Posts Tagged With: Friday letter

 
 

Will the Real Me Please Stand Up

Friday Letter to my Kids – June 19, 2015 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

Age slows you down. You swear it won’t happen to you. Then menopause hits, or a surgery or two, or an autoimmune disorder appears. You cope, you adjust, you medicate, you treat, you pursue other options. You age faster than you thought possible.

You sound like your grandma when she used to try to stand up from her chair. Yeah, that sound. Ooomph, uhhhhhh, psssssshhhhh, ahhhh.

You straighten your back slowly, hoping it doesn’t catch and stay crooked. You feel like a lawn mower that’s sat idle over a few months and needs some oil, fresh gas, a new air filter and a sharpening.

One day you try to roll out of bed and wonder what alien life form took over your body in your sleep. Your feet hurt, your legs turn to bags of rocks. Nimble no longer describes anything about you except perhaps your wallet.

Smart man, that Robert Frost guy.

Truth.

The mirror betrays you.

The scale lies.

Your clothes shrink overnight.

Brain cells shrivel and rearrange themselves.

And forget the whole memory thing. I recall at thirty something, staring at Big L and being completely blank on what your name was. I tried to say your name, not even the letter L graced the screen of my brain. Nada. Imagine putting a couple of decades on top of that early memory loss and you’re staring at a mega data sink hole.

I’m fighting it. Not sure where I’d find a personal trainer who helps you win against aging and old person syndrome. But time isn’t on my side and neither are the odds. I pedal my bike pretending I’m sixteen, but looking more than a few decades older and slightly wider than that. Surely there’s more countermeasures to deploy in beating back the aches and arthritis and aging process.

Why do I tell you this, in your prime, your vigorous amazing twenties and thirties?

Photo by Paweł Grzywocz

Photo by Paweł Grzywocz

It’s a sign. it’s one of those small roadside poster sized signs you see two hundred miles from your destination. “There will be other signs,” you think to yourself, “as I get closer.”

And there are. But those miles roll by in the hectic pace of life with kids and schedules and work and fun.

I swore in my teens: “I will never grow old. I refuse to look old or act old or become old!” And now I’m offered the senior citizen discount by the AC repairman without even getting asked for my ID. So what if I saved twenty-five dollars. My already tilted world slanted a bit more and I felt myself sliding toward some abyss.

Well, that’s a bit dramatic.

But still. Imagine that happening to you. At your age! You’d feel disheartened and brushed aside, too.

In my head I’m not really any older than you. Just a little more jaded, a little slower. The real me inside dances to Queen’s lyrics, “we will, we will, rock you!” The real me holds up a lighter and sings “we are the champions, my friend!”

The real me never actually grows old!

Here’s real secret I meant to share with you: neither will you.

All my love,

Mom

~~~~~

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ~ Sophia Loren

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Categories: Friday Letter to My Kids | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

What A Card!

Friday Letter to My Kids – February 27, 2015 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

So I’ve been slowly sorting through some of those boxes of papers I told you about. It’s like watching a glacier move. Oy vey!

But I’ve run across some real gems among the odd pieces of paper I can’t for the life of me figure out why I still have in my possession. Old church bulletins, receipts from ten years ago, to do lists with half the items scratched off, envelopes with nothing in them, bills from forever ago. Sadly there have even been some grocery ads in the piles.

I shake my head at myself.

But that’s beside the point. The point today is I found treasures among the flotsam!

I’m talking about treasures like this card from Big L. It so perfectly captures the essence of our family life then and now.

Boy, that's an understatement!

Boy, that’s an understatement!

What it says inside is even more priceless.

Which reminded me of other cards you all have gifted Dad and I over the years. Like this one on Dad’s desk, which gets funnier considering the non-scruffy awesome dude Little J ended up with.

Princess Leia rocks!

Princess Leia rocks!

And this one from just last year that I seriously want to frame. Sparkly orange and practically daring me to feel happy, its message has brightened the kitchen and my days for a while now.

Bringing it!

Bringing it!

And this reminder from Little L that in spite of all the weirdness of life we should still dance, love, sing and live with abandon and joy.

Good advice!

Good advice!

I think this card from Big J to Dad captures what family life often felt like for each of you, especially as we moved around so much and finances were rollercoasterish.

Close to the truth, sort of.

Close to the truth, sort of.

Closer, still.

Closer, still.

Getting this postcard in the mail from Switzerland made my day, as did seeing it again recently! I loved that you had that chance, Little J, to explore Europe with nothing but a backpack, a friend and courage. That you made that dream happen in real life, not just once, but twice, makes it even better!

Aw…Switzerland!

Aw…Switzerland!

I know I can’t keep every greeting card from every celebration. But there’s definitely some worth saving. I’m thinking I need a binder just for the best of those cards. They capture funny moments and sweet reminders. You never know when a card you pick out will brighten someone’s day beyond the day it’s meant for. These sure have added light to mine.

You each bring light to my life regularly, often through some remembrance of a time with one of you, a conversation, an event, jumps to the front of my thoughts and briefly I relive the joy, the angst, the laughter, the strangeness, the us of that moment. It gives today perspective and depth and light. You each have, and still do, bring me joy. Exponential joy!! Thank you for that. I’m pretty sure no card exists that expresses quite what I feel toward the four of you.

I look forward to all the future moments we share, whether in person, or through a card, an email, text, Facebook, private message, phone call or Skype. I love seeing your lives opening out and becoming what they are.

All my love,

Mom

