I Won’t Grow Up!

I swore when I was a kid that I would never be like an adult or worse, like my parents. You know, all-knowing, superior, smarter than..well any kid I knew. Basically an all around, “do what I say, not what I do,” adult. Mostly, I just wanted to stay up late, eat whatever I wanted and talk on the phone with my friends, (yes the ones I saw everyday in school). It’s sad but that was my measure for becoming an adult.

As an adult, you can buy what you want, (Hey Mom, isn’t that $20.00 in your wallet? I thought you said you had no money for my new jeans, that just everyone is wearing?). I certainly was never thinking that the $20. was budgeted for something we needed, not just what I wanted. You can stay up past 11pm, (they don’t tell you that you pay for that by not being focused the next day and your boss wonders if you meant to write the word snail instead of sail). No one can tell an adult what to do. No one, (unless you count your boss, your partner, the law, your kids, your teachers and the nagging voice inside your head that never shuts up). You are free to go where you want, when you want, (except if you have kids, then just the thought of them having to go to a new school sends them into paralysis, shock, and whining about you ruining their lives). You can swear, ok, I still do that. And you don’t have to listen to your parents anymore, (except they are the voice in your head that you will never escape, and I mean NEVER).

Now I am the grownup and damned, (sorry, I had to swear here), if I am not saying at least half of what my parents said to me. I hear their words pouring out of my mouth and I find myself looking around to see if they have snuck into the room to berate or reprimand me or my perfect children. I even find myself, (stay with me now), quoting the very sayings that caused me to roll my eyes in disgust at my parents when I was a kid. Did I realize I just said, “haste makes waste?” I know because my kids are rolling their eyes at me, right now, as we speak.

I don’t blame them, truly I don’t, but I wonder when I lost my ability to throw my cares to the wind and just climb a tree, or slide across the ice, without thinking, (I can’t afford to break my ankle because I have a thousand things to do and it could lead to me walking with a permanent limp), or eating dessert before dinner…just because. Or not taking a bath because I don’t smell dirty, to me.

No, I think I have grown up to be the kind of parent that I had, all-knowing, exhausted from repeating the same thing over and over and wise, (read wise-ass if you’re a kid). I have found myself saying things like, “Your teacher is looking for you to use what you have learned so far, so please, at least capitalize states, and the beginning of sentences, to prove you learned this in second grade”. I never really used Algebra in real life so I don’t know why I am so insistent that my kids learn it now especially given they all have cell phones and Google. My 10-year-old swears that Siri knows everything and “she never lectures”. I think that’s a slam to me because I do find myself lecturing and using way more words than necessary to illustrate a point.

Yup, being a kid means you don’t need to think about the future because the future is only a week away. Essays to your teacher, well what’s the point, they read the same material you did so you don’t need to give them details about a story they already know. Staying up late and watching your favorite shows, playing your favorite games, texting your friends or lobbying for Netflix, now that’s the life of kids today. They don’t even think about climbing a tree unless we lose electricity and they are bored. We never said bored in our house because my mother would hand us the vacuum, (we never said that within ear shot of her again).

I’ve turned into my mother and father and my lectures are the same lectures I hear in my head, daily. It is those voices that my kids will hear and will no doubt relay to their own kids. They will look around and wonder just how they turned out, just like their parents. Unless, and I look around before writing this, they break the mold and live the life they dreamed about as a kid. Being a pirate, or a professional baseball player, or an artist may just be the ticket to ending that vociferous and odious voice that preaches what they should do and they go off and do what they want to do, when they want to do it, just like an adult.

#Iwon’tgrowup #not like my parents

Masters Class..

I find New Year’s Resolutions often boring and predictable. I spent this New Year’s Eve ushering in the New Year with my Mom and three of her life long, good friends. I found their perspective and life views to cause me to stop, think, and review my purpose in the world as a woman, friend, and mother. I was honored to sit and be schooled by four teachers, (including my Mom) who have enlightened hundreds of students over the span of their collective lifetime. Silently and unwittingly, I had entered a Masters Class.

The evening was spent playing games, cooking, eating, watching a funny movie and talking, debating and sharing, no holds barred. These women are not shrinking violets. Each in their own right have achieved great success as teachers, mothers, educators, administrators, feminists, and women. They take their roles as educators very seriously. It is their calling and they know their stuff.

All but one are retired but I don’t think they know how to retire, at least in the conventional sense of the word. They are still in the trenches, in schools, their communities, and churches. Each continuing to make a difference with their wisdom, contributions and shared life experiences. I was in awe of how they approached retirement, life, friendship, relationships, motherhood, marriage, widowhood, and even death. The lessons were timely, valuable and as varied as the women who were sharing them.

