No Other Love

Mama Bear and her two cubs

Mama Bear and her two cubs (Photo credit: pixieclipx)

Dear Kids,

In case you haven’t heard it, it’s true what they say about mothers and their children.this is a bond like no other.

You and your sister are attached to me in a special way

I will always feel the need to protect you, to keep you safe.

No matter how old you get, you will always be our babies.

This special bond that will never go away or lessen.

Like a mother bear and her cubs I will protect you fiercely and I will do

not anything possible but everything to keep you from harm’s way.

This is nothing to joke about, this is serious but not something you will understand

until you have children of your own.

If it means that you are mad at me, I will deal with that, my job is to protect you.

I will go to the ends of the earth to do that, as many parents would too.

If you decide to go on this trip and it is alarmingly dangerous and I disapprove,

you will look out your window from the plane

and I will be the person on the tarmac, suited up, in bright yellow and orange,

against the night’s dark sky

flashing my arms, not letting that plane leave.

You do not know this side of me.

It never weakens, it can’t be destroyed.

You can joke and laugh and call me “silly” or “mushy” or say that “I can’t drive”

I’m alright with that

But, do not ever underestimate a mother’s love for her children.

Ever.

Honoring Someone Else’s Pain

Postavaru Mountain - ROMANIA

Postavaru Mountain – ROMANIA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes the hardest thing we can do, when a friend is suffering, is nothing. It goes against our natural instinct to nurture and comfort and try to make people feel better. However, we need to think of what they want and not do what we feel comfortable doing.We need to honor their wishes, respect their needs. I identify so very well with this particular pain, I lost my best friend, Callie, my dog, less than a year ago. My friend, everyone’s friend, Judy Judith lost her dog Max the other day. He was not only her dog-friend but ours, he was an icon and part of all our lives. We all knew him, and apparently, he knew us too. He wrote us letters.

His name was Max. The dog owner of the wonderful blog “Creativity to the Max” helped by his “human,” Judith Westerfield, one of the loveliest and intelligent people I know. Those who know her adore her, those who interact with her form her wide fan club and fall in love with her. She is direct and honest and she will tell you what she thinks, good or bad, directly, no matter what, and when she says something you wrote is good, you better believe her because if not, she will theoretically smack you on the head over cyberspace in a loving way, of course. She is also extremely funny and she makes us laugh.

To know that she is in pain is killing me. When my dog, Callie, died a few months short of a year ago, Judith was there for me, telling me it will hurt but it would get better, Selena told me about the Rainbow Bridge that I had never heard of before. Maureen and Rosemary and Lorraine and Tammy and other friends supported me and helped me through it. I relied on these friends that I have never met in person. These friends on-line had become family, our own family, they knew the right things to say, there was no drama between us (okay, maybe just a little), no childhood memories or lapses in judgment. They were here to listen and to support and encourage; I am here for them as well.

Friendship is both about being there for someone when she needs you but, even harder, stepping back, when she asks you to. We are all stepping back in honor of your request, in honor of Max. We will miss you, Max, and we will hurt because we know our dear friend Judy Judith is hurting. Don’t worry, Max, you can count on us to take care of her for you. In memory of you, Llliiiiickingly yours, Lexi-Pro and her human friends.

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

gratitude

gratitude (Photo credit: nathalie booth)

I’m still in my blue fleece pajama bottoms with cherries happily bursting on them and a 20-year-old mauve Cape Cod sweatshirt and I have no interest in getting dressed. This is my outfit today, I see no reason to change. It’s freezing outside, and if my tensed up bones need a break (no, not literally) I will give it to them. Cold weather is not good for people with chronic pain or Fibromyalgia. Trust me. I know. It’s too early to long for Spring.

The wind is howling outside, seeping in to our little house’s walls, windows. I am under a mountain of blankets with my dog. She could lie beside me or at the other end of the bed, but no, she picks the place over my feet to settle down. My dog, my mutt, was a wild puppy, I struggled bitterly with her biting and pulling and ransacking the house. How my friends encouraged me to “hang in there, she’s just a puppy.” At 8 months, she is still a puppy but a better one and most certainly a larger one. She no longer bites into my hand as if it was a cheeseburger. I’m not as steady on my feet as other people, because of balance issues, so I hope she behaves.

