Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Love Path

So this might seem a bit mushy, but please read on.  Today we are talking about love.

Love was something different before I met Brady P.

What is love to you?  Think about it for a moment.  No, really.  Just ponder for a bit.

Okay.  Here is what love was to me before I had Braeden.

Love was a feeling that I felt for certain people.  I loved Aaron in a different way than I loved my parents and a different way than I loved my friends.  I didn't love strangers because I didn't know them.

Love would ebb and flow.  It could be taken away or given with all my heart.  It was something I gave and something I received from others.

But Braeden taught me that is not how love works.

When I first had him, I loved him so much.  The feeling that came over me when I comprehended how much I loved and cared for him was the most intense love I have ever felt.  I would often ask him, "How can I love you this much?  I never knew this much love was possible!"

So I felt like that was the pinnacle of love -- the love from a mother to a child.  Even Aaron didn't understand it because Braeden didn't grow in his body for nine months.  That motherly love is hard to explain.  

As a writer, I was determined to be able put that feeling into words.  I sat down and tried and tried to capture the feeling in black ink.  But when I read it, it just didn't have the same effect.

If you have children, you probably know this indescribable feeling.

But three years after his birth and a whole new Amanda later, I am beginning to understand what love really is.  I shall do my best to justify its power.

Love is not something to be given or taken away.  It is always there.  It is not just a feeling, it's an energy.  It's what keeps us alive. 

We are all made of love.  

We are all made of this unfathomable vibrance that can make our heart feel like its exploding out of our chest and enrapturing everything around us.

And it is always there.  We just have to pay attention, feel it, be grateful and share it with others.

So let's go back to the moments when I look into Brady P.'s uninhibited eyes and marveled at how much I loved him.  It is not that I loved him more than anyone before.  Yes, I have put more effort into him than anything else in my life, but that doesn't mean I was giving him more love.  Even though I thought I was.

I am now more aware of the love that is surrounding us -- the love that we are made of -- when I look into his eyes.  

Braeden's soulful eyes

Braeden's eyes have no filters to his soul.  They have let me see the universe on several occasions.  His eyes let me into the love that he is made of, and my spirit expands as we consciously let our love/energy merge.

Am I losing you?

Let me reiterate what I said I thought love was before, but put it into my current philosophy.

The love I feel is the same for Aaron, my parents, my friends and strangers.  Since I am made of love, and I am aware of it, I am able to project it to others.

So I project it to everyone.

Some people project it back differently.  Brady P. always gives it back exponentially.  My own parents willingly let their love flow back to me.  The person I just said hello to at the grocery store might hold back on their return because they have not formed trust with me.  

But that's okay.  My love is unconditional.  It is there regardless.

Whew.  You made it to the end of the love post.  Do you think I'm crazy?  It's okay if you do.  I love you anyway.  I can't even help myself.  

Allowing love to flow freely through me has let me feel more connected to everyone, whether I know them or not.  Whether I see them or not.  It's the most amazing feeling I have ever had in my life, and now it is dictating my path.

So thank you, Brady P., for showing me what love is made of.  We are taking this love path together.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wet Beaches, a New Soul and Presents!

I intended to write about this earlier, but I wanted to be sensitive to my readers living on the south coast before I expounded on receding shorelines and rouge waves.  I hope you and your loves ones are safe and sound.

When you think of Brady P., the first thing that might come to your mind is throwing rocks.  We still do that at least once a day because the weather has been lovely.  But as fall approaches, sometimes we are missing a part of the equation when we get to our spot for the day.

The beach.

The increasing waves and rising Lake Superior tide has been playing tricks on us.  I like to have Braeden throw from the "dry rocks," but there have been days without dry rocks.  That means that the waves ebb and flow so far up, we could get swept away by a rouge wave.  We have shifted our throwing spots so far back that sometimes we have to find a different spot all together.  One of our places was void for most of the summer.

As we sit in our tiny spot of dry rocks (or say "screw it" and sit in the wet ones), I have to watch every wave.  I know her Majesty's waves usually come in threes, so if one splashes up higher than the rest, two more will probably do the same.

I have had quite a few instances of scooping little Brady P. up while he was mid-toss and running him back a few feet.  Sometimes he is already wet.  I really concentrate up to that point, and squeal when they are getting close.  Oh my gosh, we have so much fun.

Brady P. catches on too.  He is a meditative soul, and I have caught him becoming one with the waves several times.  This occurs when the waves come up higher than usual, and he knows he is in potential danger of wet pants.  

He stares at each wave as it rolls in.  His body does this slight undulation in correspondence with the incoming waves.  He looks mesmerized, yet peaceful and expectant of the next splash.  I can almost guess what he is thinking because I do the same thing.

You will have to do it yourself, and see what you think.

Of course, he is not always on cue.  Like last week we were out on the shore with a friend.  I was busy reading parts of my memoir to my friend Bryce, and next thing we knew - ploop!  Little Brady P. was floundering in the brisk water on a calm, sunny day.

He came out drenched and livid, but that was his first immersion in Lake Superior, so we figured it was his baptism.

His soul is wiped clean.

