I often refer to my husband and myself as Empty Nesters, stuck between two worlds. We still live in the home where we raised our children, paying outrageous school taxes even though both kids are in college. My mother and sister both live nearby and my husband’s parents live close by as well. But, I know, deep inside, this is not where I want to end up for the rest of our lives. I’m sure you have heard the term “The Sandwich Generation” before, it defines us as it does most of the aging “Baby Boomers.” I shudder when I even think of the term “Aging Boomers.” Us? Really?
I have wanted to move to the West Cost for a long time since I was a kid and my dad mentioned he had a possible job interview in California. For someone who is not good with change, I was so excited about the prospect. I imagined a little white house and garden with bright red flowers on the boarders, an orange tree in the back yard and a red dog named Rusty.
Here, in the Northeast the weather is too cold and I’ve always hated cold weather. For those of you who enjoy the cold and love its sparkling freshness, enjoy it. For all you skiers out there, have a great time racing down those sleek, icy hills, I would be in the chalet drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream anyway. The cold weather makes me hurt all over in general and living with the chronic pain illness, Fibromyalgia, the cold, bone-chilling weather makes my bones and muscles hurt even more. There is nothing I can do about that except accept it.
I admit, I used to feel closed in not knowing when and where we would move in the future but now it feels alright, in fact it feels safe. Chaos will surely occur if there is any major change and for someone like me, change is always hard. For me, ” A Good Change” is an oxymoron. For little things, I need 24-48 hours to get used to change that is even mildly disturbing, imagine a huge change? The mere thought of moving away from my sister and mother brings tears to my eyes. My children will come visit when they can, it is their turn to live now. So maybe being “stuck” is not so bad, maybe being stuck is just being “safe.” If I look at it that way, I’m doing alright. Actually, pretty good. I’m enjoying nature in the suburbs, the sweet red cardinals chirping in the trees, the changing of the leaves, the different seasons. Change will happen by itself, there are things we can’t control, health, employment, our children moving away, us moving away, sickness, death. Life brings us one change after another, so right now where we are “stuck” is really a time to rest and appreciate. Whatever comes next, will be very, very different; we will get used to it in time but it won’t be easy to call that place home with all the pieces in the puzzle fitting right into place for a long time. I’m just going to appreciate what I have now, not look backwards and not look forwards, be in the present. Sounds good, right? I’m trying the best that I can.
- Tell us about a thing you’ll never write about. See all answers
- Never, Not A Chance
A best friend’s secret. The definition of a best friend is to be able to have someone who you can trust entirely. If my best friend told me something that was very sensitive and made for a good story, I wouldn’t write about it…even if someone wanted to pay for the story…( well, okay I would think about changing the names and situation! just kidding ) A secret is a secret, you don’t talk about it, gossip about it, write or whisper about it. What you do with a secret is keep it safe, tucked away securely in your heart. Secret?
What secret? I have no idea what you are talking about…
i’m julie and i’m 14, my world is turning around and i feel like im slipping into crazy like a snap of my fingers. im a spinning top, out of control, like all my colors mixed together: the colors green, yellow, red, orange, so fast yet i can see the the colors like the threads in my brain have gotten twisted and i can’t untwist them. i stopped speaking a few weeks ago, mom and dad been beating me, they were drinking all the time and throwing glasses across the room that shattered like angry chimes, i’ve been pretty much taking care are of myself for a long time now.
i ran away a few days ago and im not sure they even know i’m missing. i brought only my secret box that i’ve had since i was a child. i keep my favorite top, a letter from my brother, brian, a seashell, red fish candy, and my flashlight that makes me feel safe.
mom and dad once let me play with their bright colored pills like they were marbles on the old, scratched wooden dining room table. i got smacked real bad when they saw i scratched my name and brian’s and a heart on the table. i had big red welts all over my body. cops came and brian and i were sent away for a few days but then we had to go home. i miss my older brother brian but he went to college a long time ago, wherever that neighborhood is. i still write him a lot but he doesn’t answer me.i thought he loved me for real like i loved him.
nobody knows this secret room, except brian. we found it many years ago but we didn’t tell anyone. my stomach makes noise and i eat a graham cracker and suck on it slowly and i have a bottle of water. daddy hits both mama and me a lot, he hits me with a belt and i’m never sure why. it hurts too much.
i fell asleep, cuz my head was hurting so bad, i thought i heard voices coming towards me so i hid extra special deep. ever since mama burned my hand on purpose on the stove the nice lady visited, she said she was finding me a new home but not if she couldn’t find me. i was shaking so hard i couldn’t stop. she left but some hours later i heard footsteps again but not hers, unless she changed her clickety -clack shoes.
it was late and someone walked right next to my exact hiding place. i got ice cold with fear. i heard breathing, right down low where the secret lock was and i heard someone say my name, i was terrified, what if it was daddy again? “Julie, honey, it’s Brian, your brother, no one else is here, just me. I promise. Please come out.” i wasn’t sure if it was a trick so i stayed. He softened his voice, barely a whisper and said “Julie, it’s Brian, I swear. Please come out Julie I came here as soon as I found out, I’ve been looking for you for years. I’m so sorry sweet Julie, I just got your letters because I moved a few times, but the second I got them, I flew down here and called the police on mom and dad. I swear Juls, I have never lied to you before, have I?
