"I've officially made your mom scum like you and me," he said to my son as the tattoo artist walked me out the front door of the establishment. He stood at least 6'5" and went by the nickname Gentle Giant. He was adorned with colorful art on a good portion of his body, and his silky brown hair touched his shoulders. I learned he had a little girl at home and his wife was expecting another. He had a trustworthy face...one that said to me Relax; I'll take care of you as I dig into your skin. And he did; he was capable and very kind. On the ride home I looked down at my taped wrist and thought to myself have I fully and completely gone off the deep end? Have I lost all my scruples and fallen back to my foolish youth? I give you permission this time to judge. I mean, I did it without even telling the hubs, and that is totally unlike me. But don't judge until you've heard the whole story, please.
For the last several years I've toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo. I've thought about it, then wondered if I was crazy or way too old to be thinking of such nonsense. I'd forget about it for awhile until it came up in my mind again at which time I'd entertain the thought and once more put it out of my mind. After all, I wouldn't know where to get it done or what I'd get if I got one. I don't run with those folks who are tattooed, you know. When I was a teenager and young adult, tattooed people were scary people. Getting inked was something only people who were rough-and-tumble did....beach bums, soldiers, bikers, druggies, and the like. The idea of poking and prodding one's body with a needle full of permanent ink was something a little too wild for the crowd I ran with. The scariest thing we ever did was light up a cigarette and thank God I gave up that short-lived habit because, as it turns out, that habit is way more dangerous. Tattooing was huge back in the forties and men did it when they went into the service. I think we all have known someone who was a bad boy in the army or marines and had been inked as part of the whole experience, only to wish they had never done it later in life when the tats faded to a pale green or blue and they had a half-dressed lady glaring up at them from their 80-year-old forearms.
But the last decade, tattooing has once again come into vogue and, to my surprise, all kinds of people started getting them who were not of the wild and hairy kind. People of all walks of life have caught the tattoo bug and it is not uncommon to see all kinds sporting the colorful adornments. I can't remember if it was my son or my youngest daughter who got theirs first, but I really couldn't believe that my offspring would go to such extremes to express themselves. But as I've grown accustomed to their tattoos, I've come to see it as not much more than a new piece of jewelry or a funky new hairstyle, although infinitely more permanent. It has become a part of their personality so to speak and all their tattoos have either a special meaning or they are beautiful to look at. Tim's represent his experiences and have meaning to him and his journey as an adult. I'm sure to some extent at least they remind him of the brave moments he spent in Afghanistan defending our country. I cannot be critical of our amazing veterans (even if it is my son), for anything they do to remind them of their sacrifice to forsake all and stand in harm's way and, if it helps them heal, it is okay by me. Abbie is a gentle soul with a very strong connection to anything she considers an art form and her largest tattoo is a beautiful drawing of colorful flowers. I can honestly say that the art she wears on her arm goes with everything she wears like a fine accessory...tasteful and fun and a little edgy. It suits her to a T.
During my recent beach trip, I decided it might be time to get inked. And where else besides the beach is the place most right to get a tattoo? Nowhere, of course! But this was my completely non-logical reason for deciding to take the plunge: I am not getting any younger. And if it is utterly ridiculous for a 60-year-old to get a tattoo, then it would be even more ridiculous for a 70-year-old, right? Plus, I was ready to overcome my fears and do something that clearly was out of the norm for me. I felt inspired to step out of my tiny little world a bit to do something different. So if the time was ever gonna be right, it was now. The day after I arrived in Tampa, I casually asked Tim if he would take his sweet mama to get a tattoo and, after wiping the look of complete shock from his face, he said he would. I literally walked into a tattoo parlor off the street and put my arm in their hands (but they supposedly had a good reputation). Even my two oldest grandkids were on board and I was able to explain to them the reason for choosing the word I did and they took it all in as they listened intently to a lesson from Nana's heart. My littlest one just took her chunky little finger and ran it across the ink as if she was wondering why she'd never noticed it before. That's what is so precious about children; they don't judge and they accept you just the way you are. Unless, of course, your belly is poking through your shirt and they ask you very innocently if you're gonna have a baby. Oh, well. But even if you WERE 60 and pregnant, they'd love you just the same.
