Tuesday, July 6, 2010

grace under pressure...

A big THANK YOU to Pam and Sandy of Words of Wisdom for honouring me by naming me as a Blog of Note! If you've not checked out Words of Wisdom, you should. By nomination, they review blogs and then highlight them on their own blog. It's a grand way to find new reading material and revisit old friends of the blogosphere!

Join the conversation!

I've been blogging for a little over a year. It's been great fun meeting so many people all over the world. I'm pleased to call many of my new aquaintances 'friend'. It started one frosty winter morning talking with one of my best friends on the phone. "Nance....you should start a blog.", Christine told me. "I did. You'd love it." And you know what? She was right. I do.

And I'm glad that YOU do too! Thank you to all of those that have been with me from the beginning and those just coming on board. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Also,  a big thanks to Leah Rubin of Funny is the New Young for nominating me for this awesome award! It's truly good to have friends...


I sat down.
For a just a moment.

I decided to take a little time for myself since no one was home and not expected back for a few hours. I made myself a highball and put in a movie rented from Blockbuster that’s been sitting on the bureau for weeks. And sat down. It was heavenly.

Not the movie.
Not the highball. Although it wasn’t all bad.

But the sitting down just for a little while.
Forgetting that the garbage needs to be taken out, the yard mowed, the dishwasher unloaded, the laundry put away. I still have on my list to re-paint Boo’s bathroom…I could get that done in this block of time, but no. I’m just going to plant myself on the couch and watch a film, of my choice, by myself, for a change.

As I sat there, I wondered if this is how my parents felt. The weight of all this responsibility. Always having a 'to do' list running in the back of their minds. Too much to do and not enough time to do it in. The burden of having a family and running a home. Maintaining schedules. Making sure that everything is in place at all times.

My mother always had everything under control, but she was not controlling. She never, ever showed any distress. She never got caught unprepared when guests were arriving. She had everything planned days in advance. I never looked in the refrigerator for a snack and was unable to find anything. Our fridge wasn’t full of processed packaged foods…it was stocked with things that my mom made full well knowing that we would be sticking our heads in the ice box after school looking for something to eat.

As a high school teacher, her schedule mimicked ours. But also as a teacher, we usually got home before she did. She taught at a downtown Toledo public school. We lived in the suburbs of Sylvania. It wasn’t far, but we usually would be home at least an hour before she pulled in the driveway.

I grew up with an outstanding role model and at the time really didn’t know it. Just like everything else in my bubble, even though my mind knows differently, I forget…and think everyone is like me. That everyone's parents were like mine. That everyone had what I had. That everyone went on vacations. That everyone had to learn to play piano. That everyone had Saturday chores to complete before being able to play with friends.

I remember being in school and wishing that we lived in the development down the street. I had many friends from school that lived there. That seemed so cool at the time, all those houses close together on curved roads. Cul-de-sacs seemed to be the golden place to live. How neat to be able to ride yours bike in circle all day long. They had sidewalks. Their houses were close together so you could cover more ground at Halloween. You could talk between windows with cans tied with string.

We lived on several acres of land. My neighbors had several acres, and the next neighbor had several acres. Our lots were very deep and wooded in the back. The woods all connected and we rode our bikes and mini-bikes through the trails we forged. At Halloween we had miles to cover since the houses were far apart. But everyone gave out full sized candy bars, roasted hot dogs and apples to bob for all the children in costumes.

My friends in the developments wanted to come to my house to play. I wanted to go to theirs.

That is my first memory of the 'grass is greener' syndrome.

But now, as I’m older, I appreciate more what I had as I was growing up. My dad was the provider. My mother was the ultimate homemaker. She worked and ran the house. Growing up I hung equally with both my parents. My dad taught me how to properly use tools, fix things, garden. My mother taught me how to plan and cook meals, iron shirts and balance the checkbook. My ex-husband said I was Bob Villa and Martha Stewart wrapped into one. And I was. Am.

I can have a meal cooking and go out to lop down and tree and split the wood for a fire by time dinners done. Paint a room while the soufflé is rising. Run for a quick manicure while the laundry is on spin cycle.

I’ve become my mom. And my dad. With a bit of Nancy thrown in as a twist.

I appreciate my parents more now than I ever did. My mom was a gem. My dad, too. Grace under pressure. That’s what they both taught me. What an amazing lesson that I’m still trying to perfect. Do your best. Plan ahead. Don't get caught unprepared. Smile.

How did they do it? Are things that much faster now? I think so. The lazy days of summer you see in movies are long gone. Now is the time of schedules. Blackberry picking is about choosing a cell phone, not of gathering materials for a pie. I wish things were just a tad slower in pace. To take some time sipping sweet tea on the hammock. Relaxing shouldn’t just happen on vacation. It should be something implemented into daily life, before daily life passes us by. Quite an epiphany.

