Mother’s Day Traction

I’ve been thinking about something I read recently, about how one of the most important things a child needs to feel in childhood is to be cherished. If I could only use one word to describe my own childhood that would be it, CHERISHED! So how lucky am I?!

Yet it is so true, I was the fourth and final child, but was made to feel like the cherry on top of the delicious ice cream sundae, the icing on the cake, I was the bonus, the special prize, they were all waiting for me to make life complete. It was as if I was the reason there were six ice cream sandwiches in the pack, then we could all get one, six candy bars in a pack, same reason, I just made everything make sense. That is how they made me feel. I was completely loved. My Mother used to stop me as she pushed me on the backyard swings, just as the swing would need another push, she’d grab the swing with me in it, put her arms around my waist and whisper in my ear, “you are the greatest, the sweetest, the most!” Then she would kiss my face and push me again.

As I have grown up and witnessed the sadness of how many people have never felt that kind of love and acceptance I have only grown to realize what an incredible gift I was given. And now as my Mom spends another Mother’s Day in heaven I am left to say thank you dear, sweet, kind lady, for all that you gave me everyday of my life!

I have great respect and admiration for Mothers because of the wonderful one I had, so I dedicate this blog to all of those that have lost their Mom. I understand your loss and sadness. The more we loved them, the more it hurts on a day like today.

Happy Mother’s Day, and cherish those children, it makes for happy and healthy adults.

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No dessert in the desert

Here we are as February is coming to a fast end, two months will soon be over in 2012. I’m going to sound old, heck, I feel old while I’m sitting here hanging in traction but time always marches on, ready or not. It seems I just decided what I was giving up last year for Lent and now I’m in the midst of another. Last year I tried this sort of funky thing where instead of giving up something I told myself I’d do more. I tried to study more, pray more, give more, do more, you get the idea, the things that were difficult I tried more, not less. It sort of fundamentally sounded like it went against the sacrificial aspect of Lent but it truly was supposed to be a penance to do “more of” the things I didn’t like or at least, felt like the things that didn’t like me.

That was too complicated in the end so I’m going traditional this year, I’m just trying to show up for Lent, I’m going to try to remember it’s Lent. When I want to go to the drive thru to pick up something quick and easy to eat I’m going to try to remember I do have food at home and I can eat that when I get there. When I want something I’m going to try to remember my little girl friend in the orphanage in Port-au-Prince that would literally find a crumb on the floor and instead of gobbling it down she would divide by however many others were in the room. A small child and she knew more about sharing and giving of herself than I’ll ever know. This might sound selfish and delusional but traction it seems to me is like Lent, it is about showing up, remembering, completing the task at hand, no room for BS, no forgetting, no I’m too tired, no I don’t feel like it, no, it’s not fair. In addition, Lent is doing what you said you’d do but not making a big deal about it, or as my Mom would say, “no broadcasting it.” There’s no need to go on about saying no thanks to dessert, passing on seconds or giving up the fancy morning coffee. Lent is being out there on your own, no fuss, no frills, no extras, no pity parties, real life stuff, just you and God. AND, the last time I checked there wasn’t any chocolate growing in the desert.

Yep, I’ve not found sacrifice a bowl full of fun but if you stick with it you do find something new. I owe Lent for any ability I have to sit here in traction, the more I grow to understand Lent the easier the traction gig is for me. When it comes down to it really, isn’t it just about taking away life’s distractions and excuses, learning more about your true self, therefore, knowing more about God.

Appliances with attitude!

Did you ever think about your appliances, large and small, having personalities of their own? I think my washing machine is lazy, the dryer is maniacal, toaster is short-tempered, the refrigerator is loud and never cleans up after itself and please, don’t even ask about the garbage disposal! As far as I know they have not come alive, I’m not Dwight K. Shrute, I don’t believe in robots and zombies taking over the world.

