It All Ties Together

I had a wonderful day yesterday. To be honest it actually began the day before. My daughters and I usually have tea on Friday afternoons, and we love it when others join us. But on this particular Friday everyone was busy except the oldest and myself. The two of us have spent quite a bit of time together of late helping my mother get through her recovery from surgery. My mother, at 91 years old, can often have her own ideas of how things should be.

On this particular Friday I thought it would be nice if I took the oldest to a tea shop where someone else would make it all, and serve us. On the way home we passed an antique store that we have passed many times over the years. The few times we have thought to stop, they were closed. But there was a big sign out front that said “OPEN”, so this time we did.

Both the oldest and I are very sensitive to the energy of a person, place, or thing. We love to go to antique stores because we find ourselves drawn to some beautiful things that have such wonderful energy. But on the flip-side of that, there are also things that are not so nice. It is hard to imagine what the life of the owner was like. This particular store had a very strange energy. It reminded me of the old story of the toys that nobody wanted. There were so many things that looked like they had been there for so very long, unwanted, unloved. It was a very sad place.

I found myself drawn to a display cabinet, and in it I saw some sugar tongs, quite tarnished. The tongs I currently use for tea are stainless steel ones we got for the oldest wedding. They are nice, but don’t really fit. I walked around the store a bit more, but found myself drawn back to the tongs. I read the tag, “Chinese silver sugar tongs $8.” The owner was sitting playing with her phone, so I went over to speak with her. She never took her eyes off her phone while answering my questions. She then begrudgingly got up and unlocked the cabinet. I almost didn’t take the tongs just because of her attitude, and the energy of the place. But after seeing how she was, I decided to give them a new home.

The oldest was drawn to some glass icicles. But as soon as she touched them, she turned away. I remembered I had some that my mother had given me years ago. They used to hang on our Christmas tree when I was a child. I told the oldest about them, and that I would look for them when I got home. Now we move on to the next day.

It was Saturday, and Hubby was getting ready to take a load of yard waste to the dump. The wild child stopped by, and mentioned she needed to go to the garden center. I told her about another antique store that had recently opened across the street, so we went together to check it out. We loved it, and purchased some lovely things. But the story continues when we got home.

Apostle Teaspoon set –

I went to dig out the icicles as I thought there were three and I wanted to give one to the wild child as well. As I did I discovered a small box that I had forgotten about. A set of teaspoons my Aunt and Uncle had given my mother the Christmas I was born. Oddly enough, they seemed to have the same design as the sugar tongs. I cleaned the tongs with some silver polish to discover they were not Chinese, but made in Sheffield England with the apostle design. They were actually called apostle sugar nips, as the ends are spoon shape.

They aren’t necessarily worth a lot of money, and that wasn’t the point. The connection, the history, that is what brings it all together. Because then we have the story of the teaspoons I so lovingly brought back from my trip to England, it all ties together so beautifully.

While the youngest and I were in England one of the things I wanted to do was bring back some teaspoons. I had a few odd ones, but when I had people over for tea, I just didn’t have enough. We never really found what I wanted over the month we were there. But our last stop was to visit my cousins; the son and family of the Aunt and Uncle who gave the teaspoons to my mother. I was telling his wife of my hunt when their son arrived. After a few minutes he realized he had a whole box of teaspoons that his Gran (my Aunt) had from when she ran a pub. He ran home and brought back the box with dozens of teaspoons. So you see, eventually it does all tie together – with love.

One Step at a Time

The other night we watched the last performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. May 21, 2017 marked the last time in 146 years of performing in front of thousands of people. It was an emotional time, a sad time, the end of an era. My understanding is that there are some people out there who are thrilled they are gone. They say that the animals were treated cruelly. Watching the lion and tiger act made me question this. Honestly, would a lion or tiger really be affectionate towards a person who was cruel to them? I think they would be more inclined to eat them. But that is just my personal opinion.

I went to the circus in Madison Square Garden in 1985. I was visiting my father and step-mom in New York with the oldest, when she was a wee one. Daddy wanted to take her to the circus, and we had the most wonderful time. She was too young to remember it, but not too young to remember the feelings of the experience. She does have those memories.

I started to write about my feelings towards people who join big protests against something. That so many don’t research honestly, or think through the consequences of their actions. As I reread what I wrote I knew I was opening myself up for conflict. It is a time when there is always someone who will disagree about what you say, and have no qualms about letting everyone know. I deleted what I wrote, and changed my delivery.

I am not someone who will jump on a bandwagon and join a protest. If there is a cause I feel needs help I will not waste time or money trying to convince others I am right. I will invest my time and money in trying to make a change; make a difference. I am a firm believer in “actions speak louder than words.” When I see a protest turn violent it degrades anything they had to say. I have enough to worry about in my own life, why would I want to invite that sort of thing in. I do my part in positive actions. I volunteer, support, talk about and share with others. You will have seen me do this a number of times in the past, right here on my blog. You will never see me throw a brick through a store window. What you will see me do is participate. It may be in a small way, but many small ways will make a change. One positive step at a time . . .

