Author Archive

A quarter of a century

November 6, 2011

Daughter Lily turns 25 tomorrow!

It is hard to believe that I have children who are twenty-somethings.  They are adults who run their own lives.  But, they still seem to need us, their parents, once in awhile.  For this I am grateful.   I have been a mom for what seems most of my life, and I’m not ready to give that up just yet.  Lily is sorting out her life.  Should she be a musician?  Should she be an office worker?  Does she need routine and assurances of financial stability?  Could she manage like a gypsy?  Could she find a middle ground?  Burdened by her own perceived polarities and saddled with the world’s uncertainties, Lily is filled with anxiety.  How can I provide to her assurances that will ease her decision making?   How can I help her to see that any road she travels can take her on an incredibly fulfilling journey.  My experiences have taught me that things will work out to our advantage if we take the time to see those advantages and work with them.  Somehow I knew that from an early age.  But I did not seem to pass that on to my children who worry so much about the future.   I too am torn with how to help Lily.  What advice could I give that would be appropriate?  Is any of my advice even sound?  And though I wrestle with these questions every day, and though I may be wrong with how I look at life, I too must take a breathe.  With whom did Lily choose to spend her 25th birthday?

It's Morning

Saturdays

October 29, 2011

Last Saturday I had the privilege of attending both the Joffrey Ballet and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert.  I had plowed through a tough week and my intuitive husband kidnapped me for the day and took me with him to his work places of the day.  I met one of his long-time coworkers – a harpest – in the carpool, who I don’t think I’ve ever met.   We picked up my niece from UIC and she sat with me in awe of the Auditorium Theatre.  John, Sam, and I met up with Simon at restaurant, eating sushi and talking about college.  Simon went off to work, Sam went back to study, and John and I went to best buy looking at video cameras.  I learned how to take a video on my little pocket camera to I could capture the Occupy Wallstreet/Chicago protestors that we ran into looking for parking.  And the piece d’resistance – John playing the Mahler 4 symphony with the CSO.  Not at thing could have been better to remind me that life is rich, and that I can remember to take cues from the world around me, instead of having to figure everything out by myself!

John after the concert

Standard Dad

July 21, 2011

I am visiting Dad at his home in Sedona this week.  We’ve been doing chores and eating well and de-stressing.  I am also trying to write a paper but having a great deal of difficulty creating something coherent.  Part of this is because I am not sure that writing an article with my own opinions about education isn’t self-aggrandizing.  At the same time I am reading a trio of books about women educators, singly and groups of them, from the early 20th century who have made it their life’s work to better education of the masses.  It is amazing that I have never heard much about these women and their accomplishments.   I knew the name of the most famous of the bunch, Margaret Haley, but really did not know how significant a role she played in making teaching into the profession it is today.  None of the women of whom I am reading was perfect, especially Haley.  But each of them dedicated their lives to public education and truly believed that an educated population could make better decisions for a democratic nation.  I can learn much from them.  Most importantly, reading about these lives reaffirms me in the knowledge that I do have to work towards helping  our schools teach our students to be engaged citizens.  At the moment, I can’t think of anything more important.    And back to our “standard Dad”, he helped us to have the skills to be exactly that, engaged citizens.  Imagine that…..

Standard Dad

Standard Dad

Living, Loving, and Aging!

June 25, 2011

This week we celebrated Simon’s 21st birthday.  Such a milestone for him, and for us!  My youngest child is 21!  I vacillate from feeling old and feeling no age at all.  My own mortality is on my mind.  And yet, I know that there is so much more that I hope to accomplish in my life.  I have to remind myself that every day is an opportunity to enjoy the many gifts that I have been given.  I am celebrating my youngest child this week.   He is a gift, as are each of my children.  His talents are many, and I so hope he knows that.  I enjoy his company and miss it now that he is a grown man and no longer at home.  And too, I can’t help self by worrying on his behalf.  He has a deep empathy for people and I think that sometimes he gets caught up in thinking of and helping others.   Life is very tough on young men and women today.   Hopefully, Simon, and his siblings, know that they are and will always be deeply loved and cherished!  If I have learned nothing else in my life, I know that you are loved and cherished you can do anything and get through anything that life dishes out!

Happy Saturday to my sisters!

Simon's 21st Birthday!

Paradise is in your own backyard…

June 18, 2011

Dear Sisters,

Time to re-establish our blogging!  We are all writers and all have eloquent ways of expressing ourselves.  What would you say to the challenge that each of us writes at least one line per week on this blog.  Thinking about today’s conversation, and our own guiding principles, we could write something regarding how we connected to one of them during the week.  Or, we could just highlight something that went really well or a challenge we met head on during the week.

