This is where I go out on a limb and ponder a while.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Best Age

                             Daisy was never afraid to be herself! :)

My sister-in-law turned 40 this Christmas.  Someone asked her how it feels and she said "Well, at least I can still say I'm in my 40's for a while".  40 seems pretty scary for many people, especially women.  When I turned 40, my darling children worried that I would feel bad about turning 40, so they bought silly string, a Barbie cake and decorations, and really spoiled me.  At least, that's the way I remember it.  I still have some silly string stuck to the back of the headboard on my bed - not quite sure how it got there, but it's not coming off.  But, to tell the truth, I wasn't upset about turning 40.  I didn't feel old, and since it has always been my plan to live to be 100 or more, I wasn't even to the mid-point of my life as far as I was concerned.  I am seriously into my late 40's now, and I really love the age I am.  I have never in my life been truly comfortable with who I am until now.  I always struggled with my tendency to be like the person I was with at the time, just trying to fit in.  But in this decade I have become very sure of who I am, what I like, and who I want to be with.  This has been difficult and uncomfortable for my poor husband.  He has had to come to terms with the fact that there are certain things that I don't like and things I will not do anymore because I refuse to pretend to like something just to please someone else.  He has had a lot of "But I thought you liked..." moments.  And I try to patiently explain to him that I never really liked going camping, I just pretended to because he likes it.

Along with being confident about who I am comes bravery.  Some things that are not politically correct or popular? Doesn't matter, I'll admit to indulging.  I love to eat meat, especially if it has fat in it.  I like to drink occasionally.  I like country music, classic rock, and Dean Martin's crooning makes me nostalgic in a happy sort of way.  I hate to exercise.  I wasted many years trying to sew, cursing at my machine, until I admitted to myself with a great sigh of relief that I really hate it.  Why did it take so long for me to figure out that one?  Because my mom loves to sew, tried to teach me to sew, and I felt that I should like it as well.  I also hate the crust on the bread and have eaten it for my whole life because I was taught to not waste food.  Not anymore - I throw the crust away or sneak it to the dog under the table without a twinge of remorse.  I actually don't go to church every Sunday!  I like going to church, but I don't like the idea that I HAVE to go, therefore I enjoy it more when I do go.  Perhaps the second half of my life will bring changes in my attitude, but for now, I'm pretty comfortable with me, and it feels pretty good to be able to say that.  I don't feel the need to be belligerent or aggressive about it - I am just as comfortable with others not liking what I like.

So make a New Year's Resolution to be true to you - it's the best thing you can do for yourself.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sons- and Daughters-in-law

There should be a Son-in-law and Daughter-in-law Day!  I love the people my sons and daughter have married.  John and I both feel so blessed that each of our 3 older offspring have found such wonderful spouses.

As a parent, there are several big events that you spend a considerable amount of concern over, such as will he be able to walk and talk like other children, will she be smart, will he graduate from high school, will she graduate from college, and what will the life partner be like?  Will we get along with him/her, and will he/she make my daughter or son happy?  We want what's best for our children, and that includes a healthy and happy relationship with someone.

I have to say that these 'latecomer' members of my family are also wonderful, loving parents!  Once those 'Grands' start to arrive, we transfer some of our concern to them, too - we very much want them to be raised by the best parents.

I have never heard of a day celebrating these special people that I have grown to consider my son and daughters.
Such a day does exist in the culture of Bengalis in India. It is a day which falls during the summer months as per the Bengali calendar. It is an age-old tradition to pamper the son-in-law on this day at the in-law’s residence. But nothing like this exists in our country.

So today, I say:
Dear Holly, Brianne, Matt - 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude

My cousin posted on facebook:  "Would someone please slow down time this month so I can enjoy it?"  If only!  How many times have I wished to slow down time.  I think everyone feels that way when he is in the midst of loving life.  It happens more and more as we get older, especially if we have children, right?  And as most people do as they grow older, I've witnessed how suddenly life can be taken away.  My dear father-in-law, brother David, my faithful and loyal Bessie and my best friend Paula - all gone in the past 2 years.  With each loss I have had regrets and felt as if I did not appreciate them enough while I had them.

