Untethered

It's so big it's scary! photo via illinoislighting.org

I have a vague memory of being very small and walking outside to greet the night, barefooted and in my pink nightgown that was scattered with strawberries. We lived in the country far away from anything that resembles the sky glow that I face now on the nights when I try to find Orion, or the Big and Little Dipper. I sneaked past my parents, absorbed in their television program, and felt the crispy grass of August beneath my feet. From my hilled yard, I met the vastness of the speckled sky. My heart boomed in my chest and my breath quickened. It was so big, so wide and so endlessly enveloping that it scared me. So, I ran from the night in my little bare feet to the safety of my house, slamming the screen door behind me. I was relieved to see the white ceiling above me, and relieved to see my skin bathed in the artificial light of the living room lamp. My mother turned away from her show with a start at the slam of the door. I had frightened her, too. Why was her silly girl out of bed? She scooped me up, kissed my blond curls, and tucked me in the safety of my covers.

Lately, I feel like I’ve been staring at the night sky, but instead of finding myself faced with the enormity of space, I find myself enveloped by the vastness of this new role that I find myself in. I am mothering from afar. My oldest is five hours away and fully engrossed in biochemistry, microanatomy, and clinical skills. My youngest, is the independent young woman that I always knew she’d be. Do I need to remind her to take her medication, or make a doctor’s appointment? Nope, she’s got it. She has a boyfriend, a ton of girlfriends and plethora of activities that keep her busy. It’s just as it should be, and I know that my role right now is to step back and let both of them be the adults that they were raised to be. They’re busy tasting the fruit of independence, and I know from past experience that it is very sweet. But, what’s to become of me? The mother who held them tight and sheltered them, who cooked their favorite foods, cleaned their scrapes and read them stories? Who am I without them in my house and at my table, and tucked into their beds safely at night? That’s the question for me right now. Its answer could be as complex as the systems of stars I once feared, or it could be as simple and pure as the words on my screen. I am faced with freedom and there is a part of me that longs to be tethered to the safety of my past, bathed in the light of familiarity. There is also that fragment, so long ago sequestered by responsibility, who knows she must run out into the night, feel the sunbaked grass of August beneath her feet and embrace the endless sheet of night, the speckled stars and glowing moon, unafraid.

Do you know who you are and what you want from life? How did you invent, or reinvent, yourself?

 

Guess Who’s Back?

I’ve sort of been MIA lately, and for that I certainly do apologize. I love writing this blog and I especially love the friends that I’ve made on here. As many of you know, we moved my daughter into her new apartment last weekend. Her school doesn’t begin until August 1st, so she came back home with us for the week. She long ago promised to be the lead actress in a short film that my youngest daughter’s boyfriend is making for a horror festival. So tomorrow, after the last bit of fake blood has been scrubbed from her hair and after the neighbors, hopefully, stop wondering if we’re making a snuff film at my house, she’ll travel to her own home. Alone.

I remember in her sleepless, first weeks of life, exhaustedly holding her squalling, fitful form at four a.m. and counting on my fingers how old I would be when she turned 18. My lack of sleep begged me to be released from the fretful bondage of motherhood. As her sleep patterns normalized, granting me enough rest to return to the land of the living, I stopped counting the years and the days until she would become independent of me. Instead of my nemesis, she became my daughter; my little girl who loved horses and nature, going barefoot and doing things herself. Like all mothers, I’ll say that she was an amazing child. She is a natural leader and a cohesive force among her friends. She’s talkative, charming, hilarious, beautiful, and has a definite “it” factor. Of course, these are also things that a mother would say.

A good number of her teen years were similar to her first few weeks of life. She stretched and struggled to find her place in the world and like a new mother I toiled to find the right words and actions to comfort her and help her grow into a person worth knowing. Of course, there were screaming matches, and boys who were wrong for her and boys who were right. There were arguments about curfews, piercings, and multi-colored hair, and a rocky stint where she painted her bedroom ceiling black and blasted death metal to prove her defiance to the world. There were groundings and lectures, and lectures and groundings. Like in her early infancy, there were even a few nights that I found myself counting the years until her 18th birthday.

