In Love With Typical

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We took Teghan to the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary yesterday. I hadn’t been there in many years, but it was a frequent stop during the first eight years of my life (when I lived down the street from it). It was a beautiful afternoon, and we had the park to ourselves. We bought a bucket of corn for fifty cents to feed the birds- which I was pretty sure Teghan would eat herself.

I was wrong. She was thrilled to throw corn at the birds and watch them scramble for it. It was wonderful. Watching my little girl skip around grabbing handfuls of corn and happily tossing it into the water was an unexpected surprise. It was typical childhood behavior- rare and fantastic.   Continue reading

The Art of Pretending

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For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Michigan chain of stores called Meijer (which may be most of you), it is the store that inspired Wal-Mart. And, in every store there is a mechanical horse named Sandy. Kids love Sandy. I rode Sandy as a child, and for only one penny, Teghan also has the opportunity for a one minute ride. It’s nice, really.

So today as we were purchasing our groceries, the cashier offered Teghan a penny to “ride the horsey.” Teghan just stared at her. Of course she did, she doesn’t talk. Sometimes I explain that, but often I just take over the conversation and pretend she is shy. It’s less awkward somehow. I get a lot of responses like, “Awww….she must be tired.”   Continue reading

In My Life

Small movie theater where I saw all the great movies of my childhood for the very first time. Closed in 1996, but still there.

Small movie theater where I saw all the great movies of my childhood for the very first time. Closed in 1996, but still there.

 

There are places I’ll remember all my life, though some have changed.                                                  -Lennon/McCartney

In My Life has always been one of my favorite songs. John had me at the next line, “some forever, not for better.” I suppose when I was young it didn’t mean much to me other than an example of great lyric writing– simple and perfect. It takes a few years to gain an appreciation for how people and places change in our lifetime. When we are very young, we know that things are going to be different someday, but someday also might as well be an eternity away. We live our childhood lives as though everyone and every place will always be there.

Well, that wasn’t true at all. There is almost nowhere left I can go back to from my childhood. My parents no longer live in the house I grew up in. Other people and their things exist in almost every place I ever found familiar. All the buildings I once frequented have new things in them, or have been torn down. My school looks different, the place where I went for my first date has been demolished, and the theater where I saw almost all of my first movies has been closed for years. I can’t go back, even for a few moments of nostalgia.  Continue reading

What Are You Staring At?

 

Teghan in Bed

As I was waiting in line at the bank this morning, a mother and her daughter came in behind me. The daughter was about three years old and ridiculously adorable. While her mother was filling out a deposit slip, the little girl asked if she could fill one out, too. The mother said “not this time” and they stepped into line.

They ended up with the teller next to mine. The little girl wandered around the chairs in the waiting area, and her mom told her to stay close by. When she wandered back to the deposit slips, her mother spoke more sternly with her. She told her that if she did not stay where she had asked her to stay, they would immediately go home (instead of wherever they had originally planned on going). This made the little girl upset. She started to cry and yell, “No, no mommy. I am staying close by!” The more she attempted to reason with her mother the louder she became, and the mother turned her full attention toward her daughter to calm her down.   Continue reading

So….What’s Next?

Floppy Disks

Every night my internet goes out just when I want it the most. It means I have to turn on my iPhone’s hotspot to get a connection, which does work well for the few minutes I need it to. It happens at the same time every day. I could call someone about this, but I am lazy. That’s the truth- but what I tell myself is that they will probably just charge me additional money to not fix the problem, or to make it worse. Which is also true. I find this all very disappointing. I just want it to work without a lot of hassle. Or even a little hassle.

Do you ever have moments when you notice just how much the world has changed and it seems kind of insane? It’s funny to think about things I once wanted, and to realize how many of those things have become obsolete. It makes me feel like I have lived longer than I actually have. If I feel this way in my thirties, what will my sixties be like?

My phone is obvious. Every time I watch a TV show from the nineties where the plot revolves around people not being able to reach one another, it seems absurd. Was this really how we lived? Now characters are forced to lose their cell phones, get lost in places with no reception, or just angrily ignore each other’s phone calls in order to keep the plot going. Because while cell phones solve a lot of real life problems, they offer an inconvenient solution for sitcom writers.

But we don’t just have cell phones. We have everything I ever dreamed of as a child in the palm of our hands. And I am pretty indifferent about it most of the time. That’s the insane part.    Continue reading

Depression and Friendship

Face in the Sand

 

(This is not directed toward, or about any one individual. This is coming from a lifetime of experience with friends and/or family who have depression. It is a reaction I have to these experiences, in general. I need to clarify that for my many followers and Facebook friends who suffer from depression and may believe I am talking about them.)

