The Art Of Changing


Every time my two college kids come home for a visit, in this case, Thanksgiving, I forget, that it takes 48 hours for all of us to get used to each other again. I wish I could remember that beforehand because it would take the sting out of the inevitable: regression,

dirty looks, initial combative behavior and sibling rivalry. What is it about coming home that automatically brings out old behavior patterns?

I remember this happening when I visited my parents when I was in college so I am not sure you really can stop it. I think you become child-like when you go home to visit your parents and old habits die-hard. To this day, it is never a good scenario when my sister and I are alone with our mom, together. I never liked being with two other friends, it’s not a good combination for me.

But, after two days of settling in with our children it’s wonderful, just like old times. It feels like they have never left and you wonder how you can let them go, again? The house will be so quiet without them. There are four of us now drinking coffee in the morning or snacking together at night, sitting on the bed together chatting and laughing, interrupting each other and rehashing the mini-dramas of Thanksgiving.

I know it won’t be like this forever, they will get married or move away or we will move so I cherish every second. I’m putting these memories in a special place in my heart, tucked away, like the memories of their childhood. The difference is that I have photographs of when they were young and sweet and innocent. I have a mountain of photographs of each stage of their lives.

But this, this one memory, lasted ten minutes, it is like a snapshot in my mind and I try desperately to hold on to to it, in my heart, hoping it will last a very long time.

The four of us all sitting together laughing and reminiscing, back and forth, happy, conversing, joking with no hint of displeasure or dismay. All of us being in tune with each other, bantering, back and forth, replaying the day, interrupting each other and finishing each others sentences.
The thought of them leaving in a couple of days just seems incredible, and lonely and sad. And yes, it will take another 48 hours for their laughter to die down, for my husband and I to get used to the solitude and the quietness and enjoy each other and the peace, all over again.
Change is inevitable, get used to it, it never goes away.
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In Search Of Purpose And Key Lime Pie

I’m a foodie and a true dessert lover. Last week I salivated every night while eating huge helpings of chocolate mousse cake with a hint of raspberry jam and thick fudge frosting. My new obsession is finding key lime pie. I’m dying for key lime pie. Why is it that I have not yet found a dessert I don’t adore? I’m strongly anticipating the “Sunday only” jelly doughnut, an almost weekly tradition…

I’m not a full-fledged foodie because I’m fussy about fish: I am a salmon-hater, the strong smell, the nasty taste, I wish I liked it for health reasons but I haven’t found a recipe that can disguise the flavor so I can even take a bite. I can’t get near the fish. ( I still blame Susie K. for forcing me to eat that horrid salmon mousse and telling me it was tuna.) Tonight’s dinner consists of homemade Nona’s meatballs and homemade tomato sauce. I forgot to buy the thick, crusty, multi-grain bread to rip apart and dunk in good olive oil. I’m too tired now to run out and buy it. But a salad of fresh mozzarella and tomato with olive oil and basil will have to do.

 

Key lime pie with whipped cream.

Key lime pie with whipped cream. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m a child for my mom, a 57-year-old child, I could never understand that until my daughter turned twenty about a week ago. I am a wife, now going on 26 years and most of all I am a mom.

 

I’m a writer and blogger, I don’t care if blogging is the bottom of the barrel for some people. I love it and will keep doing it until I don’t love doing it anymore. Compiling them together? Maybe.

I was a traveler of many countries when I was young and traveled with my parents and sister on free tickets yet also a homebody who couldn’t wait to just get home.

I cried with happiness when I saw the lights of John F. Kennedy Airport twinkling at night when we were coming home to New York. Home is where I always wanted to be, home is still where I want to be. My older sister would also be crying but for her it was because she wanted to stay on vacation and not come home. Ever. Two sisters, as our parents used to say ” the sun and the moon.” I was lucky to travel with my husband on bonus points when we could, Amsterdam, one of our favorite cities in the world.

