A mid-week Monday?

Yikes! I haven’t gotten started yet, and I’m already behind. Don’t you hate waking up with a deficit? This must be how Uncle Sam feels every morning.

It’s the last day of school for us before spring break, but my head is already into next week. Knowing I needed to fill a couple lunch boxes, I went to the freezer in the garage to retrieve a loaf of homemade bread, tossed it in the microwave on the thaw cycle, and ran back upstairs to print something off the computer for #1 son. Meanwhile, he brings me something requiring a parent’s signature, and # 2 son informs me of his classmates’ activities for next week and  inquires if I’ve completed the graduation packet that was due two days ago. Yikes! I know I did something with it a while back, but was it completed? And it’s past due? How does this happen when I’m so on top of things! I mean, come on, my shelves are almost straight now. That was supposed to help, wasn’t it?

I grab the package and discover that I was supposed to have created some lovely memorial page for our upcoming 8th grade graduate. I scatter a few words, upload a couple photos, and call it done. As my husband is backing out the driveway to take them to school and I’m dashing downstairs guilt-ridden with the time and effort I put into said memorial page stuffing it in the envelope when I hear, “Mom,  did you make lunch?”

Oh geeze, the bread was still in the microwave. That’s what I get for muting the ready signal on it. Maybe it’s not really a ready signal, but a focus alarm. “Hello! It’s your microwave calling. Remember? A little while ago you needed me. I did what you asked. Come back to me, Scatter Brain.”

As wonderful hubs leaves with our sons, now a stop by Publix for 6″ subs added to his trip, I come inside and marvel at the whirlwind that passed through my otherwise peaceful home within the last hour. It’s Wednesday wearing a Monday overcoat. I better change something right now, because I have an important lunch meeting today concerning my manuscript. Focus, DJ, Focus.

Dear God, Forgive how scatterbrained I’ve become. Please guide me and help me focus on what is important and needs to be done.

Delve into the Shelves

I decided it was time to reorganize my collection of books. I thought it would take a few hours. I was wrong.

I have an unusually big laundry room upstairs that seconds as a sewing room. Well, at least a sewing machine stays on the table and is ready for a quick repair without having to haul out any equipment. Although in years past, I’ve sewn many projects both to wear, for gifts, and for the home. Other than merit badges on a BSA sash or fixing a quick tear, the sewing machine has gone the way of many people’s treadmills that find their use as a clothes rack. If it can be still, piles will find their way.

The back wall of the sewing room is lined with custom built shelves from one of those closet companies you see advertised in your weekly mailbox coupons. Apparently the wall was measured and the shelves installed before some settling of the house. Maybe it was that little mini-earthquake we had here a few years ago that felt like we were walking in the wrong direction on a moving sidewalk at the airport. Anyway, a shift here or there hasn’t discouraged the shelves from hanging on the walls.

When the shelves were new, I sought after items to place on there, a few books here, a picture or two there. I’d stand back to see how it looked, add a little greenery here, a basket or antique iron there. Not too bad, after all, it was a laundry room. Shelves started to take on their own themes. I was becoming a simplified version of a Macy’s window dresser.

As time went on, more books were added.  To the right were the religious books, studies, Bibles, inspirational works. Next came the montage of marriage and relationship books, crafting, leadership, then the overflow of parenting books, from how-to’s to you’d better’s. Some biographies and gift books thrown in for good measure rounded out the mix.

When the hare-brain idea popped up that I should take these books off the shelf to organize them, maybe I didn’t realize how many books there were. I have all the fiction lined up now on the floor alphabetically by author. The others all need to be categorized or tossed out. Do I really need The 5-minute Hairstyles book any more? I think not. I think a donate stack is now in order.

So not only have I had writer’s block not working on my manuscript, I’ve had organizer’s block and can’t seem to get the books back up on the shelves. Maybe that’s all I needed—to write it down to see how pathetic that sounds. I think I’ll go grab my dust rag.

Bringing Up Baby

Back in the early 90s I went to Florida as the adult female chaperone to our small church’s youth group. My task was to wrangle the hormonal teenage girls into some semblance of decorum while keeping peace among them, hoping the only tangles would be from cords of their blow driers or curling irons dappled with a minimal amount of hurt feelings. Maintaining a safe distance from their boyfriends downstairs added another dimension and perhaps the trickiest to the “other duties as assigned” on my short-term job description.

