Dec 4, 2012

Is Menopause Some Kind of Crazy Cocoon or WHAT?

Last week was really stressful for me. It felt like Chinese water torture, trouble just kept dripping on my forehead until I thought I was going to go crazy.

Shadow had jumped up and broken a double paned thermal window in the basement, which I had to get out and take to be fixed.

I had a tooth dying and had suffered through that for about 10 days before I could get to the dentist.  Because of the pounding from my dying tooth, I was sleeping with my head so high that my back was starting to give me problems, causing me to take aspirin and antibiotics, when I have this thing about hating to take pills.  I have the best dentist in the world, and he gave me pain meds that worked for both problems beautifully.  The bad news was that I was little slower than usual.  The good news was that I didn't feel like crying or killing anyone.

I had a note on my door that I needed to have my gas meter replaced.  And of course I would have to be there when they came.  So the guy who changed it told me I needed to get it cleaned.  It occurred to me that I had not had that done in 11 years.  Thank God my ex-husband's uncle could do it that day, because it turned out the valve that keeps the gas from leaking out was broke and by some miracle my house had not blown up. Yet.  Seriously.  It cost me much less than it is actually worth, but then that cost cannot be calculated.

The car had to be inspected and had a bunch of stuff wrong with it and I had been trying to remember to schedule an appointment for that.  I figured it would cost me hundreds of dollars.  I was half right.

It's the end of the year and taxes are due.  More hundreds of dollars!

Christmas is coming.  Decided I had to spend too many hundreds of dollars and decided to do mostly homemade gifts this year.  HA!  We even got the crappy tree up once again, leaning it into the corner.  Go ahead and fall, Christmas tree.  WE do care, in fact, we designed you fall over this year.  Bring it.

We all need to get our eyes examined again.  Etc.  Sigh.

*Melinda looks off into space, wilts in her chair, distantly wishes she still drank.  Tells herself she still could.  Realizes this would mean going upstairs and rooting through her closet for her last hidden bottle of Kahlua, and thinks it not worth the trouble.*

I was down, you know?  In fact, I have been down for, like, quite a while now.  I've been sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I started to think that I was going to be like Weezy, in Steel Magnolias.  You know the one who's "been in a very bad mood for 40 years"?  With the big dog?  Who hates the only man who's really in the picture?  Ok, maybe she doesn't hate him, maybe they just have a mutual love of hurling verbal abuse at each other, but by now you remember Weezy, right?  Frankly, I was with this.

Then I got on Facebook Saturday night and the friends who were as depressed as me were almost equal to the friends who still wanted to kill somebody.  I did a blog post and cried like a baby and thought that would make me feel better.  It usually does.  But it didn't do the trick this time.

So I sat down after a slowly, emotionally draining period of time (6 weeks, 6 months, 6 years, depending on where you want to start counting.  But that's not the point) and I gave myself a talking to.

If adolescence is the cocoon before we "bloom" into the "butterfly" of full fledged womanhood, what would that make menopause (because it is VERY SIMILAR to adolescence, if I'm remembering correctly) and what comes next?  And while we're at it, will me face EVER stop breaking out?????  Can we just quit worrying about accomplishments after a certain age?  Is figuring out how to make your noodles and custard pie supposed to be a life accomplishment?  Should I have some awards for being able to quiet a fussy baby or help a teenager make a good decision?  Should there be a gold statue awarded for canning tomatoes?  Should I have been awarded big bonuses for going without in order to buy basketball shoes?   Is there actually anything more important in life than these things anyway?  Maybe I'm just supposed to keep being the me I am, but this new, improved version.  Why can't this be the answer?  Girls, brace yourselves and get ready to relax, because I think maybe it is, I really do.

What else are we here for anyway?  We are here to love, and learn, and pass what we learn on.  Our only hope is the hope of future generations.  Our work is right in front of us and has been all along.  We just had to slow down long enough to see it.

So I told myself that I got to decide what my life was going to be from here on out, and while I am extremely happy with some parts, there are other parts that need to be torn down.  I have to rebuild my life into what I want it to be, and I have to pay attention.  Because while I am caught up in my own misery and frantically trying to stop all the drips, in truth the house can blow up at any time.  

