with Lynne and Leslie
Category Archives: family

Oh, we’re 45, we’re beautiful, and we’re fine: Claiming your middle-aged awesome

by SweetMidlife
Leslie with the Afro, Lynne with the locs. Hi!!

Leslie with the Afro, Lynne with the locs. Hi!!

This post was originally going to be about Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and whether a middle-aged viewer who is an admirer but not by any means a super fan would find it as enlightening and transformative as so many have, and whether anything in a soulful piece about anger, forgiveness, betrayal and acceptance could spur that admirer toward writing death threats to strangers who may or may not have betrayed another stranger. I doubt that. Anyway I’m not writing that story right now because I’m a really busy single mother and haven’t had the time to watch it – which alone I guess says something about my investment in some “Lemonade” transformation. Do with that what you will,

So that is not the story we will be writing today. The story I am writing is about how my sister Lynne and I turned 45 yesterday, a sort of milestone birthday that doesn’t have the same punch as those ages that end in a “0” but is the sort of age that people toss off as an example, like when a younger acquaintance was talking about a male contemporary and said, increduously, “He likes old women, like 45 year old women!” and I didn’t snatch her teeth out. I am fairly sure I thought 45 was old when I was 25, although only in relation to myself. The coolest people I knew, the most together, were in their 40s, and I was awed by what seemed to be their poise, their experience, their lived-in sexiness. I could not imagine what would have to happen in the 20 years between me, at the time, and my 45th birthday, and even imagining it was weird. I hoped I would be awesome. But unimaginable.

Guess what? It happened! I’m 45! I’m 45! And I am awesome. I am not as rich or thin or internationally famous as I imagined I would be, but I have a bunch of other things that are more important and I’m not even saying that to make up for not being rich and thin. I know that my sister feels the same way, because we talk on the phone and read each other’s minds. No we don’t. We’re not psychic.(OR ARE WE?)

What we are, every year, is more comfortable in our skin, more willing to claim the stuff that we know, and to not do what we and other women do all the time which is to downplay it and be self-deprecating. I still do that, too much, but I am learning to accept it. Not only because it seems phony to those who note their admiration, and maybe a little ungrateful like they’re stupid and wrong to think you impressive, but because a lot of people with a lot less reason to be proud are claiming their stuff, and the stuff of others, without even a thought.

I am not perfect. I am not where I want to be in a lot of ways. But I have built a good career that I am proud of, that I fought for. I am doing better in taking care of myself. I am a good friend, a good mommy, a good daughter. I was a good wife (but not “The Good Wife.”) I am better at most things, besides running and having good knees, at 45 than I was or would have been at 25 or 35. I have had losses and struggles, disappointments and giant, giant self-made mistakes, and some stuff that was just all-out stupid. I have learned from all of those things, that happened to me and that I made happen, and I have become a better, smarter, more humbled and yet more confident person than I would have been without those lessons.

And I am particularly proud to be 45, an age that my sweet goofy husband did not get to be, because I am living it for both of us. What an insult it would be to him and the things he was robbed of to whine and wrap my head in my hands and wail about getting old? Scott would want to be 45, and 50, and 75. He can’t. But I can. And I’m gonna start it off by saying:

I am excited to be 45. I earned this age. I earned these wrinkles and this cellulite, and also this common sense and distaste for drama. I have earned my career, and my friendships, which are mostly years old and healthy, because I have worked for them. I will not be coy about it anymore, pretend that I’m not proud so I seem nicer and more  humble. This is not a time for humility. It’s a big day. And I’m happy for it. Light them candles up, y’all.

I have earned them. We both have. We all have.


Spring Cleaning Can Include Taking Down Your Christmas Tree.

by SweetMidlife

Hi! Lynne here!

This past weekend, my family and I went to church on Saturday night as a family, so on Sunday morning, we ate breakfast together at home, welcomed the coming of Spring while also bemoaning the lost hour of sleep that comes with Daylight Savings Time, since toddlers don’t care and that dude got up anyway because his body clock said so. And we took down our artificial Christmas tree and put away the rest of the Yuletide decorations.

Tis the season! But not that season anymore.

Sunshine and tinsel and Spring and Baby Jesus. But he isn't in this picture. So here is my baby.

