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Human, Woman, Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend & Aspiring Unicorn Breeder

12.29.2011

Almost Sunset

For years I've viewed my parents as invincible. Like they would go on and on forever. Nothing bad could ever happen to them... and even if it did, they are invincible so it wouldn't matter anyway. And then my dad had a massive stroke and lost not only the function on the right side of his body, but part of who he is as a person as well. That's when I started seeing him as human... mortal. And it really scared me. But I guess it just didn't click because I still viewed my mom as an invincible being. Only she's not invincible either.

As I type this, I sit in the hospital room my mother now occupies. She started hurting on Christmas Eve... she even went to the hospital. The doctor told her it was heartburn and sent her home. But she kept complaining of pain. That doctor made it sound as if she were milking it, so I chalked it up to her being old and grumpy. Maybe even a bid for attention. Only it wasn't. She had to have emergency surgery to remove her badly infected/blocked gallbladder the day before yesterday.
I've stayed with her 24/7. I've cleaned her up, helped her move, fed her, kept her comfortable.... all of the things she used to do for me... I now do these things for her. And although I know it's only temporary, that she'll heal and go back to being the sassy, grumpy old lady that she is, it's brought about a shift in how I view her. I've now seen her incapacitated, weak, and in need; which is something I've never seen before.

Although it hurt horribly when each one of my grandparents became old, sick, and then eventually passed away, I was prepared for it. To me they've always been old.... even when they were (around) my age, they were old to me. And I know it may sound terrible, but I knew that old people died. But my parents... well they're the people who raised and took care of me. They were always strong, always there, always in charge. Always ivincible. I no longer see either of them that way. Once you see that side of your parents, once you see them sick and/or helpless... it makes you realize that, sadly, their bodies will eventually break down, (hopefully later rather than sooner). You realize that they are mortal. And then it hits you... they will leave you one day.

Honestly, I don't think I could ever actually come to terms with that... with losing my parents. But I am now conscious of the fact that it will happen someday. I hate it, I really do. I know I won't have them forever, or even the rest of my life... but I will make sure that I spend all of the time I can with them, while I can. And I'll be there for them when they need me. Just as they were there for me when I needed them.

©Flippa Bird
(Sunrise.... Sunset...)
Photograph by: Me

12.20.2011

Getting Away.

I went out of town this past weekend for a girls getaway with my best friend and her sister. It was so wonderfully relaxing (being waited on hand and foot), the food was divine (no cooking & no cleanup), and the company was fabulous (real grownup talk). But as perfect as it was, I still missed my family terribly. Not at first, mind you, but about two days in I was literally aching to go home.... I would see little things that reminded me of my kids or my Hubby and my eyes would glaze over with tears. I Skyped with them and wished I could jump through the screen to be home with them. I really, really missed them.

And then I got home.

And after about 2 hours I wanted to go back to the hotel.

Isn't that just terrible?? But it's true. And I know I'm not the only mother/wife that feels that way.... my mommy/wifey friends have told me the same thing when they've gone away for a few days. It's nice to think life is perfect and that we moms/wives never want to leave our families... that we love doting on them and catering to them 24/7 ~ (especially if you're a stay at home mom). But the fact is life's not perfect and sometimes we just need a break. It's not that I want to live away from my family, or that I need time away from them constantly. But a break like I had this past weekend is needed every once in a while. And I don't ever feel guilty taking them.

I'm very lucky & extremely blessed... I have a wonderful, supportive Hubby who understands that full-time parenting is a job; and he encourages me to take time off when I need it. I think a little time away makes you miss and appreciate what you have, it gives you uninterrupted time to think about yourself, and it provides much needed balance. My heart truly goes out to all of the single parents out there who don't have the support or option to do the same.

©Flippa Bird
(These were pretty... But I missed my 3 flowers)
Photograph by: Me

12.16.2011

Peace on Earth Happens With You.

You can't explain common sense to a person. They either have it or they don't. And that is a very frustrating thing for me. You see, I have common sense. I may not have much in the way of book smarts, but of life smarts I have aplenty. I don't understand when people do idiotic things... and I automatically want to explain to them why what they are doing is idiotic. Not to be a bitch, not to rub it in their face, but to help them to understand that what they are doing is negative and not helpful in their life. I guess that goes along with my bad habit of unwanted advice. I really just need to learn to shut up when I see people acting asinine. But I am quickly learning, (finally), that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. You can talk to a person until you're blue in the face, but no matter how deep of a shade of blue you turn, they're just not going to get "it" until they grow up a little.

What I will never learn, never understand, what I really can't fathom are some of the ridiculous things people do toward others. I mean, most of the time I do understand where it is they are coming from: anger, sadness, jealousy, etc... I get those feelings too. But to negatively act on those feelings seems... I dunno.... uncouth, childish, and ridiculous. It just creates unnecessary drama. I think once you get to a certain point in your life you realize that acting on those feelings brings nothing but drama and/or misery. Unfortunately you have to reach that point before you have the capacity to understand the concept that: It's always better to rise above things. Not for other people, but for yourself. No matter how badly we want to rub something in someones face. No matter how horrible of a person they are. No matter what they've done to us in the past/present... just leave it alone, rise above it, and move on.

I'm not perfect. I've been guilty of sinking and being a shitty person. I've been beyond immature with many of my actions. But with age a settling of the soul has come to me. I no longer feel the need to exact revenge on people. I don't feel the need to laugh at a person when they're down or boast when I'm in a better situation than they are. I just want to live my life as even keeled and happily as I can... and stay away from anything and anyone that's not stable and happy as well.
©Flippa Bird
(Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Man...)
Photograph by: Me

12.12.2011

Best Christmas Idea Ever!

