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Flyswatter Clock, (c) 2010, Christiana Lambert

Yes, turn up the smarmy soap opera music because this month has flown, maybe even quicker than others. At the beginning of the month I was trying to recover from another chaotic move of my mother the day before and now it’s already the end of the month. I’d like to blame April’s cruel weather swings for my confusion, but it really has been a full month.

Truth be told, in addition to all the changes associated with the move, it’s almost the end of the world as we know it in our household: our only kids graduate in three weeks. Our calendar has been filled with the usual high school activities, along with senior-only activities and preparations for college.

I thought I could write about all these things, but I’ve only written three times this month and once was about our new grand-niece’s upcoming birth.

I haven’t talked about squeezing in a late-night trip to Durango, Colorado following Jackson’s play practice. Sherman sped over a couple mountain passes, but white-knuckled it watching all those deer and elk who watched us as our car passed through their grazing grounds. Or discussed spending a couple days wandering around Ft. Lewis College for preview weekend, attending information sessions, playing silly games to get to know people, and meeting various administrators and professors who will be part of our kids’ new home environment. Or even mentioned how it might feel to leave our kids six and a half hours away, separated by roads that often close due to big snows.

(c) 2009

Nah, we’ve been too busy speeding along with our lives here.

Jackson went through the chaos of designing two (!) posters for Littleton High School’s Senior Theatre Company production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. Oh there was plenty of drama in the drama department. But the performance we saw was very well-done and Jackson did a fine job, both with eating his lollipop on stage and with his lines.

Large Group Prom 2010

Prom came together last Saturday, with its usual time-consuming preparations (for girls!), picture-taking with parents, kids getting lost driving downtown, late night at After Prom, etc. However, I decided I should also make Jackson a vest and bow-tie as I used to do when he was little, so I added to the preparations. Once we found time to go to the store together, he chose something very similar to what he had over thirteen years ago. I got everything done about 2:00 in the afternoon of the big event—let’s just say that our remodeling projects had not left my sewing area functional. (Plus, I added straps to Christiana’s Dressed to the Nines dress.) Nonetheless, the kids looked great, got where they needed to go, danced the night away, and returned home safely in one piece—and uploaded the pictures to prove it by the next afternoon.

SWAG 2010, Littleton High School

In between all this, a long-time Littleton High School tradition fell: SWAG (Senior Women Are Great.) Yes, the senior girls kidnap the boys, doing their hair, make-up and nails and dressing them in pretty frocks. Did I mention the girls arrive before 4:00 in the morning? Christiana helped a group of theatre girls steal her brother away so he could become a pretty, pink princess. She noted that the theatre girls were about the only crowd who didn’t make their guys look trashy—still I don’t think I need to see my son’s hairy legs below pink taffeta ever again. Thankfully his kidnappers also made him take his books and PE clothes so he didn’t go to school unprepared—except for knowing how to walk in heels.

Unfortunately, track has not been part of the busy picture for Christiana lately, but we’ve been to physical therapy, X-rays, an MRI, and a couple doctor appointments for her knee that isn’t going to heal in time for her final season—or her required PE classes. Sometimes that’s the way the knee rolls, whether you like it or not.

(c) 2010 Christiana Lambert

Ultimate Frisbee and upcoming AP exams for Jackson, school and district art show for Christiana, as well as IB art examination. Add performing arts and academic awards ceremonies, last day breakfast (which our children say we’re welcome to attend without them—yeah, right!), etc. and it will be May 21 before we know it.

Yet the graduation announcements and party invitations aren’t even addressed . . .

Ah well, this is the season of busyness that predates the calm. We’ll get through it like other parents before us. Like all those other parents, one day we’ll have more time to ponder how it all happened so fast.

And we won’t have a clue . . .

(c) 2010 Christiana Lambert

You can call me frugal, you can call me cheap—I don’t really care, even if you mean it as an insult. I’m proud that I don’t overspend.

I mean seriously, does free-spending make someone a more impressive person than a person who watches his or her pennies? Unless I have the money to do so and I’m pretty good about sharing with the have-nots, then I don’t think so.

Plus, as I like to point out to my kids, just because people spend money doesn’t mean they can afford to do so.

I worked in magazine publishing in the 80s, prior to the stock market crash of 1987. I don’t know how much money anyone made at that company, but I do remember a lot of them knew how to spend all they made and more. I always felt like the poor child at that job, but that’s because very few of my coworkers were living in reality.

Their letters and calls from places such as collection agencies and the IRS hardly seemed worth the joy of wearing designer clothes and accessories and driving shiny new cars.

Truth be told, I just didn’t come from a family where excess was valued. Depression-era farmers understood how little control we really have over outside conditions, things such as weather and the greater economy. People who lived through the Dust Bowl saved for dusty, not rainy, days.

So I was ecstatic when Christiana found a prom dress at Dressed to the Nines, a fundraiser for the Rick Wilson Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at The Children’s Hospital. Girls who purchase a donated dress for $15.00 also receive a coupon for free dry cleaning from Dependable Cleaners. Wow—and the dress she brought home is a wow on her, also.

