Grown Ups

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Just when you think you’re all grown up, life keeps bringing the growing and the lessons. My kids made me take the “what is your mental age” app test and I turned out to be just a few years younger than my actual age. My husband who is a stitch older than me but was not showing any signs of being a grown up when I met him turned out to be mentally older when he took the test. Go figure. Sometimes I feel ancient. Other times I feel fifteen. One day I’m keeping a lot of moving parts synchronized, paying bills, doing tax prep, whipping up loads of laundry. The next day I’m screaming Lady Gaga lyrics, in denial about making dinner for the family and my son is saying “Mom, you have to clean up around here, really.” Life brings so many experiences, so much joy and so many fall on your face and learn your lesson experiences. By the time you’ve been here a while you think you’ve seen it all: you haven’t. Being a human is a wild ride. If you think about the people killed by a storm in Oklahoma or the kids growing up mistreated, or the families of the children of Newtown, the whole analysis of our stumbles, maturing and lessons sounds meaningless. I don’t have the answers but I do want to live it to the fullest and do things right, take time to be kind, appreciate every day. What a big world filled with people living, learning, laughing, loving. What’s your mental age? -smilingbug

Don’t Sweep My Feet!

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Every time I sweep I think of my Grandma saying “Don’t sweep my feet or else I’ll never get married” each time I swept her workspace at our family business. It was a superstition of hers. She said it every single time anyone was sweeping, without fail. She never worried if it got old or lost its punch. She was married and had been most of her life to my Grandpa. I miss him so much and it’s difficult to believe that he has been gone almost 17 years. It just doesn’t seem I could have lived all of this time without him being near but here we are. Talking with a niece recently about a loved aunt who passed away she told me that she imagined our aunt with all of her friends who were also gone, sipping wine, reading on the beach and enjoying their favorite pleasures. She joked that her warped Catholic view of the afterlife made her feel better about missing our aunt. Atleast she has a vision of the afterlife. I thought and joked to her “I have to work on my warped view of the afterlife” but no matter how I try I can’t make anything of it. I miss those people who are gone. All of the life events that pass, I wonder how this could be going on, day after day and year after year, without them. It’s not possible that they could be absent from these meaningful moments. My daughter says she isn’t afraid of dying but is afraid of losing all of the memories of this lifetime that mean so much to her. We are here for a tiny flash in the scheme of time but we are so attached to this life. A man on PBS talking about mother’s day today said “Dinosaurs were mothering their offsprings 65 million years ago.” How can the scrapbooks and memories of each one of our lives stack up to that? I remember a good friend who was losing a battle for his life saying that he was ok with dying but didn’t want to miss everyone. It breaks my heart and yet it’s a part of life that is as normal as the sun rising and setting each and every day. What I got most from my niece’s conversation about those who have passed was a loud and clear reminder: Appreciate the joys and the highs, count bleasings. -smilingbug

Polaroid Moments in Life

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There is tavern near town that pins up polaroid photos of patrons. Some of the snapshots are a few years old, others are from 15 plus years ago. If you start looking at the many polaroids on the wall, you become hypnotized by the faces and can not stop moving along to see the next one. Some people in the photos are laughing, others smirking, children are proudly holding up a menu or posing with their birthday cake. So many stories, so many moments in life. We all know the many cliches about time: seize the moment, life is fragile, every day is a gift. Yet the days pass and the responsibilities of life fill them up completely. A week turns to a month, next thing another year blows by, another birthday, yet another holiday season, vacation and so forth. When I look back at my old photos I remember thinking “this shirt looks awful” or “I didn’t workout once this week,” plus all sorts of meaningless critiques. Then, many years later I see those photos and think “wow, I was young” or “I remember that blouse, I wish I had it now.” It’s like a cruel trick the way one can get caught up in nothingness yet is wanting to treasure the moment, then just like that, twenty years have gone by. Looking at those polaroids at the tavern, the children in these photos are grown now, the patrons are older, maybe some are gone or have fought battles with health issues. The journeys that have been undertaken and the years that have passed are poignant in these images. Looking at each one, the subjects are happy, dining out, celebrating with loved ones, their joy is shining through each snapshot. Yet the day each photo was taken, many of them were undoubtedly coping with something in life. If they reflect on the photo now, they would likely remember it as a wonderful moment. The delicate balance of being human and capturing the joy of life each day is always with us. One of my hopes for the time I have here: appreciating more and fretting less. Who is with me? -smilngbug