Thursday, January 29, 2009

We Had a Good Run

It's happened. Everyone told me it would, but I somehow thought I miraculously avoided it. Nope. I have a teenage daughter who is not that thrilled with me. Ugh, the rolling of the eyes. The smirks. The "whatever"s. Too much. Sometimes she tolerates me with an unwilling smile. Other times she just cringes. Almost all information is grudgingly given . . . sometimes to the point of her exasperation. I can't seem to get anything done fast enough or good enough. Pretty much everything I do is stupid or a waste of time. I laugh too much, I talk to loud, I walk too fast. Bottom line: I exist and that's annoying right now for my 17 year old girl.

When did this happen? How did it happen? Did I do something to cause it? I waste time asking myself these questions, but mostly I think the answer is pretty simple: Kate is growing up and has cut the apron strings. And, I guess that's what we all want, really. Right? Well, we had a good run. A darn good run.

In truth, I must have thought about this long ago. I found this poem I wrote when Kate was four:

Kite Flying

You, my dear, are like a March day.

Clear and sure as the Azure sky above.

Sweet as the scent of Spring’s first blossoms.

Chattery and excited as the newborn robins.

You're as free and colorful as a bright, new kite.

So, go my darling! Fly away and explore.

See all that you can.

And when I see that you are flying

high and straight and sure, I’ll cut the string and

set you free…

But always, I’ll be watching, waiting with

open arms to catch you and hold you close

when you tire and need a hug.

Donna 1995

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm a Big Purple Bird!

I have a mental list of things I'd never do -- you know, things that would be too embarrassing, risky, tacky, pushing the comfort zone. I have a LONG list. So, how is it that I agreed to don the costume of a big purple bird with a gigantic beak, huge yellow feet, and big frilly tail? How is it that I not only walked among the crowd of 4,000 people in this awkward, uncomfortable contraption but shook hands, waved, did the high five and the fist bump, gave out countless hugs to excited children, and shook my bootie? Who knows! Perhaps watching "Yes Man" a week prior to the event had some influence. Maybe it was just enough to make me tip toe out of my comfort zone. Who am I kidding? It was not a timid tip toe out of my comfort zone -- it was a gigantic leap out of the zone. But I did it!

Here's what I learned: kids are enthusiastic, open, inquisitive; boys like to high five, punch and pull tails; girls like to hug; and parents love to snap photos of their kids with any random character. More importantly: if you're gonna wear a huge bird costume with a clunky, heavy head and gigantic feet, you must absolutely have ready access to lots of water, Tylenol, and heat wraps to deal with the accompanying excruciating headaches, sore neck and back muscles and shin splints.

Am I glad I did it? You bet! I've never been so darn popular. I had people waiting in line to shake my hand or hug me. I had hoards of kids running up to hug me saying, "Digit, I love you!" I had my photo taken a hundred times.

It felt so good that the next night at one of the many receptions/parties I went to, I donned a bright red cowboy hat that had a flashing blue star on it. It was sooo tacky! Gosh, who knows what I'll do next! So, my recommendation to all of you: Just Say "YES"!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Staying in Touch

With all the technology -- cell phones, email, Facebook, My Space -- why is it so darn hard to stay in touch with those we love the most? Drives me crazy. It takes seconds to connect, and yet so often I don't. Each time I call my sister, Joni, we can talk non stop for a good hour. It feels so good. I laugh, I jabber away, I listen, and I feel so reconnected and close again. I vow never to let so much time slip away again. And yet a month later, we're doing the same thing. Crazy, isn't it?

We miss so much of the little things (and sometimes the BIG things) that are a part of our lives. For instance, today I got to learn about this crazy, insane dessert Joni was making that required eight boxes of pudding, insanely shaped cookies with gum drops, and cupcakes. Took her hours to make. Is it critical information? Is it really that important? Maybe not. But it reminded me of the wonderfulness of my sister. How she dedicates her life to her family, how she daily renders unselfish service, how she courageously makes outrageously crazy desserts for a bunch of teenage girls -- all with a great attitude and a smile.

