Signs, Signs, Everywhere A Sign

I love impromptu plans. Just a flight of fancy or interest that takes you on a whole day of exploration. Today was just that type of day. We were at a party last night and someone mentioned the idea of going to an indoor flea market today. It was decided we’d all make the trek, and despite a late night last night, we roused early and headed off for a day of looking for treasures.

We left with three places on our list. One, to get coffee, and two indoor flea markets (perfect for a rainy day). Coffee was a grand success, which fueled us for the drive ahead. The first flea market turned up to be closed, due to open later in the month. We ventured on to the next one, which was further than expected, but quite a great place. I had been perusing my phone while my husband drove and something came up referencing Mother’s Day. Now, Mother’s Day is quite a strange day for me, filled with love, and happiness, but it does strike a bit of a cord since my mom died. It’s always a little bittersweet, but my husband and kids always make the day super special for me, even moreso because they know I miss my mom terribly.

Now, I’m of the opinion that when someone dies, there is a time for grief. And then, I am a believer that the best way to honor your loved one isn’t with tears and misery, but with retelling their story, creating happy memories in their honor, and really celebrating who they are. My mother would have hated if the only stories her grandchildren knew about her were surrounded in sadness and grief. It just wasn’t her way. So instead, I tell them happy, silly, or funny stories about her. I tell them stories where she helped people. I tell them she liked to bust people’s chops in the best of ways, and had a booming laugh. In turn, they see her as someone they would have loved to have known, and I find them often seeing something or in a situation and bringing her up. “Nana would have LOVED that!” my daughter often says, quite accurately, which brings me joy considering she never physically got to meet my mom. It keeps the essence of who my mom was truly alive, and honors her memory.

Today, as we headed into the flea market, my mom was on my mind. I thought to myself “well, I wonder if I will find something that will no doubt remind me of mum” as I stepped in the doorway. Perhaps I was asking for a “sign” but really I just wanted a moment to feel close to her. We wandered the aisles. Everything was very organized and well placed. My daughter held my hand and my husband meandered off to a massive comic book section with our son.

“So, I am going to be looking for something that matches the rose china” I said, “or maybe something that Nana would love”.

The story of the rose china is simple. It was my parents’ wedding china, and was the Royal Albert Old Country Roses pattern. It was used for “best” which means we used it at Christmas, Thanksgiving, and an occasional Easter. It was pretty, dainty, with roses and gold around the trim. It’s a little old fashioned, definitely British, and it reminds me of all of our special holidays together. As a kid, when I saw my mom get the roses china out, I always knew a great meal was ahead, and it would be a special day. It’s funny the traditions we lock into when we are kids, but this was one I clung to. I told my mom that one day, I hoped she would leave me that china. Neither of my parents could ever understand why I loved it so much. For me, it stood for happy memories, family time, and special time together. I also thought it was beautiful and dainty. But then it accidentally got sold during the Estate sale after my mom died and my dad wanted to move. I was devastated. It sounds silly, but it was like a piece of my childhood left, but also, like losing a tiny bit of my mom again.

My husband knew the story, and he knew how sad I was about it, so for Christmas, he got me a 4 place setting of the rose china. I was beside myself, and THRILLED to put it on the table. He also got me a matching coffee mug. Whenever we go to antique shops, flea markets, or anything similar, I always look for pieces of the set, even to have as extra. It’s become a little quest of mine.

Now, as I said, I wandered into the place today with my mom on my mind, and a definite hope that with Mother’s Day around the corner, I could find something that would no doubt remind me of her. As we wandered down to where the dishes were, I saw it. It took me a moment to really figure it out, but there it was: a little tea pot, and the top had a tiny teapot, creamer and sugar bowl on top…..and it was in the rose pattern, part of the set!! It was little, dainty, and perfect in every way! I’ve mentioned it before, but we’re British. My mom always seemed of the belief that no matter what ailed you, a good cup of tea would start fixing it up. This little pot would make me feel closer to her and lift the blues of missing her.

I don’t know if it was a sign, but it sure felt like one. I picked up my tiny teapot, and saw it was only $8. That $8 made my whole day. I immediately paid for it, and walked out with a huge smile on my face. My daughter looked at it and said “Mama, it’s just PERFECT. Nana would LOVE it”.

Yes, she would.

We finished out the day with a delicious meal filled with laughter, more coffee, some shopping, and a quiet evening at home to relax. The little pot has kept me beaming all day.

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Getting Old While Staying Young

I saw a meme on facebook the other day that said “One of the weirder things about being an adult is having a favorite stovetop burner, yet nobody talks about it.” I laughed way too hard at this, because I too have one (back left, because with kids back is safer and left has the bigger burner). I notice other little changes about getting older, many which are stereotypical. I go to bed earlier, I wake up easier in the morning. A night curled up in bed sometimes beats the idea of a night at the bar. I also realized this weekend that driving long distances has become a lot more difficult. When I was younger, we moved to Virginia, and I often drove up and down the I95 corridor on the weekends in the blink of an eye. Drove down Friday afternoon, back Sunday. I did this often consecutive weeks, for consecutive months. This past weekend, the kids and I drove down to visit my dad. Good Lord O’mighty, 7 hours in the car felt like time eternal! We arrived at 10PM and I couldn’t WAIT to go crawl into a nice comfy bed and relax!

