Examining the cosmic navel dust

Time never stands still. Even if you think you’re in a holding pattern, you’re not. The kids are growing up, the zucchini is going limp in the refrigerator, the yard will always be where the wild things are.

Everything, everyone has needs that require your attention. There’s the family, the job, the car maintenance, keeping up the house, the yard, the finances, the birthday cards, the next meal, the dirty dishes. No wonder when I get to work on Monday morning,  I collapse into my chair with a sigh of relief. Working is easier than the rest of my life. Well, most of the time it is.

While the whirlwind of wonder keeps spinning and we try to keep from getting banged up, out of the blue comes news that stops us in our tracks. So yesterday that would be learning that Andy Irons, a professional surfer who grew up on Kauai, had died. I was part of the Twitter feed that sent links to stories indicating he had died of Dengue fever in a Texas hotel room, possibly because he had taken methodone to cope with the pain. Just 32 years old, about to become a father, and what should have been at least another 60 years before him. Now he’s dead. Condolences to his wife, his family, his circle of friends.

Unfortunately, this is what it takes for we whirling dervishes to give pause.

Last night I had a conversation with each of my girls. Charlotte, MiniMe, presented me her report card. The report didn’t surprise me, she’s a middle of the road kid, struggling with math, focusing, taking notes. I know this all too well. I was that little space case that was often not clued in to what was going on around me. So we talked about how it’s important to put in the work, to make the effort, to create habits that eventually become natural. Eat better, sleep better, study better, and get the teacher off your back.

Good luck with that, I thought to myself.

Then I had a talk with my first born, Sophie, on that Tween precipice of childhood and womanhood, where a girl’s thoughts are vulnerable about body image and where she fits in the world. I searched for the words, I dug for my sensitivity, I resisted the recording that has looped through my own brain for far too long. I talked about making the right choices, going for water instead of sugary sodas, fruit instead of candy, study hall instead of goofing off, a book instead of a boy.

Good luck with that, I thought to myself.

Such responsibilities. I certainly love every minute of it, but at the same time, I am on edge. It is so hard to resist making these decisions for them, to resist being a helicopter mom, to prevent the world from hurting them. At 11 and nine, they endure a full day of ups and downs, disappointments, stress and tension interwoven with those bursts of relief they find in a friend’s smile, a teacher’s praise, a cupcake surprise.

So while I’m at work, I don’t have to think about any of that. I welcome the distraction that lets my brain and my heart take a break from home and family. I can’t even feel guilty about it. It is what makes me that person who has developed a life outside of family and comes home ready to exchange stories about her day with them.

The laundry piles up, I can’t remember the last time I made my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and there will always be a million things to do at any given moment. So why not take the time to be still, write a blog entry, and wait for something in the universe to respond?

By lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer survivor. English Language Arts teacher, English Learners Coordinator, and Paraprofessional Tutor. Super sub teacher. Dormant triathlete. Road cyclist and Masters swimmer. Gardener. Mrs. Fixit. Random dancer. Music Curator. A teenager trapped in an aging body. Did you know 60 is the new 40? It is.


  1. Time never stands still, and there’s never enough of it, either. This year, I lost an aunt. Then two weeks ago, I lost a good friend. Even the deaths of people outside my circle remind me that we don’t have a lot of time left. So, yes, MAKE the time to be still and enjoy, and don’t get swept into the whirlwind of time.

  2. So good. So real and so refreshing. I had this *ugh* sense that you convey here. Thank you for this wonderful post. I always love reading your blogs.

  3. I love you two. Thank you so much. I had an extremely busy day at work, didn’t even get there until 935, so I don’t get to blog until now.

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