Attaching With Nothing In Mind

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Okay, I will admit it. I have a slight attachment issue that stems from childhood that I am working on with my therapist. This issue makes trust more difficult for me than the average bear.  It puts doubt ahead of belief and fear ahead of calmness. Needless to say, with the odd things that have been happening of late regarding my marriage; my attachment issues have been magnified. Not to the point of  extreme anxiety but enough to make me feel uncomfortable that I can trust what I see in this relationship.

You would think I would have attachment down. After all, I adopted four children and worked extremely hard on creating an environment in which attachment could occur as easily as possible. I read every book ever written on it. And I followed all the advice on how to attach to a child who has been through trauma. Turns out, I should have been working on myself in regards to my adult relationships too.

This week I told my therapist, “Let’s get on with this. Let’s not dance around the edges of these attachment issues. Let’s tackle them head on.”

“You have been,” she replied. “You are learning to attach to yourself again.”

“I want more.”

So she gave me this assignment.

Just work on accepting the moments that are good. When B reaches for my hand, don’t question the act; just savior the moment. Notice what it feels like in that moment. Accept the emotions that you feel. Don’t analyze, just enjoy.

Well, of course, I had to push back.

“Why attach myself to someone who may not want me? Surely, if we divorce it will make it hurt all the more,” I moaned.

“You need to do this for yourself to feel closeness if only for a minute,” said THERAPIST. “You become more attached to yourself when you are able to let down your guard and discover yourself through your relationship. This process opens yourself up to you. You owe it to yourself to go work your way through it so you can become a stronger you.”

And so I am giving it a try with my whole heart. Just accepting his love, his touch, his words without over analyzing, questioning, or doubting. It is hard after being together for so long and both having a way that we interact with one another.

I’ll let you know how it goes as I try to trust myself and this process.

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Sitting With The Pain

Since I started seeing my therapist she has been urging me to just sit with things and honestly I thought I had been. But these past two weeks have been a real revelation to me as I finally understand what “sitting with things” really entails.

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The first thing is that I am just sitting and observing my feelings in a detached sort of way. Not depressed, not numb, but just watching as if my feelings were a movie. Watching the shadows, the lighting, the words that come out of the actors mouths and the body language that accompanies these things. And I have to say that it is one of the most freeing things I have ever done for myself. No explosive reactions just observation and the time needed to think things through without a time line.

Another thing that has happened as a result of my sitting with things is that I have no need to determine the outcome or push for what I think the outcome ought to be. I realize that I have wasted so much of my energy over the years trying to bend things to my will. I have always tried throughout my entire life to produce the desired outcome I envisioned at all costs.  The result of letting this go: more energy, more happiness, less anxiety and frustration.

Sitting with things as I am doing it now is delightful. I feel no pressure to make immediate decisions. I feel that reflecting at my own pace instead of reacting instantaneously  is allowing me to have a deeper experience that is bringing greater understanding as to how we have gotten where we are. And even if we separate it is bringing a much needed peace to my heart in knowing that I am better off for this entire experience and can bring a whole person to the table when this is over; instead of just a shadow of my former self, as a result of taking time for deep self-reflection.

So although I will confess that ending a 30+ year relationship is not what I thought would be on my radar just a few short years ago, I find I am growing in ways I have not in a very long time. Important ways which my soul desperately needed and of which I was unaware. I have no idea what is ahead but I suspect there will be many tears which will water the flowers in my soul’s garden and bring forth the life hidden in seeds I am planting for the future. I know not whether we will walk this path together or if I will be journeying all alone but either way I now know that I am stronger than I was when this all began and that is a gift that I will always treasure.

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P.S. My first biggest fear my entire life has been heights. I hate them. My second biggest fear has been divorce. But on Friday, February 17, I have decided to take on my biggest fear and jump out of an airplane. I have two notions about this:

  1. I figure if I can take on my biggest fear than anything my second biggest fear throws at me I will be able to handle.
  2. If the chute fails to open I just avoided a potentially messy divorce.
  3. Either way I win
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  5. If she can do it so can I

The Truth About Ourselves

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During the past 18 months I have learned that sometimes navigating the truth about myself takes me through deep, muddy waters that leaves my soul chilled to the bone. But the wonderful thing is that I can change, if I so choose; all the while knowing that meaningful change takes time. For change is a process, we cannot rush it, and it will happen in its own time.

