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!

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Plinky Prompt: Favorite Smell

  • Humans have strong scent memory. What’s your favorite smell, and what does it make you think of? See all answers
  • Sniff, Sniff
  • Delicious
    vanilla-scents-perfumes-coconut-oil Pachouli Oil or Vanilla Oil.
    Makes me thing of college, being young, free, listening to music with friends, not having any responsibilities. Flirting, dancing, being a young adult, not a hippie but close enough. We would wear the oil on our wrists and feel cool. It’s so old there is no photo of it here! This was in the seventies, many years ago. But, the memory of it still makes me smile. After that, I moved on to Vanilla, which made me feel like I smelled like sugar cookies all day long and people would comment on that all the time. Once in a while I still wear a vanilla scented oil or perfume and it still makes me happy.

Jillian, Leaving

Good bye Mum II

Good bye Mum II (Photo credit: Annette Blachere)

August 2012

My daughter, fresh and sparkling like a newly opened bottle of champagne continues to have the glow and effervescence from celebrating her 18th birthday. She sleeps in the room across from mine, her eyes closed, her skin radiant like early morning dew. Mornings, when her door is ajar, I sneak a peek at how she looks while she sleeps. Sometimes, I can only see her head, the rest of her body nestled in her blanket.  Once in a while, she sleeps on her back, with her arms straight back, resting on her pillow, a position she used to sleep in as a baby.  I look at her peaceful face and shut the door, ever so quietly, behind me.

I keep track of the number of days left before she heads to her first year of college. I gulp and turn my face away so she doesn’t see me start to cry.  She does not appreciate open displays of emotion, it makes her feel uncomfortable. My “baby”, my blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty, is going away to college, far away. Last year, I drove her brother to his first day at college and I didn’t think it would be that hard again but it is, maybe it’s worse.

“Don’t go” I want to scream out loud and carry on, hysterically and out of control, but I know I can’t do that. I can’t show her how I really feel. This job as “mom” takes on new heights, it is as difficult for me to hide my feelings as it is for my daughter to show hers but I will fake it, for her.  You have to do what is right for your child, not you. The tears sting inside me, my head aches from my effort not to break down in tears but this what parenting is all about. Parenting becomes a whole new paradigm.

We spent a lot of time together this summer and there seemed to be a shift in our relationship, it was warmer, easier, less complicated.  Why couldn’t we be fighting now so the leaving wouldn’t be so painful? I am thrilled she is going to a good school and I hope she will be very happy there but I admit, it will be so quiet in our house without her brother and her. I understand that my sadness is entirely selfish.

On the other hand, my husband and I will have more time for each other. We are finally and officially “empty-nesters” though I despise that term. Recently, after our first dog died of cancer I adopted a puppy so our nest will still have a dog to make some noise, to give us kisses. Of course, it was not a coincidence.  When I fell in love with a small, reddish-brown puppy at the animal shelter I knew I had to give her a home. I named her Lexi.

To my daughter: I love you with all my heart and soul and I will miss you terribly. I’m glad that you are going to college and I am so proud of you and your accomplishments. But, I will miss watching “Friends” with you. I will miss your honey blonde hair wrapped casually but perfectly in a top bun, your keen sense of humor, our veggie burgers eaten together and even your endless love for clothes shopping. This summer was one of the nicest we’ve had together and I hold it and you in my heart forever. Just remember, if you need me, I will always be there for you.  Love you always, Mom

Carry On Tuesday: Dear Students

CIMG2148.JPG

CIMG2148.JPG (Photo credit: afcool83)

Announcement To All Incoming Freshmen.

Welcome to your first year of college. I’m sorry I can’t meet with you in person but this speech has been taped because I am no longer able to leave the President’s house due to my physical limitations.

