Saturday, September 27, 2008

Acting Up

My daughter took this picture of her brother a couple of weeks ago when he came to visit her and a friend of theirs at the college dorms. It's hard to believe that in another two years, he too will be on his own.

He is a young man born from two different worlds: the athletic world of his father where sports took front row in a theater of all boys, and the artistic world of his mother (that would be me!) where music, art and literature were the focus of sisters and brothers.

Since the sixth grade, my son has played basketball, acclimating slowly to the game with his ever-growing and changing body, and emerging at 6'2" with great talent, appreciation and love for the game. But sometimes when one's passion becomes a requirement, it's easy to lose the spark that originally ignited....and the fire burns out.

This year he has opted to change his course and will be trading his Nikes for a leather jacket in our school's production of "Grease". He will step away from an expected role to try something new instead, and once his departure from the game of basketball 'hits the press', I'm sure he'll be faced with many questions.

It takes courage to digress from an assumed position and go out on that proverbial limb, suspended over unnetted space as you try out new wings. I'm proud of his stance and his willingness to tap into an uncharted part of who he is and can be. May he find what truly inspires him in this life and a happy balance that makes it all work.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

'70s things I miss

I loved the '70s. There was just something about that era which spoke of innocence and simplicity, of good common neighborliness and keeping things in perspective. It was moment paused before the technological years when people had time to talk face to face across back yard fences and kids knelt beside lazy creeks fishing out tadpoles, built tree houses and made forts in the currant bushes. Here are just a few of the things I miss from that charming and endearing time...

- Autograph books with colored pages for signatures and verses from friends and crushes
- The Carol Burnett Show
- Gunny sack swings hung from old elm trees
- Ben Franklin, Woolworths and TG&Y
- Crank ice cream freezers that were interactive and included the whole family
- PDQ that was mixed with cold milk for a delicious chocolate drink
- Full service filling stations with 'regular' gasoline and polite and knowledgeable attendants
- Carbon copies, their cool wet feel and the way they smelled right off the press
- Let's Make a Deal with Monty Hall
- My mother's drawings in sketch pads
- Rotary phones
- 5 cent cones from Dairy Queen on Saturday mornings
- Family slide shows on the big screen projector...or on the living room wall!
- Vinyl records
- Hand-written letters in the mail box on pretty stationery
- The soda fountain at Wilson Drugs
- Colored tin cups and cold well water
- Metal ice cube trays
- Bicycles with fenders on the tires and baskets on the front
- Flannel shirts and baseball jerseys
- A slower-paced life
- Discipline allowed at school and teachers being allowed to teach
- No drive-by need for "No guns allowed" signs in schools and restaurants
- Respect and responsibility for one's actions
- Movies that still allowed us to use our imaginations
- A simpler journey

Everyone remembers things differently, but for me, at that time in my life it was the ideal; rich in my memory, rich in my heart.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Just Thinking...

I'm having trouble getting my groove back. Life is throwing little changes every which way...and I've never been good at changes!

Though the nest isn't empty here at home, my daughter's absence is definitely felt from the banter with her brother in the morning to the sound of her petite frame on the stairway at night. I miss her. A lot.

Last weekend she saw one of her classmates off on his own journey as he joins the Navy and heads off to see the world. While his high school friends now gather in student unions and attend ballgames, he'll be studying to become a nuclear engineer. A little boy no more. And the world keeps spinning 'round...

I remember when my daughter was just a few weeks old, I would push her in the stroller around our neighborhood. Having quit my job to stay at home full time and being somewhat isolated from my fellow adults, I felt a bit trapped, wondering how life would ever be 'normal' again. And it wasn't. At least not in the same way. What I didn't know then was that it would become a new, different kind of 'normal', and that every day would be an incredible adventure filled with challenges, joy and love.

Now when I look at my daughter, I see a road towards growth and independence before her...and another new 'normal' emerging for us both. It may be awhile before we get it completely figured out, but in the midst of all the complexities, questions. and moments of missing lies the invisible tie that always keeps us close at heart.

Monday, September 01, 2008

A piece of history

These are my grandparents, Charles and Verna Osburn. When I was at Mom and Dad's house this afternoon, I saw this photograph of my grandfather for the first time and was mesmerized by a face that I never knew. He passed away in August of 1964, when I was not yet three. Though my grandmother lived for 22 more years, the sweet face in this picture is somewhat foreign as I only remember her smile after a home surgery to remove a cyst left part of her face paralyzed. I am thankful to have these keepsakes.

I find that as I get older, the past becomes more important. Because of those who walked before me, I am here. Without their journey and without their paths crossing, merging, blending - history would be forever changed.

Today I pause and feel blessed for family: who I come from, who walks beside me... and who is yet to be.