dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

Being with a sister…

A couple of months ago hubby and I traveled to Michigan.  It was a quick trip and a fun one.  I had driven through Michigan before, but, we had never stopped there.  I have to say I was surprised by the state.  It is beautiful, and I can see why people love it there.

The best part of the trip (although several things were right up there to the top) was the time I got to spend with my sister.

I am the middle sister.  Right now, I am perfectly in the middle, three years behind my oldest and three years ahead of my youngest.  It happens for only a few months of the year, but for some reason, I love it when I know I am truly in the middle…  no, it doesn’t take much to amuse me.

Anyhow, since I got married 42 years ago, I have not had much time with my older sister.  It is just how it has worked out.  Not exactly what either of us thought would happen, but it did.  So, having an opportunity to spend some time with her was a wonderful gift.

I thought I would write this post immediately after having that time with her, and in fact, I did start this post several months ago.  But, something happened and I just put it in with the drafts.  I thought I wanted to capture immediately the emotion and the fun we had, before it waned in my memory and it lost it sparkle.

I was wrong.  That time spent with her and her husband is etched forever in my heart.  I have frequently gone back in my mind and relived those short hours with her.  I can see her eyes shine while showing me her property, the deer stands that she feeds her deer at.  I can hear her laughter as she talked.  I can remember how much I loved being with her.    It truly was a gift being there with her.

Sisters are a strange breed of family.  They love fiercely and have a deep sense of loyalty.  They argue, disagree and go toe to toe with one another.  They can go for periods of time without talking, but when they finally have an opportunity, it is like time has no control and conversations continue, not begin again.

Such was the time with my sister.  I long to have that in person conversation continue again.  It was not long enough.

My younger sister has a milestone birthday in a few weeks.  We are hoping to have time for the three of us again.  I have thought of times when the three of us have been together.  But, mostly what comes to mind is our marathon monopoly games we would have each summer.   Those days-long games where we bent rules and broke rules and yelled at one another and gave each other deeds to help each other out.  I usually was the one that quit several times and got mad several times.  But, in thinking of those moments, I know that is what memories and families are made of.

So, to all of those out there who have siblings, I encourage you to talk with them, if you haven’t for a while.  It is like an elixir to strengthen your heart.  I know mine was touched and treated and as I hugged her and walked away, I was better for those precious moments we spent together.  Thank you Dottie, I love you.

Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF)

 

 

 

2 Comments »

Love at First Sight…

Today, being Valentine’s Day, I wanted to write a love story.  A love story dear to my heart.

Two years ago last night we saw our house for the first time on the outside.    Two years ago today, we walked into our house for the first time.  It was empty and filled with the winter sunlight.

We walked from room to room.  We searched each closet, each nook and cranny.  We didn’t leave for two and a half hours.  We walked around inside and outside.  We tried to see something we didn’t like.

But, as what happens with cases of love at first sight, we did not see anything.  We went ahead and now it is our home.  Like any relationship, we have come to see some flaws in our home.  We have been discouraged with some things.  This home, though, has grown with us.  It has seen visitors and loved ones.  It has witnessed much love and laughter.  It has seen our tears and heartaches.

Two years ago, on Valentine’s Day, we fell in love with a house.  A structure sitting on a parcel of land.  It needed some work and still does, but, when it boils down  to it, don’t we all?    Two years ago, this was our gift to one another.  A forever home for us.  A place to grow old in.  A place to make memories.  A place to shelter us and provide a setting where love and peace live.

Happy Valentine’s Day.      Thanks for stopping by.  Cathi (DAF)

 

8 Comments »

45 years ago…

Forty-five years ago today was the last day I was by myself.  The 17th of September, 1971, I went about my day.  Our teachers were on strike and I was at home most likely doing nothing, but reveling in the extended summer vacation the lower class-men at the high school had.  The seniors continued on in school with teachers who were not union members so they could keep college and military commitments when they graduated.

