Tag Archives: family

Mid-Life: Crisis or Crux

Once again I find myself addressing the void, the lack of posts, the unspoken pieces.

There has been a lot of activity in the last year or so; so much to excuse the silence.   A lot of accomplishments, a lot of hard work, a lot of necessary doings – and a lot of deep thinking.

We often hear about mid-life crises – those defining moments when a person in their advancing years puts in a hearty attempt to stop the clock, to return to their youth in defiance of the advance.  I’ve witnessed this phenom, multiple times.  I’ve also dabbled with it off and on myself, when surrounded by youthful coworkers.

I’ve decided, however, that this is a thinly woven cover-up for the reality of mid-life.

Reality?  Mid-life is a crisis, a crux – a very poignant step where you find yourself staring at hard truths.

Who am I under all of this detritus?  Now that I’ve forged a path, albeit paved with a mish-mash variety of materials that ramble hither and thither with only the thread of staid peoples flowing constantly through, I stand at this juncture looking around and find…  myself.  That’s not what I went looking for long ago – in fact, I can assure you that I was actually running furiously from self.  Surprise!   And the best part?  I like me.  Who-da-thunk?

What are my priorities?  Having accomplished minimal security, in the paid-off home and accouterments, I am now free to look around and find that family is once again at the top of the list.  Except that I find myself pulled in both directions – toward adult children and their families and toward my remaining parent in his advanced years.  I’ve been in similar circumstance, while raising the children and caring for my handicapped mother.  But I had the understated stake on youth at that point, and was able to keep multiple plates spinning with nary a drop.

Where do we go from here?  Youth is gone.  There’s no recapture of the strength and stamina – and we will simply ignore the elephant in the room, ol’ beauty and the beast who now peers back from the glass.  The priorities are going to take a toll on us, that’s just a fact we’ll have to accept – and we’re not yet in a position to leave the work world, to free up time to better fit all of the pieces.

So my synopsis is that a mid-life crisis is not as we’ve always presumed.  Truly, it’s a point in life where we find ourselves split in three directions, filling three positions, nurturing three households.  We are the crux, the point between the past and the future.

Our goal?  To persevere.  And to do it well enough that our future selves may look back with fond memories, and peer out to see no longer ourselves, but the results of our hard work, our future generations.

 

Adjusting Positively to Change

As time trickles seemingly more and more quickly through the lifeline hourglass, I find myself once again writing a catch-up post.

World events keep me alternately pressing my head, yoga style, into that hole in the ground, then rising, gasping with tear-filled eyes at the horrors I see played out around and to the globe we call home, tinted with the blood-stained, fear-driving scenarios of our future.

I subscribe to positive news feeds, to keep some semblance of balance – yet even these often confound me.  How are many man-made intrusions to Almighty’s design considered to be ‘good’?

With all of this,  I ground myself by thinking of NOW.  The people around me, strangers, next door neighbors, co-workers, friends and family – many of these who I consider the silent majority.  That portion of us who are living our lives to produce as much positive and kindness and simple self-rewards to sustain ourselves as the current convenience/industrial/regulation realm will allow.

Sure, there are outliers – those who spew hatred with their political name-calling, and those who prey on the weak, and those who regularly beat the war drums – and these are the fodder for headlines and blankets that skew the social networks.

But my day-to-day interactions are counter to this ugly racist/divisive/far-left/far-right social overlay that seems to define the majority.

I hope I’m correct – that the silent majority is as I believe, the good still there, the submissive and unspoken until awoken might that is truly indicative of humanity…

And on that note, I find myself awaiting from afar an increase to the positive – a new addition to the family!  A grandson will soon be born, a brother to the beautiful granddaughter who is now 3+.

Attuned to boys, having only raised sons, I am purely excited for this new arrival.  Another smattering of cells that were once part of me is to reside in a tiny new being – a mighty fine piece of new inheritance to survive me.  Praise Almighty!

A granddaughter and a grandson – these two little people are my hope for better, purer things in the future.  These two little beings that I don’t see but a fraction of what time I would prefer to spend with them – these assemblies of perfections and imperfections composed by their parents and all who came before them, these are the best things of life.

This Bubbe will not attend the birth or the first greeting due to a very recent job change, but count on me for a visit next weekend!

The recent job change was a surprise.  I knew I had overdone my time at my current position – but seemed resolved to continue to retirement, assuaging myself with the perks of bonuses and posh office space, flexible work schedules and rare public interactions.

Then I felt pushed too far, and the well-timed surprise recruiter contact regarding a new opportunity sent me back into the market.

I had my self-confidence restored with three job offers, from which I chose… a gardening service company!  Already, some of my physical ailments related to high stress are resolving.  The only true negative of the new position is the inability to take time off to attend the birth of my grandson.  But he won’t know that unless he’s looking back many years from now.

Until then, I’ll be working on providing him with positive examples.  🙂

 

Inheritance Week

There was a tiny visitor in our home for a week – an adorable replica of her Dada – a little 1 1/2 year old who has her Bubbe and Grandpa utterly smitten.

As her parents traveled the southeastern states for a wonderful road-trip week of re-connection, we traversed the roads back to parenthood with a sudden immersion into the world of the toddler.

The first lesson – do not disregard nap times!  We may be the adults and we may be in charge of the schedule, but passing over the nap was such a painful experience come bedtime, oh my!  Right back to the toddler schedule we went!

One of the interesting things I observed that week is the propensity for this little one to gravitate toward little girls things.

