My Very Groovy Time Machine

Hollywood Bowl
Dead and Company Concert

Places can be like time machines.

First stop, L.A. No big deal, we’ve been there before and did the cheesy tours.  But this time we were going to the Hollywood Bowl to see John Mayer and the Grateful Dead. As soon as we stepped out of the car, we traveled back in time to Woodstock. People in very colorful, psycodelic shirts, long flowing hair and groovy glasses walked about in a mild, happy trance.  Once in the stadium plumes of “loud smells” as my son calls it, fired off. The bowl glowed in vibrant colors, and then, John Mayer walked on stage.  I never knew he was so talented, and diverse a musician. And then, the crowd greeted the rest of the band whose many, many songs they grew up with. The couple in front of me euphorically lip syncing and snapping selfies while beach balls kept bouncing our way.   The whole package was a step back in time.

Next stop, Yosemite. The ride up the mountain area was a step back in time as well. As we approached the final stretch we were greeted with a prairie setting of long blond grass swaying, a train rolling through and an innocent group of baby goats. We were delighted when spotting whimsical, squirrel like prairie dogs darting about.  Being from Florida, I will admit, I felt uncomfortable making our way up to elevations of 6,000 to 7,000 feet on single laned roads. We got to our home base- a quaint town called Mariposa. Being of Spanish background, I know that means butterfly. This little town was established in 1850 and is dotted with small shops, restaurants and churches on hilly roads. We wanted to take advantage of the rest of the day and I was surprised that Yosemite was yet 45 minutes away, but as we went on I can see why. Again one laned roads along curvy mountain sides. The drive was well worth it.  A step back in time, and no one can spoil it! Not even the hands that have spoiled so many natural settings because of progression and greed.

Entrance to Yosemite
Entrance to Yosemite
Rainbows at Yosemite
Bridal Veil Fall

Our final night, we ate at the Gold coin back in Mariposa. A final treat, great live music from a one man band with a great selection of old cover songs. I savored the moment as a parent and traveler, or should I say “time traveler?”

 

Post note:

This trip was a graduation trip with my son.  ( I believe if the finances are there, every parent should take their son/daughter on a trip at this age.  They are young adults, but when they graduate college or go on to what they choose, there’s no guarantee they will have the luxury of time or even desire to travel with you, as their life truly begins.) I wanted this trip to be memorable, and I believe it was. And as I shared a few pieces ago I wrote a poem in honor of my son, who has come into his own, writing and producing music. I envisioned different things for my kids but as the saying goes, ” You make plans and God laughs at you.”

“FLIGHT” by natalie giasullo

I knew a boy who grew up to be a man

Of quiet strength and peace, he had an angel in his hand.

He had a gift of a smile that made the stars cry,

And the spirit of a dove, he discovered he could fly.

He didn’t have to listen and get approval any longer,

Disappointments and losses would make the man stronger.

It’s my turn, you’ve had yours, I’m gonna fly to the Sun.

But I’m smarter than Icarus, I’m gonna LIVE to have fun!

You can’t melt my wings, I’m in control of my flight.

I’m not afraid to fail a few times, cause I’ll get it right.

Winter comes quickly, ask any old soul…

They wonder where their youth went, lost sight of the goal.

Lost track of the time, lost time of the track-

Everyone knows they’ll never get it back.

 

I’m gonna pack my guitar, and play Life a song.

I’m gonna enjoy my springtime, and Life will play along.

And when Winter comes, I’ll stare him square in the eye

And I’ll just strum my guitar,

and continue to F-L-Y!

Just me and my angel and my new life ahead

I’ll never wonder “what if” of the life that I led.

I left behind kindness, a smile and a song

I didn’t waste my gifts, I passed them along…

Case at yosemite

It’s Time to Fly!

This poem is dedicated to all the young people out there, finding their place in this world.  I recently discovered my son had a talent- guitar player, composer and singer.  He just started but I can see his passion for music. It’s a turning point in his life as he goes on to college and decides what he will do with the rest of his life.

Casey coffee house

“FLIGHT”

I knew a boy who grew up to be a man

Of quiet strength and peace, he had an angel in his hand.

He had a gift of a smile that made the stars cry,

And the spirit of a dove, he discovered he could fly.

He didn’t have to listen and get approval any longer,

Disappointments and losses would make the man stronger.

It’s my turn, you’ve had yours, I’m gonna fly to the Sun.

But I’m smarter than Icarus, I’m gonna LIVE to have fun!

You can’t melt my wings, I’m in control of my flight.

I’m not afraid to fail a few times, cause I’ll get it right.

Winter comes quickly, ask any old soul…

They wonder where their youth went, lost sight of the goal.

Lost track of the time, lost time of the track-

Everyone knows they’ll never get it back.

 

I’m gonna pack my guitar, and play Life a song.

I’m gonna enjoy my springtime, and Life will play along.

And when Winter comes, I’ll stare him square in the eye

And I’ll just strum my guitar,

and continue to F-L-Y!

Just me and my angel and my new life ahead

I’ll never wonder “what if” of the life that I led.