But now you can judge if you really think it necessary. I might have judged you once as well if I'd known you got a tattoo, but I've not found it to cross any boundaries in the realm of my moral beliefs and, for that reason, I don't think I'll ever be sorry I did it. In fact, I love it! I also humbly apologize to all those who've had tattoos for years if I wrongly judged you. Now I understand you. Even the hubs didn't come down on me too hard once he saw it. After all, he knows I'm a bit of a rebel and he knew it was just a matter of time. The word I chose has great meaning for me and it is there every single day to remind me of what is important in life... Every single day..... On my wrist..... In permanent ink..... In permanent black ink. Uh-oh.
Ask me on my 70th birthday how it's all working out for me...the tattoo, that is.
Now folks are telling me it is addictive and I definitely will want another one one day. Are you kidding me? I don't think that's in any way a remote possibility for me, but if there is anything I've learned in my six decades, it's this:
Never say never!
"To seek truth in life is the most important task we will ever undertake. Because it would be heartbreaking to reach the end of life and realize that everything you'd ever believed in or lived for...was a lie." cpreston
It's not the end of the world, but you can see it from there.
I am thankful for the discovery that the earth is round because, if the horizon really was the end of the world, it would be a frightening thing indeed. Sitting at the edge of the shoreline -- any shoreline -- is a lesson in infinity by contemplation. It's a tutorial for sparking inner thought and self-analysis, if you but listen, that leads to the discovery of more self-motivation, maybe some self-modification, and a good helping of self-purpose-pondering. Any time I take a trip to the beach, I am reminded that there is something bigger out there than myself and someone bigger out there than myself. I always come away longing for inner growth, committed to making more time for wonderment, and hoping beyond hope that the inspiration will never leave me.
For my fellow beach-lovers out there, you know what I'm talking about. I write to you this week from the sunshine state...the state where the locals feel like they're always on vacation and where tonight's dinner just might be today's catch. It's a place where the sky is bluer and where it never rains -- well, that'd be an exaggeration of the truth because I've seen several hard-driving storms pass through this week. But they left as quickly as they came which makes them a very palatable uninvited guest. It's rare to see days in the spring and summer when the rain drones on for days, a steady pecking of the drops that feels somewhat like Chinese torture if you're longing for sunshine. I'm not sure about the winter months because I could probably count on one hand the times I've seen the ocean in the still of winter. I'm sure winter on the beach has its own pleasures, but I'd like to think it's clear and sunny all the time on the beach. It's how I will remember it one day when I'm too old perhaps to make the trip (WHICH WILL BE NEVER IF I HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT!).
A week at the beach holds more pleasures for me than is really possible to put into words. The moment I see the ocean I begin to relax. My shoulders sink into a semi-humped position and my eyes begin to droop a little from what I've come to realize is the sheer laziness that a trip to the shore induces in me. The ocean indulges me with endless possibilities in my mind and with my camera, and there is nothing like a week where you truly do anything you'd like at that particular moment in time. But before you go thinking that my beach trips are similar to wild trips to Vegas, let me reassure you. The craziest thing I do on the beach is maybe hunker down with a frozen daiquiri (but only one) in my chair as the sun is sinking very low in the sky. I might laugh hysterically as the tears roll down my cheeks, taking the carefully-applied mascara from the night before along with them. I most definitely will overeat, allowing that fried delicacies of the sea have absolutely no fat and insisting that two desserts a day are actually calorie-free in this magical place. Besides, any calories over-consumed will be burned off by the early morning treks down the shoreline. I never feel any guilt about napping or sleeping in or watching TV and getting in bed at 2:00 a.m. If I nap poolside and serenade the bathers with my snoring, hey, they're sawing logs as well, so no worries.
