Garage Sales

Garage Sales

Have you ever had a garage sale? I have had a few in my day and every time I have one I tell myself this is my last one.  But during the year I start to collect things that I see around the house that we don’t use anymore. I use a tote and label it garage sale and the cycle starts again. By the time warm weather comes I have several totes filled with all kinds of stuff.

Then I have to pull everything out and sort and price it all.  It is such a big job. Last weekend a friend and I had decided to have a garage sale.  She posted it and put it in the newspaper.  All I had to do was be ready.  Honestly, I wasn’t ready at all.  I didn’t have my mojo ready for all the work it takes.  The weather in the Northeast hasn’t been dry in weeks, it has been dark, cloudy, rainy and not very motivational to do anything. So I was actually really happy when the entire weekend was a wash out.  I didn’t have it but my friend did.

So today we decided to do it again. Last week’s weather forecast said rain again for today but this time I was prepared.  My husband created this makeshift tent just in case.  I can report not a drop of rain fell all day.  And there were moments when I had a number of people show up.  Many just browse while others pick up one or two things.

The day was not a complete waste because in between my customers I was able to plant a number of flowers that I had purchased.  And I was even able to work on a pile of dirt that my husband has been using to fill in our sewer project on the side of the house.  So I felt like I was at least productive with my time.

Garage sales are interesting because of the people that show up.  I love to meet different people and see if they want to engage.  Some just say hi and continue to look around, while others make eye contact and strike up conversations.  Usually you talk about the weather and they leave.

But today I had an unexpected customer who I so enjoyed talking with.  She was the only customer for a while so we got to talking.  When she walked up she apologized for not getting to my house sooner.  At first I was concerned because she was older and I thought she might be confused about where she was. She acted like I was expecting her.  She then told me that she ended up in the doctor’s office unexpectedly because she cut her hand and had to get 10 stitches.

As she started to walk around my tables I learned very quickly that she was full of spunk. She in no way acted her age.  She had a great sense of humor.  By the end of our conversation I learned all of this,  she is 90 years old. She didn’t look 90 at all.   She lives alone in an apartment but she is moving into a senior living apartment this year.  She is going to sell all her furniture because those new apartments are small and her furniture won’t fit. So she will buy new stuff.  Her nieces don’t want any of her stuff.  So she will be having a garage sale this summer too.

When she married her husband she had to marry him in the rectory because he wasn’t Catholic. This was back in 1952.  He died in 1994.  Years later she found out that the priest who wouldn’t marry her from the church she grew up in had had an affair with his cleaning lady at the rectory and that they had had a child. But the woman hadn’t told her husband that he wasn’t the father.  So years later after the priest retired he then married this women.  The son won’t have anything to do with him or her after finding out.  She and her husband bumped into them at a mall and she gave him a piece of her mind about not marrying them in the church and having double standards.

She has had strokes, heart attacks, seizures, etc over the years.  She has a daughter who is a lawyer married to a lawyer in NYC.  She and her doctor have this love hate relationship.  She sat and waited 4 hours to get her hand stitched up because he had other patients ahead of her.  But she was fine with that.  She knew the rules.  She even fell asleep waiting for him.   She thinks life is much harder today then years ago.  She is not a fan of Trump. She had a number of things to say about him.  She says she sleeps a lot and reads. But when she sits down with her hot tea and a book she ends up waking up a couple hours later with cold tea and she gets mad at herself for not reading her book.

As I walked her to her car (I wanted to make sure she got there safely) we continued our conversation.  I felt as though I had known her all my life.  She had an amazing personality and I would have enjoyed talking to her for hours more. I am sure she had many more interesting stories about her life to share.  She was intelligent, sharp, and fun to be with.

And the weird thing is she had the same last name as I do.

So this time you won’t hear me saying I am not going to have another garage sale ever again.  I kind of hope she will stop over again.  I would love to hear more.

I hope you had a small moment in your day that made it just a little bit brighter, a little bit more interesting, etc.  Thanks for reading about my day.

