My mother

Tomorrow is mother’s day in the US. Mother’s day has been difficult for me since I lost my mother. I know my own children will call and I love that but for me it has always been about my mother.

mother graduation

(photo from her high school graduation—-she was born in 1909)

My mother was amazing. She was beautiful and had a real sense of style. She never left the house that she didn’t look “dressed to the nines.” She was diagnosed in my teens with Addison’s Disease which was caused by a TB infection she had when I was a baby. Her lungs were not affected by the TB but it caused her adrenal gland to fail. She almost died before it was diagnosed. She never let the problems from this change her life or her positive outlook. She was always a pillar of strength and was the person I could count on when I fell apart. She didn’t understand my anxiety but she supported me nonetheless.

I was blessed with an incredible mother. Her faith was strong and unlike me she was not prone to worry. I miss her all the time but had her with me until she was 95 years old. She left this world as gracefully as she lived. Thank you mother.

Have you learned coping skills?

Some days are good and some not so good. I am fighting IBS again. This always brings on anxiety. I always seem to do this after things are settling down. I am one of those people who rises to the crisis, works to help, sees it resolve and then falls apart. I guess it’s not a bad way to be as it does allow me to work through problems before I crash. I just wish no crash would come at all.

no change is fatalWe live an up an down life. At least I know some of us do. Things aren’t perfect. The ability to work through the imperfect is critical to our well being. That kind of strength is what helps us to survive.

Change is inevitable like death and taxes. The change may be as small as rain instead of sunshine but it is change. As we grow we need to learn coping skills. Without them we are set for a major fall. I am sure that all loving parents would wish that there would be no major upheavals in the lives of their children. No failures. But that is not reality.

Too often we want to save them. Cushion them from their mistakes and make the problems go away. Unfortunately, this is the wrong path. If we don’t learn coping skills when we are young then we have no experience when things go wrong. I have known parents who covered every mistake made by their children. As the children reached their teens the mistakes became bigger and harder to deal with. Some mistakes even ended with the teen going to jail.

coping skillsWe must learn how to cope early and keep on learning our entire life. Each bump in the road teaches us how to handle the next. We learn how to take detours and keep on going. We may suffer in the process but we survive and can use our knowledge to help the next person on the road.

Family?

breadToday I made bread. I often do but today I started thinking about the making of bread. You start with simple ingredients. Flour, yeast, milk or water, salt, butter or oil, sugar or honey. Lots of other ingredient choices…too many to name. You can make any kind of bread you want but one thing is always there……the smell. When the bread is baking the smell begins. You take it out to cool and the smell envelopes the house…..no not house…HOME! That smell….enchantment….home.

For me there are some things that really make anywhere I am a home. The best is good things cooking whether I am the cook or not. The smells speak of love and caring. The hope that a family will be there. That people will sit around a table. They will talk and share the day. They will connect.

family meal

The sad part is that this doesn’t happen as much anymore. Families are so busy. Everyone running in a different direction. No time to be family. No time to listen to each other… to learn about the day. No time to share.

Unfortunately, families need this time. Without it each concentrates on their own lives. They don’t connect….there isn’t time. No wonder children are growing up feeling            un-anchored.

The other piece of the puzzle is that it seems that the emphasis of the family is on the individual children. Not on the family as a whole. The parents are not the bond that holds it all together. There is no time to spend on the marriage….that relationship that is central to it all. Without that the family disintegrates. We end up with no marriage and children who see themselves as the center of the universe…entitled to be.

meme-pleases

Entitled children grow up to be entitled adults who are totally focused on themselves. This is not the way to live. How can we make this better?

The latest drug fad

hallucinogenic-morning-glory-seeds-are-readily-available-at-garden-stores-and-nurseries-for-aroundYesterday I read an article about the newest drug craze. People are buying flower seed and using them as drugs. Apparently some seed have an ingredient that is similar to LSD. I guess it is far enough away from the 60’s for them to not remember how those drugs work. LSD was a big deal in the 60’s. Timothy Leary was the guru who encouraged people to try the drug.  He wanted everyone to “take a trip” and experience altered reality. For some people it did what was advertised. For others it produced a “bad trip” and not only did people do things like try to fly off of buildings but some kept experiencing “trips” for years after using the drug once.

