dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

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

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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

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In A Moment

I have often thought of writing this post, and I have often thought of not writing on this subject.  It is a conflict within me and after doing battle in my mind I lost and here I go.

46 years ago today there was a very simple moment in my life.  It was 7:28 a.m..  A Tuesday.  I was in the sixth grade.  My sister sleeping beside me was in the fourth grade.  At 7:28 a.m. my alarm went off.  I reached over to turn off the alarm on my pink acrylic alarm clock.  I opened my eyes to a somewhat darkened room and heard voices downstairs in the kitchen.  The voices were familiar ones, but the activity of several voices and movement on a Tuesday morning was unusual.

As I turned off my alarm my older sister calmly said, “Dad, they’re awake.”  I looked at my sister and she said, “Stay in bed, you won’t be going to school today.”  The next moment, my Dad was sitting on our bed.  He looked at my sister and me and said in a tone I will never forget, “Mom died last night.”

My younger sister immediately started crying.  Honestly, I can’t remember if I did or if it was delayed by a couple of seconds.  What I do remember is a combination of thoughts crossing my young mind, one being, “That’s a cruel joke to play on us…”  the other, “Of course she died, I knew she was going to for the past couple weeks.”

I was home sick the day six months before when my Mom had come home from a doctor’s appointment and told my Dad that she would have to have surgery.  The surgery was a new and scary thing as only really old or really sick people had surgery back then.  That began a six month season of our family that would forever change the dynamic of who we were.

During the surgery, my Mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  She was given six months to live.  That was in March of 1966.  46 years ago today, her six months ended.  My parents told my older sister about the diagnosis.  A tough thing to handle for a 15-year-old.  A heavy burden to carry for six months.  Her childhood ended abruptly, she had no time to be a teenager, as she was immediately given a role no child should have to handle.  The decision to keep my younger sister and myself free from the reality of what was going on was made at some point and so we had six months of watching our Mother become a mere shadow of her former self, never truly knowing what was going on.  Thus, the moment that changed my life.

The next few days following this date 46 years ago were a blur and actually some of my fondest memories.  I remember being able to look closely at my cousins’ rooms while they were at college/and/or in the military.  That was a treat. It was like entering the inner sanctum of areas normally forbidden to curious young people.  Those days also remind me of making chocolate chip cookies at another aunt’s home.  She allowed my sisters and me into her immaculate kitchen to make cookies.  I remember my older sister did not think salt belonged in a cookie recipe and left it out.  My aunt picked up on it immediately.  (Each time I add salt to cookies now, I remember her with a smile).  I think of another aunt who convinced the older women in the millinery shop that the hats she was buying for her nieces for her sister’s funeral should not cost as much as they were marked.  She got a deal on three hats for my sisters and I.  Being of Irish and Scottish descent, we had a wake.  I remember my sisters and cousins each scamming different uncles for money during the wake so we all could hit the local grocery store for candies and ice cream.  I am certain that little store had one of it’s best business days in months from my family.  I mostly remember the outpouring of love from family, friends and neighbors.  That made the biggest impression on my young mind.

Loss of a parent is a unique and hard experience.  To me, loosing a parent at such a young age was something that just happened.  It did not physically scar me, but it did define me.  That definition still continues.  I do not have the physical example of what or what not to be.  When my daughters turned eleven, I told them that I had no experience of what a mother was supposed to do after that time.  I told them that I would wing it and hopefully they would survive to adulthood.  With the help of the Lord, they did survive and flourish.  Now, I just imagine what my Mother would have been like, and wonder what kind of relationship we would have had as I grew.

Moments can change you at any time.  Moments can rob us, or bless us.  Moments can make us forever victims or we can grow from moments.  I am grateful for my Dad and especially my older sister who refused to let my sister and me become forever victims.  Life it much too precious to stay in the past reliving hard miserable times.  Life is now.  It is a crisp apple begging to be picked and eaten.  It is a bright autumn day inviting you to walk around and breathe in fresh air.  Life is now.

Today I remember.  Today I miss.  Today I will get hold of my sisters and we will reaffirm our love for one another.  But, most of all today I will live my life.  I will walk the dog, I will do the dishes, make the bed and live.  I will praise my Creator for my family, for my daughters, for my son-in-law and most of all for my precious grandson.  I will thank our Lord for allowing me to see all of this and be here.   He is an awesome God who has looked out for me and kept me able to live a full life, remembering, but never a victim.

One day, I hope, we will see a cure for this horrible disease.  A cure so that sometime in the future a moment in time won’t forever change another young life.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

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Ramblings on Fathers…

Sunday is Father’s Day.  This year is a special one for our family, as we have a new father in our midst.  Granted, the baby is still a couple of weeks away in actually being here, but, nonetheless, we know he is a new Daddy.

