Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Gift Given on a Sunday Afternoon

On this Sunday afternoon, my husband came to the back door, asking me for his work gloves. He had been working outside with the chainsaw, cutting down our busted trees from the ice storm (one of which just fell on our fence and crushed it - yea for us). When I met him at the door, a smell from my past hit me so hard that I was startled to tears. My husband smelled just like my grandaddy. My grandaddy, my dad's father, worked outside almost every day after he retired from dentistry. He was always doing something, like planting flowers or trees or bushes. Or he worked in his garage, building things like dulcimers or shelves or refinishing old furniture. After he retired, he always smelled like a mixture of exhaust, sweat, stain, dirt, and just the all-around outdoors. I loved that smell. It was the smell of honest, hard work. It was the smell of comfort and progress. It was the smell of beautiful things to come. I haven't thought about that smell in a long time. My grandaddy passed away in 2005 and the two years before his death, he and my grandmother lived in assisted living facilities where he no longer had a yard or a garage. I had forgotten about that smell until today, when the wind blew through the back door, past my husband and into me. I immediately began to cry because I miss my grandaddy so much still and it took me back to such simple times! My husband asked if I was okay. I laughed and said, "I am fine! Don't worry!" And that's the truth. I was just given a gift. I saw for the first time the beauty of how history can repeat itself in a good way, how we are all so similar, and our lives can mirror those from the past. On this Sunday afternoon, I was inside baking banana bread, just like my grandmother used to do, while my husband worked outside with his hard-working hands, just like my grandaddy, and our only child, just like my dad was an only child, slept softly in his crib. Thankfully, we are extensions of each other, following tradition while learning our own lessons.

Thank you Grandma and Grandaddy for such wonderful memories.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

You Got A Minute?

I have always been restless and unsatisfied. Always wanting more. I've heard that it is a good thing, always wanting more out of life. It keeps you alive. It keeps you motivated. It keeps you moving forward. But, I'm not so sure it is always a good thing. What if you don't know what it is you are missing in your life? What if you can't figure it out? In that case, you get stuck. Stagnant. Not moving anywhere.

In the last six months, I have become a very complicated person. I haven't been this complicated since my early twenties (and anyone who knew me back then knows I was damn complicated in those days!). So, why the last six months? What happened six months ago that turned my happy go-lucky world into a confusing mess of complicatedness? My son was born six months ago. That is what happened. While becoming a mother was a good thing, the only thing I have ever wanted, by the way, it left me raw and with an empty hole inside. A "Now what?" hole. You see, growing up, I never had visions of what career path I would take, what I wanted to be when I grew up and went to college. I never really cared. In elementary and junior high, I had visions of being kidnapped by some evil band of misfits who forced me to live in a glass house and wear beautiful jewelry and expensive gowns (a psychologist could have a field day with that glass house thing). Then I would be rescued by a handsome eighth or ninth grader, whom I would marry next to a waterfall and have beautiful babies. Happily ever after. The end. Aside from the slew of psychological issues that come up with that whole fantasy, the point I am trying to make is that all I ever dreamed of was getting married and having a family. That is all I ever wanted. In my twenties, the dream pursued and I still didn't care about work or talent or money or skills. Thank goodness I didn't marry just any man. I waited until the right one came along and I married for love. So, we tied the knot when I was 31, had my son at 34. Goals accomplished. Hmmm...goals accomplished. This brings up the question..."Now what?" My whole adult life has been spent learning about my twisted self and moving toward having a family. I never took the time to develop a profitable skill because I wasn't interested. I've never been a career oriented person. I know I have various talents, but I've never found a job I enjoyed that employed those talents. I have always been restless and unsatisfied. But, once you become conscious of your intentions and motivations, there is no going back. I spent a year in therapy and have read more self-help books and books on spirituality, angels, law of attraction, addiction, etc. than I can remember. There is no going back.

So now, in all my complicatedness, I think things are finally coming into perspective, thanks to everything I have learned and the hormonal, post-partum depression fog finally lifting. Like most Americans in these frightening economic times, I am beginning to appreciate the people and things that truly matter. What is actually important is becoming clear. A lot of Americans are having to live without the material possessions or extravagant spending that they are used to because of their newly smashed finances. They are becoming grateful for their lives and their families, learning to have fun with less and be satisfied with less. But me, I've been used to living without the really nice material things for a long time. My husband and I have never lived in the big fancy house in the big fancy neighborhood with the expensive SUV and all the clothes and shoes we could ever dream of. We live paycheck to paycheck. My problem is not letting go of the nice problem is letting go of the wish that I could have those nice things. The idea that I need those things to be secure. That idea of lack, where I want what I can't have is carving a deeper and bigger hole inside of me. I want new clothes but can't afford them and that carves a small hole. I want a bigger house with nice bathrooms and more storage and a green, lush backyard but I can't afford it and that makes the hole a little larger. I want to buy summer heels for the first time in years, buy my son new clothes so he doesn't always have to wear hand-me-downs his whole life, but I can't...and the hole gets larger. That is the "Now what?" hole. But really... it isn't a hole at all. It is not being able to see the bigger picture. That's all it is. So whether you are having to give up your big fancy house or just the dream of a big fancy house, the end result is the same. You learn to appreciate what you have, who you have. I couldn't ask for a more wonderful husband. Even if Jon Bon Jovi showed up and asked me to run away with him... I wouldn't (which is saying a lot, b/c I've been in love with JBJ for over 20 years!). I love my husband so much and I am so grateful for him, more grateful everyday as I let go of wishing we had what we don't. I am so grateful for the work and love he puts in to taking care of us. I am so blessed to have a healthy son who is such a precious joy in our lives. He is sooooo amazing! And the best part is? We are a FAMILY! A FAMILY! How lucky am I to be a part of this wonderful family? To have a family. I am blessed beyond words. The hole is filled. I don't need money or an impressive house, fashionable clothes, or a professionally manicured lawn to be secure. I don't need the approval of others. I am secure and whole just as I am. We all are. And that is such a relief. Cause I'm exhausted.

So "Now what?" Now I love my life and trust the process of life. I let go of trying to control my circumstances. Trust God and this universe to take me where I need to be.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I Heart Richard Simmons

Okay, okay, okay, I know Richard might drive most people out of their skins, but seriously, I love Richard Simmons. No matter what your opinion is of him, you can't deny the fact that he really is a kind, caring man with a sweet 'fro. A thinning 'fro, but still a 'fro, nonetheless. And I personally like anyone who is willing to burst into song at any time while wearing gym shorts and a swarovski crystal-adorned tank top. Did you know he is 60 years old and doesn't look a day over 45? Did you know he weighed 250 pounds when he was a teenager and took diet pills in elementary school? Did you know he struggled with bulimia and took 30 laxatives a day to lose weight? Look where he came from and where he is today. Super healthy, super wealthy, and doesn't care any longer that he has always felt different from everyone else. He believes in knowing no strangers and being nice to everyone he comes in contact with. He spends a portion of every day calling overweight people who have written to him asking for his help. He tries to uplift them, encourage them. And he'll burst into song for them, too.
Here is a clip of Richard "Slimmons" Simmons on "Whose Line Is It Anyway" that a friend sent me:

Please enjoy! Richard would want you to.