The First 25 Years…

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I remember the first time we met face to face, 25 years ago.  Before that we’d been communicating internally 24/7 for the longest 9 months of my life.  The last week was the toughest, being hospitalized with pre-eclampsia waiting for the pending birth.  Even with two Pitocin jump starts, it didn’t happen.  Six days later an emergency cesarean was performed.  When I finally got to see him, I was in awe of this tiny creature that I grew in my stomach, especially since I can’t even keep a plant alive.  I looked at him and said “So you’re the one who’s been kicking me in the stomach all this time.  Hi, I’m mommy.”  He never woke up as I professed my love and intention of giving him the best life I could offer.   He still didn’t wake up as I smothered him in kisses drinking in the new baby smell that I just couldn’t get enough of.  He did however, wake up screaming when he wanted to eat.  Fantasy over, reality kicks in and right off the bat he wouldn’t nurse.  Screaming at the top of his little lungs, the doctor doing rounds poked his head in my room and joked “he must be an ass man”, which I didn’t find funny as the shreeking shrill of my newborn filled the hospital hallway.  He’s been a fussy eater ever since.

No one can ever predict the fate of their child.  As parents, we do the best we can in guiding, directing and teaching them to grow up and be well-rounded adults.  In a perfect world, both parents take turns in the teaching process and with luck and skill the child learns the best from both.  Then real life sets in and determines what you’ll really be teaching your child, by example.  No matter what you tell  them, it’s what you do that they focus on and learn from.  He was just a year old when his dad and I separated and barely two when we divorced.  I had a long road ahead of me but I was up for the challenge with my little shadow beside me.  I contoured my entire life around him, dating only every other weekend when he was with his dad.  We were (are) tight and the bond just got tighter through the years.  It’s still the deepest love I’ve ever known.

Fast forward 25 years later…

I used to think I was lucky to have such a great kid.  I never had a single problem with Jeff regarding police, school, parents, kids, etc.  Never.  He’s always been focussed, excelled in school and sports and highly respected by his peers, adults, coaches, teachers, neighbors and his family.   There were no pre-martial pregnancies, drunken stupers, drugs, fights, thefts, etc.  He’s always been honest, respectful, helpful and kind.  I trusted him and believed in him, and I still do. 

Then one day it hit me.  I wasn’t lucky… hell no, I did this!  I spent the last 25 years as a strict single parent making sure my son was guided down a path that would surely turn him into an honest, successful, ‘good’ adult, and it paid off.  I couldn’t be any prouder of him.  He’s exactly the young man any parent would like to see their daughter bring home.  He’s well-respected, highly intelligent and successful in life.  Graduating with honors from college, he now works full-time and spends his free time playing in three basketball leagues and hanging out with friends.

We celebrated his birthday Friday night.  I bought him a 46″ Samsung Smart TV.  This thing does everything and he was delighted.  I had made him a birthday cake earlier in the week and stashed it in the freezer.  I brought it out after his birthday dinner.  Today is his actual birthday and I gave him a few small gifts to open.  I presented him with the very last piece of his childhood puzzle; the bonds he received at his Christening.  They mature today, 25 years later.  He’s a full-grown man and he’s talking about getting his own place now that he’s financially secure.  I saw him light up when he got a special phone call this morning.  I think that was the best gift he could have ever gotten. 

Just as I altered my life when he was born, I’ll alter my life again as he prepares to leave the nest.  It’s been the best 25 years of my life. 

I look forward to see what’s in store for the next 25 years.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart! 

Love you!

25 bday cake

That’s a Good Day

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New England winters can be brutal.  Whipping winds, cold temperatures, and snow… lots and lots of snow.  For the most part, if you grow up in New England, you’d better find something to do outside or you’ll end up going stir crazy sitting in the house for a good 4 to 5 months until Spring breaks.  When I was a kid my neighborhood was full of kids.  We would all build a fort in our respective yards, then we’d have snowball fights using the forts as safe zones.  It was a blast, lasting hours and hours.  Since all the yards were fence free, we would travel from yard to yard, snowballs in hand.  By the time we were forced into the house, we were all blue from the cold, soaking wet and just waiting till we could go outside again.  As we got a little older, we realized snow was a good way to make money.  So, as young teens, shovels in hand, we trekked up and down, house to house, shovelling driveways, walkways and cleaning off cars.  Since competition was stiff in the neighborhood, I decided to venture down to the town square where I hit pay dirt when one of the pharmacy’s hired me to shovel the sidewalk and banking in front of the store.  I held that job every winter, every storm. Cha-ching!  I didn’t even notice that it took me longer to walk there than it did to shovel.  I stopped going house to house and relied on my one job for extra cash for skiing.  By my late teens I was dating a serious skier and we skied every chance we got.  Up early, skiing all day, dinner and hot cocoa by the fire.  Those were the days.

Over the past four years or so, I’ve been introduced to another winter activity that I’ve always heard of, but never done, or ever seen done, except for in the movies.  Ice Fishing.  When I think of Ice Fishing, I think of a  hand-chipped hole in the ice with a man in an Eskimo coat standing over it casting a rod in the freezing cold.  In my mind, this man is always alone.  Maybe that’s what I saw in a movie as a child but that couldn’t be any further from the way it’s done today.  It’s an art, a craft and a social gathering, to say the least.  In fact, although the goal is to catch fish, fishing is the activity that’s done the least.

