Last Friday was my parent’s 62nd wedding anniversary. Remembering this brought on a feeling of sadness that I haven’t felt since they passed on from this life.
My dad, Babe, passed almost two years ago now. My mom, Bonnie, followed suit one year, one week, and one day after that.
None of us can claim with any scientific certainty that heaven exists. But I believe there is another dimension where our souls land once our earthly bodies cease to be.
It gives me comfort to envision my parents together in this dimension.
I like to think that Mom is not in any pain whatsoever. That she can walk and move with ease. That Dad’s mind is all there. That he doesn’t feel angry or confused or frustrated with himself. That in this other dimension he exists as the person he was prior to the fall where he hit his head. The hard hit to his noggin that eventually led to a diagnosis of dementia.
He wouldn’t be holding Mom’s purse, because she doesn’t need one anymore.
That was one of the things about these two, Bonnie and Babe: he accepted her shopaholic tendencies while holding her purse from store to store.
Bonnie and Babe made an impression on people wherever they went. In many ways, they were opposites. In some ways, they were two of a kind.
They were social creatures. They loved to have other people around to “BS” with. To feed. To take care of. To travel with. To celebrate with. I’m grateful for that aspect of marriage they modeled for me and Hubs.
I didn’t know it till I was 14 that Mom and Dad met when my brother was just a toddler. I loved that my Dad had love in his heart for a boy who was not his own. He married Mom in 1958 and legally adopted Craig shortly thereafter. I suspect that he faced judgement about it from my Grandma Pearl, but ironically she grew to love and depend on my Mom more than probably anyone else in our family.
I love that Bonnie and Babe were hard workers. They always had so much energy and together they created so much for the enjoyment of so many.
I love that they were spontaneous. One day, out of the blue from my perspective, they decided to start a business. Despite working full time and then some, Dad agreed to Mom’s proposition that they buy out our small town’s women’s clothing store. It had been a bar years before. They decided to call it “Bonnie’s Clothes Bar”.
With Dad taking care of the books and Mom doing running the store for several years, I was able to attend college without any of us taking on any debt. That is something they were very proud of.
Bonnie and Babe were always very physically affectionate with each other. I remember cringing as a pre-teen while Dad would lovingly call Mom “Mama Buns” (she had an ample ass for much of her adult life). They held hands on the regular.
I remember a story they told about their first trip to Europe. It was an extremely hot and humid day in England (or France? I wasn’t present). They were waiting outside for a ride to take them to a museum or something. Dad spied an ice cream truck and made a bee-line for it. Came back to Mom and sat down on a bench next to her.
Dad was savoring the sweet cold deliciousness and Mom asked for a lick. He obliged. Within two seconds she was asking for another lick. He again obliged. A few more seconds pass and she’s asking again. He said something to the effect of “Why don’t you get your own” to which she responded with “Now Babe, I just wanted one more lick”, then proceeded to berate him for his complaint.
This pushed Dad over the edge. He took the remainder of that ice cream cone and smashed it on her chest, creating a cold, sticky mess all over her top. I wish I could have seen the look on her face. The face she made just before the two of them erupted into laughter.
Perhaps weirdly, I have a lot to say about names. See above title. I’m certain this will not be a one-off topic for me on this blog.
Think I’ll start with the obvious. My name: Rhonda. My mom told me she named me after a movie star named Rhonda Fleming. I don’t know much about her beyond that she had red hair. Hold on a sec…
Of course there’s that dumb Beach Boys song, you know the one, which about 60% of the people that meet me for the first time feel compelled to sing to me (like the guy checking us out at PetSmart yesterday). One of our neighbors is also a Rhonda and she actually has this song as her ring tone on her cell phone. Having the name Rhonda, while I’m pretty neutral about how I feel about it now at 52, kind of sucked growing up.