I've never quite fully understood why I love a beach trip so much. Maybe it's from my days as a teenager when I was always invited to the beach for spring break by a good friend. They hold a great memory in my heart because, even though I took trips to the beach as a child, it was not every single summer. But the spring break trips with my friend were. I have great memories of lying on the beach with whatever I had at the moment with which to grease my fair body -- baby oil, Hawaiian Tropic with no SPF, pure cocoa butter...oh, dear. If I got too much sun, which I almost always did, I just swiped my glowing skin with vinegar and it magically turned a golden hue. Remember that one?!! We were blissfully ignorant back then at the consequences too much sun can reek on a body, especially as that body gets older. So these days I diligently cover all those past infractions with SPF-50, graduating near the end of the week to maybe an SPF-15 so that I do take at least a little glow home with me. I guess sun-worshiping never completely gets out of your system if you're a gal of the seventies.
As the vacay comes to a close, I am a bit teary but definitely not weary. As much as there is no place like home, there is nothing better than a week at the shore. If you ever see one of those t-shirts that reads "Just one more day at the beach..." would you give me a heads up? I don't care how many days I get to stay, I always want just one more day. As summer officially comes into full swing with Memorial Day around the corner, I wish you memories this season that will be truly unforgettable... laughter with no restraints, guilt-free relaxation outdoors with all the ones you love, and maybe even a few days at the beach of your choice. But somewhere to unwind, fine-dine, and be completely lazy.
But, most of all, I wish you a slightly toasty and bronzed glow, so that at least folks know you have the pleasures of summer not only in your heart but also on your body.
I'm an aqua girl, living in an aqua world...
California beach girl wannabe!
I have officially made it six weeks living in an RV without going stark raving mad (although I've come dangerously close a few times). And even though six weeks is a small portion of the six months we have committed to living in the woods in a camper with limited space and limited possessions, it's a good solid start. My next post will be from one of my absolute happiest places on earth...but wanted to share an update on how things are going in "adventureland."
For the most part, I feel as though I have finally settled into that pace and rhythm I have so desired since moving to the RV. I really could get used to the ease of not having a lot of stuff to keep up with, a lot of stuff to clean and maintain, and just generally fretting over a lot of stuff. Do I have a place for this? Have I cleaned this recently? Is is time to dust that again? What am I gonna do with that if I bring in this? Basically in an RV you bring in only what you absolutely have to have, find a place for it, and leave it there! I mean, why do you really need a whole set of cookware when two pots will suffice? Once you've filled all the nooks and crannies, you cannot -- CANNOT -- bring anything else in without something going out! But I'll give it to the manufacturer of our Rockwood...they absolutely made use of every available inch of space. In fact, hubby just recently discovered the seats of our dining chairs lift to reveal storage underneath, how cool is that? He has claimed these spaces for storage of small computer parts and almost didn't reveal his find, tempted but not succumbing to the keeping of his dirty little secret all to himself. He better be glad he did! To not reveal extra storage to your wife could be considered by some a federal offense. But I've noticed computer parts have been showing up in undisclosed places everywhere. Ahh, living with an IT guy, you gotta love it. You'll also be happy to know I've made my peace with the tiny shower and have actually been taking more showers lately. I know, I know, it's a small thing but it counts as progress. Plus, being in the outdoors definitely does warrant the more frequent cleansing of one's body. I stand corrected on that one.
I will admit the thing that has pulled me though this time is the proximity to the great outdoors (and lots of prayer). Unlike some postage-stamp-sized suburban lots, my outdoor space is expansive and it just seems the blue sky above this area of the world stretches a little bit higher than anywhere else. A two-mile hike for me is right outside my tiny front door, and I hope to take more advantage of that through the coming months...my goal for the summer and into the fall when our time here is complete is to hike the full seven miles around the lake. We've had some cool evenings and sitting around a big campfire as the sun sets is an experience everyone should have at least 100.2 times in their life...that's roughly one to two times per year depending on how long you live. When we light our tiki torches and the twinkle lights dangling from the RV come on, well, it doesn't get much better than that. I've finally begun to settle in, doing the things I do when I want to make a place home...you know, buying small pieces of word art for the walls (self-confessed word-art junky here)...adding plants...buying baskets and containers to further organize this tiny space and, most of all, looking at this little RV with fondness in my heart as I for the first time am actually considering it home for now. Miracles do indeed happen.