As a mom to boys, I have a good stock of toys that boys enjoy:  cars, trucks, planes, boats, ninja turtles and the like.  We’ve stocked plenty of girl things as the years have passed, to appease the nieces who visit.

So I set out an assemblage of age appropriate things – and her little self was smitten with the baby dolls and stuffed animals, and the purse!

Not that any of this matters.  I just found it interesting, in a Bubbe sort of way.

Now that the time has passed, and work has resumed, and gardens have taken all of my home attentions, I look back on the week and smile.

That was the most amazing week of my life.

I’m glad her precious little self has her very precious Mama and Dada back within reach, and I just hope that this was the beginning of a family tradition.

 

Reflections

publish beauty

We celebrated this little beauty’s first year recently.  An astonishing fact, considering how quickly this time has lapsed.

It’s been a blurry year.  One of those mind-numbing, day-in and day-out, so many similarities that they all blend together sort of years.  The drudgery, the sameness, mostly blending so completely that before you know, the moments for opportunity are past – passed, slipped on by to become lost time; sometimes regret, sometimes survival.  Mostly, just a blur.

Emergency ailments, celebrations, discord and distress, good health, economic woes, family time, work, great friends – all combined to create another assemblage of time.  Moments and milestones, smiles and scares.

I’ve worked way too much, and the job project has hit the manic phase – a major program changeover that will wrap in ten weeks, with the primary module going live in three.  I’m worn near the frack out.  I was not cut out for 80 hour work weeks.  They’re an attack to the peace of the home front, and emotional health in general.  But the light at the end of the tunnel is now much less dim.

Time to start preparing for the next stage.

Hubby and I are scheduled to host our youngest grandbabe this next spring, spending a full week with her sweetness.  In the interim, we think we need to arrange more visits to get to know her better – so we won’t be such strangers when she makes her special visit to our home.

Shortly after that visit, we hope to attain some serious financial freedom – an opportunity to make remodeling plans for this ol’ home of ours.  Providing that there are no surprises between now and then, the first on my list will be a new main floor bathroom.  Dreams sometimes become reality, right?

Then fall plans include a meet-up with a dear friend, one of my Torah community members, to celebrate a Holy day and travel time visiting places and spaces where I’ve never been.

In the meantime, life is moving along at the full-steam sameness.  Yet, as much as that feels like reality, it’s really not is it?

The world is changing every moment, little bits and pieces bouncing around, pinging off each other, creating actions and reactions that not a single one of us can accurately predict.

We live, we die.

In the in-between, lies reality.

Family Vacation Day Trip



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We celebrated a milestone wedding anniversary, my husband and I.  As a treat to ourselves, we invited our adult sons and their families to a family vacation.  These shots are from a day trip to Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Missouri.  If you’ve never been, it’s worth the trip.

Buckets Are Too Limiting

Dust in the wind, worm food – either way, my personal take on death is that I will know no more.  It will be the end of me, the last breath, the circle of life.  Last call…

It’s a heavy thought – to think that nothing follows, that there is just an end – but it suits me, suits my practical nature.

One of my sons once posted a thought, which I’ll paraphrase:  if a person is only good because they’re focused on divine reward, then that person is a piece of shit.  I don’t know if these were his own words, and I don’t know that he won a lot of praise or ‘likes’ for that.  But if you stop and think about it, it makes sense.

If only rules, or rules hedged about with some eternal reward system are keeping you from bouncing out of control and into a psychotic rage, or killing frenzy, then you’re simply a caged rabid animal.  Where is the realness, the human connection, the compassion?

If those pieces are missing, then you really are a piece of shit.  Like it or not, calloused though it may be, it’s the simple truth.

There are moments when I think people see me in similar light.  Cold.  Unreachable.  Distant.  Tightly strung.

The truth is that I feel so deeply, watch ever so intently and capture essences and nuances of meaning and feeling that often escape others.  It’s painful, it’s draining, and it makes me put on the tough skin of protection to keep it from shredding me into millions of little pieces.  Dust.  Pieces of dust that would so easily blow away, carried off to unknown places and spaces, away from me.

Another son stated when announcing a pregnancy that he and his wife were ‘growing a human’.

How aptly said.

A combination of their parts, their pieces, that attach little parts and pieces of the generations preceding them – a tiny piece of me – grew inside the womb.  Destined to be an infant, this little nugget emerged last November, a wonderful wriggling, wrinkled version of itself, a new growth on the family tree.

There are few people who fit ever so perfectly into my comfort zone.  My introverted self, my regulated and logical nature requires that I have plenty of space to call my own, and plenty of time to fill that space.  My sons and their spouses are included in those few (hubby’s a given, a keeper, the magnet holding me in my space) and it’s always such an easy-going and comfortable time when they come to visit.

But during a recent visit, there was this edge to me, this pressure behind my eyes, this feeling of tears that could burst forth at any given moment – a strange thing when I was so relaxed and so enjoying the company.

It took words penned by my dear friend for me to realize that it was pure joy ebbing and bubbling beneath my surface.  I was so powerfully moved by this new event, this new growth that it didn’t have a proper slot to fit into my logic, nothing prior to name this, to capture and label this emotion.

pail and leaves

My bucket flows over.

My list is now such a pittance, such a distraction from the wonder of seeing what comes next, what this fabulous little seed of a human brought with her emergence…

Bucket lists are too limiting.  What I want to see before I die, I cannot even begin to fathom.

But the end has suddenly changed course, because not only will parts of me continue through my son after I die, now there will be parts of me to last another generation.  That, my friends, that’s what’s real.