There is a beautiful prayer I once heard written by a Benedictine nun which goes something like this: “Dear God, show me the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is.”

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And it is really true that there is beauty in who we are and what we do even if we fail to recognize it. Sometimes it is buried deep and you need a bulldozer to dig it out. Sometimes that beauty sits on the surface of our souls. And sometimes we just have to let a little bit of light in to let it reflect all the amazing facets of our personalities that are like a diamond which shines and dances across the room. Most importantly, we don’t need someone else to validate this beauty in us. It is there for us to enjoy alone if that is what we please.

We can see ourselves as even more beautiful through our own eyes when we view our own truths about ourselves and acknowledge those truths.  Some of those truths will be transitory while others occupy a more permanent place on our journey but the most important thing is to grant ourselves grace while moving forward with eyes and heart wide open and refusing to punish ourselves any further for those times in life when we just didn’t know or do better. We are all imperfect and it is a waste of time to cling to “what was” instead of trying to make “what is” even better.

So with this in mind, today, as I go about these minutes that are granted to me; I will try to be kind to myself because if I can’t even grant that simple thing to myself how can I expect to be kind to others?  I will also try to bring myself into, and be mindful of the present moments that I am witness to, knowing that things are the way they are suppose to be right at this moment in time. And I will bask in these moments of newfound acceptance knowing all the while that change takes time and I am doing the best I can right now to find greater peace and understanding through the transformation that it occurring deep in my soul.

I will be patient.

Best Qualities As A Mother

UPDATE

Since B stated 18 months ago that he might want to divorce we have done a lot to try to save our relationship. This includes a Marriage Encounter weekend, his therapist, my therapist and a joint marriage therapist. I have decreased my yelling to a trickle, have kept the house in good shape and have lost weight. Frankly, things had been improving for close to a year but lately I have noticed that we have been regressing. More grudges, less sex, 66% less dialoging, etc. I am a very intuitive person and I “feel” these changes and recognize them for what they are and lately I have been feeling really anxious about them.

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I have never been an anxious person even when I have had plenty to be anxious about. For 57 years I have kept most of that anxiety stuff swept under the rug. But lately, it has occurred to me that as B distances himself my anxiety rises. It is an uncomfortable place to be. Sometimes it even makes me question my sanity because I tell him I am feeling the distance which he denies but then three weeks later at a therapy session he uses the words and admits that when x happened he distanced himself all the while denying my concerns for the past weeks.  It is a crazy way to live.

BEST QUALITIES

Recently, we had a dialogue question that asked each of us to talk about our partners best qualities as a parent. In the allotted 10 minutes I wrote about 7 qualities that B has that I think make him a great parent.

Now I know in dialogue you are not supposed to judge the other’s response because they are based on “feelings.” And feelings may be factually true or not but the bottom line is that they are what they are. So when B wrote about the qualities he admired that I had as a parent it basically came down to the fact that “I cared for my children.” To say I was hurt that this was the only quality he listed was an understatement.

Everyone cares for their children. You care for your dog. You care whether you have enough toilet paper in the house to last the entire week. Caring for your children really doesn’t get any accolades in my book. It is something we all do… even badgers, skunks and probably even one-cell amoebas.

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So I took this to my therapist. She wanted me to write down what I wished he had said about my good qualities as a parent. Here goes:

