Conversation With…Mother of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer…about empty nester worrying

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I came to a huge building known as “The Worriers’ Warehouse.” In my older age, I worry more than ever. So I went inside and immediately noticed an older reindeer nervously biting her hooves. It was easy to start a conversation:

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Hey Reindeer, what are you worried about?

RUDOLPH’S MOM: My son Rudolph.

Wait. Are you telling me you’re Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’s mother?

RUDOLPH’S MOM: Yes. And I’m constantly refilling my Valium prescription.

Why? What could you possibly be worried about? He’s Santa’s personal assistant! You raised this heroic, caring reindeer who pulls a sleigh filled with presents to children all over the world.

RUDOLPH’S MOM: Christmas Eve makes me crazy for the entire year. It takes me 364 days to recover from it.

Why?

RUDOLPH’S MOM: How would you like it if your son flew across the sky all night lugging a five billion ton sleigh filled with gifts? What’s holding him up there anyway?

Magic?

RUDOLPH’S MOM: Not the most reassuring concept for a mother. What if he makes a crash landing?

I never thought of that—

RUDOLPH’S MOM: Or if he doesn’t crash, what about his physical health? He’s dragging a sleigh full of gifts for kids all over the world with just a few other reindeer. He could pull his back out.

I see your point.

RUDOLPH’S MOM: Not to mention, my Rudolph could pass out from exhaustion! Thirst! Hunger! It’s a busy night! No breaks! Very high pressure! And I know him! He’ll never say no!

Another point well taken.

RUDOLPH’S MOM: And what if Rudolph has to fly through a blizzard? Or a tornado? Or a severe thunderstorm? Who knows how high those reindeer go? My son could be hit by a meteor! Or slam into the moon! He could—

All this makes complete sense, but you’re not alone. I worry about all kinds of things with my adult kids, too.

RUDOLPH’S MOM: Like what?

Bad relationships, lack of relationships, driving at night, driving too fast, driving when the sun is rising and blocking vision, driving when the sun is setting and blocking vision, traveling in planes, buses, trains, taxis, living on pizza, needing help when there’s no one around–

RUDOLPH’S MOM: Okay, okay. We’re on the same worrying page.

But with all that, I also think we’re giving our kids one big, giant, great gift.

RUDOLPH’S MOM: Oh good. Because I never know what to get Rudolph for Christmas. What’s the gift?

The gift of freedom. That way, our adult children can DO all the things we worry about. They have a chance to figure out where they belong in the world. When we don’t call or text them every five seconds or stalk them on Facebook, we’re letting them go. It’s a gift. Even though it kills us inside.

RUDOLPH’S MOM: Well in that case…why can’t we just say to ourselves we raised mature, intelligent beings who can take care of themselves and make good choices? What if I stopped worrying about my millennial reindeer so much?

What if I stopped worrying about my adult kids so much?

RUDOLPH’S MOM: Would something be missing from our relationships with our children?

Yes. Our connection.

RUDOLPH’S MOM: Are you sure about that?

No. But I worry about it.

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How do you control the amount you worry about those you care about? (This includes pets.)

CONVERSATION WITH…The Cheshire Cat from Wonderland…about virtual friendships in older age

Over the Hill on the Yelllow Brick Road, I saw a grinning cat sitting in a tree. A moment later, the cat disappeared. The next moment, he appeared on the top of a bush. Then strangely, his body faded. All that remained was his smile and his eyes. Was it possible he was the Cheshire Cat from the story of Alice in Wonderland? I had to ask!

cheshire cat

Hey—are you—

CHESIRE CAT: Yes I am. The Cheshire Cat.

But, you live in Wonderland. What are you doing here? How did you get Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road?

CHESHIRE CAT: How does anyone ever get anywhere? With great difficulty.

I suppose.

CHESHIRE CAT: But I just had to come. Like the rest of you here, I’m growing older and trying to figure out where I belong in the world. I’m having trouble relating to the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, and the others the way I used to. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I’m changing. I’m obsessing with my age.

That’s how I ended up Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road. I was looking for friends who understood what I was going through. I wasn’t sure where or how I’d find them, but I felt compelled to look.

