Dilemmas

The weekend is past again.  As usual, I had opportunity to see friends and go with him adventuring.  I even had a full day to lie on the porch with occasional thunder rumbling in the distance.  One of my favorite things to do.  I took time to read for pleasure.  Fiction.  I haven’t allowed myself to do that much over the past twenty years or longer.

I had a brief conversation with an acquaintance about allowing one’s self to do things.  She has retired from a long career.  Children long grown and gone.  She said it took her months to get to a point where she felt it was okay to work on projects held dear but long undone.  We were not in a situation to have a real discussion about the topic.  I certainly can identify with the feeling.

I am not retired.  Working full time and keeping up with his lifestyle takes a lot of time and energy.  Though I rested yesterday, I am tired this evening.  I have a general idea of what I should change to feel better.  I know some very specific things I should change to feel better.   But, there is a big difference between knowing what could be done and actually doing it.

I am trying to get my brain to work out a plan.  A plan and a schedule and the corresponding data to eat the right way, drink the right amount of the right things, get the best type of physical activity, follow proper sleep hygiene and so on.  The first thing is to deal with the constant pain and to get the right foods in my lunch kit.  Then, by drinking enough water and less coffee I may be able to get off my duff and get the exercises done to increase my strength and energy.

Adding to the dilemma is the coming autumn.  Why does that cause a dilemma?  The holidays will be upon me too quickly.  The leaves will be falling and I am anxious to keep up with the raking.  The plants will need to come into the house.  And my out of kilter sense of things will tell me, the trees are losing their leaves so I need to lose the clutter.  For me clearing and cleaning needs to be done in the fall.  Before the brightness of holiday lights and the brilliance of elegant glittery ornaments, the ravages of summer heat must be swept out.  Living in the subtropics, the flora and fauna overrun everything in the heat and humidity.

Additionally, I tend to go through waves of collecting and accumulating then purging and tossing.  Inevitably the outgoing wave happens in the time of shedding summer.  (I have a different mood for spring when traditional cleaning happens.  Then, I can’t get enough flowers and sunshine.  Forget cleaning.  The dirt needs turning over in the garden.)   Fall is upon the doorstep now.  On the stage in my mind, I see the props and costumes needing to go.  No longer appealing or needed, things must go to make way for other things.  Pumpkin tea set, then cornucopia baskets, then the traditional antlered floral monstrosity he loves to see on the dining table.

Summer costumes pulled from the closet must be evaluated.  Do I really want to see them next summer?  Do they go into the giveaway bag or into the storage bag?   Winter costumes pulled from the storage bags must be evaluated.  Do I really want to don them for another winter?  Do they go into the closet or into the giveaway bag?

Trivial things in a simple country house.  The life I have created for myself is indeed simple.  The drama in my life stays at work.  Enough intensity and danger there.  When that red gate closes behind my car coming in the drive, I want simple trivial things.  I want to have dilemmas that I can go to sleep on and forget about in the morning light.  I want to have dilemmas such as trying to get the goldfish still long enough for some good photos.  I want to have dilemmas such as wondering what to take to lunch tomorrow.

I have had the dilemma of wondering if I would ever shed tears again.  I had cried them all out losing Mother.  Cancer can be a long drawn out affair.  Knowing the end was coming.  Not knowing when or what it would be like when it happened.  Six years of nearly constant chemo after 2 years of nearly constant radiation.  Daddy needing hospitalization for bipolar manic depression several times through those years.  Raising two children along with it.   All our parents and grandparents have passed as well as other dear family members and friends.  The illnesses and the passing have been mourned.  But, the living our lives without them will never pass.  The dilemma of needing to hold on to hope will never pass.

That is perhaps why the little ones are so terribly important to us.  They are hope.  They are proof of our faith that the tragic dilemmas can be weathered.  They are the dream.  Ultimately, my desire to be filled with enthusiastic energy and to accomplish the tasks here at home are about them.  A place to celebrate. Full of love and magic and hope and laughter and mystery and marvel.

They are the reason I deal with the fish tank.  Maybe they will enjoy the fish.  They are the reason I don’t have certain things in my yard.  Southeast Texas has everything poisonous and venomous and stinging and biting.  I do not want structures that encourage their habitation here.  They are the reason the carpet must be removed from the porch and the floor redone.  The dishes must be sorted and realigned to make room for things children like and can use safely.  The rooms must be arranged for safety and space to play.  The yard must be diligently kept to deter fire ants and stickers.

The list goes on.  The dreams go on.  A new stage must be set.  A stage for hope and laughter.  A stage for silliness and play.  A stage for games and parties.  A stage for magic and love.

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Eight giant goldfish in a huge fish tank illuminate our living room.  Already I am wondering how to decorate them for Halloween……………they are orange…………maybe some black cat silhouettes on the front of the tank to terrorize them????   Bwahaha!   I know one little girl who might laugh at that!  Dilemmas, dilemmas……….how to set that magical stage moment……………

 

 

Marking Time

Traditions seem to have been discarded in today’s world.  Pseudo-rituals have become the fad.  Going to some restaurant or theme park.  Having a gathering of some sort randomly.  I don’t know what all folks are doing these days out there.

Traditions such as large family gatherings of grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and some family friends added in seems to have gone by the wayside.  I wonder why.  It can’t be due to traveling distances.  Highways and vehicles make even long trips easy.  Not to mention air travel availability.  Houses are larger.  Food comes in forms easier to prepare and serve.

Why are we so tired of it all?  Why did we do it to begin with?  Once upon a time, it was high entertainment.  It was a way to connect and socialize and be part of something.  The year was punctuated by feasts and festivals.  Christmas was only one of many events celebrated with gatherings of people for feasts, contests, dramatic productions, pageants, and parades.  Time was marked by holidays and celebrations.

Entertainment is now so overabundant and cheap, we seem to no longer need a way to mark the passing of time.  Social media, satellite television, cellular phones with internet service.  Movies and restaurants by the dozens.  Sporting and music events.   That just touches the surface of options to fill our time and expend our energy.  There is so much to do, we try to do it all.  Suddenly, another year has passed.  Suddenly, we realize it has been more than a decade and a half since we have seen people we grew up loving and spending time with.

One of my intentions for this year  was to have lunch with a friend each month.  I did January’s lunch.  February’s I did not.  March is quickly coming to a close.  However, I will give myself credit for stopping to see a friend.  One of my best friends.  She was at work, so it was just hugs and a quick so great to see you, how are the kids, kind of moment.  But, it was still a precious moment in time.

So, what else do I want?  I am not sure.  I am not sure if trying to reconstruct the old ways is correct or feasible.  But, surely, we could come up with more solid structure for connections than what we have now.  It is really up to me to make the effort to create a space in time for the next generation to have connection with family and close friends.

I had a lovely few hours with my niece and my two wonderful great nieces this past weekend.  Perhaps they are what sent me off on this train of thought.

In this outrageously disconnected world we live in, I want them to have connection.  I want them to feel as though they belong to a larger group of loving individuals.  Bound by love and tradition and ritual.  Secure in the knowledge that there is always a safe place in this world when all seems to be spinning out of control.  Their parents provide this certainly.  But, the extension of the family group makes a difference when the storms come and when the joys come, too.

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More than dishes.

Colored glass shapes for holding celebrations.

Holding foods for celebrations.

Holding memories of celebrations.

Holding hope of future celebrations.

Holding promises of memories yet to be celebrated.