My parents lived in their home long after my moving out. But when my father died, my mom did finally move out of my lifelong “home”.
At the time of my mom’s move we sorted through her and my dad’s life, getting rid of all the collected stuff of a lifetime. She moved away from long-time neighbors and nearby friends, from a 3 bedroom home to a small single bedroom apartment. I remember how emotional it was for her.
Now, I am sitting in my own home of some 23 years. My older son lives in an apartment a day’s drive away; my younger son still in college, but not really around much. My husband and I have a 4 bedroom home. It is a big house with a large yard.
My husband was the first to bring up the idea of downsizing. “We no longer need the space,” he said one day. “If we downsize to a less expensive area we can retire early,” I heard over and over again.
Then, one day it seemingly started to make sense…
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This year, I once again spent a good deal of time writing a special verse for my family’s annual Christmas card. I also selected a number of recent photos of my college-age kids to share as part of the card. Sending Christmas cards is a tradition that my mom first exposed me to when I was very young; I routinely sent relatives a hand-written card…not expecting anything in return, just to connect with them and wish them well. My mom had thought it was particularly important as most of my relatives lived on the other side of the US from our family. I fear this tradition is coming to an end, however. As with many things in my life, I feel like I am plodding along in a dinosaur fashion by actually sending out physical cards. Have Christmas cards now become obsoleted, too?
Yesterday I put on my most powerful reading glasses and pushed my face up right next to the bathroom mirror, really close… I do this infrequently just to get a reality check on what is going on at close-range. Normally, I stand at a much safer distance – at least a few feet from the mirror – and wear a less powerful pair of glasses.
What’s the difference, you say? Continue reading
The other day I made a photo album as a gift for a special friend. She has been a friend of mine for over 30 years; we met as next-door college dorm neighbors. I had a lot of photos to choose from, many were taken pre-digital era, of course…so had I not had the photos I could have still dug out the negatives and made prints (well, assuming there are places in the world where you can still make prints from negatives, I suppose). I think about the young people today, with their total reliance on their smart phones for photos…what will they have when they get older and want to look back at their youth? Continue reading
When I was younger I had perfect vision. Over the past few years, however, my eyes have declined…significantly…and I often wonder if in God’s infinite wisdom he planned on that…as your body becomes less than perfect as you age…as the wrinkles come and the grey hairs (and those other annoying hairs!) start to sprout…maybe poor vision is God’s way of being kind and cutting your self-esteem some slack… Continue reading
Linguistics experts will provide one explanation relating to the origins of the word, “menopause”. Their root analysis will have to do with the “end of fertility in a woman” or something equally simplistic. Those linguistics experts must all be men. There is nothing simplistic about the menopausal experience, and I am 100% convinced that the term, “menopause”, really originated from the root term, “Men Pause”… because that is what they do when confronted with their wife (or significant other’s) symptoms… What do you think?
I’m sure there are a few men out there who actually do have the capacity to sympathize with the middle-aged women in their lives… perhaps running to turn on the air conditioner or providing a cold glass of water at just the right moment. My husband wasn’t one of them. His approach in life is more, “What you don’t acknowledge doesn’t exist.” So I could flash away and he wouldn’t flinch. Ever.
Some of my menopausal friends, though, have husbands who really seem to WANT to help or understand, maybe even engage with them when they are “experiencing symptoms”. But something usually stops them from being successful in their intent, because they PAUSE in their tracks. Is it that they fundamentally don’t know WHAT to do? Or is it something more? Is there something just taboo about a man trying to relate to a female issue involving blood and sexual reproductive organs? Or is it as simple as fear. My vote is fear.
Lately I have been going to a lot of funerals, most are friends’ parents…guess that is to be expected, our parents are definitely at that age…but what is weird to me is that funerals have become the only opportunity some of my friends – especially the out-of-towners – and I seem to have for a “social gathering” these days. Are we really that busy? Or is it just that we are currently stuck in that phase of our “social cycle”?
College Partying → Dining Out With Friends → Careers → The Weddings Begin → Baby Showers → The Second Weddings Begin → The Great Void (Due to Parenthood? Or Becoming the Caregiver of a Parent?) → Parents’ Funerals → Children’s Weddings → Children’s Babies (Grand-kids!) → Friends’ Funerals → Your Own Funeral
How many of you out there love “Sex and the City”? Well, it’s my favorite show of all time. The other day I saw the episode (again) where Carrie helps get a stuck diaphragm literally “out of” Samantha. Carrie takes a stiff drink and “goes in” to help…
I am proud to say that I have friends who would do that for me. I am even prouder to say I have never required them to do so.
Forever friends are never obsolete
Lifetime friends. I have many…not a singular core group like in Sex and the City, but unbelievably good friends who I have discovered at different times and in a variety of interest areas of my life. Some are from my childhood, others are from my wilder college and young single’s days, still others I met early on in my soccer mom transformation; becoming friends while hauling strangers’ kids to yet another field trip and meeting up at fundraising events. They are actually an incredibly varied group from all walks of life. I trust them. I love them. I laugh with them (and sometimes, at them, as only a great friend can). And there is a huge comfort in knowing they are out there, at the other end of a text message, always willing to be supportive or make just the right joke for a particular crisis or situation.