Hi All!!! 
Wow, spring sure has hit hard, hasn’t it?  Wait, spring, winter, summer, back to winter, and then spring … my bulbs are going crazy right now!
I’m going to do something different today, as I’ve been struggling a bit with ‘attitudes’ of sorts.  I’m not sure if the hormones are kicking in full-strength, or if it has something to do with taking care of my dad, but the last 4 weeks have really taken a toll on my ability to pull myself ‘up’.  Living my 5th decade has proven to be a bit of a challenge!
Considering this, then, I thought I would enlist three of my closest comrades to write a few thoughts down, just to get the ball rolling for the new season.  I’ve also been composing the FREE e-book, which will be out in a week, for you all to enjoy, so concentration towards it will steal a bit of my time.
And with that, here are my writing wranglers, with their take on … well, anything!  Have a great first week of May!!!
Capri

Genevieve DuBois Collins

This is a wonderful opportunity to share with you the love I have for a women’s forum, specifically for 50+ ladies!  I associate with many groups in my world nowadays; I have a knitting group, a book group, and a luncheon group, which just happened to begin in elementary school!  We all gather with our known likes and similarities and then explore our differences as we do whatever it is that brings us together. 

The thing I’ve noticed about having these groups is this; aside from the commonality which brings us together, many other things can force us apart.  In my knitting group, for instance, someone brought up the matter of politics.  Half of us looked up from our projects with a look of horror on our faces!  The other half just kept on knitting, as if nothing were said or the sky hadn’t fallen in.  Without a word, I felt our group split, taking sides with one, the other, or none at all.  What we had relished as a precious and committed ‘team’ was now split in opposition.  No, wait, many didn’t realize they were in opposition, simply by not committing.  

Afterward, as I was walking home, I realized the glamour of the group was lost. I will return, of course, but have learned a side of my companions I did not want to know.

I have had a bit more contention in my book group, as it almost asks for commentary and opinions.  Justly so.  But we each get a chance to pick ‘our book’, thus giving each of us a spot in the center for all to openly, but kindly, regard our choice of entertainment (or a waste of time, so one says – often!).  I expect this from this group, though.  But if anyone was to say I had picked the wrong yarn for the sweater I had just knitted, I would be abashed and hurt.  Because it is out of context for that group.

Now, here, at My Second 50, all is open, all are honest, and all, hopefully, are in support of each other as a person, and nothing else.  We recognize our shortcomings, we recognize our doubts. We recognize our pain, and we celebrate our happiness and love.  But I expect that out of this group.  I hope to hear of someone losing a battle, and someone else likening an experience, and the two developing a kinship around a commonality.  Here, anything and everything can be common.  Loss of a spouse, the joy of a pet, the frustration of a child, or hopelessness of an illness.  We are a group, we have souls, and we expect nothing other than to listen, dream, cry, and laugh together.  I love this group, thank you so much for letting me be anything I want to be … when I’m here!

-Ginny

Kimmie Hanson

I live in a three-story Victorian home, built in 1896, the year, actually, my grandmother was born … in Holland.  I have a husband of 42 years and two beautiful children, who each, now, have a child of their own.  My daughter has a boy.  My son has a daughter, and their spouses seem content in their parents spoiling them to no end.

Last weekend, they came to visit my beautiful home, all six of them.  The kids (8 and 6) slept in the attic, complete with sleeping bags and flashlights, their parents spent their time in the two other bedrooms on the second level, able to hear every move they made from the giggling of voices to the dropping of books.

As grandparents, we stuck to our digs on the main level, less noisy, less intrusive, conveniently adjacent to the kitchen, which is always the busiest room in the house.

As our able and kind lab kept track of everyone’s whereabouts, I shuffled meals and dishes as my husband rounded up toys, put them away, and brought them out again when requested.  Clean, rinse, repeat, once every few hours, depending on the snacks and hiding of the toys.

As was always a favorite game of my kids, we devised a treasure hunt for the little ones.  While parents took the kids to the park for a bit, we wrote notes, hid clues, made puzzles, and tired our dangdest to come up with brain teasers which would be challenging, mostly to our own kids! 

