Saturday, April 30, 2011


I will not resign because my resignation will not resolve anything, and I’m pretty persistent.  That has been my mantra as a wife and mother all these years. I have kept chirping, kept nagging, kept on pushing Kerry for a more positive outlook and better treatment of the people he loves. I give the kids the same treatment... not to drink to excess, not to smoke, to appreciate the jobs they have been given, to realize life is a journey, not a destination and it goes by fast, its all about experience...etc...etc..etc...
 I check on Sydney constantly, afraid she will be abducted, the victim of crime or commit a crime, by driving after too one to many drinks with her friends. Here in AZ, that means an automatic ten days in tent city. I don’t know who that would be harder on…her or me. I worry about Brendon’s health and Shelbey’s commute to work every day among other things.  Tell me how you don’t worry about things? How do you switch gears from following your toddlers around so they don’t get hurt, protecting your grade school kids from bullies, trying to guide your teens to a bright future only to say,"ca sera sera, whatever will be will be", once they are adults! I haven’t known how to do that.  
After I heard from a couple of doctors that the stress in my life is playing a big part in the health problems I have, I decided I needed to resign from all the worries I can somehow. I kind of had a head start on the stress between Kerry and me. Even though at times I feel guilty for being here, when he wants me there, I feel justified. I think it's best to take care of what I have built here in Phx, and he can join me when he can, after he does some more work his aggression and anger.
When it comes to resigning my mother worries, I reason with myself, saying the kids are all adults now they can make their own decisions. After all, they have snarled that sentiment to me on occasion, they are probably waiting for me to stop mothering them. I like to mother so much, that I take on mothering kids that aren’t even my own!  But my own kids are my life, and the blood that runs through my veins.  To stop fussing over the kids leaves a huge, empty, almost scared feeling. I wonder if I stop fussing about them, would I be a good mother anymore?  If I’m not a good wife or good mother then what am I?
One of mine and Kathy’s favorite movies when we were kids was, With Six You Get Eggroll, starring Brian Keith and Doris Day. When you watch those old movies, you definitely see where my generation formed our ideas like, it’s our responsibility to do everything for everybody. The men were were crabby and in control.
Here’s a summary of the work I have done lately on resignation. I have decided that resignation is really just adding God to the equation.  It is easier for me to resign if I turn my job over to someone who can do it even better than me although thats hard for me to fathom. Resignation puts God between me and my worries. I have a little sign by my light switch when I go to bed that says, “Let God Worry About It, He Stays Up All Night Anyway”.  It’s been there forever, but last night I really saw it, really let the words sink in. Sydney was out (I’m so tired of worrying about kids being out, and wonder if I will like the weekend ever again), I snapped the light out and went to bed. I didn't call her and I didnt check with her. 

 I felt strange this morning, disconnected from what she did, but determined to ride it out until it becomes a more comfortable feeling... this not checking on her thing. I’ve decided to let go and let God direct them, I won’t be around forever and it doesn’t work anyway, it just stresses me out. Resignation doesn’t have to mean quit, just submit to his plan for them and me for that matter.  I’m reminding myself that God is much more quailfied for this job than me.
That said, I’m going to dinner and a movie (Water for Elephants), with Marcy tonight. Syd's going out, the big kids are camping,  Kerry’s on a run and God’s watching over the whole bunch of us!  Whew what a relief!  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What Kind of Filter Do You Have?

Fil·ter    (fltr) KEY
             To pass through a filter.
             To remove by passing through a filter: filter out impurities.

This is the filter I want...see how beautiful it lets just the right amount of light in?

I never thought I had much of a filter on my mouth; on my actions yes, (because of being self-consious about weight issues), but my mouth was a different story.  Lately, I have been thinking about how many people I know, probably myself included, when it comes to speech - could use a good filter!
Mom was a whitewasher. Yes, Mother always either said something good (if you can’t say something nice don’t say nothing at all), or she hinted.  She’d “beat around the bush”,  although she’d never admit she was doing that either . I hated that when I was first married especially, and had Brendon 2 years after we got married,  at twenty. I felt like a kid with a kid!  Until then I think I probably didn’t have so many opinions, either cuz all I had to think about was boys and chores. But when I didn’t have a Dad to ask anything about life decisions, and Kerry did have a Dad physically, that we saw on random visits,  but not in a real sense of the word, as far as being able to turn to him.  Kerry’s Mom  lived in her own little world busy with kids still at home, and my Mom was involved with us,  but not one to tell you what to do. Even when I straight up ask her what she thought she’d say, “Gosh, I dunno,  that’s your decision”. So it's kind of like i felt thrown into an ocean with no swimming lessons. I had to learn and the more I did the more I thought I knew.

