Tag Archive | Japan

An SOS To The World ~

As a believer in strong communications. I have used several mediums to send written messages to  this end all my life. Well, at least as long as I have been writing, and although unable to be my reality  I actually do not remember not ever writing.

Today sending my own hand made greeting cards, has been another way I love to communicate that “I am thinking of You” to those in my life. There was even a time when I was known to send flat smooth shaped rocks,  I would use embossing powders and stamp one word messages: Balance, Dream, Energy, Bliss, It was a really an enjoyable way to communicate on occasions, surprising people with an odd message was great fun. and  hey, it was the 1970’s. I soon realized however that the rocks were costing me more in postage than I was paying for just stationary and the concept of free was soon lost on me. Family and friends were thoughtful and kind enough to see them as gifts, and most rocks are still in use by my family & friends in their homes, & offices. I even spotted one in a daughter’s purse. Good friends are hard to find, and when they look past any eccentricities cherish them always.

The most different way that I have used to send a message was in a bottle. Literally. I also had no clue who the marooned intended islander would be, which this made the experience even more fascinating, Maybe even with a sense of wonder I went into this. Whoever happened upon the bottle would be my recipient. I loved the randomness of it.

The idea that I would finally set sail a message in a bottle was born out a conversation with my friend Lynn on my 39th birthday. Lynn is one of the other three Dirty Mother;s in my life. who I have been friends with since we were babies. We rarely missed sharing birthdays with one another while our daughters were growing up. A perfect justification for girlfriend road trips Not quite Thelma and Louise, but close.

The thought of sending a message in a bottle actually became more than an idea and a plan on my 39th birthday, sitting crossed legged in the sand on a favorite stretch of a quiet Oregon beach. After years of saying I would one day send a message in bottle the plan was put into slow motion. We discussed what we would be doing on our 40th birthday’s. Lynn born in the summer of 1955,  I the spring, We had been celebrating one another birthdays together for a couple of decades already. It soon become our plan that I was going to set sail a message in a bottle to commemorate my 40th birthday. Same friend would be along, same Oregon beach, Why would we change something that had worked for us for 22 years? We made our bi-annual pilgrimage to the beach on my birthday in the spring  and hers in the summer.

After sharing a bottle of Oregon wine  from the Nehalem Bay Winery as we were picking up the trappings of an impromptu dinner it occurred to me that I had no need  to wait until I was 40 yrs old to set a message sailing. I had a perfect vessel to set sail right there and then in my hand. The Oregon Pinot Noir empty wine bottle There were certainly no rules about sending a message in a bottle that I was aware of,  and I was not tied to it needing to be done on my 40th birthday. I really just wanted to send the message via a bottle for its ship. My 39th birthday was a fine and  suitable excuse.Send my 30’s decade sailing was a perfect sentiment. I have loved things that are serendipitous all my life, so why not just go with the spontaneity of it?

With the help of a very kind woman at the hotel we were given paper & pen as well as a candle. I had no clue why I would need a candle. It had to be explained to me. I learned that the candle was to seal the bottle and its cork with a water tight seal  to keep it from filling and sinking. How brilliant people are! “Someone has obviously done this before me.” I commented out loud to the hotel desk clerk. I think she was simply humoring me because she just smiled an all-knowing smile and politely said nothing.

Writing my message was simple and to the point. I simply said who I was, why I set sail this message, the date, from where the vessel parted ways with land, and my own home address. Rolled up into a tight cylinder the paper message slid into the neck of the bottle just fine and unfurled itself  a bit inside to round out and fill the belly of the bottle. Placing the cork back inside the lip of the bottle and  over old newspapers we dripped the hot melted wax from the lit candle to seal the seam.  We let the seal dry, and repeated the process a total; of three times. All the while Lynn & I are speculating how far the bottle will get before being found on shore. Japan  Maybe? We occasionally will find glass floats from Japan our shores so it was a possibility.

The hardest part of it the whole experience was getting the tide to take the bottle out to sea on the other side of the break. The bottle kept coming right back on to shore in front of my feet,  every time we attempted to throw it out into the ocean as far as possible.  It was never far enough.. Even with this part of the Oregon coast being notorious for “Under Toes” this message in the bottle returned to the sandy beach over and over. Lynn and I were both becoming more frustrated by the moment seeing it roll back onto the beach. each time we launched it. Now what? In mid March the water temperature of the Pacific Ocean on the west border of the state of Oregon is typically no warmer than just above freezing which is not conducive for wading past the ankles. Even for a couple of Oregon girls. The beach quiet and pretty deserted this time late afternoon in March.

