Selena’s Peonies

These were Selena Jacques Lahue (my Great- Grandmother)’s peonies.  My Grandpa dug them up and brought them to his front garden when she passed away, and my mother brought them to her backyard when Grandpa left us. Peonies also happen to be my sister Susan’s  favorite flower.  I went over to my Mom’s this morning and together we managed to get these photographs. Mom held up the blooms with a stick since they are so darn top- heavy.  It was great to share this time with her, and listen to a couple of the family stories while I snapped away.  I’m normally not a fan of white flowers per se, but these have a spattering of red to boost the visual interest; kind of like an artist lined the center whorls with crimson.  Nature, gotta love her  -even when she’s off her HRT. 😉IMG_8551 watermarked IMG_8566 watermarked IMG_8570 watermarked IMG_8558 watermarkedI hope you enjoy these!  Thanks for stopping by.

 

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In The Circle

The Sandwich Generation

The Sandwich Generation (Photo credit: MediaStorm)

All things unfold as they are meant to, in the circle.  Its been a rough week here in my neck of the woods.  I’ve posted before about being in the middle of the sandwich generation.  We are now gearing up for the full-on sandwich buffet menu here.  I have a filial duty to my mother to provide respectful and empathetic assistance as much as I can.  I intend to honor that, yet finding the line to walk it is proving difficult. I have much to consider besides my parent – not the least of which is my own family and their needs, as well as my own.  I’m more than a bit stressed, to stay the least. Its the busiest time of year for me at work with the end of the fiscal year looming, our annual fiscal audit coming up,  and recontracting with the state for FY 13 in process. I couldn’t possibly be more busy and there couldn’t be a more inconvenient time for my parent and step parent to be having health issues….  I know, that sounds extremely selfish, and I feel like a horrible person for even thinking it, never mind actually writing it down.   I know I’m not alone in the boat,  I have my sister and my step siblings to assist them as well.  Yet, THEIR  house is not where my mother shows up in the middle of the night because of her anxiety, and THEIR phone is not the one ringing at 4 am because my mother happened to see a light on in my living room…. (Yes –  there are definite drawbacks to living down the street from one’s parents, just so you know).  OK, enough kvetching for one post (I’m sure  you’re tired of reading it anyway).

I went with Mom yesterday to her annual physical.  She brought the health care proxy forms and signed the HIPPA releases so my sister and I can be informed about her health and speak with her providers. HIPPA can be SO flipping RIDICULOUS – her health care provider would not even allow ME to tell HIM any information until those STUPID forms had been signed!    I said a quick prayer before heading out to this appointment yesterday.  A prayer so that I could remain focused,calm, and objective in advocating for my Mom.  It seemed to have worked.  Things unfolded naturally and I was able to communicate what I needed to -to both my Mother and her health care provider – in a respectful and caring manner.  I’ve been angry and frustrated with her –  I won’t deny it – and my Aunt (her youngest sister) reminded me gently to try my best to put it aside and focus on the goal – which is to help my Mom.  Since I knew I couldn’t do that by myself, I asked for divine assistance – and got it.  I am now more confident that her HCP is fully informed about what’s been going on with her and left her doctor’s office feeling a bit more positive about the situation at hand. Also, I left there knowing that my mother heard what I had to say because I said it without anger. My Mom’s other sister has also been instrumental in helping me focus and I truly appreciate the fact that my mother has such supportive and caring siblings – and I have such supercalifragilisticexpealidocious Aunts! Not only does it take a village to raise a child, it takes one to care for the sick and elderly.

Today was my stepfathers day to see his dr.  Mom called me after lunch today to let me know he’d been admitted to the hospital to run some tests. (nothing too serious) I could hear the relief in her voice that they will be able to get some answers and treatment for him.  Hope springs eternal that her anxiety will remain lessened, and my phone or doorbell won’t be ringing in the wee hours.  The family has some planning to do, certainly,  in order to assist  them with their health and safety – and to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible.

I am eternally grateful that my sister and I did not have to deal with all this with our Dad. Despite the horrible ache of not having been able to say goodbye, at least we didn’t have to watch him on the slippery slope of old age and  ill health. Because it SUCKS – Royally……

Here’s the song reference:

Lebo M. – Circle of Life (From “The Lion King”)

Motherhood

I was surfing around trying to find some ideas for a post about mothers and  stuff, seeing how its Mothers Day this Sunday. Topical and Timely – that’s THIS girl  😉   I found two quotes that resonated so I’m posting them and my thoughts.  Please let me know what YOU think!

