The Daily Post has a great subject line No Time To Waste.
Fill in the blank: “Life is too short to _____.” Now, write a post telling us how you’ve come to that conclusion.
Over the years I’ve heard this wonderful “Life is too short” line many times. But it’s not every day that a seasoned life liver crosses your path and hits you up with valuable words to live by. This happened back in my crazed mother of young children trying to “do it all” days. Ugh …. I think I just got a chill.
I was at the playground with my little angels when a grandmotherly type woman approached me. Apparently she recognized that I was dressed in stress from head to toe when she started a very important conversation. She obviously recognized this look.
This lovely woman began asking me about my children and motherhood in general. After listening to my ramblings about the pressures of having an endless messy house, she calmly stated: “Life is too short to worry about dust bunnies, you’ll have plenty of time to clean when your kids are grown.” Who was this woman of wisdom dressed in grandmother clothing? Gandhi? …. Yoda?
I often think about her wise words and pass them along to other young mothers on the brink of exploding from trying to DO IT ALL. She was so right!
Now that my kids are at an age were my needs no longer include pushing strollers, holding hands or driving from A to B and back again, I do have plenty of time to worry about those dust bunnies. But guess what? Now I’m at an age where a heard of full-grown dust kangaroos could hop over me and I wouldn’t care. Talk about a silver lining!
How would you fill in the blank: “Life is too short to _____.”
Save the Dust Bunnies and Enjoy the Ride!
I am going to try my hand at something new with my blog. I thought of this incredibly brilliant idea at this very moment, therefore the logistics haven’t been worked out, other than the title … “Say What? I will try my best to compile a group of essays based on information my ears have had to endure over the years. Interesting to say the least!
This idea came to life because lately I’ve wondered if I missed my calling to become a priest, lawyer or therapist. Since complete strangers seem to seek out my ears for free and fill them with all sorts of personal information. Honestly, I don’t know how the professionals do it … I would explode from listening.
Years ago I thought this happened to everyone out in the world, but my assessment was waaaaaaaay off! What I have discovered is that most people don’t stay in the company of crazy long enough to partake in the festivities. So why do I? Probably because I bore easily and find it somewhat entertaining.
Let me begin by telling you about Mildred (not her real name) who was a longtime patient at the Gynecologist office that I worked at years ago. Mildred was a lovely woman, although trapped in the 70’s with her choice of clothing, hairdo, pancake-like makeup and logic when it came down to her vajay-jay. She was from the “I only take it out for baby making and special occasions” era.
Poor Mildred was constantly coming in for an itching issue down in the nether regions. I am NOT a doctor for many reasons, but the number one reason would be crystal clear in this case. One look at her and I would be blurting “Mildred! For god sakes let that kitty loose!” This expert advice would trump a prescription for some sort of anti-itching cream in my practice.
Any who … when she came in for this particular follow-up appointment she decided to lean in close to tell me the horror she endured when she returned home from her last visit. I never said a word, she just poured out her soul to my wide open ears.
Apparently Mildred decided to finally let her kitty cat out of its cage that consisted of several layers of synthetic garments such as the following: underwear, a girdle, pantyhose and slacks. Then she laid on her bed naked with the ceiling fan on high … to you know … “air things out.” Mildred thought that perhaps this would help with the itching. Just imagine a set a wide eyes right about now.
Needless to say this was a shock to her husband, because he made the H U G E mistake of asking “are you waiting for me?” when he entered the room. Poor guy didn’t have a clue that there were reasons, other than his needs, that would cause her to lay on the bed naked with her legs spread eagle.
Mildred went on to explain that she “couldn’t believe” her husband would think she wanted sex in the afternoon. Afternoon? I couldn’t believe he wanted any part of what must resemble a slab of raw meat at this point.
This woman just keep going … letting me know that her ceiling fan extravaganza is now part of her daily routine, with one small change that she revealed in a low whisper … I lock the door.
My hope is that Mildred is going commando under a skirt these days, but something tells me that is not the case and sadly the only thing her husband is mounting is a new ceiling fan.
Enjoy the Ride!
I’m sure you were all wondering if I decided to drive off a cliff with the top down after turning 50, but actually it’s been just the opposite. That’s right I’ve been out and about spending my days being nothing short of FAB-U-LOUS!
My husband hosted a luncheon in my honor at the beautiful Bridgetown Mill House, where I was celebrated by my family. I must say the best gift of the day was not purchased at any store. I know that sounds like a cliché, but it is 100% true.