There were 4 other Rhonda’s between my class and the class ahead of me. In a school system that had a mere 500 (give or take) students in total. Similar to that dumbass show “The Bachelor”, there was a Rhonda D., a Rhonda T., two Rhonda S’s., and a Rhonda K (that would be me). I never figured what that was all about, all these moms sipping their Tabs and playing Bridge in the late 60’s being all un-original about naming their babies. The worst though was the nickname bestowed upon me by a tall, gangly, obnoxious kid named “Todd”. He greatly enjoyed calling me “Rhon-duh”, emphasis on the “Duh” as in “Duh-brain” (a clever off-shoot of “Rhon-duh”).
Here’s some more names I have important commentary on:
Joan. One Joan I know is my daughter’s soon to be ex MIL. I had an issue with her from the day I met her. In front of me and Hubs, she presented my daughter with a “special” necklace with the word “daughter” engraved on it. Made my blood boil. In retrospect, I think it was her way of softening my daughter to her, as that was the fateful night we nor only first met but also starting planning the wedding between our daughter and her son (there is a story to be told of that night for sure).
Then there’s another Joan, one of my mom’s old Bridge pals from back in the day. After my mom passed away in February, my sister and I split the sympathy cards up so that sending the thank you’s wouldn’t be on just one of us. We are fair with each other like that (side note: I freaking love my sister! She’s coming to visit us this week. Yay!).
So anyway, I found Joan’s card. No address. This frustrated me no end while I was trying to get this task completed (she wasn’t the only one who failed to furnish their address). So I decided to go ahead and find her address online. I thought that would be easy peasy. Simple. Efficient. It wasn’t. I checked with two different websites that said they didn’t charge (yeah, right, sucker!) and of course was simply told that she was “found”. But no specific address was made available to me, just the city and state where she lived (like hello! I knew that already, people!). I gave up and later ended up finding it another way (she owns a business-forgot about that!) online. Ever since, every single fucking time I open up my Chromebook, I get these pop ups with lines like “are you still searching for Joan”? One even, I swear to God, included a little picture of Momo (you know, that urban legend/internet hoax that really really dumb middle schoolers have apparently bought into). I guess they thought they could scare me into paying them to dig up Joan’s address for me after all this time I’d been searching?
In a previous post, I mentioned how my mom used to love to sing to me all the time when I was little, despite not really being able to carry a tune. I have fuzzy memories of her when I was probably 4 or 5, when I would beg her to sing me “name” songs. They ran the gamut between “Julie do ya love me?”, to “I’ve been working on the railroad” (Dinah won’t you blow, Dinah won’t you blow, Dinah won’t you blow your horn was the chorus), to “Laurie (strange things happen)”.
Let me leave you with my personal favorite “name” song, with the extra special bonus of interpretive dance. Enjoy!
After traveling by air last week, I appreciate the sign posted at the Milwaukee airport (and per Hubs, many airports in the U.S. because he travels way more than me).
Because I’m relating to it on a deep level right now. I’m knee deep in the “recombobulation zone”.
What put me there, you may wonder. This very meaningful weekend I just spent in Wisconsin with the people I love so much. Some I am related to by blood; some I am related to due to the wise choice I made almost 30 years ago to marry into this family.
People, if I’ve learned anything in this life, it is that when you marry a person, you marry their family, too. For better or worse. Through thick and thin. It’s not perfect, but it’s beautiful nonetheless.
But clearly, my emotions were discombobulated and I’m now unpacking them. Spending quiet time outside on a lake in Wisconsin got me thinking of my parents. The reality of both of their deaths really started to hit me. More and more, I find myself thinking of them and what they would think of what we are doing, saying, and about how life is going for the rest of us still in our human form on planet Earth.
For the rest of this post, I will be focusing on the positive take-a-ways from the Davis family Wisconsin cabin vacation, however. I may be on a strange and up and down path, but my name is Pollyanna after all (or not).
Allow me to bullet point it, in the interest of time and K.I.S.S. (Keep. It. Simple. Sister.).
