An excellent “first date”

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I’ve watched them from birth to now.  I’ve seen them take a few of their halted first steps and utter the beginning of many words to come.  I did not birth them, but I love them just as much as if I had.

The time has gone by so quickly and my nephews are now 15 and 12.  They are unique characters and very different from each other which makes them all the more fascinating to a person who does not see them every day.  I get fragmented pieces of time to create memories and I have realized that time is quickly running out before they fly from their nest.

I had a date with my 12-year old nephew tonight.  It was more like an expeditious speed-date but it was an hour that I got to spend with just him.  We laughed, we talked in funny accents and we allowed ourselves the freedom to just be silly and enjoy each others company.  He and I are very similar creatures and it was nice for both of us to recognize that bond.  He reads as voraciously as I did as a child and shares my animosity towards running.

My 15-year old nephew is the opposite.  He most likely thinks he will burst into flames if he had to read a novel.  His hours of leisure, and work, are spent at a golf course.  He lives and breathes golf.  He has found his passion and it is something at which he excels.  He and I have yet to have our date but I will be asking him soon and I am  hoping to make these dates a recurring event before I blink and they are both in their twenties.

I want these moments.  I want to create this stronger bond before they have gone off to college and the miles are stretched between us.  I selfishly crave those snippets of time where I see signs of them becoming the men they will continue to be throughout their lives.  I want them to know how proud I am of the strengths they possess and encourage them to never let anyone try to change their ideals.

smallest things

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These dates may seem like small things to them but the memories we create will reside in my heart, and hopefully their hearts, for many years to come.

I’ll show you a full moon!

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Yesterday was an interesting day.  The energy in my work space was charged with an unknown element and the entire day felt like I was living in an alternate universe.  People were doing inane things, the simplest conversation turned into a painful thirty minute ordeal and the tension could have been cut by nothing less than a chainsaw.  My rhetorical question was to ask, “is it a full moon?” and the response was an embellished “yes”.

Although there is no direct correlation between the phases of the moon and human behavior, the full moon gives human beings a fantastic excuse for acting like idiots.  The blame is put solely on the celestial orb, taking the onus from the one acting completely out of character but, when the sky is dark, strange behavior is accepted as exactly that with no other plausible justification.

full moon

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Many of our references to luck, or the lack thereof, are written in the stars.  We wish on a falling star.  Our horoscopes are creatively tied to constellations in the sky.  And we blame a magical orb of light for any unfavorable happenings during the phase in which it finds its truest beauty.

On those days that society deems the moon to be the cause of all of its woes,  the child who still resides in my mind hopes that the fantasy man who inhabits that enchanting sphere is truly giving us the full moon.

In youth we learn, with age we comprehend

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I did a lot of things as a child – some are noteworthy and deserve mention and some I’m not so proud of, so I won’t expound on those moments.  I did make amends for those things that were not becoming of a young lady and I’m sure I learned from my mistakes because they were never repeated.

As much as I think I learned from those errs in judgement, I did not truly understand the consequences of those fateful actions until I was much older and reflecting on my youthful days.  The mirror has become a time portal and, as I gaze at my reflection, I see a much younger version of myself.   The translation was naive, a girl who thought she got it, but she was so far from “it” that she could never comprehend that distance.  It’s like the old adage “if I knew then what I know now”.  But if that were the case I probably never would have made the mistakes in the first place to teach me the lessons that I would come to comprehend so much later in my older and much wiser years.

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Time is a fickle mistress.  She has a way of seeping into our conscious realm when we least expect her.  She inadvertently brings up memories from our long-buried past to insinuate a lesson that we may have overlooked.  I can say from personal experience that there are many things I may have “learned” as a child, even as a young adult, but the learning portion was a mere drop in the bucket compared to what I truly gained from the comprehension of the true meaning of that lesson as I got older.

There certainly are things I would tell the younger version of myself if I could go back in time but, for the most part, I would live my life again because it shaped the person I am today, flaws and all.  Those misgivings I had as a child, the uncertainty of who I was, led me to make mistakes.  There was a fine line between being good and being bad and for a while I hung on the precipice, unsure of which force was stronger and which power would pull me in.

Looking back at those moments, now that I am beyond that cataclysmic time in my pubescent life, I can truly understand how those stages of life burrowed their way into my brain.  They were stored until the moment I could truly appreciate the lesson that was entrusted to the vault in my memory and now I really do get it.  What I may have learned in those formidable years I can truly understand now and appreciate the message.

What lesson do you appreciate most, now that you are old enough to understand its true message?

 

A body at rest tends to fall into an exhausted coma

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I think I now moderately understand the mentality of a football player when their season comes to an end.  I have spent a great portion of my time planning a party that happened on Saturday night and now, the party has come and gone, and I feel like something is missing.

I love planning events.  I love paying attention to the smallest personalized details to make the experience memorable and let the person being celebrated feel how special they are by the little nuances that appear in the party’s finer points.IMG_0266Although the week leading up to the party had a few speed bumps, the party was a great success.  From the food choice and preparation, the slide show and the soundtrack of his past 50 years, my brother was able to celebrate his upcoming milestone with great friends and family and it was a great way to honor the special place he holds in all of our lives.

