Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Good Night, Irene



Good Night, Irene

I’ve been gone for a bit.  Thanks to all my blog peeps who checked in on me.  My mom died last week so I have been in Kansas laying her to rest and celebrating her life. 

She was 92 and I know she was ready to go, but it doesn’t really make it any easier.  She was my mom and had always been there in my life and now she is gone.  I say this more with amazement than anything else. 

Perhaps it really hasn’t hit me yet.

We had the visitation and the funeral in the small town in which she had grown up and had always lived near.  Most of our family was able to come back.  She had five daughters, eleven grandchildren, and sixteen grandchildren.  On her casket there were flowers representing each of us.  When we weren’t crying, we were laughing,    These events are such emotional roller coasters, aren’t they?

Her obituary listed all the ways in which she was involved and busy with her community.  People from the town came to hear my niece give a beautiful eulogy about her grandmother’s life and legacy.  After the funeral, we traveled from the church to the cemetery over about seven miles of rural highway, the gentle hills rolling as far as the eye could see.  A police car, its lights flashing led the way,  the hearse carrying my mom was right behind. I was in one of the first cars following.  About halfway to the cemetery, I looked back and saw the line of cars, their headlights on, rolling slowly up and down those hills.   It was a beautiful sight.  Opposing traffic pulled over out of respect as we passed by.

After the funeral dinner, we said goodbye to our cousins and the rest of us gathered at the hotel for more visiting, more crying, more laughing before we headed to our homes in Colorado, Oklahoma and California. 

I am sure I will write more about this once I process it all, or I may process it all by writing about it.  My long-time Betty readers know that’s usually how I do it.

One resolution comes to me now:  I want to broaden my life.  I want to live a full, deep, wide life.  This means going outside my comfort zone, saying yes to opportunities when they present themselves,  making time to do what is important.  I don’t want to be fearful about stretching, about doing new things.   I don’t want to hold back and play it safe.  I want be sure that I help others in whatever way they need to be helped.  

Death reminds us that this life is finite.  This time is precious.  This world needs hope and optimism, not more darkness. 

At the end of my life, I hope to look back over all the miles I’ve traveled and see that I have left a long, long line of light.

Good night, Mom.  Thanks for everything.  I love you.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Morning Flowers

Hi everybody!

Life is busy but good here.








We are finishing up a busy semester at school and getting ready for the holiday season.

Hope all is well with you!



When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me." 

~Erma Bombeck

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Morning Flowers!

Happy Monday, People!

Are you ready for the party called life?

I hope so!








It's Thanksgiving week here in the States.

We have so much for which to be grateful.

It's incredible, isn't it?  

I am grateful for Mondays, for flowers, and for all of you!  

Happy Monday! 


                                            
Thankful-Printable




Friday, November 21, 2014

Gifts of the Season




Christmas time is coming up which means many of us will contribute to a toy drive of some kind.  

For years I did what most people do.  I eagerly strolled down the toy aisle, delighted to buy a big colorful gift for a child.  Tonka Toys, Matchbox Cars, Lincoln Logs, Legos, dolls, action figures, Slinkies, crayons were all there to transport me back to my and my sons’ childhood.  

I thought about the delight on the faces of the children who would receive them and smiled as I dropped them in the big box outside the store.

Then one year I worked behind the scenes with one of the organizations that sponsored the toy drive.  It was fun to be given a basket along with a list of ages of the children in the families I was picking for.
In front of me were giant crates of donated toys, organized and labeled according to age ranges and gender. 

The crate for the little ones was overflowing and the adolescents had a good selection as well.  Even the crate labeled “Girls Ages 12-16” had a good supply of things like scarves, purses, and fun blank books, and jewelry boxes.  

It was when I got the “Boys: Ages 12-16” that my heart sank.  The supply was meager and the selection looked like cast-offs from the 99 Cent Store.  When there was nothing left in the crate, I asked the supervisor what to do.  She shrugged and said, “Just give them one out of the little kid boxes.” 

Perhaps it is because I have known the stigma of poverty, or because I am the mother of sons, but this experience really affected me.  Boys between the ages of twelve and sixteen are perhaps some of the most conflicted, most tender, and most misunderstood creatures on the planet.  

They are caught between childhood and adulthood.  Everything in our culture is screaming at them about what they should be and do.  The true little voices inside their heads are devalued and many times drowned out completely. 

Often times when there are financial burdens in the family, the older children are rushed into adulthood.  When the holidays roll around, the resources and attention are given to the younger kids.  
The older males, especially, have to rise to the occasion, and do what is expected.   Inside they may still be little boys, but circumstances dictate they sacrifice for the good of the family.  

They do it because they have to. The options open to then are as colorless and meager as the collection of items I saw in the crate that day.

So now, I don’t head to the toy aisle when it’s time to make my yearly donation.  Instead, I buy several presents I know will be right for boys between the ages of twelve and sixteen.  I look for good wallets, battery-operated coin sorters, I-Tune gift cards, cool watches, key chains that double as tools, and great t-shirts.  

I like to think of the boy who receives my present leaning up against the wall on Christmas morning, watching all the little kids open their presents, grinning at their exuberance, and then opening his, nodding and smiling.  

I hope my present helps balance the gap between childhood and adulthood.  

More than anything else I hope it keeps his pride intact and his boyish heart alive for just a little bit longer. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dancing at the Wedding





The bride was alerted by the staff that it was nearly time to shut down the wedding venue but there were still rowdy guests out on the dance floor.  

She came to investigate and looked around expecting, I suspect, to find her similarly-aged (perhaps intoxicated) friends.  Instead she looked at us—five moms and two young women we had recruited into our circle-- and said, “Oh!  It’s you guys!”  We all waved to her and kept dancing our hearts out to “Build Me Up Buttercup.”

We continued dancing when the next song came on, knowing our time was limited and bathed in that particular happy light only a wedding can produce. 

I looked around at the circle of women, mostly in their fifties, the assortment of flowing dresses adorning various body types.  Life had been very different for all of us.  The mother of the bride, swayed in time with the mother of the groom --one from Washington, the other from Scotland.  I danced next to a woman I had known for years and one I had met just hours before.  

There were no partners.  We simply danced, a vibrant moving flower whose colorful petals waved and moved in the wind.  The two younger women danced with us and we enfolded them in the circle. We mothers felt the strength and glory that comes from producing life.  We had all been through joy and heartache.  Life had given us some muddy gravel roads to traverse and also some gorgeous perfect roses along the way. 

The younger women in the group had all that in front of them, the exquisitely beautiful and the painfully ugly, and at that moment, they all felt every bit of power and support in that group that they too, would make it through the journey and be just fine.

I love being where I am in this life.  Behind me are the insecurities of youth.  No longer do I hide as a wallflower, waiting to be asked to dance.  I dance when I want to, regardless of having a partner.  I love being with women my own age.  We understand each other.  We get it.  We support one another.  Gone are the small, petty differences we thought were so important.  Age brings wisdom, perspective, and a whole lot of forgiveness.

The last song played and we finally said good night to one another, lingering just a little before scattering out to our homes, knowing full well that we would never be together again.  

It was a moment in time that was both finite and infinite.   

The song ended.  Our music did not.

Friday, November 14, 2014

It's a Sign (2)

Dear Life,



Thank you, 
Betty

P.S.  I am grateful for it all.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday Morning Flowers

Happy Monday!

It's the start of a new week!

It will be a busy one for me, but I intend to make it a good one.





Hope you have a good one too!