CHESHIRE CAT: I’m looking for others, like me, who can appear and disappear in older age.

 Oh. Well, I’m sorry I can’t help you. I don’t do that.

CHESHIRE CAT: Of course you do.

What? How?

CHESHIRE CAT: You’re a blogger. And so are most of the others who are reading my words right now. Your relationships with each other appear and disappear with a tap of an electronic device. As soon as your phones or computers are turned off, you’re gone. And as soon as you return to the internet, you appear.

You know, you’re right—

CHESHIRE CAT: The question is, if your blogger friends are virtual, are they real?

Well, you appear and disappear, and you’re real.

CHESHIRE CAT: Fair point. But how can you be sure?

Because though I can only see your grin and your eyes at the moment, I feel your spirit as you speak. The same is true with my virtual blogging community.

CHESHIRE CAT: Hmmm…Anything else?

Well, when I don’t have access to the internet, I’m sad. I miss my virtual friends.

CHESHIRE CAT: Hmm. Do say more.

Since virtual bloggers and I communicate through posts and comment sections, we say exactly what we want to say, very concisely. No small talk. And we speak from our hearts.

CHESHIRE CAT: Intriguing.

Also- I never worry about the way I look when I communicate with virtual friends. I don’t have to clean my house before I speak to them. I don’t have to make special appointments to get together and then change my schedule around. We appear to each other, and disappear, whenever we’re ready.

CHESHIRE CAT: Increasingly interesting…

And, if I can’t leave home due to health issues or other problems, my virtual community is still there. We communicate the way we always do. So, though I have never met these amazing people in the flesh, they MUST BE REAL.

CHESHIRE CAT: It’s a distinct possibility. In that case…when I return to Wonderland, might I join your virtual community? May I follow your blog?

I would love that.

CHESHIRE CAT: Thank you.

So…I guess you’re saying…you don’t think it’s insane that I call a virtual community of people, who appear and disappear, my friends?

CHESHIRE CAT: Do I think it’s insane? Well…you know what they say in Wonderland. We’re all mad.

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Are you real?

CONVERSATION WITH…A Sunshine Blogging Award

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, a blogging award started following me. I wondered what it wanted.

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Excuse me, Sunshine Blogging Award, can I help you?

BLOG AWARD: Actually, I can help YOU. RudyMariee from the blog: http://www.visionsandgiggles.com/  has nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

Omg! That’s so flattering and such an honor!  Especially coming from RudyMariee. She’s an amazing writer. Every one of her posts is so genuine. She writes from her heart, is funny, and I always relate to the way she looks at life and her family. So, I’ll take the award.

BLOG AWARD: Hold your horses. You haven’t won yet. First you have to do a few things.

Like what?

BLOG AWARD: Start by linking your blog back to http://www.visionsandgiggles.com Actually, I just did that for you.

Thanks. Now I’ll take my award.

BLOG AWARD: Nope. Now you need to answer eleven questions about yourself that RudyMariee created below.

Okay, here I go.  Here are the answers to RudyMariee’s questions:

  1. Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I hope to reside permanently Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road.

  1. If you could change one thing about the current world, what would it be?

Revise gun control laws in the United States.

  1. Why did you start blogging?

Throughout my career, I’ve been a writer. I’ve always compromised with those who have hired me in order to “get the job done.” My blog is just my own writing voice. No revisions. No rewrites. For better or for worse.  🙂

  1. What advice would you give to new bloggers?

Follow your heart. You’ll reach those who will “get you” and they will follow you.

  1. What is the most interesting or most unusual thing about you?

I wrote for Sesame Street for twenty years, so I spent a lot of time with the Cookie Monster and the Snuffleupagus.

  1. What would be your idea of a perfect day?

Being left alone. I’m really a cat disguised as human.

  1. What are you most passionate about?

My family, writing, eating.

  1. What are you planning to do differently in 2018 in regards to your blog?

In April, I have a book coming out which is based on my blog. It’s called, “Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road.” It has a story that I might incorporate into my posts.

  1. Have you found anything particularly difficult about your blogging journey?

Making enough time to read all the amazing blogs I follow.

