Category Archives: Parents

MOM or 666!


My darling daughter let me in on her private (not so much any more) secret that makes her giggle every time she calls me on her cell phone. I must say it is pretty funny although it does involve mean and cruel jokes at my expense. It appears that on her phone she can type the word MOM and the numbers that show up are 666!

“NO WAY!!!” I respond but, to my dismay it is true! Kinda makes you wonder about, way back when Alexander Graham Bell was toying with this new fangled idea of a way to communicate…the Telephone, he possibly…”accidentally”….. “on purpose”… worked it out that the “O” and “M” letters would be on the same key and end up with the dreaded sign of the ANTICHRIST! He could have quite easily had “M and N” on a number and let “O” dangle over there with “P”...I mean he was the one designing the darn thing!

Could it have been that the memories of his own sainted mother rang out in a nagging voice, during this time of inspiration and invention, reminding him of all the late night sessions of creativity of his godly mother (telling him to turn the light off and go to bed!)….who only loves her son Alex and wants him to get a good nights sleep and eat well and do good in school and meet a nice girl and settle down and…and…and….all those things mothers for centuries have wanted for their children…could it be that he might have possibly jumbled those letters up all on one number, just to have his own private joke?I shutter to think it and at the same time I would be so proud of him!

Or was this just the luck of the draw and became a treat for all those kids who just now and then need a laugh? Odds are good that is the case but it is comforting, as a mother, that my kids are overjoyed when they type my name in their phone and be reminded…..”don’t mess with ME….I am dangerous!!!” Children have really so little true power, ultimately we do hold the keys to the kingdom and it is little comfort to them to once in a while they get to …”stick it to the MAN!”…or MOM in this case.

It has not been that long ago (well, I am lying it has, go with me here!) that I was one of those kids and I too would have liked to get my mom once in a while. I seem to remember a dread full pleated skirt that I thought made be look huge…I was like 4’11” and weighed probably all of 98lbs….yep I was soooo huge! Makes me gag thinking how skinny I once was! But to me, then..those pleats all the way around that ugly skirt were awful! and I NEVER WORE THE SKIRT!…never even had the tags off, hung in my closet till it eventually disappeared. Send it to the poor girls around the world that “would love to have a nice ugly skirt”….but I did hear about it over and over…blah, blah,blah!

But because ..what goes around comes around, I too have my wars with my precious God sent angel face little girl and I think it probably was over an outfit. Funny how I have so little memories of those arguments with my own daughter…hmm, selective memory I would guess! The last time I mentioned that atrocious skirt of mine to my MOM she rolled her eyes and had no memories of it either….ouch, I feel ya Momma!

The great thing about this funny quip is that we all dial that MOM number a lot….and the coincidence is just that and I hope that my girl never stops. Just don’t fret I am a writer ya know! I have my ways to retaliate!!

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Soothes MY Soul


Today I spent some time at my Mom’s. It was later in the afternoon and I was getting a feeling for nap time! Mostly because her house is always warm, well to be honest it is HOT! But that is to be expected, she is elderly. I can’t believe I just called her that. Never in all my born days have I thought of my mom as elderly. She never has been until now. Truth be known, if she knew I called her that she would probably skin me alive!

I wish that she could know. I wish she was the same, quick to set things straight, lady I have always known. She is but a shadow of her former self. Her mind has retreated in so many ways and her momentary memory is all that is left. Thankfully she is in good health otherwise, for which I am so thankful, it would be more sorrowful if not. Even so, she is sweet and kindhearted now, two adjectives I would have thought of her in the past, just not as obvious. She was always a good woman, strong and forthright. But she wasn’t much drama, pretty much just a straight shooter. “Just the facts!” (I must be more like my Dad…all drama!)

The time I spend with her now is hard and taxing. The crazy part is that it has gotten hard for me just in the last few months. Before I was able to take it in stride, dealt with it pretty good before, and I even felt pretty proud of myself and felt the need to help my sisters wrap their heads around this disease. Pretty smug considering now it is a struggle for me. I am not sure why, maybe because the amount of loss we have had lately. Losing my sister-in-law to cancer last year took a toll on me I know.