I told myself to quit worrying about the world ending so much.  If it does end, there is nothing we can do about it.  Besides, if it does, my troubles will be over!  If it doesn't, I won't go down without a fight and we'll just cross that road when we come to it.  I told myself to quit worrying about Israel getting attacked and be glad instead that at least Israel is a country where they are all on the same side.  I even shut myself up when the person in my head made remarks about how :"nothing would put you on the same side as quickly as having rockets attacking you ceaselessly", and they shut up!

I told myself to be more grateful for the drudgery of my life, because I am healthy and able to take care of myself.  It's part of my job as a mother and a woman.  I vowed that I would view the drudgery of my life as a testament to sacrifice and find a way to enjoy it - even the dishes!  In fact, I have dish soap that smells very wonderful.  I'll just try to hold that thought longer.

Then, because I was stuck in my house supervising teenagers (for the last few years of my life, probably)  I picked up the phone and called some of my friends.  I spend the whole weekend visiting with old friends.  Some are doing great, some not so great, but they are all still here and isn't that all that matters anyway?  These are people that I do not have to explain anything to because they were there.  They already know.  It was so uncomplicated and wonderful!  I even got to know some of my favorite cyber friends even better and was not disappointed.  I realized that I actually know a lot of really great people and they are all around me.  I just have make the time to talk to them once in a while.

I had lunch with a one of my other-mother's (people who are not your physical mother but are your spiritual mother) and she made me feel so relieved when she said "You are just stepping back and finally seeing the big picture.  It's not all about you anymore."  In short, I am officially a grown up.  For real.  I'm coming out of this last cocoon and becoming me again, but improved.  Smarter, more wrinkled, and braver.  It's not a bad trade off, in my humble opinion.

Guess what?  Monday morning I realized when I woke up that I felt happy.  I felt happy!  I felt like me again.  I felt that old effervescent happiness that kept me bubbling along for so long that I took it completely for granted--until it was gone for so long.  I felt hopeful, and I smiled a lot.  Without having to think about it, I mean.  I felt........happy.  I am back!

Now, this could just be a hormone surge or something, but I think it's more.  I think that sometimes we get in a place where God kind of makes us slow down and pay attention. We will try to keep going but the drips just keep piling up until He gets our full attention. Sometimes, when your back is about to go out, you realize how grateful you should be for just getting up and moving without thinking about it.  Sometimes you just have to make some decisions, even though you don't want to.  I was lucky in that I got to do a lot of this in my fluffy wonderful bed with a sweet dog or two beside me.  If it turns out to be nothing more than a hormonal surge, I will not forget the lesson and I will still be grateful I had it.

We are supposed to tell our troubles to God and then leave them with him.  The "leaving them with him" part is hard, no?  I have struggled with this for a long time, but it's time to take the next step.  I'm taking this bull by the horns, turning this train around, and getting my house in order.  I really mean it this time.  Anybody who doesn't like that can find another train.  This time I"m laughing instead of crying when I blog!  Why?  Because I'm happy.  Such a simple thing that I have missed for so long.

I just needed to realize that I have everything I need, nothing is perfect, and everything is still fine.

Just in case you needed a reminder, because sometimes we do.  I did.

I don't know what I'm supposed to be next, but I'm going to be the best whatever it is that I can, and I'm going to be more grateful.  I'm going to take more time and go more slowly, and I'm not going to worry about meeting a schedule.  I'm going to keep an open mind and see what God wants me there at that moment for, and act accordingly, from my heart.  I'm going to speak my mind respectfully, but I'm not going to spend time on people who do not cherish me, because there are simply too many who do.  I'm going to let more people figure stuff out on their own because that's the only way we ever figure anything out for good.  There will be less whining from here on out, both from me and at me.  There will be more laughter, both from me and at me, too.

Instead of missing people who are gone from this earth, I'm going to picture my life as a soap opera in Heaven, and live my life in a way that will make them proud and hopefully make them laugh.  We could all use more comic relief, don't you think?

I'm going to be happy and I'm going to be what I'm going to be and that's it.

I'm simply not going to worry about it, anymore.

Dec 1, 2012

To The Rock Star, On His 23rd Birthday

23 years ago tonight, I had my first child, my own Rock Star.