So the journey continues -- or really has just begun. Even though I've struggled in the changes, I finally may have learned how to make it work for me and have a peaceful heart at the same time; and for that I am very thankful. I've wondered at times in my life if I could find peace and tranquility in simplicity, in a life uncomplicated by having less things and in the absence of extravagance, because I do love me some bling once in awhile. I've wondered if I could find contentment in the weaving in and out of days which include not much more than the daily chores around a campsite. The only way to know if that life is for you is to live it, to try it, to experience it firsthand. The funny thing about it is I'm finding much to my surprise that living that simplicity is what really brings you the peace. In that peace you learn to focus on the things that really matter in life more than things...relationships and faith and inner tranquility. As time has moved forward, I can see I've evolved in just these six short weeks, and that my education in and of the things of life on this tiny dot spinning in the Milky Way is far from being over. Each day, each week, each month brings new things I am being pushed and stretched to do beyond what I consider my comfort zone, and it appears as though I'm finding joy not only in the familiar but in the unfamiliar as well, and perhaps seeing a glimpse of what it means to bloom where you're planted -- to be content wherever you land and in whatever circumstances you find yourself. I am discovering more about who I am as a wife, a mother, a friend, and a woman in the 21st century. If you had told me 25 years ago that I'd be living in an travel-trailer for six months in the year 2016, I would surely have told you there was no way I would ever do that, that you didn't know me very well. Plus, 25 years ago, 2016 looked like a space-age time in a galaxy far away.
I also would've accused you of being stark raving mad for even suggesting the notion!
Next post from the beautiful, the magical, one of the closest-to-heaven-on-earth places I've ever known...the blue waters and toe-squishing sands of Ormond Beach, Florida. It's beach week, y'all!
"Home is wherever I am with you..."
Postscript: We continue searching for the perfect little cottage to flip, but haven't found it yet.
I stepped into the peacefully decorated space and remembered I'd left my flipflops in the car. Back to the car to shed my slightly smelly walking shoes and sweaty socks. I looked at my feet. Yep, I was long overdue. I think it was about this time last year when I had my last mani-pedi. My tootsies have been safely hidden away within the confines of my shoes and socks all winter. I did take time once this winter to chisel off a few leftover layers of deep pink from a late fall application and apply a quick coat for my anniversary but, other than that, my feet haven't seen the light of day since then -- except to shower and at bedtime, and then slipping back into my shoes come morning. I looked at my feet and they were pretty sad. But about this time every year I splurge on a pedicure before I go to the beach, and officially (at least for me) usher in the pleasures of summer.
The room was painted a cool sage green and a sparkly chandelier hung in the middle of the room shedding a soft light on the business being conducted below. This was going to be fun. The door was propped open so the breeze could be enjoyed by all. I guess the salon needed an airing out after winter just like my feet. A sweet Asian woman directed me to one of the spa chairs and made sure the water was just the right temp. I noticed as she prepared for my pedicure that one of her fingers was partially missing. I wondered how she lost her finger and hoped that it wasn't from a slippage of one of the pedicure tools and she was putting my feet at risk. After all, they're the only feet I've ever had and they need to last me. I felt embarrassed inside even thinking that, but wouldn't you? At the same time I admired her for using her hands to offer a service where your hands are your paycheck. But she was a doll, so sweet and pleasant, and she gave me a perfectly wonderful pedicure...you know, the kind where you want to slink your whole body down into the blue water bubbling around your feet if you could but only fit? She indulged me in an especially relaxing massage on my calves and shins. I might mention here that I was a bit embarrassed that I had not shaved my legs but I'm pretty sure she had seen worse (I promise I had shaved my legs since last summer!). But I was in heaven. I moved to the manicure table where an equally sweet and capable young woman did my manicure, again making it hard for me not to slither out of my seat. I don't know if she was trying to give me an extra bonus because she liked something about me or if she did it for all her customers, but she completed the mani with what I think might be the best massage I've ever had on my hands and forearms.
