Friday, July 31, 2009

Where to Hide the Dust Bunnies?

We labor to make a house a home, then every time we're expecting visitors, we rush to turn it back into a house. ~Robert Brault

Why is it that when friends and family come over we feel the need to clean up our homes more than normal? Would it be that uncomfortable for others to see how you really live? Knowing that things aren't always perfectly placed, that maybe you don't always wash the dished in the sink right after using them and the coffee table in the living room usually has fingerprints all over it. Would they not be friends with you anymore?

Tonight my husband invited another couple that we are friends with over for a movie and some good conversation. We used to get together at least once a month but now we haven't seen them since May. They are recently engaged and I am looking forward to talking wedding talk.

When hubby came in and asked me if it was okay last night, I took a look around at my home that is disheveled from moving and not to mention that the actual housework has taken a back seat to moving as well. I looked at him mortified. Of course I would host but I needed the reassurance that they knew that we are moving and our home is a mess.

Why? We will still have a good time regardless of the way my home looks. They aren't going to pass judgment or think I am a bad housewife or mother because the place is unkempt a week before our move. They know I have three little boys yet when they come over after they are in bed, there are no signs that they live here other than the pictures on the walls.

How much of ourselves do we really hide from others? I have never been the neatest of people in my everyday life. I let the dinner dishes sit until morning and I don't always wipe the boys toothpaste from the sink before bed. I hardly worry about the fingerprints on the coffee table because the second I am done dusting I know they are going to put them right back. Not to mention that I am lucky if I run the vacuum once a week because my youngest is petrified of it. And the way I dress? I rarely get out of my sweats and tanks, I never wear makeup when I am home and my hair is rarely blown straight. Normally it is up in a sloppy ponytail.
So why, when I know I have company coming I go into overdrive making sure nothing is out of place? It's as if a rush comes over me and I am racing the clock to make sure that everything is perfect including my appearance before they knock on the door? What if we had surprise visitors? Would I let them in? What would they think? Of course I would invite them in and apologize for the mess. I know they would understand with the knowledge that I have three small boys and a ton of work to do.

So why am I freaking out about tonight?!? No. I refuse to let this control me. I am going to take my time with my cleaning today. If I don't get everything done, so be it. I will make myself up and make sure the area where we will be hanging out is taken care of and be a good hostess as usual. But, I am not going to hide that I can't be organized during a move. It is impossible for me to do so and I don't need to feel more anxiety than this move has already given me.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Key To Happiness

"The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet." ~James Openheim

Happiness. Is it a state of mind or a destination? Is it something that we can reach or that lives inside of us?

Bumps in the road of life are to be expected, so why do we allow them to control our happiness? Happiness lives inside of us. If we spend less time worrying about what the future holds or the current issue at hand, we won't lose sight of the moment. Satisfaction can only come from within when we truly accept ourselves, our lives, and our circumstances. Only then can we can truly enjoy what life has to offer.

Those simple pleasures that we don't take advantage of daily. The songs the bird sings outside your window. The smell of the flowers in the garden. The taste of snow on our tongues. The feel of the grass between your toes. Small talk with someone on line at Starbucks. These things that we normally don't put much thought into and just take them for face value.

Why not put more stock into them? These little things that bring us satisfaction. Make us happy and put a smile on our face. This is what life is all about. We only live in this one moment. If not just for today, lets not consume ourselves with our troubles and enjoy these moments and put most of our energy into being happy.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Moving On But Not Letting Go

"It's surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time." ~Barbara Kingsolver

Little tics on the walls showing my boys how much they have grown over the past years. Pen and pencil marks outline their latest artwork even if they weren't supposed to write on them. Little fingerprints that have smudged after time and time of them holding on when learning how to walk or running down the halls. All of this being left behind in a week. Ready to be painted over in antique white. Erasing my children's memory so a new family can create their own.

Moving can be so difficult. The memories that you captured in a place are reason enough not to want to leave. Then theirs the actual packing. Picking and choosing the things that you will take with you. Leaving behind with those marks on the walls other material items that also hold some form of memory.

The crib that all three of my children slept in for 2 years of their live and has comforted my children where they enjoyed many good dreams will now be left behind. For Alex is no longer a baby and with this move, he will acquire a big boy bed. A new beginning for himself. The pack and play that has sat in my living room for 6 years will also not be coming with us. Now that Alex will have a big boy bed, he no longer will lay in there until he goes to sleep at night keeping my husband and myself company until he is fast asleep and moved to his crib. The baby clothes that started with my oldest 6 years ago and still have the smell of all three of them will now be donated for other little boys that are less fortunate than us. The toys that used to annoy me with how loud they were will also be donated leaving us with the quieter toys meant for older children.

I keep trying to think of how much nicer it will be to have a fresh start. My older two are excited because they will be getting bunk beds. Their room will be new and exciting. My little one will finally have a room he could play in. He will have a place to grow and learn. My husband and I will have a bedroom that we could go into and enjoy each others company without the clutter that we have acquired. No more disciplining the children for running on the floors so they don't upset the downstairs neighbors.