Sunshine and tinsel and Spring and Baby Jesus. But he isn’t in this picture. So here is my baby.

Yeah, so what had happened was that, as I have told you, I had major surgery in January, a week after New Years. Since we like to leave our tree up at least until then, because taking it down so early is too abrupt for me and I need to ease out of the holidays and back to normal non-sparkly times, we thought that we would pace ourselves and take it down when things got normal. But even after the initial period of my mom and sister and Bestie Maria coming to stay at different times, and friends and family giving us rides when I couldn’t drive, and friends sending and bringing food, and my husband literally doing all of the heavy lifting, it took us awhile to get back to normal. Which we mostly are, but I know that this whole thing takes awhile, and in all of that we had never set a deadline for the tree coming down.

For awhile it was fine, because we knew what we were capable of, and it wasn’t a priority, and friends who came over knew where we were with that, and that was like late-January/early February. It was actually kinda nice to have the tree there, all shiny, and we knew we would get to it. We took down most of the other decorations and, because we knew it would help us with finishing it up, put them on the floor in front of the tree. And then it got later, and then it snowed, so the tree fit in, but then it melted, and that tree started to look strange, and friends would come over then in late February/early March, and we would say “The tree is still up. Don’t judge.”, and they would say “Shoot, we don’t care.”

And then I realized I was judging me. Because it was time.

So on Sunday morning, we went downstairs and got the box that holds the Christmas stuff, and we turned on a warm weather playlist (“Here Comes the Sun”, “Walking On Sunshine”, “Everyday Sunshine” and the like) while wrapping up the Baby Jesus in our Nativity and disassembling the tree. It was a nice family time to spend with each other, looking at the gifts people gave us and remembering how nice it is to have people who give you things, and remembering the meaning of the ornaments and when we got them and why, like the Blue Crab one we got in memory of my Dad, who loved him some crabs, and also remembering who gave us certain ones, like my late former neighbor who did the alterations on my wedding dress and gave us a beautiful “First Christmas” ornament, and Bestie Johnette’s mom, who adopted her friends and gives us beautiful angel ornaments every year. And it was cathartic to complete something, and bring some order and get rid of clutter, and to literally move into a  new season.

It was good. It’s okay to do things on your own time. And then it’s good to know when it’s REALLY time.

This is the favorite warm weather song of both Streeter Twins. What is yours?


Living A Life That Makes People Want To Say Nice Things At Your 80th Birthday Party

by SweetMidlife

Happy Monday! Lynne here.

I had the honor last night of attending our Aunt Dorothy’s 80th birthday party, and it’s been in my head all night. It was a lovely shindig, with delicious eats from a place that does Caribbean food, people who you know are over 70 but look 50, and a cake table that looked like something out of a magazine. Cake pops, y’all! There was also amazing music, that went from smooth jazz to Motown to line dancing music, which was awesome because the aforementioned spry older people flooded the dance floor. They can do a wonderful Cha Cha Slide, with the correct amount of hip swaying, but without testing gravity when they guy in the song says “How low can you go?”, because they are smart. I, on the other hand, so happy to be moving again after recovering from surgery, squatted all the way down and for a split second, wondered who was coming to lift me back up. I did it myself. But there was a moment.

There was a cake pop in this bag but it got eaten. Good party.

There was a cake pop in this bag but it got eaten. Good party.

But the best part about it was the love laid on my aunt. You could see the life she lived in pictures on the slideshow that her family prepared, including pictures of people who aren’t here anymore, like my aunt’s husband, my grandparents, and my dad and his brother. So many smiles, and so many good times. And at the party, in person, there were people from all facets of her life, including family (like her gorgeous brand new great-granddaughter, who slept through large portions of the evening because she is an infant and they have it like that), friends that she has known for 60 years, folks from her church, and former colleagues from her days in the Federal government. They all had beautiful things to say about her, about how good a cook she was (Sister can throw down), but even more about how faithful she is (taking care of both of my grandparents and her husband towards the ends of their lives), and her generosity and hospitality, and how she takes people under her wing when they need help. And unlike the things that are said about some people at these occasions, when people feel obligated to say nice things because, hey, you ARE giving them free chicken, people meant every word of it. And I thought about what a testament it is to you that friends from almost your entire life, and people from the job you retired from 25 years ago, will gladly come and tell people, but most importantly, YOU, about what you meant to them. My aunt beamed the whole night, and we all beamed with her.

