...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Power. Grace. Wisdom. Wonder.

I treated myself to seeing the recent movie, Wonder Woman.  

Before I walked into the theatre, I reflected back on my introduction to comic book heroines.  The mid 70's were a time when young women started to see female comic book heroes come to life.  Heroines in the comics adorned the small screen. That "I can do it" attitude was being laid in my 11 year-old foundation. In my youth, Isis was the first goddess I recall wanting to embrace.  I was transformed by simply saying, "Oh Mighty Isis" as if that's all I had to do to become strong, to become powerful. That's what the female science teacher on the television show said in order for her to change. 

As most youth, I had a wonderful imagination growing up. I enjoyed taking on the personality of many television characters. Isis was followed by The Bionic Woman, and next came Wonder Woman. These shows overlapped one another for a few years. Lynda Carter was the Wonder Woman of my youth.  As a former Miss American, she was a kick-butt brunette, who had brains and curves.  When I was younger, I had darker hair, and my Italian heritage hinted at curves that I would grow into. It would be several more years though before my hour glass shape truly took form. As for brains...well, I was studious, and ended my high school days in the top fifth of my class.  I have always LOVED math and science, too.  I don't recall exactly when my dad gave me a cuff bracelet that had belonged to him as a child, but I suspect it was around that time.  Maybe he sensed that I needed a little help in feeling strong.  Bra burning was popular and in the news during my youth. I would wear that cuff to ward off invisible bullets, or to gain my silent super powers. It didn't leave my wrist, and it was my secret weapon.  I never told anyone how empowered it made me feel.    

I spent time reflecting back on the little girl I was, and the woman I have become. A realization set over me. I have felt that the generation of ladies who preceded me were the ones who set the woman's rights movement in motion.  I am grateful for them, but what have I contributed to help the cause??? Mostly, I followed social norms.  I had children and stayed at home to raise them.  I kept the house, did the cooking, and the cleaning.  I supported the head of our household, as a good wife should. My staying home, meant our family looked to be at a higher status level than others.  As I pause now, I think none of the roles I filled sound very much like I did my part to help the cause. Yet, I know I would do it all again, exactly the same way. Choices, we all make them.  I made the conscious choice to stay home.  No regrets.  I have always been a teacher, I just didn't realize it. The lessons I needed to teacher were to a smaller groups of students.   

Watching the Wonder Woman movie, I realized I am living in an era where women are still gaining power.  Women are still finding out who they are and defining who we, as women, are suppose to become, which is to be an equal to all others.  We are not only defining, for our gender, we are defining for all races what it means to be equal. Equality, that's the cause. Women are doing all this with grace, and with wisdom.

As a mother, I shared my love and compassion with my children.  Those were two of the life lessons I taught.  To see one's child help another, means my role as a mother and caregiver made a difference. Really, I was the strength that cemented the foundation of my household.  I see that now. Power.  

There are moments when I start to feel as if I am not fulfilling my part in society to help build powerful women.  One of my friends sent me a book for my classroom library.  It is a reminder that sometimes, when we feel we need to count on others, we really all ready have the strength we seek inside ourselves.  

In honor or my friend, I made this bracelet.  I know that we, both male and female, are really stronger than we think, or know.  

I want to do my part to make society a better place.  I want to show the world that I am not a slacker, who is riding on the coattails of women who came before me.  

As I pause, I am reminded that I wake up, and live each day, and I inspire girls all around me.  I went back to further my education, after I raised my family.  I embarked on a career that I had always dreamt of holding.  I am surviving, and thriving. I want to inspire my daughter, and my nieces.  They can be and do anything they want in life!  I believe in them, and I will be their biggest supporter.  The other collateral beauty of my inspiration lands on my being able to inspire my sister, my friends, and my peers.  The funny thing about inspiration...it is reciprocal.  My sister, my friends and my peers also inspire me, as do my daughter and my nieces.  Today, just like in my youth, there are many role models of strong, powerful, graceful, compassionate heroines who inspire all.  

See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me...
And no one knows, how far it goes...
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me...
One day I'll know, how far I'll go...