Another source of pleasure for me during this much needed pampering time was ironically the little daughter of the owners. She appeared to be about 10 years old and she flitted around the salon talking to the customers. I had my eyes closed taking in the moment and the sound of her voice gave me such a serenity. Some people might've thought it annoying to have a child in the salon while they were being indulged, but to me it just added to the experience. The laughter of children always makes me relax and feel more comfortable. It was evident that she was was solidly in the "tween" years, for she never ran out of things to talk about and her countenance was adorable. Children have an innocent magic to them and I welcomed her presence. She was very well-behaved and a blessing. In fact, I intend to go back to this salon because of that young lady. She touched my heart with her smile and her unencumbered presence in the room. By the time I left that place, I was literally good for nothing except to come home and plunk my relaxed body down on the sofa and my freshly-painted toes on the ottomon. But somehow I think that's the way it's supposed to be...allowing a moment of pure indulgence set the pace for a relaxing day.
As a wife and mom and grandmother, I'm usually thinking about how I can do for others, but every once in awhile I'll do something just for me (remember my weekend in the hotel last week?!!). I don't know if a pedicure is to "save face" since I usually go to the beach in May and I don't want to be seen in sandals without it, or if it's because I feel I just might deserve a small luxury after living in the woods for a month, or maybe because it's Mother's Day. Who really needs a reason, right? But just like anything you don't do very often, you can really appreciate it when it's a once-in-a-while indulgence. I normally paint my own toenails and fingernails which is not very often...let's just say if a nail breaks, I clip it or file it. I color my own hair and don't pay a fortune to have it trimmed every few moths, and I've learned how to trim my own bangs quite well. So I guess I get excited about these small pleasures. If you're one of those who gets services on a more frequent basis, you're probably wondering why in the world I wanted to talk about my pedicure. But here's the thing. I feel very thankful for people like these sweet ladies who offer a service and make it so pleasant and I don't take them for granted. I read people ranting and raving all the time on social media about the service that went all wrong or how someone in the hospitality industry was so rude to them. Why can't we talk more about the good we see in people every day? You never know when you might connect with another over the manicure table or under the hairdryer or over your meal while your waitress refills your glass for the fifth time. But if you should feel a nudge when you're being served, you should say thank you, even if they're being paid to do it. And don't you even dare think about being on your cell phone...how rude is that? Even though we think we are owed kindness, I believe kindness is always a gift. I believe the extra mile comes from a person who has the heart to go that extra mile, give that extra special service, and smile and speak kindly even if they don't feel like doing it.
Because whether or not you know it, it's your untold duty to be the one who makes another's day easier, makes another's day better, or maybe just be the one who reminds them that there are still good folks out there in the world. The weight of this responsibility falls on me and it falls on you.
And if you don't feel that way, maybe you should keep your toes in those running shoes all summer.
Make someone's Saturday happy, folks!
Other happy pleasures on the trail this weekend...get outside and enjoy!
As we inch closer to Mother's Day, I simply cannot let it pass without paying homage to my dear mother. This week marked the second anniversary of her burial and, in a way, it seems like it's flown by but in a way it seems like she's been gone forever. It feels like a very long time since I've been able to pick up the phone and call her to tell her the latest news or just to hear her voice. You know how sometimes you just wanna hear your mother's voice? I think that's what I miss the most.
For my entire life, I can't remember one single time when my mother was not available to me. If she was well, in town (before cell phones), and not completely incapacitated for whatever reason, she was there to answer my questions, listen to my hardships, and rejoice with me when I was the bearer of good news. Even when she was terribly sick with cancer and had just weeks to live, she would always take my calls. I remember not only her concern for everything having to do with my life but mostly her absolute joy whenever I had something exciting happen. She was thrilled for the good things that came into her family's lives, as if it were her own happiness. And I believe it was; she loved us that much. She was always ready to give her opinion and her advice when needed and wanted (and sometimes when needed but maybe not wanted, haha) and her advice was always sound and logical and rooted in her great faith. My mama wore her heart on her sleeve. She was not one who could cover up her sadness, her hurt feelings, or her anger. She also was one who could not cover up her incredible love for her family and her pride in all their accomplishments and achievements, and that great love was reflected in everything she did. She loved like no other person I've ever known.
