Sooner or Later

Sooner or later, I will have to come to terms with the purpose of this blog. For those who have enjoyed the vignettes of parenting, the reflections of my life with my children, I’m glad. That has been the most enjoyable part of this project. I think I was able to impart the fact that I absolutely love being a mom. (Thank heavens for word-processors… I first wrote that in the past tense. I’m still a mom, and I realize that now, but when my kids left for college, I went through some crazy stuff to have the strength and the wisdom to take the d off of the word love in that sentence.)

Sooner or later, I will have to be able to write about the changes that occur when a woman has to “reinvent herself” during that awkward time often referred to in many ways: “the empty nest,” “pre-menopause,” “menopause,” “post-menopause,” “middle-age,” or in my case, all of the above!

When I first started writing, it was simply to serve as “therapy.” …to give me something to do to pass the time, as I had not only suffered an empty nest, but had also lost a job after thirteen years. While I was looking for employment earnestly, I still had a lot of idle time, and that is dangerous for someone like me.

Besides having lost the “identity” as a mother, I had also lost my “identity” as an employee. These were two of the roles that took up most of my waking hours. So when I talk about reinventing myself, it was an overwhelming proposition. While I was still a wife, a daughter, a sister and a friend, these are roles that seemed less dominant at the time, and for reasons that will unfold as I write were neglected and/or excluded in the recent past.

Sooner or later is now. I say that because I feel strong enough to face my past and embrace my present, without fear of my future. Here’s why.

Both of my children have taken beautiful paths. As of today, my daughter has found a new spiritual life that fills her with joy, while at the same time she is pursuing a career that fits her personality… one that will help others along the way. My son is doing the same. He has found the love of his life and is about to embark on a life with her, with such joy and happiness. That is all I ever wanted for them.

I have a renewed relationship with my husband, and after 30 years of marriage, we are in love all over again. I have found employment doing the work I enjoy to benefit the people I love (with the right attitude about it).

And I have begun to find me, and this has been the greatest journey of all. Sooner or later, you’ll get to know me too!

Necessity- the Child of Invention???

We knew our son was smart, and resourceful. He had given us many indications thereof early on. He walked early; he mastered coordination of simple tasks early; he was even speaking in short sentences as early as ten months of age. When I say short sentences, I mean three words. He was not a great orator then, but he did surprise some adults along the way.

Our surprise at his cognitive ability came when he was around fourteen months old, battling a double ear infection that was coupled with a high fever and the gastric symptoms that generally came along with it. He could keep nothing in his stomach. Not even clear fluids. We were instructed, by his pediatrician, (and not his grandmothers), to give him one ounce of Gatorade every hour, until he could keep that down, and then gradually increase the amount.

Our efforts were simply to keep him from getting dehydrated. For him, apparently, it wasn’t enough. We were trying everything we could to divert his attention to other things. Videos, storybooks and games didn’t work. Finally, Daniel decided he wanted to take a shower.

At the precise moment my husband stepped into the lukewarm spray, my son on his shoulder, Daniel turned around, strained his neck toward the water and opened his mouth to drink. He was thirsty. He had a drink. He was satisfied. He kept it down, and he felt better!

What do we know???

My Grandmother’s Hands

My Grandmother! She seemed so unapproachable, yet I had been able to get under her skin just enough to develop a delightful relationship, which I cherished during her life and remember with great fondness since her passing. I remember that she was stand-offish when we tried to show affection, turning her cheek when we tried to zero in with a kiss. My cousin, Sally, had given her the ultimate challenge when she said, “Nanny, if you really loved me, you’d kiss me on the lips.” She would give in, because she loved us— all of us, each one in her own way. There were many sides to her.

The one thing I remember vividly about my grandmother was her hands. She always kept them neatly manicured, yet I used to marvel at her past and wonder about the millions of things those hands had done in her lifetime. Did she scrape her palms when she fell while roller-skating down her street? Had she ever held a butterfly in her palm or had she pointed to the sky to count the stars? What was she thinking when my grandfather slipped a wedding band on her ring finger?

I know she had a love for things that grew, and I can still picture her with dirt under her fingernails, having just repotted a philodendron. Had she ever felt compelled to make a fist and strike someone in anger? I couldn’t imagine that. I recall watching when she would knead yeast dough for her cinnamon bunds, or roll the kifflin cookies in the powdered sugar.

My grandmother loved to work the daily crossword puzzle, and I can see her tapping her pencil in thought. She would very carefully calculate the numbers on her purchase orders for the kitchen at the family’s summer camp. My grandmother did a lot of needlework. One piece hangs in my dining room, a constant reminder of her. Nanny also painted.

I can just imagine her wringing out a cool wash cloth to lay across the fevered brow of any of her three children, eight grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren. I heard stories of how she would carefully tear off just the right amount of toilet paper for everyone during the depression.

Though she tried to appear tough, there was always evident a distinguished tenderness when she would wipe away a tear. I remember the way she held my face in her hands on my wedding day, noting how soft her skin was against mine.

When my children were born, I typically counted their fingers and toes. I watched their chubby little hands grasp a pencil or crayon that was just fat enough to enable them to handle it gracefully. I’ve noticed, as they’ve gotten older, how they have lost their baby fat and have grown slender, right down to their fingers. And I’ve wondered what magnificent things they will do with their hands, and will their grandchildren marvel at them?