Friday, December 7, 2012

2:10 pm

Today is my birthday. Yup, December 7th (a day that will live infamy). Actually, I was born in 1959 and not 1941-Pearl Harbor Day. I will certainly never make an impact with my life to equal that of Pearl Harbor Day but I do like to recite the phrase. Today, I am 53 years old. I’ve been married for almost 31 years to the only man I have ever loved or been with physically (which is rare I’ve come to realize). We have a wonderfully beautiful 25 year old daughter who brings me more joy than I could have ever felt possible. YET, on this day, at least for the past four birthdays, I feel lost and alone. You see, my mother passed away on March 9, 2009. She was so much more than a mother to me. She was my friend, my confidant, my biggest supporter, an advisor and above all, my hero. She accomplished things in her life I could only dream of. During WWII, she and her best friend hitchhiked from Vanceboro, Maine (on the Canadian border) to California to work in war factories. She wanted to “do her bit” she always said. She taught in a one room school house and before she retired had taught three generations of children in many families in our small town. After my dad passed away, she and I became even closer. Although I would never live in my hometown again, I went back home every 6 weeks and stayed for 3 weeks until she was diagnosed with breast cancer when I took my daughter and my dog and moved home where I stayed with her until she passed several months later. She was 89 years old and until just one day before she passed away, she was still guiding me, directing me and even in the way she was leaving this earth showing me her strength. On her sickest days she would dictate notes to me to send to those she called, “shut-ins” and “lonely folks” in our town. She would send my sister to purchase little gifts and deliver them to elderly folks with just a note saying, I was thinking about you today and thought you could use this, a friend. Every year as far back as I can remember, my mom called me at exactly 2:10 pm on my birthday. Even when I worked, she would call and when I answered the phone she would always say, “Today at 2:10 pm was the only time you ever caused me any pain.” Of course, that wasn’t true and we would laugh and chat away about everything and about nothing. What a wonderful mother to bring such joy to her child. Now, all these years later, and since December 7, 2009, I watch the clock. I feel the anticipation build as it gets closer and closer to 2:10 pm. Although my mind knows the phone won’t ring, my heart has hope and I hold my phone to my heart praying that God will somehow allow her to call just one more time. I’m a collector of pendulum clocks and they are all over the house. I’m OCD about making them all the exact same time. If you have pendulum clocks (wind up) you know that there is a slight clicking sound as each minute passes. So, as I hear the clock tick onto 2:10 pm, I hold my breath and pray for my phone to ring…………………………………………………….but inevitably I hear the click to 2:11 pm and still my phone is silent. My heart sinks every time as if it was the first time and the tears begin to flow. My sweet mother gave me thousands of pieces of advice over the years. She loved sharing quotes and quips from her mother like: it’s a poor bird who sh**s in his own nest (meaning, it’s a bad person who turns on their own family) (The “sh word” was the only swear word my mother ever used and only when she quoted that verse, I might add). Another one was, “you blister your butt, you sit on the blisters and many a blister you’ll sit on”. That one meant that when you don’t listen to the advice of your mother, you were going to get hurt and you would have no one to blame but yourself. One of the best, and much less confusing, pieces of advice my mother ever gave me was when she said, “When you are feeling sad and lonely and when you are feeling sorry for yourself, that is the time to reach out to someone less fortunate than yourself. Get “out of yourself” and bring some joy to someone else and in their joy, you will find joy as well.” I think of those wonderful words of advice each year on my birthday. Each year at 2:11 pm when I feel like my world is falling apart all over again. I allow myself time to grieve for the wonderful woman I have lost but not for long lest I fall so deep I will not “get out of myself”. Then, I reach down within to the place where my inner strength lives and I reach out to someone to try to bring joy to their lives. Sometimes it’s a phone call, sometimes I send flowers to someone not feeling well or going through a rough patch. Other times I write a note or a long letter giving encouragement and/or hope in their situation. Whatever I do, I do it then and there while I feel vulnerable and raw. It’s a time when I feel I can most connect with someone who might need more than just lip service from another person asking about how they are doing. So, on this December 7, 2012, as I wait for 2:10 pm, I’m writing a blog post. Not so that others can read it, although it may help someone somewhere, but so that I can for the first time in my life hear the click of the clock and smile even with tears on my cheeks. Because, for almost 50 years I was fortunate enough to have received such a precious gift; one that so many people never get to experience. Today at 2:11 pm instead of weeping for my loss, I will thank God that I had a mother who impacted my life as she did and gave me the wonderful advice to look beyond myself to help others and in caring and loving others, I comfort and care for myself. THANK YOU MAMMA! The love I have for you will live on forever and ever.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer is here and I'm headed to Maine!!! Wow, I can't believe it. It's that time of year again and this year is going to be even more exciting. We are renovating our family camp. When my parents passed away, they left the camp to one of my sisters, my brother and me. At the first part of this year, my siblings decided they just didn't want to invest the money it was going to take to bring it back to its "glory days" so they signed their shares over to me. The ONLY drawback is that my husband, Jim, and I just purchased the camp across the street two months earlier. So now with two camps to totally renovate on a cash budget, we are perdicting that it will take three years to complete both places. Jim is a wonderful businessman but, well, let's just say that he lacks the skill set to get this job done. We are hiring professionals to do most of the work. Jim will only be around for ten days at the beginning of the summer and then drop in to check on progress at some point during the summer. That means I'm on my own. I'm looking forward to the challenge but I have to admit, I'm a little scared as well. Dealing with New Englanders is not always an easy thing. I can say that because I'm a Mainer through and through and when it comes to out-of-staters, we just don't like 'em. So I will be rampin' up my Maine accent and wearing flannel this summer so that I can get the best deal AND get the most cooperation. I'm going to post lots of photos throughout the process so I hope you will stay-tuned and join me in my journey. It's going to be an emotional rollercoaster for me because this camp is where we lived every summer from the time I was about 8 years old. My mother was a school teacher and my dad was a cobbler for Dexter Shoe (3 miles from the camp). So, once school was out, we packed up and went to the lake. When my daughter, Hillary, was born in 1987, I wanted her to experience the wonderful summers that I did as a child so when she was just four months old, she made her first trip to camp and then every summer after that, no matter where we lived in the country, she and I came to camp for five weeks. The memories we have all made here cannot be replaced. Doing a total remodel and preserving what makes this place "camp" is going to be a balancing act for me. I don't want to get caught up in making it a "resort". I want to keep the feeling of a simple family camp BUT without the need to carry water from town to drink and the smell of musty carpets. It's going to be interesting for sure!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spring is Coming - Yes, it REALLY is!

As winter snow piles up for some of us, warmer weather is creaping into our forecast in California and I'm already dreading the hot weather that summer brings.

With that said, I find myself looking over at my fabric stash and "eye-balling" fabrics with springtime colors: bright and cheerful. As soon as I'm caught up on custom orders, I'm hitting the spring fabrics hard in an attempt to brighten the day and spread the good news that Spring WILL come this year and we, as knitters, will be ready!!