My mom adventures in Fort Collins

Step inside my head, and then make the most of an old orange

This is not one of my regular upbeat and fluffy blogposts. I have to be serious for a second. So much is going through my head, and I would like to write something significant, but I can’t. I’m tired, and a multitude of issues are running through my head. People are enduring Superstorm, so I feel rather petty in my concerns. We’ve been sick for so long around here (some nasty respiratory bug), and tomorrow is Halloween. Woohoo (said with mock enthusiasm). I am just not present in a way that I would like to be. I will do what I do best: I will write something rambling and semi-coherent, but you will get the gist of it.

It’s been nearly a month since the abduction of a young local girl first made headlines. I still have an ache thinking about 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway, the girl from Westminster who never made it to school on October 5th. And I shudder thinking about the 17-year-old monster that took her life. All of these things are too raw, too close to home and I don’t want to ignore them, but yet acknowledging my fear, my confusion, and my own vulnerability is just so exhausting.

Dear, sweet, 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway (From the Denver Post files)

You don’t have to be a parent to relate to the story of Jessica Ridgeway. But, of course, I am a parent, and I see most everything through that lens. My kids are my world, and I want to relay to them that they need to be protective of themselves and their bodies. I do not want to scare the bejeesus out of them. I want to be realistic, not fear-centered. My hope for them is that they live life with their eyes wide open, neither naive to human cruelty nor expecting the worst from people. I want to teach them to follow their instincts and to develop their intuition. I don’t want to put them in a bubble, but I do want them to be safe.

I’m a stay-at-home-mom and I send my kids to a co-op pre-school, so I think it’s fairly obvious where I stand. I love knowing who my children interact with on any given day. I am Momma Bear, and I will protect my babies. I want what every parent wants, and what Jessica Ridgeway’s parents no doubt wish they’d been given: I want a guarantee that some creepy weirdo will not snatch my kid while she’s just innocently living her life. Too bad they can’t issue that guarantee at the hospital right after they check to make sure you’ve installed the car seat correctly.

So I tell myself this: Most chidren are safe today. Most children walked to school without any problem whatsoever. More often than not, things do go according to plan. And I tell myself this because I don’t want to play the “What If”-game. You know the “What If”-game, right? What if [this] happens? What if [that] happens? What then? This is the game where you make yourself crazy by plotting your own Choose Your Own Adventure, only every single option ends in a catastrophe. Turn to Page 7 to be lit on fire, or turn to Page 8 to have cobras devour you in your sleep. Yep, that game.

When there are problems and heartaches, sadness and confusion, where do you turn? Usually, I do something simple and something that is nearly always available to me these days: I call my mom. Whether I’m five or thiry-five, nothing feels as comforting as my mom’s voice. As an adult, I can accept that my mom can lighten my mood in a way that no one else can. I can only hope that someday I may be a source of such support and refuge for my own kids.

Here’s the part of the post where I revert to my regular old homemaking skills (which, by my own admission, are actually few and far between). The other day I made this stovetop potpurri that reminded me of my mom. She used to do this thing with old oranges: slice them up, put a few teaspoons of cinnamon (or a cinnamon stick, if that was available), a bit of water and simmer on the stovetop. So, I made the stovetop potpurri. It wasn’t necessarily inspired by my mother, because it actually had a lot to do with the old oranges that had been living in my crisper for far too long. All I know is that my house did smell better. And that made me feel warm and cozy. And it prompted me to recall fond memories of my stable childhood home, and that made me feel better. Problems come and go, and sometimes linger. Our health, if we’re lucky, is mostly good and intermittently spotted with an occasional virus. My kids… well, there are no guarantees, but maybe I can assuage my concerns with proper education and communication. But the comfort of a warm, sweetly scented kitchen will always be a gift to me. Thanks, Mom. Love, Jayme

Savor the scent of spiced oranges… Mmmm


2 Comments so far
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The what if game is not good. It can drive you crazy.

Comment by memyselfandkids

Seriously crazy, right? Thanks for commenting.

Comment by jaymers

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