I’m both friendly and withdrawn, I need my alone time desperately. I don’t always get it and then I really feel stressed out. I need to walk outside more. Be in nature, appreciate things around me.

Nicolae Grigorescu - Peasant Woman Sitting in ...

I can be quick and funny edging on sarcastic but with no intention to harm or hurt. I’ve had more than one person say I should be a stand up comic. I’m not sure that I see that at all.

 

But, most of all, I am a mom of two incredible adult children, 20 and almost 22. A son, bright, warm brown eyes and ready to start his day early each morning. He never wanted to miss anything since he was two. We used to call him “The Farmer.” To this day, he is active every moment of each day, now on his quest to be accepted to medical school. His goal is to be an ER doctor, no Internist, he. He likes to keep moving. Strong, confident, first child syndrome.

My beautiful daughter, who used to be so shy, not anymore. I admire her, wish I had the same guts at her age. She will go far, she is unbelievably intelligent, intuitive,  sassy, beautiful and charming. She is also incredible courageous which I never was when I was her age. I am so glad that she is like that, I faked my own insecurities so that my children would not be like me. I did it for them. It has paid off in so many delicious ways. I can see her in a court room with her impeccable memory grilling someone on the stand with her quick mind.

I may not have completed a dissertation or an MBA, neither have I received any medals or awards. I have not yet published my first novel.  If I do nothing else in this world I feel accomplished and honored that I brought two amazing young people into this world. They are my life, what I am now and what I will leave behind in the future. My life will go on because of them. I don’t need anything more than that.  I love them more than anything in this world. When people ask me my profession, I answer “I’m a Mom” with pride. I think I always will.

One Ex-Hippie Trying To Say Good-Bye

Dear Fellow Aging Hippies,

It’s only my opinion and mostly it’s a lesson I need to learn myself but I think our time has come and gone, forever. It’s a tough thing to admit, believe me, I know. Maybe, it’s time for us aging Baby Boomers to finally accept it and let the new generation take over the world instead of us reminiscing about “The Beatles and Peace, Love, and Rock n’ Roll.” As special as it was for those of us in that generation it is time  all of us to move on, to look forward and not behind.

Painted Hippie Bus

Painted Hippie Bus (Photo credit: terbeck)

You’re talking to someone who has fought this for a very long time. I confess. I was born in 1956 and while I missed the really good stuff like Woodstock I still claimed fame to being a Baby Boomer and all the power the name itself implied. Sure, my kids grew up on The Beatles, CSN and Y, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens and the Rolling Stones but I am still playing that very same music today. Somehow it seems wrong. We are way too old for that now.Will I change my music listening preferences? Hell, no.

That’s the hard part. Figuring out what to do now. Most of us can’t retire yet, a lot of us have been laid off but still need money coming into the house, to pay many bills. How are we going to do that? We have no idea and it’s not for lack of trying either. There are no jobs around, at least for us and we will move anywhere.

My children are in their twenties, it’s their time. I don’t care if they have a special name or a title ( Gen X, Y, Z? ) but their generation is having its time now. We need to start thinking not about where to retire but how to have enough money to get through the next ten years to be able to retire if we are lucky enough to do so.

I’m not going to lie, I don’t want to move twice. These cold, harsh winters are killing me, I have a list of maladies as long as the East Coast, so I’d prefer to live someplace warm but it’s not exactly easier to find work there. We’re trapped, right where we are, unemployed, and passed over, like yesterday’s mail tossed and disregarded in a pile of junk.

English: Photograph of The Beatles as they arr...

English: Photograph of The Beatles as they arrive in New York City in 1964 Français : Photographie de The Beatles, lors de leur arrivée à New York City en 1964 Italiano: Fotografia dei Beatles al loro arrivo a New York City nel 1964 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s time for our sons and daughters to take over the world, we are the leaders no longer. They haven’t yet set us to pasture, we have a little wiggle room, but we are closer to the end then we are to the beginning. Does that feel good? No, it certainly doesn’t. The days turned into years turned into decades, flashing before our eyes as if we stood still and the world moved at a rapid pace around us.

