Carry on Tuesday: My Favorite Things

Daffodills in St. James', close

Daffodills in St. James’, close (Photo credit: existential hero)

Don’t you know that it is human nature to be able to list the worst memories in your life more easily than it is to remember the best ones? Why is that? Why do we all remember, more clearly, things that we don’t like at all instead of all the things we do?  Maybe because sad things leave us scarred emotionally, we remember them because they wound us like a deep cut into raw flesh. Your skin is deeply cut, blood seeps out, you’ll probably have that scar for the rest of your life and it will remind you, forever, of what happened to cause that pain.

When I am feeling lonely or blue I try to think of peaceful things, the things that make me happiest, my favorite things: the ocean, dogs, collecting seashells while walking on the beach, the mass of yellow daffodils that come up once a year in the same place in my neighborhood. This year I only saw the start of the meadow of yellow flowers, when they barely started to bloom. It rained every day for a week after that, it wasn’t an auspicious start to summer.

It is harder for me to remember the happiest days than the worst days. There have been moments of magnificence in my life, with my husband, certainly the birth of my two children, but other than that, my head is cloudy. I can’t blame everything on Fibromyalgia,or Fibro-Fog as we call it. I don’t think I could have come up with this before anyway.

Perhaps tonight I’m steeped in self-pity, oh yes, now I know why. I just figured it out. The great unconscious, the biggest moment, months, years of grief: the death of my father. Father’s day is two weeks away. It gets to me every year around this time and every year I forget. How on earth could I forget that my father is dead? I know he is dead. What is wrong with me? Every year since his death, eleven years ago, I still go to the Father’s Day section for cards, or this year I picked up a new pen that I knew he would love, forgetting that there was no physical him anymore. I guess I will never stop doing that.

I will make a concerted effort to continue to think of past, happy, moments and will jot them down. The word “magnificent” sounds like an over-rated French movie. I’ll stick to happy but the point is, my memory can remember the pain first, the pleasure, second.

For all those women* who do not have a Father on Father’s Day, this is for you. I know how you feel, from my broken heart to yours. Do whatever you can to make your own life a little easier, a little happier, whatever it takes. Or honor your dad with a special memory or flowers, a drink, anything to help ease YOUR pain. Buy yourself some chocolate or ice cream or both. I feel for all of us, I really do.

*should say women and men

Father's Day 2009

Father’s Day 2009 (Photo credit: Paul Allison)

Oprah, Please Reconsider, It’s Not TOO Late

According to Keirsey, Oprah Winfrey may be a T...

Image via Wikipedia

Dear Oprah,

NOOOOO, DON’T GO!!! The countdown of shows is really affecting me. I’m an ultimate, ultimate viewer and I’m not asking for a ticket or a vacation to Australia or a car or even the 3-pack of beauty products you had on today’s show. Just one thing, don’t go. PLEASE don’t go. Change your mind. ( It is NOT a sign of weakness but of strength.) I’ve gone through every part of my life with you, you were the only one who had the grace of mind and spirit to say “Stay at home Moms have the toughest jobs.” Thank you for that. When people looked at us stay at home moms with real attitude, I didn’t argue, I knew what the right thing was for me and my family, and yes, you admired it. It made me feel validated, it made me feel like a beautiful queen. I have two amazing children that I love and that I like, they are my gifts to the world. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that the world will be a better place because of them.

I was your viewing audience every day from home. I was happy to just watch your “Favorite Things” shows because I loved watching the audience members get so happy. I can’t imagine how you felt, that times a billion, I’m sure. I know you are not disappearing and I have watched OWN but it’s not the same. I taped your show every day for years and when the kids were young and finally in bed I would watch your show, relax, learn, be entertained and I would feel better.

So, my teacher and friend from afar, I am trying to say good-bye graciously because you always want what your friends truly want. But, I confess, there’s a 5 year old inside of me that has thrown herself on the floor, kicking and screaming with disappointment and sadness and stubborness.

