1/28/2013

De-find You




I met someone this weekend that told a story I have heard many times before. Young woman meets a man, falls in love and marries. The marriage lasts for well over twenty five years and ends abruptly. No notice, no planning, just one day, one mate decides to tell the other, “I am leaving. I want out.”  

Put on the brakes, el pronto, and change gears.  Pull out your new deck of cards and start shuffling because you will need a new set of cards to finish out your life. Nothing in the past will be quite the same.  You will need to change because your future will be different.   I try to explain this to women when they are facing this scenario. Some women are extremely receptive to the idea of change and some are just not ready to make the transition, even though it is inevitable.   Change is a part of growth, and we must accept it.  Accept it with grace and humility and move on. Resisting it will only make it harder and more stressful.

This weekend the person I spoke with was contemplating who she was and wanted to be.  How exciting I thought that was!  I think, in her mind, it was a scary journey.  In my mind, maybe it was what God intended all along.  It apparently took her husband leaving for her to actually stop, and take a good hard look at herself. 

Now, in wonderment, she is trying to define herself and figure out who she is.  She admitted she has never really been sure.   I think she will find, as others see her, a beautiful image of love, compassion and humor.   But she must see,  feel and experience that with her own eyes and heart.  Self-worth and self-love are part of God’s gifts to us also. We must accept those blessings bestowed on us like all of his others.  

For far too long, she, and many others like her, have been hiding behind the shirt tails of her husband, quite literally, defining who she is by her last name. A marriage does not mean we lose our identity.  A strong relationship should entail a discovery of continually growing and redefining ourselves as life changes. A supportive mate should allow their partner that growth, in fact should welcome it. It is a reciprocal process as time passes. In her case, this woman I speak of,  much of her identity was tied up into her partner, what he wanted her to be, by her own choice. When he grew weary of someone playing a part, whether well intended or not, out the door he went. 

The more we talked I began to see that her hurt had more to do with the fear of being alone with herself and finding herself than the divorce or losing him.  Interesting, aye?  I kept hearing the song in my head by Jason Mraz,  “I am Yours.” It is such a simple little song but with a wonderful message about life.  See how precious life is if we just open up and enjoy it.   Love it and each other.  In this case, she needs to love herself.  Without doing that, she will never love another.  That alone will keep her warm and happy every day. That alone is a precious vital gift that only she can bestow on herself. 

Total dependency on another is not healthy.  As we age, death is inevitable, death of a marriage or physical death.   Our sole existence cannot be tied exclusively to one individual or one entity.  It can’t be encapsulated in one relationship, or when that relationship ends, our life ends.   We can’t sum up life is good simply if we have food in the cupboard or when we are hungry, life has nothing fruitful to celebrate.   Life’s value can’t be solely in being rich with lots of coins in the bank or there is no richness involved in the sound of God’s angels singing or hearing someone say I love you with heartfelt meaning.  Life’s existence and purpose must be self-defined and unfortunately some individuals lose something they love before faced with defining it.   

So the next time you run into someone whose marriage has ended after many years, instead of questioning what went wrong, I recommend a different focus.   Open up your mind and heart and encourage them to grow,   Maybe this is the time for them to live more fully, concentrate on recreating themselves a bit or fine-tuning some things and enjoy living in a slightly different way. And perhaps it is a reminder to you to do the same! 



                                 

1/20/2013

Stories to Tell


The years seem to pass quicker the older I get.  Isn’t that ironic when now I want everything
to move slower. I want more time for daylight, weekdays, and yes, even weekends.  But my
reasons for wanting long weekends are not for the same reasons as when I was in school, no not at all.   I want to savor the moments, have the luxury of just relaxing, taking in the splendor of living life to the fullest.   Too much time has gone by where I was living by the seat of my pants, in perpetual motion.  I look back and sometimes wonder where I got the energy to get it all done so quickly and still keep moving.  If I had to do it all over again, I could not possibly come up with enough kinetic energy to do so.
  
There were days when I was working part time and attending college full time.  All the while, I was raising my two children, holding down a house, managing the household finances (barely!), the kids select soccer seasons and whew, whatever else came my way.  Nights ended at midnight with my studying and days started around 5:00 a.m.


As the years have flashed by, and the seasons change, so have I. I sure wish my body would recirculate like the leaves on the trees do and when fall returns, my body would look rejuvenated and as pretty as it did last autumn.  Mine gets each year, a bit older, more wrinkles, and possibly a teeny bit slower too, if one was clocking my speed.   It is safe to save Mother Nature is not as kind to mere Mortals as she is to the planet Earth.  That tree in our front yard will be here long after me and be just as majestic.

