Tuesday, December 31, 2013


The start of a new year always causes me to pause and look back.  I remember reading a quote many years ago which stated, in so many words, that the only two things that matter at the end of your life are "what you learned and who you loved".  Those simple words resonate with me as I reflect on the previous twelve months, along with all the promises I made to myself and others at this same time last year.  Did I keep my promises?  Honor my vows?  Improve on the flaws that needed fixing?  These answers are light and simple as long as I did not screw up too severely in any one area.  I could go easy on myself by wiping the slate clean and looking only forward to what the new year could bring.  But what if this was it?  What if the close of this year marked my own personal expiration?  What would be left of me and my time here to warrant any noteworthy memories?  What would be my legacy?

I am not trying to be overly morbid by harping on my demise, but this does cross my mind from time to time.  Surely I'm not the only one.  Although I was raised Catholic and consider myself a Christian, I make a real effort to learn about and respect the religious principles of various groups.  My own spiritual journey is still evolving and leaves me hungry to explore other viewpoints from different faiths.  Beyond the walled garden of Christianity, I know that other faiths follow similar universal teachings of love, forgiveness and charitable deeds.  We all appear to believe the day will eventually come where we will stand in judgement for the life we lived and the choices we made.  I don't live in constant fear of that day when my judgement will come.  I would be a monumental hypocrite if I made that type of declaration.  However, I do wonder if today was my last day and all my second chances were used up, would my goods out weigh my bads?

My point is that we really don't know when that final day or year is coming.  Last year at this time, many people made heart felt resolutions, but did not live long enough to see them through.  Yesterday, someone that died today, planned to still be here right now.  How can I be so arrogant to think my last moments will be come at a convenient and well planned time?  There most likely will not be a warning bell for me to tie up all my unfinished business neatly for a glorious Hollywood ending (complete with an emotional musical soundtrack, I might add).  In true form, my final words will probably be something non-poetic like "aah crap, not now".  In that moment my mind may go to my family, my friends and loads of unfulfilled promises.  Will they be forgiving enough to remember me for my good intentions instead of my poor actions?  Will they be left behind knowing how much I loved them, even if I never said it enough times?

When I look at photos of my deceased and beloved grandparents, I am immediately filled with all the emotions and memories of the lives they led and the experiences we shared together.  My hope is that my children and others will be able to look at old photos of me one day, with my smile frozen in time, and remember my impact on their existence in a positive light.  I want my legacy to be more about what good I did do, instead of what I could have done.  I need to believe that my work on this earth will endure and inspire someone to want to go farther than I my own journey took me.  Maybe they will sense my spirit when they accomplish a personal goal or achieve a life long dream.  By "they" and "someone", I mean my own children of course, but these sentiments are not limited to only them.  If you want your legacy to endure beyond the span of your life, then you need to start now, on this day, in this hour, in this breath to make your best intentions real.  Don't assume that another year is available or guaranteed to every one of us to make good on today's promises.  If we live like this year is our last, we may work harder to make the time count for something better than just our best intentions and create a legacy we can be proud of.

Happy New Year to everyone and may this year find you happy, fulfilled and 
blessed with all the love your heart can hold.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Oh, Grow Up!

My blog has been getting a lot of hits over the last month although I have not shared anything new.  I swear I did not abandon it.  I've just been going through some things.  If you are connected to me on Facebook, you may already know that we have been doing a small kitchen face lift.  This so-called small kitchen remodeling project grew a little, just shy of a high rise demolition and rebuild.  It includes some new sleek toys and I am really happy with the results.  The original estimated timeline was supposed to be ten days max, but three weeks later the whole thing has come to a close finally.  I actually believe my husband was so agreeable in upgrading our outdated kitchen so I would cook more often.  Bless his sweet little heart!  Hasn't he figured out the only thing to keep me cooking at regular intervals is to actually like what I cook?  (He always turns up his nose at my vegetarian creations.)

Enduring this construction project during the holidays creates a much higher stress level than I could have ever imagined.  We have always loved hosting small gatherings at our house during this time of year, but the kitchen demolition has made the party planning a little trickier.  We have been eating out every night and keeping the boys out of the messy, dusty house as much as possible.  During all this time of family togetherness, I have noticed a lot of changes in their behavior.  There are very few signs of sweet little boy traits around here.  When they made their Christmas wish lists this year, there were exactly zero toys that made the cut.  We have never told them the truth about Santa, but no one seems to be very worried about him anymore.  Whenever we are out in public, neither son wants to walk next to me, let alone hold my hand.  My title of "mommy" was taken away months ago and now they just call me "mom".  Even worse, this title is no longer said in a sweet way.  It is usually yelled from upstairs whenever food supplies have run low, like "MOM, WE'RE STARVING!!".  It leaves me feeling like I have been through some sort of demotion or reassignment.  I used to be the queen of this household and now I am treated like an annoying fifth wheel that  is sent away to make occasional food runs.

Of course this is not good, so this week I tried to indulge them in a little tradition I started when they were really little.  Every Christmas vacation, we load up in the car dressed in pajamas and drive around looking at Christmas decorations.  When we went this year, they snoozed in the back seat and asked me to wake them up if I drove by "anything cool".  I recently snooped on my big boy's internet browsing history and discovered he has been Googling "signs of puberty".  He was getting dressed the other day and ran for cover when he heard me walk into the room.  Really??  It's not like he's had some incredible growth spurt that produced strange new body parts overnight.  Even my once cuddly baby boy acts like I am invading his turf when I walk into his mini man cave.  He keeps his eyes on me when I open his drawers to put away clean laundry.  We have already reached the point in our relationship where I have to ask them to explain song lyrics to me because I am no longer cool enough to speak the same language.

Throughout all these little observations, I have taken note that they seem to be adjusting rather smoothly.  The two of them seem to be doing okay with their new found maturity and coolness.  It's me that can't handle it.  They are growing up and maturing much faster than (cough, um) me.  I am still stuck in the "adorable little boy" phase, while they have obviously moved up to the "pre-pre-pre-teen" phase and left me behind.  I am the one who has some growing up to do.  I am the one who is afraid of what new developments tomorrow will bring.  By the time I catch up with them, they will have moved on to the next level.  It already takes ninja-like skills just to sneak up on them to steal a kiss on the cheek.  If that is the best I can get for now, then I guess I will have to treasure it for what it is...precious and rare.  My Christmas wish list will include a free hug-and-kiss-combo from each kid that will have to last me until the next gift giving holiday, like maybe Mother's Day.  It's going to be really interesting growing up with these two.