Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I love fall.
I'm not really sure why. Perhaps it's the idea that order, once again, sets in.
School begins, holidays abound, the new season of t.v. shows commence.
When I was young, I remember anticipating the start of school. I knew that a new pair of shoes (black velvet saddle shoes are among one of my favorite memories) and perhaps a few new dresses or skirts were coming my way. A trip to the dime store (yes, I'm dating myself with such language) for new school supplies was always on the schedule.
(Just an aside...I think saddle shoes are the greatest...I don't understand why they haven't made a comeback...maybe I'll start the trend...if you see someone strutting her stuff in saddle shoes...you'll know it's me).
My grandmother was a talented seamstress, and would actually sew beautiful dresses for me. My 7th grade picture was taken in a dress she made for me in "psychodelic" fabric. Yeah, yeah... psychodelic was actual terminology of the day (late 60's), thanks to Timothy Leary and a few little acid trips he took.
It seems that today, we aren't really allotted the time or space to just enjoy the fall. The season has barely begun. Here in L.A., I don't think a leaf has even had the dignity of turning a different color (and yes, leaves turn, even here in lala land)... and Halloween is already being forced to compete with Christmas decorations and gift items.
And what about poor Thanksgiving? What's a turkey to do? Pushed aside for the sake of a pumpkin and a tree.
But, nonetheless, this is still and will always be, my favorite time of year.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
It was a day I would always remember.
The beginning of fall, the end of September.
I ran home from school to lie on my bed.
Events of the day swirled through my head.
What could go wrong did so for me.
Starting with recess…a kick to the knee.
When teams were chosen, I was called last.
Stuck with the “losers”, it happened so fast.
When I answered, “Who sailed the ocean blue?”
My only reply was “1942”.
The class roared with laughter, I turned bright red.
I couldn’t wait to get home to my bed.
While wrapped in my blanket, day became twilight.
At once, something flashed, so big and so bright.
It flew past my window, I’d never suspect…
What I would see next, just wasn’t correct.
I opened the window and all I could see
Was a downright, completely new kind of me!
I thought and I pondered, “What’s happening here?”
I looked even further, but all was not clear.
I glanced to the left and then to the right.
The me over there said, “Hold my hand tight”.
“I’ve got plenty to show you, don’t be afraid”.
“Beyond this window, new dreams are made”.
I climbed through the window and there it stood.
The world’s largest slide, carved out of wood.
I sat on the slide and down we went,
While screaming out loud, “Where am I being sent?”
At the end of the slide stood a big sign,
“As you go through life, don’t merely recline”.
“ Don’t just sit back!” it went on to say.
“Life is a journey, you take each day”.
“You’re in charge of your feelings”, the other me cried.
“Just do your best and always take pride!”
We continued to walk through giant, lush trees.
The other me spoke, I listened with ease.
Was this really happening? Was she really me?
Or was it a dream, only I could see?
Time passed quickly, the next thing I knew,
It was time to go back…would she come too?
As a dazzling light flashed over my body,
I slid UP the slide, rather quite oddly.
The other me wept, and said her goodbyes,
both of us wiping the tears from our eyes.
Before I knew it, I was back on my bed,
Remembering things the other me said.
It was the day, my life changed forever.
The lessons she taught were simple but clever.
“We came through the window so you would know,
There’s always a choice of which way to go.
If you don’t believe me, just look in the mirror,
You’ll be surprised by what will appear”.
Could it be true? Do I hold the key?
The way I feel is all up to me?
All l could do, was take her advice.
I promised myself, I wouldn’t think twice.
I looked in the mirror, and what did I see?
The craziest thing…the other me!
I knew then, it was me all along.
I knew then, I could be strong.
So, if you’ve had a day where nothing seems fair.
A time filled with feelings you can’t quite bear.
Just look in the mirror…who’s looking right back?
The one you can trust to keep you on track!
Saturday, September 09, 2006
It seems that much has been written about the children going back to school, so I thought I too, should jump on the bandwagon.
From the time my children were in pre-school, everytime they'd start a new school, (elementary, middle, and high school) I would cry like a little baby.
I wonder why my oldest wouldn't let me take him to his first day of college?
My kids would look at me like I just lost my mind...and in the midst of my sobbing I would explain ..."one day when you become a mom, you'll understand"...
(For some reason, my two boys never really appreciated that statement).
But for a mom (since I'm a mom, I can't speak for dads), the ritual of sending your baby out into the world is heartwrenching.
At least in pre-school, I knew they would still be nurtured for the couple of hours they were there...learning songs, reading books, and fingerpainting. So I suppose that sending them to kindergarten was the hardest. No longer would they be so coddled and cuddled.
What if my baby needs a hug? What if he has to go to the bathroom? What if falls and splits his head open?
With each passing year, this task of dropping them off to the "wolves" became a little easier. In elementary school, I became involved in PTA and volunteered in the classroom, so I would see what both the teachers and my kids were up to.
You can imagine how much my children loved having me around (stifling their independence and freedom to cause havoc and mayhem).
But I was a stay-a-home mom and therefore my duties were to make sure I sufficiently embarrassed my children all through their growing up years.
Now, what most women won't tell you, is that they're secretly thrilled when the children go off to school...THAT'S RIGHT...you heard me!
