I’m sorry, but getting older sucks.
Yes, I know, you hear so many of us touting that it’s wonderful and amazing and enlightening and empowering but in all honesty, I’d take my 20 something year old body, over my 58-year-old body any day.
The other day, I plucked a black hair off my chin that was at least an inch long! First, how did that happen? And secondly, how did I not see it until it was an inch long? I think the biggest reason our near-sightedness gets worse as we age, is so we don’t see that sort of thing on our partner’s face.
That and all the wrinkles.
I have a good friend who has a child with Down Syndrome. I will admit, I don’t know very much about this condition.
In honor of her, other mothers, and of Down Syndrome Awareness and Acceptance Month, I would like to share her story with you.
I remember from the time I was little the only thing I really wanted to be when I grew up was a Mom. Not very “progressive”, I know, but it’s the truth.
We were very poor growing up and rarely had any new toys. Instead they were passed down from one child to the next.
The neighbor girls I tried to hang out with had Barbie Dolls that came with different outfits you could dress them in.
I had one doll, and she wasn’t a petite little doll, but more of an old-fashioned Dolly with eyes that would close when you laid her down. And with one arm missing. Continue reading
We learn how to be women from our moms, or at least a mother figure.
So we watch them closely and subconsciously put each act or word into columns of either, “This is good advice to live by and pass on,” or “No way do I believe this and I am so not going to do this to my kids.”
There are probably a lot of other columns too, but those two stand out the most for me.
I learned how to be a woman by watching my mom. Which is probably why I’m not a girly girl. She didn’t wear makeup or dress in pretty clothes. And she lived in “practical shoes” and flip-flops.
I think she made most of her dresses. You’ll recall I said she only wore dresses, even as a farm-woman, right? I have to wonder if her mom wore dresses too. But I can’t recall much about my grandmother.
My mom learned how to be a woman from her mother too. It’s passed down from one generation to the next with varying degrees of changes for each of us. Continue reading
Let’s see….where did I leave off?
Oh yeah, with John running off. Can you believe after months of a friendship and then just one night together he ran?
I actually could. Predicted it even.
The good news: I knew John well enough at that point and suspected it would take a lot of patience if we were ever going to be anything more than friends.
The bad news: I was irritated by his behavior just the same. There was no reason to not meet for coffee or join me in a tennis game or go hiking. Something! But, nope, he wouldn’t meet up with me.
So I got busy with my own life.
Not like flu sick, more of just a chest/head cold. It’s not too bad, and I’m able to function well enough to take care of myself. But chores like laundry and dishes or cooking are a strain.
I’m even struggling to write, which is why I missed my post yesterday. Instead, I posted a picture on Instagram and Facebook. I put up a photo of me on my bike and asked a question: Do you workout if you’re feeling sick?
Get busy. Just get busy.
Those were the words that kept me going when all I wanted to do was to curl up in a ball and hide. Hide from myself and from the world. I was so embarrassed to be where I was in life.
But there I was, 46 years old and wanting out of my three-month marriage. Not knowing what to do, I got busy. I’d just moved into a new project known as “my ‘70s house” and threw myself into remodeling it.
It was the day “we” were moving in that I realized I had made an enormous mistake and wanted out of my quickie marriage. He didn’t move in with me, but I was paralyzed with fear of what other people would think of me. What I really wanted to do was: Get a quickie divorce. Continue reading
There’s a term used to describe parents whose kids have left home: Empty Nester. It is such a big deal for so many, there are Facebook and support groups to help parents transition to an empty nest.
But in the early 2000’s Facebook wasn’t around. And I still had my youngest son home, so I thought everything was fine. I was busy with my real estate business and he was busy with school.
I don’t think I recognized the affect the process of having my sons leave home was slowly having on me. They say once your kids hit high school, it will feel like a moment has passed before they have graduated and are off on their own.
I have to agree with that.
It was 2004 when my son was in eleventh grade, preparing for entry into the Naval Academy when things started unraveling for me.
…continued from Pieces of the Puzzle
After yesterdays post it took three siblings and me to piece together the sequence of events from that time. I was off by a year. The years following our mother’s death was a blur of disappointment.
But it was 3am Christmas morning, 1971 that our father called my sister Janet downstairs to take him to the hospital. She was just 16 and the only one at home with a driver’s license. Continue reading
I’m learning that my life is analogous to a big jigsaw puzzle. All of the pieces are there, but not together. And to make it even more difficult, I don’t have a picture to go off.
