Tag Archives: love

Screw Resolutions – 2015: How are you going to spend your time?

30 Dec

time

I know I haven’t written lately. I couldn’t. And I cant get into that now, but someday I will, I promise.

But for now, my thoughts are directed to New Years, a passing of time, an indelible marker in our lives, a clear segment that delineates one point in our lives from the next.We don’t realize it when we are younger, but its all about time. Recently, a very wise, insightful and imperfect friend and I had a conversation that is haunting me. He spoke of time, and what it means to spend it on someone. Bear with me on this.

When we are younger, time seems infinite. 20 seems like a loooooong way away, 40 seems even further, and 60 is unimaginable. Most of us don’t even give the concept of time any consideration, and if we do, we think we have lots of time left in our lives, plenty of it. We spend our time playing learning, growing, and having fun as a child, carefree and never thinking about it as a commodity or something to be given away or traded. Most of the time, we are killing time in our teens, waiting for bigger things to happen “Cant wait to get my first car” or “Cant wait till I turn 21, go to college, get married, etc.” Time is spent wishing for bigger things.

Moving on to our 20’s, we will spend our time with anyone fun, vibrant, good looking, entertaining, or interesting with out a thought. Like a millionaire throwing around dollar bills at a nudie bar, we have plenty of time to spend on trivial shit, and its fun to do so. It doesn’t really matter how we spend it, as long as we are enjoying ourselves. In our 30’s we spend our time building our “empire”. Chasing the ultimate house, squirreling away our nest egg, our stock portfolio, our designer handbag collection, obtaining big boy toys, etc. Our time is focused on the build  and the acquisition. Maybe its spent planning your dream wedding, building your perfect McMansion, picking out that granite for the big remodel, raising your beautiful family,  shopping for matching outfits for that family Christmas card photo shoot,  and searching out the latest and greatest video games/toy for your kids to have the picturesque childhood you always wanted. Make that money, watch it burn, as the song says. Spend your time generously.

By the time we hit 40, we realize time is short. We get stingier with it. Friends pass away suddenly, with out warning, healthy one day, gone the next. They have no more time.  Marriages fall apart. Jobs come and go, the company down sizes, and you’re in foreclosure. Life starts smacking you in the face. Your husband leaves, or your dealing with addiction, or your kid gets knocked up, and the other one is arrested for something humiliating, your dad tells you he’s gay, whatever the crisis, there is always a crisis.  It makes you realize, all that time you dumped into building these things was great while it lasted, but nothing is safe from life’s cruel jokes and ironies. The rug gets pulled out. Even if your “aha” moment is from watching someone else’s train wreck, and your lucky enough to never experience the heartbreak and agony of your own, you start to realize that your time is finite, and your most sacred commodity. Unlike money, or a home, or your stock portfolio, or  anything material for that matter, you can not get more. Once its spent, its gone forever. The gift of our time can save someones life, or change it, or make them feel loved or unloved, or worthy or unworthy. Time is our dearest possession, and we just don’t know when we are going to cease to have it.  Time with my deceased mother I will never again get to spend. Time spent as a mother is finite too, as children get older and need you less and less. Time spent nurturing a friendship, or fixing a broken relationship, or nursing an elderly parent or making a craft with your kids kindergarten class is a GIFT from you to the people you chose to love and spend your time and energy on, because you can’t make any more of it, and you can’t get it back, and it may be of short supply, you just don’t know when you’re gonna run out of it.

So this coming New Year, choose your time wisely. Make sure the person, energy spent or behavior is worth it.  Choose your actions seriously. Don’t waste time on people who don’t understand that you’re giving them something you’ll never get back. Don’t give away your life by engaging in meaningless situations which cause you damage and drain your most precious commodity. Don’t entertain friendships that rob you of your time and leave you empty. Debit your time to people and actions that honor it and understand its a valuable, endangered  resource. Make your time count, and make sure who you choose to spend it on loves and appreciates you for it, because time is a limited gift and you never know when its time for your heart to take its final beat, and just like that, your time is up.

So how are you going to spend your time in 2015?

 

This post is dedicated to two people. My friend Coleen Rice Medinger who passed away unexpectedly last week, and whom I will never have time again with. Coleen I enjoyed the gift of your time, and what you shared with me during our mutual struggles with infertility.

And to my imperfect friend, a very flawed man who knows who he is. I appreciate your time, thank you for trusting me to spend it together.

 

Copyrite 2014 livelaughloveliquor.

Thank you for spending your time reading my words, allowing me to connect with you, and please share if it touches you.

 

How Do You Say Goodbye?

6 Sep

“Chrissie, it’s Carol….should I answer it?” Hubs asked, somewhat bewildered, as he held out his cell phone towards me.

Carol…..my mother. Why would she be calling Hubs cell while we were on vacation?  We were relaxing on the  beach in Ocean City Md, enjoy the sun and sand for our last day of vacation. What was so important that couldn’t wait until we got home?

“Hello.”  I said impatiently.

