I can’t be that old…

Last night as I was waiting to go to sleep, I started to think of my oldest daughter.  Her birthday is tomorrow.  Her birthday gets to me each year.  It gets to me because she is getting older and I know that I cannot be old enough to have a daughter her age.

Yes, this is a personal post.  I am truly feeling sorry for myself today.  You see, when I think of my darling daughter, I see her with her Shirley Temple curls falling down her back.  I see her with her tiny tap shoes tapping with her Grandpa, laughing with him.

I see her standing in front of our full length mirror talking to herself.   I see her poking chubby fingers into the side of the crib talking to her ‘seester’.    I see her many ways.

Today, she is the mother of Little Miss.  A good mom.  A partner to a Navy man.  She has done what I have had to do.  Hold down the fort.  Keep the home fires burning.  Take care of the house and it’s occupants.  She does it well.

Yes, I am very proud of her, and yet, with each passing year as I watch her grow in grace and maturity, I feel a bit older.  So, my dear daughter, my first-born, Happy  Birthday!  I am proud to be your Mom, but, this making me feel older has to stop!  I still feel like I am your age, not mine!    I pray your day is filled with the very best.  Laughter with Little Miss and her Daddy and lots of hugs and kisses from them too.  Thanks for being you and for teaching me what motherhood is about.  Love you.


September Thoughts…

There are certain times of the year that provoke a sense of reflection in me.  I write about these times often, for I believe that writing them down etches them in my mind more clearly.

The days leading up to the 11th of September is one of these seasons.  Tomorrow is Grandparents day, a holiday started in 1978.  I had no idea it was even a ‘thing’ until 1983 when I saw the first cards celebrating it.   I don’t even know who buys those cards, but each year I see them.

Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of  9/11.  It is amazing to me that it has been 15 years.  It seems like yesterday that the horror of that day happened.  The images and repugnance reverberates to this day.  I will always remember and I will never forget.

But in the middle of these events is a sweet dance of my youngest daughter’s life.

In thinking on all of the above, it is amazing what stands out in vivid memory.  I can remember seeing those Grandparent Day cards being almost nine months pregnant, thinking I should buy one for my in-laws.  I thought I would send it from my oldest daughter, having her sign it and how they would love that.  I also thought that maybe my second  child would be born on that day.  I never got the card, and my baby did come on Grandparent’s Day.

I remember when she was born, looking at my sweet baby, a time that is burned into a mother’s mind.  Each child, so unique, so beautiful.  Seeing that baby for the first time and knowing that this look is the look you will cherish until your dying day.  I was handed my sweet child and looked down on her.  No sweet expression, just this scowl on her little face.  Staring up at me as if to say, “Lady, I am not happy.”  Literally, a scowl, one that still appears on her face this day, some  thirtysomething years later…  I looked down at her, laughed and said as only a mother can, “Well sweetie, you are the one who decided to come, I really had nothing to do with it.”    Yes, those sweet , sweet life moments I will never forget.

That morning fifteen years ago that sweet baby was up before me.  Hubby had already left for work, and her older sister was living on her own and on her way to work.  I came downstairs and wished her a happy birthday.  We were going for her driver’s test and I asked if she was ready.  She told me to turn on the t.v.  and horror hit me.  Last night as I thought on this, I thought of this child of mine.  She was basically alone when she first heard all of this on the radio.  I never thought of how any of this affected her.  What was going on in her mind, how did it color her birthday then and how does it affect her to this day?

Yes, it is funny how certain things stick out in your mind on different days.  Those are my thoughts this weekend.  The thought that comes most readily to mind is this.  I have been blessed with this child, now a grown woman.  Her life has filled mine with laughter.  Her life has brought me joy.  I asked the Lord early on what life lessons my children have taught me.  I wanted to know when they were young, so I could truly grasp the gifts they are.

