Monday, July 29, 2019

Wedding wonderland

The wedding was so nice.  Morgan and Kim are now married and all is well.   Elvis officiated, and did his job very well.  Kim wore my mother in law's wedding dress.  The one that was worn in 1940.  Appropriate because without Nick's parent's union we and all of our children wouldn't even exist.

Four of my five children were there, and the fifth was able to be there VIA live streaming.   I love them all so much!

Morgan looked amazing (I was going to say dapper, but that's a silly word) in his tuxedo.   Kim was beautiful in "the dress"

Courtney opened her house and yard for the wedding and she organized everything hostess wise- cleaning and arranging house.     She made room for family and friends to sleep in her home.  She is an all around Wonder Woman and wonderful daughter and sister.

There was some fun/ silliness including the personalized blanket:

 And fairy hair after the ceremony:

a wedding guest getting fairy hair

Me getting fairy hair!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Always reflecting

With a son's wedding tomorrow I am thinking about my kids, my life, my husband and love.

I came into this world and was raised into a judgmental family.   I am not trying to be judgmental here, just trying to understand.

Sometimes it was subtle and sometimes not so much.   My mom would say thing like "your dad always leaves his whiskers in the sink after he shaves".  Okay, that happens.  But it was said as a judgement of him.  That he was a slob, or inconsiderate, or just dumb.   But so many things were like that.   After not seeing her for a long time, getting off the plane and met with, "what did you do to your hair?".  Not "how are you, how was the flight"

As a happily dancing little ballerina, my dad would say to my mom (about me) "does she have to run around in that outfit (leotard)?    Why?  What did I do wrong?  Did I look stupid?  Was I stupid?

I could go on and on but I am not sure what's what I want to do.

My point is this;  I came into marriage expecting everything to be perfect.  And when it wasn't, I saw it as an affront, and a sign of not being loved, respected, cared about.  Leaving socks around the house- a common point of contention.  I would get so mad and it kept happening.  So, I figured I was either married at a jerk, or I was not lovable and not worth caring about.

Truth is, neither of those things.  I was hyper critical and he was hyper laid back and confused.

Fast forward.  We had kids.   I was "supposed" to be a prefect mother.  I thought it would be so easy.  You love your children and everything falls into place.

The trouble is, I was too busy judging myself. And falling short.  I would feel lonely at home alone with my firstborn.   I would nurse her, play with her, clean house and then what?     Thank goodness I found La Leche League- or it found me.  I learned that it's okay NOT to be perfect.  It's okay to surrender to mothering.   It took me years and years and many babies to sort of settle into mothering.

I never doubted the love I have for my children.  I never doubted Nick's love of being their father.  But I still took everything personally.  If anyone was hurt, sad, mischievous and later , having troubles in school, I always blamed myself on some level.  And, live my mom getting angry over the whiskers in the sink.  Was I mad at the event, the kids or my own failings?

I wasn't always the kind, understanding mother that the kids deserved.  For that I will always be sorry.

What inspired me to write this morning?   As I said, reflecting.

I often think about my [adult] children and what I think that they should be doing.  How they "should" be succeeding.  But I am not even sure what success means.

Deep down, these amazing people have a grip on my heart, They cannot possibly know how I feel.  I hurt for them even when they are not hurting because I don't want them to hurt or struggle.  They are adults.  They are amazing.  They have their challenges, but they are competent adults who don't need me in the ways they did as babies.

It takes my breath away when I ask myself, how did I get so lucky.  How did these amazing fully formed people come into my life. 

In the airport on the way to Portland the other day, Nick and I observed families traveling with children.   Traveling with sweet little babies.  Traveling with energetic toddlers.  Traveling with teens who would like to pretend that they have no idea who these parental units are.

We did that.  We were them.  And we did it a lot.   I don't how how we did it!  We survived.   We arrived with the same children we left with.

They grow up,get married.  Get divorced.   Get jobs.  Leave jobs.  And I thought it was amazing each time one of them tool their first steps.   But that was just the beginning.


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

There's going to be a wedding

Heading out this afternoon for Portland to Morgan and Kim's wedding.

Trite, but, our babies sure grow up fast!

Sister is staying at our house.

Hopefully I will have pictures later.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Found pictures

Going through a box of papers and pictures I came across these two pictures.  Both taken in Afghanistan around the same time as my picture in a blog post the other day

My brother Dale in Afghan clothes

My sister Carol on a camel- before falling off and getting kicked in the head!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Hot weather

It's really hot this week and that is the big topic of discussion in the stores and with friends and on the news. 

