Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Love to the end

If you could hear my 17 year old cat right now, and didn’t know what you were hearing, you might think that you were hearing an elderly person calling out in a very loud state of confusion.

 I guess that is kind of what my cat is doing, howling out for me, wondering where I am, and wanting to ensure that she is not all alone in our house.

I stand up to look over the edge of my office loft wall, and call out her name.
“Kiki”, I call,
 She howls.

 “KIKI” I yell louder, but she still howls, almost with a sound of terror and pain in her meow.

” KIKI!!!” I shout out very loudly this time.

 She looks around, knowing that she heard something, but with her senses now dull with age, I can tell she doesn’t know what the sound was, or where it even came from.

I wave my arms and yell out again. Finally she looks up, sees me, and calms down.
She just needed to know that I was in the house and she was not alone.

This experience takes me back to when I would visit my grandmother in the nursing home.

 I remember seeing elderly people walking up and down the halls of the nursing home, calling out, with what at the time seemed like senseless ramblings.

I wasn’t very old then, but I remember feeling sad for them.

 Is that what their life had come to? What had happened in their life that they seemed to be so lost, sad, and who were they looking for? Where were their families and loved ones?

It seemed like some of them never had even one person to visit with them.

 Now looking at my aging cat acting out in almost the same manner as those people in the nursing home, I think that those elderly people must have just been looking for someone familiar as well.

A loved one to ensure them that they were not alone either.

They weren’t necessarily rambling on, or howling, as I had originally thought, but rather, calling out for someone to hear them, comfort them and love them.

Let that be a lesson for all of us.

 We need to be there and take care of our loved ones no matter how old they are, or how much they may howl and ramble on.  They need our love to the end of their life on this earth, just as much as we will all need to be loved to the end.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Strengthening Their Wings

I have always believed that I needed to teach my kids all of the lessons in life as early as possible. I am quite passionate about that subject. I always thought that if I would die tomorrow, I would want them as prepared as possible for this crazy, unpredictable world!

I never really wanted my kids to have to learn about life the hard way as I did, the school of hard knocks, as it is no picnic. However, did it make me stronger?

Looking back from who I was early on, to whom I am today, and all of my life’s experiences, I know it has. However, the question remains, do you really have to go through so much fire to be a strong person?

They say what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger, I really believe that, but sometimes, it is hard to remember that when you are going through the fire.

 I was never the kind of mom to read those raising your kids by “doctor so and so”, books. I knew enough women who drove themselves crazy trying to fit their kids into what those books said that their babies wanted, needed, should be, or not be doing at any given time of the day or night.

I never understood how doctors could possibly know all of that recognizing that each child is different.

 Being the nature lover that I am, and knowing that most answers to life’s questions can be found in nature, I usually looked to that, and my own instincts (another nature trait that humans too often ignore), as well as advice and suggestions from other people (whom I deemed as good role models), to help raise my kids.

 When my child’s Doctor said to feed my baby cereal only after a certain age, and exhausted I was getting up every 2 hours to a bottomless pit of a baby, the doctor’s suggestion went out the window, and baby rice cereal went into the bottle.

  Aaaahhhh, wonderful, blissful sleep for me and my baby!

For any of you who are convinced that I was doing some permanent damage to my babies’ health for mixing the cereal in the formula earlier than directed by the doctor, I can assure you that those babies are now 30 and 26 year old healthy adults.

Now, I am definitely not saying that I did not make any mistakes. Lordy, I made a lot of them! We all make mistakes. I think one of the biggest mistakes that not only my husband and myself did with raising our two kids is the same mistake that many parents of our generation made.

Being part of the baby boomer generation, my husband and I were raised in a completely different environment than we raised our kids in for the last 20 + years.

 We were left to figure it all out. We had more freedom back then and therefore, we matured much faster than our children did. Money was tighter back then, so for at least my family, we didn’t have many materials things, and once we were of legal working age,  and had a job, (there was no choice there either, you had to get a job as soon as you were legally allowed ) we had to pay our own way for everything. Cars and clothes were not bought for us, parents did not cater to our every want, and parents were not doting over us, nor were they even very involved in our lives.

