Posts Tagged With: holidays

 
 

It’s All In How You Look at It

Earlier today I found myself once again deleting photos off my phone to make room for a boatload more photos I plan to take soon. Yes, I backed them all up to a different spot and ought to be able to just delete them all at once, (if I could only figure out how.) But I like having a “few” snaps available to look through and share without  diving into my storage facility and hunting for what I want. So I’m selectively deleting.

Santa left his hat on the couch and the world is slipping.

Santa left his hat on the couch and the world is slipping.

I’ve gone through the “stack” of photographs at least four times in the past month or two. A few more achieve nirvana and move on to their next incarnation as electrical impulses and ones and zeros. But more stay on the phone, taking up valuable memory.

Bonus!

I ran across this series of photos I’d forgotten about.

photo 2-6 copy 11

An open Sandra Boyton board book in the foreground.

Yup, they’re from Christmas 2014 or thereabouts. I figured since today’s a national holiday (Independence Day in the US) I can post a holiday themed set of photos if I want to.

I didn’t take these particular photos. My favorite then-three-year-old took the shots.

Wire  bead maze: a child's up close point of view.

Wire bead maze: a child’s up close point of view.

You kind of get the drift that she’s short. For her age she’s in the 95th percentlie for height. But compared to adults, her view on the world sits a couple of feet lower.

Huggy Bear, Tissues, Flat Screen. What is she saying here?

Huggy Bear, Tissues, Flat Screen. What is she saying here?

I like her perspective, don’t you?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there’s a photography genius waiting to blossom here, at least not that I know of. She does, like most kids born in the past ten years, seem to have an innate sense of how to run electronic gadgets and make use of them faster, better and more creatively than big people do.

There’s something in her viewpoint I can’t quite put words to. I just know I like it.

“If I push this button like this…”

I especially like her non-posing selfie. Usually she puts on her photo face if she knows her picture’s being taken. You can almost see her thinking here. I like that.

Book closeup. Very introspective, or something.

Book closeup. Very introspective, or something.

Plenty of blurred photos got the garbage can button. And fifteen or more shots of the carpet likewise bit the dust. And eight of just her forehead had to be obliviated. (Yes, I just made up that word: oblivious got verbed.)

I figure you have to crack a lot of eggs to get a few good photos, or push a lot of buttons to make cake, or something like that. Right?

Looking at life from a kid’s point of view isn’t easy. Our adult eyes and our size get in the way. In fact, looking at things through the lens of other people’s eyes proves difficult in the best of circumstances.

What a great reminder from a child.

I think I’ll try looking up, or sideways, more often. You never know what you might see.

~~*~~*~~~*~~~*~~*~~

Here’s my photographic contribution to today’s holiday:

Let Freedom Ring!

Let Freedom Ring!

Happy American Independence Day everyone!

Let Freedom Ring!

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

Our Most Expensive Christmas Tree Ever, But Worth Every Penny

A few years back we finally followed through with my wish to go off into the woods to cut down our own Christmas tree.

“It’ll be fun!” I said smiling.

“Think of it as an adventure,” I cajoled.

“We’ll save money,” I smiled, as I played my winning ace.

My Dream tree… Photo By Nandaro (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

My Dream tree… Photo By Nandaro (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0]

So off I went to the store to buy a twenty-dollar tree cutting permit. What a deal! Twenty bucks for the freshest tree we could get. I could hardly wait. I planned to bring snacks and hot chocolate and to dress extra, extra warm.

Did I mention that it takes two hours to drive to the forest where these trees live? Small detail.

We’d make a day trip out of it. I’d pack a lunch for us, too.

MSH prepared more than I did. He got the chainsaw ready, which I thought was excessive. I figured a small hand saw would serve us well. And he tossed our tent, two sleeping bags and a couple of big backpacks with camping gear into the back seat of our trusty truck. “Just in case,” he said. I scoffed.

Sure there might have been a storm aiming our direction. That’s why we planned on leaving extra early so we’d get back long before the storm made its way over the Sierra’s and across the desert to our neck of the woods. But, MSH loves to “be prepared.” I think he might have been an Eagle Scout in a previous life.

