Liberty

Liberty is the privilege to do whatever makes you happy within your own timing and freedom of choice.

Lately, my liberty has been relinquished. My power wheelchair malfunctioned last Wednesday, and the repairman came, looked at it, and said, “It needs a new motor, two weeks.” (Whaaa?) Why don’t you just punch me in the gut? That little occurrance took away my freedom, my legs, my ability to go where I wanted. I was totally grounded. (And I didn’t even deserve it!) I was literally trapped inside these four walls. I have a deeper appreciation for those people who are in a normal wheelchair and must depend on others for mobility. Someone pushed me to therapy, then someone pushed me back to my prison. You know, prisons don’t always consist of jail cells and bars. I absolutely hated it!

I wanted to go to the sidewalk sale this weekend, but my attitude ridden teenage daughter didn’t want to push me there. No amount of bribery would work. I ultimately gave up.

I had no outside lounging soaking up vitamin D. (You know how much I like that.) I could do nothing. Add other disappointments, and it’s sum equals a really horrible week.

I can sincerely understand why people go to war for their God-given liberties. (It’s a far reach, but I’m going there.) Freedom and independence are the reasons people fight against tyranny and oppression. Being decision limited makes one truly unhappy. When your freedoms are taken away (or limited) you just want to go kicking and screaming (or shooting, whatever it takes. I think we should have a dance-off!) for your way of life. I get it. I have a new respect for our armed force Veterans throughout the many, many years. The Stars and Stripes (or whatever flag you salute) is a waving symbol of that ultimate sacrifice by so many.

Luckily, some wonderful people have worked hard to get me a loaner. I finally have my freedom back. I immensely dislike depending on others and mechanical things for my independence, but that’s a fact of my current life right now. My liberty is restored after a long week and much relentless complaining. The squeaky wheel eventually gets the grease. (That happens in life and war!) Thank God for all your big and small liberties.

Keeping the Tiny Humans Alive 

We had our six children in groups of three. (No bad luck in my threes!) The first group was much more difficult. I guess it’s true the learning curve starts high!

The first three arrived within three years and nine months! I was coping with two, but the first time I was left alone with all three I had a little panic attack thinking, “What do I do? I only have two arms?” Soon after, I learned the ropes.

Barney, the dinosaur, was my televised babysitter for many years. “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family.” You do things as a parent of small children that you never thought you would otherwise do. (Bribery with candy is not out of the question.) It’s all about surviving another day in one piece. (For both parties, and it was no party!)

As fast as you clean, another mess is made at the other side of the house! One day I was doing the same old redundant housekeeping when I walked in on my oldest boy baby powdering his sister from head to toe. Well of course I flipped out, but no cleaning of the ghost toddler took place until I got my camera and chronicled this funny event. (Well, in hindsight it was funny.) They were always doing something crazy!


Kids are so destructive in their busy curiosities. I had a small village collection. I purchased a tiny scaled “H” gauge train that would highlight my houses beautifully for the holidays. (Not for long.) I assembled it proudly up high on top of an entertainment center to keep out of the reach of grabby children. But my first son and my niece climbed on the arm of the couch, balanced teetering on the edge of the arm, and pulled all the wheels off each car! We just couldn’t have nice things during these years!

My three musketeers did everything together. That was okay on the farm. It was convenient when one did something stupid, one could stand by and one could go for help. They spent many hours in the sandpile digging and building and burying. It was hilarious when they buried my third son and proceeded to make him breasts out of sand! They swam in the ditches, played in the feedpiles, and climbed on the hay bales – all under dad’s watchful eye. The tall weeds and grass were especially fun. Dogs and cats were usually part of the antics. Who needs expensive toys, we’ve got a farm! 

It was eight and a half years later, and we were content with our three. They were finally self-entertaining. (Whew!) We had cleaned out and donated all the baby clothes and equipment. (Three kiddos will wear most things out!) We assumed we were finished having children, but you know what happens when you assume? God says, “Not so fast!” I was unexpectedly expecting a fourth child.