My mother was not perfect. She bore the scars of a hard life before she met my daddy and he whisked her away, a teenage bride, to freedom from an alcoholic father and a mother who loved her but simply had more children than she knew what to do with (11 in all). But my grandmother was a God-fearing woman and she too loved her children. I guess my mom learned how to love from her mother as I learned how to love from her. Mama's love was committed love; once you had her love, she never let you go. But mama had her faults. She could show her bad side when she got angry sometimes but I don't hold that against her. She was a passionate woman and you don't tell passionate women to settle down or remain calm, just ask my husband. He's been trying to model anger without extreme emotions to me for 36 years, and I still don't seem to get it. As she got older, she lost pretty much every bit of her filter, if she ever really had one. She might say the most outlandish things, but nothing she ever said or did overshadowed the love she had for her family. All else was forgiven and her great love reigned supreme over any and all weaknesses. She indeed was the reigning queen of love.
This Mother's Day will not be any easier than last Mother's Day or the Mother's Day before or any Mother's Day in the future when it comes to missing my mom. I miss her every single day and it still gets to me when something happens, good or bad, and I want to pick up the phone and call her but I know that I can't. I am so very thankful for pictures and videos because I don't have to worry about forgetting what she looked like or her voice. But the funny thing is that it's not Mother's Day or her birthday or the holidays or the day she died as much as it is the small things that pop up, reminding me of the mother who loved me so. It might be a song on the radio or something she gave me that I come across or eating one of her favorite foods or even something as silly as a store or restaurant we went to together that stirs a memory and, in a New York minute, the tears can be rolling down my cheeks.
One day I will grow very old if I have the blessing of a long life. We never know what will take us out of this ol' world, if it will be sickness or an accident or just old age in our sleep. I hope I can always hang on to the memories I have of my mother because I have so many they could fill the Grand Canyon, and to lose them would be a great tragedy. Like the touch of her soft powdery cheek when I kissed it. Like her radiant smile every time she saw me. Her hardworking hands lined with all the years of her faithfulness. The way she smelled when she was dressed up and had on her favorite fragrance. If I grow old one day and my mind and my memory fail me, I may not have recall of the things my mother did or said or even how she looked or smelled. But I will never, ever forget her love for it is burrowed deep down within my soul. It lingers there never to be touched or removed by any force of nature. Her love molded me as a child, taught me how to breathe deeply and return love as I grew, and it covered a multitude of mistakes and falsehoods and heartbreaks I've suffered in my life. Like a lighthouse standing strong on a battered shore, it guided me and helped make me the person I am today. It still fuels so many of the things I do and influences me in ways I could never explain.
And it's impossible to forget a love like that.
"The business of being a mother is the most important business of any woman who has children... for it's in a mother's influence that lives are molded, guided, and affected forever."
As women, we are creatures who always put others first. For most of us, it’s in our nature. Some of us struggle harder to do that than others, but it’s okay; there is no shame in not being a natural born nurturer. But rather than the latter, I would say that I am more of the former, and especially when it comes to my children. My children are everything to me, and have been since their first little steps sounded on the floor – well, even before that. They had me at the first sound of their heartbeat. And since then, they all three have had me -- hook, line, and sinker. Now I have three more in the form of mini-me’s and they too have stolen my heart. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my children or grandchildren, including giving my life for them. It has never been hard for me to do things for my children, put them before myself even at my own peril, and I am still that way today. We don’t always agree on everything (my grown kids and me), but there is nothing they could ever do to stop me from loving them. Nothing.
A mother’s love is the strongest kind of love.
We women shed that powerful thing called love on others as well…our soulmates, our other family members, our close friends, even our pets. Love is a choice and we always choose love over indifference, and especially when it comes to our kids. Love is a word that also stirs many sacred emotions. We are nurturers in the biggest and best form of the word. We have the capacity to love the ugly, the frustrating, the mean and the rebellious if it’s our children. After all, motherhood is a lifelong calling and our kids are depending on us to mold them, care for them, make them responsible human beings, and then push them out of the nest when the time comes. Some of us truly struggle when our little birds fly the coop because there are no longer young ones who need us every single day. My kids assure me that they still need me. Now it might be in the form of conversation, emotional support, or just helping with the grandkids, but to feel needed is something that gives most human beings purpose on this earth. We all need to feel needed and we all need to feel loved. But it gives me a great peace to know that one day when I'm gone they will be just fine on their own.