And then magically, sometime shortly after she turned 17, her angst dissipated, the dust cleared, her hair slowly found its way from magenta to its natural blond and she painted her room a soft, buttery, yellow. We started hanging out again and stopped arguing. She even confessed, during one of our late night talks, that she thought I was doing a pretty good job as her mom. By the time she turned 18, the thought of giving her a set of luggage and a bus ticket didn’t even cross my mind. This was a good thing because after graduation, she opted to attend a university only a few miles from our house and to save money she’s lived at home.

Tomorrow when she makes the solitary journey to her new home, my heart will ache when we say goodbye, but it will also soar with excitement for the both of us. It’s her time to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor, and my time to write my stories and create new memories with my youngest daughter.

So, to my beautiful oldest daughter and friend, I wish you a safe journey. To my readers, I thank you for sticking with me during this sketchy period. Finally, to my neighbors, though you may hear a few screams and see something that looks like blood in my driveway, all is well! I promise!

BY THE WAY…

Do you like free books? If you answered yes to this question, then you owe it to yourself to visit the lovely and generous Deborah Bryan, over at The Monster in Your Closet. Deb is giving away three copies of Sonya Sones’s Stop Pretending, plus one free paperback of your choice (under $20). Please click on her blog for details! AND while you’re there, check out her other posts. She’s a wonderful writer and I’m certain you’ll enjoy her uplifting blog!

Monday Mumblings!

Greetings, fellow bloggers! I’ve gone a bit more than a week without posting, so I have some catching up to do. Here are a few of the topics that have kept me occupied in mind and body.

Shopping

I’m not notorious for loving to shop. In fact, I’ve been told that my shopping skills are similar to those of a man and a toddler. I tend to know what I want before I go, go directly to that item, and then buy it and leave. If I’m forced to shop beyond that point, that’s when the toddler behavior kicks in. I’ll complain about my legs hurting, that I’m hungry, thirsty, and that I need the potty. If that doesn’t work, I’ll cry and beg to be taken home. This behavior is especially disturbing to others when I’m shopping alone.

This past week I’ve shopped with my oldest daughter for her big move that’s occurring on Thursday of this week. She and I have similar shopping methods, so it wasn’t all that bad when we were shopping for things, like microwaves and coffee makers. It was the clothing shopping that felt like a one way ticket on the fast track to hell. She needed business professional and business casual clothing to begin school with. My jeans, t-shirt, and flip-flop girl did not enjoy shopping for these things, but luckily, thanks to the Prime Outlets in our area, she was able to find a basic wardrobe of appropriate attire without spending a huge fortune. (I didn’t mean for that to sound like an advertisement for Prime Outlets!) Shopping tip: Always keep a couple of waters and some Teddy Grahams in your purse for when the worm begins to turn.

Packing

I LOVE organizing things, so who better than good ol’ mom to help with my daughter’s packing. We’re saving money by not hiring movers or even renting a truck. I’ve created a very detailed plan for making this move work with our existing van (sans middle and back seats) and both of my daughters’ hatch-back Yari (the plural of Yaris, of course). Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you’re wasting time playing Tetris for several hours a day. It does come in handy when you need to maneuver an entire apartment’s worth of stuff in three vehicles!

True Blood

Now, that's just cute!

All of you out there who are Truebies know that HBO’s True Blood began its fourth season last night. This certainly kept my thoughts occupied as I counted down the days until I could gaze upon the sweet hot gorgeousness that is Alexander Skarsgard as Eric Northman. It was a celebration, complete with jalapeno and bacon pizza (my daughters’ favorite), strawberry soda, and blood-red velvet cupcakes. I realize that our late dinner would not be approved by the USDA’s dietary guidelines, but it was an evening worth breaking a few rules for!

 

Scrapbooking

My daughters and I have been scrapbooking like little maniacs in our free time. Both girls are chronicling our beach trip with their photos and writings. I’ve been working on a scrapbook that contains pictures of my mother and me and all of her handwritten and typewritten recipes. It also features recipes clipped from our local newspaper and from magazines of the 1960’s and 1970’s. I’ve titled it “From my Mother’s Kitchen; Recipes from Childhood.” I’m writing my memories associated with various recipes and photographs. (I’ve shed a few tears while doing this.) Some of my mother’s handwritten recipes are over 50 years old and are the only examples of her handwriting that I have. So far, I’m very proud of how things are turning out.