About a year ago I spent the weekend with one of my best friends, and we were talking about the night he was born.  We were reminiscing about my mother, who is now in heaven, and I got to hear the story from her point of view for the first time.  She said I screamed a lot.  A LOT!  During this time, she kept looking at my mother, who poo-poo'd the idea that anything was wrong.  My mother just kept telling her that this was childbirth and there was nothing to do but get through it.  Later, my mom said at one point she just wanted to jump up and scream "Just let me do it!!" but of course, that was not an option.  I think having my friend there to comfort actually helped her hold it together.

We laughed until we cried, that night, and then had a little trouble stopping crying.  It was so good to see her and realize how many things we had gone through, not just with each other but with each other's mothers.  The hardest times to go through often are the most cherished memories.  To realize that we were now middle-aged was a little easier to take knowing that we still had each other.  There truly is no friend like an old friend.

So The Rock Star was born, he was perfect, and everyone was fine, and my mother came home with us for the first few days.

I was, like most first-time mothers, very nervous and lacking in self- confidence, not to mention still trying to process the trauma of giving birth and what that left me to deal with.  Whew.  Remembering those days still makes me cry (and laugh) to this day.  I spent a lot of time with sitz baths and sat on a donut pillow for way longer than was recommended, even by my mother.
Totally worth it all.

My mom stood guard over The Rock Star at night, as every time he made the slightest noise I was convinced that he needed to be picked up, nursed, etc. and consequently no one in the house was getting any sleep.  My husband took this pretty much like a champ, even though I know there were probably moments that he considered throwing me and/or my mom or maybe even The Rock Star out a window.  Such is life with a new baby for a first-time parent.

Mom stayed for 3 days and on the 3rd night, without any discussion, she simply walked to the door and said she was going home.  My eyes flew open wide and I said "Can't you stay one more night?"  She smiled sadly and said "Honey, I have to get home.  You are doing fine, he is fine, and you guys can handle it.  If something happens, you just call and I will come back."  Then she walked out our front door and left us there to figure out the parenting thing on our own. Later, much later, after she was safe from having to come back and live with me, she told me she cried all the way home.  There she cried more and prayed for us constantly, giving up voluntarily the sleep she had been deprived of by necessity for the three previous nights.

After the she shut the door, I turned wide eyed to my husband, whose own eyes were wide. We did not speak a single word.  We just stared at each other for a full minute as the realization sunk in that we were on our own.  We knew in our minds that we were responsible and grown up now, and that this was life when you were a parent.  On the other hand, if there was any way possible to get out of this, we were willing to take it.  It was not to be.  We both swallowed hard and faced the fact that we were the parents now.  We were in charge.  I think we were both thinking that no one in their right mind should have left us in charge, but there was nothing to be done but to just do what came next.  This is a very important step in growing up, if not a popular one.  But that is life.  You manage.  You do not manage with grace all of the time, but you get through it.

You know what?  We did pretty good.  It wasn't long before The Rock Star got on a regular schedule.  The schedule was not one that we would have picked, as  he never in his whole life wanted to sleep before 11 pm.  This would prove to be a bone of contention for several years, but if you've ever had a new baby you know that as a parent, you conform.  New babies usually rule their worlds, and ours was no exception.

We went through all the usual things.  I cried a lot and railed about how "I felt like a cow, literally, and HIS life hadn't changed at all."  After all, he got to leave the house every day and, and, and TALK to people! He got to take a shower every morning, and go out in the world every single day. This was often followed by words like "Damn him!"  Needless to say, this leaves the poor new father, who has worries of his own, saying "What? What did I do?  What in the holy hell is wrong with you anyway?  Are you saying you want me to quit my job?  Isn't there some kind of pill you should be taking for this?"  You can see that it is a tough period of adjustment for everyone involved. If you think you understand this and have not yet become a parent, all I can say is "Just you wait."  Muahahahahahha.  All will be revealed in time, and if you think you're prepared, just wait!

Who did I rail to?  My mother of course.  She would sigh (heavier each time she had to listen to this) and try to point out that I was missing the best part of my life.  She would point out that I was the mother, I was the one who took care of the child.  It logically followed that he was the father, he was the one to support the family, and I probably should be grateful not only that he had a job, but that he got up and went to it every single day.  So gently did she chide me, and so crazy was she about her first grandchild, that it sometimes made me feel ashamed of myself.  As it should have, but that only added to what I saw as my misery.  It is hard to adjust from everything being about you (pre-parenthood) to nothing about you really mattering anymore (parenthood).

