Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.
Croning My Way Through Life
What is the purpose of a blog?
Is it to inform? Entertain? Do you use it as a diary? A podium?
I started this blog in 2011 to entertain. I have a great connection to the Goddess and I wanted to share her upbeat, positive message. That we only go one way in life, so we might as well fill that way with all the positives we can.
I suppose our blogs drift one way or another as time goes by. Perhaps the two of us weren’t funny enough. Or clever enough. But as she and I got older the posts became more melancholy. More shadowed.
Everything came full circle the other day, though. Something that snapped me back into beautiful reality.
I just became a grandmother for the third time yesterday. And that in itself is all the magic, all the blessing, one could ask for.
I want to live long enough to attend my newest granddaughter’s wedding. To go fishing with the boys in the summer and build snowmen in the winter. I want three kids calling “granny granny granny!” for years and years to come.
Nothing else matters.
This is my life. I am here. Like that poster of the galaxy with “You are here” over this teeny tiny dot. And this is where I want to be.
So hug your kids, your dog, or your stuffed unicorn. You have a choice in life to be positive or negative. For yourself, for your family, for your friends, pick the positive. Even if you slip and fall you’ll still be going in the right direction.
Happy Saturday and beyond!.
I had a wonderful weekend. We celebrated both grandkids’ birthdays. We laughed, spoiled, loved, gossiped, and enjoyed the company of parents, grandparents, great grandparents (grandpa is 90 next month!) my grandkids, friends with their kids and grandkids, plus a couple of dogs thrown in.
Today I read the following column at Ask Amy (http://tiny.cc/za2wmy)….
DEAR AMY: I have four adult children and three grandchildren. They all live 2.5 hours away and have very successful, fulfilling lives. My husband and I couldn’t be prouder. They usually call every week or so and I send an occasional text or email. The problem is our daughter-in-law, who wants nothing to do with us. She is the mother of our only grandchildren. She refuses to visit, especially on the holidays. When we visit, she is pleasant but seems to barely tolerate us.
We want to see more of our grandsons but we are not permitted to babysit, and if I ask to take them to the park, etc., she ignores me, hoping I will let it go (which I do to keep the peace).
I have spent many a sleepless night trying to figure out what I have done to her and cannot think of a thing. Honestly, in the 10 years they have been married I have never said a mean word or offered advice, even with new babies.
I say nothing to my son. I know he sees her treatment of us and feels guilty, but fighting about it isn’t worth it to him. The boys love to see us and I have heard the oldest asking if he can go home with Grandma and Grandpa and Mom always says no!
We just came home from a visit and it was worse than ever. I am depressed over the situation and do not know what to do. Anxious Grandma
This made me very sad.
I don’t know the daughter’s side, I don’t know the grandparents’ side. But to keep grandparents from enjoying the best time of their entire lives —
What happens to families?
I know I take for granted the love and affection I share with my two sons and their kids. Love, friendship, all come naturally for us. We’re not all like two peas in a pod all the time, mind you, but we enjoy each other’s company and get together whenever we can.
Grandparents are the old souls, the old angels, leading the innocent young angels through the mess we call life. We try and lighten their burdens, play their games, listen to their secrets. We give them a safe space their parents can’t, just because they’re parents.
It’s a parent’s job to protect, guide, and teach their precious packages to ensure they make it through life with a good head on their shoulders.
It’s a grandparent’s job to spoil, cuddle, play and dream with those same packages, ensuring they make it through life with good dreams in their heads.
I look at Dear Amy’s question and my heart breaks for everyone involved. The grandkids will never have that close relationship with two people who love them so much; the mother will never find peace with the mother and father of her husband; and the grandparents will have to deal with empty arms and empty dreams.
Like I said. I don’t know the whole story — I never will. There is nothing I can do to change that family and their sorrows.
But what I can do is share this story so that you will go home tonight and hug your kids and grandkids and when you see your friends or your sister hug their kids and grandkids. Play catch or Chinese checkers with them. Tell them a story of when you were a kid.
Don’t just take the love — MAKE the love.
The first thing I have to say is the truth. I am Jealous. Envious. Covetous. Wanton. Wistful.
Okay. Now that that’s over…I took my grand kids to the park Saturday morning to encourage their Adrenalin dispersion. So here is granny, an average-looking 64-year-old, scrubbed, puffed, a touch of makeup, a decent pair of Capri’s and fun t-shirt, feeling good, feelin’ hip, keepin’ up with swings and slides and Jungle Jims. There were two baseball games going on in the background, middle-school types, lots of cheering and hoho’s. Then I looked around at the other mothers.
These women were knockouts. I figured these moms were leftovers from the games, watching their toddlers on the swings and slides and Jungle Jims. Now, I live in a small town. A college town. I’m not saying we don’t have attractive people here, but to have the playground filled with them is an eye-opening experience.