Photo courtesy of Hans Peter Gauster
You are helping me find the picture. Continue reading
My first pregnancy and delivery was so easy, right after my son was born my doctor told me he would like to say the second one would be easier, but it doesn’t get much easier than I had it. I was lucky for sure.
When my oldest son was two I was pregnant with my second baby. It was fun having a toddler asking questions and wondering what was going on with his mommy. I did my best to get him ready for what was about to happen, but I don’t think you can fully prepare a two and a half year old for a baby brother.
Because my fist son’s birthday was December 30th and so close to Christmas and New Year’s, we had a few friends suggest celebrating his birthday on his half birthday instead. June 30th.
That’s the day his brother was born. The minute that baby showed his face he had a smile. I don’t care what doctors or researchers say about a newborn not really smiling until they are 3 months old, that baby boy was smiling from the beginning. Continue reading
I absolutely loved every minute of being pregnant. It helped being 24, fit and in great health. I was ready to be a mom, and when the test came back positive, I was overjoyed.
A few people told me I was too young, but in my heart I was ready. I’d read all of the books and followed every instruction to take excellent care of my body.
The due date was set for January 10, 1984, but my little one was ready early. On the morning of December 30th, I knew I was going to meet my first child that day. As it turned out, my husband and I had sold a home two years prior and our taxes would be due in 1983 on the sale. Our son showed up in the nick of time for us to declare him as a dependent for that year, essentially cancelling out any owed taxes.
And that pretty much sums up our first son. He’s a bit of a rescuer. But I’m getting ahead of myself; let me back up a bit.
Apparently I left a few people wondering what Fireball is, from my post about my boys growing up on a farm. I may have even left the impression that they were sweet little boys.
Let me set the record straight.
Even before moving to the farm, those two boys of mine kept me on my toes. They were curious about everything. One time my youngest tried to electrocute himself with the Christmas tree lights. That was after he fell in the river and almost drowned. But moving to the farm was an open door to explore nature and the world around them.
Have you ever been called upon to defend a friend’s character? This is a little different than my usual posts, but it’s important to me. And it needs to be shared.
This is an open letter about my friend, Estelle.
Yesterday I found an old journal stashed away in a drawer. I say I found it, but really I’ve known it’s been there for a very long time. I put it in the same exact spot no matter where I’ve lived. It always goes in the drawer of my nightstand. I couldn’t begin to guess how many homes it’s been in.
The front cover is a bit worn, and it must have gotten wet at some point because the pages are wavy, but all the words that were written in it are still there. My first entry was Sept 21, 1990.
I wrote in that journal for almost 20 years. Sometimes about my family and other times about my own feelings and fears. But my favorites are the entries about our life on the farm.
I’ve had a lot of jobs in my life, and I can honestly say I believe I can do anything I put my mind to. John says I throw myself 100% into whatever I’m doing, and I have to agree with him.
But the best job I ever had is being a Mom. It is the most rewarding, and also the most challenging. When my first child was born, I thought I was going to take a few weeks off, and then go back to work.
But one night, when he was just a couple days old, as I was holding him and rocking him back to sleep I looked down at my beautiful little child. I knew in my heart there would be no way I could leave him and go back to my job.
This was my job now. I was 24 and my life changed forever in that moment.
I am very honored that this story was published in Better After 50.
I had to edit the original post to meet the word count of under 750, so I hope you enjoy this version.
I am very proud of this one…
The Day My World Changed
Yesterday I shared the story of the day my mother died. And, if you’ve been reading any of my posts, you know I grew up on a farm. It was after my mother’s death that I realized there was a whole different world out there.
The first time I remember my Aunt Ruth, was at mom’s funeral. She was my mother’s sister and had a very different life than mom. She lived in a big house in the city and came down with her husband to be there for the service.
The moment I saw her, I was immediately in awe. She had blonde hair and wore makeup, and looked nothing like my mother. She was stylish too, in her well-fitted red dress. After the service everyone came back to our house for food and condolences. My sister and I were showing Ruth around the farm, and when she got near one of the cows she got pretty skittish. She thought the “bull” was going to charge her because she was wearing red. We giggled at that one. She was definitely not a farm woman.
Growing up I was taught early on that women were second to men. Wow, that was hard to put in writing. It’s one thing to know it, and another to face it and say it out loud.
I like to think of myself as progressive and a feminist, but old habits die hard.
You don’t just unlearn a behavior pattern. My family was the perfect example of the notion that men come first, and it was taught to me daily.