CONVERSATION WITH…Older Cinderella Missing Her Father

Over the hill on the Yellow Brick Road, you never know who you’ll bump into. Today it’s Cinderella.  She looks a lot older, but that’s the way it goes with celebrities.  If we’ve gotten older, so have they.  I found Cinderella sitting in a Café stuffing her face with doughnuts. 

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Hey Cinderella, mind if I join you?

CINDERELLA:  Of course not. Have a doughnut.

No thanks, I’m too nervous. I’ve wanted to meet you ever since I was a little girl.  But I have to admit, I never expected to find you shoveling doughnuts down your throat.

CINDERELLA:  Well, I just came back from a visit with my wicked stepmother.

Seriously?  I thought after you married the prince she was out of your life.

CINDERELLA: She was…until she started having health issues. Now she lives in a Nursing Home five minutes from my castle.  She calls me all the time and I feel obligated to visit her once a week.

But she was so wicked to you!

CINDERELLA:  I can’t imagine leaving my stepmother all alone all the time no matter how wicked she is.  No one deserves to be completely abandoned.  Anyway, in the big picture, my stepmother wasn’t really wicked, she was just totally self-involved. Maybe she missed something in her childhood that made her that way.

I see you still have your very kind heart.

CINDERELLA:  You know what kills me?  I loved my father.  He was in my life for a short time, but he was the warmest, kindest, funniest, most creative man in the world.  When he was alive, it felt like a gentle, loving blanket was always surrounding me.

I know what you mean.  I miss my father, too.  He always had the answers. I used to think he was like the Wizard of Oz. There are so many times I wish I could ask his advice or get his take on a situation with my kids.

CINDERELLA:  I know!  And then I ask myself, “Why was I only given a little time with my father? And why am I stuck here year after year with my stepmother?  Why couldn’t it have been the other way around?”

 I miss knowing there’s someone older and wiser watching out for me.

CINDERELLA:  Me too.

Maybe, somewhere, somehow, our dads are watching over us…

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Do you miss your dad, too?

And…by the way, a big shout out to Barbara Rosenberg for her Cinderella illustration.  Check out Barbara’s original, hysterical cartoons and other stuff at:

https://www.facebook.com/barbara.rosenberg.94

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CONVERSATION WITH…A Warty Gourd…Hoping Elective Surgery Will Help Her Move On.

Over the hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I noticed a warty gourd about to enter a hospital.  She looked terrified so I rushed over!

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Hey Warty Gourd, do you need help getting to the ER?

WARTY GOURD: Oh!  No thank you!  I’m here for an elective procedure.  It’s freaking me out but I’ve made my decision.  I’m gonna do it.  Hopefully, it’ll make me feel less self conscious.

I’ve never met a self conscious warty gourd.

WARTY GOURD: Well this is your chance.  Ya know, years ago, in my early stages, I was a sensual, elegant flower.  Here’s my high school yearbook picture:

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You were graceful and sexy.

WARTY GOURD: I know.  But I’ve gone through a lot of stages since then.  And now, looking and feeling older is standing in my way .  I can’t move on.  Like you saw in my photo, I’ve got all these gloppy bumps sticking out all over me just because I don’t work out.   Plus, no matter how little I eat, everything sits around my middle section like cement.

You’re not alone. I have the same rubber tire around my middle section and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

WARTY GOURD:  Exactly. I’m basically a blob surrounded by globs.

I think you look interesting and your globs reflect a life filled with experiences.

WARTY GOURD: Thanks, but I don’t feel that way. It’s so embarrassing.  Who in their right mind would look at me? Which brings me to my elective surgery.  I’m gonna become a maraca.

Wow!  Nice idea!

WARTY GOURD: Yeah. I’m into music and always wanted to be in a band. Now I can audition.

That’s so great!

WARTY GOURD:   But here’s the problem. It’s not a simple medical procedure. The doctor has to make an incision under my stem, take out my seeds, dry them out, put them back in, and sew me up.  The recuperation period is about six weeks. I guess it’ll worth be it.

I think it’ll be worth it! Because you’ll  hopefully be able to move on to a whole new part of your life.  It takes a lot of inner strength to do that when you get older. You’re setting an example for everyone aging in the universe.

WARTY GOURD:  Oy.  I can’t take the pressure.  I’m scared.  Am I doing the right thing?

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The Follow Up:

Before I could respond, the surgeon entered and whisked the warty gourd away. Her maraca surgery went well. She even went on to do liposuction on her lumps and painted herself blue.  The gourd is now in a band in Mexico. She’s very happy… though she admits she gets nauseous and dizzy after being shaken up and down during a long gig.  Life isn’t perfect.

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CONVERSATION WITH…a mom trampoline

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I passed through the Land of the Distraught Moms. Before I left, everyone told me if I was looking for my spark and where I belong in the world,  I absolutely had to speak to the trampoline.  I found her near the exit sign and started a conversation…

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Excuse me Trampoline, what brings you to the Land of the Distraught Moms?

TRAMPOLINE:  Actually, I’m a regular here.  A fixture.  I’m kind of an institution.

How so?

