Friday, February 25, 2011

The End

Well, it isn't really, THE END, but I have hit a point in this crazy senior year, when this song continues to be on replay in my mind. It is almost March, we are still in the winter of the never ending ice storms, snow storms and freeze your butt of cold, and we are beginning to gain momentum to graduation.

In my ever changing moods, I have lived in denial that this time frame would sweep in and capture our lives. How did I go from walking a cute preschooler into her first day of preschool to watching her cheer her last Varsity home game, ever? Who knew that time could move so quickly.

Bittersweet is the perfect term for what a parent feels at this point in time. On one hand, I look at this beautiful, amazing, energetic, argumentative ball of energy that is becoming a woman and I beam with pride! Then, my mind shifts back to newborn days, toddler days, milestones, each year in school, the years that I thought I would pull my hair out, the years that were so happy, and it all gets jumbled up. How did we go from her playing in her bathtub and piling bubbles on her head to the very confident, ready to take on the world girl?

I have seen the changes coming for the past couple of years and it really hit home when she started driving and got her car, last year. She was gaining more independence, and in a sense, so was I. She was shifting gears to move up in her life, more, and I was shifting gears as I had to figure out my new role as mom. Her independence has driven me to my independence in so many ways. It was the year that I got to become moi, again. I no longer needed to hold a hand, wipe a tear, clean up spilled juice. Well, okay, there are other kinds of tears and other kinds of spills, but you get what I am saying. So, I also took back my life, started a business, getting ready to start another buiness, took back my fashion, my music, I am me. I mean, I have been me, my whole life, but my role changed over the years and now I am back.

I feel like we are two women on the brink of upcoming adventures. Her next adventure will be saying hello to college, campus life, a roommate, a possible sorority. It will be like entering into the scary doors of preschool, again, but without her mom. My next adventure will be an open canvas along with my already in progress adventures. It is exciting for both of us and yet scary, mind numbing and tear inducing, for me.

She has become the young woman I had hoped she would. When she was a baby, I would sit and rock her in her Grateful Dead inspired nursery and I would dream of the kind of young woman she would become. Now, I sit, alone, and dream of how I hope the next phase of her life will be and what kind of woman she will become. My job is not ending, I just have to hope that she can carry on with the path that I have set forth for her, without me to constantly guide.

So, as I sit and watch her lasts, right now...her last games, her last cheer competitions, her upcoming last prom, I have to remember that the end is not really the end. The end is just a beginning to new firsts that will eventually end, too, and go on and on. I have learned that life is all beginnings and endings. I guess that is what makes it all so special and why each moment needs to be captured and enjoyed.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Shining Star

I inititally wanted to write this post on Valentine's Day but some sort of illness hit me like a ton of bricks over the weekend and haulted all activity. My plans of making our usual romantic dinner and surprising J with some sort of fun gift all went out the window as I was hugging a tissue box, full of cold and sinus medicine and so stuffy and feverish that nobody wanted to come near me. Instead, I closed myself off in our guest room area with my tissues, bottles of water, non-stop Sex and The City on tv and lots of sleep.

In my ever changing moods I still view Valentine's Day as one of the sweetest times around. Yes, I know, I hear the naysayers all around me calling it a Hallmark Holiday, a media coup to rake in money (and really, would that be so bad for the economy? Making money from love?) Or, that Valentine's Day is for the young or those in sappy relationships. I don't buy into this way of thinking. I think that the day is sweet and I like to celebrate it.

I know that my obsession started way back in Kindergarten when you are told to go home and make a Valentine box. kind of concept but, okay. I remember taking a cereal box and getting started. Some kids used shoe boxes, some used oatmeal cylinder boxes, I used a cereal box. This was in 1970 so I have no idea what kids are doing, now. But, back then, you made really elaborate, colorful boxes. I liked to cover mine in tin foil. Then, I cut out all kinds of pink, red and white paper hearts and glued them all over. I mean, how bad can a holiday be if it uses the color pink? I remember being so proud of my Valentine box and carrying into class on Valentine's Day was almost euphoric. I was an odd kid and these are the things that excited me.