Daily I miss her. Daily I search my mind for remnants of her. I still have the last four voice mails on my cell phone she sent me. I listen to them often as well as the last stream of texts. She was reminding me to be careful on the cruise we were about to board with all the mishaps, husbands and wives falling overboard and all. I think she had an over and under bet on me and her brother and if you knew her and us that would be believable. We constantly ragged her poor brother about everything — not that he ever knew it! It was our own little world. Her being his OLDER sister made for plenty of wars. He was pretty obnoxious I am sure as any little brother can be. I think their mom would make her take him on dates with her and her boyfriends! Recipe for murder I say!! SO who could blame them for their lack of warm fuzzies about each other! She would describe the little boy and I would defend the grown up man — a never-ending test of wills. I eventually won that battle and she agreed. She loved him despite herself which is the best ending of all.

I often remember the crazy conversations we had. One minute we would be deciding on what to cook our crews for supper and then without skipping a beat go into a story of our many yard sale adventures and my search EVERY TIME for a bathroom. YES, I did ask people to use theirs. She would go hide in the car, humiliated yet laughing her a#& off! (only word that can be used there, it is a Bible word, by the way! Just in case, forgive me Lord!) It would almost be a dare and the funny thing was people would let me. She would say she couldn’t believe I had the nerve to ask and I would say I couldn’t believe they would be so dumb to let me!! Me a stranger, though my only agenda was to potty and not have to leave such a good sale to drive a gazillion miles to a gas station. As a side bonus I did get to see some pretty cool houses! We were also famous for dragging home old furniture from the curbs….good times! The best of times and had I known they would be over so soon….whew makes me tear up again.

So when I go to my Mom’s house I guess I am realizing that the time will come when I will have to say good-bye to her. It is all so “in your face” this slow death. It is a fact of life that is a bitter pill. Not for the one who dies but for those of us left behind. I know where my sister-in-law is and I know she wouldn’t come back if given the choice but, still so very hard. Today her son made a funny (to me) comment on Facebook about a driver in front of him and I belly laughed because it was HER spit out! She, like me, was a verbal driver and had no patience for ignoramuses who pretend to know how to drive and when I read his comment it was hysterical.

Things like that give me comfort…maybe I am the only one, but when I hear or see something that reminds me of someone I love it is soothing to my soul. Her children do arise and call her blessed and every time I see a red bird — Cardinal — I am reminded of my Mom, though she doesn’t remember know that she used to love to see them. I do and it soothes my soul. I too will arise and call her blessed.

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Flower Whisperer


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Today I found myself amazed once again by the ability of my Mom in the area of flower growing. My whole life she has had a green thumb. In reality I think she has green all the way to her elbows! She IS the flower whisperer!
I have to admit I have always been jealous of her for this one, it appears she doesn’t even try….not even the look of wonder on her face! Will they grow?….will each one of those seeds actually bloom? Never a question in her mind……HOW DOES SHE DO IT?!!!!!
So annoying! I have killed more plants than she has grown….yet I keep on trying, every year, over and over. To see only a few of them actually survive. I think one clue is patience….which pretty much explains it. This is the missing gene in me and the same reason I can not keep from burning cookies and bread in the oven. I walk away, get bored. My children are the ones who bake cookies, they don’t even want me to try!
Working in her flowers is like my Mom’s peace, she loves her time in her yard and proof is in the puddin’ so to speak. She can simply drop a few seeds in the ground and poof! Beautiful every time versus ME! Just like I watch her make chicken and dumplins’, a southern staple, looks easy enough but, NO I am unable to do it! She has the touch!
She doesn’t cook much anymore, gone are the days of homemade chocolate pies, dumplings and biscuits. But she still has her gardening. Though her mind has bailed on her, the very thoughts are fleeting as soon as she thinks them but there she is pulling weeds and planting Zenias, marigolds and rose bushes that will be pretty as a picture every time.
This gives her joy and that is a good thing, that flower whisperer Momma of mine!