I left behind kindness, a smile and a song

I didn’t waste my gifts, I passed them along…

Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain.” ― Bob Dylan

Hey mom. I remember sometime in high school or early college, I told you that I thought depression was just people being whiny, even though I knew you were dealing with some.  I’d just like to apologize for that.  Someone that I spent a lot of time with in the theatre department took his own life last night and no one saw it coming.  Just wanted to take a moment to tell you that I love you.

My daughter sent me that text just a few days ago.  This is not the first time in my children’s young years that this kind of tragedy has brushed into their lives. When my son was in 8th grade, a classmate had also taken his own life.  You wonder what can be so bad, that that’s the only solution you can come up with. I remember being at  Christmas Eve mass and I was handed a free book. So as I read through it, I remember reading that Bob Dylan’s grandmother used to tell him to be kind to everyone because you don’t know what they are going through. I thought about that.

How very true that is.  We just seem to bump around day to day, lives softly brushing by one another as we make quick judgements on the mother with an unruly child, or the disheveled person at the grocery store, or the aged person driving way too slowly on the road. There is a show out there on Netflix that has just surfaced and it’s all about suicide.  The creators say it’s not supposed to be easy to watch and that we should watch it with our kids. Well I think they are wrong.  Why would I want to coddle and encourage that topic with my kids? I realize that it needs to be addressed, but weekly?

There is something seriously wrong with our society. Just look at the selection of reality shows out there.  Look at what’s happening on social media, where murders are being recorded and people are actually laughing in the background.  It reminds me of the Roman times where people would flock to an arena to cheer on as someone was killed.  Sometimes I just sit and try to think of how we can fix this.  Mark Zuckerberg is hiring thousands more employees to sift through social media to pull inappropriate postings, but honestly, I don’t think there’s anything you can do when there’s a live feed filtering through.  My 18 year old jokes to me that his children will have flip phones.  I think it’s a good idea. Hind sight is 20/20.  When phones came out with cameras, they should have had regulations in place where kids in elementary and middle school could only have a flip phones at school to call in case of emergencies and after school communications with parents. And if there parents wanted to spend yet another 200 on a camera phone, fine, but not in  school.  With these devices at a very young age, we have promoted addiction, and desensitized our youth. Movies have ratings ( and don’t get me started) alcohol has an age restriction, why not these devices? I’d also love to see packages bundled where you don’t have to accept the channels that conflict with your values.

So what is the fix? I don’t know. What I do know is we need to slow down and challenge ourselves to put down our devices a little longer each day and take an interest in our neighbors. Friendships and relationships need to be nurtured, but it requires paying attention. And a lost art needs to make it’s way back. The art of listening and taking in another person’s opinion without knocking them to the ground figuratively.  They seem like small steps to take.  I think it’s worth a shot. And who knows, someone that may be considering doing the unthinkable, may change their mind, and figure out they do matter, and they in turn may be able to help others.

” Be kind to everyone because you don’t know what they may be going through.”

 

 

 

You Can’t Regret Regrets!

Special milestones often invite reflection and with reflection comes regret.  My two children are about to graduate and though this should be a very happy time for me, there is a sad echo inside saying I wish I would have been more, or done this. The truth is parenting is the hardest job in the world. And when people are touting about their adult children’s accomplishments the response that often follows is, ” Do you know what that means? You did a great job as a parent!” But what if that person grows up to mark society in a negative way or doesn’t measure up to what your idea of success is? Does that mean you were an awful parent?

I recently read of an interesting experiment that started off with a simple observation of rats and pups.  Scientists were pulling the pups out to observe their physical condition, then putting them back in the tank.  Randomly, they noticed sometimes an adult rat would rush to the pup and nurture it by preening and licking it. The pup would calm down. So the scientists decided to separate the pups they knew to have been nurtured verses the ones that did not.  The ones not nurtured would stick to the outside rim of the tank while the ones that had been nurtured would venture to the center. Then the scientists would put food in the tank. The ones not nurtured took longer to trust and eat. The nurtured ones were bold and just went to the food.  So they went on to study a group of kids that grew up below the poverty line through out their lives and concluded the ones that grew up in a nurturing environment were successful. This included studying the ones that were held more as babies.  They addressed how there was a period where babies were viewed as mechanical and parents were encouraged to leave them to cry, and they would eventually fall asleep. According to their study, this was not the best thing to do.

So I reflect and I have regrets of my parenting performance, like most people do. But then I quiet that echo by telling myself, “You can’t regret regrets.” No one has a baby and knows what the heck they are doing.  When the second baby comes along, you might have learned something, which is why the first one is often called the guinea pig. But if I never had that first one or any at all, I would have never have known the joy that comes with holding a pure innocent life in those aqua pink and blue blankets, and feeling that you are needed and loved by that soul. ( And I know friends that have adopted and get it because as children grow with you, the love does too.)

I am blessed because my two kids grew up to be pretty great people to get to know.  One is a college graduate, an English major.  The other is going off to college.  Can I take credit for it? I don’t know. What I do know was that their younger years were a tumultuous course because there was divorce and separation. Do I regret having them? Never! What I regret was that chaotic transition they witnessed as I settled into my new life. But if I wouldn’t have met the man I divorced, then I never would have met them. And that would indeed be the biggest regret of all.  “You can’t regret regrets!”