Category: Best Mom Page 1 of 5

Home Blend

I was home from college for the weekend and all I wanted to do was sleep.

The scratchy wool rug on my sister’s hardwood floor was not a deterrent.  I tucked my arms underneath my chest, cradled the side of my face within the palms of my hand, and willingly surrendered myself to slumber.  I was making the full commitment, allowing myself to drift effortlessly within that magical realm where consciousness is suspended.  Physical awareness was yielding itself to the soothing waves of relief that were beckoning,


beckoning me,

ever so gently,

toward the glorious sea of tranquility…


…And then there is something, somewhere, within this ethereal state of bliss that feels mildly incompatible.  It begins as a slightly foreign sensation, fluttering somewhere near the fringe of what I vaguely recall to be my right ear.  This curious signal audibly rises, producing a rather persistent disturbance, until I manage to register the intrusion of another human being.  A miniature voice releases a soft puff of graham cracker breath near my cheek, and I am finally able to discern the lyrics of the chorus that was now ringing through my head.

“Aunt Jilly,… Aunt Jilly,… Aunt Jiiilleeee…”

I have no recourse but to re-enter the world of the living.  My retreat into dreamland has been successfully thwarted by a pack of toddlers.

“Ugh.  Remind me to never have kids,” I vow in silence.

Sesame Street had just ended.  Currently, this was the one and only television show that my sister allowed her preschool-aged children to watch.  Twelve-hour broadcasts of Nickelodeon Junior and recorded episodes of Blue’s Clues were nonexistent.  Satellite television was science fiction.  None of us knew what a DVD was.

Had today’s technology been available, I suspect that my sister’s list of approved programming may have been more lenient.  As it was, Gen had a good bead on what, when, and how much media exposure to prescribe for her kids.  “The Electric Company” had not yet made the cut.  Leaving the television on for another twenty minutes or so (to let Aunt Jill catch some shut-eye) was not an option.

These were three smart, beautiful, well-behaved kids who promptly turned the television off during the final credits of Sesame Street…Because that’s what their mom had instructed them to do.

Splendid human specimens.  But I prefer to sleep, thank you very much.

Thirty years later with three grown children of my own, I obviously changed my mind.  Who needs sleep, anyway?

Parenting may be mostly instinctual, but I credit my sister Gen with the basic framework that I relied on to foster those instincts effectively.  Had it not been for the time I spent with Gen, (not sleeping), during her early years of  motherhood, I may have fumbled around for guidance and resources more than I ever felt like I had to with the Bean sprouts.

The great thing about being a grown-up is that you get to choose what feels right and healthy in the nurturing of new arrivals.  It always felt right for me to follow Gen’s lead.  Patience, kindness, an abundance of humor, age-appropriate mindfulness, and an unwavering focus on the individual nature of each and every little person who chooses us for a parent…these are the basic ingredients of Gen’s “home” recipe that I chose.

Now when my twenty-year old son tells me that he loves me, out loud, or my twenty-four year old daughter wants me to join her for a drink at the local pub, or my seventeen-year old baby brushes the side of my hand to hold it while we’re waiting in line at the store, I feel content with the decision to waive my right to sleep when they were much younger.

Thanks, Gen.  I may have tweaked the recipe when needed and incorporated a few substitutions, but I stuck with the basic ingredients that you gave me.  Your concoction has allowed me to foster a few of the best damn people on the planet…right there next to yours.

Congratulations, Grandma Genevra.  The fool-proof recipe continues:)

Best Witches

Boundaries blurred

Whispers heard

Be mindful of your spoken word

Let not intention be recanted

From seeds once planted

Requests be granted

Equals only be enticed

Review the guest list once or twice

Then light the candles

And fire up the blender

‘Tis no better night for wishes rendered!

Flood Zone

What is an epiphany, exactly, and when the hell do I get to have one?