It made me proud to be her niece, which I already was proud of, and it also made me want to live a life that people will say nice things about in 35 years when I turn 80. Not because it will be nice to hear, which it will be, but because it means that I was good to people more than I was not good to them, and that the little moments of my life would add up to a life well-lived. I know that I don’t always get it right, and I am not saying that so you say “No, Lynne, you’re great!” I am serious. I mess up. But last night gave me something to aspire to, and I want to continue in that direction. See you in 35 years at my 80th. Come. There will be chicken. And the Cha Cha Slide. And we can help each other up if we go too low.


Seasonal Randomness: Lynne and Leslie Ask Each Other Questions About Spring

by SweetMidlife

This is the latest in what is actually becoming a regular feature on our blog, where the Sisters Streeter ask each other whatever comes to their brains. Today, it’s about Spring. At least it will start out that way.

Spring 2008, on our 37th birthday. We like this picture.

Spring 2008, on our 37th birthday., Lynne in black, Leslie in brown flowers. We like this picture.

First, Lynne asks, Leslie answers.

Lynne asks: I am over the cold, but it is getting warmer here in Maryland. Cold to you in South Florida is like 65 degrees. But are there differences in Spring? How do you ring in Spring there?
Leslie answers: Personally, I got to polo, Spring Training and turn the heat off from the 5 days it was on all winter. Ha ha. #warm.

Lynne asks: What is your favorite Easter ensemble to wear? Are we too young for big church hats? I feel like we should be wearing big church hats.
Leslie answers: I love color, pastels that are swingy. And I might, at 45, be ready for big church hats, because I’m kicky.

Lynne asks:  When you dig down to the bottom of an Easter basket, are you looking for jelly beans or malted eggs?Leslie answers: Both. Especially the licorice jelly beans everyone throws into my basket because I am the only person who likes them. Bring them to me, bring your black jelly beans, bring them on home to me. Yeah.

Lynne asks: Favorite Easter memory? I have one, but I wanna see if it’s the same as yours before I answer because I want to see how in sync we are. And speaking of N Sync, JC Chasez should have had a bigger solo career.
Leslie answers: Ooh, I don’t know! That’s not fair! I can’t think of the thing it is you are trying to get me to remember…was it in Saudi? My most recent favorite Easter was going to Palm Beach Polo when a bunch of NFL stars were there, and this girl straight out of Real Housewives of Atlanta was literally sprinting across the parking lot putting her good heels on trying to get to the door faster and my husband turned to me, poker face intact, and said “Wow. She has NO IDEA there are rich professional athletes here.” Ha ha #iaintsayingshesagolddigger. What’s yours? And you know I believe JC was the real talent. Sorry JT.
Lynne responds: Yep, it was Riyadh in 1983, and we went to a sunrise service, and I remember how the sun looked coming up on all that brown, and I remember thinking how cool it was to be in the Middle East on Easter, close to where Jesus physically lived. Yep.

Lynne asks: What is your favorite spring song? I mean a song that makes you wanna roll your windows down and breathe in the air. And again, I know you live in Florida and could have been doing this anyway, but humor me?
Leslie answers: “Here Comes The Sun” by the Beatles. No question. It’s been a long cold lonely winter. It feels like years since it’s been clear. Yes yes.

OK, Leslie’s turn:

Leslie asks: Do you ever forget which way you’re supposed to turn your clocks in the spring?
Lynne answers: All the time. I even know that “Spring Back, Fall Forward” reminder, but I have to take a minute and remember  what that even means. I still sometimes have to do the “Put your right hand over your heart” thing to remember that my heart is on the left. I am not kidding.

Leslie asks: Feelings about certain fabrics and colors seasonally? Is white before Easter OK? Are dark wool things OK for spring? Asking for a friend.
Lynne answers: I think white is fine before Easter and after Labor Day, and I say this on no authority but hearing some fashion person saying that somewhere once, and also because I want to sometimes. And I think if you aren’t sweating, wear the dark wool. It makes you mysterious or something.

