Princess of Grace

karolina kotkiewicz

PHOTO CREDIT:  KAROLINA KOTKIEWICZ

So maybe I wasn’t born into the Royal Family and beseeched with adoring Brits and Royal watchers the world over tracking my every hiccup, pimple, gaff, dress of the day, pound gained or lost, and event attended by infinite mobs of paparazzi with camera lenses the length of yardsticks.  I’ve never had women faint or men swoon and lay down their coat for my dry clean feet to tread, simply because of my existence.

I’ve never been deserving of security detail, a personal hairdresser, chef, or secretary to manage my job of social engagements and charitable work, though I would love to have the latter three just for kicks!

When I was pregnant with each of my own brood of three children, the world didn’t stop spinning if I woke up hugging the royal porcelain throne.  I certainly wasn’t given a diagnosis with as many syllables as Princess Kate has been given.  No, I was simply told, “It’s normal; now go eat a cracker.”

Yes, it’s not always easy being a mere serf to servitude and simplicity, complex array of daily chaos.   It’s challenging indeed.  There are no minions to blame.  There is no staff to assist.   There is only my individual blood, sweat, tears, and frequent sleeplessness that accompanies the challenge of trying to do it all: work a day job, raise kids, assist parents, volunteer at church and school, clean house, laundry, attend and reply to endless paperwork, pay bills, feed pets, chauffer children to school and activities, help with homework, find time to play, oh and breathe!

The real challenge is trying to find the essential time known as “Liz Time.”  Yes, these are the precious hours necessary to rejuvenate my own soul: writing, photography, my beloved bible study group, or trying to catch up with good friends.

Living life outside the palace is messy.  We sorely lack a protocol of propriety.  It’s not always structured and it’s rarely consistent.  Yes, high drama occasionally exists outside the drawbridge but doesn’t make the press (thankfully)!  There is no portcullis at our home’s entrance to shield us from the dangers of the outside world.  We have no moat to slow down the uninvited guest or Royal Guard to interrogate and arrest the annoying solicitors who all come at inopportune times.  Ready or not, our house is always open.

But before you grab a monogrammed hanky and cry for me Argentina, hold your horses.  I am grateful for my commoner status.  Above all, I am grateful that I don’t live inside a fishbowl where perfection is the water one must constantly swim in.  For I know this much is true:  I would drown.  Quickly.

See I have evolved over the years.  I have reframed my thinking.  I am not a slave to my family or even to forces outside my control.  I am indeed a princess of three things:

     A Princess of Procrastination:   Ask any accomplished, or worse, struggling (aka “wannabe”) artist, writer, painter, visionary (okay…I’ll stop there) and they will tell you this:  You sometimes must procrastinate regarding your duties of life in order to nurture your high calling, even if at this moment it is perceived only by you.   For who knows the plans God has for you?   Perhaps, you were born for such a time as time as this.  Translation: To respond to intuition and to occasionally shirk what others perceive as duty.  Wisdom whispers quietly sometimes.

     A Princess of Prognostication:  Yes, because the winds of perpetual change often blow in and out of our home, it sometimes feels as if our so-called fortunes can only be predetermined by the accuracy of my prognostications.  That is to say, if I freak out better and more efficiently, you will get off your butt and see the urgency this particular situation requires and quickly get on board!  Indeed! A prophet in her own household is rarely met with honor.  So be it.   My predictions, assessments, and royal decrees march onward, until even I am reminded of a simple truth:   Submit.  Pray.   You are not in charge.  Even though you sometimes act as if you are. 

     A Princess of Peripatetic ProportionsNothing lasts forever.  This too shall pass.  Wanderlust.   The world is so beautiful.

These thoughts comfortably coexist in my brain.   Life is sometimes challenging on the home front, but it’s equally good as challenges not only make us stronger; they reveal who we truly are.

In the midst of trial, I’ve been known to contemplate what life is like outside my kingdom.  What is happening at this moment under the Eiffel Tower?  Does the Taj Mahal have a five o’clock shadow?  Is a child crying for her mother in Halong Bay?  Will the Asteroid belt continue holding up around us?  Who is hurting near me?  Can I help?