This makes my heart full.  I find it unique to watch the process of being a Daddy.  I was too preoccupied to notice the excitement when my Dear Hubby became a Daddy.  There were too many things going on.  Too many lists to make, in my case!

But, even then, we knew that becoming a Father is a perfect gift from Heaven.  We knew that our beloved little bundle was a gift sent from the hand of God.  Specially picked for us.

This became more aware to me after finding out we were going to become grandparents.  One sleepless night (which is nothing unusual for me) I lay there thinking about the baby.  What was a revelation to me at the time, (as only middle of the night thoughts can be) was that this child  is a combination of the perfect parts of our children.  The eyes, the nose, the mouth, all of that is a combination of the best of the two of them. 

I continued to think of talents, of personality and the way he will walk and talk.  I thought of our children and their sense of humor, the way they are. 

What sparked this thought process was the scripture  Jeremiah 1.  Mostly, verse 4 and 5.  They are 4 The LORD gave me this message: 5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.       Before you were born I set you apart       and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” I then went to the footnotes of my Bible and read this, ” God knew you, as he knew Jeremiah, long before you were born or even conceived.  He thought about you and planned for you.  When you feel discouraged or inadequate, remember that God has always thought of you as valuable and that he has a purpose in mind for you.”

How incredible is that?  I consider this my first lesson from my Grandson.  In thinking of him and praying for his development, he taught me a lesson.  Because I started to think of him and how he was formed, and in my mind (which I know is a bit weird) I could see the Lord taking my dear son-in-law’s sense of humor and timing and my daughter’s sarcasm and blending them together to form our grandson’s unique personality.  I went on to imagine the talents that both have and how that would affect our little baby boy.

What surprised me was that my thoughts then went to our children, how they are the perfect mixture of my dear hubby and I.  I smiled to myself to think of their gifting and their personalities.  I marvelled at how wonderfully they were made.  How their lives have enriched mine in so many ways.  I teared up in remembering all they have given me and then added to those memories the hopes of what is to come for us. 

I realized then, that the wisdom and patience I have long respected in grandparents is something that is laying dormant in me and is being awakened with thoughts like I have had.

What came next was the thought that I, too, am a perfect combination of my parents.  That I, too, was formed and God knew me before I was born.  He created me, in all my weird and glorious quirks.  That I was that special someone to my grandparents, that they felt the same way about me as I do about our dear little boy to be named in a few weeks…

Being a parent is a gift.  It’s tough, but it is a gift.  Being a Father is an incredible gift and responsibility.  I find myself praying for my dear son in law for his strength and wisdom and that he keep that wonderful sense of humor that he has. 

Most of all, I think of my earthly Dad this day.  He is no longer with us, but he lives on in memories that are a big part of each day of my life.  I know I did not appreciate him as much as I could have as a child.  I didn’t fully understand his situation until I had children of my own.  My father had the awesome duty of raising three daughters after the death of my mother.  He stumbled and fell some times, but he succeeded.  We three girls are now grown with grown families.  We could not have done it without my Dad. 

Men are wonderful creatures.  They are strong, they seem emotionless most of the time.  They do their jobs and most of the time we see them without really looking at them.  I think when we stop to truly look at our spouses, at these men, these fathers whom we love, we see the little boys that are curious and like to explore.  We also can see those young men that we fell in love with, those young men who would stop the car and pick daisies on a hillside to give you flowers.  We see the men who cried at the birth of their babies, and then cried when those babies were grown and starting life on their own.

These wonderful, frustrating creatures, may we look at them with fresh eyes today and be able to truly wish them Happy Father’s Day tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

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Once Upon A Time…

All great stories begin with this line, “Once upon a time…”  and end with a happily ever after.  As a woman, I love these type of stories.  They make me smile and sigh.  There is usually a handsome prince and a beautiful princess involved and things are all wrapped up in a neat little package.  We have read them and we have dreamed about them.  Most of us will never experience one.

I was able to witness one and I want to share with you what I was able to see.  It is a blessing to me and I hope it will be for you also.

Once upon a time, long ago in the distant past (1979) there was a young family who moved to Maine.  There was a husband and a wife and a little baby girl.  Yep, that was my dear hubby and myself and my oldest daughter.

We arrived in Maine on a Friday evening and moved into our temporary living quarters  on a Saturday.  As a young mother, I promptly walked from the car with baby in arms and went into the house to settle her down for a nap.  My hubby unloaded the car and began to meet neighbors.  One of these neighbors invited us to church the following day and handed us a loaf of fresh-baked bread.

