Blog, childhood, grandchildren

Holding Space for Feelings

I,age Courtesy of Pixabay

Day 312

Yesterday we ventured out to run a few errands which included a stop by the farmers’ market and Barnes and Noble. At the book store we gave the kids a budget and told them at least half of their expenditures had to be books. They saw very quickly commercial toys are so terribly over-priced their ‘extra’ money did not go far.

Our time at the farmers’ market was brief. I purchased a basket of heirloom tomatoes and a basket of peaches. They love peaches and love knowing I will make a peach cobbler for everyone to enjoy sometime during their visit.

We found a little hotdog restaurant (not normally on our diet) where we stopped for lunch. We were all famished because it was a little later than our normal lunch time. The hotdogs were okay — not great — but they seemed to enjoy them a lot. Their eating habits have reversed. Our 9 year old has slowed down and she is much more selective in what she wants to eat. The 6 year old wants to graze all day long. Must be a growth spurt.

They both fell asleep in the car and slept through a couple of grocery store stops while I ran in and picked up the fixings for meatloaf which is my granddaughter’s favorite meal to help prepare and also help eat!

We came home and they were allowed some screen time with Grandpa while I peeled peaches and made a peach cobbler for dessert. We decided to pull together left-overs for dinner since we had such a late lunch. Then it was time to read and color and just relax a little. Our grandson was so proud of himself for reading a whole book all by himself.

Several times throughout the day the children were bickering and getting on each other’s nerves. They have been in close quarters with each other all summer long. We pulled them apart, each of us spending some quality time with the other. I listened while they both aired their frustration with the other while I tried to explain why things happen and how the other must feel about certain circumstances. They seemed to feel better once they were able to blow off a little steam.

I established a FaceTime call with their parents so they could tell them all about their day. They went into the other room and chatted away for about 30 minutes.

The hunt for lightening bugs was quick since a storm was rolling in and it became quite windy. The bugs were blown around so catching them was difficult. We came in and started to wind down for bedtime. Sleep evaded us all last night. I know they nap in the car kept the kids from sleeping and their squirming and giggling kept us from going to sleep. Grandpa read to them for a while with the promise of Chapter 3 of Diamond Eyes tomorrow.

Today is a planned down day. Tomorrow we will go mining for gems. All in all a good day in the foothills.

authentic self, Blog, childhood, Fear

From Fearless to Fearful and Back

Day 255

I was a fearless child. Growing up in the country and having the freedom to roam helped me be rather fearless. I do remember two points in time where I first felt fear as a child. One, I have written about one here on my blog, where my own thoughts were overwhelming and made me fearful.

The second memory has to do when I went with my siblings to ‘jump rocks’. Jumping rocks was what we did to move across or up and down the creek. We jumped from one exposed rock to another. I was the youngest of four children, and I am sure often the most annoying of the lot.

On this particular day, the creek was up, which made the available surface to jump to and from smaller. My siblings told me to wait on a very large rock because the jumps were too long for me to make. All was well until I looked down to see a snake and what looked like 20 babies swimming along beside the rock.

I started to scream bloody murder. All I wanted was my grandfather to rescue me, but unfortunately he was away visiting his brother. I screamed so loud, the entire community came running. No one could get me off that rock. I wanted my Grandpa.

I am not sure who finally got me off the rock, but I remember this as if it were yesterday. I know now the snakes were harmless water snakes, but at the time, they seemed deadly.

When my granddaughter was here, she started to say “scared” and the most benign things. It seems she has picked up fear of bugs at daycare. Being afraid of bugs in the mountains will not serve you well. We were able to show her bees and bugs and talk about where they lived, but I cannot help but wonder what goes on in her little mind.

Looking back, I think society influences our fear. The news, the guns, the crime, the hatred — all of it bombards us. I have made an intentional effort to limit the amount of time I read the news, spend time on Facebook, or watch too much tv. As a result, I live more peacefully and enjoy life much more.

I also think being knocked down through jobs we held, can make us fearful and believe we are not capable of all the magic that each of us possess. But the magic never dies. Sometimes we just need to unearth it.

The other day I walked by a huge grape vine wound around a tree. I remembered back to the little girl that would hike the woods with her brother, cut free the grape vine and swing like Tarzan. We drank water from the springs using leaves as our cups. That was a fearless girl. I’m glad she’s finding her way home.

Blog, childhood

I Never Received My X-ray Specs

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Day 219

We did not have a lot of comic books when I was a kid. What comics we did have would never have qualified as a collector’s item because they were well-worn by the time they were passed between the four of us.

