Castles in the Sand

If you were asked what the most difficult relationship you’ve ever had is (or was), would you answer immediately or would you have to think?

Could you pick just one or is there an answer for each brick of the building blocks of your life? Are all things sooo relative that it depends on the day, the hour, the minute, the question is asked?

Doesn’t that, in and of itself, pose another question? Like “Why is this such a complicated question?”

I suppose one could say this isn’t a fair question. All relationships have issues. How can we judge which is the most difficult when they are all so different and, at times, can be that difficult?

I think for me, the answer is simple. Or, simply complicated? I don’t know. I just know this…

…all of our relationships are difficult because the most important relationship is the most difficult.

The one with yourself.

Until you get right with you, straight with you, honest with you, on-board with you, to the heart of you…

…the rest may as well be castles in the sand.

Ever Wonder?

Ever wonder what a day

one single day

would be like

if it were just

Black and White?

No gray

Just black

Or

Just white

Good or Bad

No Okays

Right or Wrong

No Halfways

Yes or No

No Maybes

Always or Never

No Sometimes

Now or Never

No Laters

Sun or Storm

No Overcast

Just Black and White

No gray

Ever wonder if it would be a better life; an easier life?

One might think so

Just imagine…our world with its indeterminable amount of 50/50 questions

answered in just one of two ways

Could that ever work?

Would we want it to?

Ever wonder?

Ask yourself 5…just 5…questions, whose answers at the time, helped shape your life. I am imagining these to be the toughest that we must ask ourselves at every critical juncture as we travel our respective journeys.

Then, think about how your life would (or wouldn’t) be different had you only had the option to answer in black or white.

I chose my 5 questions carefully. I won’t share the questions because we have each traveled our own paths, but what I will say is this…because of the ‘no gray’ constriction, my life would be vastly different.

In fact, my life would be no life at all.

You see, even though I had 5 questions, I only needed the ONE to change my life forever. At the time, if we’d been living in a black or white, yes or no, now or never world, my journey would have ended.

So, if you do ever wonder, you really should ask this ONE question first:

Is it worth it? The anxiety, ambiguity, doubt, pain, confusion, fear…and on and on.

The short answer, YES.

The long answer, YES because it is all temporary. What hurts now may not hurt tomorrow, but if it does, we can fix it. Your fears and doubts can be conquered if you work at it. The best motivators in life are doubt and fear…knowledge is the key to overcoming doubt and action is the key to overcoming fear.

What of the love, family, adventure, learning, teaching, helping, guiding…and on and on.

Have you ever walked behind a gray-haired, old person, limping with their cane, and thought “I don’t ever want that to be me”? Or watched from a distance as a gray-haired and bent old man, leans in and pushes his white-haired and wrinkly old sweetheart in a wheelchair, not noticing that he’s whispering to her as they travel, and thought…”I don’t want to live to be that old”?

If so, think of all you’ll loose in not living long and large enough to not earn that glorious CROWN of GRAY! Think of all the choices you’ve made to extend that life, only to look upon the gray, white, and silver generation with pity and sadness, or to some, even disgust.

I know, when I look at a face like the one of that man in the picture above, that he is someone I want talk to, listen to, laugh with, maybe even cry with. His face speaks to me of life yet to be lived.

His face says to me “I Wonder”!

THAT’S the face I want.

That’s the face I’m working on beneath my ever changing CROWN of black, white, and gray!

And another thing…

I guess today’s the day for reflecting on this new retirement gig ’cause I have another thought to share…though this isn’t really about retirement so much as agin’…know what I mean? ūüôā

This past weekend, we had family over for a cookout. I told them to come around 2 or so, and planned a bunch of appetizers for the afternoon, leading into grilling sometime between 5:30 and 6.

I got into the kitchen about 9:30 to prep for the day and realized I had 3 items on the dinner menu I could actually make ahead, that way my afternoon could be spent at leisure with our guests, with only grilling the meat for later.

Cool beans!

However, there was one ingredient missing, that I needed, to put that plan into action. I didn’t want the Mr to have to run to the store for one thing, so I asked him if he’d check with the neighbor.

He wasn’t thrilled because, well, I needed an onion.

“Who the hell asks the neighbor to borrow an onion?”

Well, the short answer is…I do!

I sat on the porch (hey,, I was still in my jammies, so I wasn’t gunna do it!) and watched him go to our closest neighbors.

