Sometimes, being an island is the way to go

Friends, you will on occasion, sometimes more than others, not like the people you love. This is normal and OK, as long as your love is true and your dislike isn't constant. Children, partners and parents probably fit this bill most frequently, but we all know that sometimes, friends, acquaintances, presidential candidates and complete strangers can feel like despised entities.

In these moments, please feel you have the right to go radio silent. A glass of wine is a nice, quiet comrade but so is a coffee or cup of tea and a chocolate cookie or the like. 

I may or may not have taken" five-to-fifteen" tonight around 7:30pm. Armed with a glass of wine and an active Instagram feed, it's possible I gave Tom the Code Red look and hauled ass to the next room. 

Everyone was tired, Ol lost a found "treasure" today and his tears plus Jack's supportive ones might have solved California's water crisis had we been stateside. We ingested the whole of the Colosseum and the Forum, we walked and walked, and J literally talked for thirteen hours straight.

People, I just don't care about the permanent Inquisitor that you can buy with a zillion coins in Angry Birds Star Wars. I also do not feel that the children need Star Wars hand-cuffs bought in Rome or more than one gelato per day when they act like amped-up speed whores afterwards.

Frigidarium has exceptional gelato.

Frigidarium has exceptional gelato.

We are having a grand time, but family "vacation" is really quite a misnomer in some moments of said getaway.

So, be an island when you need to be. Islands are often vastly interesting, independent things, full of fascinating life, unique ecosystems, and beauty. Be that island and restore!

Chin-chin, salute!

Blissed out in a dreamed-about place

Blissed out in a dreamed-about place

The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina on the Roman Forum. Built 141 AD.

The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina on the Roman Forum. Built 141 AD.

the remains of the Temple of Vesta, on the Forum (also where, PS, the freaking vestal virgins kept the flame alive. I do believe being a vestal virgin guaranteed women a better life than they'd have had otherwise, BUT being a vestal virgin couldn't have been much fun.)

the remains of the Temple of Vesta, on the Forum (also where, PS, the freaking vestal virgins kept the flame alive. I do believe being a vestal virgin guaranteed women a better life than they'd have had otherwise, BUT being a vestal virgin couldn't have been much fun.)

beautiful view tonight while walking in Rome.

beautiful view tonight while walking in Rome.

Wiping away the sleep

The end of winter wore hard on me. In the chilly gloom of March, I felt myself withering, drying up, losing elasticity. Like my garden, I need light and warmth to thrive. 

This is just the way I'm built. Some may consider my intolerance of long winters a weakness, as I once did, but as I age, I'm trying to cast off unnecessary self-judgment. It seems reasonable to believe that becoming deeply glum after four months in darkness and cold is not the worst personal flaw. 

See, I'm a bustling, bubbly, merry extrovert but also a sensitive, stormy introvert. I have long walked that line.

I've worked hard to push my innate pessimism to the curb, harder still to quiet the anxieties that cause me to over-think, over-worry, overdo. The oppressive shroud of too-much-winter amplifies the noise from my tumultuous interior and makes tranquility elusive.

I recharge in solitude, in the quiet company of cooking and gardening, ideas and myself. I didn't realize just how true that was until I had children, nor did I understand the ways in which introversion can make being a parent that much more challenging. Especially if your children are not silent wallflowers. Especially when winter persists and solitude and time in the yard are harder to come by.

When darkness falls, outside and in, maintaining stasis in the delightful circus that is parenting my two spirited boys can feel Sisyphean. At times I lose perspective, fail to see their bright inner lights, struggle. The fear of being unable to meet multiple demands correctly and in a timely fashion teases up the anxiety lurking within; the two build on each other into a pulsing swarm.

It is unpleasant, tiring and disappointing, but fortunately, with time and spring, a wave of renewal comes and brings a soft cloth with which I wipe my cloudy eyes.

I spent most of yesterday and much of this morning clearing the detritus from my yard. It's dirty, sweaty work, and I never wish to be anywhere else. Out there, I thought again about what a powerful concept rebirth is. Of how parents sometimes need a reset to see both children and selves clearly. Of how the warm light of spring provides just that.