I read an interesting article today about Christmas gift giving. The author decided that she would give her children gifts based on the following criteria only: "want, need, wear, read." Want being one gift they really want. Need being a gift of something they need. Wear being a gift of clothing. Read being a gift of literature. Her idea is based on the thought that too many gifts makes Christmas less special. I totally agree! You can read the article in full here: Gift Giving with Four Words in Mind.

We told our children that we were scaling back this year. While I don't like to think we spoil our kids, the sad fact is that we do on holidays and special occasions. Our kids have always gotten everything on their Christmas or birthday list... short of the impossible, like unicorns and military tanks. Which means we would easily spend a couple thousand dollars at Christmas, and not much less on birthdays. With the economy being what it is, and my Hubby taking a pretty big pay cut with his promotion (haha), we just can't and won't do that anymore. We already instated a new birthday rule: You can get whatever you want and as much of it as you want.... ahhhh, but here's the caveat: It must be $100 or less. It didn't go over very well at first, especially with our daughter... who happens to be the only girl and the baby... so yes, yes she is spoiled. But the boys were pretty cool about it and she eventually warmed up to the idea as well.

I really like the concept of "want, need, wear, read" and am going to implement it this year. I haven't gotten my kids their wants yet, (I've been so slack this holiday season), but I have gotten them clothing. I love shopping for books, and they love reading so that works well. I'm trying to think of things they need.... (but they really have everything they need). I'm sure I'll figure something out. I think I will call a famliy meeting this evening and discuss this with them, (since we discuss pretty much everything in our family), and get their feedback. I'm pretty sure they will be open to it. And if they're not, at least they will have a good idea of what to expect under the Christmas tree this year.

©Flippa Bird
Picture by: Meh & Mah Cell Phone
(This is where their presents will go!)

12.07.2011

I Wanna Save the World.

My cousin tweeted about a tree growing in her bedroom last night. My first response? Well, I laughed. But after that all I could think of was, "I would try to replant it and save it." In fact, I woke up this morning bothered, thinking of that poor tree. I have always been like that with anything down and out, or the underdog. I want to save it and nurture it back to life.

I remember being around 6 or 7 years old and finding a tiny bit of cactus, with scraggly little roots, laying in a small puddle on the side of the road as we went on our nightly walk. I picked it up and cradled it carefully in my hands until we got home. My dad kept telling me it probably wouldn't survive, but I asked him to plant it anyway, so he did. I don't know why, but I so badly wanted that "baby cactus" to live. And it did. Almost 30 years later it sits in my dads house, as big as me and still flourishing. I did the same with some sunflowers in our backyard... they ended bigger than me & so bright and beautiful. And the same with some discarded seeds of corn that I got to sprout in a shoebox lid... they ended up in the garden and produced tiny ears of corn.

I have a black thumb now. I can get nothing to grow no matter how hard I try. But I still have that same instinct to nurture... which is why we have 4 mutty fur balls: one found in a river in the dead of winter with ice hanging from her fur, one found at the pound meowing louder than anyone else, one found emaciated in a bush unable to even move, and the last one found wandering on the side of the road soaking wet and covered in mange. Fluffy puppies and perfect kitties? Sure they are adorable; but the helpless, pitiful ones are the ones who grab at my heart.

I've tried hard to get my own family to jump on the "help your fellow living creatures" band wagon. And they do for the most part. If my daughter had her way, our home would be a zoo for all of the disenfranchised animals of the world. My sons will take on bullies bigger than themselves to protect someone being picked on. And every year before Christmas my kids spend all day working hard, doing manual labor at their grandparents to earn money to sponsor a needy child's Christmas. My Husband has been late to work on several occasions because he's stopped to help a stranger stranded on the side of the road. But I want more from us all. I want to spend our holidays volunteering at soup kitchens, I want us to play bingo with the old folks at the nursing home, I want us to do it all. Unfortunately my family has hated every time we've done one of those things. They don't like their holidays spent away from the comfort of home, and old people "creep them out." I suppose I could do it alone, but I'm selfish too really... I don't want to spend what little time I have with my family away from them and I don't want to spend my holidays without them.
I know when our kids are grown and out of the house it will be easier for me to do all of these things. I know my husband will be more open to it as well. So I guess in the meantime I will just have to content myself with the smaller acts of kindness I'm able to do now and save the big world-changing stuff for later.

©Flippa Bird
Photograph by: Meh
(My Kitteh We Found Under a Wheelbarrow)

12.06.2011

Tired & Busy.

November was a really busy month for me and December is shaping up to be even busier! Between visiting with dear friends, weekend trips & Christmas parties, I'll barely have time to breath. You'd think with all of the running around, parties and visiting I'm doing I would feel all festive & Christmassy. But I don't. I'm just tired.

And my tired is a different form of tired. It's not depression tired; I'm all too familiar with that. And it's not just plain old tired either. I'm the kind of tired where I struggle to get out of bed in the morning and then I feel like I'm dragging all day long, until I finally crash in my bed at night...exhausted. I'm beginning to think something may be off with me medically speaking. I won't list all of the other odd symptoms, but I'm thinking it's either a thyroid problem or a vitamin deficiency. Anyway I'm off to the doctor to get checked out tomorrow. I'm too tired to write or think... so TTFN!


©Flippa Bird
Photo taken on my cell
(Visiting My 2 Oldest & Dearest Best Friends In The World)