Category Archives: Family
Recently, I have been feeling under the weather and a little down. Nothing major, just a normal cold. However, it was bad enough at times for me to retreat in my mind to my comfort places. You know the places I’m talking about. They are the ones that make you feel secure and calm when you are a little depressed or not feeling well. I have listed a few of my comfort places below:
1. Grandma and Grandpa’s House. I used to love to stay at my grandparent’s house when I was young. I can remember the feeling of stepping from a fresh shower after a day of working in the yard. My feet would sink in the newer carpet as I walked to theLa-Z-Boy and prepared for an Saturday evening of watching old black and white scary movies with grandma. Grandpa always went to sleep early, but that meant that in the morning I would probably wake up to the smell of fresh pumpkin bread. Grandpa made pumpkin bread all of the time and froze the extra loafs. Whenever anyone stopped by the house, grandpa would run to the freezer and give them a loaf to take home.
2. Wheat Fields. There is nothing better than standing out in the wheat fields or near the wheat fields on a hot, Western Kansas day. The wind hits the wheat and makes you feel like you are in an ocean with golden brown waves. The heat hits you and massages all of the tension out of your body.
3. St. John Vianney Seminary Chapel. My first year of college, I went to the seminary which was on the campus of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. The seminary had a small side chapel that students could use for daily meditation and reflection. It was very simple in design. All of the walls were white, and it had a couple of sky lights. I remember it being very peaceful and calm. Basically, it seemed like a nice big hug to a young college student several states away from home.
4. Leaf Cookies. This isn’t really a place, but an item. When I was a kid and had been really sick, mom would make me leaf shaped sugar cookies. They had to be leaf shaped without frosting in order for the “healing” powers to take place. I don’t know if it was the leaf cookies or just the realization that she loved me enough to do this special task just for me, but it definitely helped me to feel better.
I think that comfort places are important to have in this life. Let’s face it, life can be pretty tough sometimes, and I think it is important to have more secure times to reflect on. Honestly, I think it is mentally healthy. I’m feeling a little better already. Darn cold. I wonder if there is a nearby bakery that makes leaf cookies?
Recently my mom and niece visited from Western Kansas for a short weekend. We took them all over including Cannon Beach where we ate at Cranky Sue’s http://www.cannon-beach.net/crankysues/. The food there is fantastic. We then visited Multnomah Falls http://www.multnomahfalls.org/ and checked out Powell’s Books http://www.powells.com/ . Finally, we went to Pittock Mansion http://pittockmansion.org/ . It is incredible and a must see when you visit Portland. I have posted some pictures below:
I have a song going through my head this morning, and I can’t seem to shake it out of there. It is “Love Your Baby Girl” by Sugarland, http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Love-Your-Baby-Girl-lyrics-Sugarland/1C528B1757C6AAED482570930042E963 . I am reminiscing this morning about all the things my mother did for us when we were growing up.
My mom was a stay at home mom. Even though she didn’t have a job outside of the house, I would say that she often worked as hard if not harder than working moms. There were five of us kids, a dog, dad, and a constant stream of neighborhood kids in the house. If that wasn’t enough, my father liked to move around a lot, so in twenty years of marriage she had made close to twenty moves with five kids and a dog. I am specifically remembering how we used to leave notes for her at night asking her to wake us up at (blank) time. She kept some of those notes, and I have to admit I find them a little appalling. On some of those notes each one of us left a different time we wanted to be wake up. Yea, we used her as a wake up call service. What audacity we had.
Mom cooked almost every meal from scratch. We always had homemade meatloaf, soups, bread, cookies, pancakes, biscuits, etc. Neighborhood kids loved to eat at our house even if it was just soup night because that meant we had homemade vegetable or chili soup with homemade bread sticks. I remember that my aunt used to make bought biscuits instead of homemade biscuits, and I thought they were so good. I often asked mom to stop making those homemade things and buy a tin of “real” biscuits. I was so wrong.
Recently I overheard a guy talking about how his mom just seems kind of crazy and eccentric these days. He said that he doesn’t understand her, and he wishes she was easier to manage. I sometimes understand this sentiment, but then I think back to how she must have felt all those years ago with five kids that she didn’t always understand and wished were easier to manage. I am remembering the time that my brother and his friend cleared the entire stadium at the local fairgrounds talent show by playing hard rock music on electric guitars. The only people left in the stands at the end of the number were my family and his friend’s family. Dad and mom ordered us to stay put and not even think of leaving. I think of the time my other brother took the family car out for an errand and totalled it by locking up the brakes and hitting a parked car. Yea, we still don’t know how he did that one. I am thinking about the time that I accidentally locked her in the pheasant pen with a wild cat, or when I accidentally locked us both in the pheasant pen in zero degree weather with the car running in the driveway. That morning I learned quickly how to work a lock with a piece of straw. There is the time my brother left the screen off of his bedroom window and the entire upstairs became a swarm of wasps. I am thinking of my sister’s endless mold specimens in her room (chocolate milk hardens and separates into white and black in a cup if left for long periods), the fights between us kids, the practical jokes (I came home one day and my siblings had hung all my stuffed animals from the ceiling), and the overall cleaning and maintenance that happens when there are that many children in a house.
Even though she probably wished she could manage us more, she let us have our freedom to grow, explore, and discover. Maybe that is what our parents want now. Maybe after the kids are gone, and they actually have a little spending money, they just want to grow and explore and discover. We can’t understand it, and we can’t manage it, but we can be supportive, and if need be we can sit in an empty stadium when everyone else has left and cheer them on.