A couple minutes later, I see him walking to the next neighbor’s house empty handed.

Hmmm

I heard his knock on their door, then a minute later, I see him walking up the drive empty handed.

Hmmm Hmmm

Before I could even ask if they didn’t have any or if they weren’t home…my mind went immediately to this:

Do a blog on the list of items you never ask to borrow from a neighbor in a retirement community!

Funny thing is, we don’t live in a retirement community, but I think the Mr and I are one of two couples in the entire neighborhood under the age of 70, and most are 80s and beyond!

Didn’t plan it, just happened to be the only place we could find a house with a first floor owner’s suite for my in-laws.

So…this list and the reasons why NOT to ask, began forming in my head!

(Not sure why all the responses I heard in my head were southern, hillfolk-y… but hey, it’s my head and that what I heered!)

  • Onions – (Heartburn)

Hunny, if I ete an onion at my age, I’d taste it ’til I done dropped dade!

  • Sugar – (Diabetes)

Darlin’, we ain’t had sugar in this house fer nigh on a decade. Not since Ralph here got the di-a-beet-is.

  • Salt – (High Blood Pressure)

Oh Lordy Sugar, we got the blood pressure so bad, jes’ lookin’ at salt would keel us.

Bread – (Gluten Free)

Well you picked the right day to come by little lady…Ma just took a loaf outta t’oven! She’s a-makin’ that new fangled bread call glued-on free. Tain’t bad iff’n you toast it and have yer own teeth!

  • Eggs – (Cholesterol)

Oh goodness Chil’…with OUR co-less-trul? Shoot…if’n that don’t keel ya, the price of ’em sure as shootin’ would!

  • Butter – (Clogged Arteries)

Girl…ain’t you heered? Dont-cha-no that stuff’ll clog yer ar’trees faster than a mud pie? Here…take this-a-here. It ain’t half bad and wun’t keel ya ta boot. They done figured out howta make butter without no dairy init.

  • Milk – (Lactose Intolerance)

Oh now, let me tell ya, we sure do miss us some good ol’ fashioned, cold milk! An’ Ima serious. Wurs thing ’bout gittin’ up in years is losin’ the bowels. Cain’t abide no dairy no more or it’s goodbye kitchen chair – hello commode! Know what I mean?¬†

Tell me I’m wrong!

ūüôā

Re-TIRED!

Ahhhhhh…

The sound of retirement.

Those ‘not yet retired’ believe this, yes?

For us, we anticipated that Ahhhhh feeling when waking everyday to the knowledge that our time was now our own.

To do or not to do…that is the question!

Our car sticker won’t say ‘Salt Life’.

It’ll say ‘Ahhhhh Life’.

But wait!

Where’s the Ahhhhh?

Where’s the lazy, hazy, crazy days of sitting around watching games shows and daytime soap operas and eating bon bons and drinking tea in the afternoon and martinis at night?

Instead of this sister chinnin’ the wag and waggin’ the bone, I’m merging and purging, mopping and chopping, dusting and busting my ass all the time.

Instead of the mister sitting with other sisters’ misters, bending ears and lending elbows, or lending ears and bending elbows…he’s bending knees and lending back and groaning in all the wrong places!

We are busier than a one armed paper hangers!

Why?

Come on you old codgers!

Fess up ya Bastids!!

The Truth!

There’s a hierarchy to retirement isn’t there.

You knew all along and never let on, that retirement is more a ‘They’re young, and not doing anything now, ask them to do it’ kind of lifestyle!

Right?

We believe this to be the case.

Being retired in your early 60s, living in (a house) and a neighborhood surrounded by 70s, 80s, 90s…means just one thing!

We are the teenagers!

And we all know what is expected of teenagers.

Ack!!!!

‚ÄúOften when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.‚ÄĚ

‚Äď Fred Rogers

Should We Stay or Should We Goūüé∂ūüé∂ūüé∂

Okay.¬† So, I know it’s been a day or two¬†since my last post ūüėČ and I wasn’t¬†actually planning a post today ‘cuz it’s¬†crazy busy for us right now, but…who the hell could resist?

Not I.

You all know how much I like a good ‘saga’¬† ūüėā ūüė≠ ūüėď

Especially about cars.  Or moving.  Or houses.  Or other Shit-N-Stuff.

Right?

So…after all the blood, sweat, and tears, we shed before, during, and after, moving into our current home, we are considering selling.