Something that is really helping me all year, is something that John has been reminding me.  If we pursue happiness, we will achieve it.  For example,  I am so happy in my own backyard because John and I have consciously envisioned it as a vacation destination.  We can’t travel right now to other places that we do hope to visit.  But, it’s ok, because we have our backyard.  It is truly paradise for us.  Sitting back there, I can think of nothing more that I need or want.  The birds are singing to me, the flowers fill my eyes with beauty and the peace that envelopes me calms my cluttered mind.

Come join me!

John Floeter and Paradise

I love you all, jude

p.s.  Check out this bluegrass prodigy – Sarah Jarosz.  She’s my latest driving companion!

Thoughts Today

January 23, 2011

I am in constant amazement of the birds that come and go in my backyard. I can’t seem to capture them on my camera. This is the closet I came today, through the glass, unfortunately. I know is seems trivial, but there is just something about birds that reminds me of all the possibilities out there. Happy day to day, sisters!!!!
jude

Juxtapositions

September 18, 2010

Last week John and I sat together at the Methodist church in town for the second Saturday in a row. We were there to participate in celebrations occurring in the lives of our children’s friends. The first Saturday was filled with smiles for the wedding of one of Katie’s closest of friends, and the second Saturday was filled with tears for the funeral of the father of Simon’s closest friend. We could not help but think of how different these two services were. We could not help but think of our own mortality. We were drawn into our past lives because we knew these very special people best during when they were playing with our children in backyards, on soccer fields, at birthday parties, in plays and musicals, at school functions, in boy and girls scouts, and during car trips. Now we were witnessing them as adults doing adult things. We sat beside our grown children and sharing their lives with their friends at some of the most important days in a lifespan. It is weird, and so different for me to be thinking of our lives from this new perspective. We are middle aged parents who are now less the participants than the observers and memory keepers. Of late I have been lamenting how I feel so much an outsider in my children’s lives. I am not sure where I fit in anymore. Yet, here I was, so honored to be a part of the milestones of their lives and their friends’ lives.

In this moment in time I recognize that have to pay attention here. So I sat in the pews both Saturdays and listened hard to the words of the pastor who officiated both services. He was so eloquent and used words that were so very apropos. He captured the essence of the people in front of him. His words built us all up in community. His message reminded us that we have a choice with whom we spend our lives. Making that choice alters the path we take but not who we are. It is vital that we maintain our very unique self and bring that to our relationships. Our mates, our children, our families, our world, need us to be who we are. I know this to be true, but sitting at these important gatherings was like sitting in the theatre watching it all play out in front of me.

One other thing struck me at this time. During these two important events, I was again part of a community. Community surrounds us with energy, encouragement, strength, and compassion. I have withdrawn so much from my community in the past few years. I have my family of course, and I have my school community. But, I have so little time that I have neglected friends and neighbors. So I am so grateful that my children’s friends invited me to be a part of their most precious of moments. I felt part of the community, witnessed its power, and I hope that I don’t let this lesson slip away.

“Most of us lead far more meaningful lives than we know. Often finding meaning is not about doing things differently; it is about seeing familiar things in new ways.” Rachel Naomi Remen in “My Grandfather’s Blessings”

Sisters, thank you for being my community. Our connection to one another is so powerful.

Peace,
Jude

Making Progress

September 18, 2010

Here we go.  We have made progress and our laundry room is much improved.  Still need to paint the whole room, but it is clean and need all over.  On now to our clothing closets!

A quarter of a century!

August 20, 2010

This is Katie on her 25th birthday.  I can’t believe I have been a mother for 25 years now.  It is truly humbling to know that you have brought into this world little people who are now capable adults.   And not just older kids, really, they are now adults making adult choices and living lives that affected, and are affected by oh so many others.  As much as I take this all in stride, as just a part of life, I am also in awe of this phenomenon of parenthood.  I am also a bit forlorn as I miss my days with the kids.  I am no longer much a part of their lives, and I truly miss them as people.  But I am proud of them.  And specifically, this week I am celebrating my oldest’s 25th birthday.  She is a talented teacher.  She inspires me, along with many others.  She has a gift with children.  She is unpretentious and she loves to have fun.  She also loves accessories!!!  Happy Birthday, Katie.  And sisters,,,,, just you wait!

Happy Birthday

Getting It Together!

August 7, 2010

This is the first small attempt to get my life organized.  We are designing the laundry room closet to be a functional pantry.  The whole laundry room might not get made over, but we’ll give it a start with this update.  Here is the before picture.  I can’t wait to post the after!

My life disorganized.