We didn’t realize it was happening until it was over.  When you are young and married you are so involved with your young children and family and play dates and school plays you don’t have time to really hold on to those special moments for too long. Because all the moments are special. Now they are memories, enjoy them.

It’s a rite of passage we all go through. It’s how you look at life that will give you a positive or negative outlook, the choice is totally up to us. I’m not saying it’s easy. Believe me, it isn’t, but realistically we have no choice, no choice at all. Acceptance is a good way to start.

Love

Love (Photo credit: aftab.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday’s Thoughts

Rain

Rain (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn (back soon, sorry for not commenting))

The rain is dripping from the sky but the sound it makes, splashing across the window, is comforting. Talking (no texting) with my son makes me smile. My husband is doing day labor work for a friend, today he is a Plumber’s Assistant and he is proud. I am proud as well.

Yesterday I talked to my mother; when my mother feels scared she gets very nasty, especially to me. Why I am her whipping post I’m not sure, but I have to deal with it better than I do. It takes me 12 hours for me to get it right and she never remembers what she says. I should know that by now but while it happens I seem to forget it and regress.

My son is about to meet with the President of his University to go over the recommendation letter that the President is eager to write for him for Graduate School. My son is a rare combination of brains and sweetness.

My daughter is beautiful and brilliant, I had not viewed her as an adult until we visited her last week. She will always be my baby in my heart but seeing her in her suite with her friends made me look at her like an accomplished savvy adult. “My baby” is all grown up. I was always known as “the little one.”I would give up anything if only I could hear my father say it one more time, with just one more hug. I miss him.

Father & Daughter

Father & Daughter (Photo credit: Enigma Photos)

When I picked up my dog, Lexi, she ignored me. She would not look at me and hesitantly jumped in the car, not with the same excitement as usual. She did not give me kisses. Once inside the house, she sauntered over to her water bowl and drank it all up, not giving me so much as a glance. After a while, I went upstairs to lie on my bed where she always keeps me company; she hid under the bed. I just gave her space. I understand getting used to changes, I’m the same way.

In a couple of hours she warmed up and forgave me for leaving her at her favorite sitter’s house while we were away. She jumped on the bed, circled around until she found just the right spot, her body touching mine and fell soundly asleep. It was a very deep sleep, she sighed with relief, I felt her body relax, she was home, we were safe, then she gave me kisses.

 

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Sad Saturday

*In The Early Morning RainIMG_0430

It’s 12:33 in the morning and I’m eating Froot Loops, with some mini Shredded Wheat and a bunch of blueberries tossed in that lack flavor. The rest of the family is doing a volunteer ambulance run and while they are helping people I know the roads are slick, black ice lurks sneakily in the dark.

I have felt totally listless all day and night. I lack energy and for the past seven years of having Fibromyalgia, this chronic pain-in-the-ass illness, I feel my whole body and mind stuck in a ditch, in neutral, spinning my wheels, going nowhere. I stay in my light, colorful, flowered patterned pajamas all day, I don’t even have the energy to change much less go out. My nose is stuffy, I ache all over, I am a floppy “Raggedy Ann” doll without her cheerful smile.  I feel older than the old person I am. There is no energy within me. None. The word “lethargic” sums it up well.

Who am I and who am I not?  Or, are the physical limitations and limited time having energy really getting to me? Of course, this horrid, freezing cold winter never helps me, it makes everything worse. Every year I start the same sob story about wanting to move to Florida or California, maybe even Arizona. I say it every year but we are still here in a very COLD town on the East Coast. I don’t fit in but at 57, that is the very least of my problems. The divider here is youth and money, lots of money. I lack both.

