Better Than…

I’m sure that I must have mentioned that I’m not a fan of aging. When I was young I believed in growing old gracefully. I was stupid when I was young.

I hate all these little betrayals of the body; the gray hair, the wrinkles and the gravitational pull to name but a few.

I hate that I’m not as sure footed as I once was and walking on ice is now a concern for me in the winter.

I hate my worsening memory. Forgetting things that I’ve said, things that have happened and words, so many words.

I like writing my blog even though I do it rarely. I hate that this very post exists because I sat down at my computer to look something up and then I forgot what it was so I decided to vent instead.

Yes, yes I know that aging is better than dying. Obviously. But really, is that the best response that we can come up with?

Tell me what you like about aging, please.

Sleepless Nights

Where to begin? Gee it’s been a long time since I posted. So long that I have to go back and check my site to see what I last wrote. The urge to write left me. We had a somewhat trying year and I had nothing to say, so that is what I said.

I’m not sure if this will become a regular thing for me again, but right now here I am. Unable to sleep and writing. Since I was awake anyway I decided to check out the blog that started it all for me. During Operation Cast Lead I became an avid follower of some Israeli blogs. The first one that I read regularly was A Soldier’s Mother. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve read blogs with any kind of regularity. In the second post of hers that I read tonight I learned that another one of her sons is about to head off into the army. Well Paula Stern, I now have more in common with you than I ever imagined I would. In just over a week my third son will leave the comfort and safety of his life in Canada to volunteer in the IDF.  He’ll be there and I’ll be all the way over here. Not knowing what is going on. Perhaps I should mention that this is my son who I’ve nicknamed ‘the vault’ for the way he disseminates personal information, my son who almost never answers his phone. His twin brother has always been the communicator which has been fine until now. They have never really been apart before this. His brother has started university and we have the gift of some extra time with just him and his younger sister. These are bittersweet days.

I’m trying to force my fears and concerns to the background. Sometimes, rarely, it works. His eldest brother told me that he feels kind of proud of his brother. I would too if the expression ‘Pride goeth before a fall’ didn’t resound in my head. I don’t want any falls.

So for now I’ll lie awake at night, let my imagination run wild, maybe do some deep breathing exercises and try to trust that all will be well. Just two years and then I can sleep through the night.  Please tell me, Israeli mothers, is it any different for you when you’re closer to where your children are serving? Or when you’ve raised these children knowing that military duty would become part of their lives? I will gratefully accept any sort of wisdom or advice that you’re willing to share with me.

I wish us all restful nights filled with sweet dreams and even more importantly, peacefull days.

Nothing Funny in Paris

I’m sure that hundreds if not thousands of people are blogging about the horrifying terrorsit attack in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo office.
I doubt that I have anything different or illuminating to add to what is being said it’s just that it feels wrong not to say anything.

Edward Buwer-Lytton wrote the famous line “The pen is mightier than the sword.” In light of this attack it seems so very ironic and so very wrong.

I wish the families and the friends of all those who were murdered my deepest sympathies and I hope that they find their necessary healing.

Funny Relationships

The older I get the more it seems to me that life is filled with funny relationships.

Or maybe funny is not the right word, I think the word that I’m looking for is casual. Maybe it’s not all people in general maybe it’s me specifically. I’ve become happy with casual relationships. Perhaps it’s the fact that as my children grow and our relationships change from one thing to another the need for deep external relationships has changed as well.

This brings me to my relationship with WordPress and with blogging and yes I do think that relationship is the right word. I once had a need to get my thoughts out there. To put my feelings into words. That need seems to have left me for now.  I still like thinking about blog topics and considering things that I might want to say and exactly how I want to say them, but the need has deserted me.

I now view WordPress as the old friend who you meet for coffee every once in a while, no longer the buddy that I looked forward to playing with every day at recess.

So, whenever I have something to say that is coffee worthy I’ll find my way to the computer and I’ll jot it down. Maybe one day I’ll go back to regular recess play and more frequent postings.

I’ve learned that relationships change and sometimes relationships that you think will be in your life forever just aren’t. It’s O.K. it’s just life.

We Are All Icebergs

This summer I’ve had a couple of recurring themes running through my head and there is definitely a connection to them I just have to figure out what my lesson from them is.

A while back in my post “My Head Hurts” I wrote about the overwhelming concept of sonder. This seems to be something that I just can’t escape right now. Summer should be a time of ease and joy. We have finally escaped the chains of our long and harsh winter which was followed by a wet grey spring. We are free to move about unfettered by layers and layers of clothing and a concern over hidden ice. We can bask in the warmth of our beloved sunshine with only a necessary layer of sunscreen to be concerned about. Yet that doesn’t seem to be the case this summer. I seem to be hearing story after story of personal tragedy.

I know that life is a roller coaster ride, a continuous flow of ups and downs with a few straightaways thrown in. Personally, last summer was a rough one for my family. This summer should be filled with a sense of ease. I strongly feel that we need to relish the times when we are just moving through our lives, enjoying the flow of normalcy. We need to savour these benign days as much as we celebrate our joyous occasions because when we do hit another low we will be wishing for those simple days when everything was just okay and just okay is pretty wonderful. Yet, I’m feeling that luxuriating in my incredible nothingness is somehow disrespectful to all those who are in the midst of their own lows right now.