In my class, the teacher had all of us line our decorated boxes up and then we were all to go, in a line, and deposit our cards into the openings of the boxes. Again, I must stress that these were simpler times and everything wasn't fair or politically correct and not everyone emerged as a winner or with a prize. So, back then, you were not required to bring a Valentine for every single classmate. I know, it sounds cruel, but that is how my generation learned to navigate life. The hard cold facts of life. Not everyone won, not everyone was going to receive a Valentine. With that being said, I was a kind hearted kid and did give everyone a Valentine. I am not just saying that to make myself look good. I really did have a soft spot for everyone.

Anyway, you were not permitted to open your Valentine box until you got home. Back then, Kindergarten only last until noon and your mother picked you up so basically, you could start ripping into the box as soon as you got in the car. I chose to wait until I got home and very methodically took out each card. I was a nervous wreck because the amount of cards you received would very well tell you the social standing and where you fit in. I was a wreck. Also, you hoped that maybe the cute boy that helped you build a block house had given you a card.

My first Valentine Box revealed many cards, some with candy in them, some with early attempts as love letters, some asking me to be a best friend. I remember beaming with pride at my first real Valentine's Day.

Sure, after elementary school, you stopped making the pretty boxes and once high school hit, Valentine's Day took on almost a stalker like mission to make sure you even had a boyfriend for Valentine's Day. You could drop them, after, but by were going to have a Valentine.

Anyway, I am still a kid when Valentine's Day hits. I love the hearts, the pink colors, the boxes of character cards that will be tucked into whatever kids use, now, and taken home and hopefully looked at as carefully as I looked at my first Valentine cards. It is a day of whimsy, a day of cheesey love songs, a day that makes it seem like love really could rule the world. It is a day that is like a shining star in the dead of winter.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Quicksilver Girl

When I was young, I remember spending afternoons on my grandmother's swing, in her backyard. I have posted about this swing, before, but it's funny how when my mind and soul need comfort, I mentally put myself back on that swing and then mentally have a conversation, in my mind, with my grandmother or grandfather, on that swing.

In my ever changing moods, I do tend to draw from past experiences, past conversations and past comforting times in my life, to pull me through different obstacles of life, now.

The swing was a big, wooden, white swing that my grandfather had built and then he built a little shelter house type of thing for it. You could swing in the sun or rain, it didn't matter. I used to seek out my grandmother when I needed an extra dose of love and an extra dose of snark. She was my go-to for immediate life problems. I was one of her favorite things in the world and she would give me loving, soothing advice and then when I felt all happy and secure, again, she would tell me exactly how to go back and seriously kick ass in the situation. She didn't want me to be a wimp, she would say. She wanted me to stand up, be heard, know when to smile, know when to cry and then know when to turn around and give the person or the situation, a serious dose of me.

If my grandfather was involved in our conversation, he would sit, silently, humming. He was always humming some sort of tune. I think that is where I get my love of singing (although, I cannot carry a tune) and my humming while working. Anyway, he always had the same smile on his face as he listened to us. He loved my grandmother and let her give me her advice. When she was done, he would take up with his advice. He really didn't give advice, though. He was more apt to tell me a story or paint a picture of the type of person he expected me to be, how he wanted me to act in certain situations. He was all about being kind, working hard, being honest, the truth will win, no matter how much the truth may hurt or how much the truth may get you into trouble. He has been my moral compass, for my entire life. When I have chosen times to ignore his advice, it has come back to bite me, kick my arse, and then I think...why didn't I just remain on his path? He taught me to speak kindly, remain hopeful, look your enemy square in the eye and quietly let them know that you are watching them and that in the end, you will win. He hated loud mouthed, braggy, know it alls. He let them go on and on and on and he would just smile and walk away. My grandmother would get all up in that same person's business and tell them that they were not all that and then throw in one of her made up, famous, phrases and walk away. They were definitely the balance in my life.

In the many obstacles that I have faced in life, I have carried out my grandfather's advice and it has never steered me wrong. Inside, I carry my grandmother's advice because I really try not to get into shouting matches with people. For some reason, what worked for her back in the 1960s and 1970s, may be frowned on, today.

