Friday, July 13, 2007

a beautiful sun

On the way to school today M asked me to play Ooh Child. I turned it on and she kept saying louder mommy so I kept turning it up till it was blaring at a volume which I never play music, especially when she is in the car. I turned back to look at her and she was looking at me, smiling widely and singing along. I turned back to the road, felt the sun on my face and had a moment of extraordinary bliss. My girl and I rocking the house.

Mayberry turned me onto The Family Sabbatical Handbook the other day and when it arrived today I immediately began devouring it. While the author had a bit more cash and a different sort of approach to a year abroad (one place rather than a few, a more methodical (smarter) approach than we've developed so far) it was her intro that grabbed me. I turned to J in the kitchen and read it aloud:

For as long as we've been a family, we've been trying to figure out how to live more intensely and creatively as a family and how to forge the kind of elusive, intimate bonds that seem to be the very essence of being a family. We had assumed this bonding would come naturally. But when we looked for role models we didn't find them. Amidst the corrosive effects of the hectic lives we all seemed to lead everyone we knew had similar complaints. There was a vague sense that the best of life was slipping away and we were powerless to do anything about it. There was simply never enough time or psychic space to savor the marriages, the children, the good lives we were all working so hard to make. It begun to sink in that we would never find this time unless we created it for ourselves.

And we looked at each other and we knew. This is exactly how we feel, and exactly the course of action we want to take. We know we don't know what we are doing or how it's going to unfold but we are going to try. For better or for worse. For joy, dumbassery and wrinkled clothes.

Many things depend on this, the next 12 months of our jobs most of all. Our plan is based on external factors, ones we can't quite control. So we'll hold the universe in question and challenge it to say yes to this, yes to this one small dream amidst so many other worthy and important dreams of so many others. So we've set out tonight with a simple yes and in turn, begin the ups and downs of the long journey to the tarmac.

Someday we'll get it together and well get it undone
Someday when the world is much brighter
Someday we'll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
O-o-h child things are gonna get easier
O-o-h child things will get brighter..

47 comments:

Jocelyn said...

I am in thrall to your attitudes, hopes, and plans. Thank you for blogging about them all, so I can enjoy and be inspired.

Orangeblossoms said...

Life is so full of potential-- so full of possibility. It slips away if we don't take it. This is it, baby, at least here and now. This is it and we need to live. Be present and live. Travel, see, give, share, receive.... change the world, love the world.... love one another.

Another beautiful post. Another moment to appreciate you and your beautiful writing. Thank you.

kristen said...

Right on sister. Embrace what you know in your hearts and I think the universe will deliver. And I will live vicariously through your journey. I just hope your flight into sabbatical leaves from NYC and you all will have to stop here for a day or three and stay with us. Open invitation dude, all three of you, with open arms.

Lillithmother said...

Jen, before I go check out the book, it sounds like you have found a kinred spirit within it and the author. Sounds like something I'd like to seriously examine as well....

you go sister...

Lil

QT said...

Let the journey begin, I say. You are more than ready, it will all come together for you. So glad I get to participate vicariously.

kgirl said...

oh that song always makes me so happy.
looking for the book today.

slouching mom said...

The passage from that book left me reeling. So, so true.

You will get there. You will.

mitzh said...

Love that song...

Knowing you, I know that you'll have those dreams turn into reality in no time...

It's really in our hands to make all our wishes come true and the faith that goes with it makes it more stronger.

Magpie said...

I wish you luck - it is an exhilarating and scary prospect.

Beck said...

We had that same realization six years ago, the same knowledge that our lives were shaping into patterns that we did not like, did not want.

I hope that your journey leads you to where you are happy.

Sober Briquette said...

I haven't heard that song in a while, but now it's in my head. Thanks.

I needed to read this today. "Create" has been giving me a hell of a fight lately. Today has been one of those days that everything I do comes out wrong and my children fear me, but I am reminded that I have choices.

thailandchani said...

Another book you might find useful (if you haven't already) is an older one called "Your Money or Your Life" by Joe Dominguez. I read it several years ago and it nicely addresses how to simplify so that the money you do make will go further.

I'm going to be financing a move to Southeast Asia with an income that's very low! If I can do it, you two certainly can. :)


Peace,

~Chani

liv said...

I just want to hold onto that song for a little while and slowly digest. The lyrics are what I need to believe. Thanks also for the book link. I would love to need it!

Bon said...

i love that song...it's always made me feel like some big earth mother is wrapping me up in her hands/arms/ample bosom, making the world go 'way, making everything just fine.

i wanted to say...i think in challenging the world to say "yes" to this plan, to the togetherness and meaningfulness of living that's really the search behind the dream of travel, you may end up creating and forging that very bond and spirit of full life no matter whether circumstances actually allow you to leave or not.

i hope you get to, don't get me wrong. but if that part of the decision isn't entirely in your control, the spirit part is. because in making the travel and the way of life it represents to you a priority, you begin to realize the dream already.

god, i'm mystical. sorry. but i'm dead serious. :)

Wayfarer Scientista said...