The President and I want you to have a lot of fun and to work hard and learn many different things. Learn about the things you want to study, and about different people who you will meet from all over the country. We want you to learn about life. Life can be scary and painful sometimes. I hope this never happens to you but unfortunately it may hit you way down the road at some unexpected point.  When you are young you don’t notice those things, because you feel invincible. You should. Enjoy that special time while it lasts because before you know it, you will become a grown-up and it is really not much fun at all. You get older, you have illnesses, physical disabilities that you never thought of when you were in college. That’s good. Enjoy your time here because life, later on, gets more complicated.

I know you won’t listen to me, you are laughing at such a silly old woman, trying to tell a bunch of freshmen to enjoy their youth. I know. I don’t expect you to believe me because I wouldn’t have believed me either and that’s a good thing. Have fun, be safe but enjoy these next four years of absolute joy. Sure, you may squabble with your roommate or be upset over your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend but this will pass, with time. Also, believe it or not, you will learn from all your experiences, good and bad. These years will shape your future life. Don’t waste them.

When you get old, like I am now, the world feels like a dangerous place. You question every symptom you have, every threat of terror, every nuance. The good thing is, you just don’t care that much anymore about what other people think. Surround yourself with good friends and try to appreciate your family, those that love you best and will always love you.

There will be some hard times ahead, I know you can’t picture that but it may happen in the future. Know this, when you have somebody who loves you, someone you can count on, it makes life, a whole lot easier.

Enjoy your time here, welcome to your first year of college. Be safe, be happy, have fun.

Thank you.

Carry on Tuesday: All the world’s a stage

Dorm Room

Hey, it’s me, Jeff, in my dorm room and I’m in a weird ass mood. Don’t know what’s going on with me but I feel sad and strange. Like yesterday I was sitting in the student lounge with my friend, Ericka, and like everyone else was being so damn pretentious. I hate that. It’s like they were kinda showing off to each other but not in an overt way, more subtle. The girls with their short skirts pretending not to care how they looked, the guys in their fancy striped shirts, mostly unbuttoned, they all think they are so cool. Cool? Dude, they were smoking cigarettes and blowing smoke into each others faces and second-hand smoke into mine. Am I supposed to like that? Hell, no. I can’t help it, not everyone is happy.

I had my guitar and I was playing songs and Ericka was singing along and they looked at us like we were the uncool kids. So not right. I mean I kinda like college, I think, but I just don’t like those stupid cliques, that is way too high school for me. I know it’s just my freshman year but I thought college would be so much better, more grown up but it’s the same old shit, just different place. My mom and dad say to “give it a chance” and you know, I am trying, but it’s not helping. Plus, gotta say I really miss my dog, Denver. That stupid dog followed me everywhere and he knew what I was feeling better than most people. What if he forgets me while I am up here? I don’t think I could take that, I really don’t. Am I like the only person that misses their dog and stuff?

All the kids talk about is how much beer they drank and how many times they threw up. Like it’s an accomplishment or something. I don’t fit in, least not yet. I tell my parents that I am mostly happy which is kinda a lie. I don’t tell them about the really bad grades I’ve gotten. The teachers here they take themselves so damn seriously, Dr. this and Dr. that. Big deal, they have a Ph.d it’s not like they found the cure to cancer or anything.

In my English Lit. class the professor starts quoting “All the world’s a stage” like I haven’t heard that one a million times before; dude, like I am living it. Hell,  I pretend to be happy and well-adjusted but I just don’t feel right here, maybe I’m not ready. Maybe I should have taken a gap year and worked, I kinda think my mom was right but I can’t tell her that. Ericka feels the same way that I do, she misses home a lot too. Hey, maybe we can leave on the same day if we both go home, but I gotta say, I would miss Ericka, and her house is like four hours away from mine.

People assume that once high school is over everyone will go to college with their new shit from Target and be happy. Okay, for real? Not gonna lie, I don’t like it here. Jeez, I wish I did. I’m gonna try to get my grades up, cuz I can’t bear to think of the shit I will get from my parents when I get home and fail like most everything except for Philosophy which I just aced. Yeah, like that. I will “give it a chance” which my parents tell me on every text or phone call. I know what I feel.  I just kinda miss the way things used to be, my old pals, my town, yeah, even my stupid younger sister. Here, I just hang around alone or with Ericka because everyone else is just partying  and doing dumb shit. I’m giving it a chance, I really am, but I swear, if I’m not totally happy here in like two to four weeks, I am so going home.

