Our Times … At Times … Frustrating and Sad Times …
… but keep your chin up and try be a part of the optimistic and trusting subculture contingency that still exists!
I begin with a preface. This is a preface to any of my posts or blogs. I’m happy, optimistic, overly active and obnoxiously cheery. Yes, I’ve actually been told that my cheeriness and energy can be exhausting to be around! Deep down in my soul I honestly believe that there’s a positive to every negative ….a silver lining to every cloud…. A ying to every yang. Some days are better than others, though. When health concerns do surface (getting old is not for weenies but it is a privilege denied to many), I do my best to rise to the occasion although I sometimes fall short. But through it all I am ever so grateful for each and every day I wake up on the up side of the grass. Some thoughts I choose to share might lead you to believe that I’m sad ….But I’m not. I’m just sharing perspective. My perspective. At least 95% of the time I’m smiling big on the inside and the outside as well.
Now that I’ve cleared that up …
I’ve been accused more than once of being born a century too late. I border on the old fashioned … enjoying the slower paced and simpler life …. Not being plugged in (literally with the ear buds everywhere I look!) … Not having so huge amounts of data thrown at me everywhere I turn. “Just give me that horse … you can keep the car” sentiment. The era when manners outpaced so much indifference and indignance.
I just have to comment on a situation I found myself in one day last week. I guess it could be called a rant but I prefer to just call it descriptive dialogue….
Even though I prefer the slow paced more basic life I admit that I need my smartphone! I tell myself it’s not a contradiction because I put it away when I’m in the company of others and try to give people my full attention when we’re together. I postponed buying a new phone until my 3 year old one had taught me all it could about patience! It took many minutes (seemingly hours!) to load anything … even an outgoing phone call! And when it came to the internet and searching OR trying to capture directions, it began shutting down before the action was completed. So I finally gave up and picked up a Samsung Galaxy S4. Nice phone. Big phone but nice phone. A droid which I’m used to so the learning curve would be manageable. And best of all, it works and is responding to commands.
But I like learning curves and learning new things … I wanted an i-phone when I walked into the store but I could not find one … not one Verizon salesperson who would support my choice. All I heard were their negatives. Their screen is glass and oh so fragile … you can’t add memory … they don’t have as many apps as droids … it goes on and on … I wonder if they get more commission for selling the droids?? Hmmmm….
I bought the insurance, too ($100 deductible, really???) as I can be clumsy. Well, it didn’t take me too long to be too clumsy! Two weeks into owning it I dropped it in a rocky parking lot and the screen broke! Yes, I did buy a case, too, but I opted for the swanky one that will charge my phone if I’m out and about rather than one of the more rugged ones. Perhaps I chose that case because my former phone had HUGE issues with battery life (I ended up buying 3 batteries and I carried my wall and car charger with me everywhere). It took me another week to forgive myself for being clumsy and since the phone still worked perfectly I wasn’t in a rush to hand over $100. I finally dragged myself back into the store to see if putting on makeup and batting my eyelashes would help my case. “Such a shame,” they said. Argggg ….. It wasn’t long ago that batting my eyelashes, a little bit of make-up and some cleavage worked!!! Well …. The cleavage might still work but it was too darned cold to try it out!!!
I thought that the claim could be handled in-store but oh no. They gave me a pamphlet with a website and a phone number. Choose your poison … Internet or phone?? I chose the internet and midway through the claim it told me that ‘in my case’ an affidavit would be needed to process the claim. They would need several additional pieces of information (copy of driver’s license, serial number of phone photocopied from the outside of the original box it came in and a copy of receipt) scanned and e-mailed or faxed to them. Really? Isn’t it enough to pay for the insurance and be willing to hand them over $100 for a reconditioned phone when your phone is only 3 weeks old?? And nope … they won’t just replace the screen nowadays … no repairs … you get a reconditioned phone for your $100. If you want a new screen, that’ll cost you $175 (not handled through insurance but a 3rd party). I was trying to process all of this and then they wanted an affidavit? And probably notarized! I’m sure I was over-reacting a bit because I hadn’t yet completely forgiven myself!! So I picked up my cracked phone and just called them. After finally getting the manager on the phone they did waive the affidavit. This is what I was told. “These times are laden with scammers and persons committing or trying to commit fraud. We have no choice but to make you prove that you are the person who bought the phone and actually have the phone in your possession. And oh, by the way, we’re out of your phone. We’ll contact you when we have one in stock.” Really??? I suppose there is a part of me that is grateful for their conscientiousness but why does it have to be SO complicated. And such a lengthy process. I am me! Don’t they know that? For a lousy phone … why would anyone pose as me???
