Archive | May 2017

A Change in Landscape: A Tribute To Military Members

I thought this was the perfect time to re-share this for Memorial Day.

vikkilynnsmith

ocean view from Ford Island at Sunset, Oahu, Hawaii

Sun beat down upon the decaying pavement as I padded towards the water’s edge. The air was clear and the skies moved about with the changing island breeze. I had walked this way many times before, and today, with music filling my ears of piano and violins, I slipped away from my busy world. My arms found their way in a swinging motion, like snow-skiing across the vast concrete before me. I was out to replace my previous walking time, and my steps became urgent with purpose. But the truth was, I was distracted by a sudden change in landscape. I tried to push the thought of the island’s transformation out of my head, and raced on past the military patrol boats in the harbor and the once vibrant military buildings that now looked all but forgotten.

Out in the distance the clouds rolled in over the mountains and rain…

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I Did It All

Vikki on a tour busThe ray of sun beat down through the car window as I moved across the pavement in my hurried state. I wasn’t going anywhere, but the feel of the car beneath me felt better as the peddle pushed further to the floor. I smiled, and knew I should behave and drive as a fifty-something year old and not a twenty-something year old. But what the hell, I felt like twenty, so why not act like it? Today the tunes rocked the small leathered compartment of my new wheels, life was good.

Around me, I looked at fellow drivers as they went by, old and young, going about their business as if no one noticed. But I noticed. I looked to see their smiles, their frowns, their flapping mouths as they droned on to an uninterested listener, and children even, singing in the backseat of a car at the top of their lungs. Watching people and knowing people is what life is all about, and there is no better place to witness life than speeding down the highway. Okay, maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration. But boy, the stories I could write about the people I see in cars!

The truth is, it wasn’t the people in the cars that made me smile today, it was the song playing on the radio. The beat grabbed me the moment it came over the speakers, and before I could stop myself, my thumbs turned into drumsticks. Then the lyrics entered, and I realized One Republic was singing about my life. How could this be when I have never met any of the band members, especially Ryan Tedder the writer of the song? But yet, with every word, they sang a song I would have penned for myself if I had songwriting abilities, “I Lived.”

Oh, I know I’m not anyone special, and probably have minor life experience compared to most, but living is not about how many unusual experiences one has, but how one lives! For me, life is finding the positive things around you and learning to experience everything life has to offer.

Part of being successful at living life to the fullest is having confidence in yourself to try something new. I don’t believe that being a person high on life is something you are born with. I’m pretty sure I was a timid little girly-girl when I was young and growing up with four brothers.

But as I grew, and my confidence began to grow, I found that experiencing life was exciting.  I could meet new people without feeling uncomfortable. I sought out strangers on trips and tried to get to know and learn from them. I would travel, and not just to famous destinations, but to out of the way little places like Wall, South Dakota or Artesia, New Mexico to see what was there… just for the heck of it. If there was an adventure park, museum or monument, I stopped and checked them out too. I even stopped once at a strange rock formation in the middle of the desert. Trust me, it was worth the stop. Isn’t that living?

As I got much older, I found more courage than I have ever had before. I began to 10400128_10153299641386671_4670492881694448979_n.jpghike and do sports that I always wanted to try. I even snorkeled in Hawaii’s waters without drowning myself! I’ve climbed lighthouses, traveled Europe, hosted dignitaries at my home, and sat quietly on my porch as birds filled my head with music. Isn’t that living?

I’ve held a new born baby in my arms, comforted a grieving friend, rejoiced at weddings and sang in the shower (even when I knew someone could hear me.) I’ve laughed so hard that my laughter turned to tears, cried till I had no more tears to shed, and marveled at the beauty of a sunset on a cool fall evening. Isn’t that living?

I think “doing it all” is a subjective statement to many, but to me… it’s living every moment, in the moment, with purpose and feeling. It’s taking a chance in learning something out about yourself that you never knew before and embracing the idea that until one’s death, you have the chance to change and grow and live life in ways that you never imagined. For this, I’ve lived.

I’ve lived each day, loved by my family, encouraged by my peers and am now eager to see what is waiting out there for me to explore. For when I pass from this world, those who surround my casket will not mourn me but celebrate and say, “she lived.”

I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
With every broken bone, I swear I lived

I, I did it all
I, I did it all

My Mother’s Hair

 

daughter and mom smiling at camera

Her wavy silver hair flipped up at the ends as she ran her hand through the top of her hair.

