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Age Is Just A Number

25 Sep

We have all heard the longstanding cliché, age is just a number. It is the typical go-to saying when someone advanced in years (whatever that means) acts in a manner, whether playful or foolish, usually reserved for youth. A somersault on the grass performed by a sixty-something year old, a cannonball splash by a grandparent with targeted intent, or in my case a McDonald’s “Happy Meal” on the rare occasion I crave junk-food and can’t pass up the toy prize. Whatever the case may be we engage the right to act outside of our number by calling upon the quip.

Yet as a mom navigating this new life of one living child, age is NOT just a number. It is a scary question presented to me in new social settings. Do you have children? Yes, an easy enough question to answer…I have two, a boy and a girl. How old are they? This second interrogatory statement is not so easy to avert, though avert it I try–

Person: How old are they?
Me: My baby is almost 21 years old.

I lead with “my baby” to imply that my other child is obviously older, a tactic I use to hopefully satisfy the question and move on from there. I am happy to report this technique is often successful, because I then respond with a “re-direct” of sorts–

Me: My baby is almost 21 years old. Yes, I am older than I look. And you, what was it you said you do again? OR, tell me more about that project your involved in. OR, tell me about your children, what are they into? Sports? Art? etc.

Re-direction is my safety net because with my daughter coming up on 21 years of age this Fall, she will, within the next year, surpass the age her older brother lived up to. Yes Cole lived only 22 years on Earth and his baby sister is gaining ground upon him, which is weird as they were nearly 5 years apart. It is also a difficult task for me to undertake, accounting for Cole’s age. He would be 25 years old according to our earthly calculations. But since he no longer inhabits earth is he still aging? Is he 25? Is he 22? And if he’s stuck at 22 how do I answer the question when he is supposed to be the older of my two children, when his baby sister becomes older than he? Do I change his name to Benjamin Button?

My Averting Plan is flawed.

In fact, this past month I attended a lovely gathering with wonderful people where my typical line failed me. We were all new to each other and so the opportunity was ripe to ask personal questions. Now please keep in mind I tend to be a master of the re-direct, so the fact I was caught and cornered fell upon me with some surprise. No matter how I skirted the topic of my children, this new acquaintance circled back for a landing. Finally, exhausting all averting techniques, I fumbled and gave some sort of sloppy response such as, “My son is in Heaven, he left us at 22 years and I don’t know how old he is currently.” Super party foul! Thankfully a watchful friend came to my rescue, though not in time to completely prevent the mess my statement made. She was able to jump in and take the conversation in a new direction–whew!

I imagine loosing a spouse presents a similar social incongruity. Are you married? The widow/widower is put in the tough position of facing the inevitable. This not only forces the opening of a wound, but creates a divide within a social situation where joyous enthusiasm is roaming free. Let’s face it, death is not usually invited, nor welcomed, to a party. And honestly I am trying my best to keep it at home.

But what is a mother to do when age is NOT just a number? When it rules my story and is tough to avoid? I don’t have the answer at the moment, I am too busy averting!

Cole Bent and mother

Cole at 18 years still hanging with his mom, me.





The Entertainer

21 Apr

I have decided to consider the pestering thoughts in my mind to be a form of entertainment.  As I sit here and listen to an excerpt from the opera, La Bohème, and type this posting, I am determined to convince myself of the former statement.  The reason for my determination is that I am, presently, being needled in my psyche by an insensitive reply from a complete stranger, to a comment I made on another blog.  And in full disclosure, the insensitive reply is not what is truly bothering me.  It is the fact I am allowing the comment to bother me that actually is the bother!  Thus in order to convince my feelings to not dwell in hurt, I am attempting to change the perspective of the committee within my head.  The badgering, nagging thoughts that are doing their best to rob me of the joy of the moment (whatever the moment may be), all the while attempting to entice me into literary action by way of responding to the response.