When I was younger, visiting with family was boring.  Just sitting around talking was painful. I would be looking for any distraction to help make it more bearable.  Now I simply find it so refreshing to spend time with family, immediate and extended. It is amazing how those bonds, no matter the time between visits or distance, seem to build quickly and they renew intently.   The similarities are quickly recognized and the shared memories warm the heart.   I find myself craving for more time and not less time with family to celebrate our connection.


Friends of yesterday years helped influence who I am today; some in small ways, some in large ways and some were just a fun piece of my history.   How I would enjoy reminiscing
with them!  In the past, running away from times in my life when I didn’t have it all together, e.g. high school years, sounded ideal. Now, as the pieces of my life fit, it would be so entertaining to collect some of those former friends and actually connect live, in person and just celebrate life, the fact of what we were and who we are now.   One day we will all be connected again, in a more perfect world and but all of us have come a long way and have hopefully grown.  The past is a blessing and the present is a blessing also.

I find more and more things in this world we live in to smile about and less to worry about as I age.  Cynicism is an attitude.  It is a choice.   It is allowing the negative to underlie everything you see, think and feel.  If I do that, I can’t enjoy the moment.  I worked too hard to be here, at this moment, to not enjoy it.  There is so much good surrounding us if we look and feel with an open heart.

Plus I believe in miracles. I see them every day. I think with a closed mind, you don’t see them.  I have faith and believe God makes things happen all the time.  I didn’t feel this so much when I was younger. This is something I have become more aware of as I have grown older and deepened my faith.  Try adopting this attitude for a while and you may be shocked at what you see happening all around you. 

My favorite memory of old was listening to elderly people tell stories of their life, growing up. 
There was this one lady, Louise, for example. She lived in a nursing home next to my grandparents’ house in Piqua, Ohio. Louise was wheel chair bound and had no legs. When she was younger, she use to attend grand gala events at a huge home in Dayton, Ohio down the street from where I grew up. in Saville Estates. We use to simply call the home the Mansion.   It was easily the biggest house in the neighborhood and towered on a huge hill down the street.  It always looked horrible when I was kid, run down, with huge outdoor pool overrun with weeds, signs of decay on the columns running alongside the walk ways leading to the pool, ivy growing up alongside the house.  

Louise described the house from back in her days, when her relatives owned it.  It was a different day and time. She showed me pictures of her family from outside on the grounds and inside the home.   It was like something from Tara in Gone with the Wind. Simply beautiful!   The pool water was crystal clear with the ladies and gents around the edge of the water in their full body bathing suits as was the custom in those days.   The yard was well manicured and looked as clean and proper as a golf course on the pro tour. 

The day I ran over to Louise’s one bedroom to hear my afternoon of stories and found her room utterly empty only to be told she had died, my heart sunk.  She cannot be replaced.  She brought to life her life to me.

Stories of our life told to younger generations should do that; bring an earlier era to life. Take time to do that. History is best served that way.  I use to crave listening to older people talk about their lives, some twenty and thirty years ago. Those recanting were so much better than a boring history book.   I always wondered what it would be like to have a pocket full of stories like that to tell. 

It is as if I woke up one day and became one of those old women sitting on the front porch.  I have a wheelbarrow full of stories, oodles of wonderful yarns about people I have met along life’s journey. Oh, and tons of stories about me, about history in the making, when microwaves first came out, where I was when the Shuttle blew up, when cloth diapers were used only, etc….  Some of the stories are funny, some sad, some make you think.  All of them have touched me in their own unique way.   Isn’t it amazing how much we learn in life from just everyday living?   It is as if recanting our steps in life we can help someone else vicariously visit the history of us, our legacy. The joy of a story is being taken to a land far far away  without your feet leaving the ground.

As we age, before our feet leave the ground permanently, perhaps we should all consider doing this, tell someone your story. 

1/13/2013

....And Then There Was big girl Ava


 I have had many wonderful moments in my life.  Moments where I thought nothing to come would ever surpass the experience.  Events that centered around my family, in particular my children and also there have been places I have visited that were dream vacations for me. 

When I look back, there are far too many to name.  As I age, perhaps it is safe to say that there are
even too many to recall.  Yes, I am getting closer all the time to my Grandma Gliatti’s age and one day, I will look in the mirror and perhaps see a reflection looking back at me that bears even more resemblance to her.
But the one thing I never expected in the line of superior events in life was a little pint sized child to rate up there on the list of most prized moments in life.  That is, any time spent with her is special indeed.  With her unpredictable attitude, a smile that lights up a room and personality bigger than life, she has attached herself to my heart strings and every moment I spend with her is a highlight in my life.

