When my youngest daughter left for college, I was so excited for her adventure and her success. The next day I wondered what I was going to do with myself for the next 40 years. Most little girls born in the 50’s or 60’s usually know what they are to do. Get married, have kids and then the narrative ends. No one prepares us for the kids leaving home. I started collecting cats…..
Often girls also receive no instruction about the important things to expect after marriage…..like how do you merge the holidays. The options seem to be to give up on your family traditions and find peace with the husbands mother’s traditions, keep your family traditions and force the husband to disappoint his mother or wait until kids arrive and stand firm that you are making your own traditions and let the chips fall where they may.
Then your kids grow up, get married have children and there could be more grandparents than there are dining room chairs. NOW what. It’s possible to buy a day planner and schedule Christmas…everyone is kind of in the mood from Thanksgiving to New Years. That can work, I’ve heard.
But what I have found is you must release attachments about how Christmas is supposed to be. Learning to set aside “but they”…. I’ve always believed there was something special in the air about Christmas but I’ve learned that “we” have made Christmas what it is to us.
…….and I didn’t even want to touch on the religion aspect. Believe it or not, not everyone celebrates the same story about Baby Jesus.
I have always loved cows….in fact, I have no idea how I could still be eating them but I can’t go there right now.
My grandma had Jersey cows for milking…I always thought they had adorable faces
Amongst my many collections of “things” that have come and gone was my cow collection which I finally parted with a few years ago….but I kept these which were always somewhere in my kitchen(s) as they are now.
The milk bottle in the middle is an Anderson Erickson milk bottle my dad had saved from the days when milk was delivered and deposited in a metal box by the front door.
But the MOST cherished bottles are these milk bottles that belonged to my dad and his dad when they ran a dairy in the late 1930’s or 40’s in Iowa. I also found sleeves of bottle caps used by them.
And then the cows sculpted by my dad
This trip down memory lane happened after a walk today. Christmas decorations!!!!!!! tis the season!
I’ve joined a zoom Strength Builders class that meets on Monday and Thursday mornings. For the last two weeks, I’ve been walking with a slight bend at the waste. I believe this 1) is not natural for most women my age; and 2) this evidence that I accepted the invitation in the nick of time!
After class I opened the door and
He’s getting his exercise too and actually has also been walking with a slight bend. He’s been putting a ceiling in our downstairs family room.
It’s nearly completed….just a few pieces left on my end of the basement then he can begin the reorganization of his art studio. He thinks he can make it cat free….He’s such a dreamer!
While everyone else will be in their warm cars tonight driving through the many Christmas light venues around us, we are meeting the Missouri family at Powell Gardens and losing ourselves in the beauty and mystery of the decorated Christmas wonderland!
It’s really hard to believe the 2020 version of Christmas is a week away.
Sadly I think the geese are getting ready to leave the pond. They’ve all been sitting around on a thin layer of ice today…..I’ve been sending them messages to stay awhile longer…the rest of the week will be warmer
This reads more like a Dear Diary entry but that is where I am in my head…holding myself close, appreciating the friendships and the love and the beauty all around me.
Notifications from our ring camera at the front door drive me bonkers! It’s probably really not fair to judge it’s efficiency during the pandemic because no one comes to the door. Only one guy who rang the doorbell and hung around on the sidewalk waiting for an answer while not being able to miss the No Soliciting sign. In a moment of irritation, I told myself that soliciting must have been too big a word. OK….not a very kind thing to think but DAMNIT!
The ring doorbell does pickup vehicles driving past on the street. I’ve adjusted and adjusted but certain times in the morning and evening, I think the sun hits the windows of the vehicle (especially SUVs) just right and sets it off. Rex…our cat/dog/annoying near-human, now recognizes that we respond when the “ring” is activated…whatever he is doing…even from a dead sleep…he sits up alert, often moving to the hallway waiting for one of us to do something. If you have cats, you will understand when I say he seems to be gifted…
In order to end this pandemic post of nothingness, I just wanted to mention that I frequently call up my ring app just to see what has gone by the house and even though by then I already know there have been no deliveries I get excited to see an Amazon van or a FedEx truck going by…which causes me to wave my arm in the air and yell..HEY HEY where’s my order.
If there is anything more exciting than this blog going on in your life, please respond!! I need the stimulation!
The loveseat enveloped my body last night when our day of Christmas celebration was over. There was the buoy effect as I tried to sink in but I was just too inflated to actually feel comfortable. “Why” I screamed in my brain as the melancholy set in. Now begins the day after Christmas.
Unlike several of my friends, I have never been the day after Thanksgiving shopper nor do I look forward to bargain shopping the day after Christmas. Manic buying, shopping, cooking, planning and the joy of Christmas decorations ends at sunset on Christmas Day. The week before The New Year has always been the week of renewed hope. I like to think of it as I have been loved and nourished on Christmas which gives me the courage for the “start over” week….and the new year!
So onward and upward…this beautiful sunrise reminds me I have my week of hope, love and renewal beginning.