Leslie asks: Is it ever OK to pick flowers or fruit off someone else’s tree or bush without their permission?
Lynne answers: No, because that makes you a stief. A stealing thief. Just say no to stiefing.

Leslie asks: Favorite park, anywhere in the world, where you’ve had a gorgeous spring experience just enjoying not being in the winter and cold and wrapped like a mummy?
Lynne answers: It was actually in Knoxville, Tennessee, I think, and I was in a touring play and we were heading to Atlanta as soon as we left. There were these gorgeous flowers, and the cast all laid in the grass. And I remember that we needed that tranquility, because we then got stuck in Atlanta traffic, which is the opposite of tranquil.

Leslie asks: Going back to the Easter basket question for a moment, are hollow bunnies worth it?
Lynne answers: Young Lynne would have said no, because I thought hollow bunnies are a trap, because you sink your teeth in and they fall apart, and solid bunnies are so rich. But then Older Lynne is like “I can hurt my teeth on a solid bunny.” But then Young Lynne tells Older Lynne to take a look at her life, because more chocolate is always winning. So to answer your question, no.

So hey! What are your favorite things about Spring, like music, and food, and things to do? Tell us below!

 


Saturday Morning, With Apologies to Maroon 5

by SweetMidlife

It’s Lynne. And this has been a wonderful Saturday morning so far, and mostly because we did not have any set outside plans, and my family has been grooving on each other’s presence. It inspired this, inspired by “Sunday Morning”, my almost-favorite cut off of Maroon 5’s wonderful album, “Songs About Jane”. 

I like this place.

I like this place.

Saturday morning, light is falling
Bunch the covers ’round my skin
Toddler knocking and then barging in the door
And jumping in the bed that we are in

But things just feel so lazy
Getting up is hard to do
I know I should sit on up
Get up and go, yes it’s true
But Saturday mornings bring me close to you
I’m gonna snuggle up some more with you

This maybe all I need
Besides To-Do lists I don’t want to see
So come on curl back up with me
Moving slow on Saturday morning
And I never want to leave

Here’s the actual song. It’s chill. I hope you get to chill today. 


Moving house: Or why I hope to never have to leave my new house

by SweetMidlife
Our new living room, mid-box.

Our new living room, mid-box.

To review: Last summer, I (being Leslie) unexpectedly started a new chapter of my life when my lovey-dove Scott passed away unexpectedly. Obviously, that was a world-rocker, but that world refused to stop spinning so I had to start rolling with changes, mostly just continuing to live the life I already had but without my Scotty. Which sucks because it took so long for me to find a good guy in a grab bag of losers, and I only got to keep him 6 1/2 years. That was a lot of work. I’m exhausted.

Meanwhile, there was one change he and I had already planned, which was to leave our lovely South Florida rental home, where we moved in 2013, sometime in the first part of this year. The landlords were looking to sell it and we decided, as much as we loved it, not to buy it because we wanted an extra bathroom. So we’d started just doing random searches – I wanted to stay in the little town we lived in and Scott wanted to move across the canal into West Palm Beach, for school district and prettiness purposes. After he died, and my mom the queen of the universe, moved in with me and the little one I live with, she and I started tentatively looking close by, to check out prices and different areas, but weren’t set on a date…

…Until our landlords decided to sell our house, like, immediately, and at the beginning of February we found ourselves on a ticking moving clock with 30 days and a suddenly short supply of available homes anywhere we wanted to be. Of course. We looked out of our target area, even, and then made an offer on a nice house in the right neighborhood that we didn’t love, but that was better than living in a van down by the river. We had hoped to find a miracle, but were willing just not to be homeless.

“Do houses just show up at the last minute?” we asked our realtor, who shook his head about 24 hours before calling us to say that a lovely place around the corner from he and his family had a brand new “For Rent” sign on the front lawn. Miracles, anyone? The moment we walked in that afternoon, we were in love – high wooden ceilings, a Florida room that’s all windows, and an over-sized master suite for me. Although I did offer it to my mother, of course.

“doyoumaybewannatakethebigroomiwillsleepouttherenexttotheboydontyouworryaboutit” I said, hoping she would pick up on “My goodness I want that room.” She did. I am so glad she did because I super wanted that room.

