Category Archives: Uncategorized

Married Life

Married Life

 I promised my husband when I started this blog that I wouldn’t make it too personal.   I think he was worried that if he made me mad by leaving clothes on the floor or clipped his toenails in bed it would end up as a blog post the next day.  I told him not to worry, that I wasn’t going to put all our business out there for everyone to read.  However, I think I can safely say…and I think many of you would agree with me…marriage is hard.  You would think that after 25 years of being a wife, having two husbands and surviving one difficult divorce I’d have this marriage thing nailed. I am in no way an expert but I have learned a thing or two along the way. I am smart enough to be able stand outside my relationships and see that I do a lot of things wrong.  So why isn’t it all smooth sailing if I know so much? Why is it so hard to put those lessons in to practice?  Oh don’t worry; Joel and I are fine. This entry doesn’t indicate trouble in paradise.  I’m just making observations based on my experiences and those of people around me. A therapist once told me “It isn’t that couple’s fight that is the issue, it’s how they fight that matters.”  She was right of course.  How low you go during a fight says a lot about a couple and experts say it indicates if you've got staying power. My favorite newlywed advice to give is “Don’t forget to respect each other during disagreements.  Fights are not a license to say anything you want. No matter how much you apologize, words can't be unsaid.”  When I was a kid and was having a disagreement with a sibling my mother would make us go in the bathroom together and not come out until we were hugging.  Sometimes she wanted us to sing hymns together until family harmony was restored.  Could you imagine how my husband would react if the next time we bicker about something I say “Let’s go in the bathroom and sing Onward Christian Soldiers until we work this out."

We have certainly had our share of struggles, some of them pretty serious, but we are in a really good place right now.  When we got together I had two teenagers and a pre-teen living under my roof.  At times it was not easy on him.  He often did not get as much of my time and attention as he wanted or needed. I would tell him “Just be patient. One day they’ll all be gone and you’ll have me all to yourself.”  That day is pretty much here. (I do have one still in the basement but he is for the most part an adult.)  There is sweet freedom in being able to run away for the day with your spouse and not have to worry about kid stuff.  No lunches to pack, no PTA cookies to bake. Sometimes when we’re in the car driving off on some little adventure I’ll look over at him and say “This is what we have been waiting for honey!  Isn’t it great?”

Having the children out of the house however does not automatically guarantee marital bliss. The give and take of everyday life can sometimes be challenging.  We come from very different backgrounds so we each look at the world from a completely different point of view .  For example, he likes high thread count fancy schmancy sheets.  I consider a bed sheet still usable if you can’t see through it yet.  Nothing we can’t overcome. The trick is learning to meet somewhere in the middle.  I’m a terribly messy cook.  When I’m done making dinner the food will be delicious but the kitchen looks like a tornado went through it.  He is much neater in the kitchen than I am. He just jumps in and starts washing dishes and cleaning up my mess. God bless him.  We are definitely two individuals both with strong personalities. We have just enough in common to keep us together but our differences is what makes life fun and interesting. 

Back in the day I read some marriage advice from Dear Abby that really stuck with me. This particular column someone wrote her a typical letter “Abby, My husband is a big slob, forgets our anniversary and drinks too much beer but I love him and can’t think about leaving him.  What should I do?” Abby’s response was simple.  She said “Look at your life and ask yourself this question “is my life better with or without this person in it?”  I know this oversimplifies things but it really is good advice.  I’ve had to ask myself this question twice in my life.  The first time the answer was “without”, definitely without but unfortunately it was years between this realization and the time I got up the courage to do anything about it. The second time I asked myself this question was in the middle of a crisis. Putting everything else aside I realized that I would be completely heartbroken and miserable without him. We decided to do whatever we had to do to make it work.

