Reminiscing & Mom

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I recently turned fifty and am painfully aware that I  have graced this earth for a half century. Looking back at what exactly I have been doing for the last five decades takes up the better part of my evening tonight. Reminiscing about old times as I shuffle through my trove of photos, I wonder if I’ve made an impact on anything or anyone. Is it important? Part of me feels that I have, but there’s that little voice that whispers, “You could have done more!” I roll my eyes, take another sip of my cappuccino and continue my journey into the past.

My mother raised all of us kids, there are four, to think with our brain and take responsibility for our actions, along with a myriad of parental sayings that torpedo out of my mouth in certain situations. With her strong influence and  maternal guidance, she definitely had a hand in how I viewed things, my communication skills, job ethic and even laid out the groundwork for how I go about problem solving.  I owe a lot to my Mom and looking back, I took her for granted many times because she was there. Moms kinda take a back seat when you’re trying to spread your wings and fly.

She really had her hands full with us kids, two girls and two boys, working and raising us by herself the majority of the time, ’cause Dad was gone a lot due to him being on the road.  As I was the oldest, I was relied upon to help with cooking, cleaning, watching the siblings and still be a kid. This responsibility was the foundation to my work ethic. The only thing that wasn’t a proactive component in my budding work habit was that, I was always late. The reason I was late, was because I hated going to sleep, I hated waking up and had the hardest time getting my tired butt motivated. This habit was all mine and anyone who knew me, would agree! It took me a better part of ten years to break that habit. Now I strive to get to my destination as close to the time as possible, you know why? Because I hate waiting even more than being late. You will never find me getting to an appointment fifteen minutes early on my own accord, only to wait until the appointed time chimes on the clock. Yeah, my life does have its contradictions!

When you grow-up and start having your own family, there are a lot of crossroads and decisions that you will have to live with. Like many young Moms, I had a mother lode of  actions I was going to do and use. Of course,  I had no intention of doing anything like my mother. Being a twentysomething Mom, I was probably like many young women who decided that all the injustices that were dealt to me growing up, would not be handed to my babies.  Looking back, so many trials and tribulations could have been diverted if there was a magical button that could be used when emotional things got out of hand.  To say my twenties were a bit chaotic, would be an understatement.  A lot of it had to do with being stubborn, learning  to live with another human being and just being an adult . . . it was a rough ride to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade any of it because it made me who I am today, it just wouldn’t be a repeat if I had three wishes:)

Growing up seems like a long time ago. My kids are grown and have families of their own. I live with the same man who survived our ever-changing relationship and life is so much more calmer. I still wait until the last minute to get to my destination, I continue to learn new things and challenge myself to go after my dreams. When my kids call to ask for a recipe, or advice I always smile and see them in my mind’s eye as little kids. Looking back, I believe that I have had a positive impact on many things and many people because of who I chose to be. With that being said, I also understand and take responsibility for having a negative impact on some people and things as well. Does that make me a bad person? No, it makes me a realistic person who learns from life’s experiences. I’m a strong woman, with a mind of her own and who takes responsibility for her actions.  For that I have to thank my Mother, because she has always been a constant influence in my life and even though I don’t call often, she know’s I love her because she’s my Mom:)

Learning the ropes

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Many times I’ve looked at my photographs and always stop at this one. I remember the day very well, warm, sunny and no rain! For Juneau, we relish those days when there’s no liquid sunshine falling from the sky. We decided to take our Grandson to one of the local lakes and give him his first lesson in a kayak. Watching him listen so intently as his Grandpa explained, how to maneuver the craft, how to hold the paddles and water safety – made me smile. Thank God, there were no mishaps, neither one fell into the water and we ended up with some awesome memories. That interaction between Grandpa and Grandson was priceless and will be remembered for many years. The biggest bonus was building the little guys’ self esteem and hearing him talk about his adventure for the rest of the week! All in all, it was a very good day:)

Living in a small town

DowntownJuneau-psdA couple of years ago, I moved to a small town, way up North for a variety of reasons, work being one of them. At first, I was excited because everything was new, people were friendly, scenery was crisp, I was introduced to that “hometown” feel and everything was just rosy. Since I moved to a colder climate, I got to experience Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Witnessing the trees go through seasonal changes were like small miracles and experiencing my first snowfall, in this town, made me giddy. Can’t forget the first time I saw the sparkling landscape after an ice storm, it was absolutely mesmerizing. You know, even playing in the snow was down right fun. That was YEAR ONE in a small town.

After going through the seasons, I started to see things in a different light and ask some pretty thought provoking questions. Questions like: I thought it couldn’t snow below 32-degrees? Will the sump pump explode after working non-stop for three weeks? Why was my brand new bird feeder pole, out  in the front yard bent in half?  Do bears remember who put out bird seed after they’re done hibernating? Why do they call those little bugs “no see ums’ when you can see them? And is there something a lot stronger than Deet available?

I also had some realization scenarios that hit me like a ton of bricks. Being that my small town is only accessible by plane and/or boat, I can only drive on one main road . . . 40 miles from one end to the other. At first, I said to myself, it’s OK, we really don’t go on that many drives when we lived down South. The whole reasoning thing goes right out the window, when you CAN’T go to any other town in your car, unless you drive onto a Ferry and travel first by water then by land. It’s not like I’m trapped (well technically I am, but that’s beside the point), there is plenty to do and places to explore, but there’s always that little voice that reminds me that I can only drive so far.