There is something extremely healthy about being surrounded by people who really love you with all their heart. Truly the best birthday EVAH!
After all the celebrating I made a decision to take on some fears that have been preventing me from being the best me. Fears tend to do that you know.
It was time to pack up my younger self for a short trip down memory lane.I gave her a big “it’s been real bitch”, grabbed my aging self and ran like hell! Honestly, the “who cares” phase is so much more liberating than the “what will they think?” phase of my life.
Next up was recognizing or admitting that I’m not getting those younger years back, so I better start a hot and heavy love affair with the future real soon. Once I realized that 50 was actually the threshold to get me to the future, I came to terms with the realities. Holding onto the past is only going to leave you standing out on the porch pissed off at the world.
Below is a sample of some truths that I chose to face before crossing the threshold.
- REASON: Panty lines are no longer a big deal when you’ve been forced to wear the equivalent of a twin sized mattress between your legs for fear of peeing all over the floor during a workout.
2. I really should have taken the time to appreciate what I saw in the mirror when I had the chance. I feel as though I wasted so much time and energy focusing on my “faults” during every reflection, I never got to appreciate the whole package.
- REASON: The day will come when you pass a mirror, take a few steps back, look again and say “who the fuck is that?”
3. Now when my phone rings in the middle of the night it will not be a drunk girlfriend summoning me to a club where there is an abundance of hot available men nor will it be a hot available man summoning my booty.
- REASON: Phone calls in the middle of the night now mean two things .. DEATH or DEATH.
4. Sight is a gift that I have taken for granted. I wish I spent my youth threading more needles, reading more newspapers or just “seeing” anything and everything.
- REASON: The day will come when you realize you now have the same vision as a naked mole rat. This means that your chances of mistaking a mannequin for a live person now have better odds than you winning the lottery.
5. During my 20’s I really should have taken advantage of going braless. I should have worked the perkiness of my breasts and flaunted them to the world. They were nothing short of magnificent!!
- REASON: One day you will wake up and actually justify rolling up your now sagging breasts, placing them into a something that resembles a medieval torture contraption … just to go food shopping.
I’ll admit crossing the threshold was filled with some mixed emotions. It was like being really happy at a funeral. If that makes any sense at all. I just stood in the doorway thinking “damn this is liberating” , until I noticed the sickle of the Grim Reaper shining just a tad brighter in the distance. Back It Up Bitch!
Instead of trying to beat age make the most of it. If that means bedazzling your adults diapers … do it!
Enjoy the Ride!
In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend I am once again sharing a post that I wrote in honor of my own mother Venita Momma You Were Born This Way.
I am blessed to be celebrating her once again this year, considering she was 37 when she brought me into this world, I never imagined that at 50 I would still have this privilege. Feel free to insert a big ole Awwww.
Mom is now 87 and I am so grateful that every Friday we spend our day going from one place to another. It’s usually food shopping, banking or a doctor’s appointment here or there. Nothing out of the ordinary, but we have the opportunity to be together and that is certainly extraordinary. A priceless gift indeed!
A few years back when my mom gave up driving, on her own unlike my father who didn’t give up without a fight, my sisters and I came up with a schedule to get mom out from behind her four dull walls. I for one can honestly say it was the best thing that could have happened. This gives us all the opportunity to spend quality time with our mother, which we may not have gotten if she was still whizzing around town on her own. A blessing in disguise!
These weekly outings have certainly provided me with a chance to sit back and ponder on my own challenges in raising my children who are now 21 & 19. I have to look at my mom and ask “how the hell did you survive these years … TWICE? See, I have older siblings and my brother turned 19 just a few days after I was born! Yea…let that sink in for a minute…
Just as she was about to receive her “I survived raising my teenagers” t-shirt she had to change the shitty diapers of my sister and I since we are only 15 months apart! I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Oh, as if this wasn’t enough to warrant a statue being erected in her honor, factor in that she went to work full-time when I was about 7 and was still required by Archie Bunker/my dad to fulfill her “wifely duties” of cooking, cleaning and waiting on him hand and foot. Oh … dear … lord how did she have the restraint not to murder?
I never thought I would actually say “changing diapers and breast-feeding are looking pretty good right now”, but I find myself saying it DAILY and one day I said it to my mom. Her laughter was genuine, but I must admit it was a little unnerving. Then I realized the truth usually is right? You know when there is nothing left but to laugh you don’t have a chance.
