Sunday, September 30, 2018

The web we weave

"Aunt Pam! Aunt Pam!" my great grandniece's little voice echoed throughout the house. How I love this little girl and her curiosity. Seldom do I get to be in the same state where she lives, but coming back to Indiana and Miss Della is always the same. We pick up where we left off, having adventure after adventure.

A spider had made a nice home on the porch. I knew it would be swept away, so I asked Della to help me move the web. We talked about all the good things that spiders do and how they do better away from people outside even though inside has so many fun places to build a web. Carefully, we detected the web, her carrying one side and me the other. We placed the web on a shrub along with the eggs the spider had so safely stored. For the next couple days, we watched as the spider hid her eggs behind a leaf. Then on the third day when we checked, the spider had made a new web with her eggs safely tucked into the silken strands. Lessons learned.

If you are a follower of my writings, then you know how much I include learning experiences in all I do with my grands. Isn't that my job as a grandparent? Well, it is for me. I want them to open their minds to possibilities and exploration. I hope to add to their curiosity and to make them custodians of the earth. I hope to give them opportunities to make their own observations not mine. Has this type grand parenting paid off? Indeed.

Many of our neighbors spray for spiders. Maybe it is Charlotte's Web or maybe just common sense that we prefer to allow the spiders their lives. On a morning when I was out feeding my hummingbirds, I noticed a perfectly round spider web. It hung midair on thin lines between two trees. Perfectly round. The ultra violet rays of the sun shining through the web created rainbow colors. Colors not seen unless the sun kissed the web and created a living piece of art. How could I ever have hurt a creature who created such beauty.

I know. You don't get it. You hate spiders and, most of all, the webs that seem to find their places everywhere you look. Well, take some time to really look at this artistic little insect. It labors to survive. It creates a web that captures and stores food. It lays eggs in that flimsy web and cradles them with the strength of her creation. Beauty is all she can create. She does not take away. She adds to. Rarely do they bite. And, rarely do I bite. Win win.

Remember when you squash a spider or tear down a web, that spiders are an important part of our eco systems. They feed on common indoor insects like roaches, earwigs, mosquitoes, flies and clothes moths. If you don't mess with them, they will consume most of the insects in your home. Thus less chemicals and costly pest removal. They are natures balance. We are their protectors. The web we weave.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Dodging the grim reaper

So parent or grandparent, it really doesn't matter. It is a decision of watching time pass or being part of it. We are the ones who determine what our lives will be.

I learned this lesson late in life. There were always things needing to be done, people to see, exhaustion after a workday. And, as all this progressed, time was lost. Children grew. Parents died. Yes, some days are just days we watch pass until there are no more children at home, no old friends to visit and adventures never experienced.

It takes patience and energy to make changes. It takes a new outlook and observation. Change is never easy as there seems to be more reasons not to change than there are to adjust accordingly with life's progression. This came to mind during a conversation I had this last week when talking to a friend about adjusting to retirement.  Loren and I decided not to get a condo for this new adventure of ours. We had already gotten rid of the old, keeping only family treasures, and building on this new phase we have chosen. I had done this earlier when moving from a house to an apartment. I found it freeing and rather exciting to find new things for the new place and the new, changing me.

Loren and I decided on a home that would fit our needs now and later. Smaller in size, bedrooms and bath on the main floor. Little yard maintenance with no grass and mostly paths, decking and self-contained landscaping. It is a home in which to create, entertain and, most of all, find peace. We found that by living in this house, our lives can grow and change, adding more to us without losing as too many think you do when you change how you live.

Our friend was talking about her father's refusal to move out of his home.  He did not care about imposing on his family nor did he treat them well. He was becoming the same grumpy, old man his father had been. So why would he be like his father, having lived through the same scenario? Why not change? Why not be a joy in a new way?  Why not be happy?

First of all, you have to realize that stuff is just stuff. It deserves no loyalty. People, however, deserve the best we can give to them. So what constitutes this digging in? I think that it is fear. People who don't change and grow throughout their lives have no idea of the adventure and pluses of change. They are only secure when surrounded by the past and all that involves. They do not think their children understand, when in essence, their children are trying to help them have better lives.

My friend is in poor health. She lives in a house full of good memories and some really bad memories. Her garage is full of her mother's boxes that have remained sealed for decades. So she sits in a house that is a reminder of loss and is entirely too big for her to care for and should not be a burden for her children. She asks me what I think as her daughters prepare to get her into a smaller place. My comment, "About time." She is failing sitting in her chair doing nothing.  She is failing by her own isolation and lack of interaction with others.

So why remain stubborn? Why sit and wait for the grim reaper, when there is always time to change and make those moments with children special. Whether you are 20 or 90, you have time to take notice of the world around you and decide if you will open up your hearts to those around you and to open your minds to the adventures that surround you. Or, well, you have seen the alternative. Let's change old patterns and live.