Yup…2 years, 6 months in, picking up and moving again is actually being considered.

Nutz! ūüėĶ¬†¬† Looney!¬† ūüėĪ¬†¬† Coocoo for Cocoa Puffs! ūüźí

Why?

Two reasons really.

The first,¬†to be closer to my recently transplanted Mom, who¬†is, apparently, one of those lucky people I’ve heard about when it comes to adventures in moving.¬† Her pack and move went smoothly.¬† Her house¬†behaved when she moved in and didn’t reach out and break her leg or rain down through her light fixtures from the floor above.

IMG_0004
Remember my crying lights?

She has¬†made¬†a beautiful home for herself…and is quite content to remain where she is.¬† But, we are finding that even a mere¬†20 minute/10 mile distance, is 15 minutes too far!

{Hmmm, note to self…A Drive Too Far…Book?¬† Movie?¬† Copyright infringement?¬† Carry on self…}

The second, as important as the first, is because our beautiful Ms. Sadie needs a place to safely run and play in her own backyard, and we cannot give that to her.

Why?

Because we cannot fence it in ūüė≤

Why?

Bureaucratic Bullshit ūüöß

We have a gorgeous back yard…

Northfield in the fall

What…don’t believe that’s mine?

What—everrrrrrrrrrrr¬† ūüĎÄ

Forget the mountains then.

Oh for Pete’s sake…take out the barn if it bothers ya!

Okay Okay (ya picky bitches), take out the fence, the trees, the other barn, and the rolling field in the background and you’ve got my yard.

Happy?

Anyhoo….because Virginia’s disclosure laws are a¬† j o k e, not one of the half dozen professionals involved in buying real estate, not to mention the previous owner, felt it necessary to inform us that this lot is one of the highest impacted lots in the neighborhood, rendering our little slice of Eden…all but USELESS.

Why?

There is a 60′ (yes, that is SIXTY) gas company easement from the back of the property towards the house and runs the entire width of the tad over a 1/3 acre lot.¬† From our way of thinking, that should have been mentioned by SOMEONE in the 2 month buying/closing process yeah?

Yeah……….No!

Add to that 60′ another¬†20′ for the build line which runs from the structure towards the back of the yard, making¬†the total depth/width of what we cannot add to, plant on, or change in a way that would impede….a whopping 80′.

EIGHTY #$#$%#$ FEET¬† ūüėĖ ūüė≠ ūüėē

Even¬†though the gas company¬†could work with us¬†on a fee based waiver,¬†they won’t.

But Wait!¬† There’s More¬† (oh goody)

There are also easements from the county that cannot be waivered.

One is a¬†16′ drainage easement, running back to front, the entire length of the property, but it’s on the side property line, so we didn’t give that one much thought.¬† At the time.¬† Not until¬†we had to.¬† And we had to when we wanted to put a storage shed out there.¬† On the side.¬† Away from the gas easement.¬† Ya know, close to the garage and stuff.

Ummmm….Not gonna happen¬† ūüöę

Then {and I chuckle here}¬†there is that all too common, everybody else must have one…FLOOD DAM FAULT LINE!¬† OR FAULT DAM FLOOD LINE!¬† OR DAM FLOOD FAULT LINE!¬† OR SOME DAMNED LINE GOING DIAGONALLY THROUGH THE ENTIRE BACK YARD!!

You got one, right?¬† And you?¬† And you, and you?¬† And you over there?¬† Everybody?¬† ‘Cause I’m thinking it’s so damned prolific as to be down right common-place.¬† Like we all got grass so why point out the grass?¬† Ain’t that¬†why I’ve never heard of this effin’ thing?¬† Ain’t it?

What the hell is happening?????????????¬† ūüėĪ

The only friggin floods that I have ever heard of around here….were¬†inside my damned house and that fault line didn’t help one daggone¬†bit!!¬† (el squat-o)

Did I say this made me chuckle?

I lied¬† ūüėę

Of course, we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t think we’d get a decent enough return to buy another.¬† The market is good right now, the rates are still low, people may be looking to get into a place before the next school year….all good things right?

So I ask you…

ūüé∂ Should we stay or should we go ūüé∂

(sorry,¬†I can’t help singing it…lol)

Oh geez…after all that, I forgot to mention why I even began this post.¬†¬†While we muse over the possibility of listing (we’re about 98% there to be honest), we figured we’d do what we always do in this situation…invest more blood, sweat, and tears, not to mention ūüíį, into getting our¬†imperfect ūüŹ†¬†perfect so the next¬†ūüĎł of the¬†newly perfected ūüŹį won’t have to lift a friggin’ finger or spend an effn’ dime!

