Suzy's Blog/April 2007      Click for Suzy's Blog Summary

Suzy Smith
Do you still daydream? When very young, I spent a lot of time in my daydreams performing acts of heroic magnitude. It was not unusual for me to make the winning shot in the basketball game dragging a broken leg behind me. As I grew older, I dreamed the guy who did make the winning shot, albeit legs intact, would ask me for a date. I dreamed about college, moving to San Francisco, that first job, Prince Charming, going places, doing things. What didn’t fill my dreams?

Looking back over what is now a long life, I realize many of those dreams came true, but in their fruition, I experienced an unexpected feeling of loss. I not only missed the longing, realizing the dream brought responsibility. You got it, now make it work.

Like that dream house. For years we drove around looking at other people’s houses, longing big time, imagining the happy lives that were lived in them. One day we found ours, leaky roof, old plumbing, antiquated kitchen and baths, gophers and all.

In college when I discovered Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury gang , I began to dream about seeing Sissinghurst, Vita Sackville-West’s garden in England. It took thirty years, but I got there. It was magical, but when we’d seen it all, I burst into tears. “It’s all over,” I sobbed. “We’ll go through it again,” my husband offered. “But it won’t be the FIRST time,” I cried. “May all your dreams come true,” they toast at weddings. Hopefully not. It’s nice to have something to dream about.

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Suzy Smith
Saying I love you is hard to do. Growing up, I was taught these were important, serious words, not to be tossed about lightly, words to be saved for a special few. This was not only a parental notion, it was conveyed in the novels I read, the movies I saw. Wasn't Doris Day always circumspect in these matters?

We didn't often say I love you in words in my childhood family. Instead we devised a hand signal to express our feelings of love. Hands up, fingers spread wide then patted together meant I love you. Very useful in public places when you needed a little support. Mother tapping her fingers together at a piano recital when I'd forgotten the notes, brought them back to mind.

When our son went to college, in the era when we wrote letters, how was I to end mine? Yes, he was one of those special people who deserved those special words, but I was uncomfortable when I reached the closing. I didn't want to be a gushing Mother, but I did want him to know he was loved. When he told me he read my letters to his roommates, I became more inhibited, my love was going public.

One day at the bottom of the page, it came to me in a roaring epiphany. YMLY (Your Mother Loves You), almost a code, appropriately something only we shared.

In a new era, with my new loves, those incredible grandchildren, I know exactly how to sign my Emails. SLY, or decoded, SUSE (my grandmother name) LOVES YOU. Imagine my surprise last week when I received an Email from my nine year old granddaughter Malia, signed MLYB, or as she subsequently explained, MALIA LOVES YOU BIG TIME.

What goes around, comes around one better

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Suzy Smith
Those brain experts are just beginning to study the wandering mind, something all our minds do about 30 per cent of the time. Since scientists usually find explanations for human behavior, there must be a purpose for our mental meandering. Not meaning to be smug, and admittedly lacking scientific credentials, enormous grants, or elegantly gathered data, I think I have the answer. It came to me on the tennis court last week.

Across the net were two women so much better than Jan, my partner, and I, we considered forfeiting the set. After some discussion we decided no, we'll go for it, there are worse things than being humbled on the tennis court.

In a nanosecond they had us two-zero. We were so outclassed, we could only giggle like school girls.

"We're better than this," I tell Jan.

I hunker down, get serious. So does she. We win a game, then another. All of a sudden we're playing on a level we've never been on before. This is the ZONE I'm thinking, that place of complete concentration.

We don't win the set, but they don't win without a fight, a victory for us.

On the way home, I vow I'll get into the zone in the rest of my life. In full concentration I could be Superwoman.

But I missed something. Once I zoned, I didn't smell the freshness of the morning or hear the birds singing. I never saw the poppies blooming beside the court. I never laughed. There was only purpose.

Lighten up insists the wandering mind.

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Suzy Smith
Mimi and I are playing piano duets together, something we’ve been doing for over forty years. I call us The Partners in Musical Crime. Currently Brahms is our victim. Or are we his? As I leave the comfort of what’s under my fingers to reach for a key out of sight somewhere in the left field of the keyboard, I realize Brahms is in control.

When putting it together for the first time, Mimi’s hand gets in my way. “Get off my note!” I want to shout while giving her a forceful shove. Instead I say nothing, nudge gently. We continue. The addition of her part confuses me. I begin making mistakes not made when practiced alone. I up my volume, try to drown her out. The music suffers. Hmm, not about me, I realize, a joint effort.

We play, then talk. What do we want to achieve and how are we going to get there? We give, we take and at times, like a good marriage, we make beautiful music together.

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Suzy Smith
We all have it cluttering our lives. What's going to happen to it when we're gone? I begin to think about "passing on", not dying exactly, but passing on the tangibles from my generation to the next.

I'll admit a certain attachment to my stuff. Gathered over the years, or passed down from the previous generation, it not only holds cherished memories, in a funny, personal way, it's so me. In it's "me-ness", I am deluded to think there is some posterity here. I hold happy thoughts of future moments when my Grandson resets my diamond for an engagement ring, or the cherry corner cupboard happily occupies a corner as the first piece of furniture in the home of my newlywed Granddaughter. In my stuff, I fantasize, I'll still be around, remembered. And yet....

When we dismantled my husband's parent's house, there were many boxes marked SAVE. Some we did. Others we didn't. My Mother had a treasured collection of cruets she wanted to pass on. There were no takers. At that time we were the "passed to" generation. It's important to remember the yes and no of how that felt.

It's also important to remember, it's only stuff.

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