Saturday, May 29, 2010

My Grace

Since I should be packing and too tired to even take a shower, I think I will post a few things about Grace.

For those just tuning in, I adopted Grace when she was 6 and now she is 12 and it has all been a blur and if I did not have pictures of her when she was younger, I would think she had always been exactly as she is now.

Six years as mother and daughter has gotten us to a point that we are more alike than different and comfortable with how we have grown together in our roles.

And more importantly, Grace is a beautiful child with a kind heart but she is now exploring shifting her role into being independent from me. It took a long time for her to grow dependent on me and know and expect that I would be there, that I would not desert her.

But now she is a tween and needs to make her own decisions, with me close by, and so she has to question almost everything I say and do. I feel really guilty now for doing it to my mom, as I know it made her crazy.

As an example, yesterday as we drove to school I asked if they were sure they had to wear their uniforms, as there were a lot of kids in jeans and t shirts.

Grace told me those were primary students.

OK, they grow them really tall at that school, I guess, but as we made it through the carpool lane, I saw more and more kids in jeans and t shirts, yet some were in uniform.

I commented that I thought maybe the seniors were allowed to wear jeans.

Grace immediately told me no, those were not seniors, they were the ones that were graduating and going to college.

I took her swim suit shopping and it is really difficult to find a junior size swim suit that leaves nothing to the imagination.

We went to 4 different stores that had rack after rack of swim suits.

We would barely get close to the suits and I would ask if she saw something she liked.

No.

Really? You already saw them all?

She also caught her long, gorgeous hair cut, after torturing Annabel and I since last August as to the big decision of whether she should have bangs again.

Now the primary topic of conversation? Her hair. She can put it in a pony tail, but does it look too short? What about in pig tails? If she puts it in a bun, then it makes it curl by itself. What if she combs it this way? How does that look?

But back to the sweetheart of a daughter, we were cleaning out their room last night, trying to make room for bunk beds so their cousins will have a semi-permanent place to sleep this summer.

We found so much STUFF and each time I would ask where had she gotten that mess. Each time she told me I had bought it (hard to have memory problems at this age!). I remarked with incredulity that I had bought some of the dumbest things I had ever seen for a child.

Very sweetly she says, but Mom, you were new to being a mom and did not know.

How sweet is that?

Getting our priorities straight!

While growing up in the 60's into the 70's (yes, I am old), we took family vacations. We would go "camping" in the roughest sense of the word at the beginning.

Our family vacations did not include just the six in our immediate family, but our WHOLE family, aunt, uncles, cousins, some grandparents, an occasional boyfriend, etc.

We originally started going to places like lakes in Texas, then moved onto campgrounds in Oklahoma, but quickly moved onto the mountains in Arkansas.

But soon it was decided Arkansas was not tall enough and we took our whole entourage to Colorado.

To better explain to Annabel what white trash is, I should dig out the pictures of those trips.

We were going to Colorado before John Denver had discovered it and when you could only buy Coors Beer while in the state. So we are talking ages ago and very primitive camping was expected.

BUT before you can start on any trip, you have to pack and get ready to go.

All of the family would descend on our house and my aunt and uncle, who lived around the corner from us, on the first Friday in June to begin our caravan to Colorado.

To get across Texas, since no one used an air conditioner in their car in those days, we would begin our journey after the dads got home from work and drive a huge chunk of the trip while the sun was going down.

BUT again, you have to get started on your trip and packed and ready to go.

My father starts planning the next trip when we are driving home from the last one. If he is not at least 45 minutes early for all appointments, there is no use going, as you are practically late. On our first trip to Colorado was in a '57 Volkswagen Beetle. The two younger kids were left at home, so that freed up some space and Dad devised a plan to put our clothes in a box that would fit under our feet, pack a Coleman lantern, stove, water jug, and ice chest, all in a space that can only hold a family of gnats. I'm sure we were packed and ready to go 2 days before we left.

BUT, when you are traveling with family, or at least with ours, there is one person that likes to wait until EVERYONE else is ready and he begins to prep for the trip.