The movie “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” is one of my husband’s favorites.  If you have ever seen the movie you know that every time they get in to a jam George Clooney’s character would say “Damn, we’re in a tight spot.”  Marriage is kind of like that.  You get in a lot of tight spots but the trick is being clever enough to get out of them.  And like the pals in the movie…sticking it out together.  A friend recently asked me to help her set up a dating profile.  As I rattled off things like “You should say you want someone who calls just to hear your voice, someone who surprises you with heartfelt gifts and romantic dinners, someone who can be your best friend” my husband said “Geez, I sure hope I check some of those boxes for you.” I looked at him and said “Of course silly, how do you think I knew what to ask for in an ideal mate! Now get in the bathroom and start singing. Someone forgot to take the trash out last night.”

 

Chocolate Addiction

Chocolate Addiction

Today I was working on someone’s computer and noticed that this particular person had a candy bowl on her desk that was stocked full of Reeses cups, Peppermint Patties and Hershey’s Nuggets.  I am not exactly sure why but this irritated me.  I take that back…I know why it made me mad.  It drives me crazy when a skinny person keeps candy around and doesn’t eat it. Good candy too, not Smarties or Jolly Ranchers.  It's especially annoying when just this morning (for the second time this week and it's only Tuesday) you've told yourself "it's time to get back on the old diet." What kind of person can stare at a bowl of peanut butter cups all day and not eat them.  Is it some kind of subliminal message to the world about will power? Is this some kind of inspirational lesson for us fatties?   “Look at me, I’m so skinny and can pass on this candy all day long.” “I can type emails click clack click, and make spreadsheets with my skinny fingers and I don’t touch this candy.” I mean why is this bowl there anyway if no one is going to eat it? Is it for visitors?  Who is going to reach in and take the candy in front of her?  Not me, I have to sneak my office candy so no one passes judgment on me. Nope, I think the only people who will eat her chocolate are other candy bowl loving skinny people.

I know this is just my issue.  Most other people are normal around chocoalte. This is America after all and if a skinny person wants to have delicious candy just lying around they have a right to do so.  I’m just saying the concept is foreign to me.  I was only there a few minutes when temptation really started setting in. The smell of peanut butter and chocolate started to make me feel woozy.  I fixed her computer as quickly as I could.  I had to get out of there fast.

It’s a good thing she didn’t have any Snickers bars or she would have come back to find an empty bowl with a five dollar bill and a chocolate smeared note that said “I’m so sorry.”

Think I'll walk past her office on the way out today…just to check on her…you know, to be sure her computer is working still…and if she's not there (please, please, please) maybe pick up a little something for the road.

 

 

 

 

 

Old Friends

Old Friends

 Look at this picture of these two old men sitting on a park bench. You can just tell that they've been friends for a long time.  I think there is something about their relaxed manner that says "this guy knows everything there is to know about me."  They are just kicking back talking about the good old days when gas was cheap and you could get to know someone by spending time with them and not studying their Facebook profile. They probably have some wild stories. I bet half of their stories involve one or both doing something either illegal, immoral, dangerous or just plain stupid. I bet one of them can say "Remember that time on the lake…" and he doesn't even have to finish because the other guy knows exactly how the rest of the story goes and they'll both burst in to laughter at the memory of whatever happened that day on the lake. I bet they have secrets no one else knows that they will carry to the grave for each other.   I bet they've had other friends, loved ones and even a woman or two come and go in and out of their life but this friendship just might be the most enduring relationship of their lifetime.  At least I like to think they are life long friends because I'm fairly convinced that once upon a time these two old guys might have been something like these two young guys. I really truly hope so.

This is my son Alex and his best friend Andrew. Andrew and his family moved in three houses up from us when Alex was five years old and Andrew was four. Funny what a small world it is because it was a few months after they moved in that Andrew's mother and I realized we had gone to high school together. We hadn't seen each other since graduation.

It would be untrue to say that our sons have been inseparable since first meeting. The first few years of their friendship were rocky.  They would alternate between being best friends and not wanting to play together.  If there was another child in the mix it never failed that a two against one scenario would develop.  But somewhere around middle school things changed and they stopped the on again off again aspect of their friendship.  By high school their friendship was forged in blood.  Literally as they did several quite stupid things together that led to one or the other or both of them bleeding and injured.  Like the time they decided to climb the big cherry tree in my front yard.  Alex ran in to the house to get something and Andrew decided to go ahead and start climbing.  Poor kid stepped on a branch that wasn't strong enough to support him and he fell to the ground.  As he lie there bleeding profusely from the nose and assessing his other injuries, Alex came out of the house, surmised what had happened and started yelling at him "Why didn't you wait for me you big dummy?"  "If you had waited for me this wouldn't have happened." "I know the good branches to step on."