Within about four and a half years three girls graced our home. It was a wee bit easier having built-in babysitters, but now we were raising six ankle biters! Whenever we went somewhere as a family I would instruct the older trio to watch their personal “Mini-Mes.” 

Laundry and dishes were never-ending. It was an eternal round of dirty things. 

Kids do say the darndest things. My youngest had a thick toddler accent. The best was when she asked for, “Ass-cream,” especially with hot fudge and bananas! I loved when my second had to go. She was really doing wildly uncomfortable motions. My husband asked her if she had to go. She said, “No, I just like to dance this way!”

Three littles girls under four made for a crazy estrogen-filled madhouse. Dora, the Explorer, was our go-to tv fallback for quiet time that was usually snack related. “D-d-d-d-d-Dora! Grab your backpacks. Lets go! Jump in! Vomanos!” (I can hear her annoyingly high-pitched voice right now!) It was like a land mine field of naked Barbies and razor-sharp Legos strewn from heck to breakfast across the floor. (I got that from an older generation.) Housecleaning was frequently done, but it was a futile exercise. Keeping the house clean while they were growin’ was like shoveling before it stopped snowin’! (I love that saying. Don’t know who said it.)


I had fun with those girlie girls, I could dress them the same until they started protesting. Hair ties littered the bathroom. (Still do!) Each of my triple sets had a random large-scale haircutter. It was very traumatic for mom. In both cases, we had to just wait it out and do hairstyles that accommodated the situation. Dolls lost their hair, also. I reluctantly witnessed the sacrifice of many pairs of scissors when an angry dad would toss them.

Girls and costumes were synonymous! We had all the princess dresses, wings, boas, shoes and every other accessory associated. I had amassed a whole box of costumes through the years. (You never know when you’ll want them again!) Dressing up is a key part of childhood. The year #5 wanted to be a fairy Snow White for Halloween, I knew it was not a battle worth fighting. I think the fourth daughter wore the Cinderella dress for a good six months straight. I had to wash it while she napped. It ended up being Cinderella’s rag work dress.


But getting them ready was quite a task. There was ALWAYS a shoe missing, it never failed. (Every time!) It habitually happened when you were running late. Someone had to consume something messy, or screw up my well-planned strategic dressing system. Being on time was really not an option. Trying was quite unrealistic, but we attempted it anyway. I would stressfully exclaim, “Don’t make me be a mean mom!” (I said that a lot!) I won’t even start on how dirty the car interior was, constantly!

Raising six kids is quite a daunting endeavor. It is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. Many unpleasant diapers were changed, cartoon bandaids unwrapped, and late night vomit messes cleaned. Looking back, I know it was all worth the exhausting effort. And I will thoroughly enjoy the sight of them experiencing the unbelievable pleasures themselves with their own kids. (What comes around, goes around!) “The circle of life…”

Fatigue

Having a stroke is like draining all the energy from all your batteries. (A sort of wake up call.) I pretty much slept for about 6 months. Well, it was about that long until I felt completely alert. (It’s crazy when you feel like having a nap in the middle of a conversation!)

I remember a time before when I was working so hard at my full-time job, then coming home to another full-time job just to keep the household running. Sunday naps were mandatory in my life, since I needed a recharge by the end of the week. (Or more!) We will all work ourselves into an early grave, at least it felt that way!

Seriously, we live in a world where we work and live tirelessly.

I enjoyed my recent July Fourth holidays so much, I came away with a pretty bad cold. I guess in my condition, it’s harder to kick. I still feel it in my chest, and harbor this annoying cough a week later. (Don’t make me laugh, I’ll end up coughing!) The therapist noticed my evident wheezing as I exercised yesterday. He consequently let me off easy, so I could further recuperate and not go downhill in my progression. (I appreciate that!)

My conclusion is, get enough sleep so your body is ready to function in the morning! Don’t work yourself to death. Take a well deserved break every now and then. Learn to nicely say, “No.” (I’m talking to myself.) I was the worst. Don’t be such a control freak that you can’t let someone else get the opportunity to carry out that project. (And get the glory.) Delegate. Your body acts as a great alarm, it will inform of when enough’s enough. Take time for your mental health! (You deserve it!)