…dear Lindsay Lohan


I am sitting once again, waiting to feel better and re-watching The Parent Trap, the remake of the old one with Haley Mills. It was one of my favorite Disney movies as a kid and I never would’ve thought it could be remade it so well. But they did!

Lindsay Lohan is precious and funny and perfectly suited for this role. I can remember going to the movies with my then 11-year-old only daughter, the same age as the girl in the movie, and we both laughed and loved it and fell in love with LL. She was spunky and precocious and cute as a bugs ear — just like my own little girl. I had thought then that this girl would do so well in the world of acting. She was a natural and went on to be involved in a few more remakes, i.e.Freaky Friday and Herbie the Love Bug. Once again new classics!

I seem to watch The Parent Trap ever time it’s on, well at least when I am down sick because first it is still cute and funny but mostly because LL is so sweet and I feel a weird sense of attachment to her. Even in “Mean Girls” she was good and we all can relate to that world. I know she has good sense, I can tell. I just wish she had the support to live it!

Not knowing the whole story of her life, only tabloid fodder and the more current news reports but I guess it wouldn’t be wrong to assume she has gone down a wrong path. I can only wonder why? Who’s to blame — Hollywood or her parents, the school system, global warming, or was it too much too young? Maybe all of the above. At any rate, it is such a sad testimony of a young girls life and those who have been a part of it.

Being the mother of four as well as a Sunday school and children’s worker in a church, I know all too well the trials and pitfalls of raising kids. Everything can go perfect — all the stages of life were fun and full of understanding and compassion and love and yet there be problems. The Lord knows my mistakes are many so when I say how it saddens me that LL had been someone who seems to not get a grip on her life, I am not pointing a finger. I say this out of pure compassion for her.

I know how hard it is to live above your press, and even though she will never read this I would love to tell her — get back to that scraggly, scruffy girl. Color your hair back to its normal beautiful color. Stop collagen treatments in your lips. Stay sober and clean. Choose life! You are a really neat person and a good little actress. You are someone who could use your past to help you be an awesome actress. Show everyone up. Be the person God made you to be. Get your voice back and stand above your raising and your parents troubles and be YOU! This is what I say to my daughter and it goes for you too. You are worth far more than rubies. Stand strong, you are loved!

P.S……….This is after the airing of your portrayal of our beloved Elizabeth Taylor….I loved it! Although you were panned by the critics, don’t you listen to them…..Please dear young woman…rise above them all!

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True Love


For anyone who ever reads my writings, you’ve heard a few times about my best friend, my husband — the preacher-man! I really don’t often drag him into my expose’ world of high drama and espionage. It is not for the faint if heart, not that he’s not tough, he is! But I feel like this world I share is my world and he is part of it but his privacy is his and not mine to share. I’m sure I share more than he would want anyways but he’s survived thirty years of my big mouth and I would assume he gave that fight up long ago.

But TODAY is an important day. A day of great joy. The day that my beloved husband was born — fifty years ago. I make sure I put in the age because it seems like it has taken him forever to get there! I am two years plus older than him, ugh, and that was kinda funny when we were young but now it is not so funny, depressing in fact!

Not that age matters. It’s how you feel and there’s the rub. I feel seventy!

Funny how young we are now. Our parents were this age when we got married and they were old! Really old! I was wondering if they would live long enough for the grandkids to know them! Jeez was I stupid! Of course now I wonder if I will be around for mine, considering our kids have no marriages in sight, praise the Lord!

Now that my dearest is in the club I am sure that this new phase of life will be a good thing. He is already the wisest man I know and he always has been. Aggravating as it is, I need his smarts to get me out of all the pickles I get into. I told my sister the other day that when I met my husband he was the closest man to Robert Redford I have met! That being the scale, blonde hair, blue-eyed, strong nose, chisel chin and pretty smile. I wanted to have pretty blonde blue-eyed babies, too. She mumbled something about natural selection or some silly stuff, of course I just had in my mind what perfect was and I met perfect.

So, I snatched him up before my roommate did! She dared me to ask him out and so I did and it was the best decision I have ever made. We have been together for thirty years — a lifetime — and we have four beautiful kids and a charmed life.

