A roller coaster again?

Do you ever feel as if you are on a roller coaster? That’s what my life has felt like lately. I hate roller coasters. As a child I loved them and went with my father. I’m not sure when that changed but I will not ride them now. Especially all the crazy ones that have shown up lately.

oh no

Physically it seems as if I am up one day and down the next. At least I am not constantly down. For me, it is best when life feels settled. Right now settled is many moons away. Company will be here for the week-end. My grandson, his wife and another couple who are their friends. We live near the beach and I am sure we will not see much of them but I am glad they want to come.

The thing is…it’s hard having company here but also had to turn away the loved ones you want to see. It’s a conundrum. So they will be here and I am set to push all stress away and just enjoy.

We miss so many things in life if we are struggling with our own selves and can’t enjoy the wonderful things that we could be doing. When this happens it is time to “center down” ( I have used that before….a Quaker expression meaning lower your Chi) and plan time for yourself to step away for a moment and gather yourself together.

dont-miss-your-blessings-1

So until the week-end I have no stress related things planned. I will enjoy each day and be ready to enjoy the visit and not miss out on a wonderful moment.

These special moments in life are too important to miss. Family and friends are what matter and we can’t afford to shut ourselves away from that. It won’t come again.

Memories

best-memoriesYesterday my brother-in-law flew in to visit us. He and my husband have not had lots of time to visit each other over the years and this visit ia wonderful thing. They are having a wonderful time sharing memories of childhood and information about the family. We don’t often take advantage of renewing memories and sharing information.

My mother and my aunt were the last two of their generation. When they died all their memories and information were gone. I often think of something that I wish I had asked when they were here.

Two years ago my best friend died taking with her the only connection to my childhood. I don’t think I realized what it would be like to lose that connection. It was so wonderful to be able to pick up the phone and say “remember when?” Now that link is gone.

This is not an unusual happening in life. If we are blessed enough to have a long life there will be many connections to our past that we will outlive. My grandmother lived to be 100 and I can remember her saying that there was no one left who remembered the world she grew up in. It is clear that it is a loss.

dr seuss

If you have elderly relatives take the time to record their memories. It doesn’t matter if they are written down or recorded. There are some online companies who will set up a line that can be called and memories recorded for posterity. What a wonderful idea. My daughter wrote down some of my grandmother’s stories and I am working on the stories my father told. He was a wonderful storyteller and I don’t want them forgotten.

Past history will disappear quickly and once gone it is gone forever. Take the time to keep those memories.

Toward a new day

GrievingFeatureYesterday I didn’t write. I didn’t write because grief slipped up on me. I have been spending time with my friend whose husband is sick and last night she called that her husband wasn’t doing well. He is now ok but it brought back memories of the year and a half that I spent with my friend with lymphoma and her daughter. I haven’t written much about that since it happened before I started my blog.

My friend lost her husband the year before and then was diagnosed with lymphoma. She had spent her life caring for a daughter born with multiple heart defects. Her daughter lived a good life for someone with this serious a problem but her life was a series of ups and downs. My friend put everything into allowing her daughter a “normal” life. She put herself, her money and her other children. Life was difficult. She did the best she could with what life had given her. The last year of her life was filled with pain, hospital visits, anxiety and struggle. She worried what would happen to her daughter. She died in January of 2016. I became the support of her daughter. The daughter’s brother helped and gave up his life to do so. Her heart gave out in the summer of that year.

moving forwardThe point of all of this is last night I felt as if I was reliving that time. Grief comes in waves and we never know when it will show up again. The only thing that we can do is roll with the flow and just ride it out.  I have a busy week ahead and life will move on but the sadness lingers. We have to look ahead and know that there are new days coming. Some good and some bad but new and different. Today will move on and a new day is coming.

Am I hiding?

Today for some reason my mind is blank….or struggling for clarity. I thought about this poem written a while ago and offer it here.

