Changes

“Still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild, a million dead-end streets and
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet

So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test

Ch-ch-changes
(Turn and face the strange)”

~David Bowie

I’m still trying to find my footing as I navigate through the last few months. So many changes including an empty nest and the loss of my dad. I know it sounds dramatic, but without parents, I’m no longer a child. That role was familiar to me and even though it changed over the years as my parents aged, I knew how to be someone’s daughter.

Another role that I’ve defined over the years, through trial an error, patience, anxiety, consistency, heartache, education, love and support from my husband, son and daughter is “mom.” The only thing I’ll ever brag about is how perfect my two children are. I’m pretty confident that I did the best job I could as a mother to my children. I never took this job lightly, always put their needs before mine and never lost sight that I was a major influence on their development.

If anything, I took my “job” too seriously and could have lightened up a little more as my kids were growing up. Thank goodness they have Kevin for a dad! They will sometimes wonder how I can spoil my dogs when I was more strict with them growing up. My response is always that dogs can’t grow up to be bad people. The “heavy lifting” is done as a parent and I can spoil my kids whenever I want now, since they are who they are, and I think they’re pretty awesome.

Since I’m no longer a child, my children are living independently, and I’m looking for a new career path, my day to day life is no longer defined by my role as a child, parent or teacher. I’ve been stripped down to just me; “So I turned myself to face me.” It’s an interesting, yet terrifying time in my life, but I must embrace it. As Bowie says, I must, “Turn and face the change.”

My dad with James and Adella

My dad with James and Adella

 

 

 

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Use the Good Stuff!

I still remember the day my mom took the plastic slip covers off of our gold velour living room furniture. I was mesmerized! The furniture the family of six had been sitting on, eating on and napping on looked brand new. At 12 years old, I found it pretty amazing that we had 10-year-old furniture that looked so pristine. My mom was my hero. My dad was also very creative in maintaining and repairing things rather than discarding them. He had a flip top kitchen garbage can which stopped flipping its top due to the fact that its side plastic tabs broke off. No problem for my dad, he just glued a bolt in each side and voila, good for another 10 years.

I’m not sure if my conservative attitude in buying new things comes from growing up in a family of 6 with parents that grew up in the depression era, pinching pennies as a stay at home mom in a single income family, or a combination of the two, but it’s only been recently that I’ve even noticed how desperate some of my household and personal items look. I don’t remember my parents ever throwing anything away. They reused everything and if it was broken, they repaired it. If it was dingy, my mom bleached it. Our clothes may have been a bit tattered, but they sure were white. My dad still makes “scratch pads” out of cut up recycled paper stapled together.

Now that I’m into my fifties with a new attitude, I’ve decided to treat myself a bit.  I’m using the fancy salon shampoo and conditioner and the “Jennifer Aniston” skin care products.  After taking my dog, Andre to a Veterinary Ophthalmologist for eye surgery (worth every penny), I even decided to spend more than $20.00 for a haircut!

Perhaps it’s  because I’m into my fifties and my new attitude dictates that I satisfy my wants, as well as my needs, or it may even be necessary these days to replace things more often, since they aren’t made like they used to be and they just wear out sooner. Either way, I’m seeing things with a whole new perspective. A few weeks ago, as I was unloading the dishwasher, I looked at my glassware and my dishes as if I was seeing them for the first time. I was horrified! Many of the dishes had chips around the edges and some even had slight cracks. ALL of my glasses were cloudy and spotty. Ugh! Replacing these items was very inexpensive and, oh, so rewarding. My family never complained about the old things we were using, but they sure did notice when they were replaced.

plates1

My new dishes

I still remember what started me on my recent journey of “me.” One day I really took notice of what was in my bra drawer. I think I laughed and cried at the same time. My kids are in their twenties and I had a few bras that looked as if they were older than them. Some of them were so stretched out that they weren’t even serving their purpose, as evidenced by my reflection in my bedroom mirror (and a comment made by a well-meaning friend). A bit embarrassed, I went for a professional bra fitting at a department store and purchased a few well-fitting, beautifully lifting, very expensive brassieres.

The bottom line is that we’re all worth it. We need to take care of ourselves, to ask for what we need and to let people know what’s on our minds and in our hearts. After all, we teach people how to treat us. We need to do for ourselves what we would do for others. My husband and I didn’t think twice about taking care of our dog, Andre, and getting him the proper medical care he needed. He brings us so much joy on a day-to-day basis and is a part of our family. I guess it’s only natural that I begin to reflect on the fact that my life is not infinite. While I’m here, I plan to have silky hair, soft skin and great bras!

dogs

That’s Andre (minus one eye) on the right and Louie on the left