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Too young to be old

Posted on March 10, 2013 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I'm young enough that I can still count the wrinkles and gray hairs but old enough that my era as a full-time mom has come to an end. The nest is empty. I can sit around and cry, or I can decide where to go from here.

I've been fortunate to accomplish most things I've set out to accomplish in my life. I've been leader of my high school flag team, a college cheerleader, a professional cheerleader, a college graduate, a masters graduate, Miss Oklahoma, talent winner and Top 10 finalist at Miss America, a professional singer, a professional emcee, a television news reporter, a television news anchor, a business executive...my life has been full.

But if I'm honest, all I really ever wanted and needed to be was a mom. I wanted to have babies and love them and cherish them and be a positive force in their lives and the world they would impact. I got to do that for too short a time. Because of divorce and vastly contraditory parenting styles, I wound up having an empty nest a lot sooner than I had planned.

Today it's too late to go back to the things I gave up to be a mom, and it's too soon to retire to a nursing home rocking chair with my knitting needles and basket of yarn. My husband says I'm too hot to be an old lady.

So I look at people who have reinvented themselves and flown out of the empty nest. My big sister is my greatest example. Jan Marler Morrill used to be the shrinking violet sister who carried my evening gowns when I was performing in pageants. After her Big Star sister brought down the house, Jan would dutifully go to the dressing room to clean up my mess and pack my gowns, hair spray and makeup. She spent her life in the background, taking care of everyone else. It must have been hard when that role came to an end.

Jan could be in a rocking chair somewhere (her nest has been empty for many years), but she never sits still long enough to rock. She's a newly-published author who gives lectures and who every once in a while paints a painting or runs in a marathon or goes on an international vacation or whatever she feels like doing.

I'm sure Jan at some point reached a crossroads where she wondered if her best years were behind her. When you've effectively reached the end of the only life you've ever imagined, it's time to start imaging a new life. That's where I am today.

I've been everything I've ever wanted to be. Now I just need to decide what I want to be when I grow up. Because I'm too young to be old.

What do fish think?

Posted on March 20, 2011 at 6:13 PM Comments comments (0)

Fishing is by far one of my favorite pastimes. Nothing soothes the soul like casting a line and watching the gently rippling water as you slowly reel it back to shore. I am by no means an expert fisherperson. My husband jokes that I catch more elusive stick fish and tree bass than actual fish, but I enjoy the process, nonetheless.

Several times a fishing session I cast my line into the trees surrounding my parents' pond. I can't even imagine the thousands of dollars of lures I've left to adorn the many branches. It's like Christmas all year 'round.

One time I cast my line over a branch and the bright green rubber grub dipped into the water below. Rather than wrestle yet another line from the tree, I waited to see if a fish would take a nibble. Sure enough, a rather large crappie grabbed the hook with such force, it yanked the branch down to the water. I pulled and reeled, pulled and reeled like a real fisherperson. When the fish finally tired of the struggle, he was dangling 15 feet above the water. What on earth must he have been thinking, I wondered.

Crappie: I can see everything from here! My little fishy friends will never believe...hey LOOK! It's my friend Mr. Turtle. Hey, Mr. Turtle, I'm way up here IN THIS TR...What's that? A sparkly worm, hanging on another branch? It's getting kind of hard to brea...Oh my gosh! ANOTHER sparkly worm on THAT branch! Hey, this worm in my mouth doesn't taste as good as I thought it would ta...I wonder why that human is standing there with that stick in her hand...I'd like to get down now.

Fish are notoriously Attention Defecit Disorder. Why else would they endlessly chase shiny rubber worms around a pond and up into trees? That may be why fish and I get along just fine.