I need to go to sleep soon, my eyes are just about closing, my tummy is full with children’s cereal and sugary milk to slurp from the light green ceramic bowl.  I love these bowls, I have them in all different colors, they make me happy each time I use one. I take a few delicately pale pistachio nuts from a bag that is already open. Food is very important to our family, especially to me. It is imperative that we like our dinners especially on Sundays.

While my husband is unemployed, we deny our pleasure of going out to eat except for special occasions. Generally we eat scrambled eggs with cheese, and toast, my home-made pea and lentil soups, with a loaf of French bread, my husband’s eggplant parmigiano, chicken in the slow-cooker, lots of pasta, salads. We will go out only once to say good-bye to our son, heading back to college. I am not good at good-byes. It’s easier for me to leave than to be left. It’s one thing I can’t change, I’ve tried. Now, I accept it and my family accepts it too.

I’m humming the tune that is in my mind, the one that is the title of this essay. It is soothing to me, I’ll try to attach it here for you. Good night everybody. Thanks for sticking with me on this cold, dreary night, while the rain pelts down on the windows.

Photo credit: LAF 2014

 

Plinky Prompt: You Get Fantastic News, What’s The First Thing You Do?

English: Two women text messaging on their cel...

English: Two women text messaging on their cell phones in a coffee shop on the campus of California State University, Fullerton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • You get some incredibly, amazingly, wonderfully fantastic news. What’s the first thing you do? See all answers
  • Hello Mom? Hubby?
  • I race to the phone and call my husband and my mother. It is absolute instinct to call my mom first, I think, my fingers are flying over the telephone buttons in my excitement. How many more years will she be in my life? I want to cherish every second. If I’m happy, she’s happy, that’s how she operates. Me being happy would make HER happy. It’s a gift for both of us. I have two adult children, I totally understand.

    At the same time, on another line, I call my husband who is my best friend and life-long partner. He is the person who knows me best and loves me the most and puts up with my crap. He sticks with me, we go through everything together. We have two adult children and a dog. We think alike when it comes to big issues, family first. We’ve been doing that for over 25 years of marriage, I adore him and we still have a lot of fun. He ties for first place, he would genuinely be happy for me, for us.

    There is no joy in having amazingly good, fantastic news if you can’t share it with the ones you love.

Twenty Years From Now

Image

My photos that have a creative commons license...

My photos that have a creative commons license and are free for everyone to download, edit, alter and use as long as you give me, “D Sharon Pruitt” credit as the original owner of the photo. Have fun and enjoy! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few days ago I learned a huge lesson when I accidentally ran into a good friend of my mother’s in the grocery store.  He asked about “the children” whom he has known since they were 3 and 5. I talked, half laughing and half serious about what they were doing, about how life has changed, how we see them less, and how grown up they are,  “He looked at me and said solemnly “Yes, this is truly the hardest part.” Thankful for his understanding, I asked him “when this stage will end?” seeking his sage advice.

He looked at me directly with his intense, blue eyes and he said bluntly” “twenty years.” I thought he was joking but he was dead serious. “Forget it now, leave it and after they get married and have kids they’ll come back but not until then.” After that, he left quickly.

I automatically moved my cart to the fruit and vegetable section and stopped abruptly between the bananas and nectarines and all I wanted to do was cry. The last week had been a difficult one, a confusing one for me and this was the culmination that I didn’t want to hear but needed to hear. Rationally of course, I knew this and was proud of my independent children but  emotionally I felt something was amiss. The son with whom I communicate with a glance or one word was acting strangely, apparently, he felt the same way about me. Neither one of us was direct.

I thought I should get an Academy Award for Best Actress, encouraging him to have fun on new adventures, understanding totally why he would stay up at school for the entire week of his break. Apparently I fooled myself but not him. He saw through me before I SAW myself yet I could also read him, he felt a little guilty as well.

What we have learned: Communicate Directly even if it feels hard to do. Do it sooner than later. Me and mini-me know each other so well, but this time, he knew me better than I knew myself. My son communicated with his dad, his dad knowing things but not telling me, he WAS involved even though he didn’t want to be and he refused to play mediator….needless to say, It got messy.