Water was sloshing from every surface of my shoes, including the spongy soles of those stupid gel inserts which, until now, had never given me cause to wonder just how many gallons of liquid they were capable of retaining.  Diligently running toward home seemed pointless now.  The alarming rate at which rainwater was streaming from the hem of my shorts should have been my first clue to abort this mad dash, but I had been clinging to the illusion that I could outrun the storm.  Once I dared to look up and take in the current weather conditions of the road ahead, the reality of my defeat began to register.

My route was veiled in billowing sheets of rainwater that were sweeping across the terrain in violent waves of wind.  An eerie approach of grumbling thunder rolled boldly along an expansive swath in the sky overhead, and I immediately heard another brisk crackle of electric energy somewhere in the distance behind me.  I paused to close my eyes.  Yielding the side of my face to a relentless pelting of raindrops, I allowed the full wrath of the storm to confirm the grim reality of my situation.  I get it now.  Storm wins.

I surrendered with a curt stomp in my stride, welcoming a brief distraction to marvel at the oddness of walking in water-logged shoes.  A heavy trudge through the downpour seemed an appropriate choice now that salvaging a remotely dry body part was absurd.

I was pissed.

I imagined my family members to be sitting, napping, or picking their noses somewhere within our comfortable and marvelously dry home.  Without the slightest concern for my welfare, it appeared as if no one would be making a rescue attempt.  Not a single one of the warm and dry vehicles that were parked in our driveway were being manned for a heroic recovery operation, nor did it seem that anyone would bother to call and inquire about my current location within the storm.

Like my long-distance runs, severe afternoon rain events are common enough that I can usually depend on receiving a brief text from home.  Most of the time.  This time they forgot about me.

“Fine.  So I’ll just call them,” I declared.

Malicious intention would be the driving force behind the hefty dose of guilt that I was fully prepared to deliver.  Woe to any unsuspecting loved one who may answer my call.  Now if only my phone would have been the least bit cooperative, then a ‘someone-get-off-their-ass-and-save-me’ directive might satisfy a burning desire to express my outrage.  Apparently cradling a phone underneath the palm of my hand during a powerful rainstorm merely provides the ideal environment for an electronic instrument to go completely haywire.  This feeble attempt to shield my only communication device from moisture had failed miserably, and now it was taunting me with senseless voice commands and erratic call options.

My phone had become part of the conspiracy to ignore me.

The need to blame someone for my predicament smoldered as my head filled with contempt for the world at large.  It sucks to be soaking wet, chilled to the bone, and trapped underneath an endless waterfall of wind and rain where any progress toward relief seems nonexistent.  One pitiful thought evolved into a network of problematic scenarios, until the general perception toward my life experience seethed with unanswered appeals, patterns of hardship, and inevitable adversity.


Clearly it only takes one goddamn rainstorm to incite a Law of Attraction Pity Fest for one irritable witch.

So now I know that.

Were this my one and only epiphany, I could easily end my story here, adding to the never-ending notes that mere mortals gather regarding habitual thought patterns during times of misery.  If it only takes 17 seconds of consistent thought to attract more like it, then being stuck in this damn rainstorm became the perfect venue for me to wrack up multiple intervals of emotionally-charged blueprints.  This is how it works.  Find yourself within a shitty experience, notice the hell out of it, dwell on it some more, inject with appropriate feeling, and ensure the successful creation of many more similar disappointments in the future.

No revelation there.

If any battle-weary witch could comprehend the theory of redirecting her thoughts, she certainly could put a little effort into the practice.

Cold, bitchy, and mad at the world, I squeezed my eyebrows together and stopped abruptly.  Be quiet.  Stand still.  Let the pouring rain fall upon thee.  It’s just water.  I’m already drenched in it, so what did it matter now?  Candid inventory availed a few basic conclusions: I wasn’t exactly in peril, I know that I am not wicked enough to melt, and though massive amounts of rain continued to descend from the sky, the distant thunder rendered me relatively safe from electrocution.  All I really needed now was a mood change, and the only person available to provide this would be me.