I find myself, right now, in a obstacle of life and I had lost all focus on both of their advice strategies. I have let myself run wild with so many emotions that I really never even knew existed in me. Last night, before I went to bed, I had to just sit and give myself the chance to revisit the swing. I had to first, count all that was right in my life. My husband, my daughter, our health, our life, our love. I had to visit the darker side of where this obstacle has come from and the thoughts it was evoking in me. When I put myself on the swing, and mentally put myself with both of my grandparents, I listened to what they would be telling me. I have run the emotions that my grandmother would have run with while forgetting the emotions that my grandfather would tell me to run with. For my own inner peace, I have to draw from him and his ability to stay calm, to stay focused, to stay quietly patient. I have to look that loudmouthed, braggy, know it all in the eyes, and know that in the end, the lice of the world do get exterminated. I have to remember that my grandfather would say, Rome wasn't built in a day, so I need to keep on my tasks until the end is reached and the obstacle can finally be dealt with. He would tell me not to lead with my emotions, but to lead with my hands and my heart, never taking my eyes off of the no good stuff trying to push in. Of course, my grandmother would say to put a nice shade of lipstick on, a cute pair of shoes and go straight up to the louse, and kick them where it counts.

After my mental swing with my grandparents, I now feel that I am better capable of moving ahead. I know that the good does always win, I just wish it didn't take so long to be the winner. I take comfort in knowing that I carry both of them on my shoulders, that I need both of their attitudes to get me through and I will try to hum a little song while I go forward.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hot Child In The City

Well, February blew in much like every February, here, on Maggie's Farm. Cold, brutal, snowy and then for fun, a really, truly bizarre ice storm. I don't mean a bit of sleety, freezing rain. I mean horrid, horizontally blowing sheets of ice. On the night of the worst of it, the sound of it all blowing into the sides of the house were scary and eerie. And, with cold temps., the ice isn't going anywhere, too soon. But, it's winter, it's has just been weird. My little car looked like it had been frozen inside of an ice cube. From the road, down my front hill, over my drive and then down my front steps is just thick, thick sheets of ice. No distinction between grass or concrete. We will thaw and then get more winter but the Ice Storm of 2011 has been unreal.

In my ever changing moods, I just made sure that the house was stocked with foods, drinks, coffee and wine. I made sure that my Cosmic Charlie supplies were all in order and did several deep pleas of no power outages and then all that could be done was just wait it out. Our area was on a Level 3 Snow Emergency so cars were not allowed on the roads even if you could chisel out. It is a part of life in the winter weather states. As Jerry would say...nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile.

I decided to just set up camp in one of our tv areas. I had my netbook, never ending coffee by day, flowing wine, by night. I cooked really yummy comfort dinners, made warm breakfasts, made really yummy pots of soup for lunches. For my viewing pleasure, I was going to put in one of my all time fav movies, The Ice Storm, but decided against it since the ending always freaks me out and since we were in the middle of our own storm, didn't want to make myself go insane.

I ended up discovering that the E! channel was offering up marathon blocks of my all time, EVER, fav show...Sex And The City. For a few days in a row. Now, I have the dvds of the show, know each episode by heart, have both movies on dvd but for some reason, the marathons delighted me!!! It took me back to a magical time of tv viewing when each season of this show was greatly anticipated! The girls, the friendships, the had it all. It was THE most liberating show, for women, of it's time. When the show debuted, I had a toddler running around and my days were filled with Barney, Rugrats, Allegra...on the Sunday of the SATC debut, I had put the toddler to bed, made sure that J was occupied in his den/pool table room/guy hangout, and I planted myself in front of the tv. I didn't know what to expect but I didn't expect to be lifted to a magical place, each week, of each season. The girls could have been any group of me, they became my salvation on Sunday nights. J and I always had our date nights on Saturdays and it took me away from toddlerville for a few hours but this show gave me back my sense of freedom, my sense of style, my celebration of girlfriends.

So, to discover that it was on, in mini marathons, during the ice out, made me so happy!! It is like comfort food only it's comfort revisiting of friends/fashion/cocktails/catch phrases and just a chance to fall in love with it, all over again.

I am no longer chasing around a toddler, I have definitely carved my own fashion sense, I can hang with galpals whenever I want and I am liberated from the toddler mom fashion group. Because, back in those days, toddler mom fashion was soooooo meh. This show let me get my dress on, let my hair be crazy, wavy. It encouraged me to buy many, many and many more pairs of high this day, I love these girls for what they gave to women!

So, this is how I spent The Ice Storm...with old friends that weren't afraid to put it out there, be themselves and look fab while doing so.

Hot Child In The City is one of my FAV episodes of all of them...nothing much happened in the episode but the relationship between Carrie and her young boyfriend is nothing short of hysterical in the ending. And, it brought many hysterical memories of me and my bff from high school. Who knew we were the groundbreaking twins for the