Monday, July 28, 2008

Is Anyone Out There?

Is anyone out there? Does anyone read my blog? I know there are people who do and I truly appreciate anyone who takes the time to read what I’ve written and, especially, anyone who lets me know, either through the “comments” feature or by direct e-mail, that something I’ve written has touched them in some way. I’ve been asked why I write this blog and, while I love to know that there are people who read it, I really write it for myself. During the past six months as I’ve explored what it means to turn 50, to age in our society, I’ve found that the act of writing this blog has been my own personal insight into living in the moment. We’re all admonished by the popular self-help gurus to “live in the moment” and to “be aware of our daily lives”. While I’ve heard these messages for years, I’ve also lived a busy, hectic life that often makes it difficult to live anywhere other than on my calendar’s To-Do list. Writing this blog has helped me to look at what is happening each day, to think about how the people and events around me are affecting my life. Writing this blog has truly helped me to think about today, what I’m doing with my day and how I feel about what is happening around me. Sure, I still have dreams for tomorrow; dreams that have also become more cemented with the process of writing, but first and foremost I want to be aware of where I am today.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Campout Information Packet

A week from tomorrow our family leaves for a one-week camping trip with approximately 80 other adoptive families. We’ve been going on this trip since 1995, missing only one year – an omission my children will never let me forget. Last weekend the anticipated campout information packet arrived in the mail. When I was little, I’d watch for the Sears Roebuck catalog to arrive. I would spend hours perusing those catalogs, mentally redecorating my room with the items from the home section, picking out new outfits and new shoes. The reality was that our limited funds meant that very little was ever ordered from the catalog, but the dreaming was wonderful nevertheless. My children take the campout information packet and look through it in the same way. Where will we be camped? Who will be our neighbors? What is the schedule of events? Which events do I want to make sure not to miss? Yesterday, we went out to do errands and I told my kids to bring along something to keep them busy. What did they bring? The campout information packet. They went through the list of family names, remembering which children went with which family. They asked about the new names on the list. Asking if I know these people and what ages are their children. The difference between my catalog perusing and their campout information packet scanning is that when I looked at the catalog I was dreaming. I was dreaming of the red velvet bedroom drapes that I would never have. I was dreaming of the wardrobe full of beautiful dresses that would never be mine. My children are reminiscing about past campouts, but they, too, are dreaming. They are dreaming of the friendships they’ll renew and the new friends to be made. They are dreaming of the fun they’ll have in an environment that is different from home, but that is familiar from past trips. The difference is that a week from tomorrow, their dreams will come true – mine took slightly longer.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Olympic Dreams -- Life Dreams

The middle daughter of our very dear friends just finished competing in the Olympic swimming trials. After a tough freshman season complete with an injury, she ended up qualifying for five events in the trials. Over the course of the past week she made it past the preliminaries to the semi-finals twice and to the finals once. She won’t be going to Beijing, but I’m still so impressed with all she has accomplished. She has earned many awards throughout her swimming career but, obviously, The Olympics is the granddaddy that athletes shoot for. Even though our friend won’t be traveling with The Olympic team this summer, I’m still amazed by her and each and every athlete that makes it to the trials; amazed to realize just how hard they have worked, just how much they have accomplished. These athletes are young and at the top of their game, but I think their example is applicable to all of us – what can we accomplish if we put it all out there, if we actually give our dreams a chance? We may not win the big prize, but it has to be so much better to go through our lives knowing that we’ve tried and given all we have rather than to hope and dream without ever taking action. This 50-year-old woman is going to be taking a lesson from her not-quite 20-year-old friend.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New York Pilgrimage

My husband has been a fan of the New York Yankees since 1966 when he was eight-years-old. When we started dating in 1976 I realized very quickly that I needed to learn about baseball and that The Yankees needed to become my team. We have six children, but only one of them, our oldest son, shares our love of baseball and The Yankees. My husband shared this love with his dad and now he shares it with our son.

The Yankees have been in Yankee Stadium since 1923. Yankee Stadium is known as The House That Ruth (Babe Ruth) Built. In 1993, the first time we traveled to Yankee Stadium, we met my father-in-law in New York and shared the experience with him. This year, 2008, is the last year for the original Yankee Stadium as a newer, more modern stadium is built next door. Earlier this year, given our love of baseball, the Yankees and Yankee Stadium, we joked about the need to make a pilgrimage to New York sometime during this season to say good-bye to the original Yankee Stadium before it is gone forever. This past weekend, we made that pilgrimage. My father-in-law passed away a few years ago, but this weekend we took along our oldest son and his fiancé (a new baseball recruit). We arrived in New York just before midnight Thursday, ran in Central Park for the three mornings we were in town, saw a Broadway play, walked miles around New York and went to two games in Yankee Stadium. It was a fun-packed, memorable two-and-a-half days.

The first game we saw this weekend was on 4th of July. My husband and I both had tears in our eyes as we listened to the singing of God Bless America – The Yankees vs. The Red Sox and all that means, 4th of July and all that means, God Bless America and all that means, sharing this experience with our son and future daughter-in-law and all that it means – it was almost too much emotionally.

There are times we think, or maybe even talk, about doing something special. Time and financial constraints sometimes make it impossible to follow through with these ideas, but when it is possible we should definitely take the time to plan, to make the jump into the wild and crazy idea, to do something that is really special; something that will be, without a doubt, a memory made. While wandering around the concourse at Yankee Stadium I saw a poster that said, “This Stadium won’t last forever, but your memories will.” We made memories this weekend; it may have been a silly, expensive idea, but sometimes it’s worthwhile to take a serious look at our silly ideas and follow through with them. The silly idea may not last forever, but the memory of making it happen will.