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The Birthday Mother’s Day Mix

Today was a mixed bag of worries and blessings. People I love are sick and facing hospital stays and tests and unknowns and it is hard to be on the sidelines watching helplessly as the clock ticks by.

In the midst of the craziness that made up my day, my husband told me to check my phone. We were on our way out to run errands and I didn’t give his words a second thought. As I walked to where my phone was, I saw two boxes. One was a long box and a separate box, square and nondescript. It took a minute, but it hit me that this weekend is Mother’s Day.

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I opened the boxes and found beautiful long-stemmed roses from my daughter and daughter-in-law. They were gorgeous. In the other box was an ice-pack and a box of truffle cookies.  Each were packaged with lovely notes straight from the heart. I immediately took a couple of pictures and sent a text thanking them for the thoughtful gifts. I am so blessed to be loved and remembered. The gifts are nice, but it’s really the love that means everything.

 

 

DaddyLater in the day, as I checked my phone for messages, I noticed the date. Tomorrow would be my father’s birthday. He would be turning 89 tomorrow if he were still here. 89. Wow. That seems so hard to fathom. Time has gone by so quickly and I miss him so much it guts me. I had a special connection with my Dad – one that I never apologize for even though some people make me feel I should. Dad wasn’t perfect, but to me, he was everything. He loved me – he loved all of us – and that is what I miss. The talks, his deep bass voice, the way he said my name – the advice I never wanted to hear but repeat to myself over and over now. He was my Dad and I miss him.

IMAG4468-1Re-enter Mother’s Day. My mom would also be 89 this year. She was so young when she passed away that 89 doesn’t even seem possible. She will always be young and vibrant to me. She had a smart-assed way of saying what was on her mind and she was SO strong. My sisters got her strength and her wit. I think I got her way of turning inward to process thoughts and feelings. I rarely feel strong. I remember my first Mother’s Day without her. I was living away from home and at the time, long distance calls were quite expensive. I was walking through the mall and passed a group of short wave radio people who had come together to help people make calls home for Mother’s Day. One of the young women asked me if I wanted to call my mom. I just said “No thanks” and walked on. Then her words – “Why, don’t you love your mother?” I wanted to lunge at her and take all my anger out on her, but I didn’t. I just walked away – hurt and feeling lost in this world. It would take many years before I could get through a Mother’s Day without feeling broken.

Now I have the blessing of children and grandchildren and extended family. I am not sad – I am blessed. The timing this year is unusual – Dad’s birthday and Mother’s Day together. So, today I process and just put aside the little girl and remember that I am now the mom and the grandmother and the JOY comes right back.

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Tonight I shared my truffles with my husband with a glass of wine. I sent a Snap Chat to thank my girls for the gift. SO MUCH JOY!

I will stay up until midnight, and wish my Dad a Happy Birthday and wish my Mom a Happy Mother’s Day.

Saturday we are meeting my son and his wife and two of my beautiful grandchildren for a sweet Mother’s Day dinner. We will laugh and celebrate this holiday together for the first time in 20 years. It will be perfect.
Today was a day of reflection mixed with JOY and a little worry, but it brought me to a place of gratitude for all I have been blessed with in this life. We are who we surround ourselves with and by those standards, I’m pretty perfect.

Happy Birthday, Daddy.

Mom, Happy Mother’s day a little early.

Thank you for everything but most of all thanks for the love and the memories. I miss you both and only hope I can somehow in some small way fill those giant shoes for my family.

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On Being Alone and Defining Yourself

I spend about 80% of my time alone. It is not something I choose, but it is the hand I have been dealt for the last 10 months or so. I have always been a bit of a loner I suppose. I was the youngest of four children and often a pain. The one that everyone else had to feel some responsibility for. Again, a situation not of my choosing. I adjusted to being alone. I learned at an early age how to entertain myself. As I sit this morning and gaze out the window, I realize my tendency to label myself. My first labels:  the baby, a loner, quiet, shy. Funny how I never chose the label self-sufficient.

As I grew up my siblings went in their own chosen directions and eventually, I became the last child at home. Being the last child at home (label: only child) meant more time alone. Of course I was older and more social which was nice. Summers were long.  Mom and Dad worked and I cleaned house, did laundry, washed dishes and cooked some. I dated and had fun, don’t get me wrong, but there were no siblings to share my adventures with. My good friend Cindy became my adopted sister of sorts and we shared most everything. Even so, at night, at the close of the day, I was alone.

