Sunday, March 27, 2011

Close your eyes and taste it

I've been involved in Community Theater in my hometown for the last year or so. I've done two shows and find them all-consuming. When I'm involved in a show my life consists of getting up in the morning, working from 8-5, rehearsal from 6-9 four days a week, and then coming home and going to bed. The next day, well, you get it: Lather, rinse, repeat. By the time Friday rolls around I'm too tired to conceive of doing much of anything, let alone cooking or baking.

But yesterday and today I had some time to play around in the kitchen. I was getting ready for a cast party tonight and was preparing food to take along. I had forgotten how calming food can be for me. Sure, eating it calms me down (I'm an emotional eater). But preparing it and thinking about the people I'm going to share it with also has an effect on me.

After Ron died and I was back to cooking for one, food just didn't seem as exciting. I ate only as a way to keep my body moving. It had lost all enjoyment. But today, I really go to thinking about where my love of food comes from.

Growing up we had everything we needed. There wasn't a lot of extra money floating around our house, but I don't ever remember there ever being a time when we didn't have plenty. Sometime during the last year I got to talking with my Dad about what it was like when they were young and going through similar financial struggles. He told me that his thought had always been, if there wasn't going to be extra money, then he was going to make sure they ate well. And we did!

Mom is a great cook. She makes food that to this day I crave when I need comfort. So, of course I turn to food when I'm feeling low. And it's not just having or eating food that brings me comfort. I have this NEED to share what I make. I love to think about how others are going to react to what I've made. I love seeing people put a bite in their mouth and then close their eyes as they savor it.

Food makes me happy, but most of all when I can share it with people I care about.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Someday I'll be a Widow Scout

I've come to the conclusion that there must be some perks to being a widow or widower. Since I really have yet to find any, I've decided to come up with my own reward system. I'm basing its design on merit badges earned in groups such as Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.

The sash comes with the title (widow or widower). No need to pay any dues. Trust me, if you haven't already paid them, they'll come due soon enough. And you won't believe the frequency with which you'll have to pay them.

I've already earned several badges, but I'm sure many more will become available as I continue living this life. There are lots of badges for firsts: first holiday, first night spent alone, first time you realize that you're no longer numb and this hurts way more than anything else you've ever experienced.

Some that I've already earned? Well, I've got the "I just found out there's no life insurance" badge. I'm also ready to sew on the "I used to enjoy holidays and birthdays" badge. There's a really worn looking badge on my sash...that's the one that indicates all the frayed nerves I've experienced. Also, I'm proud owner of "The recycling man really loves me because of all the empty wine bottles I put out" and the "I survived the call from the Social Security Administration". Anyone who's been a part of that call understands why that badge is bigger than the rest.

Some of the badges are really beautiful. There's the one that identifies me as a proud but unwilling single parent. You see, that one was given to me by my daughter and she put all the love she had into it. There's also the badge for the day I realized that even though I had changed completely, I was going to come out of this as a better woman.

But none of these are my favorite. My favorite badge is a small, nondescript white one. That badge holds a place of honor. It designates that I'm fighting the good fight. It means that every day I get up and try again to be the best woman that I know how to be. And I try even though I don't feel like it, even though I'm tired, and even though I often feel like I'm in it alone. That badge may be the most important one I have. It reminds me of all I have yet to do and all the life I have yet to live.

So, fellow widows and widowers, step right up. Design your own badge. Wear it proudly. You deserve it and so many more!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The difference of one second

Really, who ever thinks about seconds? They pass us by in the blink of an eye. Oftentimes, nothing monumental happens in one second. We remember days, major events, but the seconds usually just slip by. But a second really does make a difference.

Everything can change in one second. I found that out when I lost Ron. I thought my life had ended. And, in a sense, it had. At least the life I knew had ended. The woman that I was walked right out the door when she heard the words, "We tried for 30 minutes and we couldn't get him back." She ran like hell when my daughter, two and a half at the time, reached out for me crying, "NO!" as I fell screaming to the floor. She vowed never to return as I took charge and made the first real decision I'd made in years: asking the Chaplain to leave.

That woman, the 30-year-old mother and wife, blew right past us all in the following days and months. She was nowhere to be found. There was no trace of the strong woman who had soothed so many tears and held hands that made her world complete. Now, there was one less hand to hold.

So she left. And the new me evaluated what her options were. None of them looked too promising. And, of course, I made a lot of incorrect decisions. But now I look at how much I've grown and changed, and I can't help but think that this version of me is happier and healthier. I can make a decision if I have to. I can even stand up for myself some of the time. (I'm still working on that one!) But I've come to the conclusion that this new woman was given two feet for a reason.

So now, I'm going to use those two feet. I'm going to walk right up to that older version of me and tell her exactly what I think. "You did a fine job with all the seconds you had available, but now it's my turn."