- The moments after you wake up and nothing hurts, and suddenly you think you might be dead.
- You can’t argue with someone who doesn’t have on his hear aids.
- Telling your grandchildren how things used to work in your world compared to their world leaves them thinking you are either a liar, or crazy.
- Food isn’t nearly as interesting as it used to be, especially if you have to do the cooking.
- Getting to the the bathroom and back in the middle of the night without hurting yourself, tripping on a pet or shoes, or stubbing your toe on the bed frame is considered a victory.
- Taking a shower without someone else in the house to help if you fall is a daring thing.
- Running is not an option. Don’t care how big and scary it is. Not happening.
- No one cares if you suck in your stomach, because people actually look at your face to see if you can their read lips.
- You can say anything you want, no one dares take on the ticked off old lady.
- If you have your walker with you, people let you go to the front of the line. Really. They do.
- You can tell other people’s bratty kids to stop behaving like a brat. It scares the crap out of the kids, and embarrasses the parents.
- When someone young complains about how hard life is, you can mock them by telling them, “Child, you have NO idea how hard life can really be.”
- Going out means going to the grocery or out to eat so you don’t starve. Otherwise, why bother.
- Music from your era is now elevator music. Scary to hear “Taking Care of Business” played with violins and muted horns. Very scary.
- It is easier to relate to old people. I mean really old people, like your parents old.
- It is harder to relate to your grandchildren or great grandchildren because, well, they just don’t get interpersonal relationships. They have techno friends instead.
- Language doesn’t mean what it used to mean. Slang has evolved into everyday speech, and proper English has disappeared in conversations.
- Try explaining how short cut words and TEXT speech are impossible to say out loud, do it often enough that it drives kids nuts. R U does not spell ARE YOU. Really, it doesn’t.
- It no longer matters if you wear pajamas all day long. It is just practice for the day you are in a nursing home or left at the funny farm.
- Being grumpy and ticked off is the best way to get your daily aerobic exercise for your heart. Less sweaty too.
Shhh, she’s sleeping. Out cold! Finally! We creep out of the bedroom, softly closing the door and tip toe through the house finding all the hidden Santa gifts to put under the tree. It is an annual event in our home. We want to keep the magic of Christmas in the lives of our children, grandchildren, and in this, our great granddaughter for as long as we can.
Oh, not just the fun side of Christmas with Santa and bells and whistles, but the sacred side of Christmas needs to be kept alive as well. The story of the birth of the Christ child, for whom Christmas is named. The traditions of placing the baby in the manger carefully in each of the crèches we put up around the house, the simple pleasure of music written and performed for this time of year, and the joy of family around us are all part of the magic.
This year she is three, almost four, and Christmas magic is perfect in her eyes. She is amazed by the beautiful tree, and can’t wait to open her gifts that she has been eying under the tree for the past few weeks. She loved packing the gift baskets of home made goodies for our neighbors, because Christmas is also about giving. Watching her believe in the magic reinforces our deep belief in the miracle of the Christ child and all he represents to Christians over the world.
Once the Santa gifts are in place, Papa eats the cookies, and Nana eats the carrot sticks, as we sit in the dark room enjoying the lights from the tree and soft music. I slip into nostalgia, missing my boys being young and too excited to sleep. I miss those days as a young mother, life was ahead of us, and our sons were our future to carry on our traditions. Now here we are, great grandparents, watching our traditions play out to yet another generation of little ones. It is no wonder Christmas music can refuse me to a teary mess.
I can hardly wait for Christmas morning. Hot chocolate and muffins for breakfast, opening gifts, followed by a feast made in my kitchen and served at our table. Some are watching from above, some are far away, but in my heart I know they are thinking of home and the love that shines here for them. I am blessed. We are blessed. We may be old, with most of our lives behind us, but we see the future in the shining eyes of a three year old who believes, deep in her little soul, in the Magic of Christmas.
I saw a meme on Facebook today that left me speechless, for all of four seconds, then I was totally ticked off. I do NOT like it when people try to manipulate me in any way, and this was exactly what the meme was trying to do.
Basically, it calls people on the carpet for buying nice gifts for their children and labeling them from Santa Claus. Because, after all, some other child might not get anything as nice as a laptop or phone, they may only get gloves and a scarf or something less expensive from the man in red. Therefore, those of us who give our kids something from ‘Santa’ that is more expensive will cause hurt feelings if they share what they got with those less fortunate. In other words, we have to limit what we spend on our kids, or we are guilty of flaunting our wealth, and that makes us evil people.
Quite frankly, that is a load of bull$*(*#!!! If you have kids young enough to believe in Santa, they won’t give a flip how expensive the gift is, because it will be from Santa! That is all that matters. If they are old enough to know the cruel truth of who bought them the gift, then they won’t be upset because it will be from you no matter what name is on the package. Sometimes the logic of the knee jerk emotional response people baffles me. No, the logic of such people always baffles me.