TRAMPOLINE:  I represent all moms…eternally.

Are you a mom, too?

TRAMPOLINE: Well, as a trampoline, I couldn’t have children of my own.  But I’ve adopted many.

That’s so lovely.

TRAMPOLINE:  Thank you. But all my kids have grown now and they’ve left the Yellow Brick Road.

My kids have grown up, too. It’s pretty new for me.

TRAMPOLINE: They do come back, you know.

But it’s different.

TRAMPOLINE:  Yes, it is.  My children often come back when they’re disappointed or feeling lost or confused.  They jump down on me with such force I’m sure I’m going to break.  I feel their pain.  And then it’s my job to spring them back up into the air again. Higher and higher!  I lift their spirits and remind them how high they can go if they choose to.

And then they leave again…

TRAMPOLINE:  Exactly.   But we’re always here to give them a boost. ___________________________________________________________________________________________

I nodded, and with that, I went on my way.  As I left the Land of Distraught Moms, I saw I had a lot more in common with a trampoline than I’d realized.

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CONVERSATION WITH…An Older Ear of Corn Wearing Her Husks in Two Braids

On a hot day, over the hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I arrived at a cornfield.  Instead of conversing with the Scarecrow, I noticed an older ear of corn wearing two braids.  I had to talk to her!

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Hey Corn!  OMG! I’m so impressed!

CORN: Why?

Because, quite honestly, you look older…but you’re still wearing two braids!  I’ve wanted to do that for years!  

CORN:  Then do it.

It’s not that simple.  You see, where I come from, if you’re fifty or sixty, it’s sort of okay to pull your hair back in one ponytail or one braid.  But if you wear two braids or two ponytails, lots of people think you’re trying to look younger than you are..in a tacky way. 

CORN: That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.  Who made that up?

I don’t know.

CORN:  I mean, is there an actual rule about not wearing two braids or two ponytails when you’re over fifty?

No.  It’s just…unspoken.  I’ve had long hair all my life.  Once in a while, I feel like making two ponytails or two braids, so I do it.  Then I look in the mirror and feel awkward and self-conscious.  My only hope is Halloween.

CORN:  Does everyone you know follow this bizarre law?

No.  Once I saw an older celebrity wearing two braids along with sparkling, dangling earrings, a white tee shirt and ripped jeans. She looked amazing.  It all hung together.

CORN:  So in your case, make the braids or ponytails part of a whole “look.” I have to admit, sometimes when I wear braids to pull my husk off my face, I fill in my empty kernel holes with little sparkles.

I love that.

CORN: I think it’s sad that you’re braid deprived.  While you’re here, want to hang out with me and my friend?  We love wearing braids and ponytails bigtime.

That would be great!  I envy you for not worrying about this stuff.

CORN:  We have our problems.  You should see the split ends on our husks.  Very hard to work with.

I can text you the name of my cream rinse!  It’s a little pricey, but it’s definitely worth it.

CORN: Thanks. That would be awesome.

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After that, the corn introduced me to her friend. She was right. They did have really bad split ends. 

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We had the best day anyway!  Although, I’m still not sure how to resolve the two braids issue in my own life.  Any thoughts?  When was the last time you wore two ponytails or two braids? (Note: I’m sorry I’m asking you to follow a fashion statement made by an ear of corn.)

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CONVERSATION WITH…A Mom Bird Feeling Helpless When Her Young Birds Text From Far Away

Traveling Over The Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I happened upon the Land of the Emotionally Distraught Moms.  At the entrance, I noticed a Mom Bird sitting in a tree beside her phone. She looked helpless.

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Excuse me, Mom Bird, do you need to borrow a phone charger?  I’ve got mine here.

MOM BIRD:  No thanks. That’s not why I’m an emotional wreck.

So, what’s bothering you?

MOM BIRD:  You know, I used to think the best thing about this exceptionally long beak of mine was I could dig up worms faster than any other Mom Bird. Turns out, that’s not the best thing about it.

Well then, what is?

MOM BIRD:  I can text my bird kids faster than anyone around here.  My beak-to-phone precision is amazing  as long as I don’t smash the screen.

I noticed you’ve had a few accidents.

MOM BIRD:  Yeah.  Well, I’ve had a lot of frantic moments and I’ve lost beak control. 

Like when?

MOM BIRD: It basically all started when my bird kids grew up and moved really far away from our nest.   It would take me weeks to fly to my son and daughter.  Plus my son is emotionally far away.  He doesn’t text unless he’s on the edge.

I’m a mom myself.  I know the deal.  It’s the reason my neck hurts.

MOM BIRD:  So you must know the worst part!  When my kids don’t feel well, or they’re very unhappy or don’t know how to handle something, even though they’re on the other side of the world, who do they call first?  Me!  Me!  And Me!

That’s the story of my life.

BIRD MOM: And what are we supposed to do about it? Who told them to move to the other side of the world?  I feel so helpless!!!!   I can’t hug them!  I can’t make them tea or a warm bowl of worm soup!  I can’t spread my wing across their foreheads to see if they have fever!  I can’t fly them on my back to the doctor!  SO, WHAT ARE THEY CALLING ME FOR?

