Thanksgiving was marvelous this year, considering my family puts the ‘fun’ in dysFUNctional (grin). I was able to spend time with my one and only brother and all five of my grandchildren. There is simply something special about seeing some of your features in children once removed from your DNA -namely, dimples! One of the five took a great interest in my mother’s garden and asked to come back in the spring when things are all abuzz. I was thrilled that one of them took an interest in gardening since it is so close to my heart, and I use that driving dream to keep me on task, to once again have a huge garden that provides the vegetables on my table.
Apparently my singleness since the death of my husband is a troubling issue for my close family members; even more than it is for me. You’d think that I would be the one most highly attuned to this lack in my life, but oh no. Seems it has been on both my brother and my mother’s minds (eye roll). First off, four years is not that long to be alone after the death of a spouse, considering that we were together for fifteen years. The ‘norm’ is the half-life of the relationship. This could mean I have another three years or so of being alone. Not a terribly comforting thought to me, but totally understandable in relation to the depth of the previous relationship. Here are two separate conversations with my well-meaning family members.
Mom: “So, how are things going with the farmer up North?”
Me: “They aren’t Mom. I mentioned that to you last visit over here, when we were hacking up and digging up banana trees.”
Mom: “Oh, I must have missed that. What happened?”
Me: “I have no idea. Take your pick Mom, from the usual suspects – intimidating, formidable, overwhelming, too mercurial, maybe distance. At least this time I didn’t hear any of that outright.”
Mom: “You’ve heard that before?”
Me: “Not from anyone that I was interested in dating, no. Mainly from guys that I wasn’t interested in, when describing me. You know, the ones from work, where I don’t entertain it as a valid dating pool, considering that I’m not staying here and if it didn’t work out, that would make work a difficult environment.”
Mom: “Well, what about a local guy, you know, that is into farming, gardening or such?”
Me: “Mom, why would I date a guy from here? What would be the point? Most men aren’t going to pick up and go where a woman wants to go, and you know how I feel about living in this state. Besides, you seem to think that dating is a plausible way to pass time, whereas I feel that dating should only be done if there is serious potential for a long-term permanent relationship, you know?”
That pretty much ended it with Mom in a pout and me a little frustrated at trying to explain my perspective yet once more. Then apparently she tagged off to my baby brother. He is my only brother and I’m about ten years older. He is however, nearly a foot taller than I am, so I can’t really call him my ‘little’ brother, now can I?
Brother: “So how’s it goin’ sis? How’s the dude up North? (What, Mom didn’t give him the memo on this discussion a few hours ago? Tsk, tsk, the telephone game is falling down in our family).
Me: “I don’t know, and can we not talk about it? I just spent time with Mom on the subject so it’s a little overworked for me right now.”
Brother: “Oh. So, any other prospects? Have you thought about a musician or artist like I suggested the last time we spoke?”
Me: “No, no other prospects that I’m considering – still those few that continue to consider me without my consent, lol! And that is fine with me right now, the no prospects thing. By the way, just how many homesteading musicians or artists do you know, that live outside of our state?”
Brother: “Are you still set on moving away again, to the cold and frigid North? And alone no less? And I only know our cousins, which is you know, not cool. ”
Me: “Our cousins wouldn’t be in consideration even if not related. I like a man who has at least had a job at one point in his life. Yep, it is still in the game plan, although I don’t k now how far North or how frigid yet. Still just really in the looking stage, checking out property pricing, building codes and stuff. It will be some time until I can really begin to put the plan into play. Money and all that required stuff you know. I just really wish you and Mom would quit worrying so much because I’m alone. I am FINE most of the time.”
Brother: “But you’re not out much, not socializing, you know, like the other single women of your age group that I am aware of. ”
Me: “How many women in my age group do you personally know that want to do what I do? Most of them are busy with stuff that I don’t do much anyway.”
Brother: “Hmm. I don’t know anyone that wants to live in the woods, raise chickens, use wood heat, build solar works, have twenty cats and wear purple hats while doddering in their garden (snicker).”
