Off to the land of saints and scholars

IMG_0425Today is the first day of my new adventure.  The last week has been a whirlwind of good-byes and good lucks!  I’m grateful to all the well wishers and for the opportunity to have served the university community for the past ten years.  Now I need to pack.  Life has gotten in the way a bit as my youngest is suddenly unemployed.  He is taking it in stride, and already has a new opportunity lined up, but it tests my worry meter.  On the upside, I get to spend my last week home with him.  My son, Conor, is named after the literary character, Conor Larkin, from Trinity by Leon Uris.  I read the book while in the hospital on three months of bedrest  with him before he was born.  If you haven’t read the book you should it’s a classic.  Maybe if my Conor is unemployed for a long stretch, I can convince him to read it.  Regardless, Conor is good company–always has been (I guess beginning with those 3 months), and I’m glad to get this time with him.  He will also be able to back up the house and dog sitter, which is a relief.

All this is to explain why I haven’t written a thing in the past week. I warned Conor that I will likely walk around in a haze of indecision before Friday then panic about all the details  I need to attend to before getting on the plane on Saturday.  I need to include all my grounding activities, cooking, swimming, and walking the dogs primarily.   I had no real plans for cooking this week.  My refrigerator was empty and cleaned, but I’ve already filled it again for him with the hopes that he won’t forget to throw out any food he doesn’t eat before the house sitter arrives.  And clean up after himself!  Best laid plans.  I guess what I won’t know won’t hurt me, and my husband gets home first and will have long cleaned up any messes before I return from Ireland.  Before Conor came home I was relying on my roasted sweet potato salad as it is healthy but easy.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rough chop peeled sweet potato and a small red onion then toss with 1 T Wegman’s  Organic Basting Oil Wegman’s   Salt and pepper to taste. Roast in a single layer on a baking sheet, creating a small well in the middle for 10-12 minutes before adding a large handful of red or green grapes, then continue roasting for another 15 minutes or until sweet potato is tender.  Top a bowl of greens with sweet potato mixture and toss with your favorite mildly flavored vinaigrette.  I like Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette if I’m not making my own.  So simple, so tasty!

I had no idea where I was going with this post, but it brought me back to Conor’s birth, another significant turning point in my life.  Those three months on bedrest changed my priorities.  That was the first time I turned my back on a career to follow my heart.  During that time, I knew that if I had died I would not miss social work.  I would miss my children, so I decided to stay home and raise them, and didn’t return to full-time work until ten years ago.   Don’t get me wrong, I had my doubts.  We took a financial hit, and my “career” took a hit, but my heart was with my three children.  I have never regretted a decision I’ve made when I’ve followed my heart.  With that knowledge, I’m doing it again.   I wrote this poem when Conor turned three.  Here he is again seeing me into a new turning point.  I am the lucky one.

I Am the Lucky One

Down by the lake

in your three year old

rock kitchen,

you made me breakfast,

scrambled eggs, toast, sausage.

We both cup hot coffee in our hands,

taking imaginary sips.

I am the lucky one.

Hide and seek with the spiders,

bread for the ducks,

we watch the lapping water, unnoticed,

from between our crevassed hiding place

while others quickly pass by

on their way to “real” jobs.

I am the lucky one.

Autumn the time of your birth.

God said, “This day shall not be your burden,

but your delight.”

I don’t know where I’m going or

where I’ll be when you’re grown,

but right now,

I am the lucky one.

We go to the city

stop for a treat, chips and slurpies.

Mine go down quickly, thoughtlessly,

while I delight in your company.

Salty fingers and red mouth,

you’re in no hurry.

Shoppers smile at your good-natured way.

I am the lucky one.

A day of errands, I need a book.

No one notices, amused, as I do,

how you sit in the window ledge

warmed by the sun

among much older readers.

Your face holding the same serious

expression as theirs while you read

a ghostly tale upside down.

I am the lucky one.

Errands finished, we’re back outside.

Silently, we bend forward.

Watching the birds flit among the rose bushes

you learn about rose hips, thorns, and birds’

preferences for crumbs over bagel chunks

offered from chubby hands.

Harried passersby pause, your joy in the ordinary

contagious, as you balance on stone benches.

I am the lucky one.

The day is done

I tiptoe to your room.

Tucking you in, I kiss

your sleeping face

and whisper thanks for the day.

To my own bed I pad

thanking God and wondering why

I am the lucky one.


6 thoughts on “Off to the land of saints and scholars

  1. I’m addicted to your blog Michelle! Wishing you a safe trip tomorrow. I’m sure you are packed and just relax and don’t worry about the rest. 😉


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