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When I was a kid, my mom’s favorite color was yellow. We weren’t particularly close back then, so I hated yellow. I couldn’t figure why yellow when there were so many other better favorite colors to have. Like, blue, my Gram’s favorite. My mom also had a pair of boot-ish cut (ever-so-slightly bell bottomed) darkish green cords. I was horrified.

I had a lot of expectations for my mom back then and mostly I wasn’t kind about it. Those were some tough years for her and the last thing she needed was a person in the household complaining she didn’t make pancakes on the weekends like Krista’s mom, or dress cute like Kolby’s mom, or that her meatloaf tasted like catfood.

High Expectations

Having high expectations has always been a stringent part of my personality. Isolating and limiting me. In high school, at report card time, all of us girls would put our report cards on the kitchen counter for parental review. A job well done earned us a celebratory trip to Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors for an ice cream cone. When I was a junior in high school, I got an A- in a class where I thought I should’ve gotten an A.

I was so devastated at my negatively impacted overall GPA that I hid my report card under my mattress. I lied to my dad for a good week or so, saying I hadn’t received my report card yet even though all the other grades had made their appearances on the kitchen counter. When he finally called my bluff, I pulled a real “Dan in Real Life” tantrum rant as I stormed up to my room. “YOU. ARE A MURDERER. OF LOVE!”, but the kid obsessed with her grades version.

I remember his befuddlement when he saw my grades. I remember him looking at me with great confusion and concern and saying, “What is wrong with you?”. I dissolved into tears, feeling embarrassed and ashamed and definitely not wanting Baskin-Robbins. I didn’t even like ice cream cones.

A Full Hard Stop

I lugged those patterns into my twenties where I wasn’t a good enough wife, or mother, or friend. Loneliness was my friend. Into my thirties where I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted or if I even fit into the world at all. Isolation fit me. Right up into my forties where I finally experienced a systematic break down as all the disappointment, fear, shame, and unrealistic expectations I had been hauling around, ran right up over the top of me. It was a full, hard stop. And it took me some years to crawl out from under that rubble.

After I got to move back home, and the dust was settling around me, I found I had acquired a new grace not only for myself, but also for the people around me. For my mom. I felt like my life had chewed me up and spit me out and this was my chance for a do-over.

Finding Mom

So I found my way back to my mom. As much as I had changed, so had she. There had come a real softening in the both of us. I found myself delighting in her where before I had criticized. These days, to her great credit, we get to be on a journey together of no expectations, big kindness, and yellow-hearted gratitude.

As a kid, dandelions were my favorite flower. In fact, they still are. They’re so cheerful and edible and plentiful. They are among the first blooms in the spring announcing we all made it through the winter and the rains and the sunshine is back. It took me decades to make the connection between dandelions and yellow. Yellow being my favorite color. My mom’s favorite color is yellow. Yellow is a magical and healing color. It speaks of warmth, vitality, clarity. It is ordering, activating and healing. It is the color I see when I am open-hearted and all is well. It is the color I share with my mom.

Pink and Blue

These days, Mom is on a real pink kick. And blue. And patterns. If you see a highly patterned blue on blue or pink on pink person walking around shopping in Bellingham, you’ve found my mom! And she is utterly delightful. An interesting side note: Pink is the color of unconditional love, and blue is the color of peace.

If you love yellow or have a mom, or know about isolation, loneliness or do-overs, let’s be friends~




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