The Circle of Life

14549882916_0032a05d95My son has his driver’s license now.  I wasn’t quite ready for this, but his dad and I certainly appreciate being released from some of the chauffeuring about town.  On the other hand I used to have some good conversations with the kid in the car.

As our kids become more independent, my husband and I are watching our parents become more frail.   I watch my mom struggle with with both cognitive and physical issues.  How long will my mom live in her frail state, a decade?  Mom’s struggle to stay independent means she’ll see suggestions to make her like easier as people trying to boss her around.  I’m a nurse.  Spending time on the other side though, as a family member, through ER visits, hospitalizations and doctor’s appointments is eye opening.  Many wonderful caregivers, some not so wonderful.  Some definite concerns during the ER visits, the most basic of nursing care needs to be addressed along with the more complex tasks.

My husband is watching his dad become more frail.  I sit on the sidelines and watch the difficult family dynamics.  Dynamics that are perhaps changed by the presence of my father in law’s second wife, who he married very late in life. His children have less of a voice as his wife claims to know what is best for him.

I frequently visit the website of my “hometown” newspaper.  This week I saw that a former classmate had died.  She was a woman.  As far as I can tell, it has been the guys I grew up with who died early.  I was surprised to see her name.  We weren’t close, but I still wondered what happened to her, what caused her to die relatively early.  I also a former coworker in the obituaries, see her name was another surprise.

The circle of life comes with much joy, but also sadness.  I’m not ready for the s.adness

Straight Arrow Hits Bottom

This post is spinoff of  Nostalgia.  I mention a straight arrow guy who now is in the marijuana business in Colorado, where pot is legal.

I called him Juan, not his real name.  When I first met him, I felt as if he was a male version of myself.  We were both a bit socially awkward and shy.  Of course back then in my college student days I would never labeled myself as socially awkward.  Our parents expected us to travel a narrow path.  No room for errors.  Juan had much to compete against.

Juan was the youngest of five.  There was maybe 15 years between Juan and his older siblings. They’d graduated college. One was a dentist, another a doctor.  So starting college, he knew he’d better aim high.  In addition to getting a degree, he was in ROTC while in college, and after graduating became an officer in the military.

People can hit bottom at any time in their lives.  Just like many of my friends, Juan successfully transitioned from college life to adult life.  While my friends seemed to be having the time of their lives I was spinning my wheels, struggling to stay afloat.  I’d dropped out of college, was officially diagnosed with depression.  My parents would disown me for this or that.  It seems surreal now to think about it.  I would crawl myself out of the black hole and rebuild my life.

As I saw my friends, Juan, and my sister successfully navigate their lives, it didn’t occur to me that they would have their own versions of hitting bottom later.  I knew I wasn’t the only person to hit a speedbump in their young adult lives.

Hitting bottom….people often think of alcoholism when they hear that term.  My sister and other people I knew would blow up their lives in that way in their thirties and forties.

I never would have expected Juan to hit bottom.  He would have been the last person on the list of one thousand to mess up his life. Juan and I went on a few dates.  There was a spark there but it was never there at the same time.  Plus we were socially awkward and new in the world of dating.  Except for the fact that he was Presbyterian and not Catholic, he was as close to the perfect boy to my parents as I could possibly get.

Juan married a beautiful, smart woman.  I didn’t think much about him until years later.  I’d heard that he blew up his life, gotten kicked out of the military and was divorced.  Later I heard he was in the marijuana industry and remarried.  I saw some pics of him with his wife online.  He looks happy and appears to have rebuilt his life again.  It is a different path from where he started, I’m sure.

He’d be the last person I’d expect to be involved with marijuana, who knew.  Marijuana is not for me, in that regard I am a nerdy straight arrow.  If it works for him though, great.