I was a junior in high school that year, so I was blissfully at home wondering when we would be able to go back to school.  We knew the longer we were out in September the longer we would be in in June.  It was a weird year of school for certain.

Forty-five years ago today I made plans with a friend to go to a dance the 18th.  We would meet and one of us would drive to the fire hall where we would dance and flirt and not really meet anyone, since we were the quiet girls and mostly went unnoticed by most everyone in school.

What I did not know that day was that the following day would change my life.  Literally.    The following day, the 18th of September, 1971, a couple of my guy friends would help the music teacher move some things into his summer cottage.  It took them most of the day and at the end of the day they were paid.

Later that afternoon on the 18th the phone would ring.  I would be getting ready for the dance.  The phone call would be for me.   Heading to answer the phone, my older sister would holler at me, “If it’s a guy and he asks you out… GO!”  It was a guy, he did ask me out, and I accepted.  I was scared of my older sister, and when she said jump, I would jump, hoping it was high enough. (Sorry, Dottie)

That night, forty-five years ago tomorrow, I went bowling with my hubby.  We bowled three games, I won one, he won two.  I confess by the third game I was a bit over bowling, but, what can you do when you are on a date?

Forty five years ago the 18th I had my last first kiss.  I was 16 years old.  I have been with my husband longer than I wasn’t.  We have grown up together, we have fought, we have made up, we have traveled the world, we have raised our family.  I really cannot believe it has been 45 years.

There are times when I look at him and still see that boy who asked me out.  That boy who spent his hard-earned money to take me bowling and put gas in his mother’s car.  We have always marked this day as a special day for us.  Tomorrow will actually be the first time in several years that we will be together on this day.  One of us has been traveling during this time recently.

So, happy anniversary of our first date, honey.  I would say, “here’s to the next 45”, but, I really don’t think we will be around when we are 107!

Thanks for stopping by, Cathi (DAF)

 

8 Comments »

What I did over my summer vacation…

School is starting up again.  Some of the kids returned to school this past week, some will go back on Monday.  The schools in the area have been busy with lawns being mowed and more cars in the parking lots and signs signaling the beginning of the school year.  I know that in several of those classrooms there will be an assignment for the students to write about what they did over their summer vacation.

With this in mind, I have decided to  write about my summer vacation(?).    This summer did not turn out the way I had imagined it.  But, that is okay.

It’s not so much what I did over the summer that I am thinking about, it is what I learned over the summer.

I have learned that hoses do leak.  Sometimes they erupt sending a deluge of water all over.  I have learned not to wear my glasses when working on hoses because I end up not only being drenched, but also not being able to see since my glasses are dripping water and not providing me a way to see which way to go dripping wet.

I have learned that maintaining a pool is a daily thing.  I was so used to seeing hubby out there doing ‘something’ and me getting changed to go into the pool and lounge.  I have learned that the lounging only comes after the cleaning, backwashing, checking the chemical levels, adding what is needed, straining the basket in the filter (my least favorite part) and trying not to squeal like a girl when I see dead toads in the filter, bloated and looking up at me…  Ewww….

I have learned that wasps are mean.  I don’t react well to bee stings.  But, it has been years since I have been stung.  I forgot how they feel.  I forgot how they itch and itch and swell.  I forgot that the swelling stays for weeks, not days for me.  Stupid wasps.  They tricked me into a false sense of security and feeling victorious trimming bushes, except that last one… it is still wild and going off in all directions.

I also realized that even though my body aches and my legs ache and my back is rebelling, that things can get done.  I have found that either praying or listening to hubby with his armchair quarterback instructions that things can be done.  Also, there are those times when I scream aloud at myself and even let loose with a few words that don’t necessarily edify anyone or anything, that helps too.

Yes, I have learned much this summer.  Some things I thought I already knew, but sometimes you need a refresher course.  Neighbors help and turn into friends.  I knew this, but, I was reminded in so many ways of this during the past few weeks.

