You can Drive, 55!

You can Drive, 55!.

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You can Drive, 55!

Ok that title may eek my age just a bit, as do famous car scenes from Ferris Bueller and License to Drive….(always a sucker for the Corey Haim and Corey Feldman duo!)  The idea of certain rites of passage have come to mind lately as I continue to age.  Blame it on a bday up and coming, with 40 looming ahead next year, or maybe it is simply watching and observing that has me thinking.  At any rate, this idea of driving has me not in the passenger seat, nor back seat driving ( I always hated that!).  The topic brings me front and center, with seat belt on, ready to tackle the concept.

I remember when I was a kid and the idea of driving a car seemed so foreign to me.  I could not imagine someone getting in this beast of a car and traveling with effortless ease to a certain destination.  They made it look so easy.  I laugh because my parents and brothers would often remark that I could not even direct a push mower in a straight line, much less the rider lawn mower.  Although, in hindsight, my deficit did make for some interesting lawn patterns…   I watched and marveled at how adults and many young people handled this machine, one that appeared so daunting to me, with never so much as a thought.  I vowed I would never own one, never step behind the wheel, and certainly never  have the need for such vehicle.  I don’t know what I was thinking.

Most young people can begin driving at the tender age of 14, honestly pretty young, compared to many countries whose 14-year-old “rites” include celebrations in coming of age, naming ceremonies, vision quests, and the list continues.  While our brothers and sisters in foreign lands experience something which ties them closer to family and faith, we allow our teenagers an opportunity to escape those clutches we call family.  Hmmmm, maybe there is something in that?

I watch my 2 children, growing fast, hankering for independence, a chance to strike out more and more on their own.  While I welcome some “mom alone time”, I have to admit a certain lump in my throat as I watch them head out together to the pool.  One so happy on his bike, the other gladly aboard his scooter.  They know not the tears I choke back, watching them, realizing my “mommy” moments are rapidly flying.  Both have already commented how they cannot wait to get their own car, to be free.  Uh, not if I can help it.

So, I watch the teens around me and the way they handle this privilege.  Oddly, they do not look at it as a privilege, but a right or a rite, if you will.  Speeding down main street, music blaring, heads and body  parts hanging out the windows, they display none of the fear which I am sure their parents feel at times.  A burning desire to escape the bonds which they find repressing, the times away just hanging out grow longer and more frequent.  Escape from what, I wonder?

Are they escaping that childhood in favor of something more fun-more free?  How many adults would like to take them aside and tell them to embrace these moments as they are too fleeting.  Are they running from a home which has become unbearable for whatever reason?  In that, have we somehow lost the concept of family, allowing it to become something antiquated and unattainable?  Are they then escaping a house, in search of a community that embraces their individuality?

Maybe I am over-thinking this.  Maybe it is nothing more than an appropriate moment in our lives which must take place so the next generation is prepared to step up to the plate.  My gut tells me there is something more, though  I have to admit that when I began driving, I was terrified to make a mistake-right hand turns were a cinch, but the lefties threw me for a loop.  The interstate was a foreign land that promised too fast traffic and certain death.  The largest town from mine was about an hour away, with an expanse of streets and exits that was sure to confuse me.

I learned, we all do.  I gained confidence and this driving gig required as little thought as breathing.  Now I have to admit my disregard for many of the safety measures I once observed so carefully.  It was not until a couple of years ago when a friend mentioned to me, “put on your seat belt, I don’t want you hurt.”  Hmmm, I had never really thought about it, my safety and confidence in my own skills never motivated me to think that I would be anything other than safe while I was in a car.  After all, I had dodged ice storms, torrential rains, wind, and country roads more times than I could count.  What was the matter with traveling from here to there unstrapped.  Now clicking the buckle is a natural and I will not move an inch until my boys are safe.

I admit a bit sheepishly that with the constant of travel for me, I have become more than a little lax in what I do while driving.  There was a time I checked all mirrors, tuned the station, and double checked the windshield wiper before starting on my journey.  Alas, I now check my phone, watch for messages coming in, plug-in my Spotify- making sure that I have the right tunes for the 1/2 hour trip to my office.  I have been known to move the rear view mirror and apply my make up if running late.  Yes, I have even texted more times than I should admit and have used vocal text in lieu of typing messages.  I have taken this privilege for granted, never realizing the life altering impact my actions could have on someone else, much less me and my family.  Some may read this and admonish me for such behavior, they would be right in doing so—I am beginning to tailor my habits towards more consideration of others’ needs versus my own perceived ones.