“Hi.”  She sounded reluctant. “I’m afraid I have some bad news. I had a CAT scan of the abdomen and it looks like I have  malignant tumors on my liver. I am waiting to hear from the MAYO clinic but things are not looking good. ”

I was standing on the beach, wind in my hair and sun in my eyes, but in an instant all that eclipsed and everything went dark.  Our relationship has been distant for the last several years and I had no idea she was not feeling well, never the less,  going for testing. I sat down, feeling sick.  My mind immediately flashed back to a recurring dream I’ve had in the past 6 months in which my deceased father comes to me and tells me to bury the hatchet, let her live her life and don’t take her abandonment personally. Our once close relationship shifted after my father passed away in 2005. After a year or so of mourning,  she lost interest in the family and morphed into someone I did not recognize. With no apologies or regrets, she sold the house, discarded boxes of  treasured family mementos, and announced she was moving to FLA with her new boyfriend.  She never looked back, and at no time seemed to miss any of us. Her telephone calls were distracted, her visits to us are brief and obligatory. All of that cut deep into my heart over the years, I’ve missed her terribly, walking around like a jilted daughter. And now I was hearing that her time was growing short. My head started spinning. I ask her about 3,000 questions, all of what you would expect: Are they certain its malignant? Do you have any symptoms? What stage? Etc. She is vague. She makes it extremely clear that her boyfriend  is her medical proxy and she has no intention of traveling back up to the NY/NJ area for treatment or a 2nd opinion. Basically, the 4 of her children have no say in her medical care, should she be unable to make decisions herself. That feels like yet another rejection added to the devastating news like some sort of decrepid cherry on top of a macabre sundae.

My mind is reeling. My mother and I were so different in so many ways, I remember as a child often questioning her if I was in fact adopted. I was never ‘my mother’s daughter’ so to speak, and I know she failed to understand me as much as I failed to grasp the things that were important to her. Yet we shared a sense of humor, and a history rich in experience and emotion.  Some good years,  some bad.  She stayed with me after the birth of all three of my natural-born children, She held my hand when I needed it, and stood by me regardless of what I did. Many times through the years we clung to each other for support.  As I matured, our roles would reverse, and sometimes it was I who comforted her. She was my mother, and she used to be my best friend. I’ve missed her so much over the past several years, and I’d let that hurt form into a nerve so raw that I found it easier to avoid her rather than to relate to her on her limited terms. And now she was telling me those chances will never come again.

As the call ended we exchanged affections, despite the traffic jam erupting inside my mind.  I managed to bind it at the seams of my heart with a shallow thread, so I could choke out the words assuring her I will pray for her healing, and that I love her.  I hang up the phone just as my youngest child runs up the sand dune, tugging at me. She wants to play with me near the water’s edge. Robotically I walk with her as she tugs me towards the surf.  I pass people along the way and smile sheepishly. I know I look normal but inside my head is flooded with static like that of a white noise machine running like non stop background clatter. My little girl and I sit and dig. The day is breezy, and a soft ocean wind is blowing my daughter’s  strawberry blonde curls back far enough for me to see her cheekbones. The same Eastern European high cheekbones passed down to four generations that I know of.  From my grandmother to my mother, from my mother to myself, and now from me to her, the youngest member of our family. At 2 1/2 I know she will never remember my mother, and that thought provokes yet another emotional spasm I struggle to stifle in front of my sweet girl.   It feels as if my heart is leaking and pouring out into the sand, mixing with the salt water of the tides.  I think to ask my mother to write each of her grandchildren a note to remember her by, but I choke as I imagine myself saying those words out loud.  What hurts equally is that I am not sure she would do it, even if I asked.

Snapping me back to the moment, My little one  suddenly giggles and squirms with delight as the crisp ocean water hits her feet. She reaches over and hugs me, a wet, sandy hug so raw and visceral that if she wasnt grinning, I’d think she was reading my mind.  I contemplate the complex relationship of mothers and daughters as I watch the surf  rise and recede. Like the years I’ve spent being my mother’s child, some waves are jarring and choppy,  knocking me to my feet, disorienting me as I struggled to regain my footing.  Other waves (and years) are calm and serene offering a cool comfort while I tried to navigate the hot sand of the world around me. The breakers crash and rise, reminding me of the forty-five years of being her daughter. Some years we struggled and some were effortless.  Anger and heartache, elation and celebration, she saw me through it all.  Her rejection stung like no other, but her tender maternal care made me the kind and loving person that I am. At that moment I realized that everything I know about love was taught to me by my mother. And the love that I feel for her, despite the last few years, is as fierce and abysmal as the ocean.

I’ll miss her for the rest of my life.

Photo credit: Justina Anastasi August 2011  Ocean City, Maryland.

As always my friends, thank you for reading, and if you can spare a good thought and a prayer for Carol, I’d appreciate it.

Copyright 2011 Livelaughloveliquor. All Rights Reserved.  No reproduction in any medium without prior written consent of the author is permitted.