We would be loaded in our cars and most had 4 kids in them, the last trip to the potty had been made, and we would cruise to my aunt and uncle's house.

There he would be watering his plants, sweeping out the floor boards of the car with a tiny broom, having a cup of coffee, and all those really IMPORTANT things needed before you leave on a big trip.

The other brothers and sisters (my dad and his siblings) would get so frustrated with him, but he was the oldest male which counts for a lot in white trash families, and we were all stuck waiting on him to declare he was ready to go.

After the first few years they finally would go off and leave him and then wait on the side of the road somewhere.

The reason for me telling you all of this is because so far today I have mowed the yard, cleaned off the deck of stuff that has been there for months, picked my green beans, squash, and tomatoes, washed the girls' winter comforters and blankets, hung them outside, visited with my parents, had some breakfast, some coffee, another cup of coffee, worked on my compost, and balanced the national deficit.

Guess what I am supposed to be doing?

Yes, packing. Can I blame it on my genes?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Language barriers, somewhat offensive material, sorry!

This post had to be delayed until I knew Lisa, my sister, was ready to hear her part of the story and both stories are about language barriers and how very amusing they can still be.

A week or so ago, Annabel jumped in the car asking what kind of store would sell a bag of balls.

I can't even explain why my mind went to Styrofoam balls, but it did, maybe because in my day that would have been a requirement for almost all science, history, and math projects. So I try to think where you would buy a bag of Styrofoam balls, which would most likely be Hobby Lobby or Michaels.

When I told her those choices, she said we HAD to go there then!

That was one of those days that 20 mile trip to school and knowing we had 20 to get home, was just too much, so I told her no, we would not go to one of those stores, because there is not one close by and I was tired, etc, etc, the usual mom lecture about waiting until the last minute for school supplies, and your mom works for a living, and she is tired, and we still have things we have to do. You know the drill.

When I took a deep breath, I asked more questions about this bag of balls and why and how they would be used. Again, I am thinking the solar system, or something similar, since she needed a whole bag of balls.

Actually it was for math and they had built a carnival game to determine "chance" and needed balls to throw into cans to see how often it made it in the can or something like that. I realize I really did not listen after it dawned on me that she did not mean Styrofoam balls, but just balls.

When I first asked her if they needed to be Styrofoam, she had no clue what that was, but she agreed they did, but I finally got her to understand what she really needed we had plenty of at home.

So that was on a Wednesday.

The next morning the traffic report mentioned debris in the road.

Grace asked what is debris.

I explain that it is usually something that has fallen off a car, like a torn up tire, or even a stove, or a bumper, you know something that could have fallen off.

Annabel said, "So you mean it was white trash?"

Oh dear. I knew I had a lot of explaining to do.

When we bought our car and moved our stuff from our mobile home, which was disguised as a mini van but easily held enough stuff that it could have been classified as a mobile home, to our new car, the entire dealership came out to watch as we made trip after trip from one car to the next. It was really embarrassing.

When we got home, I told Mom and Dad that we looked like white trash with all the stuff we had in our car. I'm sure that was inappropriate so please forgive me for using that term, but if you had seen us there and seen the trash bags of stuff we threw away, plus all that we took with us, you would have thought the same thing.

So back to Thursday morning.

I ask Annabel what she means that the debris is white trash?

She explains that we had all that stuff in our car and stuff in a car was white trash, right?

Oh dear, I have dug myself a deeper hole.

I try to delicately explain that it is a derogatory label and one that I should not have used, etc.

She actually seemed somewhat satisfied, but then Grace said, "So there were people in the road?"

The hole just got deeper as I am trying to explain that it was debris, debris is not white trash, and is not people, which confirmed what Annabel thought she understood and said that she knew someone in our family that was white trash.

Oh dear, stop this train! I can't seem to win and just making it worse.

OK Annabel, who in our family is white trash?

Aunt Lisa!

