Tuesday, December 29, 2009

They're Gone.....

I woke up this morning all on my own....no thundering of little feet down the wood-floored hallway toward my room accompanied by a voice calling "Grammy, are you awake"?

It's been a wonderful Christmas....different than years past, because I have changed...and that is SUCH a good thing! I'm not saying that I didn't struggle...because I did...and shed tears in mourning what had been in the past.....BUT, in letting go of what had been, I was able to embrace what will be....and my heart is full.

Christmas Eve was difficult.....I wanted to have everyone here with ME....so I cried, and then hightailed it to church for a fabulous candlelight service......to a church new to me, but I had been invited by a fellow (20 year-old) classmate who has the voice of an angel.....and I thought of the angels singing when our Lord was born.....and I sang Him the Happy Birthday song that my Dad and I had sung together on Christmas Eve for so many years....I was so blessed!

Christmas morning began with tears again.....no one was here to share it with me....and I struggled with the waiting until my family arrived.....and it was good.  AND, I decided to go to David's family for dinner that evening....I made Martha Stewart's macaroni & cheese.....they all loved it, and I totally enjoyed myself!  There's something to be said about being a guest rather than a hostess!  I could get used to this...

Boxing Day was fabulous....I had my nearest and dearest here for dinner...and I kept it simple.....good food, good friends, lots of laughs!  I got to have my granddaughters for the next evening and day...along with the 14-week old puppy!  We all piled into my bed for a reading party...puppy included....chaos reigned supreme, but a good time was had by all....

Everyone left yesterday afternoon.....it was a bittersweet moment for me....times have changed....I have changed.....and the time together was ENOUGH....I am older and slower, but also older and wiser.... I am in the process of cleaning up from the debris and detrius left from my family's visit.....AND, I woke up this morning to find two raisins left over from our reading party stuck on the side of my face!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Cup is Filled to Overflowing....

I feel as if I've already had my Christmas....the day itself will just be the icing on the cake! I got my grades....all A's and one B (in a silly science lab class that was a waste of time - and my attitude towards the class is definitely reflected in my grade).....yes, I got an A in the dreaded math class!  I am now a firm believer in the saying "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear".  I was ready to face my dreaded math demon, and had one of the best professors that I have experienced in my college career....I GOT IT!  Took a lot of hard work, but I GOT IT!  And, she WANTS ME TO BE A MATH TUTOR!  Who'd have thought it?  And yes, I will do it......if I can help just one person "get it", tutoring will be worthwhile!

My daughter, son in law and granddaughters (and new puppy, Judah) arrived last night.  I was ready for them!  We had homemade spaghetti for dinner - the sauce had been simmering on the stove all day, and was delicious.  Emma decided that she wanted to sleep "in Grammy's bed", so I had a little warm body next to me all night.  I had both girls to myself in the morning, as we let Mommy and Daddy sleep in for a bit.  Liz and Dave had gift shopping to do, so they took Ashlyn with them.  Emma and I stayed home and baked cookies.  We put on our aprons and mixed and splashed our hearts out!  While the cookies were baking, we took turns putting on song and dance shows for each other, interspersed with playtime in the back yard with the puppy and tricycle riding. We finished up the cookies after nap time - Emma was asleep before her head hit the pillow!

I am on my own tonight....the kids are all out to dinner with Dave's family.  I'm sitting in my jammies and sipping a nice glass of wine while listening to Andrea Bocelli's Christmas album.  The last batch of cookies is baking in the oven.  This year, I've stuck to my goal of keeping it simple, and it's working.  I am not frantic or stressed out - quite the opposite!  The kids will be here until tomorrow sometime, when they will leave to go to Elizabeth's dad and stepmother's for Christmas Eve.  They'll spend the night with Dave's family.  Before they leave, the girls will open their traditional Christmas jammies packages from me....this year, matching sets of red bottoms, white tops with a red snowflake, and red tutus.  Emma will be beside herself.  Me, I'll be home listening to Christmas music in my jammies and eating Chinese food (a family Christmas Eve tradition).  I'll go to church for a candlelight service, remembering my Dad. No matter what the song was, at some time during the service, he would break out with "Happy Birthday", and the two of us would sing our hearts out to Baby Jesus. (My Mom would just roll her eyes....)   I'll probably sing Happy Birthday this year, for the first time since I lost Dad.

The kids will come back Christmas morning for breakfast and gifts........they'll leave again to go to Dave's family for Christmas dinner.  I'm invited, but am not sure what I am going to do.  I kind of like the idea of sitting in my jammies with Christmas music and a glass of wine......I'll decide when the time comes!  I'm hosting a "Boxing Day" dinner on the 26th....with my nearest and dearest friends......

I'm just loving this new freedom....no self-imposed "shoulds".....I'm taking each moment as it comes and enjoying it to the max!  Simple is the way to go.....and we have the perfect example of that when we think of that baby that was born in a plain, unadorned manger......food for thought!    

Merry Christmas to all, and may your day be all that you hope it to be!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm Feelin' It......Finally!