When my husband and I decided to have kids, we also decided that we would be different kinds of parents than what we had. We wanted to be involved, help our kids out wherever we could, financially and every other way.

We felt that this was the right approach to raise strong, healthy, happy, ready to take on the world kids, and while I still believe that being more involved was the right thing to do in making them feel loved and part of a family unit, it didn’t happen overnight, and there were struggles and battles along the way.

Kids live at home longer than they did when I was a kid. As soon as you turned 18, you wanted to be an adult, so you either went to college, or moved out.
Sometimes, you got married.

 Kids now days are not embracing adulthood like we did.

 I have even heard many say that they do not want to ever grow up.

 Hmmm, Peter Pan syndrome?

What the hell is that all about? Not want to grow up? That does not make any sense to me at all!

Growing up meant freedom to make your own rules, eating what you wanted, staying up as late as you liked, and having friends over at any time.

I guess the difference in the current generation vs. mine is that you did not get to keep living free, and live by your own rules once you turned 18. I had to pay rent, and when I decided that I did not want to do that anymore (exercising my “adult” right, or so I thought), I was kicked out. Yep, just like that, my mom said that if I did not pay, then I did not stay.

 I was stubborn, and was sure that I was going to teach my mom a lesson for kicking me out, so I took her up on that challenge and within a week of being kicked out, I found a very small apartment. It wasn’t much, but it was mine!

Turns out, that was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I grew up really fast, learned how to do everything on my own, and developed a very close relationship with my mom along the way. I learned to appreciate all of the things that she had done for me over the years now that I had to do them myself!

Perhaps she knew all along that I needed to be booted out of the nest to strengthen my wings.


That was a turning point in my life. That is when I realized that you had to be tough and strong in order to make your kids the same. Now days they call that “tough love”.

My mom was so smart and way ahead of her time! She knew that for our survival, and no matter how much that she wanted to, she could not continue to coddle her kids forever, and sometimes, if we were not trying to fly on our own when she felt we needed to be, she had to make our nest uncomfortable so that we would want to leave, or in my case, just boot me out. It seems harsh, but I will refer you back to nature again to show you that this is the right thing to do.

In the animal world, most all animals work on preparing their young for their predators as quickly as they are able to after being born or hatched. They have to do this if they want their young to learn, survive and thrive, so that they can continue their species.

Since this article is titled “strengthening their wings”, I will focus just on the birds.

 A bird is hatched. The mother and/or father go out and get food, bring it back to feed the young. They keep the young safe, warm and loved. Yes, animals do love. They do this for a certain period, just as we humans do, but when the bird knows that it is time for the baby to learn how to fly, hunt and be on their own, the parents start nudging at the babies.

The babies learn, sometimes fall to ground, but most of the time, will get up, and fly again and again, until their wings are strong enough, (and they have learned enough about hunting, and nesting from their parents), to fly away and live completely on their own.  Those that do not learn and strengthen their wings enough to make it on their own will perish.

 That is the law of nature. The strong survive.

Knowing this was enough reason for me to want my babies to have really strong wings!

I can honestly say that at the time of this writing, my two kids have matured, grown, and are taking on the world by their own financial means, but I would also have to be honest and say that it took longer for them to get to this point than I would have thought.

 Some of the reason is due to a very tough economy, and some is due to what society deems necessary items to have for happiness. Luckily, both of my kids are not caught up into all of that, and they are very giving. They would both give the shirts off their back even if it meant that they wouldn’t have anything else to wear. I am very proud of who they have both become. They have learned and are learning every day, that being an adult is not easy, and is not always fun, but it comes with rewards that only an adult with strong wings can enjoy!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Letting Go

There comes a time in all of our lives, and throughout our lifetime, when we finally grow up, and we realize that we have to let things go in order to mature, blossom, move on and set ourselves free.

It can be letting go of anything from a past grudge, an unrequited love, frustrations for things beyond our control, or even body parts that are no longer serving us well, but rather making us sick.

It’s not an easy thing to do, but it is liberating when it you finally do it!