I have had people tell me to not do so much.  To let things slide a bit.  I considered what they meant, but in the end, chose not to listen.  This spring hubby did a lot of preparation for the summer.  He worked hard and had plans.  I could not, and decided would not, let his plans be ruined.

Did I do the gardening exactly like him?  NO.  I know under his care the garden would have produced so much more.  But, we did get some nice cucumbers and tomatoes and squash.  He had fresh beans for lunch and we had some rhubarb pie.  I look at the garden and sigh most days.  This is the one area where I feel like I could not do everything.  I have watered, and fed the garden, but, alas, it was not a huge success.  I know that although I love the produce, I think I am better suited to roses.

Did I  get all his plans done?  No, I didn’t.  But, I tried.  I tried because it was important to me for him to at least know that some things were getting done.

The biggest lesson learned?  I still don’t know.  I am sure that this time next year I can look back and see the end results of this summer, but, it’s still not done.  The light is at the end of the tunnel.  He is up and walking, but, with only being able to bend his leg 30 degrees, we have a way to go.

This, I do know, though, I love my husband.  I may not be Florence Nightingale, but I try.  I  try because he deserves this.  It was not his choice to sit all summer long, but, it happened.  There is a reason for it all.  So, although I have cracked jokes about it, I am so thankful that I could be here for him.

What are some of the lessons you learned over the summer?  I would love to hear them.  DAF (Cathi)

Leave a comment »

Reminders and Echoes…

This past week we celebrated Little Man’s fourth birthday here.  The pool was ready, the weather was wonderful and it was a great celebration.

Little Miss arrived before Little Man and the time with these two wonderful, lively human beings went much too fast.

Little Miss left just a few hours ago. The house is now quiet.  I have picked up the living room of the remaining things lying around.  Up the stairs went the books and balls and crayons and coloring books.  A few stuffed animals went up the stairs also.

I put the things carried up into the guest area upstairs.  I dared not go into the toy room, at least not yet.  I was in there earlier this morning with Little Miss and the echoes resounding in there were deafening.  The puzzle Little Man put together was still together on the floor.  The paper he was painting on still laying there where he put it.  The trucks are all crashed in disarray and there are puzzle pieces scattered throughout the room.  Little Miss was in there copying how she had seen her cousin playing earlier this week.  She was his shadow, mimicking everything he did.

They became cousins this week, I think.  They no longer just stared at one another.  She followed him closer than his shadow did.  She was under his feet studying his each move.  If he played with the ball, so did she.  Of course this led to the normal stance of most young cousins, throwing things, pushing each other and grabbing things out of each other’s hands.  It was delightful to see!  I could picture them in years to come, chasing one another, challenging each other and having talks that only cousins can have.  It made my heart swell and now, it brings tears to my eyes to think about it.

Yes, it is quieter without the grandchildren here.  We are lonely for them.  We dislike when they leave, our lives are just a bit duller and there is not enough laughter resounding between the two of us.

This visit, though, I realized it was not just the little kids that made leaving so hard.  I have missed ‘my’ kids.  My girls.  Tell-tale signs that they were home make me stop and wipe a tear from my eye.  Seeing towels put into the washer so I didn’t have to put them there.  Reading a note in my guest room guest book.  Seeing a guest room put back together and knowing she did it.  Seeing a favorite coffee cup out and being hesitant to put it away into the dishwasher, knowing that she was the last one to hold it.  Yes, all of these things make me wish for one more hug, one more laugh.