De-lurking to say YOU CAN DO IT! I have aquaintences who just stopped working to sail from Alaska to Australia with their 2 year old. Whenever quitting one's job to head out on adventure it's amazing how many people come out of the woodwork wishing they could too - the hardest part is letting go of that anchor of routine. But it is totally worth it and one can always set anchor later if need be!

Cathy said...

I have long loved that song. So comforting.

I, too, say GO FOR IT!

My parents believed in LOTS of traveling, while we were growing up, and while we didn't pack up and leave for an entire year, most of our vacations were 3 weeks long and involved lots of rambling and camping. And during our college years, they also supported our own wanderlust.

I remain grateful to them for that. I saw so much of the world, and now, as an adult, it means even more when I can find my way back to those places.

You can do this.

Deezee said...

when you know something as truly as you know this - your need/desire to leap abroad for a year - I think you just clear the path to make it happen and allow that it may not appear in the exact form as imagined.

I already see you there, wherever there may be...

Joker The Lurcher said...

i am re-thinking a lot of stuff at the moment and your posts are really helping. thank you.

flutter said...

Let the dumbassery begin, friend...the rest will come with it. What a gift you are

Jenn said...

I've no doubt, they are going to be amazingly bright.

nomotherearth said...

I will definitely have to check out that book now. And, I can't stop singing Ooh Child.

Karen Forest said...

I love your zest for living life to the max. I envy your thirst for more.

I find myself so afraid of the unknown that at times I am paralyzed.

It is people like you who live fearlessly that change this world for the better.

jen said...

you are all so kind. makes me feel like more is possible!

and karen, see, that's the thing...i am NOT living my life to the max (as you put it) which is why we feel we have to force ourselves into making it different. if i already was, i'd simply lean back and grin. but thank you.

ewe are here said...

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

I used to run into quite a few families in Hawaii that had chucked it all while their kids were young to sail around the world for a few years, stopping in different ports-of-call, home-schooling their kids as they went... Their kids always seemed so happy.

Kyla said...

You amaze me, friend. Really. Your spirit is just amazingly beautiful.

Aliki2006 said...

I would agree with Bon, too, that the spirit part is the key...

I haven't read the book but I will. I'm worried it will make me feel a type of desperate frustration, though.

You can do it!

KC said...

What a perfect theme song, and a perfect theme book. I get tingly reading about it. It's coming together.

alejna said...

Beautiful lyrics and beautiful plans.

You'll get it together.

meno said...

M was trying to tell you something! :)

Redneck Mommy said...

Hmm...your post has hit a trembling note in the back of my heart...

Good luck...and thanks for the inspiration...this is just the kick in the pants I needed...

Smooches.

Christine said...

do it, dude.

do it.

missed you, love.

NotSoSage said...

Damn it. You're making that little itch right at the center of my chest swell and throb and really pain me. As I said before, our own plan is further down the road, but I'm feeling lucky to have this chance to watch yours develop.

Ally said...

Ooo la la, that book sounds yummy. I just love you for choosing to live intentionally and carve out the time and space for what you want to do. This is really inspirational to me.

And the song, rockin the car-- fantastic!

mayberry said...

I'm so glad you like it--I am, like you, so impressed by the author's articulation of her goals, and the way she lives them.

I love Bon's comment too.

urban-urchin said...

you'll get there. i know it. just be sure to have internet access so we can live vicariously through you!

painted maypole said...

My daughter asks me daily to turn up the Beatles. Today she sat in the backseat singing "Good Day Sunshine" Good day, indeed.

Here's to your dreams coming true.

Momish said...

I didn't recognize the song at first, not until the last line. I LOVE THAT SONG TOO! Definite "turn it up" worthy.

You and J and M will be hitting the road and will be living more intensely as a family in no time. Simply because you want it and need it. Those are very strong motivators (for the universe too).

mamatulip said...

There's no doubt in my mind that you guys will be living it. Really.

(Julia and Oliver ask me to "turn it up!" from the backseat all the time. And I love it.)

Nancy said...

You're an inspiration to me too. I can't wait to hear how you're going to make your dreams come true.

Hel said...

Your post made my heart sing along.

It sings about hope and cold beer and sister love.

I will find out about the bracelets and let you know.

And I am slowly making space for my little girl.

Seattle Mamacita said...

i love the excerpt to this book you shared i'm printing it out and putting it on my fridge...

Penny. said...

Jen, you are always an inspiration. I love the stories you post of you and your little girl. Heartwarming. And your dedication to creating that healing, helping, uplifting, securing family love is of merit. Nice to read you, again.

Susanne said...

Ho exciting this all is! I'll just put the book on my list to check out. Not that we're thinking about going abroad for a year, but maybe for two or three months or so. Someday. Maybe.

Em said...

I love that song.... and here is a big YES to you and your dreams!

crazymumma said...

you me M and our musical serendipity.

I love that song.

wish I could tell M that sometimes things are going to get easier sometimes harder. But usually it ends up as it should be.

but I have a feeling she sort of gets that already.

luckyzmom said...

See yourself living your dream. Feel yourself living your dream. Know yourself living your dream.
Believe it!

Jennifer said...

That song means so much to me, for so many reasons.

And I'm putting that book on My List.

- Jennifer (Faking It)