Heroes come in many disguises, Walking out from the tall sea grass which hides the parking, carrying a  surf board came a tall lean kid with a healthy tan and long har. He was not a Oregon boy with that tan. Maybe he was just an illusion?  Oregon does have its rare surfer despite the just above freezing water temperature and we seemed to be in luck this day. A young man who very much looked like a California boy ( later learning  he was ) who we learned had been watching our struggles from his car. I imagined him laughing from his car but that was not where i was going.

This young man became my hero for the day.

After a very brief few words from my newly proclaimed  hero, the surfer took my bottle tucked it under his chest between himself and his board and he paddled his way out past the breaking tide into calmer waters. As he started paddling  out faster we could see him look over his shoulder, maybe judging the distance from shore. He finally stopped, seeming to like the spot, he looked back at the shore line,  gave us a high thumbs up sign,  then pitched that bottle as far as he could throw. I lost in sight of it. We waited for him to ride a wave back to where we’re standing,  the three us watched and waited for the message in the bottle to also come back  ashore. yet again.

My message in a bottle was on its maiden voyage.

( Of course I could not resist this song )

I thanked this kind and thoughtful young man. My message in its bottle was really now on ts way.

For several weeks I watched the mail every day hoping for some kind of word. Nothing came. Life soon took over all other abstract thinking which this had been certainly. I soon just chalked it up to a great experience  a fun afternoon, something Lynn and I enjoyed together, then I  shined on whether I would ever know where my message landed or mot. I got on with life, or it got on with me.

It tool almost 9 months for me to receive a reply, but I did . My message was found on the coast line in southern California,. The receiver, a young woman sent me a small note via the US Postal Service but she respectively declined to divulge her real name or home town.  I appreciated this, I really just cared about knowing was where it had landed. This I knew was on a  beach in San Diego California. From Rockaway Oregon south to San Diego California in 9 months.

The “marooned islander” who received my message gave me so much more in her note she sent then a geographical location. Ironically (or maybe not so much) this woman had done a similar thing in her 20’s while on her honeymoon. She said sadly they never did hear about their message being found and it had always stayed with her that maybe one day she would still hear something.  She shared with me that when she found my bottle it was such a strong connection for her but she thought  her friends must were actually playing a trick on her. She could not believe this was a genuine message that she happened upon.

Then she shared with me in her own letter the most awe-inspiring, and astonishing  piece of personal information. Paraphrasing; her letter; she  explained briefly and without any details that her marriage had ended just 6 weeks prior to finding my message in a bottle.  The letter went on to tell me that although she had never found where her message went that she had sent,  but she knew now that it was meant all along for to find my message. Me message, she shared with me had set her heart free. She knew “from that point on she was going to be okay.”

All from one little communication sent in message in a bottle?

Communications may be the most powerful expression of love for one another we have, Have you reached out and touched someone lately with a letter, a note, or maybe even a message in a bottle?

Go on, go ahead and do it today. Some one  there waiting to hear from you.

©tjhelser2012

When Daughters Become Mothers Too

I have a serious question for you:

(and then a brief piece of sharing)

If you have an adult daughter or daughter-in-law in your life who is herself a mother now, do you acknowledge her on Mothers Day?

 If so, how? 

And if you do not; can you please share with me what your belief is about this?

It’s been over 35 years since my husband & I were gifted with our two daughters. While they were growing up Mother’s Day for me always started on Friday evening after getting home from work, and lasting until bedtime Sunday night. Mother’s Day. As the Queen for the weekend I would be pampered, cherished, and able to do whatever it was I pleased. This included where and what I wanted to eat, and when of course. My food choices varied over the years depending on cravings and our growing family budget.  The weekend start would find my daughters and husband in cahoots and great secrecy planning my weekend. My Mother’s Day would always began with our two girls  bringing toast, orange juice, and with the help of their daddy, coffee and my mom’s fruit salad to me in bed. The girls were not allowed to use the stove in those early days of Breakfast In Bed;  albeit hot breakfasts could never hold a candle to the beautiful tray my babies would set for me. Having both my mom and my mom in law represented on the tray with a vase and linen napkins that were once theirs helped some with  my own mom being a distance away. Wee would typically just be able to talk on the phone on Mother’s Day which did help me to feel nearer to her.  Always the girls would find the coolest and most different foliage to create a bouquet to adorn the tray,along with the cloth napkins and my Sunday paper. (Advertisements always removed) the girls would quietly knock on the door and creep in singing in their light & lyrical little peeping voices: “Happy Mothers Day Mommy!! “

