Saturday, May 13, 2017

Thoughts on my Mom

Tomorrow is Mother's Day.  It will be the second Momma's Day that has gone by since my Mom passed away in April 2016.  Thanks to Facebook memories, a post from my sister in 2013 popped up yesterday.  It was a picture of my Mom and she was wearing the James Clemens XC shirt that we had given her back when Rebbie was running cross country.  Seeing that post again, and remembering the great woman that Mom was, got me thinking about her and what she did for us over the years.  The following is just a small sample of random support and serving that Mom gave over the years.  If I tried to list everything, the list would be too large and I would inevitable forget a whole lot.  So, on this day before Mother's Day 2017, I am honoring my Mom with this.  I love you, Mom.

  • Teaching us to clean the house.  Not just to make us have chores, but she taught us that if we worked as a team, each doing our part, the job was done quickly and the job was done better
  • Letting us help cook even though I now know it slowed her down and made her job harder
  • Mowing the yard with us.  She didn't have to take her turns, but she did.  The whole team thing.
  • Bringing us out a nice cold glass of ice water when we were mowing
  • Teaching us to garden, along with Dad.  Also, teaching us how to graze in the garden (yum) :-)
  • Staying in the kitchen to cook dinner, some meals, while the rest of the family ate until we were all done.  Then she would sit down to eat.
  • Pitching to us out in the yard so we could practice baseball
  • Letting us have pets when we were growing up
  • Loving our pets as much as we did
  • Always knowing what to say to break up sibling fights; usually by telling us to go outside if we were going to fight.
  • Not getting too mad when we wrecked her cars
  • Playing board games with us a lot.  She was so much fun but, yet, competitive
  • Putting puzzles together with us
  • Reading her Bible every morning and leaving it out on the kitchen table so that we could read it when we got up to eat breakfast
  • Passing along her love of flowers and her love of cardinals and hummingbirds
  • Being an example of living a healthy life by walking every morning or riding her bike
  • Passing along the joy of listening to music
  • Passing along how good it feels to laugh, especially the laughs where you can't stop and you can't breath
  • Helping us study for tests
  • With Dad, always making sure we had what we needed without us being aware that we didn't have a whole lot of money
  • Making us feel special by having us take turns going to get groceries with her and letting us pick out a special cereal when it was our turn to go
  • Going to almost every sporting event, band concert or parade, theater event, or awards banquet that we had
  • Sitting in all sorts of nasty weather or hot weather to cheer me on in track and cross country
  • Being my "statistician" by keeping my splits for every race I ran in track and giving me the little notebooks that had all of this in them (I still remember going to pick out a nice stopwatch with her that she could use)
  • Coming to my jr high and freshman basketball games even when she knew I would likely never see action on the court
  • Passing along her excitement for the Christmas season and Christmas morning
  • Passing along her ability to go through all of my brothers' and sisters' names, and sometimes the pet's name, before getting to mine when she was calling me down from upstairs
  • Agreeing to buy me a drum set when I was in high school even though there would be the known consequences
  • Giving me my love for ice cream
  • Giving me my love for popcorn and how to properly make it on the stove
  • Teaching me how to be fiscally responsible no matter how much money one has
  • Teaching me how to joyfully serve others and how to help those that need help or support
  • Being a prime example of how to be a parent so that I could try to be the best Dad that I could be
  • Being hard on me when I needed it the most
  • Always letting me lay my head on her shoulder or lay in her lap
  • Always giving me kisses
  • Always telling me that she loved me
  • No matter the circumstances, no matter what I did, no matter how much I rebelled, no matter how rude I was to her, no matter the decisions I made that she didn't agree with, always being my Mom....
I love you, Bonnie Lou

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Mid-Life Crisis or Just Following Through

As some may know, I am getting old.  While many don't consider getting close to 50 as getting old, others likely do.  Around this time is when many folks go through their "mid-life crisis".  While this may actually be a thing, I think it is better described as a feeling of wanting to do something that one has always wanted to do rather than a crisis.

For instance, for a long time, I have wanted to get a tattoo.  I am adverse to needles and adverse to pain and doing something that involved both of these was a very hard thing to convince myself to do. My brain wanted it; my body, not so much.  Part of the procrastination in following through with getting a tattoo involved my indecisiveness with what to get for a design and worrying that I would not be happy with what I ended up getting.

Did I mention the pain part, too?

For the longest time, I would tell my family that when (i.e. if) I got a tattoo it would be the Warner Bros roadrunner, you know the one that Wile E. Coyote can never catch and the one that can run through painted on tunnels.  This tattoo would combine two of my passions, running and Warner Bros cartoons.

Fast forward to 2017.  Here I was 49 years old and closing in fast on 50.  Still no tattoo of roadrunner or of anything else.  I had had enough.  Call it a crisis if you want, I call it finally following through.

Back in Feb, I got my first tattoo; a trial run for the one I really wanted that was going to take longer to get.  My first one was a pretty quick one, took maybe 45 minutes at most.  It combined two of my passions as well, God and running.  It is a "painted cross" and I have my favorite Bible verse, Isaiah 40:31, as well as my marathon PR.   The pain, while there, was not as bad as my imagination had determined it would be.  It was pain, but in a weird way.  My mind couldn't quite place it.  Felt sort of like I was being cut, but yet I wasn't.  Odd.  I relied upon my mind's ability to relax and disassociate that I had honed over years of marathon training and racing, and quite honestly, I think it worked.  At least I didn't immediately cancel my appointment with Victor, the artist that was going to do my "main" tattoo, let me put it that way.

So, that brings me to yesterday.  It was the day.  The day I was getting the tattoo that I had wanted since I was in college.  While I was still getting a roadrunner, my earlier running persona that wanted the WB version had given way to my later running persona that wanted a more realistic version of a roadrunner.  This one was going on my calf and would consist of the roadrunner as well as the words "And when I run..." which is the first part of my favorite running related quote from the movie Chariot's of Fire, "And when I run, I feel His pleasure."

3+ hrs later and many mind games and much disassociation later, Victor from Blue Rose Tattoo had transformed my mind's vision into a true work of art that I get to carry around with me.  (Aside: if you are thinking about a tattoo, seriously, go see Victor @ Blue Rose)  I am not going to post a pic right now, I want it to heal and then I will post one.  I want to do it justice.  I am doing everything I can to make sure it heals properly so that I can show Victor's work off like it deserves.

So here I sit, my calf feeling like it was the only part of my body that was left out in the sun too long. My mind is still worrying that I won't like it even though I have already seen it after it was finished.  My mind is still worrying that I will do something to it while it is healing and will totally mess it up.  But I have finally followed through with something that I have wanted to do for a long, long time.  I am sort of proud of myself.  Did I mention that I am still worried I am going to mess it up?  Welcome to my mind...

So, if this is my mid-life crisis, so be it.  As E- has mentioned, it is better than blowing a lot of money on a sports car or buying a motorcycle and attempting to kill myself on it.  If this is my mid-life crisis, then I will take it.  However, it is not a crisis to me; it is giving in to something that I have wanted to do for a while.

Are any of you approaching your "mid-life crisis" point?  Anything you have wanted to do for a long time, and have just been putting off or talking yourself out of?