SAY NO!

On my mind all week after speaking up to a ‘friend.’ Friend in quotes because we’ve not been able to really make a friendship although she’s in our little group that meets monthly.

“Is it OK if you pick me up at 10 of?” she emails after asking if she’d like a ride to our first get together in 14 months. We have done monthly gatherings on-line but this is the first in person gathering for me.

She has gone down to the coffee shop every morning for a long while, so quite the social animal. But has no problem making me late so that she can stay after church to chat with her friends. 10 minutes earlier and I wouldn’t be late to Chris’s, and her seemingly innocent question really aggravated me. Then the critic steps in, it is only ten minutes, she’s a widow, blah, blah, blah, my head battered and weary from the critic.

No way could my response be yes. For the first time, not only do my needs matter, but I must and do advocate for them. And it finally registered that in all the past years she has made me late every time so that she could stay longer with her other group of friends. She has been very wily about keeping that to herself, but Samuel goes down for coffee and has seen her there every time.

Saying no is so hard. What will the others think? What will I say when they ask where Rosalie is? But, but, but, what about me? What about wanting to see my friends, hug them, spend a lovely afternoon chatting, playing cards, and wiling away the time pleasurably? Plus the simple fact that I hate being late anywhere and avoid it whenever possible.

That is how hard it is to say no. But in doing it, more self-respect grows. In saying no to the inappropriateness of others I begin to become visible. That is a first. Being invisible is my motes operando.

Hiding because the real me is so detestable. No more.

GRAND-PARENTING

Shane asks, “Can you take the kids while William plays Lacrosse?”

Tear fall while answering, “Of course.”

One long year of having Shane over at a distance masked up. The barrier of a screen between us and his family. Watching them below on the patio while we sat on the screened porch safely.

So two come this morning, mask-less and close-up. Then Cindy comes again later to spend the night. Oh how her overnights have been missed; playing with dolls, combing their hair, the child in me displayed proudly as Cindy’s magical imagination takes me away too.

“We get to be grand-parents again,” I say to Shane.

Listening to him chuckle, I can almost see him smile over the phone.

A Kind Place

Soon we take a trip to see our grand-son who will be one year old later in April. We’ve only known him via the on-line camera, though that has brought much joy, warmth, and laughter. He is almost ready to walk his first steps. We have spent many happy hours with his older sister, now 4. She excitedly counts the days until we come warming my heart with golden love.

Running out of wrapping makes for creativity. Slapping some poster paint on the box of stuffed unicorns for them both looked really chintzy, more was needed. Sparkles! Yes… after that why not painted words in pink and purple with a little more added glitz?

The project took way more time than planned, but it was fun as most crafts are. And now she’ll have a box to treasure and keep. Though it’s the baby’s birthday, she likes hers surprises from Nana too. And I don’t disappoint.

The morning starts thoughtfully wondering at the shear disappearance from myself. Where have the good thoughts gone, the gentleness inside, the warm place to fall? Abandoned, cold, empty. And why?

Because when sleep issues arrive over a too long period of time, the blame falls all on me. I’m too tired to fight the bully who shows up full force. One day good sleep leading to good eating, exercise, and maybe not enough enough beneficial emotional work. Because the next night not falling asleep. Somehow my body and mind split over the day without being aware of why.

Or is it just seasonal due to no fault of my own? Of course it is, the change of seasons messes with brain chemicals making them whacko. Whatever the reason, the kind gentleness learned, albeit a tiny taste of what might be even more possible, is GONE.

That is what will sustain, an interior to depend on. That is where the healing becomes more than just a word. My belief continues that if sleep is not blessed upon me, I must not deserve it or have done something bad or not right.

That makes no sense. It is habit not reality. March into April has been volatile, ups, downs, and moments of calm. As the sun rises pouring onto my face through the blowing wind and paned glass, breathe into the moment, and into my body even if the feelings scare me. Go there, be there, observe, listen, learn, and accept. Once the season settles down so will I. In the meantime, gentle kindness…

SPRINGTIME FUN

What have I done as they started the engine and it purred? My grandson happily moved forward on the new mini-bike, though at 200 cc’s it can carry an adult.

“Don’t open it all the way up,” Samuel tells him, “It’s very touchy.”

My fears increase. Buying something to entertain my eldest grand-son when he comes to visit after a very long year of not having the kids over at all is about to end. We go for our second dose of the vaccine today, so soon we can safely be with family without masks or distancing.

On a chilly sunny day our grand-son came over, and with masks on they assembled the new mini-bike inside the shed.

“I’m going to buy it,” I said to Samuel after he emitted negativity, “I’m using my money.”

But second thoughts invade as William went around the meadow, the worse scenarios popping into my mind like falling breaking an arm, leg, or whatever. My stomach churned with fear finally leaving the patio for the safety of indoors and not having to watch. When it got quiet peeking out to see if everything was alright.

“It’s OK,” Samuel said after expressing my fears and doubts, “You take risks to have fun.”

You sure do, as we both commiserated about our own youthful days of riding motorcycles through the fields. In those days we didn’t even wear helmets. Several times he comforted me and my fears seemingly enjoying this whole process of assembly and riding, even taking a few laps himself. When my son came to pick William up, he rode too. It looks like a good toy to have around for the ‘boys.’ My son gave me the thumbs up all smiles.