  1. I wish he had said that I am good about seeing or initiating those deep soulful and meaningful talks when they need them to boost their confidence, understanding of life or just need to express their concerns. I wish he had said he knew that most of the time they seek me out which shows that they trust my love and advice.
  2. I wish he had said that I love my kids fiercely and deeply and that they know that they can count on that love and can trust me to be there for them forever.
  3. I wish he had said that my children know I believe in them and that I think that they can accomplish whatever it is that they set out to do and that by knowing this it will take them far in life.
  4. I wish he had said that he knows I am their biggest fans and that I cheer them on with encouragement when they are lacking the spunk to make that “final touchdown” in whatever it is they are doing.
  5. I wish he had said I am a “good” parent far more often than a “bad” one and that even when I fail it is not intentional or malicious.
  6. I wish he had said that raising six kids, two of whom have autism, would be a tough job for anyone and that it is amazing I don’t lose it every day.
  7. I wish he had said that my kids had experienced so much of this world thanks to me and that if it was left to him they would not have.
  8. I wish he had said that I try my best to teach them the important things that they will need to navigate their lives now and in the future.
  9. I wish he had said that I am “good enough” parent some of the time (which is okay) and a great parent when it really counts.
  10. I give good hugs.
  11. I wish he had said that I encourage my kids to take risks which creates opportunities for them to believe in themselves.
  12. I wish he had said I am an honest parent in dealing with my kids and all the people we have to deal with because of their interests and their issues and that my honesty helps provide desperately needed clarity.
  13. I just wish he had said I am a good mother and he could not manage without me.

And while this exercise was difficult because I kept wanting to explain or add in the negative to balance it all out, I didn’t because this is my gift to myself and a tribute to who I am as a parent. I don’t NEED B to validate it…but it would have been nice.

Life’s Necessities

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I’ve had people tell me that I have had a very different and an interesting/amazing life. I would have to agree.  But how does one create a life that is interesting and  worth living? That is something I have contemplated for a while now. While I am not close to figuring it all out, I do think that there are some universal components that help to craft a life worth living, these being:

  1. Be daring. Believe in yourself and take chances as you move through life. No one ever got anywhere by sitting in a recliner. You have to “Just DO It” enough to make it seem routine so you don’t scare yourself silly.
  2. Help others.Until you have done for others you really have not done for yourself. Everyone needs to experience the gift of giving of yourself freely in order to know what is needed for your soul and the souls of those around you. So many important lessons come out of helping those who need it but mostly it allows you to discover who you want to be and how you want to live your life in a way that is meaningful to you.
  3. Practice your skills. Everyone has things that come naturally to them or something that they enjoy doing. You cannot create your masterpiece without practicing all the components that go into it. Just as Michelangelo did not create the Sistine Chapel by doing a single paint-by-number canvas, you cannot do your best without first examining and putting into action those things that are important to you and practicing the skills that it takes to enhance and complete the task. There is a reason for the saying, “Practice makes perfect.”
  4.  Be adventurous. Without the planning, excitement, and the sense of accomplishment that comes from stretching your wings while creating your own adventures, you might as well be moving through life as if in a big bowl of jello.  As dynamic human beings we are not meant to stagnate so exploits are an important part of the game.  Adventure = expansion and growth both of which are the spice of life.
  5. Spend time working on meaningful projects. In the early part of our marriage we spent three years of weekends traveling 4 hours one way to a house that we were building. It was when we ran out of projects and the sense that “we” were accomplishing something together that our marriage began to fall apart. We all need to feel a sense of accomplishment for a job well done that has occupied our thoughts and moments for an extended period of time. That feeling of having a task to do and completing it to the best of our ability is what boosts our confidence and instills in us the belief that we can take on whatever is thrown our way.
  6. Be reverent. Seek opportunities to be in awe of something greater than yourself. For some that is being with God and for others it is communing with nature while hiking. Find those things that take your breathe away and then find a way to make them a more regular part of your life.
  7. Love deeply, purely, and like there is no tomorrow…because there may not be.
  8. Get rid of the vices whether they be excess food, alcohol or drugs. If we take ourselves to places that make it difficult to do the things we must or the things we want to do; then we are harming and cheating ourselves of all that we have been given. Intentionally harming ourselves is idiotic not just because we hurt ourselves but more importantly because we are often hurting others.
  9. Never stop seeking knowledge for it is the key to life. It creates, it destroys and it allows you to achieve beyond your wildest dreams. If you aren’t learning several new things a day then you are not living fully in a way that is beneficial to yourself and humankind because lifelong learning is what makes us human.