Take for example a past grudge. It could be as minor as someone at work taking your idea and getting the credit for it, or, as complicated as family and sibling issues over how your parent should be cared for in their golden years.
I will admit that holding a grudge makes you feel as though you are in control of the issue, but in all reality, you are not. The grudge is in control of you. It is making you live your life in certain restrained ways. You are not moving through life in the way that you would without having the grudge hold you back.

From the day that we are born, until the day we die, we need to let go of things in order to move forward.

As a small child, we stand outside of a pool, afraid to let go and jump in, afraid of the unknown.
However, by letting go of the side of the pool, we soon feel the rush of the cool water surrounding our bodies, the sheer joy of weightlessness and the blissful feeling of floating! None of those feelings can be found by standing by the side of the pool. We have to let go to experience them.

We fear the first day of school or the ride on the school bus, as we know nobody. But once we let go of that fear, we meet new friends, learn so many new things and we know that we will never be the same as a new world and all of its experiences are opened up to us.

I read it somewhere “if nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies”.

That statement has gotten me through so many times when I have questioned life’s trials for my own fears of letting things go.
Think about it, if the caterpillar did not let go of that seemingly safe, warm cocoon due to its fear of the unknown, look at the wonderful life it would be missing!
To float effortlessly among the flowers, if even for a brief life, is much better than staying in the tight cocoon.

My own personal struggle of letting go of body parts is another perfect example. For years, I had battled with female issues. The big “H” surgery came up more than once from my doctor, but I put it off repeatedly. I was not ready to let go of my reproductive organs. Not that I ever planned on having any more children, I just was not ready, however, more than just that, I really felt too young to go through menopause.

Finally, the day came that things got even worse and my body was not working the way that it should be because of my issues. I knew that I now had to make a decision.
After a long internal struggle, and many more discussions with others, I finally decided to have the surgery and let my diseased body parts go.
While still recovering, I was told by my doctor that it was a very good and necessary decision. My diseased parts were starting to infringe upon my healthy necessary body parts!
As far as my fears of menopause go, I am not as afraid anymore. In fact, surprisingly, I feel amazingly better! Free from the old pain, and issues.

Could it be that letting go has once again proved to be liberating?

I think so.

So, to reiterate, letting go is not only a necessity to move on, but it’s also liberating. Therefore, whatever you are holding onto that is not completely healthy for you, let go of it, enjoy the change that it brings, and watch yourself grow!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Taking the good with the bad

Have you ever noticed how some people  are fine and happy when things are going great for them, but completely fall apart when things are not going great or just as they planned or expected.

That is life!

I am amazed at this mentality. Life is all about taking the good with the bad, there is no other way around it.

I do not care how good of a person you are, bad things are going to happen to you. What matters  is how you react to those bad things as that makes up who you are, and who you will become.

Chuck Swindoll wrote that life is about 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it. It’s so true. It goes back to the old saying, when you are handed lemons, make lemonade. Some of us do that, others prefer to suck on the lemons and blame the world for their sour faces.

Life is about choices. It is your choice on what you do with the lemons, but please do not blame the rest of us if you choose to suck on them!

I look to nature for many of my life’s questions and usually find the answers. It seems so simple to me that I do not understand why more do not do this.

Animals know that they have to take the good with the bad. Watch a red- tailed hawk soar and float on the wind. I dream to be able to fly like that. That is the good.

That bird is looking for food that he may or may not find to eat that day, maybe for a couple of days. That’s the bad.

What the red-tailed hawk could not do is sit in a tree waiting for his food to walk up to him and get to just soar up in the sky strictly for pleasure. He would die.

 He must leave his nest and his chicks to hunt for his food with no guarantees that he will find any when they are hungry. That is taking the good with the bad.

 There are a million other examples like that in nature. Animals live off their instincts to survive. It would benefit humans greatly if we used a bit more of our instincts and not listen to what the rest of the world is telling us we should be doing.

All that does is make us feel that there is something wrong with us when we get some bad with or without our good. It is perfectly natural and part of life to get one, the other, or both.

Listen to your gut, head and heart. They are smart, and are right so many times.

Next time you are upset about something bad that is thrown your way, look around at the good you have. You have the choice to either suck on the lemons and make a sour face,  or  be grateful for what you have, and use those lemons to make a big glass of lemonade with extra sugar if necessary.