Depression is a conflicting topic for me. I am about to take a journey on eggshells here, because I do not suffer from depression. I experience it from others, but I have never experienced it for myself. I have a limited understanding, but a pretty good understanding of what it is like to be sucked into a darkness I cannot control while I feel just fine. I want to talk about that.

I’m the one who is okay, so my feelings are secondary. I don’t even mind. My brain needs balance, and it will find its way there every time. I do not understand what it feels like to have a brain that doesn’t give me a break from sadness when I need it. While someone who is suffering from depression may be unable to leave that place- I am just as unable to stay there. It’s not easy for the two of us to share space in this scenario.

I have no solution to that.   Continue reading

An Appreciation for the Past

Mary

Teghan knows one set of great-grandparents. She recognizes them, and she is familiar with their house. When she arrives there, she immediately seeks out a set of three small books that she has claimed as her own. If she does not find all three together- there will be screaming. I don’t know what exactly goes through her mind about why we go to this place, who these people are, or why we only see them on occasion. She doesn’t know that her great-grandparents are in Florida right now, or that they spend half the year there. I am not sure what memories are being created for her, but I know there is something there.

I was lucky enough to have known four of my great-grandparents. Our family spent every Sunday at my Great-Grandma Hill’s house, and she was a part of my life until after I was married. I wasn’t as close to my other great-grandparents, but I am now grateful for the opportunity to at least have memories of them. When I became interested in genealogy, those memories became more important, but they no longer defined my knowledge of them. At times it makes me sad that it took so long for me to know them the way I do now.  Continue reading

Losing a Part of Our Youth in a Wisconsin Motel

1995

 

There was a brief period of time in 1995 when Dave and I were engaged to be married, but we were living in two different states. We were young. We had jobs one would expect youngsters to have. We both lived at home with our parents. We had gotten our first taste of freedom by joining a group that toured the country and required no actual independence or responsibility- and we had spent that year falling madly in love.

There was never any question that we were going to get married. Breaking up was not an option, and we were absolutely young and naive. But, to our credit- we were right to have acted on that stupidity. It’s still the best decision I ever made.

I lived in Michigan, and Dave lived in Illinois. During this time of separation, a trip was planned for a family reunion in Wisconsin, where I would meet my future father-in-law’s family. I would take a train to Chicago, where Dave and his brother would pick me up. Then we would swing by and pick up Dave’s other brother in Madison on our way to LaCrosse. Dave’s aunt and uncle owned a motel where we would all be staying.

When we arrived at the motel, they were overbooked. Dave’s sister thought it would be fun if she and I spent the night in a tent in the motel parking lot. And yes, even though I could see a nearby motel with vacant rooms, and I had cash in my pocket- that is what we did (this isn’t crucial to my story; I just needed to talk about the fact that this happened).   Continue reading

Even Jesus Likes a Good Scavenger Hunt

 

There are days when you feel good about the things that are going right in your life, and there are days when you feel like maybe you are a complete failure. Things aren’t really black and white. Sometimes we sacrifice in one area so that we can benefit in another. So maybe I am guilty of spending time thinking about the sacrifices- but I am great at talking myself out of it. Usually.

I have made sacrifices in my career and income that benefit Teghan. She attends a good school and has extended family around her because of those sacrifices. Those sacrifices allowed me to spend time with my sister before she died. These things are obvious priorities. But it’s hard to go backwards. It’s easy to do a job that you know well, but not so easy to know that you passed this point in your career a long time ago. Life is full of give and take, right? That’s helpful.

But do you know what else helps? Thinking about how far you have really come. I was reminiscing about the jobs I had when I was young and didn’t know enough to stay out of the retail business. Or worse- that brief job I held at a pizza place when I was fifteen (across from my high school). That pizza place was where I first discovered that I was clearly not cut out for food service. That, and the four days I once spent working at a doughnut shop drive-thru.  Continue reading

Because the Devil’s Music Might Just Save Your Soul

 

 

Very few things in life are better than listening to music alone in my car.

It has never been on a top ten list or anything, but that was clearly an oversight. I just forget sometimes. The biggest thing I have in common with my husband is that music will trump everything else when given a chance. And lately we haven’t been giving it a chance. It often gets replaced by secondary loves.

For example, Dave is completely focused on artwork right now. He has partnered with a friend on a comic book project, and his recording studio is getting dusty. Meanwhile, here I am stringing words together. Here, there and everywhere– as if anyone really needs to know how I feel about life. But these things are very close secondary loves, so they do hold us for a while.

I used to be better at combining them.

But it’s the car ride that gets me. Sometimes I drive to work in silence, but it makes no sense. Technology is too perfect now for driving in silence. So I plug in my phone and listen to something. Today I actually wanted to wait in a drive-thru longer so I wouldn’t get home too soon. I wanted more time to listen; to think about what the world is like inside that particular soundtrack. Because the world can look and feel different when you change what it sounds like.  Continue reading