He wasn’t always a preacher-man. It was about five years after we married till he felt the call to full-time ministry. I have never been more proud or more in love with this man than when he is preaching. I have full faith in him and his ability and willingness to listen to the Lord and do what HE says. In this I know for sure, I am confident in his heart toward God.

Does he makes mistakes? Of course and as his wife I am there to point them out! Ha. But when it comes to his heart toward God, I have no worries! My husband has given me a grand life, we have traveled and had experiences that I may never have had. He showed me the pathway to God as well as led me and our babies into the world of worship and favor of God. He has stood strong under great pressures and enemies and protected us when life was too much. He’s given unconditional love and grace and has been a friend.

As a man of God he has fought his demons and allowed Gods grace to keep his heart pure. A good man is hard to find, this I know. And I plan on keeping my man as long as he will stay with me. I have been given a great gift and on this day when he deserves the gifts. Anything I could buy but him would pale in comparison to the gift he has given me — TRUE LOVE!

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Significance


There are many people who seem to fall thru the cracks. They are ones who may or may not have the hope or where with all to feel they can make a difference in the world. Many have been the ones who have carried the burden for the rest of us, the “work horse” that is stedfast to set their face like a flint and keep on keeping on. I have known many people who fall into this category over the years and it has been a great blessing to call them my friends. One such person has been a blessing to me my whole life and is my closest sibling to me, my dear sister Janice. She was born third and as a rule in the birth order theory, the third child tends to be the one who hangs out and easy going, never making a fuss and usually compliant to everyone. Sometimes even when it isn’t the best thing for them, they are humble and quiet in nature. My big sister is all these and more. She has always been the trustworthy one, faithful to always help us out with her time or her extra money. Never did I leave the house without her making sure I had a little bit of ” mad money” or phone call money( this pre-dates cell phones! )She was my nurturer, my teacher and my best friend. She was stuck sharing a double bed with me my first ten years of my life. Bless her heart! I could always count on her to be there for me….. She was a significant part of my life, she still is! Today is her birthday…..she was born in Munich, Germany when our Dad was stationed there in the Korean War. One day I called her a Nazi…..okay I was a little kid, don’t judge, I grew out of that stage especially since she pounded me for it! Ya live and learn! She spent her life following in the shadow of our big brother and sister who were stand outs on their own being first and second, she was quiet and stayed under the radar. Always keeping tabs on her rotten little sister though ……she was my rock. My own third child was a boy and he too has the same personality, he’s as solid as they come and like her he is an avid reader. A regular bookworm…both of them, living the high life vicariously through the books they so love. My sisters love for books is her most memorable trait for me, if the chores were finished you could always find her with her nose in a book. She is the one who encouraged me to love reading and introduced me to the great C.S.Lewis, Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe as well as the stories of The Bible. When I would ask why we had Easter or other Holiday’s it was her who showed me in the Word. My sister was and is my friend and when I needed a level head to council me she was the one. My other sister who was a standout in my world also was the one I turned to when I wanted to get away with my many shenanigan’s, we are way too much alike! Usually partners in crime! It was a balanced life and I have always needed them both. At this time in the Birthday girls life she is the caretaker of our Mom who has been dealt an awful lot….Alzheimer’s. She has loved our Mom with compassion and respect and does her best to give her the best life possible, endures the daily heartbreaks of loss of moms memory and the constant stress of the obligation. Even the literal ” heat wave” she endures because of moms need to stay warm, a common need of the elderly. I honor my sister…JC (Janice Carol) but my favorite nickname for her was , January which our Uncle, Mr Miller ( I don’t think I ever knew his first name, how funny!) named her. She always gave a big smile when he called her that…I think it made her feel special if just for a minute….significant and that is the best thing of all. My sister’s life is significant….she has significance at least to me. I know she is significant to our mom and to her only daughter but most of all she is significant to GOD. He made her special if for no other reason but to be there for me…yes I think I am that special! I love you my sissy.,,.including the times you have had to correct me and those have been many, but more often you gave me courage and strength to go on and get busy. You will always be Lucy…peering into the Wardrobe showing me a whole new land to explore, thank you for that gift. Happy Birthday sweet one!

