I hold today loosely
as it slips through the cracks
and I fall into step
with this dance
Like a feather falling
I hear your soul calling
as it brushes my heart
and then lingers
Like hugging sand
when the hour glass breaks
Diane Reed 2013
I hold today loosely
as it slips through the cracks
and I fall into step
with this dance
Like a feather falling
I hear your soul calling
as it brushes my heart
and then lingers
Like hugging sand
when the hour glass breaks
Diane Reed 2013
Fear is something that we can’t run from. It is something that we must face head on. Some of us try to pretend that it doesn’t exist and some of us, run like hell from it all of our lives. Others tend to run into it head on. There are all kinds of new shows out about it. Fear Factor and extreme “believe it or not” shows that try to up the last outrageous stunt or depending on it’s success, crash! I am not sure where these people come from, but they all have one thing in common, they all need that rush that comes with being afraid. That is why we jump out of airplanes and walk on hot coals and swim with the sharks. They believe that fear is something that they must embrace in order to get that “high” that comes with feeling alive.
In my lifetime, I have taken a few challenges of my own. I have flown a glider without an engine, more than once! I actually have a log book of not only flights I took with an instructor but solo flights where it was just little old me, being pulled up by a power plane and then expected to pull a red knob.
For those of you who have never flown a sail plane, let me explain, on the dashboard, there is a red knob that connects you to the line connected to the power plane. You start out being pulled up by the plane in front of you. Up, up, up. It is a strange feeling. You see the power plane hit turbulence and then you hit it a few seconds later, all as you are rising to the correct altitude. There is a moment and a signal that indicates the exact time when you are supposed to pull that red knob to release the power plane. It is an excruciatingly empowering moment. And yet, it is probably the most afraid I have ever been. How funny, to realize, that even after I experienced that fear, I did it over and over and over again, logging several more solo flights.
I remember the first time that I sat inside that cockpit, only enclosed by a dome of pexi-glass, ready to be pulled up by the plane that would take me to heights I never dreamed I would go, especially without an engine, I wondered what in the world was I thinking! And I remember also thinking “my dad would kill me if he could see me!” And he almost did~ but then he ended up doing it with me! He even went on to take lessons and solo too! And that is a memory I will cherish forever.
I think that flying above the clouds without an engine and having to rely on only myself to get me on the ground is a lot less frightening than what I have been going through the last few years. Sometimes falling in love is scary, and falling out of it is like holding onto that red knob for dear life, in a quick downward spiral. It really doesn’t matter if you hold on to it or not because you have already let go..
But wait, you can recover. They do teach you that. The emergency runway is somewhere down there, you look and see it and then the adrenalin pushes you to new heights. Courage clicks in and all the lessons you learned about recovery and landing take over and you find that being afraid and being brave have nothing to do with the red knob after all. And relying on just myself? Well I have since realized that I never have to feel afraid again. I never have to pull the red knob or worry about where I am going to land because, with God as the pilot of that power plane pulling me up, I truly never have to let go..
It was quiet. The morning’s summer sun flooded the stair case as the woman slowly walked up the steps leading to the attic. Imagining the room before she opened the door, she felt happy. She was finally going to start this project that she had thought was only in her dreams. She had finally set aside time and was determined to begin to make her dream of having a serious place to write come true. In her dreams she saw it all so clearly… The heavy old well oiled desk filled with lots of drawers and dents and hidden compartments sat in front of a beautiful bay window overlooking the tree tops as the little brook sparkled as it jumped over stones in the creek bed below The birds chirped and flew among the branches, dipping down from time to time to splash in the little brook and get a drink.
The floor was refinished with rustic old barn wood and the wall to wall shelves were filled with books. Classics, and every other book about writing that you might imagine. The comfy over stuffed leather swivel chair sat in front of the desk with her laptop, just waiting for her as a fireplace consumed the other side of the room with a cozy sofa and throw placed just so.
Her imagination danced as she opened the door. She immediately was met with the musty scent of memories. It wasn’t a bad smell, kind of like when you take a whiff of a very old book, it is hard to explain just how great of a smell that truly is. Eyes still sparkling, she left the door ajar and surveyed her task at hand, only to be met with the reality of what really was behind the door… She did not see her beautiful writing room waiting for her to pen her first novel, instead she was met with boxes and boxes and more boxes, and stacks and stacks of books and old trunks all filled with things her family had accumulated throughout the years. Some had names of her children on them, others herself and others her husband. Some had names written across the tops or sides of them, of what was supposedly inside.
She looked at the place where her daughter had started helping her several years ago when she had first shared her idea of making the attic a study to use for writing. Everyone had been extremely helpful at first, promising to help clear out their own boxes. But now, severaly years later nothing had been cleared out. It did look as if her daughter had made an attempt at one time, and now it looked like a story standing still, as if her young daughter had been abruptly called away to go live her life. She smiled. It looked as if she had started to organize things, one pile might have been a keep pile and another, a throw away or give away, she was not sure.
Everyone was happily living their lives, consumed by their own busy schedules which truly made her happy. She side stepped the piles of teddy bears and books and kneeled down to unlatch a trunk among all the others. Not sure what she would find. The woman lifted the lid. All at once, she was transported back into another time as if finding a time capsule. She lifted old loose photographs remembering and set a stack of yearbooks from every year on the floor beside her. She was just ready to thumb through the first one when something caught her eye. It was a box inside the trunk with packing tape securing each end. In big black marker it read PRIVATE with warnings of not to open, scrawled in her own youthful handwriting.
She sat with the box in her hands. So unlike the girl, who had packed that box away decades ago. She thoughtfully frowned and then slowly reached for some scissors and snipped through the aged tape easily. Inside, she discovered history. On top of everything she found her diary, still locked shut, but how silly, a key hung from the lock. She laughed quietly as she remembered always faithfully locking it and then hiding it with the key still attached.
She took the key and unlatched the little lock. As soon as she saw the familiar handwriting she felt a sadness as she remembered writing and the feelings of love and heartbreak and confusion that consumed her during that time of her life. The time when writing helped her survive, and it inspired her to go through the boxes and finally give herself that place to write, a place to tell her story.
Over the years I have figured out that I am a very competitive person and when I go to the Fair and see a line of people waiting to pay (what is it now?) five or six bucks for a cinnamon roll, it makes me want to set up my own little booth right next to them and go toe to toe feeling quite confident that I could give them a run for their money. My cinnamon rolls have been my little name to fame over the years with my friends and family but only a few know my secret. They are the ones who I have given my recipe to…. As for most of my better recipes, my little secrets are my short cuts.
Thanks to being inspired by the cinnamon rolls at the Fair and my daughter encouraging me to move my blog into a more informative direction by gently telling me ENOUGH of the midlife crisis stories… I thought I’d change it up a bit. And offer something up to you guys who loyally take the time to drudge through all of my blogginess … you guys will be the first to benefit from some of my best kept short cut secrets…
The cinnamon roll recipe that I am about to share with you will give you a batch of cinnamon rolls for the price of the ONE you might buy at the Fair!
Mama’s Cinnamon Rolls
Frozen pkg of Bridgeford Bread (the main secret ingredient!)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts
Bake in greased 350 degrees for 45 mins. (Each oven is different so you have to play with the time)
Let dough thaw, until it is still cold to the touch but easy to roll. On a floured bread board roll roll out the dough until it is about 1/2 inch, then butter with softened butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Nuts and raisins are optional but if you are going to do it right I say add em all!
After sprinkling all ingredients evenly, roll dough into a tube and slice about 1 inch thick
Place in a greased pan and cover with a clean towel, let rise (Approximately 1 – 2 hours) While you are waiting for the rolls to rise, make the icing… The icing is the actual trick (besides using frozen dough of course!)