I considered removing my shoes.  The wonder of walking in one-hundred pound footwear seemed more appealing than having to carry them, so I tucked my aquatic phone inside the saturated waistband of my shorts and held my duty-free palms out in front of me.  Pellets of rain swept through my fingers in a curious rhythm as I raised my arms out to my sides.  Surrendering my sense of touch to the full force of nature’s shower massage, I allowed cool sheets of water to relax my neck and shoulders, while the wind at my back prompted me to move shamelessly forward through the downpour.

This was it.  This was my epiphany.  This is what it feels like to walk underneath a waterfall.  It could be water, or it could be anything.  Whatever it is, this is what it feels like to be in the midst of its limitless abundance.  It was as if I had no choice but to choose it.

Now every time  I find myself entertaining the notion that there isn’t enough of something, I remember that goddamn storm.  It turns out that there is no lack of anything but the desire to change one’s perception.

On a side note, turns out that no one in my family actually forgot about me that afternoon either.  Apparently, no one even knew that I was out there.  Failure to communicate before leaving the house aside, as well as obtaining a noteworthy epiphany because of it, did not, however, prevent me from satisfying latent traces of bitchinessI managed to briefly mask the recent euphoria that I discovered while walking home through that storm by pounding up the stairs of our front porch in my nine-hundred pound shoes, if only to delight in the act of firmly pushing the doorbell button repeatedly until Durwood appeared in his groggy “I was asleep on the couch” state.  Looking simultaneously bewildered and mortified was shamelessly gratifying as I asked him if someone could please bring me a goddamn towel…

This final act of contempt is now a mere remnant of worn-out patterns which no longer serve, only a fleeting and temporary moment of fruitless pleasure that cannot sustain a promising future, nor could such bitchiness ever compare to one’s true epiphany within the storm.

Sit Down, Shut Up

Armed with bullet points on an index card, even a timid mind can express intention clearly.

Well, most of the time.

I’ve had my moments.  Predetermined lines of reason fly out the window if nervous energy makes an untimely entrance.  With a potential to spread like wildfire, unchecked emotions will overpower a well-rehearsed delivery before a witch can even register the words that are coming out of her mouth.  The content of whatever the hell was carefully written on those index cards vaporizes, rendering the original intent of a message to be lost under a heightened state of panic.

I hate when that happens.  The advice to employ any number of various relaxation techniques before you open your mouth should be considered.

For whatever reason we need to speak our mind, using our voice is a one way to get what we want.  I taught my kids to organize their thoughts into clear and concise bullet points before they expressed their desires to another fellow being.  Formulating precise statements that convey emotionally-driven thoughts improves communication.

I may have helped the kids find and use their words throughout the years, but it is my children who taught me the value of personal confidence, inner trust, and pure expectation to empower those bullet points with the positive momentum required if we are to manifest the desired results.

Kids.  We can only teach them what we know through our own experience, while they can usually remind us of the subtle energy differences that exist throughout our relationships between each other, as well as the Universe at large.  There’s a fine line between aggressive and assertive energy.  It took me awhile to get this.  Stubborn or blind, an aging witch can forget that she still has a thing or two to learn from her kids.

A person could earn a degree in communication and still not know how to talk to people, express their wishes clearly, or set their desires in motion.  Appropriate language that relies on carefully chosen words is one thing.  This is when those index cards come in handy to record applicable bullet points for future reference.  Almost like magic, recalling predetermined words minimizes the possibility of any unplanned emotional eruptions that may sabotage original intent.

It is one thing to know exactly what you want and practice expressing these thoughts with carefully chosen words.  It is quite another thing to believe that you can have that which the words describe.  Even the most carefully chosen declarations will lie dead in the water without a genuine belief in their fruition.  A speaker must first ascertain what it is that they are truly capable of achieving.

Only a complacent witch would skip that part.

Trust.  Confidence. Calm assertiveness.  These are the ingredients summoned to empower otherwise latent words with an ability to produce desired results.  I needed my kids to remind me of that.  This did not happen overnight, but only after years of observing the energy these young human hearts would use to surround the words that I had only helped them to discover.  Apparently there was good reason to keep them around all this time:)

Over the past few weeks, the Bean sprouts, as well as their aging parents, have been batting one thousand.  We are getting what we want through the use of effective communication.  Words that are fueled with desire are powerful, but desire that is backed with unconditional belief is life-giving.