My younger grand-daughter and grand-son will soon be able to come and stay. They enjoy the indoor toys, and other outside activities that don’t include motorized vehicles. But my older grand-son found us less and less interesting. We are interesting again, and I love that.

“This was the best day all year,” I said to Samuel, feeling complete and fully joyful after spending a day with William. It has been such a long, long year. This last leg as we near the finish line seems the hardest.

EXHILERATION

The ground crunches beneath my feet before the sun came over the hill. Round and round as birds twittered settling my insides like a gentle warm caress. At the water looking around, the ground is whitish with the night’s frost, cool, crisp and pristine.

A fire is lit to warm me as the sun rises, the patio golden in the morning glow. Gaggles of geese fly overhead making the word gaggle sensible because of their endless squawking.

The biggest challenge of the moment is containing the bursting emotions that spring brings while chasing away winter’s depression- finding balance in the eye of the pleasurable storm.

The flames lick higher and higher as it isn’t necessary to make the wood pile last. We want it gone by summertime anyway. It was bought just for this purpose, to make wintertime fun and be able to entertain safely.

So it is loaded up for a fast and quick burn because by breakfast time it became warm enough without it. Energy drives me out for 5 more laps. Then dishes, dinner preparations, mopping floors, washing throw rugs, then setting them out on the black pavement to dry.

And what about those butterfly bushes needing trimming? My job, as Samuel says he’ll pick up the piles but won’t cut them. By then the temp hits almost 70 needing a removal of my sweatshirt, my bare arms feeling sunshine for the first time all winter.

The day exhausts me, not pleasant tiredness, but uncomfortably tired. Later my energy recoups with a fully satisfying memory of the exhilarating day and my accomplishments.

TIGGER

The moon this morning by Patricia

Spring fever hit like Tigger on a pogo stick. Chemicals in my body usually bringing calm are mixed up like a tornado shooting to the moon. Walking before the sun rose over the hill was exhilarating, hearing the bird songs that had been absent all winter.

The creek burgeoning carrying tiny icebergs downstream, the snow beginning to glitter like diamonds after lap three when the golden orb appeared. Round and round, looking down at various prints in the snow.

Some like a coyote, then delicate like a bird. Squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, possibly a fox! Though a lover of the outdoors, my skills at identifying each one are lacking. But they still tell a fascinating story.

A treat once again was to light another fire, but the March sun warms even more than the fire. The excitement of spring is hard to contain as more daylight wakes up something in me dormant all winter.

Make Your Own Fun!

Bitter cold bites down hard as the wind howls. Not going out in it, the day yawned ahead boringly increasing cabin fever tenfold. The next morning sunshine splashed across the horizon, the day opening with excitement, inviting me out into it even as wind blew.

“I’m going out before breakfast,” I excitedly tell Samuel.

Donning the long winter coat over my bathrobe and new warm boots I dashed out into the air warmed by March sun hugging my chest as bitter wind slapped my back. But the low temps crept up my legs between coats. The snowy path had frozen making it rugged and slippery.

Back inside to change into clothes and to ask Samuel if he’d put on my ice trekkers. He had figured out how to use them the other day when confronting the same icy conditions, having to Google how. Using his manly muscles to stretch them onto my boots, with the addition of thick warm snow pants, the rest of the laps were safe, sturdy, and purely enjoyable.

At the walk’s end, the repose by the creek was short as the wind blew drying the sweat under my coat quickly turning it cold. Back on the patio, out of the wind, a fire was lit easily using a wax cake atop the kindling, warming me thoroughly through and through along with the sunshine. The hanging star under the wisteria captured my attention sparkling in the sun, a perfect photography subject while resting. A morning of entertainment and exhilaration was relished by inventing my own pleasures…

DIAMOND ART

Winters can move very slow. There’s beauty in the pace of it. Yet how to pass the time later in the day when tired but needing to keep my hands busy?

A friend turned me on to Diamond Art, or Dot painting. But there’s no paint involved, just little plastic gems applied one by one. Monotonous, repeatable, and no need for brain power. Perfect.

Cory, my younger son, is decorating a wall in my grand-daughter’s bedroom with the theme of fantastical creatures. Knowing my walls are full, this gave an outlet to do some. They are fun, satisfying, and the price for kits is just right. Luckily there was an old frame lying around to paint that fit the unusual size. The little one below came framed.

Child-Like FUN

Another grey day as my boots splatted onto the frozen path round and round. After several laps the frozen turf began to get soggy so a new path was made next to it. No birds out, no nothing except grey, grey, and more grey.

That makes it harder to stay upbeat, even though it’s an usually good winter as far as seasonal depression goes. The increased exercise must be the cure, because after going out my entire being feels refreshed, hopeful, and full of life!

Where before my brain felt as soggy as the path, coming inside there’s a whole new feeling of excitement. Though a month early a morning was spent child-like while working on Valentine Day cards for each of 5 grand-children. Since not comfortable going into stores to buy them, what better way to pass the time?

Glitter, glue, red paper, and other decorations are gathered to make a nice mess. A feeling of satisfaction filled me as all five bright red cards sparkle next to the candle warming light. Five dollars will be added to each before sending in early February.

Little creative pleasures continue to uplift my winter with fun and happy past-times.