dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

Mom…

Each year I end up writing something about my Mom.  Today is the anniversary of her death.  She was in her early forties when she lost her battle to pancreatic cancer.

I was eleven at the time, but, I still carry vivid memories of her.  I remember conversations and how she smelled and lots of things that have not been erased by time, fortunately.

I miss her often and each year I remember the day and what all happened, that, I think is a given whenever you lose someone you love.  But, this year, it’s not so much her personally I miss, but how many years it has been since she passed away.  50 years.  50 years she has been gone.  That’s a long time!  I cannot wrap my mind around how long it has been.  I don’t feel like I am old enough to remember 50 years.  But, I do.  When I think of this anniversary, my mind just remembers the 11-year-old and her sisters, all young.  Needless to say, we’re not.

When it occurred to me that she has been gone for fifty years, I started to wonder what she would think about life now.  How would she feel about her daughters being in different states and not seeing each other as much as we would like?  What would she think of our husbands?  I know she would share a beer or two with them, but would she like them?  What would she say and think about our kids, her grandchildren?  I am certain they could have done no wrong in her eyes.   Her great grand children?  Well, there is nothing better than they are, honestly.  So, there is no doubt she would have adored them.

Family is one thing to think about, but, this world has changed so much since 1966.  She once told me that one day we would talk on the phone and see each other.  I thought that was a wild dream.  This morning, I skyped with Little Miss and her Mom.  I got to see my granddaughter walk around, read a book, talk with me, eat a snack and wave to me.  We did ‘cheers’ her, with her sippy cup and me with my coffee cup.  Yes, Mom, we can talk to one another and see each other.  You would have loved that.

What type of phone would she have?  Would she have the latest and greatest?  Would she face time and text?  Would she have a twitter account?  Personally, I couldn’t imagine that. What would she think of television shows?  Who would be her favorite actor?  Would she be appalled that there are no western series on television?  She loved Rawhide and Wagon Train.

What would she think of the political climate? What would be her take on the issues in this country?

These are the thoughts that have run through my mind this past week. This has made me aware of the pace of the world today. Life truly was so much simpler fifty years ago.  Yes, there were riots then.  There were racial issues then.  There were wars going on.  Things were broadcast and it seemed fast then, since no other wars had reports given so quickly.  But, now, there is live streaming.  We are able to see events unfolding, for better or worse.

These are all things I will never know.  They will continue to plague my thinking.  I love the  “what if’s” in this life.   All I can be certain of is this, she left us too soon.  She missed so many of life’s treasured moments.  Three of her granddaughters have her name in some form.  Her fourth granddaughter has some of her fiesty-ness.  Her legacy continues in many ways.

Today I will continue to think of her, and my sisters.  We are strong women, all of us.  We love deeply, we think independently, we argue, we laugh, we cry.   I think she would be proud of us.      DAF (Cathi)

Advertisements
8 Comments »

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)

2 Comments »

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 »

Baseball movies and me…

I just finished crying my way through “Field of Dreams”  once again.  I love baseball movies, although, I do not own many of them.  They are my favorite things to watch.  They make me smile and cry and cheer.

Once more I cried for the last ten minutes of the film.  I knew I would.  I can tune in at the last twenty minutes of this movie and know that I will cry for at least 10 minutes of the film.  It’s just like that.  When he asks his Dad for a catch, there is always a catch in my throat.

I think it hits me hard because there is a part of me that wishes I could turn around, see one of my parents, and have a conversation once more with them.  To talk with them as an older adult, or in the case with my mom, talk with her as an adult.    That leads my mind to think of several other things, of things that have changed, of families that have grown, grandchildren, which would be their great-grandchildren.  Of course, that cannot happen.

It cannot happen and that is what makes watching this particular movie so touching.  It brings out the what-ifs  that graze quietly in the back of your mind.   This movie also makes me think about dreams.  The dreams we all have, of greatness, of fame, fortune, success.  It suggests that sometimes the great fame and fortune is to have a quiet life doing things to serve others, as in the case of Burt Lancaster’s character.

All in all, it is one of my favorites.  I haven’t watched it in entirety in a while.  Tonight hubby and I picked it to watch and as usual, it didn’t disappoint us.  If you haven’t seen it in a while, find a copy and watch it.  Dream a bit.  Think on it.  And, if you are like me, keep the kleenex handy.  Thanks for stopping by tonight.  Cathi (DAF)

2 Comments »

Life Goes On…

This week saw news of celebrity deaths almost daily.  From my childhood the actor who played Grizzly Adams passed away.  Thought of Saturday evenings in my pajamas, freshly bathed and ready for church flashed through my mind.

