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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Being a Daughter



LETTER FROM A MOTHER TO A DAUGHTER:

"My dear girl, the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.

If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say: “You said the same thing a minute ago”... Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.

When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl?

When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way... remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day... the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.

If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you.

And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked.

When those days come, don’t feel sad... just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love.
I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you... my darling daughter."

- Unknown


A friend posted this on facebook.  You know that saying that you hear what you need to hear or you are given what you most need?  That's what this is for me.  I was having a grumpy daughter day (me being the daughter) and then someone posted this on facebook.  I was instantly reminded that my nearly 83 year old mother is indeed the person who taught me things - including to respect my elders and take care of my family.  I failed that lesson recently.

And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked.  I can still see my mother walking along the beach in OCNJ, looking back at my 6 or 7 year old self.  She would walk so fast on the beach - she loved doing that.  And I would dawdle, looking at every single shell.  We repeated this morning after morning, year after year.  Then one year I did that with my daughters.  I would walk along the beach and they would look at every single shell.  Morning after morning, year after year.  I can't quite remember if my mom could walk on the beach with us when my girls were little.  

Somewhere along the line, my mother became old.  She developed Parkinson's Disease.  She is no longer able to walk on the beach.  She can't really walk very far anywhere.

If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you. Yep.  I need to remember this one.  

I needed to be reminded that she was the one (the only one as my only parent) who taught me to listen, walk, read and write, and most importantly be a good person.  It's time I remember that last one.  I'm mindful that my girls watch me take care of her and are learning from me.  One day they'll be in my position.  I hope I teach them well.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

Every Thanksgiving is kind of the same.  We think about the things for which we are thankful.  We eat just about the exact same food every year.  Once in a while I shake things up by making green beans instead of peas but mostly it's the exact same thing.  Growing up, my brother and I would balk if there were any changes.  My mother wanted sweet potatoes.  No.  That's not okay.  My aunt would make some sort of jello mold.  There was no way in hell either of us would touch that.  (We both boycott Jello.  Always.  It's a forbidden food in our homes.)  Dinner consisted of turkey (white meat only), stuffing (preferably stove top), gravy (on potatoes only), mashed potatoes and peas.  There was also pumpkin and cranberry bread.  Oh, there was cranberry sauce - Ocean Spray in the shape of the can only.  And none of my food can touch.  Ever.

I'm a little more flexible now.  If there's gravy on the stuffing, it's okay.  Salad instead of peas works.  I make banana bread instead of pumpkin bread.  Change is okay.

This year bring a lot of change.  This is the first holiday without any family.  My children are with their dad in Chicago.  This is a year of change for that family, too.  This is the first one without their mom (my mother-in-law).  So if ever we were going to have change, this was the year to do it.  My mother has decided to eat with the other seniors in her apartment building instead of joining me at my boyfriend's parent's house.  So it's just going to be us.

I might let some of the food on my plate touch.  I might try something different this year.  I will remember all the reasons for which I am truly thankful.  Let me list just a few:
  • My children still hold my hand, snuggle up with me and clearly love me.
  • My boyfriend loves me and shows this to me regularly.
  • My friends have become my family and show me how much they care.  The number of invitations to Thanksgiving dinners confirmed that for me.
  • I live in a country where I am not in fear of my home being bombed or being killed.
  • My life, though far from perfect, is quite good.
So, on this day when I'm reminded of all I have, please know I am quite thankful for you, my friends.  I'm always thankful for my new and returning readers.  And I'm thankful for my fellow bloggers who lead me along this weird way.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

homecoming Queen



You can't go home.

There's no place like home.

Home isn't a place, its a feeling.


Yes. All of that. Going home, to Lansdale, this past weekend was interesting. I brought my boyfriend for the first time. I don't bring people home. My home people don't visit me in Maryland. It's like there's a line at the border of PA and Delaware that doesn't get crossed. We crossed it. I'm so glad we did.

I haven't been home in a few years. I've been homesick during that time - many times. I know I'm homesick when I dream about Main Street. Or McDonalds (in those dreams I am once again in 9th grade and sitting in a booth after school with my friends). Or being on the ice at Melody Brook. I don't have those dreams often but they still do come once in a while. They're like old friends to me.

This is the longest period of time I haven't been home in the nearly 20 years since I left. It was strange at first. Awkward. It didn't feel like home. Things had changed. Stores had come and gone. The economic situation of this country is evident there - much more so than here. It was a strange feeling - like I wanted to be there more than it wanted me there. It had changed, grown up, aged, without me. I had left it behind.

Then I had dinner with friends. Now, I have fabulous friends in MD. They are my family. I depend on them and love them with all my heart. My PA friends, many of whom I hadn't seen aside from high school reunions in 30 years, hold a different place in my heart. They know me. I used to think they saw me as the rebel, the girl who was never quite comfortable in her own skin. It wasn't until recently I realized that's not exactly true. They have the same memories I do. Their memories of me are quite different - much more positive. I don't know why it surprises me but it does. I've known Jane since I was 5 years old. FIVE YEARS OLD! I've known Chrisy and Lynne since I was about 13. Some of the other friends we saw have known me since I was my girls' age. We play the game of "remember when" and they know what I'm talking about. They know me.

Bringing Andrew home was interesting. I was nervous. It was strange letting him into that part of my world. He is from the other side of my life. Yet there he was. And it felt okay. Very okay. My girls showed him the Castle Playground. We had cheesesteaks - with sauce!!! He saw my two houses, what was left of the three elementary, two junior high and one high schools - all without complaint.



I used to want to leave Lansdale and never return. So I did. Somewhere along the line I realized that I wanted to return, at least for brief periods of time. I suppose my home really is here. in Silver Spring, as it's been for about 20 years. But Lansdale, Chelmsford (MA), and Ocean City - other places I've called home - will always have a special place in my heart.



Friday, November 2, 2012

How to make a zombie

Transforming my sweet (most of the time) little ones into zombies wasn't hard and it was a ton of fun.

Here's how we did it.

Start with liquid latex.  It's kind of as gross as it sounds.  And it smells.  But it's worth it.

Paint it in layers on in the areas you want to have a wound.  Dry it on a cool setting with a hair dryer.


Then using tweezers, pull it up and rip a hole in it.  This is the wound.


Using "blood" paint, make the wounds.  Paint the inside of the hole and add globs in there.  Clots look good.




Using white theatrical paint and a make up sponge, pale out your subject.  Then add dark eye shadow around the eyes and on the cheek bones to hollow out the cheeks.


For lips, you can use an eyeliner pencil, lipstick or leave them alone.  My kids didn't love the first two choices so we left them alone.

Voila.  You have creepy.