This weekend I realize its been about 19 years ago our daughter #1 gifted our family with an angel. My first baby gave me a gift that I had been waiting for all my life. Since childhood I had always wanted to be a grandmother, I could not wait to be a grandma and even as young as 4 years old I remember play acting with mybaby dolls as their Nana. Somehow as a small child the whole logistic issue of needing to be a mommy first  skipped my reasong ( But that desire did in fact come later) 

The week in 1992 that  we learned my own mother was dying of terminal – final stages  -of lung cancer. Simply stated I was devastated. It had been just a year prior that we had moved back to my hometown bringing us just  5 minutes away from her. God works in some amazing ways.  That week while we trying to go on with every day living and managing my own mom dying we received a phone call from Iwukuni Japan. This was where our daughter #1 was stationed with her Marine Corps Jarhead husband. Calls from Japan were luxuries, and we had just spoke the day before. Somewhat feeling a sense of walking through fog as I listened on speaker phone as our daughter #1 told us that we were to become grandparents together. Finally. ( My husband at the time already had 4 grandchildren. I am not his 1st wife, but am his last) It was the most exciting news we had heard since the news of her own impending birth and that of her sisters.  The bitter-sweetness of discovering the news that I was to lose my mom and be blessed with a grandchild-  all in the same week – was almost too much to bear. But very soon I saw that my grandchild is my angel – heaven-sent. A baby girl we would learn a few month later through her very first photograph. That of an ultra-sound.

Just about 6 years later our immediate family was to grow by two more feet. Our daughter #2 blessed us with our 2nd grand baby from our own tiny family. This now would make 7 in total with D.”s five grand children who are just as much mine. (We’re currently at the count and the wonder of 8 grand children and one great grand baby boy)  Our daughter #2 gifted this Nana with her only grandson. Its been such an exciting thing watching this young man grow from infant to young man (12 yrs of age) I did not meet my step son until he almost 9 yrs of age, all those early years when a child is forming the “who” they are to become I was not privy to. Having the absolute gift and delight of getting this chance to see a baby boy become a vibrant giving back to the world young man is pretty special.

My two daughters who I think about daily, and rarely does a day go by that I don’t hear from one or both have made my adult years the best part of my life. I never have had to question who I am, or what I was doing with my life because I knew. I knew then and I know now that my children are the best work of my life. I know that my husband & I have gifted our family’s, this world, and our communities with two of the brightest and most outwardly giving young women I am proud to know. Their own personal successes are not limited to, but most assuredly include the gifts of our two grandchildren. My lights.

My mother never acknowledged me on Mothers Day. It was her day. I never actually gave it a thought. Even when my own daughters became new mommy’s and I celebrate their mommyhood on Mother’s Day it never occurred to me that I could be creating a bit of a tiff in my family. Actually that is not so, it was with my son in  laws family. His mother, my daughter #1’s mother in law believed I was committing a sacrilege by honoring my daughters also on Mother’s Day. She felt it was taking away something from the elder mothers and that it just should not take place. Although beyond that her tongue always seemed tied on this point.

I was never on the fence about this issue personally. I continue to celebrate this holiday that is perfectly intended to honor my daughters just as much as it is to honor my late mother, and mother – in -law. I am still  quiteb affled by my daughter’s now ex-mother -in laws’ ttitude and beliefs. It has never been something I can reconcile myself with. I don’t know why these small acts on my own to celebrate the fact that my female children are mothers too. I think its quite a sweet thing being able to share thos wonder of Motherhood with my now dult dauughters who are now also mommy’s. An amazing way to bond, another gift of bonding material for us to work with.

 So, what about you?  Do you celebrate your own children’s parenting on Mothers and Fathers Day?  Please share. I really am curious about this question.

And while I am writing about my two beautiful babies who are in my alter ego version of themselves now adult women with babies of their own I want to publicly celebrate the incredible ways of their own parenting, that of which I adore. You are both excellent parents with amazing memories you have and are creating for your own children. Your babies who are the next generational gifts to this world – from you both.

 Happy Mother’s Day A & J:  from your daddy & your mommy~ Thank you both!!  

This is for you both~

I love that you loved all of my “art”

though I’m sure it was uglier than a pile of warts.

From pottery to painting to paper mache,

you even liked that drawing of me and Nick Lachey.

But, come on, at this point it’s all older than vintage,

so I think it’s time to take it down from the fridge.

©tjhelser 2012