Other friendships, having girlfriends and even distance hasn't put a damper on their relationship.  Alex's girlfriend jokes all the time that he loves Andrew more than her, as she said "When Andrew was out of town for two weeks Alex talked to him every day for an hour.  He doesn't talk to me for an hour every day and we live together."  I told her to get used to it because I don't see it changing any time soon.

To be honest, I hope it never does change. Not many people can say they have been best friends since childhood.  It's a rare and special thing.  I know eventually these two Peter Pan's will have to grow up and their lives will be almost unrecognizable from what they are now but I hope this one part of their childhood will remain the same.  I hope their relationship endures.  Life is so freaking tough. We all need a friend who knows where we come from and where we always wanted to go.  A friend who can give us a shove in the right direction when we get off track.  A friend who can and will say anything to you…even the stuff that's hard to hear. A friend who will laugh with you as much as they laugh at you. Everyone needs a friend who no matter what has got your back.   A friend who will help you know where to place your foot, where to step so that you don't end up broken and bloody on the ground.

How very lucky they are to have each other, and if either one of them ever needs to move a body, no questions asked, they know exactly who to call!

I Love Being Grandma

I Love Being Grandma

A few years ago I heard a quote that said “the reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is they have a common enemy.”  I know it was meant to be funny but I thought it was horrible.  It certainly wasn’t my experience with my grandmother, or even my mother when she became grandmother to my children.  It certainly does not apply to my daughter.  If anything Riley and I are bonded in our complete and total adoration of her.  I have realized that since she became a mother she needs my support and encouragement now more than ever. Being her mother doesn’t suddenly take a back seat once she becomes a mother herself.  I try to do everything I can to nurture and help her so that she can be the best Mom she can be.  If it means taking him for a few hours so she can go on a date with her husband, take a nap, go to work or whatever she needs to do I try to always be there. 

I have heard people say “I don’t babysit my grandchild because I don’t want to be taken advantage of.”  I don’t understand that. I have never once minded having Riley over at my house.   I don’t honestly consider it babysitting when I do have him.  We have play dates. Speaking of “babysitting” why is it that when anyone other than a child’s mother is caring for him/her it is considered babysitting?  It drives me insane when I hear a dad say “yeah I can’t go out because I’ve got to babysit the kids tonight!”  You what?  Are you getting paid for it?  Are they not your own children?  Does your wife call it babysitting when she takes care of the kids? Here I go off on a tangent but it’s a real pet peeve of mine. 

A friend of mine plies her grandchildren with candy every time she seems them.  I mean she drowns them in it. My daughter would kill me if I did that. My son in law would cut me off from visits. They don’t allow him to eat much candy and whether or not I agree with them it’s my job to back them up, not undermine them.  The same goes with discipline and potty training and whatever lesson they are trying to teach.  Which gets to the heart of what is so wonderful about being a grandparent….the only thing I have to do with this kid is love him.  That’s it. It’s not my job to be sure he brushes his teeth and picks up his toys and gets good grades. His mother and father get that responsibility. I get to be his friend, his confidant and his greatest admirer.

My mother used to have a bumper sticker that said “If I knew grandchildren would be so much fun I would have had them first.”  My sister was a little offended. She doesn’t have children though, and unless you do it’s kind of hard to understand the sentiment. I thought it was sweet since the grandchildren she was talking about were mine but now that I’m a grandmother myself I couldn’t agree more. There is something just so wonderful about spending time with this kid. He never fails to be the best part of any day that includes him. Whether we are making cookies , playing with sock puppets, or going to the playground, it doesn’t matter. We are making memories that will forever be precious to me. One day he’ll be a teenager and lots of other things will be more important than spending time with his old grandma but right now I am soaking up every minute I can get. He recently told his mother that he loves coming to my house because “my grandma always plays with me.”  And that ladies and gentlemen is what I live for….