1 8oz softened pkg of cream cheese
1 half cup softned butter
1 Tbsp Vanilla!!!! (Not Teaspoon, this is another secret)
1 pound sifted powdered sugar (last secret I am giving!)
half and half (other secret of mine) Start out with 1/4 cup (add more depending on desired consistencey)
Cream the cream cheese & butter, adding about 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar at a time, add vanilla and keep adding the sugar and then slowly add the half and half to the consistency you are aiming for. Set aside….
Bake freshly risen rolls (lightly covered with foil) in a pre-heated 350- 375 oven (middle rack) for 30 to 45 mins. checking periodically since all ovens are different. You have to play with this recipe a few times to avoid burning on top. Take foil off the last 15 minutes of baking to brown. They should have a golden baked appearance and the middle rolls should be flakey and not underdone. I have used a few diffent ovens in my lifetime and all are slightly different. After actually writing this all out… I do realize that just perhaps this recipe is a little more work than I may have considered. My short cut is eliminating actually making the dough which was always a big mess for me to have to clean up. But even so, this recipe truly is a labor of love. In the end, it may very well be worth the time to stand in line and pay $6 bucks for one of these sinful creations! But if your love language is making yourself, I guarantee it will be worth it! Huh Brookie? My little Vanilla sniffer!
There was a recent show on one of the cable channels called finding Erica, it was about a Therapist who sends a young girl in her thirties through all these doors during their sessions. Each door is a place in her past where she gets to have a “do – over” I never really watched it faithfully while it was on the air but the few episodes I did see, really touched me to the core. The writing was amazing and it just made you think.
What if we could go back? What if we could get a “do over” of sorts? Would you walk through that door? What if on that door it said…. “HAPPY” with the promise of fixing what wasn’t (happy, that is) in your life today, what if you walked through it, you were guaranteed to find the happiness you thought you couldn’t find anywhere else?
Recently, I was given that opportunity. Or so I thought. I opened that door a little over a year ago. Once I even stepped inside. But for the most part I just hung outside looking in, wondering “what if”… What if things had been different? What if I knew then what I knew now? What would I have done? Would I have stayed and tried to make it work?
I am not sure why I got a chance to go back inside for a while and look around. It rocked my world. It hurt a lot of people I love. It hurt me most of all. But I think it was allowed so that I could see that you really can’t go back. Voices may sound the same, smells and songs may dance inside your heart and if you close your eyes you might not see that everyone is older, hair has grayed or receded, people aren’t as thin as they used to be, skin is wrinkled. It alarms you how EVERYTHING has changed! And yet not everything. You learn that, some things never change. The things that drove you away in the first place slowly appear and you realize that maybe, walking away is the best thing you could ever have done. And just maybe, happy is not back there. Maybe happy is right in front of you. Maybe you are the one who is stopping your own happy by holding on to that door knob and not letting go.
I know when I walked back through that door, I was snapped back to another time. A time that had been hell and heaven. I was young and fun again and so was everyone else. No one was old in that room. No graying or receding hair, no wrinkles or aching bones. I was thin and pretty and everyone else was much, much younger. In my mind, if I closed my eyes, the fantasy continued. A time that owned my happiness for a short while but also gave me the clearest glimpse of hell I have ever seen. A time that kept a piece of my heart and yet I knew I wanted it back and so I went on a journey to get it, and for a long time, not really knowing if I was ever going to walk out that door again or if I wanted to.
I didn’t find my heart but I did find answers or perhaps maybe even lessons, like…. You can never go back, or…. like…. Finding happy may be actually finding it in your own backyard…. I wasted a year convincing myself that little problems I already had were bigger and that going backwards was going to solve everything when going backwards was just that, going backwards! Well finally, the last lesson learned, has pushed me back through the door. Things really do never change and walking out that door was the smartest thing I ever did back then. Not that other doors I have walked through have not also taught me lessons but this one has been the biggest one of all. It has taught me to not look back. So I walk out the door and turn around to look at it one last time as I shut it FOREVER and remove the “HAPPY” sign and decide that I am taking it with me into the future.
Big beautiful houses with amazing views and rooms stuffed full of expensive furniture have always been something I have envied. I love HGTV and touring homes of all kinds. I have always loved going through model homes and imagining which room I would use to write in. But lately, something is amiss. I feel empty in those big wonderful houses and I have to say that I don’t think I would want one anymore.
Years ago, I went to Mexico with my cousin. We took an old beaten up bus to what seemed like another side of the world. It wasn’t too far away from the commercialized places of Puerto Vallarta where our beautiful hotel was waiting for us or where the cluster of begging children waited in the outskirts, it was a town my cousin had researched and it was a place that made me happy. It wasn’t tropical or beautiful. In fact, it was dusty and kind of beaten up, like the bus we arrived on. But the people all seemed so happy and the children were what really touched my heart. They were playing with sticks and rocks and as happy as they knew how to be. I have never forgotten that picture in my mind and have realized that no amount of money can ever fabricate the down in the gut “happy” that they displayed. Their houses were less than modest and the town was far from prosperous and yet those people were rich in a way that is hard for me to explain.
When I moved into my very first apartment, all of my furniture was hand me downs. Furniture my parents let me take from my bedroom and others that my friend’s parents let me buy from them for a lot less than it was worth! We made due with wood shelves made from bricks and boards and I bought our 1950s stove and refrigerator at a garage sale down the street for $35 bucks! I would have to hammer the ice out of the freezer every few weeks but that was okay because I was in love and so happy.
I look back at those times and nothing in all the rooms filled with furniture can bring that kind of happy back. Our rent was $175 and our landlord knocked off $15 from the rent if I would sweep the stairs! He was wonderful. He knew how much $15 meant to us. He was such a wonderful landlord and I loved him God bless old Mr. Allen.
We lived a block away from the beach and though we didn’t have a lot, we always saved our change each week to walk up to Pacific Diner for Sunday morning breakfast. We had Saturday BBQs with our next door neighbors and walked on the beach. Every once in a while we would go to the swap meet but for the most part we were happy. The kind of happy those kids had in that little town near Puerto Vallarta. Everything about those days were simple and love filled our bank accounts and that seemed as if that is all we needed.
A few years ago I met one of my best friends from back in those days, who still lives near my old neighborhood at Pacific Diner with my daughter. It is still there and still good. Afterwards I took my daughter on a trip down memory lane to show her where her Daddy and I lived when we were her age now! It was bittersweet. I guess the message here is ; back in those days, we looked ahead, so wanting to move fast into the future. Today, we look back now understanding that THOSE really were the good old days and tomorrow these will be.
My mother in law tells us that when she was our age, they were just beginning their lives. They have done so much in-between and are still going strong. And it makes me realize that it is all relative. Someone else’s “stuff” may not seem like a lot and to other’s it may seem like wonderful treasures. I have lived in plenty and in want. And I know that I have not always appreciated what I have had and I have not had a lot and appreciated it more.
I have learned that I need to look at where I came from and really figure out if I need a huge house filled with furniture and great views or if just a rock and a stick might be enough. All I know is that where I sit, the view is perfect if it is with people I love and I can find the same kind of happy there that was just enough for those little kids in that dusty Mexican town who didn’t know any better, or perhaps knew more than all of us.
Or maybe I just need to go reconnect with the younger version of me, who for just a while, had just enough.
We all have that place inside of us where a part of us is left behind. I find it funny how important it is. I mean think of it, we live for an average of about eighty years or more if we are lucky, and such a small portion of that life is being a child. But it is our foundation from which we have come from and we all need to reckon with it during certain times in our life. Some people even block out huge chunks of time from their memories, others dismiss it as unimportant. But no matter where you are in your life, someday you will have to go back and consider the places you left a part of you and gather it up and move on. Everyone’s level of tolerance is relative. Even the best of childhoods in the most storybook settings have cause and effect. You could have been raised as the middle child in the most amazing of family’s without an issue or you may have been raised as the middle child in the most amazing of family’s and have profound issues. As I said, it is all relative.