I’m just sitting here in cervical traction and thinking about how each of these household appliances takes an explanation for operating instructions, beyond the manufacturers’ recommendations. The washer seems to have a favorite cycle and if you ask for more than that you risk a Zumba dance recital in the laundry room. The dryer works over time, you have a heck of a time shutting it off, the toaster is feisty, cinnamon toast is beyond its job description, it seems everything has issues.

If I tried a house swap like in the movie, The Holiday between Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet characters I’d have to leave a dozen special directions. (I was always taken out of the moment with that movie because I couldn’t imagine being organized enough to turn my place over to a stranger in 24 hours!) I’ve often thought about renting out my place or letting a friend stay here while I stay with family; come to think about it I’m not sure how much of a headache I’d be leaving them. Maybe I’ve created these problems by not being more pro active with these silly machines. Calling in repair folks or just replacing them at the tenth sign of trouble. Yet somehow I’ve slowly accepted their faults, maybe I like knowing that in order for something to work you have to really “know it” or as my Mother would say, “sweet talk it.” There are people in our lives we have to “sweet talk” every so often and sometimes I have to “sweet talk” my own body to get it to do what I need it to do. In the morning I have to give myself a pep talk, to get these bones moving. I get tired of my body hurting and on a cold morning like this I am very tired of “managing pain” but maybe as a result I give more allowances when it comes to dealing with everything else in life. I realize nothing is perfect and I’ve not seen anything in a long time that even comes close, we all have weaknesses, we all could do a better job, some one is always there to point out another’s faults. Maybe not operating smoothly builds creativity, patience and cooperation in ways we’d never have guessed.

Trying to find the bright side today of waking up with swollen, stiff fingers, this after traction, traction, traction, oh, but I really like my stove!

So simple, so easy

I was pushing my grocery cart yesterday toward the glass cases that hold the milk and a little girl, probably no more than seven or eight years old was in front of me and yells to her Mom, who was behind me, “Mom, how much milk should I get?” her Mom replies, “two” and the girl answers, “big ones or little ones” and Mom responds, “big.” The girl eagerly reaches in the case for the milk and I said, wow, I wish I had a great helper like you helping me out at the store. She looks up at me with the biggest smile on her face and as I reach for my milk she says, “thank you.”

Telling her you’re welcome I push my cart past her to the next aisle. I hear her run to her Mom and say, “Mom, this lady told me I was a great helper!” I could hear her Mom agree and send her on a mission for some cheese. I thought about how excited that child was to hear a compliment from some random lady at the grocery store, I hadn’t thought twice about saying it, she was an impressive helper, but her “thank you” was amazing. I haven’t heard many young children unprompted respond to a compliment with a thank you. Parenting a child is the hardest job on the planet, witnessing it first hand by making it look so simple, so easy, is delightful and impressive!

I have to finish up this traction gig today because my great twin nieces, who are three weeks old sent me an email asking me if I’d please come over and hang out with them while their Mom takes a shower. I tell ya, being a part of a child’s life at any age or stage is a privilege.

Nincompoop

I’ve been thinking about that word and then it recently showed up in one of my favorite television shows, The Office. Dwight called a co-worker “Princess Nincompoop” but then, that’s Dwight. When I was a kid and my Mom suggested I “stop behaving like a nincompoop” I knew that I best get my act together. My favorite definition of the word is, “one lacking in judgement and good sense.” I think we all have the capacity to behave like a nincompoop on occasion and although most of us grow out of our nincompoop-ness, sometimes it takes a while. Sometimes it’s painful, we put our families thru a lot, sometimes parents can claim gray hair as a casuality of dealing with their beloved nincompoops.

It’s just a good old fashion word for a common condition and with so much in this life that’s been updated it’s comforting to know not only there still are nincompoops out there deserving the title, more importantly there are those that are trying to grow out of it and maybe at this time failing miserably. We come in all ages and stages and there’s always hope, it just seems to me the only way to survive an encounter with one is to exhibit plenty of patience and love.

Life is just funny enough that someday a nincompoop can “grow up” just in time to become the parent of one. You gotta love that.