I really do need a job and to get out of the house more. There will be major changes in our lives but they are not here yet. We need to sit tight where we are and I am not known for my patience. Any type of separation for an emotional doll like me feels like someone just lashed out and slapped me in the face repeatedly. So this piece is my own personal time capsule.  All my life my goal was to be a mom and raise two wonderful young people and I know I succeeded. Now it’s time for me to do new things, walk away slowly, knowing I did a great job. I’m smiling now, things make much more sense and I’m the one looking back and leaving, it’s so much easier than being left. Let’s take it up again, in twenty years.

In Between Love and Loss

Love Hands

Love Hands (Photo credit: Luvinshots)

Love is not easy, but it is essential. Why do we all go on with our lives? Day after day shuffling our feet, not smiling sometimes for weeks or months, nothing to look forward to, nothing special on the horizon? With so much misery, disease, tragedy, war, incurable illnesses why do we accept it?  It comes down to one thing and one thing only: Love. You don’t need a crowd of people to love you, it can be one person or one quirky brown dog, or a petulant cat, maybe a goldfish named Frank, or wildflowers in a garden. We live for love. That is the ultimate dream and if you love one friend and the person loves you back you are incredibly lucky. Everything counts.

Love keeps us going when we want to give up, there’s a thread of love that inspired this blog from my friends. There is love between a group of friends and we have never met, there is a closeness, whose hearts and souls connected on a higher level. We may have originally gotten to know each other by our chronic illnesses, auto-immune diseases or fibromyalgia but that is the last thing we talk about now. If we lived closer to one another, they would be my safe place, my soul sisters.  We offer peace, love and kindness to each other, there is no judgment, just support.

I’m not unrealistic I know love isn’t always about happiness, when you love someone so much and they die or move away or just because they grow up and relationships change. Nobody tells you that when you are pregnant, that love also hurts, that love is also loss. Even if they told you, you wouldn’t believe them anyway. When you love your children so much and they walk away as strong, independent adults you are very proud but sometimes, if you are honest, it really hurts. Is it rational? No. It’s purely emotional.

I respect and admire both my children. But, part of love brings with it a searing unavoidable pain and there is nothing you can do about it. Without pain, we wouldn’t know how wonderful love really is.  The thread of love, twists and changes, every single day and night. You can’t control it, you can only change yourself and how you deal with the changes, like the waves of a turbulent ocean, strong, beautiful, unpredictable. Unconditional love is for children, it never ends, and I’m sure our children will not understand until they have grown up children of their own.

One day you are holding their hands to cross the street, trading toy cars or having a tea party, watching a shiny red fire truck, or playing dress-up and the next day, or so it seems, they are adults. They are adults you are proud of and cherish but they have their own lives now, and you are not the biggest part of it.  “Home” is someplace different now and just because they have a week off doesn’t mean they want to see you. First it’s a shock, then it’s a change but you get used to everything. This was never about guilt. I don’t want you to change for “the next time.”  I wanted you to let it go. Growing up sometimes means you can’t always have the last word and sometimes it means letting things go, if not for you, than for me.

“End of conversation. No new conversation.”

I love you, unconditionally with all my heart

Matchbox Toy Cars

Matchbox Toy Cars (Photo credit: sarflondondunc)

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singing the icy cold blues

Icy blue

Icy blue (Photo credit: GustavoG)

i’m either coming down with the mamas blues or the cold/ flu blues because something just doesn’t feel right. oh lord these bitter cold temperatures are really hurting me, hurting my chronic pain bones and muscles. we went outside for five minutes, i started coughing and couldn’t stop. now my eyes are welling up but you know me, that could be for already missing my son who is leaving tomorrow to go back to school. the anticipation of him coming home after birthright was so intense and seeing his smiling cheerful face at the airport and after looking at his photographs and the way he spoke, he grew up a lot. he could understand how i felt too.  i just need a little alone time for transitions, 24 hours at most for this. he’s leaving home again but i think it’s mostly because he was overseas and i was so eager for him to be back in the u.s. and the excitement of it all. sharing my old memories with him.