My oldest has taught me unconditional love.  A lesson we all need to have.  To love , no matter what happens, how easy or difficult is may be.  That lesson has not only been for my oldest, but she taught me that for all areas of my life.

The birthday girl?  She taught me laughter.  I really do not think I laughed purely or openly until the day she was born.  She gave me the gift of mirth.  She has blessed me with being able to see the joy in all things.

So, happy birthday dear one.  Thank you for being you.  You truly are my special gift from Jesus.

                                                              ~Mom ~ Cathi (DAF)

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)


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)

On Celebrating Little Man…

Two weeks ago Little Man turned three years old.  I cannot believe how fast the past three years have gone.

Hubby and I traveled to D.C. to join in the festivities.  We were excited to see him and visit with him.

He wanted a number party.  He loves numbers.  The online invitation had a guest list with it and beside each guest’s name was a number that was assigned to them.  Very smart, I thought.  My number was 6, hubby was 7.  His big stuffed Curious George was 11…. and of course, Little Man was the all important number 3.

Hubby and I usually do not don matching wardrobes, but, this day we did.  I got us new red tee shirts (his favorite color) and denim shorts.  The numbers were a bright navy blue, stick on felt, so that we did not have to continue to wear shirts emblazoned with the numbers 6 and 7.

It was a wonderful party!  This year he was into ripping into presents and wanted to open presents before any of the other activities, like visiting with one another, eating the lunch and just being with family.  My daughter had a lovely lunch filled with his favorite foods, he zeroed in on the bowl of grapes and blueberries and having them within arms reach was a great joy for him.  His cheeks looked like a squirrel preparing for winter.  His chubby hands brought grapes for everyone, he was in his element.

The time finally came for presents and he ripped through them all, playing with some and tossing some since he really had no idea what good they were.  We had a present we brought tossed, but, he really had no idea the importance of the helmet he needs for his trike (his Nana and Bibi bought him), and the roller skates which he didn’t have a clue about what they were.  We weren’t offended, and just laughed as he looked at them and put them off to the side, like, “What the heck is this?  This isn’t fun!”  However, he did love the big puzzle his Mama and Papa got him and set to working on that right away.

His cake was fun, a big 3 shaped cake that he helped to decorate.  It had a sparkler shaped like a three on it, and it sparkled while we all sang to him.  I shared my icing and while getting a share of my icing he informed me that he just wanted the frosting, not that black stuff (chocolate cake).

In all it was a wonderful celebration.  We laughed and smiled and remembered how precious this Little Man is to all who were there.  He is a little boy now, not a baby or a toddler, but a bona-fide little boy.  Filled with laughter and joy and energy.

And, yes, he did discover the mystery gift of skates later in the day when Grampy and I  helped him with them and held onto him while he skated down the hallway of the apartment.  He squealed and giggled and I think he decided that skates were a good idea in the long run.

Happy Birthday again Little Man, thank you for making my life filled with a bit more laughter and joy.  You are a special gift to us from Jesus.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF


I am a middle child.  I have stated that before, so it is nothing new.

Yesterday I turned 60.  A milestone for me, and my sisters celebrated me in a great way.  We don’t live near each other.  I am in South Carolina, my older sister is in Illinois, and my younger sister in Maryland.  We don’t see one another enough, and it makes us sad at times.

In the past two weeks I have gotten three boxes of presents from my sisters.  Not a box that holds a single gift, but three boxes that were filled to the brim with gifts.  60 of them, in fact.

When I received my first box, I opened it and read the card on the top.  I texted my sisters to thank them and tell them how blessed I was and how crazy they were to send me a box of presents.  The card was actually signed by both of them.  Their handwriting and seeing that, I cried that they could arrange something like this.  Shortly after texting both of my sisters, my older sister called and told me I was not allowed to open one gift until the 11th.  I told her I would obey, and we continued to talk for several minutes.

She told me not to think that these gifts were going to be earth shattering.  I was just amazed that they had sent me a box of gifts.  It was during that conversation that I found out that there would be two more boxes arriving.  I was overwhelmed.

