THE SIMPLE LIFE: Visit of the Monarch

Trish Morgan
Special to the News Tribune
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Trish Morgan

Mid-July. This summer is passing by so quickly! The sun has just been scorching, and for those who are fortunate to be in air conditioning - a respite for these dog days!

Me? I just realized the other day that my summer bucket list is almost untouched. Other than swimming, I haven't made much time for fun, relaxing opportunities. How about you? Is your summer whittling away? If so, how are we going to change that?

Both of my sons have had beach vacations. Some of my grandchildren have been to Ocean City this summer - taking in the grand Atlantic Ocean, riding the big ferris wheel, going through haunted houses and playing in the sand.

But Nana? Here I sit - longing for all of the things I promised myself I and we would do this summer. Campfires, picnics, day trips, local "beaches.” carnivals and fairs, community theatre and events, potluck dinners, weekend getaways and so much more.

There are several reasons why plans haven't been made. This time, I can't blame it on my aching joints. I'm good in that department, thanks to excellent care by doctors and physical therapists.

My gardens of flowers are in full bloom because of  great combination of sunshine and rain, they are just full of vibrant colors this year - much to the liking of butterflies and bees. Just this past weekend, Ava, her friend Kierra and I saw our first Monarch - resting her beautiful self on one of my purple coneflowers near my front door. She stayed and flitted there as if to show us her beautiful golden and black wings - one of God's tiniest creations.

I also took this as a sign that someone special sent that Monarch, just when I needed it. A Monarch visit just to remind me that no matter how busy I am, there is always time to appreciate the beautiful things in life.

I suppose other reasons for very little extracurricular activities are due to vacations, time away from home to visit with the grands' families, working in baseball games, football and baseball meetings, and my board meetings. All of that takes time management and coordination of everyone's schedules. Geesh - it sometimes boggles the mind the amount of management it requires! I need a vacation from planning, planning, planning!!!

I am a big Facebook user, and I read about everyone's upcoming vacations. I find myself resisting the urge MANY times from posting, "Take me, take me! I'll be good. I'll be quiet. I'll just do my own thing. Stick me on a rollaway bed in a corner. I'll bring my own spending money. I'll help with gas. Just PLEEEEEEEEEASE take me with you!" Sounds a little too desperate, huh?

There is plenty of summer left, I realize that. I've been spending about 40-48 hours per week baking goodies for many people, and it gives me an opportunity to talk with people who enjoy the desserts I make. I've been featuring desserts using fresh-picked fruits of the summer such as strawberries, blueberries, and black and red raspberries (and peaches are just around the corner). My best sellers are creampuffs, cheesecake dips, pies and cobblers - but I bake just about anything a customer wants. Everything is made fresh from scratch, and baked the day the customer is picking up. All of this has taken up much of my time. But, it does bring me happiness and a sense of accomplishment.

So, the dilemma is this - how do I squeeze in fun? How can I better use my time so there is less TV and electronics for the grands? Getting them away from modern technology is no easy feat, as many of you probably understand. How can we as a family make time to DO things as a family, other than eating meals here and there? The struggles for this Nana are real!

As I mentioned in my last column, many things remain incomplete here. There is still mulching that needs to be done, a new garden space to be created, another garden space to be groomed, wood pile debris to be burned. It's been a slow, ongoing process since early May. I'm about two months behind.

Ava and I want to spend time (and money, of course) on our dollhouse. I'll be writing about that in my column in the near future. Ava wants to learn how to do cartwheels, plus she wants play dates with some of her friends. Kamden takes weekly guitar lessons with Matt Borror, and he will be playing saxophone in Mountain Ridge High School Band this upcoming school year (he'll be a junior). Ryder and Aubree want to go swimming as often as they can.

There are so many demands on my time. How do parents do this day in and day out - plus working full time????!!??

It all can be overwhelming - this time management thing. Making time for this and that, trying to give quality Nana-time to all of my grands. Plus, trying to throw in some time for me - time for things I love to do and time for people I love. It's been so hard, and I haven't measured up to being the best person I can be.

God knows my daily struggles, and if not for God lifting and holding me up every day - I could be down inside the bottom of a barrel, broken and in deep despair and disappointment.

Today - I aspire to be the best version of myself. When I fail, by the grace of God, I hope to have another chance tomorrow. That Monarch visit opened my eyes. God's blessings, y'all.