by Matuschka Lindo
There is something nice about having your teenage daughter set the Thanksgiving table, and your teenage son vacuum the entire house, and everyone helping to make the traditional family holidays special. The Christmas decorations went up in an hour this year with everyone unloading and unpacking and me just arranging. Commercials for Black Friday are everywhere as I lay in bed and drink my coffee until about 10:00am watching the news and not worrying about a shopping list. I haven't seen the inside of a classroom on a holiday in years. No treats to take or activity to help with. Welcome to the land of Midlife Holiday Magic. That to do list bubble of holiday activities finally bursts when your kids hit the teen years. As your kids get older its the perfect opportunity to create saner simpler holidays. They know you are "santa". They don't need the latest greatest Elmo where there are only 1,000 made. They don't need the tallest tree or to bake every cookie recipe or to clean out and carve pumpkins. Wipe your brow, get off the hamster wheel and put the super hero cape away. We did it! They have great memories and traditions to pass on. Let go of the chaos and focus on new rules, roles and overall holiday expectations with adult children.
Yes, there is that nostalgic part of you that misses the excitement of those little chubby faces running down the stairs at five in the morning to see if "santa" came. But let me rewind the entire holiday rat race for you starting with Halloween. Franticly searching for the last minute costumes for the costume parade. Buying pumpkins and carving kits that don't even frickin' work. Cleaning out the pumpkin slime and breaking every nail. Sweating over a turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes so you can hear them all whine how they don't like this icky food. You slaved over thanksgiving dinner and all they really want is kraft macaroni and cheese from the blue box. Throw in the damn pilgrim or indian costume for the thanksgiving feast at school. Then let's not forget about the top ten list of gifts that they want and all over the news all you hear is limited edition, or only a handful made. So what do we do... we go form a line to get that must have toy at the crack of dawn or if we can afford it way pay triple the price online. Then on Christmas day we watch them open that toy to the complaint of it being the wrong color or that it was Laa Laa not Dipsy that was their favorite. Hold on let's back up...
What the hell were we thinking letting our kids watch Teletubbies. What the hell was that show? How did we fall for a show where the sun cooed, these stuffed martian looking oversized characters all just giggled and the only word I can recall was Eh-Oh! I must have been sleep deprived to let my children watch this or stoned. WTH!!! Yes, much of it will be missed, (kinda-sorta-maybe-not) but at midlife it may be time to let certain traditions go and make room for new ones. Here are some meaningful holiday traditions
you can incorporate if you never had a chance to create some or if you need some new ones to experience with older children in the house.
Gifts... this is also a nice transition now that the real "santa" is exposed and accepting credit where credit is due. I also believe it all happens with the Grace of God, so we can't take all the credit. It's nice to get them what they need and surprise them with a thing or two. Need help? Here's a great 2015 gift guide for teenagers.
Now, the joy is shopping with them and throwing in a lunch or a dinner for great quality time. The smile and excitement are still there... maybe not from chubby cheeks running down stairs. But from shaven faces with chiseled features or glossed lips with twinkling eyes sporting mascara. The children are older but they still have a way of expressing their joy and your heart still melts at the sight. You see... the Miracle of Midlife Holidays is that the gift comes full circle. The memories outlast and survive all the material stuff. No amount of commercialization can tarnish the holidays at midlife. We ran that race already and even though we fell for a lot of it, the family traditions ran a steady pace along side all the hype. In the end the family and the spirit of the season are all that's left. It's a beautiful thing! We are Blessed.Keep looking forward so you don't miss what God puts in front of ya!Matuschka's Midlife... Telling it like it is...*Above photo courtesy of iStock
by Matuschka Lindo
Sure hope this blog makes sense as I've had a rough week losing another friend. My last male friend taken at only 54 years of age. Don't get me wrong my very best friend and partner in life will always be my dear husband Malcolm. Science says it's impossible for men and women to just be friends
and for the most part I agree. I am not one who really thinks a married woman should have a male friend. But I met Sean O'Brien when I was 22 years old, (before we even met our spouses) and damn I just could never get rid of him! HA! I set him up with so many college friends when we first met. Then my husband realized even after we got married that Sean was going to be the one male friend that wasn't going to drop off. But he also knew we never had a relationship, we were always just buds. (Thanks for putting up with us Malcolm and for trusting that you are my true love!) Sean and I were wild when we were single with no direction and usually up to mischief. When we each got married our friendship changed as it should... it found direction and evolved as we guided each other along the way sharing notes on how to tackle the bumps in the road that came up throughout the years. We had two meeting spots Carmelite Monastery or a local coffee shop. That's where we laughed, prayed and tried to navigate the compass of our lives. The talks were raw, the friendship was true and the navigation not always easy. The last five years the hardest of them all. Alas my Irish friend you no longer have to fight... you may now rest. God has put you on a course for eternal peace.
