It is easy to remember, the slights that impacted us years ago. Sitting in the quiet darkness of our own space, knowing that things were done, things were said that drove us to recall. That is the easiest thing for any person to do. To dissect the reality of the things that were. Where we pull the threads of the moment, the slight, the injury until it grows. Becoming larger than life itself. The memory is becoming a mighty redwood tree. Large enough that a road can be driven through it, but nothing gets through. The redwood stopping all the flow. None, the tree seems to say inside of us, none shall pass. We can; we do, remember all those slights: the things that were said, the comments and the actions that made us feel like the world was against us. To be driven to us, with the intent of injury.
It is easy to remember. It, remember is the path of least resistance — the easy way to solve the memory. The Rubik’s cube, all blue, already solved. We don’t have to do more with it; it is already all one color on all sides. It is so easy to hold those moments, those memories tight to us. Never to let them go. They are the source of the pain, the injury and in the end, they remain. We don’t have a path where they are gone on their own. They exist separate of us and beyond us. They are the slights we carry — the slings and arrows of the past that do not argue. You cannot argue with pain that was. You cannot find a way around the things that were.
It is easy to remember. It is oh so hard to forgive, to move on. To take the blame and wadding it up throw it into the trash. Remembering the good things. Remembering the things that opened doors. The things that freed us. Helped us in fact. It is so much better for us to remember but forgive. Forget perhaps, for all slights have two sides. The edge of the other side may be just as sharp. In within warning and hiding, we carry the pain forward. We cannot forgive ourselves. In not forgiving ourselves we leave the pain to fester. It grows to become a mass that is larger than we are. We can’t lift it eventually or move it. It, the festering anger becomes bigger than we are.
It is easier to remember.
It is oh so hard to forgive.
memories can be painful
All the pictures shared today come from Christmas Day December 25, 2018. Some of the pictures were taken by my daughter. Some of the pictures were taken by me. The first set of pictures shared are of the dogs. Many years ago we had a tradition that when opening presents Fran, our lab at the time, would wear a bow on her head. Raven is the lab that loves to play dress-up and wear clothes. She wore the Bow on Christmas Eve. The hilarious thing is, she is so careful not to knock the bow off. Fran had the bow off within 10 seconds. Half the fun of older Christmas pictures was watching my daughter scramble to get the bow back on Fran before the pictures. Raven doesn’t let the bow come off her head, but again her favorite things are dress up!
The dogs all wore sweaters. Now Tamsyn and Raven, both love to wear clothes. Raven with her White seater was having a blast all day. Serenity and Dylan don’t normally really love sweaters. Tamsyn does because they keep her warm. She tends to get cold during the winter. Serenity wears them, but she isn’t happy about it. Dylan very seldom wears sweaters. It just so happens that in the process of moving out of the house, my daughter found Fran’s old sweater. Dylan is the only dog that was around when Fran was still alive. I suspect the sweater still smells like Fran. Dylan happily wore the sweater all the way to the time we went to bed. It managed to come off during the night, but was on the bed when we found it two days alter!
The last few pictures are of the Ebbel Skiver pan and creating breakfast on Christmas day. I like making Ebbel Skivers in the pan first because it heats consistently. I learned, from my father to make Ebbel Skivers on the stove. I learned quickly that having a gas stove or an electric stove made the process difficult. The pan would slide on the stove as you flipped the Skivers. You’ll notice the second picture is steamy, that comes from the cooking process as the pancake batter releases water into the air. The camera was a little too close, so it ended up steaming over. Once you flip the Skivers and they are done, you can roll them in powdered sugar. Then serve them warm, They are also good cold. The tradition is the first three batches are usually consumed by the kids. The dogs each get one (that was a popular batch) and then finally the father gets a couple at the end!
A holiday past, I shared some holiday pictures from when the kids were little, today, the day after some of the pictures of the kids now. Well from two days ago, but I don’t think any of them grew in the past 48 hours. With my daughter and her finance having moved out, they returned for Christmas Eve dinner (and again for Christmas breakfast). Their new house in the north of us, but still in Maryland. It makes it easier for both of them although my daughter does have to drive a lot further now than she did in the past. For the next few weeks of the transition, and maybe beyond, they are dropping their dogs off at our house to visit during the day. So the grand-dogs are here now.
