Baby, It’s Alright

Posted in Choices, Life Appreciation, Motherhood, Parenting, Personal Growth, Uncategorized with tags on September 20, 2013 by Jenny Kanevsky

Baby, It’s alright
Stop your cryin’ now

Nothing is here to stay
Everything has to begin and end
A ship in a bottle won’t sail
All we can do is dream that the
wind will blow us across the water
A ship in a bottle set sail

It’s finally raining today. In Austin, we celebrate the rain. We anticipate its coming with hope and anticipation. We rejoice in its arrival. As I contemplated my morning walk, driving the kids to school under dark clouds and showers, I thought, I guess I won’t go, the sky’s going to split open. But after my coffee and a brief downpour, it stopped. I strapped on my shoes and set out knowing the risk of getting caught in more rain. The local weatherman was giddy. “Sixty percent chance until noon, 100% by 5 p.m.,” he declared grinning.

I did get caught in it. I even walked past my street as it started to drizzle, staying on my route as I let it rain on me and strengthen and drip down my face and arms; cool water finally cleansing me of the some of the sadness I’ve been carrying around. The silence and calm of the neighborhood, allowing me to let go of a resentment I’ve been harboring. And the sweet cool feeling of a strong body reminding me of how well I’ve done this week, a single parent not just handling things, not just “getting by” but rocking it with my boys. Victory after victory that included calm homework sessions with my younger son and open, genuine deep communication with my older one. Going to places as a Mom I’ve always hoped I would go. And knowing that I often have these victories but I rarely acknowledge them. Truly absorb them. And watching my boys grow into stronger people with every act of open dialogue, every act of trust and communication. And feeling grateful and blessed and amazing. It’s not luck, it’s hard work and love. It’s knowing that the wind will blow us across the water. We must be the ship in a bottle and set sail.

Baby, it’s alright
Stop your crying, now
It’s alright
So stop your crying, now
Be a ship in a bottle set sail

Copyright Dave Matthews

These Boots Are Made For Walkin’

Posted in Honesty, Life Appreciation, Opportunity, Parenting, Personal Growth, Relationships, Uncategorized with tags on August 7, 2013 by Jenny Kanevsky

You keep lying, when you oughta be truthin’
and you keep losin’ when you oughta not bet.
You keep samin’ when you oughta be changin’.
Now what’s right is right, but you ain’t been right yet.

Now, I know Nancy Sinatra sings of an angry break-up, romance-style. This blog is not about romance. But is about lying, not truthing. And somehow, as I deal with my anger of what is about to come out on the page, this is the song that comes to mind. I love Nancy’s blonde, cherubic look juxtaposed with her anger and clear message of someday, you piece of shit liar, you’re going to get yours. Because, that is how I feel about the woman who wronged me. Us. And I know that once I get this anger out and on the page, I will no longer need to have A, for I will simply call her “A,” in my life, in my heart, in my energy field. She will be left with how she treated us, most specifically my son, and someday, she’ll pay for that. For I do believe what goes around comes around. I don’t need to “make her pay.” I don’t need to rage at her. I don’t even need my own boots to walk all over her. I like my boots, I want to keep them in good condition. What’s best for me is to, after this post, have nothing more to do with A.

I’m a planner, so when I realized we’d need someone like A in our life, I got on it. Scheduled far in advance. Summer came and A threw us the first curve ball. She needed hip replacement surgery, she’d be out a few weeks, didn’t know when. OK, I thought, we made a commitment to her, what’s a few weeks in the scheme of things? I’m flexible. We worked around it. We kept our word. That came and went, and then A began to act slightly off, in hindsight, of course– everyone’s favorite and most elusive kind of sight–red flags should have waved. A seemed frustrated with my son. She began to blame him (but she’s the adult, you say), seemed to reprimand him, when in fact, her role was to work with him in a very different, accepting capacity.

Time passed and A said nothing more to me. She allowed weeks and weeks to pass in fact, and then suggested that her work with my son would be best served if they took a break; she was more than happy to continue to work with him, but could we do XY and Z first and then we’d regroup. I was willing to do those things, despite (hindsight again) a nagging feeling that A might have addressed this somewhat differently.