Our grandson is growing by leaps and bounds. He is high-spirited, intelligent, and curious about the world around him. I wish I could see him more often. His biggest concern re: starting Kindergarten this week? That for lunch he will be served pork chops every. single. day. Who knows how this got lodged in his 5 year old brain, but the fact of the matter is, he hates pork chops.
Despite her pessimistic “realist” outlook, I cannot underestimate the wisdom of my wonderful mother in law. Mental note to self: talk to her on the phone on a more regular basis.
The sight of small children and deer mingling melts my heart.
Women over the age of 40 can be truly badass. Take my SIL, Mary. She’s 47, in great shape, both inside and out, has a huge heart for all living things, and she’s furthering her education while working full time.
Choices a person can make in life can produce unintended, uninvited, and unpleasant consequences. But it’s a spectacularly hopeful thing to witness someone at the beginning phase of turning a rotting lemon into sweet lemonade.
Spending time outside with the ones you love the most, with no high tech distractions, just the smell of a campfire, the feel of a breeze on your skin, talking about life is just oh-so-good for one’s soul.
Witnessing your grandchild being introduced to fishing by your fisherman-at-heart spouse is a true delight.
Let me start by saying I don’t have enough time to write or read these days. This is the bottom line, so I’m going to cut to the chase.
I have been using what time and mental energy I have this past week working on my first blog post for the non-profit I work for. I just submitted it to our Executive Director today. This is a gamble for me as I haven’t worked for her for too long a time so I don’t have a good read on how she will respond to it: aka if it’s good enough to be published on our website.
But it’s not in my hands anymore so I’m going to do my best to just let. it. be.
Hubs and I will be leaving soon to spend a few days in Minnesota with my side of the family. First “activity” on the agenda upon our arrival is to attend the burial of my mom’s ashes at the cemetery. It felt so weird to write that sentence. Mom passed back in late February. I’ve accepted this. Yet this will be the first time since that we’ve gone back to my hometown. Suffice it to say I’m feeling emotional about it. Unsettled.
On the up side, I am thoroughly enjoying the companionship of our new pup, Radar. He’s so very smart and is now doing very well at our weekly obedience training sessions (likely because they are being conducted on a one-on-one basis with the trainer). I’m anticipating missing the hell out of this mutt while we are away. And anxious about how he’ll do amongst the other dogs where he’ll be boarded.
Summer is nearly half over. I can hardly believe it. It’s truly been great so far however, for which I am grateful. We have many activities to look forward to between now and the end of August. The one I am probably most looking forward to is the Wisconsin cabin getaway, where we’ll be bunking with my in laws, my sister in law, and our beautiful, smart, curious, funny, delightful 5 year old grandson. There’s a couple of concerts and a visit here in Colorado with Spawn #2 in the mix as well.
I could say that due to all this busyness the frequency of my blog posts may decrease. I don’t intend for that to be the case, and in fact my fear that this blog will suffer as a result of blogging for my work website, may very well ensure that I will indeed continue to publish a post each and every week.
Often, as a matter of fact, because I have so much I want to write about on this blog, I can envision increasing my posts to twice weekly.
But…time. Right? There never seems to be enough of that stuff.
That is precisely why this particular post is not being posted today, which is Wednesday (my usual time slot). I’m aiming for a post next Wednesday where I will share in more detail where my head is at regarding writing/blogging. Hint: it’s all over the fucking place.
My draft folder has 18 sorta started blog posts at the moment. Makes me wish I could take a whole day (or 5 or 8) to go into “boss bitch” mode and edit the crap out of it. I would feel so much more settled if I could somehow make that happen.
Maybe this time when I’m on vacation, I will actually use the chromebook instead of just slugging it from airport to airport, to the motel and to my sister’s house. Now that’s an idea. One of so, so, so many.
I hope you all hang in there with me.
In the meantime, enjoy a little flashback in time from my teenage years!
In honor of Mother’s Day, I wrote this post last year.
This year, of course, was different for me. On account of my mom passing away at the end of February.
If I’m being honest, I didn’t miss her this Mother’s Day any more than I miss her every day. Even though she drove me crazy for much of my life.