I think I like cold better.  Or at least cooler than now.  When I was a kid I lived for this kind of weather so I could swim.  I spent hours and hours at the pool all summer long.  It was a place to meet and hang out with friends.  It was a place to be that was not at home.  And I loved to swim!

It's funny that I almost never swim any more.   I know that it's a hassle, but probably not any more than when I was a kid.   I guess one difference now is that I hate squeezing myself into a bathing suit and then when I'm finished, pealing a wet bathing suit off. 

Bigger bodies are more awkward getting in and out of swim suits and the pool too.  Older bodies don't move with the agility that was once there.  I used to be self conscious, but not too much.   Now I know what I look like and it's not all that beautiful.

Yeah, "love your body" " Think of how well your body has served you"   Blah blah blah.   

Well, thank goodness for ceiling fans and air conditioning!

Before the storm!

After the storm!

Monday, July 15, 2019

The moon

I believe that we have been fascinated by the moon ever since it occurred on the first person/ being to look up into the night sky.

The 50th anniversary of the first moon walk is rapidly approaching.  There's been a lot about it on the TV.  Watching some of the footage and the still photos taken on the moon and on earth I am so impressed.  We had a black and white TV and I have honestly never seen the pictures I have seen this week.  It is so much more real when you see it in color than it was watching it on a small black and white TV,

It's a big deal and it was a big deal back then.  I was 15 in the summer of 1969. I hung out with other teens in my neighborhood.  We played at the playground in the evening after the little kids had gone inside for the night.   I remember there were some metal mushrooms- for climbing on.  They were at least 3' high.  We used to leap frog over them for fun. 

I'm not really sure how real the whole moon walk was to me.  I do recall that night standing outside and looking up at the sky only to see the little moon up there.  I cannot remember what phase the moon was in.

The three youngest of my sons went to Buzz Aldrin Elementary School.   Buzz himself came to the official grand opening of the school, and he made a point of shaking hands with everyone there.   One of my boys was quite star struck and said "I just shook hands with a hero".

And tonight as the moon was rising so big, from the east, I took a picture.  And later, around midnight I took another picture of the full moon in the dark sky.

Seeing that beaming light up there stirs primal feelings.  I want to howl whenever I see a full moon!

Friday, July 12, 2019

small memories

When we lived in Kabul, Afghanistan, this was our doorbell.   There was a hole in the door frame of the front gate at our house that had a piece of rope going through it.  There was a stick tied to the rope that served as a pull.   The rope ran through the hole in the gate all the way to the front porch of our house.  This bell had the rope looped through the hole.  When the pull was pulled from outside, the bell would ring and alarm us that someone was at the door/ gate/.  It made a big "clang"!

It is strange to think that this bell, which is not that big, played a big part in our day to day life for two years.   Now my sister has it.  She is holding it in her hand in this picture, for scale.

The picture below was taken on the front porch of the house we lived in in Kabul.   My mom had these Afghan outfits made for the three of us, my sister Carol, my brother Dale and me.   I was probably 6 or 7 in this picture.  Somewhere I have a picture of Dale in his Afghan clothes.  I don't know if I have ever seen Carol in hers.

When we returned to States and moved to Wheaton, Maryland, I was in second grade.  My fellow classmates did not believe me when I said that I had lived in Afghanistan.  They didn't believe that there was any such place in the world.   How confusing to be a little kid whose friends don't believe you.  I am sure that now many people in America have heard of Afghanistan, including second graders.

There were such high mountains all around Kabul- the Himalayas.  I saw these mountains every day.  They were a part of me for a while and all of my drawings had big, snow covered mountains in them.   I doubt if any of those pictures still exist.

These are the shoes I was wearing in the picture above.  They are in my house right now.

Tired all the time

I am not sure if I am always tired because I have a health concern like low (no) thyroid, low iron etc.   Or is it because I spend too much time thinking about everything.  Or is it just age? Maybe it's because  I am tired of being in almost constant pain and when I am not in pain I am thinking about being in pain.

Many people I know have burn out caused by the current political situation in the US.   Maybe that's it?  I have always been passionate about things effecting the health of the planet and the health of people (especially babies).   But in the past this passion has energized me.  A lot.

I do feel energized on Tuesday afternoons after the Breastfeeding Cafe' that I host.  I love seeing and holding babies.  I love helping moms.  Even if all they need is someone to talk to.  I could be the grandmother to all of these babies, and am probably older than most of the mothers of the new mothers.  But I think that's part of why it works.    I can say things that are probably the same thing that their mothers would say, but without the baggage of being their mother.  They don't have that kind of tension with me. 