 

"Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation." ~Lois Wyse

 

Goodbye Dylan

Goodbye Dylan

A few weeks ago my son came home and told me that his Dad's dog Dylan had passed away. My ex husband and I have been divorced almost ten years and we haven't had any contact since Alex graduated in 2009 but this news made me very sad. 

Once upon a time Dylan was my dog too.

We had recently lost our dog Mickey to a sudden illness and the kids had taken it hard.  Mickey had been a rescue dog and when my ex husband Bill suggested getting the kids a puppy I was a little hesitant because I had no experience house breaking a dog.  Bill reassured me that it would be fine and he knew someone who knew someone who had just had a litter of yellow labs. I remember the day we went to pick him out.  We stood in a pen with about ten adorable little yellow balls of fur running around our feet as if to say "Pick me, pick me!'  I wanted to take them all home.  Their mother was a sweet loving dog with a good temperament.  Their father was strong and energetic. You could tell this was going to be a special dog. The puppies were still too young to leave their mother so we  would go back in a few weeks to pick him up but we first had to figure out which one would be the right fit for our family. We knew we wanted a boy.  I can't say I remember exactly what made our boy stand out.  He was active but not too active. He was adorable but they all were. We all just kind of migrated towards the same dog.

We named him Dylan. People always assumed it was after the musician but it wasn't.  Our youngest son Alex was crazy about a book at the time called "Dylan's Day Out" by Peter Catalanotto. The Dylan in the book is a Dalmatian who escapes the house and goes on a series of wacky adventures.  Alex loved this book and we read it over and over again.  It was easy for everyone to agree that it was obvious what we should name him.

My worries about housebreaking and having a puppy tear up the house were mostly unfounded.  Like every puppy he was not perfect but he was sweet and we all grew to love him rather quickly. He grew like a weed and was incredibly active.  The kids all pitched in helping to take care of him. If you know anything about Labs you know that they are the sweetest most even tempered dogs ever.  Dylan was no exception.   I love this picture of him with Brittany.   He actually did steal her homework.  She asked me to take the picture so she could prove it to her teacher.

 Unfortunately, four or five years down the road Bill and I found ourselves in an unraveling marriage.  It was hard on the kids each in their own way. For a few months right before we separated for good, Bill was pretty much living in the basement and I was upstairs with the kids.  I used to say that Alex wore out the stairs going up and down between us.  It broke my heart.  Divorce is an ugly thing. You take a life that is a whole, the sum of all it's different parts and you start dividing it up bit by bit.  You take that chair.  I'll keep this picture.  We had a lot of animosity at the time so the process of splitting things down the middle was that much more difficult.  One of the things that Bill insisted was that he take the dog. I believe his exact words were "I'm going to be alone.  I won't have my children with me anymore.  You aren't keeping my dog too. "  At the time I thought it was a pretty crappy thing to do, take his children's dog away from them during a very difficult time.  A lot of people around me thought it was pretty crappy too and encouraged me to fight him on it but the more I considered it I kind of understood how he felt. He was right.  I had the kids.  I couldn't complain about the dog.

Alex took it the hardest not having his pet anymore.  I got him a cat but it wasn't the same.  He missed Dylan.  Eventually we added two new dogs to our household and he loved them a lot but for him it was never quite the same.  Thankfully he did see his dad often and always came back telling me "Dylan did this" or "Dylan did that."  He also told me how much the dog meant to his dad.  He told me how they were inseparable.  He told me that when his dad cried tears of loneliness the dog would lick them off his face. He told me how his grandma (Bill's mother) who claimed to not care for dogs would sneak him scraps of food so often that Bill had to put Dylan on a diet.  He told me these things and I realized that I had made the right decison in letting him take the dog.  Either of us could have fed and cared for the dog but Bill needed that dog because, in the aftermath of what happened to us, Dylan helped him heal.