They hung out in pairs and trios, the same short-shorts, long hair, small waistlines, all tossing their hair as they bowed their heads down to read their cellphones, watching their precocious kids talk about their magic beads or ninja moves or playing zombie tag. One of the moms was pregnant, and even her awkward bundle looked great in her top and Capri’s.
Now you must wonder why I chose the word ‘jealous’ to describe my feelings at the time. I mean, there was a time when ~I~ was a young mom taking my kids to the park with ~my~ girlfriends. My friends and I laughed and talked about the kids, our husbands, going out on Saturday night. We’d party at each other’s houses, spend a weekend shopping and stay the night in a hotel, drinking and eating and confessing our secrets to each other. Our kids played together, our husbands told stories together. It was a wonderful circle.
But that seems so long ago.
I think I’m jealous because I remember looking like that. Thinner, thicker hair, clearer complexion. I’m also jealous because these girls have theirwhole life ahead of them. They still can be executives and fashion designers and doctors. Their kids are still little, with soccer and baseball games and field trips and prom still to come. Their children still worship them, still love sharing snuggles and hugs and cuddles.
I know the best medicine for this unreasonable bout of jealousy is to share the snuggles and hugs and cuddles of my own kids and grand kids. To go watch their baseball and soccer games and take them camping and shopping and stay up late. I can touch the memories of days gone by by making new memories today.
I’ll always wonder, though, how I made it through all those younger days without a cell phone.
This post is being written with a lot of trepidation.
I am not a hellion, nor am I a pansy. My age has nothing to with the depth of my feelings or the dedication of my causes. I am no better nor no worse than any of my peers. I have had ups and downs and rewards and punishments just like everyone else.
I suppose this confession is to reassure you — or most likely myself — that I’m not over- or under-reacting.
Just last week I started my post by saying It is as if I am handling a puffer fish or prickly bush with my bare hands. For the world of politics is indeed prickly. But this week prickly has turned vile. It is no longer screaming at the TV or sharing a sentence or two on Facebook.
In only a couple of weeks I have watched this political nonsense start to tear families apart.
Sounds so over the top, doesn’t it?
But in the past few weeks I have heard several first hand reports of one family member tearing at and apart another family member because of their political preferences. Yes, the problem between family members probably existed way before the change of the Guard. But this cavern between political preferences has opened wounds that finally were starting to heal. Or at least left alone.
People are just getting nasty.
Kids are ripping on their parents. Adults are blowing up on their kids. Generations are berating each other because of their political preferences. Then one thing leads to another, and things are said that cannot be taken back. And what started as two people disagreeing turns into people digging into the very foundation of what makes us human.
This isn’t right.
With all the anger and hatred and mistrust shuffling between people, it’s hard to see the good in each other. Parents who have given up everything so their kids could have a better life now are nothing but stiff, selfish old people. Younger kids with a chance to make things better are nothing more but self-centered spoiled brats.
Yet these are our children. These are our parents. These are our aunts and uncles and best friends’ kids. These are the people who we depend on for love or friendship or just a smile.
We have to stop ripping each other apart.
We can be involved, we can be passionate. We can march and we can protest. But we can’t change what is at this moment. This administration, the past administration, are a specimens of their own. None have made their way up from poverty, adversity, or war. They have never worked as a waitress or a sales clerk or a garbage collector. They don’t care about “us.” They don’t know us, they don’t see us, they don’t hear us.
And that point of fact is why we should never turn against our family. Not for this.
Not for them.
For all of you expecting my usual, cheesy, astral sense of middle-age blog, sorry to let you down this evening.
There was something going around the Internet earlier in the week that had me more than unsettled. As often as not, I just breeze past the headlines I don’t care for, but even in doing so this time the impression still lingers.
And it was only from a headline.
Some parents decided to show a video of their son’s final moments of a high speed crash they were in. I don’t know if the kids died; I refused to read the article. The kids were high, that much I know. But I didn’t, couldn’t, read the article.
My first reaction was: Who would share something like that? Why would they share one of the most painful, horrible, moments of your child’s life?
My politically correct side answered first. The parents shared this video so that others can learn from the tragedy. So that other kids will see what happens when you drink or get high and drive. That through their tragedy other lives may be saved.
Then my mother side chimed in. I am a grandmother. I have been blessed with two sons, a wonderful daughter-in-law, and two adorable grandkids. I weathered many storms with my kids as they were growing up, and we all survived. I love them all more than life, and would be crushed if anything like this happened to me. My life, my love, is my family.
My liberal side popped in. Who are you to say what goes on on the Internet? You are not a monitor. You don’t like what you read? Pass it by! Ignore it! Stop telling others what they can and cannot talk about. Life is not a bowl of cherries for everyone, you know.
