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I Am Living

At the Amherst Writers Retreat on a Greek Island, the prompt was: I am living…this is what I continued..

I am living the dream. The dream answers Freud’s question-“What do women want?” Hey Siggy, simple, a woman wants sovereignty over her own life-you dummkoph- I know that’s not a polite Germanic term, but it’s a lot better than some English descriptions I can think of.

When a woman has control over her own life, she gives her best. In a marriage, partnership is the operative word. I have been married 58 years to a gentle man. Never the less, I have had to train him as I matured. As in, “Yes, I know you wouldn’t do that, but big news, I am not you.” It’s a terrible shock. By now he’s getting used to it. Still a bit confused at times, but not totally bewildered.

I missed my oldest grandson’s college graduation to go to Greece and the Amherst Writing Retreat. His mother wasn’t happy with me. I understand. He, the wiser, said, “Ah Bubbles, go to Greece. I would.” I’m sorry I missed his graduation, but choices are sometimes not easy. The problem is I have more past than future. I have pretty much given that past to my family and what they needed, but the future is before me as they say. Little by little I am making decisions for me. If not now, when?

I think pursuing my dreams will reverberate through my family. My grand children will see that I continue to grow and I am the sovereign of my life. I am taking the scepter a bit late, but then, if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

I did make Ryan’s graduation from Cornell Medical School this past May. It was a fabulous five days in New York City. The graduation was held in Carnegie Hall. As you might imagine it was the best.I told him he can say he has appeared on the stage in Carnegie Hall.

He also received an award for the best grades for all four years. After the ceremony, he put his arms around “Big D,” his grand father, and I, and whispered, “Thanks for the brains.” He did all the work, but what a wonderful loving tribute, even if it’s a stretch of the truth.

Blessings, Bubbles

The Short and the Long View

When our children were teens, I was on the front line of discipline. Their father was busy trying to support us and make enough money for the looming college days.

I was immediate, wild eyed, vocal and alert to problems. They called me “the Detective.” From his business office, he was looking at the long run. The strategy of the war is easier when you are not in the trenches.

When I was tired and short tempered, which was too much of the time, he would ask, “He’s sixteen. What do you want him to be at thirty?” “Out of my house.” Was usually my answer. Actually at thirty, it would have been fine to have any of them here. Someone had civilized them in the meantime.

The long run is the best view. I am happy and grateful that he had it. Isn’t that what we are to do as parents? We need to look forward to the responsible, loving adults that evolve from responsible, loving, occasionally wild-eyed parents.  I dealt with what I call “Heading Them Off at the Pass.” Gary dealt with where they would be when they got to the other side. They made it, perhaps in spite of us.

Blessings, Bubbles

Sitting in the Bleachers

Here we are on our 50th anniversary, Gary and Patricia. aka “Big D” and Bubbles.” We’ve added 8 more years since then. Each year we are together is sweeter and feels precious.

Yes, the first 50 years are definitely the hardest. They told us as part of the ceremony on our wedding day that “the future will all of its’ joys and its’ sorrows is hidden before your eyes.” Good thing because no way could we have handled what was to come. At weddings we hear the young bride and groom saying for BETTER and for worse, sickness and in HEALTH, RICHER and poorer…well you get the idea. Do we ever think those negatives will happen? If so, we’d all be single and still not avoid them.

Now that Gary and I are grand parents eleven times over, we have experienced sorrows, and hard times but so many joys. Each new life is an affirmation of love and joy. Each sorrow is something we can endure with the help of each other, family and friends. So we sit in the Grandstand and view the new generation, acknowledging the trials and the love and the joy. We pray that they will find the smoothest path that leads each of them to contentment and peace.

Blessings, Bubbles

Maintenance

A fine woman is like a fine car, she requires maintenance. The more classic she becomes, the more attention she needs. I get some help from the basic fixers, My internist, my dentist, Dr. Swancutt, Kathy for my hair and Roberta, my yogi, who keeps me moving. I need some polishing from outside attendants. I am finding the basic people are becoming the most important. It won’t help if my skin in unlined and my hair is still blond, if my teeth are falling out, my knees ache and I need help chewing my food and getting down the stairs.

