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Virtual Angels

12 Jan

I’m the mom of a 19-year-old.  A 19-year-old that goes to college 5 hours away, involving a drive over two mountain passes and through metro Denver traffic.  He’s a good, cautious driver and patiently puts up with my “be safe, make good choices” talk every time he gets behind the wheel.  He texts me when he leaves, he texts when he arrives.  He never gives me reason to worry, but I just can’t help it.  He left yesterday, knowing that Vail Pass was closed due to a jack-knifed semi and chain law on both Vail and the Tunnel.  (I worry when roads are dry!)  I’m grateful for my network of Facebook friends, some of whom have college drivers of their own, who provide a positive energy, prayer and angel network when my boy is on the road.  I still worry until I get his text, but this network brings more comfort than I know how to express.

zach heads home 1-11-14

“The captain of The Enterprise”

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Bleeding Music

10 Jan

I’m a lucky mom.  My son found his passion for music in middle school, and that passion has given his life focus.  He’s currently pursuing a double major: music education and saxophone performance, and has plans to continue on to grad school.  Music is like air to him–he absolutely needs it to be himself.  Music saturates his essence.  I’m endlessly grateful for the way he follows his passion.  I’m grateful for the clear and realistic path he has set, allowing for flexibility but never losing sight of the music.  Skillful in so many ways.

Selmer SA80 SeriesIII

Zach’s Golden Ticket.

Spiced with Love

9 Jan

Everyday home cooking is usually a job for one.  I am that one.  She who chops and cooks and makes a mess and then cleans up.  I don’t mind, because I love to cook.  Last night, Michael was in the mood for pizza and joined in the preparation.  Just a simple vegan pizza with a naan bread crust, but so much better for the wine shared and the joint effort to create it.  It reminded me of our dating years when we often made meals together, drinking wine and laughing.  I’m grateful for a hubby who is comfortable in the kitchen.

pizza

Food made with a loved one always tastes better.

The Colors of January

8 Jan

Spring has tulips and cherry blossoms, Summer has sunflowers and petunias, Fall has goldenredburgundy leaves.  And winter?  Christmasy reds and greens, crystalline white snow and crisp blue skies.

Every January, I clear my house of the cozy green and red of Christmas and replace it with crisp and clean blue and white.  Always displayed on my hutch, is the bridal “china” my Mom insisted I have.  I had my choice of patterns (within monetary reason) and selected one that sang to my Scandinavian side.  One that my Danish Great-Aunt would have loved.  It’s a stoneware rather than china; far more practical and definitely used more often because of it.  Made by Franciscan, the pattern is called Denmark.  I’m so grateful for this reminder of Mom and my heritage.

denmark

The fresh colors of January.

 

“I Never Knew…

6 Jan

…holding someone’s hand

could feel so inviting,

so familiar

and so new at the same time.

Holding your hand, I celebrate it,

I mark it on calendars.”

~Anita Krizzan

I’m so grateful for those times I can sit quietly and hold hands with Michael.  There may be distractions of the TV or Pookie the cat or the phone ringing, but my world is only him and me at those moments.

holding hands

A quiet little intimacy.

 

Long Distance Mom-ing

10 Dec

Being a Mom is the most wonderful of all blessings, and one of the hardest when your “little one” is not so little anymore and not even living in the same town.  I have new-found respect for what my Mom must have gone through when I was 19 and far away in college.  Back then, the only phone was in the hallway of the dorm, shared by every girl on the floor.  How did Mom stand the lack of contact?  Was it a good thing to be blissfully unaware and hopeful that all was well?  I can be in touch with my son via text, cell phone or Facebook messaging instantaneously.  I get to have a peek inside his college life as his friends tag him in pictures and posts.  A comfort to me, maybe not so much for him.

This week is finals week for many college students. My son, being a music major has finals, but also juries–solo performances in front of the entire woodwind faculty of the college.  He is in both the saxophone and oboe studios, so is required to present a piece demonstrating his skills for each.  Much of the time spent in lessons for oboe and sax each semester are devoted to polishing the literature he and his teachers have selected.  Many of the hours of practice time are spent going over and over and over the pieces–practicing until they become a part of him.

zach selmer nov 2013

And then, at 3am the morning of the juries, he wakes up with a horrible earache.  Imagine having a test that requires controlled and forceful breathing with your ear plugged and screaming at you.  Not good.  Not good a all.  Here comes the long distance Mom part.  He posted his frustration with the situation on Facebook, allowing me to know as soon as I opened Facebook this morning.  All ready, many of his friends had advised he go see a doctor.  I did as well, also asking to be kept in the loop of what came of the doctor visit.  Seems all too easy and matter of fact as I write this, but my Mom worries kicked in.  A monstrous desire to be able to instantaneously transport myself to him to give him a hug, wrap him in blankets and make chicken soup.  Who doesn’t want their Mom to come take care of them during times of sickness?!