Why would it be my responsibility how your child reacts to what my child receives for Christmas or any other time a gift is offered? I don’t expect you to buy your children’s gifts based on my income or what my child might want. It is utterly ludicrous to suppose that anyone should be involved in gift giving between myself, my children or grandchildren but us.
Everyone knows Christmas comes around every December 25th. Everyone knows that we give gifts to one another in remembrance of the gift we received from God in the Savior, and in the gifts the Magi gave to the Christ child. We know it is coming all year long. I do not understand why everyone waits until the last possible minute to recognize the expense, whether in dollars or time and effort, that will be added to the budget. So let me explain how we do things.
In January, I take my empty Christmas money jar, and start putting back as much as I can from my budget. Some months it is more, some less. I have a goal of one hundred dollars per child or grandchild, a bit less for the babies as they are happy with wrapping paper and boxes until about the age if two. I also factor in things like baking goods, baskets, and wrapping paper to the fund. As I save each month, I start a file from each kid or grandchild about the things that they are interested or would like to have. It gives me a bare bones budget from which to work.
Around the end of October, I start shopping in earnest. I look for sales, coupons, two for one sales, any way to save money and still buy them what they want. It doesn’t matter if it comes from Santa or me, each gift is carefully chosen and paid for with CASH. No debt here, thank you very much. By Christmas, I have spent my savings, prepared goodie baskets for my friends and neighbors, wrapped all the gifts, and have everything set for a family dinner.
Even on a limited income, this can work as long as you are diligent about saving and keeping the funds for Christmas. The trick is to be determined not to waste the funds on other things. If it is in the Christmas jar, nothing short of a life and death situation will get it out of the jar before Christmas. My point is, that anyone can give their children nice things, if they want to work hard enough for it.
Sure I will go without other things, and maybe I won’t have that extra whatever I wanted, but at the end of the day, did I really need it? How many pairs of shoes, or handbags, or goodies does one need to be healthy? Not too many. I would rather see my granddaughter’s face light up with joy at her “Santa” present, or have a heart felt hug from my son for the item he has wanted for a long time, but didn’t want to spend money on with a family to feed.
So, back to the meme, get over it people. No one is responsible for your family but you. My family comes first, and what I have left over, I share willingly and for as far as I can stretch it. Maybe it will only be a basket of Christmas cookies and muffins, but it is given with love and appreciation to my friends and family.
Don’t try to manipulate or guilt people into shame for doing well, working hard, and giving generously, be it from “Santa” or from Nana and Papa. It makes you look inept, immature, and impractical. It used to be people stood up for themselves, they didn’t expect everyone else to feel sorry for them and make life easy. Be honest with your children. They aren’t stupid, they know if you are wealthy or if you are barely making it. So, work hard, save hard, give with love, and teach your children to do the same.
Today I turned 62 years old. I think that qualifies me as older than dirt. I know it qualifies me as a senior citizen. What I want to know is how it happened so darned fast. Just a few weeks ago, I swear I was trying to figure out the whole concept of being an adult.
When I turned nine, I remember it well, because my parents gave me a copy of Huckleberry Finn. The first real book I remember ever getting. I still have it. And I took time to re-read it not too long ago. When I turned 17, I was a married woman of a whole three months. I remember thinking I had it all, and knew it all, and wasn’t afraid to face everything life would throw at me. I was a grown woman, and by heaven I knew it all. Arrogance knows no bounds to a 17 year old.
When I turned 20, I had a three month old son, he was taking me down a peg or two in arrogance, and teaching me that being a grown woman was harder than it looked. Being a mother certainly was harder. Little did I know that by the time I turned 22, I would have a second baby boy and life was set on fast forward for the next twenty years or so.
I don’t remember many spectacular birthdays. They seem to blend together. However, I remember when I turned 30, my two best friends kidnapped me, drove me all over Harrison, Arkansas for a few hours, then took me out to eat at a steak place. When I walked in, almost the entire church ward, most of my Boy Scout Leader friends, and many others turned up for a surprise party. I was totally shocked. Not a clue slipped out from anyone. Back then, there were no cell phones, so no one was able to tip me about the kidnapping or anything. It was great! I was fully embarrassed, but it was the slickest thing anyone has ever pulled on me. Candy, and Edie Mae , I have not forgotten, and I will get even one day.
The best gifts my husband gave to me are: The Elton John Concert in Hong Kong, The Michael Buble concert in Memphis, and my beautiful blue Honda Del Sol sports car, I call Posh. Treasured memories, and one of the most fun toys I have EVER had.