Right now, I don’t want to look like my daughter, I just want to get out of the car like she does. Actually, I want to do both, but I’ll settle for getting out of the car.

It is difficult to age. I think that’s why our eyes dim. I look pretty good until I put on my glasses. My hearing is dimming too. I think about my Mom who refused to get hearing aids because, “I don’t care what most people say.” I am trying to care and I am tired of saying, “What? Excuse me? Pardon?” I think I’ll learn to read lips.

Blessings, Bubbles

Watching the Game

Let me tell you, there isn’t enough time in any mother’s life to loose the extra eyes that develop when your first child is born. As a child grows, all of a mothers’ senses multiply, turn on red alert. You not only watch, you can physically feel the pain when the kid at school teases, repeating the clever put downs seen on “comedy” shows on TV. Those “funny” things really meant to hurt, that turns a bubbling child mute, sucking the enthusiasm from her soul.

A child will cry out in the First Grade, “I can sing. I can dance. Yes, I can do that.” The same child becomes one who is afraid to even try for fear of peer ridicule. Ask, “Who can sing? Who can dance?” again in the fifth grade and instead of many hands waving , there may be one or two brave ones who face the disdain of their classmates.

A mothers’ hearing becomes highly acute with the first teeth click you hear from your child’s precious rosebud  lips. This, accompanied with rolling of the eyes, will begin to burn your soul. As they grow in wisdom and age, if not in grace, the look directed at you like a cold laser when you try to protect them from unchaperoned parties, hotels with drugs and alcohol on prom night and feckless friends with no curfew, shrinks your heart a little smaller.

When they lie about where they are going and tell their friends what a witch, no make that bitch, their mother is, an angina pain constricting your chest and choking your breath off nearly floors you. The Bible story of Mary’s reaction when her twelve year old son was lost for three days resonates through time. Christ was found preaching in the temple, apparently with not a thought to his parents anguish. This God-child figuratively tells His parents to mind their own business. The next line is, “…and Mary kept these things in her heart.” I will attest to you that there is very little room left for storage in a mother’s heart by the time a child reaches eighteen.

But still we watch. We watch as they are hurt, knowing that we cannot protect them from the world and its’ influences. This is the part that sears your heart. To be a good parent you must let them hurt and suffer and take the consequences of their own actions, and you experience every hurt and every suffering.

In their  twenties, your children, they are still your children, begin to catalog all the grievous wrongs of their upbringing.  They begin to treat you as if you are already a bit senile. They laugh over your head at inside jokes, thinking you don’t notice. You sit and listen, knowing that their lessons will be learned, some the hard way, but you still want to protect them.

You wish you could do it all again, make the corrections they would like. But mostly, you long for one more clamoring dinner with the faces of your vanished children around the table.

Then, like a miracle, they begin to bring home your grandchildren, and hope is carried in the door wrapped in a flannel blanket. Delight toddles around the living room. Your heart swells, restored. You see your children become loving parents and you remember joy and why you had children in the first place.

Blessings, Bubbles

 

Who and Why

“We must be concerned about not merely who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers.”  If Martin Luther King, Jr. was  alive today, he could say this every other week. Guns, mental illness, bad parenting, one or all of these things surely contribute to the violence in our country.  Each of us must look in mirror. We are the producers.

Divisive language, mean put downs, an inability for rational discussions, name calling, lying, blaming others, violence in the films and on television are contributors. The attitude of “it’s my right, to hell with you.” is killing our children. There is a lack of understanding of the common good. We are all part of it.

Where is respect for the other persons view point? We each must be right, totally right with no attempt to understand another side. Why are we so afraid? Why is it that everything seems to be at the extremes with no room for compromise in the middle.

Congress votes totally on party lines. My sister says before anyone goes to Washington they should be made to watch the old Jimmy Stewart movie, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Perhaps they would begin to get an inkling of the principles and ethics of our Constitution. Perhaps they would remember for whom they are working.

I would like to send the lot of them a back brace, since they are for the most part spineless. They need to stop with the thoughts and prayers and pass some laws that protect our children and our country.  We need to demand it.

