Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What is Age Anyway?

Dear Mom,

On February 26th it will be your birthday. You would have been 94, passing on 15 days after your 53rd birthday. On my last birthday I turned 53. Fifteen days after that would make it January 28th—reaching the point of being older than you when you died.

Seems kind of morbid talking about it like that, but I would think that anyone who has lost their mother at a young age feels that way. Will I live as long as my mom? My older sister and brother have been in the clear for a while now. Little sister Ruthie still has some time to go—not much. I guess the next age we shoot for is passing Dad’s age of death. He was 89—four months shy of his 90th. What does it all mean? Who knows. Just random thinking.

If you were alive, I’d give you a foot massage and a pedicure. Chances are I’d be doing that for you anyway. I did it for Dad. He had some thick toenails. One time I struggled so much trying to cut them that the big clippers slipped and I cut too close and made him bleed. I felt so bad. He didn’t trust me after that. “Lynn, not too close!” and I can’t blame him.

If I recall, your toenails were thicker. I’d probably need a hacksaw to trim them. I think my children have already made it clear that they are not going to be giving me a pedicure. Perhaps I should have kept my mouth shut when I finished doing Dad’s toes. Then I might have a chance of getting a pedicure in my old age.

I remember when I was little, I didn’t really think of you as old, but I did think that my best friend’s mom was especially young—and she was! Now that I’m the age that you died, I think how young! But I really suppose it’s all in our attitude and how we feel.

But life is what it is… and whatever you are doing these days, Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love, Love, Love - Part 2

Dear Mom,

Valentine’s Day was yesterday—it’s my favorite holiday because it’s about love. What’s not to love about love? I love ‘love’ quotes. I love unconditional love.

My daughter Rita’s half birthday is on Valentine’s Day. She celebrates at every turn. She’s pretty much a bundle of love. As are all my children, each in a different way. I love them all unconditionally. Truly. Don’t get me wrong, they can annoy me. They can bring out the worst in me. They have their flaws (as we all do), but I love them regardless. If they are the future, there is hope. They have heart.

Mom, they’d do you proud but then I’m a bit biased. Yet I’ve had countless people come up to me when they find out I’m their mother and have said, “You have the best daughter(s)/son.” They rattle on about how much they love—and they say LOVE—my daughter/son. I can tell they are sincere. These strangers (to me) do not have to say anything. I’ll sometimes chime in while they’re going on and say, “Yeah, they’re good.” Almost feeling like I don’t know them the way these strangers do because they look at me like, “That’s it? That’s all you have to say about your own children?”

Well Mom, I swore I was never going to be like one mother I knew who never shut up about her sweet little darlings. To the point where you wanted to run. And you prayed you’d never see her again. I decided I was never going to do that. Perhaps I’m doing it now, but this is to you—their grandma—if I can’t brag to my own mother about her grandchildren, then who do I brag to? Okay, so that’s enough… about my lovely darlings.

An upcoming event this weekend that I’m involved in is the Missouri Eckankar Regional Seminar (Feb 18-20 at the Marriott Hotel by the airport). I was in charge of getting together the creative arts portion of the seminar. Whew. We have an awesome group performing and I'm so excited. What I love about this spiritual path is the love. Learning divine love.

What’s not to love about love?

PS You know your husband loves you when he sends you a Pajama Gram and it’s a “Hoody-Footy”. If you come to my house unannounced, you'll probably see me sporting the all in one pink fuzzy bundle of warmth. I look like a giant bunny rabbit. But I'll definitely feel the love.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love, Love, Love

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you - thank you for reading my blog, for supporting my writing and for all the love.

I wanted to share this short little video that I had received some time ago and I was going to try and find it, but then guess what - I received it again today! Coincidence? I doubt it.

Hope you all will be inspired by the love...


(I hope I plugged this in correctly - if it doesn't pop up, maybe copy and paste the site.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Black Tie Event

Dear Mom,

I can’t recall that you went to any kind of black tie event, but maybe you did before I was born. If you did I wonder if you liked it and if you were as awkward as me.

Norm and I are planning to attend another fundraising event on Saturday. One of the first black tie shin-digs I attended made me really uncomfortable—not just emotionally, but physically. I wrote an essay about it (encouraged by fellow friend writer and blogger Linda O’Connell, who ended up winning—surprise surprise). The subject of the essay pertained to getting “all dolled up”, but for me it was also about being socially awkward.

As we stood around during cocktail hour at the event in question, someone had asked me, “So Lynn, what do you do?”