 

The First Rose

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As parents we are always doubting ourselves when it comes to our kids. There are no manuals and every child is so completely different from the other especially when they have issues that other children never have to face. I know of what I speak. With six children I have learned much and each one has taught me in a completely different way. Yet, I also know about those deep, dark, slippery wells that you sometimes feel like you cannot climb out of  when things are tough which often seems to be the case when your children have life impacting disabilities. It makes you question yourself and all you are doing to an even greater extent than ever before.

Paul struggles. He has autism and several other medical issues but his social skills are pretty much on track. Until you are around him for awhile you would probably never guess the extent of his issues and how they impact him everyday. But impact him they do. And our family too. Constantly.

Sometimes parents whose children have a disability find it hard to let go. Sending them to the store alone, even though it is just down the block, is terrifying when you know that your child is somewhat gullible and naive. But when the older teen years hit you realize that holding on too tight is a hinderance and not a help so you start loosening the strings. So recently Paul has been walking to the store by himself which gives him a sense of freedom that any 15 yo boy needs.

On Sunday Paul asked to go to the store. He had earned some money and wanted to buy himself a special snack… so off he went, hands deep in his pocket holding on to his hard-earned cash.

About 15 minutes later he returned with a perfect red rose in his hand which he shyly gave to me.

“I know I haven’t been treating you very well lately so I bought you a rose to show you how much I love and appreciate you”

I cried. He smiled and I think he knew that in giving me that beautiful rose he actually gave me so much more than just a flower. He let me know, that despite my mistakes and frailties as a parent, I really am doing something right by my kids. And even more importantly, I see him growing into a lovely young man who is doing good things like every decent and wonderful human being does on his own and without my help.

God, I love that kid!

 

If I Die- My Advice To My Boys

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For about the past ten years whenever I travel I tend to freak out before I go. While I never used to be… I am now scared of flying. My family expects this of my now and laugh at my trepidation. I originally told B I was not going to China with him because I had an overwhelming feeling of dread. So now, as I contemplate this trip I have decided I need to leave my sons my thoughts on what I think contributes to living a good life just in case I trip on a yak and fall to my death on Everest. I thought of all of these things off of the top of my head instead of consulting the internet so that is probably why the list is what it is.

