough to go there.  There is risk involved when you share your truth, whether it be writing a book or telling someone how you feel.  I'd like to think that more often than not, the reward is greater than the risk.
I'm not entirely sure where I am going with this or that these two things even come together, but I guess that is why I blog, why I share these personal stories of my day to day life, in hopes that I will be seen and be heard, in hopes that my stories will inspire something in someone, or that they will remind you that we are all very much the same, more the same than we are different.

Friday, October 8, 2010


This week in my yoga class I talked about klesha, the root causes of suffering.  We are taught that once we eliminate one of these root causes, we burn them away and they don't come back.  There is 5 of them and they are ignorance (I definitely haven't burned that one out completely yet - you know when you act like you know something or think you do and you really don't), ego, attachment to pleasure, aversion to pain, fear of death (which doesn't mean necessarily death with a capital D, it can mean the death of a relationship, habit, pattern, etc.).  I have been thinking quite a bit about them lately as I feel like I, myself, am suffering a bit and am definitely the one creating it.  I have been working too much, find myself really tired all the time, am having trouble getting out of bed in the mornings, staying up too late because I am sitting at the computer catching up on work that I couldn't get done during the day and by the time I'm done I want some down time with my husband, cool dude that he is.  I'm not eating as healthy as I'd like to be and not moving my body nearly enough.  We all know how this vicious cycle goes round and round and it can be so hard to break it even when we see it.  The next 2 weeks are equally as busy...ugh, I did it to myself.  I absolutely set my own schedule and I know I don't like to be too busy, but I must also not like to disappoint people or something because I keep saying yes to things.
Enough on real source of suffering isn't all that, well it is, but not what I sat down to write about.  It's about nursing.  I nursed my older children until they were both about 2.  There are many things I love about nursing and for some strange reason with the first 2, I attached some measure of motherhood success to being able to exclusively nurse them for the first year, no formula.  I am not sure why and it made me put a lot of pressure on myself, was stressful at times, and kept me tethered to them for a good long while.  (Just for the record, I don't measure other mothers by their ability or choices around nursing.  I am an advocate of it, I do believe breast is best, but I get that it doesn't always work out that way for everyone.   )
Elsie is just 9 months old and she is already kind of over nursing, I think.  I find myself literally wrestling with her to try and get her to nurse when she doesn't want to.  Inevitably, it ends with her starting to cry and me having a conversation with myself that always starts something like this "What ARE you doing?  Stop force feeding that baby."  I know why I am doing it, I want her to keep nursing.  I want to nurse her until she's 2.  And what if that doesn't work out?  What if she decides she is done?  I forget she has a say in this. 
I had a conversation with my mom about this the other day and she said I decided I'd had enough at about 6 months old and she grieved the end of nursing, too.  I apologized for what I put her through 36+ years ago.  We laughed about it, but I meant it.  It's hard.  I don't know that Elsie is really done, done, but she is nursing less and less frequently and I am fretting about it more and more. 
She has an independent little spirit about her.  When we started solids, she only wanted to eat things she could feed herself.   She's content to play in a room by herself for 15 minutes or more.  I lose her sometimes around the house, and our house is not big, by any means.  She finds little spaces she can tuck herself away into and then gets very quiet as I wander around the house calling for her.  She gives me this enormous smile when I finally find her, and it's usually behind a door in a dark room.   I walked in to the living room the other day and she was standing next to the coffee table holding a flash card in her hands.  She was not leaning on the table, standing freely.  I am afraid one day I am going to walk in the room to find her taking her first steps and not be the one she is walking to. 
I know she is my last baby and I am probably going to grieve and suffer a little bit at each stage, letting go little by little.  You'd think it would get easier with each child, you know the drill, they grow up - even when you tell them not to.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Black and White and Right and Wrong

Last night, I went to the Jack Johnson concert at the Gorge.  I went with my sisters-in-law, sisters-in-spirit.  It was a treat to be together, we don't get to do it often without children.  The day was gorgeous, the night, brilliant.  My spirit felt light, free.  Life felt abundant.  Jack's lyrics (no, we aren't really on a first name basis, but when you watch him sing, you feel like you know him, he just pours out his Self up there on the stage) are all about truth.  He sings about love, what's good in the world, what's wrong with the world, about the world as it could or should be, about the world as it is.  It is a treat to watch people as they are moved by his music.  I watched children sing his lyrics, big smiles on sun tanned faces, sleepy heads resting on their daddy's shoulders, the joy in people's hearts expressed through their bodies as they dance. 
Amidst that beauty, I experienced an interesting contrast.  I think everything he sings about is trying to get us back to where we started, I think he might have a song that says that even.  He sings about getting back to love really, back to a simpler life not so shaded with darkness, not so jaded by the human potential for wrong. Our "neighbors" in the crowd introduced themselves, offered us drinks of their water, their beer, shared our blanket, grooved with us side by side.  At some point in the evening, some people stood in front of us and the "neighbor" grabbed me and was trying to get me to move the people out of the way.  She said to me, "You have to stake out your spot.  Claim your space."  I thought to myself, "Aren't you missing the point here?  He's singing about sharing stuff, about recognizing that we are all in this big world together."  Instead, I just said "It's all good.  No worries."  Inside I wanted to shout at her...don't you get it?  I was drawn out of my little bubble, sort of awed by the fact that not everyone was feeling it, or at least not to the degree I was.
Toward the end of the night, when Jack came back out for an encore, he played solo with his guitar.  He sang a couple of songs to his wife, which it is very evident, he loves dearly.  And then he sang a song dedicated to his little girl.  It's called "My Little Girl".  It's my current soundtrack, I keep playing it over and over.  Here are a bit of the lyrics...
"Hey little girl
black and white and right and wrong
only live inside a song
that i will sing to you.... can i look you in the eyes
and tell you such big lies
the best i can do is try to show you
how to love with no fear"

I danced and smiled with tears in my eyes.  How sweet, this lullaby he wrote for his daughter, and how bitter, that it's the truth.  I kept thinking about my husband and our kids, knowing he too wishes he could shelter our kids from what isn't right with the world, that he could protect them from suffering, from pain, from witnessing violence, from injustice.  I know it is just a part of our human experience, but I've seen too much of it this past week.  Being in my line of work, suicide prevention, you hear amazing stories about people's compassion, their ability to make a difference, and the flip side of that is that you hear awful stories about how horrible we can be to one another, about young kids bullying one another to death, about how alone and isolated people feel.  It is depressing.
I know that in some way I do make a difference,  I make the world a better place.  It doesn't seem like enough though.  What are we doing to raise kinder, more compassionate kids?  I don't mean you and me, I mean WE, like we as a culture.  I don't have the answers, I just know I feel like if I sit silently I am contributing to the problem and not the solution.  I think doing something that feels like enough means getting out of my comfort zone and I don't really know exactly what that looks like.
Last week, one night during our bedtime talks, Ruby told me a story about a boy in her class teasing two other boys, told them they were going to marry each other.  She said "Wouldn't that be weird, then they would have to kiss each other?"  She's 6, what is appropriate?  I'm navigating new territory for me.  We had a conversation about it and about not teasing or making fun of someone for doing something different than we do, or something we think isn't normal, about how that can make someone sad.  I talked to her about speaking up when someone isn't or can't for themselves.  I don't have the answers of how to fix what is broken, I do have hope that if I continue to teach my daughter to love without fear, as Jack describes it, perhaps she can be a seed of change, too and the world will have a little bit more right than wrong.  One can hope....what else is there?