As the hunt began, eyes grew wide and smile’s turned into contortions, figuring out the next spot where the clue would be found.  We had a couple of scraped knees when the little ones knew the clue would be in the clubhouse in the garage rafters; and another bump on the head when my too-tall son tried to climb the attic stairs a bit too fast.  Alas, everyone found their ‘goodie box’ and tea was served on the front porch, complete with tea cakes and blueberries.  Our dear lab fell asleep even before he laid down …

As we waved goodbye to them Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t help but have a tear in my eye and a catch in my throat.  Children give you a chance to love as you’ve never loved before.  And grandchildren offer you the chance to share that love and new found joy in ways you’ll never know until you experience it. 

With all the chaos and havoc our earth and lives endure now, with no promise of betterment, I’m hesitant to encourage anyone to have children.  But when I see the joy and love our family experiences, woven with the grief and uncertainty, I become selfish and am grateful I have the intuitive and curious angels that I do and will strive to leave them a world as good as I can make it.

Did I mention we slept for two days straight after they left?

-Kimmie

 

Phoebe Tate

I am facing ten boxes, three garbage bags, and two pairs of big curious eyes, after much groaning, bending, sorting, and tossing out of crap stored under my basement steps.  The big curious eyes are from my two dogs, who made every trip up and down the stairs I took, but after about the tenth turnaround, found a corner on the landing and waited for me to appear with the goods. 

The boxes and bags are what’s left of the twenty or so cartons of ‘important things’ my family had collected over the past 20 years.  I sifted through clothes, mine and my kids, shoes, kitchen items I’d replaced, keeping the old ones for the kids when they moved out (did they take it? No, they wanted new dish towels!!!).  Heaps of documents for shredding took up two boxes, while one large bag was set for recycling.  There was a desk, two chairs, three pairs of roller blades (kids and mine), and camping gear I wouldn’t even be seen using.  

Where did all this reorganization energy come from?  I’m looking down the cavernous throat of the realization I will be cleaning out my parents’ house within the next 5 or so years.  This is the time my father has given himself to come to terms with the inability of keeping a 2800 sq. ft. home ‘going’ and perhaps moving into an adult living community.  He recently condescended into letting two cleaning ladies come after he has cleaned mind you because he doesn’t want them to think he is a slob.   Next will be someone to mow the lawn.  Then another to clean the pool.  The pool he hasn’t swum in over 10 years.  This will probably happen about the same time he decides he doesn’t want to drive any longer.  Then the two cars, not one though he is the only one to drive them, will be available to sell … probably for parts.

Did I mention my dad is 89?

I remember my mom saying she never wanted to leave me with a bunch of stuff to clear through, so maybe it won’t be too bad.  She was very organized and has all of her things sorted, labeled, in files or given away.  Daddy had his own business, however, and keeps on thinking someone will want the office equipment; the IBM typewriter, the Xerox copier, and the rotary dial phones.  

Then the reality of what was really happening set into my head: we are saying goodbye to an era. We are tallying up the usefulness of an item and tossing it or keeping it.  We’ve been called hoarders and we’ve had sleepless nights, hoping someone won’t see our boxes of children’s clothes or stacks of records and DVD’s.  We’ve seen people labeled with psychic disorders and cower in recognition (on a much lesser degree of course).

With all this contention and alarm, let me make several things perfectly clear.  I’m keeping my grandmothers crocheted bedspread and table cloth.  I’m keeping my little girls’ Easter dress I made and my son’s sailor outfit he threw in the garbage.  I’m keeping the navy blue patent leather shoes my mom bought me when we had lunch in the Tiffin Room and went shopping in the now torn down Auerbach’s Department Store. I’ve layered my old toe shoes in tissue, stored safely back in the steamer trunk left from who knows who, long ago.  And Daddy’s trumpet?  It’s there too, right next to mom’s playbills with her name in the title role from Broadway.

-Phoebe