For P, A and R… Love CLHD 12/20/15

  1. While most business transactions are no longer done with a handshake honoring your word is still the most important thing you can do.
  2. Look at the important people in your life. What do you admire about them? Why do you like to be around them? Take those qualities and make them your own.
  3. Saying, “Yes, sir” to your date’s father is a good way to begin.
  4. When you know in your heart that what you are doing is wrong have the courage to walk away even if it means leaving your friends behind.
  5. Whether you like it or not there will be a lot of people depending on you when you reach adulthood. Do those things that will earn their respect, love and trust.
  6. Don’t be afraid to take a chance. If it works out it builds character. It it doesn’t work out it builds character and you learn something valuable about the situation and/or yourself.
  7. Mama’s boys are a good thing as long as Mama is in the spot she belongs…behind your wife.
  8. Sharing feelings is often difficult for men. Do it anyway. Better for someone to know what you are thinking than having to spend all their time guessing incorrectly.
  9. Say “I love you” when you walk out the door. You never know if you will walk back in again.
  10. Never put “it” in a person you don’t want to wake up to everyday for the next 20 years.
  11. Having five children with five different women is cruel, stupid and condemns you child to less than a life he/she deserves. Be responsible. Don’t do it.
  12. Honesty truly is the best policy.
  13. Help others out when you can. It’s good for you and its good for the world.
  14. Be A Boy Scout. Be trustworthy, brave, helpful,clean and friendly. Doing these things never hurt anyone.
  15. Chivalry is not dead. Open doors for your girlfriend, wife and older women just because it is a nice thing to do.
  16. Be the kind of boyfriend/husband that every woman wishes her husband was.
  17. Sex is sex and love is love. Don’t confuse the two.
  18. Women are not a prize you discard after you obtain them.
  19. Too many notches in your belt only weakens the structure until it can no longer do the job of holding up your pants.
  20. Remember how you would sit for hours making legos. Find something that you love that much and spend time doing it.
  21. The way you act influences others. Act in the way you want to be remembered if you were to die tomorrow.
  22. Friends are important. Nurture those relationships and don’t abandon them for a girl.
  23. Have enough character to return the guys underpants that were run up the flagpole.
  24. Save for a rainy day. Cardboard boxes fall apart in the rain.
  25. It’s difficult when society says tough guy=real man. Be a tough guy only when you want to be and don’t be stupid about it.
  26. Bar fights are nothing to brag about.
  27. If you are drinking more than two beers a day you are taking away time from things that are really important.
  28. Two of you are a minority in this country. Expect to be stopped by the police for no real reason at all. Talk nicely, be cooperative, and make no sudden moves.
  29. Pick a woman who loves you boldly and completely. Make sure she is your best friend and has your back at all times.
  30. You will have many disappointments in life. Don’t wallow in them.
  31. You are responsible for your own happiness. Don’t put that on anyone else.
  32. Don’t follow orders blindly.
  33. Make a bucket list when you are young and work to finish the list before you die.
  34. You don’t have to change the world but changing your own neighborhood is something to shoot for.
  35. Lead by example.
  36. Don’t wear your pants down to your knees. It isn’t a cultural thing, it isn’t a societal thing…it’s a disregarding yourself thing which makes you look like something you are not.
  37. For goodness sake. No tats on the face. You’ll just look like a thug and most people won’t give you a job.
  38. You don’t have to accept a dare.
  39. It is easy to love in an emergency. It is harder to love in plain day to day living. Love like its always an emergency.
  40. When you are fearful keep going forward and face your fears head on.
  41. Drag racing can kill and often has unintended consequences. Don’t do it.
  42. Decide early on what is acceptable and what is not. Make a list of those things and stick to it. Then update that list every once-in-awhile on a quiet day when you have plenty of time to contemplate.
  43. Things will change with time. Try to go with the flow.
  44. Don’t make a promise unless you intend to keep it
  45. Your EVERYTHING MUST BE FAIR IN LIFE Certificate was lost at birth. You cannot order another one.
  46. Be sure to tell you wife two things you appreciate about her each day and compliment her three times a day.
  47. If you want a happy marriage YOU must be happy.
  48. There is no shame in apologizing. Don’t let your pride in the the way of being the first to do so.
  49. “Boys will be boys” is not an excuse for anything.
  50. There are girls that will love you, there are girls who will use you, and there are girls who only want you to be their baby daddy. Abstain until you know which is which and if you can’t do that ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use a condom or two.
  51. Telling your mother when you are 18 that you are going to be a daddy will make her CRAZY…don’t chance it.
  52. Volunteer your time and resources when you are young. You are often more useful, you will meet some great people and someone is always needed to move the boxes.
  53. Don’t be a bully with your fists or your words. There is someone who will always be bigger and badder than you and karma will ensure you will meet them.
  54. Don’t be afraid to try. EVER…unless it is something stupid.
  55. There are people in life that want to bring you down. Don’t let them succeed.
  56. Canoeing is a good way to forget life’s troubles.
  57. Success doesn’t happen through magical thinking. It takes hard work, dedication and the willingness to be flexible. Do all three.
  58. Teach what you know. Learn what you want to teach.
  59. If you want to learn be willing to listen.
  60. If there is something you are good at work harder to become great at it. Anyone can paint but it takes dedication and lots of practice to be asked to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
  61. Enjoying life means you cannot be a couch potato or a video game player. In order to get something out of it you have to put something into it.
  62. Save a life at least once during yours. Throw that starfish back into the water.
  63. You will probably change careers several times during your life. Do what makes you happy but make sure it pays the bills.
  64. Start investing in a job that has a 401 K and max it out every year. There is nothing more terrifying than coming to the end of your working years realizing the money you have saved can fit into something the size of a shoe box.
  65. Gardening is a good way to teach your children responsibility.
  66. Everything in moderation is still a good adage.
  67. If your first priority is to make your wife happy in bed you will reap untold rewards.
  68. Use deodorant everyday. If you don’t you won’t get the girl, you won’t get the job and you will have to shout at the people standing five feet away from you.
  69. Own at least one tie and one good pair of dress shoes.
  70. Believe in yourself and surround yourself with others who believe in you too. You deserve nothing less.
  71. Everyone has numerous strengths to draw upon. Find yours and improve upon them so that you know they are fully developed when you need them
  72. Read something everyday.
  73. Giving up and giving in too soon rarely accomplishes anything of value.
  74. Spend one day each week refusing to talk or act out of negativity.
  75. Be friends with those who are different races, ethnicities and religions than you. The blessings you reap will be a 1000 times greater than those first few minutes of being uncomfortable and unsure.
  76. The person who acts like they know everything knows nothing of true value.
  77. Real men ask for help (and directions)
  78. Vacations are important.
  79. Mid-life crisis’ are real. Don’t be a jackass during yours.
  80. Don’t confuse status with truth. A luxury car only means big payments and nothing about who is driving it.
  81. Your Dad was a great man. Take the parts you admire and incorporate them into your life.
  82. Make sure that the person you give your heart to really appreciates its worth.
  83. Having common interests is very helpful to sustaining a marriage.
  84. It’s just fine to cry. What you will learn from doing so will enrich your soul more than the tears ever will.
  85. There are times that your life will be beyond hard. Know that I am there in some form holding you tight.
  86. Keep your imagination open and running like when you were a kid.
  87. Never forget to put down the briefcase and play a game of hopscotch
  88. “If you can’t beat them join them” is no excuse for anything that happens afterwards.
  89. Fulfill your dreams before having children so you don’t resent them.
  90. Not everyone will like you. Deal with it.
  91. Be respectful to your elders.

