Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mom, You Haven't Changed in Twenty Years

Words from my younger son, now twenty three and referencing a DVD I had made for him for Christmas, brought a smile to my face. Clarification is needed here. All their lives the boys have heard,"Smile, smile for the camera. We are going to keep doing this until you smile for me." Guess that memory was repeated a time or two by this cameraman. I am really trying to get rid of the old technology in the house. Clearing out old tapes and VHS recordings will give me a lot of drawer room in most of my house. DVDs of the school plays and field trips weren't the only memories mailed.

I also made wreaths for the boys using the ornaments of their childhoods. I have changed my focus on my Christmas tree and will no longer hang the standard globes and ornaments, unless of course my grandchildren make something special for me. Framed pictures of life with my kids and their kids and friends make up the ornaments from now on. I have the memorable ornaments on a wreath or two for our family, and they hang beautifully in the French doors. I get the same warm fuzzy feelings when I look at the wreaths with about zero effort. My older son spent a while tracking down his very first ornament Christmas evening. It seems his two year old thought the ornament was wonderful enough to snatch and hide in her room. I am sure the boys both thought back to their youthful arguments about whose special stuffed ornament was going to top the tree. I remember one year putting my angel on top and their two on the next branch down exactly the same distance from the angel. I think the older actually got a ruler to make sure.

I am still going through boxes and making hard decisions to just get rid of the contents. I found two Justin boot boxes full of all of the cards I have ever gotten from friends, family, and extended family. I haven't a clue as to why I saved them. I used to recycle Christmas cards into tags the following year, but used the last of them this year. I actually felt good about my little efforts to keep it green. My family has laughed at me for years for my ideologies, but it doesn't matter. I just feel better recycling.

The older son is hunting birds this weekend, and I think my husband decided to join him. Son explained that the birds were just more fun, and I agree. I never could take the confinement of a deer stand, but loved roaming the fields with the boys when they were young. Now, if I could convince my boys to want to fish and invest in the boats and all that, I would truly be happy. I fear that I will always be caught wishing and hoping my wants, not needs, wants. The younger son will always hunt with his dad, and the older son will always fish off the coast of Florida with his dad.
I get to stay home and write about it.

One never knows what the future will bring, and that is why I hold on to the past and try to pass those memories forward. The boys are going to get another memory made by their great grandmother for us when we were young adults. Hopefully, their wives will make sure the items are cherished and passed down again. It was hard to pass their baby blankets down, but I really enjoy seeing them being used for yet another generation. Warm fuzzes and all that!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


My mom will be eighty this coming year, and party plans are already in place. Brother will host the celebration at his house, and siblings will follow up with a not as glamorous as Vegas trip to Coushautta. Vegas was on the agenda until mom called it quits. She just can't make the trips anymore. Leg strength is limited to short times of standing, and to be quite honest, we lost her a couple of times on our last trip to sin city. It only took two trips to the ladies room for entourage to become the new word for the trip.

I've been thinking about age and relevance to health. I fear that I won't be in good shape when I hit 80. My mom could run circles around me at 60. She was keeping up with her kids, ranging in age from 39 to 33. We kept her hopping with all kinds of activities because we were constantly camping, or skiing, or traveling. She used to keep a calendar and keep us updated on what we were all doing. She wanted to be a part of all the fun times, and conflicts on the calendar just wouldn't do.

It will be fun to celebrate the platinum years of life with her. The golden years were a blast, but we are all slowing down. Mom's biggest sins in life have been loving too much and smoking. The love hasn't hurt her, but the smoking has taken its toll. It's the love that will bring us together as a family. We will laugh a lot, and act stupid, and compete for her attention just as we have always done. Hopefully, her few living friends will show up, and we can all remember when. We may even get some great family shots that will last a lifetime yet to come for her aging children.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!

What a fun filled day! Up early to finish dishes to take to my older son's home. We wanted to be there for Santa and opening all of the presents. During the flurry of paper and ribbon, I thought about my younger son in NC going through the same motions. At about the same time we were all giggling and laughing and attempting to contain the mountain of garbage this season brings with it.