IN-SHADOWS-facebook

Hiding

Deep in the closets of my mind                                                                                                            dark secrets are hiding                                                                                                                          I have not seem them for many years

I stand and look at the doors                                                                                                                and fear to look inside                                                                                                                          to let the light shine in

The fear is not of pain                                                                                                                            but something far more frightening                                                                                                  the fear of myself

the real me hiding all these years                                                                                                      the me no one can love                                                                                                                        the me I cannot accept

God, help me to fling open the doors                                                                                                  and with broom in hand                                                                                                                      throw out the secrets

and dust off the person                                                                                                                         who has been hiding                                                                                                                             in the dark

Raising children

raising-a-child

I was 23 years old when I had my first child. Certainly old enough but young enough to be naive too. To be honest I was never around children. As an only child I spent most of my time with adults. I thought that having children would be a breeze. WOW was I wrong. I suppose the only thing that saved me was the fact that I have wonderful examples in my parents and am still married to a man who is a wonderful father.

None of us is perfect and we all make mistakes raising out children. We just have to pray that the mistakes aren’t life altering. My children’s early years were spent while we were in the Army. Lots of moves and new people to get to know. They seemed to survive that.

By the time they were in their teens we were settled and they got to stay in the same schools. All children are different and mine certainly are. Thank God they are all gainfully employed, have children of their own, and survived us as parents. I don’t know if we managed as well. There was lots of anxiety and nail biting but here we are.

We won’t talk about finding out a few years ago about my son and his friends riding bikes off the roof of the house into the swimming pool. Glad I didn’t know about that.  We lived through the time my oldest daughter dove into the pool and hit her head and survived. There was also the time my youngest daughter was on the way to Japan as an exchange student and left her ticket at home. (before all these electronics) She did get to Japan.

parent

Many things that happen in the lives of children are fun to remember later. Some are not so fun. Parenting is a full time job. Most parents love their children and have their best interests at heart. Never doubt that it is a hard but rewarding job.

Our memories are selective

Today is my husband’s birthday. He turned 80 years old. He can hardly believe it and neither can I. Time flies. It is hard to believe that in June we will have been married 55 years. It is so funny to think back to the 1960’s and it seems like yesterday.

1962 pontiac

Things were so different then. We did have color TV but no cell phones. Some people who were rich had car phones but they were bulky and the signal was erratic. We drove a 1962 Pontiac convertible. The windows rolled up with handles. The top did go up and down automatically. It did not have air conditioning. We lived in Army housing and sat out on the stoop at night to have fun with our neighbors. We had little extra money and our favorite thing to do was to play games or cards with friends. We only had one car.

We went to parties at the officer’s club and the dress code was strict. Men were not admitted at night without a tie and women always wore dresses. We did wear shorts and trousers at home or with friends. Bikinis were not seen at local swimming pools. People would have been shocked. Men never used “bad” language in front of women and no one ever used the “F” word.

Long distance calls cost money per minuet so the calls were short. Our communication was primarily face to face. We knew our neighbors and had volley ball games in the courtyard in front of our quarters.

Birth control pills were a new thing and there were questions about their safety since they were much stronger than the new ones. We could talk to our next door neighbors through the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. and my husband and the guy nest door had fun conversations while shaving in the morning.

Life seemed simpler then. We talked a lot with friends. We shared meals that we made ourselves and played games rather than watch TV. We spent more time with friends than we do now. These memories are fun to recall.

selective memory

However, everything was not perfect. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Blacks were suffering major discrimination. LSD was one of the drugs of choice. Everything was not idyllic. It was time moving away from the simpler 1950’s into the chaotic 60’s. My husband was later to spend two years in Viet Nam.

When we deal with memories we can choose which ones we want and disregard the others.

Pay attention!

expect-the-unexpected-quotes-7Some days just don’t go the way you expect. It was a pretty normal morning. ..doing some house cleaning and puttering about the house before getting ready to meet friends for lunch. Then unexpectedly something triggered memories of my best friend who died two years ago. It brought tears to my eyes. It colored my day in a peculiar way. I looked at things differently. As I went through the day I paid more attention to the things around me. I noticed (more than once) what a beautiful day it was. I enjoyed lunch with friends and spent more time listening to them than talking myself. I actually heard everything that was said. I think I was more aware of life around me and how transient everything is.

We don’t stop to smell the flowers enough. We don’t notice the world around us. We aren’t paying attention when we are with friends. We are too busy think about ourselves.

practice

There is a wonderful book by Brother Lawrence called Practicing the Presence of God.  Brother Lawrence dedicated everything he did to God from washing dishes to working in the garden. God was part of every moment in his day.

I wish that I could be that aware each moment. Then I wouldn’t miss a single second of my life instead of just drifting through. We all need to work on this.