Lately I have been falling asleep on the sofa in the evening while watching the news.  No, I do not have any insomnia any more.  I used to stay up until 2:00 am and still have trouble falling asleep.

I know that being sedentary contributes to feeling low energy.  But I think that's what I need right now.

I am looking forward to my knee replacement surgery.  I am afraid of the pain and the recovery, but I know that once I am healed, probably after my second knee replacement surgery, I am going to feel wonderful!

Fingers crossed!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

An article that speaks to me

I was the sun, the kids were my planets

By Beverly Beckham
August 27, 2006
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I wasn't wrong about their leaving. My husband kept telling me I was. That it wasn't the end of the world when first one child, then another , and then the last packed their bags and left for college.
But it was the end of something. ``Can you pick me up, Mom?" ``What's for dinner?" ``What do you think?"
I was the sun and they were the planets. And there was life on those planets, whirling, non stop plans and parties and friends coming and going, and ideas and dreams and the phone ringing and doors slamming.
And I got to beam down on them. To watch. To glow.
And then they were gone, one after the other.
``They'll be back," my husband said. And he was right. They came back. But he was wrong, too, because they came back for intervals -- not for always, not planets anymore, making their predictable orbits, but unpredictable, like shooting stars.
Always is what you miss. Always knowing where they are. At school. At play practice. At a ballgame. At a friend's. Always looking at the clock mid day and anticipating the door opening, the sigh, the smile, the laugh, the shrug. ``How was school?" answered for years in too much detail. ``And then he said . . . and then I said to him. . . ." Then hardly answered at all.
Always, knowing his friends.
Her favorite show.
What he had for breakfast.
What she wore to school.
What he thinks.
How she feels.
My friend Beth's twin girls left for Roger Williams yesterday. They are her fourth and fifth children. She's been down this road three times before. You'd think it would get easier.
``I don't know what I'm going to do without them," she has said every day for months.
And I have said nothing, because, really, what is there to say?
A chapter ends. Another chapter begins. One door closes and another door opens. The best thing a parent can give their child is wings. I read all these things when my children left home and thought then what I think now: What do these words mean?
Eighteen years isn't a chapter in anyone's life. It's a whole book, and that book is ending and what comes next is connected to, but different from, everything that has gone before.
Before was an infant, a toddler, a child, a teenager. Before was feeding and changing and teaching and comforting and guiding and disciplining, everything hands -on. Now?
Now the kids are young adults and on their own and the parents are on the periphery, and it's not just a chapter change. It's a sea change.
As for a door closing? Would that you could close a door and forget for even a minute your children and your love for them and your fear for them, too. And would that they occupied just a single room in your head. But they're in every room in your head and in your heart.
As for the wings analogy? It's sweet. But children are not birds. Parents don't let them go and build another nest and have all new offspring next year.
Saying goodbye to your children and their childhood is much harder than all the pithy sayings make it seem. Because that's what going to college is. It's goodbye.
It's not a death. And it's not a tragedy.
But it's not nothing, either.
To grow a child, a body changes. It needs more sleep. It rejects food it used to like. It expands and it adapts.
To let go of a child, a body changes, too. It sighs and it cries and it feels weightless and heavy at the same time.
The drive home alone without them is the worst. And the first few days. But then it gets better. The kids call, come home, bring their friends, fill the house with their energy again.
Life does go on.
``Can you give me a ride to the mall?" ``Mom, make him stop!" I don't miss this part of parenting, playing chauffeur and referee. But I miss them, still, all these years later, the children they were, at the dinner table, beside me on the couch, talking on the phone, sleeping in their rooms, safe, home, mine.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Independence Day 2019

I put this on Facebook this morning:

I am a bit befuddled by my feelings today. I fully expected (and wanted) the Trump speech to be an ego 
boosting rally about what a wonderful person he is and how wonderful the country is doing because of 
him. But it wasn't. Yes, he did make some pretty dumb mistakes. We expect that. But all in all it was not 
too bad. I enjoyed watching the "Capital Fourth" on PBS and also the Macy's Fourth on NBC. I love this 
country. I am not sure if we are the best nation on earth at this particular moment in our history. But I do 
believe that we have the potential to be. We have made many mistakes and committed some 
unforgivable acts. I don't think we need to hide that. I believe that we can and should own up to our 
mistakes and work to make sure that "One Nation Under All" is what we work toward and what we can be.