David Bowie, my teen years, admiring his artistry, but, not really a fan.  But, his passing was sad.  Knowing that his music will never be fresh from his creativity.  I was saddened to hear that cancer took his life.

Alan Rickman, I will miss.  His characters were all people I either loved to hate, or I just loved.   I enjoyed the movies he made, and the characters he brought to life, he was a gifted actor and I am sad that I will no longer see new work from him.

All the families and friends of these people are in mourning.  We, as a public can read and feel some emotion and then go on with our lives.

Wednesday of this week there was another death I read about.  It is not one that was broadcast nationally.  I first found out on Facebook.  This death hit me hard and made me realize how very precious each life is.  The person who died was a two-year old boy.  I met his parents at a function this past fall.  They were in town from Michigan for a ministry they have started that raises funds for families hit by devastating illnesses.

We were relatively new to the community when we attended this evening.  We saw and met this couple and knew that they had children running around, but we actually did not know whose children were whose.  It was just a fun night.

Last month some friends from our church did a surprise trip to Michigan to see this couple.  They went up to celebrate the final adoption of a little boy this couple had fostered.  I looked at the pictures of this child.  There were smiles all around.  You just felt good looking at these pictures.  You knew it was a blessing in so many ways.

Wednesday afternoon this little boy was put down for a nap.  A nap he did not wake up from.  Today, I watched the funeral on a live stream.  Eloquent words were spoken, and emotions were obvious.   The parents were surrounded by people loving them, praying with them and supporting them.

I know they need all the support they can get now.  Their world is rocked to the core.  But, one thing was spoken during the service today that resonated deep within me.  One of the pastors stated that, and I know I will say it wrong, but basically he said, that this boy lived his whole life.  Even though his whole life was only two years.

He had lived his life.  His life touched people.  His life touched me and I just saw him one evening running around with several other children.  This got me thinking today, how much is my life touching others?

I started this post out talking about celebrities.  Their lives touched others though music, entertainment, movies.  They touched others in their personal lives.  Things we will never know about.  Their families too, are rocked to the core of their beings.   This little boy touched many people, all whom spoke and speak of his smile and his joy of life.

Life is precious.  Each day I am alive I realize a bit more how precious life is.  Since Wednesday all I have wanted to do is hug my grandchildren just to make certain they are okay.  I want to take time to chat with friends.  I want to make certain that, when it is time for me to meet the Lord that I will have touched and ministered to others who will be here.

Thanks for stopping by today and reading.  I do so appreciate it.  DAF

Leave a comment »

the Mish Mash of a Mother’s Thought Process…

I have read a couple of Mother’s Day posts.  I love reading them.  They also bring to my mind my mixed feelings on this day.  I had wanted to write a post and wax poetic about how my memory of my Mom is so dear to me.  I was then going to go on and be so thankful for my older sister who had the dubious joy (?) of guiding me through my teen years…

But, who am I kidding?  Today at breakfast hubby prayed that we would have productive days today.  Instead of saying amen, I looked at him and immediately spoke (never a good thing).  “Do you think I am not being productive enough getting ready to move?”  This was not a nice question, and I did not ask it in a nice way.  My poor hubby, trying to eat his eggs and sausage in peace and get on with his day of working on his car.

After 40 years of marriage and 5 years before knowing me, he said the right thing, “I was referring to me mostly”.  Wise man.

That was the start of my thinking on Mother’s Day.  That and the Catholic guilt I still carry in me after 60 years of life.  As I dove into cleaning the oven and the racks in the oven, I ruminated about Mother’s Day.  I have shared how I felt as a child on Mother’s Day, but, today I was thinking about the day in general.

I know it is a good thing to celebrate Moms.  You should honor Moms.  They give birth.  They worry.  They yell.  They pray.  They do a lot.

But, with a day of celebration comes expectation.  My first official mother’s day was in 1979.  We were transferring from Japan to Maine.  We were staying at my friend’s home.  She got me flowers.  She made me breakfast.  She spoiled me.  I think I recall hubby getting me a vacuum cleaner.  I think I gave hubby a dirty look.

Many of my mother’s days ended like that.  Me giving hubby a dirty look.   I don’t know why I did that, I’m not HIS mother.