‘Cause that’s¬†how we role…we Hernandezeseses (Hernadezi?)

We buy, we fix, we do……..and we move.¬† So we can then…buy old¬†and broken,¬†fix to new and pretty, sell to others who don’t have to do a damned thing…just so we can buy old and broken, fix to new and pretty….blah de blah de blah!

In that vein…
We have had the¬†fireplace that hasn’t worked since the day after we moved in, fixed.
We had the Jacuzzi tub’s leaky-ass faucets that we haven’t touched since the first time we went to use it and didn’t because it leaked, repaired.
We’re giving our wood floors a facelift so they don’t offend the next matriarch with their little Sadie scratches.
We’re resurfacing our pinkish, post-form, laminate countertops that somehow were good enough for me, but certainly will put off today’s savvy buyers looking for the trendier granite because ‘It’s so shiiiiny’.

And I’ve saved the¬†best for last…

and the hardest for me…

the die-hard DIY’er:

Hiring someone to do what I do, and do well is tough. But time, old shoulders, bad, up close & personal, eyesight, added to my increased lack o’ patience, has dictated that this time around…we must bite the proverbial and hire a pro.

You all know me and my history with hiring professionals.

Though you know I pride myself in doing my due diligence, you also know it has gotten my leg broken, my house flooded, my toothbrush packed with the toilet brush, and my car dying at 70 MPH on Interstate 91 in New Haven.

Shall we agree that you know this Wonder Woman of Wacky Workmen?

Okay then…we’re off.

We hired a ‘Pro” to paint the interior of our 4BR, 3BA home, top to bottom, head to toe, and everything in between.¬† The references were stellar. The estimate reasonable. The time frame – 7 days. Perfect.

That should have been my first clue!

When. Will. I. Learn?

Nothing is perfect, nor apparently, what it seems!

I’m getting ahead of myself…let’s see.¬† To be pro-active, we removed all wall d√©cor, switch plates, outlet covers,¬†electronics, all items in/on/around furniture, packed everything in boxes, moved all furniture to middle of rooms to be covered, placed all non-necessary furnishings, boxes, small items, etc., in the garage, took up all rugs, and basically had the house ‘paint-ready’ for the start date.¬† Oh, and we moved into my mother’s to give them free reign to only have to cover stuff once and not worry about finishing one room at a time.¬† The house was theirs.¬† They had to do nothing but cover, patch, sand, and paint.

Two painters began on Monday the 6th.¬† The owner’s son who is¬†taking over the business, and his¬†side kick with 25 years under his belt,¬†cut-in and first coat, guy.

Come Saturday, the 11th, one was left and the other one gone.  I fired the side-kick for lack of production and sloppy work.  His smoke breaks alone used half his hours and all of his work needed to be re-done.

He blamed the paint.  I blamed the painter.  I win.

Boom!¬† You’re outta here!¬†

I was told he would be replaced with a more professional side kick, but as of today, the 17th, there is still but one.

Mr Painter Man

Who I call IMA

IMA fix it РIMA gonna do it РIMA be here late tomorra РIMA sorry РIMA IMA IMA

By end of business today, there will have been a total of 11 painting days.

Know what’s done?¬† Hah…stop that laughing.¬† Wanna know?

Upstairs.

This is still my downstairs…11 days later

Know what else?

There are 3 walls upstairs that need to be redone.¬† But I told¬†IMA to save that for dessert cause I needed his ass downstairs in the kitchen!¬† I’ve got a counter top being redone on MONDAY!!

I even returned the remaining 6 gallons of my accent color, a beautiful Crushed Oregano green, for¬†IMA because he keeps blaming the paint…I changed my design for him!

IMG_20160616_101407_640[1]
Does this color scare you?¬† It’s on my front door, which I painted, without trouble
 What the hell is wrong with me???  IMA STUPID!

Know what I’m doing right now?

ūüė≠ ūüė≠ ūüė≠ ūüė≠ ūüė≠ ūüė≠ ūüė≠ etc etc etc

Why bother going through all of this some might ask.  Especially when my house always looks good whether trendy or not.  Always up to date, clean, and comfy.  Homey!

