Posted in Lore

The Expectations of My Inner Child, or lack thereof

sc001a13aeIt’s that time of year again when I look at where I’ve come and where I’m headed.  When I think of the tumbling towhead of my youth, it seems impossible that I am the same person.  I sometimes think of her and wonder if I’ve become the person she had hoped I would.

The girl I was held high hopes for humanity.  She rescued injured birds from the middle of roads, and abandoned kittens, despite her severe allergy to cats.  She believed that everyone possessed a beauty and a kindness if you looked hard enough.  She appalled an unjust world that would deliver babies into poverty while others flaunted wealth.  She believed in the abundance of love, peace, and food, if only the obstacles could be removed.

She was no saint, and neither am I.  She had plenty of lesser values and unlearned lessons.  She had fears, and pride, and selfishness that all abide in the adult she became.  And as I look, I realize how much I am still her — for better or for worse. Bark

If she had known where we would be today, I’m not sure if she would have chosen a shorter path or ambled along the one I’ve taken.  Yet, this is the place in which we find ourselves, my little inner child and me, and we are quite happy.

I’m glad she held so few expectations.  It allowed me to stop and contemplate a bug along the way, or touch the bark of a tree.  Had she held me fast to some appointed destination, I’d have taken such a wider, paved road and missed the little things along the way.

The future is a mystery — like trying to depict a figure in the shadows.  But the little towhead I take with me suggests I hold no expectations for the crone I’ll someday be.  Together we will mosey down our untrod trail looking for the tiniest of creatures to share our time.  And someday I can say I found my way to an older age, and I’ll be so much richer for it.

bumble

Happy birthday to me, and of course,

Peace . . .

Posted in Family

The Best Gift Ever

My oldest child, a daughter, turned 28 today.  Before she was born, I had no experience with young children.  I didn’t have younger siblings, I didn’t babysit, I didn’t even talk to the younger kids in the neighborhood.  We didn’t have those What to Expect When You’re Expecting books, or even the internet, so I had to rely on my Lamaze classes and old wives’ tales.  I was entering a foreign land.  I remember our birthing class instructor telling us that not everyone bonds immediately to their baby, so if it doesn’t happen right away, don’t worry — you aren’t a bad mom.  I stored that sentence away for future use — you know — just in case.  As it happened, I needed it.

The delivery itself was pretty typical.  My husband was with me.  My parents were close.  It took all day, with a few hiccups — dehydration, labor induction, hyperventilation, a shoulder caught on the umbilical cord — nothing exceptional.  I still remember the relief when she finally surged into the world.  I felt done.  Spent.  I wanted to be left alone.  But there was a placenta to deliver, and an episiotomy to stitch — complete with novocaine shots in a most sensitive area.  I just wanted to be left alone.  And there was this baby they held next to me as if she were some type of magical pain reliever.  But I was still in pain, and this expectation being placed on me wasn’t helping.

Scan 1Later they fed me the best food I had ever eaten.  I think it was a cheese sandwich.  I fainted in the shower, I was wheeled to another room, and I tried to sleep.  They brought her to me for feeding, and showed me how to swaddle her, how to hold and burp her, and always asked if I had any questions.  If she cried, they came.  If I cried they were there wanting to know why.   After one has a baby, there are tears.  There just are.  And not knowing why made me feel like I had failed another test.  I just wanted to be alone.  There is no way to be alone in a hospital.

A day and a half later they told me I was going home . . . and I was taking this breastfeeding, crying, pooping person with me.  There were things to arrange, papers to submit, a car to bring up, and finally they left me alone.  Me and this . . . person.

Sitting in our hospital room with the sunlight filtering through the blinds, holding my baby exactly as I was instructed, I looked down at her.  I shifted her so that she was lying in front of me along both arms, looking into my face.  I called her by name, and told her about all the things waiting for her; the home, the flowers outside her nursery window, the little outfits folded into a new dresser, and the crib that had been waiting vacant for so many weeks while she grew.  I apologized for not knowing a whole lot about being a mom, but that it would be okay, because we would figure it out together.

Scan 2In those few minutes, a special place grew in my heart that exists to this day.  It is the place where I hold everything that belongs to motherhood — the love, the memories, the heartache, the sacrifice, the ferocity, and the wisdom.

For all the times I’ve wished that I’d had this motherhood thing from the onset, I have this one perfect memory of finding it all at once; like opening a door you never knew existed in a house you had lived in all your life.  The three children who followed had a mother who, before they took their first breath, already held them in that very special place in her heart.  But my first has the honor of planting it there.  Of all the gifts I have received from her . . . or anyone in the world before or since . . . it was this first gift from my newborn that I hold most dear.

Peace and Love on your birthday, sweetheart . . .

Posted in Lore

A Certain Age

Happy Birthday?          Yes please!

It’s been an interesting year.  Almost a year ago, to the day, I turned fifty.  It was no big deal.  Just another birthday.  It’s only a number.  That was before my body rose up against me.

Every symptom I Googled brought up an article that started with the words “At a certain age . . .”  WHAT certain age?  Surely I’m not at any certain age.

Look, it took me forty years to feel beautiful in my body, only to find a completely different one now, just a few years later.  What cruel joke is this?

Well I’m not going back to hating myself and despising the person in the mirror.  There is another birthday looming, and I am determined to find the beauty in my new self.

The following is what I have come up with so far:

  • Older and wiser.  The decisions I make are based on experience, not whim or intuition.  When people ask my opinion they take it to heart.
  • Beautiful.  People are beautiful.  Faces are stories.  Eyes are windows.  My face and eyes say I have a story.
  • Confidence.  Having experience brings confidence.  As I age, I am more confident in the beliefs I hold, based on my experiences.  Having confidence allows me to be myself.  Right out loud.  Ever wonder why Gramma Shirley was so outspoken?  The span of life experience and the confidence it gave her, earned her to right to speak up.  I can’t wait to be really old so I can say some really outrageous stuff!
  • Death defying.  Let’s face it.  Every day is a gamble.  Step out your door and you take your life in your own hands.  Heck, stay in and suffer stroke or fall on a wet floor.  I have made it through FIFTY-ONE Minnesota winters and have lived to tell about it.  As of this writing, I have defied death 18,625 days in a row!
  • Touch.  Never underestimate the power of human contact.  As we age, we are touched less and less.  It is a hunger from which many don’t even know they are starving.  Hug much.  Squeeze a hand.  Kiss a cheek.  Pat a back.  Link an elbow.  Nudge an arm in jest.  It is the one gift I receive as I give.
  • Openness.  I keep my mind open, and let everything fly in.  I believe it is when we close our mind to ideas and people that we become old.  I’ve met a great deal of young people who seem very old because they have closed their minds to new things.  And my heart.  I keep my heart open.dscn0572
  • Hands.  My hands may be arthritic, but they can type my thoughts.  They can prepare meals, work in the garden and scratch a dog’s ear.  They wear rings that carry meaning for me.  They remind me of my mother’s own arthritic hands which never stopped moving despite her limitations.
  • Peace.  The opposite of peace is fear.  Fear comes from worrying about what has happened in the past or will happen in the future.  There is only now.  Right now, and only now, can I choose to be at peace.
  • Passion.  For life, for love, for creation.  My passion starts and ends with me.  No one can give it to me, nor can they steal it for their own.  On these pages are my passion.  Enjoy it, hate it, comment on it, but you will not feel it as I feel it.  And as long as I feel it, I am new.

Clicking on the cupcake photo above will bring you to a recipe for
Brownie Batter Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes
on Kevin & Amanda’s Recipes/Delicious recipes to spice up your dinner rotation.