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Support

Support

Have you ever wondered why having the support of your family was so important in life? Why their opinion could have such a strong impact on the way you feel about yourself? I think growing up I always looked for those encouraging words to keep me moving forward on my journey.  At times, when I didn’t receive encouraging words or worse heard words of negativity or lack of faith in my ability, I would quietly stop heading in that direction and/or start believing in those words.

As an adult, unfortunately I still feel that need for support with those closest to me.  At times, I find myself not even sharing my news or watering it down because of the things I know I will hear.

There is definitely a difference when someone you know so well expresses a genuine happiness for you because it pours out of them on how proud they are of your accomplishments.

But when someone can’t be excited for you, doesn’t really buy in to what you are doing, maybe even understand why you do what you do, or can see the importance of what you are contributing, it is just so clear.  Their words or lack of enthusiasm actually hurt more because you know how they feel and they feel that they have to say something positive but the words hold no genuine feelings of love and support.

I am the first to admit that I need the support of those closest to me.  It is extremely important to me but I wish I didn’t feel I needed it.  Does anyone ever feel the same way?

But when you meet people in your life that share your happiness and make you feel like you deserve all the accolades in the world hold on to them.  I really appreciate those in my life  who fill me up when I need it the most.  Thank you.  And I always remember to try and appreciate all those small moments in my day.  They hold me up when I need it the most.

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Expectations

https://i2.wp.com/www.docdreyfus.com/psychologically-speaking/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/expectations11.jpg

I had a conversation with a friend recently about having expectations when it comes to relationships with the people in our lives. How having expectations can lead to disappointment.  I told her that I have learned not to expect anything and then I don’t get hurt.

My friend’s view is that a person automatically has expectations of others at some level and so you can be let down no matter what.  It is practically impossible not to have expectations.

So I have taken some time to stop and really think about what she said. I looked at the relationships that I have and have determined that those relationships that I have expectations from are relationships that are on solid ground.  They are relationships that I trust and that I feel secure in.  Do people make mistakes and let you down?  Of course, no one is perfect.  But those relationships don’t let you down on a regular basis and overall those relationships are a give and take kind of relationship.  I feel that those people really care about me.

Then I look at the relationships that I don’t trust and I realize that over time I have come to lower my expectations or try not to expect anything at all from them so that I don’t get hurt.  Am I disappointed? Absolutely!  But just not as hurt as I would have been had I had a certain level of expectation on how I thought I should be treated.  It is my way of protecting myself from getting hurt at the core.

I guess those are the relationships that I had in mind when I told her that I don’t have expectations any more. My mistake to group them all together.  So yes, I still have expectations for those relationships that I feel secure in.  For the most part they don’t let me down.

When I was looking for an image to attach to this blog I came across this phrase and it stuck with me.  I think I will always hope that some of my relationships will fall on more solid ground but the expectation that they will is not there.  I think this defines my thought very well.  I will always hope but just not expect it.

I wrote this blog hoping to get your point of view. I want to hear from  you.  What are your thoughts on having expectations from others?  Have you been hurt so many times in your life by others that you stopped having expectations?  Or are you someone who is relentless and will always have expectations for humankind even if you get hurt over and over?  Would love to hear what you think on this topic?

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Conversation with my son..

20161030_162923-1                   garretts-14th-birthday

Have you ever read parents’ letters to their sons or daughters that they have posted on social media?  Some of the letters are quite beautifully written.  Things that I wish I had thought of and said to my sons.

It got me thinking about wanting to do something similar for my son but with a twist. I don’t just want to write about it, I want to have a conversation with him.  This past Sunday was my son’s 14th birthday which felt like a great time to have a conversation with him.  I am a few days late but I want to tell him how I feel about being his mom and having him as my son. I am using my blog to document my conversation with him but I want to be able to actually talk with him.

Here are the things that I want him to know.

Sunday morning as I was getting ready to start my day,  I was thinking to myself how I want to thank God for giving me such a beautiful baby boy 14 years ago.  You were so adorably cute with your baby blue eyes. You simply took my breath away when I first laid eyes on you.  You were so healthy and happy.  You had me at hello. I would forever be changed as a person.  That was the day I entered into parenthood.