First, if you can not hold your own in a debate, this is not the group for you. You can’t just “state” your position, be ready to defend it, be knowledgeable about it or you will be devoured with intellect and reasoning so strong you are instantly reminded of your third grade teacher tsking and shaking her head at your feeble attempt to answer a question, incorrectly and without raising your hand first. So come strong or stay home. No time for a Goggle check, if you speak on it then you must Know about that which you speak. If not you will be challenged, kindly but with intensity.

Second, disagreement is welcome, argument encouraged. I mean this in the most respectful and adult way. There is no name calling or disparaging remarks, no eye rolls, teeth sucking, or out right dismissal of anyone’s point of view. Seems strange in a world where it seems we can not hold two opposing thoughts at the same time, (Cognitive Dissidence, in case you’re wondering, I wasn’t wondering but I received an education about nevertheless). That’s the other side of being raised by teachers, don’t use a word or phrase if you don’t know it’s origin or meaning. It has the potential to be embarrassing as they are trained listeners. I learned the true value of a loving and heartfelt debate, valuing their choice of words, their tone, more than any ego driven need to win an argument.

Third, dismantling, attacking, and categorizing other women is not allowed. Collectively these four women have raised ten plus children and they know that there is no value in teaching a lesson with pain attached, life teaches us that lesson whether we like it or not. They are forthright, well spoken, intelligent women who have continuously worked on uplifting, educating, and supporting children and adults for dozens of years. They believe that Information is power, freedom and independence. They have marched, and challenged the status quo. They have lived through the free love of the 60s, the civil rights movement, women’s movement, mother’s movement and they are not done yet, not by a long shot. 

Fourth, no two women are alike. Each one is a strong woman in her own right, working their entire lives and making creative and difficult choices, often alone. Their decisions and sacrifices have affected their families, their careers and themselves. Still you won’t find a drop of bitterness or martyrdom to be found among them. This is a group of women who get the job done, no time for muss or fuss. No time to wonder if they will get the credit for all of their hard work, (and I can say from experience, they do not). No time to sit around and whine about who is doing what, when. If something needs to get done, big or small, these women are on it. They are practical, ingenious, problem solvers and they don’t get nearly the recognition they should. 

Fifth and finally, I sat back and watched and learned more in one night than I could ever write about today. I sat, in rapt attention barely moving as they shared eloquently the lessons of their own lives. l listened and I learned about being a woman in her 60s, 70s and 80s. I learned about being a mother, for a life time, (I know we know we are mothers forever but these women exemplify what a mother is and the dance that is required as their children have grown). I learned that I can speak up and out and frankly that I should at every turn, particularly when injustice is being done. I learned the true meaning and the treasures of life long girlfriends who support and love each other through the challenges, joys and pain that life brings. I learned how to fall spectacularly and continue to get back up, again and again with dignity and integrity. 

I will leave you with some last words of wisdom from the oldest member of the group answering the age-old question, what is your New Year’s Resolution? She paused and thought about it for a moment, and she said, “I am living my New Year’s Resolutions every day in the choices I make, the people I love and cherish, the work I continue to do, and in the way I live my life. I don’t have any new resolutions, just to continue living, learning and loving.”

Yep, I will say it again, this was a Masters Class and these women should be on the cover of Time’s most Influential Women of their Time. As teachers they have taught these principles, shared these principles, prayed over these principles with their own children and the many children, many of whom are now adults, that they had the privilege of teaching over 50+ years as Educators. Retirement is only a word to them and these women are graceful, strong, real, honest, hardworking, dedicated, beautiful, intelligent, resilient, and extraordinary. Their lives are a blueprint for how I hope to live my life as I grow older. 

Thank You for your hard-earned lessons, Mom, Ann, Beth, and Pam. And thank you for sharing them, albeit unknowingly, with me. Much love.

 

Nature’s Stage!!

Autumn is my favorite time of the year. I try to remember to focus on the Technicolor feast that is artfully displayed by Mother Nature for my conspicuous consumption and to my heartfelt delight.

                                                                                                                                   AND

I push the thoughts of the impending cold, darkness, and snow out of my mind and revel in the spirit of the season, its colors, the changing leaves, and sweaters, the joy of needing one. Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Cart
Pumpkin Cart
Farm Fresh
Local Nursery
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Farm Fresh
Pumpkin Patch
Mini Pumkins

Tercentennial Birthday Parade

My Little Town celebrated its 300th birthday, officially called the Tercentennial Birthday Parade. Who doesn’t love a parade? I must admit,  I didn’t know what number of years Tercentennial represented. Did I study this in school? No matter, I looked it up, it’s 300 years. We had a lovely parade with over 2,000 participant’s, major by our little town standards. To put it into perspective, our annual Memorial Day parade is usually 10-15 mins long, with less than 500 marching and this extravaganza was over an hour and half long, in the blistering 90 degree, September weather. I know because my sons kept reminding me of the temperature every 15 minutes or so.