There, I just switched from La Bohème to Carmen…a more fitting opera for the occasion and also the very first opera I was privileged to see.  My father took me to see it when I was a little girl, and I still remember the sheer enjoyment of being pulled into the drama of the stage.

At any rate, the problem does not truly lie in the lap of the commentator.  She, or he, does not know me and therefore does not have access to my heart, the foundations of my thoughts, nor the accompanying intonation of my voice.  I carry the burden fully because I gave into the enticements of the blogging world.  Enticements such as, little phrases that pop up on my screen after I’ve posted a new entry which tell me how to increase my scope of notoriety (otherwise known as my reach).  One of which instructs me, the blogger, to make comments on the blogs of others.  Exposure is the way to increase my own stats.  So I tried it out and–“wham-O”–I took a hit.  Now I am pretty thick skinned for the most part.  I am confident in myself.  I know my strengths (what are those again? ;)), my not-so-strong points (cherry drops off a pull up bar NOT being one of them–I still rule the playground!), and my earnest intent to not harm another (though my humanity fails me in this regard much too often).  I also realize I will be the vinegar to anothers’ oil, and that is the way life goes sometimes.  So when I let a little commentary bother me to the point of reciting, in my head, varying ways of shutting down the misunderstanding–and by “shutting down” I am not thinking in terms of politeness, I get annoyed at my self.  Especially as I have jumped into this new world of blogging for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with building a large reading base.  And by succumbing to the temptation to be popular (sing it “Wicked”), I lose sight of my intent and purpose.  All of which reflects poorly on the face beautiful, and vanity is a true motivator (of course wanting to follow after righteousness and not my own self centered insecurities could be a player as well).

So now the challenge of redirecting the “head” committee by way of ushering out the tactical methods of the ‘thought police’.  Methodology:  Turn the pests into actors playing out a scene.  The effect:  I am rid the burden the former intruders befell me and left giddy from the new comedic performance.  Given a choice, I choose comedy every time.

Yay, mission accomplished!  My “About” page remains an honest tale of my blogging intent and I have averted the urge to scathe a fellow human being with the quick flick of the enter key.  Oh happy day…

Matthew 22:36-40

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Johnny and Me

15 Apr

I will not lie, Cole is a bit discouraged.  He so wants his ability to smile returned to him, even more so than his vision. And yet the facial paralysis remains.  The doctors at the neuro-acupuncture clinic have told us that this intensive, every day treatment plan, is at its max at about two weeks, because it is just too exhausting for the patient.  We are definitely here, Cole is wiped out and feeling a bit swollen in his face.  I, too, am ready to go home.  Hotel living is ok, but like my bicycle moniker ‘Dorothy’, I feel there is “no place like home”, even with our steamy latrine.  What?  I haven’t told you of our heated toilet?  And you thought the dog was the only one around here heating things up!  Not the case…

Our first night of arrival, April 1st, we unloaded (well I did) our things, and were extremely hungry.  We happened to have in our possession a gift card for the Mexican fast food chain, “Chipotle”.  And, right at our hotel lobby door happens to be a Chipotle restaurant.  I had never tried their food before but remembered my good friends, The Nances from Bakersfield, had positive things to say about it.  Cole, on the other hand,hadn’t liked his first time try, but decided to give it another go.  Anyway, Cole’s meal didn’t work out for him so well.  The meat was to spicily seasoned and he was already too tired to eat.  Mine was fine, and I ate it without a problem.  However, my stomach gurgled all night long.

Now that night we noticed our bathroom sink didn’t really have cold water, medium temp at best.  I made a mild comment about it and then forgot it quickly.  The next morning, however, Cole and I were taking turns ridding ourselves of the Chipotle from the night before (yes, even his little taster made its mark).  When it was my turn to, again, surrender to the porcelain queen, I couldn’t help notice the steam radiating from the bowl below my tushie.  I thought to myself and then proclaimed out-loud to Cole, “My gosh, that food last night is really causing some heat!”  But then it donned on me, our toilet is flushing HOT water!

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