My finals are finally finished.....now I just have to wait for the grades.  I'd love to settle down for a long winter's nap, but Christmas is almost here and it's time to get cracking!  My poor house has suffered throughout the semester ....it definitely needs lots of TLC.  Presents have been purchased, but are waiting to be wrapped.  Decorations are still in their boxes, waiting to be displayed.  Cookie ingredients are waiting to be mixed and baked.  Spending time with dear friends at parties and dinners is on the agenda. There is enough time to get it all done!  No stressing this year - I'm keeping it simple, and gonna love every minute of the season!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Letter to My Younger Self

Dear Me -

There is so much that I want to tell you about this wonderful journey that you are undertaking.  You will have many obstacles to overcome and choices to make.  And even though at times it will feel as if you are stuck in a cycle of hopelessness and despair, it will all come out right in the end.  Those challenges will become the brick and mortar that form the foundation for the woman you are to become.

You are courageous, although you don't know it yet.  You have an inner drive that seeks answers and compels you to act upon your curiosity.  You will  learn to let go of your fears in order to live your life authentically - it will be a long process, and you will learn so many valuable lessons along the way!

Please remember these important words:
    • You are both loving AND lovable
    • Hook up with God or a Higher Power sooner rather than later
    • Other people's opinions about you are not fact
    • Feelings are not facts, but acknowledge and learn from those feelings
    • Follow your passion
    • Find out who YOU are, and stay true to yourself
    • Take risks - don't opt for safety over opportunity
    • Laugh often and find the humor that lives within most situations
    • Nothing lasts forever, whether it be good or bad
    • Life is short; find something that brings you joy in each day that you are given
    • Don't allow fear to dictate your choices
    • You will never "arrive" - life is a journey and ever-changing
    • Play more - even when you are an adult!

      Chocolate Covered Daydreams is a fellow blogger with a wonderful sense of humor and a down to earth attitude toward life in general.  Not only does she make me laugh, she also makes me think.  She's having a giveaway for a Wii Fit Plus that ends on December 14th Rules:  Answer the following question--- If you could write a letter to your younger self, giving advice for the future, what would you say?
      I entered with the above post, and you can too!  Just click HERE for the giveaway rules!

      Tuesday, December 8, 2009

      Chicken Dance

      The assignment for my Children's PE class: Present a 2nd grade level PE lesson to my classmates; it had to include teaching them a dance.

      The challenge:  At this point in the semester, everyone is burned out and stressed out with finals looming in the near future (they begin tomorrow for me).

      The solution:  The Chicken Dance!  

      Although everyone was skeptical at first, they HAD to participate in the activity.  And participate they did.....I've never seen such strutting, feather-fluffing, wing-flapping, and tail-wiggling as I did last night!  My professor was laughing until the tears came.....it was a BLAST!  And a welcome respite from all the pressures that semester-end brings!

      I'm almost there.....my last final is next Monday.....and THEN I can start thinking about the holidays!

      Wednesday, December 2, 2009

      Passing the Torch....

      I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, mostly in response to my reactions to changes that have come about in my life.   Take Thanksgiving - a perfect example.  I have cooked Thanksgiving dinner for more years than I want to count.  When my daughter married, she and her husband chose to spend this holiday with his family. The dinner is hosted by his grandparents, who are approaching their late 80's.  Switching off years in order to have the "day" at my house is not an option.  Since their marriage, I have chosen to have Thanksgiving on Friday instead.  I no longer have this option as my newest granddaughter, Ashlyn, was born two days after Thanksgiving last year.  

      I was not "feeling it" this year, for sure!  Although I was invited to David's grandparents to share in their dinner, logistics and school commitments required that I make a choice between traveling 3 hours in each direction for either Thanksgiving or Ashlyn's first birthday party.  I chose the birthday party, all the while inwardly sulking that I wasn't going to get "my share".  On Thanksgiving, Jeffrey (my nephew who lives with me), his girlfriend and I all went OUT to dinner.  A first for me!  And I traveled down to San Diego on Friday to help with the birthday party preparations and celebration on Saturday.  A good time was had by all, and I feel that I chose the right way.

      I've still been feeling "out of sorts" about this whole holiday thing, all based on the honest truth that I still want to be the center of the family.  When Christmas rolls around, I don't want to still be feeling this way.  Elizabeth has three sets of families to please for this holiday - her husband's, her father's, and me.  Last year, we had Christmas dinner the day after.  I could see how stressed she and David were about having to try to live up to other people's expectations and demands on their time.  It was easy for me to make that change in the schedule, because my love for her transcends all.  When looked at in this way, it's all quite simple!

      Obviously, it's been a time for me to perform a "reality check".  Things HAVE changed.  I am no longer the center, nor should I be.  My expectations in this area have lead me to a time of sulking and feeling a little sorry for myself.  This is NOT a good place to be.  My attitude has lead to my missing out on the joys of the season.  Time for an adjusted perspective, and focus on the abundance of things in my life that I am grateful for.  Once again, I must learn to let go.

      So, when next Thanksgiving rolls around, I will gladly join the dinner table, wherever it may be located.  According to Elizabeth, she and David will be hosting at their house next year.  I'm officially passing the torch on to her!