There are ice shacks all over the ice, with auger drilled holes strategically placed near the ice shacks so you can monitor activity from inside the shacks. Although you can use a fishing pole, I haven’t seen anyone doing so.  They use automatic ice traps that are placed over the holes with bait on the line.  When a fish takes the bait, a spring released flag goes up to signal a catch.  In the mean time people are gathered on the ice, cooking, grilling, drinking (lots of drinking), laughing and joking.  There are chairs, grills, tables, sleds and dogs (my favorite part) running and playing with no boundaries.

I spent the day on the ice amidst this scenario over the weekend and on top of all the fun, I really enjoyed totally connecting with nature.  It was windy and freezing cold, but I was dressed for it.  If it got too unbearable, I just took cover in the warm ice shack until I warmed up enough to go back out.  The dogs ran and chased each other, catching balls, sticks and of course scraps of food.  Happy dogs make happy people!

There were a million things I could have done, a thousand things I should have done, but decompressing in the cold winter air seemed to beckon me.  I asked my friend to break down the whole experience for me as he sees it.  He’s been ice fishing his entire life and gladly agreed.  He said it’s all about the outside, the people, the cooking, grilling, eating, drinking and relaxing.  Catching a fish is a bonus. Then to top it off, he said if you do catch a fish, well that’s a good day.  He went on to say, if you have lots of beer, that’s a good day.  And, (last, but not least), if you have a girlfriend out on the ice with you, that’s a good day.  So there it is:  fish, beer, girl, in that order.  That’s a good day.

Ice Shack

dogs ice shack

 

 

 

 

 

 

K&B

Live Strong, Lie Long

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As you know, I’m a huge Lance Armstrong fan and supporter (see post ‘Pain is Temporary, Quitting is Forever’).  I needed to hear it / see it for myself.  I waited for the interview… and there it was.  Lance admits he was doping.  I couldn’t believe my eyes, or ears.  I was crushed.

The fact that he came clean doesn’t outweigh the crime.  He lied and cheated and in doing so, put himself in that class of people.  All the while he was building his charity and doing so much good for cancer patients.  I don’t get it. 

Lance will always be near and dear to my heart.  It’s going to take a lot of wooing to gain back my trust.  I’m not sure I’ll ever believe or trust him again.  We all know he can do huge things, it’s just at what cost he does them, will always be the underlying question.

See for yourself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_0PSZ59Aws&feature=player_embedded#t=0s

 

De-cluttering Home and Life

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Almost two weeks into the New Year and changes are starting to take place.  Mom seems to be happy in her new apartment and I’m shaking things up at the old place.  For starters, I’m de-cluttering my house.  There is so much ‘stuff’ that isn’t being used or looked at, and just taking up room, that I’ve decided to get rid of all of it.  Everything is going on Craigslist, Salvation Army, friends, needy families or the dump.  Everything.  This weekend I am delivering a very nice Baker’s Rack that I had high hopes for, but ended up using it to store junk.  It’s such a waste and takes up a lot of room in my dining room.  I got it for free and will pay it forward by giving it away free.  I already have a taker!  There’s a beautiful queen size bedroom set up for grabs too and all kinds of random stuff that I “had to have”…

De-cluttering house, mind and life seems to be working for me.  I don’t know when, or why, I started to ‘collect’ so many things, but I do know it was compensating for other things that I’d neglected, or didn’t want to deal with.  Although I’m not a full-blown hoarder to the extreme they show on TV, I believe I have tendencies, and I don’t want that.  Deal with the issues and get rid of the crap in your house and in your life.  That includes the hundreds and hundreds of yards of fabric I have in my basement.  If I’m not using it, out it goes.  My basement is full of boxes that haven’t been unpacked, or looked at in years.  Obviously I don’t need any of it after all this time.  Time to go.

My son is making positive changes too.  He’s convinced me that I don’t need to hang on to stuff I don’t use.  He’s even offered to help clean out the basement.  I have to watch him though, if he had his way he’d just throw everything out.  I still have every toy, every ornament, every pair of shoes and even books from his childhood.  Maybe I thought he’d like to see them when he grew up.  I’m not sure I could bear to throw those out, but I’ll let him make the decision.  I’ll hang on to the thousands of pictures I have of him wearing all the clothes, shoes, reading the books and making the ornaments.  Geez, maybe I am a hoarder…  NOOO

Letting go of things that hold me back is my way of saying I don’t need to lean on the crutches any more.  I can deal with the crap in my life and let it go.  Clean your house, clean your mind.  That goes for people too (that’s another post). 

Try it, you’ll see what I mean.

Hello New Year !

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I spent most of my holiday vacation cooking, cleaning, packing and moving mom into her new apartment.  All this was sandwiched between snow storms, shovelling the decks and snow blowing the driveway.  It was exhausting to say the least.  Seeing as though 2012 was a ‘suck-year’, it seemed fitting that hard work rounded out year’s end.  After all, 2012 was nothing but hard work, heartbreak, loss, stress and failure.  It’s all behind me now and all I can do is move forward.

A few family members and a friend helped move mom into her new apartment.  It was gruelling, but we got it done just in the nick of time and literally minutes before the next snow storm.  I woke up the day after the storm and looked around my house.  The place was trashed from the move with residual stuff everywhere.  I’ve been cleaning and picking up for days now.  After snow blowing the driveway (I let my son sleep in since he worked so hard for days with the move), I decided I needed some lake time.  I packed up the dog and headed north for New Year’s Eve.  It was glorious and cold.  We loved it. 

I’m expecting changes in 2013, big and small.  The small changes will be direct results of the big changes, but change nonetheless. 

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year…