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Sunday, February 23, 2014


February 23, 2014

I have done a couple of these posts in the past and I always enjoy doing it, but today, it feels more difficult to look back and give myself advice or even to sit in judgment of that girl or woman of my past. She did okay with what she had to work around and the choices she made seem to have worked okay in the long run. Though she put herself through some unimaginable pain and strife, she learned and grew from those, so they were necessary to arrive here. She did okay.

I do wish I could whisper to the little girl I once was and tell HER that being the baby is not a bad thing and that her family really does love her. I wish she knew how vital those summers in Ohio with the grandparents would be for all the days of her life. She thought she was just having fun. Truth is, she was learning what kind of person she wanted to become. She was learning the value of the kitchen. The heart of many homes is there and at her grandmother's table she was learning how to love nurturing your family. It wasn't about cooking a meal, it was about providing what you had to nourish your family and doing that because that was your job in the grand scheme of things. You were to provide the warmth, the fuel and the gathering spot which ties the family together. That is what dinner is or was back in the day. For me, today, feeding my family is still something I feel compelled to do and love doing. That little girl thought she was just chatting with her grandmother and learning a few of her favorite recipes, and I use that term loosely because it was a little of this and just enough of that and stir and simmer until it's measurements and no times or temps were needed. She did learn, but she had no idea she was learning.

I might tell her to pay more attention to the lessons of summer in Ohio. I might remind her that her home in Michigan is a good place filled with people who do love her and a mom who will eventually allow her freedom in the kitchen so she can also learn to love meal preparation. That mom will give over the kitchen for some not real good meals while she learns her way around and will offer much advice about how to make it better next time. A dad who will eat anything she hands him, including the forty-hundredth omelet she is trying so hard to perfect. Never suggesting that she try something new because until that omelet looked like the picture and tasted delicious, she wasn't satisfied enough to move on. Bless his heart. She wasn't aware of all the wonderful things in her simple life that not everyone had. She assumed the whole world lived as she did. I would tell her to step back and look more closely at her friends' homes; they were not all as easy to live in as her's. They didn't all have a mom and a dad living there and they weren't all as loved as she. She had no idea.

I might even tell her to just continue to live the carefree life as long as she could because eventually we all have to grow up and be responsible and while she could, just enjoy her closet rooms or her row of doll heads that she couldn't bear to throw away long after the body of said doll was in tatters and had been discarded. It seemed wrong to her to throw away a head. While I now think that is really weird, it was the beginning of the woman who thinks all faces are worth seeing and saving. Good for you little girl who had no idea why, but could not throw away a face. Good for you.

Yes, I would for sure tell her to carry on and smile and laugh and remember just this one are loved little one and valued by some very remarkable people.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

BEGINS WITH...#Thebloggerslounge

My generation is often referred to as "the sandwich generation" because many of us have children in our homes and parents also needing care in our homes or a facility. I am not technically in either of those situations so I don't qualify. However, is there a parent anywhere with grown children who doesn't feel the need to parent forever? Is there a child who doesn't feel the need to "parent" an aging parent who can't quite make it alone?

My kids are grown and self-sufficient.  They don't need me. They are totally capable of living their lives without my input. I think. I mean, I'm not about to give them that opportunity. I keep my nose in their business by asking questions and I am always here for the long talks moms and kids have to shake things out or to make decisions. I don't make decisions for them, not that they would ask, but I listen and give my opinions and then support their decisions, even when that's hard. It's what I do. I believe in them and their ability to handle consequences of their actions because they have proven over the years that they can do this and I have learned over those same years to be compassionate, but butt out at some point.

My mom, now that's a different story all together. She has always been very capable and since Dad died 35 years ago, very independent. She has always appreciated any help or assistance I've given her and I have done so willingly and lovingly. For the past 4 years she has lived here in the same area where I live and not wanting to drive. She could, but not safely, so good choice. I am the taxi, the checkbook balancer, the call those people and ask questions guy, the take care of business guy. I am her baby girl and she often thanks me for doing those things. It is my pleasure, most of the time; sometimes it's just my job and I just do what needs to be done. Sometimes she doesn't appreciate me at all. Sometimes she resents me. That's hard.

Aging is a mean thing. I have concluded from my experience with people who are 90 and older that being entitled is part of life. "I don't have to" is an answer to things she should be doing, but doesn't want to do. She is right. She only has to eat right if she wants to feel better. She only has to move around more if she wants to be able to move around more. Those are the two areas we discuss most often. With very little progress, I might add, because she doesn't have to. What I see happening with her is decline. Mental and physical and in the last year, much more rapidly than previous years. I want to help her live a more comfortable and healthier life, but I cannot make her do anything. I can't make her be nice about that, either. I can continue to be straight-forward in a kind way, but I can't change who she is or what she says. She can be very mean in her effort to assert herself. It's hard.

I am learning from this experience. I am aware that at some time as I age, my mind will not function as I need it to do. I know that I will continue to lose memory. I will  need assistance with physical things more than I do today. I will not be completely self-sufficient and I will need help. I have learned that when that time comes I will have to be very conscious of the words I choose. I will need to remember to be kind and appreciative. I will also need to maintain as much independence as I possibly can for as long as I can. I have also learned that my future really does depend on my today. Mentally I must begin with today. I have to prepare myself to age gracefully and with as much mental awareness as is possible to maintain by eating healthy food and exercising physically to maintain some strength and balance.

Avoiding what I am dealing with today with my own beloved mother for my children. Or perhaps for the people they hire to take care of their old decrepit mom. I don't know, I only know it
BEGINS WITH the choices I make today.