swimming with the dolphins

Sitting at my desk at work today feeling tired and non-productive as I’m working on a few deadlines with not enough hours  in the day to finish it all.  In pops an e-mail from my sister, Karen, whom I have not heard from in quite a while.   She wanted to touch base and check up on all of us and to let me know the latest news in her life as well. There’s been a few changes  in her life as she and her husband are now empty-nesters.  Finished with the parenting job and  now her boys are self-sufficient men living on their own and making their way in the world today.  She’s lucky enough to own a house in Florida and now that she and her husband are heading into retirement, she is contemplating selling her main house, downsizing and living half the year in Florida and the other half in Ontario.  

Karen is 9 years older than I am and she is at a complete different stage of her life.  I’m busy with two teenage high school boys who play sports and keep my husband and I busy being their personal chauffeurs.   Such is life as my sister and her husband have already been there done that and now they are enjoying a much deserved change of pace in their lifestyle, essentially doing whatever it is they want to do for the sole purpose of wanting to do it!  Karen sent me some pics and said she’s crossed a few things off her “bucket list.”  Swimming with dolphins was one bucket list item, the other was snorkelling in the ocean with rays.  She crossed that item off of her list as well.  Way back when my sister got married I was 9 years old and I can still remember watching her every morning as she put on her make-up and got dressed for work.  She was beautiful and I use to wonder if I would be lucky enough to be as beautiful as her when I grew up.  Karen is much more petite than I am and she has a soft and feminine way about her.   I’m the opposite, I am tall and broad and “soft touch” is not words I would use to describe myself.    I was always the tomboy, never really interested in girly things preferring pants over skirts and climbing trees over playing with Barbie.   Interesting because as night and day my sister and I are in our personalities,  we’ve always held a mutual respect for one another, appreciating each other’s qualities and uniqueness.  

My sister’s passion for animals has always been very evident and you can tell in the way animals react to her with such warm and loving affection.   The picture of her swimming with dolphins brought me such warmth and momentarily took me away from the mountain of paperwork I had on my desk and got me thinking about “bucket lists.”  At this point my girlfriend popped by my office glanced at my computer screen and says “is that your sister kissing a dolphin?”  “Yep, crossed off an item on her bucket list, she also swam with rays in the ocean.”  “Bucket list” my girlfriend says, “she’s got a bucket list?”  “I guess so, and she’s looking at living half the year in Canada and half the year in the USA.”  “Wow” my girlfriend says,” bucket list, what would I put on my bucket list?” My girlfriend has already travelled all over the world and she’s not really interested in travelling too much.  At the present time she is busy caring for a father who is dying of cancer and a mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s.  She has a lot on her plate and two years ago her husband beat cancer so her bucket list would be something like lying on the beach somewhere warm and not moving for a month.  Another friend walks by and he hears us talking about bucket list and announces that he can’t afford a “bucket list” and will be working for the rest of his life. We all agreed that we need money to make the “bucket list” work and not one of us see kissing a dolphin on our “bucket list.”  “Bucket lists” are so personal in nature and we talked a little bit about that then got back to work.  

On my way home the bloody “bucket list” popped into my head again and I really couldn’t tell you what would be on my bucket list.  I started to think about our life with two teenage boys and how I’m always yelling and screaming for them “to pick up after themselves, clean their rooms,  wipe the spilled milk off of the floor, pick up their clothes, stop eating me out of house and home and do your homework”.  A daily yelling match in our house and at times I feel like I’m losing my mind and I can be a raving mad lunatic.    As I’m driving, I  started to think about my boys as young men and I envisioned them sitting in a psychiatrist’s office telling the doctor that “I was raised by a raving, mad, lunatic bitch of a mother and that is why I am so screwed up.”  Gave my head a shake and pictured myself kissing a dolphin instead!