Because Lord knows, today’s modern and discerning buyer would no doubt, walk into a home with red in the kitchen and yellow in the living room; green in the bathroom and a cloud painted blue sky ceiling in the bonus room, would run screaming into the street for the horror!

None of which I put on the walls but was perfectly fine with it until the day I decided to change it.

Boy oh Boy…we can’t expect someone else to think that way now can we?

Or so the real estate professionals tell me. After all, this is only the 6th house we will have sold, so how would I know anything about what sells and what doesn’t?

So…next week, it’ll be Mr. Painter-man who best have my kitchen done by tomorrow (or else )¬†and the counter-top crew.¬† That, should be an interesting day¬† ūüėā

ūüé∂ ūüé∂ We Should’a Stayed and Let Him Go ūüé∂ ūüé∂

 

From One Boomer to Another…yikes!

1966 – 2016

1966 : Long hair
2016:  Longing for hair

1966 : KEG
2016:  EKG

1966 : Acid rock
2016:  Acid reflux

1966 : Moving to¬† California¬† because it’s cool
2016: ¬†Moving to¬† Arizona¬† because it’s warm

1966 : Trying to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor
2016:  Trying NOT to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor

1966 : Seeds and stems
2016:  Roughage

1966 : Hoping for a BMW
2016:  Hoping for a BM

1966 : Going to a new, hip joint
2016:  Receiving a new hip joint

1966 : Rolling Stones
2016:  Kidney Stones

1966 : Screw the system
2016:  Upgrade the system

1966 : Disco
2016:  Costco

1966 : Parents begging you to get your hair cut
2016:  Children begging you to get their heads shaved

1966 : Passing the drivers’ test
2016:  Passing the vision test

1966 : Whatever
2016 : Depends

And…just in case you weren’t feeling old enough, this will certainly change things.

Each year the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the faculty a sense of the mindset of this year’s incoming freshmen.

Here’s this year’s list:

  • The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1998.
  • They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.
  • Their lifetime has always included AIDS.
  • Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic.
  • The CD was introduced 7 years before they were born.
  • They have always had an answering machine.
  • They have always had cable.
  • They cannot fathom not having a remote control.
  • Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
  • They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.
  • They can’t imagine what hard contact lenses are.
  • They don’t know who Mork was or where he was from.
  • They never heard: “Where’s the Beef?”, “I’d walk a mile for a Camel”, or “de plane, Boss, de plane.”
  • They do not care who shot J. R. and have no idea who J. R. even is. Mc Donald’s never came in Styrofoam containers.
  • They don’t have a clue how to use a typewriter.

Do you feel old yet?

Mother and Child Reunion…

You hope¬†and pray¬†you’ll do it well –¬†But only God and time will tell

their first breath – that moment when

your life begins all over again

completely blind and ignorant of

what lay in store – except the love

such love not imagined – all encompassing

one day you’re you – now they’re the thing

that wakes you, feeds you, and fills your dreams

the good ones, great ones – in others you scream

you give them all you have to give

and though you know better Рfor them you live

the minutes to hours to days just fly

they coo and giggle and laugh and cry

the months and years show on your face

“please don’t go” – now – “give me my space”

