Thursday, August 10, 2017

Be Careful What You Wish For

On The Edge Of Parenting

Well, its a week and a half away. The day my youngest moves back to college for her senior year. I have complained and nagged and laughed and cried over the last few months and now I am faced with letting go again. Say what you want about parenting, but you have to admit that even the worst days with our children are always forgotten and the joyful times seem to rise to the top. I'm a bit melancholy about this next lift off for our young one. All that fussing and frustration is melting away and I’m looking down the barrel of all the alone time I have craved.

It  wasn't too long ago (maybe a few weeks) that I just wanted some peace and quiet. Now the possibility of endless time alone is just days away and I'm wondering if the old saying “Be careful what you wish for” might apply here. This person that Mark and I worked so hard to get ready for the world is just about to launch and I’m starting to drag my heels a bit. Perhaps my alone time is overrated. I realize our girl isn't going that far, but its more the emotional distance. As our girls have grown so has their independence. They are each building lives of their own and doing a darn good job if I do say so myself.

I am proud and happy for each of our children. They have had their struggles, but they all have the skill needed to find their way out of them. I have missed each one as they have grown and moved into adulthood and this last one will be no different. I know I complain about the different ideas and ways things are done, but in the end those things really do not matter. I wish I could remember that when I am on my last nerve.

Now I am learning to parent from the edge. No longer knee deep in my children's business, I circle around the outside like a good mother bird, waiting to swoop in if I am needed. I am not needed often but the girls know I am here. This will be a learning process for me now, learning how and when to swoop in. I wish I could say something that sounded confident. Something that would sound like I will handle this life change without losing balance, but I am sure that there will be a tumble here and there. I am going to fall off the edge now and then, that is to be expected. I have been watching over these girls for almost 34 years (when my first was born). Learning not to mother is going to take some time.

So if you are bored check in on my blog now and then and see how I’m coming along. I hope to be better about writing, I miss it. Knowing there is someone out there curious about how crazy I really am keeps me coming back.

Friday, June 30, 2017

On the Edge of Parenting

"Why do you keep asking me the same questions all the time? Your driving me crazy." 

You are welcome to insert a hostile and indignant attitude into this dialogue. It was definitely not an easy conversation and it ended with someone stumping off and me staring with my eyes wide and my  heart pounding. I sincerely asked because the answers I have received are somewhat vague and because I tend to forget what I have asked. This happens because I have more going on in my life then just one daughters plans.

This was a brief conversation with my youngest adult daughter. As she prepares for her final year of collage, she is trying out driving ME insane by putting off as much as she can until the last minute and while she is at it she has pulled out the defiant card. Nothing is more fun than an adult child acting like your intruding in their business when they are eating and sleeping in your house and a good portion of their well being still depends on you.

Don't get me wrong, I love her to pieces. I hope and pray for her to take flight as soon as she can and if need be we will let her come back to the nest for a SHORT while. The hard part is convincing her that my plan is not to drive her crazy but to get her life up and running, (however I can) from the sidelines. Obviously the work is hers to do, but when I ask a question about something and I'm given an answer I expect to see some actual movement forward. 

I hate to be the one to bring bad news, but the world is going to ask a lot of questions. Many of the questions asked are going to come with the expectation that you will follow through on the answer you give. There will be professors, bosses, loved ones and possibly children and others that depend on you in your life time. Questions upon questions asked over and over and some of them from a person who's brain is crammed with lots of other things that pertain to themselves and others. Please do not flatter yourself and think that my goal is to focus only on you in some weird plan to "drive you crazy". Honestly, if I really wanted to drive you crazy, I could and you would not even know it was happening. Not to worry though, I'm not that kind of person.

All I really want is to foster success in a loving being who tends to postpone the inevitable, everything, good and bad in most anything that comes up. It's a character trait that I do not understand. I personally do not like things hanging over my head so watching that giant load hanging over my daughter is difficult at best. I understand that its her life and her way of doing things, but the stress it throws into the mix is like walking on a path where you know there are land mines, but you just don't know when or where they will blow. GAH!

I am trying to go with the flow and be flexible but being the detail oriented, a place for everything, everything in its place kind of person makes it tough to flow sometimes. I am also very aware that my daughter's traits are curiously much like her father's. He happens to be on the receiving end of a lot of questions as well because procrastinating is a gift that just keeps on giving in my world. So if anyone is trying to drive someone crazy I would have to point at the "let us put everything off until she blows" group of procrastinators that I love. For the record I will continue asking questions AND driving you crazy as long as you continue to drive me crazy. I think that's fair.

*New phase of life and a new focus. Seems like my new learning curve is now parenting adults...

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Life Takes Hold

Recently my husband and I went on vacation. My sister and brother-in-law came with us and we had a wonderful time. Literally enjoying fun in the sun. As everyone knows, you have to come home sooner or later which we did. The trip home was bitter sweet. Not only were we leaving sunshine and warm temperatures, the day after we arrived home, my husband had to leave for two weeks out of town for work. I did my very best at being supportive and loving and got him ready for his trip. He left bright and early the very next day...UGH.