After spending the entire day in the kitchen, partying like a rock star until 3:30 in the morning, being the first up at 7:30 to prepare for breakfast and spending the next day cleaning the lodge, I came home, possibly had a little “hair of the dog” and watched the end of the Masters through barely opened eyes.  I poured myself into bed at 8:00 pm and slept solidly for 11 hours.

Physical exhaustion aside, I would do it all again next weekend!  Happy 50th Jamie…..you deserve every bit of fun that party had!

 

 

 

The birthday present that keeps giving

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The first phone call today won’t be my mom or my dad calling to wish me a happy birthday but somehow I know theirs will be the first wishes of the day.  That is how it always was and how it shall remain.  And the first face I shall see when I wake up is the same face (or close to the same face) it has been since I was a child.

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My mom made this Winnie The Pooh for my first birthday in 1970 .  Since then he has helped celebrate my successes, been suffocated in my hugs, saturated in my tears and dragged through more drama than a bear should have to face.  But his allegiance to our friendship remains just as strong now as it was then.

Birthday celebrations would not be the same without Winnie.  It may be a childish tradition but that bear represents a great deal of love and a longing to hold on to the memories that mean so much.  He has seen his share of joy and tragedy.  He has undergone facial reconstruction and some botched plastic surgery (thanks to an over-excitable Labrador Retriever that belonged to a roommate) but he never fails to hang in there to share year after year with me. He and I have weathered many successes and many ominous periods together but he still remains the same source of comfort he has always been.

I can’t imagine a birthday celebration without him.  And now that my mom is gone, Winnie is the strongest connection to her that I can still hold in my hands.  His abiding presence in my life not only allows me to look to the future but keeps me rooted in my past.

Happy birthday Winnie.  May we be together, sharing our day, for many years to come.

 

 

 

Learning to laugh at yourself

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I hope you will all indulge me this week.  March 7th looms and I would like to keep as many happy memories as I can at the forefront of my brain.  Since my mom can no longer comment on what I post, her ethereal embarrassment shall be something that will hopefully make us all smile a little.  Some of my best memories are of the funniest times in my life – the memories that made me laugh until I cried and that same laughter that made my mom wet herself.  This is one of the memories I love.

We have always been a family with pets.  Dogs have been a strong presence in our lives and in the early 1980’s mom and I would walk the dogs down the back road that was close to our house.  On one of our walks, our Golden Retriever, Brandy, decided to take it upon himself to walk our Lhasa Apso, Misty.  He took her extra-long leash in his mouth and proudly sauntered down the road, not looking back.   Only mom and I could see the leash wrapped around Misty’s body and, when there was no slack left in the long leash, Brandy dragged Misty down the road backwards for about half a kilometer.  That moment wasn’t just funny, it was absolutely hysterical and mom and I laughed so hard she peed her pants.

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Now, in the 80’s velour was all the rage.  Mom sported many matching leisure suits.  They were comfortable, they were stylish, and they were surprisingly absorbent.  But the variation in color could not hide the fact that my mom had peed her pants.  After we collected ourselves, we made our way back to the house.  We had a crowd of friends over and, knowing that, Mom was in stealth mode, maneuvering out of anyone’s peripheral to sneak in the back door and head for the laundry room in our basement.

She quickly changed her outfit and headed back up to the living room, thinking she had averted humiliation.  What she had NOT counted on, was that her traitor of a daughter had already broadcast the episode to anyone who would listen and had even thrown in some play-by-play action in slow motion.  Not only was I laughing but everyone in the room joined in, even my mom.

That day I learned one of the greatest lessons she ever taught me, even if by accident – if you can’t laugh at yourself, you will miss a great deal of enjoyment in your life.

 

 

Rabbits and lions and lambs….oh my

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As it is with every first day of the month I will have awoken, most likely at 3:45 am because that is a new and inescapable routine, and hopefully remembered to repeat the phrase “white rabbit” three times before I uttered any other words.  It is a long-standing family tradition and one that is meant to bring luck for the following month.

Today is not only the first of the month, but it is the first of March which brings Spring closer to reality.  After the winter we have just experienced, and still are experiencing,  Spring will be a very welcome companion.  The mercury is predicted to begin rising and the sun will have some warmth in its shine.   I have already begun preparations for my tanning session on the deck and, even if I am fully covered in snow gear, I am going to enjoy every ounce of Vitamin D I can extract from that fire-ball during the high temperature of -5C.

Tanning in the early months of February and March is a family tradition I cannot seem to part with.  When I was a child, we would spend hours in lawn chairs on the frozen lake and absorb all of the goodness from the sun.  There is no better feeling than the first real heat of a Spring day and having those rays welcomed by an eager face.

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This year, I am unsure as to whether the arrival of Spring will be classified as coming in like a lamb, or coming in like a lion.  After the harsh winter and bitter winds we have experienced, it will certainly feel like a lamb, but having March temperatures still hovering around -15 C may classify the entrance into this new month as coming in like a lion.

Groundhog’s shadow or not, Spring is coming.  I just hope it gets here before the rabbits, the lion and the lamb all freeze their asses off!