- When my mom said “believe me you don’t want him to walk too early” I thought she was crazy until my son started building his own scaffolding to unlock the front door and the gray hairs began.
- When my mom said “let her take her time driving, she doesn’t need her license yet.” Well, I was tired of waiting up to go fetch her from wherever she was, so she got her license. Yea, waiting up until she gets home safely is so much more relaxing…not!
The list could go on, but frankly it’s becoming a little embarrassing at this point. Look, motherhood does not come with a manual for a reason … it’s too fucking scary! No one is going to see that movie after reading the book .. capisce?
So, take time to listen to the wisdom of the
survivors other women in your life … your mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, cousins or honestly anyone with a vagina.
All women are mothers of the world. All of us give birth to something bigger than ourselves. All women are badass and need to be celebrated, so get out there and as always … Enjoy the Ride!
On this Mother’s Day weekend, I decided to pay homage to my mother … Venita. My mother is the oldest of three children born to her Italian immigrant parents Vincenzo Torcini and Maria/Mary Landini in 1926.
Vincenzo left her life at 4 years old, shortly after the Great Depression entered. This left her mother faced with the burden of raising her young children alone, without any means to do so. After this abandonment, she suffered from what would most likely be considered a nervous breakdown today. No welfare, free housing or valium for Mary.
Years later my mother was told that the apartment they were living in had caught fire and her mother was under the impression that the children perished. That pushed her over the edge and lead her to the breakdown.
Scenarios like this were not uncommon especially amongst immigrant families during the Great Depression. Many of them could not find work to support their families, because they could not speak English. This frustration, piled on top of economic pressures led to abandonment and in some cases suicide.
This tragic set of circumstances left my mother and her siblings in the care of the Catholic Charities in Philadelphia. They were placed in an orphanage, followed by what was called a Shelter. This was emergency lodging that was set up in order accommodate all of the families that had become homeless following the Depression. Some were run privately and were set up to serve cases like that of my mother’s family. These children needed homes until their parents were able to support them again.
My mother and her brother, who were only 14 months apart, were separately placed into homes. Unfortunately, their sister and youngest of the three, died of malnutrition while waiting for placement. The children were taken to several different homes before settling into somewhat permanent residences. My uncle was raised by an Italian family in South Philadelphia, while my mother was raised by an Irish woman in North Philadelphia. To this day my mother refers to her as “the Irish woman who raised me.” She rarely refers to her by name, which was Ellen O’Malley. Ellen was a widow at a very young age, never had children of her own and never re-married. It was her single lifestyle that allowed her to open her home to these children. Giving children to single women..now that’s a switch.
Ellen O’Malley a/k/a “Auntie” cared for my mother from the time she was 7 years old until she was 16. There were other children placed during her time with “Auntie,” however they had parents that remained in their lives with weekly visitations. These children were just waiting for their parents to get work to rebuild their lives, but this was not the case for my mom. Her father never did return, and her mother remained at the hospital until her death. This left my mother to just wait, wonder and hope.
Auntie did the best she could to raise her. However, she did not express herself in a maternal manner. This is understandable since the other children had mothers in their lives and she most likely didn’t want to impose.
To this day when my mother talks to me about her own mother, I can hear the yearning of unanswered questions in her tone.
At 85 years old she is still left to wonder if her face resembles that of her mother or father. No pictures, no trinkets, no memories of her own and surprisingly…not one ounce of resentment.
What is her secret? How did my mother raise (4) children of her own without ever experiencing the love and nurturing of her own mother?
I have to conclude … Momma, you were born this way. She is a humble and loving person who gained strength from her hardship that resonates into the enormous love she has for her own children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
The reason I chose the title for this Blog is because my mother Venita enjoys Lady Gaga. You heard me…the same day the photo above was taken “Just Dance” came on the radio. My mom asked “Is this Lady Gaga? I saw her on The View in the cutest black and white outfit. If I were young, I would have that dress.” This was followed by “she’s a smart girl.” I was so grateful she wasn’t referring to the Meat Dress.
At 85 she is a hip hat wearing, organic eating, interesting, funny, strong Lady Gaga loving Democrat, who enjoys going to the movies, solving crossword puzzles, dropping hilarious one-liners and LOVING her family with all her heart. But most of all … she is my Mom. Enjoy the Ride!