I saw Dylan several years ago when Bill came to pick up Alex for the weekend.  We wanted to see if he would play with our new dog Duke, a lab/weimeraner mix.  When Bill got Dylan out of the car he ran to me like it had been a day since he had seen me instead of years.  Clearly dogs never forget love. He was so happy to see me.  We put him in the back yard to see if he would run around and play with Duke.  Poor Dylan just stood at the gate looking at Bill pleading with his eyes to "Get me away from this lunatic."  To say that Duke was a hyper maniac when he was a puppy would be the understatement of the year. That dog ate six remote controls before he was one.

Over the years Alex kept me posted on Dylan's antics. He would show me pictures or tell me stories and while it had been years since I'd seen him, hearing about how he was doing always made me smile.  This last year his health had really declined so when I found out he had passed it wasn't suprising but it was sad. I guess over the years I have softened because my heart went out to my children's father as I tried to imagine the great emptiness he must be feeling.

When the children were young they loved a movie called "All Dogs Go to Heaven."  It's about a murdered mutt who returns to earth to do a good deed so he can gain entrance in to heaven.  It's a cute little movie and I haven't thought of it in years.  Not until recently.  I hope dog heaven has lots of wide open spaces for running and fetching, a lake for swimming and catching "stick fish,"  an endless supply of doggy bones and all the homework a dog could eat. 

Rest well sweet Dylan….you earned it buddy.

Tech Support

Tech Support

As many of you know I make my living as a technical support specialist.  I didn't set out in life to have a career in IT.  It's just something that along the way I developed an aptitude for and things just kind of fell in to place when they needed to and landed me here.

The best part of my job is getting to be the hero every day. It feels good to be the light at the end of the tunnel, the calm in a storm, the voice of experience and knowledge in a crisis. Because as you know, every problem is a crisis. I really do like my job but I've been doing it long enough now to have some stories from the trenches.  Sometimes it is hard.  People are not always at their most gracious and kind when they are completely stressed out from getting an error message like this. And just so you know, when IT people get together to let their hair down, we do talk about you and the stuff you do but don't worry, we don't name names.

Last night my husband was installing a wireless adapter on our DirecTV box.  Cables and flashlight in hand he said "I'm going to do some TSSPEC'ing just like you" and he got on the floor and started to fiddle with cords, etc. He is always hearing me talk about being on the floor tracing cables or rooting around behind equipment in the dust trying to unplug something.  You'll never see me wear a dress to work because I'm always on the floor for something or another. While he was trying to feel for the correct port to plug something in, I went and stood over him and said "Here let me give you the real TSSPEC experience" and I proceeded to barrage him with this….

"This worked yesterday, I don't understand what happened"

"Do you think you're going to be able to get this fixed soon?"

"I was planning on using this today and don't really have a back up plan."

"How did it happen? Is it going to happen again?"

"What if you can't fix it, is there someone you can call to fix it?"

"The directions say to open My Computer but I'm not comfortable taking the computer apart."

"Oh by the way my files aren't backed up so I really need you to fix this."

"It was working until the other day when you installed that printer on the other computer."

"What do you mean do I have a license for this?  Someone burned me this CD."

"While you're here can I ask you about my son's laptop at home?"

"The computer won't turn on but I keep pressing the button on the corner of the monitor."

"I can't believe it's working now.  I swear it wasn't working before you came in the room."

"No I didn't reboot, I didn't save this document before it froze and I don't want to lose it."

"No, I didn't read your email. I'm busy.  You send a lot of email."

"I lost the instructions. Can you send them again?"

"Well I tried to move some cables around myself to see if I could fix it. Still doesn't work."

"It keeps telling me to press any key but I don't know where the any key is."

"When I turn my computer on I smell smoke. Is that normal?"

"Do I need all these cables? Can't we get rid of some of them?"

"When do you think you'll be done?  I kind of need to check my ebay auction."

"I got locked out of email.  Something is obviously wrong because I know my own password."

 

This went on for a few minutes until he said "I don't know how you do it."