Our children have left for their respective colleges, the house is comfortingly quiet, and we are happy,  probably because I know the kids will be back in three weeks and because this happened to be a lovely Thanksgiving weekend. No fighting, NO DRAMA and a good time all around. My daughter didn’t even object when we told her she needed to see a doctor, she came home from her appointment with a package of antibiotics and a diagnosis of bronchitis. No, you cannot drink while you are on antibiotics. As my kids used to say “Nuff said.”

There are more leftovers to eat tonight, I’m not even sick of them yet. It’s hard to get sick of turkey, cranberry sauce, my Danny’s home-made, unbelievable stuffing and Polish rye bread “from the Homestead” in Kew Gardens, Queens where we both grew up. There is nothing like that bread, it brings back all sorts of childhood memories: standing in line, getting sandwiches made, deciding between the shrimp salad, or chicken salad, imported cheeses, home-baked desserts: cherry, apple and cheese strudel, chocolate layer cakes, and the traditional jelly doughnuts for New Year’s Eve.

Like last year, we won’t be exchanging gifts this Christmas. Everything is so expensive and times are hard. My husband has a job but I can’t work and I live in silent fear of him losing his job since the economy is so bad. If that happens, we will deal with it then. My present this year will be the memories of this past weekend, the family getting together at our house for Thanksgiving. The memories of the pretty amber lit candles that lined the middle of our long tables, my dog, lying on the green couch, the four cousins whispering together, the three grandparents still with us, childhood friends that I grew up with here, and the giant dessert spread we had, enough for 40 people not 14. We had a warm place to sit, food on the table, we were all grateful to be here, we escaped the worst from Sandy; we were very, very lucky. For this, and everything else, we gave and continue to give our thanks.

What if I just kept Driving? (Writing Raw Prompt)

THEBIG429 Cadillac photo group Cadillacs in th...

THEBIG429 Cadillac photo group Cadillacs in the rough photo group (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What if I just kept driving and didn’t stop at the supermarket like always. What if I went past the county line and the library and the big grocery store in the next town and I didn’t look back. What if the old Cadillac was filled up with gas and I was the only person in it with no plans and a full tank and a pack of peppermint gum. I had cigarettes in my handbag, some money in my wallet, and I just followed the signs to whatever seemed like a fun sounding town.

I had no idea where I was heading. Lord knows I had NO sense of direction but no one was going to make fun of me here or tease me about it, it didn’t matter at all. I couldn’t get lost because I didn’t know where I was heading in the first place. My husband and the two kids criticized my driving and my lack of a sense of direction ALL the time, they got so nasty about it I just refused to keep driving with them. Why bother when all they would do was laugh at me? I didn’t need that, not all the time, anyways.

Maybe they would feel a little lost on there own when I wasn’t home fixing up their meals and arranging their music lessons and get togethers with their friends not to mention the PTA library fair and keeping house and grocery shopping and preparing three, sometimes four meals a day.  Let’s see who they criticize now.

I knew where I was heading, to the only place I loved, to the place where  a girl could relax and feel overpowered at the same time. I bet you know where, if you know me at all. Right. The ocean, why I have loved the ocean since I could walk and toddle on the sand. When my mama and papa would hold each one of my hands in theirs and swing me over the waves until I learned to do it myself. I would sit on the rocks and stare at the almighty ocean with it’s bursting fire of waves and splashes of that foamy soap on top. I loved to watch how far the tide would come up to meet the sand, I walked for hours picking up seashells, even the broken ones were pretty, to me.

It took me seven hours to get there because I really didn’t know my way and I am sure I got turned around more than a few times but I got there alright. On my own without asking anybody anything. I wonder what George and the kids would feel when they read the note that I left under the orange juice glass on the table. It didn’t say much, just that I was leaving for awhile, and they should take care of each other. I signed it, Love, Mom because I would miss my two boys but in my heart I really wasn’t sure how much I would miss George. I had been with George for over 22 years and yes, part of me still loved him as the father of my children, that would never change but part of me wanted more than he was capable for giving and I knew that. It was a choice I had to make. Do I settle for the known or do I throw everything away and start fresh? That was the reason for this trip, it would take some time to sort through it all, I knew that.