More presents arrived and I spent a few hours yesterday unwrapping the gifts my sisters sent me.  Some were silly, some were things that made me smile.  I was amazed at how well my sisters knew me.  I laughed and even cried a bit.  I called my older sister while opening some because I knew she would be home, having retired recently.  I waited until after school to call my other sister, since she is a teacher.

The gifts blessed me in many ways.  But, as I have looked them over today several times, I realized that it wasn’t the gifts that blessed me, but the love and the care my sisters gave me.

I am fortunate to have two sisters who care.  They are fun to be with, and yes, we can drive one another crazy, but they are my fiercest defenders and will be there at a moment’s notice if need be.

I smile as I look at a frame that has our names etched into it.  In the center of the frame is a photo taken when my youngest sister was a baby.  She is propped between my older sister and myself.  It occurred to me today that that picture was taken so long ago that it could be considered an antique…. I guess that is what happens when you turn 60, right?

So, thank you my dear sisters, I am so lucky to be between you.  Thanks for stopping by, DAF

On Aging…

Growing older does not bother me.  It really doesn’t.  At least, I don’t think it does…

When I was little, I could not wait until I turned 11.  I would be 11 on the 11th.  I was so excited for that day, that I actually peeked at my presents.  We were not a wealthy family and presents for birthdays were not that exciting, mostly what was needed.  But, that year, there were presents and I knew where they were hidden and wrapped.  I peeked and discovered a white ivy league shirt.  Exactly what I wanted.  Ivy league shirts were the button down shirts and I knew it would look so cool with my blue and gray plaid uniform skirt.  That was the year I also discovered it isn’t fun to peek, it takes the joy out of birthday surprises.

My next age I thought would be exciting was 17.  I was dating hubby and I was excited to see what he would buy me.  A cultured pearl necklace.  Of course, his Mom had picked it out, but, I loved it.

After that, I could not wait until my 35th birthday.  That was the age I knew I would be all that I was meant to be.  It would be the ultimate of ultimate birthdays.  I can’t remember a thing about that day.  I know that year I had my hysterectomy and I always say it was the best year of my life, but aside from the surgery and feeling better, it was not a wonderful time of my life.

Hubby’s birthday is in November.  Mine is in February.  We are the same age.  But… each year I remind him that he is a certain age and I won’t be that old until next year.  It’s a running joke, and I am certain he tires of hearing it.  Me?  I never tire of reminding him.

Last year, Hubby turned 60.  It wasn’t a stellar day, as we were driving home from the birth of Little Miss. We drove from El Paso, TX to Abilene, TX that day.  It was a long day, I was sneezing with a cold and the hotel was not exactly what it appeared to be from the online site I booked it.  But, we did have a saving grace for his 60th birthday dinner.  We went to a steakhouse and had a delicious dinner.  A dinner that will be remembered for the rest of our lives.

So, now the 11th is approaching.  I am going to turn 60.  I am amazed that I am that old.  I don’t feel that old.  60 is for old, old people.  At least that is what I have always believed.  Guess I was wrong.  I would love to do something really fun next week.  If we still lived in CA, I know I would head to Disneyland since we are the same age.  For the past couple of decades I have tried to make it to Disneyland so we could celebrate together.   But, alas, there will be no trek to Anaheim for me this year.  So, I am up for suggestions.  What would be a fun way to celebrate this many years?  Within reason of course….   I look forward to hearing from you!  DAF

Over three decades ago….

31 years ago today, I woke up and decided to have a cook-out.  We had friends coming over to help organize my new house and to help me out.

I got up, fixed some macaroni salad, put some beans in to bake and got hot dogs and hamburgers ready for the grill.

I made cherry kool-aid, as it is the go-to drink for military families and waited for our friends.

The friends came over, their kids played with out oldest and the grown ups organized the family room and unpacked some other boxes.  We fumigated the garage to get rid of the black widow spiders that had moved in along with us for some reason and we ate.