People began putting out their chairs and roping off spaces for their family and friends the night before the festivities even began.  Normally, there is no need to jockey for space or to put your chairs out the night before, but this was the Tercentennial Parade! The flurry of activity had our poor little town in a tizzy but they managed to pull the whole thing off without any major hiccups. Happy 300th Birthday Little Town! Enjoy the Parade.

 

The calm before the parade
The calm before the parade

 

Set up
Set up
Setting the stage
Setting the stage
Still more crowds and you can see why setting up chairs was necessary.
The crowds line the street
Our  neighboring police
Our neighboring police
And the parade begins
And the parade begins
Marching kilts
Marching kilts
And more Kilts.
And more Kilts.
Still more kilts
Still more kilts
The history of our Little Town
The history of our Little Town
Minute Men
Minute Men
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Ready, Aim, Fire!
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Another little town nearby
An unusual sight
An unusual sight
Now that's a tank
Now that’s a tank
Winged women
Winged women
Winged women on stilts
Winged women on stilts
Fashion season circa 1700s
Fashion season circa 1700s
Firehouse Dixie Band
Firehouse Dixie Band
Obligatory clown car
Obligatory clown car
Really not sure.
Really not sure.
Veiled ladies
Gold veiled ladies??
Again, not sure
Again, not sure
Zamboni ice cleaner?
Zamboni ice cleaner?

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Marching band
Marching band
Boys scouts
Boys scouts
Girl scouts
Girl scouts

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The crowds :)
The crowds 🙂
Home town favorites
Home town favorites

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer’s End…

By now all the backpacks are packed, lunches are made, schedules outlined, bookbinders and folders are all labeled with each child’s name and the Summer is Over!

It’s been a great and memorable summer of lounging around with my two boys. I admit the pace was hardly, restful, but I learned a lot about my sons, maybe more than I thought I wanted to know.

1. If I let them they would stay up all night or until they fall out on the floor exhausted and still they insist they are not tired.

2. The have a never-ending need to discuss our menu options for the day. And since the two of them rarely agree on anything this conversation can last from breakfast well past lunch. Unsolicited food reviews in my house are a common occurrence.

3. Even if they say they like a certain food, or have had a particular food, (“I love Quiché I had it at Grandma’s”),  I have to check, and double check their expressions to see if they actually like it. If the food isn’t up to their standards and or expectations and they don’t want to eat it, I launch into my usual spiel, (#74), about the blessings of having food, having the choice of food, and about people starving all over the planet…ok, you see why they might avoid going down that road, again.

4. They are frequently cavalier with their never-ending criticisms; of my work (“do you really have to?”), of food (“is that our only choice?”), adventure (“my friend went to this other place and said it was way better”), vacation plans (“but I wanted to go to the Bahamas!”), hairdo (“did you mean to make it look like that?”) and affection in public, (“it’s better if you don’t hug or KISS us EVER in front of people”). If I was dating them, I would have broken up with them by now for sure.

5. They have begun to question the wisdom of  well, My wisdom!? Do I really know how to get back to the bumper boat place? Ah yeah,  I was there with you guys and I drove you there in first place, remember? This is followed by blank stares.

6. They have perfected the middle school/ junior high school eye-roll when I ask mundane/chore related questions. I must do this far more often than I realized or their eyes are locked in a perpetual roll. I fear head spinning isn’t far behind.

7. Swimming played a big role in our summer fun and I don’t mean swimming like regular people swim, I mean like jumping on your brother’s back and pushing him underwater until he lurches out of the water gasping for air, Swimming. Big fun!

8. My beloved sons are not capable of minding their own business especially if they feel they are well versed on a subject. When I am talking to one son the other chimes in with his opinions, insults, useless and often irrelevant remarks and then is supremely offended when I ask him to butt out. Of course, being 9 and 12 does not lend itself to vast experiences, still they can wax poetic for hours until I am forced to leave run from the room, some say shrieking. I can neither confirm nor deny this as I am usually covering my ears and humming at this point.

9. They pass one another in a hallway, driveway, store or kitchen and they poke, push, and trip each other all the while giggling with ghoulish cackling, and fiendish delight. Then they look up at me with their beautifully innocent brown eyes and say, “What, it wasn’t me, he did it first.”

10. The funny thing is that when they return to school tomorrow, I’m going to miss them more than I thought. They made me laugh out loud at silly jokes and antics that I remember laughing about with my friends and family as a kid too. They made me forget about being an adult for a while. I plotted ways to sneak up on them and douse them with the garden hose in our yard and with great superiority and no shame, I would pull out the “Mother” card when they tried to reciprocate, (please note; this is not a good use of the  Mother card as it gains you no respect when they return fire soaking you from head to toe, and they will).

Having kids forces me to be the parent and to be a “Grown Up” and I discovered this summer, I don’t want to grow up, so there.

I hope everyone had a wonderful summer. Have a happy and safe school year.

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