Carry On Tuesday – If I could have just one wish….

‘Everyone says the same thing,’ she thought as she lay in the darkness, her arms folded above her head, hiding her face. ‘There is no secret, no surprise, no one is original, I’m certainly not.” Clara didn’t care about originality, she didn’t care about anything anymore, part of why her mother and father were always in her face, worried about her, crying over her. Why didn’t they see, she just wanted them to give her space, to leave her alone.

Her boyfriend of three years had left, they had broken up over a nasty fight and she had sent him away for good. At the moment it was definitely the right thing to do and she knew that. Max had become different, unreliable at times, unpredictable. She had asked him over and over if she had done anything wrong to upset him and he always laughed her off and just said “Nah, babe, it’s just how I am” and so she accepted it for a while. Other time he was his old self, happy, engaged and loving.

Clara knew that he had a new girlfriend, some girl who rode a Harley and dressed in black leather. It had taken him all of four days to rebound and get involved with this new biker chick and now they were inseparable. It made Clara sick to even think about it much less see them but she also couldn’t avoid it. This was no “Romeo and Juliette” love story. She knew that he was drinking a lot again, and she had always hated when he did that; he called her square and said she was “no fun.” She knew she was fun, she just was strong, strong enough not to put up with all his lame bullshit.

She wasn’t sorry she had broken up with him, not like all her girlfriends who had encouraged her to go back to him, those spineless goats. No, she wasn’t sorry at all. If she had one wish, one wish at all, she would have broken up with him three and a half years ago when her gut feelings told her he was a loser and that this was a relationship that was never going to go anywhere. That, was her biggest regret.

She crawled off the couch, took a shower and got dressed. She gathered her school books together and finished writing her essay for her college Literature class. She was done moping, he had taken up her time and energy, she didn’t need him anymore to prove herself. She went down the stairs, grabbed a cup of coffee, said a cheerful “good-bye” to her parents and headed off to class.

Early Bird or Night Owl

Old?

Elderly Couple – Vintage

Early bird or night owl? Are these the only options? I’m neither. Oh dear, I think I am old. With one child in college and another child a senior in high school, I am able to sleep later in the mornings. Do I stay up late and party? I hate to confess, the answer is no. Maybe, instead of just old I’m also dull. Great…. I used to want to go to sleep before my husband or after for peace and quiet and lately, I love having him near me as we both fall asleep together. He was away for four weeks so maybe I’m just appreciating him more now.

I’m boring too. Gasp! It’s true. I never was a drinker, was always more of a homebody, even as a teenager, so I guess I’m still the same. I write, I read, I am now addicted to Pinterest (which I can’t pronounce.) I used to be much more independent when I was single and lived alone, before I got married. I stayed out late with friends, we went to dinner after work, to the Village, to the movies. We were out late and up late fearlessly taking the subways at all times of the night. Sometimes when I came home late, I then rearranged the furniture in my studio apartment or cleaned until 3am with my music blaring and me dancing like the Jennifer Beals in Flashdance (a movie from the seventies.) When you are YOUNG and living by yourself, it’s “fun.” You would have to have me lifted by a crane to do ANY cleaning at any time except during my normal waking hours. I’m neither an early bird or a night owl. What does that make me? I’m 55 years old and yes, I do have a few chronic illnesses that make me more tired but they are not life-threatening. I’m going to give myself a break (for once) and just say “I’m normal.”

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Happy Birthday, Son

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s two days before my son’s 19th birthday and for the first year ever, he’s not with me, his mom and his family. It’s his first year of college and he is having an incredible time; I couldn’t be happier. But, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss him today and that the thought of him made me cry with selfish sadness. I feel sentimental about my boy, now a fine young man, and I have to get used to the fact that he will be spending his birthdays partying with his friends for many years to come. I know his family is still important but we are in the background now and one day in the future he will celebrate his birthday with his own family.