~~~~~

Love from Mom

Love from Mom

“What a card” = a phrase meaning an amusing or eccentric person

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Friday Letter to My Kids: I Hope You Laugh

Dear J, J, L and L,

You know that poster that hangs in the guest bathroom? The one with all the little bits of wisdom to make for a happier life like “Call your Mom,” and “Sing in the Shower”? Life’s Little Instructions. Yup, that one.

I think I’d add a few of my own.

See I can make a meme, just not very well.

I could do it…

  • Laugh some every day

  • Give at least one hug daily

  • Cry like you mean it, don’t hold back

  • Write it down so you’ll remember

  • Naps are okay, encouraged even

  • Grow something

  • Get outside and do something

  • Remember childhood Happies

  • Make new Happies

  • Have some quiet time daily

  • Get rowdy at least twice a month

  • Dance

  • Sing

  • Crank those tunes

  • Ditch the to-do list sometimes

  • Put yourself in time-out and enjoy it

  • Sleep somewhere odd

  • Be a tourist in the state you live

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help

  • Smile more than not

  • Wink at little kids

  • Roll down a grassy hill when you can

     

That’s all stuff I ought to remind myself of, often. Maybe I can get your dad to play along with some of them. Not sure I can picture him rolling down a hill, unless it’s unintentional while skiing. Ouch.

And of course, everyone has their own definition of rowdy. Let’s just all keep it legal. (Wink.)

I hope you laugh! And sing and dance and love life!

 

Love you tons,

Mom

 

p.s. I could make this into a cute meme if I wanted to spend the time and understood computers better, but I don’t. So here’s a drawing I made of myself instead. Way faster than creating a meme.

photo-25 copy 23

Sending lots of love!

p.p.s. It seems like a long list. Probably because it is. If I thought about it for a few days I could narrow it down some. But, it’s Friday and I wanted to get this letter out to you today. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Santa’s Staff Reorganized this Year

Friday Letter to my Kids: December 12, 2014 ~

Dear J, J, L and L,

'Tis the Season!

‘Tis the Season!

One of the hardest things in life is giving up something you love. You’ll each have to or have had to face this in one way or another. I think this year is my big year for having to finally let go.

I tried about five or six years ago, but found out, with only hours to spare, that you’d all be disappointed if I let go of this one. How could I let my kids down? Sure, you were all in your late teens and twenties then, but reality doesn’t always want recognition.

“What they heck is she talking about?” I can hear you thinking already. It’s even difficult for me to talk about it. But I can do this. Here and now.

As you’ve known for some time now, I’m one of Santa’s helpers in this part of the country. He’s kept me busy over the years. It looks like last year was my final year. I had hoped for one more chance to strut my stuff at my speciality, but Santa had other ideas and didn’t really let me know I wasn’t officially on the team until a month or so ago. I suspected something like this, but have been in denial.

