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?

I’m stumped. I can’t answer that question, so I’d like to throw it out to everyone reading this post.  Do you have comforting or wise words for me or the Mom Bird?  Your thoughts will help us get through.  I think. I hope…

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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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CONVERSATION WITH…a blown out birthday candle

Continuing my journey over the hill on the Yellow Brick Road, one evening I arrived in the Land of the Blown Out Birthday Candles.  I wandered over to one who was only about an inch tall.  She looked as if she was in deep thought.

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 Hey Candle, mind if I ask what you’re thinking about?

CANDLE: I’m trying to figure out my ridiculous life at the moment.

Me too. What’s your issue?

CANDLE: I was at the top of my game.  In all my glory.  And then, in a split second, I was useless.

Woah, that’s traumatic.  What happened?

CANDLE: Well…to make a long story short, I was put on top of an amazing birthday cake.  I was surrounded by buttercream, icing, roses, the works. And I was right in the center of the cake!  Happy people surrounded me!  They were singing!  Someone lit my flame, and actually made a wish on me!  The peak of my career!  My greatest moment!!

And?

CANDLE: And then I was blown out. Kaput.  Now no one cares what happens to me.   Life can be so puzzling and cruel.

I’m with ya.

CANDLE: So, what are you doing here?

I’m trying to find my spark.  You know, the light that inspires me.

CANDLE: Me too! That’s my next move. The weird thing is, even though I’m older and shrinking, my flame is as strong and high as any full blown candle!  Here I am with my younger, blue boyfriend.  Check us out!

two eyeball candlesAwesome!

CANDLE: Yeah! I mean, age doesn’t seem to change the intensity of our light.

It’s interesting you should say that, because as I get older, I think the light inside me is weaker.  I don’t have the same forceful, inner glow I used to.

CANDLE: Nah.  I think we just have to re-channel what’s driving us.  I think that’s what changes over time, not the size of our flames.

Yeah but, the process can be tough. I mean, I used to love wearing high heels.  I loved buying eccentric shoes.  Now high heels really hurt my feet, so I don’t buy them anymore. Stuff like that just feels sad.  Like it’s the end of an era.

CANDLE: Yeah. That’s tough for humans. I’m glad I’m a candle.

Consider yourself lucky.

CANDLE: But I have my problems.  Like, it’s painful and terrifying to admit, but I’m only about an inch tall so I don’t think I have a lot of time left.  I’d like to mean something to someone as long as I can.

Yeah, I get what you’re saying.  So, how about if we take a selfie?  I stink at taking pictures.  But if we take the selfie, every time I look at it I’ll be reminded of the ongoing, strong light in all of us, as long as we’re lucky enough to be here.

CANDLE: I’m in.  Take the selfie.  I hope I won’t look fat.  Anytime you’re ready.

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CANDLE: You’re right. You do stink at taking pictures.

But I captured the essence.

CANDLE: True.

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Following up:  I stayed with the candle until her flame flickered and was no more. But at the moment her flame disappeared, I noticed a graceful stream of smoke escaping from her wick and dispersing in the air. So the candle is still with us.  Her flame has just taken a different form in the mysterious universe.

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CONVERSATION WITH…A Tree Feeling Fragile

While passing through a forest near the Yellow Brick Road, I heard a tree whimpering.  I stopped by.

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Hey Tree, are you okay?  

TREE:  Not really. It’s my 500th birthday…which isn’t completely weird for a tree of my type.

Then what’s the matter?

TREE:  I’m freaking out over the number.  I mean, I had no problem turning three hundred. Four hundred bothered me a little.

I can relate.

But five hundred! I’m pretty paralyzed by the whole thing.

Everybody tells me not to obsess with the numbers.

TREE:  But it’s more than that.  I feel different.  More fragile.  And I hate the way I look.

I think there’s something stunning and sensual about your starkness.

TREE: Really? Thank you.

But I know what you mean about feeling very, very fragile. I’m the same way. Whenever something needs to heal in my body these days, it takes a lot longer.

TREE:  Right. And the bark on my trunk is starting to fall off.   And I have root damage so I lean to one side.

Is that painful? 

TREE:  On and off. But I’m really worried about what’s gonna happen in the winter.  If there’s a huge icicle hanging from me, I could break a twig!   And in the spring, I won’t be able to hold birds’ nests and squirrels bouncing all over my branches anymore. I could break a whole branch.

I hear ya.

TREE:  And what if a mole digs too deep near my bad roots? I’ll fall!  I’m just  can’t be the nurturing mother to all those who depend on me anymore.

I try to modify it.  Sometimes I tell people about my aches and pains so I won’t have to push myself too far and get hurt. Like, I tell people I have a bad back if I need to carry something heavy.  I ask for help.

TREE: That’s an idea. I can tell the birds to go to another tree if I feel like I can’t handle them. But that also depresses me. I feel like I’m not as much part of the world as I used to be.

Yeah, I think that’s the hardest part of all this.