There was no after trip reminiscing, no random laughing about events that happened just piles of laundry, packing, and getting ready to leave again. Life took hold and there was no turning back. I hear what your thinking, you don't feel bad for me because I just had a wonderful vacation. I also heard you say "Suck it up Buttercup!" Its not necessary to be mean, I know how fortunate I was to go away, but something about the last few weeks of this new year feels empty. I have rushed through every moment because life is in a hurry right now and honestly it has been hard to savor any of it. 

All I'm asking for is a little time to get completely on the horse. What I mean is these last few weeks feel a bit like I climbed on a horse and it took off before my foot was in the second stirrup. I have not completely gotten myself on track for this year and spring is already hinting that it wants to join the party. Life has taken hold and it is shoving me forward. Please make it stop!

How can I enjoy what is happening when I'm hurdling towards the next thing. How do I stop my mind from waving the pity party flag when I feel kind of cheated out of time? To top things off now the birds are all chirping and excited about spring coming and I'm sitting here thinking "Hold on just a dog gone minute will ya?!" Who doesn't like chirping birds? This is where I start to really worry about myself. Usually this time of year I am fighting the winter blues and this year I am fighting off the rushed to much crabby pants syndrome. 

There is no real answer other than letting go and letting life do its thing. I'm lucky to have that option. I need to stop letting the pace of things decide my mood and just go all in with each moment that comes my way. I morbidly think that one of those fleeting moments may one day be my last and if I allow myself to push aside the joy because something else is coming along I am only cheating, you guessed it, ME! Maybe just being home in between each moment of life can be my touch stone. From home I can regroup, take hold of my life vine and swing out into the treasures that life always has waiting for me.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Finding My Way Back

This morning I took the time to be quiet. I didn't rush to my exercise class or start the list of tasks I wanted to accomplish. I sat quietly with a single candle lighting my space and watched the darkness outside turn to morning light.  Every so often I would see the light catch the softly falling snow. My mind raced with all the things I want to achieve today and all the things I "should be" doing, but I forced myself to just be.

Over the last few months I have slowly become a bit unhinged. It seemed as though I was watching my life happen. Perhaps I could equate it to a puppet. I was going through the motions and something inside me did all the emotional heavy lifting and thinking while I plodded along making my way through each day. I was my own prisoner. I did what I needed to do. I faked happiness at the appropriate times, trying hard not to let on (or give in to the fact) that I was a prisoner of my own making.

Kind friends that I shared these feelings with encouraged me and loved me, but I knew that the work was mine to do. Knowing that people cared meant so much but no one can heal your mind. That is your own work and its hard work. What is most difficult is knowing there is something wrong and not being able to just "snap out of it".

 I finally took the time to speak to a professional. I laid out my head and heart and gently worked to sort through the pieces of who I am.  I made the choice to speak with a professional because my burden was heavy enough for me and I didn't want my family or friends to feel responsible to carry it too. That was the beginning of my repair work. The reason for my unhinging is not clear but the loose hinge dangled there through the holidays and into the new year and I worried I might not get back to being me. There is a part of me that wants an answer to "why" this happened. I also long for assurance that it wont happen again, but no one can make that promise. I was fortunate that I was able to recognize what was going on inside of me.  

I am still tender and not quite healed yet. This wound was deeper than I thought and I am allowing myself the time to get back to the me I want to be. I am not sure how I will be on the other side of this, but I hope that by sharing with you my own struggle you will feel comfortable reaching out if you ever need to. I also hope that if you are standing by as a loved one or friend struggles you will gently encourage them to lean on someone that can help them find their way back. Trying to "help" those of us who are struggling is a tough and many times unappreciated task. If your not careful you can become the bad guy or even fall prey to an unhinging. 

The good news is that every morning is a new start. This morning I saw miracles in nature. The falling snow and the sun rising and bringing light into a new day. If i can remind myself each morning of the good things perhaps over time the hinge will reattach and the bruising of the last few months will heal. I am finding my way back.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Down Hill

This morning I was listening to the radio and the DJ was talking about how he is 41 and he is having problems with his knees and just generally feeling like "now that he is older" things are going "down hill". As I listened with my 56 year old ears all I could think was "Stop that"! What is the matter with people, why would you purposely limit yourself by the number of years you have been alive? Why would you want to assume that an ailment turns you into someone "older" and then say it like its a bad thing?

There are a lot of us out there that are "older" if we use the DJ's definition. I have a real problem with someone else announcing what old is. To me old is a state of mind not a problem that befalls you, age is a number and life is a gift. The more positive we remain and the more we do to maintain our youth and youthful spirit the better off we are.