I loved my position as Chief Stocking Acquisition and Surprise Fulfillment Coördinator – CSASFC. I made it a personal quest for the entire year to locate some unexpected small trinkets and extra delicious treats for plumping out those stockings.

That one year where I tried the new and improved smaller stockings definitely backfired. I nearly lost my position over that one. But contrition won out and Santa kept me on, albeit with a slight cut in pay and no bonus that year. Sigh. Disappointment abounded, that’s for certain. The next year more than made up for it, at least I hope so.

Honestly, Santa probably should have let me go years ago, but I begged and pleaded. Made a great case for how very much-needed I thought I was. He has a tender heart and couldn’t break mine, so he let me hang on these past few years when the job should have passed on to younger associates. What a good guy!

I’ll be fine. Really.

See's, a day's dosage.

See’s, a day’s dosage.

Not sure I can bring myself to hang up a stocking for your Dad and I this year, since, as you now know, part of my job also included filling those stockings. But Santa assured me that I would weather this first year of retirement just fine. He recommended extra doses of hot chocolate, easy on the hazelnut creamer, heavy on the peppermint. So far, that’s helped quite a bit. I may have to resort to adding a prescription grade of chocolate orange sticks to the mix though. And I have a gift card from See’s, (thanks to the Valentine bunny, or is that Easter cupid?) Whatever. I can go with that good stuff if I have to. I’ve heard great things about Lindor Truffles too, but I’ll only resort to those if all else fails.

Anyway, I’m sorry to be the bearer of sad news. You probably saw this coming long before I did. Nothing sadder than an aging baseball player or arthritic basketball star pretending that they’re still at the top of their game. Nothing sadder except a Santa’s helper who won’t let go of the job when retirement age has come and gone.

You all probably have plenty to do with your own Santa assignments this year, so I’ll keep this short.

All I have left to say is this. It’s been a pleasure and a delight working with Santa all these years. I will miss this job, but I’ll probably get over it. Whatever shape your own Santa responsibilities take, just know this: the years fly by and before your know it you’re reluctantly passing the baton on to your successor. Enjoy every frazzled minute of it!

I’m gonna go bake up some sugar cookies and lick frosting from my fingers, right after I make a batch of divinity and a double batch of toffee. I’ll be just fine.

Merry Christmas!