Hence forth, may I only open my mouth after consulting the divine source within, remembering that the most effective way to speak one’s mind is to first be silent.  For only in silence can a chattering mind prioritize the heart’s belief in self.

Recalling the words I wrote on the index cards never hurts, either.

Mother Lovin’ Privacy

I earned my appreciation for peeing in privacy.  Until I raised three children of my own, I did not understand what a luxury this is.

It is a rare privilege to nurture our fledgling offspring.  A mother willingly casts aside many of her personal priorities without hesitation, as the survival of her young prevails over any superfluous notions she may have entertained in the past.  Lofty dreams of an individual nature rarely exist in the present.  When they do, she will promptly place these personal aspirations on the ‘back-burner’ for future consideration.  (Or at least until later that night, when the kids are in slumber or safely away.)

The “Mom Instinct” reveals itself whether you bear your own, open your heart to adopt, or find an abandoned kitten along the side of the road.  Before you know it, you forget what it was like to remain in the bathroom undisturbed.

After Natalie started preschool, I had some vague appreciation for peaceful slices of time.  They were eerily pleasant.  Surely I had moments of privacy before all the Bean sprouts started school, but they were always due to some highly-orchestrated maneuver that required coerced compliance from the kids, or a desperate plea to Durwood for support.

“If you don’t keep the kids away from the bathroom door for one hour, I’m going to lose it.”

Durwood was a real trouper.  No spell-casting was necessary to convince him of the benefits to be reaped from a routine ‘time-out’ for mom.  Sunday nights were mine.  I was granted two glorious hours to soak in the tub, fuss with my nails, or just sit there with my head back and my eyes closed.  I was temporarily free from the responsibility of answering a question, or directing someone to the location of a missing item.  I would highly recommend a similar approach to anyone currently immersed in the full-time mother mindset.

Until I spent the last few years caring for Evie’s little ones while she worked, I had forgotten how magnificent it is to just pee alone in the middle of the day.  Now that Anson is successfully off to preschool with his sister, I find myself surprisingly reacquainted with the luxury of privacy in the privy.

Thank you, Evie, for the opportunity to revisit the infinite facets of Baby Land.  I hold a renewed appreciation for even the slightest aspect of my morning:)

Happy Mother’s Day to all my favorite witches!  May you enjoy many solitary moments of silence throughout the year, if only to relish a fleeting minute when you may find yourself alone in the bathroom.

Jillian Olive Bean, you have successfully ensured the healthy development of five young saplings who will contribute to the positive expansion of our planet…so, what will you do now?  “I’m going to Disney World!!”

Crazy For You

I wonder if I might pose the question, “What is love?” without prompting a slight gag reflex in either of us?

A smirk?  A roll of the eyes?

C’mon, Jill.

It is possible to address the subject of love seriously.

A practical witch will gladly remove a firmly-placed tongue from the cheek to explore all energy forms that are available for our human use.

After all, love is energy.

…And what is a blog maintained to ‘encourage the individual creation of the best life experience’ if it does not include the topic of love, itself?

This is my one-hundred-and-fiftieth post.  ‘Love’ seems fitting.

I love this site.  I love our visits.  I love the opportunity to continue sharing my words here.

It is easy and natural to love things. It is just as easy not to.

It is when we express our love for people that the energy of love is often transformed into a complex formula of highly emotional extremes.

In its purest form, love simply exists.  Divine nature does not complicate, much less care about that which we make such a fuss over in our physical realm.

It is only in our human existence that we use direct experience to assign our understanding and predictions toward love.  We have all sorts of ideas about it, too.

We love our kids, of course.  There are days we don’t like them so much, but our expression of unconditional love remains pure.

Every parent I know would not hesitate to “lay down their life for their children.”  This edict can sometimes be misinterpreted by parents who may experience a potentially harmful “forgetfulness” toward attending to their own life.  It happens.  A timely reclaiming of self-love allows for a healthy recovery when desired.