 “Motherhood brings as much joy as ever, but it still brings boredom, exhaustion, and sorrow too. Nothing else ever will make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired, for nothing is quite as hard as helping a person develop his own individuality especially while you struggle to keep your own.” — Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons

That whole balancing thing.  Moms – above and beyond anyone else – need to maintain a balance.  We are mostly the primary caregivers even in this day and age.  We have to make sure we are functioning at peak levels as much as possible.  Only when we are healthy and in balance can we give our best to others.  Rather contradictorily – this means that we must be good to ourselves first.  Spiritually and physically – both sides must be fed.  Just like there is no crying in baseball, there is no starve the spirit/feed the body or feed the spirit/starve the body. It doesn’t work like the fever/cold thing.  Both aspects must be nurtured, in my opinion.  Of course, this is the ideal world isn’t it?  We all have time to medicate meditate, whip up that 5 course gourmet meal, do a Martha Stewart -level top to bottom daily cleaning of the house; and sew a quilt or three, right?  OK, well maybe some of us do – but most of us live in the 9 to 5 daily grind. After work,  we take the kids to their soccer games, recitals, doctors appointments, help with the homework, do the shopping, laundry, cooking etc. “And when the morning light comes shinin in we get up and do it again, Amen. Say it again – Amen!”  I love you Jackson Browne!  So we’re TIRED – which kinda goes without saying but I thought I’d say it anyway. We look to our families for help with this day to day stuff.  If we’re lucky we get it.  Then, there just might be time to indulge in a hot soak in the tub – or work on a new hobby, plant some flowers, take a walk,  or even take a nap.   I vote for all of the above – AND that medication,  er – meditation,  just in case you were wondering.

Then, while we’re doing our Wonder Woman thing, we also get to watch our children in their own moments of triumph and tragedy as they grow up. Sometimes making the same mistakes that we did, and unable to say anything because they have to figure it out on their own at some point. That’s a tough thing for me.  I am learning to step back more often – my fledglings must learn to fly.  At some point, my girls will be leading their own lives  And – just like we were for the first seven years of our marriage – the Viking and I will be on our own again.   I want to be able to see an individual in the mirror then, not just a Mom.  In fact, if I’m smart (and I’d like to think I am – but the jury’s still out on that one  😉 ) but yeah, if I’m smart, I will be defining myself dually as an individual and a mother RIGHT NOW. Waiting till the nest is empty and all I see is a ghost of my former self in the mirror is not a good idea.

My Girls, Summer 2006

“Giving kids clothes and food is one thing, but it’s much more important to teach them that other people besides themselves are important and that the best thing they can do with their lives is to use them in the service of other people.” — Dolores Huerta  

This concept floors me, completely.  (obscure Babylon 5 reference – It’s a “shining beacon of hope, all alone in the night.”)  This is what  it’s about folks – the bottom line of parenting.  To raise your children to GIVE of themselves for the betterment of others. Not because of the accolades that might be received, but because – and only because – its the loving, caring, appropriate, correct, and moral thing to do.  We all want our children to grow up to be loving, caring and moral. That is the true measure of success.  We are fortunate that the Catholic Elementary School here in town teaches respectful service to others as an important part of their mission.  It’s crucial in building character. Our local Boys and Girls Club also strongly promotes service -through their Torch Club and Keystone Elite programs.  Both my girls are blessed to be involved with St Mary’s and the programs in our Boys and Girls Club as members. My older daughter is now a staff member at the club – and a former Youth of the Year Award  (a service award) winner.  Here’s a link to the text of her pre-award speech   if you’re interested, check it out.  Getting back on track though -it’s a collaborative effort on all our parts to raise aware, active, socially conscious, and curious young people.  As a parent, and particularly as a mother, its my job to set an example.  I don’t always succeed.  I fall flat on my face more times than not. But I’ll always keep trying.  Being a mother is very difficult, but its also the most rewarding thing I have ever done – or ever will do – with my life. The Viking and I struggled for years before our dream of starting a family came true,  suffered through miscarriages etc.. My girls are wondrous gifts from God when the doctors told us there was little or no chance of ever having children of our own. So I take my motherhood very seriously.  I hope my girls remember that when it’s their turn to be moms.  I hope they call me up and say “You were right Ma, about most everything.” That’ll be thanks enough.

Happy Mothers Day to all the Moms out there!  Enjoy your day, and BE happy – you deserve it!   Love and Hugs from “Momma E.”