Another realization had to do with the inhabitants of my town. Just like any other town, there is the “right” side of the tracks and the “wrong” side – I quickly learn which is which. With that being said, the ugly truth was not brought to light by the town’s travel guide, but by my lovely Realtor when she wrinkles her pretty nose when I ask to see a  particular house in an undiscovered neighborhood. Yeah, you know that neighborhood where there are homes that have a revolving door, those who always have new clothes, jewelry and the latest electronics, but don’t work and those poor souls who’s life revolves around that age old charmer, alcohol. Yeah, year TWO was a humdinger, but I’m gonna stick around for some more.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never regretted my decision to move to a small town. There are just times I would love to go and eat at a fast food joint other than the two choices we have here. I miss the close proximity of a huge multi-leveled Mall (yes, my eyes are sparkling at the mere mention of Mall), I miss Olive Garden and Applebee’s, I miss the tactile experience you get when you shop for something special (what you ask! The Intranet is my alternative due to the fact we only have two major stores in town) and I do miss shooting the breeze with my friends in person. Wow, it looks a lot different when you put it out there – guess I am a bit whiny today! Moving on.

In retrospect, I’ve learned a lot about myself being here. Taking time to enjoy my surroundings with the family, going fishing, catching my first salmon, watching the bears catch fish, walking up to an iceberg that’s frozen in the lake, bird watching and just taking part in everyday life. My greatest realization about moving to a small town is during tourist season. Every year,  thousands of people flock up here on vacations, oohing and aahing over the stuff we see everyday. That is what make me realize that I  have it good, even if I can’t drive more than 40 miles in a straight line:) Sometimes you just got to look at the little stuff to put it all in perspective:)

What I miss . . .

I was sitting around in the backyard, just basking in the sun. A white butterfly fluttered out of the corner of my eye and stirred up a memory from my childhood. Reminiscing of a time when my sister and I were running in our huge back yard in Arkansas. Tall grass, clovers, flowers and huge yellow and black bumblebees were scrutinized, smelled and touched as we investigated the other side of a fence that housed an old abandoned shack. I remember us laying on the grass looking up at the clouds and seeing all kinds of things . . . dogs, cats, elephants and giggled at each others findings. Time had no bearing on our play, we would come up with new things to do and change them as soon as something else popped in our heads. Our yard was a haven of afternoon adventures that were only curtailed by Mom yelling it was dinnertime and to come inside.

Thinking back, I would love to relive the time when an hour seemed like forever. I miss  watching the clouds go by while laying in a bed of green grass. I miss looking for four-leaf clovers and searching until you found one. I miss spending time at the dinner table with my family talking about what we did that day. I miss being a kid and not having a care in the world. Granted I like being an adult, but that kid thing always puts a smile on my face:)

Where are your children?

Over the past twenty years, I have seen some disturbing things that really makes me wonder why people have kids. When my kids were little, I knew where they were, who their friends were, the games they played and some of the things I didn’t let them know that I was aware of. My neighbors kids and my own treated adults with respect, and yes there were those obnoxious hoodlums that cropped up every now and then, but overall kids were good.

With the onset of the last two decades, several things have pushed parenthood to another level: cost of living, healthcare, fast food, electronic equipment, and the callous attitude of reproduction. In America, our upcoming generation has lost it’s edge, if you listen to the news and other media you’re bombarded with inadequate education, low SAT scores, teenage promiscuity, out-of-control drug use, theft in all income levels, unsupervised young people and countless other themes that scream  . . . . we are not taking care of our own.

Working in retail for the past fifteen years, I’ve observed many families coming in to the store to do their shopping, interacting with each other and unfortunately seeing many examples of poor parental skills. What do you say to a mother who berates her two year old daughter and calls her a bitch while she’s standing there sobbing? How do you deal with teenage parents yelling at their infant to shut up and be quiet when it’s midnight? When is it time to call the local law enforcement when it’s nine o’clock in the morning and you have three ten year olds stealing food because they’re hungry?

So many people blame the school system, or the grandparents or the friends of others, anyone but themselves. When are some of these parents going to wake up and realize that it’s their responsibility to take care of the children in their household. Parents are still responsible for putting a roof over their babies heads, feed them, educate them and most importantly love them. Not all teenage and twenty-something parents are the problem, this issue stems across all age groups, all income levels. There isn’t just one issue and there certainly isn’t a quick fix, but it does start with parents wanting to genuinely take care of their offspring. So I ask, do you know where your children are? If you don’t, you should.

Hello world!

Wow, my own blog and I don’t even know what to write. I am going to use this site as a way to get some of what is inside out into the open, whether it be a rant or a haiku, I think this will help to articulate my thoughts and may even get some creative writing out into the world. Understand I am not a journalist at heart, but a quiet creative person that likes to try new things, bask in the fruits of whatever artistic venue that’s created and move on to the next interesting outlet.

In closing, if you like what you read, please leave a comment – if you don’t, give me your opinion. Thanks for stopping by. LMG