I Need My Veg Time, Granny

This seems to be the age of busyness, always moving, forever going, scheduled to the max and stress beyond measure. When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings ?

shouting and tired student girl with complex flow planning

And when did it become okay to involve our children in all this over-scheduling, busyness and stress? How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just. . . . be?

busy kids

It’s too easy to get caught up in a comfortable schedule where adults and kids are kept busy from sun-up to sun-down. It tells the world the parents are good, responsible, and active. It tells the world the kids are involved, active, smart and well-rounded. What it doesn’t tell the world is that everyone is exhausted, tired, stressed, unhappy, with no time to form the relationships and community that we all so desperately need.

Even people who you think might be able to enjoy some down time pile errands on top of volunteering on top of working out on top of, well, you name it. When the children get home from school, they race from one activity to another and if at some point, life seems to calm down, then it is time to take on a big construction project, get a dog or have a another baby.

busyness2

With summer here, our kids are home more and we have more time for what really matters each day. Relax the schedule at least a bit. Allow for what Mac calls his “veg time” – unscheduled relaxed “being time”.

Lat’s all lean into a better us, a better community of friends. When someone asks “How are you?” let’s assume that’s exactly what they want to know. Not the many items on your to-do list, nor the many requests in your inbox. Assume they want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tel them how your soul is – happy, sad, aching, worried, whatever. Examine yourself and tell them about YOU!

Put your hand on the arm of the person to whom you are speaking, look them in the eye (and not constantly at your handheld device) and connect for one second. Tell something personal. Remember we are full and complete human beings who also crave undivided attention and friendships.

relationship

Kids need the same as adults – time off from an over-scheduled life and a balanced existence. Sometimes that means unstructured play and relationship with other kids and sometimes it means electronically disconnected time alone with a book. Not every activity requires a team with a play schedule, a coach, a snack list and uniforms.

Children also desperately want to be heard when we ask “How are you?” I challenge us all to insist on a type of connection where when one of us responds, “I am just so busy,” we can follow up with, “I know Sweetie. We all are. But I want to know about YOU and how I can help.

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I Have Issues

Yes, I have issues. They’re mine and I’ve earned them. They don’t belong to anyone else, just me. I’ve developed them and nurtured them. They are unique and peculiar to my tastes.

These worrisome things take up precious time and thought from my life, until I have to hand them over to God or some such higher power who can handle stuff like issues. Then I can breathe free, sleep easily and live without a care until the time comes when I must take back said issues and massage them a bit. Obviously the higher power isn’t handling things to my satisfaction and I must intervene once more to sort out my issues and take care of them myself. This trading off, back and forth, of my inner most concerns has gone on for years with no clear resolve nor actual change in the status of any aforementioned issues.

I don’t seem to be able to “deal” with my problematic issues very well. I’m not sure what that means exactly. How does one “deal” with an issue or anything for that matter? I feel I’m dealing very well when I give a problem to some one or some deity who I believe is more qualified in the area of issue handling. So when I take it back, is that NOT “dealing” with it? Or is that actually ME “dealing” with it? I’m somewhat confused.

If you’ve “dealt” with an issue, does it disappear or does it somehow morph into a  “better” issue? Is that even possible? Is an issue, by definition, bad? Or is it the person that changes after “dealing” with a life concern? If he/she does, is he/she still in possession of the original issue or does it go into the ether, as previously suggested? As convoluted as all this seems, I would like some answers.

At my age, I have a growing number of issues and storage is becoming a problem. The problem is mainly my memory. I can’t keep track of all these pesky problems and I’d like for some of them to disappear. You know, get “dealt” with, whatever that means!

And what the heck is an “issue” anyway? Some of mine I know are pet peeves. My most annoying pet peeve is how cashiers hand out change these days. When I was a cashier in high school and college, I was taught to first count out the coins to the next whole dollar, then count out the bills and then give the receipt. The new technically correct way is to hand out the total amount of change as a lump sum on top of the receipt. What am I supposed to do with a fistful of coins, bills and receipt just plopped in my hand? Really?

Which gets met to my second most annoying pet peeve, which occurs because no one is counting out change – no one actually knows for sure if it is correct! The cashier simply trusts the machine to be right. Granted it usually is, but when it is NOT . . . . . . oh my goodness gracious sakes alive!!!!! Try convincing the cashier (who always seems to be about 12 years old!) that the register has erred and you are not getting the correct change. NO ONE WILL BELIEVE YOU!!!! BELIEVE ME!!!

Now to my third most annoying issue – no one can add or subtract in their heads any longer. Without a calculator, math simply cannot be done – easy, hard, complicated, first grade to college level calculus, nothing involving numbers can be performed without mechanical assistance. The cashier never believes I’m getting the wrong change because 1) they believe only the cash register and 2) they are unable to calculate the correct change in their head to double check the machine. If everyone gave out change the correct way, this would not happen and three of my issues would be “dealt” with.

