Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Baby Steps: Another 'Third Life' Lesson

"Years ago, I threw myself headlong into into mothering. It was the most frighteningly wonderful thing I have ever done or will ever do. And the reward? Four unique adults who made their way confidently out of my nest just as this little one stepped in." Read the rest

In this week's Home Planet column for the Spokesman-Review, I wrote about watching my granddaughter learn to walk. I raised four children so watching babies crawl and learn to put one foot in front of another is nothing new. But this time, perhaps it's because as the grandmother I have the freedom to step back and observe while her parents do the hard work, I noticed that as she began to take her first steps she never once looked at her feet. She was completely focused on where she wanted to go.

There's a lesson for all of us in that, I think. It's so easy to keep our eyes on our feet and never once look up to see where we are, where we've been and where we're headed.

Now, in my third life, I’m taking baby steps again. I’ve packed everything I have learned from growing up, navigating a marriage, raising a family, building a career and living an ordinary life in an extraordinarily complicated world. I've got a lot of experience and a little wisdom and I still have the curiosity of a child.

I’m ready to step back out into the world and see a few things.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Girl in the Garden

For a few minutes tonight, I was 8 years old again.

After dinner, I stayed outside playing in the back yard until I suddenly realized the sun was long gone and it was getting too dark to see clearly. The lights in the house were bright through the windows.

Still unwilling to go inside and let the day fade away completely, I sat on the back step listening to the birds sing out in the dark as they called it a day. Something must have dropped down my collar while I was digging around under the rose bushes and I wriggled as I tried to find whatever was tickling me. My hair was tangled with leaves and petals.

The air was cool and soft and smelled like flowers and dirt. My cats stalked imaginary prey in the grass. I was tired and dirty and perfectly content to be exactly where I was at that moment.

When I finally opened the back door and stepped inside, I didn't feel at all like a grandmother. I felt like a girl who'd made the most of a long summer afternoon.

That's the beauty of this stage I call my third life. Sometimes, when I least expect it, I turn a corner and find myself.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

There is nowhere like the Northwest

More often than not, flying home from a trip means I have to fly into Seattle or Portland to catch a short flight back over to Spokane. Sometimes, when I'm already tired and jet lagged, I grumble. But every now and then I look out the window and I'm reminded that extra hop is a gift. There is nowhere like the Northwest. 

Last Saturday, making my way back home from a week in the south of France followed by a cruise from Quebec City to Boston on the Holland America Veendam, I flew into clear skies and a beautiful sunset that washed Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams with soft, beautiful hues. Like a lot of others on the Alaska Airlines flight, I pulled out my phone and  snapped a photo. It reminds me that I'm fortunate to live where I do and the extra miles it takes to get home are an opportunity to see things most people only dream about.