Fast forward through the labels of wife, mother, photographer, intern, manager, divorcee, manager, artist. I do not wish to revisit those years here today – suffice it to say it was a time of change and re-labeling myself. I start to see the pattern labeling myself with what I did, rather than who I was.

Happily remarried, I relocated to Florida with my husband – as a newlywed (label). It was a glorious time – one of the best in my life. I was able to own a home for the first time in my life. We decorated, we took classes, we rode bikes, we took trips, became grandparents! – we really enjoyed our lives together. We even worked at the same company – dare I say co-worker (label).

Then 9/11 hit. What a horrible time. I had a team of people who boarded a plane that morning to fly to Atlanta for a one day meeting. I don’t think I took a breath until I knew they were okay. Stranded from their homes, spouses and children, but okay. The economy eventually bottomed out and I found a new label for myself – unemployed. Two jobs gone in less than a year. I kept that label several years. It was a difficult time. There were no jobs.

Eventually I went on a very awkward interview for a job I didn’t think I really wanted – of course I was offered the job. For five years I was a ‘teacher’. A label I came to love. I worked with at-risk children teaching art and photography. It was fulfilling until politics got in the way of the work. 40% of the staff was eliminated. I looked into my past and dusted off the ‘unemployed’ label. It did not fit me well, so I worked hard through lots of red-tape and was able to go back to school. For 12 months I became a student (label).

Now I work from home as a web designer (label), so the majority of my work time is at home, in front of my computer solving problems. During this time my husband took a job out-of-town, so I am again, spending the majority of my time alone. I know it will not always be that way, but for now, it is where we are.

IMAG1640Why did I sit down to write this blog this morning? It all started with the coffee cup I chose for my morning coffee. I purchased these from Jane – a talented potter and friend. I bought one for me and for my two sisters (label) to celebrate our annual trips to a cabin in the mountains. It is so symbolic to me. It is a reminder that even though I might spend a great deal of time alone, I am not lonely. I am blessed.

I am going to work on putting aside the need to label everything in my life. If we are not careful, we fit ourselves into those labels. That’s not who we are. Those are our jobs, our roles, our situations, but nothing to do with the core of our being.

For today, I will celebrate the time I have been given to reflect and remember what is important in my life. I will celebrate the artists that create vessels that hold such beautiful memories. My thoughts have now shifted from my labels to examining and remembering who I am. Though I have met many, many people – have had friends walk in and out of my life, have a husband, children and grand-children that I love with all my heart, who I am is something different. I want to find a connection to who I am without labels. It isn’t easy – try it. I feel a future blog about this, but not today. Today I will enjoy a ‘free day’ with no expectations — a day with coffee and memories and no labels.

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What better than to infuse joy?

I came here today to write and forced myself not to read my last entry.   I did not want it to influence what I felt I wanted to say today.

It is my anniversary today.  15 years with a remarkable man who has seen me through so much.  We started this together with the promise that we would be in it to the end.

David and Maggie

So, 15 years later, I realize I am blessed to have found him and I understand how important it is to have your best friend about you in times of joy or in times of sorrow.  We have an amazing family that has grown and grown over our time together.  We have lost family and friends that we loved to our core – it shakes you.  But having that look across the room, or the hand to hold tightly to makes you realize someone understands it all without having to say a word.

For my friends that read this blog, I am so thankful that you come back and check on me.  I see people have visited me even in times when there were no words to share.  Sometimes I come here, too, just to read and remember.  I don’t ever want to forget that I’m human and I don’t want to forget the challenges and joys and yes, even sorrows, that have made me who I am.

I have been busy writing a business plan.  One of the things you have to learn to do is sum up who you are, what you do and where you want to go all in a few short words.  In business, it’s all very defined and very focused.  But what about me as an individual living on a very, very busy planet?  What am I about?

Infuse JOY.

Celebrate every moment and live every moment.  Feel whatever the moment brings to you for this keeps you real.  Sad moments can have joy, just as the happy moments.  Dare to believe in who you are and what you can accomplish.  Celebrate who you are to others.  Maybe it’s a good and trusted friend.  Maybe it’s the sister that keeps you grounded.  Maybe it’s the Mom who will always have your back.  Life tends to discount those things sometimes, but I don’t ever want to lose sight of them.  For me, they are the most important of the roles we will ever have the JOY of experiencing.

I hope today you will infuse JOY in your own life.  Let it be sparkly and loud, or let it be quiet and serene.  It’s everywhere.

Just today I saw it fly across the sky and land in my own back yard.  It’s always there if you just open your heart to find it.