Rain


Today it is raining and raining and there is rain in the forecast. We have roads that are flooded and it reminded me of a sad but true story of what could have been tragic but because my mother is a smart person it was only a few can vegetables who lost their life…….I grew up until I was 9 years old on a farm near Murfreesboro, Tn. It was located sorta monkey-in-the-middle between Bradyville Pike and Woodbury Pike. It was on Floration road and it had about a mile lane that took you to the house. When I say lane I am not saying a primrose lane; not to give the mental picture of a beautiful poesy and vine-covered path. This was like a tree-lined, rocky gravel and creepy sort of lane that I am not even sure how our car got down it. In the middle of the journey down this lane there was a creek (of course) and it was pretty wide, maybe twenty-five feet or so. The whole time we lived there up until the last 3 years there was NO BRIDGE. Okay, maybe I should give some back story here: I LOVED MY FARM! I was probably the only one except my daddy. Of course it was his idea to buy it, so it goes without saying. My mother and two sisters had to endure many painful times…as women, and to further explain, we didn’t have an indoor bathroom until the year before we moved. Both sisters were teenagers and I was about eight years old. Yep, the old outhouse was it and it was out behind the pig pen, wonder why? We got very familiar with the Sears and Roebuck catalogue because as with all bathrooms there is often a shortage of paper at any given time. Need I say more. I have one brother and of course he was daddy’s little mule. He did like the farm I think; he hunted and fished and explored and it gave him a hard-working character for which he would later need in the Army and two tours in Viet Nam. My daddy had a lot of hope and dreams for the farm he was just a little slooowwww on bringing them about. As a kid it was high adventure for me; I was on the run all the time, barefoot and long blond braids flying in the wind. It was the best time of my life. For everyone else, not so much! Back to the flood. Well on this certain Saturday we had gone to “town” to do the grocery shopping. Back in the day a family usually only went once a week, after payday and usually on Saturday. So all of us girls went with my mother and while we were there it rained…alot! This creek was usually pretty low, we could drive over it at the point where the road was it didn’t really go much above the tires. But on this day it had rained and the creek was up. It goes along with the old saying when you are expected somewhere and you say “I will see you if the Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise!” Well, that’s where that line comes from because back in the country if the creek rises you ain’t going anywhere! So here we go back home, driving down the lane and we get to the creek and of course the creek it way up, I mean to the top of the front of the car. I want to say the car we had been a Ford Fairlane, I think. It was light bluey green and it had these little round glass objects on the corners in the front. I don’t know what to call them, I just thought they looked like a spy glass or something as amazing. A wide car for sure, we could all fit with room to spare and we got to the creek and there was my mom with a decision to make. Do I try it? Will I make it? I wonder how many times she has told him we needed a bridge and a bathroom. How much she must have wanted to get in that car and drive far far away. I wonder if she ever thought about it, ever planned it in her head and her heart. How hard it must have been for her to live that way. She was and is a stronger women than I will ever be. But on this day there was a decision that had to be made. We had a huge amount of groceries in the trunk and inside the car, a lot of money would be lost. Well, needless to say we couldn’t sit there till the rain stopped and the water receded so she went for it! Actually we started to go for it, drove in just a little only the front of the car and then she realized it was a NO GO. So we all got out, a little wet and a few objects floated out. But all was not lost. But the car was stuck! Oh good grief, no cell phones back then so one of us had to walk all the way home and call my daddy….at work…..my poor mom. So he had to get a tow truck pull the car out and begin the process of freaking out! I don’t know if I don’t blame him a little, but in her defense, she had ice cream melting, and she had to get us all home out of the rain. But what transpired was the worst of the worse. Like most families it only takes even a little tragedy to cause trouble but this was a major faux pau! Little did any of us know that this was only one more nail in the coffin of their marriage; there was finally a bridge built, it is still there now with our names written on it and one day I will figure out a way to sneak back to see that bridge and our names. If only a bridge could have been built to save a family from a flood that would ripple on through years of hardships. I guess in every life a little rain must fall; just be sure there is always a bridge to keep you safe and dry.

