Using all of what I’m given

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.”
Erma Bombeck

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(photograph: Tiger swallowtail butterfly, Julie’s carport/ 2013)

Ok, so you know how yesterday I used the image, or more aptly a silhouette, of a butterfly in order to address the thought of contrast? I was more than a bit fretful about going over to see my dad. Who knew what I’d find this week. Which thankfully was indeed a very nice visit—Praise Be!!!

Well… as I was loading up the car with some fresh picked veggies from the garden and some cupcakes for dad, dashing in and out of the house, in my perpetual state of hurry up to get going modus operandi, I saw this most beautiful butterfly sitting on the ledge in the carport. I stopped dead in my tracks. “What is the irony!!” I practically scream in my head. Just this morning I used an image of a butterfly (as I seem to have done a good bit lately) to relay my latest life’s saga—this being as if it is some sort of confirmation or ease of spirit… I see this little guy or gal resting, or more aptly dying, in my garage…and I’m thinking someone is trying to tell me something!

“Camera, where is the camera?!” (this is beginning to be a mantra of mine)

I snap a couple of shots, then gently scoop him/her up noting what seemed to be but a breath of remaining life– gently depositing him/her on a bush in the yard. A touch of nature as noted from yesterday’s post. Another butterfly as noted from today’s post……and a bit of clam resting on my shoulder before the drive over to Atalanta.

Which obviously go me thinking…….

The quote from above is by Erma Bombeck–a woman of my mom’s generation. My mom loved Erma. Erma made her laugh as she, Erma, wrote about things that my mom, as a mom who stayed home to raise kids, could relate to. I am glad Erma made her laugh and made her happy as mom lived a life that I have come to realize now in my “older” age was not exactly happy. (for starters you can read the post I wrote sometime back about my brother—Forgiveness, one step at a time).

Erma had a lovely practicality about her that she could turn into humor—thankfully so. She was real–a real person, just like me, like my mom, who struggled, made mistakes, owned up to the mistakes, was not perfect, nor glamorous—just real. A concept that is utterly refreshing in this oh so not real world our society seems to want to reside in….I admire the “real” people of our world—Erma was real and knew how to laugh at that realness.

This week is the week of pre-planning for our teachers. This week marks, officially, my first full year of retirement from school under my belt. Last year this week, I made certain I was occupied as I knew I’d be all over the emotional spinning wheel. Today, I thought about this as I was driving to Dad’s. I am not as sad or melancholy as I was this time last year but after teaching in the same system for 31 years, it’s not easy getting over the feeling of “I don’t need to be in this car driving but in my classroom working” mentality…..so yes, there was that feeling of guilt.

Here I was out in the world while they, my colleagues, were all back at school in countless meetings and in the near panic mode of not actually being in their classrooms working toward the most important and largely looming first day of school.

But strangely as it was, I was ok. I was doing what I retired for, that being Dad…being flexible to go when needed, or just go because I wanted to. That I had 31 years into retirement so that I could retire at 53 has been fortunate. I didn’t always think that a good thing when I was trying to juggle motherhood with teaching—never being very good at either as one or the other was bound to suffer along the way—but there’s not much I can now do about that water under the ol bridge now….just pray my son continues to grow into the wonderful man he’s becoming each and every day despite sharing mom his entire growing up.

So as Erma desired to proclaim upon her judgement day, I too hope to be able to one day do the same—proclaiming that I used everything God had given me…..its just I feel I still have a good bit of work yet to do!!!!

5 comments on “Using all of what I’m given

  1. Lynda says:

    We all wonder what more we could have done for our children but we must remember that we did the best we could at the time with the wisdom that we had then. We cannot judge the past with the wisdom that we have today. As you mentioned, you are very fortunate to be able to retire at your age and your parents are very fortunate that you are willing to give this time to them. Blessings.

  2. Val says:

    You know that’s the quotation hanging on my wall when I used to have stuff hanging? It is a good quotation.

    Glad things went well, and that you were able to take the time to find a butterfly.

    Thought of you Sunday when I found something in one of my favorite paintings at LACMA I’d never noticed before.

    Blessings for your day.

    • Thank you Val–I’ve been thinking about you today, with prayers for comfort, healing, clarity as you say official good-byes to Laurie

      • Val says:

        Actually, the “why I am going” has little to do with Laurie and most to do with her parents. I’m not big on funerals, I’ve never much seen the point for my own sake — gsnerally whatever closure was needed has been dealt with long before the funeral. If I go, it’s to support others who don’t process the same way I do. Though, at this point I’m apprehensive, my ride is not in a stable place today. Bless you for your prayers.

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