Once our boys moved out and on with their lives, and we got custody of Crystal, we decided to move to Europe, and then around the world, using employment opportunities to set off on our next adventure. When it was time to move on to the next new home, it was always on my birthday. We were either moving into a place, or packing to move out of a place – or in accommodations between places. Since it was either a sad time, or an exciting time, there was never time to pay much attention to celebration. One exception, however, was when we were living in Hong Kong. The other moms with children Crystal’s age who attended the same international school as Crystal took me to lunch. It was a fabulous time, and each gift is still something I use today, or wear today. They are part of my treasure horde. Of course, tea in the plaza after school every day was special too. Sigh, I miss you all.
I guess I was busy having a life, and simply didn’t notice time sneaking past at such a rapid rate. Technology has overtaken the simple pleasures, and I miss that. I miss being the mom of growing boys (before teenage hell set in). I miss the summers at the swimming hole with Edie Mae and her girls, and Candy and her boys along with me and my kids. I miss the Plaza with the ladies there and their kids, I miss the women in London and Nottingham, and I miss the dear friends in New Zealand, especially Leah who was more than willing to give me a kick in the attitude when I needed one most. I miss being young and strong physically even if I am old and stronger emotionally and have more wisdom.
The older I get, the less it matters if we celebrate my birthday or not. It is a day I do a lot of reflection on my life. Since it is so close to Christmas, and the anniversary of my baptismal date this month, there always seems to be more important things to focus on. Especially, for me, spiritual matters.
But I still don’t understand how I got from 22 to 62 so darned fast! The upside, is now I have grandchildren, and great grandchildren to love and spoil. I have a husband of 45 years, who has grown up and old with me. And who can still carry on a conversation and debate over all sorts of interesting topics with me, Who still, after all this time, wants to have adventures with me. So, I guess the real trade off of getting old, is that I have had a great life, get to do so much more, and know that life is still full of adventures.
I am one of the odd ducks that happens to be fully ambidextrous and, according to all the tests I took in college, I have a brain that is exactly balanced between the right and left sides of the brain. What this means, actually, is I spend more time figuring out which hand to use to do what task, and I argue with myself on almost every single issue.
Emotions in public embarrass me, so that makes logic a good choice, except emotional people think I am cold and unfeeling because I give a logical response. If others get emotional, with good reason, I have empathy for them, but I probably won’t join them in a crying jag, hysteria, or temper tantrum. On the other hand, or side, I get hurt and angry, and I am capable of having a tantrum, I just usually turn to sarcasm, facts, and downright snobby rhetoric to let others know how upset I am.
The biggest battle I face with myself, is admitting that I am such a softie when it comes to anything to do with children, my family, my country, my religion. I can be brought to tears just hearing the National Anthem, and nothing gets to me like seeing a flag flying against the sky. Only years of self control has kept me from breaking out singing God Bless America at a flag raising. See, Embarrassing.
I love my family. I have the most wonderful children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and all the steps and add on family that comes with them. I have a husband of 45 years who has grown old with me that I love in more ways than I can say. I am deeply proud of all of them, even the one that has gone on before us brings me pride and joy. I admit, blushing, that when I see them do something that brings them joy, I have to fight tearing up. After all, they don’t want to see an old, weepy lady sobbing all over them. So I have learned to suck up the tears and smile with pride, and enjoy their achievements. Holding a grandchild for the first time is magical, sacred, and fulfilling in a way only a parent can understand. It is a continuation of all that we are. But, I never cry, nor do I laugh out loud, the logic side keeps me under control enough to be excited, but calm. None of that means I don’t feel emotion, I am just more comfortable with keeping it close and personal.
Music brings me to deep emotions, especially music that speaks to my religious being. My country and all that it was founded on is as much a part of me as my name. That patriotic belief comes from my ancestors who both founded the United States, and those that were here to meet the ships as they came in.
So, as I sit here with my fifty-fifty brain, we are once again embarking on Christmas and all it means to me. I secretly LOVE Christmas. I start planning gifts and decorations in mid-summer, and can hardly wait until Thanksgiving is over to begin my Christmas plans. I love the bright lights, glittery decorations, brightly wrapped packages, Christmas trees, baking, and all that goes into it the family traditions that our melded family celebrates. It makes me HAPPY!
On the emotional side, I love the deeply religious meaning of this time of year. The sacred music, the beautiful story of the birth of Christ, the amazing story of Mary, mother of the Savior, and the abiding love of Joseph for both of them makes me feel filled with love and understanding for all other mothers and fathers. Though our struggles may be different, we, as parents, have same love for our children.
This is the one time of the year I tell my logical side to zip it and take a holiday. Oh, I allow it control when it comes to things like planning how much I need of what to get things done, and I allow it free reign with finding the best deals for gifts, but otherwise, it stays out of things. This is the time of year I can cry, laugh, and rejoice without feeling embarrassed, or out of control.
Yep, being one of those few that struggle with an ambidextrous brain and body, is not easy. But come Christmas time, only one side is in control. God Bless You One and All, may your dreams come true, and may you rejoice in all the love of Christmas and all it means.