I never really understood how much I was affected by the first years of my life. I was a child raised in the sixties in an upper middleclass family by two parents who loved each other from what I saw, and rarely if ever, witnessed a cross word between them, let alone a fight. My dad was an executive in some pretty high profile companies and the first big company he worked for was Mattel Toys. I was a tester child. Poor me. He would bring home toys not yet out on the market and I would get to play with them and I guess he would report back how I responded. It was not a hard knock life by any stretch of the imagination.
However, we all have those dirty little secrets that no one talks about. In my family, ours was alcohol. Not so much the falling down drunk, kind of alcoholic but the worried about him getting home from a dinner meeting or dining and wining the clients, type of constant worry. In the sixties you could still drive to the lake with a bottle of beer between your legs or drink on the beach. Seatbelts were optional and they would pile us kids in the back seat on top of a crib mattress to go to the drive in, kid’s car seats just hooked over the back of your seats as more of a convenience and I remember actually riding in the middle of the front seat. Imagine if there had ever been a quick stop! Yes, life was definitely a lot more laid back. I don’t even think they had NO SMOKING sections yet.
But DUIs still landed you in jail and at a very young age, I learned that my dad, my hero, my everything, had gotten a few. The first time it happened, my mom woke me up to tell me she had to go get my dad out of jail. I am still angry about that. I was nine years old. I was old enough to read. She could have written me a note. I probably never would have woken up and she could have spared me the stupid complicated place I find myself in today. My perfect world was suddenly out of control.
It didn’t happen again until about two years later. We had moved and once again at eleven years old, my mom wakes me up and that was the beginning of years and years of hearing about the crazy things my dad did on the freeway or her asking me to talk him out of going somewhere once he had, had too much to drink, at a Company Picnic or whatever. And then it would be okay for a while. Life would be fine. But then they would go to a cocktail party or there would be a Christmas party and I would plead with God to bring my parents home safely. I would check the phone to make sure it was working if they were late. I was pretty much crazy with worry, every single night until I heard my dad walk through that door.
I don’t blame my mom. She didn’t think “I am going to tell my little girl all the things that I am worried about to mess her up later in life.” She just did the best she could do in a bad situation. Like I said, I was a pretty privileged kid and life was wonderful for most of my life, I would come home often to the smell of fresh baked cookies and a mom who was usually home and tried to make our world safe and happy, she took us to Sunday School alone because my dad wouldn’t go and she gave me some wonderful memories growing up. But I always felt a little out of control, as if the other shoe was going to drop. And that it was just a matter of time before it would.
In my lifetime I have experienced a lot. The one thing that I feared the most happened when I was twenty six. My dad died of a heart attack. And in a way I felt as if I had predicted it. The worst thing happened. The other shoe had finally fallen. Today I realize that I have needed control for so long and being able to back track and kind of trace the steps that have led me to today make me understand the need to continue this journey that I am on.
Recently I have been on a path of epiphanies and for the last year everything has been out of control for me. I have found myself in situations that I never could have ever imagined I would be in. I have totally been out of control quite literally. And yet, I feel I have needed to let go and be true to myself.
I am not sure where I am going. I am not sure how long it will take to correct the wrongs and repair the parts of me I have ignored for so long. But I feel a kind of kinship with that child inside me, a responsibility to her that she deserves. I want her to be able to trust life, to realize all the shoes that have fallen in this life of ours… have made us stronger and that we have survived them all. I want to be able to finally grow up and not always be waiting for the other shoe to fall. I think that I am going to start to go barefoot!
I have been on a kick lately. Perhaps if you have been following my blogs, you have seen a pattern… I am stuck in the past. And not just a few years ago… I mean THE PAST! Like back in the Beezus and Ribsy days! When the Flinstones and Jetsons were Syndicated! Remember?!
I have been peeking through the doors of my childhood and been learning a lot from the friends or in this case, the chararacters I have left behind. And today I have settled on the likes of Winnie the Pooh. He was a wise little bear! You have got to hear this one… are you ready? He said……
Right???? I mean Ya know? Don’t you think he has happened on something profound here? Don’t you just love it? Do you not know the moment he is talking about? The time looking forward to things is the most amazing time. Looking forward to a vacation or seeing someone who you haven’t seen in forever or surprising someone you love with a gift they really wanted, or that perfect moment before a first kiss, and yes, simply just the moment before you taste the honey.
We need to savor the moments. If we could capture them and bottle them up and sell the feeling, we would be rich. Or we could just take s moment to enjoy the anticipation of what comes next and realize that getting there is an amazing part of our journey!
Perfection is a funny thing. I am definitely not a perfectionist and yet I do seem to like things just right. A little like Goldilocks. When I was little Goldilocks and the Three Bears troubled me. I recall sitting on my dad’s lap as he read me the story and when he got to the part where she falls on the floor because the chair was too small and it breaks into pieces, I announced “Good.” My dad was appalled. I was only three at the time and he was upset that his child would be the least tiny bit pleased that anyone, even a storybook character got hurt. “Well, she shouldn’t have just walked into their house when no one was home.” I remember trying to explain and being so troubled that my dad was upset with me that I ran to my mom crying and I don’t think that we ever finished that story.
Years later, now I understand why that particular story always seemed to bother me more than your average fairy tales… It wasn’t because of the bears or the intruder, it was not because the porridge was too cold or too hot, it was because my dad didn’t “get” me at that particular moment. Funny, how things stick with you over the years. Though this self awareness journey that I am traveling is enlightening, it has made me realize that I needed affirmation at a very early age and I don’t think I got think I got it a lot. Silly, but none of those early moments even teetered on being abusive, they were just simple times of remiss that mattered to me and effected who I am today.
It is interesting how all of these years later, I feel a little like Goldilocks, wandering through doors in my life, peeking in, to find nothing was just right. I stand in the shower and adjust the temperature, not too cold, not too hot. I wake up on a summer day to go on a walk and hit the morning and love the time of day when the sun is just appearing and everything seems not “too anything” but just right.
I don’t need the most money or the biggest mansion or the best car. I don’t need the handsomest lover or the best body, or to hob knob with the elite. I just would like it “just right” even though I have been mad at Goldilocks for a lifetime. I have become her. Not a perfectionist, just wanting what I want the way I want it and never really feeling as if I have arrived.
Today, I am on a quest to arrive and to feel as if I deserve to find that place that I fit into, to feel the way I do about certain things and not need to be affirmed by anyone but me. I want to walk through the front door invited and to sit in the chair without it breaking and finally feel as if I belong.
Pop That Cork!
Who hates those advertisements on the front of our Internet pages? I am a writer and it kills me that people actually get paid for the asinine commercials and ads that we see daily! Anywaay, I guess the problem is that my life has passed me by and I missed the bus! Okay, I wanted kids and I had some. And I didn’t do too bad in that department if I do say so myself. But I do have to say that in all other ways I have a few regrets.
My youth was a total rip off. I mean, I didn’t know what I was doing and I really am quite mad at myself for missing out on appreciating the hard tan stomach and skinny legs I know I had because I have photos to prove it!
I also am mad that I was in such a hurry to find my prince charming and have those two point two kids behind the white picket fence. Okay, okay, it was chain link. But hey, what did I know, the guy was hot. My heart was broken and my attitude was “This is as good as it gets!” Well it wasn’t. My life has been hard. And I could say it has sucked to be me and sometimes it has. But really, I “GET” that everything has taught me something and I am who I am because of all the sucky stuff. Sooo the question is… Is the who I am worth the sucky stuff I went through? Hmmmm…. Well, if it supplies me material for a book or a screen play… perhaps….
If it provides zero lessons than maybe not. But I lift my glass of wine as I write this and maybe you can sense some sarcasm due to my small glass of pinot grigio but I challenge you to ponder the regrets you may have. Mine are that I didn’t appreciate how fast time can slip by. It seems as if only yesterday my friend Jody and I were searching for jeans in the size five rack. Our shirts were always small and our expectations were large. Too large? Time will tell. She definitely seems satisfied being a grandma. I on the other hand, have not quite embraced that title yet. I still mourn my youth.