I have never wanted to be out of control. That may just be an issue for me but I had no desire to try mind altering drugs. Native Americans and primitive peoples have used various plants to reach an altered state. However, I don’t think they have done it for fun but as a religious experience.

I am sad that there is such a culture of drug use. There is a big problem with opiods. Some of the drugs that we use for anxiety and depression are being abused by those who don’t have any problems. It worries me that so many people need to escape their lives by altering their brains.

healthyI don’t know if the problem is any worse than it has been in the past. Maybe we have shifted from emphasis on drugs like morphine and invented new ways to dose our bodies. Whatever is the problem, abusing out bodies is not what life is about. I have no idea how to help but I wish I could.

Another day

another dayWell, another day has gone by. Family issues have been there for one day. The things that can’t be fixed are still there. There is nothing to do about them. Obsessing about them doesn’t help. Worrying doesn’t fix them. Life moves on and we have a choice. We can move on with it and solve the things we can solve and or just fall down into the dark hole of depressions and anxiety. That really doesn’t seem like a choice.

This is true of most things in life. We often have a choice and may not want to choose. We don’t want to move away from the things that are causing us pain. We’d rather wallow. Wallowing requires less energy. Staying in place doesn’t call for work.

As I grow older I have done this kind of thing enough that most of the time I realize it is really easier to move on. That’s where the wisdom with age comes in. I used to be the world’s worst procrastinator but over the years I have learned that it is easier to tackle things right up front and get them over with. That leaves you with the easy stuff. It is a win-win.

The prayer from AA sums it up really well: God, grant me the Serenity, to accept the things I can not change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.

knowledge

The really tricky part is the wisdom to know the difference. May God grant us discernment to do that.

 

We can’t fix everything

cannotbefixedToday I am sad. It seems that there has been another emotional upheaval in my family. When you have children you know that things might not go as planned but it hurts when they don’t. We have our first great grandchild. He was born on Friday and was found to have an infection that will require days of antibiotics. This is a small part of the whole picture and there is more to the situation that brings stress to all of us.

If you are a good parent you do the very best you can and when children follow a path that scares you it is hard. It may be that all will work out but that doesn’t help the anxiety and fear.

No matter how hard we try life always throws a curve and we end up in pain. As a mother, grandmother and now great grandmother it is so difficult to be unable to fix it all.  Hurt abounds and there is nothing to do but pray and hope. I can offer help and support but that is about all.  I can’t cure the problems or take away the pain. Oh, I wish I could!

ride the waveI think one of the hardest things in life is to come against situations where you have no control and no solution. All there is to do is to ride the Tsunami wave and pray that things work out in the long run.

Please pray for my great grandson and family.

New day, new person

new dayToday I am waiting for news of the birth of my first Great Grandchild. I can’t possibly be that old. My granddaughter is in labor and her mom and her aunt are with her. They are both nurses. Her aunt is an OB nurse so I’m sure she is getting great care.

It is amazing to think that this is a new generation. One that I am unlikely to see become adult. That is such a sad thought for me but that is how life goes. I do not expect to live forever nor would I want to.

There is a pattern to life. Some Hindus believe that at each stage of our life we have certain tasks to complete. The last stage is to gain wisdom and enlightenment. I really hope that I can do that but I will have to do better than I am doing now. I do not spend enough time in silence. I don’t listen for God enough. I am terrible about turning things over to God and letting them go. I am trying and I will keep on but enlightenment seems a long way off.

At some times in my life I have had the incredible experience of sensing God’s presence. It is a mountaintop experience. Each time I spent time immersed in meditation and let myself approach God fully. I know god is there just waiting. It is up to me to seek that communion.

new day2Each day is a new day. Soon I will see a new life for my family. I think God is present in each newborn in a way that we can’t do as adults. Their connection to God is unique. They just came from His presence and can still experience the connection.

I look forward to meeting this new person and acknowledging God in his life.