Eventually, I decided that on Mother’s Day, we should do something as a family.  No gifts, no fuss, just family time.  We would go for a ride and then go for ice cream sundaes.  Not bad thinking, really.  Except when you have to drag your pre-teen daughters into a car for a ride.  It’s not always a joy ride at first with two girls in the back seat of a car.  Eventually they mellow out and offer a funny running commentary, but the first half hour is always painful.  Many a time I reminded them not so gently, “Shut up, we’re having fun.”  I may or may not have said shut up.  I know I can look at them and sigh and the meaning comes through loud and clear.

The sundaes should be a wonderful part of the day.  But, there was a long while that I really didn’t care for ice cream.  Yes, I know that is un-American of me, but ice cream was not a favorite of mine.  I knew my family loved ice cream though and if they were happy, I was happy.

As my girls got older, all I really cared for on Mother’s Day was to hear from them.  I didn’t need gifts or flowers or even cards.  But, I loved the phone calls or even the text messages.    I came to the point of wishing I could be stuck in a car with them as they were snarky with each other.

Now, my girls are Moms.  They are going through their determination of what makes a happy mother’s day.  I hope they don’t have a day where they give dirty looks.  I hope they have the right balance of joy of being a mom and the work that is involved in motherhood.   They each bless me in watching them as mothers.  I delight when I see my grandchildren doing things that make them roll their eyes.

No, I think each day gives me a celebration as a mom.  Now, if I could only find some joy in cleaning a rental house that was filthy when I moved in.  But, the guilt in me can’t leave it as is…..  even though it is already cleaner than the day we moved here.

Thanks for listening… DAF

5 Comments »

Long Distance (S)Mothering….

The mother of Little Miss, my oldest daughter, is 2450.92 miles from me.  We are on the opposite sides of this country.

This presents its challenges.   The love of her life is away now, serving this great country of ours.  It is his job, his privilege, and his duty.  I understand this, as I am a retired military wife.  This also sucks.  Especially when you have a six month old.

I have tried since he is away to chat online with her daily.  We Skype so we can see her and talk with her and the baby.  Last night, we were able to Skype with her, Little Miss, and her step daughter who is 8 years old.  We had a good visit.  We gooed and cooed with the baby and I made faces with her step daughter.  It was all fun and games.  We blew kisses and hung up.

My evening was continuing for about another hour.  My phone rang and on the other end of the phone was my daughter.  The one I had just Skyped with.  I hear her voice.  I know something is up.  “Mom, how do you know if a toe is broken?”  This is always a good way to start a conversation.  My mind immediately raced.  Okay, I thought, it won’t be Little Miss, she is too little for anything like this to happen to her.  I was right.  I then asked who the toe belonged to.

My daughter eked out a painful, “Mine.”   I take a deep breath.  Okay, I can do this.  I ask the right questions.  What happened, what does it look like, can you move it, are you in great pain, are your neighbors home?  I ask her to take a picture of her foot and send it to me.

Now, I am not a nurse.  I do not own a  medical license.  The only credential I have are the stretch marks and grey hair that show I have survived motherhood.

I look at the picture of her feet.  The first picture was of both of her feet.  I thought that was smart so I could look at an uninjured foot along with the injured one.    I show hubby the photo.  We look at it and say, it may just be a good stoved toe.

We write back and tell her what we think may have happened.  (Like we would know…)  I then tell her that most people I know who have broken their toes usually end up just having it wrapped.  I tell her I really don’t think that there is much to do for a broken toe.  A broken foot needs a cast and possible surgery.  A toe…   well, in my medical opinion….  (Yes, that and a few dollars will buy you a coffee at your favorite shop).

So, thus began a 24 hour session of (S)mothering her.  I tell her to put ice on the toe.  20 minute on, 20 minutes off.  I tell her to elevate it.  I stress the importance of her staying off her foot.

She went online to see what needed to be done.  Since it was a Friday night, all the neighbors were out.  She was in the house with a six month old and an 8-year-old.  My mother’s heart and mind went into overdrive.  I offer to wake friends and have them come and get her.  I have a list of friends I know that would love to hold the baby and others who would drive her to the emergency room.

I suggest everything I could think of.  Hubby, meanwhile keeps reminding me of her age and her ability to figure this out for herself.  He is worried, but he is also confident that she can handle this.

In my mind, I am in a panic that my baby girl hurts and I can’t be there to kiss it and do something!  Anything!  Get her a cup of tea.  Make her toast.   Prop up her foot.   Anything.

I finally stopped chatting with her and let her get on with her evening.  It was a painful evening for her, but she survived.  I am proud of how she has handled it.  Today, the verdict was in, it’s broken.  It hurts.  But, she will get better.