Some of my so-called issues are what I would call “mental health quirks”. These are things like 1) I must floss before going to bed or I can’t sleep. 2) I call everyone Sweetie. 3)Runny eggs make me gag. 4)The sound of my own laughter makes me cringe. 5)I’m a sucker for anything in miniature size. I don’t see a real need nor do I have a real desire to do much about these issues. They simply are what they are. On their own, they seem fairly benign and I choose to let them be.

Then there are the phobia issues – the fear of creepy crawly things, of forgetting the words of a speech, of falling, of failing, of being alone or of being in a crowd. These little gems can cripple and maim a person. They can kill joy, kill adventure, kill progress, just kill. These things need to be “dealt” with strongly, decisively and with definite intent. I’ve had some real profound fears in my life and the only thing that I have found that works is truth, courage and head-on collision. Dealing with a fear is a life-long, life-altering concern that requires 1) an honest realization of the true fear, 2) courage to face it and 3) a plan to hit it straight on.

Nothing really changes by hiding or pretending or calling it something else or ignoring it. The issues I have faced in this way have mostly been conquered.The odd thing is – new ones keep popping up. I’ve realized I will have fear issues to conquer and “deal” with the rest of my life. I can choose to let that keep me strong or I can allow it to make me weak. As a Nurse, I’ve always had a strong fear of being weak or helpless, so you can imagine how I react to challenges such as these!

So, I’ve realized an issue is not always an issue – really. An issue is as an issue does – so the old cliche says. In other words, some are okay, some aren’t. Judge them by their actions and effect on you. And if they need to be “dealt” with, do so and get it done, because more are coming!

One more thing about issues – everyone has them!

Kids In The Kitchen

Kids in the kitchen? Sounds terrifying doesn’t it? After all, a kitchen is not a playground . . . or is it? A kitchen is not a classroom  . . . or is it? A kitchen is not the best place for a quiet conversation . . . or is it?

Really, my Sweeties, a kitchen can be the best of all that and more. Magic can happen in a kitchen! Just be fearless and watch!

So, you say you can’t play in the kitchen? Try making popcorn the old fashioned way and see the little ones’ faces as they watch corn pop in amazement. Fun! Or make rice krispie balls with a bunch of munchkins. Very fun! Or decorate cupcakes with icing amongst a group of teens. Very, very fun!

And as for being a classroom, well, I can’t think of a better place to teach anyone math, measurement, geometry, portion, ratio, percentage, weight, length, time or maybe most importantly, patience. Hard to believe that cooking and baking involves all these things but everyone is having such a good time, no one realizes they are actually in school! Don’t tell!

Now, about those quiet conversations – talking with kids while you are having fun with them is what makes the memory. Everyone is at ease and therefore more open. Children will definitely be more forthcoming when distracted with an activity and when it is a shared activity, you have front-row seats to their inner thoughts. You and your precious ones can have the most interesting, touching and hysterically funny exchanges while making a mess in the kitchen. Be ever so grateful you are the privileged one allowed into their inner thoughts and selves.

Did I say “MESS”? Oh yes, dear Sweeties, there will be a mess – like no other! But rest assured, it will clean up with a little elbow grease. And it is so worth it. In fact, the moment is worth a thousand times more than the mess it makes. Try it and see. Invite some kids into your kitchen. Cook something. Bake something. Make a mess. Talk. You’ll love it!

What Will The Grandchildren Say?

I read an interesting question the other day at TheDailyPost. “What do you hope your children will say about you when they are grown?” Well, my children are already grown, so I got to thinking in terms of grandchildren. What do I hope my grandchildren will say about me? Of course, I hope they say I’m perfect, but now that I hear that word”perfect,” it sounds a bit boring.

So what is the lasting impression I hope to leave? I want to give this some thought. I don’t want to be casual or flippant. I know my current actions are already making an impression, but am I being mindless and arbitrary? I hope not. I want to be intentional, but remain spontaneous and fun-loving. So again I ask, “What do I want my legacy to be?”

I came up with the following ten things I hope my grandchildren say about me when they are grown.

1 – My Granny loved me more than anything.

2 – My Granny told me she loved me every chance she had.

3 – My Granny showed me she loved me every way possible, sometimes to my embarrassment. But I wouldn’t change a thing.

4 – My Granny had a great laugh that made everyone around her join in the laughter.

5 – My Granny had the best sense of humor and could always make me laugh.

6 – My Granny could celebrate any holiday or occasion better than anyone.

7 – My Granny loved to give presents.

8 – My Granny loved to feed people, especially loved ones at her big dining room table.

9 – My Granny loved to hug everybody and call them Sweetie.

10 – My Granny made me feel special.

I hope to act and become the Granny that produces such wonderful comments from her “grands.”