And, yes, I texted Jackson right away to tell him we had succeeded in finding a dress for his sister. That made his friend laugh, thanks to our reputation for being cheap. Well, when he sees her in her $15.00 dress, adorned with her $13.00 jewelry from Molly’s Closet (a local consignment shop,) he can continue to laugh to think one person can look so good at prom and not even have to break the piggy bank.

That’s right, we frugal people can just laugh all the way to the bank. I’ve got a secret—it feels really good to know that by saving money on the little things, we’re much better prepared to handle the bigger things in life.

That helps me to sleep better most nights, even if, like most parents, I’m not likely to get much sleep on prom night.

Jackson, Kelly, Christiana, Blake, Cheyenne, Forrest--Prom 2010

(c) 2010 Christiana Lambert

Busy times but for good reasons these days. Much of the unsettled business for me is settling down with my mom living in her new place and my kids having selected their college, which happens to be the same college. The move and the college preview weekend visit have taken up a lot of my time over the last three weeks, but now it’s time to buckle down and get our house ready for high school graduation—in just over a month!

So how is it I goofed around this past weekend instead? That’s probably what Sherman was thinking! It’s hard to juggle what you need to get done with what you need to do for you: just taking care of yourself. And, of course, I know that even my goofing around wasn’t too laidback—except for sharing nachos with Sherman and having a margarita to round out the day.

Ah, well, you do what you can do.

Here’s what really makes my life feel improved. My mom is doing so much better now. I think it is so easy to get blindsided by how horrible it is for someone to have Alzheimer’s that you don’t see when little things can make a huge difference. Mom has always been a “don’t fence me in” kind of person, but now that she has room to roam, she doesn’t feel so restricted. What we know now is that she wasn’t busy trying to get out to do what she could no longer do—she just wanted to do what she can do—which is walk and check out different things that are happening.

Despite this disease, she is still blessed with mobility. That’s why it’s so great that she doesn’t have to get in trouble for that anymore.

And beyond that, the staff seems better trained for dealing with how people with dementia act. She doesn’t have to feel like a bad little girl for behaviors that are a manifestation of a physical disease. That’s especially important for someone who worked hard her whole life to do the right things.

On the college end, both my kids have decided to attend Ft. Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. It’s great that they have chosen a college and can get busy finishing up the details for going there. Of course, it makes life easy for both them and us that they will be at the same place, especially since this one is several hours away over a couple mountain passes. They have different academic and extracurricular interests so it’s not as if they will be hooked at the elbow or anything.

Not only did we and the kids get to find out more about the college on our visit, but we also got to have a nice break away from home. The weather cooperated for the drive, so all we had to do was make it through all the deer and elk that stared at us as we drove. Yikes. Christiana’s friend’s family had certificates for a stay in a really nice Victorian hotel, as well as dollars to dine in the hotel restaurant, so we got to stay in a very convenient location in a place a bit beyond our reach (the costs for the remaining night and the additional costs for the kids added up to about what we would have spent anyway!)

I’m sure the next month will go by too quickly with all the end of the year activities, as well as the painting we need to do to complete our recent home remodeling projects and the paring down of ours and my mother’s possessions in our basement.

But at least we are moving forward. We’ve been stuck too long in difficulties from 2008 and 2009 (and, yes, we are slowly working toward resolution with the insurance complications from those years, too.)

Finally, we really can focus on the promise of 2010—after all, we’ve been working toward this date since our kids were born almost 18 years ago.

(c) 2010 Christiana Lambert

I’m certainly tired of writing grumpy posts—good thing I have something exciting and affirming for a topic today. I was going to write about sunrise Easter service—what can be more life-affirming than that? Nonetheless, Easter can seem a little bit theoretical sometimes. I can imagine being there when they rolled the stone away from the tomb and found that He had risen (indeed!), but there’s nothing like new life in our own time and place to show us there is something bigger than us.

Right now, a baby who is going to share my last name is struggling to get out into this world. I’ve been excited for nephew Stephen and his wife Cora, but there’s nothing like knowing it’s really happening today to feel the awesomeness of this little person’s destiny meeting up with all of our destinies.

Cora was so wiped out yesterday at our Easter celebration. I know this is going to sound like criticism aimed at our Divine Maker, but why is it the body has to get ready for future sleepless nights by not being able to sleep? Wouldn’t it work just as well to start the mom job well rested? Suffice it to say that Cora was tired enough that she must be perfectly ready for being able to wake up at all times.

I remember the few times before I thought much about babies when I was around people timing contractions. Even then I understand enough to be in awe of those moments. I knew that soon after my friend put down the telephone she was going to go into the hard work of bringing a new person into this world. Wow.

So, thanks to Facebook, I can keep up with Cora’s progression and feel the changes in the air, even though I’m not on the phone with her or sitting next to her while she is timing.

I have to confess that the pictures of her in the midst of contractions brought out tears. No matter that she has lots of company. Every woman who gives birth has to go through that alone. It’s just the price we pay to get to that new life—whoever she or he is and will become.

I’m praying that those moments of indescribable discomfort will soon bring Cora and the baby safely together for that first look that no mom ever forgets—the one that helps us start to forget what we had to go through to get to that moment—and really begin the journey to find out how exactly one destiny will intersect with other destinies.

An old story both different and same all at once.

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(c) 2009, Christiana Lambert