Apr 24, 2012

Coming Full Circle

This has been sitting in my list waiting to be edited since July 22, 2011.  I only mention this to encourage you fellow procrastinators out there.  You know who you are.

Lately many things have been reminding me how lucky I am to have grown up where and when I did.  If you don't know that you already won a lottery by being born in America, think about that for a minute.  The odds are not great, when you think about how big the world is.  Add in the rate of abortions and the odds get a lot slimmer.  So if you are born in America, as far as I am concerned, you are already extremely lucky.

In addition to being born an American, I was also lucky enough to split my childhood between two small Missouri towns, so everywhere I went, everybody knew me.  Or at least who I belonged to, which will go a long way toward having no need for a formal police force, as any one from a small town will tell you.

Most of my teachers in high school were long time residents and graduates of our small school, so there was not a lot of political correctness observed. Of course these were days before political correctness, the 80's to be exact.  In fact, most of us were related one way or another, and it was not uncommon for one teacher or another to lecture us as if we were their own children.  Don't get me wrong, they were our teachers, and we knew that.  But they were also our neighbors, relatives, and elders, and they took their jobs seriously in that they brought us up and trained us as if they were going to be living beside us for the rest of their lives.  In other words, we were brought up the right way.  We were held accountable.  We learned that to try to pull the wool over their eyes was futile, and that the odds of our parents taking our side against theirs were slim indeed.  Where there are few people, there is often much sense.  I believe this strongly.

So, about 6 years ago I had agreed to meet a girl I grew up with for supper to catch up.  We went up to the local Pub and got seated, as it happens, at a table adjacent to where one of our high school teachers was sitting.  The Pub was owned by her son, who is also a distant cousin to at least me if not my friend also.  You get the picture?  There are no strangers around here, not for long.  I do not want to embarrass her so I will not name her here, as anyone who knows her will not need the name provided.  Not that she should be embarrassed, but she is a lady, and I was raised never to put one in a compromising position. Ahem, (a nod to my former superintendent, who as far as I am concerned pretty much walked on water.)  But I digress...

My friend and I had at this time two daughters about 13 and 14 years old.  We proceed to dive into a discussion of how horrible our girls are behaving, how outrageous their clothes choices,and how they were driving us completely crazy.  Between the laughter and the (mostly) suppressed cussing, were having a really good conversation.  At one point, my friend is trying to find words to express her feelings on the length of a skirt her daughter tried to leave the house in and is speechless.

I look at her and say "I said the words, "Not while I'm still living."... with a wide eyed look that intimated that was the end of the line and I was now my mother  (a notion that had hounded me all my life and I was beginning to make peace with).  I knew she understood all that this implied.  Mainly, we were now old, man.........and at that point our former teacher ( and neighbor, and distant relative) bursts out laughing, wipes her eyes, and says "I'm sorry girls.........I just cannot tell you how good it is to see you two  here and know that you have teenagers now!  It's just so gratifying......."  laughing hysterically.

We looked at each other and told her we were getting to the age where we could understand her perfectly well!  It struck me how refreshing it was to be called a girl again, and I felt such comfort.  I knew that I was not alone.  I also knew that while my only teacher had only sons, she had invested her time for decades trying to prepare us girls for the experiences my friend and I had just been discussing.  Not because the former teacher had to, but because she had known, when we did not, exactly what was going to come to us, regardless of what path we chose in life.  This led to much reminiscing that night.

That teacher was the one who told me and the rest of my class that women were never to wear white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day.  Being the children of the first generation of women to work, that information had gotten lost in the shuffle. In those days I was under the impression that we were not going to have to know how to garden or can food because we were going to work.  We were going to have careers.  If I gave any thought to who would raise our children, I do not remember it.  I probably was still under the impression that the pill worked without fail.

I hope you can see that I have come full circle.  

I can remember that teacher also telling us how important it was for us, especially as women, to take some time at the end of the day to have things just be quiet for awhile.  She said life provided enough background noise and if we went to bed listening to music, we wouldn't get any quiet time and it was essential.  We rolled our eyes at the time.  Now I can only hope she knows how much I appreciate everything she ever told me, if belatedly.  She might be surprised at how much I remember, and I would hope she would also be gratified.  She should be.  She worked for hardly any wages at all and little retirement for no other reason than that she was born to teach.  I would like to thank her and all my teachers for their service.  I hope they know that it was not in vain.l

The older I get, the more I realize how much I have always been surrounded by people who have had my own best interest in mind, even when I didn't.  This was just one teacher, and just one moment, where she got to know for sure that not only were we getting everything we deserved, but we were handling it appropriately.  If I didn't feel like a grown up before then, I certainly did then.

I proudly take my place with the older ladies.  I have finally earned it, and it has been worth it.

Thank you for giving me a good example and insisting that I follow it, even if it meant yelling at or embarrassing me.  The world would have been a much harder teacher, and without you I would have been woefully unprepared.

You taught me not only that I didn't know everything, but to have the respect to listen to another side ( a miracle with teenagers and an example I have struggled to match with raising my own).   This was enough, but to listen to me complain about my own and to be on my side when I came full circle?  There are no words.  There is only me and all the other kids you taught, continuing the lessons we were taught so well.

Apr 22, 2012

I am bad at this....

I have fallen down on the blogging again. Sorry to anyone who cares.  I just seem to feel that I should have something to actually say.  Which is silly.  I almost always have something to say, so here are my thoughts in case anybody cares.