I never got a chance to be a kid. I was forced into the role of adult before I was ready and by the time I realized, I was so damaged by the responsibilities, I never really learned how to be an adult. Today I am doing a balancing act between the two. I usually don’t partake in the Pinot so I am a little more positive in my final thoughts but hey sometimes you just gotta pop the cork.
There is another me… somewhere deep down inside of me. Someone who finds the words to write, but can’t always live up to them. She is the one who can’t stop the tears when she hears a song that reminds her of the ONE who never lets go… She is the one who is ashamed of every moment that she has failed and the one who believes that HE will forgive her. She is the one who believes in the promises that she makes to HIM. And the one who is down on her knees again and again trying to get it right.
And then there is the me, stubborn and bitter, selfish and cruel and resentful of all the things in life that make it so hard to live up to the one inside who tries to be overwhelmed by grace. She is the one who remembers every wrong done to her, every word in every fight, every moment from years and years and years ago. The mistakes made by my parents, past friendships let go, broken relationships, loves gone wrong. Past pains, recent pains, I store them all up and store them in a place that keeps me stuck.
But the one inside, the one who knows better, the one constantly on her knees, prays for the me, the one who can’t forgive, the one who has built the wall, and tries to find me in the place that I am. She climbs the wall and reaches to help me over. I stand and I hesitantly take her hand but I am still weak, I can’t make it over with all my burdens and so she tells me to let go and I can’t. I become stuck. But she still keeps holding on and I begin to let go and get stronger and finally she pulls me over. And we are there together on the other side.
The other side is better… Not free from pain or life’s burdens but closer to the ONE who never lets go. And free from the past and the burdens that I have kept with me. Suddenly I am lighter and happier and able to live without the burden of always carrying everything with me. Today I decide to live in just today. And now I am on the other side, on my knees. And somehow it has become just me.
Someone who breathed in her babies and knew she should memorize the moments, kissed the boo boos and told them about Jesus and prays for all their dreams. She is the one whose heart broke when she lost the babies she did, and the dreams she had for them… She is the same one who believed in the vows that she breathed on the days she said them, the one who has made a thousand mistakes and will make a thousand more but she is all of me in one, the other me, the me on my knees.
Looking back at all the mistakes ….I’ve made
You remain, Oh Lord…..and you have stayed
Through All the rainy day weather friends
Who didn’t stay ~ Oh Lord YOU Stayed…till the end…
the very end….
Through the sorrows and the pain
I can always count on you…
Oh Lord, Again and again…
Through all the time I forgot to keep praying
You keep on, Oh Lord you keep on staying!
You don’t keep track of all my failures
When I have nothing left to give
When I am empty and just can’t forgive
And keep all my hurts in my head replaying
You give me shelter and comfort by just staying…
Diane Reed ‘12
When I was in my twenties I worked as a counselor on Four East; in the Psychiatric Department at San Pedro Peninsula Hospital. The job sort of fell into place, in a perfect, back door kind of way. It all started when I met a lady name Lucy who was attending a Ward Clerk class that I also attended, at a local Occupational Center. She had slipped into the job as a Ward Clerk at Four East, a few months earlier and needed to learn medical terminology for the position.
I was working as a waitress and since I did not want to do that forever, I decided to take the same class which I had heard about from my mother in law who worked in the billing department at the hospital, and encouraged me to see how I liked it, telling me that there were several employment opportunities there, and that they were always looking for Ward Clerks.
Lucy and I were desk mates and met the first day. We became fast friends right away. When I learned that she worked in the Psych dept. where my sister in law Karen, had been a patient a few times, due to her addiction problems. I realized we had another connection. Lucy knew of Karen and had been sweet to her during her stay there.
After the class was over and we earned our certifications, I am not sure what happened. But for some reason the job prospects did not come as easily as my mother in law had thought they would. I continued to waitress and Lucy and I lost touch. Until one day, I got a call from Karen who had been hospitalized again, and was asking me to bring her some things. I didn’t hesitate and completely forgot about Lucy working there. I brought Karen her things and stayed to visit as long as I was allowed. As I was leaving, I saw Lucy inside the glassed in Nurse’s station. We had our little reunion moment and then she told me that they needed someone to work the day shift while the girl who normally worked it was on maternity leave. I told her I was interested, but didn’t actually realize that she had been serious and promptly forgot about it.
A few days later someone called asking me to come in and apply. At first, I worked as a temporary Ward Clerk. It was a good job but I knew it was not what I wanted to do forever. I would hear the counselors complaining about charting and I remember telling them that I would love to chart since I loved to write. I remember thinking that they were so lucky to have the job that they did. Helping people and writing! When the maternity leave was over for the gal I was filling in for, I was sad and knew my days were numbered. At first I would fill in and the hospital floated me to different floors but I loved Four East the best!
One day,Yvonne who was the Director of the Unit, called me into her office and I thought she was going to let me go. Instead, she offered me an actual job as a counselor! I had taken a few of the needed classes in college and knew the medical terminology from being a Ward Clerk, and she told me that the experience of working on the unit for the last year qualified me as a candidate for the job she had opened and she told me that she was offering it to me first. The only drawback was that It was a graveyard slot.
My son was three years old at the time. My dad had just died and we had moved into my mom’s house to help pay the bills. My son’s day care had been through the hospital during the day but now my shift would be 11PM to 7AM! I could work when my son was asleep. It seemed perfect but it was going to be hard to figure out just how I would take care of him when I was supposed to be sleeping. My mom agreed to help out and so I accepted and prayed a lot. God answered my prayers because I worked one week on the graveyard shift and then Yvonne wanted me to also learn the day shifts. I can’t remember exactly what happened but I never went back. I remained on the day shift for all the years I was there. I helped run the adolescent unit and I think that I have never quite had a job that I loved as much since.
Today, my husband jokes that “They told me I had a job” implying that I actually was a patient. Very funny! But it really makes me think. Who decides who gets to be the keeper of the keys and who decides who gets locked up by those keys? I remember the first day on the job, clipping those keys to the belt loop of my pale blue cords. Unlocking and locking the door for people much older than me, that depended on my judgment and my keys to let them in and out as needed.
Years later, I never thought I would partake in counseling. After all, I was one of the keeper of the keys once upon a time, I am not sure what I thought would happen if I admitted that I needed help. But I do know that I fought the idea that I was depressed with a vengeance. My attitude was… ANYONE would be depressed in my circumstances!!! I am a victim of circumstances not depression! Why didn’t anyone see that?! I thought.
Today I see I was so wrong. I also see that it was like a light switch being turned on to admit it. In fact, the first time that I fully grasped depression as something that I had to accept was a part of me, was very recently. But with that acknowledgement I felt a freedom that I have never known. I don’t know what is ahead or what tools will be used to fix things but I feel kind of like if you don’t know you have termites… the foundation continues to crumble. But once the problem is determined, the remedy can begin to stabilize things. Without identifying the problem, the frame is weakened. But once the conclusion has been reached the rebuilding can begin and there is strength in knowledge.
Just knowing all this gives me hope. Where once I wanted to hide at home and live in my past, I know I have to force myself to take one step at a time. And not even as far as the future but being satisfied to remain in the present. And to know that Death happens. Divorce happens. Earthquakes even happen. Life happens. Being afraid does not stop any of it. But it does make you miss out on the love and joy that still happens in-between. Being depressed will only rob you from the opportunities that happen when the love and joy come your way anyway. Even when you can’t pay your bills or you have an argument with someone or you find yourself having to deal with the other life stuff that comes your way, you just have to remember that it’s not as big as you think it is and find the joy in all of it.
Even when Karen ended up in the hospital again, something good came out of it, because I was willing to deliver something to her… and was given the opportunity of a job. When I had a miscarriage, I realized the gift I had in the children I still had. Even in divorce or the loss of a business or loss of a job, we can be scared or we can take the opportunity to draw closer to God and rely on Him for our needs. Today, I understand more now than when I was younger and the keeper of the keys that strength is in finally realizing WHO the true Keeper Of The Keys really is and relying on Him to unlock our doors.
