Adult children and the moms who love them … these relationships can be challenging, exasperating and beyond bewildering at times! Speaking as one who experiences life from both perspectives, I have come to understand no matter how old I am, I remain always my mother’s daughter. She does not know how to un-mother me just because I have attained adulthood.On the other hand, there are times when I’m inclined to mother my mother. As she gets older, she is ever more frail, so I tend to be solicitous – she hates that! She has this incredibly strong will that rejects offers of help, even when needed. For example, she has one of those Lifeline medical alerts (the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” people) but we had difficulty convincing her to actually wear it. (I think she may have believed wearing it was an admission of weakness.) Continue Reading →
When the media were all abuzz earlier this month with the announcement of Harper Lee’s new novel, Go Set A Watchman (set for debut this July), I was intrigued. The first story I read was from The Guardian, explaining that this “new” novel was actually intended – alongside the earlier work To Kill A Mockingbird – to represent two-thirds of a trilogy, with a short connecting work between the two. Pictures posted with the article show a smiling but frail little woman, too small for the clothing she’s wearing.Another article, this one from The Atlantic, sets a somewhat somber tone with the title Harper Lee: The Sadness of A Sequel. The Atlantic also goes with a more gritty picture of Lee (circa 1962) after Mockingbird had earned critical praise from multiple quarters, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961.
Both articles mention the author’s frailty. Lee suffered a stroke in 2007 and is now 88 years old, struggling with blindness (due to macular degeneration), profound deafness as well as the indignities of short-term memory loss. A close friend characterized her memory (three years ago) as “completely shot.” The author currently lives in an assisted living facility where she’s confined to a wheelchair. Continue Reading →
For as long as I can recall, sending a “CARE package” meant you were sending a parcel of food or supplies (toiletries, socks, lotion, shampoo, etc.) to needy people in distant lands, mostly during emergencies. Under the CARE trademark, this humanitarian organization was originally named Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe and adopted as its mission (in 1945) sending food relief to hungry Europeans following World War II.Over time, the organization continued its core activity but revamped its name to the more encompassing Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere. Today, CARE is active in 87 countries and engages in fighting poverty and assisting during emergencies. Continue Reading →
From the time of childhood, we’re admonished not to point fingers at others. Whether it’s because “it’s rude to point” (as my mother often told me) or because a child is trying to shift blame for a misbehavior, pointing one’s finger remains a transgression that’s generally frowned upon … even though it’s a tactic used almost everyday by nearly everyone. Not one of us is immune to hypocrisy.The old saw about finger-pointing … three fingers pointing back at the one who points … occasionally discourages us from engaging our index fingers, but as illustrated above, some ignore that rule of thumb (if I may employ that expression here). The seventeenth anniversary for that infamous denial/finger-pointing event passed just last week. Who has forgotten the strenuous denial, later proven to be laughably false?
An article on the HuffPost blog earlier this week caught my eye. Entitled 11 Things Empty Nesters Want Parents of Little Kids To Know, the author provides a list of observations … all but the first tip coming from the author’s friends who are already empty nesters. Apparently feeling the inevitable empty nest just around the corner, the author offers her own tip to start the list.In her opening paragraphs, the author notes with obvious frustration that she’s capable of remembering things, but some memories related to her children are harder to recall. Details of her children’s “firsts” are regrettably fuzzy memories, but the theme song from Gilligan’s Island is annoyingly memorable. (Perhaps she has forgotten the theme song probably played numerous times … searing the music into her brain, while her child’s first step only happened once.)
Quick question … for those of you who are married, do you know where your marriage certificate is? This document, most often provided to the married couple shortly after “I Do” and “I Will” have been spoken, is often a fancy piece of parchment that notes the names of the married partners and the place where their vows were exchanged. Signatures of the witnesses and person who officiated are often included on the document.
I love the marriage certificate pictured above – apparently from the 1800s – because of its elegant simplicity and its implicit invitation to attach photos of the bride and the groom! Unlike many of the digital documents produced today for births, marriages, etc., this above document is artful and would be a beautiful keepsake to display. Continue Reading →
Facebook … so many people depend on this expansive social network … it can even become an addiction where its unavailability feels like withdrawal for some.
Then there are thousands of others who eschew the network … they consider it trivial, they prefer their personal information and social connections not be publicly available. Launched in February of 2004, the Facebook network boasts over 1.3 billion active users and over 2 billion registered users.
Though I try to limit my time on Facebook, I’m an “active” user. Once or twice a day, I open the browser window to catch up with whatever stories have accumulated in my timeline. I don’t often post, as such, but my blog posts are always cross-posted from WordPress to Facebook. That’s about the measure of my use. Continue Reading →
My mother-in-law phoned this morning. For many people, this might be an ordinary event. More often than not for me, phone calls from her send a tremor of worry through me.
Because of her various life challenges, using the phone has become a complex operation; her dementia makes communication problematic, plus her hearing has diminished so she can’t always hear information clearly through the receiver. When I receive a call from her, my first thought is she needs emergency care or she’s fretting about an imagined crisis. (Prior experience has borne this out.) Continue Reading →
Earlier this week, my younger daughter and I were on the phone and the subject of sleep came up. Her habits are much like mine used to be: work hard all day (she home-schools), feed and bathe children before bedtime, focus on husband until he retires for the night, and finally, collapse on the couch to breathe in the wonderful, relaxing silence, the blessed me-time.
Sometime during that last interval, the urgency to notch various “accomplishments” (onto the day’s figurative belt) hits full force. For the next several hours, determination rules. Whether it’s a writing project or some other creative endeavor, the drive for project completion outweighs all tiredness … until at least 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning. When this accomplishment machine is engaged, all-nighters are not uncommon. Continue Reading →
Earlier this week, I posted my comments related to enduring marriage. Given that my Beloved and I will celebrate our 45th year of marriage tomorrow, I’ve been contemplating my current perceptions of marriage and comparing those views with what I recall from my much younger self.
As if bidden to the surface by my subconscious, three unique recent posts on marriage came to my attention. The first (written by The Boston Globe‘s Billy Baker) features a brief sketch about 75 couples, all of whom have been married more than 50 years, who were invited to a gathering where their unions would be celebrated.
Sponsored by an organization with the official-sounding name, Boston Commission on Affairs of the Elderly, this gathering brought the couples together in one room with the stated purpose of answering a simple question: What’s the secret to a long marriage? This wondrously exclusive group offered their views, providing opinions that were at times similar and occasionally unique. Continue Reading →