I wrote previously about the gift that parents give their children. I know that I have at times forgotten the many wonderful things both my parents did for me. It is really easy to blame your parents for the failings in life. It is their fault; they made choices. I suspect many people suffer from that issue, blaming their parents for all the things that didn’t go the way they would have liked. The thing about being a parent is you have to decisions, not that benefit yourself, but decisions that benefit your family. Parents have to consider so many more things that the wants of children. It makes for contention at times, as the child expands what they perceive to be their sphere of influence.
My mother once told me the best thing for her (the early years of children) was when her children were suddenly people that she was proud to call a friend. Yes, there were difficult years. My mom and I argued frequently, my father and I argued frequently. That is the stage we are entering with our daughter and will be entering with the twins soon. Transitioning from parenting all the time, to being friends. Yes, always the parent, always parenting but no having to be the parent or parenting all the time. It can be difficult to make that transition because it requires both sides engage. Both sides have to be part of the move forward. If one side is locked in a battle with the past, neither side and move forward.
It is the last job of a parent and having done it now the hardest.
The smiles are worth the staying up late and putting together toys. Over time the reality of Christmas fades for children. They, forget the things parents did when they were little. Then, they find themselves as the creators of Christmas and well the cycle starts anew! My wife, my mother, and my sisters have always extended themselves to create the best family Christmas’s. I will always be in their debt on this day for the wonder and joy they have worked so hard to bring to all of us. My dad’s special Christmas breakfast was one of my favorite holiday traditions. This year I tried to recreate two of his signature meals. I didn’t do as well with the crown roast (it was more towards the rare side) because of the change in time for the event. But it was fun to try.
This morning a traditional dad Christmas Breakfast. There are many things our parents give us that we don’t pay homage to, memories, gifts, and support. We sometimes forget to stop and say “thanks mom, thanks, dad.” I know my parents put together toys for us when we were kids. Staying up late and assembling the toys. One of my favorites was after the lunar landing my dad bought a motorized astronaut set. He enjoyed it so much, that while assembling it, he played with it to the point of draining the batteries. I was told Santa had forgotten batteries, but we would pick them up the day after Christmas. I can’t say as I cared, I loved playing with the toys anyway. With or Without Batteries.
My Christmas day share for 2018 remembers all the wonderful things my parents did for me. It wasn’t just this day, this moment that they were there. They picked up the pieces for me when I was crushed. They celebrated the great moments, and they always waited up to make sure I was safe. They yelled at me when I screwed up (which happened I am sure far more than my parents would have wished, but I was a kid still learning). My mother and father taught me to swallow pills. After I slammed into a tree in Cambridge Wisconsin, my mother taught me basic first aid. I still use the lessons my mother taught me then, to take care of those around me. Be calm, clean the wound and access the damage. Those who panic end up in worse shape.
We disagree, argue and struggle to separate from our parents. That is a part of life that all undergo, but sometimes you just have to stop and say Thanks, mom, Thanks, Dad. Your gift of time, of taking care of us during crisis and celebrations is not something we thank for enough!
It is easy to remember. It is hard to forgive.
Yesterday I shared the 1998 images from Christmas. 1999 is missing. Well, the pictures exist they are just not stored in a folder called 1999 Christmas. They are in another folder; I am sure I will find them again. But for today as we reach the Eve of Christmas, 2000 is the year. By 2000 we were fully back in Indiana. Our days in Ohio now behind us as we moved forward. This was the begging of my traveling career. I would be on the road from Monday – Thursday most weeks. There were times I worked with Indiana customers. Those were the days when I got to drive there and back and again!. Columbus Indiana, Fort Wayne Indiana were both car destinations, as were locations in Indianapolis. There are not many companies left in Indianapolis overall.
We had settled into the routine that would be a constant for the next 11 years. Waking up early in the morning, after spending the night before putting together the toys for the kids. Bleary-eyed adults taking pictures of happy children as they received their gifts from Santa. We would be using our then Satellite TV, play the Christmas music channel. The rule was the kids waited at the top of the stairs (while I made coffee) then they came down. Once the presents were opened, we would head from Greenwood to Bloomington. Mom and dad would host the Christmas Luncheon every year. At times we would also go down to Bloomington on Christmas Eve.
