Saturday, July 23, 2016

Speeding up

     I think I've figured out why time seems to be flying by, why it feels like the kids are growing up too quickly, and I think it all comes down to having a crappy job.
     When you're a child, you spend your time getting excited for the next birthday or cool event in your life.  I can't wait to be kissed.  I can't wait to be a teenager.  I can't wait to drive. I can't ... and so forth and so on.  It used to seem like it was taking forever to get to the next event.  Even if your childhood and home life wasn't ideal, you had these life goals to get enthusiastic for, to plan for, to daydream about.
     As you moved into adulthood, maybe you were in love, starting a life together, even after you started a family, you were still anticipating.  Maybe it was his turn to make dinner or the baby just learned how to roll over.  You had things to look forward to, but they were just around the bend in time.  As time passed though, all of it started to change and speed up.  All of a sudden, your kids were teenagers and you had no idea how you got this old.
     It finally dawned on me today.  I was at work thinking, just 2 more hours and I get to go home to the babies.  I've probably thought something like this a million times.  Just this much longer until I get to go home to them, just this many days until the weekend when I can have a day and a half with them, just this many weeks until I can have a whole week off with them.  I think it all comes back to the level of crappiness in your job.  If you're unhappy, unfulfilled, you're probably looking forward to your "weekend" - whatever that translates to for you - and usually that's a couple days away.  So then the weekend comes, and you're already thinking about the next one.  And so on, and so on, and so on.  Then you look at the baby, and they're 15.
     We give our youth and energy to these jobs that barely appreciate us, and in return we thank them for letting us have 2-4 weeks a year with the humans we created, who we theoretically really dig being around.  There's got to be a way to slow down the merry-go-round, because I need to jump off.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

For Him and for Her

     Yesterday, we buried my father-in-law's ashes.  As you can imagine, it was an incredibly difficult and sad occasion for all present - but most of all, for my mother-in-law.  Married for 58 years, she's alone now.  She's not really alone, obviously, as she has friends and a tremendous amount of family all around her, but that's not the same.  They married when she was 18, and she is in relatively good health.  Now she has to figure out how to live without the man she has done everything with for an eternity.
     After he retired, they did everything together ... church together, men's/women's bible studies together, errands together, the death of each of her parents together, vacations together, everything together.  How do you live a separate life when you've never been apart?  How do you go on when the one person you could tell everything to isn't there to talk to anymore?  I know people do it, all day, every day, but how?
     My mother-in-law is a good woman, a great cook, a crafter, an excellent grandmother and great grandmother.  She has a fantastic memory.  She is wonderfully sentimental and kind.  We cry at the same dorky things.  She remembered to bring a box of kleenex to the funeral.  At his memorial in April, she received mourners for 2 1/2 hours.  Just as today with the small amount of close family that came, she had to meet and greet each person.  If the roles were reversed, and I had lost my greatest love, I would have been in sack cloth in the corner, unable to recall my name, let alone remind my son to invite everyone back to his house for lunch. She is an incredibly strong  and resilient human, given what she is going through.
     When I was in college and my husband was in graduate school, I spent many, if not most weekends at their house.  I would drive over on Friday night and stay through church & Sunday dinner before returning to school.  At least once a month, we'd have dinner at Howard Johnson's.  He always had the fish fry with extra tartar sauce and black coffee.  She would have something different or exactly what I had, which was always the cheapest thing on the menu, because he never let me pay.  On the way there, we would pass an exit on the highway that pointed to a far off part of the state.  She would sigh and say someday we'll go.  He'd pat her hand and keep on driving.  Now, they can't go together, and she has to decide if someday will ever come to pass.
     At night, if my husband was in town or if another family member stopped by, we would put four of us at the kitchen table and play euchre into the wee hours of the morning.  We always had to split them up; her and my husband, me and Dad.  If we didn't do it, they'd run the table together time after time.  Communicating with their eyes, they never had to say a word.  Now, half the team is forever quiet.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Little Things

     I'm hot, and I'm tired.  I've been waiting to tell you a happy story, my loves.  Hoping that someone would come to me with a funny tale or a remarkable coincidence, something that I could give to you as a treasure during what seems like dark times.  Unfortunately, there's been more death, more loss, more fraud and more sadness.  It's like the whole world is weeping from every corner of the room lately.  When I'm worn out, it's harder to see the light, but that's when I force myself to be quiet and look for the joy.
     Jennifer is a driven business woman who always finds a solution.  Harley has made a beautiful new space for herself.  Nadine has the most beautiful and happy children.  Steve has a beautiful brain.  Haze has found love again.  Lisa's birthday is tomorrow.  Amy has a strong and loving family.  Joyce's grandchildren are healthy.  Wendy has raised two marvelous young women.  C.c. is recording an album.  Crystal is taking charge of her well-being.  Myfanwy is blossoming.  Pete makes beautiful quilts.  Hal's music is comforting.  Charlie will come, if you call.  Justin is thoughtful.  Tara's pathology came back negative.  Helen has an eye for lovely vintage pieces.  Juliet writes empowering poetry.
     Kathleen is putting one foot in front of the other.  Bronwyn is knitting for others.  Michael makes great art.  Pris can say so much with so few words.  Yaj will not let you be complacent.  Sheryl is resilient.  Becky has a great smile.  Misty is a great mom.  Jamey is brave.  Sue is a powerhouse of energy.  Kim is loving and kind in all ways.  Jill has a great eye for color.  Lauren can cook you under the table.  Ian is faithful and true.  George had an anniversary of surviving a terrible accident. Jeanmarie is taking care of everyone, as usual.  Jenn always looks for the positive.  Jennifer's baby just turned two.  Chad is in love and making great art. Allison just celebrated her anniversary in Iceland.
     Donna's son is hysterical.  Tiff just had a successful move 1/3 of the way around the world.  Frank saved an old man from abuse.  Tim keeps writing every day.  Sarah just graduated.  Anna's kids are so talented.  Jessica makes amazing papercrafts.  Jenn keeps pushing herself every day, even though she's in immense pain.  Cenestine reminds you to take care of yourself.  Eric takes crystal clear photos.  Karen is a devoted mom.  Jay adores his wife, evident every time he mentions her name.  Court is committed to his children experiencing life first hand.  Doug is devoted to his family and his faith.  Liz will change the world.  Amy makes amazing jewelry, her way.  Matt's poetry is inspiring.  Marianne is a devoted daughter, mother and wife.
     Gerdine is happy.  Erika's sons just had a successful competition.  Stacey's pottery is true art.  Louise stands up for what's right.  Neil is full of compassion.  Heather adores her niece like she is her own.  Alicia is breathing every day through her new grief.  Rachel found a place to live.  Matt and his wife have survived car accidents this year.  Justin's sense of humor is quirky and much needed.  Gina's daughter doesn't yet know how amazing her mother is.  Joe and his wife just had a son.  Nate took a leap into a new career.  Robert is a voice of reason.  Kong is thoughtful and kind.  Julie dyed her hair pink.  Camil's art is invigorating.  Shayne is a woman of action.
     I could go on and on, especially when it comes to the poets and writers, and beloved family I know.  And when I look through all these good people and good deeds, I am reminded of the light and of the hope.  Thank you, my loves.