I realize life is indeed good.  Blessed, in fact.  This is not of my making, but of God’s.  He has given me life, health, and a family to be grateful for and good things too numerous to count.  He has given me tears to assist with trials and a trust to deal with life on life’s terms:  a temporary assignment.    Because I don’t have to be entirely responsible for generating my own strength or controlling outcome, I am immensely grateful.

I am a princess indeed.  A princess of grace.  Thank you.  Thank you very much!

Blah Blah Blog – Musings from a Writer’s Cat

“Cats are dangerous companions for writers because cat watching is a near-perfect method of writing avoidance.” – Dan Greenburg
“One cat just leads to another.” – Ernest Hemingway

      My Mama writes too much!  She says too many words.    Her house is a wreck and her mind is sometimes a mess.  Her desk is a tower of unpaid bills, unanswered correspondence, and stacks of cards never mailed to graduates, new moms, and birthday recipients.  There are receipts, Band-Aids, business cards, and post-it notes written in a code language known only to her.

But that’s just the surface of her desk.  Glance down a few feet.  Towers of books and magazines sit by idly while awaiting their use as reference material or sources of inspiration.  Their loneliness and lack of attention is obvious as the dust and spilled coffee stains upon their covers attest.  In the old days they would have been perused for pleasure purposes, but now they are handled hurriedly and thrown back down when Mama gets frustrated.

Mama’s behind on laundry, and all the rooms are starting to look like a Goodwill store whose employees have been on strike for a month.   Her refrigerator is barren, save the few science experiments festering in the back.  The scraps were long ago ravaged by her hungry children who have found clever ways to sustain life; that is they’ll head over to the dining establishment with the golden arches faster than Morgan Spurlock can say “Super Size Me”.

Here’s the worst part:  My dishes are empty!  Both of them! 

That’s right.  No water, no food!   Somebody needs to create and then call Social Services for Writers Cats!    Desperate times call for desperate measures.  There’s only one thing left that I can do:

It’s time for an intervention!

I jump up on Mama’s lap.  She keeps petting the keyboard more than she does me!  How utterly rude!  I purr louder, and knead the gooey tummy dough at the top of her pants.  Still nothing!  Hmmmpphh!    Fine then!  I can type as well as she can.  Watch this:

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What the furrball?  She’s still going!  It’s time to interrupt her line of sight.    I’m going to jump up on her screen so she’ll be forced to see me.  What’s this?  She isn’t even writing her best seller?  She was reading Facebook and searching for inspiration??

But she promised me she was working on The Great American Novel and I’d be dining on Fancy Feast out of crystal bowls for the rest of my days.

That’s it!  I’ve had it!  I’m going to jump down and turn off the…….

(PLAY THIS LINK AND YOU’LL KNOW):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-fTqAMND7g

Life is Messy

Murphy was an optimist.  ~O’Toole’s Commentary

      Life is good!  At least that’s the theme of a certain trendy store full of happy clothing, coffee mugs, baseball caps, bumper stickers, hiking gear and the like.  Yeah, it’s good alright, but it’s also downright messy!    Ask any mom of one or more, and you will find confirmation.  In fact as I write this, I’m thinking I may want to market my own clothing line “Life is Messy*” with a disclaimer on the back that says “And That’s The Stinkin’ Truth!”

Wear one of my shirts, and barf and poo will just look like the latest urban trend in fashion design.    You’ll be more than shabby chic, you’ll be the genuine article of the Life Is Messy cult following.  Wear your stains as badges of honor.  The more you have the better parent you clearly are.   Digging in the garden?  Throw some extra dirt on there for good measure.  Kid has a blowout diaper, and you’re out of wipes?  That’s what the shirt is for dad!  Forgot the Kleenexes?  Again, use the shirt.  No hand sanitizer?  Get real!  Use that shirt mama!

Here’s the rub.  That cute little baby you see above?  Well, he grew.  He finally stopped sharing his mama’s milk and his lunch by yellowing every shirt I ever owned, but all that really happened was that the mess was reconstituted into new form.  Now very door frame has a tinge of blackness, and dark fingerprints and hand prints dot the mid line of our walls like ghost chair railing.    Shoes that trampled in dirt have darkened our ivory carpet to a dingy shade of brown.  While the broom catches it’s breath in the closet, the house silently screams, “Warning!  Children live here!”