You were this little person that your dad and I created.  Absolutely breathtaking. I know you have heard this story at least 13 times but you were born at 9:37pm on October 30th which was your Aunt’s birthday as well.  The best gift I could have given my sister was to have my baby on her birthday.

I wrote in my journal that you were strong and alert from the 1st moment you were born.  The pediatrician told us that you had a very strong personality.  Not sure how she would know that looking at a baby only a couple hours old but she was right!

You have changed my life for the better.   As I look at you today, I see a young man who is responsible, hardworking and sensitive.  I believe every parent wants to give their child the best opportunities in their life.  When I look at you, you are wiser, more level-headed than I ever was as a teenager.  You are so smart and you have such an analytical mind.  You think things through, stay calm and make logical decisions.  I admire you so much as an individual.

You have such a bright future ahead of you.  You truly can become anything you want to be. I don’t think I could be any more proud of you. But I thought that the day you were born and look at me now bursting at the seams on your 14th birthday.  You truly impress me on a regular basis.

You are considerate. The other day when your friend left her flute by her locker and you brought it home with you.  I thought that was such a nice thing for you to do.  And then when you texted me and asked if I would contact her mother and let them know you had it so she wouldn’t worry that she left it behind.  I thought that was so kind and considerate of you thinking about what she must be going through thinking she lost it.

You have a sensitivity about you.  Don’t ever lose that.  Continue to learn to open up and express yourself when someone loves you or even hurts you. I especially love those moments when you  talk to me about things that matter to you.  That is such a great quality about you.

I often think about what your future will hold.  What career you will pursue? What your life will be like 10-15 years from now?  Will you be single, in a relationship, married, have kid(s)? But what I truly want for you is simply to be truly happy in what ever career you choose, whatever relationship you are in.  To find true happiness in life is challenging for everyone.  I am truly excited for all the possibilities that lie ahead for you.

You have a good head on your shoulders and I look forward to sitting back and watching your life unfold.  You have made me so happy to be able to call you my son that these words don’t even come close to expressing what my heart feels when I look you in the eye and tell you all these things.

But know you could not make me any more proud to be your mom.

I love you now and always.

Love, Mom

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Dads…

Dad and Lucy

Growing up I thought of my dad as the strongest, bravest man I knew.  I felt completely protected by him.  I remember one night we were all sitting in the family room and my mom heard a noise in the garage right off the family room.  She asked me to turn on the light in the garage and as I did I saw a stranger lifting a bike up and was about to steal it.  I was only a kid so it completely took me by surprise.  I dropped to the ground and was speechless, couldn’t get a word out but my family knew something was wrong.

At the time, I was scared to death but as I got older and retold the story, it was more funny than scary. The funny part was that when he saw me he too was scared and dropped the bike and ran.  I scared him as much as he scared me. My dad jumped out of his chair and ran out of the house and down the driveway but the kid was long gone. But as I watched my dad I thought he was my hero, ready to protect our family at a moment’s notice.

As I grew up, I continued to look at my dad as our protector but also I started to appreciate him in so many more ways.  As I went for my first interview he gave me advice on what to say and not to say. He gave me advice on how to negotiate my first salary increase, or how to handle different personalities at work.  He was my go to guy.

He wasn’t the kind of dad that would sit and snuggle with you or give a lot of hugs but I always knew he was on my side and he had my back.  Our relationship grew even closer when my mom passed away.  I moved back home to give him some company.  We helped each other through the first year or two after my mom’s passing.  We didn’t really talk a lot about it but we knew we were there for each other.  I taught him how to do laundry, cook a little, even things to buy at the grocery store.  He represented stability after my world was shaken by the passing of my mom.

