The things that really surprise me…
The subject of today’s blog comes to you via the suggestion of a very sweet man named John S. Thompson. It was six days ago that my eldest daughter asked John what I should write about in my blog. John answered, “The things that really surprise me.” I’ve thought about this every day since and couldn’t come up with a thing. I had no monumental answers, nothing that wouldn’t be on most people’s list of life’s surprises such as having twins when only one child was expected, winning an award, or a surprise party on a milestone birthday. But, I’ll share a couple of mine anyway.
The first thing that surprises me is that no matter how old you are, you don’t feel any differently just because you’ve had another birthday. It doesn’t matter if you’re 20, 41, or 58. People may ask me, “What’s it feel like to be fifty-eight years old?” Well, the truth is, it feels just like it did at 57, 56, 55…23. That’s exactly what my mother told me many years ago when I’d asked her how it felt to be her age. As it turns out, you bring you along with you through every birthday. It’s not like you go to bed one age and wake up in morning a year older with a whole new perspective. It seems that chronological age does not directly affect your core self. You still feel like — well, you. That is unless you have a midlife crisis at 29 years old like I did (not a joke), then you feel like somebody else, temporarily.
The second thing that surprises me is that the love you will feel for your grandchildren is immense, powerful and defies description. It’s not that you love them more than your children, it’s that the love you feel for your children is multiplied exponentially and heaped onto the grandchildren. It’s not easily explained, though anyone who’s been a grandparent will surely understand. It is an exceptionally, very special relationship.
Today, thanks to a funny photo shared by my magical friend, Linda, I became inspired to answer John’s question by my dearly departed father’s immortal words. The photo Linda shared was of a candle with a naughty word on it and the scent of this candle was Go-Ask-Your-Dad Vanilla. I giggled and messaged back, “My father’s candle would be named Peace-and-Quiet Chocolate!” Let me explain.
As far back as I can remember, whenever any of us asked Dad what he wanted for Christmas, or his birthday, or Father’s Day, he would inevitably shout, “PEACE AND QUIET!” I always took it as joke or that it was just our Dad being our Dad. Maybe he said it because he didn’t even know what he wanted. We just adopted it as a family joke and blamed it on him being a cantankerous and grumpy father at times, not that we kids were loud and obnoxious — ever. Now, I wish I would’ve asked him what exactly he meant by it.
Now…What really surprises me is how I’ve come to understand Dad’s statement and how I wish for the same things. It’s not a joke or me being cantankerous or grumpy. I truly, in my soul, desire these things in my life.
As my head hits the pillow every night, I wish for peace in knowing that I’d done all I could that day, that I did my best, and to quiet that squeaky inner voice that points out what I could’ve done and how much better I could have done it. I wish for peace in the awareness that I can handle anything that life throws at me, just as I have done thus far, and to quiet the tenuous, staticky, underlying feeling of impending doom and waiting for the other shoe to drop that ever so subtly attempts to erode that peace. I wish for peace in the realization that my my husband, our children and their children are all healthy, happy and well taken care of, and to quiet that logical realist who whispers, “But, anything can happen to anyone at any time.” I wish for peace in knowing that it’s all going to be okay, that it is what it is and we will get through it, and to quiet, stifle and successfuly gag that annoying doubting Thomas who doesn’t believe that to be the case. Thomas just needs to shut the hell up.
Tonight, as your head hits the pillow, I wish you peace. You did all you can do today. You are doing the best that you can. And, I wish you quiet. Take a deep breath and release it slowly, along with your worries. Repeat. Your weary mind needs to rest now. Tomorrow is another day and it’s going to be okay.