I should move on, but I want to note here that there is not one mother I know who appreciates the term “doting,” particularly when it is suggested by someone who is not a parent.  We’re not stupid.  We know that neglecting our own desires could naturally escalate throughout the temporary life-on-hold requirements of motherhood.

This side-effect, along with the six-million other potential aspects of parenting, are always best left for an individual to figure out for themselves, in their own time, when the necessary precautions may eventually be discovered for the sake of sanity.

So for those of you who don’t have kids…Just shut-up, already:)

Not exactly a lot of love in the above statement, but it does provide a smooth segue to the next subject regarding love as shared among our family and friends.

“I love you” is too often such a loaded statement.

Overuse between friends and family members have relegated these three powerful words to insubstantial status, as if it were a mere closing to every casual conversation.

Too bad, too.  There are some of us who really mean it.

Perhaps due in part to the “free love” movement, there are undertones of uncomfortable misinterpretations that are sometimes associated with the expression of love.  These underlying notions are often relieved by those who will substitute the written word “ya” for “you.”  We’re not sure why, but we know that a non-committal “love ya!” automatically eliminates any creepy factors that may be associated with a rather bold declaration of “I love you.”

To avoid potential blathering, I will refrain from any further discussion regarding the expression of love as it relates to a spouse or significant other.  Romantic love and the nature of our intimate relationships comprise an entire category of human experience with trust that may be best left to another post, another day.

I began writing this musing with the intention of sharing a perspective toward the energy of love that may (or may not) be of appeal to one who wishes to ‘play’ with the potential of natural forces among us.

It is a simple approach, really.

In silence and to yourself, whisper the words “I love you” to those whom you choose.

So what if it’s the guy behind the counter at the 7-11?  It doesn’t have to mean “I want to jump your bones” or anything.  Unless, of course, you do.  Get your mind out of the gutter, people!

I am merely offering a suggestion to play with, and enjoy, the potential energy of love.

Silently addressing a fellow human being of your choosing with the words “I love you” can be an amazing experience.  When spoken sincerely within, there is a gentle summoning of the purest vibration.  Weary and overladen misconceptions surrounding love are not present.  The natural rhythm of well-being is permitted to move freely, and most assuredly serves to open your heart, if not that of your unsuspecting subject.

We could always use a little more of that:)

No Worries

I miss my dad.

There has not been one day since he died that I don’t remember him.

The sadness of his loss is slowly being replaced with the simple joy I feel to have known him.  I’ve been experiencing some recent moments of gentle guidance from none other than the legend himself.  He still has me smiling.

My dad loved babies as much as they loved him.  His soothing voice and easy manner drew children to him like a magnet.  Any social gathering assured that there would be a young child on his lap, or a baby in his arms.

Fussy babies became miraculously calm when Dad held them.  At one time or another, all of his infant grandchildren (and many of his great grandchildren) have enjoyed peaceful slumber on their Poppy’s warm chest.  It was customary for babies to respond to Dad’s relaxed energy with an audible confirmation of the flatulent nature.

“Now that’s gas,” Dad would report with a noteworthy smile.

Of course, Dad wasn’t always the stress-free patriarch we have enjoyed over these last few decades.  Durwood is apparently quite perplexed whenever I mention that there were moments during my childhood when Dad was actually pretty “scary.”  Supporting a large family through sole proprietary means can weigh heavily on a man’s sense of responsibility.  Durwood now understands how a father might sometimes be perceived as rather frightening under these conditions.

As Dad’s obligations lightened over the years, so, too, did his demeanor.  Eventually his true nature became a welcome influence over those of us who had the pleasure of his company.

A master gardener by trade, Dad had a knack for nurturing.  It seemed that all forms of young organic matter (human included) flourished under his care.  His relaxed stature sustained our growth as individuals, with trademark ease reflected in all of his famous quips.  No one within Dad’s contact circle was exempt from his observations on life.

