Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Seeking: One Lithe-Bodied, Free-Spirited Young Woman........

........trapped in the shell of a middle-aged, arthritic suburban mom.  Have you seen her?  You know, the one who let herself go?

Yeah.  I know.  I've seen her, too.  Often.  In my mirror multiple times a day.

You'd think I'd make the connection, make the change, but I just can't seem to do it.  First it was going to be after baby #1.  Then it was going to be after baby #2.  And now baby #1 is eighteen years old and on the verge of beginning her adult life, taking classes at the local state university, meeting new people, going on dates, and living her own life.  Away from mom.

Sigh.......I'm not ready yet.  I'm really not ready.  It took me years to think of myself as a stay-at-home, fully committed MOTHER.  Now my paradigm is I'm ONLY MOM.

What happened to that free-spirited, risk-taking woman I knew?  The one who could charm a room of strangers, especially men?

I'm seeking her.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Shadow

I know a thing or two about growing up in the shadow of achievement.  I am the youngest of five daughters, and one of them in particular was rather accomplished in school (the #3 daughter).  As a young student, I was compared favorably to this sibling:  "Oh, you're getting excellent grades just like your sister!" and "Oh, you'll be accepted to college early just like your sister!"

It was a heavy burden.  As the first-American born daughter in a family of immigrants, there were high expectations in our family.  My parents came to the United States so that their children would have better educational opportunities, so I was born knowing that much was expected of me.  It was easy at first.  I was learning to speak when my family was learning English, so learning to read at a very young age was not that extraordinary.  Throughout my early grade school years, my grades were nearly perfect, so it was only natural that my parents had me tested to see if I was "gifted."  I was summarily transferred to a "gifted" school in order to be amongst my so-called peers.

By the time high school came around, however, it was apparent I wasn't really all that extraordinary.  I struggled mightily my first semester, and I nearly failed English class, which had always been my strongest subject.  I rallied, though, and graduated with honors, but by then the luster had worn off.  My parents knew I wasn't the second coming of the Golden Child (their #3 daughter).  Sadly, my parents never lived long enough to see me graduate from university and graduate school, but they did witness my graduation from junior college.  I think they were proud.

Fast forward to present day.  My first-born is a Golden Child:  accomplished in academics and music, and a recipient of numerous character awards.  She belongs to several honor societies and is considered a leader by her some of peers.  She is well liked and has many friends.  Most people know who she is by her laugh, her singing voice, and her long, long hair.  It's difficult not to notice her when she's in a group.

My son is the second-born, the only son.  He has a sensitive heart, and a goofy sense of humor.  He earned three black belts in tae kwon do before the age of 14 and loves to play video games.  He has never had many friends, bullies picked on him throughout grade school, and girls thought he was "weird."  He is very bright, but he doesn't think he is.  He hates doing homework, isn't that motivated, and his grades have never reflected his ability - only his lack of output.

Wednesday night, it was his turn to step out of the shadow of his Golden Child sister and be in the limelight.  After a late-semester surge, my funny and amazing son pulled his grades up and earned an honor cord for academic achievement for first semester.

I always knew he could shine.  Now he knows it, too.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What a Waste

I got pulled over by the state highway patrol on Saturday.

By my standards, it was late.  I was driving to Sedona, about 1.75 hours north of me, to hear my older child, my talented daughter, sing with her high school choir at a lovely chapel located on the edge of the town's famed red rocks.  They were coming home from a choir festival in Flagstaff, and their stop at the chapel was nice side trip for them.  Because my daughter is a senior, I wanted to hear her sing one last time in this gorgeous venue.

I left home 30 minutes later than I had planned, and then traffic heading north was unbelievably heavy.  It felt like rush hour traffic in downtown Phoenix - yuck!  By the time I exited the interstate and was heading into Sedona on the two-lane highway, I was 20 minutes away from my destination, and the choir was scheduled to sing in ten minutes.  Uh oh........

Naturally, I decided to open it up a bit and try to make up some time.  The guy behind me must have been drafting me, because he started to speed up too.

Unfortunately, too late did I step on the brakes.  I spied the highway patrolman as he made a U-turn and flip on his lightbar.  The kick in my gut was jolting.

The driver behind me pulled over to let the cop come up behind me.  I eventually found a pullout, and stopped my car.  My hands shaking like an LA skyscraper during a quake, I managed to find the registration and insurance card in the glovebox and hand it to the very nice officer.

Turns out the truck behind me was also being pulled over, so he nudged his gigantic F-150 in front of my tiny Civic.

Several minutes later, the policeman returned from his car to hand me my citation.  He was very kind and sympathetic to my agony.  He told me he was "cutting me a bit of a break" and not citing me for speeding.  Instead, noting a fairly new law in our state, he was citing me with wasting of natural resources.  So, instead of being fined $140 and earning some lovely points on my driving record, I was fined $60 and received no points.  I thanked him, carefully nudged my car out onto the highway, and proceeded down the road to my destination, driving approximately 3-5 miles under the speed limit.  It wasn't until I arrived at the chapel (on time, due to the choir being delayed), that I saw the humor in the situation.

I was charged with "wasting natural resources".................while driving a hybrid vehicle.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

This is a Test of the Non-Emergency, Dazed and Confused Broadcast System

I'm back.

Did you miss me?

I missed writing.  I didn't think I would, despite my assertions that writing is in my blood.  The problem, however, is that I despise it when I must produce, such as when I was writing for a magazine.  Oh, I adored getting those checks, and I preened a bit when a total stranger admitted to reading my articles.  I do, however, loathe deadlines.

So, I set about taking a break in blogging to rejuvenate my creative spirit, and my hiatus ended up being a few years long.

Admittedly, part of the reason I took a break was for a good reason:  I was raising children after all.  And the fact that you have followed me to my new piece of cyber real estate means that you must know I vacated my previous premises because of a stalker.

So here I am.  In all my glory.  Again.  Those of you who followed me here probably already know my true identity, so I thought it ridiculous to hide my whereabouts.  Truth be told, I am a bit wary that my stalker might find me here, but I believe she is harmless.  Mostly.  If she finds me here, I will deal with that then.

Thanks again for tuning in to my broadcast.  I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.