Blazing Fires


Blazing fires
Today I was reminded of a memory while I was shivering from the cold (have I mentioned how much I hate cold weather!). While I was standing in front of our gas fireplace attempting to get warmer,I thought back to the days when this was the only way to get warm. Back then the fireplace in our old farm-house was two-sided and it was huge and it heated the whole house. The other side faced my sisters and my bedroom. There is nothing like three girls sharing the same room…more fun than a barrel of monkeys, at least that was my perspective. I would say that if they were asked the story would be very different! Anyways,this was not a gas fireplace mind you, but one that we had to haul coal in for. I say a “we” as if I was one of the ones who did this…because of my young age I usually wasn’t. I would watch my older siblings pick up the coal bucket and go out into the freezing dark night and get it full of coal, hands black from the residue and they were just young kids themselves. When you are raised on a farm everyone pitches in and there were jobs for us all. This fireplace was the most magical place of all in our house, with the exception of the “chifferobe” (say that the way it looks, because I know it has a real name but we called it that) that “chifferobe” was very clearly the same wardrobe that Lucy crawled into only to find the land of Narnia. I was convinced of this fact of course and it was in my mom and dads room for safety’s sake and to keep us out of it! There was one at my granny and papa’s house also so it must have been common back then so that people always had an escape route to a better place. Nonetheless, the next best was the fireplace. At night my two “older” (ha) sisters and I would play blind mans bluff by the light of the fire. It was just scary enough in that room to be fun. Now that I think of it that game was sorta like Marco Polo without the swimming pool! Well then, sometimes we would just lay there and talk, my one sister was always one to tell a great story. She has a writers imagination and has always been able to conjure up a new and magical world to make-believe in. This fire back then was big enough to heat up the whole house, of course this house was not so big. It had a living Room and our bedroom and a small room for our parents and we had a porch turned into a room for my brother. So the fire was to be working overtime to keep us warm. There isn’t much better than a real fire, with the beautiful embers glowing that appear to be alive and call out to me. I do feel like if I stare at the fire too long I will inevitably fall into it. It tends to be mesmerizing. You just don’t get all this with a stack of gas logs and a “fake” fire. I don’t actually want to go back to those days but I do see the advantage of a fire blazing and the memory of days when the fire blazed within our own family, before we became a statistic. The days on the farm were numbered and in not too many years we would all leave there. Our family would divide and it would be the beginning of the end, or at least to me. As I remember back to those days I am honored to have lived them and comforted by the fact that I have been blessed with a big family…standing in front of the gas logs and instead of “blind mans bluff” I hear the laughter of my family playing Frisbee golf on the new fangled video system…Wii. Pretty funny actually to watch them all play but even more it is time well spent laughing and arguing and loving each other. And just in case the score isn’t accurately told….let me just say…girls rule! Still and always will! Memories are good. They are simple reminders of how gracious and loving our God is to us. Even the bad memories, make for the realization of His mercy and grace. We are still here standing by the fire, mesmerized by the flames and waiting to make new memories and I still hate the cold weather!