Continued from my previous blog:
Hints you need to know to avoid the (tickets, roommate fall outs, cars getting towed, etc….)
1. If possible scope out the areas she/he will be living. Actually make the drive that they will be driving at the times they will be driving it. (more than once) My daughter moved 17 miles away from her school in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. We were thinking 30 mins max to get to and from. The reality is that at the best, if she hit no real traffic issues, she could make it in an hour and fifteen minutes, ONE way. When you figure it out, you should scope out the areas that are no more than 15 minutes away or less!
2. Once you decide on the neighborhoods you want to look for a place in, make sure that your kidlet will have a parking place! If you have to, budget it into the price! This is a must! A deal breaker, a non-negotionable comodity! Believe me, you will thank me for making this so important. I have stayed over night in my daughter’s studio apartment when she did not have a designated parking spot and she could spend an hour circling her block waiting for a spot that sometimes could be a ten minute walk away. After midnight, you don’t want to be picturing your baby making that walk, believe me! I couldn’t wait until that year’s lease was up!
3. Which brings me to rule #3 Have it crystal clear that you would like a say in the location before they sign a lease!!! Even though they may have a 4.0 gpa and be smarter than you. They don’t know what NO PARKING means when they see it on a lease. When the Manger is reassuring her that it is “no problem” and they are only looking at this cute little empty apartment they want to make their very own… well, lets just say you might need to look at the neighborhood they will be walking from when they finally find a parking place five blocks away. I know they KNOW more than we do and really don’t want our in-put but as long as you are footing some of the bill, set the boundaries before they snap their suit case shut. make sure that your in-put counts.
4. Keep the keeping in touch rule! My daughter texted me when she stepped inside her apartment every night for the first couple of years. All I asked is that she text me one word. HOME. I was told by my friends that I was lucky, I was told I was too controlling. I didn’t care. I wanted to know my baby was safe. I was blessed because she usually added I love you I’m Home. It made me feel better and later, she told me that it made her feel cared for. I got her a nice phone when she left and she was happy to accomodate me. Today she lives with someone who cares about if she is home safe or not so I feel that I can let go. But unitl that time, don’t feel bad that you care and if you set up the expectations early, you won’t be one of those parents fretting that you haven’t heard from your child for two weeks! But THESE are the kind of conversations you need to talk about before you make that drive with them to help them move out.
5. When you pack their first few tubs, here are some things you need to include; A tool box with a hammer, nails, a measuring tape, screw drivers, wrench, pliers, heavy duty scissors and a glue gun. And a Bible wouldn’t hurt! You can go grocery shopping when you get there. Don’t forget toilet paper, paper towels, contact paper or drawer liners, foil etc.. make a list before you pack of things you think they will need. Keep adding to it through out the days before you leave.
6. Choosing roomates is crucial. The shorter the lease the better in case things are just not tolerable.It is hard enough to send your excited baby off out into the big old world but when they are lonely and miserable, it is agony for us parents! If the choice is only strangers try to have your child get to know them on facebook or other cyperspace ways so that they can really get to know as much as they can to see if they will be a good fit. Sometimes when it isn’t it just has to be a growing experience for the kids but being pro-active is helpful.
7. When you choose the neighborhood, look for street sweeping signs or no parking signs and point them out. That first phone call of “Mom, my car was stolen!” can really wake you right up in the middle of the night. Chances are it was towed! Believe me… maybe more than once. And no matter how well you think you have taught your kid to be a defensive driver, those fender benders are bound to happen once or twice the first couple of years. If they dont~ Praise the Lord! If they do… don’t over-react and Praise the Lord, it wasn’t worse!
8. Have a budget for care packages! Or….get used to buying Target and Trader Joe gift cards (shipping charges are much cheaper in the end!) I know, I know, you want to make sure they have dish detergent and toilet paper but after buying the lastest bikini cover up and going withouyt toilet paper , they will get used to prioritizing! For some reason it always made me feel better if I sent a big jar of peanut butter and lots of cans of soups and tuna. Do you know how much that weighs?? Argh… I finally had to trust my little bird to buy the staples she needed without my guidance!
9. If they are going to work for extra money, start looking at the job market before they move. Chances are they will find a job on their own and should but it’s nice to know what to expect.
10. A nice gift to send them off with is a gas card, with strict limitations, (If they are hungry, there usually always is a little grocery section in every gas mart.) And if they are taking their car with them, AAA is a must. It is worth your peace of mind knowing your baby is safe!
Hope that helps… take it from a proud mom who has watched her baby learn to fly and then to soar. I am amazed at the levels she has risen to! But believe me, there were a few bumps along the way getting there and it would have been nice to have a book like… What To Expect When You Are Expecting …….. To Let Go.
I remember when my daughter was leaving for school. Can it be five years ago?! It is hard to believe.It seems as if just yesterday, she was starting kindergarten! I really foundered for that first year. I found sites that hosted other parents in a similar place and we swapped stories of pain and suffering. It really is quite funny now as I look back and recall just how truly pathetic I was back then. I had the bright idea of starting a blog for parents in the same situation. Never imagining someone else, in fact, a million other someone else’s had thought of that already and I had my pick of the litter.
So you are not alone. If you are wandering around the internet with feelings of hopelessness, I guarantee you will find a place to land and lick your wounds if you must and I can also promise that it will get better. I remember when my baby left. I would find a bobbypin that she left somewhere and burst into tears! I would go into her room just to smell her! I was pretty high on the rickter scale! I still have to admit, I do “SAVE” a lot of her messages so that I can hear her voice when she hasn’t checked in recently but I must say that I am much better! At least I don’t require daily contact which is what I did until very recently! So I am not laughing at you guys who are just dealing with your own empty nests, I am giving you hope!
Empty nests are survivable. Some day I do dream of my little birdie living a little closer but not until she feels she has made all of her dreams come true. She left here with plans to become an actress and she is on her way. She is getting her name out there and doing all she can to keep the process moving in that direction but I think she has a clearer picture of how extremely hard it is to even get near that golden ticket. But she is willing to do the work and I believe she will get whatever she aims for, it just may be a bit of a longer journey than she had first thought.
In between her leaving and today, we have dealt with getting through school, graduation, moving upteen times! Having falling outs with roommates, new loves, new jobs, new roomates and lots of tickets, a few fender benders and a major accident or two with God coming through with His guardian Angels on all of those! A few towed cars and other little emergencies. I don’t think she would have traded all the memories, good or bad for anything different and I am glad for them all because they have helped her grow and me too!
Recently, she was doing some parties for her job up near her Auntie’s house and my best friend since childhood and I met her up there and we had slumber parties until the wee hours of the night talking a little about nothing and some pretty deep stuff. Laughing and crying and hearing her opinions. It was some of our best times together! And I am not sure we would have been quite on this level of our mother daughter bond if she had still lived at home. Sometimes you have to let go to appreciate each other. Sometimes it might take every spare dime you have to pay a bill to help keep her dream alive, but in the end, you can’t really put a value on that kind of bond. Do I miss her? Sure. But I am confident knowing that she is well taken care of and pursuing her dreams…
I still find bobby pins after she comes home for a visit, like fuzzy baby bird feathers you might find at the bottom of a nest once the birds have flown away and I feel a little melancholy and realize that life passes by way too fast but I am IN for the next chapter and ready to ride the wave to see what comes next!
Next week… hints you need to know to avoid the above (tickets, roommate fall outs, cars getting towed, etc….)
Today is not my anniversary. My anniversary is December 4th 1993. We are going on 19 years of marriage and I am glad. I know that I am blessed to be married to the man I am married to now and I wish that my demons would get out of my way so that I could try to tell and show him more. But there is another day in my heart, that I will never forget. It is a day that happened thirty four years ago today. July 1st, 1978. A day I took vows with a preacher, my childhood preacher, in front of loved ones, on a beautiful day, much like today. I remember the feeling of believing in those vows and never being able to ever quite get over the fact that I finally had to be the one to break them and the horrible feeling of failure that came with that fact .