 

Oh I do….in my mind I go to my happy place. Ok, so I take a computer along.  Don't judge me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haircut

Haircut

 

 

Ladies if you have a man who loves you very much

He will do many things for you like clean and cook and such.

And if one day you find your messy hair needs just a trim

Fire up your brightest sweetest smile and aim it right at him.

At first he may protest a bit and go out in the yard

He’ll tell you that he can’t do it; he might lose his man card.

But let him fuss and make excuses, let him pout and whine

Tell him you believe in him, he’ll sigh and say “Oh fine!”

Go get him some good scissors, the sharpest you can find

And then take off your fancy shirt, this part he will not mind.

Tell him to be careful you do not want him cut

Don’t get mad if time to time he stops and pats your butt.

Show him how to comb it out and make the ends all even

Speak sweetly to him, build him up so midway he's not leaving.

Talk him through it as he snips, he’ll quickly get much better

Remind him often as he goes it cuts easier when it’s wetter.

When he’s done praise him lots and tell him that you’ll sweep

Tell him that he’s earned a nap, go on now go to sleep.

Remind him that you love him and you’re glad he is your honey

But most of all please thank your man for saving you some money!

 

 

Car Wash

Car Wash

He wanted to watch the Disney Channel.  I wanted to talk.  Our conversation went like this…

Me: So how do you like Mommy's new car?

Him:  I LOVE IT.

Me: How does Mommy like it?

Him: She does.

Me: It's very nice.

Him: She doesn't want it to be messy.

Me: That's good.  You can help her keep it clean.

Him: She doesn't want anyone to fart in it.

Me: Well then she better not give Uncle Alex a ride anywhere.

Him: We took it to the carwash.

Me: Oh that's fun. Did you like it?

Him: No

Me: Why not?

Him: It freaked me out.  It was freaky!

Me: Freaky?  What was freaky about it?

Him: The big brushes. They were so freaky.

Me: Yeah they can be scary.  Was anything else freaky?

Him: No, just the brushes.

Me: Was Mommy scared?

Him: No, she's a grown up.

Me:  One day you'll have a car and will take it to the carwash.  Hopefully you won't be scared anymore.

Him: I won't have a car until I'm a grown up.  I just said grown up's aren't afraid of the carwash. DUH!

 

Ok, he didn't really say duh…but believe me it was implied.

 

Tattletale

Tattletale

 This adorable three year old is my grandson. I know I'm a little biased but he is a fantastic kid.  He is smart and funny and kind.  He is also a major tattletale. I know that tattling is a typical preschool behavior and it's important to teach kids the difference between tattling and reporting.  Some things need to be reported to an adult.  For instance if your older sister singes off your eyebrows during a seance. That should be reported. (I'm just saying.)

Children have a very keen sense of justice.  Just try to divide up a bag of candy among a bunch of kids and you'll see how much fairness means to them. I think as they start to learn right from wrong they are super quick to point out when someone has done something that they perceive to be against the rules.  Riley definitely has his own ideas of what is acceptable and what is not. 

This kid takes tattling to a new level. He tattles without discrimination.

One day he and Daddy were playing ball in the house. Unfortunately a picture got knocked off the wall and the glass cracked. Daddy hung the picture back up and said "Mommy will never notice."  In the moment, a three year old can be quite conspiratorial but the minute his mother walked in he immediately pointed to the picture on the wall and said "Daddy broke it." 

One of his favorite people to tattle on is Grandpa.  He loves to run in to the kitchen to tell me what Grandpa said or did. Recently it was "Grandpa told me to put my toy next to my suitcase and not in it."  I am not sure what he hopes will happen. Maybe he thinks I'll take away Grandpa's dessert or send him to bed early.  He has even ratted out his own mother for ummm…pooping. In fact if anyone leaves the room for any reason he will announce to all assembled that "so and so has gone to poop." I've found myself sitting in the potty yelling out "oh no I'm not!" and hurrying up so no one thinks he is right.

