I love the Dayquil commercials that feature moms and dads reluctantly asking their children for a sick day knowing that moms and dads never really get to rest. It is a given of existence that we must eventually accept certain responsibilities as we become adults. I assumed the caretaker role early in life. When my father died I was only eight but still old enough to realize just how difficult it was going to be for my mother to be a single parent. I quietly did my best to lift some of her burdens from her shoulders. I quickly learned how to be mature when I really wanted to be wild and crazy. I forced my personality to change so that my mother might have one less thing about which to worry. As the eldest child and a woman I honed the skills that would define me at a much earlier age than I might otherwise have done.
I learned how to be a woman in an era of great change. My female role models would become outdated even before I was an adult. The women whom I knew were from a time that was rapidly becoming old fashioned but I learned much from them. They built their worlds around their husbands and their children, often sacrificing their own desires for the good of the family. They arose early each morning to begin their endless chores. Their homes were orderly and well run. They kept to rigorous schedules for cleaning, cooking, and watching over their babies. Perhaps some of them felt trapped but I honestly never saw any of that. The ladies that I knew were quite content to do the jobs that they associated with being successful women. Continue reading “Seasons of Our Lives”
My life was determined by work and traditions for so long that I have continued even long after retiring. I have always rushed from one task or event to another from my birthday in mid November all the way through Christmas Day. This year was no different. I have my regular round of cherished activities to uphold and they make me very happy indeed. The days in between Christmas and New Years Day have generally been a quiet sojourn for me. Mike was a retail banker by trade and he had little time away from work at this time of year. He was lucky if he got off early on Christmas Eve and unless Christmas landed on a weekend he was right back at work the day after the big holiday. Of course I was an educator and I had a nice long winter break so I was able to wish him well as he scurried back to work and then roll back under the covers to steal a bit of extra rest.
I suppose that I should have felt a bit guilty that I had such a long vacation and Mike did not but somehow I always believed that Mike would see through my fake sympathy and know that I was far too happy about my own free time to worry about his lack of it. Besides, he was one of those people who never even came close to using his sick leave and vacation time. If he had worked for a business that paid for all of those accumulated hours at the time of retirement he would have had a nest egg worth at least two years or more of income. Instead he was quite dedicated to his work and understood that his customers, employees, and employers depended on his being in the trenches with them. Thus I was free to determine my own fate during the days leading up to the new year and I always chose the ways of a hibernating bear. Continue reading “My Winter Sabbatical”
God’s bounty is all around us. We sometimes think of it as being sustenance or material possessions but in reality the plenty that truly sustains us comes in the form of the people who pass through our lives. If we have lived well and been willing to open our hearts He blesses us with family and friends who make us better for having known them. Lizette Coronado is one of those young women who slowly but surely burrows into people’s hearts.
Lizette is small and delicate looking, almost like an elegant porcelain doll but beneath that exterior is a warrior, someone willing to fight for herself and the people that she loves. Like all of us Lizette is sometimes afraid such as when she first left the comfort and familiarity of her home and her friends to attend Trinity University. She is quiet and shy by nature. Grappling with new situations is not easy for her but she possesses a kind of strength and courage that propels her forward even when she is uncomfortable. Thus it was when she first arrived at Trinity. In her own words it was a “scary’ time, one that she would both like to forget but also remembers with a touch of pride. Just as she says, “It is no secret that “scary” does not have to be a tiger chasing you in the jungle; “scary” can be spending the night in a dorm room in an unknown city with unknown people. Scary can be getting lower grades than you’ve ever seen before. Scary can be wanting to give up before really starting but knowing that doing so is not a option. Scary can be setting your fears aside and pushing yourself just because it is the right thing to do. Scary is what everything about college was for me in the beginning!” Continue reading “God’s Bounty”
I’ve seen many a Christmas, sixty eight of them in fact. I was barely a month old that first year but it still counts. My mother lovingly recorded a list of the gifts that Santa and friends brought to me. Unfortunately I don’t recall much of that first holiday so well. Over the years however I’ve had some wonderful times with truly remarkable people. There’s no Scrooge in my world even though my husband, Mike, likes to pretend that he’s a distant relative of old Ebenezer or Mr. Grinch. That’s just his impish nature coming out. He does like to tease and enjoy a good laugh. He get’s that from his father, but I digress.
Some of the best times in holidays past were spent with my good friend, Pat Weimer. I think of her all throughout the season. I have a Christmas quilt that she gave me, a lovely set of placemats, some cute little snowmen, a multitude of ornaments for my tree, and memories of truly fun times. We made it a habit of visiting Old Town Spring, strolling through Dickens on the Strand, and watching Christmas movies together. Pat brought such fun and joy into my life. She was like the big sister that I always wanted but never had. Ironically I met her in a very odd manner indeed. Continue reading “The Friendship”
I still haven’t quite figured out how to take it easy at Christmastime but I am working on getting better. I don’t get stressed out like I used to as much as tuckered out. I cling to so many traditions that I am not yet ready to eliminate. So far I am hanging in there but I secretly worry that the day will come when I just can’t do all of the things that I insist on accomplishing. My right knee keeps screaming at me to take it easy but I refuse to give in even though my doctor tells me to listen to my body. Besides, I’ve found a new weapon this year. I’ve taught Mike how to cook. Continue reading “Gumbo Christmas”