Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Read and Rest

My grandson, Isaac, started kindergarten this year. When I asked him what his favorite part of the day was, he smiled and said, "Read and Rest!" Recalling the old adage that everything you need to know in life you learn in kindergarten, I decided that I would make it my favorite part of the day, too. Fortunately, as an "older mother," my kids enjoy it as much as I do. And, my new Kindle lets me "Read and Rest"-high tech! Life is good.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's not all about ME, ME, ME

It's still about THEM,THEM, THEM!

As I look over my summer of blogs it appears as if I, I, I, am the only person I care about anymore! So, just in case you think I have become totally self-consumed, I thought I would post these cute pictures from the first day of school. I still get the “kindergarten mom” lump in my throat when I send my kids off to school, even Trevor. We still school shop, sign disclosures, search for backpacks, go to the dentist, miss the bus, head to Wal-Mart for notebooks, work, go to gymnastics, babysit, give father’s blessings, moan about curly hair, read, read, read, call Trevor for help with Algebra, work in the lunchroom, shop for textbooks, practice the piano, change class schedules, forget our lunch money, agonize over what to wear in school pictures, write countless checks, complain about teachers, pop Eggos in the toaster, moan when the alarm goes off at six, look forward to Saturday and everything else that revolves around this “most wonderful time of the year.”

Sunday, September 5, 2010

“Kicking the Bucket”--List

Ever since Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson made the saying “the bucket list” a household word, we have all been forced to ask ourselves what is on our “list.” Each day, as I look up at the mountains behind my house, and watch the hang gliders and parasailers jump into thin air, I shake my head and remind myself, there are certain actvities that will never be on the list. (Thanks to my sister and daughter, I can live that one vicariously through them.) There are however other things on my list, because face it, whether or not we have written them down on paper, we all have secret ambitions floating around inside our heads. In a somewhat similar vein, my sisters and I have a “Birthday Swim” each summer where we share our “Birthday Wishes” for the year. Somehow speaking them out loud makes them more real. I had my own personal form of “The List” of everything I wanted to accomplish before I turned 50. My fiftieth birthday, in one sense, was like crossing the finish line of a marathon. Surprisingly, I accomplished the majority— I got my Master’s degree, went to Europe, wrote a book, raised a large family, bought a cabin in the woods. I still need to learn to throw a pot on a potter’s wheel and hike the Appalachian Trail. I have a lot of confidence in lists because they help us to get things done and like my sweet niece recently blogged—everyone loves to cross things off the list. With that said, I am now officially “throwing in the towel,” “kicking the bucket” and “banning my list!”

Since the Big 5-0 party, I have been in a funk, as I pondered what to carry over and what new to add to the “Things To Do Before 60” list. I have slept on it, showered until the hot water ran out over it, and taken a hiatus from writing anything until I figured it out. Then I went to my folder, the folder labeled GOALS, and started looking at the now yellowing pieces of notebook paper, index cards, journals and Daytimer sheets, I had tucked away over the years. I have kept every single one from the day I started college until last year. I have always taken goal setting seriously-“a goal not written is only a wish.” Divided into neat categories, my goal setting has helped me to progress in a “well rounded” manner. There are spiritual goals (pray everyday—as if having seven kids doesn’t force you to your knees anyway) physical goals (remain at 110 lbs., 120 lbs, 130 lbs. and I mean it this time. Keep wardrobe updated and stylish—I must have some Freudian fear of elastic-waisted black polyester pants) educational and homemaking goals (learn to cook with wheat—like General Mills hadn’t already perfected the process) and financial goals-organize my desk-written on every slip of paper since March of 1980. It was the last one that sent me over the edge.

As I looked at all those papers spread out on my bedroom floor, they all seemed to be screaming, “Don’t Think Red-Don’t Think Red!” Have I been subconsciously sabotaging my progress? Has all the goal setting, over things that don’t really matter, kept me back from paths that I may have taken? Was I too focused on the things I thought I “should” be doing instead of those things I “could” be doing? Then I ask myself, “What if I tried living the next year with absolutely no goals, no life plan, no list?” What if I said, “to hell with ever getting my office organized or figuring out what to do with the 300 pounds of stored wheat?” What if each day I wake up to a blank page and see where life takes me?

Amid all my goals, I found a sheet of paper that simply said, “I Dream”—it was the only paper that made me smile and say, “What do you know-this all came true.” So this is the year of living spontaneously and letting the petty goals go. (For heaven's sake, someone can take a box of big garbage bags into my office when I am gone and then cross it off my list.) As I put the GOALS folder back in the drawer, I noticed that towards the back was a stack of blank papers. I reached to take them out and return them to the copier, then I stopped myself. Those sheets of blank paper represent the years ahead. I look forward to filling them with all sorts of wonderful experiences, but this time I won’t be in the driver’s seat of life. Instead, I will be along for the ride, looking out the window, waiting to see where the adventure might take me.