Meanwhile Little Miss is working on her first tooth.  So both of them are in pain and miserable and me?  Well, I really dislike not being able to (S)mother her up close.    Isn’t there a time when you stop worrying about your kids?  I noticed a few more gray hairs today…  soon I will no longer have gray highlights, it’s just going to be all white!

Thanks for stopping by… DAF

12 Comments »

Wishes…

When I had my first child, we didn’t have much to spend in the way of nursery items.  We bought a crib on the base and someone gave us an old changing table that only lasted until we moved back to the states where some friends bought us a new one.

The nursery  was part of the dining room, with the room dividers being the china hutch right beside the changing table.  The crib was up against one wall and the dining room table against the other.

I made a wall hanging above the crib out of burlap and then for the door of the pantry, which was half pantry, half baby closet, I wrote out lyrics to a song I had heard by Bill and Gloria Gaither.

I had long forgotten about the song until I was holding Little Miss one day while we were there.  I was looking at her and thinking about her and her life.  I had prayed over her, but it didn’t seem like enough to do.  Suddenly the words to this song came to mind.

So, today, I would like to share the words to this song on this blog.  They are lovely words that speak how I have really prayed for my daughters, their spouses, and now for my grandchildren.

I wish a strong and good conclusion to my daughter’s lives and I wish each word for my Little Man and Little Miss.  Enjoy.

“I Wish You”
I wish you some springtime,
Some “bird on the wing” time
For blooming and sending out shoots;
I wish you some test time,
Some winter and rest time
For growing and putting down roots.
I wish you some summer,
For you’re a becomer,
With blue skies and flowers and dew;
For there is a reason
God sends ev’ry season:
He’s planted His image in you.

I wish you some laughter,
Some “happy thereafter”
To give you a frame for your dreams;
But I wish you some sorrow,
Some rainy tomorrows,
Some clouds with some sun in between.
I wish you some crosses,
I wish you some losses,
For only in losing you win.
I wish you some growing,
I wish you some knowing,
There’s always a place to begin.

We’d like to collect you
And shield and protect you
And save you from hurts if we could;
But we must let you grow tall
To learn and to know all
That God has in mind for your good.
We never could own you,
For God only loaned you
To widen our world and our hearts.
So we wish you His freedom,
Knowing where He is leading;
There is nothing can tear us apart.

Lyrics by Gloria Gaither / Music by Bill Gaither / Copyright © 1977

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

 

6 Comments »

A Big Loop…

Towards the end of October Hubby and I went on an adventure.  We set off with our little dog, a tent, an air mattress, and some supplies.  We went north a bit and then straight across Interstate 40.  Each night we stopped, set up our tent (not without a lot of grumbling from yours truly), had a small dinner and went to bed with the sun.  We woke up with the sun, listened for a while and when we were brave enough to move in the early morning cold, we got up.

We did this each night except one, in Tucumcari, NM.  There the campground was on a high plateau overlooking mountains and it was gorgeous.  It was also so windy that we knew a session of putting up a tent would do us in.  So, hubby, being a wise man, opted for a cabin for us.  It was like heaven for me.  Inside, just pulling out our sleeping bags and having something to sit on.  There was a small front porch with a swing and we sat watching the sky and snacking.  It was a piece of heaven for me.

The next night we were in Flagstaff, AZ.  The campground was surrounded by mountains, and it was a lovely place to stop.  Of course, the overnight temperature was in the low 30’s, but we did stay in our tent.  I was a bit leery at first, but we were toasty and warm and it was an adventure.

The adventure paused for a few weeks while we welcomed our Little Miss, born on Halloween.  A little pumpkin at 5 lbs 13 oz..  She had a bunch of black hair and she is sweet.  She was early and arrived three days after we arrived, so we were able to spend some time getting to know her.  She is funny.  She coos but also grunts.  She makes faces and would rival any of the photos of girls with the pouty lips, she has that down already.  She smiles sweetly, yes, mostly from gas, but they are sweet smiles nonetheless.  We stayed for a couple of weeks.  We loved each moment of getting to know her.  Then, with tears (mostly me) we said goodbye and headed home.

On the way home, hubby, again being wise, went to hotels.  We traveled the southern route of Interstate 20.  We had never travelled that way before and saw many wonderful sights.

There will be stories coming from this trip, but, for now, I wanted to get back onto my blog and catch you up.  Thanks for stopping by, I have missed you all.  DAF

10 Comments »

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.

DAF

9 Comments »