How many children need to be murdered? Australia had one mass shooting and changed their gun laws. They have not had any since. They still have people who are mentally ill, but they do not have access to guns. The trope that the shootings are caused by mentally ill people not guns may have a tiny validity, but what if, like in Australia guns were not available to them?

One man said to me, the government is not taking my guns. Really? Is the government coming after you? What kind of paranoia is that? I think that the only time anyone in “government” knows you exist is when you pay your taxes. The “government” could send one or two Navy Seals and Buddy, you’d better not think you’d be the winner.

I believe what our “government” must do is stop taking money from the NRA and get real.  My Dad had a hunting rifle. He lived in North Dakota and hunted for food. He didn’t need an AK47 or a handgun. He was a man who knew a gun didn’t make him a man. He also thought he was part of the government.

We have weapons of mass destruction in every state. They are in homes of people who shouldn’t have them. We need to get stricter gun laws.

Until then, we are the murderers.

Blessings, Bubbles

Getting in the Grandstand

Had a knee replacement, so climbing the stairs up the grandstand is dicey. I’m good up there. I can see the game of life and the games in the stands. Getting down is more problematic. I feel I need to perfect a roll so I won’t bounce to the bottom.

Another solution is to stay on the field. That’s where I spent my youth. Running and leaping, volleyball, basketball, softball and tennis. I loved tennis as a family sport and even became quite good at it. (If you can do it, it ain’t braggin’) I coached volleyball, basketball and tennis. Now the joints remember those jumping days. I’m trying to get into Pickleball. (Easier on the joints.) So far that’s not possible. But I can put on my flashy outfit and stay in the parade.

My wonderful Aunt Alma told me that the hardest thing I would ever do is grow old gracefully. I wasn’t graceful  (except on the field) when young, so it’s “a problem” to quote a Grandie. Curiosity is the thing to nurture now. Like how in the heck will I get down from here.

Blessings, Bubbles

 

And the Rain Came Down

I love the rain. I made a big pot of chicken-noodle soup today to go with the rain. Rain gives us time to “hole up” and have some quiet time indoors. It seems that in So. California we are on the go too much. The weather is part of it. The Mediterranean climate too temperate. Nature too benign.

The rain has stopped. The air is soft now and smells so fresh.  The green of the trees and bushes are etched against the blue sky. Runners, bikers, walkers, swimmers all out and moving. I know that’s good for us, but so is some time to reflect, time to organize a closet, time to read and think. I would like it to rain every Monday or Tuesday just to start the week on a clean slate. After the rain the sun is lovely. It is no wonder the ancient people worshiped the sun. It’s not so special if we get too much of it. We need the life giving water, the cleansing, the sound of the rain.

Blessings, Bubbles

Turn It Off

You hear it all the time. Turn off the phone, texting is dangerous, blah, blah, blah. Well it isn’t blah, blah. Creativity and God do not visit in noise. We need time alone, solitude. Pascal said,”All of humanities problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” If you don’t like yourself enough to spend time with yourself, it may be time for a serious retooling.   Take a walk without earbuds. Look at the sky. Sit down with paper and pen, or paints. Write a letter.  Put a basket by the front door for cell phones. You can tell people that they are important enough to be fully present in your home.

Look at your calendar. Do the things that you spend your time doing bring you happiness or contentment? If not, who is in charge of your schedule? How will you spend the days that are a one time offer, what Mary Oliver called that one wild and crazy life? It’s up to you.

Blessings, Bubbles

From the Grandstand

     It’s nice to view the game of life without worrying about who will win. I’m off the field and up in the stands. Since I am a Grandmother to eleven brilliant, beautiful, fun young people who call me “Bubbles,” I’m calling my perch, “The Grandstand.” After all, Bubbles do rise.

The Grandies Big D’s Little G’s.

    At this stage of life, I don’t know everything, but I know what I needed to unlearn and I have picked up some experience and wisdom along the way.

Mother Nature

   It’s about time in this world of instant knowledge and information that some wisdom is dispensed. I have been in the game a long time, and also observed life as it played out around me. I should have bought a rubber donut to sit on years ago to keep my mind from wandering. So this blog is from the Wise Woman, make that Wild and Wise Woman. Tune in, we’ll have some sporting good times.

Blessings, Patricia aka Bubbles