I was so young and full of hope and though we only knew each other for six months, we were pretty much in love as far as love gauges go. And we got married because of that love. There was no baby or other reason that made us have to get married. I know people thought that because it was all so fast but it was just a naïve kind of complete, untainted, pure love that we gave much more credit to than it deserved. Enough credit for him to ask and me to say “yes” all those years ago. And even though it didn’t seem to have much of a foundation to begin with, it grew up as we did. It weathered a miscarriage and death and births and lots of fighting and making up but it just wasn’t strong enough to weather the addiction demons that seemed stronger than all that love we gave so much credit to fourteen years earlier and though the love was still there, so were our babies. And I had to protect them.
All of these years later, I still wonder, if I did the right thing. “For better or worse” I had promised. And today I question myself. Did I truly do all I could? Today he is gone. He died on his birthday, almost five years ago. When I knew he was sick, I knew that would be the day he would die. Just something inside of me told me to be prepared. We had seen him a few days earlier, my daughter and I. He had begged us not to go. He was at his girlfriend’s house. It was uncomfortable. It was crazy. I was married. All of these feelings, later strangers made the decision of what to do with him. My kids were left out of the plans. It was horrible. But I had broken my vows, I had no rights. I couldn’t even stop to feel the pain. I still don’t think I have. I pushed through the next couple of months, not allowing myself to feel. I still don’t think I have dealt with any of it. Least of all, the broken promises, the vows that I feel I failed.
Fast forward to today. I am remarried and know that at least my daughter feels that I made the right choice. She loved her daddy but her dad is the man I am married to. That gave her character and disciplined her and taught her morals and loved her. She is comfortable enough to ask him for things she needs and he is the first person she calls in an emergency. She is comfortable enough to get mad at him when he annoys her but to love him for the man he is, the one who raised her. Her dad! And for all the failure I feel regarding my broken vows.
Sometimes my mind replays like a home movie. Summer time and being a kid always snaps me right back to my grandma’s at Lake Washington. My cousin Pammy was my first best friend and we would spend a few weeks together each year there, and I always had “Summer” to look forward to. Back then, the simple things filled me up with such contentment and joy. If only I could bottle those moments and take a swig every time I needed to feel that feeling again.
Funny how later, I let other things get in the way of those trips. I think that I was about sixteen and driving the first year I missed Seattle because of boys and jobs and other things I thought were more important back then. Now, I would give anything to recapture some of those moments for just a few days in my life.
I remember the smell of coffee and the first rays of sunlight flooding my room as I would pad down the stairs on those lazy summer mornings. Our days were not filled with anything special. Most were just hanging out and swimming and exploring the nearby woods. Sometimes I would invent adventures that my cousin usually was a willing participant in. We could spend hours planning shows and making tickets for our parents who would be the audience whether they liked it or not, or walking to the nearby store and sometimes sneaking to the lake instead.
Every empty building held a story that I would make up. The old girl’s boarding school, now all boarded up, held stories of characters that I would build adventures around. The big old corner house at the end of the block was definitely haunted. As well as the Synagogue around the block and our grandma’s basement! I was a writer and my imagination was my pen and my sweet little cousin a willing reader.
Today, those memories are like old books on a shelf, stories tucked inside the pages, not forgotten but hazy from time and space. Once opened, the scent of the pages and the joy of remembering seem to snap you into another time and place. Much like today. It is summer. So many decades later, and I want it all back. I want to go down the rabbit hole and spend my day in yesterday where our biggest problem was what bathing suit to wear to the pool.
This last weekend, I spent a few days visiting my childhood best friend. I met my daughter up there and we bunked together. I realize more and more how my baby reminds me so much of my little cousin and realize that I actually have “made” my own best friend! I enjoy her so much and love the quirky, crazy wonderful, fun, talented person she is becoming! It was so much fun having a slumber party with her for just a few days. Each night we would talk until the wee hours of the night… about silly memories and important things, about things that made us laugh till we cried and other things that just made us cry. It reminded me of that comfortable place I shared with my cousin so many years ago. And for a tiny moment, I was transported back to those lazy summer nights where nothing mattered and yet every minute was the most important of all and it made me treasure the fact that every moment is what you make it.
When I was in Junior High POW bracelets and happy face buttons were the rage. Funny, how I can connect two things that are polar opposites. War and happiness. But maybe that is today’s metaphor for my life.Recently, my husband told me that he loves my smile and yet it looks as if I am always fighting against it, smiling that is. After trying to decide if that was a compliment or a creatively disguised dig, I decided to give him a pass and to really contemplate his words.
From as far back as I can remember, I think I have fought happiness. Just looking back at the old black and white photos I have of myself as a kid, I do tend to find more with a silly, half grin than a full on smile. And it makes me sad. Because I don’t think I ever allowed myself to fully experience joy from a very early age.
Lately, I have been on a quest to go back and get that kid and bring her home to the place that she belongs. With all of her disappointments and insecurities, I am not sure if I really want to. And yet I don’t think I have a choice nor can I ever really live in “me” until I do. Inviting this younger version of myself back into my life to really dig deep and explore some of the things I never have about myself is about as comfortable as inviting that obstinate step child who doesn’t want to be anywhere, least of all anywhere near you, to live with you!
As I look inside of myself, back, back, back, into a time in my life where there was joy and harmony, I find a kid with a grape juice stained mouth and a pile of books. I loved my grape juice and my books! I flash on sitting on the counter baking with my mom and can even still smell the glue as I remember watching my dad retile the tile in our bathroom. I remember rides in the car and the Drive in and picking berries on a summer day out in the woods in Washington. I remember feeding the ducks and moving to California and meeting my bestfriend who I have remained best friends with over the decades. And I smile.
But somewhere along the way, that kid got disappointed and things happened in her life that caused her to have a hard time trusting anyone let alone her self, she felt hurt and misunderstood over and over and over again and re-visiting the parts of her pain is not the easiest task at hand. Getting to know the younger version of yourself is about as comfortable as inviting that obstinate step child on a wonderful vacation. But we all need to go there. To interrupt our lives and explore the parts of us that never integrated into our adult self. If we don’t that kid will continually pop back into our life when we are least expecting them. They always seem to appear in the form of anger, or fear or in the deepest part of our sorrow.
I have a feeling my childish self is not going to come or go quietly. She may even go kicking and screaming but I need to trust myself that it is going to be okay. It will be okay for her too. She is safe now, inside of the adult me. I have finally begun to trust myself and to quit relying on everyone else to make it better. To stop living in the past and finally take my own steps into the future. To trust myself and learn to love me and believe in me and KNOW that what I feel about me is enough. I am the boss of me. Well, of course God is the boss of me, but you know what I mean. I have been giving that power to everyone else in my life and I am taking it back from EVERYONE and only giving it to God and me! And I am empowered and the child in me calms and begins to relax in the knowledge that somebody else is in control now.
For so long, I have doubted everything about myself. My intelligence & abilities, my wisdom and even my morals and my own character and just when I fell into the darkest place of my life, that is when I began to see the light, as if lost in a cave, dark and damp, only to find the hope of a ray of light through the cracks. That is where I am now. I have found the light. I may not totally be out of the cave yet but I see the way out and I am going to beat the myth of being stuck in my child. Instead I am going to invite her to come into the light with me and find the joy. I am strong enough and smart enough and brave enough to guide her right to the light where she belongs.
I am going to stop fighting the smile. To believe in the dream that it really is okay to genuinely be happy and take new photographs and to smile really big. And…“Say cheeeeese.” To let everyone know I am happy and that I don’t have to fight it any longer.
