My Mother’s Hands

I looked at my mothers hands the other day, and it struck me how much life I saw in them.  I marvel at those hands and recall all the strength and tenderness they have shown throughout the years.

When I was about 10 years old I had long hair, and I remember my mother brushing it into pony tails. She would quickly and softly brush it out and put the rubber bands in.  Also those summer days when I would come home from a day full of swimming and she would carefully untangle those same rubber bands, and brush out my now swimmers green hair.

Those summer evenings spent in the yard playing, watching as my mother would pull weeds out from among the patch of daisies that grew in the beds.  A tug here, a scrape there, the weed came out and the daisies bloomed.

Day after day my mother would fix our lunches for school. An assembly line of sandwiches, fruit and maybe a cookie, lovingly placed in a brown paper lunch bag for each of us.  Maybe not glamorous or our favorite, but always something good.

I remember, not long before my grandfather passed away, we were visiting and had tickets to a play. Because he was not well, he wasn’t going with us   I watched  as my mother took her father’s hands in hers, gently patted his hand as she spoke to him before we left for the evening.

It’s all those little things, the weeding of the garden the brushing of hair, the gentleness of holding her fathers hands in hers and countless other day-to-day activities.  Little things to be sure, but when I recall those moments in time I smile.  My mother’s hands- such strength, such life.

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Decisions

How do you know when your decision is right?  Change can be scary and making the wrong decision can have unintended consequences. So how do you know?

Some things are easy, like getting a haircut.  Oh wait, as I have recently lamented, haircuts are scary and can definitely have adverse repercussions.   What if it’s too short?  What if it is cut so oddly that it takes months to grow back to some semblance of normal? People will stare, will shake their head, will laugh.   Best to stick with the long hair, straight, no chance of mistake hair.

School is easy.  Oh wait, maybe not.  What if it takes 6 years to get that degree? I shall be older then.  Not that I wont be older anyway, in 6 years.   What if I flunk out?  What if I don’t like it?  People will stare, will shake their head, will laugh.  Best to stick with what I know.

Work must be easy then.  Oh wait, maybe not.  I have to spend at least 8 hours A DAY there, sometimes more! I have to be on time, pay attention and do my best.  People will stare, will shake their head, will laugh.

Vacation!  That’s it, the easy one.  Oh wait, maybe not.  I have to have money, a plan, maybe even someone to go with me.  People will stare , will shake their head, will laugh.

Life, it’s not easy.  There are choices to make,  consequences to consider.  People WILL stare, WILL shake their head, WILL laugh.  But in the end, the choices we make are OURS. Not theirs.   They can stare, as you accomplish that goal, shake their head- in agreement- as you explain your latest plan. Laugh -with you- at your funny stories.

Don’t be afraid of change.  As scary as it might be, as hard as it might be, it makes us who we are.

A cut above

Let me start with, I am not a hairdresser.   Well, I have been known to take the clippers to my sons head, but that is to save all hairdressers out there from his fear.  Trust me,  there have been times when you  would have thought I was killing him not just cutting his hair.  That’s a completely different story, so back to the original thought.

Whenever I go to get my hair cut, I have an expectation that the hairdresser knows what to do.  I am hoping today is a good haircut day as I watch the hairdresser assess my hair.   Believe me, I know my hair is difficult, I deal with it on a daily basis. So why, why, why do they ask me- “how would you like it cut”?   I usually fumble around and try to explain what I want, hoping it makes sense.  I try to use the correct lingo, but I think I don’t say it right.  Is it feathered or layered? What’s the difference between tapered and rounded? Thinned?  It’s all so confusing to me.  Really, all I want is it to be cut the way that one guy did, 2 years ago, before he moved away. By the somewhat blank look from today’s hairdresser, I’m guessing today may not be the day.

After the initial fumbling request, she starts in.  That first cut.  Ok, so far so good. Nothing drastic I think she gets it. Pretty soon the scissors are snipping and the hair is falling, hey wait! why are you cutting it like that? That isnt’ what I want- or at least I don’t think it is. It doesn’t feel right. It’s never been done like that. Oh this is going to be bad.  Now it’s too late. I sit and watch in silence hoping it will turn out ok. I do give some direction, now and then, and it seems to be ok.  I wait for the final cut and the reveal.

I tried to explain how I like it cut on the left side so it will fall correctly but I am not sure it’s going to be what I said.  She is finished and I take a look.  Hmmmmmm. I guess it’s ok.   I admit, it’s not horrible.  I worry if it will look the same when I do it myself tomorrow.  No matter, it’s too late now. Any further cuts will just be too short or just wrong.  I agree that’s enough and  she removes the drape.  I head to the counter and pay the fee.

At home I head to the mirror for the obligatory brush and closer inspection.  I figure, it’s shorter it will do, at least for now.  It’s only hair and it will grow back.   Even now, a few days later, I am not thrilled.  Maybe  I should learn how to speak Hairdresser?

I do appreciate a person who knows how to cut hair. It’s nice the have that ability to help people present themselves well.  That’s what we all want, right? To present the best of ourself, to look good.   We judge people on looks and first impression.  Just remember, maybe the person you are judging  just doesn’t speak hairdresser.

The Lego Effect

My youngest son LOVES trains.  Anything and everything about trains. Real trains, toy trains, train books, train pictures, you name it he knows it.  I don’t mind it too much because I try to also use it as a learning tool for him.  Transcontinental Railroad? great geography lesson.  Having an autistic son, makes you have to think differently.

Anyway- when he was about 8 he came to me and said he wanted a Lego set. He had never had any Lego’s, never showed an interest in them- was even given a set that Christmas and wasn’t interested.  It seems he saw something on you tube and just HAD to have it.  I asked him to show me.   Excitedly, he brings me to his computer and shows me- a 300+ piece Lego set!  Wow, really? THAT ONE?  I don’t think so.   I can see it now, mom to the rescue, building the Lego set.  No thanks.  Not only that, it was over 100$.

After much pleading from him, I caved and we headed to the toy store.  As we cruised the Lego aisle with its eye popping prices, I reminded my son he had never built Lego’s before and maybe he should start at the beginning.  We came upon the perfect beginner set for him. Image

Best of all it was under 10$.  So now home to see if he could follow the directions and build this new toy. Have you ever looked at Lego directions?   Good thing it’s only 73 pieces.Image

I should not have worried. We got it home and within minutes he had it put together, and taken apart and reconfigured.   It was interesting to watch how he processed the instructions.   Clearly he thinks in pictures.

Fast forward a couple of years.  We now have more Lego sets than I care to admit. Which means we have more Lego pieces than anyone would ever think they need. . Image

There is always a new set my son NEEDS, at least according to him.  The interesting thing is, Lego’s have been an incredible eye opener. I have learned that my son is very patient and creative and logical. It is incredible to watch as he now puts together the most elaborate of sets with hundreds of pieces, seemingly in  the blink of an eye. Image He now sees things on you tube or internet in general and decides he wants that, so will use the pieces he has to create his own. Who knew that a bunch of plastic bricks would provide so much?   We all fit somewhere, and Lego’s have become a part of the picture inside my son.  I am forever thankful for their place in our life.