The SEX Talk…274 Days To Fix This

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One of the good things about Autism is that sometimes it qualifies you for services that will help your children navigate the world both now and in the future. Several years ago we had individuals trained in ABA therapy come into our home five days a week teaching our boys such things as social skills, safety awareness, and on one occasion we had THE SEX TALK with the therapist leading the conversation. These are just a few of the comments made during that discourse:

  1. If THAT is what it is suppose to be used for, why am I only finding out about it now?
  2. That’s a relief! I thought after you used it once it fell off!
  3. I hope Mom doesn’t take mine away like she did Max (we had just had the dog neutered)
  4. After this, I REALLY don’t want to know what they are going to tell me when I am in seventh grade.
  5. Oh geez I am only 11 years old and the thought of a man and woman having sex makes my penis want to throw up!
  6. I think that this will blow Paul’s mind when he hears about this. Not in a good way either.
  7. Is that what they mean by “an endless black hole?” (Yes,he said that with total sincerity)
  8. If sex feels good why does anyone stop doing it?
  9. I think I want to go into the condom business
  10. If it takes two people to make a baby, what do three people make? ( I have NO idea where that came from!)

Since that time the questions have evolved and become more sophisticated. Last week we graduated to sexual consent and I found a video that was probably the best description of it I have ever seen. Every young man should see this before he even considers having sex. Every young lady too. So here it is. And now I think I will go get a cup of tea.

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/oct/27/police-youtube-ad-campaign-sexual-consent-tea?CMP=share_btn_fb

Times Past

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I still remember the things my parents did for me that my children or the kids in my neighborhood will most likely never experience. Sometimes that realization makes me sad. Some of this disconnect from my past stems from where we currently reside but some of it is due to the change in times. It seems strange to me how so much of the innocence I experienced of 50 years ago is gone and seems unlikely to return. Things like:

My father standing out in the bitter cold, night after night, pouring water over a homemade ice skating rink. Sliding the water here and there to make sure that the surface was even in thickness and perfectly smooth like glass. Then after several days of hard freeze he would lace up my skates while my wobbly ankles would cross precariously as I put one foot in front of the other, my blades slowly carving up his masterpiece.

Watching our black and white television where killers or carve-them-ups were not allowed to enter our household. Cuss words were unheard of too. The only things on television back then were shows which presented people trying to do their best and to help one another. In short, they showcased families/individuals who loved each other and the positive in life.

My parents pulling us through the streets on sleds to see the Christmas lights that decorated each set of eaves as the snow fell over them; creating a colorful shimmer that I remember to this day. Then, should we complain of cold (which we always did), my mother would magically pull out a thermos of hot chocolate to warm our bodies and our hearts. Such a simple way to show love and concern.