Then my mortal side interrupted. This upsets you because you fear death. Death is the normal progressive end of life. The one thing you cannot control. You cannot let go of anyone you love. Your fear of no afterlife taints everything you think. Everything you do. Perhaps the boys are in heaven now, feeling no pain, no confusion, nothing but eternal peace.
Then my smart-ass radical side chimes in. Who in the hell are you to judge if they went to heaven? How do you know there even is a heaven? You are so quick to judge. You didn’t even read the damn story. You have no idea why the parents shared the video. Quit yappin’ about stuff you don’t know anything about.
My practical side offered a rebuttal. This was a tragic event in so many others’ lives. There are different ways of coping, different ways of healing. A moment’s misjudgement has changed thousands of lives in ways no one ever imagined. Instead of reacting, or over-reacting, acknowledge their pain, then go hug your own kids. Your own grandkids. Tell them how much you love them, warn them of the dangers of drinking or getting high and driving.
Things circle back and the mother reappears. Those boys were someone’s baby. Someone’s little guy. Children are not supposed to leave this world before their parents. They are supposed to grow old and have children of their own. They are not supposed to get high and race and crash and die and leave their parents with broken hearts. My own heart hurts. And I don’t even know them.
Which led towards the comment that started this whole conversation.
Who would share something like that?
As I’m always saying, the clock ticks eternally forward. While we all notice the seconds, no one feels it as much as one who has already spent a good deal of their life counting.
I’m not going to lie. I want to live forever. I don’t have a strong, religious faith in place, so I have no idea what’s in store once I close my eyes for good. I haven’t left a whole lot behind for posterity, except maybe a refinanced mortgage and a unicorn collection. I’ve made a few people smile with my writing through the years, but standing on the beach or walking through the woods or watching a funny TV show leaves a smile on their lips, too.
And sooner or later my name will blow away in the dust of time, as billions have before me. But I will have had an accomplishment that will keep its mark in me through the Great Barrier and beyond.
I’m a grandmother for the second time.
This time my grandbaby’s entrance was a little shaky. It’s amazing how something that seems so simple on the outside can be so complicated inside. Life is a miracle. There is no doubt. How we get from a spermy and eggy into a president or opera singer I will leave to the biology majors. But so many things can go wrong on the familiar path we all walk that you have to stop and think — and thank — something, someone, else for getting all parties through.
Second grandbaby is a boy, and he and mom are doing just fine now. It brought back memories of one of my past pregnancies — one where the outcome wasn’t so positive. But that was 35 years ago, and this is now, and fate has smiled on our family and friends and brought another soccer player into the family. His older sibling is starting kindergarten tomorrow, so what a better off-to-school treat than a baby brother.
How appropriate his arrival came after my last post about Getting On Track. About sometimes feeling like a loser because I go up to the cabin to write but I often do anything BUT write. Half way through my retreat the Goddess and Buddha and whomever else had other plans for my idle time. And it wasn’t writing. Nor was it windchimes in the breeze or naps in the afternoon.
It was welcoming another being into the world.
It was being there for mom and dad and CJ and Papa and Nana and Great Grandpa Lyle and Great Grandma Katie as the new baby came wrinkled and breathless into this world.
It was preparing the world for a new chance to get it right. It was dreams of baseball and homework and trick-or-treating with yet another child of the world. Another chance to get it right. To make the world right.
You can’t ask for a better chance for an afterlife than that.
I love Fall. It’s the time of the month/year that blogs and Facebook and other visual media are filled with golden colors, leaves and woods and pumpkin patches. I love the crispness of the air, the chill of the day, the blankets and the hot chocolate. It’s also the time for my favorite holiday — the little haunting ritual of Trick-or-Treat.
I could share memories of Halloweens past, but I’d rather share a confession.
Now, I am one of those tree-hugging grannies. I move worms from the wet pavement to the grass after rainstorms, talk to bunnies that peek at me from the grass line, and give my pets extra food all the time. I cry at the end of Face Off and Bones, and refuse to listen to sappy music (except for at Christmas time) because of the same cry factor. So, needless to say, I’m a softy.
Flash backwards to last Sunday. Trick-or-treating with my little grandbaby. It was a family affair, everyone out to trick and treat and eat a lot of food afterwards. I pulled out my very cool hooded cape, grabbed a pair of matching gloves, and a mask I got at our annual camping cookoff, and decided to be the candy-giver-outer. (I’m usually the trick-or-treat guardian granny).
Now for my confession. I took a perverse delight in sitting perfectly still, holding the candy bowl, waiting for the treaters to come to the door, moving only when they came up close. I didn’t jump at them; I didn’t spook them. I just turned veerrrryy slowly and let them pick their treat. It was one of those “is it a statue or is it real?” kinda things.