Lots of love,

Mom

~~~~~

photo-25 copy 16

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” ~ Buddy

Categories: Friday Letters, Holiday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hot Pink on a Harley

Friday Letter to my Kids-

Dear J, J, L and L,

This weekend marks year four of Big J’s big Harley ride with his hot woman for the annual “Bikers for Boobies” event.

Makes me laugh every time to say that out loud.

Makes me proud that you’re doing something to help raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

Makes me terrified that your charitable inclination involves a Harley.

I have nothing personally against Harley’s, or Honda’s or any other brand of motorcycle. I just get a little woozy when I think of people I love out on the road with other maniacal drivers who might not pay much attention to the loud roar and flash of chrome.

To quote your Grandma M from my teenage years:

“It’s not you I don’t trust, it’s everybody else.”

I’ve had a little experience with motorcycles in my past life, believe it or not. My first ever chance driving one on my own happened in our back yard. At eleven years old I may or may not have been a little too young for the attempt. The tiny Honda 50 was so cute and fun looking. “Nothing to it,” my Dad said.

honda 50

Vrooooom!

I threw my leg over the seat, sat down and grasped the handlebars. My dad explained the gears, first, second, third. He talked about the clutch. He reminded me I had to pull in the clutch when I braked. I said, “Okay, I got it,” when I really didn’t understand about ninety percent of what he’d told me. Mostly what I heard was, “pull in the clutch when you want to brake.”

So I let out the clutch in first gear and the thing almost left me behind. I remember hearing yelling, with grass and dirt flying. I was so busy trying to figure out why pulling  in the clutch wouldn’t stop the bike that I failed to turn. Next thing I know the bike and my flailing body launched off a foot high drop off into the garden and then across the garden down another small drop off. Luckily a chain link fence finally stopped the bike and what was left of my quivering body.

Dad ran over and caught the bike before it fell over on me and said, “Why didn’t you push on the brake?”

And that’s when I realized that braking involved more than simply pulling in the clutch. Ding, ding, ding!!! Light bulb!!! I needed to push the brake with my foot at the same time as pulling in the clutch.

My ego took a far bigger hit than my jostled and bounced around butt ever did.

You can bet that the next time Dad let me ride I paid attention to every single detail he told me. Luckily, I had other chances a year later and soon became a fairly brave rider when we’d take the bikes up to the mountains and ride around the dirt roads and wide trails. Those were some fun years buzzing around free and fast.

Can you picture G and G M on one of these? Cool!

Can you picture G and G M on one of these?

My dad went on several weekend long trail rides on various motorcycles. The trails he rode scared me even back then before I developed my fear of all things high and dangerous. (He also did a multi-day cattle drive on horseback once, but that’s a different story you’ll have to ask him to tell you about.)

Here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know about your Grandpa M. He had said back then that when he retired he wanted to buy a Honda Goldwing and tour the country with Grandma. Sadly, that never happened. I think all us kids took the oomph out of his get-up-and-go. Not to mention, priorities change as life morphs and lengthens.

The Happy Harley couple last year…or the year before.

The happy Harley couple last year…

That crotch rocket you drove for a while, Big J, just about wore holes in my knees for how hard and often I prayed that you’d be safe out there.

When you and your newly christened Mrs. left the reception for your wedding night roaring away on that Harley, I thought my heart would bust wide open for joy and fear at the same time. I know you couldn’t hear me but I yelled, “where’s your helmets?” That would have spoiled the effect, I know.

I’m glad you’re living your life and taking measured chances and enjoying your youth. Don’t let my worries hold you back.

You other three, don’t be thinking I’m giving you permission to take up motorcycles. Not that it would matter what I thought at this point, right?

Have a fun ride this weekend, my sweet son, with your blonde bombshell wife on the back holding on tight. You’ll always be my little guy no matter how old you get, so I’ll always worry. I’ll also always be happy knowing you’re happy.

All my love,

Mom

"Bluebird of Happymess"

“Bluebird of Happymess”

p.s. Just wondering if you’ll wear sunscreen this year… 😉

 

~~~~~

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.” ~ Edward Abbey ~~

Categories: Friday Letters, Fun | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Goodbye to Yesterday”

Friday Letter to my Kids  -August 29, 2014-

Dear J, J, L and L,

I hate goodbyes.

Doesn’t matter what kind. Short, long-term, temporary, indefinite. They all bite. Some goodbyes leave a gaping wound that take what feels like forever to heal. Others keep hurting even after all evidence of injury disappears.

I’ve had my fill of goodbyes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t keep getting another serving glopped on my plate. Whatever. Let’s shift gears a little. Here’s a song to start off my thoughts today.

Your Dad started traveling for work back when you were just tiny things. In fact his first stint away from home occurred when Big J was only three months old. We’re not talking a week away. Month’s after saying “see ya later” I finally saw him again, around Christmas time. He’d grown this full-on hideous beard that looked like he’d been standing in the wind for too long, all growing to one side. Then he had to go again, and again and again.

You’d think I’d have gotten used to goodbyes. He’d be gone for weeks. Or months. Or just a few days. But every time carried its share of empty yuck, sadness and loneliness. Even just last year when he drove off for Sacramento, I felt a part of me drop away and sink to the floor in wracking sobs, as the physical part of me stood there waving cheerfully.

Oh sure, I learned independence and self-reliance. My coping muscles as a semi-single parent surely rippled with six-pack abs and bulging biceps. Hahahaha, there’s an odd image for you, huh?

Why do I bring this up?

One of you says “adios” to your spouse today for three months. My heart aches for you. I may not feel your pain, but I remember all too clearly what mine felt like. Knowing you feel something like that makes me hurt for you and with you. It’s a mom thing, I suppose.

You’ll do fine. You’ll rock this challenge. You’ll find strength you didn’t know you had. Sure, there will be long nights, long days, emptiness and exhaustion, but you’ll be okay. I promise.