The moment my little old ladyhood jump started into full effect was Sunday night. First, some backstory. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before on here but when I was a kid, my mom had her wedding china. It was a beautiful set with roses on it, very British. I loved it. I loved the print, even as a kid, but I also loved the fact it symbolized the three of us were having a special meal (usually Christmas or Thanksgiving. I unfortunately grew up 3000 miles away from all of my extended family. My dad traveled a LOT for work. My poor mom never really got enough credit from me for all she did, because she handled EVERYTHING. On holidays though, the special dishes came out, and I remember looking down at them and just feeling….happy. Well, my mom said I could have them after she died, only there was some confusion, and they accidentally got sold in the estate sale. I mourned those dishes, and was CRUSHED. Fast forward 12 years, and my husband got me a set of 4 settings for Christmas. I was thrilled to pieces, and he said he would over time help me get some more so I had at least settings for 8. Well, last week, I had just downloaded the Nextdoor app, and saw something pop up about THOSE VERY DISHES. Unused, settings for 4, for a steal. I messaged immediately, but someone had beat me to it. The seller told me someone was picking them up, but would let me know if they were a no show. I checked that damned phone every 15 minutes for the rest of the day, hoping by some miracle the original poster might not show. I never heard back, and consoled myself by saying perhaps those dishes just weren’t meant to be mine (I was full of shit. I wanted those dishes like I want to snarf down a box of girl scout frozen thin mints after a hard day). Still, I tried to keep positive, and said I’d get a set one day. Then I laughed at the fact I am still relatively young, but such a mental old lady that china dishes were such a big topic with me.

Well, a week went by, and suddenly during dinner Sunday, I see a message. It’s from the seller, saying she had waited a whole week, but the buyer never showed. Would I still want the dishes?

Would I like perky books and a rounder butt? YES GIRL, AND I WANT THOSE DISHES TOO!

I told the seller I absolutely did, and I would be home Tuesday, could I come then? So today, I am picking up my coveted dishes, in all my little old lady glory!!!

My dad was chuckling at my old lady dish desires. I explained the significance, and he understood then. The simple fact is that I am highly sentimental about things, where as he has almost no attachment to stuff or items at all. This explains my house, cluttered and chaotic, and his immaculate environment. I tried to explain why I am sentimental about such things, and told him about another Christmas gift this year from my husband. When I was a kid, I had rain shiny wellies (rainboots for the Americans in the audience). I LOVED those boots. They were probably my first pair of shoes I truly adored. I loved how red they were, how shiny, and how I could run in mud and simply rinse them off to their shiny glory. They were perfect and versatile. After I grew out of them, I don’t think it ever occurred to me to ask for another pair. It’s silly really, because I never asked for some but holy shit, I wanted some. This past Christmas, my husband got me a pair of red shiny wellies. I am joyous. My dad was so perplexed why A. I loved them so, B. why I never just simply asked for another pair once I outgrew mine if I loved them so much, and C why I have such a sentimental attachment to stuff. I explained he should be happy, really….because I had such a great childhood that things that remind me of that childhood make me extremely happy. Those dishes? I was beaming on Christmas eating off them. The boots? Joy when I slide them on. I may be a little old lady mentally, but those things bring me back in time to a carefree moment of running in fields, or eating my favorite foods with my two favorite people. They are tradition.

This morning, after a 6 hour drive last night, I feel old as hell. That drive I did so carefree and without much thought at 18 is a lot harder now. My back aches, my brain is tired from concentrating on the road for so long. I am content to be home though. This is a busy week, filled with the little getting braces, training a new coworker, a comedy show and date night, a trip to NY, my birthday (little old lady getting OLDER, y’all. I’ll be in a housecoat and yelling for people to get off my lawn in NO time!) and all the other business that family is. It’s a week of excitement.

My son and I were talking in the car on our long drive home. We have some of our best chats in the car. He is excited for our birthdays, he says. He means he is excited for HIS birthday, because he is turning 13 in a couple of weeks. I can’t even. How have 13 years gone by so fast? He asked me if I am sad I am getting older. I said I am not sad I am getting older. While getting older is a little scary, as you start to see more time behind you and less in front of you, and time seems to go by much faster now, I am grateful for a birthday. Some of my friends and loved ones no longer have that luxury. They don’t get another birthday, another year, like I do. So I am grateful for that birthday. I am grateful for my little life, filled with good people. I am grateful to be a little old lady at heart, with her favorite stove burner, a joy of a quiet night in, pretty dishes, and rain boots that shine bright and red. I enjoy it all (minus the back aches and pains) but I find joy in reminding myself of all the happy moments of being a kid.