How I wish we could assume honesty is at the core every day when dealing with people and businesses rather than lies, fraud and mistrust.
So, as I read this over it does sound like a rant. It also proves to me that I can’t just give you the facts. I like telling a story. Remember the ‘Pay It Forward’ movie/concept? …. Can we make a difference if we are all honest, forthcoming, and kind to others as well as our earth … and ask those we come into contact with to be and do the same? I sure hope so ….
ONE IMPORTANT LESSON SIBLINGS TEACH US …..
An odd topic or me to write about since I never had any siblings, but some recent occurrences and relationships are taking me back to a very simple statement made to me 17 years ago. I remember the number of years because the event coincided with the devastating fires of 1998 in Central Florida. Dee and her husband (for the life of me I cannot remember his name) were quite elderly and living in a section of Palm Coast, Florida that was being evacuated. Dee was a school volunteer of mine. Many of my volunteers turned out to be special people who through the years would teach me many valuable lessons. Dee was one of them. I was worried about her and her husband and offered up my home to them as a temporary refuge. Those were frightening times.
As we huddled together in my home we were not sure how safe we really were. Smoke filled the air and hot ash fell coating our cars and homes as we wished a gentle rain would. My neighborhood, so close to the ocean, was not evacuated but I knew that fires were capable of jumping bodies of water if they’re hot enough. Feeling we were safe because the intracoastal waterway separated my home from the fire gave us a false sense of security. Fires have a personality of their own and are not to be disrespected or taken lightly. I digress!
I was recently divorced at the time and wanted very much to marry again, or at least meet my soul mate with whom to share the rest of my life with and, being open, I talked to Dee about hoping to settle down again. We had a lot of time on our hands and Dee was as chatty and open as I was (and am). I was looking for that ‘last first kiss’?? You know what I mean?
It was all so simple to Dee. She simply said in that wise octogenarian voice of hers, “Dear … your problem is that you never really learned how to fight. Fighting fair or not fair doesn’t really matter. Rarely does anyone fight fair all the time. What matters is that you learn to fight … or at least express yourself … say what’s on your mind without worrying about the repercussions or how the other person will respond or react. No sugar coating. Because you know that in the end the love will still be there. You never learned about unconditional love, no matter what was said. That’s what we learn from our siblings, not our parents. You worry too much about what others think and how they’ll react.”
Dee certainly didn’t know everything and her sentiment may not hold true at all to many of the other only children out there. But, to me it had merit. Food for thought obviously as it still resonates within me after all these years.
That was a long time ago but as I continue to live my life to its fullest I think often of Dee’s comment as I create new relationships and rekindle old ones. It’s taken a long time and I’m not always able to do it, but more often than not I am now able to say what’s on my mind. I do try to say it nicely and to always be kind, but I can’t worry about whether or I intimidate people or whether my comments push them away. If I push them away then we wouldn’t have been good together anyway, as lovers or as friends. I continue to learn to be comfortable in my not only my own skin but my own mind. For better or for worse I am who I am. We all choose, consciously or subconsciously, who we’d like to spend our time with. Hopefully we’re all able to keep relationships that require ‘tip toeing’ around to a minimum. That’s so exhausting, isn’t it? And, to what avail?
I didn’t have siblings to learn to fight with but over the last several years (and I thank my RV’ing for the opportunities this lifestyle has presented) I’ve met new people and reconnected with others who I consider my pseudo siblings (once removed, of course … ) with whom I can be completely myself. It’s never too late to learn … We are all a work in progress and I continue to be grateful for every day that allows me to opportunity to continue to grow and spread my wings.