So I sat down.

I plugged in a movie I’ve been waiting to watch when I had the time and I made the time. I enjoyed it.

Not the movie.
Or the highball.
But the time spent doing nothing...


Footnote: Thanks to both my mom and my dad for all their support over the years. I'd never be where I am without their love. I'll even add in there my big bro'. No matter what happens in the future...I know that I'm a pretty lucky gal to have had them all in my life...


  1. Even though my parents have been gone for years now, I miss and appreciate them more than ever. Our childhood memories are a bit different, but none the less, I too am a bit of Mom and a bit of Dad. Thank you for taking me on a journey of nostalgic gems.

  2. It's really interesting to read about your parents' influence and how you combined skills from both. It makes you a very talented and self-sufficient individual, it seems. I enjoy your blog and I hope you enjoy your WOW BON day!

  3. :)

    No wonder the dude is your "ex", saying you looked like Bob Vila and Martha Stewart smooshed together... can you imagine?

    See for yourself here... :)

  4. Thanks for your thoughts. Your comment "grass is greener..." is so true for many people, including me. It's only when we're older and a little wiser that we realise how blessed we are. I'm off to ring my Mum now...

  5. How I agree with your wish for life to slow down, to take a moment and enjoy that moment as it was meant to be enjoyed. Lovely writing Nancy. I took time to pick up a book and sit outside in the sunshine yesterday - I was there for over an hour.My hour. It was wonderful.
    Lovely writing Nancy.
    Debbie (wife, Mother of 5,carer of two dogs,believes a house that is always tidy is a sign of a wasted life) :-)

  6. Just found you thanks to WOW. I really enjoyed the read and will be back. Until then....

  7. goals, dreams, wishes ...become more real when those who love us most support,defend and honor our true spirit. I have enjoyed your writing very much - it allows me to float (not sure I know how to explain that)...I relax with it, and follow along, forgetting that I'm reading and I'm convinced I'm the center of your attention.

    I am a writer who is not a great reader of books but I have bloggers I read regularly and you are one of them. Congratulations on being todays BON (I'm next). I found both you and Matthew on WOW and you're both amazingly talented. (my stomach is flip-flopping knowing I have to follow you 2!)

  8. beautiful--i really enjoyed reading this!

    i'm glad you were featured today--you have a lovely writing style and a great blog! congratulations!

  9. Dear Nancy... it is a delight to be considered your "friend", and I too have received so much from you in the short time I have been blogging. I too have become my Mum and my Dad. More of my Mum and oh how I miss them both. The pain never gets any easier and I often wonder what they would think of this mad world that we live in.

  10. I, too, appreciate my parents' efforts now that I am in their shoes. At that time of childhood, I took it all for granted, assuming that everyone was a lucky and cared for as I was.

  11. So much to comment on here, which means there's so much I relate to! Over the years, I've appreciated how much my parents influenced who I have become. As for needing to relax, it's becoming a lost art in today's technological, fast-paced world. Congrats are your BON status!

  12. Your childhood sounds ideal. Thanks for sharing. It is wonderful to sit down for a few moments and do nothing and NOT feel guilty. I did just that over the long weekend, well sort of....

  13. Oh, I forgot to say congratulations on your award!

  14. Oh, the benefits from taking a moment to do nothing but reflect, but oh my!, The power of the urge to be doing something constantly. We know which usually wins. Sigh.

  15. Hi! I'm popping in from WOW. Congrats on being the BON! I hope to read more of your blog...whenever I can find more time!! :D

  16. Congrats on the awards. I know what you mean sometimes feeling like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Even when things are going well life still can feel scary. Glad you had some nice down time. Keep writing!

  17. Thought I'd never get to just sit and do nothing if I didn't want to. Now retired I can.

  18. you're a sweet daughter that you can see and appreciate the lives of your mom and dad for what they really were and the work that it takes to keep a family going. I don't have kids, so there's no way I could know about that. Plenty of work just to keep me & my partner and our family of animals going.
    great story and congratulations to you for your blog recognition!

  19. Yep... it does become the small things that mean more to us... I received a phone call yesterday morning... I was told that my best friend at work woke up and died yesterday... all of a sudden, things that meant something... really didn't anymore...

    I worked with my family in our business... couldnt stand the stress of working with brothers... left to become a stock broker... what the hell was I thinking...

    ... and settled into teaching at a small university here in Mississippi.. How wonderful this has been for me... sandwiched in the middle of my time here, my Dad died, and I got divorced... all within months of each other...