Being a new mother is an emotional roller coaster.  To this day I don't know any way of preparing women for this time.  Until it happens you are floating around on all these great hormones of happiness, and cannot believe anything could bring you down.  Then you have the baby, which makes you the happiest of all, and then you get home and you look in the mirror and you realize that you are no longer the you you have always been before.  Not physically, not spiritually, and least of all mentally.  All those warm, fuzzy hormones go away, and you find yourself in what feels like free fall. Instead of floating on the cloud you have been on, you find yourself plunging down into the depths of despair, worrying about everything from your babie's cord drying properly to the world at large not being safe for him to ever walk around in.  Nothing is as it was, even yourself, and you have a cold certainty in your heart that it never will be again.  Add to that the fact that there is nothing you can do about it and you have a recipe for a panic attack.  I must point out that the phrase "panic attack" is relatively new to our culture, while the period of adjustment after a new baby is decidedly not.  But if it makes you feel better, hey man, grab onto it and just try to keep afloat.  You will reach the shore, or at least a quiet eddy in the river of life, before long.  Whatever you do, don't give up hope.  This too, shall pass, and before long you will miss these days.

It's an intense trip, but one that you must make.  You can't get over it, under it, or around it.  You just have to go through it.  Hard as it is to go through, this is what makes you brave and gives you strength.  It's your training for facing the unknown, which is exactly what parenthood is, in a nutshell.  I can promise you that in 5 years, you will look back on this time and laugh.  At yourself.  And it won't even bother you at all.  As if that weren't enough, because of this time you will have such strength that you will be able to face scary circumstances in the future with grace and (seeming) calm.  You will be able to bring calm and comfort to others even when you are quaking in your boots inside, all because you have gone through this and come out the other side.  It's the same process as basic training for the armed forces.  It tears you down in order to build you up stronger.

Because in between the paralyzing terror and burning rages, there will be moments of quiet and humbleness and pure joy. Lots of them.  In time, these moments will outnumber the scary times 1,000 to 1.  I swear it's true.   In the quiet of the night, when it's just your little family together and your are safe and warm (and the baby/new mom is not screaming), you will know that nothing is ever going to be the same again, and that's ok.  Everything is changing and even though you are scared because you don't feel like you are in control, you have never been in control anyway, and everything is changing into something better.

I'd do it all again 1,000 times

The Rock Star made me a mother, and in a sense saved my life.  If not for him I would have continued to be an irresponsible, scatterbrained, shallow, selfish person.  If not for him, I would have never learned patience, gratitude, or what sacrifice is really about.  Before him, I did not really know what it was to love anyone else enough to actually be willing to give my life for them.  He changed all of that the minute he slid out of my body and into this world.  He made me into what I am today, and I can only thank God for him being such a funny, witty, smart and good person.  

I love him so much that I cannot leave him to this day without crying like a baby.  Even though he is 23, and The Beautiful Redhead almost 21, it seems so wrong to leave them after we have been together that I spend the first 10 minutes or so trying to see through tears well enough to maneuver through traffic without getting us all killed.  The twins don't even worry about this anymore.  They think it's normal. For us, it is.  Try as I might, I don't think this is ever going to change.

So I write this to you, my first baby, on your 23rd birthday, sobbing in the basement at my computer, with the twins explaining to their company that nothing is wrong with their mom, this is just what happens when she writes, (I suspect Stephen King has a different process), knowing and happy that you are out having a great time and living it up in Kansas City.  I hope you have the best birthday that you ever dreamed of.  I hope all your dreams come true. I always have, I always will, and that will never change.

On a lighter note, I would also point out that I was your exact age when I got pregnant with you.  No pressure, but you just rest assured that there will not be any happier person on earth than myself on the day that we find out you are going to become a parent.  I so look forward to that day, because I know I have the strength and grace to guide you through the hard times that it will assuredly bring. 

Of course I do, that is just the first thing in a long line that you taught me.

Happy 23rd, Taylor-boy.  You are so loved, have always been, will always, always be.

Daaayammm, that is one good looking man!

Nov 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Recipes

Our Thanksgiving was wonderful.  It was wonderful mostly due to the fact that I did not spend most of the day cooking and then cleaning up.  We are not that crazy about turkey.  We will eat it, of course, but it's not worth spending a day and a night cooking it, along with all the sides, to end up with all the leftovers.  Then there is the the poor carcass, which the dogs can't even eat because I'm too afraid they will choke on the bones and die.