  1. What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

Biographies and autobiographies about artists.

  1. If you could be anyone for 24 hours, who would it be?

        Albert Brooks. He makes me laugh the hardest.

BLOG AWARD: Nice job.

Fine. I’ll take my award now.

BLOG AWARD:  Nope. Now you have to nominate eleven new bloggers.

Are you kidding me? That’s almost impossible. I read so many different kinds of blogs written by so many different, talented people. I cherish the exchanges I have with each and every one of them. How can I possibly choose eleven?

BLOG AWARD:  Just do it, or you won’t get your award.

Okay, how about this? I read blogs written by people who express themselves through words, art, photographs, humor, food, poetry, fashion, spirituality, health and pets. I’ll nominate one or two bloggers from each category, and they’ll represent all the awesome blogs I read on all those topics.

BLOG AWARD:  Works for me.

So, to represent all the blogs I follow, I nominate these eleven talented bloggers for the Sunshine Blogging Award. They help look at the world differently every day:

https://www.shallowreflections.com/

https://3cstyle.com/2018/01/21/the-nature-of-change-and-the-nature-of-fashion/

https://deepasthoughts.wordpress.com/

https://grapegravy.com/2018/02/01/spicy-green-salsa/

https://sevencatsandcounting.wordpress.com/author/sevencatsandcounting/

https://claudiamcgillart.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/scrutinized-people/

https://roseelaineblog.com/2018/02/15/five-little-angels-10/

https://rabbitpatchdiary.com/

https://muddlingthroughmymiddleage.com/

https://mainepaperpusher.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/guest-in-jest-30-over-the-hill-on-the-yellow-brick-road/

https://soulgifts.com.au/author/soulgifts2012/

Now can I have my award?

BLOG AWARD:   Nope.  One more thing.  Write eleven new questions your blogger nominees must answer.  HERE ARE THE RULES: To be winners, your nominees will:

Thank you and link back to your blog.

Answer eleven new questions you will ask them below.

Nominate eleven new bloggers and write them eleven new questions.

List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Logo.

Okay. Here are the eleven new questions for my blogger nominees:

  1. From where do you draw inspiration for your blog?
  2. What’s the title of your favorite post and why do you like it best?
  3. If you could have a second home anywhere in the world or universe, where would it be?
  4. What’s your favorite childhood memory?
  5. Who is your favorite fairy tale character?
  6. What’s your favorite food?
  7. If you could be a flower or a tree, what kind would you be?
  8. Where do you go if you want to have a quiet, spiritual moment?
  9. If you could live one part of your life over again, what part would it be?
  10. Who is your favorite artist?
  11. What’s an adventure in your life you’d still like to have?

NOW? Now can I please have my award?

BLOG AWARD:  It’s yours.

Yaaay! Finally!  And, thanks again to RudyMariee  at:  http://www.visionsandgiggles.com/

I’m exhausted!  🙂

 

 

 

 

CONVERSATION WITH…A Gallery of Art by Bloggers

Today I arrived at the “Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road Art Gallery.”  It gave me an idea…

gallery
Hey Gallery, is there a manager I can speak to?

ART GALLERY:  I’m the manager.  As long as my walls don’t crumble and my plumbing works, I’ll keep running this place no matter how old I get.

Yeah—you must be really proud of all that you hold on your walls.

ART GALLERY:  It means the world to me.  I carry thoughts, dreams, visions, statements.  I carry the hearts of so many gifted people.

Totally. In that case, would you mind if I set up an exhibit here?  There are five bloggers who have invited me to guest post or have shared my blog on theirs.  Their art, photos and writing is so beautiful.  As a way to say a heartfelt thank you and let the world know about their work, can I set up an exhibit of links to some of their best creations?

ART GALLERY:  Absolutely.   I’ll keep it here forever.