The following morning we got ourselves together and walked the two doors down to let the neighbors to let them know we were ready to go.  Standing in the doorway with my little bundle dressed in pink (most likely, she was always in pink) I marvelled at how put together the house was and how elegant this neighbor was.  Skipping down the steps came her daughter, adorable with her cute little dress and her pig tails bouncing with each step.  I love little girls and never thought I would want any other type of baby.  A couple of seconds behind their daughter, came their son.  I saw him starting down the steps and saw his infectious smile and his sandy blonde/brown hair bouncing as he bounced down the steps, as only boys can do.  My heart melted.  I saw him and told the Lord, “If I could have a little boy like this, I would take him in a minute.”  My heart was captured immediately.

Well, that little boy was 9 years old at the time and his sister was 7.  That family and ours began a lifelong friendship on that day.  Months later when my daughter was in her walker and school was in session I would open the door so she could watch through the storm door as this young man rode his bicycle home from school.  She would lean over in her walker and pound on the door screaming his name and he would slow down just enough to ring his bicycle bell and holler back at her.  He was her first crush, he was also one of her babysitters.

A couple of years passed, and we got orders to San Diego.  This family got orders to D.C..  We kept in touch through mail and the occasional phone call.  We visited once while the kids were still around.  Our youngest was 3 then, our oldest was 7.  A now high school young man came walking into the living room where we were visiting, played a short time with our oldest and patted our youngest on the head in a ‘cute kid’ type of fashion.  He went out to be with his friends.

More years passed.  We were still in CA and for a season this other couple came to live in the same city.  It was wonderful to be with such good friends again.  We spent weekends grabbing coffee or dinner or movies or all of them at once.  We reestablished our friendship as only old friends can.  Our daughters were grown.  Our oldest was living on her own and working, our youngest was 19 and completely immersed in college.  Their children were also on their own, in their early 30’s.

One week in August, their son came to visit.  We planned a picnic so our daughters could see and actually meet him.  He brought his girlfriend.  We met and the young people all headed off on a walk.  The walk started off with my girls together and he and his girlfriend walking together.  An hour later they all came back.  My oldest and his girlfriend were deep in conversation.  My oldest can talk to a dead tree and get a  response.  She has never met a stranger, so this did not surprise me.  What surprised me was that my quiet, reserved youngest was in an animated conversation with their son.  This was a first for me to see her converse with someone so easily.

Where we had our picnic and they met

Another few years pass.  Our youngest graduates from college and is making her future plans.  She considers going overseas to teach english as a second language.  We were thrilled for her.   Their son breaks up with his girlfriend.

Now, the plot thickens….  What happens next is  like a whirlwind that comes up unexpectedly.   My youngest and their son begin to email one another.  I had to go out-of-town and when I left he had written twice and she was sending her first email.  I go and help a friend out and then I was to meet his mother for a road trip (they had moved back east at this point). Three weeks after I had left home I find out that the emails had not only flown back and forth, but there were actually phone calls!  I have to remind you that this girl very rarely talked on the phone (at that point in her life).   This was a shock to my system, a good one, but still stunning news.

Absorbing this news was quick, then I found out that they were actually planning on meeting one another at one of his parent’s home in AZ.  She goes for a visit and the girl I pick up from the airport after the visit was not the same girl I dropped off.  She was glowing!   Within the next couple months the plans for going overseas were dropped.  She moved back to D.C. to work and see if there was something permanent with this young man.  Six months after moving across the country, he proposed.  Six months after that, they were married.

Cutting their cake

They are now blessing our families with a baby boy.  In the past four years I have thought back to that first Sunday morning where I prayed for a little boy like him.  My prayers were more than answered, because, I got the original.  Once upon a time, there was a little girl and an older boy, they met, they fell in love and they are living happily ever after.

My friend and I sometimes sit back and wonder at the goodness of God.  He brought our families together so many years ago and now has joined us together.  Six weeks from now we will have our new little boy, the best of both of these kids.  We cannot wait to meet him and tell him about his story.  This is our fairy tale and daily I am thankful.

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Where did all these tears come from?

