Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesdays With Walkers Ridge Elizabeth Overton

Wednesdays With Walkers Ridge

Miss Elizabeth is a strong woman. After the death of her husband Jim, she poured herself into the raising of Jamie and Melissa, running the ranch and her volunteer work at the church. Now Jamie is grown, the sheriff of Walkers Ridge and a family man. Melissa is 17 years old, doing well in school and looking forward to college in a big city. The ranch is a well-oiled machine that runs well under the supervision of Jamie and ranch manager, Juan Trujillo. What will Elizabeth do with herself as her role in life changes? Read her blog below to learn how she is handling this transition.

Elizabeth Overton

Well, it’s happening. Jamie moved into the farmhouse with Caroline and they’re raising JT. How on earth did I become a grandma? Jamie is moving forward with the adoption proceedings and they’re both loving having their baby boy home.
I’m trying to respect their privacy and not drop in every day to play with JT, but it’s difficult to resist. I’ll tell you a secret. Sometimes I don’t even make the attempt. Sometimes I just march right over and knock on the door.

Thankfully, Caroline has been nothing but loving and gracious. She’s worked miracles around here. She’s restored the farmhouse to the state it was in when my mother was alive, she’s showcased some of my mother’s prized quilts, she’s softened Jamie in a way I didn’t know what possible…the girl is a Godsend.

 Melissa is finishing her junior year of high school in a few months. We’re planning senior pictures, she’s hard at work with plans for her graduation party…I believe everyone in Walkers Ridge will be invited…and she’s mapping out an itinerary for college campus visits that will likely take months. There isn’t a single college campus on her list that isn’t listed in a major metropolis.

I tried to get her to at least visit some of the more local colleges but she wouldn’t have it. Montana State University has excellent research and science programs, including horticultural and biotechnology, which is where her strengths are. The University of Montana has terrific research facilities as well, and she could study environmental science and law or journalism. She swears she wants to live in the big city and get away from the ranch even if she does want to study agriculture, horticulture or the environmental sciences. I think I will ultimately lose this battle.

Regardless of where she decides to attend college, the fact is I’m turning into an empty-nester. I didn’t anticipate this part of life, at least not yet. A year ago, Jamie was still at home and not even involved with anyone, let alone a family man with a newborn son. Melissa was a silly teen enjoying the company of horses and her girlfriends more than anything else. Now Jamie has moved out and Melissa is planning to do the same as soon as possible. Where does that leave me, I wonder?

 Sometimes I think about the days when Jim and I were starting out. We married in 1984 and immediately began working toward our dream of a large ranch. We spent every penny we could on buying land. We started with such a tiny little lot adjacent to Mom’s farmhouse. Initially, we didn’t even have a house. We bought a little mobile home and lived in it for two years. The plan was to build a house but when my mother became ill, it just made more sense for us to move in and help take care of her. We spent everything we could save on buying more and more land, always adjacent to our existing lots until eventually, we had several hundred acres. We built the original house after Mom moved to the nursing home. It’s odd to think about it  but in reality, Jamie and Melissa spent more of their childhood years living in the small farmhouse than they did in this house. I don’t know that I’ve ever considered the farmhouse as anything other than my mother’s house but I imagine the kids consider it home. For me, this is home. The house  Jim and I planned for, drew out on scratch paper and built together. The home we shared until the day he died. The home that protected me during months of grief when the only thing that got me out of our bed were the needs of our children. Now our children are strong, independent adults who are stepping into their adult lives much faster than I would prefer.
So at the risk of repeating myself, where does that leave me? When Jim died, I thought the woman in me died with him. The passionate, sensual side of my life was over. However, after the demands that have consumed my day to day life for so long lessened, those emotional and physical needs are reawakening. With no husband, I’m not sure what to do with them, but they are making their presence known.

Oh I’ve had offers from men. Occasionally I would consent to a dinner date. There was no chemistry, no spark, nothing to ignite my senses and encourage me to continue with more than the sporadic evening out. Now I’m wondering how to begin that portion of my life again. Do I sign up for one of those computer dating services?  Is that how it’s done these days?
I can count the number of single men from church in one hand. I’m more likely to win the lottery than I am to start going into the city and start hanging out at clubs. I can’t exactly place an ad in the local paper.

So maybe that part of my life is over, even if my body doesn’t want it to be so. Perhaps I will simply have to find another way to bring additional companionship into my life. I wonder if this is how one becomes the crazy cat lady…this insatiable need for companionship with no foreseeable way to obtain said companionship. Something to ponder.

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