And why, you ask? Well, duh, why do you think?
That's when we get right down to the business of crackin' open the champagne, eating bon-bons, "engaging" with the pool man, taking bubble baths, watching Oprah and Dr. Phil, and let's not forget, All My Children.
Without Oprah, afterall, how would I know which books to read, or makeup to wear, or how to make my man... you know..."satisfied".
When my youngest entered high school, I knew that my school volunteering days were coming to an end.
Because, here's the deal folks...and listen carefully...
No matter how cool you think you are?
This seems to be a tough one for us baby boomers to swallow. Afterall, we were the generation who invented cool.
We had Dylan, the Beatles, and Springsteen. We knew how to dress and keep our bodies looking young. I made sure I watched MTV, knew the latest bands, and all about pop culture.
But, to no avail. Because every generation, just like the one before, must be different from their parents.
They must work their way toward independence and self-actualization.
They must not conform to the ways of the adults around them (although they all conform to eachother...ever notice that every generation of teenagers all look alike?).
So, what's a volunteering mom to do when those days are over? Well, I can only speak for myself, of course.
I wave goodbye to my children as they drive off to school. I lay around in p.j.'s, watching Rosie on the View...waiting for the pool man to arrive.
Okay, not really, but it sure makes for a better story than the real one.
I still get a little pang when my kid's drive off. But now I drive off too. I've gone back to work in a field I'm passionate about.
And, although I don't eat bon bons, I do admit to eating icecream every night. I've figured out what make-up to wear, and even how to satisfy my man without watching Oprah.
Life meanders and changes, slowly and quickly, all at the same time.
Sometimes, I long for the days of holding my children's hands as I gently passed them over to big world.
But the day comes when you must let go.
And there's nothing Oprah, or even the pool man can do,
to mend the little hole in your heart that's created
when that time arrives.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
The valley was the place that a young couple could comfortably afford to buy a home, away from the city, and raise a family.
The years I spent on this street in the valley were magical. The kids on the street, although various ages, could spend hours together roller skating, bike riding, playing hide and seek, cowboys and Indians, and just generally running through the neighborhood.
Although I spent the first five years of my life in another home, the one in the valley is where I carry the most memories of my father.
When a child experiences the death of a parent, grief is revisited over and over again as you progress through life. At each new stage you come to understand it from a different perspective. New feelings are uncovered, and hopefully an opportunity for growth is found.
Many years ago, after the birth of my second child, the enormity of taking care of two children led me to a deeper place of dealing with my grief. As I navigated through these feelings, I began to think about my home in the valley...the one I grew up in...the one I associated most with my dad.
I even began to dream about that home and imagine what it would be like to go inside. I wondered how it would be to visit the lavendar bedroom, the bathroom mirror that my dad and I would stare into together while making funny faces, the kitchen where my mom would make a proper dinner each and every night, the empty living room where I learned to do somersaults, the master bedroom where I could find safety with my parents.
It was 1993, and I could not stop thinking about going inside that home. I almost felt a sense of urgency, that somehow, walking through this home...my past...would be healing in some way.
I was able to track down the owner of the home, and wondered if I should contact them.
Imagine getting a letter or phone call from some young woman saying..."you have no idea who I am, but I was actually the little girl who lived in this house first, way before you did. I would like to come walk through the house because I have some feelings of grief I would like to deal with, so you won't mind if come right over, would you?"
Yeah, right, no problem little (psycho) girl...
But, I felt determined and certain, that this was just what I needed to heal my heart.
And, when one feels determined and certain, one will do just about anything.
I contacted the lady of the house. I explained who I was and began to rattle off things about the house that only someone who had lived there would know. (you know, kind of like the killer who knows information the police have kept out of the public).
I named neighbors who were still living there, and even ones that had long sinced moved away.
She believed me...whew!
We talked. She was kind. And even said that she would be willing to let me come to her home.
But, as life sometimes just happens...nature took it's course...
As I mentioned above, it was 1993...the end of 1993, when we spoke. A few weeks later, the Northridge earthquake would hit. We would speak again following this event, only to have her tell me that I could come after their repairs had been made.
Didn't she understand that I didn't care if she had a broken shower, or if her ceiling was on the ground? I was a woman wanting to heal the heart of the little girl inside me. Who cared about "red tags" or FEMA?
I called one more time...she made every excuse not to let me come. Who could blame her really. To her I was just some nutty woman wanting to walk through her home, searching for ghosts.
How could she understand what walking through that home could mean to me? How could she imagine the little girl who once slid down her stairs on her tummy, or ran through her kitchen looking for oreos and milk, or cried in the safety of a once lavendar bedroom?
She could not.
I never called again.
I have driven by that house a couple of times since. Each time, I hope that someone is standing outside so I can tell them my story and ask to walk through.
I drive by, hoping that I can tell them...I'm the little girl, who rode a bike for the first time in that driveway, who felt safe with her mom and dad and brother and dog and turtle, who put on her roller skates with a key, and played Barbies til dark.
Thirteen years ago, I really thought that going through my valley home would be the key to healing the wound of grief.
I now know, it's okay if I never go in. But if I happen to drive by one day, and they are kind enough to let me...
I know it is something that this little girl from the valley would be forever appreciative of.