The Circle of Life
As I bask in the tremendous love and promise surrounding the birth of a child I’m also reminded daily of those close to me who are losing those they love. Many too young, many who have been suffering for so very long and many, sadly, who pass away with no warning whatsoever. Truly the circle of life … while welcoming a newborn into our lives fills us with joy … losing a loved one can empty our heart and challenge our spirit as we try to make sense of it all. It is one of the most difficult parts of life.
I remember an old country song that describes the simultaneous exalting joy of someone experiencing the birth of a child while someone nearby in the same hospital is mourning … one shedding tears of sadness while experiencing the loss of a loved one while the other is shedding tears of joy upon the birth of their baby. It is the circle of life, true? We are born, we hopefully live a long, full, happy life … and then we eventually pass on.
All of these emotions rattling around this brain of mine reminded of a song my son, Sean, wrote several years ago about giving someone permission to die. He was working on an oncology floor as a nurse at the time. At his CD release party he introduced the song by saying that he felt at least one song on his CD should be reflection of his ‘day job’. As I listened to the song I immediately thought of how much my mother would have loved hearing him sing it to her when it was her time to ‘pass’. Passing away can indeed be a time of re-birth.
Don’t ask how my mind works, please … as I am constantly questioning where things come from …and I would certainly not be able to answer. I’m often in awe (in a frightening way at times!) of its easily found tangents and distractions. As of yet I’ve been unable to control it or even figure it out…. but I’m certainly becoming more accepting of it and believe that it contributes tremendously to my energy and ability to accomplish lots of things:-)
The Ying / Yang of life …. Life and death …. Joy and Sadness …. two examples of the many opposite or contrary forces that are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world … the Circle of Life …
Just click on the link and then on the play arrow. I hope you enjoy it:-)
Growing A Family – Blending a Family – And the Beauty of Truly Becoming Family
I became a grandmother for the fourth time this past Friday. A grandmother of four boys! What fun and what a blessing. 3 years ago I didn’t have any grandchildren at all. Then came the phone call that brought me to my knees. Yes that was 3 wonderful years ago.
This past Friday, I (we) welcomed Brecken Alexander Morse into the family. He joins his cousins on my (the dad’s) side of the family – Carson (2 yrs. 10 months), August (1 year 8 months) and Cooper (5 ½ months) and on his mother’s side – Addison (3 yrs. 5 months). I hope that one day all of these beautiful children will live close enough to one another to grow to know each other as family … as cousins. As an only child, each and every year I become more aware and cognizant of the strength and beauty of family. With all of its ups and downs.
Which brings me to tonight’s musings. I’m the ‘mom of the dad’. Not the ‘mom of the mom’. I’ve been both but there can be a difference. Why?
Because of this crazy, yet wonderful, grounded gypsy lifestyle that I’m living … that I decided to make happen … I was able to arrive in Colorado Springs well in advance of the baby’s due date. Not everyone is able to create such a crazy lifestyle. I get it … Now remember, I’m the ‘mom of the dad’. I am tempted to write ‘just’ the mom of the dad …. But I just can’t because it’ll never be a ‘just’.
The ‘mom of the mom’ arrived the evening of the birth … she arrived in record time! I was so happy she was able to book a flight so quickly as I sensed and understood her anxiety … her excitement …. her wanting to be here! I picked her up from the airport and took her straight to the hospital. We visited for hours with the new mom and dad AND our new grandson before retreating to our children’s home. We stayed up for a long time talking, celebrating and learning to appreciate one another….again … and on a new level. Our children and new grandson were not discharged until Sunday afternoon so we had many more hours to celebrate and learn more about one another. We had many more hours to bond as a family in the making.
I’m not nor will I ever be Brecken’s maternal grandmother. But I am his paternal grandmother and why should there ever be a difference? I’ve asked myself this question many times and have yet to come up with an answer that, to me, holds any credence.
