Friday, October 24, 2014

This is not the woman who raised me

Bill Cosby does a great bit about his mother being so different as a grandmother than she was as a mother.  I used to laugh at that until I became a grandmother.  Now I smile and knowingly nod my head in agreement.

I am sure my kids will have more observations, but here are some places where I see that I've changed over the years.

I don't have to raise my grandkids so I am able to simply enjoy and love them.  There is a lot of responsibility to raising children.  Everything is a chance to teach them something and mold their character.  Consistency is difficult and can wear you out and wear you down.  I don't have to shoulder that anymore.  Instead, I can simply listen as they talk to me.  I can enjoy them freely.

I have more time.  I'm not trying to juggle work, church, kid activities, church activities, family time, menus, house cleaning, etc, etc, etc....  I look back and don't know how I ever managed to fit it all in.  Did I ever stop?  It's pretty amazing how much time one gains when there are no children at home.  And that's a good thing because I just don't have the energy to keep up with it anymore.

Things are quieter around here.  We were an active family, actually pretty loud.  Someone was coming or going, friends filled the house, there was constant activity.  It wears me out just remembering!  It's still pretty crazy when all the grandkids are here, but for the most part, it's pretty quiet these days.  I find that I can't focus on as many things at once.  Somehow I used to keep up with multiple conversations and still knew where everyone was, what they had going on and where they needed to be.  Now I have to ask for reminders because I can't keep up with all those details at the same time anymore.

I savor things more.  I no longer feel the need to rush from one thing to another.  I no longer feel that my life is lived in a daily frenzy.  I can listen to the grandkids.  I don't have to plan something to do all the time.  I can take the time to explore the world with the grandkids because I don't have to constantly be doing something or going somewhere.

I don't raise my voice anymore.  Yeah, I confess, I could yell.  Not always, but I did yell.  I don't yell anymore.  I'd like to think it's because I'm so much more patient.  But the truth is that the amount of frenzy I felt was in direct proportion to my yelling.

I'm not afraid.  I was afraid I wasn't a good enough mother or wife or employee, etc, etc..  I was afraid I would miss something important to my kids.  I was afraid I would fail at anything I attempted.  I would go to bed afraid I'd forgotten something or would forget something.  I think the years have proved those fears were unfounded and wasted a lot of time and energy.  Fear doesn't rule me anymore.

I don't worry.  Worry and fear tend to go hand in hand.  I worried over a lot of things I had no control over.  Would my kids find good friends?  Would they be a good friend?  Would they get hurt?  Would they be exposed to something harmful?  Would they make good choices?  Finally, I've figured out that life is going to happen regardless of how much I worry.  Good things will come my way and so will bad things and so will sad things.  It's all part of life.  Worrying did nothing but suck joy out of my life.

I no longer feel my children are a reflection of me.  I confess that I tied my kids' actions way too closely to me.  Bad choices made me worry what folks thought of me.  Good choices made me want to take the credit.  Finally realizing that my kids and grandkids are all individuals and I get to be their cheerleader and supporter has brought a lot of emotional freedom.

Getting older definitely has its benefits.   I am not the woman I was but I prefer the woman I've become.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

When I worked with junior high kids, we had an annual event called "Hello/Goodbye".  At that event, we said goodbye to the kids who were moving up to the senior high group and hello to the kids who were joining the junior high group.

It was a bittersweet event.  We had the chance to remember the fun times we all had together and remind the teens leaving that we'd always love them.  And then we had the chance to welcome the teens joining the group and let them know we were looking forward to new memories and getting to know them.

Hello/Goodbye always brought tears of sadness and joy mingled together.

I realize as I begin qualifying for senior discounts, that I find myself having a number of my own hellos and goodbyes.

Goodbye to the days when my body rarely ached and it would do whatever I wanted it to do.  Hello to the days when my body always aches and can't do what I want it to do.

Goodbye to some of my favorite childhood hangouts.  Hello to savoring them in my memory.

Goodbye to the days that I was so busy that the days ran together and I was always tired.  Hello to being able to read a book or sit on my porch and enjoy my swing.

Goodbye to raising children.  Hello to simply loving grandchildren.

Goodbye to the guilt of feeling like I would never be a good enough mother.  Hello to telephone calls from my children asking for parenting advice.

Goodbye to the thrill and excitement of being a newlywed.  Hello to the warm feeling that I've been married 2/3 of my life.

Goodbye to days of counting every penny.  Hello to senior discounts.

Goodbye to PMS.  Hello to menopause.

Goodbyes are always bittersweet.  It's hard to let go of the familiar, especially when the familiar gets sweeter as time passes.

Hellos are always a bit scary.  Can anything really take the place of the memories you savor?

No, nothing can take the place of what is gone.  But there is always room in our hearts and lives for someone new to love and something new to discover.  I have to be willing to make that room and not let my memories crowd out new experiences and friends.

Anyone else find yourself saying goodbye and hello?

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2014 - here I come!

2014 - wow, I am living in 2014!  That may seem like an odd comment unless you were born in the mid 1950's.  It was the beginning of space travel and we grew up watching space travel grow until we watched men walk on the moon!  That was big stuff back then.  As people looked toward the far away year 2000, the amazing possibilities were just waiting for us.  And now, in 2014, I am still pretty much in awe at life around me.

I watch my grandchildren handle any kind of electronic as though it was second nature to them and I am amazed.  I see my grandkids use an iPad as their only school necessity.  It's phenomenal to watch these students study and interact and discover on their own.

And yet, here I am, living in 2014.  I had decided that I want 2014 to be the year outside my comfort zone.  I want to set goals that will keep me from becoming complacent and apathetic.

I almost hesitate to mention this here because I feel vulnerable.  But if I'm going outside my comfort zone, I need to do this.

I have lost 35 lbs in the last few months.  And I ran my first 5K.  I still have a long way to go to reach my weight goal but I'm going to do it slowly so it won't come back on.

I survived the 5K, thanks to my daughter  and best friend who ran, walked and sashayed with me.  I finished and wasn't last!  That's a winner for me!

So, my goal for 2014 is to reach my weight goal by the end of the year.  I am signing up for a 5K in March. (back to my C25K again).  And I am determined to go on my first international mission trip with our church in June.

These things are WAY outside my comfort zone.  But I am going to work toward truly reaching these goals.  Along the way, side effects will produce a better me, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  

Please notice I am not looking for more patience!  I know better than to ask God for that!!  

These are really big steps for me.  But I am going to go outside my comfort zone and work toward them, one step at a time, one pound at a time, one prayer at a time.

I'm taking a deep breath and I am ready to go!

About Me

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Longview, Texas
In the autumn of my life, I am very content.