Which brings me to another kind of love. The love of self.
Now, I’m not talking about pride or overindulgence or selfishness. I’m talking about loving yourself enough to do for yourself what you need, as much as you would for another, and maybe even regardless of how it affects others. I’m not suggesting that we ignore those who need us, abuse others for our lack of care, or even put others at risk because of our own needs. What I am suggesting is that no matter how much we love our children, our husbands, our friends and family members, sometimes we must think of ourselves first. This might be a momentary thing; it might be a day; it might be a long weekend. But if there is anything I have learned in my years on this earth it is that I have to take care of myself. If I don’t have ‘self-care,’ there is no way I can care for others well. And certainly no one else will do it for you. You know it’s true, my friend.
RV living has taken a toll on my emotional health. Yes, it’s supposed to be a calming affair, camping in the woods, going back to nature, taking time to stop and smell the roses. But sometimes we don’t even realize things about ourselves until those things are challenged. After a month of living in an RV, I have come to be reminded that I am a creature of space and quietness and, when this RV experience is over, I don’t think I WILL EVERY FORGET IT AGAIN. I have to have stretches of quietness and stillness in my day to be healthy. I need to spread out and feel little at times, and even though you can do that in the great outdoors, I like my space served up best with air conditioning. It might only be an hour, and some days that’s all I need. It might be a whole day or two to catch up on my work, my reading, my self-nurturing. I've had a difficult time in an RV coordinating my needs with living in close quarters with another human being and being one half of a couple who work from home. What in heaven’s name were we thinking when we agreed to live in an RV for six months?
So this weekend I did what any level-headed woman would do. I got myself a hotel room. For the last three days I’ve been holed up in a room bigger than my entire RV. It’s equipped with wifi, cable on the telly, a large shower with a head that’ll massage your shoulders, and sturdy, real floors that don’t rock when you walk. I’ve eaten all my favorite foods, (chocolate and Moscato included), gone to the movies, shopped, enjoyed a couple of HGTV marathons, done lots of reading, and I’ve done it all by myself. I did it just for me. And I did it whether anyone else understood it or not. It’s been a three-day sabbatical of self-care. My two daughters and my daughter-in-law are all strong women who realize caring for themselves is the key to unlocking the energy and endurance it takes to care for others. They unashamedly take care of themselves and don’t feel any guilt in doing it. They have coffee time; yoga time; running time; reading time; mani/pedi time; girlfriend time. It’s because they know everyone tends to benefit if they love themselves as well. As Mother’s Day 2016 approaches, may I suggest that you learn to love and nurture yourself? Even if you are not a mother, truth be told you’re a nurturer to someone because I’ve never met a woman who was not. Be willing to do for yourself what you do for others. Take the time you need. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. Spend the money needed if at all possible for the care of you. Because you so deserve it.
The hubs has moved the RV to a more secluded spot in the big woods in the hope that more quietness and serenity will come our way (have I mentioned there was construction going on next to us before and that our campsite was a small rendition of Grand Central Station?). I am thankful for a husband who recognizes his wife’s need for self-care and is attentive to making our environment the best it can be for both of us. Our RV days are long from being over yet and we have many more experiences and lessons to be learned. One day I think we will look back on this time with fond memories and maybe a few regrets, but for sure with a lot of laughter. I mean, two big ol’ adults living in a playhouse, what’s not hilarious about that?!!
So as my sabbatical comes to a close, I am grateful. Grateful for a time to refresh, rest, and renew. Grateful for a time to think, ponder, medicate – uh, I mean meditate and reflect on what is important to me, what I need in my life and what is necessary to fuel this woman to great things. I can even say I’m missing the hubs a bit. Romantic love is also a powerful force of nature, but that’s a discussion for another day.
Time to go home to my little house in the woods.
Posted by CC
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