As we neared our forest service approved tree cutting area we saw lots of big trucks with fluffy verdant green trees, branches thick and full and just waiting for hundreds of twinkle lights and candy canes and such. I felt giddy with anticipation. We turned down a few roads and began scouting for that perfect tree. After a half hour or so we wondered if those trucks we saw had cut down every decent Christmas tree left. All we saw were scrawny things, twisted and bare branched.

We figured we needed to get out of the truck and hike around a bit. So we pulled off the main road, turned down a side dirt road and parked. As we got out of the truck the first tentative snowflakes began to fall. “Ambience!” I said.

Photo by Wsiegmund

Our reality… Photo by Wsiegmund

We saw what looked like a good tree in the distance only to find on getting closer that it was two trees snuggled in close to each other. That happened time and again. After an hour of hiking around we finally shook our heads and picked the least scrawny of the scrawny trees that surrounded us. The chain saw came in handy.

Turns out we’d hiked further from the truck that we thought we had. The hike felt even longer since we dragged a heavy, very fresh tree along the forest floor.

Of course, turning back on the main forest road we, once again, saw trucks loaded with bushy pines and knew we’d taken a wrong turn and should have kept driving another half mile to the next turn-off where everyone else seemed to know they’d find perfect trees. Too late, though. We’d cut and tagged our Charlie Brown tree.

By cogdogblog on Flickr (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By cogdogblog on Flickr (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0]

For fun we opted to take the scenic route. By scenic, I mean a dirt and gravel road that mostly followed the edge of the Mogollon Rim. Five miles in and far too committed to turn back, the storm kicked in a bit stronger. Winds from the south blew the snow horizontally. The huge Ponderosa pines around us seemed to brace themselves against the force. The further along we got on the Rim Road, the more the snow increased and the wind picked up. Luckily the snow wasn’t sticking to the dirt road.

When we took a little side road for a brief pit stop the truck wouldn’t start up again. Not even a click from the key turning. I pictured us huddled in our little tent for days, hoping someone noticed we weren’t around and would be found before we froze to death. But before I could imagine a great rescue scene or compile a farewell letter to my children MSH figured out a cable had shaken loose on the battery and had tightened it up. The truck started right away. Phew.

Crisis averted.

Not five minutes after that we had to stop the truck again. This time we stopped to stare in amazement and absolute awe at something we’d never seen.

By William Warby (originally posted to Flickr as Hovering Kestrel) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by William Warby (originally posted to Flickr as Hovering Kestrel) [CC BY 2.0]

A hawk hovered ten feet away from the edge of the cliff. And by hovered I mean just hung in mid-air, in place, not moving forward or backward, up or down. The wings tipped a bit to compensate now and then, but for the most part the hawk simply hung there as if suspended midair. The updraft on the cliff from the incoming storm provided perfect conditions for this beautiful creature to practice wing control and aerodynamics. Five minutes. Ten minutes. We watched, mesmerized at the skill and wonder of this bird.

Finally the bird either tired out or the wind changed. A small tip of the wings and the hawk floated up and away, slowly disappearing from view.

The storm let up long enough for us to get down off the Rim and into the nearest town just before sundown. We stopped for a warm dinner, took a reading on the storm and safety dictated the rest of the drive should wait until morning. So we checked in to a motel for the night. We enjoyed a late breakfast the next morning as the storm blew through and the sun came out.

Total cost of that scrawny twenty-dollar tree? After gas, dinner, battery cable part, motel and breakfast: One-hundred-ninety-five dollars.

Trekking through the snowy woods, seeing a hawk do a stationery hover on the wind, and quality time with MSH? Priceless.

Categories: Holidays | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

“Perhaps,” the Grinch Said, “I’ve A Few Questions For You”

I have a question for you...

I have a question for you…

“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.”

What is it about Dr. Seuss’s classic tale that we all admire so much?

  • Do we secretly feel the same way the Grinch does? I have at times felt just that way.
  • Do we wish for a Christmas morning filled with nothing but simple joy in our hearts and a song on the breeze? Surely I have, or something like it.
  • Is there part of us that wants a something in our lives or hearts to undergo an instantaneous change? Of course, but reality doesn’t work that way, does it?

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” tugs at nearly every string we attach to the holiday. We read or watch then we laugh and feel all warm and fuzzy. And then we bust out our shopping lists, our baking lists, our to-do lists, our stress and our craziness.