But what about the memories. Yes we carry them with us in our hearts but the daily reminders; the touch, the smells...these things we will be leaving behind. I feel I am letting go of my babies and have to accept that they are growing boys. I'm not sure I am ready to let them go. So, although I am going to be removing the crib, the play pen, the old clothes and the tic marks on the wall; I am also going to pack up their baby blankets, the ones that soothed them when they were babies. The hats they wore home from the hospital. I will take a picture of their growth chart and artwork on the walls. I am going to hold onto these things so when I feel the need to revisit this time, this home.... It will be in the new place waiting for me to remember.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Memories of my Nana

If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk in my garden forever." --Alfred Lord Tennyson

My Nana and I were very close. As you can tell from her picture she is Native American and Irish. (Not that you can see the Irish in her)Well she was very in tune with the earth and very wise about the world.She taught me things about life by watching nature. She had such an amazing soul. I know how to tell the weather by watching the leaves on trees or what the winter has in store for us by the tails of the squirrels among many other things.

I just felt the need to share a few stories about her today. She has been on my mind a lot and I just want to share a few things.
When I was younger, we used to pick four leaf clovers together and every time we found a feather she would stick it behind her ear.We would sit for hours in the backyard (even when I was a teenager) and pick literally 100’s of four leaf clovers. No one could understand how we always found them let alone so many. It was a memory I always cherished. I went to Woodstock, NY when I was pregnant with my oldest and they were selling necklaces with real four leaf clovers in them. I had to buy her one! I gave it to her and we sat and chatted for hours about them and our special tradition at every visit. After she passed away, I wore the necklace and oddly the four leaf clover disintegrated or something. I think she just took it with her.
My Nana, became ill in 2003 and I visited her almost daily in the hospital. I brought Mikey (her baby in the basket) to see her and I swear he brought her strength. She adored him so much. When she got better she had lost control of her bladder and she could not go home so they transferred her to a nursing home. My Nana was so against it. She begged my Mom to take her home and my mother told her not until she had control again. The problem was she couldn’t get it back. So she gave up. It went rather quickly. Every day she lost more and more. Her eyes started rolling and the rattle. That horrible rattle. I will never forget that sound. I continued to visit her daily and sat and cried and begged her to get better. My mom and dad told me I had to tell her to let go. I didn’t want to. I stayed selfish for a week. I finally built up the courage to tell her she could go. I didn’t want to be there when she passed away. I didn’t want to be in the room. My whole family came down that day. Everyone was saying goodbye and everyone stepped outside to smoke a cigarette. My mother, myself and I’m not really sure who else was in the room were all there when I finally told her it was okay. My mother sang Wind Beneath My Wings to her. I was squeezing her leg and my mother was holding her hand. She for the first time in 2 weeks made eye contact with my mother for a brief second. A tear rolled down her face and she squeezed my mothers hand lightly and that was it.

I was beside myself. I ran out hyperventilating and screaming. I called my friend Joey and was trying to make things clear in my mind and explain what had happened. All of a sudden, a dove circled above me and it grabbed my attention. I became completely silent and intrigued. Then a second one came and they circled each other and then they just flew off together. I sat there in silence. (Meanwhile Joey is freaking out because I haven’t said a word and cut off mid sentence) I finally told Joey, I was finally okay and I needed to hang up. I ended our conversation and had the greatest sense of peace. It was as if I had an out of body experience or meditated all day….the sense of peace was amazing. I went back into the nursing home gave my mother a hug and told her it was okay, that my Nana had found my Grandpa and she was at peace. It was the most amazing thing I ever experienced.

My Nana is always with me. She has ways of letting me know she is there. Every birthday, holiday, event….I always find a four leaf clover. She always lets me know she is with me. I have found them for my mother on her birthday and so on as well. This year I couldn't find any for a few months and I was getting really upset because I always find them. Two weeks ago I was sitting in front of my parents house and I found 5. I was so excited. There was one for my birthday, one for each of my boys birthdays, my anniversary and mothers day. On my way into the house to wrap them, I lost one. But I wasn't disappointed because I knew she was there for me. Last weekend, it was my boys birthday party and I found another one which I gave to my mother.

Another funny thing that reminds me she is watching over me is, three years ago for Mikey’s birthday when I was hanging up decorations in the back yard at my parent’s house, I found a feather. (Remember, she used to wear them in her hair?) I taped it to the chimney and told everyone that my Nana was there. Three years later and after many storms that have passed it still hung there until a week or two ago when my parents replaced the chimney. When my father was cleaning up the yard for Mikey and Alex’s party the following year he found a new feather on the ground right below it. My mother called me and told me my Nana left me another present. At the party, I proudly hung it up right below the one from the previous year. This year when cleaning up the yard for the party, I found yet another but didn't hang it since my parents just replaced the chimney. But I smiled and admired it for a little while.

No matter where she is, I know she is with me. I love sharing stories about her and admire the woman she once was. She will forever live on in my memory and in the stories I share with my boys.

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