It has been 20 years since my mom passed, my husband and I will be celebrating 16 years of marriage in September.  My dad is in his 80’s now and over the last month or so many health issues have popped up.  He has been diagnosed with glaucoma, he had cancer on his finger and so they had to do a skin graft from another part of the arm, and his legs started to swell up for no reason.  Way too much to deal with for my dad at one time.  He has been relatively healthy these 84 years so getting all of these things at once was overwhelming.  To be honest, frustrating at times for me and my sisters. We wanted my dad to follow up on things when he would like to convince himself that he was fine when clearly he wasn’t.  There were weeks of care for his arm and finger and he couldn’t stand looking at the wounds so I took care of them for him.

Wednesday, I sat in the waiting room as my dad signed in for his post-opt check-up on his arm and finger.  I sat there looking at him thinking I am very lucky to have him still in my life. Yes, occasionally we have some hiccups in the health area but he has been very fortunate. We all have.

My husband got news this week that his dad has an aggressive brain tumor and he has to have it removed.  When you hear things like that it helps to put things in perspective.  His dad has a long road a head of him.  But for the last 16 years that I have been a member of their family, my husband’s dad has been his family’s strength.  He has been their rock – dependable, and knowledgeable on all topics.  My husband has been blessed as well to have such a great role model as a father.

So tonight if you are close to your dad, give him a hug, tell him you love him.  If you don’t live close to him call him and tell him you love him.  If you are estranged from your dad think seriously about taking a step to repair your relationship.  Life goes by so fast, appreciate those around you and let them know what they mean to you. Enjoy your small moments in a day.

 

 

Posted in appreciating life, appreciation, childhood, childhood memories, dads, family, Fathers, kindness | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sidewalks

For those who know me, I am pretty quiet when it comes to having strong opinions.  Don’t get me wrong, I have opinions but I don’t usually share them out loud.  So it was very unusual for me to take a stand on something  and be vocal about it especially so publicly.

But in October of 2006, I wrote to our town board requesting consideration for installation of sidewalks on our street.  At the time, there were about 9000 vehicles that traveled down our street per day.   Our sons where four years old and almost one and for the safety of our children and the children on our street I believed it was a good idea.

What I found was that not everyone on our street agreed.  My request was put in front of the Board and was brought up during a monthly town board meeting. All those living on the street were notified of the meeting and they could come and express their thoughts.  This was the first time I was a part of some thing so public.  The meeting was even taped.  My husband and I were quoted in our local newspaper as well.

Prior to the big meeting, I had made calls to the council people trying to drum up support. Many seemed to be on our side until the night of the meeting.  Enough neighbors came out to express their unhappiness sighting that they didn’t want to pay for them. Which I think was a valid concern.  What I didn’t agree with was the nastiness of some of these residents who suggested that my husband and I move if we wanted sidewalks or to use the money towards our son’s college educations.  It became more of a personal attack and I walked away feeling deflated.

I dropped the issue until 2010 and decided with all the new commercial development at the end of our street that had created more traffic that sidewalks should be reconsidered.  But this time I had learned about an initiative trying to make towns safer for walkers especially near schools.  We are right around the corner from a high school and a middle school.  So again, I reached out to the Safety Board and pleaded my case.  They again agreed that it should be brought up to the Town Board for a vote.  And once again it was rejected because of lack of support.  So I felt like I had given it my best shot.  I knew there was grant money being used for other neighborhoods but by this time I didn’t have it in me to pursue this anymore.

During this whole process, I had developed a working relationship with the Town Engineer.  He understood my frustration but his hands where tied because at that point there was no money available.  He had gone so far as to conduct a study of our street and figure out how much it would cost to put sidewalks all the way down the road.  At the time it was about $100,000 which would have meant about $4,000 for each house. And because enough were against it the request was denied.

So over the last 5 years there has been no talk about sidewalks.  I quietly wished we had them especially when our family takes bike rides and we have to ride in the road.  Or when we take our dog for a walk and have to move quickly to get to a side street with less traffic.

So fast forward to 2015, I get a call from a friend who lives down the street telling me that she saw men out in front of her house taking measurements. She approached them but they were being very vague about what they were doing until she told them that she was for sidewalks.  Turns out that one of the gentleman was the Town Engineer.  He asked my friend if she knew me and that he hadn’t contacted me yet but it looked pretty good that we were on the list to receive grant money to have sidewalks put in.

