I remember thinking when my oldest son turned 10, in the same amount of time he will be a man. The decade between 10 and 20 holds so many changes, and I was no exception to the rule.
I have shared before that my mom died when I was 11, and that I think of my life as “before she died” and “after she died”. The few years after her death were some of my hardest.
Not only was I dealing with the loss of my mother but by 12 my period started and my emotions were all over the board. I was either completely lost in thought or crying.
Puberty can be hell for so many of us and my personal experience was compounded by loss and sorrow. Worst of all, about the only thing I knew about having a period was I had to use those giant pads from the 1960’s my mom had used.
Last week I shared a little about how I grew up and how I raised my boys. I even touched briefly on the next generation, my granddaughters.
Then I got busy on Wednesday helping my oldest son, and on Thursday, John and I were back on the road. We took some major twisty roads over to the Oregon Coast and then drove to Sacramento.
Often times, when John is driving, I’ll use that opportunity to pull out my laptop and write. But curves and twisting roads make that impossible for me.
So I was itching to get back to my laptop and write the third installment of my posts about growing up. I got my computer out while John drove us home on Friday, and wrote and rewrote a post to share.
And I agonized over it.
Yesterday I wrote about growing up in Michigan and how we spent most of our time outside.
I also mentioned because of that experience, I wanted to be sure my kids had the same opportunity.
When I got pregnant with our first son, my husband was still in school. We lived in a townhouse near campus and it was fine. By the time our boy was six months old, we’d moved back to Oregon and found a rental in town.
It wasn’t until after our second son was born that I started to remember my own childhood, and what it was like to grow up on a farm. I had married a city boy, and I wasn’t sure he would want to move into the country.
We played outside when I was a kid growing up in Michigan. It didn’t matter if it was winter or summer, we were outside most of the time.
In the summers we would play hide-and-seek until way after dark. There were a bunch of us and so many different places to hide that the game would go on for hours.
We also had a sandbox to play and dig in, though I do remember the cats liked “digging” in it too…which was a little gross.
We found things to do and explored beyond our farm too.
I remember from the time I was little the only thing I really wanted to be when I grew up was a Mom. Not very “progressive”, I know, but it’s the truth.
We were very poor growing up and rarely had any new toys. Instead they were passed down from one child to the next.
The neighbor girls I tried to hang out with had Barbie Dolls that came with different outfits you could dress them in.
I had one doll, and she wasn’t a petite little doll, but more of an old-fashioned Dolly with eyes that would close when you laid her down. And with one arm missing. Continue reading
We learn how to be women from our moms, or at least a mother figure.
So we watch them closely and subconsciously put each act or word into columns of either, “This is good advice to live by and pass on,” or “No way do I believe this and I am so not going to do this to my kids.”
There are probably a lot of other columns too, but those two stand out the most for me.
I learned how to be a woman by watching my mom. Which is probably why I’m not a girly girl. She didn’t wear makeup or dress in pretty clothes. And she lived in “practical shoes” and flip-flops.
I think she made most of her dresses. You’ll recall I said she only wore dresses, even as a farm-woman, right? I have to wonder if her mom wore dresses too. But I can’t recall much about my grandmother.
My mom learned how to be a woman from her mother too. It’s passed down from one generation to the next with varying degrees of changes for each of us. Continue reading
Do you ever wonder what it was like for your parents when they were kids? I don’t think about my dad’s youth as much as I do my mom’s. That’s probably because she was the rule-maker of our home.
And the enforcer too.
When I was a kid, I didn’t think about or care what made her the way she was, I was more concerned with ducking her flip-flop as she tried to swat me with it for not doing what I was told.
But as an adult, I have to wonder what it was like for her growing up in that little farmhouse in Michigan with four brothers and three sisters.
She was born in the spring of 1924, unless you go by what her headstone reads. Not sure how that happened, but it’s off by a year. She was the second child of eight, in a home that would soon be crowded. Continue reading
It’s been a busy summer!
In April and May, John and I vacationed in Europe for a few weeks. We traipsed all over Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland. We had a grand time and I am still basking in the memories.
As soon as we got back it was time for my birthday and Mother’s Day festivities. Turning 59 was a delight surrounded by my husband and kids.