Sincerely, a (temporarily) forced retiree.

30 Years Ago

It’s June 4, 1987. Synthesizers were flooding the airwaves. Gasoline cost .96 cents a gallon. (We were so modern and crazy.) Fluorescent clothes were all the rage. We seniors in high school were finally going to be free of these four walls we considered prison. The day had arrived. It seemed like it took forever!

I attended the post graduation party at the recreation center. We were signing yearbooks for the last time. Saying our last goodbyes to dear friends, and happy to be rid of some. I was free! The world was laid at my feet. High school was ending, and the dream was becoming real. 

I wrote myself a letter to be opened in the future with a Polaroid. (That was an instant picture you shook to develop.) The letter I penned to myself was a lot about boys! (I guess that’s what I was frequently thinking about.) I thought the guy I was with was the ultimate one. (Not so.) I was excited about college and a scholarship I won. (It didn’t last long enough.) Family was another thing high on my list. I was so amazed at how our family was growing. I had seven nieces and nephews that I was so proud of. (Now it’s 23 with 26 of their kids.) I remembered watching the Monkees reruns everyday at 4:00 with them while we ate Otter Pops! Life was just beginning. I thought I knew it all, but truly I was so naive.

I met my husband shortly after this. He was the one! We went to college together. I got my dream job! (At the time) We got married. (Yay!) We played. Kids came. (Ahh.) School was put on hold. Much happiness and hard times followed while we raised a family and dealt with the blows. (Kids and cows will bring those.) I look back now after 30 years. What did I acheive? Was it enough? I know I’m not finished, but I’m doing a lot of introspection. Did I accomplish all I thought I would?

My 30 year class reunion was a few days ago. After much convincing from various people, I decided to attend (with my wonderful husband.) I was curious most of all. Were these people different somehow? I had a great high school experience, but I was past the whole drama-filled production. I am not living all these years through those high school glory days like some people. I am not that outgoing extroverted life of the party anymore. Unwarranted attention is not what I wanted. What would they think of me now?

My sister did my hair and makeup, I was ready mentally. We entered through the back. Everyone looked. A few that didn’t know were confused and shocked. I am sure much hushed intergroup talking was happening. I cried a few times, but I held my own quite a bit more of the time. Some sweet friends and some acquaintances rushed up to wish me well and offer a hug. I know they meant well, but they all said about the same thing, “You’re doing great, hang in there, you’re are fighter.” I so wanted to stand up and be part of the group, normal, not an invalid being rolled around! I didn’t want to be pitied. I guarantee I’m walking into the 40th year reunion!

A little program was presented. Who came the farthest? Who lives the closest? Who had the most kids? Who had the oldest kids? (I won that one! Well out of who was there. Zack is 25!) They read the names of people who were no longer with us on earth. That was difficult for me. I was so overwhelmingly glad I wasn’t on there! (I so easily could have been!) Memories were shared of those deceased classmates. What memory would they have shared of me?

I wished I knew each of their life stories. So many experiences were in that room. So many life lessons learned. I know it would’ve taken forever, but I wanted to go around and share life’s experiences. I talked to many, but each one was with too quick of a passing, “Hey, how are ya?” 

Time is the great equalizer. It was amazing to see people from different high school social groups. Ones who would have never been seen together for a million bucks, now are hugging, laughing, and posing for pictures. It just didn’t matter anymore. Every person was sincerely glad to see the other. We all started from this place. High school was our commonality.

I did make good use of these thirty years. I may not have tons of diplomas or a fancy house on the hill, but I have six wonderful kids, an amazing husband, awesome friends, and I possess many years worth of life experiences (sprinkled with memories) to help me on my way. 

“I wanna be forever young…”

I am dead center.

Prerogative – 7/7/17

Prerogative is an interesting word. I thought I knew what it’s definition was, but when I googled it I found much more. (In my day, ohhhh I sound old, we looked it up in the dictionary or encyclopedia to learn more. Kids don’t even comprehend what an encyclopedia is! They were a set of books that were full of handy info. We were very privileged to have a set at home! Otherwise, we could’nt complete our reports or research papers without going to the library. Nowadays google replaces the encyclopedia! The phrase “go look it up” has been transformed to “google it.”) 

