Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Thoughts

Tonight I am fighting the urge to fling myself into the kitchen to attempt to find something non-caloric yet satisfying. And before you start thinking that it doesn't exist...know that it indeed does...it's called WATER. I have been reacquainting myself with this beverage at what can only be described as...a mass delivery level. See, I've been told that one needs 1/2 oz of water for every pound you weigh. If this is true, I need an IV...or another gallon.

And you thought that this was going to be about happy thoughts? Really? With me on a diet? Fat chance (pun intended.)

Let's see if I can do better.

Tonight I requested some ideas for something to discuss here. The first entry was "poodles" followed by "den rearranging," "adult children at home" and "why is life so hard?" I think I have my work cut out for me.

I have to admit...the "poodle" entry made me laugh. There's just something about a dog that hardly sheds, is annoying to a legendary degree, looks like it has a home perm from 1983, and is in total denial about its size relative to its attitude that just cracks me up. Truthfully, it is the 1983 look...because I thought it was hysterical THEN...and I KNOW it is now...on either people OR poodles.

But in case you are not aware, there are yippy little poodles and there are standard poodles. The standard poodle is about the size of a collie and looks like it lapped up whatever substance made Lou Ferrigno turn into the Hulk - minus the green tint, of course. I encountered one at my uncle's chiropractor years ago in California, and photographed it because I was so enamored with it. I have only seen one other standard poodle...probably because it looks like a regular one on steroids and people are partial to the little yippers.

My only real experience with poodles has been with Grandma Emma Pearl's dog Bonnie Blue Butler Morris. (I kid you not.) She came from an entire family of dogs named after characters in "Gone With the Wind." And, unfortunately, where Bonnie Blue fell off of a horse in the movie, Bonnie Blue Butler Morris ran out into the street under the tires of a car.

However, prior to her demise, this little dog could yap with the best of them, and was the typical small poodle with which most of us in the South are familiar. She was apricot in color...not typical white...and she was off the furniture on the furniture off the lap on the bed off the bed on the sofa, all while yipping incessantly. I miss that little dog (not).

At least she kept it interesting.

And that is difficult to do these days, isn't it? We like variety...change...excitement. So, how do we girls of a certain age fill this void in our lives now that we aren't needed to be "Mom" as much anymore? Well, since we aren't trying to figure out how to fix/improve/change/involve/butt-in to our kids' lives, we have to take that energy and apply it somewhere, don't we?

So, we organize things, plant things, give away things, or just shuffle them around. This is a short term solution for the energy that used to be employed in being team mothers, cookie chairmen, sponsors, bench brigades, and helpers. We don't want to lose it...so we use it...by rearranging our lives constantly to suit what is coming down the pike.

For some of us (apparently) this manifests itself in rearranging furniture, redecorating, learning a new skill, or just going what our family deems "nuts." For others of us, it is new hobbies, crafting, or spending hours in front of the computer. Maybe we volunteer...or go back to work...or start focusing on the next generation. But for most of us...something is changing all of the time...and we are going to be in the middle of some project of some kind. It's just the way we are wired.

Truthfully, for me, it has been remarkably difficult to transition from being "Mom" to being "friend Mom" or the person who is supposed to be simultaneously cool, wise, and possessor of an unlimited Visa card. This transition occurs with our children somewhere around the age of 20...when they have been away for a couple of years and now believe that they have the ability to figure out their own schedule, curfew, dating, and major. This is where I go...REALLY? Is that why I'm still paying tuition bills? Car payment?

Hmmm...yeah, I THOUGHT that being in by midnight was what you meant to say, too...

I'm really in the midst of enjoying this metamorphosis with Jill right now. She is capable of dealing with her personal needs, can hold a job, keep up with her money, and even make and go to her own appointments. This is all very good. However, I'm somewhat looking forward to the day when she calls to whine about how little time she has to work out with her new job and all, and how Christmas won't be very big...so she hopes we won't be disappointed. OH, and the kids are driving her crazy...I hope that I live to see it.

Because she will soon find out that life is complicated...and that the little barriers that pop up on us are sometimes annoying...sometimes serious...and sometimes just learning experiences. She will have to learn for herself the lessons of sacrifice, determination, and grace. I have pointed out examples as often as I can...but some things you just don't learn without walking that road or that valley...whatever the case may be.

I don't know why life has to be so hard. I suspect it is because without the difficulties, there would be no appreciation in life. We have the dark times to bring us closer to God and closer to becoming the people we are intended to be. I don't think that He wanted an entire planet filled with self-centered, gratification addicted people to deal with (in spite of the fact that it looks like that is exactly where many people are headed). He wants maturity...love...sacrifice. So, sometimes we have to endure the bitter to get to the sweet. Our hardships also give others an opportunity to get to be His hands and feet...an experience that He uses to teach both the caregiver and the one needing care.

So, it is my fervent belief that it is a good thing that some things just make us smile...like poodles (or losing weight). Other things keep us occupied and productive...like changing our living room around a gazillion times and watching our kids morph into rational and surprisingly wonderful adults. And in spite of our busyness, good times, and seasons of change...we always recognize...that life can also be fragile and not easy...but it is a gift...from Him to us.


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