Then I think of my parents.  They are getting on in years, in their 60’s and 70’s, respectively.   I remember the ease with which they traveled, keeping us safe, never anticipating anything befalling us.  It never did.  Now, there are activities my children have which my mother will not attend because it may put her on the road in the dark.  There is a part of me rankled at what I believe is an excuse to chill at home.  Then again, maybe it is a true fear, one that she would rather not express often, one that limits what she is able to do.  I watch my father, his apparent disregard for stop signs, speed limits, and those around him.  Maybe it is not disregard, but an inability to pay attention to that many stimuli at once.  This person, who I have watched juggle strenuous work for decades reveals a deficit that elicits laughter and mockery from family, yet also limits what he can do.  That privilege earned so long ago, which allowed them to escape, now wanes and entraps them once again.  Whoa, deep thought there.  The older my parents become, the less likely they will be to hop in the car and head out for no particular reason.  Interesting paradox, that as I come of my age, I crave moments when I am alone in the car, radio blaring, singing at the top of my lungs.  It is a stress reliever a source of decompression from work, home, or thought.  An escape from something I have allowed to become mundane?  Maybe.

These rites, seemingly unimportant in the moment, have more impact than we believe.  What if we treated this right with the reverent attitude that comes not of owning the newest wheels in town, but a moment of honor and responsibility?  Could it be a moment where our kiddos experience their own metaphorical vision quest?

Not having the next thought appear, I will put down the pen on this one.  Until the obsession to write strikes again,  I bid you be careful and watchful out there…

Shalom dear ones.

c.

 

Spent.

I have been thinking the last couple months about money. It is true that most of us fall into 2 camps; either we desire to have more cash on hand, or we carefully admit we have more than enough. It is not the need for money that has me thinking, it is the connection that it brings.

In Western culture we are pretty good at isolating ourselves from just about everyone else. Thinking that our lives do not intersect with others is something on which we pride ourselves. Comfortably settled into our own routines, we often give little regard to the world happening around us, that is until it impacts our world. Even when things that shake our existence, we tend to keep them close to heart and never mention.

I worked all through high and college with various grocery stores.  I worked every department except liquor.   I loved working customer service, the more responsibility the better.  I have even done part-time work at a local gas station, and while that was not my career of choice, I learned so much about human nature.

Each time I waited on a customer and exchanged money the link we share came to mind time and time again.  I have seen many groups gather to comment on a certain other group of people, and I am guilty of such behavior myself.  It strikes me as interesting how often we tear down one another and yet we never realize that money we just spent goes into the hands of that someone else.  I think of it when I hear the generations ahead of me complaining about the lack of respect the kids growing up have today.  Well, that kid that just spent $5 on a gatorade and candy bar probably received the change or dollars we just spent on our own merchandise.  Minute by minute cash exchanges hands, having traveled thousands of miles.  What is the story it holds?  Whose pocket or purse did it just inhabit?  For whose allowance did a child work to spend that precious dollar or two on a treasured piece of candy.

On the flip side, in whose pocket who struggles with any one of the addictions that claim us?  Who lost a parent, grandparent, or loved one who left them some sort inheritance?  Whose loss is also a moment of gain?

Maybe when we break that down, we can admit we are not so separated from one another.  I might even venture to guess the four walls of our homes encompass some of the same stories in which we wrap ourselves for comfort.  the currency we spend, we rarely think about was in the hands of someone else, another member of humanity.  Could it be that currency is a current which binds all of us?  A tough thought to think that a hardened criminal might have touched the same money I hold in my hand now.  Harder still to think that money I just forked over may end up in similar hands.  I don’t want to admit that my finances may wind up in the hands of someone I do not like is more than I want to swallow, I find myself choking on the crumbs.  Now, I begin to wonder what the stories these bills and coins hold…are they spent?  Spent in a metaphorical sense, in a way where they would like to scream out that they are tired of what they have seen?  Spent in a way which begs the opportunity to tell their story, share their journey and impart some wisdom to us?

I know that these are inanimate objects, of little worth in the long run as compared to faith, family, and friends.  Maybe, however, the link which they represent ties us to a legacy which we cannot escape.

Maybe food for thought or for fodder.  Who knows.  Until I pen again….

Shalom, dear ones.

c

Hold the Head High, Mom.

Hold the Head High, Mom..

Hold the Head High, Mom.