Once upon a time in a world where I still believed that there was somewhere over the rainbow where people never died and cotton candy couldn’t make you fat cuz it was “fat free” there lived a girl who didn’t believe that Oz was just a little man behind the curtain. I think I watched that movie a dozen times before I realized that there really wasn’t a great and powerful OZ. I remember back in the day, before there was such a thing as videos or dvds and The Wizard of Oz was a special event in many homes. It usually was shown around Thanksgiving and I remember when we still lived in the Midwest, and came in from a day filled with snow and sledding to watch it by the fire with piping hot mugs filled with steamy hot chocolate, wondering if this time, they would find OZ, forgetting that you could really find everything you were looking for in your own back yard.
Since then, I have continued my own quest for courage and a heart and oh if I only had a brain…I have yet to find a yellow brick road or be guided by the likes of friendly little people down a path attempting to reach the unattainable but I can’t help but suspect that I may have really met up with a wicked old witch a time or two during my journey and have been tempted to throw water on one or two of them to see if they would actually melt! But in the end, I almost missed the whole message that it’s really about finding it all in your own back yard.
The question is what am I looking for? I think it has changed over the years. I know I definitely was looking for love and thought I found it a few times. I definitely could have used that brain during those times and the courage to use it. But hey, when you have those flying monkeys darting at you, it is hard to think!
Actually, I think the paradigm of finding it all in our own back yards was not so much finding anything but a state of mind. To finally rest in the knowledge of that place inside us all, where we can love and not be scared and not need anyone’s approval but our own
I used to be such a Charlie Brown in my life, indecisive and uncommitted and continually having the football yanked out from under me. Kicking that ball that wasn’t really there and finding myself flat on my back, with the world pulled out from under me, over and over again wondering what the heck went wrong. I have to admit now that those opportunities for kicking have come less and less because my trust levels have gone way down. I used to be so gullible and trusted everyone…. but not so much anymore. I have caught myself waiting for the proverbial football to be yanked away and been surprised when it hasn’t.
Sadly, I have been hurt enough times where I miss the opportunity to kick that goal and regret it later, knowing I could have earned one for the team if I had just trusted others more. But really, what is one to do except turn into a SAM I AM… “I will not like them in a car, or a box or a house or on a train, I will not like them here or there… I will not like them ANYWHERE!!!! Geesh… is that what it has come down to? Relating to characters in someone else’s imagination? Hmmm… But really, don’t we all? I mean, really, haven’t we all felt like the old woman in the shoe… even with one or two kids… we feel like we don’t know what to do… or how about Old Mother Hubbard… she went to her cupboard and it was empty. Okay, okay, are all nursery rhymes sad? No wonder we are so screwed up when we finally grow up. Let’s see can we think of any good ones? Well, little Jack Horner sat in a corner …and finally figured out he was a good boy after all. And Mary, Mary was quite contrary but even her garden grew. But then there is… London bridges that all fell down and ….”oh my” stop me now.
What is my point? My point is…. That we compartmentalize everything in life so much, that it is no wonder that my Therapist is not taking any new clients! We have so many messages being thrown at us. Trust me… eat these green eggs… you will like them… I promise… I mean, how many people do I have to have following me around trying to convince me of things that I resist? I guess it all stems from my Charlie Brown days and that dumb football. It really hurt to trust over and over again only to be made a fool of and the fact is… Now, in this stage of my life I really do hate being talked into things but half the time I end up being glad I tried and even though it is hard to admit…. I do usually end up liking whatever it is I am resisting….. Sam I am.
If I could describe my life in one word right now, I would have to say it would be Retrospect.
A review, survey, or contemplation of things in the past. v. ret·ro·spect·ed, ret·ro·spect·ing, ret·ro·spects. v.intr. 1. To contemplate the …
How totally and utterly perfect, I think as I looked up exact definitions of the word! That describes it to a Tee! My life that is, I am in the constant mode of evaluating where I have been. Carpe diem on the other hand means to seize the day! And that is my quest! To somehow get past all this focus on yesterday and to move forward. Sounds so easy hey?
Once upon a time, I wondered who I would be when I grew up, what I would do, where I would live, who I would fall in love with, I wondered about my children and how many I would have, if I would be a good mother, wife, friend… successful… and wondered what success would look like to me. In other words, my life was just beginning. My pages of my life’s story were just being filled. I was in such a hurry to know the ending. Now it seems as if I reached the ending way too soon. The book has been filled and I am wondering…. “now what?”
I have a young friend that just messaged me from Germany. She is traveling this summer. Ahh to be young again! It gave me a melancholy retrospective feeling of regret for a moment. Wishing that I had traveled more, or at all!
The other day I was walking to the beach with one of my best friends of about 30 years. I was seizing the day so to speak as I fell kerplop like a klutz. When you fall it usually hurts. When I fall, I tend to spring right back up with the kind of adrenalin rush that comes from shock and embarrassment. This time, not so much, this time, it really hurt. In fact, I am still not sure I didn’t damage something in my arm. It made me realize one thing. I may not be “old” but I am definitely not as young as I used to be.
In retrospect, I think I have gone through a few years of what my Therapist and my family might call depression but I think it is clearly me just being stuck in this place of retrospect as I “contemplate things of my past.” After that fall, I have to admit, I was a little fearful of even WALKING! Oh my gosh! Are you kidding me? I am not going to let that fall get me down! (No pun intended!)
Recently, my in-laws bought me a fitbit. It is this little computer chip that you wear to tell you about your day’s worth of activity. I received 2 notifications that I had already earned two badges! This little contraption has re-motivated me to brush myself off and keep going. My in-laws are amazing through knee replacements and back surgeries and health set backs, they are busier than me on most days! My mother in law’s favorite Uncle played a mean game of tennis well into his 80s!
So in retrospect, my nest may be empty and my hard lean body may need a little work and my attitude a slight adjustment but I know for today. I have switched out the word that describes my life from :Retrospect to Carpe diem! Seize the Day girl! Seize the day! Well, excuse me as I slip on my fitbit and go earn some more badges…. I am off for my morning walk!
I have come to the conclusion that in-between being a kid, a wife, a mom, single or married. Working for myself as an artist or a store owner or working for someone else, I have always been a writer. I have filled books with ideas and half started stories I have written poems and lyrics for songs. I have a million, trillion words inside of me that I want to share.
I have listened and asked questions. I have read a thousand books and I have come to the conclusion that everyone has a story worth telling. We all can learn lessons from each other and we all should really be writers. But I “get” that some people don’t have the “need” to share their stories. Their words are kept neatly in their brains! Thank you very much!
All of us have talents and weaknesses, sorrows and joy. We all beat to a different drum and so not everyone feels the same passion in their soul for the same thing another may. Which is a very good thing because not all teachers can design a building and not all Mechanics can assist in open heart surgery. But if it wasn’t squelched by life, most of us do have passion for something we want to be when we grow up, no matter how old we are. Some even get to get paid for doing whatever their passion is. But Passion is important. I feel so sad when I meet someone that never felt that kind of passion for something…. I have it. The kind that makes you get up in the middle of the night to write what is in your head or else you feel as if you will burst kind of passion. Sometimes it does get in the way of life. When I have to get up early for a job and I have been writing all night, it does not always happen at the most convenient of times…. But I am glad I have it. It is a gift that can make the whole world go away or bring it straight to my front door.
A singer has to sing. An actress has to act, an artist has to create, a dancer has to dance and a doctor has to heal. A carpenter has to build, a comedian has to cause laughter, a swimmer has to swim and a writer has to write! Like a florist in her garden who takes time to smell the flowers, a writer’s words have their own sweet aroma that only her soul can smell.
I have this theory. Our lives are like an empty book. Everyday we fill another page. Sometimes we fill a whole chapter in one day and at other times we may skip many days before we make another entry. Recently, I found one of my old journals. It was from my first husband, years ago, one Christmas. He had written “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and the date. My son was three and I was twenty six. I remember feeling so much hope for what lay ahead. It is hard to believe that so much has happened in-between those pages. So many deaths and births and hard times and celebrations. I guess what I know for sure is that life goes on. It doesn’t even stop when we do. And I have to tell you I have stopped and been stuck several times.