Me: “You were doing okay until the cat thing, and purple isn’t my color! I might consider a barn cat, but that’s about it. And what is that nonsense about ‘doddering’, smarty pants? (laughing)”
I got off the hook with him fairly quickly, as he moved on to other topics since it had been a while since we’d caught up, especially in person. I breathed a sigh of relief for the second time in the day as the spotlight moved off of my relationship status. At least my kids know enough to leave me alone about it lately, other than their not-so-casual hints about FarmersOnly.com commercials, LOL!
The rest of the day was great, with good food, lively conversation, livelier toddlers, and lots of baby holding and kissing done by me. It was nice to get my baby fix, as it has been a few weeks since I was around the babies at the birthday party. And pretty soon there will be another tiny baby to cuddle, snuggle and admire. Will I miss this when I go, either with a partner or by myself? Yes, somewhat I suppose. But I raised my girls to be independent of me and interdependent with their mates. That is where their life is now, making memories for their families and strengthening those bonds. I am a peripheral part of that, guiding when asked, and sitting back in the distance admiring them and the lives they are building. Those lives are not always pretty and tidy, safe and sane things that I’d like for them to have. But it is their life, not mine, to live. I’m fairly certain that my life choices gave my Mom a gray hair or three along the way, especially when living alone on my place. That’s the nature of parenting, to help grow strong young people that strike out on their own. With the advent of the Internet, ‘seeing’ my family from afar is now a valid option; a method to tide us over until we can be face-to-face again. Kind of like live streaming home videos of old, real-time!
My aunt had a stroke the day after Thanksgiving, and that did give me pause for thought a bit. What if something like that happens to me in the future and I am far away and alone? She’s not much older than I am, but has quite a bit less on the ball about nutrition and health. While I don’t care for company when I am ill, the gist of the family is that she would like visitors, so I’ll try to make the trip tomorrow to go to the hospital. It’s been a while since I’ve seen her, as my family is not particularly close. There has been kind of a weird, unspoken feudal thing going on between some of the family, but we rarely talk of it. It will either die over time or continue to fester and erupt. I’m hoping for the first and not the second. But hey, with our clan you never know.
I’m sorting through stuff to store in the storage unit so that I can reclaim some of the floor space here in the micro-haus. I’m tired of tripping over stuff, having to move things to get to something else, and generally just feeling like it looks as if I might be harboring some recessive hoarder gene. No one really comes here except the occasional friend or family member, and they all know that I’m using the studio as a temporary holding place for the things I brought back with me from my farm visit in April of this year. But I’d like to make another trip up there next month and pick up some of the things that I left behind due to lack of room in the Fit. I have left over time off that I was saving for another purpose that did not come to fruition, and they don’t let us roll over our PTO into the next year. A road trip seems to be in my future again then, yay! I love taking road trips. There won’t be much time for visiting though on this trip, although I might work from the road and extend it a bit if my boss is amenable to that idea, since it is the slow time in our business. As usual, my busy brain is actively trying to come up with ways to bend the rules a tiny bit and extract another drop of fun out of life (smile).
I am really enjoying the song “Stranger Things Have Happened” by the Foo Fighters. Something about it just really sticks with me, perhaps the acoustic guitar, the simple and uncluttered style, or the words. Whatever it is, I have about played it to death this weekend, lol!
Hmm, quotes for this week. I’ve been away from the computer a lot in the last few days, so I may have to rummage around a bit to find one or two fitting ones for this post. My thoughts are still on risk-taking and risk avoidance. Sometimes people lose out simply because of their own misguided fear of imaginary things.
Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit. – e. e. cummings
This next one is just such a truism.
You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself. – Alan Alda
So box up your excess thinking, tidy up your mental space and give your true self room to breathe, just as you do with your desk, your home, and your dresser drawers. Rummage around in there sometime and see if there isn’t something that has worn thin, something that you’re hanging onto even if it doesn’t fit you any more, or something that isn’t particularly flattering on you. The only constant is change, this I know.
Be well. Be you. Be real. Be receptive to change, challenge and risk.