I am talking about none other than my one and only granddaughter.   I think God intended for me to only have one for He knew Ava could not be surpassed. She is a handful so he only gave me one.   (God knows everything; he planned this perfectly!) 


Whether she is gouging up my make up by literally digging into it, and proudly putting it under one side of her face, as she is fond of doing, she turns into a beauty queen who looks like she has been beaten up.  But never mind, she is proud of her cosmetology skills and so am I!

So many times, when I watch her, it is like a slice of the past. She mimics her Aunt Boo Boo, my daughter, in many ways.   Both, as children have no volume control. When they walk into a room, it can be like a tornado hit. No one has any doubt who Ava is just as with my own daughter.  The energy and life they emit is contagious.  Dancing, walking on tippy toes and singing came naturally to Boo just like it does to Ava.  It is amusing to see that many of the same traits Ava’s daddy finds amusing in his own little girl he found irritating as ever in his sister.  Now he has to live with them all over again!   I suppose he has learned to just suck it up! 

The loving nature of Ava is one of the things, when I die, I will miss the most. The way she holds my
cheeks in her hands and looks at me and then kisses me.  My heart melts when I watch her comfort her baby elephant at bedtime and tell him not to be scared that it is bedtime and that she will protect him and it is time to go to sleep.   What a kind caring big heart in a tiny little chest.   It sure makes me proud I brought her daddy into this world. 

When I go to Ava’s house, she immediately tells me to take off my shoes.  That is her way of saying to me she does not want me to leave. She will continue saying it over and over again until I remove them.   It is an endearing trait, like so many others she has.  I sometimes wish I could capture all these little nuances and put them in a time capsule so when she grows up she could look back and see the beauty of what she was as a little girl.   She would indeed be proud.   I know, by then, I won’t be here forever or remember to tell her all of the little details that make her so darn special and uniquely her. 

It melts my heart when she is sad because she is, by nature, a happy child who enjoys life.   When her language processing catches up to her speaking skills, she will not be good at keeping secrets!  I can foresee in the future a blabber mouth of sorts like her aunt!  Oh, not everything, just the things no one wants her to tell anyone! 

Ava is real, Ava is precious, Ava is genuine and Ava is one of my greatest blessings.  When I go to heaven, I will ask but one thing.  I want to be the angel that, every time Ava’s mouth turns into a frown, I can slip back down from heaven and push the corners gently back up into a smile.   And ever so softly whisper in her ear, “I love you, smile, you are Grandma’s big girl!  I have your backside always."

Video Link Below:
Simply Clock on
YOUTUBE







1/01/2013

Season Celebration; Coming Home in 2013


With the holidays winding down, now comes the time for reflection of what the holidays meant to me and to us all.  Several times, I could not help but reflect on how my husband and I would approach this Christmas knowing Dan, my step son would no longer be on this earth any longer to be a part, in any way, of our Christmas day, or so I thought/felt.

This holiday is the time of year when good friends become more like family.   Those
family  members we are often too busy, other times of the year, to communicate with, we find time to now.  Even if it is simply to jot off a Christmas wish, a phone call, an email, to let them know they are loved, thought of or wished well for the upcoming year. 

It is the time we say good bye to a year and hello and praise to an upcoming one.  It is a time for rejoicing in memories of the past year, reflection on what went well, and what we learned. And hopefully, a time to draw from the experience and be a better person for our future, no matter how long or short it is.

 As I drove into work on Dec. 26th, I was thinking about how splendid it had been to be in contact with so many people that are near and dear to me this year during the holiday season.   That is, all except for one, Dan, who we lost in March.   As I pulled close to work, into a mostly deserted parking lot, out of the blue, on the radio, the song we choice for his memorial tribute blasted out of my radio,   “I Can Only Imagine.”  It could not help but remind me that he was signaling to me that he was home, and yet here with us for the holidays.   It was a nice closure to Christmas.

I then reflected further, as the year was winding down, to what the ultimate joy is in
the holiday season for so many of us. As my son once said, as he grew older, Christmas is just not as much fun once you get past the toy stage.  We all go through that period until we realize the true meaning and joy of the season.   I tried to capture some of it on the attached video. It is not just about gifts, it is not just about Santa, nor about our family of origin either. The holidays is more about a feeling, an attitude, a rejoicing in what life is suppose to be about, what we make it, what we do for one another, what we celebrate, what we create as home and who we invite into our home.  Think about it and make 2013 a year to remember. And to celebrate your home!

(Video best viewed in full screen & if you encounter trouble loading it off this site, it is loaded on you tube under above name)