She quickly called me to tell me.  I quickly called my new best friend the Town Engineer to ask him if this news was really true.  He said it looked favorable.  When grant money was found he had put our street and about four other streets on the list.  We still had to have another Town meeting so we needed to bring as much support as possible. So that night my husband and I stood up in front of the board and our neighbors and listed individually why we thought sidewalks were an important thing to have on our street.

My list was to the point.  #1. Safety, #2. Living 1/2 mile from a high school and middle school. #3. Living within a mile of a park but not being able to walk there,  #4. The fact that we have 9000 vehicles a day pass our house. #5. No usable shoulder on our road for those who ride bikes or walk down our street. #6. And we are the only section of our road that doesn’t have sidewalks.

The reasons why it had been denied twice before: #1. cost to the residents, #2. neighbors said it would raise our taxes, #3. the concern about maintenance and repair.

Cost was no longer a factor, the town denied that it would raise taxes so their was only maintenance and repair as the factor to consider.

The board finally realized that safety was the #1 issue and that our street needed sidewalks. They approved sidewalks for our street.  The grant money truly helped out though.

Digging

Over the last couple of weeks they have been digging, putting forms down, and pouring cement.  The day after the sidewalks were in I was sitting at the kitchen table looking out the window and I watched our elderly neighbor from down the street very slowly walk down the street. As he walked he was looking at the houses in the neighborhood as if he never had seen them up close before.  He has lived on the street for many, many years but over the last 15 years that I have lived here I have never seen him take a walk down our street.  I had goosebumps and tears in my eyes as I thought about what a long road it has been – 10 years!

I thought to myself – it was worth every bit of repeated rejection because in the end it all worked out. I don’t know if I will ever take on another cause again but if I do I will be more prepared for the long haul.

 

 

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Raising Kids in Faith

Appreciation messages in balloons over violet background

It has been a very long time since I have blogged.  I have thought about it often but didn’t have any thing inspirational to write about until today.

Let me give you some background information first.  My sons and I are Catholic and my husband is Presbyterian. It works for my husband and I.  The boys started out going to church with my husband when they were very young.  But both of them turned toward going to church with me on their own just before I was going to get them involved in my church’s religious program for kids.  It has worked for our family.  It was very important to me to raise them Catholic and my husband was fine with that. But it happened more naturally for us which I appreciated very much.

I think most parents experience at some point in raising their children in an organized religion a rebellious attitude.  It has been a push to get my kids out the door on Sunday to go to Mass.  I remember when I was a kid I never wanted to go either so I just stay strong but deep down understand they are kids and hope they will grow out of it at some point like I did.

More recently my eldest son who is 13 years old has been questioning the whole idea of organized religion.  It is a tough situation because the Catholic Church has not had the best press over the last several years and as a parent raising my sons Catholic it can be tricky. I am pretty quiet about my religion and my faith.  It is a personal thing and I like to keep it that way. I certainly don’t try to push my religion on others.  But to give you a little back ground on my personal faith journey may help you understand where I am coming from and going with this blog.

I grew up Catholic.  Both parents were Catholic, went to Catholic schools from kindergarten through high school.  It was my choice to go to a Catholic high school though, a lot of my friends were going and I liked the small class sizes.  My other choice was public with hundreds of kids, I was an introvert so the smaller size school and the structured atmosphere were very appealing to me.

So I was use to going to church during the week and then again on the weekend.  During Easter my family would say the rosary together on a semi-regular basis.  Everyone I knew was Catholic – it was all I knew.  But the defining moment in my life was when my mom was diagnosed with cancer.  I was 10 years old.  I clearly remember how I leaned on God to help my mom get through that horrible experience.  My faith grew in abundance after that experience. My mom made it through but it was terrible to watch as a young child.

So fast forward to the present time.  I often have a heavy heart because I feel like I haven’t done as good as a job raising my sons in my faith. They go to their respective religious classes and we attend Mass on a regular basis but it is an argument most of the time to get them moving on Sundays to go.  I feel like compared to my experience as a kid I have failed.  I was exposed to so much more in my faith during my younger years by going to Catholic schools and they do the bare minimum and still think I am asking way to much from them.

