What’s Under the Cover?

Recently, I’ve been hanging around with some awesome ladies.  Some that I have known a while and some new friends.   There are the elderly ones, those of my own age and some younger.  Once again, I become an observer of people who are not what you see visually.  You can look at a person and see an old woman and leave it at that.  But, after taking the time to listen, you find that you can never judge a book by its cover.

For example, I’ve met this wonderful woman, who I have seen before and known her only as a friend’s mother.  I assumed she’s mother material just like all mothers.  Now she’s older and that’s that.  After spending an evening with her, I found her to be spunky, strong, independent and hilarious to be around.  She has lived a hard life of sorts, raising three daughters as a single mother.  She’s worked her whole life in a time when women were considered lesser than men in the workplace.  Now wait a minute, I should say in a time when it was even worse for women in the workplace than it is now.  It still isn’t equal in my opinion. She recounted stories of her working days of how men tried to undermine her because they didn’t want a woman in her particular position.  She’s a soft-spoken woman so you would never think that she would stand up for herself.  But in her soft-spoken way, she handled these men with the might of a warrior.  She put them in their place and would not accept being looked down upon because she was female.  She’s had to be the strong one her whole life and she knows that there are times when men will take advantage of the unassuming old woman who just walked in the door of a car dealership.  They are eventually sorry for their mistaken assumptions when she tells them exactly the way it’s going to be.  They never saw that coming.  The treasures that she has lived need to be shared.  Younger people need to hear her stories because they don’t have a clue about how good they have it now.  It’s so refreshing to see the elderly and realize that were young once, they have lived a life and yes, they know about all the stuff that we think we should shelter them from.

I have a friend who just became a grandmother for the first time.  Her daughter is a hard-working young woman and is just returning to work after being out on maternity leave.  My friend shares the ‘goings on’ of the new young family.  Her son-in-law is not as prepared as he thought he was to be a parent.   The baby was born premature so it has been even more difficult these first few months than with having a full term pregnancy.  With that being said, the mamma has to go back to work and schedules have to be rearranged.  The daddy will need to take a more active role with the baby.  But, as my friend relays to me:  “I think he’s got a screw loose.  He doesn’t have a clue.”  My friend is the easiest going person with a great sense of humor.  The young family is preparing to go on a ‘vacation’ to visit daddy’s family.  As they prepare and begin packing the car, the son-in-law seems not quite up to the task and states, “I am on vacation.”  I had to laugh when my friend told me this story because her eyes got so big as she was telling me this.  Both of us were shaking our heads and almost simultaneously said, “Doesn’t he know there is no vacationing from being a parent?”  Oh My, mister, mister has a rude awakening coming.

A new friend of mine who is around my age, in her fifties, has a remarkable sense of humor and a glorious soul filled with love.  She is the true example of, “When life gives you lemons…”.  When situations get difficult and stress is riding high, her mind just grabs out of thin air the funniest responses.  She told me a story of when her mother was in the hospital after an accident.  She and her sister were in the waiting area of the hospital for several hours.  They both would go in and out of her mother’s room and check on her.  As they were sitting there, someone came out to let them know how their mother was doing and out of the blue, she said, “What are you talking about, our mother is in the room down the hall.  She’s been sleeping this whole time.  We have been checking on this woman because we heard of her troubles and thought we would just wait here and keep an eye on her.”  Of course, she was joking but the attendant didn’t understand and noted how wonderful these two women were for waiting and attending to a complete stranger. This woman makes everything fun and she makes everyone that comes in contact with her feel like family.  She is the most hilarious person to be around.  When I am around her we laugh and giggle and share off-color silliness throughout the day.  This is how she is every day.  I just love being around her.  It’s funny to watch younger women around her respond to her humor.  There’s a younger woman in her 20’s that works with her.  A young person at first doesn’t know how to react to a woman in her 50’s with such a sense of humor.  The younger ones think the 50’s crowd is old and stuffy and that we don’t know what’s what in the world because they are young and they have created everything new.  Hahaha, the joke’s on them because we are the ones who really know how to have fun.  The 20-year-old is now getting used to the silliness and is enjoying every bit of it.  Hopefully, she will realize that us old folks do know a thing or two or three.

