Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Magicicada - They're Coming!!!

For 17 years they’ve hidden themselves deep in the dirt, just eating! I’d like to think that while there in the dark, Brood XIII of the genus Magicicada was trying to compose the proper song they will sing to us – and their future mates - for the next month or so.

After gorging themselves on the tender tree roots they finally decide to emerge and see what’s happened in the last decade and half! Have Cicada fashions changed? (No still shades of brown and gold). Eye shadow still has to compliment their beady big red eyes. At least their exoskeletons are biodegradable so the conservationists don’t have to start picketing for them to “go green”.

I’ve been looking for the little critters ever since we were given the May 22 emergence date, but apparently the ground in Schaumburg is just not warm enough. I am a little concerned about a new hibiscus “tree” I have in a pot, but it won’t live long enough for me to worry about, especially since the roots couldn’t possibly support any kind of life for the next 17 years!!! These amazing creatures actually don’t eat anything other than tree roots. They don’t sting, bite or annoy - except that they are there – millions of them! I understand the dogs, cats and birds love them and they are tasty fried in garlic butter.

There’s been some discussion about why the 17 years. I guess after that long they are more interested in sex than food. Who wouldn’t be? Seems like a takes a long time to figure that out.

I didn’t know that the Periodical Cicadas don’t all come out at the same time. A local map indicates the Midwest will be the area inundated for several weeks in June 2007. What a joy for all those outdoor weddings, graduations and BBQ’s. I guess I’ll be wearing shoes most of the time this year.

Well, time to go out and check for holes in the ground……the first sign that they have arrived. It will still be about 3 days later that we find out if their new song is any good, or just sounds like a lawnmower!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mother's Day - 2007

It was in 1914 that Woodrow Wilson signed a bill that made Mother’s Day an official holiday in the United States…..although you’ll notice it’s not one of those holidays that gives mothers an “extra” Monday off from their work. Go figure! The ancient Greeks started it all when they celebrated an annual spring festival honoring their mothers, but it was nothing like what we do today. It just developed from there through various cultures until Hallmark got a hold of it and it turned into what we celebrate today.

For quite a few years, I celebrated Mother’s Day by saying that I was glad to have a mother. That's what Mother's Day was all about. Without our mothers, none of us would be here. I was thankful that as I matured I could appreciate the long life God gave to my mother. She was 93 when she died a little over 2 years ago. This will be my 3rd Mother’s Day without her.

Through the years I received much motherly advice from my own mother. Some good, ("Always look your best when you leave the house") - some bad ("Don’t ever get married"). So you see, my great parenting skills were passed down from my mother, who no doubt got them from her mother. Do you see a pattern here? I’ve done my best to share my vast mothering advice to my children (and sometimes other peoples children). I remember when someone else's children were misbehaving I would say, "If those were my kids.........." One day, my mother said to me, "But they ARE your kids!" OOPS!

I never considered that Mother’s Day was my holiday until the time came that I no longer had a mother. Yes, I was a mother, but more importantly, I had a mother.

My position in the family hierarchy has now changed. I am now The Matriarch, The Queen, The Great One! My children may now honor ME! This is not a role I fit into easily. It’s taken some time to really feel I could, or should sit back and enjoy all the day meant. I still find it hard to take the best steak, the biggest piece of pie, the last piece of pizza.

Coming to this place in my life has been an interesting experience.

Being a mother is more than just giving birth, although that may be one of the more important parts. It makes you think about the fact that some members of the animal kingdom eat their young! This is especially true in those sleep deprived days when your tiny baby needs all your attention. I must have been out of my mind when I found out that my 3 month old son, Rob was going to have a baby brother. How did that happened? Sixteen months after the 2nd tiny baby Todd, another was living in my house! This time a girl (Finally!) What joy they brought! (I must have been out of my mind?)

I remember when the kids were young……..we had a swimming pool in the back yard that they enjoyed all summer long. I just loved it when I would go to put them to bed for the night and find wet bathing suits on their beds requiring complete bed changes. I thought I was done with that when they were potty trained!

The boys (and girl) used to catch fireflies in the evening and put them in mayonnaise jars to watch them light up. Occasionally they used them as “night lights” in their bedrooms when they went to bed. Too bad the lids weren’t on the jars very tightly………..the next day there were fireflies all over the walls! And of course, then mother had to catch them!

Debbie had just started kindergarten and I found myself all alone at home during the day……was I bored?…………. not for long. Instead of watching the soaps all day, I was getting ready for yet another gift from heaven. Another girl would even the score – but it was not to be. The tiniest one yet, at 5 lbs.4 oz set the final score at 3 boys, 1 girl……and I was DONE! Marc was my last. Break the mold. We’re Finished!

It’s been such an experience being a mother. No two children are the same, so they will each teach you new things – just when you thought you knew it all. God really does have a sense of humor!

You’ve heard it said often, that the years go so fast and you should enjoy your children while they are young, but we never believe it until we are old. All of a sudden they are grown up and have families of their own.

My children have all turned out well. They have successful careers, good parenting skills and mostly importantly they live in their own homes! It really is true that you can send the grandchildren home when you get tired of them………………….. but mostly you just get tired!

This Mother’s Day I will try to sit back and enjoy the honor and respect I deserve (?) – but it won’t be easy. I’m sure I’ll want to give advice, offer helpful suggestions maybe even cook! But that’s what Mothers Day is all about…….I can do what I WANT!