Another one of you is the one who leaves on those long business trips. That can’t be easy. I have no idea how it must feel stuck in a boring hotel room night after night, to be the one in another city away from your sweetheart. How you both manage without each other boggles my mind, especially since it’s been this way since a month or two into your marriage.

Bronze figures, Fleetwood, Lancs. Photo By P Smith (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)

Bronze figures, Fleetwood, Lancs. Photo By P Smith (Own work)  http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html

Add in that this weekend I’m helping another one of you pack up for your big move out-of-state. I try not to think about when I’ll have to say goodbye to you in a few more days. I’m happy beyond reason for your new adventures, but so sad to know you won’t be at our table on random evenings, won’t be playing “Settlers” with us, may not make it back for holidays for a while. I’ll miss our random lunch dates and having you hang out on the couch for mom time. I don’t even know when I’ll see you next in real life. I’m trying not to think about it.

Yesterday I got this sweet video text that brought one of your lives smack dab into the middle of my living room. Just for a few moments the distance between here and where you are shrunk to almost nothing. But then, I found my arms aching for holding, my chest pounding for a hug, my need for immediate access to an airplane like a drug addiction withdrawal. No matter how long you live far away I don’t get used to it. I still miss you every single day.

Thank goodness for the internet and social media. Back when Dad first started traveling that stuff hadn’t evolved yet. We racked up huge long distance phone bills, mailed handwritten letters. Weird to imagine now.

Lucky you with your skyping, texting, Facebook, instant messaging and email. Lucky me, since I can utilize those things to stay in touch with each of you as well. Makes the world smaller and goodbyes more manageable.

Buddhist prayer beads By Аркадий Зарубин (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Buddhist prayer beads By Аркадий Зарубин (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D

I’m praying for each one of you. Not that there’s anything new there. My heart has this sort of constant litany of recitations for your safety, your happiness, your health. You are all, each of you, always on my mind. I always miss you, wonder about you, wish the best for you. That’s true even if you’re only a couple of miles away, and certainly when you’re hundred of miles or more in the distance.

The word goodbye has its origins in the phrase “God be with you,” and serves as a contraction, a shortened version of that blessing. When I say Goodbye, often that’s what I’m really feeling. God be with you carries more power and serves as a kind of incantation or benediction over the leave-taking. You’d think I’d gone stark raving nuts if I started saying “God be with you,” so I’ll just quietly think those words in my head as my mouth says a regular goodbye. How does that sound?

Sure they cut those umbilical cords ages ago. And certainly the apron strings also severed years back. But heart-strings remain attached forever no matter what you do or how far you go.

God be with you in whatever life offers you this week and beyond.

All my love,

Mom

"Bluebird of Happymess"

“Bluebird of Happymess”