I am so glad they ride in the back seat and glad I did not have a mouthful of hot coffee of anything else as I know it would have been spit on the windshield.

OK, so why is Aunt Lisa white trash?

Because she has that baby shoe in her car and sometimes she has a bunch of stuff in the back AND one time she took off her tennis shoes and her socks were dirty.

Oh dear. I wonder if I have learned my lesson on being careful of the phrases I use, as little pitchers have big ears, which I never have understood, but Lisa has always said to me!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

One too many big events!

Time gets away much too quickly and one of the hardest parts of the job I do is the intensity of work leading up to one of our larger programs. We barely sat down and then we were headed straight into the grand opening of our community garden.

While I've done this kind of event planning for over 11 years, I have never had the problems associated with this one event.

I took a short break from the garden and all the meetings while trying to adjust to the demands of the tutoring needs for Annabel. If you know Dallas, then the drive to tutoring helps you understand when I say I had to adjust.

My job is close to downtown. The girls school is about 20 miles northwest of downtown. The tutoring is about 8 miles north east of downtown. And to get from the northwest side to the northeast side you are constantly swimming upstream.

But I digress.

So after my break from the meetings for the garden and jumping right back in, I realized we had lots of work to do to make it visually effective as a "grand opening". This immediately propelled me into overdrive in pulling weeds, making pathways, hauling and spreading mulch, clearing underbrush, picking up trash, etc.

When we had it almost ready, we discovered a puddle of water that seemed to be quite rotten.

I had never dealt with a sewage issue in the middle of the area where I am expecting over 200 people, just days before the event!

The more we dug, the quicker the puddle became a pool and the worse it smelled.

That was on a Wednesday night and then on Thursday we were expecting media to cover a very generous woman's gift to the garden and smack dab in the middle was this pool of really bad smelling water.

Thankfully if you have connections, which this woman did, one of your connections is a "water specialist" who was called and rather quickly made an assessment of the situation and announced it was run off water, only, with no sewage involved! So yea! Now we just have a small pool in the front of the garden but at least no one would get sick!

He suggested I buy the large economy of Ivory liquid to help change the ions of the water to help it absorb into the clay easier.

While I went to buy the Ivory liquid a terrible thunderstorm blew in, along with almost 2 inches of rain and tornadoes in other locations.

When I got back to the garden, the whole thing was under water, as the ground was already saturated with the run off and instead of a small pool, I now had an Olympic size pool of water just sitting and covering the whole place!

Years ago when my parents would garden at my grandmother's house and something similar happened, I remembered Dad grabbing a hoe and making trenches until you could finally get the water to drain off. Only this was about 100 feet long with 2 trenches needed that length!

I have to admit by the time the water was draining into the street, I was exhausted, but my biceps are looking good!

The event went without a hitch and over 200 people attended, most of them riding bikes, as we were part of a bike ride they had here in the neighborhood.

OK, no more big events for a while. My girls really need my attention!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dragon boat races

For the last two years, our families with children from China has been competing in the Dragon Boat Races at the annual Dragon Boat Races, lantern and kite festival.

The first time it came up I could not imagine exerting that much energy without being so winded and knew I was so heavy that I might tip the boat over.

Last year, I had just had my second surgery trying to fix all the problems which made me so winded that I could not do anything, which helped get some of the heaviness off, so this year when we got the info I responded immediately that all of us would be there ready to row!

I really should have taken time to look at the pictures and videos they sent to show us what was involved, but I was thinking of the one time I went for a ride in a canoe and thought, how hard can that be??? One word that should have clued me in was the key word RACE!

OK, another hint that it might be more difficult than I thought when it was announced we needed to have a "practice" so we could "learn" how to paddle!

Our weekend was pretty complicated with Friday evening starting with a storm delaying our drive home for almost an hour, quickly preparing a meal for a family with a new baby, an early start at the community garden, tearing down a new bed a neighbor gave my girls, running to the children's choir audition, before finally racing to our "practice, with having had no lunch and very little breakfast.

