Night Life

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Our little bit.

Once, nightlife meant drinking, dancing, dinner and smokes.  No more.  I wouldn’t say we have become puritan, but life changes.  Being there to soothe our babies nightmares and being there for breakfast, became our good time.  Instead for running out to meet friends, it was more important of run home, see the kids, watch a little kid friendly TV, and cuddle together on the couch.

Little ones don’t stay little.  It’s irksome how fast you live through that stage. Children grow from rug rats, to curtain climbers, to yard monkeys.  They were busy years.  Little league, scouts, music lessons, became the school newspaper, band, plays, track, plays, and musicals.  Add some cross-country trips, graduations and weddings, and it was a very busy life indeed.

Now our quiet life is punctuated by visits with grandchildren.  Holidays, when the family gets together, we pull out the air mattresses and fill up the house.  For a brief time we are surrounded with laughter, stuff ourselves with our favorite foods, and spend time playing like kids.  I can’t wait.

Exhausted,  we send everyone home and we have a chance to recover as we get back to our peaceful routine.  No, we aren’t puritan, just getting really mature.

Turning Down the Noise for Quiet Reflection

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Everyone goes through grief at one time or another.  My period of grief began with the death of my parents, Bernie and Dee Schapiro.

I have spent the last year in quiet reflection.  The television is silent, the car radio off, and other forms of media are all dark much of the time.  No, not all the time!  I took no vows of silence nor abstinence, but after the death of both of my parents all of those things lost importance.

Instead, I sit with my thoughts as I sip a cup of tea, sometimes I write in my journal, sometimes I go for a walk.  I often find myself awake between 3 am  and  5 am, the time we needed to get up with my parents for one reason or another.  While I sleep through to a respectable 6 am most mornings now, I still keep the occasional early morning vigil, which I have come to think of my time with Mom and Dad.

Yes there are some tears.  But more than tears, I have gratitude for a lifetime of memories with them both.

The Victorians had a very structured period of mourning with those experiencing grief wearing black.  Those Victorians were smart people!  My parents dying had left me with a deep well of anger.  I do not go looking for a fight, but if one presents itself I am not shy about joining battle, and it doesn’t even have to be my fight!  I’m perfectly happy to holler at the redneck fool in the Wal-Mart parking lot who wouldn’t even slow down and let an older woman (older than me anyway) pull out when there was no way she could see him coming.    (Did I say I don’t go looking for a fight?)  Like my husband, just behave, and don’t cross my path.

As time goes on, I have become less prickly.  I have to overlook a lot on social media.  Everyone knows where I stand, and if you get nasty about it I’ll let you practice your right of free expression with someone else, because I have the right to not listen to nastiness.

I grew up with Rock n Roll, but now I find the Classical music of my father soothes my soul and reminds me of him.  I planted flowers in my Mother’s honor.  Their garden was strictly the domain of my German Dad, and when I traveled to Germany I saw gardens like my Dad’s, with ferns, hosta, and pachysandra.  Mom wanted flowers, and I lined my front walkway with them.

In the aftermath of their deaths, I also wanted to build something.  I joined the Auxiliary Board of Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital.  We raise money for the hospital.  I am meeting some fine women and helping to build up the hospital.  I also volunteer, working with a fine group of nurses to make their job easier and the patients stay more comfortable.

My parents only wanted one thing that I can still try to do.  They want me (and all their family) to be happy.   Our happiness is the only legacy they want.

With happiness in mind I give up many fleeting pleasures for deferred gratification.  Instead of the immediate enjoyment of junk food, I focus on health and fitness.  Instead of impulse purchases, I think about what I really need and why, and save for the future.

My sister called Mom her heart, and I called Mom my home at her funeral.  Our parents home was certainly the gathering place for the entire extended family, where we their children came together again.  My parents home was where my children got to know their cousins, aunts and uncles.  Without my parents, the shape of the family is forever changed, but we reach out to each other maintain better contact.

A year of reflection is coming to an end, and you are never far from my thoughts Mom and Dad.

 

Time Passes

Shirt off, muscles glistening with exertion, like a stone chiseled statue, my protector and provider, powerful and wise, and the template that the next man in my life could never match. That was my Daddy.

My Mommy was model tall sleek and movie star beautiful, my caretaker and teacher, knowing and wise, patient and loving, the template I wanted to grow into but could never match.

As I grew I noticed something that really upset me, and I took every opportunity to bring it to their awareness. They were not powerful nor wise enough and I could take care of myself, and they didn’t know everything. The world outside our doors was full of unkindness, unfairness, and injustice. They were supposed to fix these things.

I wasn’t permitted to pass out flowers in a demonstration of peace and love at town center. There were no black people for me to get arrested with to fight injustice and discrimination as we witnessed on television each evening. Taking care of us wasn’t enough. There was a whole world that was messed up, and they needed to get out there and fix it.

Next thing I know I am married, with children. I vote for peace and justice the best I can. It is a struggle to be patient with my brilliant and amazing children. The struggle to bring peace into the life of me and my imperfect husband isn’t easy just because of love. We struggle with our differences and discuss (or argue) every decision. We struggle with finances and jobs, and balancing those needs with the needs and wants of ourselves and our family.

I grew up. I pulled away the curtain to see the ordinary people behind the great and powerful image.

With eyes that have difficulty reading, the television has become their window to the world. The tables have turned. As I once cried that they should get out and fix things, they now tell me to write letters, campaign and support those fighting for justice. They were and are far from perfect, but they taught me to think and care. As I struggle with life, I learned to see their struggle. They are just people doing the best they can with their imperfect lives.

The beauty and strength of youth has fallen away. They fight against physical limitations caused by heart attack, stoke, emphysema and injuries due to falls. It may take much longer to do the things they want to do, but they still do them. They stubbornly maintain every scrap of their independence.

As their bodies age, anger and frustration sometimes spill over. It is natures way, in God’s wisdom, to help them let go of life, and to help us to let them go. Their love and wisdom is still there, and when the wisdom goes, the love will be enough.

Their true beauty still shines and they have become more precious to me. May they have many more years to watch the family grow.

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