Oct 6, 2012

Growing, growing, gone......

It's colder now and was about 30 degrees this morning.  Cold weather always makes me feel like cooking, so I promptly threw a chicken in the crock pot this morning.  I plan to make chicken enchiladas and chicken pot pie with it.  THEN I used the rest of a roast, carrots and potatoes and made the best beef vegetable barley soup I've had in a long time.  THEN I made a pan of butterscotch brownies for the boys to snack along on.

Something about colder weather makes my nesting instinct really kick in.  I may not be able to do anything about the shape that the world at large is in, but in my house I rule the kingdom, and we are prepared.  I find comfort here now, where used to it just seemed like a sort of prison where I was sentenced to life, continually doing the same, monotonous drudgery.  It may be a case of Stockholm Syndrome, but if that's what it takes, well, it is what it is.  I've made it work for me.

I have been noticing that I have been loathe to throw food away for awhile now, but it has become sort of an obsession with me.  If I have leftovers that no one will eat, instead of giving them to the dogs now I throw them in the freezer for another day.  I used to think this was a throw back from having grandparents raised during the depression.  Then I thought it was an influence of growing up during a recession and just having too much common sense to throw away food.  Now I think it's just the proof that I am actually a grown up.  The dogs are not thrilled, but I save quite a bit on my food bills.

The boys came to the (excellent) decision to start taking their lunch to school.  I brought this subject up at the beginning of school but they rejected it.  Out of laziness, I think privately, but that's normal.  After a couple of months of eating whatever it is that they serve there, they changed their minds.  So I went out and bought a bunch of lunch stuff and they dug out the perfectly good lunchboxes that we have had for so long I can't even remember, and we got prepared.  It was much needed proof to me that they are growing up and are starting to be able to make good decisions.  Common sense decisions.  I am so proud of them.

Last week I was talking to the Rock Star and we were discussing different things to eat.  He has been struggling to make do with what he has and only go to the store once a week.  I told him that since he had no one else to eat his food when he was gone, he should try Edy's ice cream.  It's expensive, like everything else, but it's worth it.  He laughed and said that he had spoiled himself so much that he was beginning to wonder if he would ever be able to live with anyone else.  We laughed a lot over that, because I have always said it is hard to live with people.  I don't care how much you love them, they can even be your own kids, but it gets old.  The truth is that you just adjust, and then about the time you get used to it, everything changes.  You get used to a newborn and they turn into an infant.  Then toddlers (Oh, how I remember the little things I used to step on and how bad they hurt!), and eventually surly adolescents.

The surly adolescent stage is the one we are currently in at my house.  Sigh....   It doesn't last tooooo loooooong, but I could really do without it.  Every morning for a week I have gone into the bathroom and asked whose towel is laying on the floor.  Every morning for a week *one* of my boys, the *same one*, has come in and picked up his towel.  Why he cannot do this after he takes a shower is one of the great mysteries of the world.  But that's ok.  I know that I won't have to keep asking too much longer.  Why?  Because he is smart enough to know that it is really beneath him to leave it on the floor every day, and he will eventually realize that I am not going to quit asking.  It will be a matter of saving time to him, and he will be embarrassed that I have to ask every day.  As he should be.  I am probably too easy going, due to the fact that when you have 4 children is is most often easier to just do it yourself.  I am a slow learner, additionally hampered by a control streak what will undoubtedly outlast the days when I will be described accurately as "in my right mind".  I can see it now, I will be the old lady at the nursing home picking up wet towels.  I may do it silently, thinking that I'm just being a good mother.  or, I may do it while harassing the guiley party who left it there, thinking that the only way to be a good mother is to make your kids take responsibility and become independent.  We will just have to see, but I have a feeling some nursing home will save a lot on aides!

The thing is that when you are young, you don't think about the way you are raised or why you do the things you do.  It is only after you get older that you start to remember some of the reasons.  Actually, I think we block things out when we are young, and it takes life knocking the heck out of us (which it will surely do!) to bring us to a state of mind where we can let ourselves remember, and analyse the why's of what we do.  I find that I feel close to my grandmothers and mom when I am cooking, cleaning and making my house a home.  There is something about kneading bread that soothes my soul in a way nothing else does.  Looking around my house after a day of cooking & cleaning and seeing my boys happily munching away on something I have fixed & cheering for their football teams makes me feel successful.  It may not sound like much, but it is all I need to feel like I am a grown up, capable, and equal to the test.

These days won't last forever.  In fact, they will only last about another year.  As I recall, you don't see much of your teenager's once they can drive.  Then they get a job and between school, jobs and social lives (their, not yours), they have basically left home a couple of years before they graduate.  Oh, they stop in occasionally to sleep or change clothes, at least until they have enough of a wardrobe built up in their car....but they won't "be home" the way they used to be.

I take a lot of comfort from the fact that I know, one day, they will look around their environment and think "this place is a wreck!  If my mom saw this........."

Because your mom is always in your mind.  You can't get her out, no matter how you try.  At some point you will not resent this, you will welcome it instead.  That is one of the first signs you are grown up.  At the point where you choose to pick up instead of sit and complain, take heart!  Your mother will, I am here to tell you!!  And I think all of those who came before will, also.  You are on your way to being what you were raised to be.  You are a link in the chain, and if you have any pride at all (and I hope you do) you will be equal to the task.

I miss my mother so terribly, but I know she will never leave me.  it comforts me to know that my children will have these memories of me, wearing an apron, picking up and putting
away without missing a beat in my by-now standard lecture about "how we don't live in a barn (!) and is this what you want people to think you are (?) and how you have to take CARE of the things you HAVE........."
and get up and keep going, doing what comes next, whether they *like* it or not, and know that they are not the only ones.  They will think of me, at their age, and remember what life was like, and (this is my favorite part) they will finally understand that I didn't want to do it either.  But I did it anyway.  For them.  They will know then that they are also a link in the chain.  The goal, of course, is not to be the weakest link.  Do I need to say that?  If so, there it is.

So carry on, friends, getting ready for winter, whatever that may mean to you.  But please know wtha you are not alone.  I found this poem recently on a FB page called Oh So ShAbBy by Debbie Reynolds (not THAT Debbie Reynolds) that I love for her pictures and peaceful attitude.  It really touched me and seemed the perfect thing after the day I have had.


Your Mother is always with you. 
She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the 
street, she's the smell of certain foods you remember,

flowers you pick and perfume that she wore, she's the
cool hand on your brow when you're not feeling well, 
she's your breath in the air on a cold winter's day.
She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep...
the colors of a rainbow, she is Christmas morning.

Your mother lives inside your laughter.

And she's crystallized in every teardrop.
A mother shows every emotion...happiness,
sadness, fear, jealousy, love, hate, anger,
helplessness, excitement, joy, sorrow...and all the 
while, hoping and praying you will only know the good
feelings in life.

She's the place you came from, your first home, and 
she's the map you follow with every stop you take.
She's your first love, your first friend, even your 
first enemy, but nothing on earth can separate you.

Author unknown