“Julie, he whispered, I’m going to prove it to you with a letter, ok? Read it, tell me what you think”he slipped the letter by the one opening that was very narrow. i looked at the letter and it was some legal paper that said i was going to stay with brian and his wife deborah. brian had gotten married? and he was my legal guardian now. is it true? i asked brian. “Yes, it’s true, you goofball, now get out of there, come with me and give me a big hug.” So I crawled out and Brian picked me up and we hugged for a long time. We were both crying too and he said he had to fatten me up. He told me to pack my things, we were never going to come back here. our old mom and dad were in jail. Tonight we were staying in a hotel (a real hotel) and i asked him if I could jump on the bed. Tomorrow we were flying to my new home, Deborah would be my new mom but I could call her Debbie if i wanted to and the best news yet, I was going to be a big sister!
i thought i should tell brian that i was feeling crazy before, real crazy and he laughed, he said he felt the same way when he was with mom and dad, they were bad people and did bad things. he promised if i still felt crazy he would take me to a doctor but as soon as he said it, i looked up at him and grinned. the next thing he said was, “Darn, I’m hungry, let’s go somewhere to eat, sis.” and wasn’t that the nicest thing in the world to hear.
Yet again, another startling report of a “safe and healthy” food proclaimed: DANGEROUS.” Yes, you heard me, it’s in the news, on television, probably messing up everybody’s head that RICE is very risky for your health. Why? ARSENIC. Arsenic? Oh yes, they say calmly, everything from baby food, to rice cakes, to white rice and more importantly, brown rice. BROWN RICE, you know, the healthy kind. Well, the kind that we USED to think was healthy. Nope, not anymore.(Probably never was either.)
What about eggs? Where do we stand on those “incredible, edible eggs” now? Because first eating eggs was just fine, then the yolks were bad for you and they told us that they should be limited and some people were all “I”ll have an egg white omelette with onions and red peppers, hold the toast and potatoes please” then after that it went back to the egg yolks were an essential part of a healthy diet and you really could eat at least 2-3 eggs a week, guilt-free and be super-healthy with antioxidants and all that. I have no idea what the most recent statement of the egg industry is, (I did look it up but it seems to be controversial and different depending on what country you live in) and I really don’t care. Now, organic food is not that much better (if at all) than regular (tell that to all the moms and dads and granola crunching people who have spent fortunes on places like Organic Only stores (you know which stores I’m talking about.)
First, people tell us to not to eat red meat (I eat it sparingly) then the say pork is the”other white meat” (who believes that?) I pretend to believe that but I really don’t, that leaves chicken and fish. If I could, I’d be happy with a small tub of egg salad (I know, I know) and some multi-grain (Oh, wait, have we gone back to Wonder Bread yet, because I’m waiting for that one) or “Potato Bread (how dissimilar is that?) and I’m perfectly happy.
I’m tired of people, agencies, telling us things AFTER THE FACT. CAN’T THEY GET THINGS RIGHT THE FIRST TIME? Apparently not. Here is my theory: eat what you want, in moderation. Have fruit, vegetables, a little meat or chicken, (take note of the rice dilemma) some really good multi-grain bread and a small dessert so you don’t binge later (guilty as charged.) Allow yourself a snack (a small cup of cereal, or fruit or both if you are hungry later in the evening). Done.
I say to hell with it all. Napoleon Dynamite had the right idea. Forget rice, replace with tater tots. Tots. I grew up on tater tots, as did my children. Try to forget about the hysteria they spew on television and in the news. Do what feels right for your body. Me? I’m trying hard to give up diet soda because of all the nasty chemicals in it and it is not easy. I’ve tried to drink water with lemon instead but it doesn’t make me happy. Here’s a tip, don’t get freaked out immediately like “yours truly” allow yourself some slack, eat things in moderation and always, and I mean always, eat a small dessert.
I gave my diabetic mother a present the other day, sugar-free Oreos, even I could handle diabetes with that!
There’s an internal button that was sewn into my soul when I was a baby, maybe even before I was born. It was a FEAR button which made me very unsure of myself when I was young. I took the easy way out when I could. I didn’t believe in myself and did not have any self-confidence. I needed to grow into that and embrace it. There was a job I interviewed for when I was 22, it was for a Production Assistant. It scared me, to be out and about in NYC getting props. I chose the safer route, the one I knew and I wish I hadn’t. Had I failed more, I would have had more experience but I played it safe. I would change that FEAR button and replace it with TRY.