June started out with John’s birthday celebration, and rolled right into one busy weekend after another.
We rode up the coast to San Simeon and looked for Moonstones, hiked a few local trails and went to the beach a lot.
A trip up to San Francisco was necessary for John’s work and we even got to see his brother on his birthday. That was fun.
By the end of the month we were still in birthday mode with my granddaughter’s and son’s back to back birthdays I think I had my share of cake that month.
July started off with a bang, and not the fireworks kind. We helped my oldest son pack up his belongings and move up to Oregon. We got to stay on the Rogue River and enjoy the views and quiet time, between unpacking and setting up.
It was a fun trip, but we had to rush back to help out another son. So I ended up heading North again soon after. I spent a week away from home seeing my girlfriend, and helping my son settle into his new home.
I drove home through thick smoke with half of Oregon and California on fire, getting back home just in time to have our granddaughters for 10 days of fun.
Last weekend we spent a little time reconnecting with a bike trip up to Avila Beach. We had a great time on that big beamer and hiking around Pirates Cove.
So this weekend… it’s time to just be lazy before summer is gone.
I hope you take time to enjoy these last lazy days of summer.
Tomorrow is a big day for me.
I don’t mean in the sense that something exciting is happening, or I’ve got a bunch of big plans. More in the way of it’s a calendar date that I never forget and always reflect on.
It was August 3, 1970 when the world changed for me. And for the last 48 years, it’s August 3rd that I still feel the pain of that day and our loss.
I know there are a whole lot of you reading this now, that know exactly how I feel. Losing a parent, especially when you are a child, is something you never fully “get over”. Continue reading
Did you ever spend summer vacations at your Grandparents house?
I never did. I mean, we went there to visit, but I don’t remember staying at their place for a week or even a few days without my parents.
We did, however, have fun during our summers growing up, and I loved it when we played Hide and Seek outside until way after sunset. And we always had a great time at the beach. Continue reading
I was away from home all last week, and I’m back now to pick up our granddaughters for some Nana time!
We always have so much fun with those two girls, and I’m looking forward to having them here for ten days.
When I was a kid, we didn’t have summer breaks with grandparents, as summers were spent working. But we did have a lot of fun, just the same. Summer was filled with swimming and playing outside until after dark, picnics and ice cream, and lots of exploring.
Our time with the girls will be filled with lots of adventure and the best part is, they bring out the kids in us too.
May your weekend be filled with summer fun and may you find time to be a kid again.
Yesterday I posted my Wednesday “Let’s do this together” video. Each week I like to share some little tidbit about exercise or diet that I have gleaned from my week. And yesterday’s post was about trying to get enough exercise while on the road.
The other day I was desperately looking for a specific photo I wanted for one of my blog posts. If you’ve been following along, you know I use my own photos for my posts.
It was written and ready to publish, but I was determined to find that one photo, so I kept digging. I was pretty sure it was on an old hard drive of mine, so I plugged it into my laptop and poked around.
I didn’t find it there, but I did find something else.
It is something I wrote years ago, when I was trying to sort out some emotions I was going through. Wait, let me stop right here and find my courage.
Deep breath in.
The #MeToo Campaign has been going on for a few months now, and ever single time I see a Me Too post, my stomach knots up, my throat closes and I have to choke back tears. Every single time.
A year ago, my son wrote this open letter to his daughters, my granddaughters. I am asking you to read it, digest it, and share it. Please join me in a new campaign to help the next generation to be filled with #NotMe and #NotUs. Continue reading
…continued from Pieces of the Puzzle
After yesterdays post it took three siblings and me to piece together the sequence of events from that time. I was off by a year. The years following our mother’s death was a blur of disappointment.
But it was 3am Christmas morning, 1971 that our father called my sister Janet downstairs to take him to the hospital. She was just 16 and the only one at home with a driver’s license. Continue reading
I’m learning that my life is analogous to a big jigsaw puzzle. All of the pieces are there, but not together. And to make it even more difficult, I don’t have a picture to go off.
Photo courtesy of Hans Peter Gauster
You are helping me find the picture. Continue reading