Total blank. I blurted out, “Nothing.”

The conversation went downhill from there when politics came up. Somebody mentioned our Mayor. I opened my big mouth. “I wouldn’t know the Mayor if I ran into him.”

Norm laughed, “You did meet the Mayor when you got of the car earlier!”

I cocked my head like a puppy does. Really?

"See, told you.”

Did he think I was kidding? We had valet parking and I thought the car attendant was just overly friendly shaking my hand and telling me to have a good evening. What Mayor does stuff like that? I guess one that mixes with the common folk. Although what do I know about Mayors?

All of this emotional stuff wouldn’t have been so bad if my body wouldn’t have been aching. Fun being all dolled up? Every part was shouting, “I want my jammies and slippers!”

I want to be prepared for this upcoming event. No high heels. No control tops. No keep-the-girls-up bra. If someone asks, “So Lynn what do you do?” I’m going to answer, “I’m a writer.” And if politics comes up, well… I’m likely to keep my mouth shut.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Maurine, my Mother-in-Law

Dear Mom,

Yesterday was the anniversary date of Norm’s mom’s death—it’s been six years. It doesn’t seem that long and yet it seems a lot longer too.

Six years ago on New Years eve, Norm and I walked out of the emergency room after they finally admitted Maurine. A few weeks later we were told she had lymphoma. The doctor gave her two weeks to live. Hospice was mentioned. When we left the hospital that night, Norm and I talked about bringing her home (to our house). I volunteered to take care of her.

And so I did… take care of Maurine. I cooked whatever she wanted to eat; sometimes I’d feed her. I borrowed my sister’s baby intercoms and set them up so that I would hear Maurine through the night. I slept in spurts. Anytime Maurine moved or moaned, I jolted awake, just like I did as a new mother when my babies fussed. I slept better as a new mother.

As Maurine’s condition worsened, I would squeeze morphine into the sides of her cheeks. She’d crumple up her face saying, “Yuck, that’s awful.” But we both knew it’d make her comfortable.

A friend who’s also a paramedic helped with bathing her, which was a Godsend for me. I did remove her dentures and brushed her false teeth which probably grossed me out more than anything I’ve yet to experience. But I really didn’t mind. I wasn’t the one helpless in bed… dying.

One morning Maurine told me of the lovely, beautiful places she had traveled in her dreams. How happy it made her feel. By the smile on her face and the dreamy look in her eyes, I had no doubt she’d experienced the “other side” and that she’d be in God’s hands soon.

Maurine hadn’t been conscious for days and on the day of her passing her breathing was much more labored. I watched closely and when I felt it wasn’t going to be much longer, I phoned Norm at work and told him to come home.

I whispered in Maurine’s ear, “Hang on, Norm’s on his way.” He was there within minutes. Once he stepped into the bedroom he held her hand and she breathed in her last breath.

Maurine hung on until her youngest son’s birthday (Norm’s only brother—Dale). Through teary eyes Dale quipped, “You always did have to have the last say.” The two of them always butted heads—usually in a fun way, but they definitely loved one another.

I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to care for my mother-in-law in her final weeks, days, hours—up until her last breath. I was better for it and honored she allowed me to.

Mom, if I had been able to care for you, I hope you know…

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter Memories

Dear Mom,

With all the snow we’ve had lately it made me think how when I was little I loved going outside and playing in the snow. It didn’t seem to bother me to be cold. Now I’m outside for a brief period and my toes feel like they are frost bit.

You obviously didn't know that when I was about 16, Ruthie and I walked to the Quick Shop to buy a pack of cigarettes when we were off school because of the snow. The mounds of plowed snow along the road were taller than us!

Or the time I was approaching 20 and had recently ended a five year relationship with a guy. A new date and I drove to Warren's house in the country and went snow sledding. We laughed so hard flying down the hill on the sled, the cold wind in our face, and crashing, rolling through the snow.

And then there was the time my daughters and I sat in the spa looking at all the snow. Inwardly I was at a crossroads; one that no one was aware of but me. It was my birthday and I felt old and a bit hopeless. I jumped out of the spa, and in my swimsuit I ran out into the yard and created a snow angel. I jolted some sense back into my spirit.

Mom, I wonder about any of your snow memories… there are none that I'm aware of.

And here are some shots of my most recent snowy walk outside when my toes screamed,"Get inside! Now!"

In this last picture, see if you can find the deer, and yes, there are more than one.