Haiku Heights- Desert

English: Leaving traces on soft sand dunes in ...

English: Leaving traces on soft sand dunes in Tadrart Acacus a desert area in western Libya, part of the Sahara. Français : Un marcheur laisse des empreintes sur le sable mou des dunes de Tadrart Acacus, une zone désertique de l’ouest libyen appartenant au Sahara. Italiano: Tracce lasciate sulle soffici dune di sabbia nel Tadrart Acacus, un’area deserta nel sud-ovest libico, deserto del Sahara. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A glimpse of nothing

Rocky mountains of tan sand

I thought I saw you.

*****

“Don’t leave me” he begged

She stared through his eyes and left

The door slam echoed.

*****

Imagine the world

an oasis of kindness

white velvet hands stroke.

*****

Chipping at my heart

like broken glass exploding

Did you have to leave?

Mellow Yellow Monday

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I would show you what my son, 20, whipped up at the last minute. He called it Corn Bread Pudding. The photo below is the closest I could come to it but his did not have jalapenos in it, instead he had diced red peppers. It was the first time my kids and my nephew contributed to the meal and it was very, very special. Hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was sweet.

goin' coastal - jalapeño corn bread pudding

goin’ coastal – jalapeño corn bread pudding (Photo credit: Foodie Buddha)

The Apple Tree – (It’s Really Not About The Turkey- Part 2)

English: An apple tree loaded with apples in i...

English: An apple tree loaded with apples in its upper crown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Children leave you, like everyone leaves you; you know it is true. Ultimately that’s our biggest fear and the only one that we can’t deny because we know it’s true. We are born alone and we die alone. Children have been leaving us as soon as they take their first step.  Dying is just the last step, in this world at least, but people and pets have gone ahead of us all our lives. It’s the one thing we cannot control, the one thing that causes us the most pain and grief yet we can’t prevent it nor can we heal it. We can’t make it better for others nor can we help ourselves. For me, the only solution I have found is time and letting my pain out like a bursting dam, writing about it helps but it takes a great amount of time to wrap my head around the fact that I will never see that person again. We all grieve differently. Don’t let anyone tell you how to grieve or that you are not grieving the “right ” way. Time does heal, but you can’t expect to forget. Eventually, the memories become sweet reminders of the past.

My children, who have been home for Thanksgiving, for four days, are excited to leave for their other “home” tomorrow morning at ll:00 a.m. They are going back to their respective colleges.  I was surprised to hear how early they were leaving; I know they have a very long drive but deep down I knew that wasn’t the reason. They were ready to go home to their friends, their college family, their parties. I was not surprised at how much they wanted to go back but I was a little disappointed.  I am glad they are their own people now but deep inside my empty womb I felt a pinch of disappointment, of grief. They have left us for good.

Like a sturdy tree, we have stood as a family for twenty years. Now, the tree that once stood so solidly is dropping its apples and the apples are good, they are tasty, juicy and we as parents are proud.  We have made them but they are not our apples anymore, they do not belong to us. They belong to the world, to the men and women who take them home, who love them. Surely, they will remember us, but we will never be their first priority again. It’s a true fact, one you can’t deny and one parents everywhere have to accept. It’s not easy, I know.

So, yes, it was wonderful to watch them grow and to keep watching them, every step of the way. Deep in our hearts, we know, that it will never be the same as it once was. Never. Sure, they will love us in they hearts but they will no longer need us the same way; our goal was to make them independent, remember? I forget too sometimes. They go out into the world to find their own place, to meet their own loves, to start their own families.

We are alone, like when we were born. We will probably die alone, which I know, is a scary thought. Maybe we will be lucky and someone will be there to hold our hand or to whisper “I love you” in our little, paper-thin, shell-like ear, but no one can promise that. We die as we are born. All the steps along the way are lessons to be learned on separation. Be your own person, as much as you can. Love yourself first before you love others.