Times go by too fast.  Times that we mostly take for granted.  This week cemented in me that this house is a house we have dreamed of for years.  It is a place where my kids and their kids can let their hair down.  A place where they can relax and not worry about fingerprints on windows or sticky floors or bringing crayons into a livingroom.  It is a place where you can bounce a ball or yourself down the stairs while laughing and screaming ‘boom’ or ‘bump’.  A place to blow bubbles inside. This is the house I always wanted.  A place with a screen door that slams.  A place where there is adventure and fun.  A place to jump off the side of a pool or from the ladder.  This is home, this is where family come to be family, loud, noisy, laughing, talking, remembering and even being annoyed or frustrated.  I am so thankful for my girls and their families.  We may not be wealthy or have a pristine home, but, we are rich in being able to be a family.  I have waited too many years for this and at long last it feels like my dreams have come true.  A family that can come home, and relax. taking naps or finding a room to just sit and get caught up with one another.

I have had a great week.  I sit here a little more tired, and a lot more lonely, but my heart is full when I listen to the echoes that are still bouncing around the room.  My heart is full when I see remnants of toys and towels and floats for the pool.    So, thank you to my girls and their families making this Grammy a happy one, albeit a very teary-eyed one today.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF (Cathi)

6 Comments »

Anticipation…

I am excited!  In two days, Little Miss will be here.  I cannot wait to see their car pull into the driveway, knowing who is sitting in the backseat waiting to be freed from her car seat.   I will be anxious to scoop her up and know that after a long drive her mama will be ready to get out of the car herself.  As it most likely goes, Little Miss will be ready to be changed or sticky or drenched from pouring water on herself.  That is always the case with children, you prepare for them to be perfect to see their grandparents and then on the way reality strikes and the end product is never what you think and dream it will be.  (Speaking from experience here with two little girls that I always wanted to look ‘just so’ when seeing their grandparents for the first time of a visit.  I always looked like I just put my finger in a socket and they looked like  street hooligans who hadn’t been fed or bathed in six years of their four years of life.)

Little Miss is coming for a party.  Not a huge party, just a family celebration.  The celebration was moved here since Grampy is confined to small areas still.  He can go to local places to eat as long as he can put his leg up, but, he still cannot travel well.  So, we are having a family pool party at our home.  I am so excited!

The honoree for the party?  Why, that is Little Man!  He is going to be four years old.  Yes, that is right, he is no longer a toddler, but a little boy.  He will be arriving on Monday and I cannot wait to scoop him up and continue our ongoing conversation.   This conversation started four years ago and each time we see each other that conversation continues.

So, yes, the anticipation of having both Little Miss and Little Man here is killing me.  I keep wishing the time would pass more quickly.  I impatiently look at the hour and look outside wishing it was one day closer.  I know it will be a short visit for both of them, but, even spending a few hours with them is like Christmas morning for  me. The greatest gifts that have ever been given to me, wrapped up in little arms and hands and giggles.  Hearing stories and seeing their faces makes my heart full of health and well-being.

After these past few weeks hubby and I need a dose of healing and laughter.  We need a time to see these precious gifts and most of all we need a day to celebrate our Little Man, who has blessed our life with his.  His curiosity is boundless and his ability to carry on a conversation and ask wonderful questions gives us joy.  So, an early Happy Birthday Little Man.  I can’t believe you are four already.

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF (Cathi)

8 Comments »

Family…

A couple of days ago, I had this thought go through my mind.  It was my nephew’s birthday and I was thinking how much I missed him and wished I could just sit and visit with him for a few hours.

I thought about how I should write about family.  Then I didn’t write anything.

Today my cousin shared a photo on Facebook of my mother’s family.  It was a memory that was shared and I looked over all the original comments and read the new ones.  There was a theme across the comments, that all wished we had known them better.

This is what I thought to write about earlier this week.  How, as families, we don’t take the time to learn, listen and get to know one another.

When I start to think about such things there is a hurt in my heart.  It is like being homesick for something unknown.  A hurting to reach out and hug or touch or laugh with someone who is no longer near or close.

I married young.  I lived overseas.  Phone calls were expensive and you just didn’t call.  Letters helped, but those only went so far.  You can write so many pages and then your hand dies, the writing goes weird and you give up.    I can remember writing letters to my aunts and uncles, not often , but through different seasons.  I corresponded with one of my mother’s brothers for several years until he passed.  I got a glimpse into his personality and a bit of what he thought about.  I always looked forward to those letters.  And, then, they were gone.