My favorite part of the comics had to be the last page. It was a full page advertising the most amazing things to purchase — all directed at kids. I remember so many of them, but none was as intriguing to me as X-Ray Specs. Believe it or not, I wanted to see through my skin — not through people’s clothes!!

I worked hard to return pop bottles at 2 cents a pop to save up a dollar. That’s 50 bottles! Then there was the cost of the postage on top of it. I remember so well putting my change in the envelope, addressing it, and putting the stamp on. On the school bus, I gave it to my older sister to mail for me.

For weeks I waited to receive my high-tech specs. But they never came. It was a disappointing moment in my life.

There were so many choices of things you could buy. Take the Ventrilo – a device that was advertised as helping you learn to “throw your voice” and become a ventriloquist. Or perhaps you might be more interested in a tiny monkey that would fit in a teacup? If you were a weakling, you could order a Charles Atlas body-building program. And who could resist those pictures of the Sea Monkeys who were “so eager to please they can even be trained“? Oh, the list goes on and on. But for me, it was always the X-Ray Specs.

The waiting continued. I never mentioned this order to my parents since I had ordered on the sly. I wasn’t sure they would approve. So, I patiently waited. Still nothing.

So many of these advertisements were terrible scams. The Federal Trade Commission even got in on the action by sending a cease and desist letter to one of the advertisers. No one could have convinced me these things were scams. I believed it was all miraculous science. You know, the stuff parents could never understand.

One day, before my sister passed away, I asked her if she remembered me giving her the envelope to mail in for my X-Ray Specs all those many years ago. She laughed and said yes, she remembered. She told me she opened the envelope, took the dollar and never gave it another thought.

Siblings!

I see there is a book available about these products from the back pages of comic books. Maybe I will just order Mail-Order Mysteries by Kirk Demarais and live vicariously through him.

Dang! I wish I had gotten those specs! Life is full of disappointment.

Blog, childhood, children, Fear

When Times Were Gentle

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Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Day 217

I have a print hanging upstairs my husband bought me on our second anniversary. The painting, When Times Were Gentle, is by the artist G. Harvey. It is a night street scene of times gone by. It has such a peaceful aura about it. I am not old enough to remember these times, but I do often think about how much simpler life seemed when I was growing up. I know life is not the same for us across the board, but for a child, I believe life should be gentle. I am not saying without responsibility because we had a lot of responsibility. I am just saying free from stress and surrounded by love.

Yesterday there was another school shooting. This type of fear and terror, especially when carried out by peers, must do something to a person’s psyche — especially a child. I cannot imagine going to school knowing school shootings are a reality and a very real possibility.

I am not here to argue gun control or politics, I am here to mourn innocence lost. I fear for my grandchildren living in a world where there seem to be no efforts to curb violence. I think we are becoming numb to it which scares the hell out of me.

People shot dead don’t come back. You don’t get a new life, or get regenerated or re-spawned like so many video games show. Dead is dead. Wounded is scarred — for life.

This blog took a turn I was not expecting today. I had a funny, childhood topic in mind, but some days, things are just not funny.

And just a note. I will not engage in political arguments or soapbox stands here. My blog, my rules. Otherwise, I love reading your thoughtful comments and shared experiences.

“When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.”
Patrick Rothfuss

Blog, childhood, Family, grandchildren

The Biggest Gift We Can Give

Day 214

When I think back to my childhood, I can remember a few very special toys, but most of my memories are times spent with people who loved me.

Spending a few days with my grandchildren as their primary caregiver reminds me how important the simple gift of our time is to children. It is not enough to have shared time with us, they each crave individual time where each of them can feel like the most important thing in our life. And that, my friend requires some planning. It is not the easiest thing to accomplish with multiple children, but it is so important.

Even looking back on the time with my own children, my special memories are also around moments. Moments as a family unit but also moments where it was just the two of us. Moments where we talked about important things and moments we laughed in silliness.

I look at the debris path sometimes left behind from poorly constructed toys. They have such a short time span in which they occupy a child’s time and energy. Yesterday, for instance, I taught my granddaughter how to cut paper dolls that hold hands and she showed me how to cut snowflakes out of paper. When my grandson wants to play something, he always goes back to make-up games we have played for years that require nothing but imagination.

Of course they have their favorite toys, but what they really want from us is quality time with no phones or interruptions. Of course that requires time and energy, but it is so rewarding. This is the time that creates forever memories.