Blogging Honesty

 

 

 

 

Whew! Sorry, Tom! I’ve let you down with finishing my 31 Days of Blogging honesty! But, I am a girl who always keeps her promises, so here is Day 21!

Day # 21 Question: Someone, or something, I know I should have let go of a long time ago is…

Something that I should have let go of a long time ago is my belief that people will always do things to the same high standard that I’ve set for myself. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist in everything I do and I sometimes find myself disappointed when others don’t do things in the same way that I would have. I’ve especially seen this in various work settings that I’ve been in throughout my lifetime. I’ve worked in restaurants, a state park, a women’s shelter, and in schools. No matter what the level of job, I always performed it to the very best of my abilities. If I’m cooking your burger, it’s going to be one of the best damn burgers you’ve ever had. If I’m scrubbing your toilet, it’ll be as clean as you would expect it to be in your own home. If I’m lifeguarding your child at a pool, filling out a Family Protection Act for you, or teaching your child how to read, you can be certain that you’re getting the best of me. BUT, that’s the kind of person that I was raised to be and I have to realize that not everyone has the same work ethic or standards. Please don’t think that my streak of perfectionism renders me a complaining bi-otch every time something isn’t done in the way that I deem proper, because I’m not. I choose my battles carefully and politely and usually only complain if something is a health hazard! I forgive easily and move on. Still, I’m, at times, inwardly nagged when things aren’t as nice as if I would have done them and that’s what I need to stop worrying about.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Where in the World is Sprinkles?

 

Howdy, blogging buddies!  You may have noticed that my posting has been a bit sketchy as of late.  I’ve been helping my oldest daughter prepare for her move at the end of this month, and trying to spend as much time with her as I possibly can before she goes.  I have lots of great post ideas, I just need to find some time of quiet concentration to put them in written form!  Until things settled down with her move, I may be posting less, but I’ll still be commenting and reading all of my subscriptions when time allows.  I’m certain I can average at least a post a week.  So stay tuned, I promise I’m not abandoning my blogging!  I enjoy it way too much! 🙂

What Comes Next

I’ve been busy having my midlife crisis. The times a certainly are a changin’ at my house. My oldest daughter, to whom I have been attached cord, breast, and always heart, is graduating from our state’s university in less than a month. In July, she’ll move five hours away to attend medical school. My purely sweet youngest daughter, who needed me so much when she was ill, is now a thriving university student who is making her natural break from home and talking marriage with her long-time boyfriend. While I’m sad that the hands-on mothering stage of my life is coming to a close, I’m not complaining. In fact, I’m in complete awe of both of them, and in total wonderment of the natural progression of something that I didn’t experience. They are easing gently into adulthood without skipping any steps.

My entrance into adulthood felt abrupt. Its evolution seemed to move from my mother being sick, to my mother dying, to my father selling our family home and moving in with his girlfriend. The fact that I was a junior in college without a place to go home to on weekends, holidays and summers didn’t faze my father who was of the old school mindset of “18 and out.” While my life certainly wasn’t as difficult as the lives of some, I found myself thrust into adulthood with an incomplete copy of life’s survival manual.

Now as my daughters grow past the age when I became motherless, I marvel at what comes next. I experience with them, and through them, what my mother and I didn’t. I will see them walk across stages to get diplomas and possibly down aisles to get married. I will be privy to their life plans, listen to their worries, and guide them in solving their problems. They will never wonder where they will spend a holiday, or feel a mournful longing when a coworker speaks of “going back home” for the weekend.

As I write this I am sad, sad for my mother who so wanted me, and sad for the girl I was when I lost her. Yet, in my gloom I feel the distinct joy than one can only feel when they have been given a gift most though-out and meaningful. It is the gift of watching my daughters reach adulthood whole and prepared. The gift of watching the apron strings between us gently thin from love and wear, and dangle as ties between mother and child eventually must. It is the gift of watching them stand on the precipice of adulthood confident that their first steps won’t be into a swirling abyss of the unknown. But mostly, it’s the gift of knowing that if a page is missing from their life’s survival manual, they have the skills to rewrite it, and if they are unsure of the correct words, I’m just a phone call away.