    ... but I'm ok... and will be ok...

    I adore that photo of your Mom on your sidebar... what a dear sweet woman...

    We eventually get to where we are supposed to be, dear...

    Some, like my friend, Robert, get there sooner...

    I hope to have many many days of living Life Shoes' pace...

    Wonderful post...


  20. Its so relaxing to just count your blessings-those little moments you get to steal for yourself. :)

    Great post.

  21. Since I just wrote a post about being content, I can TOTALLY relate. Your childhood sounds wonderful - even though I see my retired-teacher mom regularly, I called her just to hear her voice. Congrats on your BON award!

  22. "Relaxing shouldn’t just happen on vacation. It should be something implemented into daily life, before daily life passes us by." I just love it...and this is something I've been told will alleviate my mysterious aches; although it seems pretty obvious, how come we take other things more seriously? Congratulations!

  23. congrats on being named a blog of note....and geez i'm blushing seeing my silhouette and named as today's follower of note.

    i can't believe you have only been blogging a bit over a year! you have a GREAT blog and a huge following and amazing number of friends who post such supportive, thoughtful comments...

    i hope one day we can expand our cyber friendship and meet 'in the flesh' over a cuppa or glass of whatever adult beverage of our choice!

    don't know if you noticed, nancy, but someone proposed to you today over at the snap!

    blogging is a wonderful new world and it is so grand to meet so many kindred spirits all over...

    hope to see you around!!!

  24. Growing up needing has its perks, I suppose. We had to include the neighborhood in our mischief. I too appreciate my childhood more.

  25. Congrats on your WOW appearance! I'm so proud of you!

  26. Sounds like you had a wonderful childhood. Your parents did a great job raising you. I like that you are a combination of your parents. You can bring home the bacon AND fry it up in the pan! LOL! Great post!

  27. A girlfriend of mine had a crazy grandmother who lived in Sylvania. Nice elderly town.

  28. that settles it. i'm unplugging and gonna watch that movie i rented. :)

    you tell a good tale!

  29. Congratulations on your nomination.

    I know what you mean. I feel like I'm always on the go, doing things for everyone else and not having time to myself. This week has been about me. Because I think I would have lost it otherwise.

  30. You are so wise Nancy. Thanks for the reminder to both appreciate the lessons of my parents,and to stop and take some time to not do Anything.

  31. Hey Nancy! As I get older, and find less and less time to do virtually anything that isn't on the "critical path" for my day, I have come to realise: BOREDOM IS A LUXURY. If I ever pass on any wisdom to those who follow me, that's pretty much the sum of it. Indigo x

  32. I always felt guilty for having parents like yours and a life like yours. I also feel guilty for not "doing" anything. I still patch blue jeans the only sewing I do, my husband wears those ridiculously expensive Levi's 501's and can rip them after one wearing. Anyway I had a pile of 4 and sat down and watched the E! channel and Jennifer Anniston...I should have gotten a highball....

  33. Lovely story! I was just saying to my husband that though life makes me so tired sometimes, it makes me so happy, too. I wish I had a little more of your multi-tasking drive, though...best~

  34. Oh, I loved the blackberry pun! So true! I admire that you can multitask, I have a man's brain in this respect. :o)

    If you ever get sick and tired of your life rushing past you, Nancy, go and settle in France... joie de vivre like nowhere else. (Ooh, and they'll pronounce your name is a funny way, too! Non-SEE! Hehe, sorry.) (But they will.) :o)

  35. Here's to doing nothing! And to your award! Well deserved!

  36. Hey, congratulations! Glad they took note and honored you.

    I think this post is a great example of why your readers love your blog-- you tell a lovely story and make us feel that we really know you.

    I've been gone for several weeks, welcoming a new grandson, and hardly went online at all. I missed reading your blog!


  37. What a beautiful toast to your mom and dad. A happy childhood is such a treasure with a big payoff later on in life - I wish more people realized that when it comes to their own children these days. I like the Bob Vila/Martha Stewart rolled into one thing - I wish I were more like that, but I'm not. The expertise on 'This Old House' has always really impressed me (as well as the Boston accents).
    Congratulations on your award!

  38. Lovely tribute to your parents, Nancy. It is amazing that they pulled it off with such grace and dignity. But, I wish we could see the same roles through our "adult eyes"...I'm sure they struggled to find balance and we just never noticed....self-absorbed little monsters that we could be.

    But, there's nothing like family. And there's never enough time!

  39. I've often wondered how my mom and dad did it all of these years as well. When you're younger, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal. When you're older, though, and it's your turn to have a go at life, it makes you appreciate how awesome they were.


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