Forget Me Knots


When I was a little girl growing up on my beloved farm, the world was wide open. The days were long and there were more dreams than thoughts that ran through my pretty little head. I had no realization that there were ever going to be tragedies or failures or any days of sadness. Probably the first of many dark days was when we moved from this farm of mine. I should say that my parents pending divorce was the worst, but for me the result was worse….I had to leave my daisy fields and apple orchard along with our precious pet cows, Tad and Sad! I don’t even want to think about what happened to them. I shutter at the thought! As a girl of ten, these were scary times…..1969! The Viet Nam War was going strong and my only big brother was headed straight towards it. His choice…left home to join up….didn’t even wait to be drafted, for him staying home was worse. Poor guy. The world was changing and my world would never be the same. My memories of those times are precious to me and it is my most valuable possession. Most days it is easier to remember those days than what I did yesterday. Can I get a witness on that? Amen! The frightening thing for me is that I now have a family history of being forgetful…..one that makes this absent-mindedness a symptom rather than a …….oops! This has been a sad development for my siblings and I with our mother being the one who is losing herself day by day. She has been the strongest woman example in my life….she endured years of abuse in a love/hate marriage filled with drugs and alcohol and an eventual resulting divorce…..a need to protect her children which followed with days, weeks, months and years of working three jobs just to give us a descent life. By the time I was seventeen she had an offer to work in Alaska of all places on the North Slope at the Oil Company pipeline Housing Compound, once again leaving me feeling lost. But because we are a tough brood of girls I survived as well as her for the long nine years. She did return back home only to retire from two more jobs after her Oil Company job. She is a determined hard-working dame and always has been; has always had to be, she was the oldest girl of six kids growing up in a hard time. But now in this winter of her life she is battling the greatest enemy for any person, especially one so opinionated and strong-willed. The frustrating thing for us is that she isn’t always present in her mind. In a moment of discussing a beautiful orchid she has on her table and how much she loves the flower…… then only within five minutes she will ask about it again and so on and so on. Most days I am able to roll with it and I tend to change-up on my responses each time I am asked….”yes Mom it is beautiful….oh, isn’t it pretty…..and ..oh! that is so pretty!” Whatever it takes to get through the night…I say. I am being silly but at this time in our lives it is the best medicine, laughter that is! On the flip side, my mom can remember everything from she was a girl. She spends hour telling me about growing up in the mountains, Sherwood, Tn and being the oldest girl. There aren’t many funny memories but mostly ones of her mother and how she was sometimes hard on her. I try to reason with her and explain that is the way it is in families, even in ours, my sisters had to start dinner and do the dishes and clean house and all those chores that come with a family. It is not strange at all and when I “forget” for a moment that I can’t reason with her now…..oh geeez…now I have upset her! The good side of this disease is that in a few minutes she doesn’t even remember it……Sadly. I do miss my “in your face” discussions we would have…politics, religion….well that was it. I seem to bring out the best in her on those subjects because we were polar opposites. Oh I would love to have a fuss with her right about now……at least she has her memories and it turns out they are our most valuable possessions. Alzheimer’s is an unforgiving disease, it is a savage beast and I am forever aware of the possibility that it may be my future. I hope that I can handle it with as much grace as she has and my prayer is that she is able to take comfort in the memories that she does have. If the day come’s that she can’t recognize me I will take her a bouquet of Forget-me-knots and hold her hand and love her just the way she is.