Because no matter where our kids go and who they meet, we will always be “mommy.”

BIRD MOM:  And we’ll always be with them.

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RETURN OF…The Aging Raisin Mom Who Misses Her Millennial Grape Daughter

Walking down the Yellow Brick Road, I heard a tiny voice calling me. I looked down and noticed a yellow raisin trying to get my attention. 

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RAISIN:  Hi!  Remember me?  I’m the raisin mom with the millennial grape daughter!

Yes!  Of course I remember!   We met a few blog posts ago.  But… you used to be a brunette, right?

RAISIN:  Yeah. I went to a colorist.  What d’ya think?

I love you as a blond.  What made you decide to do a makeover?

RAISIN:  Honestly, I’m covering up a lot of sadness.  I needed a different
“look” to take me out of my misery.  Which it hasn’t.

What’s wrong?

RAISIN:  Remember my millennial grape daughter was planning to move to a vineyard on the other side of the country? Well, she did. Now the dust has settled and what’s done is done.

How’s your grape daughter doing?

RAISIN: I just got a text from her that says, “I’m sitting in the most beautiful vineyard in the world, on a perfect day with the sun shining down gently and a cool breeze whispering by.  Also, my best grape friend from home just told me she’s definitely moving out here! This is probably the best day of my life.”

I guess you have to admire how brave your daughter is to go out in the world and make a place for herself.

RAISIN: I know that in my head.  But in my heart, I’m so sad you probably shouldn’t be talking to me.

Quite the opposite.  I like it when people are honest enough to say they’re sad.  It makes me feel less alone sometimes.

RAISIN:  Well then, you asked for it. I’ll start by saying I wasn’t expecting my daughter to go as far away when she grew up.

What were you expecting?

RAISIN:  I thought we’d always live near each other.  We’d see each other every few weeks—meet for lunch or coffee, browse in stores or see a show.  And if she decided to have kids, I’d be a regular part of their lives.  And… if a time came when I couldn’t watch over myself, she’d watch over me. The whole thing makes me so sad.

Well–

RAISIN:  I’m not finished.  I’m sad that the experiences I was expecting to have with my daughter don’t matter as much to her…because she moved away.  I’m sad the adult friendship we developed will mostly be reduced to conversations on a screen or on a phone. But most of all, I’ll miss having that lovely person in my life all the time.

Any chance you can visit her a lot?

RAISIN: Traveling is tough for a raisin. It’s easy to fall in the cracks between the trains and the platforms.  And any time I reserve a seat on public transportation, someone sits on me.

I don’t like traveling either.  Too much anxiety.  But you know, there’s a chance your daughter will come back.

RAISIN: That’s true.  I mean, she calls her move “an adventure.”  But there are no guarantees.

I guess for now, maybe you can try to be proud that you somehow gave your daughter the strength to be who she wants to be.

RAISIN:  That makes sense.  She’s doing what’s right for her.

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I wanted to spend more time with the raisin, but at that moment she realized she was about to be late for a reunion with a few fruit friends she hadn’t seen in a very long time.  When they met up, they hardly recognized each other!  But as I watched them start to chat, I marveled at the way they immediately reconnected with the beauty they’d seen in each other long ago. They asked me to take this selfie:

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CONVERSATION WITH… the ocean… Living forever doesn’t solve it all.

I sat down on a beach beside the Yellow Brick Road and I ended up having my most challenging conversation.

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Hey Ocean, do you have a few minutes to talk?

OCEAN: I’ve got time. Been here forever. Here now. Looks like I’ll be around eternally.  What brings you to these parts?

I’m looking for my spark.  As I get older, I’m not sure where I fit in the world.   It’s calming sitting here with you.  You remind me how small I am. How I must be part of something bigger.  The little things I worry about every day don’t matter as much.

OCEAN: I appreciate your kind words.  After millions of years, I think I’ve got it down.

Actually, I envy you. You’ll be here forever.  I can’t imagine how that feels. Sometimes getting older makes me so sad.

OCEAN: Quote honestly, eternity doesn’t solve everything. I’m dealing with some deeper stuff under the surface.

Like what?

OCEAN: Well, I carry a lot of life inside me. Fish, reptiles, plants, insects…life on every level. And human beings surround me. But there’s just so much I can do for them. The wind and gravitational pull around me controls what ultimately happens.  I still feel responsible.  Everything’s my fault.

Sounds like how I feel about being the mom of my two adult children.  I can be supportive. But I can’t save them.  They’re on their own paths now.

OCEAN:  It’s hard to admit this, but through the years, I’ve done some devastating damage. Unintentionally.  You know, being part of hurricanes, tidal waves, floods has destroyed lost of lives.

I’ve messed up my kids’ lives in some ways, too.  Like, I encouraged one to try to achieve more than he could.  The other doesn’t have a strong backbone because I did too much coddling.  Now I’m paying for those mistakes and trying to turn them around.

OCEAN:  Good luck to you. That’s hard.

I guess it helps to remind ourselves we’re doing the very best we can.

OCEAN:  So true.

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