But.

What if?

  • What if you woke to nothing? No tree, no gifts, no feast, no traditional anything? Would it still be Christmas?
  • Have you ever gone without Christmas? I mean, really had no Christmas. No tree. No gifts. No candy. No stocking. No great meal. No thing to mark the day as significant and distinct.

(And, no I’m not talking about a trip to some fun or exotic location in lieu of gifts and such.)

  • Did this happen on purpose, because you gave your Christmas to another family?
  • Or did it happen due to incredibly difficult circumstances in your life?
  • Or did the stuff of Christmas not happen for some other reason?

I’d really like to know.

(Please comment below, anonymously even if you want.)

“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

star-wallpapers-22

Categories: Holiday, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Seeing Through the Eyes of a Child Circa the 1960’s

By Noël Zia Lee (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Noël Zia Lee (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Do you remember how exciting December was when you were six or seven years old? Not quite old enough to stop believing in Santa, and still young enough to take in the fun, food and crazy excitement in the air. No pressures, just sheer anticipation and a long month of counting down ‘how many days left until school let out for the holidays.’

I loved going down town in our little city and walking the slushy sidewalks, seeing and hearing the bell ringers on the street corners, peeking in the windows of the shops. My feet still remember that sudden whoosh of surprise at catching an extra sloshy pile of snow and having it slip inside my shoe. I’d stand at the corner, my gloved hand in Mom’s, stamping my foot while waiting for the police officer with his whistle to make certain the road was clear before we crossed the street. I loved the crowds of people, the decorated light poles, the bustle of it all.

The Five and Dime store held my interest even more than the candy counter and the elevator at the department store during that time of year. Slowly making my way down each aisle I’d look at all the treasures I could possibly buy to give as gifts to my siblings and parents. I imagined their surprise at opening up a wrapped package with such wonders tucked inside. I pictured their happy faces and knew I’d absolutely have to buy this item or that trinket. At least, until I happened upon the next perfect gift. Choosing among such possibilities seemed beyond my abilities at such a young age. Back then I think I’m certain that price held little meaning and the decision process probably involved my mother ruling out the overpriced items.

Occasionally I’d see some toy that spoke to my soul. I knew I’d stumbled on the gift that surely Santa would leave for me under the tree. I didn’t always tell Mom about it, though, since I didn’t recognize her important role in making certain Santa knew what I dreamed of receiving.

By Dough4872 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Dough4872 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

We’d also make a separate trek downtown with the entire family to visit the Christmas Village with those traditional lighted walkways and glittering trees. It seemed as though nothing ever changed; the same lights and displays in the same place each year lent continuity and stability to my young life. And, of course, it seemed we always picked the coldest night of the year for this endeavor, for no amount of bundling kept me warm enough. Fortunately hot chocolate waited for us in a thermos in the car and sleep usually overtook me on the drive back home. Is there anything to compare with being carried inside from the car to the bed, sleep barely nudged by the removing of boots and gloves and coat? I think not. I felt so very loved in that act.

I also recall walking door to door with a small group of neighbors, carrying plates of goodies and decorated boxes filled with fruit and treats. We’d stop at the homes of mostly widows and elderly people. We’d sing some Christmas carols, with me mangling the words as I tried my best to sing along. As we’d leave each house we’d belt out “we WISH you a merry Christmas” which I knew well and could sing loudly and with confidence. I don’t recall feeling particularly cold, in spite of trudging through snow, while singing and treating. I think being in a group kept me warm, but it could have been some warmth within from the joy of it all that kept me toasty.

Dave Hitchborne [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Dave Hitchborne [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

On Christmas eve we’d ask Dad (since he had the biggest foot size) if we could borrow one of his socks to set out for Santa to fill. We didn’t have a fireplace, so we set them on the floor next to the furnace knowing full well that we’d find an orange, some nuts and some candy plumping up each sock.

I’m sure I’m idealizing what I remember. But isn’t that what we do with our childhood?

Or maybe, just maybe, I’m remembering it all exactly as I experienced it. After all, I didn’t have glasses yet and the world still came across as a bit hazy and foggy. My focus, being nearsighted, always zeroed in on nearby and up close things. The rest of the world melted to the background while I lived in a bubble. What a wonderful world, too!