So when it's just us, we do things a little differently on Thanksgiving.  Last year we did chicken enchiladas and fixings, this year we did lasagna and fixings.

I make my lasagna with 1 lb. ground beef, 1 onion diced and cooked with the beef, and then use a big bottle of Prego traditional spaghetti sauce.  I have never used anything but Prego, and I doubt this will ever change.  I layer the sauce/meat mixture with the noodles, cottage cheese mixed with pesto, and mozzarella cheese.  Pioneer Woman always talks about how much better cheese is when you grate it yourself, and I have to agree.  For years I would just buy the already shredded kind, but when you shred it yourself it is so much more moist and you don't need to use near as much.  You are never too old to stop learning, at least I'm not.  I bake that for about an hour at 350.

The Olive Cheese bread is another recipe of PW's, and my children love it.  When I'm alone, I can make an entire meal out of it.  To do that you get a loaf of French bread, and then spread the following mixture on top and bake at 325 for 25 minutes.  The mixture consists of 1 can whole black olives and 1 6 oz. jar pimiento-stuffed olives, roughly chopped, 2 green onions, 3/4 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, 1/2 cup real mayonnaise, and 1 stick of butter softened.  You can make the mixture up ahead of time and do the bread before you put it in the oven, or you can freeze it for several months.  If you have kids who are apt to "drop in" unexpectedly and often bring several of their friends with them, I highly recommend keeping a couple of these babies in the freezer, to be pulled out at a moment's notice.  They will think you are practically Superwoman.  wink wink.

I also did a large green salad with carrots, onions, peas, croutons, cheddar cheese.  This is what kept the boys from starving before Taylor finally made it home.  He has "slept in", which I was pretty sure meant he was "hung-over".  Ah, youth.

The Beautiful Redhead and I spent the night before getting all this ready to be slipped into the oven in the morning, and we made the desserts.  We made two pumpkin pies, as is the tradition, but they were not our best effort.  They will be some of our best memories, make no mistake, and therein lies there value.  We had a really good time, and if our pies were not perfect, well, we simply don't care.  The ride was worth the fall!  The one she made and forgot to add the evaporated milk was really very delicious.  No one noticed a thing.  And the one I made that I spilled three times turned out with a carmelly crust.  Both were very good.

The piece de resistance, however, was the Brownie Bottom Cheesecake with Raspberry topping.  I got the recipe from, which is a wonderful, easy recipe place.  You need a spring form pan to make this, which I had.  Until this year that spring form pan had only been used (still in the box it arrived in) as a booster seat for Abigail when she sat at the kitchen table.  Happily, it worked perfect when I finally got around to putting it to use.

For the brownie bottom, you take 4 sq. unsweetened chocolate and melt with 1/2 cup butter.  Or margarine, but I don't believe margarine is fit for human consumption, so use butter.  Once it is melted and mixed smoothly, add 1 1/2 cups sugar and mix well.  Add 2 eggs, one at a time, mixing to just blended.  Add 1/4 cup milk and 1 tsp. vanilla, mix well.  Add 1 cup flour and 1/2 tsp. salt, gradually to chocolate mixture, mixing until just blended.  Pour into a greased and floured spring form pan (don't forget to wrap the bottom with foil, tightly), and bake at 325 for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile beat 3 pkg. cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla on medium until just blended.  Add 1/2 cup of sour cream and mix well.  Add 3 eggs, one at a time, mixing on low until blended.  Pour over brownie base (when it's done) and bake 55 minutes, or until center is almost set.  Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight and let stand at room temp. for 30 minutes before cutting.  I put mine on a cake plate and the boys' eyes looked like it was Christmas morning.  I felt wonderful.

It was so good to have everyone together that it didn't matter what we ate.  It's so hard when your kids get older to have that time.  I treasured every minute of it and I sincerely hope you also had a wonderful Thanksgiving, surrounded by the ones who love you.

Nov 21, 2012

Domestic Tranquility

It's Thanksgiving.

After the year we have had it practically feels like a duty to come up with a list of things to be grateful for.   After ruminating on it for a while, feeling terrible for having that attitude, and then asking forgiveness as usual, I have come up with quite a few.

I start at home, as always. 