I am again missing her. And missing the great times we have when we are together -- hours of non stop talking, gut splinting laughter, endless eating and shopping, recalling our growing up year, comparing our goofy (and lovable) husbands and our kids who can drive us nuts. We talk about our challenges and new found wisdom and sense of serenity, and the faith that God is taking care of us and those we love the most.

I get the same feelings of joy and connectedness when I call my Merri and Donna, and I wonder how I could possibly stand not connecting for so long.

Loved ones -- you are always in my thoughts and prayers, but I am going to try harder to connect to you voice-to-voice more often. You enrich my life, you make me feel loved and important, you help me gain my perspective, and you make me laugh. You are good medicine!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Emotional Day

I didn't expect it at all, but from the moment the Obamas emerged from the White House after coffee with the Bushes, my tears didn't stop. I love that our country has such a peaceful transition of power. I love the dignity and grace with which the Bush's welcomed the Obamas into the White House. My heart went out to President Bush as he left the White House for the last time -- thinking of all the eight years of toil and shortcomings, and being unappreciated and unpopular by the majority of his country's citizens.

I felt excited for the Obamas and thought how overwhelmed they must be at the prospect of their new life of challenges and burdens. I thought of those beautiful, innocent girls who have so much to learn and experience.

I thought of the hundreds of thousands of people who sacrificed to come to Washington, who stood for hours in freezing temperatures, who stood shoulder to shoulder with strangers to sing, to celebrate, to stand in support of our new leader.

I was especially touched by the letter Jenna and Barbara Bush wrote to the Obama girls, which was published in the Wall Street Journal today. It was heartfelt and filled with wisdom, wit and and sincere goodwill and a touch of humor.

My prayers are with each and every one of them -- Mr. and Mrs. Bush as they spend their first night as regular citizens; President and Mrs. Obama as the begin to shoulder the awesome responsability of the First Couple, and all the citizens from every walk of life who have expressed their hope and their support for a man who has inspired our hope and our dreams for a better tomorrow for all people in all nations. God bless the President; God bless America; and God bless all our brothers and sisters on earth.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Few More Pre Inaugural Photos

Pre Inaugural Peek!

I just couldn't stand the thought of living so close to the Nation's capitol without seeing the Inaugural preparations with my own eyes so I woke up Kate at 8:00 this morning and asked her if she wanted to ride the metro downtown to see the preparations. Always up for an adventure, she said "yes"! It was a mere 27 degrees outside and so we dawned our warmest clothes, grabbed our cameras and headed out.

The metro parking lot was practically empty, and so that was a good sign. The subway soon filled with excited groups who were headed in the same direction. We sat by a group of teenagers from Arkansas who were here with their teacher to witness this historical inauguration. It seemed like Christmas -- everyone was filled with goodwill and laughter -- and it started snowing!

We got out at Union Station and started our trek around the Capitol. The first thing we noticed were the protesters out in front of Union Station. The next thing we noticed were the countless rows of porta-potties. We heard there will be over 5,000. That sounds like a lot, but if you consider there will be over 1,000,000 people, it doesn't seem like nearly enough!

We saw a lot of camera crews wandering around, groups of people from other countries, security guards with bomb dogs, and groups of national guards. We saw all the signs that will direct all the people tomorrow. We saw all the red, white, and blue bunting and flags, and we saw the platform and chairs set up on the west side of the capitol. We saw the flags lining Pennsylvania Avenue. We even heard them trying out the sound system -- and it sounded GREAT!

We snapped a few photos, eavesdropped on a few conversations, and got ourselves back to Union Station to get warm -- but not before we saw the fife and drum musicians playing their songs.

Once inside Union Station, we grabbed a hot chai and croissant. We were so happy we made the effort to go downtown today -- and are very happy we won't be there tomorrow with a million people. All that standing around in the freezing cold weather -- and waiting in a seemingly endless line for the porta potty!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I'm Back!

After my hiatus, I am back and ready to blog. I've got a post pending, but have to wait for the pics to be ready to post. I missed blogging!