That was the routine for 11 years. That changed of course in 2011 when we moved to Maryland. Then we would arrive a couple of days before Christmas in Bloomington and be there for the early morning at mom and dad’s house. As is often the case as families age first our daughter couldn’t make the trip to Bloomington. She was working various jobs and of course, had to be available to work Christmas Eve. We only spent one Christmas in Maryland before this year (I was sick with an inner ear infection. I wasn’t able to come downstairs until the middle of Christmas Day to celebrate). This is the first year we haven’t gone to Bloomington. But the first year in the last four where we get to spend it with the twins, our daughter and her Fiancé! Funny how things change over time.
like a dog with a bone….
When I was a kid, we spent time in Bangkok Thailand. My father worked for UNESCO. They, UNESCO were building on the foundation laid by the US Peace Corps in Thailand. Now, layer on a secondary education system. My father was there to help build out the Science Education program for the entire country! But on the way to Bangkok and ultimately later my trip to Holland there were many stops. We started on our trip to Bangkok spending a week in Ireland. Just across the Galway Bay from Galway Ireland. We then wandered to Paris France for a week. My father was being briefed by UNESCO as to his job and responsibilities. Ireland was fun! Paris was fun as well. We stayed in an old hotel and croissants (warm) and milk (warm) every day for breakfast.
On the way to Thailand and on the way back, we didn’t stop in Amsterdam, or for that matter Holland at all. I got the opportunity to go to Holland later. The pictures today are of the old town experience in Amsterdam. A mix of both how people live now, as well as how they lived many years before. These pictures, taken before my wife got to go to Paris, were one of the reasons that she desired a trip to Amsterdam. The other being that her mother was a native of Holland. These pictures of the windmills spoke to her (we did end adding Amsterdam to our European Vacation in 2016). This first trip was just me, wandering Amsterdam with a coworker. We were teaching a class and had a day of sightseeing beforehand.
I have been back to Holland a couple more times. Once I spent an entire two weeks in the fair city, working with a customer. Holland and in particular Amsterdam is one of the easiest cities to get around. Well, I should clarify that as a US national, I sometimes find it difficult to operate in the world of public transportation. Mostly because I didn’t have a lot of exposure to it. I did ride the L in Chicago. I have also ridden the Metro in both Atlanta and DC. But in Amsterdam you can get virtually anywhere in the city on the subway. You cannot as easily in Washington DC. I think you can argue that the best subways in the US are New York City. It isn’t like the subway in Europe.
Christmas is a big deal in my family. My grandfathers (both) loved the holiday season. My mom and dad also love the season. That made the Christmas of 1998 very special. The last grandchildren for my parents had arrived, and the family could now move forward. The struggle that was the six months of the pregnancy was over for us. 1999 brought a lot of changes, but this was still 1998. The twins were healthy; we were in our new house in Mt. Airy and Gwen was not eating dog food. From the first time the Twins were in their high chairs, Gwen stopped eating dog food! The twins were not the cleanest eaters by any stretch of the imagination, and Gwen was a smart enough dog to wait!
Food was going to fall; you just had to be patient, food was coming!
I miss Gwen sometimes; she was my first walk buddy. I could only take her on walks occasionally; she wasn’t good about other people, other dogs or for that matter other. But we would go for long walks she and I. She was not the walking dog that Dylan is. Dylan doesn’t let anything come between his walk and him. Period. Gwen didn’t mind as much about going or not going. I don’t think Gwen was a happy dog by nature. She was part of a lot of screaming about being fed and taken out when she was younger; I am not sure she ever recovered from that.
We had lights outdoors that year, 1998. We had a light up Reindeer and colored lights on the bushes. We didn’t often decorate the house, but we did that year. We would a few more times. We had decorated the house in Western Hills, stringing lights on the porch because my daughter wanted them! The same was true the first time we moved into our Mt Airy House and the house in Greenwood. We didn’t add lights when we moved to Maryland, but the kids were older then!
One of the things that I’ve been thinking about is starting the Family history challenge. Share 100 pictures of your family and some stories that go with either your family, your family, and the pictures or just the pictures! I haven’t committed yet to do that, but it is something I am thinking about! I don’t have the rules clear in my head yet, perhaps ten posts each with ten pictures like I said I am not issuing the challenge yet!