I read a cute little sign today that said Middle Age: when you get your head together and your body starts falling apart.
I think that was a true and brilliant sign.  My body is still holding together but the wrinkles are starting to get me down.  So I started using a rich emollient night cream.  I had noticed no difference in the wrinkles when I had to  suffer through large, below the skin pimples. The kind that hurt all the time and stay forever, are you familiar?  Presumably from all the rich emollients, but there is not way to really pin it down.  
After about a week of having at least one large, below the skin pimple throb in rhythm with my heartbeat every time I so much as leaned over, I gave up on the night cream, questioning God on why I am still plagued by an adolescent's burdens.

This set me up perfectly for the Home Shopping Channel to show me some kind of machine that 'stimulates' your skin and apparently freezes it to make you look about 20 years younger.  OR at least as many years ago as you didn't have wrinkles, I guess it would depend on your age.  The demonstration was both miraculous and mesmerizing.  I can only hope is isn't actually some kind of machine that will shock my muscles into paralysis.  But even if it is and it works like it did on television I think I may still be very very happy.  At least about my appearance.

Anyway, it was a very reasonable price, so I picked up the phone, which if you have ever called them before, you already know that all you have to do after that is keep pressing 1 and presto zingo, your treasure is on it's way to your door.  There is no time for deciding or questioning your impulse.  This is the American way, although you can always get your money back with HSN.  I will not list the hoops you have to jump through, and I hope you never have to find out.  Just don't throw anything away and you will probably be fine.

Now all I have to do is live with the dread of spending even a very reasonable amount of money on something that may or may not work but at the very least may stop me from spending time or energy on the horrible pimples.  I mean really, people, I am fricking 47 now.  Still with the pimples?  I have to wonder if they are not some kind of sign from God that I am doing something wrong.  Or maybe a punishment from something I did when I was 14.  There must be a reason.  If I only knew what it was I would certainly fall into line, but no, I just wander around hoping nobody else can see very well anymore either.  And honestly, considering where I go and the people who are at those places, the odds are VERY GOOD that they can't see anymore either.  I always did hang out with people who were older than me, and all can do is congratulate myself on that.  Good on you, girl!  You have a very good seat to see what's coming attcha and at least some information on what you can possibly do about it!!

This is my comfort.  If it comforts you also, you should stay home all the time and then when you do go out only hang out with people who are older than you are.  We have to take our comforts where we find them, and I am telling you that you could do a lot worse.  You could probably do a lot better too, and if so I only wish you would contact me immediately.

I read a book about a woman the other day who was going through a stage where "she didn't feel like a mother, a writer (her job), or even much of a woman", these days, and I thought "Hmmm.  Other people feel this way too."  At least one other person, in this case Joyce Carol Oates, but it was just so good to know that SOMEBODY else had been where I seem to be at.  For the lady in the book this meant big changes.  I can only hope it portends the same thing for me.  One big help would be for me to be able to drag up any desire to do anything.  Yesterday I didn't really even eat anything.  It's like I'm languishing.  Remember Charlotte's web?  I always thought 'languishing' sounded so relaxing, and I can't say it's not.  It is a little scary to my head, but every other part of me just can't bring themselves to care enough to get up.  Perhaps Geritol is the answer I seek.  Do they still make Geritol? 

Will I care if they don't?  


Until then I will be awaiting the arrival of the miracle machine from HSN ( but not anxiously, because I just don't care that much).  After that I may be euphoric and re-charged (who am I kidding here?  Me or you?), or in a rage to get my money back and kicking myself in the butt for buying into the BS again (much more likely.  If you are a betting person, the odds are good here).

It could go either way, but probably both of these things will happen in exactly this order (truth).

The bright note of the week was when I tried to explain to some college student why it was not a good idea to raise the minimum wage again.  I asked him where he went to school but I should have just asked for his mother's phone number. Because whose fault would that really be?  The school's?  No.  Ultimately it is the parent's responsibility and all this finger pointing going on in this country is about to make me go postal.  Where are all the adults??  You may ask.  I can't help but think we are all wondering.
He backed away quickly in any case.  No doubt on a community organizing event, organized by his college, or "school", on the taxpayer's dime.   Sigh.......

Oh, and I had to laugh the other day at what 'scientists' have now termed "care-giver fatigue".  This is a 'syndrome' in which you become exhausted from caring for children and/or older parents, especially if you have both.  This is what we used to call 'life', of course, but now that they have made it a 'syndrome' no doubt drugs and therapy programs will follow.  Just cannot wait to see what they do with this.  Be warned, and stay sane, ladies and gentleman.  When they come to you, and you know they will, probably catching you by some random question on the questionnaire to get in to see the doctor, be ready to laugh in their faces and shout Poppycock!  Tell them that you are blessed to have so many people who love you and that taking care of them, while, yes, exhausting, is also the reason you are on this earth.  Tell them that to have someone else fulfill these 'obligations' would be a betrayal of the care these same people have given, or will give, to you, and you would not have it any other way.  Then question why they think the Dr., or the government (not much difference anymore) would even get involved in that.  THEN tell them the government may find more success if they stick to the defense of this nation and the highways.  If they can do that right that would be more than enough.  Really.  Be a responsible adult in charge.  It's a new concept I'm trying to get off the ground.  OK, it's an old concept.  Old as the world, actually, but to these kids now it's new again.  Carry the flag, pass the baton, give these kids some kind of security that there are adults in charge.  Please?

Another bright note is that in Missouri we are now into the normal mowing season.  I only mention this because we were forced to start mowing in March this year, as opposed to the more normal May, and this caused quite a lot of consternation on how to mow the grass but keep the flowers yet to bloom undisturbed. 

Of such small problems may all of your lives be made up of, until next time!