my heart is tired

My heart is tired. My head is tired. My sense of right and wrong is exhausted. The strain of 34 years of childraising, grandchild helping, husband nurturing, father caring for, mother straining to understanding….all of it, has me exhausted. So much so that I am having trouble seeing the light, feeling the strength and joy that usually surrounds me. And, I dont see an end to this.

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Those arms

So tonight my oldest daughter, her two kids and my husband went to the local minor league baseball game.  Her oldest son, all of 4 years old, earned the tickets reading books during the school year with his dad.  Dad couldn’t go, had to work late, so Pop Pop came home from work a bit early and they all climbed into her car —our daughter, her son, her 2 year old daughter and my husband, and went to the game.

She sent me 2 pictures.  One, right after they arrived. Pizza on their laps, cuddling up, ready to watch some ball. The second, my husband holding our granddaughter.  Both of them smiling, him holding her above his head, with those arms.

My husband has the best arms.  Wide, strong, a little farmer tan up around the shoulder.  Always holding, cradling something.  Whether its a grandchild, me or the transmission from his 66 Nova, always holding something.

And for some reason those arms in that picture brought back a flood of memories.  Such a strong man.  Graduated high school and went to work while I  finished college.  Bought us a house and did his best to provide us with everything we wanted. Pouted when I went to work, feeling like he should do it all.  Wanting those arms and that back to support us all.

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those arms

amelia and popTonight my husband and our daughter took her kids to a minor league ball game.  Her husband had to work late so Pop came home early and went along.  She sent me two pictures.  One after they got there, all snuggled up for the game, pizza in their laps and smiles on their faces.

Then, the picture of my husband holding our granddaughter above his head, all smiles.  In his arms.  Those arms.  My husband has the best arms.  Wide, strong.  Edged with a bit of a “farmer” tan from working in the yard.  Always holding something .  Be it me, a grandchild or the water pump from his 66 nova, always holding something.

When I look at those arms I remember years of them holding me.  Years of him using his arms and his back to support us, to try to do it all on his own.  A proud man with a high school education who worked hard to give us what our friends had….and who balked when I went to work….

Those arms will never cease to make me feel warm, and wanted.  And supported.

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My promise to me

Today, I promise myself, that everyday, EVERYDAY, I will allow myself the luxury of going into my sewing studio and doing something, even if it is just take a deep breath.Image

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how things change.

when did It become ok for a young woman to disrespect an older woman?  especially the older woman who is her fiancées mother?  when did snippy answers and ego overtake upbringing and respect? 

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Sometimes , just when you need it…

you get a reminder of just how good you have it.  Today, I plodded through the mall with my oldest daughter, her two children and my youngest grandchild.  All strollers, water bottles and star wars toys, we made a cute little group.  Content.  Then, we ran into an old old friend of mine, actually the woman who pushed me back into education so many years ago.  Wonderful conversation, phone numbers exchanged.  Nice.  five minutes later we saw a recent colleague who oohed and ahhed over my adorable grandchildren and congratulated me again for my early retirement.  AAAhhh….Turned the corner and ran almost head on into three of my most favorite students — all seniors this year.  Adorable in their innocence, strolling the mall with smoothies in their hands.  Hugs and “I miss you so much”….Sweet sweet memories of the things that make teachers stay as long as we do….Nostalgic.  Leaving the mall, I caught, from the corner of my eye, the exquisite profile of my junior high phys. ed. teacher.  Yup.  I am 56, the WOMAN LOOKS JUST THE SAME!    I called her name, she stopped, turned and said “yess??”  Now, mind you its been 43 years, give or take a few, since I graced her gym in my green one piece “gymsuit”.  And I can still hear her telling me to get my lazy butt up and “skin the cat on those ropes”….I alternated between hatred and respect for this woman, and today I just couldn’t hold back from hugging her, so many memories…

 

I mean, seriously?  In the course of 2 hours, a former teacher, 3 former students, 2 colleagues, one recent and  one very past….and all the while my grandchildren at my side?  And my daughter?  wonderful.

And a little later when my daughter and her children were leaving the restroom, a lady stopped to tell her how beautiful her daughter was.  She thanked her and moved along.  My 4 year old grandson said “who was that mommy?”  She told him she didn’t know.  His reply?  “I bet grammy knows her”.  Blessed, so blessed.

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Cancer sucks

It has been an emotional week.  One that I have no right to claim rights to or sympathy for…or anything.  Yet I am affected beyond belief by the events occurring around me.  A  girl I work with, and really, this is a GIRL.  34 years old, 2 young daughters…has cancer.  Brain cancer.  Yup.  Brain Cancer.  34.  She came into work one day in February and her right hand was frozen.  She showed me and lightening bolts went off in my head.  Not good.  She made an appt. with an orthopedic guy for that afternoon, and just in case, I gave her the name of the neurologist I had seen for some problems with carpal tunnel.  that hand didn’t look like an orthopedic issue to me, but who am I?  So she went to the doctor and he said “Nuh uh, not my area” and made her an appt. in a few days for the neurologist.  Who took one look at her and scheduled an MRI for the following Friday.  Because she couldn’t have it sooner because her daughter was having surgery….She didn’t make it to the MRI, she seized on Wednesday night and was rushed to the hospital.  With her daughters watching.  And her husband terrified.

Surgery the following week.  Prognosis: cancer, but good vibes.  So the last month has been full of appts. and decisions.  She begins treatment next week. It will  be a long 6 months.

Obviously this affects anyone who knows, and cares for her.  But, my situation is even weirder.  I was tagged to be her replacement while she is out.  Acting Manager of the biggest program our organization hosts.  Can you say “heavy load”?  First day in the office I didn’t know whether to sit in her chair or in my old office.  Then I was nervous about changing the calendar to April, it sat on February. The first time the phone rang, I got a little nauseous.  Last summer I filled in for a girl on maternity leave.  Her program was a mess, it was a ridiculous summer for of reacting, fixing, placating, and wondering how the hell she got, let alone kept, her job.  But this program runs like butter. She went home from work one day, fully expecting to be back in the office the next morning and her whole world turned upside down that night.  Yet, her program is set and running and organized.  Kudos, kid. 

She sent an office email the other day where she told me to not “tiptoe around the program.  Don’t save it for me.  Run it.  Own it”.  Oh my.  Oh my.  So I will do my best, run and improve a program that is in great shape already, but each and every day will be for her.  period.

 

But, that’s not the end of the story.  Having a friend and coworker diagnosed with cancer at 34 makes you think.  Im 57, raised 3 kids, been married 35 years.  But it is time for some changes. the presence of a reminder of mortality does that.  I want to live within 30 minutes of water.  My husband wants a big garage where he can work on cars. I want to be able to choose how to spend my days, not be dictated by the needs of my children and grandchildren.  I want to be an active, involved part of my grandchildren’s lives.  I want to dance.  I want to drink mojitos and listen to music.  I want to live.

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