Another nephew’s birthday is tomorrow.  He is the oldest of the next generation.  I was living overseas when he was born.  I didn’t get the birth announcement until he was almost a month old.  I bonded with him immediately.  My heart sang whenever I would receive a new photo of him.  I didn’t get to see him until he was almost four.

I didn’t get to see my nieces or nephews often.  Living on the west coast prevented us from just dropping in for a visit.  I look back with regret that I didn’t get to see them.  I didn’t get to see school plays or see how they were growing.  But, likewise, they did not get to know me or their cousins, my daughters.

It is true, that military families make their own ‘families’ and this is a huge comfort and help.  I could not manage without my family that are not related through blood.  They have shared in life events that my blood family could not be present for. But, that is another post.

This post is for my family, my sisters, my brother-in-laws, my nephews and my nieces.  I want them to know that with all my heart, I love you.  You have each etched deep within my heart, your own place.  These are the places I hold dear.  They are filled with conversations we have had.  They are filled with photos of your life that you have posted or shared, or on that rare occasion, I have seen.  We may not know everything about each other, but that does not matter.  For, you are my family.  You are my blood relations.  You will always be in my heart, my thoughts and prayers.  I am proud of you.  Your accomplishments make me beam.  Your sorrows prick my heart and I hurt for you.  Your laughter makes me laugh.

I had a brief conversation with my oldest nephew a couple of years ago.  He was rushing to see his nephew.  He said he hated not being closer to him, that he loved him so much and just wanted to be near him.  He was being honest with me and I was able to look him in the eye and tell him I totally understood, for that is how I felt about him.    At that moment we understood each other in a way we had never before experienced.  I think of that moment often.

These thoughts have been on my mind often the past few weeks.  I needed to let my family know how precious they are to me.  It’s good to let those you love know they are loved.  Too often we are preoccupied with our own lives and we forget that family may need to hear from us.  So, to my nieces and nephew who may read this, Yes, I am that old weird aunt that still hugs on you and cries when she sees you, but, I will ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS love you and be here for you.  Thank you for making my life so much fuller because of you.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF (Cathi)

 

8 Comments »

Bucket List…

Our oldest daughter is staying with us while she is in transition to their new place.  We have had her and Little Miss with us for almost two weeks now.  It has been a wonderful visit.

The other day she mentioned my bucket list.  We had been talking about how I turned down seeing Barry Manilow in concert when hubby and I were in Vegas a few years ago.  I actually caught pneumonia on the first day of our visit there and spent almost the entire stay in the hotel room coughing and feeling like I was dying and getting upset because I did not die.  I felt that horrible.  Anyhow, trying to cheer me up, hubby offered to take me to see Barry Manilow.  I felt so horrible I turned him down and continued to hack my lungs out.   I then told my daughter that the following week in Vegas Paul McCartney and Elton John performed and I would have dragged myself to see them no matter what.  We continued to talk about how seeing at least one of the Beatles perform before I die is on my bucket list.

Since then I started to think about my bucket list.  I remember it used to be a long list.  Filled with many things.  Seeing the Kremlin was on the list, as was running a marathon (that will NEVER happen), going to Austria, seeing Ireland and Scotland.  Also on the list was writing that novel (hopefully that will happen), and speaking to conferences of women.

My bucket list now is something I do not think of.  I pondered on this fact on the way home from the grocery store today.  I wondered if I was just lazy and had no drive to do things.  I realized I was content.  Content with my world the way it is.  Yes, it would be wonderful to travel, seeing the sights I have only looked at in pictures.  It would be exhilerating to write that novel and have sell out conferences.  It would be such a blessing to know I had touched lives and possibly helped people make changes in their lives.