Finding a Mother’s Day card for my mom each year was a challenge to say the least. So many of those cards contain gooey messages about how “you are my best friend” or “you are my whole world”. Those cards made me want to hurl. They just didn’t capture how I honestly felt. Suffice it to say that my relationship with my mom was complicated.
I usually went with cards that had a simple message and would hand write “I love you, Mom”, because I did. And I always will love her.
So instead of publishing a blog post about Mother’s Day this year, I opted out. I decided that the role that has become more and more important for me personally, is that of Grandma. At this point in my life, I find it a much more positive pursuit.
And just look at this little guy, who I blogged about here.
So I googled “Grandmother’s Day” and found this:
This July 23, we celebrate National Gorgeous Grandma Day.
NATIONAL GORGEOUS GRANDMA DAY – July 23, 2019 | National …
Christopher turned 5 in February. He’s a smart, loving, funny kid. Hubs and I were fortunate enough to celebrate his 4th birthday with him and his mom here in Colorado. As we were about to dive into the birthday cake, Hubs commented with a sparkle in his eye that “someone is going to sleep very good tonight”. Christopher’s response? “That would be me”. So he’s witty too.
During a recent video chat with this little guy, Hubs told him how this summer when we see him he’s going to teach him how to fish. His eyes became wide and a big smile formed on his cherubic face. I asked him what he liked to eat these days, after which we embarked on a silly conversation about cheese pizza covered in frosting.
You see, there is a humongous difference between parenting and grand-parenting. If someone had convinced me way back when, while I was in the throes of mothering my lovely teenage terrors (you know, our spawn are a mere 14 months apart), that I would be rewarded for that feat with a wonderful grandson, it would have made things So. Much. Easier.
But that’s what makes life interesting in my view. The surprises.
So, on Tuesday, July 23rd, I’ll be celebrating grandmotherhood. How? That’s a question I’ll have to ponder for a bit. While it’s more likely that I will not be in the actual company of Christopher that day, maybe I’ll make a special pizza with extra frosting.
How is everyone doing? Are there good things happening in your life, or not so much? Me, well…I’m struggling a bit these days. Still trying to wrap my head around the fact that now both of my parents are no longer here. And feeling helpless when it comes to my oldest spawn and some serious issues she is struggling with.
Then there’s the state of the world. Despite all of the deplorable and inexplicable behaviors of the Con-Man-In-Chief and his ilk, karma has yet to make an appearance. People around the world are suffering needlessly due to poverty and the messed up priorities of the governments serving them. Women’s reproductive rights continue to be under attack.
Yes, Karma is taking her own sweet fudging time and she’s starting to piss me off.
Let’s just say my faith in humanity is a bit shaky these days.
It would be in my best interest to remember this:
Good things are happening too, though, in my personal life anyway. That I can’t deny. My hours at work are being increased in a few months, so that I can take on more responsibility and expand my skill set to better serve our seniors. It makes me feel good that my efforts are appreciated and my employer believes in my abilities.
Hubs and I have planned a getaway to visit his parents and sister (I am so grateful for these three people in my life) in Wisconsin and then will spend a couple of days with our youngest spawn in their adopted hometown of Indianapolis at the end of May. This is something to look forward to.
But in the meantime…well, I just don’t know. Grief and how people have disappointed me lately in various ways are getting me down. It’s temporary, certainly. The weight of it all, the sense of futility I’m feeling. Well, I think for today anyway I’m just going to feel it. Marinate in it for a bit.
Just not for too long.
I recently watched this clip of Leslie Jones on SNL and it cracked me up. This woman is a force, right? When she mentioned Fantasia kicking her shoes off and belting out tunes at her imaginary funeral, it made me think of this video clip I’m sharing below. I’m certain this is what Leslie was referring to, right?
I invite you to tell me about something good happening in your life right now or in the world at large in the comments. Let’s share that shit around as much as possible. Because you know we all need it.