More time passed. A still vowing her commitment to stay with our family. Then, an email one morning this week from A with a proposed schedule. Terrific, I thought, and I replied. “Great, I’m arranging other things around this schedule, as you know, the school year gets busy, so this is helpful.” Three hours later, A replies “Well, no, I’m still not committed to working with you.” Why did you send me a schedule, I wondered, especially after having already jumped through many hoops to make that schedule work? So, I seethed a bit. I’m a direct person. I don’t like mixed messages, I don’t like to be strung along. If you want to tell me something, just tell me.

I sent A a very carefully and kindly worded email asking her to clarify her message. I even read it to a friend over the phone to make sure I wasn’t unknowingly sending “you’re a cowardly bitch” messages between the lines. I said I was confused, she’d indicated she was happy to work with us, sent us a schedule and then said she wasn’t committed. How should I proceed at this point? We needed to know. And then a three sentence email, she quit, plus two referrals with names of people that would not even remotely work for us geographically. This vacillation from “happy to be a part of your family,” to “here’s a schedule,” to “I quit” spanned one day, eight hours. To say I was angry and felt betrayed is nothing compared to the sadness I felt for my son, who trusted this person and expected her to come back. I can handle that, and he’s young enough that he never needs to know the whole story. But shame on you, A.

Just so you know A. Just so you know, reader, this is not about me, my family, or my son. I realize this. This is about A. However, that A, an adult, a provider for children, was unable to see or say this shows an astounding level of immaturity and unprofessionalism. Good fucking riddance and you did us a favor, despite the enormous hassle you have caused in the short term. Lesson learned on my part. Even a tiny hint of a red flag that might wave in the corner of your eye . . . put on your walkin’ boots girl.

These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do
one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.

These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ written by Lee Hazlewood and recorded by Nancy Sinatra.


Posted in Life Appreciation, Opportunity, Personal Growth, Uncategorized, Writing with tags on July 31, 2013 by Jenny Kanevsky

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night
I’m not sure all these people understand
It’s not like years ago
The fear of getting caught

I awaken at 2 a.m., cell phone in hand, glasses askew, giant sham pillow stuck behind my neck. I was passed out in the middle of what? Words With Friends? Strange day yesterday where possibilities of the summer opened up to me, our family, good things. Change. Change rattles my cage. I spent the afternoon, proverbial head cocked against it, busy busy, fold that laundry, unsure how to move forward, off my game, just wanting the day to end. And look what the day did to me, it came back. Aha, you can’t escape me! You will face this unsettling whatever it is and it will be OK. But it will wake you up in the middle of the night. So, here I sit at my computer, 4 a.m., coffee, cats, writing.

Last week there was also change. It was stressful, but with the same side benefit of opening up the rest of the summer schedule. We can actually go away for a few days. Last night, in just under an hour, my husband and I planned a mini-getaway for our family. No schedules, classes, appointments, stress. We need this.  

I need this. I need to learn and to experience the feeling of nightswimming. The freedom in the dark, being in the water and knowing I am safe. I may not always see where I am going, but I will get there. And there is often better, richer, deeper. What is meant to be, and not my continued failed attempts to control my world. It will be, it will flow, it will happen. There is a water’s edge.  

The recklessness in water
They cannot see me naked
These things they go away
Replaced by every day.

R.E.M. Nightswimming

Copyright Night Garden Music

A Change Is Gonna Come

Posted in Choices, Friendship, Life Appreciation, Marriage, Motherhood, Opportunity, Parenting, Personal Development, Personal Growth, Race, Relationships with tags on June 10, 2013 by Jenny Kanevsky

It’s been a long, a long time coming

But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will . . . 

Sam Cooke sings of a different kind of struggle with change than that which I’ve faced in the last two years. I wasn’t born in a tent, I don’t have to fear hanging around downtown because of my skin color. But, I do know the feeling of change, long, often drawn out and painful change that eventually leads to greater happiness, greater freedom, and that while it is . . . while the change slowly morphs, impacts, becomes habit, proves itself, there is pain and fear as well as joy and excitement. 