Many young parents (myself included) have been reassured by one or more of Dad’s classic commentaries.  Untimely displays of curdled spit-up, and even those particularly embarrassing occasions of a major blow-out (also known as Oh-My-God-There’s-Poop-Everywhere) were given a brief synopsis from Dad.

“It’s always good to know when everything is in healthy working order,” Dad would offer.

Concise and memorable remarks of this nature never failed to restore normalcy to most potentially worrisome scenarios.  Mildly uncomfortable and extremely disturbing circumstances were never a challenge for Dad.  I often find myself wondering how he would describe some of my current human conditions, and that’s when I smile.

“There’s more to life than money,” Dad would remind me.

Easy to say when you have it.

“A little dirt never hurt anybody,” I can hear him say.  “You come from good stock.  Everything falls into place after that.”

Relax.  Enjoy the day.  Keep the faith.

Take care of yourself.  Love and nurture your family.


When I remember to follow Dad’s simple plan, I start to notice that all the other things, dirt included, really do fall into their proper place.

“See how that works?”

I hear you, Daddy.  Loud and clear.

Baggage-Free Flight

A claim to old age and treachery often requires a lengthy resume filled with disappointment.  Worn as a merit badge, first-hand experience with the ‘hard knocks’ of life provides justification to keep your feet on the ground, stay put, and avoid anything that includes risk.

To hell with excuses.

Attributing our current identity to past experience is highly overrated.  It may provide a moderate level of comfort to know that our past has contributed to the shaping of character, but referencing “what we have been through” to justify a cautionary outlook toward the future is a real show-stopper.  Creating positive outcomes is unlikely where self-doubt exists.

We are human.  We remember stuff that happened to us.  Aspects that did not feel so great (like disappointment) get filed among our repertoire.  The older we get, the better it feels to term these memories as ‘sage’ wisdom.

We can sort through, organize, and pack all of our personal experience with disappointment in as many storage containers we need to hold all those memories.  That way, the information will be readily available should we ever need to throw a little doubt on a growing fire of optimism.

Were it not for the resilient nature of the young people I am fortunate to have in my life, it would be easy to forget that hauling this baggage around with me the rest of my life is a choice.

Personal history is only relevant when you wish to repeat it.  If you desire to experience the contrary, then you have to break away from an established belief system that defines your relevant past as ‘sage’ advice.

This is when it comes in handy to have the pleasure of young people in your life.  If you do not have any young people of your own, then borrow some.  They can be found lying around on a couch, running in and out of a front door on their way to and from various destinations, or somewhere in a kitchen consuming all of the household provisions faster than they can be replaced.

Once you locate a few of these vibrant specimens, spend some time enjoying their sense of hope, self-confidence, and optimism.  Observe their reaction when they fall.  Witness the true magic of self-directed creation as they brush themselves off, never look back, and proceed without question.  They leave their baggage right there on the loading dock.  They know that they cannot soar above customary expectations if they take it with them.

In a creative process that calls for the complete absence of doubt, tainted experience, and cautionary measures, it would appear that youth and exuberance trumps old age and treachery every time.

‘Morning, Glory

For THE LOVE OF GOD, what is the rest of me doing while my body is asleep?!

The scenarios are endless.  Forgetting to determine my intentions before falling into slumber guarantees that my awakening will be a damn crap shoot.

Failure to set forth even the slightest ambition toward what you want to accomplish in the near future is an invitation for random creation.  For those of us coming to terms with the nature of our creative potential, it is often our own sleep routines that can provide us with the solid evidence for this Universal Truth.

Going to bed at night worried and stressed is most likely the way you will feel upon awakening the next morning.

Or maybe not.

Sometimes you go to bed feeling like crap, and wake up feeling on top of the world.

Sometimes you go to bed feeling on top of the world, and wake up in the morning feeling like crap again.

There may be other occasions when you go to bed so exhausted that you wake up the next morning in a weird haze.  Your mind stumbles into conscious awareness while your brain searches for recollection.

“Where am I?”

“What day is it?”