I see it more with my eldest son who is extremely book smart and is questioning a lot of things about faith, religion and customs of the Catholic Church. I encourage the conversation because I want him to think on his own and come to a place of peace about his faith on his own. But it also concerns me too.

This year is the first year that my boys are being tested in their religion classes. I was tested all the time.  My eldest son wasn’t going to study and thought the whole idea was stupid.  I explained that he really should review his material and that it was important to understand the things that they were trying to teach him. He refused.

I have been carrying around a heavy heart about it for a few weeks.  Two weeks ago they had their test, then last week they were off on Spring break so today he got his test back.  My son gets back from class and says to me, “I got my test back today.”  My heart took a dive as I heard the words. Then he says to me, “I got the highest grade and it was 10% higher than anyone else in the class.” His teacher gave him a snickers bar to congratulate him and let him know he did very well. As you can imagine I was thankful but in shock. He really does listen, he really is learning and he is remembering what he is being taught.  I can’t tell you how proud of him I was at that moment.

After he walked away I thought, after all this struggle with going to class, going to church, learning about our faith, it was worth it.  I am not doing such a bad job. His test score felt like my grade as a parent.  I just stay on course and things work themselves out.

Now my youngest son is going to be tested in the next couple of weeks.  I may be back to feeling like I haven’t done a good enough job for him but for now I want to hold on to this moment for just a little bit longer.

I realize that at some point in my son’s lives they may chose to follow a different path in their faith.  It will be hard for me but I will accept it.  I will know that I did do my best in giving them this experience.

Hope you are noticing the small moments in your life and taking the time to appreciate them in some way.

 

 

 

 

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Surprise Weekend

Take The Moment And Make It Perfect Quote

I generally have a plan in mind for my day, a to-do-list so to speak.  But I have to admit that since becoming a mom I have had to learn to go with the flow. More times than not my day never goes as planned.  I should start calling it my daily wish list.

This weekend the husband and sons where going skiing.  They generally go every weekend in the winter but it hasn’t been a great winter for avid skiers this year.

So finally a weekend that looked promising to do some things for myself.  I had made plans to start one of my New Year’s resolutions – going to the gym. I know it is January 26th but I believe in slowly working towards the resolutions.  LOL  I had asked my best friend if she was ready to get back and exercise with me.  She really doesn’t need it but I enjoy the company.

So Saturday morning came and all hell broke loose.  My youngest son had stayed over at a friend’s house the night before and when he came home he decided he really didn’t feel like skiing.  I was shocked because he is the more outdoorsy, adventurous one who always likes to keep busy.  So I quickly texted my friend and said it looks like the gym is going to have to wait.

So I decided to change my plans for the day and clean the first floor and then go grocery shopping. What fun!  I had my youngest help with vacuuming and then he and I set off to run some errands.  I could have been in a lousy mood because I was so looking forward to doing things for me but I decided to make the best of it.  It is hard not to when I am with my youngest.  He has an old soul and the conversations we have are often thought provoking.  Many times I just sit and watch him as he talks to me wondering what is he going to be when he grows up. He has a kind heart and enjoys life as long as he stays busy.  But when he isn’t busy he is bored.  So we ran some errands and decided to go out to lunch.  So we sat there talking and eating and I loved the one on one time I had to share with him. That was one of my unexpected small moments for the weekend.

Sunday came and the youngest son and husband decided to go skiing which left the oldest son home with me. Now my oldest son is quite different from his younger brother.  The eldest son has come to realize that he knows everything about everything and generally speaking his parents are almost always wrong.  LOL  But I find that when it is just him and I we are able to have conversations about many different things. The problem is we don’t usually get the opportunity to do things together just him and I.  So here I am the second day of my weekend and I get to spend quality time with my eldest. A rarity!  He asked if we could go out to lunch.  I think he heard about his brother and I going the day before and he was a little jealous but he would never admit that.