Our family has lived in Austin, Texas almost two years now. The first nine months in temporary housing were so painful and disconnected from anything we’d anticipated I almost don’t count them. But chronologically, they existed and they were hard on us all. We felt that time alone and we felt that time together and it was hard.

In August of this year, we celebrate a year in our real Austin home, our belonging. And yet, this year has been one of some turmoil as well. Moving a world, a life, a marriage, children, changing habits and breaking patterns, this does not come easily to us humans. Especially bright and stubborn humans. There are four of those in our household. And I count myself among them. But the happiness, the new, often frightening, life we have made for ourselves, we are building around us with new friendships, new work, new personal dynamics, a new paradigm of love, sunshine, warmth, calm, space; it is beyond spectacular. We have worked hard, all four of us, to get through the bumpy ride this change has had us on. And it has been a roller coaster for each in our own way and for all four as a family.

We are stronger now, we are more loving, we are happier, we have found our place in the sun and the wide open space that is our new home. A change did come, and like most change that is meaningful and lasting and life-altering, it was a long time coming, Some years longer than just our move to Austin, but readying us for our next phase in this amazing life. And in the song, there were times so hard that . . . 

I thought I couldn’t last for long

But now I think I’m able to carry on

It’s been a long, a long time coming

But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will


Having A Party

Posted in Chronic Illness, Life Appreciation, Motherhood, Uncategorized, Wildlife with tags on October 2, 2012 by Jenny Kanevsky

Last week after school drop-off I came upon seven deer in someone’s front yard. It is common to see a deer or two near school, but this was a large group. I pulled over and sipped on my still hot coffee watching them prance and stumble, their knees and ankles like the turned-in legs of an awkward yet elegant giraffe. As they grazed, they moved from yard to yard. I followed. They had purpose, and beckoned. We made our way to a small side street than can best be described as a loop. Not a cul-de-sac but a crest, a half circle and you’d only find it you lived there or took a wrong turn. I inched along and soon we were twelve. I was in awe.

They stopped in each yard to munch, leap a few times, groom, look up at me to make sure I was playing along, and then move on. Finally, we came to the circle’s crest, a large yard joining two homes with trees, a thicket and a clearing. There was the party. There were at least twenty-five deer, three bucks, does, fawns, all just being deer. One buck thrust his antlers at a low-hanging branch and when it fell two nearby fawns began munching on the green buds. A few does groomed each other, the other bucks sparred nearby, practicing. Fawns pranced and grazed and seemed almost to dance in the sunlight and shade and freedom. My presence and that of others, dog-walkers, a few passing cars were of no consequence. They were in the moment. And so, therefore, was I. So much so that, despite my earlier attempts to take pictures, it didn’t occur to me to snap one of this amazing site. Over twenty deer in one small clearing. Having a party. As my son Lucas said “Mom, it’s like you found their ‘private time.’”

Since that day, I have returned every day to see “my deer.” The boys and I leave for school a few minutes early. I return, walking with them, standing very still and once or twice a doe has come within a few feet of me. Just looking, smelling, wondering. I have yet to see them in such numbers as I did that day, but I see groups of seven, nine, five. They add up. That day though, that was magic.

Those deer, “my deer,” came along when I needed them, as things in life do. I was coming off a rough week nursing illness, myself and a child. Then, my husband left for a long overseas trip. I knew that while he was gone, I would need to practice extreme self-care. I’d need to be sure to get enough rest, to exercise but not too much, to listen to my body, my mind, my heart. When I see the deer, watch them live, walk with them, I am still, I can breathe and be in the moment. I can have private time. And maybe even a little party.

We’re having a party,
dancing to the music
played by the D.J.
on the
radio . . .

