Delicate

This post inspired by Lens-Artist Challenge #46

The prompt: Delicate

 

I can’t seem to stop taking photos of my Mother’s Day flowers. Hand delivered by my son last weekend. They are the hardiest roses I have ever received.

Perhaps, also, the most delicate. I am drawn to the detail. The subtle coloring. The mysterious greenery that is not baby’s breath.

 

2 roses

 

My eyes constantly drift over to their spot on the table across the room.

A few days later, I am at it again…

roses

I also note how they are aging…gracefully. I refuse to throw any out, even as they lose their perfect delicacy. Their perfect color. Edges growing a bit more discolored every day.

Is beauty only in the new and fresh?…or can we also see beauty here…in the natural  curling at the edges…petals darkening…greenery fading.
As the short life cycle draws to a close.

aging roses

One week later…
Still delicate.
Still beautiful.

 

 

Polished

polish heart

 

Express Lane 12 Items or Less:
I emptied my basket onto the conveyor belt.
Milk, orange juice, salad, tomatoes, bananas.
A quick trip to the grocery store.
Or so I thought.

The cashier, a woman probably about my age, dragged the juice carton past the scanner, paused…looked at me and asked:
Do you have children?

My purse open, digging for my wallet, I looked up.
Yes I do.

How old are they?

Still searching for a ten dollar bill, I mumbled….
Umm…37…31….

She began filling my blue canvas bag.
You don’t look old enough to have children that age!

Okay well I don’t know about…

As she weighed the bananas…
You must have had them young.

Ummm…no not really…

She took my cash…turned towards the register and added…
I was 40 when I had my son. I didn’t think I was going to be able to have any children.

As she handed me my change, I offered…
Wow that’s hard to have a baby at 40.

She smiled.
Yes it is!…Have a nice day!

I had never seen her before in my life.

This happens often. Random, sometimes personal, conversations initiated by complete strangers in the grocery store. I wonder why. Do I look smart? I’m not that smart. I really don’t know why detergent pods can leave holes in your laundry. But apparently I can commiserate as to why Proctor & Gamble won’t make it right.

Back to the cashier…and how “young” I looked…

Is there really an age-appropriate way to look…after raising 2 “old” adult children?

Let’s face it – the story of motherhood is unique to every woman. How much we all age – or appear to age – is the sum total of many experiences (…never mind genetics and health).

Not just motherhood.

However, that being said…
Motherhood does jump start the process. From day one…when you may stumble around bow-legged like you’ve ridden a horse for too long…after birthing an almost 10 pound first child. Swearing there will be no more. Until you change your mind.

I will admit…motherhood carves out a chunk of your heart and holds it forever. It also forces you to grow up. For real. The shock – to your entire system – of a love so epic. Slamming into a whole new reality: It’s not all about you anymore.

The Rite of Passage to end all others.

Before parenthood, your self…still rough around the edges.
Still young.

There is real pain along the way.
The birthing. The sleepless nights. Sleepless days.
Endless decisions and acts of faith.
Stretching…reaching deep down…for patience…
You didn’t know you had.

Embracing the joy. The fun.
Taming the worry.
Searching for answers. Finding courage.
Hoping you know what the hell you are doing.
Because you love them so damn much.
Even when they cut away and move on.

You’re stronger for it.
Much stronger than you ever dreamed.
Braver…
And, yes, older.
Rough edges smoothed…
Polished.

More than ready…if you’re lucky…for the next level.

Grandparenthood.

 

books

 

This post inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #41: Polish

 

In The Balance

This post inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #35: Balance

I could never watch circus performers walk the tightrope. Always covering my eyes and waiting for the clapping before peeking out. Never mind those daredevils who travel between 2 buildings balanced on a wire.

Olympic ice skating competitions? I’ll watch after it’s over…but only if I find out ahead of time that the skater stays upright.

Gymnastics and the balance beam: I hold my breath until the routine is over.

There is something about balance…and losing it…that terrifies me. More than it used to. Perhaps it is risk of injury or death. Or perhaps it’s just faith and confidence and control…or lack thereof. Maybe it’s all those hours the skaters, gymnasts and tightrope walkers put into a 10 minute routine…all for nothing if they fall.

As a child I was a risk taker, riding my bike down steep hills – feet off the pedals and hands up in the air. As a 26 year old new home owner, I’d walk on the asphalt roof to check for loose shingles. No problem. But then again, I was young and healthy.

Times have changed.

Balance in life choices? Not so clear cut. Closing my eyes and looking away…not an option.

As a young feminist coming of age during the dawning of Ms. magazine, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, I was bombarded with what felt like wrenching decisions about balancing life choices. Decisions laced with judgment…from the media, my parents, my friends.
Career or Motherhood?
Career and Motherhood?
How much career and how much motherhood.
Then there was marriage – or just living together – in the mix as well. And who or what deserved most of my time? And energy.

Life as a balance sheet started to emerge…

A seesaw perfectly aligned: 50/50 career and kids?
A seesaw off kilter…40/60 when kids are young…or is it 70/30?
Or heaven forbid, choose one over the other.
And what about a partner?
Or just you.
Where do you cut?
Without guilt…
The balancing act – even the thought of it – knots up the stomach.

So you “balance” the marriage, the career, the kids. The time for you with what’s left.
The best you can.
Trying to ignore the buzz of disapproval in dark corners.

Then the kids grow up. Start their own balancing acts.
Probably aiming to do it better. As they should.
And off they go. As they should.
The seesaw lowers a bit. Stability uncertain.

Career winds down
Screeches to a halt.
As you shift in the seat…
…the seesaw slams to the ground.
Ouch.
Glance up…look around…

Ah…the marriage is still there. Good thing.
But…
Your back is killing you. Your feet hurt.
So insanely tired.
Your immune system starts complaining…
An unwelcome surprise
Upsetting the balance.
Once again.

Balance may be an illusion
Shifting day to day.
Hour to hour. Minute to minute.

Now going forward
Covering my eyes
Hoping
That someone will be there to catch me
When I fall…

Perhaps the best balancing act of all.

 

backyard 1993041

 

 

Quote of the Day…

Old age is like a plane flying through a storm. Once you are aboard there is nothing you can do.

Golda Meir

 

Isn’t that the truth.
Even when I want to say…get me the hell off.

I am not ready for this yet.
For the irrelevance thrust on me.
Rendered invisible. Packed in behind the younger.
Respect once earned upended in the turbulence of senior discounts…
now that you’re 50…60…over 60….doors start to shut. Deaf ears abound.

Forgetting one too many things
Which 20 years ago went unnoticed.
Or commented on.
Not now.

Mask floating down. Got it.
Pulling the life vest cords. Got it.

I tell the younger kin I am not this old inside my head.
They nod. Eyes looking beyond. Already past me.
Uncomprehending…until it’s their aged faces staring back at them.
That’s what she meant.

There will be no mad dash for the exits.
Even in an emergency.
I’m on this ride for the duration. Wind. Rain. Thunder.
Wrinkles. Gray hair. Early dinners. Early to bed.
System slowdowns. Bumpy rides. Love and loss.

Dried up everything, but oozing with wisdom.
Experience.
And ideas. Just ask.
But they won’t.
Whatever.

The longer I’m on this stormy plane ride, the wiser I get.
Not my first rodeo.
So there.

2019…more transitions…
…the next leg on my Golden Years journey.
Seatbelt fastened and secure.
Building up those frequent flyer miles.
Wheels up.

plane window
This post inspired by: V.J.’s Weekly Challenge – Transition