And the Heavens opened when I realized it had pockets

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I have mentioned before that I am not the most delicate of females.  I have always been, and most likely always will be, a tomboy.  It is me in the truest form of myself and how I feel most comfortable.  I am capable of donning a dress and feeling pretty but yesterday upped that ante by about 90 percent.

I went dress shopping for the dress that I will wear to walk down the aisle as maid of honor for my best friends’ wedding in September.  I began to sweat as soon as I walked through the door of the shop.  For those of you who have not experienced a bridal shop, it is a sea of chiffon, satin and lace and had I not controlled my breathing to calm myself I may have broken out in hives.

It is a daunting task to find a place to begin, especially when my fashion sense is based on jeans, hoodies and a baseball cap.  The first dress I picked was lovely.  I locked myself in the change room and, as soon as I tried the dress on, the metamorphosis had begun.

d586(f)

(image credit)

The dresses kept coming but I kept looking back at that first dress.  All the other dresses paled in comparison and made me more self-conscious about wearing a dress than I already was.  I put the first dress back on again and I thought, for perhaps the first time, this dress could reflect my true personality without the baseball cap, the jeans and the hoodie.  This dress brought out a part of me that I have ignored.  For the first time in a long time, looking in a mirror, I felt beautiful.

Maybe it took finding the right dress to recognize that long-lost piece of myself.  Perhaps this was the a-ha moment Oprah always talks about.  And just perhaps a certain friend of mine may have been right when he said, “just find a little black dress, put it on and get over it”.

It’s not black and it has pockets but, I get it now.  Maybe there is that one dress that can be the sum of all of  your parts while making you feel better than you thought possible.  I think I found mine today.

 

 

 

I really did have a senior’s moment

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I was working on an itinerary for an upcoming bus tour this fall and flashed back to a bus tour we had last fall.

old couple-743330

(image credit)

Was I guilty of ageism?  Perhaps.  But when the senior’s euchre tournament bus tour arrived at the lodge on that fateful Sunday, I was genuinely dreading the three days that would follow.  I made an egregious error in judgement.

Admittedly, the tour had not begun well for the 42 participants but the fault was not ours.  A slight hiccup in their agenda had caused them to arrive an hour and a half early and we were thoroughly unprepared for the sudden onset of walkers, luggage and upset elders.  We did our best to scramble and be as accommodating as possible.   I made a witty speech welcoming them on behalf of the owners and staff and my words were met with sullen stares and moderate contempt.  It was a bumpy start.

Once we regained control, our momentum increased and we began to get everyone settled into their rooms. I had entered first and once Betty and Rose reached those three stairs Betty took the lead.  Once she was at the top, Rose began to follow.  Betty reached for the door frame and found nothing but a handful of air.  As I turned to look behind me, Betty, doing her best impression of a tree being felled in the forest, fell straight backwards and took Rose out, using her as a cushion for the fall.  The two ladies I had escorted to their room had just fallen and couldn’t get up.   Thankfully we got them into an upright and relatively stable position and, after many unqualified examinations, we deemed they were medically stable.

The group’s first dinner was an interesting event.  Still unsure of their surroundings, many uttered complaints that hung in the air like angry cartoon balloons.  There were threats of husbands being called to retrieve them the following morning and the night was punctuated by another woman being hit in the head by a heartily kicked-open kitchen door.  In the span of six hours, we had potentially concussed three women.

But then something changed.  Over the course of the following 60 hours, attitude and understanding rapidly evolved on both sides.  We understood the nature of their initial frustration and they understood the nature of our good will and hospitality.  By the end of their three night stay, I was calling them all by their first name and I was truly sad to see them climb the stairs to get back on the bus.  There were many hugs and talks of seeing them again next year.  I will admit that I was close to tears saying goodbye to these lovely souls.

Perhaps it was the sideways glances I got from Rose that reminded me so much of my mom.  Maybe it was that bond of parenthood I have been missing since my mom and dad passed.  Whatever the reason, I will be ready and willing to welcome that next bus tour with open arms and use this enlightening experience as a lesson for the future.

Happy Mother’s Day

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mom-holding-baby

She birthed me and swaddled me,

she showered me with love.

Her arms always embraced me,

they fit me like a glove.

Her words were the only ones,

that could help to heal my scars.

Hers was the only light,

that would comfort me in the dark.

She woke me up to play with me,

she laughed at all my jokes.

She sang with me to old musicals,

although she couldn’t hold the notes.

Her faith in my abilities,

has stood the test of time.

She’s the portrait of what a mother should be,

and I’m glad that she is mine.

So, here’s to you, mom, on this special day,

my love for you has no end.

You’re my giver of life, my confidant,

and will always be my best friend.

And though my wishes are sent further today,

into a world I am unable to touch.

I know you hear my words of love

and they will forever mean just as much.

***

I wrote this two years ago when my mom was still alive and added the last stanza in her memory. The words today ring just as true as they did then. I hope she is planting her heavenly garden and the sun is shining on her face.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms.

roses

A wish saved for someone else

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Stars dapple the blackened sky of night.

I sit, chilled, pondering, not the expanse of the universe

but, the magical quality of those stars.

The silence of the night deafens me,

but the light from those stars has a musical quality,

tickling my senses as they twinkle.