My grandmother making homemade mittens and scarves while my aunt sewed us outfits for Christmas. In addition, my mother always sewed my halloween costume (once out of old drapes) whereas I have yet to sew one. Most kids today have never experienced the thrill and the patience while waiting for the perfect outfit to emerge out of odds and ends that litter the sewing machine table.

Most of today’s kids will never hold an ice cream social, a play, and sell trinkets to earn money for charity. Back in the day, my mother would gather the squirmy and oh-so-hyper six-year-old neighborhood kids together for rehearsal everyday for the entire week prior to the performance. Then we would sell tickets to the big event to all the neighbors. Afterwards, my mother would load all the thespians into our dark blue Rambler station wagon and off we would go to the charity of choice to deliver the money we had collected. Being that this was in the days before digital photography I have grainy superimposed pictures to remind me of these times but I do remember the sense of pride and accomplishment I felt for doing something to help others. It’s something that appears to be lacking from the experience of many kids these days.

Crisp fall days during which my parents took us to the Franklin Cider Mill where we watched the apples being pulverized by the turning of the water wheel and where we ate fresh hot powdered cinnamon donuts on picnic benches while the cool wind blew the sticky sugar off our treats.

Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s the grocery aisle was a real treat. I remember picking my breakfast cereal not for taste but for the records by teen heartthrobs David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman or the Monkees that were on the back of the boxes. How glorious the sound after taking the time to carefully punch out 45’s from the cardboard box. Decoder rings and invisible pens were also prized possessions.

Once upon a time science was  new and exciting and at the forefront of our lives. When discoveries were made it was a time for everyone to rejoice along with renew our sense of national pride. In 1969 when I was just a kid I remember my mother waking me up to see Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.It was really late and our black and white television was fuzzy with the pictures being beamed back to earth. Now big discoveries are so common place that it seems as if the breath-taking excitement just isn’t there anymore.

Riding our bikes within a five block radius and exploring the world like children are suppose to be able to do without fear of injury or death. No wonder so many kids these days are afraid of failing…they never got the chance to try the little things that instill confidence.

Knowing all the people at the stores where we shopped. Back when I was a kid there was the crooked old man (Mr. Banner) who ran the milk store where milk was kept in bottles not cartons. There was the butcher who always smiled at me as he wrapped my mothers picks in white butcher paper. I also knew the liquor store owners because they had a penny-candy section that upon occasion I was allowed to peruse. The Chinese couple (The Kims) at the cleaners were favorites as was the old French lady who made the sweetest potato bread I had ever tasted. These days, unless you live in Europe, those relationships are missing from our children’s lives and its such a shame because these are the people who taught me that people who were “different” than me and my family were loving, kind and interesting. It was they who inspired me to seek out individuals who might teach me a thing or two as I journeyed through life.

These and so many things shaped me as I grew up into the imperfect person that I am but without these experiences I am convinced that I would have thought that the world was a harsh and lonely place; a place that so many of today’s kids believe the world to be.  A life without happy, positive and inspiring memories is hardly a life at all. And that is why I worry about so many of our youth of today.

Shine Like The Sun…286 Days To Fix This

Today I want to shine like the sun

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My shadow lightly parting the clouds

Providing guidance and love to those who are experiencing darkness

Today I want to hang on the moon

Dipping dangerously towards a gravity-free way of life

My spirit untethered and with no restrictions

Today I want to dance without shame

To move and groove unencumbered by others expectations

Turning off my mind and letting my body move to its own rhythm

Today I want to say “FUCK YOU”

To anyone who tries to put me in my place

And tells me I can’t be happy, smart and beautiful in my own way

Today I want to ride the rapids of life

Challenging myself to steer my own boat

Away from the gullies and those that may try to pull me under

Today I want to lie naked in the sand

My body coming alive under the sweet whisper of the wind and spray of the sea

Remaining in the moment, unaware of those watching and who may disapprove

Today I want to be everything I am meant to be

A 100% true original

I want to dwell in the depths of my soul

I want to embrace my spirit

And be cognizant of all that I am and can be

Today I want to be ME.