This last year has been a wild ride. I do not like wild rides very much especially roller coasters. My first roller coaster ride was probably at Bertram's Island in Lake Hopatcong or at Fantasy Island on Long Beach Island in New Jersey where I grew up. I probably begged my mother to let me go on the kid ride and then cried the entire time until the roller coaster operator had pity on me and let me off and that probably ruined the ride for the other children. I'm not sure if my brother rode with me on that first ride because he always loved roller coasters and I never did since that day. That is only the beginning of my personal history with wild rides.
The world has been in a an incredible time of transition in the last 10 years and my own personal life has also been in a huge transition which I now call a "sea change" since that has become one of my most favorite terms for a huge time of change. My life began by the sea of my youth. I am the child of immigrants that traveled from Norway to America on the sea and landed in New York City to start their new life with their young Norwegian daughter Wenke, who came here at the age of 4 not knowing any English and leaving behind a life that she loved. My father began his working life in America as a fisherman and later learned the carpentry trade and started his own home building business when I was a young girl.
I am the youngest in my family so I got the all American name, Elaine,which my mother and father and probably my sister chose for me. The only problem was that all the other Elaines were my mother's age. I grew up in a bilingual family before that term became popular and I didn't know I was any different since I was not of color. It wasn't until I went to school and brought friends home and they could not understand my mother did I realize that I was not the same. Of course we also ate strange food and never had Ragu spaghetti sauce or TV dinners until my brother and I begged my mother to let us eat "normal" all American food. My mother made her own spaghetti sauce once and she put cranberry sauce in it. It was very good but it was not Ragu. I never even had a fast food hamburger until we went to one of the first A & W style restaurants I think it was called Wetson's near Alexanders which was one of the first discount stores in NJ. I will google it or ask my Jersey friends that have better memories then me. I did have a mean girl say to me in 5th grade that my mother should go back to her own country but the funny thing about that is that my mother was "born in The USA" in Brooklyn and her parents went back to Norway to raise her and her other 7 siblings until they came back again to live in America when my mother was 21 and had a young child.
Enough about me, this is about the world and all of us humans and living things that are trying to survive on this planet. I did not vote for our new president, but I hope that he will be successful in helping all Americans and that he will care about saving this planet for all of our children and grandchildren and their grandchildren too. Why in the world would I not want our president to be successful. I wanted only success for Obama, but he was not able to accomplish all that he wanted to because of politics, but his legacy and the things he did for those that need a hand-up will outlive him and his children. His family values are a true testament to what we really need more of in this world. Please read his book Of Thee I Sing. A Letter to My Daughters and if you disagree with any of this, then I do not understand you. My new mantra for 2017 is "Seek first to Understand and then to be Understood" it is from the following quote: “Grant that I may not so much seek... to be understood, as to understand...”
From the “Prayer of St. Francis” of Assisi (b. 1182; d. 1226)
We all want to be understood, but we all need to realize that we each come from a completely different life story, even if you are from the same family. I am from a family of three and I have three children. Each of my children have their own life perspectives and their own unique personalities and I embrace them all and will keep trying to understand each of them. I am the first to admit that this is not always easy. My youngest daughter of course has the same role in her family as I did so there is much about her life that mirrors my own life. I love all my children and my animals the same but differently because they have been my teachers as I have been theirs and I know that this is the gift of parenting.
The world is black and white and grey. Without contrast we would never experience joy and sadness the same way. I have grown the most in the dark days, but I hope I don't need to learn those same hard lessons again. One of my very wise friends said something like that after her very young son was diagnosed with leukemia on Christmas Eve almost 18 years ago. Emma my youngest,is finding her place in her family and in the world as a sophomore in college, which I remember as being one of the very best years of my young life. I want to go back to the hope and confidence I had then without losing the wisdom and gratitude I have now. Yes, think of the " Like a Rock" song.
She always had the funniest " Emmaism's" when she was a little girl trying to stand up to her brother who was like her new kitten Loki always teasing. She said " cook your own soup " when he was using something of hers and it wasn't literally her soup. I say to her and my other children and all the children of the world " Sing your own Song". It is truly the very best thing about the world that we are all unique. It's a small world, after all. Oh by the way, that was always one my favorite rides at Disney World, in addition to Maelstrom and the Peter Pan ride. The world is in a Maelstrom right now, but we can all be like Tinkerbell and shed our own little magic light which can light the world.
I wish you all peace, clarity and understanding in the New Year! See ya 2016 and don't come back.
“A wise old owl sat on an oak; The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard; Why aren't we like that wise old bird?” In honor of my father Alf Taule who has been gone from this earth a very long time, but I think of him almost every day and he is helping me and all my family navigate this sea change.