Becoming the Crone

October 28, 2017

Today was my youngest granddaughter’s 4th birthday. Like most very little girls, her ambition this year is to be a fairy princess. And like most grandparents, we were happy to help her achieve that ambition complete with dress, gloves and rhinestone tiara. And being a dabbler in jewelry making, I created the perfect princess bracelet.

As I was stringing beads for this year’s model, it occurred to me that my own particular fairy princess was an amalgamation of all the strong, creative, rebellious and flawed women who preceded her. Each one’s victories and joys, losses and tragedies has gone to make this little  princess who will equally love my rose quartz bracelet and the “Day of the Dead” play electric guitar another of her iconoclastic grandmothers will give her.

So in honor of all those who went before me and all those who will come after me, I started a new tradition. The mother of the fairy princess and all three grandmothers (hey, it is a blended family!) will wear their own adult styled rose quartz princess bracelets.

 

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More from my Redneck Grandma

October 17, 2017

“You’d complain if they hung you with a new rope.” ……Grandma to anyone who whined in her presence.

I always thought this was just another of Gran’s idiosyncratic phrases. But come to find out, it has a historical basis.

Back in the 18th and early 19th centuries in England, the punishment for theft was death by hanging. There were several cases where an ill-fated miscreant was indeed hung with a new rope. The newer the rope, the more spring it had. The more spring the rope had, the greater the chance the lucky miscreant’s feet would hit the ground and he would survive being hung.  Having once been hung, the authorities would have to release the condemned man as the sentence had been carried out.

Of course, the toffs soon added the words  “hung until you are dead” to the sentencing proclamation, ending the advantage of being hung with a new rope. But the phrase survived in the form of several generations of Grandmas warning their offsprings not to complain at life’s misfortunes.

 

What My Redneck Grandma Said

October 14, 2017

“Politicians are like dogs. They all love their own stink.”

The Incredible Lightness of Being

October 13, 2017

Let’s face it….we live in a goal oriented society. Think about it. What is the standard question at a job interview? Where do you see yourself in 5 years. What is the title of the best selling self help book of the last decade? The Purpose Driven Life. Even in our  leisure time we set goals. Of course you have a bucket list. Don’t we all?

I recently retired. For the first time in my adult life, my time was my own. No place I had to be. No challenges to meet. No achievements to gain. Liberating. right?

Not so much. I began to obsess about what I should be doing. I should be doing volunteer work. I should sign up for that Tai Chi class. I should create a beautiful garden. I should be productive. As the shoulds piled up, the guilt piled up exponentially. Retirement wasn’t as fun as I had imagined.

Then it hit me. I was asking the wrong question. Instead of asking what should I do, I needed to ask, what do I want to do and what don’t I want to do? Guess what….I don’t want to work, even as a volunteer. I don’t want to find a group of lady friends to have lunch with. I don’t want to learn a new skill. I don’t want to achieve anything.

I want to sip tea and read all day. I want to make necklaces and give them away to perfect strangers. I want to take the occasional walk alone. I want quiet and serenity and solitude. I want to give my introverted soul what it was denied all those hectic years in the corporate world.

So be warned……if some lady offers you a free necklace, she’s not crazy or trying to run a scam. She is just pursuing her own version of bliss.

My Grief Anthem

October 12, 2017

My 40 year old son died. He left 5 children, his sisters and me. I tell you this not to gain sympathy or (God forbid) your pity but because it has become a fact of life for me. I will always be the mother of a dead son. For the rest of my life, I will deal with that reality. I can never forget it, deny it or wish it out of existence.

I have made the conscious decision I will not become my grief. I may cry and rage and sometimes be filled with unutterable sadness. I recognize there will always be a hole in my life that was filled by my handsome son.

However, I will not allow those feelings to dominate my life. I will take joy in his children and how much his sons resemble him. I will be grateful for the time I was given with him. I will be proud of the man he became. I will remember the strangers at his funeral (so many) who stopped to tell me how he had somehow helped them. I will treasure my children who are still here and welcome the chance to still nurture them. I will live my life to the fullest in honor of his memory.

I am the mother of a dead son. Consolation is sometimes hard to find. But I refuse to become my grief.

Hello world!

July 27, 2006

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