AnimalĀ Planet

You’ve heard of pet therapy, well as I sit here in traction I think it might be nice to have something fluffy to hold onto, perhaps a furry little kitten or a cuddly puppy. For me though I actually think that’s a dream or maybe a nightmare. When we moved out of my childhood home I found a dog collar in the garage, let’s just say, I don’t ever remember having a dog. The days of having a Rover around the house were part of an unspeakable pet past.

A friend once asked me to keep an eye on her cat while she was out-of-town, to stop in each day and put out some food. I asked her if I’d have to bathe the kitty and she responded with a sigh and then said, “you weren’t kidding when you said you knew NOTHING about pets!” Why would I lie about such a thing?

My pet stories are all tragic and true. I had a canary named Simon, after the 10th time my Mom had asked me to clean out his cage she placed him on the back porch and told me that’s where I’d find him until his home was clean. So hours later I stroll my 12-year-old self out there and pick up his cage to say hello and out he flies from the bottom of his living quarters that I suddenly realized was now missing its’ tray. As he flew to the woods behind our house I screamed and my Mom came running. She consoled me with the reassuring words that we lived close to an interstate and before I knew it he’d be far south and living in sunny Florida. (You gotta love the stuff that Mothers come up with on the fly) Although it was trickier for her to smooth over the next year when the wolf dog next door tried to make Simon II into the blue plate special, Simon the sequel headed to birdie heaven within 24 hours.

I had so many fish swim to aquatic heaven I lost count, even a stray cat we named Tigger gave up on us. But the story that lives forever in my SPCA hit list life is my little turtle. He was about ten days old, didn’t even have a name yet, we returned home and couldn’t find him in his terrarium. Wasn’t hard to immediately notice turtle was not in his glass home and nowhere to be found. When one of my brothers offered to help find him I desperately accepted. Within minutes the sound of the crunch shook the room…….yep, big bro accidentally squished turtle under his Chuck Taylors into a little pile of oozing turtle guts and simultaneously burned the desire for further pets forever from my heart.

My Mom quickly announced her term as pet grandmother was over. She was retiring the role and I believe still recovering from the dog incident from ten years earlier. Apparently an elderly neighbor had said our dog “snapped” at him and my brothers were told their doggie was going to a “beautiful farm to run free”…when my eldest brother figured it out sometime later he never let them forget Buck’s euthanasia.

It’s kind of like God sent our family a memo that said, “Look, but please don’t touch.” So as I sit here today I’m thinking about my first Simon who flew south, picturing his little yellow self flying in and out of his time share in Boca Rotan. Soaring high over an ocean filled with all my guppies and goldfish. Not being a “pet person” is one thing but to be a danger to them is an unsettling other matter. I think once you realize you aren’t good at pet care there’s no coming back. Don’t get me wrong I’m the first girl to appreciate nature, but it has to be from a safe distance for all involved. So instead of trying pet therapy I’ll just squeeze this fluffy pillow as my neck hangs in traction and know by doing so I’m actually saving a Spot or Sprinkles life.

Lady Gaga, venetian blinds and the moon.

For whatever reason this is what is in my head today. I saw a photo of Lady Gaga, she was wearing glasses that could easily pass for venetian blinds. Well, that’s about all I know about that but they were very funky shades! When I was a kid we had venetian blinds hanging at some windows. They were heavy and intense horizontal slats that made you feel like they could slice you in half if you got stuck under them. At night I would stand at the dining room window and look up a hill to see the moon, hoping I didn’t become entrapped by the blinds. They seemed like they had a life of their own and could suddenly clank themselves alive………of course the first thing venetian blinds with a pulse would do would be to attack and strangle me. Yet despite my irrational fear of these metal menaces I always felt like they were worth climbing under to catch a glimpse of the moon.

I was watching the moon last night and it looked just as wonderful as ever. My favorite coffee mug says “I love you to the moon and back.” Once when I was going to be living far away from my Mom we talked about how we could stay in touch. She told me that I should just look at the moon and know she was looking back, she’d be watching the moon out that same window.

Really, name something cooler than the moon…….nope, it’s not Lady Gaga’s glasses.