you gently fade from their day to day

you open the door – you show the way

for them to taste and see anew

the world once filtered – made safe by you

you know it’s time – they feel it too

to let go of the strings – the both of you

and as they pushed and pulled away

your heart wished, once, for yesterday

when you helped them climb Рwatched them fall

saw them rise and push through it all

you’d let their lives envelope yours

you were the keeper – you kept the scores

of their battles won – challenges met

their struggles to come – those not met yet

you know it’s perspective and balance you need

to nourish the tree – not just the seed

you understand and search for the middle

the line that answers motherhood’s riddle

but the balance you missed –¬†was in not knowing

it was your duty too ¬†–¬†to keep on growing

into the woman – not just the mother

you could be both – not one or t’other

you were just a girl when they came to be

but womanhood stalled for the mother, you see

the trusses you built from that balance not found

kept the woman at bay Рshadow bound

so focused were you on their little lives

you forgot to sing Рto keep alive

that woman in you you’d set aside

so mother shined while the woman tried

to remake the bed already laid

the woman you could be –¬†the mother you made

in the¬†wings she’ll¬†stay – that much is¬†clear

the woman’s hidden for¬†the mother’s fear

that this bed of weeks – without a word

is that¬†woman’s fault – their wants unheard

but it’s mother who pays this price so daunting

you’ve¬†been weighed and¬†measured – and found wanting

now silent tears drop to mommy’s¬†breast

’cause good’s not enough – your¬†best not best

your youth – a down payment – not the sum

and that number will rise for years to come

the life you gave matters not on the whole

now’s what’s important – their happiness you stole

by not staying that mother to them and to theirs

trying to figure it out – but no one cares

You’ve seen women do it – be both – not just one

that mom of the year – and – that woman so fun

but you are found wanting – and that must be the truth

for you allowed her to die Рthat woman of your youth

in favor of the mother you thought you should be

now the mom-ster you created shall not be free

to live the life that you once placed on hold

so that others could flourish Рin happiness you molded

so – woman repent – to the shadows you go

and the mother you are must pay penance to show

that as long as you live – as long as you breathe

your life is for them –¬†it’s what they believe

You hoped¬†and prayed¬†you¬†did¬†it well –¬†but only God and time will¬†tell


On this, the one year anniversary of the loss of my father, my Superman, I cannot help but reflect on the relationships I have and have had, in my life.

As humans, we embody the word dichotomy in so many ways….but the number one in my book is…we are as simple as we are complicated.

We all begin¬†the same way…simply…we are born. ¬†Yet the simplicity ends there and the complications begin.

Our relationships.  Simple yet complicated.

We love simply, yet that same love, complicates everything.

This post: ¬†A simple plea for an end to the silence…and a look at the complicated life of a woman as mother and mother as woman, and where you go from here…

If you don’t know…you’re in good company, for I don’t either.

To be a mother is a lifelong commitment, of this I have no doubt.  But at what point can the woman come out from behind the curtain with the expectation that the child will see her, know her, for the woman she could be underneath the mother she is?

At what point in her life of being daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother…can a woman who mistakenly set herself aside, reasonably expect to fix that mistake of self-denial, with their blessing instead of their resentment for putting herself first?

My guess would be…not today.

At what point in a child’s life did they forget all she did…so as to¬†remind her of what she’s not doing now?

My guess would be…today


 

So…it is time to say what I want to say and hope it’s heard and felt:

They say there is a reason

They say that time will heal

But neither time nor reason

Will change the way I feel

For no one knows the heartache

That lies behind my smiles

No one knows how many times

I’ve broken down and cried

I want to tell you something

So there won’t be any doubt

You’re so wonderful to think of

But so hard to be without

Simon says…

No I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away…

(header photo credit:galleryhip.com)

Mommy Dearest

I’ll go out on a limb here and say for most of us, being a parent is, quite literally, the hardest job we’ve ever had or ever will. And, at the same time, it’s the richest, most fulfilling, most rewarding contribution to our own lives and always will be. ¬†alex

One of the most surprising¬†aspects of parenthood’s lifelong journey is finding out that one split second is all it takes for you to come to know the best and worst of being a parent…the span of that second is the distance between loving another being¬†so much it hurts, to wishing¬†you’d gotten a dog instead! ¬†True dat ¬†ūüôā

angry_baby11

But in looking at this¬†most difficult¬†/¬†most rewarding dichotomy, it’s not so hard to understand when you consider first, our tendency¬†to place the highest value on that which was hardest won, and second, our amazing capacity for forgiveness (as parents at least).

But what is it that takes parents to the depths of the difficult to the heights of reward when it comes to loving our children? How do we survive the splintering of our brains in a thousand directions trying to figure them out, yet tarnishes the love in our hearts never?

I don’t question the reward; I think it’s obvious. I do, however, ponder the difficult. Is it because we love too much? ¬†Is it that even possible?

I don’t believe so…

However, could it be that we love too much for too long?  Is that it?  Does parental love need to be doled out in stages or degrees?  Or fit into categories in order to not overload these little overlords once they come into their own?

So what (you ask) are these stages/degrees/categories you ask?

I’m a little cuss who can’t (and don’t want to) function without you so love me, love me more, love me most!

I’m a teenager so love me lots, and with patience, but for God’s sake, don’t let my friends see it!

I’m a young adult now so love me from a distance, but not too far ’cause I may need the car!

I’ve met someone and we’re going to get married. ¬†Can ya help, can ya pay, can we have it there? (ps Mom and Dad…you’re gonna love him/her!)