He’s 5 hours away, so I had to settle for texting as he filled out forms in the waiting room of the clinic.  A quick diagnosis resulted in prescribed antibiotics, and he was sent on his merry way to determine (with input from his instructors) on whether juries are a go or not.  I still haven’t heard how that will shake out.  I feel fortunate that he is someone who is very good at taking care of and advocating for himself.  It helps me worry a bit less.  He also has a great network of caring friends; people I know will help him with whatever he needs–possibly even bringing him chicken soup.

When will the desire to rush in and make things “all better” end?  According to other Moms I’ve talked to, never.  It’s been a long, long time since a kiss was able to fix a boo-boo.  My little boy is a man who is quite capable of taking care of himself.  I’ll always be his Mom, though, and can’t wait for him to drive those 5 hours to be home this weekend so I can take care of him PROPERLY.  Off to the store I go to get the ingredients for chicken noodle soup–it’s better than sitting here worrying and waiting for the next text or Facebook update.

He’ll be fine and things will work out as they should.  How many times have I heard those words in my Mom’s voice?!  All those years of what I took as patronizing, turn out to be the best you can do when you’re long distance Mom-ing.

The Meaning of Christmas (In My Humble Opinion)

9 Dec

Beware.  I’m up on my soapbox.  Generally I reserve this soapbox for my rants about public education, but today I stand up here to stand up for myself and Comfort and Joy, Joy to the World, and A thrill of hope for the weary world.

Yesterday, I wrote a post to remember my Mom and her love of all things Christmas.  It focused mainly on decor and sharing good food with good friends.  This morning, I found two “pingbacks” (notification that another blog has linked to your post) to the post about Mom from a blog devoted to Christianity.  This blog used quite a few excerpts from my post to illustrate a perceived increase in secularism in what the author feels should be a completely Bible-based event.  I wrote a comment on his post, thanking him for at least citing his source, but that I felt that his use of my words belittled how religious and spiritual my Mom truly was, and that using them in that way completely ignored the whole purpose of my post.

Perhaps I am wrong for not going on about her deeply religious side.  She was a devout Catholic, regularly attending church, with many religious artifacts displayed in her home.  Not in a shrine-like way, just incorporated into her surroundings.  A large framed tin of The Virgin of Guadalupe, for example.   I feel more importantly, that Mom always conducted herself in a very Christian way: helping those who need help, listening to someone who just needs to talk, taking food to neighbors who were ill.  She loved her friends and family well.  Aren’t those Christian ideals?

Who decided that in order to be a proper Christian, you must adhere strictly to the Bible and its many interpretations?  When did these interpretations of the Bible start trumping the sort of life Jesus would have approved of?  When did displaying a Christmas tree result in being labeled a heathen?  Yup.  The blog’s author responded to my comment by saying that Mom may have been religious, but was probably affected by family traditions which caused her to celebrate Christmas with all the “heathen ornaments.”  What?!  Judge not…

Good gravy.  I don’t know about you, but when December shows up, and pretty lights, candles, evergreen boughs and even Jolly Old St. Nick appears, I get all warm inside with a feeling of Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.  Isn’t that the true meaning of Christmas?   Yes, it’s the day used to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, but isn’t it more than a birthday party?  Isn’t it the encouragement to be the kind of person Jesus always tried to be (according to the Bible!)?   That feeling of we can all get along and love each other.  The impetus to be kind and share joy.  Am I somehow less Christian because I have Christmas stockings out?  Am I heathen because the trolls Mom loved are sitting on my hutch?

Where is the Christian tolerance and compassion?  How does a secular decoration belittle anyone’s personal faith?  Faith is faith, right? One of the few things you can have that can’t be taken from you.  And Christmas is a season of joy and loving and caring and holding our loved ones close.  All very Christian things to do in my opinion, even if they happen within view of a Christmas tree.

big tree

A Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it, and Happy Holidays to the rest.  May all of the Joy of the Season bring you warmth and comfort.