I thought about my young years and the glad feelings a special doll or toy brought to five youngsters clammering for presents. I know that my two year old granddaughters won't remember these years, but I will. I know my ten year old grandson will remember the year Mimi and Pops gave him the basketball hoop. He loves to play hoops, and as I recall from a couple of years ago, is darn good at it. I hope it becomes a passion for him. Passion makes a person try harder, if for no other reason than to say I did that. Everyone needs personal moments of triumph whether they are on the basketball court or on the driveway at home.

I will rest tomorrow. I will go to church and thank the Lord that I am blessed abundantly. I will pray for my children and their children. My husband will do what he does best, and that is go hunting. I imagine he says a prayer or two for our kids while alone in his stand. My older son will accompany him and they will have a great time. The older son is already planning next Thanksgiving at the lease. If it comes to fruition, the fair will consist of BBQ and the fixings instead of the traditional fair of turkey. It could happen.

For now I reflect on what a great life I have. God continues to show his love for me and my family each and every day. He is a much better God than I am a servant. He is also a patient God, and I know He will wait for me to do His will. I imagine that I will be humming Christmas tunes for about another week. Christmas songs just make me smile, and the smiles just make me feel good at the end of the day. Thanks, Lord.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wrapping Up Another Year

New Year's resolutions came early or late this year, depending on one's perspective. This decade of life brings new challenges everyday, and I just need change. To end my year, I decided to plan activities that I want to do, and if Richard doesn't want to accompany me, that is fine. I am fortunate to have a cousin who lives nearby, and is a whirlwind of energy. She is available for any outing, so planning has been fun.
Now that the kids are grown with families and lives of their own, I just got out of the habit of doing things that just make me smile afterwards. This Christmas season, I changed my strategy.

I went to the deer lease (to please my husband) for three weekends in a row. I am finished until next year. I accepted every invitation for holiday fun in this area, and am still smiling because of my "new" attitude. For almost thirty years, I have tried to please everyone except myself. It can't be done, and I end up totally frustrated. Lose-lose situation.

I have accepted the fact that I can go it alone or in the company of friends. My constant companion does not have to be my husband. We have several hobbies in common and that is enough. We don't have to be joined at the hip. I have never enjoyed the hunting hobby and probably never will. I am thankful that my boys like this pasttime, but I am more thankful that I have daughter-in-laws who like to shop. I am learning a lot from them. I am pursuing my own interests and because of this, I am just happier. I am also trying to not get caught up in the last minute details that do nothing more than make me ask myself. Why did I do that? It wasn't necessary and noone really appreciated it anyway. My daughter-in-laws are so together with this concept. Their family comes first, then the rest of the world. Much healthier way to deal with the holiday season. Two more candlelight events ahead with or without the husband and a smiling wife at the end of the season. My kind of fun helps me remember that Jesus is the reason for the season, and that just widens my smile.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

'Tis The Season

The realization that 60 is now real hit me at a party this weekend when a fellow high school graduate confessed the 61 and the mental impossibility of it all. I agreed. Where did the years go? When did the kids become adults and why didn't I pay more attention?

As soul mates for four hours, we discussed our high school years and the foibles of those times. We discussed long lost friends, who died too young, and before we got to say hello again. I think we cried a tear or two while the party revelers were doing their things.

Discussion turned to retirement homes, and I felt pangs of jealousy as she described their retirement home being built for now and later enjoyment. I got to thinking about where I want to be during the retirement years. I know a lot of places where I don't want to spend my golden years, but to be honest, I really haven't found "the golden place." I think I know what I want, but as my history of houses would prove, I always end up changing my mind.

I have almost decided that life will guide us to our last home. I understand why my friend has chosen her spot. Her kids and grandchildren are there. I have several friends who have retired closer to their kids. Our motivation will probably be similar. It just isn't happening now. We have become city folk and enjoy all that is available or just thirty minutes away.

As I finished decking the halls for Christmas once again, I really had to push my mind to just do it. One son lives out of state for this holiday, and we will spend Christmas day with the other at his home. Friends drop by and the atmosphere is pleasant, but it is our conversation and sharing that is important to us. I imagine that God has a great place in mind for Richard and me, but as of today it is right where we are, and I am thankful for all his blessings.