I’m going to have a baby so love me, love me most, and love me now ’cause we’re going to need babysitters!¬†(ps Mom and Dad…you’re gonna love it!)

Mom? Dad? I’ve never felt this way before…I love this kid so much my heart hurts!
(ps honey…we know!)

And so on…..

The short answer to the too much / too long question is…yes, okay, maybe, a little bit. But we parents come to this conclusion naturally I think. We instinctively know (or learn soon enough if our instincts are not as honed as they will be), which stage or category we’re dealing with or which degree of parental love to douse them with, simply by living it. Organic knowledge. ¬†We just have to choose¬†to go with it.

Does that stop us from loving the same soul-deep way we did when they were newborn?

No.  Perhaps it does in theirs though.  For a time.

I know¬†that they love us the same way we do them…in the beginning. ¬†Outside of themselves, we are their world. Their universe. Their moon and their stars, and they are ours.

Parents and kids grow up together. ¬†That’s a given. ¬†No matter if you’re 18 or 45 when you have your children, you¬†have¬†to grow up with them to be able to give and receive all that these little selves need, and later, need to share.

We may grow up more with our first.  Then again, it may just be that we grow up differently with the next one or two or three.

But…if we’ve played our hands well, we are love. ¬†All of it. ¬†Every stage, every degree, every category is of the love, by¬†the love, for the love. ¬†And they are right there with us.

Completely (in the beginning)

Mostly (in the middle)

Until (still in the middle but getting further towards the…the…well shit…not the end, but you know what I mean right?)

Until…they find out there are more people to love and to be loved by; more stars to shine the light of love on their heads and in their hearts; more room in their world for other loves.

As it has always been.  As it was with our own parents to be sure.  Just another way of experiencing the circle of life.

Consider…

Our children are loved as only a child can be loved and they in turn, love as only a child can love. The universe is secure.

As time goes on, they thrive and grow in that forever, universe-spanning, parental love and love them right back. But as they continue to grow, they s l o w l y  recognize that their world is expanding to include the many, many different kinds of love; each addition a glimmering star to their universe thus far.

But their recognition is as single-minded as their love for us was in the beginning. When they venture out from underneath the love-cloaked expanse of their parental universe, they don’t at once realize that their hearts¬†are big enough to add new loves without setting aside old ones.

Our time will come again (usually around the time the grand-kids show up!), but as parents, it’s only natural that we do feel the initial loss of that connection when our love is no longer the moon and the stars in our child’s heart.

BUT…

Facing this fact head-on is hard, but absolutely necessary.

For our own well-being as well as theirs.

If we don’t, we run the risk of pushing them further out into the expanse by clinging too close, depending too much on their always being there, pining away for their childhood days when they aren’t there, regretting what we didn’t do, or forgetting what we did. Even romanticizing the harder times and not counting our blessings.

We all can probably think of a parent in our experience who has done, or does, this. Think back to the last time you witnessed a parent who cannot let go and re-live what you felt. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling.

I’m certainly not completely innocent of it still. ¬†I sometimes catch myself feeling guilty for not being ‘that mother’. The one who always can, always will, never says no, never says can’t. Who wouldn’t want to be considered ‘the perfect mom’? ¬†But that’s not perfection. It’s limiting to both your life and those of your children.

However, even knowing I am not (and never could be) that mother…(nor is their Dad ‘that guy’) it nevertheless hurts (and in the dark of night, makes me wonder if they’ll still love me enough to ask again- I know, just silly ) to know that we are the ones disappointing our¬†children.

But we get over it because we know we are good parents¬†who have raised good people. ¬†We all¬†deal with disappointments in our relationships. ¬†We have difficult conversations followed by deafening silences. ¬†But we’ve loved each other long enough and well enough to know what’s really important.

So there is hope. Once we’ve matured enough in our parenthood to realize this fact of life, we can recapture¬†that sense of oneness, specialness, absolute love not felt anywhere but in your parents’ heart of hearts. ¬†It is, after all,¬†our hearts that need to make preparations for the day when our children learn there is a love flow-chart. ¬†This will fluctuate during their life spans, but it will always show a solid heart-red line for us. ¬†Mom and Dad. ¬†Steady as she goes. ¬†What more could we hope for?

And an added benefit to this stage of parental maturity is…we can (and hopefully do) look back at our own parents with a new appreciation for all they’ve done, all they’ve been through, and all we’ve¬†learned from them without even knowing it. ¬†Score!

