My brother thanks you. My daughter thanks you. And I thank you. With apologies to James Cagney and George M. Cohan

Yesterday one of my brothers thanked me for being his sister. Not that I had anything to do with it, but as he said, some sisters don’t act like sisters. Maybe the thanks had something to do with the fact I read him bedtime stories when he was little or that I let him live with me for a time when he moved to my town. I was best “man” at his wedding, too.
A long time ago of my daughters thanked me. Just as she was graduating high school and getting ready to leave home she said thanks for letting her see a side of me that wasn’t mom…that there was more to me than that. Not to diminish “mom,” but that it was not my total identity, that women are many things.
I deliberately do not use the word role here. (Role from the French roule originally meaning the roll of paper on which an actor’s part is written.) I do not like the connotation.
My husband has thanked me many times for loving him and marrying him and being his wife. All of those are different actions and he seems to recognize that.
My point is that one doesn’t always know what fruit will be reaped from the seeds one sows by simply being oneself. These thank-yous have borne in on me a profound sense of gratitude that I am part of the harvest.

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It All Started With Laundry

I was in a discussion today about simplifying. It started with a friend “drowning” in laundry and how ten days worth of clothes should be enough. From there we went to reducing what we buy in the way of medicines, home products, etc. and on to what we make ourselves. Some of us make our own soap. Some grow veges and fruit and can and preserve them.

When my kids were little I made EVERYTHING. Noodles, salad dressing, soup, pickles, clothes, napkins…as in cloth. Yes, I had to wash those, but hey, I had to do laundry anyway and I saved a bunch of trees! All that making tapered off as my kids grew and outside activities demanded time, but it didn’t really ever end. I did make outfits for the cheerleaders of my son’s little league football team and I made a wedding dress for one daughter.

Like everyone I know who has moved a lot, I always threw out or gave away tons of stuff when it came time to pack. And then at the new place I still had stuff to get rid of.
I took a lesson from that and go on purges every now and again to keep things pared down. It’s a little difficult as my husband wants to expand space to fit the things. I am of the opposite school…time to throw, chop, give away, whatever if there is too much to fit the space available.
I don’t like to “store” things. The pearl necklace and earrings my great-grandparents gave me for high school graduation are framed and hanging on my bedroom wall where I can enjoy them. (I didn’t count on Barbara Bush when I assumed they would never return to style.)
I got really ruthless in my closet a few years ago and got it down to the 10 days of clothes. Which means if we take a trip longer than that the motel better have a laundry! But it surely makes life at home easier. I even got my husband to see that using too many laundry additives just make your clothes dull and dingy. We’re down to one organic detergent and occasionally bleach the whites!
I don’t make so much food from scratch anymore, but I recycle and I use my own cloth grocery bags. And if I buy a new shirt I have to let go of an old one because I am NOT going to buy any more hangers.

The gist of it is our choices have consequences and we can choose the better ones. Need to make your days easier, more organized, get rid of bodily toxins, reduce fat, waste, lose the stress? We can all find a reason to simplify. God only knows what fun or creative idea you’ll discover in the process.

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