dan and i both like when the kids are at school and we have time to ourselves and i don’t have to make 3 different meals that gets old so fast. but tonight, i just want to cry because everything moves so quickly, that what i had been waiting for, was over like a snap of my red, frozen fingers in the icy air that stung like a bunch of angry wasps or bees.

our daughter has been back to her college for a week already and she couldn’t wait to go back to school to be with her friends. i didn’t blame her, she was bored out of  her mind here and we were getting a little annoyed too. sitting in her bedroom watching tv and eating was doing us all in. if her brother hadn’t gone away for 10 days he would have been bored to pieces also. two very different personalities, he always needed to be entertained, always, “mama, play with me” endlessly while she (more like me in that sense) could play by herself with her toys and dolls and stuffed animals for quite a long time, happily.

two children, well, young adults, our son is 20 and our daughter is 18, they will always be our children to us, but they are not children any longer. i used to have a lot of their baby pictures around, special ones, but last year i put them away because it hurt too much to see them. when they loved and needed me best. i needed to realign my life away from the past and guide it to the future.

i try to keep my life, our lives in the present but once in a while, like tonight, one can get a short stabbing pain or two, getting older, watching our amazing children having fun. i think sometimes we are envious. once in a while i focus on the sadder things to come in the future but i work hard to “not meet trouble halfway.”  i know now i will readjust my focus, for 15 minutes and do something soothing, i will feel better physically tomorrow. i will listen to music to energize or soothe me. maybe i will write without punctuation, without editing and capitals, i always loved e.e.cummings., the poet, when i was young. i can turn my head back now and laugh. everything is going to be alright. we are all responsible for ourselves. please don’t forget that, me, and every single being.it’s so important. may your life be a good one, may you help it to be even better.

Paging “Mr. L” (Repost with Addendum)

kew gardens queens

Image by silatix via Flickr

I had a friend on my blog who once lived in the same town that I grew up in at different times. We both lived in Kew Gardens, Queens.  He would read my blog fairly consistently and would always comment with his classic signature “Mr. L.” even though I knew his first name was Abe. When I wrote about our old neighborhood, he loved it. I wrote a few posts on the now dissolved oldkewgardens.com about what it was like growing up in that sweet town and that is where we first met. He contacted me after that and we stayed in touch.

He hasn’t been on in a long time and I’m beginning to get worried about him. He was last living in California, I believe, and was contemplating whether he wanted to continue living there or not. Mr. L. to me, was like my substitute dad or uncle, since my dad passed away ten years ago. We used to kid around a lot and talk about our favorite gourmet delicatessen, The Homestead. I still dream about their Polish rye bread, sour and chewy and their faux Sachertorte cake made with many layers of raspberry jam between layers of creamy, sweet, chocolate cake. When I lived at home, every birthday cake was this particular cake inscribed with “Happy Birthday.” A real Sachertorte from Austria is drier and has layers of apricot jam but this was sweeter, this was MY cake.

When Mr. L talked about his deceased wife it was with such emotion, always, he still missed her so very much. From what he told me he absolutely adored her. In every “conversation” he would bring up his wife and talk a little about her; those little things that really make up a great marriage, sharing breakfast, the same bed, holding hands.

I know this blog post isn’t going to win any awards, nor will it attract a lot of people but that’s fine. I know Mr. L had adult children but I don’t remember where they live. So, if anyone knows him (and yes, I do know his full name) please let me know. I know I am overly emotional and sensitive, that’s a big part of who I am but I care about him and hope he is alright. I don’t want to lose Mr. L if I don’t have to. Mr. L. please come back and say hello.

ADDENDUM 10/19 2011. I HEARD FROM MR. L TODAY!!!!!!!!!!