Four Years as an Orphan

Mom Jumping the Waves at Weekapaug

When my mother died, after ten years in the prison of Alzheimer’s Disease, my eldest (at the time) nephew, Will once again wowed us with his wisdom. He told us that only now were we all adults because we didn’t have any parents any more. (Wish I could remember the exact words he used. I will have to ask his mother!)

So, I’ve been an adult for four years now and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Not only am I the first in line to die now but I am getting creakier but still feel so youthful (most of the time.) I am trying to spend the day with joyful memories of mom rather than being sad … and I’ve only had to wipe away the tears a few times so far.

Bear with Apple at Red Gate

Mom rented a house in Weekapaug, RI for several summer and we were so lucky to be able to spend the month with her there. The drive with three little kids (and Flo, my French daughter) was always an adventure and I remember thanking God for Knights Inns. We’d stop half way for the night and Kate loved the decor in the hotel and I needed to sleep! We had such good times at the beach and one of these days I will scan all the photographs so that I can share more. Weekapaug friends are still in our lives and when we win the lottery, we’re going to buy a house there at the beach. Maybe Red Gate – a huge old cottage that was our favorite, I think. A rambling old home that had been in the same family for generations. It had several porches and was near enough to the water that you could hear the waves at night.

Mom & Kate at the Zoo

When mom visited us in Cincinnati, she loved to take the kids out for a day with GranJan. Up until she couldn’t travel anymore, she would borrow my van and drive to the mall and the day was always a favorite of the kids – mostly the girls because my son was so young – but they’d shop for clothes and toys, have lunch and Auntie Anne’s pretzels. Build A Bear was always a favorite stop. Toy R Us was across the street and there were hours spent there, too. Mom loved the zoo, too. We were always members of the zoo and loved going down there for an hour or for a day …  and in the winter, it was even more fun because the animals were (mostly) more active!

She was a task-master, a critic, a tennis fanatic (both on the courts and around the courts), a caring daughter, sister, aunt, friend. We were lucky to have her for as long as we did! My life today is better because of her … even with the disagreements that we had! 🙂

I miss her. I know she’s free of her disease now and I’m sure she’s proud of my three kids and of me. She’s watching over us every day – and she’s smiling!

Gone knitting!

Finishing and Starting Over Again

The other day it was miserably cold and rainy and we were beginning to have a bit of cabin fever. Late in the afternoon, however, the weather changed and we had a lovely double rainbow on the other side of the lake. Clear. Colorful. Perfect in every way! And then the rain came back with a vengence.

I liked being reminded (thanks Mother Nature!) that every day is a new opportunity to start over again. Sometimes we get to start over more than once. Life is full of choices – the question is whether we make an effort to start over … or not.

When I got home after four days on the road and on the run, I was exhausted and a little bit cranky (hard to believe, I know!) When I found out that my daughter went to bed at ten, I didn’t feel quite so badly that I went to bed at nine thirty. I started over several times in those couple of cranky, tired, sensitive days.

I’ve been able to start and finish several knitting projects, too. Started a pair of socks with my Maine Fiber Frolic “Maine Lobstah” sock yarn. Loving the way it is knitting up – bright and so lobstery! FInished the cute little sweater for the baby-to-be also in bright rainbow colors – perfect to start a new winter season in! Finished the “Lakeside Log Cabin” baby blanket with a crocheted edge to give it a really stable, finished-looking edge. Started and (almost) finished a couple of loads of laundry today and have been enjoying the sunny day and an opportunity to sit on the front porch (aka my Northern Atelier) in the sun and cool breeze.

I like the idea of starting a new day every day. Giving myself a new opportunity to pursue my dreams. I still dream of owning a yarn shop. A place that is warm and welcoming and has two little dogs to greet customers. Where I can teach knitting and be surrounded by the fiber that I love so much. I’d love to learn to spin and teach spinning and maybe even weaving. One day maybe pottery too (.. what a mess pottery would make in a yarn shop!) But certainly it will be a place where my personality is infused in every corner – happy, warm, honest, sincere, always learning, full of love. I also dream of traveling in my RV – doesn’t have to be huge or fancy. Just warm and safe.

So, off I go to finish some projects and to start some new ones. Every day I am learning more about myself and just how little I really need to be content in my own skin. I keep simplifying and it’s all good!

Gone knitting!

Road Trip! The Kindness of Strangers

My grand-dog, Mabel, always happy to ride in the car!

This weekend, I put a lot of miles on my daughter’s car, took some long subway rides, knitted in public and watched my son (my youngest child) graduate from college.

I wanted to blog really badly when I arrived in New York at my daughter’s apartment. But didn’t bring my laptop and was sure NOT going to attempt a blog entry on my phone. So, now that it’s not as fresh, I want to mention that I was struck by how many people on the uptown A train (express from Howard Beach to 190th Street) were kind to each other!

When I lived in New York and was pregnant with my first child, I remember long train rides, standing. I was the size of a subway car for goodness sake … and nobody seemed to notice my balloon legs and Omar-the-tentmaker “dress”? But I am happy to report that kindness (and manners) are alive and well in 2012. A gentleman in a suit got up and gave his seat to a woman with a tiny baby on her chest (in a baby carrier – get your head out of the gutter!) Another man gave his seat for the woman’s little girl. An older lady nearly fell into the lap of a woman seated. Rather than copping an attitude, the lady helped her sit and said it was “no problem”. It was sweet to see! I’d likely have written more if my mind was still fresh but alas, it’s not!

Thursday plane, train and subway from Maine to my daughter’s apartment in Washington Heights (Manhattan). Friday a ten-hour drive from New York to Cincinnati. Saturday brunch, graduation and dinner. I also managed some knitting in public both on my son’s porch and at Starbucks! Sunday the return ten-hour drive from Cincinnati to New York – with a lovely traffic jam only five miles from my daughter’s apartment that delayed our Tony watching for over an hour! And today, subway, train and plane back to Maine! Lots of travel for a momentous occasion … my last child’s graduation from college! That means three have successfully completed four years of college and they all are employed! I am one proud mom!

I made a lovely new knitting friend at my gate this afternoon. I believe it’s safe to say that I have never met a knitter I don’t like! She’s from New York State and was heading to Maine on business. On her needles a shawl (pattern had no photo … brave soul!) and in her suitcase, a pair of socks in progress. A woman after my own heart! Her 401k is being earmarked for yarn while her husband’s will pay for retirement. Hey, a girl on a fixed income has got to have a stash of yarn to knit with! I say, that is mighty good planning! We had a great chat and agreed that when traveling we both plan and pack our knitting first!

As nice as it is to travel, I will be happy to sleep in my own bed tonight. Listening to my little Lola snore. I am grateful for friends who open their houses to this Queen Bee and for precious time spent with my children. Tonight I’m too tired to even download photos. So, suffice it to say, I’m not knitting … but I’m going … to bed! 🙂