As I’ve written about before, my sister has battled alcoholism for a long time.  What makes some people struggle at the bottom, and others rebuild their lives .  I wish I knew the answer.pexels-photo-726478.jpeg

Bubble

I was ill recently.  I spent a lot of time sleeping when I wasn’t coughing.  Between being borderline hypoxic and dehydrated I felt as though my mind was playing tricks on me with the strangest of dreams.  When I finally felt better and emerged from the bubble of illness, reality was even stranger.  The orange man, Trump, was talking about shitholes.  People were encouraging Oprah to run for president. I thought America had decided TV stars with no political experience weren’t allowed to run for office.  Oh America, how fickle, strange and sometimes ugly you are.

Big Hair and Bright Pink Lipstick

Waiting, in a daze.

She hears a song.

Wistful about times gone by.

a moody eyelinered man sings about love, and love lost on a mix tape now discarded.

Music beams her back.

Permed hair, lots of hairspray.

Bright pink lipstick.

A skirt that swirls just a bit, tanned legs

Dancing, feeling weightless, no pain.

Her eyes are closed, feeling happy and tranquil.

Lost in memories of friends and good times.

Then, “ma’am, MA’AM, its your turn”.

Nothing like being called ma’am

to jolt one back to harsh reality.

Mama Bird

Mama birds across the miles

all have big bright smiles

for Thanksgiving week is the best

when all the baby birds all come to gather at the nest.

And that my friends is today’s cheesy attempt at the daily prompt and a Thanksgiving post. Of course I am quite happy to have the oldest baby bird at home with us for a few days.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Oh, darling dog

I do love you so

But you know I just don’t wake up as easily as you

It was 5:30 AM I thought you were having a bathroom emergency

with your insistence I wake up, even though  your bladder works better than mine.

You are smarter than I give you credit for,  you really didn’t have to go pee.

You knew there was freshly fallen snow outside, what else would a being want to do at 5:30 AM but go romp  in the snow.

I wish I could have your joie de vivre at this cruel hour of the day.  Really.

But it is time to come in from the white stuff, mama wants to get back under the covers.

Miniature

In response to the prompt Miniature, I have written this post.  Miniature, the word rolls pleasantly off the tongue.  What might one think of first…a dollhouse full of miniatures?  A miniature breed of dog?

Does the word convey smallness or tininess in a way that one should admire?

Miniature I am not.  I’m tall.  In childhood I was always ahead of my peers as far of height goes.  As an adult the burden/gift or whatever you might call isn’t something I think of quite so much, at least not in a physical way.

Miniature….what size would that be..I’ll never be a size 2 or 4 or 6.  My height plus my broad shoulders simply won’t allow it.  It is funny though how women are admired for being a certain size. A size zero….what age would I have been when I passed out of the size zero range…9 or 10?

Miniature..the words of family members praising the petite women of our families.

Miniature…growing up I often felt small.  I wanted my physical size to conform to the way I felt, so others wouldn’t notice me, and my flaws.  Being the tallest thirteen year old in the class, I’d sometimes slouch as if this would stop others from noticing my adolescent awkwardness.

I wake up, my hair a tangled mess.  My eyes are barely open, it takes a bit to erase those persistent cobwebs from my brain.

You tell me we are heading to the mountains today.  I love beauty but somehow the idea of staying in bed seems more appealing in that moment.  I don’t voice my opinion though.

We leave for our journey. When the mountains come in view, I am awestruck as always. We keep driving, gaining altitude and navigating tricky curves.

We stop, deciding  to walk for a bit.  A sign tells us we are two miles above sea level.  We start our hike. This particular hike takes us almost to the sky.  We can gaze at other mountaintops some still dusted with snow.

To our eyes the beauty is beyond compare.  The day is deceptively sunny this many feet above sea level, for the wind is cold and harsh.  Our hike has taken us above the timberline where only small delicate plants flourish.

The air is thin.  I feel breathless but exhilarated.  I hope I can remember this day forever.

We drive back to the valley where it feels like summer.

Thanks for taking me to the summit.