Mustache Missive – Cookies and Love.

To date I have purchased MAYBE four boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. It’s not that I begrudge the Girl Scouts, rather, Im usually broke when I pass by their stand, or in such a hurry that I can’t see stopping for what have become the smallest boxes of cookies on earth (for a good cause of course). On my harried way into the great Wal of Mart for shoe laces and insoles (the only store in town for such things) I happend to notice two devotees of all things cookie standing out in what turned into a rare, cold day in Sunny Sequim. As I made a beeline for the cookie table, I was literally jerked back to reality by my son, who grabbed the back of my hoodie and dragged me to the “IN” door. I couldn’t help but crack up; he is 6’3 and I’m 4’11 and a half, and for what seems like ages, I’d been able to keep him “focused”by a quick grab of the hoodie. Well, finally turn about was very fair play. So we set on our journey (by journey I mean we divide, run and conquer through most every store in town at light speed), laughing hysterically between us at the irony of his “move”. The goal — quickly find said laces and insoles and one “5-hour Energy” shot for his upcoming shift at work then get the heck out. In the back of mind though, I was pre-planning my quick escape to the exit, with 20 dollars in hand to possibly sweeten up my husbands day with a box of Samoa’s.

My favorites are the more sour powdered lemony goodness called “Savannah Smiles”. After having been a sour-puss for at least 24 hours previous, I was determined to make an effort of appreciation to my ever loving better half that God blessed me with over 14 years ago, who loves chocloate and coconut (which I loathe). In our 14 years, we have sped forward like Buzz Lightyear, into infinity and beyond with three of his kids and three of mine — (mine which he graciously and gratefully adopted) on some sort of weird time-warp that only we can appreciate. Everything has happend in fast forward; moving, changing jobs, moving again, losing parents, then grandparents and loved ones. Even aging has happened fast, which I’m sure I did to both of us with our frenetic schedule. I’m certain I added a new shade of grey to my hubby when I wigged out unexpectedly Friday at sight of his newly shaved mustache, which I must admit I have always adored– so much so that I have reminded him “don’t ever shave that, ok?”. By wigging out I don’t mean I got mad, no, part of me was CRUSHED. Really. CRUSHED. Yes, I am THAT girl.

So as quickly as a Girl Scout can count (with some help), I snatched up some sweet, coconutty goodness, as my son trotted off to the car with the “mom, I’m gonna be late make it fast” glance over his shoulder. These Samoas had a job to do, and I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to let them work.

After dropping off super-charged, 5 hour shift son, I made it home to where our 3 furkids greeted me with a din worthy of the dog pound. Time to love, love on them and then it was time to head into the best place to show love — the bedroom. What says “I love you more than air” than cookies on a pillow? I’m a practical girl, and I know my beloved pretty well. Cookies on the pillow say “Love” almost as loudly as any other form of affection that might happen on or near a pillow. And as luck would have it, I married the sort of man that can live through and forgive the dramatics of 50 year old, mid-life crisis, lemon loving, moody, sourpuss of a wife, and live to (not) tell about it the next day. The cookies won’t get stuck on his upper lip as usual, but then I think he too will miss that just a little bit.

The preceeding 24 hours had been no picnic and in truth the last 54 days really haven’t been either. In fact, I’ve been super proud of myself for keeping it “all together” most of the time under considerable pressures of a new home, a new job for him, new friends for both of us and the loss of old friends some distance away, along with a new house that we are completely squeezed into. Meeting up with midlife has wreaked not very pretty havoc on this retired Fortune 500 gal with an empty nest (almost) and has been draining for both of us.

In less than one year, my youngest will leave home for two years with no trips back for a hello until his mission is complete. I’ve already had a preview of things to come with his older siblings and for better or worse we have raised some strong headed, strong willed kids who launch quickly, and for the most part stay launched. This has caused me more than a little pause.

Additionally, the grand-children in our big family live two states away. With the entanglements of being a “sandwich” of the Sandwich Generation, I don’t get to see them very often. Though I am happy to be a daughter and a mother, lately I’ve started to get bogged down in this part of my life, with complications of one child’s health, a wedding for another child, and concerns over my mom who has been in and out of “trials”– real medical trials — for a new-fangled thing that will live in her back and hopefully kill chronic disc degeneration pain.

I always hoped to be a very big part of the grandkids lives and also wished to be available to help their own very hands on mother and busy, successful father. Coping with three stair-step kids (with one on the way) is hard, and has been complicated by thier own uprooting from a beloved place to live and raise kids in a new state with a new job and a new home. It’s supposed to be made easier by having all available hands on deck ala grandparent style. It just doesn’t seem right or fair to not be part of this process when so much is needed there.

Also, as a hands on, home-schooling mom and a bit of a workaholic, I really never put time aside to learn a hobby to fill the hours when I need to be home alone, waiting at a Dr.’s office, or on-call with said kids and parents. My kids were my full-time “hobby” the second I stepped out of Corporate America (an answer to years of fervent prayer) and a contigency plan never entered my mind, though it should have through my previous planning to “always have a back-up plan”.

Our familial raising, showing and breeding of healthy Havanese dogs and pups has been enjoyable and great for the kids in many ways, but this has never defined me. I have never been a “big-time” breeder though we were successful, and have over 60 healthy pups places in the greater Seattle area. I never had it in me to have “breeding stock” on hand and rather favored having our beloved pooches in our home in mininimal numbers, seeing them advance as Champions and have their little families.

With living creatures who can only speak dog (well, Fergie swears in “human” but she is the exception), you give more of yourself than you’d like to admit. The hours are long, the work is never ending and the stress of picking out just the right home for babies is overwhelming. Our Furkids, though talented and sweet, haven’t been able to help me learn to knit, crochet, oil paint, revive my love of watercolors, re-start scrapbooking, or take on any host of talents I might have learned while the kids were still young.

I’d heard about mid-life crisis, and in truth, I thought only men had them as evidenced by the many red sports-cars around town with male “white-hairs” at the wheel. Only after looking a lot harder have I found mid-life females, “hair coloring in place”, in their sportscars with their wee-doggie pals, tooling around town and along the highways that have become my second home.

My selelction of a “retired grandma wagon” (my Ford Flex) a few years back was pretty rosy, when I envisioned road trips with car seats and grandchildren aplenty. I appreciate that my granny-car is loaded with fun features and growls like a bear in chase when you press it up a mountain, but even in Ford Racing Blue, it lacks that little thrill you get when you slide behind the wheel of a well healed two-seater. Cars alone don’t help you through the rigors of a full on mid-life, but I hear they help. I may still seek after Richard Petty’s Driving School (as planned for 40), once I cure the tennis elbow acquired driving my behemoth.

So how does the Samoa and the Savvanah Smile cover all this ground and fix the damage of my mid-life meltdown? The sweetness of my dear husband and the sourness of myself have learned how to get through many storms – much bigger than a missing mustache. I am not going to forgive him for shaving off his mustache unannounced until it grows back by Friday (then he is 100% forever off the hook). In only five short days my still charming Prince (now away for classes in the big city) will bring back the face I loved at first sight and hopefully my hormones will be back under control. Now that his Samoa’s are safely packed into his luggage, I know my better half will remember that I still love him every time he bites into a sticky chocolate-coconut morsal. They will remind him too, that I am a bit of a nut, and we’ll both know he is right, even if he is sweet enough not to say so.