Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Momma

These last few days have been some of the hardest, most painful days that the Man and I have faced. We're sending Mom off to live with one of the Man's sisters - a wonderful, loving woman who is kind and sweet and loves her momma to pieces. 

The Man's sister will take good care of Mom.  Her family is so very happy to have Mom come and live with them. And we are glad Mom has such a loving home to live in.

But, oh my, will we miss this woman.
We bought Mom and Dad's house and moved in with them almost a decade ago when the Man's father was battling Alzheimer's. We helped to care for him up to the very end and were able to keep him home almost that long. We had to get more care for him the last eight weeks of his life, but up until that time, he lived in his own home. The home he built with his own hands.

We've had Mom living with us ever since. She's been part of our daily life. She's one of the family. And she's always been here.

Outside of a couple years in college, the Man hasn't lived more than ten or so minutes from his parents. And when we got married, we stayed around so we could be close to them. A few years into our marriage, the Man had a job offer in the South from a friend who had started his own business. We talked about it briefly but the Man couldn't do it. He said, "We can't leave them by themselves. It will kill my mom if we take the kids away from her." 

So we stayed.  I didn't live near my grandparents growing up, they were a couple hours away, so I wanted my children to have that - to grow up with grandparents who were part of their weekly landscape.

And boy, were they.
Mom helped me from the moment my babies came home. She stayed with me for two weeks after I had my first baby, J. She talked me through some pretty dark days when the hormones were flying and I wasn't sure I was cut out to be a momma. I remember crying one night, tired and scared of being alone with this little baby, and Mom just put her arm around me and said, "Things always look so lonely at night, sweetheart. It will look better in the morning. Just wait and see." 

And it did. I was so thankful for her during those days. I don't think I could have done it without her. She is truly a baby-whisperer. And a new momma comforter.

I find myself remembering that conversation whenever my minds starts wandering in the middle of the night. She comforts me without even knowing it.

And when I had to go back to work part-time, she was right there, willing to watch J for us so we wouldn't have to put him in daycare. And then K came along and Mom stayed with me for a week, helping feed and care for K and playing with J so he wouldn't feel left out. I don't know how she did it. She had so much energy and made it look so easy. 

For the next several years, she watched my kids while I worked part-time. She would pick them up from school, take them to piano lessons. She took them to McDonald's and out for ice cream. She went sledding with them down the hill at the family fishing camp.

Up until the time we moved in with them, the kids and the Man and I would see them at least once a week, if not a couple times. We'd go to their house for dinner, they'd come to ours. They came to recitals and concerts and graduations and Christmas pageants. The kids went to VBS at their church.

K worked  alongside Mom, baking cookies and pies. J worked in the wood shop with Grampa and helped him rake leaves. They fished in the bird bath. Grampa taught them how to play chess and Grandma taught them how to hug.

My kids had the best. Just....the best. They had Mom and Dad. They had the childhood I hoped they would have, surrounded by loving grandparents and close family and friends.
The last few years have been bittersweet. We thought it would be the kids leaving us, moving out on their own. We've made sure to spend lots of time with grandma, trying to squeeze in every last minute while we were all under the same roof. Mom loves, loves, loves to engage J in political conversations. She asks him a question at the dinner table and he lights right up - the two of them can talk for quite a while when they get going. He brings her mending to do. J's always ripping his jeans, or a favorite shirt, and asking her to fix it. She loves that. She's been oh-so-needed and so, so wanted.

But now we have to say goodbye. Mom needs more care than we can give her. So we are giving her up. The Man calls it "sacrificial love". I call it horrible. I love this woman. She's been my momma for the past twenty-five years. 

I love her with every. single. fiber. in my body. 

But I don't want anything to happen to her while we are at work. So she leaves us. And she takes our hugs with her. She takes our kisses with her. She takes our love with her.

But mostly, she takes our hearts with her.

Love you, Mom. Mean it.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sissies in the Sun

Sissy love.

At their age, it's nothing but fun and fighting. Agreeing and disagreeing. Dissing each other and sticking up for each other. Wearing each other's clothes and not sharing sometimes.

It's going to get more complicated as they grow up. Life will get between them. 

But for now, it's pretty sweet.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Nana Banana

Nan at {almost} ninety-nine.

Still getting her hair done. Still going out to lunch. Still shopping with us girls. 

She is simply amazing.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Upside Down

This clothespin gave me such a hard time.

I put it on the clothesline and it kept flipping upside down. I must have tried about twenty times to get the thing to stand up and sit straight, to no avail.

It just kept flipping upside down.

Irritating.

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I started thinking about people. And how sometimes I want them to do something they just can't do. It's not their nature. Or within their ability. 

Just like this clothespin. 

I think my life will be much simpler, and less painful, if I just let them flip upside down.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Celebration for a Fine Young Man

A day full of love and laughter.

The Man, K, and I got to celebrate with some friends today as their son N heads off to college soon. Friends and family gathered to share in this celebration - good food (pulled pork! and I don't even like pulled pork!), good drink (especially the creamy pina coladas!) and good conversation. I spent most of the afternoon talking to this young man's momma and grandmomma.

They are such wonderful friends and we always have a good time when we get together. As I wrote to N in his graduation card, it has been our pleasure to watch him and his brother grow from the cute little guys we knew many years ago to the fine young men they are today. Honest, dependable, fun-loving, uber-talented in everything they do, and the best manners around - they are the whole package, these boys.

Good job, momma and poppa.  And best wishes, N. Can't wait to see what God has in store for you!

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Photo above was one from his senior photo shoot. Doesn't he look like a GQ model?

One of my faves from the whole season last year.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Meatballs and Laughs




My dear friend M and I had dinner together tonight. It's been a long time since our last girls night out but it was worth the wait.

We ate some delicious Italian food in a neighboring town, tried some fancy-schmancy cocktails, and talked and laughed for four hours. It's nice to have someone to commiserate with on this journey through middle-age. Parents, kids, jobs, husbands - we are facing the same changes and trying to find the humor in all of it.

M is one of my nearest and dearest and I can't imagine life without her.

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She suggested an absolutely delightful new dish to try. We ordered a wedge salad with blue cheese dressing and a side of meatballs with sauce and cheese.

We cut up the salad into bite size pieces, put a little dressing on it,  and then sliced a meatball on top of the salad. We spooned sauce and cheese over all of it and dug in. 

YUM!

*Found this photo on my iPhone - clearing off the old ones, making way for the new.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Pretty in Pink

Some shots from a shoot last week.


K is a great help. She keeps an eye on hair, posing, smiles, and all the other tedious little things that can ruin a good picture.



In the photo above, K was showing M how to pose her legs to get the shot we were looking for. And it came out great. M is a natural in front of the camera.



All the teens in this generation are good in front of the camera. Probably because they spend so much time taking selfies.

We were shooting against those gorgeous bricks and M was crossing the road to get there. 


Love the tone of these photos. The pink is sweet and feminine and I just love how it wrestles with the masculinity of the cowboy boots.


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Reading a good book right now - "Midnight in Siberia" by David Greene. He's an American journalist for NPR and this book documents his travel across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway. He writes about the Russian people he meets along the way, discussing the things that shape them and their lives. Very interesting.