“How’s that?” she asked me before we took another selfie.

“Better,” I replied with a smile.

Her hair had always been an issue for her, and finally she was figuring it out after 77 years. I remember telling her on more than one occasion not to cut it so short, but then I would see her and she had cut it down to the quick. Oh, for crying out loud, I would think. She had amazing hair and she was always chopping it off! Until now, she finally convinced a beautician to just trim the ends.

I can still recall my mother when she was young, and how her jet-black hair fell across her shoulders. There were no barrettes to hold it out of her eyes, just maybe a headband occasionally. Thick as a down-filled coat, her heavy curls pulled down upon her back. I loved the smell of it and her.

When we lived in Spain, in the sixties, she had it made up by a hairdresser who came to our house. I couldn’t imagine how so much hair could stay piled up on top of her head. It was brushed and sectioned, teased and bobby-pinned. There must have been ten pounds of hairspray holding it all in place. But gosh, was she beautiful. At night, she wrapped it in layers of toilet paper, like the wrapping of an ancient queen upon her death. Then she would sleep half-sitting up trying to keep herself from crushing it. In the morning, I was always amazed as she unwound the crushed tissue, and there without a hair out of place was my mother’s beautiful hairdo.

As I grew older, so did she. Her hair took on a special accent of its own that always intrigued my friends. From her temple, a stripe of silver began to grow. I often wondered how she felt about that stripe that mimicked the tail of a skunk. I thought it was the coolest thing ever, but she was only in her twenties when it appeared. She never said anything about it. But ironically, it became her and would represent the dynamic person she would become over the years.

I’m not sure when it happened, which came first, but she dyed and cut her hair all off. It was a shock. I suppose she didn’t want that gray strip spreading since she was only in her thirties. She had always had young looking skin, and to have a head of silver would clearly age her beyond her years. So rightly so, she dyed her hair. But to cut it? Oh heavens! Her beautiful curly hair was butchered, leaving her with a type of pixie that was easier to manage for a mother of five. By then I was a teenager and having my mom cut her hair was just something that happened.

I suppose her short hair fit her. With a thin face, hazel eyes and thin bones, she had more energy than six moms combined. She was the ultimate mother, running here and there for every child and every event. I never saw her worry about her hair, it IMG_7831was as if it was just there like her eyebrows or mouth. But still when she kissed me good night, she smelled like my mom.

Then it happened. I was departing the plane in Hawaii, coming home from college for Christmas, when I saw my mother. With arms stretched out and a smile on her face, she ran to greet me. But I had to stop a second to take her in. She had a whole head of silver hair! How could this be? Wasn’t it only six months since I left? I tried to smile, but I was confused. Her soft loving arms wrapped around me and she whispered how she had missed me. Submitting to her, I could smell the sweet scent of home upon her skin and I knew it didn’t matter what color her hair was. She was my mom.

When I got married, my mother was not even forty-five years old. Unlike her, I wore my hair long, determined never to cut it. So, when years had gone by and my mother aged gracefully with time, she grew into her grandmotherly silver hair. And, oh boy, did she have beautiful silver hair. My children loved it along with strangers who marveled at its brilliance. But still, she wore it shorter than she needed to.

Then one year she decided she needed a change. She let it grow like she had never before. She struggled to tame her curls that now had a life of their own. She plastered barrettes above her ears to hold down the heavy strands that threatened to    

lady with long silver curly hairblind her while she cooked or read. And when she arrived at her granddaughter’s wedding, her long beautiful locks were the talk of the town. How lovely her hair looked against her matching top of silver and blue.

But it wasn’t long before she was letting some crazy beautician chop it all off! I wasn’t happy. It was so gorgeous and free.

To me, her long hair was everything she was as a woman. She was wild and funny, soft and edgy, creative and opinionated, everything I loved about her. Oh, it didn’t say how smart she was or how loyal, but it did say she was a lioness amongst her pride.

And then I realized, after the initial shock, that again, her hair did not make her. She would remain the vivacious woman everyone has known her to be. She is going to continue to be the out-going, full of life person her children and grandchildren know her to be no matter how short she cuts her hair. She’s still going to love her husband. She’s still going to love her children. She’s still going to bebop around town, piddle in her kitchen and babysit grand-dogs. And she is still going to smell like my mom… even when she is putting the peace sign above my head in a perfectly great selfie shot. Because she is and always will be the best mom a girl could ever have…. Hair or no hair.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom…. I love you!