I can’t wait to see the final show and at the same time I really don’t want to. I’m obsessing that if I am away for a few days my DVR won’t record and there are only so many times I can check.  I will cry, probably hysterically, but I am not ashamed of that. There really is no such thing as the “ugly cry.”  But, you know that. The last few weeks I have cried spontaneously as my son decided on the college of his choice and while I know he will be so happy, it will never be the same after this. Change. I’m not good with it, I admit it. I know I have no choice to accept change; I’ve learned that I need 24-48 hours to adjust, but it’s just not working with your show ending. I’m having a hard time accepting it (can you tell?)

Oprah, I was always the one in the viewing audience that was totally confused when you said “Do what you love to do.” I spent years figuring that out, until I went back in time and remembered my love for writing in High School. That was a really long time ago and I had NOT written much since 1978. I took a chance and started a blog and I was so afraid. I did it though, slowly and while it isn’t bringing in the money (yet?) I am doing something I love. Because of you. You were a comfort to my heart, you were the teacher of my soul.

Goodbye Oprah. G-d bless you for all the things you have given us.  I don’t need to wait till the last show, I’m doing the “ugly cry” now, and that’s okay.

I will miss you dearly.

Love,

Your biggest fan

Hibernationnow

http://hibernationnow.wordpress.com

Love And Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes

Image by Premshree Pillai via Flickr

When I was a little girl, I remember throwing pennies up in the air so that other little kids would find them and be happy. This was not something my mom or dad taught me; it was something I just did. My parents didn’t mind; I think they were mildly amused. Eventually, I worked up to throwing nickels and dimes and imagining excited, delighted children got even sweeter. The first time I threw a quarter my mother put her hands on her hips, stamped her foot and said “are you crazy, that’s a lot of money!”  and it really was way back then.  I went back to pennies, nickels, dimes and, of course, an occasional quarter, when she wasn’t looking. It was something that always felt right to me and defined me as a person.  I never lost that quality, I just didn’t have a name for it.

Years later, when “Random Acts of Kindness” became popular because of Oprah I had a name for what I have always done. I now paid tolls on bridges for the cars behind me, I paid for a cup of Starbucks coffee for the next person in line.  I sent a little boy a gift certificate to Toys R Us after his mom died signed by “a friendly neighbor.” When I heard that one of my on-line friends truly loved a certain book, I arranged for a brand new, shiny hardcover book to be autographed with her name, by the author, who happened to be a family friend. Imagining that book on its trip from the post office to her house kept me excited the entire week.

When my son was about four years old we visited my parents who lived out-of-town. I remember one bright and early morning my son, whom we dubbed ” the farmer,” woke up at 5:30am. Everyone else was fast asleep so I decided to take him out for breakfast, just me and my buddy on a date at a local diner. We ate blueberry pancakes with sweet, brown maple syrup and drank bright orange juice from small, plastic glasses.

In the booth in front of us there was an elderly woman looking cranky and mad and according to my son, “really mean.” We could hear her grousing and complaining often, first to herself and later on to the waitress. I told him that maybe the lady behind us, the “really mean lady” was not mean at all. Perhaps she was ill or lonely or very sad to be sitting by herself on an early Sunday morning. I asked my son if he wanted to play a new game; what four-year old would say no to a game?!   I told him about a happy, surprise game that involved doing nice things for others that we could do together.

After we finished our meal we went over to the waitress and we paid our bill. Winking at my son and looking at his big, warm brown, excited eyes, I asked the waitress to please add the lonely lady’s meal and a tip for herself to our bill.  I remember the waitress looked astonished and pointed to the woman and said “for HER?” We nodded yes, my little boy’s face beaming. My son and I giggled as we left the diner quickly. We couldn’t let the “lady” know who paid for her surprise meal.  Our stomachs were happy, our hearts full and our faces were warm and radiant in the early morning sun. We raced down the steps, sharing a delicious secret, our hands still sticky and sweet, clasped firmly and lovingly, together.