Thursday, March 29, 2012

Life is uncertain: Hug your kids, say 'I love you,' and make the most of the time you have

I have a friend who just found out a relative's cancer has returned. The diagnosis isn't good - the doctors have given him four months to live.

The news was just beginning to sink in . "Four months," she told me. "That's basically a summer. One summer, and he'll be gone."

I know what she's going through - somewhat. Sometimes the people we think we'll have around us forever disappear in a heartbeat. Nearly seven years ago, my beautiful, fun-loving sister laid down with a terrible headache; days later, she was dead from a stroke.

Life is so transient, isn't it? We think we'll have so much time - to hug those kids, to take that trip, to write that book, to get that great job. But you just never know.

My friend is at a loss; I hate to see it. But she has the right attitude.

"I bought a bag of jelly beans the other day," she told me. "I felt so silly - but he loves jelly beans. I thought, 'There's not much I can do, really, but be there ... and I just want to make sure he has all the little things around him he likes.'"

She's right, I thought.  There's no guarantees. We can just surround ourselves with the people and the things we love and make the most of the time we have.

Then we cross our fingers and say our prayers.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Things you learn spending time with your teen-age daughter (Hint: watch your mouth)

You learn a few things when you go shopping with your teen-age daughter.

You learn that some of the most popular stores have incredibly loud music, really narrow aisles and lots of girls so skinny you could probably bench-press them.

You learn that the style of shorts that you wear on a regular basis is hopelessly uncool.

You learn that the one way to get your daughter to never, ever listen to a song again is to say that you heard it in Jazzercize.

And bizarrely, you learn that you're not allowed to say the word "panty." Go figure. Although it's plastered all over the windows of Victoria's Secret, if  it comes from your mouth, it's suddenly gross and inappropriate.

Instead, you must use the word "underwear." And even then, for goodness' sakes, use it sparingly and try not to talk really loud or make a scene. Don't even think about touching one of the bras.

But despite all that, you also learn that spending that one-on-one time with your daughter is an incredibly fun way to spend an afternoon. You know - as long as you watch your mouth.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring break? Already? You've got to be kidding!

My husband threw me for a loop with his question. "What do you want to do over spring break?" he asked.

Um, what? Spring break? He had to be kidding. I'm still packing away the last of the Christmas decor - just last week I found a stray box of hooks on a bookshelf.  Surely it can't be time to plan for a spring vacation already.

Besides, I still have the vacation pamphlets I picked up last spring - you know, the one  for bicycle rentals, the one for that expensive bed and breakfast inn.  By next spring break, I remember reasoning, I'll probably be so slim and fit we can all include bike riding and extensive hiking in our plans. And I'm sure I'll have saved up money over the year, so we can splurge and stay someplace nice.

Hmmm. Not so much.

Okay, so I know where the money went - it went to braces, bills and broken home appliances. And those fitness goals? I think it was nearly February before I broke down and ate frosting from the can.

But time? I could have sworn I had more of that.