The first few years of my life began on a farm. There are many lessons learned on a farm but the biggest lesson I remember is that everything is fresh and if things don’t stay that way the rest of your life, you may find yourself yearning and searching for those freshly harvested foods. We had fresh eggs from the many chickens housed within the chicken coop a few feet from the farmhouse. We had rows and rows of fresh vegetables and fruit to eat all year long. Yes, I AM SPOILED! We had an abundance of fresh grown foods. Not only did we have all that but Mom would cook homemade bread and treats and my Dad would make homemade jelly and so we also had freshly made food. We lived off the land according to my five year old mind and we were HAPPY
We moved from the farm to a suburb in Buffalo, New York when I was five and that was a shock to me. No more fresh fruits and vegetables except in the small part of the year called Spring and Summer. It was a barren two and a half years from what I remember and I learned to wish for the longer days of Spring when the planting would begin. I don’t remember much except the under abundance of fruits and vegetables and Dad trying to make tomato soup for us while Mom was in the hospital…..it involved a blender and real tomatoes….oh dear.
Then we moved to New Orleans and, honestly, I thought we had moved to heaven. We had a huge backyard with half of it filled with rows of fresh vegetables and rows of corn stalks. I can remember the piping hot corn that would grace our table after leaving the pot of boiling water on the stove. We were back to living off the land. And, then, we took monthly trips to the French Quarter and I could see rows and rows of fresh fruit and vegetables. The colors of the displays splashed the old buildings they were housed in and brought them to life.
Yes, I am spoiled. I had all these beautiful colors and tastes for most of my childhood and on into adulthood. And, then it happened. I fell in love and got married and a year later we moved far away from my family. I spent years trying to duplicate the vegetables and fruits that were served everyday when I was growing up. I searched for fruit and vegetable stands on the side of the road and I searched for Farmer’s Markets. I had my kids and my husband searching when we would take road trips. I was longing for what once was, for a sweet tasting tomato, a piece of corn that had that fresh grown taste, and, chard and beet greens, and even vegetables like kohlrabi and fried turnips. All were plentiful in the gardens of my childhood and I wanted them back.
I still go to the grocery store and my favorite section is the vegetable and fruit section – maybe it’s the colors or maybe its the hope that one day, I will find the sweetest tomato or the batch of chard that tastes just like my Dad’s would taste, or corn that could grace my table and taste as good as the corn of my childhood. I know in my heart it won’t happen….not even if I go to a Farmer’s Market to get the fruit and vegetables. But I still continue to hope. For now, I will treasure my memories and know that I was lucky enough to have been a SPOILED CHILD.
July 3, 2015
Live your life to the fullest….we hear these words often but what do they really mean. Who has the definition for the fullest?
My son tonight said to me that he and a friend had been talking about how they have been taught that relaxing is a bad thing. Their school teaches them that they must be busy doing something at all times in order to be successful. So, that when they do relax, they feel guilty about it because they are not being successful. I admitted to him that I think we, as parents, have bought into it too. We must always be doing something productive. Our quite voice tells us it is not okay to just sit and watch t.v. sometimes at night and so we do something else while watching t.v. We check our phones to see our messages, our emails, and even the news.
We have been programmed to believe that if we are not busy then we must be failing because people who are successful in life are productive all the time. This is a fallacy.
My husband and I raised our children to create a balance in their lives. We taught them to not be single-minded but to have an appreciation of many things and to have many avenues that would provide them a sense of satisfaction, happiness, and contentment. We taught them to build relationships with others. We taught them how to be altruistic, to be lifelong learners and to use the gifts that they had been given in life. We gave them a love of nature, a love of adventure, and instilled in them a confidence that they were on the right path.
So, when I heard him say this, I was deeply saddened because the outside forces in the world smash away the armor we built. So that when my son takes a break and relaxes he gets nervous that he isn’t going to reach his goals because he took some time to enjoy and appreciate his life…..or, as my sister says, to just BE.
When we take that time to just be, we take the fear of missing out (FOMO), out of the equation, and we discover that we are in control and in charge of ourselves to the fullest when we learn that it is okay to just relax and be in the moment and it is okay to do this on a daily basis.
So, back to my question of: Who really has the definition for the word fullest? It is each of us. We get to decide what that definition is and for my family and I, we think that is to create a balance and enjoy all things that we like and to take the FOMO out of the equation and essentially, completely out of our lives because we are in control of each of our lives. And, that is what my son taught me tonight. It really is OKAY to just BE STILL.
July 12, 2015
Adulthood: Life really can change in the blink of an eye. A child becomes an adult and you realize they no longer need you. They can handle a lot of it on their own. Yes, sometimes they forget things, but for the most part, they are on their own. And, it can happen so quickly. This is when you look at your life and questions run through your head: When did this happen? How did I not see this coming? When did my job end? And, what will I do now? You can also experience a loneliness that comes from not having children around you, wanting your constant attention, and needing you, and wondering where you are because they have lives of their own. Your job can stop in an instant. This can hit you extra hard when it occurs if the child is your baby of the family.
I had really been looking forward to this time when my kids were ‘grown’ but I didn’t think about the other side of it. How it would hit so quickly and so abruptly.
So, where do we go from here? That’s the big question. Do we wallow in the: could haves? Do we second guess and question ourselves on did we do everything possible to raise our children right? That is exactly what I did. I couldn’t sleep last night and woke up sad this morning and have been sick to my stomach for days as I have realized that I am no longer in control. And, then, I came to the realization that I never was. I was only the teacher, the guidance counselor, the listening ear, the nurse, the chauffer, the manager, and the spiritual advisor and the confidante. My children are both very independent, strong leaders, and creative thinkers but they have another side of them, they both have sensitive, caring, loving hearts. My job as their Mother was to nurture all those qualities in them so that they could become strong adults.
While my job of raising them may have come to an end, my job and role as their example will never come to an end. I think back on my many memories of my parents. My memories exist because the action in the memory was something I admired or something my character valued. Those memories have made me who I am. They have helped to mold my children into who they are. And, the memories that we have made for our children also make them who they are. They have embraced their childhood and absorbed its many lessons and have now moved on to adulthood carrying with them all that they have learned and experienced.
Yes, life really does change in the blink of an eye. But it is the many experiences that we have built for our children that will go with them in the good times and, when they are challenged; when they are hurt, when they struggle with the adversities of the world and it will be those same experiences that will carry them through each and every time their lives change “in the blink of an eye”.
I hope they cherish life as much as I have.