See I have older kids too.  I’ve already been thru this—twice, in fact.  One day you’ll look back, and you’ll agree it pretty much will have happened like this:

The first few years go by, and the expensive art prints you had framed when you were single will have been replaced by collage frames of your children, of all different ages and places haphazardly thrown together in a single frame.   And of course the real art work.  Yellowing and corner-curled preschool paintings dot your walls and smother your refrigerator.    You know you really should get rid of some of it, but just what if your child really is the next Renoir prodigy?

After five or six years, you’ll tire of sorting and organizing the thirty or so plastic tubs and fabric bins in shelves that you once had the novel  idea that you and your child could practice “sorting skills”.  Now the lessons in sorting get reduced to, “Get this CRAP off the floor right now; I mean it, or this time I really will throw it all away.”

The calendar pages keep blowing into the wind.  Soon you are in the elementary years with school projects and friends and sleep overs.   More food; more footprints.   Bug collections, princess costumes, thousands of stuffed animals,  Barbies, Legos, Beanie Babies, Poke E Mon cards, happy meal toys,  DVDs,  VHS-tapes (if your kids are “old school”), train sets, board games, paperback books, hardboard baby books, rock collections, sticker collections, crafts, and a few hundred other things move in when you aren’t  paying total attention.  While you are sleeping, the toys all have breeding parties and when you wake up, you find they multiplied, but still you’ll be too tired to pick it all up.    Though you’ll weed things out from time to time, they’ll still viciously and systematically take over your house room by room.

Three years of middle school will come and go faster than a rotating door in a hotel lobby.  With these years comes “The Age of Electronic-us”.  Each child will successfully convince you their life will cease to be fully functional without any of these necessary items:  cell phones,  Wiis, Super Nintendos, Guitar hero guitars, digital cameras, portable car DVD players, Ipods and Ipads, Laptops, and chargers, so many chargers.  The batteries that made you nuts only a few years ago, get replaced by long spindly, tangled up things that live like nomads roaming your house and are never in sight when desperately needed.  It’s all good; you’re thinking if the Dollar Tree ever has a half-price sale, you may even try to get some new clothes for yourself one of these days.

By high school, you’ve made an uneasy truce with living a “highly charged” life and you are just mentally counting down the 1,460 days or so left, of “Life with Baby”.    The choking hazards of yesteryear have been replaced by the scary realization that the child who still doesn’t know how to properly put a comforter on a mattress is now actually driving five thousand pounds of deadly force with one or more equally mature friends to an alleged destination they possibly may have told you about three weeks ago.

Three hours after their curfew passes, you’ll attempt for the seventeenth time to get some answers.  You text them this profound philosophical question, “Where are you?” even though your eyes are growing dim, due to your advancing age of forty–plus.    Since their phone mysteriously doesn’t seem to ring or “must be on silent” when only you call, you’ll  get your answer texted back a few hours later, once the consensus has unanimously been crafted as to what is most likely to be the answer that will worry you the least.  Even if it’s a tad short of the truth, it’ll have to suffice for now.

Then the big day arrives!  Graduation!   Congratulations and celebrations ensue.  Suddenly—they’re gone.   You look at your house.  What happened?  The carpet’s long past shot.  Walls need to be repainted.  It’ll take years to just carry all this stuff to the Goodwill or the curb.  And all the ribbons, and trophies, and pictures, and artwork, what in the world are you going to do with it?  You know you have to get rid of it, yet how can you?  This picture they finger painted, this student of the week ribbon, this tattered Cinderella costume, this baseball trophy, that’s who THEY were!  Throwing some of this stuff out seems like parental heresy.

Family life is this:  It’s hard, with moments peppered with hormones, deadlines and cruel calendars, worry and fear, silent treatments and arguments.  It’s also good with clay pinch pots made just for you,  family vacations, hugs when you cry,  and handwritten cards that say, “I love you becuz yur my momy and you play wth me and let me eat chikn” as I tearfully received recently.    Through it all, life is messy.  Be sure to savor the sweetness found in the dirt!

 

Taken from A Friend’s Facebook Page — Author Unknown