Archive for June, 2013


Eat More Cake!

Eat More Cake!.

It’s raining out and Hoover, (the cat) made the executive decision this morning to wake me at 5:30 am on my birthday to be fed and then to promptly dismiss me as he lies stretched out at the end of the bed.  Unable to recapture any amount of sleep, I tried to remember 56 years of birthdays…my version of counting sheep and here’s what I came up with.

 

            My earliest recollection is a memory of little red-headed Paul, standing on the front porch steps of our house in South Portland, my Mom leaning down, party invitation in her outstretched hand and asking him if he was sure he wanted to attend a birthday party with all girls.  Shaking his head up and down vigorously, he arrived with the best present a little girl would want – a container of pollywogs.  I thought they were grand and bonded my young heart to him for life.  Then there was the year my parents bought me my first adult Schwinn bike and hid it under a sheet in the garage.  Sending me on a mysterious mission to the garage, I searched for a surprise but was stumped until my younger sister, even more excited than my parents, blurted out to look under the sheet in the corner.  I still have a photo of my virgin ride, wobbly at best, up and down the driveway while my family watched, pleased as punch with this shiny, red, three-speed beauty.  Paul with the red hair is in the picture, hands on his hips and a grown up serious expression on his face, patiently giving me pointers on how to balance this wonderful gift, and not to crash.

 

            There were lots of birthdays as a child I would secretly cross my fingers in hopes my older brother wouldn’t choose “my day” to get into trouble.  On more than one occasion however, my parent’s focus would shift to him…. one year in particular I remember a Cadillac coming to a stop in front of the house, a man moving to his trunk where he extracted my brother’s mangled bike and my brother opening the passenger side door and stepping out rather sheepishly.  He had careened down a hill, no feet and no hands (a thrilling experience by the way) and crashed into the man’s open car door.  My brother had a knack for trouble.

 

            When I turned 25, a young male friend reminded me that I was a quarter of a century old.  I was devastated, as I just couldn’t imagine being THAT and an old maid by my calculations.  Before the day was over, however, I received four deliveries of roses from friends, and little did I know I was soon to fall in love with a boy, now man, who kissed me in college and I swore to my roommate that I would never wash my face again.  We were married the following year.

 

            My sons were famous for Pepperidge Farm cakes turned into instant birthday cakes, my first 6th grade class threw me an “Over the Hill” party on my 50th complete with marbles (in case I lose my own!) and the best of times have become swirled with the darkest of times as I sit here searching my newly 56th year old memory.  My Mom calls me every year at the hour I entered the world, and retells me the story of the day I was born.  It has become our tradition and I find myself waiting for the phone to ring with just as much excitement year after year.  It’s a tradition that I now extend to my own grown sons.

 

            I’m pretty happy about turning a year older, believe it or not, because it provides me with an opportunity to reinvent myself all over again.  I get to pack away in my mind all the things I tried in the last year that didn’t work so well, and look ahead knowing that the path I choose to travel can be spectacular, all by my own design in the coming year.  That’s pretty magical all in itself, if you think about it.  Naturally, I wish I could find a magic cream to remove any wrinkles from growing, have plastic surgery to remove my double chin and perhaps a bit of liposuction and breast implants.  I also wish I could eat birthday cake without wondering where it will land on my hips and could I please have a handsome, muscular man…shirtless of course, appear at my front door to sing me Happy Birthday?  I’d like the extra money in my budget for a convertible, maybe even a motorcycle, and wouldn’t it be nice if I could find a cottage on a lake to live!  I want to wear a Danskin and stilettos and I want disco to come back.   I want to have wild, unbridled, 18 year old sex again too if I get to wish.

 

            That’s the best part of birthdays, no matter what the number is, and if you need a fire extinguisher for all the candles on the now sheet cake you need to FIT all the candles is to wish and to dream while all the while having people wonder what it is you are thinking of!  Happy June 8th!!!

Quiet Heart

Quiet Heart.

School will end in seven days; a fast-paced, sweaty, and exhilarating sense of twelve weeks of possibilities.  Time to finish all the paperwork, strip the walls, cover the books, and wave goodbye to all the students who anxiously wait on the front lawn of the school for their last bus ride home.  The teachers watch the last of the yellow busses wind their way up the school’s driveway and silently exhale in relief for they, like the children, are ready for a much needed break.

It’s already been in the 90’s and the air conditioner has brought some respite, although I would rather be outside….toes buried in beach sand, feeling the coolness of the water on my cheeks.  I have much work yet to do before I rest and like a child, I try to rationalize why I need to be doing other “things” besides studying.  I allow my petulant inner child sway me for a day until the volumes of journal articles and my keyboard draw me back, into the world of academics.  

As the long, steamy days of a Maine summer approach, I find myself ready to reinvent myself, shedding baggage from a long winter and school year while making a list, burrs of sorts, that need this time to be laid to rest, acknowledged, and stored away where they no longer hold me in such an agonizing grip.  

I suffer from depression and anxiety; sometimes it feels as though I need a new label like bipolar II and a healthy dose of lithium.  Leanne Rimes writes in this week’s issue of People Magazine how, during her divorce, she suffered the same as I have….the difference being she checked herself into a hospital and underwent intensive therapy.  I thought, ” how lucky she was” for my world collapsed and then turned its back on me.  Little did “they” realize what a horrible feeling it is….laying in a dark room for days, listless, praying to die.  Dragging an unwilling body and mind to move forward…even if it was in the wrong direction.  I have a recurring dream that I am talking, but no-one listens.  Sometimes I dream that I am running, always running, and how glorious it feels.  Then there are the dreams where everyone is happy, laughter is everywhere, and I wake feeling so happy to be loved…until I realize its just another dream.

No one really wants to know about this part of me (except my therapist of course) but I think talking about it takes the sting out of it, the shame in that I’m not perfect or superwoman or as strong as you think.  Here however, on this quiet Sunday morning watching the impatiens arch their backs towards the sun, I remember that every day is a new beginning and just how much that single thought was a focal point to how I created my place in the world.  I am lucky however, or blessed, or even humbled at the strength of love and its bond; my sons kept me alive even though they were unaware of just how dark my heart was behind my eyes. They made me laugh when I didn’t want to, teased and tickled me when I tried to escape them, and reminded me on a constant basis that I was here for a reason, and for that  and so many other moments we have since shared, my glass is half full most days now.

I deactivated my FB account for the summer; it’s too addictive to waste time reading so many posts daily when I could be reading a novel just-for-fun.  I will probably suffer withdrawal symptoms so the book store is at the top of my to do list.  I packed away any credit card that might tempt me to live wildly on a whim…..I do believe if I follow the mantra of want vs. need I have everything I need…(except of course a good book 🙂 ! 

I bought a new beach chair and towel, cleaned every nook of my little home, sorted through research scattered everywhere and bought a new legal pad to take notes.  All that is left is my grade book closing, and updating files.  I think summer is a good time for taking care of oneself and feeling no guilt over simply enjoying each passing day.  

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