And now I’m in it, surrounded by more boxes and stuff than I knew I had. The move was a monster nightmare and I am never doing it again.

But I am so happy. I feel weird about not being in this house with Scott, and I would be lying if I didn’t feel a little guilty to know that I am in a much nicer house and that my life and the Kid’s are going on without him. But he would want me to. We can’t live in a van, we couldn’t live in the old house, and we, again, would not fit in a van. It is normal to miss him and wonder what he’d have thought of the place, which is in the school district he wanted and is probably the result of some heavenly maneuvering (OK SCOTT YOU WON.) But it is also normal for happy things to make you happy, and this new place is happy. We are happy. We are not quite complete. But we are happy.

And I hope we can one day buy this house and live here forever because I hate moving and am never doing it again.


A Thing To Stop Saying To People

by SweetMidlife

Hi! It’s Lynne!

So, maybe you have a friend who comes up to you and tells you about something wonderful that is happening in their life. Let’s say that they just got a new job, and they are so excited about what this is going to do in their life, because it’s more money, and it is actually the job they have always wanted to have. Their dream.

And maybe you, at that moment, have also been looking for a new job, because maybe you don’t have one at all, or maybe the job that you have is killing your spirit, and you know exactly where you want to be, and where you are ain’t it. Maybe your friend with the new job knows that you are looking for a job too, or maybe they don’t, and maybe they work in a different field than you, but let’s say that they have the very kind of job that you want. And that is really annoying you. Because you want a fantastic too.  Maybe you wanted THAT job. All you know is that they are somewhere you want to be. So you say:

“Must be nice.”

Which sometimes means, “Must be great to get everything you want. Must be great to not have to work as hard as I did. Must be nice to have good stuff.”

“Because I don’t.”

Because you have made someone else’s successes about YOU.

And unless that person took the job that you were about to get buy lying to the hiring people about you by saying that all you do all day at work is play on Facebook and eat Pop-Tarts, or that your friend getting married instead of you tripped you as you were walking down the aisle in your white dress and grabbed your bouquet and said “I Do” to your love, or stole your boarding pass and ID at the airport and got on the plane to Jamaica and took the vacation that you paid for, they didn’t take anything from you. They worked what they had, and it paid off for them. Because other people get to be happy even when you aren’t. Even if it is something that your soul really needs. Would you want to announce your engagement then have other people burst into tears and run away because they got engaged before you? No, you wouldn’t. I know something of this, and I will admit this to you.

When Beautiful Twin Leslie got engaged to her dear beautiful late husband, she and Scott had only been officially dating for 6 months, although they had known each other for years. And they were breathtakingly in love. My now-husband and I had been dating at that point for a year and a half, and I wanted to be married BADLY. And the person with whom I share identical DNA with got engaged and married before I did. And as deliriously happy as I was for her, I have to admit that when she called me to tell me that she was getting married and described her ring, I looked down at my empty left ring finger and thought, “But I was supposed to get married first.” And I hate that I thought that. Because her love story had nothing to do with mine. But we are selfish creatures, and of course we think about what is affecting us. But that doesn’t have to come out of your mouth after you take a minute to process it. Or continue in your spirit, even unsaid. Because that will make you bitter. Don’t be bitter, sweet friends!

Because other people get to be happy. And so do you!!! I hope that your happiness is coming. Keep working for it, or praying for it. But happy shouldn’t be a competition. There is enough to go around. Really. I am not lying to you.

So, the next time someone tells you about the wonderful thing that is happening in their life, even if it’s a thing that is kind of or maybe exactly about the thing that you want, say this:

“Wow. That IS nice.”

Because it is. And when you get your thing, hopefully they will say the same thing to you. Because you are both cool like that.

You go with your bad self, doing the thing. Good on you.

You go with your bad self, doing the thing. Good on you.


I Get To Set My Own Priorities: A Guest Post by Joy Chiles

by SweetMidlife

Hi! Lynne here. Today we have a guest post from our kinda cousin, Joy Chiles. Her parents and our parents went to college together, and our families are, well, family. In this post, Joy tells us about making decisions that work the best for you and yours, even if other people aren’t down with it. 