I have friends of all different ages and each age group and individual friend has so much to offer this world.  Sometimes I think we should put blinders on when we meet people so that we can’t make a judgment by what we see.  Too many people are missing out on real, meaningful relationships because their vision is so short-sighted.  There are treasures out there but I think we have to close our eyes, open our ears and our hearts so that we can feel the abundance of love that everyone has to offer.  Love comes in all different forms.  The story of a person’s life is a gift of love, knowledge and a new way of envisioning this life.  Grab the jewels and keep them with you forever.  They will enrich your life to the fullest.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to Me

Watching the little child play is heartwarming.  This time around, I am allowing a child to be a child for as long as he wants. That was my mindset back in those days. The first-born child wasn’t given that luxury.  I was young and rigid and only knew what I knew as a new parent.  I expected so much out of him.  I loved him more than life itself but I placed responsibility on him that far exceeded what a child should have to do.

The second-born child lived free and easy.  He still had responsibilities, but more appropriate for his age.  I was in a better place too, in my life.  Happier than I had been when the first-born came along.  A bad marriage can do that to a person.

A second marriage came along when my second-born child was three.  We had a new family and happier times.  We had more of a family atmosphere.  We did things as a family and it was so refreshing to realize a new life with new possibilities.

Along came my third child.  This child was more challenging than the first two.  Very strong-willed, smart and stubborn.  This one was also given responsibilities but she would decide, at her discretion, whether she would comply or not.  Whatever mood hit her at the time.

All three children were very different from each other.  It only makes sense.  I was a different person each time I gave birth.  There was 5 years difference between each of them.  Three children born and raised together with three very different personalities.

Today, they are all grown and each has moved in their own direction.  The first-born has a wife and four children.  He’s a very quiet and contemplative person. They live in the neighborhood that he grew up in.  It makes my heart smile to know that there was something special about his childhood that he wanted to stay in the same place and raise his children there.  The second-born has a wife and two children.  His path has been a bit more complicated.  After serving our country for many years, he now lives in the southern part of the United States.  He’s got such a great sense of humor and although he doesn’t live close by, he holds onto family traditions very dearly. He wants things to be the same for his kids as they were for him as a child. My third child is recently married and currently serving our country in the armed forces.  She is the most independent of the three.  She moved south also.  She built a life of her own, on her own terms and is set on a path of determination to reach a career goal within the time frame she planned very carefully.  As independent as she is, she likes to create traditional holidays.  She likes to make all the traditional foods that she grew up with.

I am very proud of my three children.  All so different and yet in some ways, very much the same.  All three cling to family traditions more than I thought they would.  All three are friends now that they are adults.  That is something I wasn’t sure would come to fruition but it’s true.  I love all three with every fiber of my being.

Raising children is not for the faint of heart because they don’t stay children.  They become pre-adolescent and behave in more difficult ways to handle.  Then, they become teenagers, which is not my favorite life stage at all.  Those days are stress riddled with all kinds of grown-up situations, yet still children in adult bodies.  Finally, adulthood where they strike out on their own and make their mark in the world.  Sometimes, their mark isn’t easy for a mother to watch.  They all have their own bumps and rollercoasters to deal with in their lives.  But, as a mother,  I’m still riding those rollercoasters with them even though they are not my lessons to learn.  We are tied together forever and every situation in my children’s lives will always affect me.  That’s just how mothers are.

I am thankful to have become a mother.  Throughout struggles, trials, tribulations, celebrations, graduations, grandchildren and everything in between, I have grown because of my children.  I thank each and every one of you for the gifts that you are in my life.

It’s Time to Play

I decided to sit down at the computer and write at this moment.  I have a craving to write something.  I just don’t know what it is yet.  I have to let it simmer for a bit.  “It”, being my writing subject.  Sometimes, I don’t need a subject at all.  Maybe some of you remember the show “Seinfeld”.  It was called the show about nothing.  The show about nothing became a cultural icon.  It seemed that everyone related to the normal daily thoughts and feelings of everyday people.  We were able to laugh out loud because the subjects covered were so familiar to us.  It’s a great feeling to know that so many others are thinking and feeling the same way we are.  It’s comforting  that we are not alone in our madness.