TREE: On the other hand, maybe there’s some good that comes from this sadness.

How do you see that?

TREE: Well, there are lots of  other older trees here in the forest.  We go way back.

So?

TREE: So if aging is a natural part of life, at least I have other old trees to share the experience with.  I mean, if we’re all going to grow older, there’s something beautiful and touching about others doing it with us.  Think about how lonely it would be to grow old all alone….while everyone else was young.

I’m touched.  

TREE:  But I’m still anxious.

Actually, I just thought  of a way you could still feel part of the world. Would you consider going into the wish business?

TREE: What are you talking about?

 I’ve seen trees around the world that try to help grant wishes.  Like, banyan trees are into it.

TREE:  I know a banyan in Hawaii.  How does it work?

Well, a person stands by a tree and makes a wish or hopes for something. Then the person ties a colorful strip of cloth on the tree’s branch, and that cloth stands for the wish.  Lots of other people come around and do the same thing till the tree is filled with awesome, colorful cloths.

TREE:  Wow.

And the cloths are lightweight.

TREE:  Ya know, I like that.  I’m gonna try it.  Instead of carrying birds and squirrels, I’ll carry wishes and hopes. Here I go… 

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CONVERSATION WITH…canned foods fearing their expiration dates.

Stopping in a Cafe on the Yellow Brick Road,  I noticed three moms who happened to be a can of peas,  a can of asparagus and a can of black beans. There were at the next table and seemed upset, so I started a conversation…

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Excuse me, cans. I don’t mean to butt in, but is everything okay?

ASPARAGUS:  NO! I’m sitting here with a stamp on me that says, “Best by July 15.” That’s so soon! And I had nothing to do with creating that date!  Who the hell has the right to say when I’m at my best?  That’s my individual decision!!

PEAS:  Exactly!  My stamp says, “Enjoy by July 30.”  It’s a mind game!

BLACK BEANS:  I’m gonna die!  I have an actual expiration date!  In two weeks!

ASPARAGUS:  It’s the power of suggestion that’s putting us over the edge.

I totally relate. The power of suggestion overtakes my life, too.  I mean, when someone tells me I’m a good writer, I think I’m a good writer.  And when someone says I’m a bad writer, I think I’m bad.

ASPARAGUS: That’s pretty screwed up.

PEAS:  But it’s the same way we’re feeling.  We’re emotionally trapped and can’t move on.

BLACK BEANS:  I’m claustrophobic to begin with and this is not helping.

To be fair, you know you’re labeled with dates for health reasons.  It’s a legal thing.  It’s not personal.

ASPARAGUS: Yeah but, how are we supposed to live with ourselves?

I have an idea. But you’ll have to relocate.

BLACK BEANS:  Everything’s a compromise.  It never ends.

PEAS: Hit us with it.

You could move to my freezer.

ASPARAGUS: Oh wow!  You would do that for us??

Yeah!  I mean, if you don’t mind hanging out with my low fat ice cream.  I’m trying to find my spark, and seeing you guys  mustering up the strength to put yourselves in a totally new situation will really inspire me.

PEAS: Thanks, but no thanks.  I hate the cold.  It makes my skin hard as a rock. I’m not going.

BLACK BEANS:  I’d miss my can. I don’t know if I could handle being in a flimsy freezer bag.

ASPARAGUS:  Yeah… but… the freezer bag “look” could be awesome.  OMG!  We could go freezer bag shopping!   Snap and seal!  Slider tops!  We’d look fabulous!

PEAS:  And we could see out the front and the back.  I could get into it.

BLACK BEANS:  I hate change.  And think about this!  Would our kids visit us in the freezer?  I don’t think so!!!!!

PEAS: The bottom line is, in the big picture,  we wouldn’t have our expiration dates looming over us anymore.

Right! There are no specific expiration dates on freezer bags. 

PEAS: It’s a more laid back lifestyle. The other problems it creates might fall into place somehow.

ASPARAGUS:  That would be a huge relief.

BLACK BEANS: I’ll consider it.

Well, the invitation is open.  

CONVERSATION WITH…CANNED FOODS FEARING THEIR EXPIRATION DATES: THE FOLLOWING WEEK

It looks like the cans of asparagus, black beans and peas made their move. 

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Congratulations!  You look awesome in freezer bags!  I love your purple and blue slider seals.  It took amazing strength to push yourselves beyond those labels.  And resilience.  And–

BLACK BEANS: Will you close the door?   We’re defrosting.

Oh. Right. Sorry.

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CONVERSATION WITH…THE WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST…Letting go of her water phobia later in life.

On sunny days, the Wicked Witch of the West is seen a lot here on the Yellow Brick Road.  She has a neurotic side.  It’s obvious she has severe water phobia, but she’s not completely crazy.  If water splashes on her, she’ll melt.  Here, she agrees to talk to me about her efforts to let go of her fear.

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Wicked Witch, what’s inspiring you to try to end your obsession with water after all these years?