So we went off for our training with a few chicken mcnuggets and me a protein shake with a shot or two of espresso to help keep me moving!

Around the docks where the boats were located, were teams of very young, extremely healthy and fit individuals who were taking this very seriously and obviously had been practicing more than the few minutes we planned to do. And they clearly understood that it was a race!

Back to my experience in boats, it is VERY limited. I am not sure if riding in a fishing boat around Pat Mayse Lake outside Paris, Texas counts as I was a kid and no one let me do anything but try to keep my mouth shut so I did not scare off all the fish.

My next memory of "boating" is the canoe ride, back in 1983, where I helped clear out the stream for a canoe ranch? or a canoe farm? not sure which it was. It was a slow, steady stream and we jumped out often to clear out the brush. This canoe was built for maybe 2 or 3 people. I think my expectation of the dragon boats was something similar, small floatation device down a slow moving stream.

I lost all dignity when I sat down on the dock and scooted into this colossal boat that seated 20 of us, plus the drummer and the steer person. Then we learned to hold the paddle just right and get ourselves out of the dock and into the middle of the lake, not stream!

Adding to my anxiety is the fact that Grace is out on another boat with all the "youths" and Annabel is perched precariously on a small bench on our boat with a giant drum in front of her, and people are telling her to hold on tight as the boat could lurch and send her overboard, which really would have been bad since she still has not mastered swimming!

So after I have scooted on my bottom to get into the boat and remembered what they said about moving to the edge, I realized I was about to have a panic attack. I've been practicing my breathing in with the statement, "I am..." and exhaling with "relaxed". It finally helped enough to learn what was being taught and we were deemed ready to compete the next day.

The weather forecast had been for severe storms and I hate to admit I was SO disapponted when they did not come as that meant I had to get on that boat on Sunday bright and early.

After some rearrangments, which sent me to the back of the boat, hopefully in a safer area, we were prepared to take off for our first race. Most of what happened next is a blur and then the time waiting on our next turn is also a blur, except when I went to the displays and got the girls some lunch.

The next two races were back to back and all of us middle aged moms and dads weren't sure we could row ourselves back to shore even!

The last race was very close and we almost won one of them!

Annabel stole the hearts of the adult team with her very professional drumming and keeping us on track while we pedaled!

Monday morning I discovered a whole LOT of muscles and joints that had become sore just for sake of the dragon boats.

We will have to just wait and see about next year!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Scary Stage Mother

This week I turned into a scary stage mother!

Several people sent me information on a program that Dallas ISD was recruiting Chinese speaking students for; to be in their educational videos teaching upper grade students how to speak Chinese.

I thought it would be a great opportunity for my girls to meet high school age kids who speak Chinese. They need older kids as role models that take pride in their heritage so I kept pushing to get them involved.

Initially they planned to only have kids who were 14 years old and up, but decided to expand their search to younger kids, primarily to play the roles of the younger brothers and sisters in their videos so I was glad they had the chance to audition.

We went to the DISD headquarters and got to see a sample of the lessons they are doing, the studio, and meet another family who was also auditioning.

I made an executive decision that both would try out, even though Grace looked at me like a deer caught in the headlights!

I really meant to leave the room, as I think they are uncomfortable speaking Chinese in front of me for some reason. But I was stuck right between them. The other mother must have more experience at this and had pushed away from the table and quietly read a book.

The woman in charge gave them each a script and had Annabel and the boy practice a couple of times before recording it. She corrected Annabel's pronunciation of a word and I thought maybe the Chinese characters were wrong, which of course, doesn't even make sense, since I cannot read, write, or speak Chinese, but was ready to defend the reason my daughter was having trouble with one of the words!

After it was recorded the first time and Annabel barely spoke loud enough to be heard, I urged her to agree to doing it a second time, which she begrudgingly did. Even the second and third time, she did not speak any louder.

Then it was Grace's turn to do it with Annabel and I was surprised at Grace speaking up!