My parents grew up close to one another’s siblings. They lived in the same neighborhood. Although there were many differences that led to many ‘discussions’ … some of them quite loud … over the years that I vividly remember, they were ‘family’. They weren’t all related by blood, but they were family. Isn’t it true that it’s only with those that we love most and feel closest to that we can open enough to argue with … open our innermost thoughts to … and still love one another at the end of the day??
I hope that the birth of Brecken will be the first of many gatherings that will enlarge his circle of family and will not discriminate between maternal or paternal because the love that we all share for that little boy and his parents knows no boundaries. We have so much to grateful for and I’m so glad that we can be grateful together as the love in our family grows.
How It All Began ….
It has been said that a simple phone call can bring you to your knees. Being brought to your knees can be the result of many things, most of them terribly tragic. I, however, was reduced to my knees as the result life changing news that hit me over the head like a sledge hammer. Joyous news, however. Akin to how tears can be wept for sadness as well as for happiness. It was my daughter, my only daughter, letting me know that I am going to be a grandmother for the first time. My first thought is that I will never know this grandchild if I continue to live the life I am living. After a 22 year career in education I bought a small, independent garage door company and owned it for the 8 years. My work not only consumed me but it dictated and defined my life. The ‘takeover’ was slow and insidious. In a matter of seconds, I realized how out of sync my life had become and how disconnected I had become from my three adult children. Children I lived and breathed for while raising them. How had my life become so out of balance, so skewed?
An only child of elderly parents who continued to try to have a family even after nine miscarriages, I was born into a home with enough love for a dozen children along with years of accumulated dreams, fears, and of course, high expectations. Headstrong, independent, and oppositional from the get-go, I never quite understood the parent vs. child roles, as well as the rules that are supposed to govern the relationship. Throughout my life I fought for recognition on my own terms and the right to make as well as learn from my own mistakes. I become an overachiever; determined to succeed and prove to the world, and of course my parents and relatives, that I can be successful in my own right, on my own terms. My parents loved me so much that they honestly didn’t feel I ever lived up to my true potential because, quite frankly, that would be impossible for anyone. But they did it in the name of love.
I graduated from college, married, raised three wonderful children, had a successful career with a school district, got divorced, and decided that working in the public sector no longer fulfilled me. I have always believed that owning my own company and working for myself would be wonderful. I love to work and work hard. When you own your own business the harder you work the more successful you are, right? Not always, but in my case, yes.
Decisions were made quickly. It’s time to spend ‘chunk’ time with my family; not a rushed long weekend with my phone at my beck and call, never fully present. It’s time to sell the business, find someone to look after my home, and find a ‘temporary home’, a motorhome, for the next year. It’s time to refocus and reconnect with my inner self as well as with my adult ‘children’ who are no longer children at all. Do whatever it takes to make it happen.
Follow me as I throw caution to the wind and act upon my most basal desires and dreams; returning to what I’ve lost sight of in life. Family, friends and relationships. Join me on my adventure from coast to coast in my 33′ motorhome with my Labrador Retriever, Shadow, as my co-pilot. It truly is a coast to coast adventure as my three children, when I first began this journey, lived in Key West, Colorado Springs and Seattle. Motorhome living gives everyone the privacy, space and independence critical to all and to the success of this adventure. En route I stay in RV parks where what can happen, happens! The good, the bad and the ugly!
In each city I will not only reconnect with my children but I’ll meet and help care for one grandchild, watch a second being born due to serendipitous timing, and integrate myself into each community I lives in, albeit temporarily. I’ll make friends along the way, volunteer and even find temporary employment when I struggle with lack of structure that I’m so accustomed to. But most importantly, with the gift of time, relationships develop on a new adult level with all of my children and their spouses and I learn to smell the proverbial roses once again.
You can’t go back in time but you can stop, reflect, regroup, take a stand and move forward. By turning my life upside down and leaving the security of a community I’ve lived in for 35 years, I’ll realize that turning my life upside down is in fact flipping it back … right side up.