So I have practiced gratitude so much that it has become a running dialog in my head.  I thank God for this wonderful home, my phenomenal husband, my beautiful healthy children and on and on... And the list grows as I grow older - my grandchildren, good health.  And the simple things:  I thank God for the beautiful sunrise, the trees in my yard that I love so much, the birds that come to my feeder each day, a sunny spot in the dining room on a cold day.  The funny thing is, the more I practice gratitude, the more things I find to be grateful for.  It has become a habit, and it is changing my outlook on life.  When something does go wrong, if I find a way to see something positive in the situation I can move forward, rather than feeling sorry for myself. 

When my children were younger we would sit down to dinner together and ask the question "What are you thankful for today?"  It is something we haven't done for years, now that most of them are grown and out of the house.  I should start this tradition again.  My mantra has become "An attitude of gratitude".  My wish for you today is that you find something to be thankful for.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Snow Appreciation

I'm learning to appreciate snow.  We tend to look out the window on snowy mornings and groan.  We're thinking about driving on slick roads, shoveling, the need for hats, mittens, and boots - such a hassle!  But my youngest looks out the window and lets out a gasp, "More snow!".  She is thrilled at the prospect of a new cover on the white landscape.  It means a softer landing when she throws herself onto the ground and rolls around.  It provides a fresh palette for new animal tracks.  And, depending on the temperature, it can mean a fresh batch of sculpturing medium for her beautiful 'lawn ornaments'.  She does not limit herself to snowmen.  She has the artistic freedom and limitless creativity of the very young.  I'm trying to tap into my own youthful creativity these days, so when she looks outside and says, "Look Mom, isn't it beautiful!" I take a second look through her eyes and tell her indeed it is beautiful.  When I say it out loud, it truly does look more magical to me.  Seeing the world through the eyes of a child - I have to remind myself to do that more often.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An Explosion of Happy

As I'm tucking my little pumpkin into bed, she is so full of the wiggles that I doubt she will go to sleep for a while. Tomorrow she gets to go on a field trip and she can't stop talking about it. I'm so tired that my yawns are getting more fierce by the minute - they make my jaw ache. We have to go through a ritual every night when I tuck her in: Cover up with the comforter, then the quilt made by Auntie Kim. Once the blankets are pulled up to her chin we have to arrange the 'lovey' blankets (she has three!). Two get rolled up and go on each side of her to box her in nice and cozy-like. The third gets tucked around head so all you can see is the front of her face. As I lean over to give her an Eskimo kiss and a squeezy hug, she shivers with excitement and says, "For some reason I feel an explosion of happy tonight!" My breath catches in my throat as I feel a sudden rush of emotion; overwhelming joy mixed with surprise. She has just turned 10 and her days of blurting out such pure feelings are numbered, something I know from raising 4 children already. Please God, let her keep this gift of unguarded emotion for a little while longer.


It is a very snowy day today, and it's quite beautiful out there. That is, when you're looking at it from inside. This is a view from my dining room window.  I love to look at it, don't even mind taking a walk in it, but the thought of venturing out onto the roads today holds no appeal for me whatsoever! My facebook friends are posting reports of skidding through intersections on their way to work and I just thank my lucky stars that I 'work' from home. I heard reports of the snow coming yesterday and made a run to the store for food and picked up my prescriptions, so I have no need to leave the house today. It is so quiet...the snow seems to muffle all sound from outside. I don't even hear the traffic on the road. Someone from the electric company came out today to remove a tree branch that was leaning against the power line that crosses the back of our yard, and the only reason I know he did the deed is there are tracks in the snow on the driveway. I never heard him come or go. I feel as if I am wrapped in a white blanket that muffles all sound. It is rather cozy. The birds are feeding steadily all day on the feeder, and I know I'll have to make a trip outside to refill it before day's end. I don't like to have it empty at the end of the day because they come back so early in the morning.