Their ethereal incandescence is a gift.

The night is alive.

Constellations form as the night hurries to meet the morning.

Patterns shift as the world rotates on its axis.

I take in the wonder that is above me,

but I look away before it’s too late.

I want to share my sky,

hoping that a shooting star is seen

by someone who needs the wish more than I.

starry-night-alex-ruiz

(image credit: fineartamerica.com)

A place in the woods

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cabin

There is a place in the woods where my heart is free,

and my mind has been known to roam.

There are four walls and a roof that wait for me,

and long for me to call it my home.

The mass of buildings and lanes of traffic

are replaced with hills and trees.

The soothing sounds of Mother Nature’s lullaby

truly put my mind at ease.

I am homesick for a place I’ve never seen,

a place where my heart is replete,

a home where my soul is understood

 and a home where I feel genuinely complete.

The barren land beckons, the rolling earth lures,

I hear it calling my name.

I know when I finally find this haven

my life will never be the same.

I will shed the layers of the pretense I’ve lived

and genuinely feel at peace.

I will feel naked among the rocks and the trees,

and my life will have found a new lease.

There is a place in the woods where my heart is free,

and my mind has been known to roam.

I hope to one day discover this place,

and forever call it my home.

 (image credit)

It’s all about choosing the right club

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“Many people only talk about that perfect drive they had on the 14th hole, but you rarely hear about the other 17 holes.” ~ M.S.

rock

(image credit)

Life is very much like a game of golf.  The scenery is stunning, the fresh air is vital but the course can be very unfavorable.  There are moments when you feel like you should just give up.  And then it happens.  For one brief, shining moment, the Gods smile on you and you drive it straight down the middle of the fairway about 300 yards.

At that moment the rest of the world ceases to exist.  All of the bad shots that happened in the past disappear and are replaced with the vision of that perfect drive.  You are only able to focus on that dimpled ball in the distance surrounded by nothing but the manicured path of greatness.

But those other seventeen holes are the lessons that keep us humble.  Those muffed shots and missed putts are the fuel that keeps our fire burning.  Those missed opportunities are what keep us coming back again and again to try to be better than we were the last time.  If life wasn’t remotely challenging, it would hardly be worth living.  Like the game of golf, you never know what to expect in life.  Some days you should be playing at the Masters and some days you are stuck at the mini-putt.

Golf is a great analogy for life.  In golf, unless you are a professional player, the only real competition you have is yourself.  Life is the same way.  You can only try to be better than the person you were yesterday.  You can never compare your life to anyone else’s life because your approach is different and the winds can change the trajectory of your reality in the blink of an eye.  You most likely play the game of life with different clubs and your follow through will never be the same as your competitors.

Life or golf – it’s all about picking the right club to help you get the distance you need.  Keep your head down, focus, follow through and always go for it.  Life, like golf, always gives you a second chance and that Mulligan could be the second chance that will change the outcome of your game – of golf, or of life.

Life is about a lot of things

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Yesterday began as nothing special.  But that nothing special day changed drastically when my car made the familiar turn onto my road and I casually glanced along the macadam towards my house.  What I saw on the road made me do a double-take and tears instantly welled in the corners of my eyes.

A random woman, a stranger, was walking her two small dogs, one black and one white, down my road and for a split second I could have sworn it was my mother.  When she was still alive, my mother chose to park her car in my driveway and walk her two small dogs, one black and one white, on my road because it was a much quieter street than hers was.  When I came home from work, I would see the silhouette of my mother and her two sidekicks as they simultaneously pulled her in a myriad number of directions.  It was a struggle for her but she walked those little dogs until she could walk them no more.

Before I realized it, I had come to a complete stop and simply watched this woman walking down the road.  I don’t know how many minutes passed before the fading contour of her shadow turned onto the side road and disappeared.  The clock of my nothing special day stopped and I couldn’t move.  I could barely breathe.

The hopeful part of me anticipated that the woman would turn around and come back.  The stubborn part of me was willing to sit in the middle of the road until she did because the child in me thought for a split second that my mother would be the one to round that corner on her way back.

Eventually I collected myself and pulled my car into the driveway.  I was already on the verge of an ugly cry and I stood in front of the Birch sapling I planted last year in her memory and nothing could stop that surge of emotion from escaping.  But the cry was much shorter than I expected.  As I looked at that young sapling, struggling to grow again after such an arduous winter, I realized that life does go on.  We endure many hardships, we suffer through tough times, but beauty always has a way of sneaking into our lives, even when we think the best things in our lives have been taken.

mom's tree

(this photo was taken last year, shortly after it was planted)

Life evolves.  Life is about birth, growth, love and death.  But life is also about remembering, cherishing, holding on to memories and carrying on.  Life is about chance encounters, reconnecting with friends, deja vu and finding new things to love.  And life is about knowing you were once able love something so much that it physically hurts when you realize it is gone forever.

Life is about a lot of things.  But good or bad, life happens every day.  I am just thankful that I am still able to wake up each morning, engage with the people I still have in my life and spend time remembering those who have been able to emerge from their cocoon and spread their wings in a new reality.

Life is about a lot of things.  But most of all, life is about finding some happiness in the saddest part of your day.