Thursday, December 29, 2011

"The Alligators are Always There"

A light-bulb went off in my head when I read this phrase – which accompanied this photo:

I am well aware that I live a blessed life. There is no real ‘want’ in my house. We are warm, clothed, fed, healthy, employed and generally skipping along merrily. Yet, I am fully aware that “the alligators are always there.”

Our economy sucks donkey-butt. Things could tank (even more than they have) any moment plunging us into a state of not-so-merry-skipping. Mother Earth seems to be grumbling a bit and spewing out odd weather patterns and tossing some disasters in here and there for good measure.

Then there’s the fact that I have managed to live to the ripe-old-age of 41 without suffering a major loss. And it is coming - whether I like it or not. My grandparents are not cooperating with my plan to keep them with me forever. My Gramps turned 90 this year and his mind is in a state of regression and fuzziness that even the strongest medications can’t fix. Nana is 85 and doing her level best to take care of him and not (unintentionally as it would be) plunge herself into un-wellness in the process. My Grandma (on the other side) is also 90 & though she is healthy her body is fragile (aren’t all of us fragile when we think about it?).

The news is filled with “tragic accidents” and “homicidal” and/or “suicidal” maniacs. Horrible things happen to good people every day – in the blink of an eye.

You just. Never. Know.

It frightens me.

However that favorite blogger also reminded me that "life without fear is not a life fully appreciated." And so...I shall embrace the fear and enjoy a greater appreciation for my blessings. Those alligators will have to wait a little longer! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Year-End Ramblings

There are only a few days left in 2011. Time seems to go so much faster as I get older. How is it possible that my children have grown taller than I am, yet I can recall the feel of cradling them in my arms as if it were just yesterday they were that tiny?

About this time, each year, I try to complete a mental inventory of lessons learned and memories made during the previous 12 months. A few years ago this was a mostly painful process as I was undergoing a sort of transformation. This year, however, there is less sting to it.

On December 31st  last year I posted: “…if you were to ask me to name one day this year (2010) that stands out among the rest I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you it was August 30th. On that day a door that had long been closed opened wide and shined a light on a corner of my soul that had long been darkened. That day marked the beginning of an incredible journey that has amazed me every step of the way…a journey that (as far as I can tell) will continue for many years to come.”  [wow…that quote makes me realize I need to edit a bit more before publishing – sheesh!]

My Knight in Shining Armor (KiSA) continues to illuminate my soul and enrich my everyday life. We have our moments of angst and venom, but for the most part the “honeymoon” continues. As a couple, we have met some goals that we set and modified others. This past year has been a pleasant journey in that regard.

Unaccustomed to having a “partner” in life I have been forced to reconfigure how my brain responds to certain situations. This is not a bad thing. Learned responses are not always “proper” responses. As a result of these changes I can honestly say that this past year of learning who I am in relation to my KiSA has been quite wonderful.

2011 has also brought separation from the oldest child that I “made” (as the chronologically oldest child is mine by virtue of the fact that I raised her – I did not “make” her). Her choice to move out on her own rocked my world in ways I could never have imagined. She made some inappropriate choices and has had to live with and learn from them – while I watch.  Hardest. Thing. Ever.

Yet another of my offspring closed the book on high school…opening a fresh chapter in his life. His goals are set and his path lies before him. I am so proud of how he has matured in the past year.

My baby…is still my baby. He may tower over me and his voice may resemble that of a grown man but that does not change the facts. It’s fun to watch him discover who he is – while under the watchful and protective eye of his mom!

Our fur-babies are getting older – both of them suffer from arthritis and other old-lady-dog ailments – but they are still here!  Always brightening our days with their waggy tails and licky tongues.
The promise of 2012 is beginning to glow on the horizon! What magical things will the New Year hold for us? I can’t wait to find out together!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Challenge Accepted

A friend shared with me a cool idea she heard about - a challenge for the New Year. She gave me the URL so I could check it out for myself. It's called "The 50/50 Challenge" ( The idea is to challenge yourself to read 50 books and see 50 movies - all within the calendar year of 2012. Reading and movies - two of my most favorite things!

I accept!

Today I started making a list of the movies I want to see and the books I want to read. There aren't really any rules - according to the challenge website - but I decided that it wouldn't be much of a "challenge" unless I imposed one rule upon myself: These must be new (to me) books and movies. No repeats. I figure this will also help me broaden my cinematic and literary horizons.

My plan is to bring my family along on this journey - at least the part about 50 movies - (I'll leave it up to them to determine what, if any, books they read during the coming year) in an attempt to bring a bit of culture and adventure into our lives. I'm sure a little popcorn and soda will grease the wheels a bit if I meet any resistance. As I am the only female currently in residence the genre of these films may come into question from time-to-time...I may have to bow to more manly themes...maybe...once in a (long) while.

When I look at my book list I have feel a twinge of concern about my ability to read "that many" books in the space of 12 months. If I stick to the fluff and mushiness that only takes a few days to get through it will be super simple...but I get the feeling this challenge is not about quantity but quality. Therefore, I will try to read selections from the NYT best seller list as well as my beloved "romance novels" this year.

No matter what the final outcome I think this challenge will be one that pushes the edges of my personal envelope and introduces me to some ideas that I might otherwise not encounter. I look forward to beginning the moment I awake...ok, maybe not THE moment I awake as I will mostly like require medicinal ministrations at that precise moment...but, you get the idea...on the first day of 2012!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sleep Tight

Growing up, my mother often reminded me that I had to “sleep in the bed I made” when it came to my choices. If I made a choice that had unsavory consequences (inevitably resulting in much whining on my part) she’d remind me that *I* had made that choice and those consequences were *mine* to live with. Period.

I now find myself on the other side of this lesson – with a twist. My own daughter has made some choices that have lead her to a situation that is, quite honestly, horrendous. Every fiber in my “mommy being” wants to rescue her…and I tried…but she is refusing my help. So, I called my mom and cried to her.

A little background: At the age of 18 I made very similar choices, ended up in a similar situation and ignored offers of help and advice – in much the same way. Essentially, I am now in the same role with my daughter that my mother was with me. I am watching my baby girl self-destruct with no real means of stopping it or protecting her.

Family and friends have offered words of wisdom. Those same people have pointed out the errors she has made and given viable options to right wrongs. Though none of these people are obligated to assist her in any way they have done their best and she has been given the tools she needs to make things right.

As I cried and vented my frustrations and concerns for my dtr’s welfare my mother said nothing. She silently listened as I spewed fear for my daughter and anger toward the person at the center of the situation. When I was finished she said, “Fun isn’t it? This game you get to play. You get to do what you can to make sure she’s safe while being ever-so-delicate enough not to push her away and lose her forever. I know it well.”

I have apologized over and over to my family for the hellacious torture I put them through during the 18 years I spent “in the bed I made.” This not-so-subtle reminder of that torture earned my mother another heart-felt apology followed by an even more sincere question: “What do I do?” Her response took me by surprise. My mother took a deep breath and said, “Tuck her into the bed she has made and let her figure it out for herself.”

WHAT?! Tuck her into the bed she has made? Leave her there? Stop trying to fix it? Are you kidding me? Obviously, she is not mature enough to understand what she is doing, nor is she capable of making the right choices to get out of this situation. How am I supposed to knowingly abandon her to her fate? She is my daughter! I am her mother – isn’t it my *job* to make this better?

The answer is, quite simply, no. No, it is not my job to make this better for her. No, it is not my job to fix it and make the bad things go away. It is, however, my job to allow her to fall down, scrape up her knees, elbows and whatever else is in the way and to pick herself back up, dust herself off, and try again.

It is my job to “tuck her into the bed she has made” – assure her that I am, indeed, here for her when she needs me – kiss her firmly on the forehead and send her out into the great-big-world all by herself and pray that she figures it out before it is too late.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011's the little things.

Today I did a little happy dance at my desk - my son called to tell me that the guy who comes around and paints the reflective house numbers on the curb is coming through our neighborhood tomorrow. A couple years ago he came through and left fliers on everyones' doors. I checked the appropriate boxes and (per instructions) put the flier and money out for him to collect - but, somehow, he missed me. I had selected the American Flag design to go with the house number and was excited to see it along with the bright, fresh numbers (the existing one is so faded it's invisible in the dark) when I got home that day...but it wasn't there. I was sad.

Tomorrow I get a second chance. This time I will place the flier and money in a much more obvious location - so he can't miss it! Finally, we will have a visible identifier for our home with an American Flag painted along side it. This makes me very happy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

History repeating itself...

I am fairly certain there are few things as painful as watching your child make the same mistakes you made. It is a feeling of such helplessness and fear...such sadness. She is making a huge mistake and I can only watch it happen and pray that she realizes what is happening much quicker than I did.

Nothing I say will change what she fact...I must be careful NOT to say anything to create the reverse effect - I don't want to push her toward the problem.

You know what the worst part is? I now fully comprehend the pain I put my own mother through all those years ago - when she watched me stumble down this road. My mother tried and tried to get me to open my eyes to the glaring truth that was in front of me to no avail. My grandmother wrote me long, heart-felt letters and cut out newspaper article trying to show me what I was doing in a round-about way. None of it worked. In fact...the harder they tried the more determined I became to prove them all wrong and make it work.

It took me 12 years to realize that they had been right all along and another six to do something about it. Even then I didn't fully understand the depth of the mistake I had made until my grandmother hugged me tightly and said "Welcome back! You've been gone a long time girl!" I vowed to NEVER let that happen again.

Now I am watching my beautiful daughter disappear at the hands of her "mistake." I did tell her - one time - that what she is allowing this mistake to do is wrong and that she is worth so much more...she ignored me. I have now retreated and resorted to begging the Universe to send her mistake down a very different path - one that does not include my daughter.

I called my mom a few nights ago to vent and voice my concerns about what is happening...and she said "It's hard isn't it?" the reality of the pain I had put my mother through slammed into me with such force I was unable to respond for a bit. I apologized to her (for the gazillionth time) and she added, "It's a fine line this game we have to play. You can't keep telling her. We just have to pray she is safe and that she will wake up and realize that she is beautiful and talented and worth so much more than what she is settling for." SIGH I really hate it when my mom is right - but she is - most of the time. ;)

For now I pray, and make myself available to listen or offer advice when asked...for now I wait and I watch. I hope it doesn't take my girl 18 years to make a change.