 My kids are reading this and probably thinking I wish Mom was more like Grandma,   cuz I have an opinion about almost everything! Because I didn’t like not getting a straight answer from Mom, I tried to be more forthcoming.  I say what I mean, I mean what I say( unless I’m mad and wounded), and if I promise something, I do it. I can’t think of a promise I’ve broken to anyone( not that my Mom broke promises, quite the contrary, she was big on promise keeping). I try to say what I want to say with a filter, and most of the time in a "I hear you, you hear me way,  so as not to be too harsh.
When I think of people filtering what they say, I think of those cheap, most of the time cracked, roller shades we used to have on the windows to either let sun in or keep it out. There are some options to this filtering thing, some better than others I've found.  You can leave the window bare and have none. That's option one.  You can get the cheap one that lets in alot of sun but alot of harmful rays as well( this is the one I think I have). That's option 2. Then you can get a better one that is probably the best because there is some light and some dark(opt 3), and then you can splurge on the room darkening one so nothing comes through(opt 4).
Compare how people filter what they say and do to those filters. Mom had the expensive one…never told you what to do, you had to figure it out for yourself.  I remember being so disappointed and I felt foolish when I was having nervous problems after Shelbey was born.  For 2 months she must have taken me to the emergency room ten times,  and again that many Dr. visits, because of panic disorder and post-partum depression. I was sure I was having heart problems and from what I knew Mom thought so too.  

When they finally admitted me to the hospital and were sending me to the psych ward no less…Mom says to me, “I’ve been afraid of this all along, I saw my Aunt Sarah have post-partum depression, and I wondered all along, if you didn’t have that”!!  I was dumbfounded! I thought, WHAT? YOU THOUGHT I WAS HAVING EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS ALL ALONG….NOT PHYSICAL PROBLEMS ALL THIS TIME, AND NEVER SAID ONE WORD??  I actually felt really foolish, and like maybe everyone knew but me!  I trusted her to be honest all this time. She never said you don't have emotional problems, she never said you do have physical problems, nope...she just never said anything!  So Mom definitely had the “keep you in the dark option 4 one”.  I don’t blame her, she had her reasons I’m sure, but I didn’t like that and don’t like that in people still. It feels sneaky or something to me.  
      I have a filter but it’s the cheapest one, it lets in a lot of sunshine but doesn’t keep out the harmful stuff either.  I’d like to upgrade to a better one and know I need to,  to really be my best self.  In my quest to tell it like it is, mean what I say, and “honesty is the best policy”…sometimes that’s a little rough on the people that know me well. I always preface what I’m going to say with, “this is just my opinion” but….( You know what they say about opinions, "they are like _______ and everyone has one)".  So, I’m trying to be a little less sure my opinion is always the right one, even though I’m still pretty sure it is ha…
      A lot of people I’m noticing have absolutely no filter or shade,  and really need one; even a cracked, tattered, old one would be better than having none!  They act however they want; say whatever they want,  to whomever they want!  I have been shocked lately by, for example, Kendra on dancing with the stars. Last night I wanted to reach through the TV screen, take her aside and say stop acting so negative, unlady like, and trashy. Filter yourself for your own good. She was shaking her head no, no, on the way out to dance, like a kid at their first dance performance rather than a married mother who was being paid a lot of money as a “star”!  She didn’t like the music, she didn’t want to act like a lady, blah blah…then why sign up for a show that does many styles of dance?
        Whineona Judd is another example. She came off on that reality show as a self-absorbed, ungrateful, bitchy, whining, person with no respect for her Mother. Her Mother has her own issues but it’s your Mother!  That is a major pet peeve of mine!
        I can honestly say I always treated my Mother with respect, even if we disagreed and we did at times. I always said to her, “ no matter what you’re the best Mom in the world”…just because I’m mad right now that you won’t let me withdraw all my savings to buy Kerry a motorcycle, ( a moment of insanity I had there),  I still know I have the best Mom in the world. So many people have totally lost respect for their parents.  I don’t care what you think they have or haven’t done,  you owe them the decency to respect all they did do for you. Even if you didn’t get a silver spoon like you think others have and you’re entitled to, or whatever the beef. They still changed you, fed you, paid for your needs, were there for you as well as they could be, with what they had to give, physically and emotionally. I know there are extreme cases of neglect and abuse but I’m talking about your average parents, who did the best they could with the knowledge, resources and stability they had at the moment.
       Even on Facebook, you see people talking inappropriately about grandparents, parents etc…filter people filter! Get one, even a crappy one is better than none!  Be careful what you reveal about yourself and think over if that’s something you want to do. I reveal a lot about myself(such as having post partum depression in 1979), and I do think it over believe it or not,  but like I said I have the cheap filter. I ask myself if telling this would help someone, including myself to tell it. I try to walk a fine line.( sometimes I cross it by telling too, much I’m sure) but I try to walk the fine line of sharing, but not oversharing. I want people to know you can have panic and be plaqued by it and overcome it, and I had it BAD...bad enough to be hospitalized for six weeks.