I remember this day clearly because it was the last day of my life without my youngest.  I had no idea the impact she would make on our family.  The joy she brings her older sister, the pride our oldest feels about her.  The jokes they share and the nick names they have.

She completed our family as it was then.  She made our family whole, even though we thought it was already great.

It seems impossible that tomorrow she will be 31(sorry Sweetie, but at least you are anonymous…).  The time seems to have sped by for her to be that age.

Yesterday we skyped together, she, our Little Man and me.  She told me of what her week is like, and what she is thinking and planning.  She was beaming with excitement and anticipation.  She filled my heart with joy that overflows my eyes with tears.  She is a gift to me.  I have told her that throughout her life.  She continues to be that gift.

Happy birthday eve, Sweetie.  May tomorrow be filled with laughter, love and lots of Little Man hugs and kisses.


Happy 2nd Little Man….

In a couple of hours I will be going to a party.  This is a party I have looked forward to attending.  Little Man is two years old today.

My thoughts have gone back to two years ago often the past couple of days.  When he was carried into our lives and we saw him for the first time.  Time stopped in a way as we all gathered around and noticed each thing about him.  His little perfectly shaped head, his little mouth, his little fingers and toes.  Our hearts stopped  as we welcomed him to our family.  Our hearts stopped as this was a moment in time to notice.  A moment that could never be reproduced.  This was his moment to become ours.

He hasn’t stopped capturing our hearts these past twenty-four months.  Each conversation, each squeal of laughter, each smile grabs us by our hearts and squeezes more joy from us.  His little hand in ours is a reminder of the precious gift this child is.

He is our delight and our joy.  We celebrate him daily, but, today, we will celebrate him with presents and food and most importantly, cake!

Happy Birthday Little Man!  You are loved, Grammy (aka DAF)

Little Man in May

I love technology….

Yesterday was hubby’s birthday.  It was a good day, we went to a matinée, exchanged a shirt that was the wrong size and went to dinner at our favorite little Italian place.  We came home, and poor hubby laughed while I sang happy birthday to him.  He blew out his candles (only 1/10 of what should have been on there) and for all intents and purposes, his birthday was over.  Done.  Complete for another year.  Except….

We got a Skype call.  I love Skype!  I love when I hear the tones and see the prompt to either answer the call or decline.  I never decline.  Especially when I know who is on the other side of the prompt.  Usually before the video stream comes up I can hear the little squeals.  This now made hubby’s birthday complete for we were able to visit with our daughter and son-in-law and most importantly, Little Man.

They were finishing up their own dinner and Little Man was still having his.  Their laptop was on the table and we were able to visit with the three of them and see what Little Man was up to.  He babbled on and showed us he is now using a fork to eat.  He was eating peas and other veggies last night.  His beef part was already gone.  He was eating with gusto and talking away.  He told us about all the people he knows.  His Nana, his Biggie, his auntie and the woman who manages their apartment building.  He adores her and will walk with whatever big person will take him to see her.  She plays with him and lets him get a bottle of water which he carries around with him for the rest of the day.  It’s never opened, he just likes to play with it.

He tried to say happy birthday to his Grampy, but mostly we did what we did for his birthday.  We yelled happy birthday and then stuck our arms in the air and yelled yea!!!  He joined in and we all laughed.  I am not certain when his Poppa left the table and when his Momma was dropped out of the conversation, we were too involved in looking at Little Man.

It was a wonderful conversation, but the best part was when he called me ‘Ammy’ and hubby he called ‘PP’.  Now, I know these won’t be the names we will carry with him, but it was the first time he called us anything and that was the best gift ever.

So, today, although is it overcast and rainy and sleep did not exist last night, our hearts are filled with sunshine.  It is a lovely day when you know that your heart has recognized you and is forming a connection verbally with you.

Thanks for stopping by today.  I appreciate your visit.  DAF