Watching Things Grow

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and we hosted a Mother’s Day Brunch. It was a bit off for Hubby and me as neither of our Moms could be there. His is in Florida, and mine is still at the rehab. But, as always, it turned out to be a wonderful time. We had 7 Moms to celebrate with. Hubby’s brother’s family came, so his wife, and she brought her mom. My good friend (who I go on the photo trips with) came with her mother-in-law. The youngest’s best friend since 1st grade brought his mother, then my daughter-in-law, and me! We had great food, the best of company (all my kids were here), and we even had Facetime calls with their Grandma’s in Arizona, and Florida. After everyone left we headed down to the rehab and took my Mom a care package of yummy food. All-in-all a wonderful day.

I had my first real grandmother experience recently. Yes, this was my first Mother’s Day as a grandmother, but that wasn’t it. My grandson has been having ear infection trouble. After two rounds of antibiotics, the doctor decided to try shots this time. He had the first shot at the appointment, and then I took him the next two days for the rest. The last time was the roughest for him. He is such a happy boy; always smiling and giggling. But three days in a row, and this nurse wasn’t as good as the previous ones, so it took a little cuddling to get him past it. As we waited the obligatory 20 minutes (to make sure he has no reactions), we sat in the room just rocking. I looked down at this sweet little boy’s head, and it took me back to the many times I would sit and cuddle his father. Yes, a real grandmother moment. You know how you will often have these moments, and wish you had a camera? Well, I did!

What a treasure. The photo, the moment, the connection, the memories. Those simple moments in life, the littlest thing, that glimpse of something so very special.

His Daddy stopped by today. He was early for a meeting nearby, so just popped in. The oldest was here to plant their Mother’s Day gifts for me; a tomato plant, some cilantro, and basil. I am really going to enjoy watching everything grow <3

What We Are Made Of

There have been some thoughts rolling around in my head for quite some time now. I wrote my cousin the other day observing how people reflect the experiences in their lives. My cousin’s older sister, and my mother, were both in England during WWII. Now my mother was born in 1926. She was 13 when the war broke out, but 19 when it ended. My cousin was 10 years younger, but she was still there. The memories of our childhood may fade as the years go by. But the feelings and emotions around us are often never forgotten.

Lately I have found myself drawn to watching shows set in England during the time period just after the war, the 1950’s and 60’s. It started simply enough with Agatha Christie’s “Miss Marple” series. It made me start thinking about how life was for my parents at that time. I have some wonderful photographs of them taken in the 1950’s; when they were first dating, got engaged, and then married. This was in the post-war era, when life was supposed to be getting back to normal.

My father served in the war, just a young man, sent to Egypt. He was lucky as his sister worked for the government nearby where he was stationed, so he had a familiar loving face to set his eyes on. My mother was at school. She tells a story of crossing a bridge with her satchel over her head to protect her from the shrapnel flying from the machine guns above. To us these are stories, plots of movies, they don’t fit into our reality. But to them it was their life, and many of the memories were not happy ones.

In college, I was taught that the experiences people have in their lifetime mold who they become. In my sociology class I even did a paper on my mother’s lifetime. I think about how it was during the wars in England. I think about families trying to live with ration books, making do with what they had. That constant fear as they blackout their lives as curfew approaches. That the sirens will start to blare, waiting for the sound of airplanes, and then the bombs falling. Day after day, week after week, for years. They were in their homes, a place where we are supposed to feel safe. But it was far from that. We don’t really understand, we can’t. Now I look at my 91-year-old mother, and try to be patient, try to understand. She is stubborn, she is determined, she has lived a life full of change, and is still here.

We are English, we will persevere. Have a cup of tea and all is well with the world. A good ‘cuppa’ will fix just about anything. I understand why that became such a thing. Everyone has to have something to hang onto. Something as simple as a cup of tea can be so symbolic. It can mean so much more. We are not the only ones; not by a long shot. So many cultures have similar things, similar histories, similar crosses to bear.

Now I fast forward to today, 2017.

Getting through my mother’s latest health challenges has not been easy. We have been fighting protocols, and the system, which tends to forget that there are people involved. The human condition, the struggle to survive, what makes us who we are. People making decisions that affect so many other people in ways they just don’t conceive of.

Wars are still being fought in the world. There are still families in fear of those bombs. They are trying to survive. Even here in the USA there are wars being fought. On the streets, in the government, in the homes . . . This has been going on for too long. There is too much anger. Always having to be right, in charge, in control.

The next time you find yourself judging someone’s behavior, keep this in the back of your mind. A little girl, 13-years-old should only be worrying about getting her assignments done for school, her chores done around the house, and a simple scraped knee from falling on her roller-skates. She shouldn’t have to carry the memories of the fear, the loss, and death for her whole life. Whether she is English, African-American, or Syrian it shouldn’t matter. It just shouldn’t be . . .