It’s snowing this morning here in New Jersey, United States.  It looks pretty,  but honestly, I don’t know too many people that are happy to see the snow.  It causes disruption for commuters.  Everyone gets in a frenzy when it snows.  They rush to the grocery store to buy milk, bread and eggs.  Lest we starve!  It’s 2 inches of snow, not the end of the world.  Snow silently and peacefully enters our reality, all the while, glittering and sparkling it’s freshness upon the earth’s surface.  The beauty it bestows is celestial.  Adult humans seem to have a tendency to skew reality.  Our perceptions change the actuality of everything.   A small child, on the other hand, can look out the window and see wondrous potential in the falling snow.  Bountiful creations whirl around in their mind of how they can pick up this fluffy white stuff and make anything out of it.

I will call my mother this afternoon, as I do every day.  We will talk about our day and complain about the snow.  Neither one of us has to go outside and trudge through it to get to a designated place of employment but, nonetheless, we will complain that we don’t like the snow.  Doesn’t that sound like madness to you?  I’m shaking my head at my own self.  Where has that child in me gone?  Why can’t I see the beauty that has laid itself before me?

I realize that I have allowed grown up life to skew my perceptions of pure joy.  I can’t see the purity of the falling snow anymore.  It’s time for me to shake it off and get in touch with this beautiful endowment from the heavens.  There is so much beauty here and I have allowed myself to be blinded by past conditioning, pain and suffering.  I have consensually given away my sight so that I might live in fear and anguish.

Today, this moment, I must realign myself with the universe and forget about the past.  I must get myself up and show up with full spirit.  Today, I will play in the snow and enjoy all that it has to offer and I will come out triumphant, if only for a few moments, and feel alive again with the sight of a child.

I find it amazing that I sat down to write with no thought of any subject to write about.  So, I decided to talk about the weather and look where it took me.  I think that’s pretty cool.  I love how things unfold out of our minds if we are able to sit still for a little bit and let it flow.  I’m totally loving this process.

 

 

We Actually Like Each Other

 

 

I live with my boyfriend and his 19 year old daughter.  We have a nice, small, cohesive family unit.  We are not an exciting bunch but we do know how to laugh and have fun together.  Yesterday, my boyfriend and I went to the diner for dinner.  It’s a local diner that we often go to and everybody knows everybody.  We had an early dinner, as we usually do, so the diner was empty.  We sat and ate our dinner ,as my boyfriend began to tell me stories of his first job, when he was fresh out of high school.  He described the crazy shenanigans that went on.  He worked with his father, uncle,  brother and cousin.  The young ones would torment their boss and anybody that crossed their paths just for a laugh.  As he told me story after story, I laughed my head off.  We were carrying on at the table and having a great old time.  As we were leaving the diner, we stopped at the counter to pay and the owner was asking about my step-daughter.  You know, the typical, “How is she doing?, Is she working”, and surprisingly, “Would she like a waitressing job?”

I began to give all the details of what she’s doing in her life and how proud of her we are.  After a few minutes of my bragging, I said to them, “Look at me going on about my step-daughter.”  They laughed and said that they thought it was great.  They have often seen us together and commented on their admiration of how good we get along.  As the conversation continued, they both mentioned to me that they thought that my boyfriend and I were a cute couple.  I have never considered us a “cute” couple.  We are 64 and 58 years old.  How “cute” could we be?  They went on to say that,  they observed how we laughed together and that we actually seem to like each other.  That just cracked me up.

Their statement made me think about when I was married to my first husband.  We would sit in a restaurant and I would observe other couples eating and conversing and laughing.  I always wondered what they were talking about because we never did such a thing.  I didn’t realize then that, that was the way it was supposed to be.  It’s sad to think,  at that time in my life, that I didn’t know that couples were supposed to have fun together.  Unfortunately, that marriage ended after nine years.  On the upside,  it was an educational period for me.  I am grateful for the lessons learned from that marriage.

As I left the diner last night, I was smiling.  I got in the car and told my boyfriend what our friends had to say.  It is a treasured endowment to realize that my life has changed and evolved into a healthy and satisfying experience.  Gone are the days of constant struggle and strife in a relationship.  We have been together for 14 years and have learned to communicate with one another through good and bad.  That’s why we have so much fun.  We feel free to divulge our thoughts and feelings without judgement from each other.  We’ve learned to work through the distressing times and to respect each other throughout the process.

As a family unit, we engage in silliness and laughter.  We enjoy each others’ company within the home and when the three of us go out together we always have a great time.  Life is good when a person can finally grow and learn to laugh at themselves.  Laughter is the best medicine and although it’s not always time to laugh, it’s always time to enjoy and respect each others’ presence.