 

 ~~~~~

“Remember me and smile, for it’s better to forget than to remember me and cry.” ~ Dr. Seuss

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Friday Letters, Love | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Pet Peeved People

Friday Letter to my Kids

Dear J, J, L and L,

After Sunday’s hour long downpour and subsequent temporary pond creation, nearly every member of the neighborhood walked past or around or through the park/pond. I couldn’t help but notice how many dogs accompanied the humans. I see people walking their dogs every day all day at the park since it’s right outside our front door. I just had no idea quite so many lived here as I saw concentrated in one Sunday evening. I’d guess three out of four neighbors house one or more dogs.

Clearly, that puts our family in the minority.

Since one of you recently adopted a blingy blond princess dog, (Blondie) and one of you has a ginormous, slobbery, loveable dog named after a beer, (Pabst) as well as a cute but moody cat (Penelope Buttercup) I’ve thought some about the few pets we’ve had over the years.

I suppose first I ought to discuss the elephant in the room, or more concisely, the dog not in the room.

I know, I know, we never owned a dog.

That’s more your Dad’s doing than mine. I’d have probably relented, against my better judgment, if it had just been me making those decisions.

Or not.

There were various dogs in my household growing up, one or two of which produced some slightly traumatic experiences. (Being home alone when the small Beagle began birthing the babies of the biggest dog in the neighborhood didn’t go over well in my pre-facts-of-life brain.)

stunnedSorry. Had to call my therapist and have a conversation there for a minute… (kidding)

Anyway. No dogs for your growing up years. And look, you survived!

Laaaaaa!!!

Cue the orchestra.

Nope. No dogs.

Instead Parakeets blessed our household. Bright green Sunny lived up to his namesake by being a ray of chipperness and laughs. I loved how you used to build Lego mazes for him to search through to get to the inanimate love of his life, a bell. Weirdest relationship on the planet.

image by Testostera

image by Testostera

I’ll never forget when he flew out the open garage door and Little J followed him through the neighborhood, climbed a forty-foot tree (what was I thinking?) and got him to climb on her hand. Completely inspired, she tucked him into her shirt and shimmied down the tree and ran home. Talk about heroic love!

I’m not sure if we can count “Suffer” as a real pet, since it was a stray that hung out by the back door that we occasionally fed. And occasionally bought medicine to put in its food. And occasionally, on really cold snowy days, let in the house if the parakeet was in its cage. It remained a stray when we moved cross-country. I didn’t really feel too guilty sending it back to its free and wily ways of mooching off whatever neighbor took compassion on it.

I learned a few years later that three-year old Big L’s naming of “Suffer” wasn’t in reference to his mangy, tattered countenance, but a reference to Disney Cinderella’s cat “Lucifer.” Say it out loud like you just found a dead mouse and you’ll see where she came up with the name.

Maverick, the blue parakeet, escaped the same way as Sunny, but we never saw feather nor tail of her again. And Blossom, another blue, met a most unfortunate demise, which also might require calls to therapists if I ever divulge in what state I found her.

After Sunny passed away, with the requisite burial in a box in the side yard, we didn’t have any more pets for a while.

That is, until the fish. Teenaged Little J had a spell with that saltwater tank. But it’s tough to bond with fish and crabs and snails. And that thing never smelled very good.

And Little L had that poor oxygen deprived goldfish that was more depressing that cheering, about exactly the opposite of its intended purpose. And then a few other nameless, nothing whatsoever like Nemo the Disney cartoon personality-filled fishies, swam in and out of our lives for a brief spell.

And finally, two more parakeets who, thanks to Dad and his overly generous and somewhat sidetracked nature, flew out of their open cage that he’d set out on the back patio during an extra windy day.

Thus ended the Tilby family pet saga.

A predominate theme with all but the saltwater fish and the cat: Mom did the majority of cleaning.

Ew.

Not happy memories there.

At least with human children the poop eventually becomes the child’s own task. With pets, it’s forever the job of the human to clean up the piles and putrefaction.

Give me kids any day.

Bottom line. I’m happy if you’re happy in your pet-filled or pet-less lives.

Carry on.

Lovingly yours,
Mom

P.S. Thank you for not asking me to experience snakes, pigs, rats, rabbits, mice, hamsters, miniature deer or tarantulas as pets.

photo-23 copy 5

 

“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.” ~Christopher Hitchens

Categories: Family, Friday Letters, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Friday letter to My Kids: Going, Going, Gone?

Dear J, J, L and L,

About a year from now all four of you will live in a different state from each other. Already I’m in mourning.

I’d like to think that life will coöperate with my plans to visit one of you at least every other month. I promise I’d keep them short visits, if they’re frequent.