So we headed out to a Greek restaurant that we both enjoy to find that they are closed on Sundays.  Bummer!!  So we decided on Five Guys.  Not anything close to Greek but a good burger will do.  So as we were driving around from one restaurant to the other we were able to have some great conversations.  It amazes me how much he will talk when we are in the car and even how much more he will talk when his brother isn’t around.  My second small moment of the weekend.

A double special weekend that didn’t turn out to be what I expected but non-the-less every bit special.  Hope you had a great weekend. Feel free to share special moments in your day.   It is the little ones that seem to mean the most.

Posted in appreciation, family, kids, kindness, perfect moment, sons, surprise weekend, weekend | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mom’s Affirmation

Mom

December 29, 1996 is a date that will never be forgotten nor will the day leading up to and several days after.  It was the day that my mom passed away.  Her 19th anniversary was just a few short days after this past Christmas.

As a child, Christmas was filled with anticipation and pure joy.  I remember as a kid feeling like I was going to burst as we got closer to Christmas morning.  But I also remember family, family traditions, gathering together and being loved by many.  My mom was the center of all of that.  She handled all the preparations (making cookies, gift buying, gift wrapping, grocery shopping, organizing and hosting the day, and preparation of dinner). Grandparents would arrive and we would all be together celebrating.

My grandma passed away on August 29, 1994. My grandpa passed away on January 30, 1995. And their daughter, my mom passed away on December 29, 1996.  I was extremely close to all three of them and losing all three within 1.5 years  was extremely hard. Christmas has never been the same.

With my own children now, I try and give them the Christmases I remember but deep down there is a missing piece.  That piece that my mom gave our family can’t ever be replaced.

Over the last 19 years I have wished that I could have just one more conversation, one more hug, one more argument with my mom to make it real again. Through the years with the ups and downs of marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, parenting, work/life balance, etc. I have often wished that I could hear something from her just one more time.  There was a moment just a couple weeks after I got married which I will share on another day but that was 15 years ago.

My wish came true last Friday night.  Apparently, I dream very vividly according to my sister.  I thought everyone did but as I described my dream I could remember very specific things that I guess most people don’t generally remember.

Here is my dream. I dreamt that I was at a house, not any house I know today but it seemed like an older house, on a small street almost a country feel to it.  The street was very narrow like the one in It’s A Wonderful Life.  There was a lot of snow and high snow banks on either side of the road.  I was looking down the street and saw a man lying under his small blue car with his head facing out. At first I thought he was working on something so I didn’t think twice.  The next time I saw him though I had a feeling that something was wrong, that he was stuck or injured.  A saw a huge bus trying to get down the snow covered street, slipping and fishtailing. It fishtailed right into the man and his car.  The next thing I know someone was with me and we had the man in front of us who was badly injured.  I ran to the house to call 911.  That was the last time I saw the man in the front of the house.

I then remember thinking I needed to get away feeling emotional and stressed from that situation.  I wanted to be alone so I went into the backyard of this house. I was sitting there looking out into the backyard.  I started to look up and on my right was a tall vacant building.  The very top floor had a corner window that was open and you could see through and out another corner window in the back of the building.

As I looked up I thought I saw something in the window. I thought it was odd because the building was definitely vacant.  As I squinted to see better I saw a person who became much clearer.  It was my mom years ago before I knew her. I had seen pictures of her in her younger years.  As I looked the younger version turned into an older version that I would have known.  As I realized that it was my mom I yelled out to her, “Mom, Mom.”  She looked right at me, with this incredible smile on her face. A smile that I had never seen on my mother before. It was incredibly pure and filled with joy.  When I yelled her name she put her hand out to me.  I thought she was reaching to me but then she put her thumb up and raised her arm.  And as fast as that happened she was gone.

I woke up, laid there very still, and tears slowly dripped down my face.  I was afraid to move for fear that I would forget what I had just experienced.  I laid there for about half an hour going over and over the dream and what had happened so not to forget a second of it.