Moonglow

I stepped outside last night and there was a radiant glow settling upon my grass.  I had a feeling of peace settle over me.  As I looked around, my eyes glanced above me and saw a luminous ball of energy hanging in the sky.  As the glimmer of light showered over my face, I felt the endowment of strength fill my soul from the influential entity in the empyerean wilderness.

Nokomis shares her love and strength from above, illuminating my very soul.  Grandmother Moon was smiling down upon me with affection.  With the capability to change the tides and influence the earth’s gravitation, she chose me to shine her majesty upon.  I look up to her and feel the brilliance and intensity of her love.

I am aware of everything around me in these precious few moments that I sat with her.  She illuminates the path before me both physically and spiritually.  I will bask in her ceaseless glow and recharge my soul.  I find myself blessed to have been given this illustrious gift from the Holy Spirit.

I Found the Real Thing

It’s finally January, 2019.  I haven’t written for quite a few weeks now.  That’s what happens when the holidays roll around.  Speaking of the holidays; I was dreading every part of them and much to my surprise things turned out differently than I had expected.

We couldn’t put up a Christmas tree because we have a 9 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy who can easily take down a beautiful pine in the forest let alone a small artificial tree. We also have a no gift exchange policy with our adult children because we don’t need anything and they can’t afford to buy us presents so what’s the point.  But we do buy gifts for the grandchildren and that is where things got interesting.

I have 3 teenage granddaughters, 1 teenage grandson and 2 baby grandsons aging 3 and 4.  My teenage grandson and his 3 year old baby brother live in another state so I had so send them their gifts.  I asked each one of the older kids what they would like for Christmas and they told me that they didn’t want anything.  That kind of warms my heart that they didn’t feel the need to ask me for anything.  They are so sweet and kind.

I live an hour and a half away from my family which includes my siblings, my mom, my son and daughter-in-law and the 4 grandchildren.  Christmas Eve happens to be my mother’s birthday and Christmas day is my son’s birthday.  As you can see, the holidays are just a little bit more than your average celebration, what with birthdays thrown into the  mix.

I made the drive and went to see my grandkids first.  For the three girls, I gave them each a gift bag with a pack of socks from the dollar store and also a gift card.  Each one of them was so excited about the socks that they immediately put them on.  They were thankful for the gift cards but the excitement was really about the socks.  My 4 year old grandson opened his present which was a farm truck that he had to build.  It came with a drill and screws and screwdriver and it could be made into four different types of vehicles.  After playing with it for well over an hour, he came up to me and said, “Gramom, I really love this.”  My heart immediately melted.  The three girls are your typical teenage girls who love dancing and singing to the radio.  They decided to put songs on and they each had a microphone bluetooth device so we all sat there singing our favorite songs.  Then came the dancing.  They put the television on and went to youtube and pulled up some kind of dance video and it began.  All four of us were dancing to the video and laughing and singing every step of the way.  Of course, my daughter-in-law has a video to blackmail me with if I decide to get on her nerves.  HAHA.  After all the fun, we loaded up in the car and went to a farm to see a magnificent light show.  We tuned into the proper radio chanel and listened to Christmas music as we drove through the illuminating extravaganza.

I didn’t need a tree, or presents or anything else.  I felt joy that has been illusive to me for quite some time.  Joy that will last for the rest of my lifetime.  A Christmas miracle you could say.  In all its simplicity, the finest joy a person could feel.  The true meaning of Christmas.

That night I slept at my mom’s house because the following day was her birthday.  She was so excited to celebrate her 87th birthday.  The evening before, while I was with my grandkids, she decided to bake herself a birthday cake.  She hasn’t baked in years and it was surprising to me that she wanted to, but her exuberance about this birthday was notable.  When I returned to her house that night, I asked her how the cake came out and she said it was a disaster but she managed to “glue” it back together with icing.  I will never forget the laughter that we shared about that cake.

Everything about those two days gave me the extreme joy that a person should feel at Christmastime.  The greatest gift ,as always has been, is the gift of Love.  We don’t need all the fancy wrappings and expensive items to show our love for each other.  An evening of dancing and singing and laughing with a couple of teenagers and a little boy; A day with an elderly woman excited to celebrate another year alive; These are the most passionate and thoughtful gifts a person can recieve.