This brings me to my second ongoing thought this summer. I like to think that I am a ‘what you see is what you get’ kind of person. That is the type of person I’m attracted to. I have no interest in or trust for people with hidden agendas. However, I’ve recently decided that the person that I thought I was really doesn’t exist. I am an iceberg. I am so much more than what you see or more appropriately what you think you see. I am the embodiment of my personal history, all of my thoughts and experiences. I realize that I am as complicated as the rest of the people in the world. And all of those people have got to be as complicated as their experiences. It is that damn idea of sonder coupled with the depth of human experience.

But, if you were to see me on the street or more likely in the grocery store and you were to smile and to say hi and ask me how I am I’d smile back and say, “Great”. If you were to ask how my summer is I’d say, “How can you complain when it’s summer?” Whoever you are, you’d probably say something similar to me. I do wonder what you are hiding in the depths of your personal ocean.

What I won’t say is that I have a weight on my chest and it won’t ease until my twins are safely home from Israel and that even then the weight will partially remain as I think about the soldiers who have died in the battle for a continued Jewish existence and their families who have paid the ultimate price. I will continue to think about the helpless Palestinian civilians held hostage by leaders who use their people to protect their weapons, glorying in death and destruction instead of celebrating each day of life.

Maybe that’s my lesson. That’s why I need to fight so hard everyday to celebrate the beauty of the mundane.

What’s Going On?

What’s going on is a question that I pose to you and that I ask of myself.

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve blogged. I’ve never done it consistently enough to build up any kind of readership but I’ve been even less consistent in the past year.
I began this blog as a mental exercise and as a form of creative expression. For the most part I’ve really enjoyed the writing. I also get disproportionately excited when someone comments on what I’ve written. I’m thrilled that anyone reads what I’ve written. I wonder who you are and what your life is like. If there’s a link to your blog I always check it out. So now I wonder what’s going on with the lives of my few readers out there.

There’s been a fair bit going on in my regular little life here. I just have had no desire to write about it.

My beloved father in law passed away this summer and I think this may have played a part in shutting me down. It was too personal to write about and everything else seemed of little significance.
We’ve also had a great deal of good in our lives this year. Our eldest went away and completed his first year of university. Our youngest celebrated her Bat Mitzvah in Israel this winter. It was a huge milestone for our family. I’ve said it before but the passage of time feels so very inconsistent. It took me forever to become an adult and then in the blink of an eye I have an eldest child who is 19, two sixteen year olds about to enter their last year of high school and a youngest child who has had her Bat Mitzvah and since turned 14. She’ll begin high school in the fall. She’s ready, I however, am not.

This weekend will be my father in law’s unveiling. It seems an appropriate time for me to step back into the world and to try to shake off my maudlin thoughts.

These are the ups and the downs of life. I need to redirect my focus and to quote Steve Winwood try to “Roll with it, baby”.

So welcome back to whoever reads me. On my part, I think it may even feel good to be back here.

Did You Smell That?

In an effort to help end my writers’ block I’ve started checking out the daily prompts offered by Word Press. They often don’t appeal to me and I have yet to see one that’s gotten my fingers to fly across the keyboard however the following suggestion has been floating around in my mind. They suggested that we look at the connection between touch and memory. How the feel of something can take us back to a certain time and place.

I thought and thought about that idea and all I could come up with is that I don’t really think that’s true for me. My strongest sense memories all seem to be related to smells.

As a kid I had a weird little habit. I did not suck my thumb or have a blankie, I sniffed the collar of my nightgowns. I don’t know, it just comforted me. Every night I would fall asleep in bed while contentedly sniffing my nightie. Smells continued to loom large in my life, both pleasant and repugnant.

As a matter of fact I have learned to recognize the scent of an approaching migraine. All of a sudden I’ll smell cigar smoke. No visual haloes for me.

When I was running a lot there was one particular spot on my longer runs that in and of itself was a reward for running. The scent of pine needles so sweet and so strong that I would immediately be transported back to summer camp. I would take that route just so that I could reach that aroma.

The smell of strawberries, always pleasing, takes me to my old habit of collar sniffing. I can still remember being a little girl and checking out the different smells captured in the flannel of my nightie when I came across the scent of strawberries. My best sniffie moment ever. I know, combine that with my crush on Mr. Clean and my nerd girl reading habit and I think maybe I was kind of a weird kid. I’m sitting here laughing to myself as the realization just now hits me.

A freshly cut cucumber equals summer plain and simple.

Lemons mean Love’s Fresh Lemons perfume and the 1970’s.

Babies. Nothing smells as good as a baby’s neck. That’s the scent of love and motherhood.

The day old scent of smoke from a fire on clothing is summer camp cookouts, fresh smoke from a fire is the quintessential scent of winter. A cold, cold winter day has its own smell that will always remind me of our first winter here in the north.

Scratch and sniff storybook paper is the memory of snuggling with and reading to my niece about 27 years ago.

I could go on and on but I don’t want to bore you.

So tell me, is it touch or smell for you? Or is it something else completely?