734775_10153795784275692_191005072753004473_n

by Joy Chiles

I often get asked, “How do you do it?”…

I teach full-time, but I also take care of family things even when I am at work.  After the births of both of my children (we have a 2 ½ year old son and a 1 year-old daughter), my husband stayed home, and I went back to work and financially took care of my family. Yes, I was the “bread winner”, and it was not bad at all. My husband and I didn’t have to work to pay for day care! Yay for us! The challenge was on and I was game.

But people we knew looked for the challenges in our new life instead of the advantages. Who said it isn’t acceptable for a woman to work and a man stay home and take care of the children? Try explaining that to a baby boomer family member or acquaintance!  I carried the children, and while my husband works at night after I get home, I must make sure that financially my family is taken care of, plus wash clothes, cook dinner, remember doctor appointments, bath times, diaper time, toddler time, baby/mommy time and let us not forget… the sweet sound of “What do you want to eat for dinner?” Even in today’s time, people would say that my household arrangement is not only nontraditional, but odd.

As an independent thinking couple, I am not one to prove to another what works for me; especially if your mind is “fixed”.  With all those responsibilities listed, some being left out or to your imagination, one would wonder, how do you take care of all of this? You must certainly be lacking in some other areas of your life. Well, my constant resolution each day is… How can I take care of my family better than yesterday? Taking care of my family needs is not an option, nor should it be yours.  Now please do not let me forget to add that I have an awesome husband that is a great father to his family, yet at times, I still felt the pressure of making sure that everyone is okay.

Prioritizing is what I did and continue to practice today. I believe it to be my saving tip; I sucked it up and embrace it. I embraced the titles and the expectations, thoughts of failure, talking to myself (am I crazy?), everything. I embrace it all as a woman, wife and mother. Notice, I said woman first. Women can withstand the challenges and take care of business. You must think about what is important and what matters the most to you and your family. In other words, do what works best for your household, always reflect, correct the challenges and direct yourself on the path for obtaining and maintaining your healthy family.

Joy is an advocate for substance abuse education and building strong families. She enjoys teaching life skills and values family time. 


Letting the Toddler Make Crafts Even When I Have No Idea What’s Happening

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here!

I like crafts. I am not very good at them all of the time but when I see cute things that I think I can maybe kind make or not mess up too badly, I can’t resist. And as you see, it has made for some results that maybe didn’t turn out like the original picture, but they turned out in a way that was endearing, functional, and sometimes since it was chocolate, it still tasted good so it didn’t matter. The joy was in the making of the thing, because it kicked my creative juices into gear and made me happy in the process because I got to express myself and stuff.

This past Christmas, my son’s preschool class had a party where I volunteered to read stories, and where other parents led games and crafts. I got to sit with some of the crafting kids while the parents telling us how to do it gave instructions, and the craft that did was SO. CUTE. They took clear glass ornaments, and they poured different colors of liquid paints in them, then they swirled them around. This is the one that my son made at school, and I wish I could tell you that I took that picture in December, but I took it 30 seconds ago when I got up and walked to the living room because our tree is still up. Yes.

20160203_141830

So anyhow, I decided that this was going to be an amazing, amazing way to make beautiful ornaments as gifts for our friends and family! We can pour! We can swirl! I can do stuff! And this actually happened, because I bought some clear glass ornaments for my family who we see every year on New Years Day, and those turned out really beautifully, much like the one above.

But those weren’t the first ones. Because I made an earlier batch that we gave out to my aunts and uncles and my son’s Godmommies on or right after Christmas, and those didn’t turn out exactly the way that I planned. First of all, I could not find clear glass ornaments, only frosted white ones. I realized that the swirling paint was not gonna show up under those, so I went to my best friend Google, and I looked for beautiful ornaments that you could do on painted glass. I found some really cute examples, and I settled on ones where your child dips his fingers in paint, and puts said finger on the ornament, and when it dries, I would paint in eyes and an orange nose and voila, fingerprint snowmen!! How wonderful would that be? And the boy was all excited that I was actually letting him touch paint with his hands, and he happily did two snowmen’s prints on one ornament. I painted one in, and it looked adorable. I would have said adorbs, but I am not something enough to use that term. I did the second one, or maybe he helped me, but the eyes on that one sort of made the snowman look like he wanted to eat people. “Whatever”, I thought, “It’s cute enough.” But then the boy asked if he could paint on it, and I said yes, and oh no it was the black paint he used and he did some dabbing, and it looked like the nice snowman and the evil snowman were headed into a tornado. Wait, what was happening to my craftsterpiece? Well, for the next one, he decided that he wanted to do red fingerprints. This fit well with the ornaments I had seen on Printerest that looked like Santa! I could do that! But then he decided to just keep going, and I thought that we would maybe just have a sweet fingerprint polka dots. But out came the black paint, and it looked like the polka dots were being attacked by a shadow.

