The acknowledgment of the moment


View of the Peninsula from the cliffs of Rancho Palos Verdes

 

I have learned that checking off the things on my BUCKET LIST and really actually following through, can take me waaaay out of my comfort zone. So when we started planning our little YaYa weekend, it was fun to hop on board the planning train but when we actually seemed to have to say if we were “IN” I panicked.  It is one thing, posting the more flattering pictures of ourselves and sharing only the happiest of times, on our Facebook pages than actually spending a few days with our special old friends that we have connected with. Facebook is a funny thing. It allows us to paint a picture of just the things we want to share. You share bits of your vacations and funny or uplifting things, you over share pics of  your kids and then grand kids expecting everyone else to find them just as amazing as you do. But you don’t share your mistakes and regrets and definitely not your fat pictures! Sooooo agreeing to share four full days with friends you have not seen for forty years is a bit out of my comfort zone! But to my surprise I agreed. And I am from the old school… if you commit to something, you follow through.

 

Since I lived the closest, I volunteered to drive down with my car so we wouldn’t have to rent one and I’d be the designated driver. As I picked each old friend up from the airport, we thankfully just slipped right back into a comfortable place that must have been especially preserved for this exact occasion. There is a different kind of appreciation for friendships that have out-lasted almost a half of a century. And it was funny, each friend had a special place in my heart. Especially in the re-connection  as we bonded through messages. As we shared our stories, it was different than when we were kids. As High School friends we thought we knew EVERYTHING about each other back then, but we really didn’t. It was nice to share and listen to one another’s stories of our triumphs and failures, and just all of our history that came in-between forty years.

 

 

We spent hours catching up. Each having our own stories of  joys and heartbreaks that life brings. All of us coming into our own with the wisdom of our experiences. One thing I know we kept commenting on was how privileged we were to grow up in such a beautiful place and wondering if we really appreciated it back then as much as we do now. I think we all just took living so close to the ocean for granted back then. This weekend we spent a lot of time on a memory tour. We visited each of our old houses and all the places that held special memories for us. Our parents were a big part of a lot of our memories, especially the ones no longer here. We all recognized their mistakes maybe more openly than ever before,  but could appreciate where they came from and loved them for the good they brought to our lives. Hopefully our kids will do the same for us someday, forgiving our mistakes and appreciating our efforts. For I know that I’ve made many mistakes in my lifetime, but I think this trip helped me to let go of what I cannot change. We tried to stay away from the obvious stuff, politics, religion, etc.  Funny though, we all met at church and were part of a youth group. The only thing I shared was through all of my ups and downs, mistakes and heartbreaks, I’m not sure I could have survived without my faith. I KNOW I couldn’t have.

 

 

I think what I took away from this experience was that we need to really realize when we are happy. To live in the moment. And as my daughter has taught me, to not always have to take a picture, to put your camera away and just live in the moment and embrace it.  Even if for a second.  To forget about the past or the future. To forget about the finances and the ailments, to forget about what may be or what may not be and to really just take a picture in our heart of the seconds we are feeling happy. When I went to Seattle a few months ago with my daughter  (a BIGGIE  checked off of my bucket list)  and we were all standing in our grandparent’s home. I felt it. The acknowledgment of the moment! I remember thinking… “I am standing in my grandma’s house! WITH the two people who can reeeeally understand how much it means to me. Because they made it happen! I think I knew that this last weekend was important for all of us, for so many reasons and we needed to make it happen. I remember several moments that I embraced that feeling of being happy in those seconds and really acknowledging it. And you know, we don’t need to go on a trip to find it. Sometimes it is just spending time with your kids or husband or going out to lunch with a friend or finding that perfect song on the radio and singing your heart out and really just deciding to be happy. Being older brings a wisdom of appreciation that we lack in our youth. and being okay in our own skin. I loved that we were all happily married or happily single. We loved our kids or were perfectly fine not having kids. Those of us who had grand kids really were finally into being grandmas. Whatever it was, was. And as I get older, I’m not as sad as I used to be when something is over because I had a part in making it happen and now I have the memories!

The Four YaYas at our favorite Restaurant…. The Admiral Ristys in PV

(I’m the one on the right.)

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Like A Flip Book


lonely-ghost-girl

I feel as if my life is so out of control right now. I’m kind of having a little panic attack as I do the bills.  I have no job. I mean it simply hit me that I am unemployed! My parents are aging and I am worried about that, as roles reverse and I feel the pressure. It almost feels as if my life is like a little “flip book” as all the years just flash before my eyes.

From riding in the back seat of my daddy’s car and watching the moon follow me, I remember falling asleep only to wake up as he carries me in the house, feeling safe and so content. And then all of a sudden, first dates and the ups and downs of falling in love for the first time and a couple more times after that. Of weddings and having babies, of miscarriages and parties and funerals and then more baby showers, a painful divorce and another chance and another wedding, in-between the pain of failure and the whirlwind of just living life and trying to survive with all the joys and heart aches that come with it. Never feeling that the good times lasted too long but looking back “now” and feeling that even the bad times were kind of the good old days.

I remember shopping with my daughter her freshman year of high school. We had a budget every year. My kids always got the first day of school outfit and some other new outfits, new shoes and a new backpack with school supplies. I guess it was so special for me because my dad always took me school shopping and it was this amazing tradition that I treasure more than I ever did when it was happening.