WW:  Fear of being touched by water has prevented me from experiencing so much in life!  It’s strangling me! I finally want to be free of it!!!!

Yeah!  Water avoidance must make your life a total wreck!

WW:  I can’t take showers or baths, can’t go swimming, can’t go to the beach. When I cook, I can’t spill water on myself or wash the dishes, so I always pick up take-out. And the obvious one, I can’t go out in the rain.

I definitely understand your feelings.  I can’t stand being in elevators, planes, total darkness…to name a few.

WW: That’s the only reason I agreed to talk to you.

Thank you.  But in your case, you have a real reason for being water phobic.  It’s connected to death in a serious way.  Has something extreme happened in your life recently that has changed your perspective?

WW:  My sister died.  You know, she was just walking around Oz, minding her own business, when a house came down from the sky, dropped on top of her, and killed her. That blew my mind, and now I see we’re all out of control in the universe and never know what the next moment will bring.  Why not take chances?

So how are you gonna change?

WW:  I’m going out in the rain.

Wow! But if water splashes on you, you’re still as likely to melt as you were before.

WW: That’s why I’ll wear a wet suit, scuba mask, flippers, a rain slicker, a rain hat, rubber gloves, and carry an umbrella.

I see you’re taking it in small steps.

WW:  Exactly.

Well, I admire your courage and wish you the best of luck.  And I appreciate that you haven’t ordered flying monkeys to tear me apart.

WW: The day isn’t over.

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FOLLOW UP NOTE:  Shortly after I spoke to the witch, unexpectedly, a young girl, Dorothy, tossed a bucket of water on her and killed her.  I believe we’re all made of good and bad, so the witch leaves behind a powerful message.  She was determined to continue to let go of what was holding her back in life until the very end.

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CONVERSATION WITH…A Mom Grape Struggling To Let Her Millennial Daughter Go… Part 1

Here on the Yellow Brick Road, I  met up with a mom grape who doesn’t know where she fits in her daughter’s life anymore.  They both took time out from cleaning their house to chat.

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MOM GRAPE:  Just to clarify. In the photo, my daughter is the bright green, vibrant grape on the right, and I’m the shriveling one that’s losing her color, on the left.

DAUGHTER GRAPE: Mom, I don’t see you that way. When I look at you, I see my really sweet mom.  All my friends always say, “I love your mom. She’s the sweetest.”  It’s so true.

MOM GRAPE: Aaah.  How do you think of such sweet things to say?

DAUGHTER GRAPE:  I’m a grape.

So Mom Grape, is your appearance the reason you don’t know where you fit in your daughter’s life?

MOM GRAPE:  It goes deeper.  When I look at my daughter I say to myself, “I used to be just like her. I was that grape. I knew her.”  Now I’m just someone in her shadow.

I know how that can be.  I go through that with my daughter.  Do you feel that way all the time?

MOM GRAPE: More so when my daughter and I go to a store.  The cashier always pays attention to her and I’m just in the background. Or when other fruits whistle at my daughter, I don’t exist.

DAUGHTER GRAPE:  Mom, the whistling is so annoying.

MOM GRAPE:  Yeah. But I still want to be invited to the party. I guess I should remind myself it doesn’t matter because I have the most charming, resourceful, talented, creative, fun loving daughter, and I’m so lucky to have her in my life.

DAUGHTER:  Mom. That’s the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me.

MOM GRAPE:  I forgot to say you’re smart, too.

So is there any other reason you feel you don’t fit in your daughter’s life?

MOM GRAPE: Yeah. She’s moving away.

What?? Where?

MOM GRAPE:  To a vineyard where the weather’s always warm and sunny. I don’t know how we’re going to see each other as often as we do now. But it’s her dream, so I’m happy for her. And I’m going to help her move there.

That’s very sweet of you.  When you get to the vineyard, do you mind if I stop by to see how you’re getting along?

MOM GRAPE: Sure.  Come on down.

CONVERSATION WITH A MOM GRAPE AND HER MILLENNIAL DAUGHTER…PART 2

On the Yellow Brick Road, I’m here following up in a sunny, hot vineyard with mom grape and her daughter.  How are you guys doing?

DAUGHTER GRAPE:  Mom got a little too much sun.

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Mom grape? Care to comment?

MOM GRAPE:  I’ll say this much.  I’m happy my daughter feels like it’s a fit down here in the vineyard and she enjoying her life and she found her place in the world. And I’ll always be there for her if she texts or calls and I’ll visit as often as I can.

DAUGHTER:  Mom, you’re the sweetest you’ve ever been. No wonder you’re a raisin.

MOM GRAPE: Well, you know what they always say.  When you grow older, your strongest personality traits stand out.  But I don’t want to be overwhelmingly nice and pleasant.  What should I do when you’re not calling or texting or I’m not visiting?

DAUGHTER GRAPE:  Follow your sweetness.  No matter how old you get or what you look like, it’s what we all see.

CopyrightOverthehillontheyellowbrickroad 2017