Through it all, Grace and Annabel were so nervous that I am surprised that Grace's fingertips weren't bleeding and Annabel's cuticles had anything left!

So as we left, I thought they both were going to tell me how nervous they were and that they were glad it was over. Instead Annabel was quite pleased that she had made a new friend! The boy who was also auditioning!

I got an email on Friday that they will be used only in the still shots and will not be required to memorize any lines! I think that sounds great to me! Grace and Annabel think that is horrible as they hate to have their picture made!

So I could not stop at just one stage mother incident, I forged on to the next!

Our friends' daughter is in the Dallas Children's Choir. She enjoys it and they feel it has been very beneficial for her, so when the auditions came up this year, I signed my girls up!

Saturday afternoon, we went downtown and actually found where we were supposed to go and each began to worry because other people were in the room and would hear them sing.

Both girls sing beautifully. Annabel did sing numerous numbers from the Chinese operas but has switched over to anything by Justin Beiber at the top of her lungs. Grace and her grandfather enjoy singing songs from the church's song book together, as well as every song she has ever heard!

When I realized that they were required to read a snippet I launched into scary stage mother and made sure they understood that Annabel probably would not be able to read it and explained how she was just beginning to learn to read. They assured me it was ok!

But, their shyness took over and you could barely hear them.

Once we got in the car, both sang the song they had to for the audition, at the top of their lungs.

We left there onto our 3rd adventure of the week, where I was the scary stage mother, but it is under the title of the Dragon Boat Races

Mother's Day a week late!

This has been a very full week and I am way behind on updating my blog.

So I will start where I left off.

Last Sunday was Mother's Day and my wonderful daughters surprised me! I knew they had made Mom go with them to Ross but I thought they had just helped Mom and Dad pick me out a new suitcase.

Let me start at the beginning though.

Last Sunday morning Annabel could be heard rummaging around in the kitchen. I thought she was trying to make me a cup of coffee and I was thrilled over that, but she also made me toast and spread it with peanut butter and sugar, just the way I like it, found one last packet of my Starbucks instant coffee, and brought it all to me in bed! I've never had breakfast in bed and I know I never expected to have a daughter who wanted to provide it.

Then she helped me with the roses for the ladies at church.

When I first started doing the Pink Ribbon Tea party nine years ago, I started making rose corsages for all the ladies. After becoming a mom, I switched to just giving away a flower. But this year Annabel wanted to help and so we made a bunch of them into small corsages, more like a boutonniere. She took a basket full and left for church early with her grandparents.

Dad volunteered to take us all out to eat and we had a great lunch at our favorite, El Fenix.

Afterward the girls could not wait to give me their present and it was way more than the suitcase I saw smuggled into the car on Saturday.

They had used their own money to buy me some new clothes! I could not believe it! They insisted they pay. Isn't that the sweetest thing? And Grace had made me a card on the computer. PLUS they let me have a long nap! Wow! I've had the best mother's day ever!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Growing up, I used to cry at night because I did not want anything to change.

I knew there was a time when you graduated from high school and soon after, got married, and then you started a family, or at least that was what Mom and Dad did.

BUT I was bound and determined that the life we had right then was so good that I did not want Lisa, my older sister to graduate and move on, much less me!

At that point in our life, all four of us kids were sharing one bedroom and all six of us were sharing one bathroom, and Lisa and I were sharing a double bed.

Now when I think about those days I don't know how we made it!

At some point I must have resigned myself to growing up and even though going to college after high school was a HUGE change for my parents and their siblings, it was becoming the norm for my age group, so since Lisa went to college, so did I.

Only there wasn't a lot available for women, even with a degree, in those days, and it basically felt like I could be a teacher or a nurse and since I hate blood, the very sight of it, I went with teacher, only everyone else did too.

While in school I fell in love with the idea of graduating, getting that first job, finding Mr. Right, when I was about 25, and then getting married, putting up the picket fence, and having 2.5 children!

Since the two men who asked me to marry them in college saw the picket fence somewhere in West Texas, I decided they must not be Mr. Right, as I knew I must return to Dallas, not a town that did not even have a stop light!