The year I remember most, my daughter and I were on a vacation with my childhood best friend. She was blessed with never needing a budget and her kids usually came out with a bag of something from each shop we went in. The girls had run ahead of us and when we walked in the store they were all already shopping. My friend’s daughters started handing their mom clothes they’d chosen, when  my daughter ran up to me with a jacket that made her eyes sparkle. I looked at the price tag and with a raised eyebrow said, “you know this one jacket is a third of your school clothes budget!” Without missing a beat she just put it back on the rack as my friend purchased more items for her daughters as they ran ahead to the next shop and my daughter happily followed.

Something kicked me deep in my heart, the way she didn’t argue or even mope. At that moment I felt richer than all the money I could ever need. It only took a second for me to grab that jacket and take out my credit card and decide that I’d just have to figure out how to stretch the budget  for that year. When I reached my daughter I handed her the bag and said, “this won’t count as part of your budget.” She burst into tears hugging me and said “Oh mama, thank you but it’s too much!” It was probably one of my best purchases I ever made. Later my stunned friend asked me, “How do you make a kid be so appreciative?” I knew that it was kind of a rhetorical question so I didn’t say what I wanted to, but the answer is  you don’t buy your kid everything they want so they appreciate the things they do get.”

Today my daughter buys her own clothes and lives her own life. Both my kids have little parts of me in them but they are mostly themselves. And I am happy they are strong and have their own personalities and are creating their own way. But at the same time I wonder where it all went? The time of buying clothes and setting curfews and driving them to this place or that place, well it sends me to a place where I feel the pages flipping by. In a way, I wonder where it all went. So fast? in my flip book of a life!

I remember my grandma telling me how in her seventies she still felt seventeen. Me too! Now as I look to my future I feel that flip book, remembering the box boy who called me Ma’am in my thirties! Or the woman at Ross asking me if I wanted the Senior Discount in my forties! I remember being size five! Where did it all go?! That little girl I once was, is just a ghost of me, but still deep down inside somewhere.

Like a flip book, I want to slow it all down, I want a do over! But then I realize that someday, these will be the good old days and that today is the oldest I have ever been and the youngest I will ever be again!

IF ONLY…. I Could Go Back And Tell Keri What I Know Now


christmas-tree

When I was a young girl, I counted the days until Christmas. Both my parents made it magical for me. My dad was as big of a kid as I was about it all! Maybe because they didn’t have a lot when he was young. And my mom baked and decorated and was always making something and well, I was just blessed.

My memories are of festivities and Nativities and later…. of my mom’s holiday boutiques that she held at our home with all of her artsy friends, when for a few days our house was transformed into a kind of magical holiday shop that was constantly packed with people. Now looking back, I remember it as happy days, but I know I was annoyed by it as a teenager. Not being able to find a parking place when I got home from school, having to maneuver my way through the crowds as I walked in the door, having to smile and be as polite as a sixteen year old can be, as I trespassed over the barricades on the staircase to my room, flopping on my bed to call and complain to my best friend or boyfriend or whoever I was calling, only to find someone else on the line downstairs. Grrrr….

But as an adult, looking back those were The Good Old Days!! And I have tried to replicate it ever since. I tried to make each holiday magical for my own kids and hope that they have special memories. I even have done my own holiday boutiques. A few at my house, but mostly I have found ones like Sugar Plum Festivals in Orange County California  http://www.sugarplumfestivals.com/  that I did for years, before opening up our own store Rose In The Woods.

Each period in my life, I look back on fondly and yet I remember constantly being annoyed with something or other. And I realize now that each time I complained, whether it was getting ready for a show, or being overwhelmed with all the responsibilities of owning a store, I missed the blessings a lot of the time by feeling burdened instead of blessed.

Even now I almost missed it. I have learned that due to financial reasons there will be lay offs at my job and my position as an Event Coordinator will be one of the ones eliminated. Just when I felt that I’d really gotten organized and each event was smoother than the last. My boss and I were fine tuning things as we would see the need and after the last event which happened to be a holiday boutique that I helped make a success, we were getting a lot of calls for quotes for more events. Not even sure what will be happening with that building, Corporate has decided that my position can be integrated. Funny, I never even felt resentful. But I am sad. I love my boss. She is one of my best friends now and will always be whatever happens. But it kind of sucks that most corporate companies have to make these changes by the end of the year so it falls on the holidays.

fireplacefire-in-fireplacetreejim-and-i

I guess with all the changes looming over my head, I really didn’t feel like doing Christmas this year. But lo and behold, I came home a few days ago and my husband (with his bad knee and all)  took down every single box marked Christmas and went about pulling everything all out and making it Christmas in our little home whether I wanted it or not! Yesterday was our 23rd Wedding Anniversary and through all of our ups and downs, job or no job, I can’t imagine not recognizing right now that THESE are the Good Old Days!!!!!!!

writing poetry

Some of you know that I have been writing a book for the last half of a decade. It is about a fictional girl named Keri. But to tell you the truth, she is me. In every aspect. Though I thought it would be easier to tell my story in the second person. http://kerisjournal.wordpress.com  It starts out with Keri as a young girl. Before cell phones or the Internet. And moves to today. I started a very rough draft in a corner of my blog to see if I could get some feedback. It is VERY rough and I definitely will edit a few times and change the format before I seriously consider showing it professionally. In my blog I feel safer and know I will get honesty but a little softer (Smile) though now I think I can take the professional feedback. So who knows THIS may be the kick in the rear I needed to get serious with it.

I had not visited that section of my blog for a while and someone said something profound in a comment on my last post… about how we come with more experience than Keri. And I thought…”Oh how I wish I could go back and tell Keri everything I know now.”