I like to imagine I could put all those memories in a sort of snow globe that I shake up several times during the month of December. The flakes fall around that idyllic distant scene and I look on with child-like yearning for a Christmas long past.

Categories: Holidays | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Learning to Share Again and Again

Friday Letter to my Kids – Nov 28, 2014

Dear J, J, L and L,

Your Dad and I just spent the quietest Thanksgiving Day ever. Just the two of us, here at home, no big dinner, no outings, no football. I don’t say that with any negativity whatsoever! No, I actually really enjoyed it. We slept in. I wrote some, made homemade caramels, listened to an audio book, went on an evening walk, put up the outside Christmas lights with your Dad and generally enjoyed a slow day sitting in my porch swing every chance I got.

By Rennett Stowe from USA (Walking in Yosemite  Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Rennett Stowe from USA (Walking in Yosemite Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

All that was okay because we had our Thanksgiving Dinner/Day last Friday with little J and family in town for a visit. The day felt every single bit like all of our other Thanksgiving days. I spent the day before baking more pies than we can eat. I planned out a schedule for getting all the food cooked and hot at the same time. Littles ran around and fussed and napped. We hung out and talked and reminisced and laughed and snacked until the food finally, finally, finally was ready for the table.

With all that perfection six days early, we didn’t need some imitation version with just the two of us, or some random group of people. I felt such immense gratitude that day that it’s carried me through an entire week.

My only regret found purchase on the niggling fact of little L’s absence. We should have Skyped with you. But I worried it might make you feel a little sad to not be part of things. I should have done it anyway.

It’s part of the sharing thing I seem to have to keep learning, I suppose.

You all used to feel like mine, all mine. I didn’t have to share you with anyone. Which I really liked. But then each of you fell in love, got whisked away by it and began your own families. Which I always dreamed you’d do.

I find it ironic that what we really want for someone often carries with it a kind of backwash of sorrow.

I love that you’re each so loved and so in love. That some of you have started sharing that love with little ones of your own makes my life exponentially grander, brighter and so joyous I can hardly contain it. Nothing makes a parent happier than to see their children truly happy.

Part of that happiness means I have to share you with that person you fell in love with. And, even more so, I get to share you with your beloved’s family. In fact, you became part of their family as much as you’re part of ours.

That all means sharing you for holidays, without being insistent or demanding or childish about where you choose to spend that time. I accept whatever arrangements your life requires because of love. But my acceptance doesn’t make me miss you less, or make all our shared times from the past any less valued.

Apparently, that’s the way it’s all supposed to happen.

This photo is part of National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress)

This photo is part of National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress)

We start out learning to share our toys, our dolls or dump trucks, moving on to sharing a bedroom and clothes and parental love with siblings. As we grow we learn the hard lessons of sharing among friends and that girl boy messiness. We learn to share our time, our means, our dreams. We share what gifts we came with and those gifts we’ve learned so we can see joy on others faces. Hopefully the learning curve of sharing lets us give within a marriage sufficient to meld two souls into something stunning. And then, after raising a family with all its requisite sharing, you think you’re done, you’ve shared enough. But the sharing goes on as you give away those precious ones to a life separate from your own.

I never would have guessed at the abundance that comes from sharing. Even coming from what often seems like almost nothing, sharing happens and leaves in its place an exquisite gift.

Yes. I miss you when you aren’t here for holidays, or family dinners, or any of the other whatevers. But knowing that you’re happy makes all the difference. Know that I’m happy even in the missing of you.

I hope you find the holiday season extra bright this year.