So when I came back to Dallas it took until February of the next year to get that first teaching job.

Only then my life took a HUGE detour and I spent three weeks in the hospital and six more weeks recovering from brain surgery and basically fighting to stay alive.

While I survived, obviously, my appearance took a direct hit, and the plans I made for my life, were traded for never ending doctors' appointments, and more hospital stays, so I must have missed Mr. Right!

Recovery from each took priority instead.

Since the giant aneurysm I was diagnosed with also came with the threat of death if I got pregnant, then those ideas I fell in love with during college had to be reconfigured and I decided the purpose of all of this was to make me fall in love with a man who could never have been Mr. Right before I had my surgery. I was so convinced of this that I stuck with that really bad relationship, still sure that it made all that had happened make sense. Of course hind sight tells me otherwise and when I finally decided to focus on what I, which should be underlined and in bold, wanted, then I stopped the world I was on and stepped off, took a right turn, and went back to college full time.

While this was a great change it led me to the second so Mr. Wrong that it seems that I learned nothing from the first Mr. Wrong.

BUT I had found that I was able to make decisions for myself and continued to develop a life in spite of myself.

Around this time, my wonderful sister Jana, who has since passed away due to a heart condition no one, including her, knew she had, brought home my beautiful niece, Darcey, from China when she was almost 12 months old.

When I first saw her I knew what I had to do. I HAD to adopt a child! But not just any child. I had to adopt from China. BUT I also knew I could not be the mother to an infant. Shoot, I'm single, and the thought of all the things that come with babies was not the right fit, but the second I heard about "waiting" children in China, I knew that was the right way to go.

Five and a half years later, all the paperwork, all the phone calls, all the emails, all the money, sweat, travel, ups and downs, are just a blur and I want to say that I adopted Grace, plain and simple, and I became a mom, which somehow through the process, was not about me becoming a Mom, but instead, that Grace would have a Mom. I'm not sure that makes sense, but the focus of the process was on her, not me. I think sometimes I am still surprised when someone says something about me being a mother.

I can tell you that the very first time that I saw a picture of Grace, I KNEW this was SO RIGHT and what I had to do was to bring Grace to me and we would be a family.

So while most mothers begin to celebrate Mother's Day with an infant, I began with a six year old who did not grow into being a daughter, but became one the same day I became a mother. We both got new titles on the same day and both were well aware of the change, but not quite sure of what all the changes would mean.

So we learned together, what it means to be a daughter and what it means to be a mother.

And then I decided that Grace needed to also know what it meant to be a sister and me the mother of two and that's how we decided our family needed another child.

And when I saw the first picture of Annabel, I knew, just like with Grace, that she was the one, my daughter.

And for Annabel, we are still working on what it means to be a daughter and what it means to be her mother, because when you are 11 and you just get the title of daughter, it takes a little while, because some people have abused the concept of what you are obliged to do if you are their daughter, and understand that you can be loved just for being you and not for what you do.

So while I did not follow my original plan, I found a better plan, and I am celebrating my 5th year of being a mom, which still seems more like I am celebrating having daughters, rather than me being the mom.

My Sandwich Life: Anxieties+email= needed relief!

My Sandwich Life: Anxieties+email= needed relief!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Anxieties+email= needed relief!

Last Friday, we were less than 24 hours from our biggest event of the year at work, when I wasn't sure if it was going to come off.

I am a firm believer that things will work out and I drive my co-workers crazy telling them that all the time.

BUT this time, I wasn't so sure.

At the last minute, one of our stores providing the fashions for the fashion show, decided she needed a signed legal document stating we would be responsible for any and all damage up to even paying for them. While I liked our models I was not prepared to buy them a new outfit if something went wrong and I knew my credit limit would not handle the charge!

These models weren't just anyone, they were our newly singles group and the fashion show was the apex of the program and training. These were older adults in competition for the first Top Mature Model for Oak Cliff! And now to not have outfits for a big chunk of them left me doubting how the fashion show could even happen, much less me trying to explain to the models that they would not be in the show! UGH!