This summer, I have realized how important my female friendships are to my being. I believe we all need the friendship of many in our lives.  Friendships at this stage in my life seem more meaningful, than they were when I was younger. There is a richness that comes with experiencing life, and I feel it allows me to connect in deeper, more meaningful ways with others.  I find I can appreciate more of what lies beneath the surface in a person, too.  I am cautious who I let close to my heart, but it is with my female friends that I know I can really let down my guard.  We support one another emotionally, and are no longer trying to impress or out do each other.  Maybe we've reached that stage in life where we all really do know how precious is our time left on this Earth. Although my close friends emotionally support me, and I them, I know that the world is still a competitive place and regularly women will knock one another down.  I'm still trying to understand why.  Is it out of fear?  Fear of what though?  Not getting ahead? Being liked more or less than someone else?  I see it where I work, but it happens in all environments. Grown women can become mean girls. There are so many things we do to hurt one another...little digs, unspoken looks down noses, people being left out of the loop. I believe, in order for our society to become the place with which I am most comfortable for our future generations, we need a balanced world.  We need more women in power.  

Ladies, we need to support one another, and in all ways! We need to be kind and compassionate.  We need to help one another.  We need to elect women at the local level and then up through the ranks.  We need to financially support strong, female candidates.  We need to seed the campaigns of those who are comfortable speaking their minds on behalf of all of us; those with voices who will be heard.  I certainly haven't been an example of someone who was comfortable speaking her mind and making waves.  But "still, it calls me...."  Men will not take care of our issues.  They hear us, but they cannot know what it is that we truly need. We need a world that believes in equality, and compassion.  Not equality and compassion just for women, but for all.  During Wonder Woman, who stood up and walked through the battle field because she believed so strongly that what was happening was wrong?  

I am officially now on my summer break.  My camp teaching is over and I can relax. I am looking forward to a little quiet time to myself, and then I plan on filling my days with home improvement tasks and lunches, drinks, dinners, movies, what ever I can...with my friends who are girls!  I need you my friends! Not just during the dog days of summer, but always.  

And the call isn't out there at all...It's inside me...It's like the tide...Always falling and rising...I will carry you here in my heart...You'll remind me...That come what may...I know the way...  

I WONDER where my future path is leading me?     

~Lisa Kroll
     I think I've just awakened the feminist in myself, and I really like it                love warrior, feminist, teacher


Tonight's blogging music:  Moana: Original Movie Soundtrack, with special thanks to my sister who made sure I now own it.   

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Timeless Words....

Did she know?  That's the question that's been on my mind.  Did my mom know just how much I admired, loved and appreciated her before she died?  

She reached out to me this week, from beyond the grave.  I made an impromptu trip to visit my sister because I was starting to feel a tad claustrophobic at my house, and truth be known, lonely.  I needed a little bit of that special love one can only really get from being with their family.  While at my sister's, the two of us shared our time by going through boxes of old family photos.  The boxes we went through contained images of long gone souls; souls we'd grown up knowing only in family tales.  As history detectives, we identified our kin.  This experience was incredibly eye opening, and it touched my soul.

My sister opened an old scrapbook one night.  She perused it's pages, as I was identifying loose photos.  The next day, I peeked inside that scrapbook and was treated to a world of personal stories.

My grandmother, Theresa, went through a period of loss, not unlike others in her time.  She had a baby (my Aunt Carol) in July of 1939.  Carol didn't see her first birthday because she contracted Tuberculosis.  My grandmother would test positive or TB the remainder of her life.  My grandmother was able to get pregnant again, and this baby would grow to be my mother, Patricia, the first of five more babies to enter the family Simonetto.  My mom was a few months old, when my grandmother's brother, Patrick, died.  He was just 21 years old.  He had been at college, but came home for a visit, when he died suddenly of Pneumonia.  In the next year, my grandparents would lose yet another family member: my grandfather's youngest brother, Joeseppe.  He was 20 years old, and died in an air training accident at the Air Force base in Kansas (McConnell AF Base, before it was named as such).  So much loss of youth.  How did the families handle it? That is a rhetorical question, I know they were survivors.  They persevered.  As I continued to leaf through the pages of the scrapbook, old letters, notes written by unknown-to-me relatives, came alive. I was mesmerized.  I was held captive.  