Also taken 2 minutes ago because I have not put the tree away in that amount of time since the last picture.

Also taken 2 minutes ago because I have not put the tree away in that amount of time since the last picture.

And as my dreams of being able to give out flawless toddler-made gifts were drifting away like the storm plaguing throe snowmen, I remembered. IT WAS THE TODDLER WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO BE MAKING THIS. So if he wanted to go crazy with paint in hues I didn’t imagine, then so be it, because this was about him. And everyone was gonna love it. This is why we then went on a crazy ornament-making streak, where he made about 10 ornaments that he decorated by either freely going wild with the paintbrush, or but squirting paint on a plate and just swirling (see, we got to swirl!) the ornaments in the colors. And they were messy. And they were beautiful, and he gave each one of them names, including “Eye”, “Present Ornament”, and “I Don’t Know”, and I typed up a notice declaring them part of his 2015 exclusive ornament collection, and gave them out, and everyone loved them. Because we could tell the people that love him that he loved making them, just like he enjoyed making the second set that was closer to what I had planned. And people loved those, too. Because I took my hands off of it as much as I could, and I let him go.

This morning, we were watching this show on Amazon Prime called ‘Creative Galaxy”, where this cute little alien boy solves his problems with art, and on this episode, they were making pop-up books. Alex was watching intently, and I said, “Hey, do you wanna do that?”, and he said yes, and I found construction paper in what used to be my office and is now where things go to be dealt with later, and I got markers, scissors and glue from the junk drawer in the kitchen, and we sat down to create! And I looked up a How-To online, and I sat down and scripted a story that my son very carefully dictated to me, about he, my husband and myself going on a ride on a spaceship. and yes I have terrible handwriting. Here was the outline.

Good plot.

Good plot.

And as I was ready to ask him to draw a table to be the pop-up for the first page, I saw him furiously drawing something that wasn’t a table. I asked him what it was, and he said that it was a bad guy who wanted to steal something. Because just like that the plot had changed, and now the story was about a bad guy who wanted to steal a rocket. And that sounds like an awesome story. Because it’s the story he wants to tell. Here is the first page.

Background drawing and writing done by mommy, as dictated by the boy, who also drew the pop-up picture. Which is the best thing here.

Background drawing and writing done by Mommy, as dictated by the boy, who also drew the pop-up picture. Which is the best thing here.

And there is another pop-up page done, plus some other pages with a bunch of other drawings and cuts in them that might not even be for pop-up pictures, and also strips of light-green painters tape. And I have no idea why.

And I don’t need to. Because he is having fun, and being himself, and I could not Pinterest anything better than that.


Resting In the Knowledge That Rest Is A Thing That You Need

by SweetMidlife

This is Lynne, by the way. And I am going to use some words that might gross some of you out. So proceed if you want.

So, about 2 weeks ago, I had an hysterectomy to relieve bladder and uterine prolapse, which means that those things were, umm, hanging where they should not have been. And it was very uncomfortable, and had been for a very, very long time, and I decided that to improve my quality of life,. This was a good thing to do. I will probably write a post later about all of the emotional things that come along with this surgery, because I think that this is important, but I am early on in that part of the journey, so as I walk that path, I will tell you more, okay?

What I wanted to tell you about right now is actually the first part of the emotional and physical thing that this surgery takes you on, and that is the fact that I am tired. So very tired. And actually, I think, that many of us can relate to this whether or not you just had a hysterectomy, or are recovering from the flu. or you have been working a bunch to support your family and you realize that you are about to pass out. You’re just freaking exhausted. And you have been told that you need to give yourself some time to rest and to heal. And that sounds amazing. Because who wouldn’t welcome the chance to, on doctor’s orders. to, in the words of my surgeon, “embrace your inner Cleopatra” and let people serve you and do things for you as you let your body heal?