Hold the Head High, Mom..

Hold the Head High, Mom.

I realized I have one of the most aware young children in the world.  My  oldest is 9 years old.  Well, 9 years going on 30.  He so gets it on another level.  A level which I would never suspect, and one that cannot be taught.  He floors me with his understanding and is able to say what’s not only on his mind, but in his heart as well.

Yesterday, he spotted me in my bedroom while I was attempting to write something for this blog.  I had tears streaming down my face as I wrestled with my own fear of the upcoming school reunion. This one was slated to be one of less clique-action, a chance for us to level the playing field a bit. At least that is the rumor that tends to circulate as we all move towards the middle of the road age-wise. As I sat in my bedroom, all kinds of horrific ideas came to mind. My son asked me what was wrong and I told him I was scared to go back to and see people I had not seen in decades. He patted my hand and talked to me like he was as adult as I was. Well, as adult as I could possible be as a blubbering mass of fear, getting my keyboard wet. I asked what he does in school when he is nervous about his classmates. Many of my readers may know that my son is ADHD and Bi-polar. So, sometimes the over stimulus tends to do a number of the friends he may/may not have. He is aware that there is something “different” as he would rather watch the Discovery Channel and memorize WWII battles, build with legos, or run track.

Yesterday, he looked me straight in the face and told me to walk in, smile, and make friends with everyone.  He had no idea the assignment he had handed me.   Outwardly I smile and hugged and remarked that I had a pretty wonderful son, and wondered where he thought of such advice.  “Easy” he tells me, “I’ve learned from you.”  WOW.  And no, I did not pay him to say that.  With tears in my eyes, I hugged him again and thanked him for his comments.  I drove to my hometown, quaking with fear.  Midway through the trip I was overcome with tears that I could not control.  A good friend would call it paralysis by fear.

I was terrified of the reception I would receive.  I had never ranked high in the social sphere.  While I did my extra curricular activities and I excelled at them, there was always this huge gulf which I could not bridge.  I never did the party scene, did not date, I worked hard at my job and the theatre and debate world.  I did no sports, did not cheerlead, I concentrated in the music and fine arts, a sure status sinker.  To say that my gut churned at the thought of seeing the top echelon would be the understatement of the decade.

An interesting thing happened.  I was online before I left for the reunion and a fellow classmate and I were “chatting” and she mentioned how scared she was to attend.  SCARED?  You!  You had it all…and then she told me about how insecure she had felt, how sometimes scared she was to be who she was, so went with the flow…WHAT!  You had it all, I told her.  Then she tells me how she had felt about watching me all those years.  Could it be?  Could I have had it wrong the whole time?  If only that were true…..

It seems it might have been that way.  You may remember a good friend and class king and I were good friends.  We were and still are to this day.  I saw him last night, along with many other classmates.  We talked, we compared notes, I met his lovely wife and talked kid talk.  Then he handed me the most sage advice ever.  “We make it what we want it.  You were never there in the first place, your perception was the reason you thought you were there.  If they couldn’t handle you and treat you like a human being, that was there fault.”  Oh my goodness.  There were others that spoke to me who had not spoken to me even when  I was in school.  Some of it was surface, others were conversations of depth.  I recall one in particular where we talked of some of the concerns we have about our kiddos.  It was so nice to share the burden with someone else. The same gentleman and I talked about mental health issues and the medications doctors and psychiatrist use to treat Bi polar and depression.  He is not a proponent, yet left the door open to continue conversation.  I may take him up on his offer.  Do I dare?

Tonight we are to karaoke it up with some dance time.  I used to sing.  There is a part of me scared to take the microphone…these are the same people who used to chant in freshman choir “Who is the worst singer in the room, so and so is.  Who should not show her face in choir?”  I was devastated by this comments, they still ring in my ears….despite pulling a 1+ my senior year with my solo…highest award one could receive.

So, I asked my son what I should do tonight…”walk up there mom, close your eyes, take a deep breath and sing to them like you sing to us in the car.  Your voice is beautiful, just like you.”  Do I dare?

My God, I am so lucky to have this child, this beacon of wisdom and unconditional love.  When I hear comments like that it make me think that maybe, just maybe I have done an ok job as a mother.  It also makes me wonder if my good friend was right…Was it all about perception in the first place?  If that is true…is there an age old lion which needs slaying?  Is this a divine call to healing and restoration?

With that thought, I gather my courage for day 2.

shalom,

cindythea

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