Last weekend, I treated my two sons, former housekeeper, her companion and her grandson to a vacation in Las Vegas.
I knew that going away for four days was definitely going to take me out of my “comfort zone.” My eyesight bothered me a lot more when I was outdoors and in unfamiliar territory. But all of this was balanced by both my sons’ enthusiasm to show their former housekeeper, Rosa all the sights. This was Rosa’s first time on a vacation in her life. She had never seen Las Vegas or experienced things like gambling, a show or a buffet.
For me, creating memories for my children was a tradition taught to me by my own parents. My parents were not wealthy by any means and our vacations were always frugal. However, the memories I have are priceless.
My last family vacation was three years ago. On that last trip, I was consumed with writing song lyrics to my song “The Unknown” and quite miserable during that time.
When my youngest son mentioned a sweet memory from that vacation (of me swimming in the ocean with him), it gave me a big smile. Despite my misery over deciding to end my marriage, my son had no awareness. He had a wonderful time and memories to always treasure. Hearing his words gave me a better perspective about this Las Vegas weekend.
The entire weekend was elevated by my most recent song composition and arrangement of “Rainbow Through My Tears.” It played over and over and I was never tired of hearing it in my mind. Whenever I could, I practiced singing it.
Click the blue link below to hear audio of my “karaoke in progress”
I saw it as a beautiful and hopeful sign when I caught a glimpse of a rainbow while driving to Las Vegas. Normally, Las Vegas being a desert town gets rain only one day a year on average. Unfortunately, it rained all three days we were there. We were so lucky!
I allowed myself two brief gambling moments. I savored winning a small amount on my second day. On the third day, I doubled my risk by gambling with my 23-year-old son for the first time. I spent twice as much money (because I gave him my money to gamble with). We both lost. It would have been a lot more fun if at least he could have won something. For myself, I didn’t care because I’m not much of a gambler.
The real payoff came from laying out big bucks at the tables – and they weren’t betting tables either.
Seeing my kids’ beaming eyes at the buffet and restaurant tables was worth everything.
Once again, I was in the familiar place of finding my joy by making those I love happy. Most of the weekend, I was inside my head. I loved dreaming that maybe someday there would be a Judy Unger show in Vegas.
I didn’t necessarily see myself being a glamorous singer, but I have often imagined all of my songs being part of a touching musical. If my family knew my thoughts, I’d be mercilessly teased so I kept it as my own little secret.
The day I came home, I had a show in the evening. I realize that I am not talented at promoting myself; I really hate to bother friends to come and watch me play. I had only two people in the audience that night. But it didn’t matter.
My reason for performing at Kulak’s had everything to do with supporting the venue with a large donation. I loved seeing the post-it notes that Paul Kulak had in front of him in the control room.
Doing my shows this past month was not only excellent practice for me. It was great information about whether or not I wanted to go in the direction of being a performer.
After three shows now, I see that performing is something I will be fine with. I had zero nervousness and felt very comfortable speaking and singing. I was confident that there would someday be a large audience wanting to hear what I had to share.
My post title is a line of lyrics from my song “Rainbow Through My Tears.”
Right now, there is a lot of stress in my life pouring over me. I know it will clear, but I am continually dodging storms.
Trying to make my children happy has taken a toll on me. I haven’t been feeling too great because I’ve been unsuccessful at it. My heart has been heavy.
Letting go is something I must do on a regular basis. I want to let go of my disappointment and hold on to the many blessings in my life. My high standards and expectations are not helping me at all.
Last night, I was feeling very down. I had gotten into a fight with one of my children. My stress had reached a point where I was overwhelmed.
To escape, I simply kept typing at my computer. I was working on my last story about Todd, who had recently found my blog. Writing always helped me to feel better. When I finished my story, I sent Todd a message on Facebook. It was:
Hi Todd, I went ahead and put up Part 1! Wondering if it’s a cliffhanger. J Judy
I was having a hard time concentrating. I could feel my tears building inside and longed to release them. When I received a message back from Todd, it was a special gift.
As I read his message, sobs erupted from me. My tears splashed onto my keyboard. I suddenly felt as if my dear friend Linda was holding me close.
When I stopped, I felt better. It was such a release for me.
Even though my tears had been raining, I knew it would clear. I never lose hope.
For me, clearing represents clarity.
Your words bring back memories I buried years ago. I am at a loss for words at your ability to bring my mom’s spirit back to life in your blog. Thank you for what you are doing. It really means so much to me to see how deeply you loved and still love my mother.
I spent so many years moving on. It is lovely to reflect now, to recognize what happened, and how it impacts my life today. I realize now that so much of how I teach math (and attempt to teach character development) to my students is a result of my own experience. In a failing public school system, I try to help my students survive, to give them the study skills and knowledge tools to make it in a country with ever less opportunity. Surviving, not being a victim of anything, and not making excuses for how we deal with the hand we are dealt are daily topics of conversation in my classroom.
I don’t know how I got through college. Fortunately, I did not drop out. Mom died my freshman year, and I did lots of drugs…ran away with the hippie kids for a few years, but fortunately I turned out to be a good test taker. More than that, though, dad was there for me during the worst of those times. When mom died, he did not turn his back on me, though I certainly gave him cause to do so. I have him to thank in so many ways.
I wish mom could be here to play tennis with you, to mourn the loss of your mother with you, may she rest in peace, and listen to you sing your beautiful songs. She always had a very special bond with you; you gave her courage and strength. She told me that.
Mom knew, though I was in straight out denial that she would not be here today. So, instead, she treated me like an adult then. She spoke to me about so many things that I was not ready to hear, but I do remember. My conversations with you have allowed me to remember things we spoke of.
We went out to dinner several nights a week while I was in high school. She told me lots of juicy gossip; but more than that, she told me about those she loved, and her hopes for me. I miss those dinners so much.
Again, thank you Judy for being a great friend to my mother. Thank you for helping me to heal.
What you wrote is so beautiful, Todd that I am crying my eyes out. Your message came at a time when I was feeling very vulnerable. With the holiday approaching and problems with my children as a result of my divorce – well, I sure wish I had my mom and dad around to hold and comfort me.
Your message is a gift. In helping you to heal, I am helping myself, too.
Friendship is a wonderful thing and Linda would have eased my loneliness. My tears are flowing for your beautiful mom. I have not forgotten her voice or her kindness. I never realized how much I have missed her! She would have been so supportive of all that I’m doing.
You lost a lot because of her early death. But it was so touching to hear how she treated you as an adult; that sounds exactly like her.
Thank you again, Todd for opening up to me. My blog is like a diary, but at the same time I see it as a magnificent opportunity to touch other people with honesty and real experiences. Your mom was real.
And she sure made a difference in so many ways. I’ll be thinking of you on Thanksgiving, Todd.
© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.