Not a big confession as far as confessions go. But what did surprise me is that there were times that I wanted to scare them. Not a Freddy-Krueger-kind-of-scare…just a little make-their-eyes-bug-out scare. A make-them-jump scare. I chastised myself, wondering if all of my Walking Dead and American Horror stories had finally came home to roost. If all the bullies that picked on me during my middle school years were hidden behind the Batman and Jake the Pirate costumes. If this was a control thing: dominate the little children, be in charge of the moment, hold the Sword of Damocles above their head. If this was a psychological game that only psychos play. If I could slip in and out of being a psycho without anyone knowing it.
The reality of it was that it was just a creative writing granny, chilled and stiff, waiting for her family to come back from trick-or-treating.
Getting older is a trick. And I am a trip. Is there a treat in there too?
On this glorious Memorial Day I am reposting one of my most “memorial” posts from yesteryear. I hope you enjoy it! Oh — and while you’re at it — take time and give a nod and blow a kiss to those whom we honor for their service to our country — today and EVERY DAY!
What does it mean to be middle-aged? Is there a line drawn across the cosmic playfield that says on this side, you are old, on this side, young? If you love Big Band and Glen Miller, are you old? If you like Rhianna or Jay-Z are you young? If you like InSync or Boy George, are you just … weird?
The older I get, the fuzzier the line gets. I have friends on the 40/70-year-old line that lead fairly “normal” lives: Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, Oprah. Then there are those who are a little more wild: The Shield, Sons of Anarchy, AC/DC. Where do most of us fit? How do we know where the line is between antique and hip hop? Between dancing and throwing our back out?
The trigger mechanism tonight was Paint Your Wagon, a musical made 40 years ago. Imagine: Clint Eastwood singing. Lee Marvin dancing and singing about beans. This movie is 40 years old; twice as old as my youngest son. Yet there are some of us who sit around, laughing and singing the songs as if they were still on the top of the charts. When I watch musicals like Brigadoon and Sound of Music and Camelot, my kid looks at me like I’ve grown a second nose. Musicals give most teenagers the willies. If it’s not High School Musical or Glee, it’s not a musical. He shakes his head and goes to watch movies where people get their limbs cut off or that showcase breasts that hang out like watermelons in the summer sun or guys sitting around smoking weed and talking about getting laid. It’s at these times that I feel so disconnected. So…old.
I know that every generation has to evolve. What was fascinating, entertaining or daring to one group is not necessarily to the next. I find myself cringing at songs like Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini and The Bird is the Word. And those were from the generation right before me. I’m sure that same generation shivered at songs like Transylvania 6500 and Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree. Even my parent’s generation had dissenters: I have a song in my collection called If Swing Goes I Go Too by Fred Astaire, singing about “some old fogey wants to ration swing.” Imagine! Our parents being rebels!
Of course, there are many other reflections of generation gaps, many other blank looks from both sides of the fence when music and movies and clothes come to the forefront. I am not the first to discover that there are a number of meanings for the same word, and not everyone is on the same page of the dictionary. My son is fond of chillin’ and hangin’; I can imagine what that would mean to my grandfather’s generation. While I try not to use phrases that date me like groovy and far-out, I can’t help but fall back on standbys like cool and hunky dory, words that dance on the edge of fogey-ism.
I think alot about the generation gap. Not so much how I am on one side or another, but how I can bridge that gap. Sooner or later everything revolves back onto itself. Not back to exactly the same spot; not to the same beat (eight-to-the-bar, jive, waltz), nor to the same words (commie, greaser, beatnik), but to explanations for the same situations that haunt all human beings. As much as underwear sticking out from atop blue jeans and skull caps shake our interpretation of fashion, I imagine mini-skirts and go-go boots did the same for those who wore spats and garters.
All generations wander through the fog; some with purpose, others just along for the ride. All generations start out with a dream, a hope that they will somehow make a difference in their world. One way or another everyone wants to be noticed; everyone wants to be remembered. Some make slasher movies; others cures for diseases. Some climb Mt. Everest, others walk the track for Breast Cancer. For some of us the best we can do is pass along our lasagna or apple pie receipe. We all contribute in our own way.
But back to the over-the-top musical from 1969. Listen to the words to the title song:
Where am I goin? I don’t know
Where am I headin’? I ain’t certain
All I know is I am on my way…
When will I be there? I don’t know
When will I get there? I ain’t certain
All I know is I am on my way
We are all wanderin’, we are all goin’ somewhere. And few of us know when we’ll get there. And yes, we are all chillin’ and hangin’. We are all part of the same cycle, mixing and blending and blurring the lines of old AND new. Amazing what happens when all generations fall into the same pot — we become one amazingly flavorful stew.