Friday, January 18, 2019

kids, adults, adult children, young parents, old parents, aging parents

  I think about my kids a lot.  And I think about that word. "kids".  They will always be my kids.  My babies.

Of course I know that they are all adults.  Independent adults. When we are together it seems to be my job to recollect their childhoods and their various cute and silly, memorable pranks.  Activities.  Cute expressions.  They are all really pretty tolerant of me though I suspect it drives them crazy sometimes.    I suppose that what makes it alright is that we are all living independent of each other.

When they were babies and toddlers, I couldn't embarrass them.  I was their main connection to the rest of the world.  Yes, they had their dad and aunts and uncles and grandparents.  But, as a stay at home mom, I was the one they spent most of their waking and sleeping hours with.

Once they started to walk and ambulate without my assistance, they would walk away from me to explore.  But they knew I was always there to run back to for a nurse or a cuddle,or just a lap to sit on.

How does all of that, those early years, get to be so large in my memories?  Probably a lot of it was the physicality and the primal nature of the relationship. 

Even after starting school, the kids would often sit next to me, barely touching, just to be near.  For a while I could even hold their hand in public.  When did that stop I wonder?

Childhood is such a very short period.    Baby, toddler, preschooler, elementary school, middle school, high school and that's that.  College or not.  Adulting.  Driving, holding jobs.   And ultimately, moving away.

Everyone of my babies is (are) now older than I was when I became a mother.  I was 23 when I had Courtney, 36 when I had Chance. 

Now I am almost 65 and I feel like I am far from done.  Yes, I am done having babies, but not done living and learning.  There have been some real setbacks.  I am lacking the energy I want.  I still think of myself as an active, high energy person.

I still want to travel and see friends all over the world.   I want to read and write and sew and knit and sleep when I want and go when I want.

But, for the time being, I sort of think of myself as being on the injured reserve list.   I am working on being better and getting better and feeling better.

I want to continue to be able to visit the "kids" and have them come here.   I want to be a tourist visiting their worlds.

I have expectations of my adult children.  They are not the expectations I had when they were younger.  I used to long for the day they would be able to go to the bathroom without my help.  I tried to will them to go to bed and go to sleep.   To do their school work.  To do chores.   To bathe themselves without being told.

They did gain the ability to do all of those things a step at a time.

Now, as I see them as adults, as I relate to them as adults, I cannot judge the way they dress, fix their hair, live their lives. 

My expectations, now, for the five adults I hatched out of my body are simpler and more complex.    First and foremost, I want them, each and every one of them, to be happy.   I want their lives to bring them joy and fulfillment enough to balance out the feelings of failure [that everyone has].  I want them to find joy in little things like a bird singing or a butterfly fluttering by.   And in that joy, I hope that there is a store of good, happiness, contentment and confidence  that slays the dragons of  despair.

When my adult children were babies, I rarely had difficulty comforting, soothing and filling their souls and stomaches.    Touch, smell, comfort, security were their primary needs and I could almost always provide that.

I am not deliberately leaving out Nick.  Of course we couldn't have parented the way I strove to without Nick.   But this is my writing about my thoughts and feelings.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Random thoughts

I learned something from my sister that I hadn't know before.  She told me that she remembers our dad making fruit cake.   She said he put almonds in it and candied fruit. He even blanched the almonds first.  My sister recalls seeing him mixing it all up with his hands!

We were talking about what a good cook our mom was.  Remembering that when she made chocolate chip cookies, she would always put them inside the Dutch oven (deep pan).  It was our family's version of a cookie jar. 

It is kind of strange how, in my memory, my mom was the cook.  She made everything taste good.  The one thing I did not like though was how she would sprinkle dried parsley on top of the mashed potatoes before putting them on the table.  I'm sure it was supposed to look like something out of a magazine.  And maybe it did.  I just felt like she had ruined the potatoes.

But my dad did cook.  He had a cookbook called "The Golden Cookbook".  I am not sure where it came from, but it was his only.  He made the best chocolate cake- that took a whole can of Hershey's chocolate syrup.  Remember when chocolate syrup came in cans?

His only dinner as far as I can recall, was fried chicken. (and a vegetable and potatoes) It was really good.  But if you told him you liked it he would cook it again and again all week.  Oh well.

I've always been a pretty good cook.  When the kids were little it seems like we had chicken almost every night of the week.  I had so many varying ways that I cooked it.  Almost never with a recipe.

Last night I cooked chicken thighs with onions, garlic and carrots.  Plus some flavored rice.  It was really good.  It was also way more than the two of us could eat.  So we decided to have the leftovers this evening.

While Nick was heating up the leftovers and setting the table, he paused and said "how did we do this for seven people every night?".   All of the plates and silverware and glasses of water. And napkins.  We always had water with dinner, with a water pitcher on the table.  We still have water with dinner.  How did we do it?

Quite often we had extras too.  There were often some of the kids friends over for dinner.  Most of them thought it was rather novel that we all sat down to eat together.  I guess we were quaint.

We had a rule that you couldn't eat in the family room if you were under 21.  Most of the time it worked.

And now it's just me and Nick in this big house. And almost every evening we wonder what we are going to have for dinner!  I just don't have the energy or interest or something, to think about  and plan meals.  It's a combination of all of the cooking I did for so many years along with being in almost constant pain (my knees) and I really do think that two brain surgeries did something that made me more mellow.  Who knows.  When I di cook, it's pretty good though.

And, on another subject, the guys came to put up the shades in the family room.  They were missing a bracket, so they have to come back to finish up.  It's amazing to see the guy up in that ladder!

And on another completely subject, I had a full day out today just doing stuff I haven't done in a while.  I started out at Weight Watchers.  I haven't lost anything this week.  I didn't gain anything either, so I consider that a good thing considering all of the Christmas candy we've had around the house.

After Weight Watchers I went and got my hair cut.  And then, the ultimate splurge.  I got  manicure and pedicure.  I tried to take a picture of my hand to show off my nails, but it is really hard to photograph your own hand.  I took a picture of my foot instead.  You can see the color of the nail polish there.

This is Ann working on my feet.  She has been working on my nails for about 14 years.  I am not sure why, but she and I have a real bond.  The first time I went in after my brain surgery last year, she and I hugged and cried for a few minutes.    She is so sweet and I know that she really cares.  She even called the house once to ask Nick how I was doing. Unfortunately, Nick didn't understand her accent, but we did figure it out eventually 

I went with a bright pink.  I actually thought about getting blue nail polish, but I am glad I didn't!