Today, I find myself in a place of self evaluation, in-between the pages of yesterday and today. Mainly, stuck in yesterday. I used to always want to fast forward everything but now, I wish that I could help everyone slow down and not try to get to the last page so fast. Somehow I missed out on stopping to smell the flowers or slowing down enough to experience the element of surprise.
We don’t always need to know what happens before we are there. Part of the joy is enjoying the story.
This was the place where my journal with wordpress began. My very first post, or what was supposed to be. They already inserted a title into my first post and so as I scrolled through all of my posts since, I found this place where I never officially began. I had another blog on another blog site (sugar.com, please feel free to go and find some of my earlier posts where I started blogging:) http://fan1fan1mamma.onsugar.com/Retrospect-23487724 that was not as user friendly for my readers and so after writing what seemed like hundreds of entries, I decided to jump ship and climb on board here.
Even though I only began writing here seriously just a month or two ago…. I thought I would edit this space to welcome my readers. I would love to hear feedback or link blogs. I have gotten a lot of sweet notes on facebook or in person encouraging me and I love hearing your thoughts on any subject.
When I first started blogging, it was due to my last baby leaving the nest. Most of my writing focused around missing her. Today, it is hard to believe that five years later, I have evolved! Not everything is about her life but mine as well. Don’t get me wrong! If you ask my friends she is still my favorite subject but I have survived and I am proud of her and the panic has gone. I have realized that my kids are in their new chapters in their lives and I have finally begun to realize that though raising kids seems to be the BIGGEST part of our lives…. consider this, if you live to be in … say in your eighties… the first 20 years of your life is the smallest percentage of it all. Besides your own childhood which seems to have a huge impact on everything after that. Funny isn’t it? We pack so much in the beginning that we forget how to live the sixty plus years we have left.
My story is about surviving the first few decades and learning that your dreams are not over when your kids begin having their own!
Sooo Hello World… this is my world and welcome to it!
I remember this time of year before my daughter left for school. I dreaded it. I was the kind of mom who made my kids call me before they crossed the street, long after other mothers set their kids free. I wasn’t a helicopter mom hovering over their every move but I have to admit that it was hard letting go. Luckily, my daughter and her friend house sat for their drama teacher during Spring break and part of the summer so I had practice by the time she truly moved out.
I have survived my empty nest for almost five years and so I feel that I am a seasoned expert. Today, my daughter still calls HERE home and yet I pretty much know that it might be where her heart is but her residence is four hours away and I am okay with that and would really want it no other way because if she came “home” it would mean that her dreams did not come true and I want her dreams to all come true.
I do have a bit of advice that might help, my very first suggestion is about keeping in touch. I have had so many mothers crying to me about how their kids don’t keep in touch. My suggestion is to set up your expectations ahead of time. When my daughter lived alone, I requested that I would get a text that she was home safe. It could be as simple as: HOME . I was blessed to have my daughter always text I love you along with it but our rule was I didn’t get the text until she walked in the door and I trusted her and I believe that for the last four years she never missed a text. Today she lives with someone and I have since calmed down. Though I stand firm in my beliefs that if you set up the expectations early, you can eliminate a lot of worry by agreeing on the texting rule. Especially if you pay the bill.
The next rule of thumb is when looking for your daughter’s residence, just keep in mind that if they have a car, you need a parking place!!!!! If there is no parking place, take my advice and MOVE ON!!! My daughter was told that parking was not a problem in one of her places, she signed a one year lease and was stuck circling the neighborhood and walking several blocks many nights and then having to get up many mornings to move her car because of parking signs. Scope out the neighborhood, look at NO parking signs, ask neighbors and read reviews! Don’t count on the leasing office to tell you about the problems. Talk to the leasers before signing the lease.
Try to find places that don’t have long leases. It is hard enough to let go and know that they are happy and excited to move out and start a life of their own. But if they are not happy, I think that it may be just as hard on the parents as it is on the baby bird! Room mates and living alone, all takes adjustments… be as aware as possible that they may move a few times. My daughter has moved five times in almost five years. Expect to help a few times…
Today, I love spending time with my baby. She will always be my very best friend. We have such fun times when we are together. I love our times when she comes home or I visit her. But honestly, each time, we say “see you later” it is bitter sweet. Her life is so busy and her dreams are all coming true and you know what? Mine are too. I am here to say that it was so hard to let go but it does end up to be okay. You WILL survive and find new dreams of your own. I promise!
I chose humming birds as my theme for the background design of one of my blogs that lay untouched somewhere in the background of my files. I feel as if they represent a part of me that lingers in mid air, waiting … but for what, I really can not say. The hope of something more… I guess.
I have friends who faithfully fill their humming bird feeders. I have joked with them that bird watching is the sign of old age but they laugh as if they have a secret. At the risk of exposing their true age… they don’t seem to mind as they patiently wait as they watch for the appearance of these magical little creatures arriving for breakfast. It is a delightful sight and as far as ny friend are concerned, the more the merrier. Each little bird lingers in mid air, biding patienly for their turn.
The dance is breath taking. As they slowly get their fill they depart as quickly as they arrived and the moment has passed. Like life, I feel as if I was invited to partake in the dance, I lingered in midair and enjoyed the sweet nectar but just as quickly, it all happened so fast. It is like a sweet memory as the little feeder hangs empty waiting to be filled again.
Have you ever had an amazing creative surge where you have been going a million miles a minute for days and days. The words just flowed and the juices were plentiful, and then suddenly as quickly as it started, been so stuck you feel as if you just woke up one day to find youself smack in the middle of fast drying wet cement, as you sit there looking at a blank screen?
I think that my being stuck is parallel to my life as I am currently living it. I can’t seem to move my foot and get out and yet I have finally realized that I am only hurting myself by staying stuck. I was told recently that I would know when I was done. “You will only be done when you are done.” WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? How do I know when I am done? For me who is all about closure, that explanation just is too abstract. I need a picture. One that has no coloring outside of the lines because lately, in my world, the colors have been outside of the lines. And you know what? It doesn’t feel good anymore.
Where I once did not want to live in a black and white world & needed shades of gray to explain away my pain. I now am beginning to crave the structure of a more controlled world. The secrets and fantasy, the thrill of the unknown, what could have been or what could possibly be are now not so exciting anymore. In fact, t
they are downright exhausting.
I don’t want the ending to be abrupt or in anger. I want it to have a sweet twist, I want it to all be okay for everybody. I want to find the words to know that I am done and my story can find it’s way to the last page in a way that will touch hearts for years to come. A book is only as good as it’s ending; as is life.
Life is hard… Being Stupid just makes it harder. And I am not referring to someone’s intelligence, I am referring to choices people make in their own lives. I can go right down the list; it can be as personal as the one you fall in love with, to the the people you choose to surround yourself with and it can be referring to the way we handle our finances, or the way we handle our attiude in our daily life. If we gossip or take the higher road and just plain don’t.
Being stupid can be done behind closed doors or it can be done right in the open. On the highways or in line at the store. Have you ever heard yourself say something that you wish you could suck back inside? Or have you ever let something eat at you until you have let it take over your whole day?
Stuff happens to all of us. Job stuff, personal stuff, family stuff, financial stuff, and the way we decide to handle different situations is our choice. Just like over eating or consuming too much alcohol, we have the choice every minute of every day.
A few years ago, we lost our store in an earthquake. That was one shining example of being out of control or when I lost my last baby. That was out of control. But what comes after it… is our choice. I have been going through some life changing things lately and made some real stupid moves that I dearly regret, and yet am learning about me through it all. I watch as other people make some pretty dumb choices… and someday, hope that my lessons I am learning, my story, may help others not be as stupid as I have been. But I stand by my quote of the day… Life is hard and being stupid doesn’t make it any easier!
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