So, Mister, Mr.
keep those records playing
coz I’m having
such a good time,
dancing with my baby

What A Wonderful World

Posted in Friendship, Life Appreciation, Uncategorized with tags on September 10, 2012 by Jenny Kanevsky

Here I sit in my new home. Finally, we are here. We are home. Ten months in an apartment, a limbo of disparate cultures. Not Seattle, yet not quite Austin. And yet, we did our best to assimilate to the city. And we were happy, grew to love this city, the beautiful weather, sunshine, blue skies, friendly people, our new life.

And now, our life is beyond compare. A friend who knows of such things said “Rarely do I see a family relocate where every member loves it. Flat out.” And yet that is our family now. We are all happy, so very happy. Theo has said, “I love Austin Mom. This our home now. And, by the way, I’ve never slept better.” Somehow, that speaks to the depth of his security. He can let go completely at night. He falls into deep sleep the moment his head hits the pillow. He loves his dark room, a small cozy cave-like space he has made his own where he hangs out on his bed listening to Beethoven and reading Hemingway, my amazing ten year old fifth grader.

Lucas has a giant room to accomodate his big, open self. He plays “air” drums along to Bruce Springsteen. He begs to go the neighbors every five minutes, and when he gets there, I’m told, simply asks to walk their dog. Or, joins them on hikes. We have the most amazing neighbors, they are not just neighbors, they will be lifelong friends. A family across the street with two boys, another up the block with another boy and new baby girl. And parents of like mind. Tim and I have friends, the boys do, we belong. We are home.

I see skies of blue . . . clouds of white
Bright blessed days . . . dark sacred nights
And I think to myself . . . what a wonderful world.

Amongst The Waves

Posted in Choices, Life Appreciation, Marriage, Motherhood, Music, Personal Growth, Priorities, Relationships with tags on March 19, 2012 by Jenny Kanevsky

If not for love I would be drowning
I’ve seen it work both ways, but I am up

Riding high amongst the waves

We arrived in Austin on October 22, 2011. Our new hometown greeted us with warm weather and a tiny 1200 SQFT apartment. The months that followed were filled with emotional stress, for my husband in a new job he didn’t love; for me alone in an apartment complex made up of 99% East Indian and Pakistani families who didn’t openly welcome us; and for our children who left the only home they had ever known. We knew—Tim and I—that we had made the right choice, but we also knew that we’d made an enormous change, and it showed.

The kids’ new school is fantastic, the weather is great—everyone says “wait until Summer” but I’m fine trading that for what we had in Seattle. Tim’s job is getting better, he’s done some traveling, which is sometimes good, and sometimes not. I have joined the Y, met some people, am taking care of my health issues, and we finally sold our house in Seattle so we can start looking for houses here in Austin.

The best news is that our kids feel at home. Our older son raged that Texas would never be his home—Seattle was his home. Now, in his free time, he does dioramas of Texas landscapes and reads about the wide variety of wildlife and habitats across this huge state. Our younger son is playing baseball, taking afterschool science classes and loves the mild weather.

Our family’s turning point came as we visited San Antonio last week for Spring Break. It was our first vacation since moving here. I had to hire a cat sitter for the first time in a decade; we’d always relied on our beloved Seattle neighbors. We enjoyed each other, we relaxed. We ate dinner at a pub one night and Tim taught the boys how to play pool. We walked along the Riverwalk and took a boat tour. We saw The Alamo. We went to Sea World and fed the dolphins and watched the Orca whales put on a spectacular show. We basked in the joy of our children and each other.

Our older son, who declared two months ago: “I’m not going to camp this summer. I’m just going to stay in my room all day,” decided to do overnight camp at Sea World plus two science day camps. Our younger son, who had mimicked his brother, has now signed up for an intense soccer camp and is begging me to find flag football and basketball camps as well. They are happy.

And that is what we want, for them to be happy, for us to be happy. And sometimes happiness takes time to settle. Like the ocean it can be rough and tumble and it can be smooth and clear blue and beautiful.

Riding high amongst the waves
I can feel like I
Have a soul that has been saved
I can see the light
Coming through the clouds in rays

I gotta say it now
Better loud
than too late

(Pearl Jam/Backspacer 2009)


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