My soul gets pretty clean out there too.  I can't even believe how fortunate I am.  Here I am, a full-time mom, living the life some people only dream of.  I get to spend time on the beach with my son, and, at the same time, I am working.


Yes, working.

While I'm on the shore listening to splooshes, I have my notebook ready to harbor the inspirational thoughts that cross my mind.  Many of my latest ideas and business plans have been created while my toes were getting wet.

I have also been picking rocks for work.  Now, beach-combing has never been my thing.  I never had a purpose for rocks from the shore.

Until now.

Just you wait, my friend.  I am creating bookmarks.  Bookmarks with a translucent Lake Superior stone on the top to remind you to stay solid in form while the light shines through you.  They will be almost as inspirational as my memoir itself, and one in every 20 pre-orders for that book will get a free bookmark!

I'll let you know when they're ready.

So, yes.  I've been busy.  I'm so excited for life right now that I can hardly contain myself!!!  I can't wait to release my next round of concoctions to the world.

And you will be part of it.  If you surely don't want to miss it, please click here to learn how to get these posts delivered to your inbox.

Thanks so much for wading through another post without a picture.  As a present, here is a video I took in 2007 of the waves blowing in near the Copper Harbor lighthouse.

Please turn your volume down a bit, as I was a novice recorder at the time, and the wind sounds horribly offensive through the microphone.  And on a day like that, we wouldn't be throwing rocks.


Click HERE to watch the video of the waves on Youtube.

It's safe, I promise!

And a bonus present!  Here is the Superior Trails color report for the Lake Superior areas.  They even have a peak color predictor that they just updated.  Happy fall!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Parking Lot Game

Copper Harbor gets lots of visitors in the summer time.  The town gets crazy packed, and people are driving around everywhere.  They are parked everywhere too.

When I walk behind a line of parked cars, I like to look at the license plates to see which states people are from.  Yesterday I saw an impressive spread of plates from all over the country parked in front of The Pines for lunch.  Not one Michigan plate that day.

Braeden likes to look at the vehicles as well.  But he is more obsessive.  Here is what it's like walking through a parking lot with Brady P.

"Eh!" he stretches his little arm out and points to the first car in the row.

"Red car," I say.

He points to the next one.

"Silver truck."

He points to the next.

"White van."

He points.

"Black Jeep."

Another point.

"Silver car."

And so on and so on until all the cars are out of sight.  Unless he runs behind the row to point to them all again.  Oy, that gets a little monotonous for me.

He'll do the same thing when cars drive by.

"Motorcycles!" I tell him.  "What does a motorcycle do?"

He holds his fists in front and bounces them up and down like he's driving a motorcycle while I make the baroom ba ba ba ba sound.  He giggles, so I can't help but giggle too.

He is smart.  He knows the colors and the types of vehicles, so sometimes I switch it up on him.

"Braeden, do you see a red truck?"

Often it's the next thing in view, but sometimes he'll have to turn around.

Boom.  He points to the red truck.  And the gray car, the blue car, the red Jeep, the gold van, the white camper, the other camper and so on.

Is this post boring you?  Well, think about how I feel when I have to name these things everywhere we go!  Ha ha.  Just teasing.  Like I said before, I love to promote the things he is curious about and help him learn.  

Maybe someday he will work at a car dealership.  He can go around and tell the people the color of each type of car in the lot!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Bike Park Babysitter

I am a mountain biker.

Let me rephrase that.

I love to mountain bike, but I struggle for the opportunities to do it.  My husband often travels for work, so that leaves me with little B-Man all to myself.  In the summer, all my friends are too busy to watch him, so if Grammy is gone, I don't get to hit the trails.

And I am okay with that.  This is just a phase of my life.  

But Aaron and a friend built a partial terrain park out at Trails End Campground -- the place we go to the garden.  So I actually get to ride my bike around and around while Brady P. does little boy things.

What would Brady P. find to to in  a terrain park?

Throwing rocks into puddles is his first choice.  The last time we were out, he had a nice puddle to work with.  I think this one held him for at least 45 minutes.

Watching his rock splash in the puddle

He takes his rock-throwing seriously.  Notice the follow-through.  Notice the stance.  Notice the focused gaze into the splash zone.

It's fortunate for both of us that he is occupied for so long with this because I get to play in the background of this picture on the jumps, teeter-totters, drops and pump track.

One of our other favorite things is when I come coasting over to check on him.  I make sure he sees me coming, then I scream, "Ahhhh!" and slam on my brakes just inches before I reach him.

He closes his eyes and makes a defensive scrunchy face while he listens to me skid closer.  Then he opens his eyes, laughs and signs "more."

When he wants to watch me take the jumps, he runs to the back of the park, climbs to the top of the hill and sits up top while I climb up and jump down, climb up and jump down.

I don't know if he likes to watch because I'm his mom or because he is interested in the actual stunts.  But we did take him to the bike races this weekend for the Bell's Beer Copper Harbor Trails Fest.

As a family, we marched up the Overflow trail to check out the downhill race.  This is where riders bomb down the crazy terrain.  Brady P. got to watch and clap for the racers as they whizzed by.

I don't think he enjoyed it as much as when he watches me, so I guess I'm part of the main attraction in his terrain park life.  

I am flattered.