Cheers and happy parenting (and I mean that!)

Dearest Mommy

Dedicated to my Mother and Father and to my Sons
I’m proud to be one of your stars

Is there a Q in Creation?

Hello Hello!

And Happy New Year!

It’s been almost 3 months since I last laid fingers on this spot and quite frankly, I’m stumped as to why. ¬†It’s not as though nothing has been going on in my life; not like I couldn’t have found¬†something¬†to regale you with. ¬†But I didn’t, so there it is. ¬†What to do, what to do?

My Quandry

It’s me and not what’s going on in my life, that is the…

queller of quills that once quivered in quickness as they quilted quality quarters in the quest of her quair; chock-full of the queenly and quintessentially queer, the quacky and quaggy and quixotically quaint.

It is me and me¬†alone who can say…

quiescence remains in this quaffer’s quaich. What’s¬†quashing that¬†quorum of quarrels, quibs, and quips that querimoniously queue¬†up in¬†the quar of my gray- matter quag; quit of its quant?

As it is also me, the once…

quartermaster, now turned querulous quester, who is lost in quassation.  A quat, a quidam, a word-quean, bereft of her quean-dom; whose quiritation quickens toward quotidian.

Quit?

Qualify?

Quantify?

Quiver?

Quash?

Quell?

No

Hence the exercise in the little used and under appreciated

Q

A little warm up to get the juices flowing.

Maybe?

Hopefully?

For if this does not work…

I’m off to the Zees

Yikes!

Is there a Z word for HELLA-NO?

[I looked it up]

Z I P

Wish me luck ¬†ūüôā

 

 

My Life-Bucket List

We’ve all heard of a Bucket List.
With another birthday looming, I can’t help but look at mine and say
Aw Crap! Another year gone and the bucket’s about where it was last year.”

But, that’s just one bucket right?
We have more than one bucket surely.
I know I do.
I probably have more buckets than I have lists!

But this did get me thinking…do I have a Life-Bucket?
A Life-Bucket List?
Never heard of it?
That’s okay, it’s nothing official, just a easy way to visualize it.

Being a list person to the nth degree, I find I actually DO have one.
I draw from it; this life-bucket; and drink from it to nourish the virtues, qualities, lessons, reminders, etc., of and for, the person I’m working to be

I also choke on it once in a while, but that’s all part of it isn’t it? Learning to drink without choking?

You may agree with all, or some, or none at all.

And that’s okay.

Do you have one? Would you share it if you did?

I think of it as a resource – a life resource.
A very personal gift from me to myself.

Still, it’s one I am happy to share.

Now, just because it’s on my list, doesn’t mean I follow it perfectly.
I believe in it perfectly, drink from it religiously, but it is a fluid work in progress.

And this is one bucket whose contents will remain fluid.
I fill it; I kick it over; I shoot it full of holes.
What matters is that I re-fill it.
What matters is that I remember it’s there so I can draw from it.
It may never be perfectly filled, at least until I am no more.

But, what is left in it is where those who know and love me, will see me reflected.
So I fill it with care.

Always…I fill it with care.

My Life-Bucket List:

The most destructive habit……………………………………..Worry
The greatest Joy…………………………………………………….Giving
The greatest Loss……………………………………………………Self Respect
The most satisfying work…………………………………………Helping Others
The ugliest personality trait……………………………………..Selfishness
The most endangered species…………………………………Dedicated Leaders
Our greatest natural resource………………………………….Our Youth and Our Elderly
The greatest ‘shot in the arm’…………………………………..Encouragement
The greatest problem to overcome…………………………..Fear
The most effective sleeping pill………………………………..Peace of Mind
The most crippling failure disease…………………………….Excuses
The most powerful force in life…………………………………Love
The most dangerous outcast……………………………………A Gossip
The most incredible computer………………………………….The Brain
The worst thing to be without…………………………………..Hope
The deadliest weapon………………………………………………The Tongue
The two most power-filled words………………………………I Can
The greatest asset……………………………………………………..Faith
The most worthless emotion……………………………………..Self Pity
The most beautiful attire……………………………………………A Smile
The most prize possession…………………………………………Integrity
The most powerful channel of communication…………..Prayer
The most contagious spirit………………………………………..Enthusiasm
Our greatest teacher…………………………………………………Experience

Now get out there and fill your buckets!

Cheers ūüôā
R