Just the other day when I picked him up for a play date he immediately told me with great indignation that his mother would not buy him a toy at the store when he asked for one. "She told me I already had toys and I didn't need it." Oh the horror…someone call CPS. What a terrible mother! He was seriously ticked. He is constantly telling on the cat for making a mess by her food bowl and he tattles on his uncle for having a dirty room.

Up until recently I thought I was exempt from the tattle monster.  He and I are pretty tight.  I am one of the people he most frequently tattles to. However a few nights ago this little Benedict Arnold tattled on ME.  He was playing on the kitchen floor while I washed and dried a few dishes.  As I reached for the dishtowel with a wet dish in my hand a few drops of water dropped on his head. He jumped up and said "you got me wet!"  I said I was sorry but that didn't soothe him.  He said "I need to go tell Grandpa what you did."  I said "no you don't" but he said "Yeah, I really do" and he went running off to the livingroom to tell on me.

As he grows older I'm sure he'll outgrow this little habit. He will learn about keeping secrets and telling little white lies. He will learn that first grade is hard for a tattletale.  He will learn to discern between what needs to be reported and what he should keep to himself but for now I'm enjoying hearing every little thing.

Now I need to go remind Grandpa that it's no cookies for him tonight.  This kid knows how to hit them where it hurts.

 

 

Mama’s Girl

Mama’s Girl
When I got home from work on Monday there was a package at the door.  This isn’t unusual because my husband gets a lot of packages delivered to the house for work.  However, this time it was for me and it was from my Mom.   I opened the box and it made me cry. This is what was inside.  She has this set of bowls and when she brought something to my house in one of them I told her I liked it. So being the thoughtful person she is, she went out and got me a set and sent them.  The bowls didn’t make me cry though, her note did.   “Life is going way too fast for me. I wish we could spend more time together. Reading your blog has made me feel closer to you. You are very talented. You are in my prayers every day.”
 
Her letter made me cry because I am 47 years old and my mother still worries about me and takes her concerns to the heavens every night. I cried because I miss her too.  I know people who live a lot further than an hour away from their loved ones so I shouldn’t complain, but sometimes that distance feels enormous. I cried because I am touched she is reading my blog and that it makes her feel closer to me. I cried because my whole life I have always wanted to make her happy and have her approval.  I know that I’ve done a lot of things over the years that broke her heart.  I have wandered away from the beliefs that are still very much a part of her life. I don’t visit as much as I should. I don’t call as often as I need to. I am not the world’s best daughter.
 
 I am however a very lucky daughter. My mother showed me by example how to be a survivor.  She taught me that life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you handle it. She told me that when something bad happens to us the only choice we have is to pick ourselves up and go on. That advice has gotten me through some heart breaking experiences of my own.  I can’t say how many times I’ve opened my mouth and her words come tumbling out. I guess one day my children will do the same.
 
Mine wasn’t an easy childhood. I think my mother still suffers guilt for the things we went without. I wish she wouldn’t.  The intangible things she did give us far outweigh anything material that we didn’t have. I grew up singing a hymn in chuch that goes:
 
There is beauty all around
When there’s love at home;
There is joy in ev’ry sound
When there’s love at home.
Peace and plenty here abide,
Smiling sweet on ev’ry side.
Time doth softly, sweetly glide
When there’s love at home.
Love at home, love at home;
Time doth softly, sweetly glide
When there’s love at home
 
My mother took every word of this song seriously.  She did not tolerate meanness or teasing among us kids.  We were to love one another whether we liked it or not. Her insistance on family harmony has resulted in adult siblings who love each other deeply and are there for each other no matter what.  That is an accomplisment to be proud of.
 
I’ve been saying since I started writing this blog that I was doing it for my grandchildren.  I figured telling my stories and sharing my sometimes odd outlook on life would be something that could carry me in to the future.  What I didn’t take in to account was how sharing these stories would also take me back. Back to my childhood, back to the people and places that formed me. And when I look back, the one constant, the rock of my life has been my sweet mother.
 
Thank you for always being there Mom. Thank you for your example, for the lessons, for the prayers and for the bowls. 
 
I love them.