Umm. me, it turns out.

It has been an amazing, amazing thing, a blessing, actually, to have family fly in or drive in to stay with me and my husband and occupy my son and take him to school because I could not. and to have my pastor’s wife organize a list so that people can supply my family with meals while I recover, and to have my friends, some who I literally haven’t seen in 20 years, fill that list up in about a day. Whoo, I am still swimming in the love that we have felt that people come running with casserole dishes and soup and car keys so that we could get what we needed.

The yummy fruit that my cousin Pat sent me.

The yummy fruit that my cousin Pat sent me.

But for some reason, it has been really hard to actually just sit, and just rest. I should be welcoming this opportunity to have “chill” as my occupation for 6 weeks, and to not feel bad about Netflix-binging, and wondering if I should be somewhere else. Because I shouldn’t be anywhere else. But there I was, about 22 hours after my surgery, asking my surgeon when she came into my room to check on me, if I was going to be able to be on the treadmill in 2 weeks. And she said “No!”, and looked at my husband and said, “She’s going to be one of those, isn’t she?” And he nodded, but wanted to say, “She sure the heck is.”

And in this day and age where we value work and moving and doing over everything, that seems like something funny, or admirable, that I am ready to go and looking forward to the next thing. And there is nothing wrong with that in theory. Goals are good, but not if you are ignoring the process, and the value of it, and part of this process is to actually rest. Rest is an action, y’all. Letting your body and soul and spirit heal is a good thing. We have such an issue, we do, in recognizing the value of the season that we are in, to the point that we spend the whole time complaining about not being in the next one, then we get to the next one, and complain about not being in the one we just left (Think of parents who can’t wait for their kids to go back to school in August, but then are bemoaning their absence in October and longing for December break.).

It’s not cute, and it’s not good. And every time I get up to show somebody where the ketchup is instead of just pointing them to the fridge where they will figure it out, I am putting extra stress on my body. And when I forget to get my beloved grabber thing to pick up things off of the floor, since I am not supposed to be bending, and I decide to try to bend as far as I can, I wind up hurting myself. And I think I do these things in some part out of guilt because I feel bad that I need help, and I doubt my worth in actually getting help. And I also actually think that I do them sometimes out of ego, because we get some sort of pride out of thinking that things can’t go on with out us, and that nobody can find ketchup as good as us. And I think it’s also, again, about the fact that we value doing more than resting, and daggone, even God rested after He made the flipping world. so surely we can, right? Whatever the reasons are, they don’t trump the fact that I need to let God heal ME and trust the process.

One of my former pastors, Pastor Mich, shared this amazing story on his Facebook page last week. He had been sick, gotten a little better, gone back full-steam to work, then relapsed again. He never gave himself time to really heal. And he said this:

“(Maybe) you want something to be back the way it used to be, or when you just want something to be over with, but God says, “not yet”. Been there?

I have a few ‘not yet’s’ in my life right now. How about you?

You can’t rush healing.
You can’t rush answered prayer.
You can’t rush maturity.”

Right? Boom. There it is right there. You can’t rush the process. And we really shouldn’t want to. Rest is a gift if you can do it. Healing is a gift. I am going to stop taking that gift back, and I am going to revel in it. I have been using this downtime to work on my new business as I sit, but I was also reminded by the nurse practitioner at my 2-week post-op appointment last week, that this is a time to quiet my mind, too. So I am going to end this post and go back to Netflix, now, but thanks for reading, and I hope that if you have some time to rest, you do it, too. It’s a thing. Do it.

Me chilling int he fluffy robe my grandmother got me and brought over the day I came home from the hospital. But she didn't stay long because she knew I needed rest. Trust your grandma.

Me chilling int he fluffy robe my grandmother got me and brought over the day I came home from the hospital. Because she values rest and being comfy while you do it. Listen to your grandma.


Scrappy Theme by Caroline Moore | Copyright 2017 The Sweet Midlife | Powered by WordPress