Okay bloggers reading this post!  Click on each link, and you’ll definitely smile:

1.Linda has invited me to post as a “Guest in Jest” on her site on February 2. Her blog is about “crazy stuff that happens and things that amuse me.” I’m in love with Linda’s skunk photos. Click and scroll up to them here:

https://mainepaperpusher.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/black-white-vs-color-challenge/#comment-5668

2. Da Al invited me to share my post about a kitten I found Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road.  She posts on arts/cooking/dancing/joy/writing/tales and tails.  I have a special place in my heart for a piece she calls “silk hand and eye.” Click and scroll down to it here:

https://happinessbetweentails.com/2016/09/05/art-love/

3.Raili was inspired by one of my posts and shared it on her blog. She’s always “creating magic with words” through poetry, stories, and thoughts about health and well-being. I can’t stop staring at her purple tree photos:

https://soulgifts.com.au/2017/11/24/echoes-of-purple/

4.Elaine did a very kind shout-out to my blog. Elaine paints and writes while “living and following the light.” I especially love her fantasy work. Here’s her display of amazing paintings.

https://elainespaintings.com/

5.Barbara shares every single one of my posts on Facebook. She does incredible paintings and photographs.  The expression in the eyes of every animal she paints blows me away:

https://www.facebook.com/RosenbergMuseumOfArt/

That’s all for now!  Hope you enjoyed the art show!

CONVERSATION WITH…LITTLE BO PEEP…A BITTER EMPTY NESTER

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I noticed a woman with a sheep. Was it possible she was the famous Bo Peep who lost her sheep (from the Nursery Rhyme)?   Had one of her sheep come back? If she was Bo Peep, we had a lot in common! I’m an empty nester, too. I had to check it out…

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Hey there, by any chance, are you Bo Peep? You know, from the rhyme that goes, “Little Bo Peep, lost her sheep, and didn’t know where to find them.  Leave them alone and they’ll come home, wagging their tails behind them?”

BO PEEP: That’s me.  One sheep came back for a quick visit.  I’m smiling on the outside but crying on the inside.

Why?

BO PEEP: Here’s the part they never tell you about when you‘re an empty nester. When your kids come back to visit, you notice they’ve changed. And it hurts.

I get that. My daughter moved far away and when she comes back to visit, I see she’s adapted to her new environment.  She’s not exactly the same person she was when she left. It hurts to see that.  Selfishly, I miss who she used to be.

BO PEEP: Right!  And why do they have to go so far in the first place?  I mean, I raised my two sheep in a beautiful meadow with a sturdy fence so they’d always be safe.  I made sure they had organic grass to eat.  We settled in an area where the weather was perfect—not too hot and not too cold.  There were lots of nice sheep to hang out with. What more could sheep want?

Don’t ask me.

BO PEEP: Obviously it wasn’t good enough for my son sheep.  He whined it was too confining and homogeneous growing up in our meadow. He never wants to live here again.

So where did he move to?

BO PEEP: The African plains. He’s exceptionally fuzzy, so I worry he’ll pass out if he gets too hot. He’s not fenced in, so he wanders around wherever he wants to go—which makes me crazy.  And he’s seriously dating an elephant.

It’s a changing world.

BO PEEP: But it really hurts my feelings. I tried so hard to make a nice home for him.

All this hurts my feelings, too.  On the other hand, I remember when I was in my twenties and moved out of my parents’ house, I was sooo happy!  It was so freeing! I went out and did whatever I wanted whenever I felt like it! And I told my parents I hated where I grew up!  I said it was boring and superficial and I’d never come back.  I must have hurt THEIR feelings.

BO PEEP: Yeah.  Same here.  Before I was Bo Peep with Sheep, I was “Bo Peep with a Jeep.”  I drove that thing all over the world any time of day or night.  My parents never knew where I was. I was a wild woman.

I guess back in those days, we weren’t ready to be the women we are today.  We were…different. 

BO PEEP: And… now that my sheep are living away, I’ve become less active.  I’m quieter and take life a little slower.

Me too.  Maybe when our kids come home to visit, they also notice…we’ve changed.

BO PEEP: And it hurts them.

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­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Hey there dear blogger friends, I’m still struggling with this.  If you’re an empty nester, how do you feel when your kids come back and you notice they’ve changed?  Or if you’re a younger person and have left the home where you grew up, how do you experience your parents when you return for a visit?

 

 

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