Happiness

20190601_093841.jpgThere are days I find happiness personally elusive.

There are endless chores and medical appointments and sad news on the telly and from my hometown.

Today my tomato plants were placed into their new garden house and my deck painted red.

20190604_110604.jpg

My neighbor stopped by and brought us popcorn from her trip to Colorado.

20190604_173819.jpg

“I can’t thank you enough,” she said, “for taking care of my plants while we were away. I know you both like popcorn. I hope you like these.”

Today I am happy.

My tomato plants have a new house and my neighbor stopped by.

My partner is snoring and enjoying her nap.

I picked up a new Mary Oliver book and am excited to begin.

I opened the front cover and suddenly remembered the librarian’s sweet gesture.

She checked out my book, but before handing it back, wistfully touched Ms. Oliver’s photo on the inner sleeve of the cover and then smiled at me.

I took my selection and answered her in kind, “Her books touch my heart and I’m sad that we lost such a lovely human being,” I began.

“I’m grateful, though, for her writing and thank God for her talents.”

“Yes,” she grinned and bid me a good day.

Today was a fine day and one my mom would have loved. She taught me to be grateful and taught me to love life.

Today I am happy and grateful to be alive.

Today is a good day and I hope yours is, too.

Be well, People, and I’ll catch you the next time, looking at life from my shoes.

Advertisements

Education was Important to my Mother

Education was important to my mother.

Keeping her children happy was even more important.

So, when her oldest daughter lost her sense of humor and started freaking out about final exams the week before graduation, Momma Benedetti went to her bag of tricks to ease the tension.

She dressed up in my graduation cap and gown and declared she was a “college gad-gee-ate”.

20190109_150130.jpg

When that didn’t so much as get a smile from me, she tried walking into my bedroom with a rose between her teeth and asked me to tango.

20190109_150113.jpg

Unfortunately, I was so hung up on doing well on my finals, that neither action made me any less anxious.

Yes, I was her more sensitive child. The one the doctors always referred to as “emotional” and recommended enemas on a regular basis.

You know the kind.

Every family has one.

And lucky me, I was the one.

It wasn’t until the next morning, while I was sitting on the throne, looking down at the painted toenails of our clawfoot bathtub, that I burst out laughing.

Mom had painted all of the nails on the claws with bright red nail polish.

Her oldest daughter needed to laugh, and Mom wasn’t giving up until I did.

She succeeded.

I sat there on the toilet laughing hysterically and shaking my head in awe.

Mom got me on that one.

I was now prepared to kick some serious butt on the last of my final exams and to graduate from community college.

20190109_150144.jpg

Thanks, Mom.

It’s because of you that I went on and became a “college gad-gee-ate”.

I miss her every day, but it’s memories like these that keep her close to my heart and very much alive.

Love you, Mom.

Love you to the moon and back.

Continue reading Education was Important to my Mother

One More Christmas Memory

20181213_111610-1.jpg

It’s that time of year, again.

Christmas music is playing non-stop, the stores are jam-packed with holiday shoppers, and kids are busy making their lists to send to Santa praying they’re on the nice list – not the naughty one.

The Princess and I have been busy attending Christmas concerts and enjoying the company of good friends and good food.

The outside lights are up, the tree decorated and my Dicken’s Christmas Village painstakingly set up with careful attention given to the placement of each piece before having snow dumped all over it for that added, cozy Christmas touch.

The holiday season is here in full force. I’m laughing, listening to Christmas carols and starting plans for my Christmas dinner party.

God has been good. We have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, food to eat and the love of family and friends.

So, why do I feel so empty? Why does my heart ache?

The (Dicken’s) Christmas Village that I started years ago was bought with money that my Mom sent me in my early days in CA. Bought with the thought of times past and the innocent memory of childhood trips to our downtown to see lights strung on Xmas trees and store fronts.

As a child, we didn’t have a car, and my Mom hoofed it to work every day and stood on her feet for hours-on-end at a Jewish Bakery in upstate NY; schlepping rye bread and jam-filled jelly doughnuts to an endless stream of customers who waited patiently to purchase fresh baked goods and to chat with the animated Italian who had a smile as bright as a summer day.

She could wait on 2 to 3 customers at a time, give a hug and a cookie to a munchkin and make everyone feel loved and important; all without breaking a sweat.

And home she trudged through snow and ice after a hard day of standing on her feet, only to be greeted by youngsters anxious to go downtown to look at the Christmas lights twinkling in store front windows and draped on snow covered trees.

“Please, Mom,“ I’d beg. “We’ve all eaten dinner and I’ve washed and put away the dishes. Can you please take us downtown? Please, please, please?”

“I’ll help pull the little ones on the sleigh and we won’t ask for anything, Mom.”

“Honest,” I’d plead.

“We won’t ask for anything,” I continued, looking at her with my best puppy dog eyes.

And Mom being Mom, she quickly grabbed something to eat, bundled us all up and off we’d go downtown looking at lights and talking about our school day.

Over the years, I’ve added on to my Dicken’s Village and always smiled with love and fond memories of a time when we were poor with material comforts, but rich with Mom’s love and steadfast support.