According to Dictionary.com the definition of tears is as follows:

tear

/tɪər/ Show Spelled[teer] Show IPA

noun

1.

a drop of the saline, watery fluid continually secreted by the lacrimal glands between the surface of the eye and the eyelid, serving to moisten and lubricate these parts and keep them clear of foreign particles. Synonyms: teardrop.
2.

this fluid appearing in or flowing from the eye as the result of emotion, especially grief: to shed tears.
When I was 11 my mother died.  During the next few days of viewing and the funeral my father would look at me and say, “If you feel like you are going to cry chew some gum or blow your nose.”  For years following that time I would do exactly as my father had told me.  Soon, I would only allow myself tears at a sad movie or book.  Often times they (the tears) would escape when I got very angry.
Years later I discovered my tears.  I accepted them as part of who I was.  As a woman, I was created to have emotions.  I was created to have the ability to show my emotions through shedding tears.  It took a long time for me to accept and live with this notion.  Having two daughters I tried to pass on to them the beauty that are tears.  Today I can cry when I see a leaf fall off a tree.  I am THAT person!
Earlier this month my dear hubby and I drove up to our nation’s capital to be with my youngest and her wonderful hubby.  We went up for a baby shower and I was so excited to get there.  Family and friends from several parts of our life were coming into town to celebrate this wonderful adventure our daughter is embarking on.  Watching her and her hubby prepare for this time is an exciting adventure for my dearest and myself, our joy explodes with each thought of what is about to come.
Our oldest daughter travelled from San Diego to join in the festivities.  She arrived early in the week and was able to spend time with her sister.  So, when we arrived it was family reunion time!  Tears of joy flowed easily in seeing my babies (okay, I know, one is in the mid 30’s and the other is pregnant and can see her 30’s easily, but they will always be my babies).  We laughed, we cried, we blew our noses and we spent the rest of the evening together.
The next day my daughters and I went out in search of the perfect shower dress.  Going to a nearby mall we scoured the first store and I sat watching while my daughters invaded a dressing room and laughed and played with each other while trying on several dresses.  I found my throat tightening as I watched and remembered these two girls.  Memories of several dressing room experiences flooded my mind.  Times of tantrums, of arguments, of giggles and along with them thoughts of fashion disasters and prom dresses and swim suit debacles.  I cleared my throat and stood up while we went to another shop in the mall.
By the time we hit the second store the giggles and jokes were running rampant through the store as my daughters fell into step in shopping together.  I saw them hug and pinch and start to cry with each other.  These little girls were grown women with emotions of their own and experiences that they have shared and held together as only sisters can.
Taking a break for putting pregnant feet up came next and I went to fetch drinks for all.  When I returned to where they were I glimpsed them squeezing hands and being teary eyed.  AGAIN, I choked up and tried to swallow hard.  Didn’t work much.  Soon, the three of us were looking at each other with tears in our eyes and laughing at the ridiculous-ness of it all.
The following day was the shower.  I woke up in tears, but managed to get myself under control and pick up the last-minute things I needed for the party.  The shower itself was a blur.  Seeing my sister and her son and daughter in law, seeing nieces, friends from early Navy days and friends from elementary school, it was all much too much.  Plus that my dear friend is also my daughter’s mother in law was just enough to have any woman blubbering into her glass of wine…
Sunday was mother’s day.  Overwhelmed isn’t close to how I felt that day.  The emotions of the previous days and then the knowledge of celebrating mother’s day finally got to me.  I no longer could keep the flood gates closed.  Unexpected weeping came upon me while preparing for the day.  It caused confusion in me.  I hadn’t had that type of reaction in years.
I would like to say I pulled myself together and no one was the wiser, but I can’t.  My blotched face and puffy eyes told all who saw that I was a mess.  Looking around that day, though, I knew I wasn’t the only one and that gave me comfort.
Our oldest returned to our home with us and has spent the past couple weeks visiting here.  I have found myself looking at her and feeling the need to hug on her and burst into tears.    She leaves for her home tomorrow early in the morning.  It has been a wonderful visit.  She and my hubby escaped the confines of our home today to have a day to themselves and I am taking the opportunity to write.  It will be difficult to say good-bye to her in the morning.  My arms will truly be lonely for my babies once more.
But, in thinking of this all, especially the tears, I am thankful for the gift that they are.  When my heart is overflowing with the goodness this life has given, I know the tears escaping are the result of all that my heart is holding.  When my throat tightens with emotion, I know that it is indescribable joy that has no words to describe it.  I am thankful for the tears, the joy, and the pain of seeing my babies so far away.  Even in that, though, I know my babies are no longer that, they are independent and strong women who have their homes and their lives and they are living those lives with fullness and joy.  I am blessed to see them like this.  I often wonder what my mother would have thought, how she would have reacted, how blotched her face would have gotten.  My  prayer as a young adult was to be able to see my children grown.  That prayer has been answered abundantly…  What a wonderful month this has been for me.  I really didn’t know I was able to produce so many tears, but excuse me while I go blow my nose once more.
Here are a couple of pictures from the shower.  Thanks for stopping by, DAF

part of the decorations

My beautiful baby and my hubby

part of the gifts for my grandson
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