First Blog Entry, Christmas Day, 2016

Well, I finally did it.  Started a blog.  I've wanted to do this for a while, but never really had the courage to give it a try before today.  So here we go.  I know I will make many mistakes along the way, but I truly believe that that's how we learn -- we try, we make mistakes, we try again, and improve with each new attempt. 

Even though this blog will devote most of its attention to my creative pursuits, I hope from time to time to put down some of my thoughts about life. It’s taken me about 60 years to finally figure some things out, so I hope my thoughts might help others put their lives into perspective, too. Things I worried about in my ‘30’s and ‘40’s no longer have the same degree of concern for me, especially where my kids are concerned. Most of the entries in this section will be stream-of-consciousness stuff, with no apparent purpose other than me working through my thoughts.  And reminding myself of everything I have to be grateful for.  I also like to write (my favorite classes in high school and college were creative writing); it helps me work through my thoughts and problems -- putting it down on paper somehow validates that it's okay to be who I am.  And that is a very big deal for a Baby Boomer who has spent most of her life trying to please other people.

I am by nature a very easy-going person. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes not. I remember how frustrated my mom became when it came time to discipline me. “Go to your room!” That’s okay with me; I have lots of things to do in my room. “No dinner for you tonight!” Not a problem; I’m not really hungry anyway. “No TV shows tonight!” That’s all right; nothing good on tonight anyway. I’ll just read instead. “You need to put in more time practicing your piano lesson, since you didn’t practice yesterday.” Okay; I spent most of my time making up songs anyway, so what was an extra half hour? “If you don’t do what I say, you won’t be able to see any friends for the rest of the week.” Okay. I’m an introvert, so I was used to being by myself; when I was stressed about something, I actually preferred being alone. My mom was a very take-charge person with a can-do attitude, and I must have driven her crazy at times.

But that same ability to re-direct my focus and find new things to do has served me well over my lifetime. I learned very quickly to never tell Mom I was bored. She would get very excited and without a speck of sympathy say, “Oh, good, now you can find something interesting to do.” Or she’d find me something to do, and that was never a good thing. Cleaning something was usually her answer to our boredom. So we learned from an early age to just find something else to get into. Living in a small town, there was always some new adventure: riding our bikes, or playing kick-the-can, or swimming in one of the lakes surrounding our town, or ice-skating, or sledding, or swinging in the backyard, or having a scavenger hunt, or starting a new mess of some sort. I can honestly say that as an adult, I have never suffered from boredom. Even moments of quiet and inactivity can turn into a time to mentally plan my next project, or organize my thoughts on some topic. Or knit. Or...

Another lesson I learned from this was that I don’t need to entertain my own kids all the time. Boredom on their part could lead to all sorts of discoveries. My boys were always able to find something to do. Then they’d run to tell me all about what they had discovered. I called them my “tag-team talkers”. One would find me somewhere in the house, and regale me with all the cool stuff he had just found in the woods behind our house (sometimes he’d also pull out a bug from his pocket to show me). Once he was talked-out and scurried off to pursue something new, the other would almost immediately find me and tell me something else he had just seen. We live in a raised-ranch house, and the steps in the middle of the house got quite a workout as they raced upstairs to tell me things, one after the other.  All day long.

But I loved every minute of it. Two little boys, 13 months apart in age, was like having twins. Every doctor, dentist, or haircut appointment had to be made times two, and they became great friends and cohorts in all kinds of adventures. Every morning without fail, my oldest got up first. He would bound out of bed, full of energy and ready to meet the new day. My youngest had to be dragged out of bed, wiping his sleepy eyes and yawning repeatedly to try to wake up. But each in turn, they’d find me and we’d sit in our huge over-sized rocking chair and rock for a while to greet the day. Same two questions every morning: “How did you sleep?” “Good.” “Did you have any good dreams?” “No.” Then as boys are wont to do, we’d just rock for a while in silence until they were ready to scamper off to find something to do. The wintertime was especially nice to just snuggle under blankets while they were still warm from their beds. But then their energy would kick in, and nothing could hold them down.

The house is very quiet now. But a couple times every year, the noise and commotion again descends upon us, and for a while the old familiar rhythms rekindle. My oldest still gets up early (usually to do some reading -- he’s working on a Ph.D. in political science, and there’s never enough time for reading), and my youngest (who now works in Boston) sleeps late, then gets up to putter around before making himself some breakfast. They’re both still single, so it’s easy to revert back to our old habits when they’re home. I suppose that will all change someday when they have families of their own, and they make new routines.

They’re both home for Christmas for a few days. Oh, I hear somebody coming up the stairs. It’s my older son, ready to tell me something that he just read. Both boys are about 6’4” now, and still want to share with Mom.   And that means the world to me.