Everyone will have their own interpretation of the dream but for me it was my mom telling me she was doing great hence that smile.  The thumbs up was her letting me know I was ok too in her opinion.  She made sure I would recognize her and once I did and called out her name she disappeared.

I hope I never forget this small moment because for me it was the biggest moment during a time in my life that I really needed it.  That is partly why I am writing it in my blog.  I want to have it to remind me during tough times that my mom is still watching over me. And I am ok!

I wish you many small moments in 2016.  Love to hear about them so feel free to share.

 

 

Posted in appreciation, childhood, childhood memories, children, Christmas, Christmas Gifts, dreams, family, gifts, growing up, life, Mom's Affirmation, Mom's approval, moms, smile | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coloring

Coloring

As a little girl I use to love to color.  It may have been the influence of my mom who was an artist.  My mom’s artistic gene never made it to me, both my older sisters got it though.   Coloring for me was a way to feel like I could create something without having to actually draw the picture.  I can’t draw a straight line.

When I had my two sons I encouraged them to color when they were little but neither one showed any interest.  Any kind of work at school that they had to color came with dread especially for the youngest one. As they got a little older my oldest dabbled in it with felt pictures and markers but it didn’t last long. Both my sisters have at least one son each who enjoys drawing and they are really very good at it.  They definitely got the artistic gene from my mom.

Throughout the years, I continued to give my sons coloring books and supplies for birthdays and Christmas gifts hoping that it would inspire them.  But they sit in the office gathering dust.

Recently there has been a lot of talk about adult coloring books and how it is a stress reducer.  I have seen them in many of the stores and there is quite a variety out there.

One day just before Christmas I walked into a store and saw a huge display of coloring books for adults and decided that I was going to treat myself to one.  So after careful thought I picked Fun & Funky.

I have been looking at the coloring book on my desk since I bought it trying to figure out how to find time to start coloring. But with the holidays I have been just too busy.

Fast forward to New Year’s Eve.  With the idea of New Year’s resolutions swirling around in my head I decided to slow down and open my coloring book.

I sat on the couch coloring away – feeling calm and enjoying the time of just relaxing.  I have to say I can’t remember the last time I have just sat unplugged from any electronics or thoughts of what needed to be taken care of next.

My youngest son started to take an interest in what I was doing.  At first it was sort of a mock, wondering why I was coloring but watching very intently as I carefully picked out my colors and took my time coloring inside the lines. He even helped with color choices and sharpened the pencils with our sharpener before handing them to me.  We were enjoying each other’s company.

Then my eldest son who had been on his many electronics in the same room got up and left the room for a few minutes.  He came back with his felt poster and his box of art supplies, laid everything down on the floor and proceeded to start coloring.  I was in shock but tried not to show it in any way.  I didn’t want  to scare him away.

My youngest son, turned to me and gave me a compliment, telling me how nice my picture looked. He then said he wished he had something to color.  Again, my jaw could have dropped but I tried to stay calm and cool as I told him there were several coloring books in the office.  He said he didn’t want to color from those and said he didn’t have any supplies.  I quickly reminded him of the special gift of markers, crayons and pencils he got last Christmas.  He was eyeing my coloring book so I asked if he would like to pick out something from my book.  He lite up with excitement and carefully picked out a picture of the Ying-Yang symbol.

So the three of us spent time coloring on New Year’s Eve.  It was an unexpected moment but an incredible one.  I had tried so hard for years to encourage them but what I wish I had realized years ago was all I needed to do was slow down and do something for myself and they would freely join in.

Now I wish that theory would work with cleaning the dishes, doing the laundry or vacuuming.  I am always doing those things in front of them but it sparks absolutely no interest in joining in.  LOL

Hope you enjoyed our family’s small New Year’s Eve moment.  I sure did.  I wish you many small moments in 2016.  Love to hear about them and feel free to let me know if our moments spark any memories for you.

 

 

 

Posted in Adult coloring books, appreciating life, appreciation, childhood memories, children, Christmas Gifts, family, gifts, growing up, inspiration, kids, moms, motivation, parenting, smile | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment