Metamorphosis

I received a birthday present the other day of a mother and daughter called Metamorphosis. The idea behind the gift was very thoughtful. It’s not your typical mother and baby tchotchke. The statue depicts a mother standing behind her daughter. Mom is  hanging on the daughter’s back like a leech in a effort to keep her from leaving embracing her daughter from behind. With my daughter getting married in a few weeks it was a very nice gift and an attempt to help us capture this special time in our lives. Although  I appreciate the thoughtfulness, I will be honest and admit I don’t really like the statue itself. I don’t like cookie cutter collectibles and prefer things that are one-of-a-kind, preferably handmade. However, it did made me think about the fact that I am currently living in a state of metamorphosis.
My family is changing. My oldest daughter has been busy planning her wedding, happily dreaming about her future. My husband has been busy working so we can pay for the ridiculously expensive day. I contribute when my opinion is consulted occasionally or when I feel the need to take over step in and offer guidance. It makes me happy to watch her plan her future seeing how very happy she is. My younger daughter is getting ready to set out on her own. She’s finishing her third year of over-priced college and I know, after her internship in an exciting city this summer and our last year of tuition, she will fly off and start her new career. A fiercely independent young woman, I am both proud and a bit frightened by her focus and drive for success. Of course, all this change comes with worry, fear, concern, and some angst thrown in for good measure.There has been joy, laughter and eager anticipation along with some tears (mostly mine!). I suppose it comes with the job of being a mother to reassure, listen and encourage all while putting my own feelings on hold. The world is so different now that my advice seems antiquated and often not in sync with today’s twenty-something’s perspective.

In between the laughter and tears I have been spending a lot of time thinking. My daughters are moving on to the next phase of their lives. I’m excited for them but left wondering about the next phase of my life. I have so many interests and desires. Many of which have been put on the back burner due to bad timing and/or lack of funds. It almost feels like I am the twenty year-old with my whole life in front of me again. Now that we have managed to get our children through school, sober, in one piece and without a grandchild in tow, I’m left wondering what’s next? I have about seven years left at a minimum before I can retire from teaching. Seems like a long time but I know it will go quick. I love to travel and I also dream about running a bed and breakfast. I want to move to a condo but I want to live in a lake house. My interest ADD is in full swing when faced with the prospect of free time, financial freedom and the opportunity to move on to a new career path. I believe I could run a fabulous b&b but an innkeeper’s lifestyle may not be conducive to time off for travel. I love the idea of a maintainence free condo that would allow us to travel without worrying about yard work, snow removal, etc. However, then I remember that people annoy me. Sigh… 

So as my daughters look forward to their exciting futures, my husband and I contemplate ours. Well…I’m doing most of the worrying contemplation. He’s too busy working. Weddings are crazy expensive and don’t get me started on college tuition and the cost of textbooks. We are almost across the finish line with this whole parenting thing. Will I end up a beautiful butterfly, emerging to find a new me and a new direction? Or, will I emerge a frog from a tadpole, hopping from one new adventure to another? Stay tuned…

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Relationships Are Like Belly Buttons

Belly buttons are funny things. Some of us have “innies” and others have “outies”. After our birth they serve no purpose other than being an unfortunate lint collector. I find family and friends to be like belly buttons. At times we feel “in”; loved, cared for, connected to a part of something bigger than ourselves. Other times we are “out”; protruding awkwardly, unsure of our purpose and questioning if the relationship between us and the bigger picture is necessary. Would you notice if your belly button was no longer there? Would certain family and friends feel the loss of a relationship or would they simply pick the lint from their crevace, flick it off and move on.

It’s not as bad as it may sound. I’m a happy girl who considers herself blessed with a wonderful husband and two beautiful daughters. They see me and love me as I am. They would feel my loss (or at least notice the lack of food prepared or dirty laundry that needs tending). I have friends who I hang out with and call on in a pinch. It’s just that as I get older I have noticed that cousins, aunts, sisters and close friends seem less impactful on my life. Sometimes it stings to know how unimportant you are to someone else. There’s that sister that no longer speaks to me…the cousin who holds a grudge against me for something another family member did…the wedding I wasn’t invited to because I “didn’t make the cut”…lunch dates that take place without me…friends too busy to return calls…Facebook posts that leave me with a twinge of jealousy.

Relationships change…I get that. How do you go through the change without getting your feelings hurt? I’ve always yearned to be a part of a big family that loves to get together and eat and laugh. I want to go on sister getaway weekends tell secrets and giggle until dawn. I think it would be fun to have lots of cousins to throw a big family reunion with. I dream of having so many lunch invitations that I just end up holding my own and inviting everyone over for tea. That’s not my reality. I’m working towards a place that makes me ok with it. I’m just not there yet.

 

Being Attentional

I am thinking about trying something new. I do this. Regularly.

I like to try new things…learn…create…reinvent myself. I think it annoys my family.  I will admit that I am somewhat ADHD about my interests. I can’t help it, I’m curious about life. I like to try new things. Things seem to stumble across my path.  I feel like I haven’t found my niche yet so literally just about anything feasible catches my attention.

I tend to go through phases. I’ve sat through multiple classes about writing children’s stories. The instructor said my idea was good and I should pursue it. I didn’t. I had two babies and stopped thinking for a few decades years. While raising my babies, I took a few painting classes. I found it to be very relaxing so I ran out and bought everything a budding artist could need. Family and friends indulged my newest addiction with presents of easels, paint and brushes. I framed a few things…I love looking at them…maybe I should start again? Everything is sitting in my closet. Sigh…

One obsession that has stuck for a while is my mini farm with chickens and a goat in my backyard that I’m pretty sure was inspired by a past obsession with Farmville. Have I mentioned yet that my husband is a patient man? He didn’t even have a dog growing up and now he feeds a goat twice a day. I have three dogs in addition to the barnyard critters and there’s a frog from Brookstone that lives on my  kitchen counter that won’t die. I enjoy animals…I have the potential to be one of “those” crazy people who hoards animals so I try to keep myself in check. An enabler friend just offered me two turkeys and a chicken. I didn’t say no. The day before another “friend” offered me two more goats. Hmmm…

This past weekend we visited a brand new vineyard. I asked for a tour of the land and was fascinated with the art of growing grapes. For a fleeting moment I envisioned my own backyard transformed into a vineyard. I could see it…the vines, the wine bottles, the labels. The moment was fleeting and it ended when I bumped into the lady who offered me two more goats. Gone were the grapes as I moved on to where could I get an extra goat abode. ADHD.

I’ve always wanted to write however. I actually started this blog to see if anyone liked my style of writing. I think I have a book floating around in my head. I can’t decide if I should finish my original children’s book idea, start a new book about my colorful experiences or do something totally unrelated to me and write a novel. My fear in writing a novel is that I will run out of things to say. I feel like I am more of a short story girl. I love telling stories about things that have happened to me and I am encouraged a lot by people to write these experiences down. I’ve always loved Laura Ingalls Wilder. She simply wrote about her life. Maybe thats my path? Inspiration from my childhood. I relate more to David Sedaris however.

My new obsession is to visit Laura’s homesites out West. See how my brain works? “Maybe I should write? I always enjoyed LIW’s writing. It would be awesome to see where she lived. I should got there!” I’ve been researching the trip for days now. A new obsession interest is born. Maybe David is a fan of Laura too…

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

I don’t know if this happens to you but sometimes when I look in the mirror I’m surprised by who is looking back at me. I don’t feel old but with each passing day I am looking less like the me I remember. I get glimpses of someone I once knew, she looks strangely familiar and yet like no one I’ve ever met.

Each day I wake feeling a little bit weary and looking a bit more mature. As I stare at this stranger I assemble my tools for improvement. I’ll admit my beauty routine has turned into more of a covert mission lately. I cover the grey, camouflage the dark circles, and hide from new wrinkles. After my mission is complete, I turn to my closet and don the official color of old…black. I’m pretty sure I’m not fooling many as I struggle to find myself and try to hide myself all with the same outfit. There are some days I throw caution to the wind and wear that bold and bright top that drapes in all the wrong places. When I ask my two pencil thin, fashion forward daughters what they think I usually elicit a response of, “it looks like something you would wear” or “it’s your style mom, not mine”. I float out of the room…colors flying…leaving the mirrors behind.

It’s weird. I feel like I can still do cartwheels. However, if I were to actually try, an ambulance may need to be involved.  I ran track as a kid and was pretty fast. I tried starting up a running program a few years back in an effort to do a 5K and ended up with an injury instead. The doc said, “try walking”. So I walk…sometimes. My husband bought me a super cool bike last year for my birthday…its got a basket, a bell, and much to my daughters distress…I love it. My maiden voyage resulted in too quick of a gear change and the chain getting caught up in a tangled mess. Gears, schmears. The guy at the bike shop was very helpful, didn’t laugh at me, and pretty soon I was back in action. Back in the day I rode everywhere on my red,white and blue banana seat bike with steamers flying from the handlebars. Today, I slowly make my way down a local rail trail, stopping here and there to admire the woods, an owl or a nearby bench. I don’t recall the loud wind tunnel effect in my ears when I used to ride all over the neighborhood as a kid…my head sweats under the helmet and I’m not even going to discuss the literal pain in my ass from the cushioned bike seat.

I see my daughters growing up and having experiences that make me giggle, worry and sometimes even envy their young stupidity. When did I get so serious? When did the stupid stop and the “that’s silly/dangerous/inappropriate” start? I yearn to throw caution to the wind, drop everything and go wild. As long as I’m in bed by 9:00pm so that I can get up for work in time, I’m sure we’ll have a good time. Gone are the days of heading out at 10:30pm and coming home in the early dawn hours. I still greet the dawn of day but usually it’s because I can’t sleep, had a hot flash or my husband is serenading me with his snoring.

Perhaps this is something that everyone goes through as they grow older…perhaps I just have too much time to think or had too much fun way back when. I still have fun…don’t get me wrong…I AM fun. I have great stories. But my knees hurt now and I’m tired and just one margarita makes my face feel funny. I seem to be turning into the old lady in the room and there’s not enough make up and black pants to keep my youth in check. I’m sure if I were to voice these concerns out loud people would tell me to loose a few pounds, love myself the way I am and embrace people calling me Ma’am. I’m trying. Really. There are perks to aging with regards to “been there, done that”. I watch the younger folk (OMG did I just write younger folk??) stress and worry about things I know are not important. I’m more financially stable thanks to decades in my field. There are the perks. I just wish that old lady would stop staring back at me from the mirror. She looks an awful lot like my mother.

Embracing Change

Hello 2015. Goodbye 2014. A new year has arrived. Ready or not. I like to think of a new year as a new opportunity…to reevalute, reorganize and reinvent. Most people do I guess. Resolutions to lose 50 pounds or start a new exercise program seems to be the theme most people follow. Others clean their whole house from top to bottom, reorganize closets and declutter their lives. I could stand to lose a few pounds, should exercise more and my house could always use a dusting. These are all good and worthwhile activities to help mentally ready ourselves for the unexpected twists and turns this new year may bring. I certainly had my share of turning and twisting in 2014. So, in honor of the new year, I’ve decided to reevaluate and make a few changes. Here goes:

1. My initial intent with this blog was to write daily. Thanks to some health issues and unexpected side effects from medication it didn’t happen. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. It couldn’t be helped and so the first order of 2015 business is to make a new, more realistic goal. Instead of blogging daily I am changing my goal to blog often. It seems more realistic and will allow for those days when a migraine strikes, the doctor prescribes meds that make the headache go away, but you end up losing your ability to think straight in the process.

2. This leads me to my next change…more au natural living. I am hoping to explore better ways to live more naturally with less chemicals. Maybe it’s because I’m closer to 50 than 40 now but there is definitely something to be said for less chemicals and healthier options. I’m not talking about going off-grid and giving up my favorite perfume or Oreos but I can certainly be more aware of what I am putting in, on and around my body.

3. Well now that I’ve brought it up I might as well address it…my body. It doesn’t move enough. It’s getting softer in places and lately has been betraying me. I had a major issue where I lost consciousness in 2014 and that started me down the rabbit hole of doctors, tests and evil medicine. Scary possibilities like stroke, seizure and heart problems were suggested and then tested. I’ve finally got things under control and then a lump decided to appear in my armpit. I’m not sure what the lump means yet but I feel like my body is crying out for help. So, in 2015 I will attempt to move more and lounge less. Thanks to google I am anxiously awaiting to see if my lump is simply a virus or cancer. It’s true what they say about not looking things up on the internet. It will scare the shit out of anyone. I’ll stay positive until I am told otherwise. Besides the last rabbit hole didn’t even yield a rabbit.

4. Speaking of staying positive…I thought I’d give that a try too. I can be a bit negative about life. I’ve had my share of disappointments and after a while your brain starts to anticipate it. Crave it. It’s easier to dwell in the land of negativity. There is less disappointment and lots of people will rally around you sharing in your negative attitude. Many encourage it and are happier when you are hanging out together…unhappy…irritated…annoyed. The problem is the other people around you who don’t share this passion for pessimism. To them you can be a bit of a drag. So instead I’m choosing happiness. I’m going to marinate in positivity and see where it takes me.

5. Less social media and more time. Facebook can be such a time sucker that before you know it less books are being read, your WordPress blog has been neglected and you look up from your iPad and suddenly notice that your husband has grown a beard. So, I’m planning to plug in less to my digital world so that I can be more present in my actual world. I’ve got a stack of books ready and these people who live with me seem nice so it should be great!

Wishing you all PEACE, GOOD HEALTH and POSITIVITY in 2015.

MG

Thanksgiving Bliss

I’m beginning to think my 22lb turkey has the easiest job this Thanksgiving. All it has to do is get a butter massage, it’s ass stuffed and then eaten.

As the whirlwind that is a family holiday approaches I find myself in a tailspin and slightly out of control. Barking at my loved ones, attitude spiking, anger stalking my mood with every person who flops on the couch as I work away at the feast from hell. This year should be better. I’ve got it under control like never before. I’m only making a handful of dishes. My house has been cleaned (and not by me). I’ve shopped before the snowstorm. My workday was canceled giving me extra time to prepare. Sure, I’ve got the annual head cold that makes me want to crawl under a blanket and watch Netflix for the day and eat grilled grilled cheese sandwiches. Typical. What is it about big holidays that makes me crazy? My children are home. They’re happy and healthy. My husband stayed home from work. He’s enjoying time with said children and his new snowblower. Me? I’m overwhelmed. Feeling like there’s too much to do, not enough time to do it all and not really having a lot of ambition to do any of it. Last night as I was finishing up the last of my “day before” tasks I started thinking that maybe we just shouldn’t host anymore.

We’ve hosted for a long time because we are like Switzerland with both our families. My mom won’t invite his mom over and vice versa so we invite everyone here. One big happy happy family and my ulcersitting around giving thanks. We have tried other scenarios. A few times we have alternated and spent time with just my family or just my husband’s clan. There always seems to be an issue. One year I got so annoyed with the whole situation we actually left town and went to Washington DC with my girls. We spent a few days visiting museums, had dinner reservations at the place to eat Thanksgiving in DC and stayed in a nice hotel. I was going to take control of this situation. My daughters still call that Thanksgiving the worst one ever. They missed their family…their cousins. They remember it like a hostage situation. I was their captor. For several years travel soccer gave me an out because we traveled to tournaments for Thanksgiving and ate with the team at a TGI Fridays. Most people grumbled but I thought it was kind of nice. Everyone was on their best behavior, they got along, and I didn’t have to cook or clean up.
My all time favorite was the year we were supposed to travel to my aunt’s home a few hours away. That morning my youngest daughter awoke covered from head to toe in a rash and raging fever. Travel plans canceled, I ran to the little market in town, spent 3 times what I should and bought everything I needed and made a complete soup-to-nuts Thanksgiving dinner. We stayed in our PJ’s all day, watched movies and ate in front of the TV with my red faced screaming scarlet fevered baby in my arms. It was the best Thanksgiving EVER! And surprisingly I was probably the most calm I’d ever been. Go figure.

I sincerely have a desire to make the holiday wonderful for my husband and children. They deserve it. I just don’t know how to do it without freaking out. The house needs to be clean. The food must be cooked. I’m in awe of people who can flop on a couch and watch TV with quiet abandon of all that needs to be done. My brain won’t quiet enough to let me settle. I’ve been laying in bed since 3am trying to calculate how many hours my turkey will need to cook. It took 3 minutes to do a google search to figure it out but I choose 3 hours of stressing in bed worrying before I actually got up. Thanksgiving Day Bliss is mine.