Google helped with the spelling, too, I would not have spelled it that way. Okay, it means A right reserved for a particular person or group. It is derived from the Latin word ‘to vote.’ I just thought it was doing something I wanted to do. (But I live in a free country and I have free agency, so I guess it still applies.)

My prerogative has been stunted since the stroke. If I want something I can’t reach, I have to ask for it. If I want to go and do, I must usually ask for help. (Not very fun!) My type A personality has learned a lot of patience. (To put it lightly!)

It is also my prerogative to write this blog. I know many people expect and enjoy my daily rant, but I have the choice when I write. (By the way, thank you so much for all the awesome comments and all the likes! I appreciate the support, even from the quiet readers.) After some input from family and friends, and the fact that my days are getting busier, I have decided (which is my prerogative) to write in my blog only when the ideas hit me. 

This blog has served as my therapist and sounding board. (I don’t have a bartender to dump on.) I have not held back, and I have been brutally honest. (No matter how embarrassing!) I do appreciate your feedback, and the fact that you even read my incessant blabbering. You, the readers, have helped me stay positive in my recuperation. Thank you for your unseen (and seen) network of unity. (The Kim Crew!) I am truly blessed. (I’m not worthy!)

Mud Run – 7/6/17

I remember back to an incredibly dirty time in my life. My work friends and I participated in a Mud Run! I had just lost a ton of weight, and I was feeling adventurous. So of course, I dragged my husband along for the craziness.

We started planning early. I designed the t-shirt which said, “Never fear… the accountants are here!” It drew an altered super man logo with our company initials on it. (Pretty proud of that one!) We planned a whole presentation. We got dollar store glasses, and popped the lenses out. Then we dressed in thrift store shirts and ties.


We then stripped off the shirts, like Superman does when he’s running to help.


To reveal our awesome shirts, ready to run this filthy obstacle course.


We had a great time running, climbing, splashing. I don’t even want to think of the muddy pools of disgusting germs we were crawling through!


But we had a hilariously dirty time, and it was a fundraiser for a good cause! We gave our shoes to an African shoe drive, too!

That is me with my hand straight up in the air!


After, we hosed off all the muck and straw to get in our cars. What other time do grown adults get this dirty on purpose? (Good times!)

Balance – 7/5/17

Balance is one of the things I have been working on lately. It’s a tricky thing, balance is. (I never thought about it before.) You gotta move your toes, and leg (I can move,) my good arm, too. 

In the gym, (or ‘on land,’ as they say) I have been standing for extended periods and moving golf tees from on block to another. That is actually hard to do! The therapist says I’m a perfectionist. I do the tees symmetrical, and I won’t sit down until both blocks are straight in the widow sill!

As I’m in the pool, we balance, but the water is not completely still. The movement is made by me and the therapist. I use my left foot often to keep me as steady as possible. But I never feel in total control no matter how hard I try. (That must be what drunk feels like?)

Working on my balance made me think of balance in general. Do we feel our lives are balanced? That means do we have a good balance between work and family? If you don’t have a family, do you have a good balance between work and play? (It applies in so many ways, depending how you look at it!) Strive to acheive that in your live. Don’t allow working constantly all day (and night) get in the way of your personal life. You will most assuredly see a positive difference. (I am speaking from experience!) No matter what you’re into, or give your day many of your hours, look at it seriously, and decide if you should spread your time around. 

Have you seen the meme saying “Only 10 more summers until your child is gone, use your time well!” (More or less depending on age.) Arghhh! I never thought about it that way! (The pressure is on.) Don’t think, “Oh, we’ll do it later.” Because later might never come. Seize the moment. (Take it from me,) we would’ve done more with the family if we would’ve known our life would drastically change. (You just never know!)

Sorry about my rant. I just feel strongly, we all need to work very hard to balance our time and bodies. (Balance is a funny thing!)