Thursday, August 16, 2012

Time Keeps on Slipping...

           My husband and I just took a 17 day vacation to my childhood home in Ohio. While there, Kirk played in a three day member guest golf tournament with his brother Scott, brother-in-law Doug and friend Brian.  
          The first week was a whirlwind of family gatherings, shopping and relaxing by the pool. 
          The second week, my Mom and I attended the Ohio State Fair, went to a concert on the river and watched Fire on the Water.  We went to the small town of Utica for peaches, had dinner and lunch at several new restaurants, visited with every family member in town and attended Sunday church services. 
         It was a lovely, typical vacation spent at the home of my youth.
         Halfway through, things changed.  I was reading the paper and saw that a classmate had died.  I’d met up with her recently at a reunion of sorts and she was smiling and laughing with the rest of us.  Her demise had been quick and heartbreaking. 
         Once again, I was hit with the reality that the time we have on earth is fleeting.  I was happy I had seen her in May, but wondered how someone could be there one minute and gone the next.  As I was dealing with this unexpected loss the news came that we had lost a family member in a very tragic way. 
          Both were around my same age.  Both enjoyed life and were loved by their families.
          So, I question.  Sitting in the chair at the service for my family member, I kept looking around, wondering what we were doing here.  How could we lose someone so young?
          I didn’t question when my 99 year old Grandmother passed.  She’d survived breast cancer and lived with diabetes.  Her last months were spent in a nursing home and she hated lying in a bed hooked up to machines.  I understand that.
          But the shock of these two losses still haunts me. 
          It makes me want to spend a little more time with family.  Doing things I love.  Write a little more.  Garden a little more.  Buy that Jeep I want, no matter how impractical.  Take those trips, walk the dog, hug everyone.  Stop spending my time worrying about things I can’t change and putting time into things I can.  Say yes instead of no.  Yes, I will go to that concert, even though I hate crowds.  Yes, I will meet you for lunch or dinner even though I don’t feel like going out. 
         If I see someone that needs help and think I should step up and help them, instead of waiting for someone else to step up, I will move.  I will be a better me.  Patient with my family and friends and letting all the insignificant disputes fall by the wayside. 
         I want to celebrate this life and hope that someday, someone will say, “She lived a splendid life and had no regrets.”

Sunday, August 12, 2012


A short story I wrote recently...................

The clanging of the gears sliding through the complex contraption screech as they rub metal on metal.  I glance up at the mammoth amusement ride they call The Monster. 
The man running the machine nods in my direction.  “You’re next.  Just stand on the platform and sit back when the seat swings forward.”
My five-year-old daughter stands next to me on her tiptoes, arms reaching towards the sky.  “Momma, I want to go this high.”
We step on the platform as the scoop like chair sweeps us off our feet.  As we sail past, the man reaches over and locks the bar in place as we make the turn heading upward.  My daughter keeps her hands in the air.  I grip tightly to the bar and close my eyes.
The large wheel starts and stops as he locks other riders firmly in place.  Finally, we begin our trip.  Up and up, round and round.  I look out over the festive scene below.  Bright lights, a myriad of brilliant colors dot the scenery.  The aroma of popcorn, mixed with the burnt sugar smell of cotton candy wafts through the air. 
Below us, a man shouts at carnival goers as they walk passed. “Guess your age, guess your weight.”
In the background bells ring, horns blare.
The seat we are riding in stops abruptly at the top.  It swings in the air, finally settling in position high above the chaos below.  My daughter leans forward, causing the bucket to sway.  She wants to experience the view by looking straight down.  I grab the back of her pants as she leans farther forward, the bar digging into her tiny stomach below the Hello Kitty tee. 
“Sit back,” I yell above the machine and the chorus of noise from the carnival below.
My daughter looks back at me over her shoulder, “I’m not scared.”
“It’s dangerous,” I plead. “Please sit back.”
She sits back, smiles up at me and then pats my hand.  “I’m okay, Momma. Don’t be afraid.”

Thirteen years later. 

Two weeks ago, my daughter graduated from high school.  Due to an early admission to college she is packed and ready to drive with her best friend the four hours to her dormitory.
We stand in the drive.  My husband is snapping pictures for her memory book I started when she was born.
I hug her close.
“It’s okay, Mom.  I’m not scared.”
“It’s just dangerous out there.”  I hold her close, imagining that if I don’t let go, she can’t move on.
“I’m not five.”
As I let her go, I want to tell her that to me she will always be that five-year-old, staring down from the top of the Ferris wheel, unafraid.  I want to tell her that her independence and fearlessness scares the hell out of me.  I want her to know that no matter where she goes or what she does, she will always be that small child reaching for the sky and my love and my fears will always be with her.