Then there are those times when you eat or drink too much before bed.

Life seemed good the moment when your head hit the pillow.  You were pleasantly satiated and inebriated the last time you were conscious, anyway.

But now you may have opened your eyes to find a small pair of prodding ones staring back at you.  The inquisitive peepers appear to belong to a tiny face with a big round mouth that is repeating the word “Mommy.”

Or, perhaps there is one unusually large dog snout resting on the mattress right in front of your face.  A warm stream of dog breath wafts over your cheek as a pair of pitiful amber eyes beckon you to get out of bed.

Suddenly, you are aware that you have awakened to find yourself right back in the same life you had before those three glasses of wine last night.

Until you remember Who You Are, and practice setting forth some personal intentions every night before you go to sleep, the next morning is going to be a crap shoot.

Keep your intentions simple or complex.  Whatever is plausible in your perception sets the tone for your remembrance of how powerful you really are.

“I will awake tomorrow morning feeling well-rested and eager to start the day.”


“I will awake tomorrow morning in a brand new mansion with a butler who brings me breakfast in bed.”

They are your intentions.  Whatever you believe to be possible is strictly your business.

The alternative is to forget to set forth any intentions at all, and wake up the next morning to the luck of the draw.  Whatever mood you experience upon your re-emergence into the new day will be randomly created by you.  Choose to think otherwise, if you like, but the comfort of feigned ignorance expires once a witch has had her first cup of coffee.

We are the splendid creators of our earthly experience.  I always feel silly when I neglect to remember this simple truth.  Ignorance was only blissful when I had the luxury of blaming the state of my mood, circumstances, and even my morning disposition on someone, or something else.

Don’t forget to state your prayers and sleep well tonight, my friend:)

In the Meantime

There are many things about my sister Evie that I adore.  Among her many attributes, she maintains an attitude of nonchalance toward most things in life that many human beings might have a tendency to get ‘hung up’ on.

She has an expression that I love.  It is her all-inclusive “whatever” look.  There is a subtle shrug of the shoulders and a slight elevation of the eyebrows.  With a dismissive smile and a quick twitch in one corner of her mouth, no words are required to convey a clear message of indifference.  When Dr. Richard Carlson wrote his series on “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” he must have had someone like Evie in mind.

In the midst of a burgeoning love/hate relationship with her career as a full-time educator, raising two children, and focusing on the value of family-life while her husband works at least 16 hours a day, Evie always keeps her socks on straight.  She is a directional beacon.  Frying her big fish one at time, she never fails to properly disregard the several million sardines and minnows that are swimming through our life.

I watched Evie execute her trademark expression just last night while she was standing in our kitchen.  While describing the tumultuous events brewing throughout her recent day at work, I observed with amazement while Evie paused in mid-sentence to notice her son.

One-year-old Anson was cruising past us with an adult-sized toothbrush clenched between his teeth.  I quelled my reflex to confiscate the toothbrush and demand to know where in the hell he found it, opting instead to witness the tactics of my sister.  (After all, a big sister would be gracious to allow her younger sibling to take the lead on her own affairs.)

Evie displayed a momentary expression of curiosity as Anson proceeded to remove the toothbrush from his mouth, turn toward our beagle (who had been following him through the kitchen up to this point), and gently guide the slobber-soaked toothbrush down the surface of the dog’s back.  In one seamless motion, Anson took another  brush stroke along the dog’s coat, this time ending at the tip of her tail, and then finished his impromptu grooming session by opening his mouth to gingerly re-insert the now hair-filled bristles back into his mouth.

This is when I watched in adoration as my sister executed her ‘whatever’ shrug flawlessly.

Without a dramatic word, Evie calmly retrieved the toothbrush from her son’s mouth.  The trademark shrug was issued.  Without remote concern, or even the slightest bit of fanfare, my sister returned her attention directly to the conversation at hand.

Apparently, we have bigger fish to fry than entertaining the pointless energy of panic one might associate with a germ-ridden, fur-covered, throat-impaling instrument in the hands of a one-year-old.

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