Tag Archive: Mona Lisa smile


Letting Go

So the “Robin Family”  was created, the babies  raised, then pushed from their home, and now successfully on their own.  I really enjoyed being a part of this…on so many levels.  While this Saga developed, pictures and updates from my Cousin Mary came often, and I couldn’t wait to write all about it and share the wonderful photography with the world.

When the “kids” were all gone, Mary sent me one last  picture… of the Empty Nest.  Oh, the melancholy began to set in!  The “Empty Nest”….something I was facing in my own life after 40 years.   I ‘swore’ I was going to get a print of this photo and frame it and hang it where I would look at it often!

The VERY empty nest...

How fitting…and poignant.

My grandson has been living with me since he was 8 years old.  He is 21 years now, in school (college) full time, and in love.  He is also slowly moving out of my home.  “Oh, woe is me!  All alone….after dedicating my life to kids for 40 years.  Whatever shall I do?”

Well, I am home by myself most of the time, now…..and, I LIKE IT!   And I like that he has grown into a strong young man with values I admire, and a simply wonderful girlfriend.  Their visits are often, and the conversations are fun.  My own “Empty Nest” is growing to be a comfortable place to be.  Maybe I don’t need to make a shrine out of the Empty Nest picture!

As a matter of fact, I have spent some time actually examining that photo…there is more there than I first noticed.  It is becoming even more appropriate as a symbol of my own life than I first thought it was.  Take a closer look.  It is empty of ‘kids’, but is it truly empty?

As my kids grew up and left home to start their own lives, I:   Cleaned carpets of stains (candle wax, crayons, ink, spilled soda, mystery filth (Ew!)).  I patched the holes in the walls, screens, furniture, whatever ( however it got there???). I peeled the tape off the walls from where the posters used to hang (which I discovered were hung to cover the holes made from the darts being thrown and missing the target…among other causes). I moved, then moved again to smaller and smaller homes.  And as my living space got more limited, I packed into boxes of all sizes whatever they left behind, marked them with the various names as best I could without kids here to fight over who originally owned what, and put them into whatever storage I had to use.  Phew!

Now, look at the “Empty Nest” photo again….there are ‘remnants’ of ‘stuff’ left in the bottom (Ew!), the surrounding leaves (Walls?) are discolored (from posters, maybe), the edges of the nest are showing wear and tear (from darts and fights?), and it is a bit dirty in general.  The parents are going to have to work hard to undo what has been done to their home.  And, while they are busy ‘removing the stuff on the bottom’, I will be in my own space re-sorting and re-packing boxes.  Mom and Dad Robin  are readying their home for a new brood.  I am preparing to ship “4 Lives to their Rightful Owners.”  Both intense, and loving, and spirit-worthy jobs.

I have my own little pieces of several childhoods….they can each have them after I have passed.  Meantime, they are my own precious memories, and they are over there –  in my newly cleared out closet by the “Empty Nest” photo…with the Smilie Face sticker in the corner of the frame!.

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I am about to ‘age’ myself…but I don’t mind.  Getting older is very interesting, not to mention entertaining!

As my kids grew up, one of the things that I did that “totally drove them nuts” was simply that I Smiled when they ‘discovered something new.’   They did Not remember the excitement I shared with them, or the total interest in their ‘new’ whatever…just the Smile.  No, it was Not a Smirk.  No, I did Not Laugh at them.  It is just that over time I came to see that ‘there really is nothing new under the sun’, and the recognition of that is what brought on “The Smile.”

As these same kids grew into their 20’s, and knew “Everything There Is To Know About Everything  Already”, The Smile was the result of my knowing that trying to teach them anything else, or warn them of their paths’ dangers, or just holding a different opinion than theirs was a totally fruitless effort on my part!  So, realizing that Patience was my only job at that point, the anticipated Peace, alone, was enough to bring on The Smile.

The last time one of my kids got outrageously angry at me, and ‘accused’ me of Smiling (?) was when he was leaving the State we were in and wanted to ‘come say good bye’ to my grandson.  I told him he could come at 3pm, when I would be home from work.  He argued that point.  Since I knew this son to be a mean, abusive, potentially dangerous thief, and that he would probably be all over my house looking for money or prescription drugs if I was not there to stop him, I again told him I would be home by 3pm.  He lost it, and went on a rant from Hell, and when I just listened (what else could I do?) he suddenly stopped and said: “You have That Smile on your face, don’t you!?”  I did….even though the tears were running down my cheeks.

My grandson grew up with me, and he knows The Smile, also…but he is not intimidated by it at all!  In fact, I think he thinks it is funny…most of the time.  If it is ‘one of those times’ that he does not think it is humorous, it makes him pause, think, and realize that we are either ‘done with the conversation for the time being’,  or a New Way or New Idea starts to open up in his mind.  Then, when I Smile, it is because I can almost hear his brain popping!  I think I May be slightly addicted to The Look when someone’s face ‘lights up’ because they suddenly ‘get it.”

I still have The Smile…like the time my child told me how hard it is to raise 2 little babies, then said: “Oh, ya, you have ‘been there.'”  Yes, I have, and I do sympathize with you, Son!  Or when I see someone doing what I already know is not going to turn out well for them, and they get upset if I try to warn them.  Step Back, Allie…all you can do is be patient, and try not to let them see The Smile.  It is not that watching a potential disaster makes me giddy.  It is the watching as the Learning Experience unfolds that brings on The Smile…a smile of recognition, and of remembering when I learned the very same thing!

I have that Smile a lot, lately.  Long, long before Carbon Footprint was a catch-phrase I was one of those ‘irritatingly odd folks” who tried to warn people of the future problems being put in place by the way we were treating each other and our beautiful planet.

For instance,  I did not believe ‘them’ when ‘they’ said “Those diapers are completely disposable.”  Ya…but not safely biodegradable.  A few years later…Oh, my, those diapers are leaching estrogen into our ground water, and messing with our son’s bodies!  Hmmm…

Or: “Of course she is lost in her own sad, self-destructive world.  You cannot treat her like a sexual slave…she is your Daughter, for God’s sake!”

Or:  “If you strike that child, it is assault!  Just as if someone struck you. What will he grow up knowing about controlling his own world…that violence is the key?!”

The list goes on, and on.  If you see me Smiling maybe it is from the relief that the Messages are Finally Getting Through…we Have made some difference in our world.  Progress is a slow critter sometimes…but we ARE progressing.  There have been some major changes, and hopefully we can continue to grow and learn and improve.  I have done my job…you are more than welcome to take over all the causes, and all the future problems that will need strong voices.  And I will be cheering you on…and Smiling.