Oh my (deep breathe) friendship at midlife is hard. I feel like we are in the midst of adjusting to changes in our lives so there's no room for patience because the changes aren't pretty. We definitely don't have any time left for mean girls! Bye Bye Bitches! But really, midlife gets weird because your friends are a range of ages and stages... not like when you were in high school. Some are empty nesters they are doing new things working on redefining their relationships and families. Others are welcoming grandkids and traveling more to see them. Yet others are picking up and moving cities all together. So begins the friendship shift. Nothing intentional just life in motion. Throw in the lost of a few good friends and your world becomes a little more fragile. There are many other reasons that cause friendship loss at midlife.
I've said it before, I believe we all get a little more selfish as we age, because time is precious. We start becoming very particular with who we want to spend time with... not to mention we start cherishing more alone time.
Studies show for women in general it is very important to have good female friends. One article I found says that we need friends in midlife more than ever!
The studies also say surface friends aren't enough... we need true friends. It helps us through stress and with all that we have to deal with as we grow older. Down sizing into new neighborhoods with new people and new changes. No longer having kids and school or sports activities, to help us not only make friends, but plan our weekends. Dealing with aging parents, retirement, and health issues. It's a lot to swallow and a heavy cross to carry alone. I am so blessed to have True Female Friends. Friends who help me carry my cross, pick up the pieces, celebrate tragedies and victories. Maybe that's why it's just so hard for me when a friend is taken away. As I said it's been a tough year. The big guy upstairs has taken some good ones. Maybe it means I have new friends coming? Maybe my job is to spend more time with the ones I still have? I can honestly say that being a good friend isn't always easy. But to have a good friend you must be one, and taking the time to nurture a friendship is worth every bit of work it takes. This Thanksgiving I thank God for every one of my friends. The ones who have passed and the ones who are still here to celebrate life. May God keep you all in his special care until he brings us together again. Téigh le Dia mo chara na hÉireann- Go with God my Irish Friend~Keep looking forward so you don't miss what God puts in front of ya!Matuschka's Midlife... Telling it like it is...
by Matuschka Lindo
I think I mentioned that I tore three ligaments in my right ankle over the summer. I was in a cast for several weeks, then I moved into a boot for several more weeks and then finally I was in a brace for many more weeks. Needless to say it was miserable. All because I was pulling a box and stepping back and I rolled my foot while in tennis shoes. I chalked it up to just bad luck. Fast forward to about, oh say a few weeks ago. It's the end of the day and I am exhausted like everyone else. I run to get a pedicure and forgot to take my own flip flops. Therefore I have to borrow those rubber flimsy makeshift ones you get from the salon. It starts raining outside... (right about now everyone's imaginations are creating their own scenario, give it up this one is unimaginable.) I walk out of the salon with pretty toes and luckily my car is parked close, right in front of the salon. I take one step down the curb and yes, I go flying and I fall HARD! My Right foot that just got healed folds under and that knee hits the ground. My big toe is the only one that curled under as my fat arse lands on my foot as I hit the ground with a thud. (The above picture is EXACTLY how I landed just different foot and I am not kidding
) No getting up graceful here I am in excruciating pain. There is blood all over the knee, the toe has blood all over it not to mention the damn gravel and dirt now in-bedded in my Lincoln Park After Dark favorite polish! First concern, go back and get polish re done. Second, how am I going to drive home as my foot and toe are throbbing. To wrap this saga up I'll just end with an X-ray and MRI later I have a torn ligament in my right big toe with fluid in it and it hurts like HELL! Which got me to thinking, is clumsiness part of getting older?
How embarrassed am I to have to put another boot on. One friend thinks I need to be wrapped in bubble wrap. I'm not sure I believe at 40 something my brain has already started changing into that elderly category. It could just be that I am a little clumsy or that I need to slow down. Then again, I am not really been accident prone person. All of my injuries from before have come from a sport, like cheer leading or tennis. Yes, cheer leading is a sport stop it! Other studies I have seen believe clumsiness can come with anxiety. The studies show that anxiety traits can trigger clumsy behavior. Distracted thinking, shaky hands, sweaty palms, anxiety hesitation or over thinking. I don't really have anxiety I scored a 10 on the anxiety test, so that can't be the answer for me. How about you? Do you have anxiety? You can take a test to see how severe your anxiety is by CLICKING HERE.
