Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sweet comic Valentine

Frank Sinatra crooned it. Every Valentine's Day the words come around and hang out in my head. I do not know all the words but sing the parts I do know and make up the rest. However, since it is approaching this day of love, I thought perhaps I should get the words straight for once. That is when the chucking began. Ah, this silly thing called love.

Of course, many of us still remember the beginning words of Funny Valentine....'sweet comic valentine who makes me smile with my heart'. Well, then we go downhill. 'Your looks are laughable, unphotographable....'. Now really on a roll it goes on to ask if my figure is less than Greek! Well, unless I am in love with Adonis, I imagine he is much less than Greek. And, how dare he ask if my mouth is a little weak. I could let that mouth tell him a thing or two! Next comes insult to injury: 'When you open it to speak, are you smart?' Well, I guess that is an honest question, because if this guy is the love of my life and I put up with this dialogue, I must not be very smart.

So, what is love. For those of us who have been there (maybe more than once), we know what science has proven. Those beginning attractions and feelings of overwhelming love are brought on by levels of dopamine, adrenaline and norepinephrine, (good luck pronouncing that) increasing when love comes into being. Dopamine creates that euphoria while adrenaline and norepinephrine give that pitter-patter that hits the heart, bringing with it restlessness and preoccupation that seems to erase all else when love knocks on the door.

It is interesting that in an MRI love lights up the pleasure center of the brain. Blood flow increases. It is the same part of the brain implicated in obsessive-compulsive behavior. Makes sense since love seems to eat up all of our concentration when it walks through the door.

Maybe Frank was right. It is not until we stand back from all those chemical reactions that preoccupy our time that we understand love. For me, I know that love must allow freedom for the other person to be his best, creative self. Not someone to move mountains for me. But someone to climb those mountains with me. Perhaps I am a funny valentine. Love should not ask me to change. It should allow me to soar.

But don't change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is valentines day.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

This is the past

Memories of today. I think by now most of you know that I do not write about the past for the sake of holding on to days gone by. We are living memories now. It is a shame to be so lost in the past that we overlook the present. Today is a time to set good memories into motion.

We love looking back but sometimes forget the struggle. The now 'primitive' tools we used in the 50's and into the 60's may have kept life simple, but they didn't always make life easy. Still we hold on to the memories remembering it as a simpler time. In another few decades, voice command and even mental telepathy will probably be more common. Computers will be obsolete as will cell phones. Already terms like telephone, automobile, stove, slip, nylons, CDs, classified ads, landlines, camera film, yellow pages, catalogs, fax machines, wires, handwritten mail, video stores are fading from use.  As fast as something new arrives, there is something in the works to replace it.

I predict that in the near future cars will no longer need gas (or gasoline, another old term). Cell phones will be replaced by something easier yet. Legg Eggs will be collectibles. Skype has already replaced that letter that takes days to get there. Videos are streamed on computers. And, global warming will demand that we think in new ways. We no longer bury or burn our trash. We drive cars that are good for us and the environment. We become more responsible if not for ourselves then for our grandchildren. For future generations.

We are indeed living the memories. We are setting in motion what our children and grandchildren will remember of us. The times we spend with them are important. The image we give them is just as important. How we live. How we adapt and change with the times. What we do to improve ourselves and the world around us. We are from the past. We are setting up the future. What we hand over in those ways will not be obsolete. This is the past.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Mannequin in the window

She stands there. Face painted. Body in fixed position. Her clothing changes with the seasons as does the backdrop. She is placed there to influence the buyer. A glance at her good looks and beautiful clothing draws the patron in and the purse open.

I was a child standing with my parents, looking at the dreams I could not have. Did I dream of having more? Did I want to emulate that skinny, well-dressed woman? Life-sized Barbies influencing us more than we realize. I know my mother wanted more than her cotton dresses that had to last year after year. She had no time for the spa or the gym. She had no time or money for dreams in a storefront window.

We are all in a storefront window. Mannequins that stop for moments in our lives, influencing those around us by what they see. We are formed by our religion, our past, our genes. We are examples for the children whose lives we influence.

As my grandchildren grow, I see the parts of us that they mimic. I hear our words that they copy. Some of them we learn to erase from our vocabulary as well as theirs. For me, I see the parts of me that I need to change in order that my grandchildren will not take those bad traits with them. I find that I can bend and shape this person to be something different, someone better. Sometimes those changes create dialogue with my older granddaughters. Sometimes sharing thoughts teach them to be open and honest about their feelings as well.

Of course, we are not mannequins. We make choices in our lives. We can look in that store window and see what we want to see, admiring it and desiring it. (I have a tendency to see the marketing tool used to make more money for the store.) We can look into our hearts and see what is real and important to pass on to our families. We can be more than images with plastic ideals. Those are the dreams worth passing on.

She stand there. Face painted. Body in fixed position......and no heart.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Old dog and new tricks

Remember how scared and unsure you were when you had your first child? Remember how much easier it was with the second? Well, no one tells you what it will be like when you have your first, second, etc., grandchild. The role changes for the grandparent. What we learned from raising our children is really a moot point when it comes to our children becoming parents. We have an all new learning curve.

Having my older granddaughters as teenagers when the twins were born has probably taught me the most important lessons in this senior career as a grandparent.  My daughter was younger when she had her children. I was involved in helping her. The 'mom' in me seemed to be stronger than the grandma at that point. My son was thirty-six when he and Lisa married. It was a completely different scenario. I had to find my footing and learn an all new way.

The day I say that I am too old to change or learn is the day you might as well send me to my grave. I am perhaps an old dog, but I sure as heck can learn new tricks. I believe these old sayings are a cop-out. We age more quickly when we dig in our heels. For some reason, many people fight to stay just exactly as they are without thought to others or to themselves. If we cannot change and learn new ways, then we have lost our usefulness. Harsh words? Perhaps. But we seem to be living in a world where no one wants to budge. What are we teaching our grandchildren and our children?

The twins brought with them a whole new set of rules. I learned the hard way to keep my thoughts to myself. If I was not asked for an opinion, then I needed to understand that it was selfish to think it was needed. It was not about my son and his wife. It was about my ego, thinking I was the one who knew best. Changing is difficult. First it requires recognition. Next it demands a new mindset. Lastly, it teaches us to grow and adapt to a new way of thinking about our children and, more than that, about ourselves. Standing around with my feelings hurt did not serve any of us well.

I admit that I have a long learning curve. There is so much I do not know. It is mind-boggling that I was so stupid. I found that in supporting my son, I learned about this new generation of parents. I also found that my son asked more and more for my opinion. Doors that could have closed opened. I found that I had handed my children off to their own lives. I had done my job. Now I needed to concern myself with myself.

Amazing what we miss when we close our minds to new ideas. So many become hardened as they age. Why? Is it fear of stepping away from all they know to learn more? Are we afraid of failure to the point that we put up walls? Do we stick our noses in where they are not wanted because our lives are lacking? I have no answers, but I feel sorry for those who cannot change. They fail to learn from their families. They fail to be amazed by the new lessons in life. It must be lonely in that cocoon.

I guess I am becoming an old dog. Yet I feel excited about what I learn from my grandkids. I love the way James and Lisa just drop by. It says a lot about a relationship that continues to grow. We have a choice as we move along life's path. We can move ahead or be left behind.