One letter gripped my heart more than the rest.  It was one penned by my own mother.  It certainly wasn't the oldest letter.  The paper hadn't turned yellow yet with age.  There, before my eyes, was my mom's handwriting, on blue, flowered stationary.   I read the letter out loud to my sister.  As I did, tears slowly streamed down my cheeks.  My mom was expressing sentiments that I have been recently feeling.  Mom wrote a letter to Grandma, near Mother's Day in 1989.  Below are the unedited words my mother had to say:
My Grandmother, before children.
I have a picture of my grandfather at this time, too,
so I do suspect they were married in this photo. 

Lake Michigan in the foreground, and my
grandmother with my mom on her right and my Uncle Joe on the left.  

My mom and Grandma

Mom and Grandma,
on my mom's First Holy Communion

My mom and my Grandma at my sister's wedding 

Dear Mom:

I suppose you're wondering why I'm writing this letter since we live only ten miles apart and talk on the phone almost every day.  I don't feel I could express myself verbally as well as I could by writing.  Since Mother's Day will soon be here and I've been shopping for that special gift, I've been thinking about you and what you've meant to me through the years.

As I think back now, I guess I really didn't appreciate you as much as I could of while I was at home. It wasn't until I went to California that I began to get a new perspective on our relationship.  We didn't always agree on everything, of course
but you always took time to listen whenever I had a problem that I wanted to talk about.  After I left home, I missed not being able to confide in you except long distance, by mail or by telephone.

My mom, the bride - March 1962

I think it was when I married Larry that I really began to think of you as a real person rather than as "Just Mom." I began to admire your abilities with cooking, getting everything on the table hot at the same time, sewing which I took for granted, gardening and how crafty you are.  Your ability to make something out of nothing amazed me.  I also discovered that you were generous and always ready to help out a friend, neighbor and me.

You know, you've given me good sound advice over the years and I haven't always taken it.  But I especially remember the morning of my wedding when you and Dad said, it wasn't too late to change my mind about marrying Larry" - your only concern was my happiness and I've often thought of that special moment.  After Lisa was born, I began to see what it meant to be a mother from a new point of


view.  I felt a very special closeness with you as I understood, for the first time, the joys of having a child, of seeing her smile, hearing her say, "mama" and watching her learn to walk and grow up.  Each child has given me more insight to who you really were.  I had a hard time with three and you managed fine all by yourself. 

Holding and rocking a sick child, I've also discovered the long hours of worry and work you put into caring for me.  I found then, as you did years before, that a mother learns to rely on God a great deal.

As the kids have grown I found that I could sound grouchy and irritable just as you sometimes sounded when I was growing up and for some of the same good reasons.

I remember how you use to complain about how sloppy and messy I was. I really


didn't care much about your frustrations then, but I now know exactly how you felt - Sorry.

You've always been there when I needed you the most.  I remember the morning Larry died - you were there to help me when I didn't know what I was going to do - you held me in your arms and I felt so safe and secure.  What magic your arms possess.

My Uncle Joe, Aunt Pam, Grandma and mom -
There were still two babies yet to join the family.
I was so lonely and frightened but you were there to pick up the pieces.  You said I was still young and pretty - I had no faith in myself.  Then I met Art and you were there again.

At Disney World, with my siblings and my mom 
Since I've had children of my own I feel that I know you better.  I understand that a mother tries so hard, makes mistakes, loses her temper when she doesn't mean to, and has normal human


emotions.  Yes, I understand now that mother's don't always know how to settle siblings quarrels fairly or may even run out of patience a lot of times.  But, moms never run out of love - I know because you've shown that through the years.

Thank you
With all my love, 
Your daughter, 

Happy Mother's Day

Did she know?  

I believe she did.  With age comes wisdom, and mother's definitely have wisdom along with their endless supply of love.

Thank you mom, for being there for me.  May you look down and know I embrace all you bestowed upon me in life.  I am who I am, because of you and dad.  I love you, as every daughter, and son, loves their mom.  Sometimes we just need a little time before we truly realize the awesome souls in our lives.

Wonder.  Wisdom.  Grace.  Power.

~Lisa Scubelek-Kroll, 
     story teller, mother, lover of life