The one occurring sight in my mind while thinking of all of this is the feeling I have when I remember holding Little Man’s hand and Little Miss’ hand.  Having them lift thier arms for me to pick them up.  Reading to them books that rhyme and playing cars with them.  Seeing the beauty of my daughters reflected in their children’s faces.  That is contentment and joy.

I am certain the castles of Austria are breath taking.  I know the green of Ireland is something that my heart would rejoice in seeing.  I know having my feet land in Scotland where my grandfather walked would give me a peace I have never known.

But, if I never get there, my life will be fulfilled in knowing that I have laughed with my Little Man and Little Miss and that laughter will echo through eternity in my heart.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF……………

6 Comments »

41 and counting…

41 years ago tonight I was packing my bags and boxes getting ready to move.  It was a big move as I was leaving my childhood behind.  I looked in the closet and looked at some of the things flung onto the floor and decided that what was left was left.

41 years ago I was filled with excitement and anticipation and had no concept of what was ahead of me.

41 years ago tomorrow I woke up to a blizzard and snow falling all over.   I curled my hair, put on my make up, put on my dress and it was time to pose for pictures.  I left the apartment with the bags all packed and went to the church with my dad and my sisters.   It was time for my wedding.

People were late getting to our wedding, the snow and the roads were relentless.  People arrived in hunting clothes, not having time to change from long drives to the church.  Slush covered the aisle that the runner only covered half of.

Afterwards, my best friend’s father stood outside the church tossing a snowball waiting for hubby and I to leave  the church after pictures.  Yes, we had snowballs thrown at us instead of rice or birdseed.

The parking lot for our reception did not get plowed and cleared in time for our arrival.  We slid into a parking space and I hiked up my gown and tromped through knee deep snow.  I entered the hall and slid a few feet before being caught by my aunt.  Behind us, snowballs were being thrown.

Our reception band had three accidents on the way to the reception, and they trudged in during the meal bringing in snow drifts and excitement that they had finally made it.

We danced and ate and had some cake and left, driving north for the evening.

Yes, 41 years ago I was filled with anticipation.  I thought my love story was unfolding and it would be like the romantic comedies and love stories I watched on the big screen.

41 years later my love story has unfolded.  It’s not been a romantic comedy.  At times it is more tragedy and tears than laughter and joy.   But, it’s been my love story and I have lived it.  There have been bouquets of roses, and fancy dinners, and sparkling jewelry, and romantic trips.  But, there has also been silence and tears and angry words that cannot be taken back.  There have been years that we were oceans apart several times.

Love stories come in all shapes and sizes.  Today my love story was my hubby making certain I was warm enough on a cold evening.  Lighting a fire to warm me up and watching an old movie that we have both seen so often we knew the lines before the actors spoke them.

I am certain had I know then what I know now I may not have been so filled with anticipation on that snowy day.  But, I am grateful for the past 41 years I’ve had with my hubby.      DAF….

4 Comments »

When Memories Echo…

Little Man left yesterday after a ten-day visit.  It was his first visit to our new home.  He was the first to play in the playroom we made for our grandchildren.

I wanted a room for the kids to be kids in.  The room that is made to run in, drive trucks in, play with trains and hot wheels.  The room that will eventually have dolls to play with and dress up.  The room that I hope keeps changing and growing along with the children.

They left around noon yesterday.  With hugs and kisses and many tears (on my part), they left to start their new life in Charleston.  They will be much closer, and I still cannot wrap my head around that fact.

Last night, after doing laundry and vacuuming, I walked into the playroom.  The puzzles were still put together on the floor.  The trucks were in varying stages of being wrecked.  Coloring books and crayons were in the same place on the floor.

My eyes teared up.  Although my heart was full of wonderful memories, the room echoed with footsteps running back and forth.  I could hear the giggles and the little voice telling Grammy what was going on next.

I turned around, closed the door and decided it was too soon to pick up the memories of a week well spent on my part.

Thanks for stopping by…   my next post will be by a guest blogger…  I know you will enjoy it!   DAF

4 Comments »