Having an opinion but balancing the negative with positive is a good thing.  When I get it right,  I will have upgraded to that finer filter…the one that keeps just the right about of good and bad in your from flowing out of your mouth.
       I’m writing about this because it makes such an impression on those around us, the filter we use, and one extreme is as bad as the other IN MY OPINION, AND OF COURSE AND YOU ALL KNOW WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT OPINIONS…..

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Second Mom

My Second Mom
     My older sister Marcy was fourteen when I was born. The sound of her voice, and the comfort that brings, has been around as long as I have. Her birthday is coming up and every year I value her more than the year before.
                       Marcy and I                            

      I don’t remember a lot about her living at home, except where her place at the dinner table was - because it was next to me behind the table by the window.  When I was about to start grade school, she left home to go to Minot State Teachers College, about fifty miles away from the farm.  She came home some weekends, and more than once she invited Kathy and I to take turns staying with her in Minot. She always came up with something really fun, to make our stay special. For me one time, she rented a double bicycle and we rode to the Oak Park Movie theater to see the new Elvis movie, Spinout.  Staying at her sorority house, where she had a room, she let us take a bath with a “full” tub of water!  That never happened  at home, because Mom had to pay to have water hauled into the cistern, so we just got about a fourth of a tub of water for a bath. Marcy has many times laughed about Kathy and I having so much fun in the full tub of water, we started shouting, “we’re drowning , we’re drowning”!  She was pretty embarrassed that we acted like such little country bumpkins to her sigma sigma friends! But she loved her little sisters, the country mice, and always made sure we had a good time in the city!
     Shortly after I turned twelve, Marcy got married two weeks after our Dad died. They had postponed the wedding when he was in the hospital thinking he'd be able to attend if they moved the date. After the wedding,  she moved away to Salt Lake City,  Utah, where Jerry attended the university there. They moved to  Phoenix  after Jerry graduated, making Phoenix her home all these years.  Back in the first years after she moved, we didn’t call on the phone like we do now, so her moving was a sobering and permanent thing.  We wrote letters, and Mom handled her moving matter of factly, although I know she missed her a lot.  

      I remember wanting to date before the age of sixteen, because I started school when I was five. Everyone else in my class was dating already,  because they were all sixteen except Holly Johnson and I. Holly was two days younger than me and she was dating Darrell Swensrud,  so why couldn’t I? I wrote Marcy and ask her to tell Mom to "get with the times" in so many words. Marcy wrote me back a long letter that said also in so many words…”listen to Mom, she has your best interests in mind”.  So I had to wait. Thanks Marcy,... I can say that now.
     It seemed for a while in my later high school days, and her early days of putting all her energy into her career as a teacher and her duties as a wife, that we weren’t as close as we had been. Not for any reason… just not having much in common, or making the time for each other.  Then I got married and she had Heidi and Heather and I had Brendon. All of a sudden the years between us disappeared; we talked on the phone a lot and shared our lives. She had Jenny and Jess, and I had Shelbey and Sydney. We visited back and forth and always tried to make the times special for the kids, so they had fun memories together.
 Me, Heidi and Marcy

                              My family on the left, and Marcy's on the right 


       The first time my kids went to Disneyland we drove from Phoenix with the Waltons. Marcy rented van which turned out to have bullet holes in it from the LA riots! We noticed the holes after we got home with the car they assigned us! That's not a good sign when your taking a van full of kids to the very same city! 