As far as downhill, Sleds go downhill. I love sledding, that excitement as you climb to the top and then slide fast as can be down the hill. The thrill of wondering how far you will slide or whether you will tumble off. How about Roller coasters those are exciting for thrill seekers everywhere. That swooshing up and down faster than you ever have before. Downhill and up hill and sometimes even loops. I would say if you are a roller coaster fan that down hill doesn't sound bad at all.

So I guess what has me all riled up is that this person who is 15 years younger then me is  griping about his knees and aging himself and I wonder why? Let's just say that no matter what direction we go, up or down we all make our way to the end of the road. But how about we just knock off the aging ourselves stuff. It's only bringing down the whole team. I have lots of life left in me and I do not intend on letting others define for me what I should be doing, eating, wearing or saying no matter what age I am.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Cutting The Cord

When you think of cutting the cord, are you thinking of with your children, or your parents? I'm being nosy, because I'm going to cut the cord with my time sucking use of technology. I want to care a bit less about all the things that latch on to my brain when I open up Facebook or any of the other hundreds of ways that technology has become front and center in my mind.

Gone are the times when going out to eat was a quiet respite from home. Now most restaurants have televisions near by so that you can stare into the eyes of someone on the television rather then into the face or faces of the people you are with. It's actually frustrating because you want to cut the cord and disconnect yet everywhere you turn there is another connection. I should also tell you that when I say I'm going to disconnect I am actually lying. How is it even possible? If your not connected, suddenly you don't know anything about anyone. Which in the big picture really isn't so bad, but in the little picture being in the know about everybody and everything is our new national pass time.

I talk a big game and then I see my phone and check for texts and emails. "What? No texts or emails?" "Maybe there is something on Facebook, I'll check". In a total of five minutes I go from a solid resolution to a wishy washy attempt at breaking free and I have wasted at least 10 to 15 minutes. AGH! All the stories I have heard about our technology becoming an addiction is starting to ring true for me.

 I make lots of noise about cutting the cord, but those sly technologists have created everything so well. We know so much so fast and if we are sitting alone somewhere we no longer have to sit quietly and think. We can look on our phone for a game or a video.Why spend time soul searching when you can catch up on the latest news or text with a friend? Why become a better person or day dream? Part of my frustration with all of this is that I'm doing all of these things and I want to stop but I'm so tied up and entwined in the amazing gift of goods that technology offers. I tell myself everyday that I'm not going to do this or that with technology on that day and then later find myself guiltily picking up my phone or IPad and opening up an app and feeling the sweet relief of being connected.

The best I can do at this point is give myself a break and cut the cord of guilt, Nothing can be gained by constantly berating myself. The more pressure I apply to myself the more I seem drawn to technology. Perhaps by letting it go and making it less of an issue, I will relax and turn my head more to the people I'm with and the books I want to read. I guess what I am saying is that rather than cutting a tie, I should work towards new habits and better choices to add to my life rather than cutting cords and taking things away from myself. I like that idea better. What do you think?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Welcome 2017

I miss the days when I would sit and write. Thoughtfully plodding and crafting my thoughts so that I could share them. Somehow in the last year life rushed by. Did you notice it too? It seemed as though each day would start and end in seconds. Time was quick to pass leaving me breathless each day. I felt rushed in 2016. I was constantly frustrated with myself for not starting or sometimes finishing projects.

As this new year begins I have plans to leash 2017 and train it to move more slowly. Perhaps being more aware of each minute and holding it close I can savor the time more. Our lives have become so quick and easy. All the amazing technology we have available now has taken away those spare minutes where we would pause with nothing to do but see or hear life happening around us. Those moments when we would dream or think quietly. Hearing the birds singing or watching the snow quietly fall are now invaded with videos and emails and texts.

I am wondering how to pull back a little.  As I sit here pounding words into my new iPad, I realize how so much of what I am frustrated with has helped connect us all more. Is it possible that we are connected too much? Is there a chance that we don't need to watch a video on our phone? Can we possibly get through without instant gratification in every corner of our lives? Obviously we can get by, we were connected long before any of this was available. But do we want to?

How do I convince my children that what they value so much in their lives could very well be cheating them out of so much more? The personnel connections and time spent just being are quietly drifting away. Will my girls ever understand what a luxury it is to sit and hear a real clock tick? There is nothing like the feeling of time gently rocking you as you contemplate life. The clock gently whispering "relax, relax, relax" as you sit with a beloved pet nestled near you or as you watch the sun rise or set. 

I welcome 2017. I welcome it with open eyes and heart, and I pledge to connect a little less. I plan to write more, breath more slowly and even experience new things.  I want to savor the life that I have left and not be so quick to give it away to technology. Is there a chance you feel this way too? Maybe if just a few of us slow down and take the time to be a part of the life we are living, we can convince others how valuable it is. Less Facebook, less videos and more reading and spending quality time with people we love and enjoy. Better yet, just time with ourselves reconnecting with the person we are and moving away from the disconnected busy people we have become. Happy New Year!