We all know how that plan will work out.

There’s so very little anyone can do to prepare for the experience of parenting. And then after eighteen or more years of figuring it out there’s also nothing that prepares anyone for when those kids leave home, or when they leave the state, or the country.

I need to get me one of these bikes.

I need to get me one of these bikes.

You know that scene in the movie ET? Oh yeah, I forget, some of you haven’t even seen ET. (I truly have failed in your cultural development. We won’t even mention that one of you didn’t recognize a Beatles song when you were old enough to date.)

Here’s my condensed version of the movie, skipping all the exciting but less essential parts and getting to the heart of the matter of whatever this is I’m trying to understand and/or explain.

Forget what anyone tells you about Reese’s Pieces, or frogs, or getting drunk vicariously.

The important scene is the one when ET has phoned home and they send a megaship from the home galaxy to pick him up. He’s way past curfew by, I don’t know, a few weeks. He’ll be grounded for light-years. Anyway, he and Elliott, the main character, have bonded in a Spock mind meld kind of way, ish, and now they are best buddies. Elliot doesn’t want ET to go home. ET wants Elliott to go with him. Elliott wants ET to stay.

Now, pay attention, this is the point of this rambling story.

ET has this glowing heart that he points to and says, “Ouch” as he points to Elliott. Then Elliott points to his heart and says, “Ouch.” Of course, everyone except the dog is crying. And then ET gets that magical glowing fingertip and points to Elliott’s forehead and says, “I’ll be right here.”

I don’t know if I’m ET or if I’m Elliott, but either way, tears and “Ouch” and “I’ll be right here” seem to say what I feel about any one of you being farther away than a twenty-minute drive. A two-hour flight is about all I can tolerate. Don’t even consider space travel.

How will I manage?

You all will be just fine. Your lives will go on. Mine will feel like a train leaving the tracks.

Of course it sounds like you’re all leaving en masse, when the truth of the matter is one of you has been out-of-state for a few years now and somehow I keep breathing. And you’ve all left for a while, and come back and left and come back, ish.

I might have to book a cruise, or an Antarctic expedition, followed by a trip to anywhere that doesn’t involve reality or getting on with my life without all or most of you nearby. Or just as real a possibility as any of those, maybe I can get a flying bicycle…

Let me try a different medium.

We’ll leave science fiction and fantasy and try music.

The Phillip Phillips song “Gone, Gone, Gone” seems to capture some of what I feel about the future and the now.

Sure, it’s a love song, but then, so is being a mother.

I already miss you.

 

Love forever,

Mom

photo-23 copy 5

Have a listen, the lyrics follow:

 

“Gone, Gone, Gone”

When life leaves you high and dry

I’ll be at your door tonight

If you need help, if you need help.

I’ll shut down the city lights,

I’ll lie, cheat, I’ll beg and bribe

To make you well, to make you well.

 

When enemies are at your door

I’ll carry you away from war

If you need help, if you need help.

Your hope dangling by a string

I’ll share in your suffering

To make you well, to make you well.

 

Give me reasons to believe

That you would do the same for me.

 

And I would do it for you, for you.

Baby, I’m not moving on

I’ll love you long after you’re gone.

For you, for you.

You will never sleep alone.

I’ll love you long after you’re gone

And long after you’re gone, gone, gone.

 

When you fall like a statue

I’m gon’ be there to catch you

Put you on your feet, you on your feet.

And if your well is empty

Not a thing will prevent me.

Tell me what you need, what do you need?

 

I surrender honestly.

You’ve always done the same for me.

 

So I would do it for you, for you.

Baby, I’m not moving on,

I’ll love you long after you’re gone.

For you, for you.

You will never sleep alone.

I’ll love you long after you’re gone

And long after you’re gone, gone, gone.

 

You’re my back bone.

You’re my cornerstone.

You’re my crutch when my legs stop moving.

You’re my head start.

You’re my rugged heart.

You’re the pulse that I’ve always needed.

Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating.

Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating.

Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating.

Like a drum my heart never stops beating…

 

For you, for you.

Baby, I’m not moving on.

I’ll love you long after you’re gone.

For you, for you.

You will never sleep alone.

I’ll love you long after you’re gone.

For you, for you.

Baby, I’m not moving on,

I’ll love you long after you’re gone.

For you, for you.

You will never sleep alone.

I’ll love you long, long after you’re gone.

 

Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating.

Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating.

Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating.

Like a drum my heart never stops beating for you.

 

And long after you’re gone, gone, gone.

I’ll love you long after you’re gone, gone, gone.

 

