Nurturing the Basics

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February 6, 2019-

The title pretty much sums up what I do, from day to day, on my job.  It also sums up what I have experienced, in so many areas of life, especially since 2011.  Things that are second nature, or are taken for granted, by many others, have been huge for me-as they have happened for seemingly the first time.  I will treasure my journeys, completed hiking routes, accomplished volunteer projects, and each event at which I have been warmly greeted.

Of course, there have been moments when I’ve stumbled, in Paris, in Gera and in Corpus Christi,  I learned from those relatively minor errors in judgement.  There have been times when I’ve faced hostility, and I’ve learned from those times, as well.  There have been times when I’ve looked in the face of indifference, and have realized that this is to be expected- across the range of human interactions.  Friendships often ebb and flow.

My greatest satisfaction, though, is in seeing people I love rise above their own apprehensions and overcome their setbacks.  Nurturing one’s basic skills is ever a source of comfort and strength, on which to fall back.  I will continue to work on mine, and realize things about myself that have not even occurred to me. I hope the same for my many friends and loved ones.

And Then, There Are These

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February 11, 2017, Prescott-

I did a routine workout at Planet Fitness, this evening, after having visited a tax prep office, finding out I was short a critical document, and getting that document printed off a website, which will serve me well- the NEXT time I go to that tax office.

On the way out of PF, I passed some young adults flirting/ connecting.  This is as it should be, especially of a weekend evening.  Life, even in hard times, should continue with certain features:  Infants learn to walk and speak for themselves; toddlers should say “No”, and thus begin learning their limits; children should continue that process, while acquiring life skills-hopefully in a safe, nurturing environment; teens and young adults should be able to visit confirming situations, in which they might feel an ocean of hope and a wealth of encouragement; older adults, like me, should be in a fully affirming, supporting role, for those on their way up the ladder, supporting,.

I am concerned about what lies ahead, for our nation and for the human race.  I know, in my heart of hearts, that our species has a grand future, long-term.  I also know that, in the short run, there are forces of reaction that will play on the fears of some basically decent people, many of whom I know and love, perhaps leading them to do harm to others, who I also know and love, because of the divergent ways they express themselves and live their lives.  I cannot, will not, choose to participate in any movement, group action, or, certainly, any pogrom directed at a people or groups, based on ethnicity, faith, gender, sexual orientation or political affiliation- in either direction.  For having said this, I have already been excoriated by a bitter, diffusely angry man, in another online forum.  So be it, as long as necessary.

My life, by year’s end, will feature: An end to a business affiliation of 36 years;  the second of four school years, in which I work full-time as an educational paraprofessional, with the possibility of a fifth, and more attention to qualitative aspects of my service to others.  I may take stands that will cost me friendships, but it will always be the dispossessed, the downtrodden, the kicked-around, who have my heart.   There, will go my heart and head, in synchronicity.

Marching On

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January 21, 2017, Prescott- I was delighted by the snow that fell, this morning.  It was just enough to make everything lovely and to give me two hours of exercise.  Whilst shoveling, I noted that it was close to time for the Women’s March to take place, downtown.  I finished clearing the walk, for the sake of my neighbour, a disabled woman, who is wheelchair-bound and needs a clear path, at least three times a week.  I then took a rest, and thought very happy thoughts about the sky having cleared, for the marchers and for those with other business.  If someone chose to march today, God bless her.  If someone made other uses of their time, as long as (s)he hurt no one- God bless her, too.

Women and girls have lighted my world, from as far back as I can remember.  The most powerful woman I have ever known, has never marched or staged a public protest a day in her life.  She raised five of us, with two special needs children (my youngest brother and me) as bookends of her parenting.  She is a ferocious liberal, who loved her conservative husband with all her heart, and loves/ abides  three moderately conservative children (my beloved siblings), and me-the gadfly.  Her motherhood took the lion’s share of her life’s work, but does not define her.

The most beloved woman in my life, now departed, would have gladly taken part in today’s march, but would never have turned her back on basic values of respect and validation for those with opposing points of view.  She loved her ultraconservative father, even when his social comments broke her heart.  She and I would have heated conversations, but not once did they impact our commitment to one another.  She loved being a mother and wife, every bit as much as being a teacher, and a scholar.

I know, and love, thousands of women and girls, of all political/ideological viewpoints, and of no such viewpoints.  Their rights are the same as mine.  Their dreams and aspirations are every bit as valid as those of any man. Their strengths and abilities can only do the world good.  The woman who chooses to be a homemaker, teaches, nurses the sick or cares for others’ children is as valuable, to society, as she who practices law, runs a corporation, repairs motor vehicles or serves in the Armed Forces.  The conservative, who prefers a “traditional” lifestyle, and the progressive, who is in the vanguard of social change, are vital to one another, and would that they see this.  Each is certainly vital, in my world.

It is the nurturing presence, the capacity for bonding and the devotion to others, basic to a human female and expressed in so many ways, that makes standing up, for the well-being of women and girls, so essential.  In whatever way one marches- in serried ranks, two-by-two or singly and alone; publicly, or at home, in one’s own mind; by speaking out  before a crowd or by raising strong people, you, dear one, are making a difference.

March on.

The Road to 65, Mile 230: Birthdays Matter

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July 16,2015, Prescott-  I treated a good friend, (one of my besties),  and her daughter to dinner this evening, since it was bestie’s birthday.  Back in New England, a birthday is ever the occasion for the honouree to be so treated, and to choose the venue, within reason.  So, I have continued this tradition, over the years, for Penny and for our son. Aram.

One’s entry point into this life establishes the chance to be of value, to an entity greater than oneself:  First the immediate family; then friends and neighbours, followed by ever-wider communities.  This, alone, is worthy of respect and nurturing.

In our culture of independence and relative anonymity, it’s easy for a person to feel like no one cares much.  Most of the time, this isn’t true.  We tend to have more friends, who care more about us than it seems outwardly.  There are all manner of distractions, and external pressures, both real and imagined.

My own answer to this has been to be more proactive about expressing my friendship.  Sometimes, because of the depth of my feelings, this has been misinterpreted and I’ve had to backpedal a bit, for the sake of the endurance of the friendship. It started to happen with the friend mentioned above, but with clear and gentle communication, things are where they need to be.

So, her birthday matters, as does her daughter’s, a few months down the road.  Their dreams and plans are more in focus, with the stock-taking that happens at the beginning of each year.  In my own case, this is one of the reasons I am doing this series of posts.  Some years seem to be clearer milestones than others, but each one is of value, and is crucial to one’s total life experience.