I recently had lunch with one of those former teenage girls. But unlike watching reruns of a favorite television show that you enjoyed as a child, you can’t take up where you left off with the characters remaining the same age. In real life, time continues. The characters age. She’s now 34, older than I was on that trip. It’s weird, like a time warp happened, learning about her life and the lives of others we knew. They’ve faced struggles that we didn’t plan on, made decisions we hoped we had prepared them for or warned them against. They’ve had successes and failures alike. They’ve dealt with weddings, divorces, miscarriages, births, cancer, moves, job changes—all those circumstances that define our adult lives. They’ve handled them in their own ways and have come out stronger and truer to themselves as a result.

I admire these young women, ones who may always be teenagers in my memory. But now we can meet on a different level. I hope to have the opportunity to do just that, as long as they’ll realize that they’ve caught up with me and nothing more.

Being the youngest in my family and always one of the youngest in my classes, and generally hanging around with people who are older than I am, learning how to be viewed as an older person still feels foreign to me. I think that’s why I like being the signature pink hatter in a local group of Red Hat Society. I like feeling young. (My stars, I sound like my mother!) I thought I WAS young. Then these little peeps had to grow up and prove otherwise. Thus adding to my slogan: I’m older than I think I am and younger than I feel. Better run take some fish oil before my joints lock up.

Color My World

Is it Friday already? It’s been one of those crazy, out-of-the ordinary weeks for my family. The world was already in motion with its spin, when we dropped in somewhere mid-rotation. I must admit everyone did better than I had expected joining the game during the second inning—appointments were kept, assignments turned in, jobs bid, baseball games played and won.

I’ve celebrated with my children this week as we laughed, played, and reminisced about their first trip to Disney World almost six years earlier. I’ve cried tears this week for a friend who has been diagnosed with cancer and for another friend who lost her brother in the middle of the night after having lost her mother only a short time ago. I’ve  celebrated St. Patty’s Day with my most Irish friend who is going through a divorce and wished him bright beginnings. I’ve texted my husband updates on baseball scores while we were on different fields with different sons. I’ve read chapters from different novels and thought of the authors crafting those words thankful that they took the time to tell their stories. I’ve held my great big Golden Retriever in my lap and smiled when I heard his tail tap out a beat of happiness. I’ve found on iTunes some old favorite songs from the college days and downloaded them to my library, songs that make me sing, dance, smile.

Last night I drove home from a varsity baseball game with my older teenage son just as the sun was setting. The sky had been colored with various clouds all afternoon, but when the sun’s rays hit them, the sky was outlined and streaked in the most magnificent colors. “Look how beautiful!” I said to him. “Oh wow!” he said, for a moment disengaging from the electronic device he held. He really got it.

I’ve woken up each morning to a fresh canvas waiting for its splash of color. Each night a completed canvas filed away as simply as pulling off a page-a-day calendar, some standing out more than others. It’s a new day; I better get busy painting it.

Dear God, Thank you for the variety of experiences you pack into my days and for all the different people I get to meet along the way.

A Slice of Time

It’s funny waking up in your own bed the morning after you’ve been away on a trip. When the awareness of home materializes in your sleepy groggy brain, a sense of order starts happening subconsciously. An “oh yeah, I went to the store yesterday,” along with an “I’m glad I already unpacked the suitcases.” Couple that with “What is on the schedule for today? How’s the weather” and “I remember all those new clothes that I bought before we left that are waiting for me in the closet” and you have a lot of things to think about before ever rolling out of bed.

Going away on a little trip is refreshing in many ways despite all the aggravations associated with traveling these days. Inevitably, on the return trip home, someone in the family announces the item he left back at the the hotel, in the rental car, or on the airplane. As we swallow the cost of replacement, we get used to life without said item.

We go back to our grocery store where the same clerks are stocking shelves, scanning items, and bagging recycled shopping bags. Their unawareness of how we might have changed, experiences we’ve lived, and miles traveled saddens us. We announce any big news to the ones with whom we are familiar. They smile and comment and know they’ll never have the chance themselves. They turn back to the cottage cheese and fabric softener.

Life goes on.