Looking Back


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2010

Looking Back

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled back in time a bit to visit my old home place that I have spoken of often. It was a revelation that I was not prepared to have. This was the farm that I had lived on for the first 10 years of my life and the farm I had not been back to since the day I had left and there lies the problem. This farm was forever etched in my brain and my heart. It was a glorious wonderland of sycamore trees, a flowing creek and daisy fields. There was an apple orchard in the back field and a thicket of saplings that we had played in, built forts and created a whole new world for only the young. As we drove down the lane, which is much shorter now, over the “skinny” bridge that my daddy and papa had built, finally, after about 8 years of driving across the creek in our old Ford. We never knew if we would make it each time and on those special occasions when the creek was high, well, it wasn’t pretty! That bridge was larger at the time it was built, and we kids had written our names in the concrete, but on this visit it felt like driving tight rope. As we drove farther up, I noticed someone had built a house to the right…. what was that doing there? who in their right mind would put a house there, ridiculous!… as we drove further, I saw the “really” old home place that had always been there. This was an old house way back then, that I had always imagined we could do a “makeover” on and we could have as a second home on the property. This house is where all the beautiful iris and jonquils were growing every spring. Also there were old country roses and not far were the blackberry patches. A beautiful place that could have been saved and I have since been told by my sister that my daddy had stored hay in the house. I can’t make since of that, didn’t he know what a treasure it was? As we drove a bit farther I searched frantically for the big sycamore tree by the little wading stream. Where was this huge tree that was my brothers climbing tree. He was the only one that actually went to the top, he was a daring young boy who in my eyes could do no wrong. Probably still a little true if I were to be honest. Where was that tree, I couldn’t find it, there was only a scruffy row of cedar trees and brush trees along the stream. How sad I was, had it fallen down from age, was this a foreshadowing of the beginning of my disappointment? Yes it was, as I looked ahead, I noticed that the distance from the stream to our old home had gotten very short also, I know it had been farther! The house looked awful! Old and gray and all grown up. There were cars which looked as if someone lived there. I did see the huge cedar trees in the corner of the yard that we would play marbles underneath because there was never much grass so it made for a good hard dirt ground perfect for marbles. The only problem was there were always a big chance we would be covered in ticks from those trees, to my momma’s dismay. As we sat there in the car, my sweet husband happy we had gotten there without being shot…yet! My oldest son and daughter in the back seat attempting to be good sports and endure this blast from the past even though I am sure they had better things to do. I sat there and felt an overwhelming sense of fear. Not a fear of being caught trespassing, for which we were, but a distinct fear, a fear of what I had lost. Why did I come back here? What was I thinking…..this place was Xanadu to me. This farm was the best years of my life, this was the very essence of who I am. Life on this farm was perfect, there was never any fear, always happy, running thru daisy fields, eating apples, playing fort, climbing trees and wading in the creek. My momma and daddy were in love, my brother and two sisters were coming of age. All was right in the world, or I had thought. In reality while looking at this disheveled property, over grown and not taken care of, I was reminded of the last days on the farm, the hurt and the pain and the sadness for which my family had endured. All that drama came rushing in on me in that very moment…as an adult, I then felt that pain, a pain I had never allowed myself to feel. For the first time I got it, I understand why I saw sadness in my families eyes, I was the only one who felt love and missed my beloved farm. At this moment I understood all that was lost and I could not get out of there quick enough. It broke my heart. I was taken by surprise by the emotions I was feeling, why did I ever go back there? As we drove back down the lane, my family was quiet, they knew I was trying not to cry, even though I was not successful, they respected me at that moment of pain. I am not sure they even understood why I was so upset, I am not sure if I did. They allowed me to ride that out and not mock me( in love, it’s our way), which would commonly be the next step, they allowed me to get through it and make the first joke. They love me and I know it. I couldn’t even explain it to them, as I am even struggling now to put in words the essence of what happened. I just know that what I had once held frozen in time, pure and beautiful became real, nothing pure nor beautiful, the back stage horror had been revealed. What a loss, what a waste. I had to come to terms with life back then. Forty one years ago a family had been torn apart, lives had been changed and we were no longer one big happy family. What is worse is, were we ever? The reality had been exposed. But at the same time a new reality was revealed….look how far I had come, look what God had given me in return, He made all things new, He gave me a family, one big happy one. Well in the name of full disclosure, One big happy, sad, real, sappy, loving, crazy, troubled, tormented yet totally honest family. We are blessed, not perfect, but REAL! That is the secret, keeping it real and putting God first and knowing that HE will sustain us even through the tough times. We have had tough times but we have had also some amazing times, raising four kids is never boring or easy and if I can keep, with God’s help, my brood together, safe, sane and in one piece if only to honor my parents, who lost their lives together with the family in tact. We were still a family though estranged, without our father, by his own choice only to have another family with kids, which was hurtful, but we survived. That is the goal, to survive it all and hopefully with grace and the ability to move forward. They say, you can’t go home again, actually you can, just don’t be freaked out when you get there and it is not what you thought it was. A home is a family and to be totally honest, my old home looked about like what our family had become, grey, disheveled and sad. Hence my tears, coming face to face with the stark reality of it all. But on the flip side, look how out of the ashes we came, all four of us kids, strong and survivors. Momma and daddy may have given us their best gift of all, a strong will. That is what I pray my four children are blessed with, a strong will, to live and experience life, no matter what comes against them, to endure battles and to remain strong in faith and keep the Lord alive in their hearts, as to continue this life, free from fear and burdens, have a family and love life. Touch other people’s lives and be a strong witness of what can happen when people are the best they can be. And once you make peace with the past then you can go forward to the future…no looking back, don’t want to turn into a pillar of salt, ya know!