I have 4 beautiful, healthy children who think for themselves and love each other, two of the sweetest dogs who love us all the time no matter what, extended family who are all healthy, friends who are faithful, a bonus daughter and her husband, and my beloved pretend grandchild Abigail has been joined by a brand new baby, Adriana.  I am humbled by this, as I should be.  I quickly add all the other babies who have come into this world this year, it seemed from out of no where, dropping like jewels to brighten our whole world.  Many of my friends are now grandparents for real, and all the new babies have given us reasons to on, do better, keep the faith, as God no doubt designed.

Adriana Rose.  I've loved her since the day she was born.  I got to be there!!  I will take a picture of my own children tomorrow when we are all together.  Until then, enjoy this.

Despite spending many months in a drought, causing most of the farmers to get rid of their livestock, the roses were inexplicably wonderful.  The colors were so rich and they even looked velvety from a distance, and lasted well into the fall.  I, who feel like I can't really see anything anymore, noticed this for months on end until just the last few weeks.  It was wonderful, even with all the other heart stopping action going on in the world.  For that I am thankful.

I met some of the best new friends, who have shored me up and commiserated with me, and one of them even made me a quilt!!  For that I am thankful and touched and, well, I really just don't even have words.  Suffice it to say that I keep this on my bed and no boy or dog has ever touched it.  They are too afraid to!!

Patricia Dorman ROCKS!!

The fall leaves were gorgeous this year and they lasted for several weeks.  I think the poor trees were confused, as most of them had pretty much shut down during the drought and then when we got some rain in the late summer, they played catch-up as long as they had the sun.  I noticed on one tree in October that the berries were out as they should be, but also there were a few blossoms, born by accident, thinking it was already spring again.  These things God gave to us every single day.  I took time to notice them.  I hope you did also.  For that I am thankful.

I bought an electric heater that looks like a wood stove, and the effect upon both children and dogs has been hypnotic.  They gather close around it and feel relaxed and safe and warm.   For that, I am thankful.  Also, the gas bill is down.  The blessings just keep piling up.

See the stove?  It's electric but don't tell anybody!

Abigail turned 4 this year.  I'd be lost without this child, she brings me unspeakable joy every time I so much as think of her, and this girl has turned into a singer and a dancer.

Dancing on a chair after cooking scrambled eggs.  Do not try this at home.

Also, she is brushed my hair to within an inch of it's life and offered to turn Jack into a "rainbow horse" with fingernail polish.  Which I did not allow, alas.

Sorry for the bad quality, but the flash was showing in the mirror, plus every time I moved my head an inch she would sternly tell me to stop moving with her sweet little hands on each side of my head, pointing me back to the front.  Little seeds, people, little seeds.

In times of stress I find it very calming to bring my focus down to what is right in front of me.  My grandparents had an old saying, "Save up the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves".    I mention this not only because we are on the verge of another depression fiscally, but because it translates perfectly to the spiritual realm of our lives.  

The pennies saved turn into dollars you can spend toward your needs, or just save to feel safe and prepared.  In this same way we should start and pay attention to the gifts God gives us and the lessons to be learned from Him.  There may be nothing we can do to halt the steps our government or others take in the larger world, but we can make sure we are informed and teach our children the truth. We can set an example of having honor and principles that we will defend to the death, and not bow down or live any way but free.  When we do this, we plant little seeds that grow and reach fruition and multiply.

The important thing to remember is that no matter what you do, or don't do, as a parent, plants little seeds (or saves the pennies) and multiplies (and hopefully adds up to dollars).  We now have to face the fact that we as parents are responsible, whether we look away and let them spend hours each day in front of  a television screen or turn it off and talk to them about their day, or our world.  It all counts.  Whether it adds pennies into dollars or runs up a big deficit, it all counts.  It all multiplies.  Are you raising children who think things through and take responsibility, or kids who spend hours in fantasy land and think the rules don't apply to them?  These are the people who are going to be in charge for the rest of our lives.  This thought may make you rejoice or weep.  It's a crap shoot, to tell you the truth, but do not despair.  There are a lot of kids out there with no one looking out for the adults they are going to become.  It's not hard to influence them, one way or another.  Think of the future, picture it bright and good, and show them how, tell them why, listen to how their minds work.  If you don't, someone else will. 