Then at the same time, we had a woman who suddenly discovered our teapot auction and tea party and decided to make it her personal memorial to her mother, who had passed away a number of years earlier, but not from breast cancer! And she began to hound each and every employee and volunteer about how things were to be handled. OK, that's my job to hound people!

There were several other parts that seemed to be falling apart and I was dreading the event and driving with a huge knot in my stomach when I got an email.

It was from my niece Gillian.

She said they were so excited about coming and could not wait for the tea party! That they always enjoyed it so much.

It's amazing how such a short email can change your perspective.

All the dread and nervousness fell away and I got back to the original reason we do the event and focused on making sure everyone enjoyed it.

All the pieces fell into place and I feel it was the best one we have ever done in all 9 years.

Why do kids do this?

Annabel got into the car this week and told me her eyes had been red for 3 hours.

I knew what this meant, that she had been crying.

It seems that working in groups is not reserved just for graduate school or the work force, but now is in middle school.

She had landed in a group of all boys and one, whose name I hear often because he is always in trouble, had called her "retarded".

GRRRRRRRRRRRR.............

My background is working with people with disabilities and that label is inappropriate on so many levels but especially to use it as a derogatory statement.

One big difference in this school, Annabel felt comfortable telling her teacher and he was punished appropriately. Not the whupping I would have preferred, but he did get detention.

I know I can't protect her from everything, but so glad we have made the huge steps from last year's school where this would have been ignored and for Annabel to be able to tell her teachers the problem.

Growing up is hard to do!

In my job, I work with older adults. There are close to 60,000 on my mailing list, so of course, I do not know them all.

But after 11+ years of this job, I have gotten to know quite a few quite well.

During those years I have seen the rapid decline in the health of some, the passing of more than I want to think about, and everything in between.

Unfortunately, what I have seen is a lack of involvement by the adult children in their aging parents lives, not by all, but way too many.

I have a theory about this.

As adults, our parents are our only link to being a child.

Our siblings don't appreciate us acting like kids. Our kids don't appreciate us acting like kids. Our co-workers, our bosses, our friends, our neighbors aren't for it either. Only our parents will accept us when we want to act like a kid and complain about a bruise, a wrong done against us, listen when no one else understands how wonderful we are, to take up for us, to help battle our enemies, and still love us in spite of ourselves.

So when you begin to see a decline in your parents' health, memory, well being, you run the opposite direction.

If they are mortal, then you must be too.

And if you sit still long enough, they might start complaining about their problems! The nerve of them!

To actually sit and listen as they want to discuss losing a good friend to cancer, that preparing meals can be a pain, that they have health problems, switches the roles and we are forced to be the adults and no longer get to be the child.

It IS hard to hear all of this. It IS hard to think they will not be there for you as you face older age.

One of our favorite older people is losing faster than maintaining. The children decided they would avoid the situation and expect us to deal with it. That cannot work because they are not decisions for us to make.

My parents are going through a difficult time.

Very important people in their lives have been from ill to gravely ill. They have had to assume considerably more responsibility rather than enjoying their "retirement years". It is taking a toll on their health and their mental status. It is depressing just to hear about it, much less to be living it.

In fact, what they are dealing with is overwhelming.

There are a lot of younger people who need to be taking charge, but I think we all still want to be the kids. I'm not sure what is going on with my generation or maybe I just hear about those who are not willing to step up to the challenge.

This growing up stuff is hard. Growing older is even harder.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Definitions lost

Tonight I was helping Grace with her homework.

She asked, "What does streak mean?"

My mind immediately went to the 70's when streak was a verb, rather than a noun.

I tried to explain how people would run naked at some events, which just brought an "ewww" from her.

Then I tried to explain that we used to put blond in our hair and we called it streaks, which now is called highlights, and I don't know when that changed!

None of those were the correct answer but did cause me to feel really old!