All my love,

Mom

~~~~~

 “Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.” ~Charlotte Bronte

Categories: Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dressing Up and Letting Your Hair Down

Boo!

Boo!

Dear J, J, L and L,

All week I’ve had mini-flashbacks of various versions of each of you in costume over the years.

I recall a Frankenstein’s monster, a beauty queen, tiny witches, cute witches, a leopard, a black cat, an epic version of Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow, a ninja, a devil, a wizard, superheroes, insects and Indians and dozens of others long past.

Of the non-holiday version I recall Wilbur the pig, Tatiana from Midsummer Night’s Dream, a pilgrim, an egyptian queen, poodle-skirted teens a pioneer and a cowboy.

I’m pretty certain we came up with costumes for school projects, spirit weeks and other odd events at least three times a year. Multiply that times the four of you. Add in Halloween and we had the drama department at the high school outgunned in costuming paraphernalia.

The sewing machine got a great workout every October, as I attempted to make reality of who you wanted to transform into that year. Lucky for me sewing costumes don’t require great skill, just adequate knowledge.

I miss those days of dressing you up for so many different events. Perhaps that why I started dressing up myself for Halloween a few years ago. Or maybe I’ve just acquired a need to be someone else for a day once or twice a year.

Last year’s witch costume on Halloween night, scared a few children away from the candy bowl. Perhaps it was the green face, or more likely the cackling, high-pitched, evil sounding voice that involuntarily took over who I was under the costume. Strange how that happens.

A couple years ago my Biker Chick outfit, complete with pleather pants and a real leather biker jacket, felt wild and empowering. So opposite to my recognizable personality, that costume rocked a few people’s perceptions of me. I enjoyed it though, for that one night.

Being a pirate wench the year or two before taught me that I probably ought to be careful what sort of characters I choose to become. It’s easy to do and say things that aren’t your usual fare when you’re somewhat disguised.

This year, sadly, I have other obligations during the Trick or Treat hours. And surprisingly, I wasn’t invited to any Halloween parties where I could take on the persona of some other creature for a while.

I suppose it’s best that you’ve missed this side of my odd personality, this need or desire to dress up and play pretend. I guess I’ve never really grown up in some ways.

Where’s the fun in that, anyway? I like having a childlike part of myself that I can access when the need for silliness arises. I only regret there’s only one time every year that I can let my hair down like that.

I’ll spend the next twelve months with an occasional question about how to dress up next year. Just the planning of such nonsense brings a smile to my face.

I highly recommend accessing your inner child when the opportunity arises.

Happy Halloween my little goblins!

Love always,

Mom

Categories: Family, Friday Letters, Holiday | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A Bit of Perspective on Kissing and Other Stuff

It’s that time of year where half the world seems to lose all perspective.

christmas 2007

A Disco Christmas? (Photo credit: paparutzi)

Chatting with my best friend the other day about Erma Bombeck’s list of things she would have done differently in life prompted her own short list of things she would have done if she had more time.

“These are not a list of regrets,” she was quick to assure me. “I have no regrets!” She gave me that look that said she was seriously completely honest about that statement. “No regrets!”

That’s true. She has used these past few nauseated chemofied pain-managed years making sure there would be no regrets that she had control over.

But there is this short list of ‘would have if she could have’ that I wrote down as we talked, with her permission of course.

  • Kiss her husband more often for at least six seconds each time
  • Pull her kids out of school for whatever, more often
  • Travel more
  • Jump on the trampoline when the kids asked instead of “later”
  • Ride bikes with the kids more
  • Teach more life skills that come in handy like “let the dryer do the ironing” and such.
  • Read bedtime stories more regularly
  • Be more gracious and nicer to her husband
  • Attend temple more often
  • Never ever start drinking soda
  • Adopt a Chinese baby since her husband speaks Chinese and could help keep their culture
  • Yell Less
  • Exercise more consistently
Gift!

Gift! (Photo credit: allie™)

I noticed the “more” she wished for wasn’t something that could be put in a package, wrapped up and tied with a bow then slid under a Christmas Tree. The “more” wasn’t something she could send someone on an errand last-minute to take care of.

I sure hope I’m making the big things the big things and not getting it backward.

It’s so easy to let the minor things take over and get major league treatment. Meanwhile The Really Important People and events end up forgotten, rolling and banging around in the cargo area.

I’m pretty sure my list would be full of BIG regrets. Not something like this “woulda been nice if” list.

Lipstick Kiss