~ This song was co-written by Derek Fuhrmann, Todd Clark and Gregg Wattenberg.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Friday Letters, Love, parenting | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Friday Letter to My Kids: Self-Made, Home Made, Lemonade

Dear J, J, L and L,

Picture an eleven/twelve-year-old girl, dressed for winter weather, a makeshift backpack on her back, trudging down a snow packed street toward an open expanse of hilly snow and frosted over trees. A gray ceiling of clouds make the skies seem ominous, but the air is dry and so cold the nose hairs freeze, eyeballs sting.

The girl knows this kind of weather. She’s lived it every winter of her life.

That girl is me.

I’d decided one day to hike down to the park, three houses away and build myself an igloo and then spend the day inside its peaceful and quiet interior. I’d brought a blanket, a couple of books, some snacks and a small school sized thermos of hot chocolate. I even had a bucket to press the snow into “blocks” to stack on each other.

Turns out the temperatures were colder than anticipated and the dryness of the air also meant a dry crusty snow. That snow wouldn’t stick together. Not even a decent snowball could form from its crystalline structure. It wasn’t the fluffy wet stuff we usually had piling up all winter. I could barely break through the crust of the snow with my bucket to fill it up.

Fifteen minutes into my adventure I was done.

I sat down in the snow, contemplated drinking the hot chocolate and reading for a few minutes out in the open, but it just wasn’t what I’d planned. I trudged back home to the noise of younger siblings, mom teaching piano lessons, chores, warm house and everyday boring life.

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I’ll let you guess which one is me.

I loved adventure as a kid. I especially loved invention and making do with the materials at hand.

  • Tree huts and forts made from found materials.
  • A drawstring bag sewn from leftover fabric and a shoelace.
  • A made up game, a cross between four square and tennis.
  • Pottery made from clayish mud, even if it fell apart when it dried.
  • Climbing out my second story bedroom window early on a Saturday before chores got assigned, so I could have some quiet time to myself.
  • Getting something from the almost nothing of a seed planted.
  • Hiking. The steeper and more challenging, made it all the better.
  • Riding my bike to get where I needed to go, instead of relying on someone else.
Yup.

Yup.

I never dreamed I’d use such “skills” and desires as a mother. And yet, the adventure of raising children utilized those things in ways I wasn’t even really aware of until recently.

  • I’ve lost track of how many times we “remade” home as we moved, and moved, and moved again.
  • Sewing came in handy using scraps to make clothes from a very versatile pattern for J and J when you were little.
  • Finding new ways to entertain and teach and cajole good behavior required invention and creativity.
  • As often as money got tight or nearly nonexistent we made do with what we had in surprising, although not necessarily successful, ways.
  • Rock climbing with you when you were younger turned my daredevil climbing skills into a pastime we loved and shared. Which led to lots of hiking and camping, adventures in their own right.
  • And a few years ago, my bike became my main means of transportation when we got down to only one car and four drivers.
photo by imoni

photo by imoni

I’d still like to live where I don’t need to rely on a car.

And I’d love living a completely self reliant life. Build a small rustic cabin, use solar, have a generator, get our water from a well, plant a massive garden and fruit trees, get around on a motorbike and a jeep or better yet, a mountain bike. Wouldn’t it be something to wake every morning to mountain views and the smell of pine or snow or crunchy leaves? One trip into town once a month for supplies.

I suppose you could say I’ve lived parts of my dream in some convoluted ways. We’ve relied on each other, which made us closer, crazier, and cozier. We own some wonderful memories don’t we? All crafted out of making do, making it up, making our own fun, making the best of things. It’s that whole making lemonade out of life’s lemons thing you’ve heard about.

'nuff said

’nuff said

I often picture the past thirty odd years as a roller coaster ride with all of us in the cars, hands in the air, screaming, eyes popping, certain that the next ninety degree turn or steep drop will do us in. And yet we survived, and had some fun, and learned a ton of stuff. Feels like now that you’re all married that particular roller coaster ride came to a stop. (Did you keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times? I think not! hehehehe)

Now, you’re all off on your own adventures.

My life of adventure so far has surprised me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I’m thinking there’s more adventure ahead, too. I’m just hoping the snow isn’t iced over and that I’m dressed warm enough for whatever happens next.

Here’s praying that your adventures turn out better than you can imagine.

Mine have, so far.

 

All my love,

Mom

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      “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” ~G. K. Chesterton

 

 

Categories: Family, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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