It’s Really Not About The Turkey

Folk Family, ca. 1940-1941

Folk Family, ca. 1940-1941 (Photo credit: americanartmuseum)

It’s Thanksgiving Eve’s Eve, if that is a holiday. It’s 11:30 pm and my husband and I are waiting for our two, college aged children to come home from their respective colleges, together. We like that they are traveling in one car; we like that they are getting along. For someone, with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain, I am usually in my sleep shirt as early as seven pm (okay, you got me, sometimes at 4pm) but I wait, dressed, until 12:30 am so I can greet them. There are a lot of things I can’t do for them, but this I can and I’m proud.

Those first sights, those first hugs are amazing but fleeting. My daughter’s friend came over to talk and my son left right away to go to the diner to meet up with his friends from college. His friends from college, you ask? I asked the same thing. “Yes” he replied, grinning widely, “I really don’t know why either, it just happened but I’m looking forward to it.” With our usual admonishment to “wake us up when you get home”( we are old-fashioned) he said “Wow, it’s going to be really hard to remember that.” We replied “Try.”

This morning, as I sipped my strong coffee in bed, deeply inhaling the fragrant aroma like a bouquet of flowers, I heard my daughter’s door open, (we have a very small house and she is right across our door) earlier than I thought. She walked in and sat on the bed and started talking about college and I was so incredibly happy. If that wasn’t enough to fill my heart up to near capacity, ten minutes later I heard familiar loud thumps coming up the stairs. It was that moment, when her older brother walked in, made himself comfortable on the bed and started joining in on the conversation that I was so grateful for my life.

I’ve realized with time, that it’s these special moments that make a life worthwhile. If only I had a better memory to remember them; I confess I seem to remember bad things easier, traumatic things, than the glorious moments I had this morning. At least I can look back here and visualize them.
After we talked for about fifteen minutes, my daughter decided she was hungry and I taught her how to make her favorite breakfast meal. While part of her wanted me to make it, at 18, I thought it best for her to do it herself with my help. So there was a little shell (okay a lot) in the eggs but I taught her how to take it out, so the avocado was not perfect, we worked around it, the flame was too high, she lowered it, I told her to ask her brother if he might want some, she did and he said “yes, please.” It’s all a matter of growing up, and if my children still want to come up and talk with me, I’ve done my job well.

(Easy) Scrambled Eggs with Cheese and Avocado (for 2)

Crack 4 eggs in a bowl (remove shell if there is any, and don’t worry if there is-it happens to all of us)
Add a bit of milk (we don’t measure here, just a sip or two from the carton, any milk or cream will do nicely)

Prepare a frying pan with butter or cooking spray, enough to coat the bottom of the pan

Separately, slice the cheese (ANY kind) she used mozzarella and added it to the eggs

Pre-heat the pan and when it is warm, add the cheese and egg mixture

Prepare avocado (use 1/2 or whole depending on taste) slicing it. (I’m assuming you know to peel it and  throw away the pit?)

Do NOT put avocado in frying pan until the eggs and cheese are nearly done.

Once the egg and cheese mixture is almost done, add the avocado, stir gently and serve.

ENJOY!

Haiku Heights: Tree

Uprooted tree from Storm Sandy

Uprooted tree from Storm Sandy (Photo credit: Arlington County)

Trunk ripped by its roots

flipped like the white of an egg

We crouch together.

*****

Once felt as sturdy

the tree weeps its bitter tears

and says I’m sorry

*****

Our small family

I brought you into this world

and helped you to grow.

*****

Like lovers soft limbs

branches intertwine with grace

Natural beauty.

Mellow Yellow Monday – Twinkies

In honor of a product which is dying a rapid death, ladies and gentlemen, I show you the most beautiful yellow item of all,

THE HOSTESS TWINKIE.

Twinkies were an icon for generations, for baby boomers and more and now they are leaving us. Shame on you Hostess and Drake. I know they weren’t the healthiest of items, but still, seeing them on the shelf was reassuring. It’s a sad moment for many of us.

PS. I’m not at all happy about those orange cupcakes or the snowballs going away either! It was a

Christmas tradition. One you have destroyed. I hope you are happy.

Twinkies (Hostess Twinkies is a trademark of I...

Twinkies (Hostess Twinkies is a trademark of Interstate Bakeries Corporation). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)