Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jam and Bread

I know that everyone does not grow up in a family with really good parents. I was blessed to be able to. I have friends who grew up in less than ideal circumstances that are wonderful parents and I admire them so much.

Today while I was putting those extra strawberries in the fridge to good use by making some jam, my thoughts turned to my mom. How come it is that we don't know how wonderful our parents are until we are parents ourselves? Even then, it sometimes takes years of parenting to really appreciate the sacrifices and the effort that went into getting us out of the house in one piece. Well, maybe pieces!

My mom made the best jam and the best bread. When we (meaning all six of her children) needed to raise money for our various activities she would go downstairs and grind some wheat. It was a crazy loud wheat grinder, but when we heard it going we always knew that there was going to be a treat in store. She would then spend the afternoon making mini loaves of whole wheat bread that we would take around the neighborhood in our little wagon and sell for a couple of dollars a loaf.

Because I grew up with home made bread, it's something I bake every now and then. I'm trying to think of how long it's been since I made bread from scratch? Okay, banana bread doesn't count. It's been awhile. I have this love hate relationship with yeast. I don't think baking bread or making jam will ever go out of style, but I do think it's becoming a "lost art" in our culture. There is nothing that smells more like home than the smell of fresh bread or rolls baking in the oven.

Well, for now I will continue to be a big supporter of Rhodes rolls....but, I will at least have a big dollop of homemade strawberry jam to put on top of it. Maybe someday my kids will reminisce about that. And mom? Thanks.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Letting Go and Enjoying Those Pockets of Joy

So I got myself a bike...finally! It's a cute, retro, beach cruising kind of bike. I even got a wicker basket to make it look "official." Last night I went for a bike ride with my girls. Fifteen minutes with one, and fifteen minutes with the other. It was an absolute joy. Why, I wondered, did I not do this years ago? And since I try not to live by hindsight I just gave myself a swift kick in the butt and told myself there is a lesson to be learned from this.

I learned that my girls actually talk to me on bike rides! Breeze blowing through our hair, mosquitos biting our butts through our clothes, making sure we close our mouths when we hit a bug swarm, no t.v., no computer, no i-pods. Just.....us.

I was divorced two years ago when my kids were 15, 13, and 9. In some ways....well many actually....I feel cheated with the time and attention it took away from my kids as I tried to find my footing as a single parent, learning to be alone (which you never get used to) and went back to college after 18 years away. My oldest is off to college this year. She has learned to be independent, is a hard working student, and a wonderful girl all around. I look back at the last couple of years and the reality is that as a single mother I'm not always the parent I imagined myself being and am sad as she's leaving that we didn't have enough times like this.

In the meantime, I take these pockets of joy when they come, recognize them for what they are, and hold them close to my heart.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

When Life Hands you Lemons.....or Throws Them at You

You've all heard the phrase, "When Life hands you lemons, make lemonade." What do you do when you're handed a lemon? Or an orchard full of lemons trees that bear lemons on a regular basis? I can think of a few choice things I'd like to do:
  • Sometimes I'd like to hand it right back where it came from.
  • Sometimes I'd like to chop down the whole orchard
  • Sometimes, I'd like to take a lemon and squirt someone in the eye
  • And sometimes when we are too tired, frustrated, lonely and don't know how we're going to do this, we hand our lemons over to our Father in Heaven. He knows what to do with them when we don't have the strength.
But....life is full of lemons. Like the lemons, we either get soured and bitter by our experiences in life, or......we do our best, even when it's the hardest, to make some lemonade.

This blog is the story and musings of my life as a divorced, single mother of three wonderful, amazing children. We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and my blogs will reflect my deep love and faith for the gospel, and the challenges we face as Single Saints and Parents.

It is important to know that we are not alone, that others face the same challenges we do, and that there is strength to be gained in feeling validated and understood as we strive to make our lives sweet and fulfilling for ourselves, our children, and those around us. That is my desire and purpose for this blog.

The Lemonade Girl