He is perfectly fine spending his birthday away from his family, it’s just me feeling a little blue. Can you blame me? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I shopped for Thomas the Tank Engine? Or even the horrible fighting games for X Box 360 that we reluctantly bought him when he was older?

I know he still remembers his favorite surprise “Batman” party when he was four when his cousin and his aunt flew up for the party; that was an event he will always remember. Our daughter, his little sister, was terrified of “Batman” and clung to our mother’s helper, Erin, for dear life. He went from “Batman” to beer in a hurry, it seems. I guess I haven’t completely caught up.

Of course I sent him a birthday box last week with sweet treats and a card with a check but I just feel something is missing. That something is him. Right about now I would have been wrapping packages and scurrying to find the special cards that I bought and saved. We would put his presents on the “birthday table” and wait for him to wake up and find them. The whole family would always crowd around the birthday girl or boy, mom and dad. It was always a lot like Christmas every year. Birthdays are really big in our house. Huge.

So on Thursday, I will be wishing my first-born a happy birthday over the phone; I’m scared to “skype” with him because I think I will cry. No matter what, even if I say one word, he will know my infamous “shaky voice” and I don’t want to share that with him on his birthday, his special day. That’s just the type of kid he is, he picks up other people’s feelings in a second, picks up on the same emotional radar that I have. I love you for being a great kid and a wonderful young man. I’m happy and proud to call you my son.

Happy Birthday

Love Always, Mom

Someone Who Has Influenced the Way I See the World

A panoramic picture of the Angell Center court...

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Sharing What We Have

I grew up in a very tight-knit family, just my parents, my sister and I. We ate meals together but my parents were not very sociable people. The focus remained on the family and if someone came over they had to call first. Heaven forbid they came at mealtime because there wasn’t enough food.

When I was in college I shared an apartment with three really good friends. At dinner one night, some different friends stopped by and I was worried because I knew we didn’t have enough food. That didn’t matter to my good friend Maureen. I remember, in detail, how she invited the friends to the table. We all made screeching sounds with our chairs to make room for our friends. Maureen, with clear simplicity of heart said “we will share what we have with you.” A new hero was born. I had never been exposed to that before and ever since then, if people stop by at dinner time, friends of my son or daughter, I always say “of course there is enough” and enjoy having a little less for myself. Thanks Maur.

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Old Pain Anew

Pregnancy and blood

Image by ec-jpr via Flickr

Many moons ago

They told me that I probably would never conceive babies.

I was lost inside myself with pain and grief, tears dripped down me like a steady rainfall.

I suffered emotionally and physically, drugs, blood drawn, nightly injections plunged

in to my thigh from my husband.

The pain took over me, possessed me with the sole, solitary routine of sadness and grief.

They told me I couldn’t have babies, that I was barren.

I listened to them every bright sunny day until every dark dismal night for two and a half years.

Those stupid fool nurses and doctors who clucked their heads at my chances were wrong.

When I got pregnant it was the happiest time in my life, I burst with blossoms.

I loved being a glowing pregnant woman sharing a secret with her unborn child

my hand rubbing my tummy lightly in soft circles.

My children were born twenty-one months apart, now 17 and almost 19.

I gave birth to each of them, a blessing, a gift, two presents from G-d.

The years pass too quickly, like a frenzied movie at the wrong speed.

I miss the emotional softness from young children

kisses soft as goose down, sloppy hugs, wet kisses and shiny faces like lit pumpkins.

My son is leaving for college in three weeks

I  realized this pain is very familiar, it is the feeling of loss.

It hurts but I am older now however,

the past, as I know it, is gone forever.

Time moves at a rapid pace robbing us of memories.

They are leaving me, and not turning back to wave good-bye,

I know that they will return but it is a new stage, a turned chapter, a new course.

It is a big change and one that we all may love but tonight, in this instant,

I feel barren, all over again.