Not long ago, my nine-year-old granddaughter took my picture with her iPad and made an emoji of me. I loved watching her do it. She was totally adept at navigating her emoji app to pick the hairstyle most like mine, the color of my hair, eyes, and skin, the shape of my face and lips. As you see above, the final product is cartoonlike, but isn’t that what emoji are? And goodness, she makes me look so young. What woman in her right mind would object to that?
I was a pudgy child, or so I saw myself. Others may have called me solid. One boy friend told me I wasn’t fat, just well-packed – like this was what a teenage girl wanted to hear from a guy she wanted to date?
I have been thinking of food all my life. Seriously. I don’t need a shrink to tell me that food fills emotional holes. The first one opened when my mother died, when eating made me feel less alone. I ate at exam time in college, when food filled the confidence hole. I ate when my kids were little, when food filled the frantic, what-do-I-do hole. I ate when I wrote, when food filled in missing words or plot twists.
“You can choose your friends, but you sho’ can’t choose your family.” So wrote Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird. It isn’t a new thought. Variations of it have appeared before and after, but the sentiment is spot on.
Blood connections are a physical reality. Unfortunately, many of us are stuck with relatives we don’t much care for. Arguments, bitterness, estrangement – I’ve heard so many stories of these things I often wonder whether the “dysfunctional family” is more the norm than not.
For my family, it was more about simply going our own way for great periods of time – avoiding confrontation, so to speak.
A reader just wrote that she heard I was retiring. Who said that?
No. I’m not retiring. Let’s be clear about it. I. Am. Not. Retiring.
Not that I haven’t considered it in moments of frustration. Life for a writer has changed. When I started – more than 30 years ago – all I had to do was write. Ha ha. That’s funny. I was a full-time mother of three young sons, a full-time wife, a full-time homemaker. And all I had to do was write.
I swore I wouldn’t. Social media is only good if you do it well, but how many social media sites can one writer do well and still write her book? I’ve done Facebook for a long while and have a healthy following. For posting news, sharing events, offering contests, and simply getting the opinions of readers who matter, Facebook is my go-to site.
So why join Instagram? Instagram is just about taking pictures, right? But pictures alone? Why would a writer do that?
I have three sons. All are grown, married with kids, and gainfully employed. They genuinely like me, and I genuinely like them. In all of these things, I am very, very lucky.
That said, navigating the waters with an adult child hasn’t always been easy.
More aptly, can you multi-task? Some people can’t. Some do it now and then. Some are able but unwilling. Where do you fall on the spectrum?
I’m of the able-but-unwilling school. I used to multi-task more than I do now, and age has something to do with that. But it’s a positive thing. I’m wiser now. I choose now to multi-task less. That said, it’s taken me a while to get to this point.
Broken them already, have you? Personally, I can’t count the number of years I vowed to diet, only to pig out within days of the holiday. New Year’s resolutions are tricky that way. Too often we set ourselves up for failure with yet another promise to work out or quit smoking or limit screen time.
There are many reasons for failure. Some are valid. Others, not so.
Here’s a pressing question: Does the need to pee wake us up, or do we wake up for another reason entirely and then decide to pee?
And another one: Do we wake up early because our eyelids have thinned out so that even the first light of dawn penetrates, or do we wake up early because we went to bed early?
I’ve always been a morning person. I’m out of bed at dawn because I crave a cup of tea, because my mind is fresh and eager to work, and because I go to bed early after waking up early, so the cycle goes.
Ha! Do you really think I have a life plan?
Oh, I did once. I assumed I’d have my parents all my life, like every other child I knew. Then my mother died, and reality hit. Believe it or not, I was the only child in my whole third grade class who didn’t have two parents living in the home. Okay. Times have changed. Living with one parent isn’t unusual today. Back then, though, my loss was a huge thing.