This Christmas season my heart aches for a time past when the snow filled our sidewalks and the tree lights sparkled on the snow as our sled quietly slid-on through the new blanket of white stuff.

As an adult, Christmas has always been my favorite time of year, and I’ve always called my Mom to share with her the joys of the season.

I never realized until recently how my Mom mirrored that joy and how much happier I was after sharing my experiences with her.

With Mom’s passing this October, I find my mirror has a crack and my joys are not as colorful, not as merry.

She wouldn’t want me to feel sad and I’m trying hard to stay merry, but there are times a certain song, a certain smell, a certain Christmas scene takes me back to a time when my Mom was my Mom, and I was her little girl.

And my heart aches for one more moment, one more conversation, one more Christmas memory to share with my mom.

“Merry Christmas, Mom. I love you to the moon and back. Always have. Always will.”

I wish for all of you the merriest of Christmas’s and a Happy New Year, and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes.

Thank you for your continued love and support.

20181213_111138.jpg

I Love You to the Moon and Back

I’m on a rollercoaster ride and I’m not quite sure when it ends.

Or does it?

I eat. I sleep.

Make chicken soup and play board games.

The recipe for the cookies calls for “shortening.”

I don’t exactly know what “shortening” is.

I’ll call Mom.

She’ll tell me what it is and let me know what I can substitute.

Wait a minute.

We buried Mom last week.

No more asking her for advice. No more hearing her ask, “How are you and the Princess today? Doing anything fun?”

I feel like an untethered ship with no rudder, no oars.

The fall days are as gray and as empty as my heart.

My foundation has a crack and I feel weak and unstable.

I need to keep walking. Baby steps. One at a time.

Need to keep connecting.

And remembering.

Sharing.

And listening to stories of a life loved and well lived.

My Mom was my rock and my rock is no longer.

We buried Mom last week and with her my heart.

Love you, Mom.

Love you to the moon and back.tony-detroit-362133-unsplash

Photo by Tony Detroit, Unsplashed

I’ll be Ready, too…

20840688_10209956719543353_2138134925829052475_n

Numb.

There is no feeling.

No thoughts.

I’m autistic.

Totally overwhelmed.

I wake up waiting.

Go through the day.

I eat, sleep, take care of my responsibilities.

My heart is in my throat.

I have everything to say, but am wordless.

I laugh.

I cry.

I wash clothes and sweep the floor.

Exercise. Shop. Clean the garage.

I call Mom.

“How are you and the Princess doing?” she asks.

“Good,” I answer.

“How are you, Mom?”

“Lazy,” she answers. “Very lazy.”

“Rest, Mom,” I tell her.

“Save your strength and rest.”

“Yes,” she answers. “Love you, sweetheart. Love you.”

“Love you, too, Mom.”

“Bye.”

Her time in this life is short. She’s ready. Her body is spent. She does everything to keep her mind sharp; does everything to show her children and loved ones that’s she’s still present and still Mom.

But the cancer and leukemia are slowly robbing her of her self-hood; of  her being.

And I am not ready to say good-bye; not ready to fly solo, but solo I must try.

When you’re ready, Mom, I’ll be ready, too.

Promise Mom.

I’ll be ready, too…

Rat Karma

The Princess is outside walking around with the exterminator.

Yep.

Unfortunately, our local raccoons have no manners and are messy eaters with the birdseed they steal from the Princess’s bird feeder.

 
Did you know that rats like leftover birdseed?

 
Un-huh.

 
They do.

 

And our cat, Boo, has been too occupied with the deer to mess with the baby rats, so we’ve got furry, 4-legged, low-riders scooting around the perimeter of our home and having a grand ole time.

 

Yuck!

 

I hate rats. The Princess, on the other hand, loves and respects all life forms, including RATS.

 

She spent the better part of an afternoon researching and calling various exterminator companies.

 

I can assure you, the pest control company that she eventually hired was thoroughly vetted to make sure the little buggers wouldn’t suffer any undue stress when they went to rat heaven. They simply eat a special food that they leave for them, and then drift off to sleep, like Snow White.

 

“Yeah,” he reassured her. “They may get a tad thirsty before they doze off, but that’s about it. It’s pretty painless.”

 

“Oh,” he continued. And you might have a peculiar odor coming from the house until we come and pick up their remains, but not to worry, it’s just their decaying bodies.”

 

Swell.

 

I’m so glad she paid a professional to do this. I was prepared to buy some traps, bait the traps and nail the little buggers. But the Princess, being the Princess, didn’t wanna hurt the little sweethearts.

 

“After all,” she informed me. “You could end up with bad karma if you kill them inhumanely.”

 

Un-huh.

 

To tell you the truth, I wasn’t looking forward to killing them myself, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. And I certainly was not going to cohabitate with any 4 –legged creatures of the rat family. If you recall, the Princess and I played a version of “Pop goes the weasel” with a rat when we lived in CA. I did not and do not want to do this, again!

 

No siree, Bob.

 

I’m glad someone else’s karma is gonna be negatively tweaked, though. I can now go to sleep knowing that my “rat karma” is in tact.

 

And you, dear People, have a great day and I’ll catch ya next time, looking at life from my shoes.