In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Handle With Care.”
This is a direct quote from my mother who doesn’t take her own advice.
Explanation of this quote When you tell a lie the truth will catch up with you, some way, some how, sooner or later.
Explanation of Mom’s approach: She thinks it’s OK to tell a “little white lie” if necessary to avoid hurting the recipient’s feelings but more importantly to prevent the recipient from having a bad opinion of her or her family.
Example of Mom’s approach: Lie to her friend who has invited me to a (surprise) birthday party/open house for her friend’s Chabadnik second son-in-law who I have never met in my life. Now I love my mom’s friend and appreciate her invitation in this instance and all the prior ones and all the recognition my family and I have received from her over the years. So Mom lied in advance and told her I had other plans that day, which turned out to be true after the fact.
My preferred approach would have been to tell the truth in the first place, trusting that Mom’s friend knew me well enough to appreciate that I would rather spend the time with people I know and love than with somebody I’ve never met, have little in common with, and would probably never see again as we were both visiting in the area at the time.
I hardly handle anything with kid gloves. I prefer an honest direct approach.
As a retired Old Fart, I now have the time to do a lot of reading, including AARP The Magazine, from cover to cover. I found an article in the December 2014/January 2015 issue that I thought would do for Old Fart Friday. It was written by Anne LaMott, whose writing is summarized in Wikipedia as self-deprecating humor and openness and covering such subjects as alcoholism, single-motherhood, depression, and Christianity.
I am not an alcoholic, single mother or Christian, but enjoyed parts of her article inaptly titled “Have a Little Faith” but aptly subtitled “How getting older deepened my belief in goodness … and in myself” which I have excerpted below. Although I do believe in goodness, I’m not sure that getting older has deepened my belief in it. I agree with Ms Lamott, however, that getting older has deepened my belief in myself.
I was hanging out at the library with two old friends (who know that) sometimes the safety-deposit drawers at the memory bank get jammed. Our backs ache, and nothing has become higher, or firmer, in the past few decades (and) we laughed until the cranky young librarian glared at us. Getting older has given me more comfort in not knowing the answers. I throw up my hands more often now; I shake my head in wonder at how inscrutable life is. I have finally figured out that “Figure it out” is not a great slogan. My new slogan is “Who knows?”— which leads quite easily to “Who cares?
My vision has blessedly blurred. This is a great advantage when you’re trying to live more spiritually, more expansively, more like Zorba the Greek and less like the Church Lady. For instance, when I sit on my bed now writing on my iPad, the top roll of tummy sometimes creeps over onto the screen and starts typing away. In the old days, upon noticing this unsought collaboration, I would have decided to start a new diet, or to end it all. Now I think, “Who knows? Maybe it’s got something interesting to add.”
I thought when I was younger that faith was about the confidence to say the great Yes to my own deepest desires, and that is true, as far as it goes. But a deepening faith has also shown me that it’s OK to say No. Plus, it has shown me that the word “No” is a complete sentence. This realization led to the single most important life lesson of all: No one over age 55 ever needs to help anyone move again if they don’t want to. Our job now is to help younger movers, with their strong backs and SUVs, by bringing over sandwiches and Cokes. Period.
I have grown better at recognizing when I’m the one in need of forgiveness. Most surprisingly, though, I have finally learned to forgive myself for most of my disappointing character traits and iffier decisions.
Laughter leads to more loving feelings. And as we age, we laugh at ourselves more sweetly. Yesterday, for instance, my left eye suddenly began to hurt for no reason. I instantly assumed I had inherited my mother’s glaucoma, or ocular shingles, and that it most certainly would lead to a glass eye and a guide dog. And this was all in the 40 seconds before my eye just as suddenly stopped hurting. I sighed. Then I patted myself gently, as I would a friend, and said, “There, there,” and went to make myself a cup of tea.
Traditions: we’ve all got ‘em, especially around the holidays. What is it about my family’s traditions that keep them going strong for my children in our blended faith family?
I was raised by two liberal Jewish parents. The Hanukkah tradition in our home included lighting the menorah each night, then opening one of the presents that had been arranged around a three foot tall foil covered Star of David my dad made as a substitute Xmas tree. The presents grew in size (and probably in value) over the eight nights of the holiday. I think one year we might have broken Mom down and got a tree, which we euphemistically called a Hanukkah bush. Every year Dad put the blue and white “Xmas” lights in the window.
My spouse was raised as a Mormon and was married a couple of times to at least semi-Mormon women. He brought a lot of leftover ornaments to our marriage. I was pregnant when we celebrated our first Xmas together. He was so excited and told me that our baby had to have a Xmas tree, even if she wasn’t here to see it yet. I went along with it when he went out and purchased a new fake tree and put it up in front of the window in his house. He pulled out the recycled ornaments and lights and we decorated it together.
Fast forward about 3 or 4 years. We now have two daughters who are well acquainted with both their Jewish and Mormon grandparents and know that the beliefs of each are nowhere near the same. In the interim, every year, we put up the new fake tree with the recycled ornaments. By this age, the kids are in pre-school and other places where making Xmas ornaments is standard practice.
So we expanded the tradition by adding a menorah, and then two menorahs so there would not be fights over who would light the candles. I continued my family’s Hanukkah gift-giving practice starting on the first night with equal or equivalent dollar store items for each of my girls and ending eight nights later with equal or equivalent department or book or electronics store items. The kids made new ornaments and decorations at school and scouts every year. We also started to buy ornaments as souvenirs on family trips so over the years the new ornaments replaced the recycled ones, which were falling apart or breaking anyway, and the fake tree became a very real part of our holiday traditions.
Later, decorating and undecorating the tree were added as family activities. Our family, being non-traditional in many ways at this time of year, did it a little different than most I knew. Dad and Mom would take the tree out of the box and build it. Then Dad and kids would string the lights, followed by Mom and kids unpacking boxes of ornaments and decorations, trimming the tree and the house. The whole process, including participants, happened in reverse at the end of the season.
I’ve been fiddling around with wordpress for a few months now so had pretty much already established this info on my home (or is it about?) page which I think everybody can get to so they can see for themselves. Please ignore the size of my picture there, though. My ego is not that large so eventually I think I’ll at least try to convert that picture to thumbnail size.
As instructed, I’m adding tags, also from homepage + blogging101.
Hope to meet and chat with some of you in the commons, as soon as I register, of course!