Throwing the ingredients for monkey bread into the greased angel food cake pan, I reflected on how many times I have cringed while greasing the cake pan all the while wondering why you aren’t suppose to grease an angel food cake pan.
Wondered if my mother somehow knew I greased angel food cake pans which drifted into remembering my mother and Aunt Frances cooking every holiday meal together and even after 80+ years still arguing about it.
I had coffee with my dad (where ever he is) in his red and black Christmas flannel shirt and I repledged my undying love for him. My best qualities…the ones I don’t take credit for, I got from my dad.
Realized the Christmas cry was going to happen at some point today.
Made “company potatos” from a beloveds recipe and I hope she knows I miss her so much today!
Wondered if the girls and their families have the slightest idea how much I love and cherish them.
Turned on the cold water in the sink to rinse a dish and wondered if I just scalded “him” in the shower, felt bad, then snickered because he’s probably cursing.
Realized I am feeling so much gratitude for the love around me.
When I was in the grips of pain, depression, and overwhelming anxiety which I blamed on my job, my role as caretaker of my elderly mother and Aunt, feeling like an outcast in my husbands family and hating who I was because of the way I was thinking and the way my body looked…whew…I felt like at every opportunity, I needed to tell my story. My story had no happiness but involved my upbringing, my loneliness, my familial burdens as well as every other thing that I considered to be my negative personal affliction. By telling my story, at least I got attention, I had a line of people who felt sorry for me, I had friends who would get down there in the mud and wallow with me. I thought I was fortunate *fist on forehead, that I at least had that!
Each step forward I thought I could make myself feel better by changing my surroundings and my personal appearance but the brick wall I was running into got thicker and thicker. Finally a therapist led me around the brick wall.
Today…I woke up feeling like I was going to have a sensitive pre-holiday day…but I started out mindfully feeling gratitude…I took my oldest grandson to school this morning and he chatted as if he was in my head and knew I needed to hear what he was saying….gratitude. I’m babysitting my 3 year old grandson today and he’s laughing and full of joy…gratitude. I was thinking about Christmas past and I felt gratitude….I was loved and I have friends and family who love me. When my grandson pushed the button on the paw of a toy dog that sings Blue Christmas over and over again, I felt gratitude. My mom bought this stuffed dog for herself a couple years before she died…I felt an unusual thankfulness for my mother and her gift to me of memories of those cherished christmases past. For a moment, I felt myself wanting to rethink my story…the familiar story I used to tell myself… but I just stopped and realized gratitude was my new story and here I am. Right here and right now, I’m so thankful!
I have heard my friends lament about the sadness they feel especially when viscerally injected with holiday cheer bouncing off every wall, ceiling, music speaker and Christmas tree. It doesn’t really matter whether you are a reason for the season person; your ethnicity doesn’t matter, sleeping on the streets or in a mansion…you are either living through or celebrating the holidays.
I especially mourn with people when a loved one transitions around the holidays. I don’t think I’m hanging crepe when I say that The “holidays” will never be the same for them. This happened to me…my dad had a heart attack on Christmas Eve and passed the day after New Years. Moving forward when the holidays roll around the reference is always that day, month, year before dad passed and after dad passed.
A good friend of mine told me that I should accept the holiday feels by feeling the emotion, letting it pass through and if you feel like a thorough holiday sob, just let it happen. Stop fighting it.
There really are no rules…the holiday is the holiday…one hour, one day you may feel festive and full of love and joy…and the next hour or day, you may not.
That would be Joy who is proudly in the Guinness Book of World Records…
We have been away from our “Home Town” for nearly 6 years. It seems to be the perfect amount of time needed for me to forget about the things that irritated me about small town living; but, enough time that I can embrace what delighted me.
Since we have been gone, old buildings on the square have been refurbished, new traffic lights down the main drag and the movie theater has been updated. The new theater owners have a pig named Joy who lives her life on display in a store front next to the theater.
Under the heading, “you can’t make this stuff up”, Joy appears to have an idyllic life. She does tricks for gawkers passing on the square. I only stayed around for her twirling trick so I didn’t witness anything else she does…
It’s just a precious snapshot of small town life. We stood in sprinkles at 35 degrees to watch Joy and the hometown parade which brings Santa to town following the courthouse lighting and tour of the trees on display at the courthouse…which includes a massive 3 story tree.
…..and since then, his pies have been coveted by the family for the pumpkin pie holidays. It was simply the difference between evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. This year he added to the pie count with a butterscotch with meringue.
Delicious…and I’m not terribly embarrassed to say I ate one full size slice of each in one sitting.
We had the family for Christmas Eve Day Bunch and gift opening on Sunday and the second head cold of the month finally wore me down Sunday night so I didn’t go to the Brown/Faircloth/Callaghan Dinner on Christmas Day and while it just seems like a total bummer to be alone on Christmas, it was a little lonely with a slice of depressing, but doable. I ate brunch leftovers and watched movies for several hours. Remembering with gratitude all of the Christmases before helped me to remain positive seasoned with thankfulness!