Maybe I ought to start doing something about my regret list now, while I have time. At least, I think I have time.

We never know, do we?

Pucker up MSH, I’m headed your way.

Categories: Cancer, Death, Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Perks of Parental Survival

Every parent understands the yin/yang, good/evil, adorable/despicable, sweet/smelly, insane/delightful opposites of raising children. Enough books, essays, blog posts, magazine articles and late night journal entries exist to fill the Library of Congress twice over on the topic.

This is not that topic. Not exactly.

A beacon...

A beacon of light…

Today I share a beacon of light for those of you somewhere between conception and empty nest.

One of my children, who shall remain nameless said the following, and I paraphrase due to my utter and complete lack of brain cells used up by said child and siblings.

“I’ve realized that all that stuff that just magically appeared at Christmas time and other holidays was done by you, Mother. It dawned on me that now if I want that stuff to happen, I have to do it myself.”

Do you hear that? That’s the sound of vindication Angelic Choirs breaking forth in song and shouts of hallelujah and Amen.

*angelic choir music*

*cue angelic choir music* (Photo credit: Crispy Lettuce)

I’ve walked on clouds since that phone call this morning. My feet have not touched terra firma, my heart has wings, light glows like a halo on everyone I see, well, almost everyone.

What’s this emotion I feel?

Satisfaction? Success? Relief? Surprise? Sorrow? Exaltation? Insanity?

Yes.

What a sensation to feel as if I’m… not exactly finished, but…on the other side of a long dark scary twisty rollicking hilariously terrifying ride called parenthood.

Oh sure, I still worry about each of my kids multiplied by two or three or four, but not in an in-my-face-constantly-what-was-that-siren-and-where-is-my-kid kind of way.

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA…kinda magical and scary at the same time, huh? (Thanks Wikipedia)

I’m so glad I didn’t give up a few years ago when it was oh so tempting! You laugh, but I was seriously considering moving in with my sister and leaving MSH to deal with it all by himself. But something in me, that DNA connection or something more powerful than the need for sanity, wouldn’t let me go through with my threat. I stayed. I stuck it out. I survived.

Even to this day there are times in my parenthood history that I can’t mentally revisit without tears, or maniacal laughter, or brushing up against near insanity, or absolute and total shock at my stupidity. That my children survived me at all is itself a miracle. That we all still speak to one another and love each other clearly stands as another marvel.

I’m not bragging. Oh, by no means, no. I’m just saying, if I got to this point, then almost anyone can get here. Really!

I haven’t figured out how yet, but here I am, on the other side of the tunnel.

Ever so tired.

But glowing.

I think I need a really long nap.

Categories: Family, Humor, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tick Tock Tick Tock

My latest attempts at achieving organizational nirvana involve the computer, colors and willpower. After two days using this self-created self-help tool I’ve recognized a few fatal flaws.

  • I shouldn’t rely on a computer for something so critical
  • The color coding doesn’t make much sense except in an advertising kind of mentality (oo, oo, pick me, pick me)
  • My willpower varies widely with the time of day, how much sleep I got, if I remembered to take my medications and how much caffeine is in my system.

I might have to resort to stronger measures. Like a sheet of paper and a pencil.

Someone one December suggested abandoning the lists altogether.

It was a man.

You know, those creatures with the one track mind. Aim them toward something and nothing will distract them. No multitasking there. Do Item A. Ignore everything else until Item A ends successfully. In fact, no other items even exist until Item A reaches completion.

Oh, to be a man.

Abandon all lists.

As if.

Ha!

Here’s a sample list of things to do between now, Friday afternoon, and Monday, three days away.

photo-18 copy 27

I hope your list doesn’t look this long or this silly.

If I cloned myself and hired someone to help it might begin to make a dent. And this doesn’t include the seven or eight things at the top of the list. Nor does it involve the unwritten mental list I carry around all the time. And it certainly doesn’t have anything written down that might suddenly come up and take total precedence over the entire list. Even the red, or blue or highlighted or underlined or bolded items. Nope. There’s always that kind of stuff hovering nearby.

If you’re like MSH, or almost any other man, you’d suggest the ABC123 approach of prioritizing.

That’s all well and good.

But, honestly, I’m just venting. Your job is to read and commiserate or shake your head and think I’m a nut case. Whatever.

If you also have a list that looks like this, or worse (bless you) then you understand. My list is just here to make you feel better about your list.

Nothing more.

What gets done will get done. What doesn’t, doesn’t.

Oh well.

Life goes on.

Except when it doesn’t.

Categories: Family, Holiday, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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