The Heart Connect

People ask me often, “How do you like Colorado?” The answer seems simple enough, and of course my response is always “Oh, we love it.” Then I walk away thinking, “they asked YOU”. Not Steve. Not the kids. Not about the church.  They asked you if you liked Colorado. This interaction is followed by further introspective analysis, a bit of which I will explore here.

Initially, I enjoyed Denver as a novelty. I love exploring the various neighborhoods. The landscape is clearly different from Florida, being 5000 feet above sea level and all.  The fact that I finally (and those who know me will understand the exasperation with which I deliver this sentiment) live in an urban center with massive city parks , a public rail system (not that I ever use it), and museums was almost more than I could handle. I discovered that the mile-high city is a haven for foodies. Yes, my epicuriousity heightened by neighborhood restaurants that actually operate from a farm to table perspective. How intriguing!  Early on, I found myself hiking and driving through mountains, breathing fresh air and drinking crystal clear water….from the tap.  Bad hair days and humidity became a distant memory and I felt like a new world had been unleashed. Freshly inspired, I picked up a pair of gardening gloves and traded my stilettos for Keens.  I was beginning to like Colorado.

It’s a relaxed kind of living. I find the people warm and endearing. We have wonderful neighbors. Neighbors who make organic honey to share, repair my son’s bike tire when it’s flat and cut fresh iris from their yard for me. Imagine that.  The pace is slower, the days a little longer and family time far more intentional. When things are unfamiliar, you cling to one another with a tighter grip. That, for us, has been wonderful.  Recently, I ordered a home delivery dairy service. They bring milk, eggs, cheese, etc to my house every week. Something sweet, old-fashioned and tremendously appealing to me about that.  I’ve decorated the house, made a few friends, and waltzed right into a new routine.  I guess you could say, Colorado is growing on me.

Even with all of this goodness, it hasn’t felt like home. This had, up until a few weeks ago, been a point of consternation for me.  I would wonder about it. We’ve been here 8 months. How long does it take to get comfy? After pondering this for the last couple of months, it came to me on my 2 hour work commute,  ” You really haven’t let your heart connect.”  That phrase whispered in my heart. What? Heart connect?  I thought,  “What do you mean? I’m committed!!! I’m here! I’m trying.” And I began to defend myself against myself. Ever done that? You know, the great internal debate?  But, it is true that your heart does not lie. Something in me had been holding a piece of Florida and my life there in cautious containment. Part of me was only reserving this present space in time for Colorado as a pilot program. I mean, we could always go back if it’s too hard, or too sad, or too lonely, or too risky. Right?  Yes, I had those thoughts. And yes, I was busted.

In this moment, I knew I had to surrender my whole heart to making this rocky mountain high my home. The quest for place to put down our roots began. I started to feel a twinge of excitement when thinking about a neighborhood, a house of our own, the people we would meet and a place to call home.  What will life look like this time next year?

Prayerfully, we selected a community. This week we purchased a home.  It’s 5 minutes from the kids’ school and  Steve’s office.  It’s a little east of the highway making an easy commute for me.  It’s lovely and right in every way.  I’m told my zucchini will do just fine there. We are building it, anticipating an early 2014 move in.  I am excited. Yes, I love Colorado.

 

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Enjoy?

I’m staring over this screen and into a half-full cup of coffee, wondering if I’ll actually finish either a blog post or the java before a clamoring call to arms begins.  Wait. Who am I kidding?  Actually, the morning fire drill began before I even poured the first cup.

Truth? I wouldn’t have it any other way. Something happened to me over my 4 week sabbatical from children this summer: I actually began to want to enjoy my kids. That may seem a little strange to say or even for one to admit.  You kind of get thrust into the parenting thing, you know? Every stage of infancy and childhood is so unique. I think it’s easy to focus on the deliverables that necessitate being a parent.  Feed them, cloth them, train them.  Teach them some social skills so they know how to engage people quite mannerly. Make sure they know a few cute tricks to entertain friends during chance meetings in the super market and more complex ones when invited to the neighbor’s BBQ.  Yes, focus on all the things that will prevent you from actually ruining your kid or emotionally wounding them early on. Give enough hugs, but don’t baby them. Focus on them, but don’t fixate.   DO NOT MESS UP THIS CAREFULLY ORCHESTRATED RECIPE FOR WELL-BEING.

And in all whipping up, I forgot that perhaps the most important thing I could hope for, pray for even, was the addition of a secret ingredient….desire.

A desire to enjoy my kids.

Enjoy.

Like the garden, or my husband on a spontaneous date night (when he tells me my dress looks like Lola, a swanky cantina in the Highlands, and sweeps me away for table side guacamole), or text marathon with my friends.  Could I actually ask God to give me a renewed want to for this thing called parenting?  Not because I’m the only mother they’ll ever have. Not because I’m obligated. Not because it’s what good parents do.

DESIRE.

 Love them because I want to. Be with them because it’s fun.

Interestingly enough, my joy has returned over unusual things, like drilling sight word flash cards, getting creamed in Candyland, selecting purple eyeglasses, swimming with a duck at the pool, employing two small tomato pickers in a backyard garden, shooting a rocket in the front yard, and learning new songs,

As find myself anticipating their stories and waiting for them to get home., I realize that they are inherently nurturing me and watching over me far more than I’ve known.   How is this possible? Surely at 5 & 6 they have no concept of designated roles and responsibilities. No,  their love is  expressed through hearts wide open and they too, have learned the simplicity of enjoyment.

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