         We slept in a tent trailer camper and camped in the middle of LA… six kids and four adults. We were neatly packaged in that camper like  bun size Oscar Meyers that night... wall to wall!  Finally snoozing in the tent trailer, the floor lined with sleeping kids, guess who gets a stomache ache in the middle of the night? Not just the "one trip stomache ache"…but the "three or four trip kind" we’ve all had.... MARCY!!

      I kept hearing the zipper going down in the tent trailer and she was trying to sneak out…of course I’d never let her venture to a public bathroom at 3am, in a campground, in the middle of the city, so we both went three or four times. She used the restroom and I sat in the next stall and we discussed the next days plans, as we had the whole bathroom to ourselves at that hour!  We went to Knotts Berry Farm, Disneyland , took the kids to the ocean and had a great time, crowded or not! When they came to ND, I’d try to plan fun things for them too, so the kids could make memories together.
All the kids at Disneyland

       When we needed to move Sydney from Minot, Marcy opened her heart and home to Sydney and I, without thinking twice. After a few months,  I moved into the house I live in now. Alone with Sydney, I was scared here. In July the air conditioning broke  and I cold called a young guy from the phone book,  and he came and fixed it. Syd and I left the house shortly after he drove off, SO happy to have the air blowing away and planned to come back to a nice, cool, house after a movie.

       Instead the heater had been blowing the whole time! The air conditioner guy had wired the thermostat wrong! I called him and at eleven o’clock at night making sure he'd come right away in the morning.  Instead,  he said he would come fix his mistake right away and that he’d be getting there at 1am! He was coming from the other end of the city! If you’ve ever been in AZ in the summer with no air conditioning, you’ll understand that YOU HAVE TO HAVE AIR, so I wanted him to come the sooner the better.  As soon as I hung up the phone, I started thinking about what if his mistake was really a set up? What if he came earlier and did it wrong on purpose, to get in later and rape Syd or something? I didn't trust anyone.

      I called Marcy with my concerns knowing Jerry was out of town but I just needed her opinion. How weird did she think it seemed, that he was willing to come way over here? She, being a full fledged  worrywart herself,  came right over with Jerrys' pistol and hid in the laundry room until the guy left. Turned out he was perfectly legit. After laughing about being such chickens, Marcy picked up her pistol in the holster, laying on the washing machine, and sleepily headed home- at two am!
Marcy and I in Branson

       A few months ago, the first day I rode my horse, he was stubborn. I sent Sydney to the barn for a little whip to keep his attention, and after a half hour or so of making him mind with it, and him acting up a little, Marcy came out and yelled, “Don’t overdue it so he bucks you off or something...” . That was just like Mom would do. She would have been watching from the window and being sure I was safe. I tell that story so you see the kind of person Marcy is. She still Mothers me and I'm 55 and shes 69! That has been a comfort to me since Mom died.
Playing fox and goose for old times sake...

            Marcy is so many things to me. My sister, my friend, my parent figure, my confidante, my shoulder to cry on,  and someone to celebrate with.  We are very different in many ways. I tell it like it is, she smooths everything over. Marcy actually likes chaos and I hate it. She has perfect handwriting, spelling and diction and in contrast, my hand writing reflects my mood, I can’t spell without spell check, and I talk like a hillbilly! She is serious and I see the lighter side. I love loud blaring music when I drive and clean and she likes silence. Marcy cares what people think and I’m like whatever, like me... or leave.
     We are the same in as many ways, as we are different. Being a Mom is where it’s at for both of us. When we go out for a meal, the waitress comes to the table, and we order the exact same thing nine times out of ten. We would both do anything for anybody if we wanted to, but don’t like to be expected to do anything. Sisters are funny like that,... so different and yet so similar.
In Las Vegas at Tom Jones

           Happy Birthday beloved sister…every child should have the blessings of a sister, a lifetime friend, like mine. She makes my problems her problems, and shares my highest highs and lowest lows. Thank you Marcy, for all you have done for me over the years. I love you and hope you have a wonderful birthday. She and I are celebrating her birthday by going to Marcella’s Ristorante in Scottsdale this weekend, and seeing Sooner or Later at the Hale Theatre.
Last year on my birthday