Friday, January 30, 2015

Mama Fish

Of the many names I have been called in my life (and there have been a few!), my favorites remain JuJu (my mom's nickname for me), mom, and Mama Fish

I loved being Mama Fish to my children's friends.  As much as I had to prepare myself for having an empty nest, I also had to steel myself for the day that I was no longer Mama Fish to Hayfield's Cross Country and Track Teams.  Tony and I attended nearly every running event and cheered for all the athletes. They became our children too.

 I loved photographing them so they could see themselves in all their athletic glory. My favorite dinners were when 40 or more of our "kids" showed up for Pasta Night before a home meet.  Their sweet faces filled the house with laughter. I loved those days.

 But life does go on and all those sweet faces are grown up now. Some have graduated college or grad school.  Others are in the military. Some are stumbling along, but I know they will find their way...we all need to make our paths. So when those "kids" remember to wish me a Happy Birthday or send me a message, it melts my heart. I am such a sap that even a comment on a photo or Facebook post from one of them makes my day.

It is especially nice to get to see these "children" of ours. I hope they all have fabulous, wonderfully successful lives and that they stop by to see us and to give Mama Fish a hug.

 But wait, there’s more…

Before Tony and I were married, he was stationed in Korea so our romance was confined to letters—good old fashioned letters (no email, SKYPE, OVOO, text messages or Facebook in 1983). In one of my many letters to Tony, I whined about not having a nickname.  His reply letter greeted me with, “Dear Flower,” … “Flower?” I thought.  Ok. Not exactly what I had in mind, but I can roll with that.  So I signed my next letter to him, “Love, Flower.”  The next week a letter from Tony arrived with, “Who the Hell is Flower?”  So much for a nickname!

I did have a nickname for a while that I did not like from my brother-in-law: “Jude the Prude.” Surely he was kidding….right? J


Wednesday, January 28, 2015


It's official. I had to hang up my fabulous plastic tiara with the big, bold "50" on it. To wear it now, would be false advertising.                 

Today I turned 51.

I thought I might be sad. I embraced 50 and shouted it to the world all year. Turning 51, I feared, might be a letdown or worse yet, just sound OLD. I know it sounds old to anyone under the age of 35, but I am still sharing it with the world. Maybe not so much in a "shout." I am after all an adult today and know to use my inside voice.

As an "old" (at least to the younger set) woman, I am often teased for being dramatic in my Facebook posts. My children (now adults themselves) tease me about what they deem my overuse of ellipses in my posts. A favorite activity is to do dramatic readings of my posts for family entertainment. "Kelsey is leaving for Morocco... (read dramatically as "dot, dot, dot") or Cory comes home in three days "dot (long, exaggerated pause), dot (long pause) dot!" You get the idea. As a more mature Facebook user I take some family ribbing. Hopefully, all in good fun.

I also earn the occasional eye roll or private message of "eeww" for what is considered an overshare on my part. No surprise. I am an open book in my life and to the horror of my family, some friends and probably former Facebook friends, an open book on social media too. I don't mean to shock. At least I don't think I do... (dot, dot, dot!).

But probably the biggest complaint from the Fish kids is my posting and tagging them in literally hundreds of photos. As their beaming mom, I think they are simply adorable all the time (no make-up, in PJs, bed hair, food on face or in teeth, no problem!) They disagree. I am proud of them for (so far) not unfriending or blocking me. I am really trying to practice some restraint.

As my birthday gift, I have asked Kelsey to help me set up a Twitter thingy (watch out prepared to say, "eeww.")  I also want to better understand my Instagram.  I have one. No clue how it works. And the whole hashtag thing, well #IamClueless. Did I do that right? No clue. I will learn Saturday and then #WatchOutWorld...

But wait, there's more...
One more thing about Facebook. I often hear folks grumble that social media makes us more distant from the people in our lives. I disagree.  While a physical meeting or phone call is preferable and every attempt should be made to connect that way with those we care about, I have found that I am much more connected to so many through Facebook.  The outpouring of birthday wishes today, literally made my day...week...maybe year! Thank you for all of you who sent love, best wishes and smiley faces. I love it all. #LifeIsSweet

                                                                                               Until next time...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

At the 11th Hour

I got this lovely "Over The Hill" Tiara as a birthday gift,
but quickly swapped it for one boasting my age!
I don't like to admit this, but if procrastination were an art, I have made putting things off my masterpiece. I am not proud, just honest. This blog is proof. In less than four hours I am technically 51 years old. Some of my sweet friends crafted a list of 50 things I need to complete by the time I am 51. This blog (or writing something--anything!) is #20 on the list. As only a TRUE artist procrastinator can, I started thinking about the list in July and seriously working on it at Christmas. I will NOT complete it all (I am not making an impromptu music video at the mall. Sorry, Heather!), but #20 got to me.

I have talked about writing something for as long as I can remember.  I created a class newspaper in the fifth grade (Tooter Town News), wrote for my high school paper and later worked as a radio and newspaper reporter in California and Alabama. I love playing with words. I have talked about writing so much that my son sometimes taunts me on our Sunday calls with, "So mom, have you written anything?" He even says his goal is to write a book before me.  He just might. 

Writing a book is a daunting to me.  Fear is likely the reason I haven't plugged my nose and dove into the publishing waters.  If I don't write the book, it cannot fail or be rejected. I then cannot fail or be rejected.  This blog is my way to force myself to write, sticking my toe in the water. I hope it leads to me taking the plunge...soon (really!).

It's no surprise that this "50 Things" list is what finally got me off my duff. Turning 50 was a celebration to me. I have called it the "Year of Judy," which my husband fears will become the "Decade of Judy!" And while dancing around wearing my beloved plastic tiara with the BIG BOLD "50" on it in hot pink lettering has made me almost giddy at times, it has also made me reflective.

Some of my fab diva friends who helped me celebrate!
Before 50, I felt as though I could procrastinate on many areas of my life.  "I will do that someday..." "I just might learn to dance, sing (fill in the blank) later." My 50th Birthday made me realize that I better get hustling if I am going to tackle my personal to-dos. Time doesn't feel as limitless as when I was 20 years old and rationalized that I was too young to write (who could possibly want to read what I had to say?). The reality now is that even in the best circumstances, my life is surely half over. YIKES!

So as my 50th birthday loomed, I thought of all the things I have been afraid to do and realized that 50 gives me the freedom of NOT fearing failure (at least not as much!). I hula hooped for the first time.  I love it!  I started an exercise program and stuck to it all year and even more shockingly, I exercised beside my athletic husband! No small feat. I spoke my mind more freely (those who know me well are probably shocked that I have in fact held my tongue in the past).

So here goes...My only fear is that now that I have started "talking," I can't' shut up. 

But wait, there's more...tomorrow!