I think clumsiness is just a part of life... yes you may get clumsier as you get older but sometimes you just have a couple of bad episodes. Here are some tips to help with clumsiness.
But even these tips aren't going to prevent you from falling or dropping things all the time. I wear gloves when I do dishes and I still drop a plate or two. I think I am at the age where I just have a lot on my mind. My kids are out late, one is away. There is a lot going on and I worry. That is probably my biggest problem. Not age, not anxiety, not even clumsiness just plain old worry. My mind wanders as I worry about all of those I love so much and they are so many of you. I can't stop the worrying. And with the worrying comes lapses in my mind while I am doing chores and yes just walking to the car. Who knows what I was thinking about when I stepped off that curb. I am sure my mind was way past my pretty toes and on to the next thing I needed to do. Probably what the hell was I going to cook for dinner?Keep looking forward so you don't miss what God puts in front of ya!Matuschka's Midlife... Telling it like it is...
by Matuschka Lindo
I am in a dressing room on a Friday night trying on some jeans. Next to me I hear a mom begging... I mean begging. "Please, Please just give mommy five minutes to try on a dress for daddy's party." There must be three kids in there whining that they are tired, asking why she needs a new dress and finally the reason this scenario is taking place. "Mommy when does daddy's plane come back."
There I was with my Starbucks decaf coffee (it was 6:30pm can't do caffeine) relaxing and calmly trying on jeans. I was on my own time getting ready to head home to switch clothes then go out and grab dinner. Remembering so well my pre midlife days of little ones as I listened to the frustration of the mother in the dressing room next to me. Time moved so much slower back then when my kiddos were toddlers. I only wore uniforms of khaki pants or jeans and a white or black top. I mean really, why invest in clothes when 9 times out of 10 I was going to find shit on me. Spit up, candy, ketchup, marker, the list is endless. Lack of time... not enough hours in the day to make everyone happy and still find time to take care of me. That is the #1 thing I do not miss. I still sometimes get overwhelmed with my families needs (actually more wants
than needs) and forget to take care of myself, but it's easier to take care of the problem now with young adults. With midlife comes more 'me' time. If I am going to be honest, I have to admit I love more 'me' time. Here are thirteen ways to take care of yourself!
The mounds and mounds of laundry I do not miss. I still get it occasionally when everyone is home. But no one plays a million sports anymore so there aren't multiple showers being taken with multiple outfits for the day. Thank you Lord as I hate doing laundry especially whites. Come to think of it... I hardly have any whites now. What the hell happened to all the white stuff? Odd! The dishwasher runs maybe twice a week now. I don't miss getting dinner ready and right when I need to set the table every damn thing is still in the dirty dishwasher that No One bothered to start. Nope I don't have enough dishes to even really fill it anymore. We run it half full, just because... I guess? We really never have all the plates in there anymore. But sitting at the table eating dinner without the full crew, that is an ache I am still working through. Needless to say the less laundry and dishes helps trump the pain. Cooking for two isn't bad
... even though our daughter is only a senior her activities keep her from the dinner table 4 nights of the week. With the final one getting ready to leave the nest I keep comparing the new freedom that is so close to the departure of full time motherhood. Not saying one is better than another, just noticing there are things I don't miss... quite a few actually.
Parent Teacher conferences, thank you for all you do but that was like speed dating for my children hated it! Homework hours and hours... enough said there. Makes me vomit just thinking of them struggling or crying at the table. Weekends booked with activities from the crack of dawn until sunset. I loved it when I did it. It was fun and I enjoyed the camaraderie but I am over it now. I like a Saturday with a paper, magazine and a coffee. Is it wrong to not miss those jammed packed Saturday's? I think for everything there is a season... been there done that. Oh I am so close to a few things that are winding down. After parties can't wait for that to be done with, along with sleep overs. My last spring break in some godforsaken Mexico destination... what is it about that? I have offered New York City, Paris anywhere and nothing works. I think parents should celebrate when the last senior spring break is checked off the list. Jesus, Mary and Joseph that can't come soon enough. I would say in todays blog I hit pre mid-life and the beginning of mid life. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed every stage when I was in it, but the closing of some of those chapters... let's just say it's time. Here are some new opportunities to think of after the kids are gone.
You don't have to love every stage. It's okay to admit there are things you can say good ridden too!Keep looking forward so you don't miss what God puts in front of ya!Matuschka's Midlife... Telling it like it is...Above image by www.dailymail.co.uk