They are very easy to influence.  It is this thought that can stop a parent's heart.  Make sure your influence is the best it can possibly be.   It can feel like a war that will never end, but end it will.  One day you will look back and see what your influence was, one way or the other.  Make every day count, and take time to be thankful.  Take time to teach them how to be thankful.  It's a good place to start, anyway.

Happy Thanksgiving America.  Let us be truly thankful for our blessings, of which we have many.

I just spent the best evening with my only daughter making lasagna, PW's Olive Cheese Bread, two pumpkin pies and a brownie cheesecake to be covered with raspberry sauce.  She left the evaporated milk out of one pie and I slopped the other one all over the counter, but aside from that, I think everything will be great.  All we have left to do is make the salad and put stuff in the oven.  When we discovered the missing ingredient left out of the pie, we just laughed and wondered if the boys would notice.  We will see.  I told her "That's all right.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  That's how memories are made!  And I'll tell you another thing,  you will never make that mistake again, no matter how old you live to be."  We will never forget this Thanksgiving, and it hasn't even happened yet.

Nov 11, 2012

America, America, Wherefore Art Thou?

If you are a conservative, you have just been dealt the worst blow of your life.  This country just re-elected Obama, and if you are like me, you practically went into shock.  

There are some of us still left who see America as a place of freedom, a place where you can come for equal rights, a job, freedom to have a family, and to live your life without being controlled by anyone, least of all the government.

All I can say is, it's time to wake up and smell the coffee, should you still be able to afford any.

I watched this election very closely, and thought that this election would show us how many Christians were left in this country.  Now, it is possible that a lot of them did not vote, and that is what I hope is true, but I think we need to deal with reality here.  America is in dire straights, infiltrated and destroyed from within.

Apparently, America is no longer the place where you sacrifice everything to come to and find a job, but the place where you sacrifice everything to come to for the "benefits".  Gone are the days where it did not matter where you came from, you were American now.  Now, you are some kind of hyphenated-American and should make America honor your own culture.  We simply are not all on the same side anymore.  There used to be two sides, easy to pick one.  Now there are just many shades of gray, the identity of America is not so easy to recognize these days.

Apparently, America is no longer the place where, if you are a member of the armed forces, you can believe that you will never, NEVER be left alone to fight until you die.  No longer can you really believe, if you are a member of the armed forces, that the might of the Red, White and Blue will without a doubt show and "bring the rain".  Now, you may or may not be ordered to go to the aid of your brothers.  The days where the good guys won may be behind us forever.

Apparently, America is no longer the place where, if there is a terrible natural disaster, any government agency will show up to help you.  They now are unable to operate in bad weather conditions.  That's not completely true: they will show up. With photographers, for photo ops.  It's after that you will be on your own.

Apparently, America is no longer a country where the picture of a "family" consists of a father and mother who are married.  It would be crazy to get married and have to pay for that yourself.  Utter lunacy.  

Apparently, the idea of saving up to purchase anything, starting with a car of your own, much less a college education, is no longer an idea that America can get behind.  Just make sure you can "make the payments" and if that doesn't work out, hey, there's always bankruptcy.  Try not to focus on the fact that we ALL have to pay that off too, it makes it a lot easier.  As long as you got yours, well, that's all that matters, right?  Should other people be stupid enough to pay that off, well, it sucks to be them.  Right?  Right?  Still with me here?

Apparently, America is now a country with citizens who have no problem with lots of "Czars", paid for by us but with no supervision or accountability to anyone of us, and multiple executive orders written that bypass Congress, which is our only hope of even finding out what they are before they are passed, let alone getting the chance for a vote of any kind.

Apparently, the idea that the government now has the power to tell us we "have" to buy something and that's just fine and dandy with a majority of us.  

Apparently, in America, the country we fought to build out of sticks and stones now has a legal system so corrupted that we think it's just fine that it be put to use with cases involving people stupid enough to spill hot coffee on themselves.  Oh, and we don't mind our tax dollars being spent on court cases to protect various animals and/or plants, because we believe they have rights too.  Why should we make it hard on a spider even if it would make us energy independent?  Independence is over rated, and mean.  A tired idea that the old white men just can't give up trying to sell to us.  When will they die off, anyway?  They are such a draaaaggg.  Yawn. 

Those dreams you had of your grandchildren being free?  The ones we have always taken for granted in America?  It's time to either commit completely or let those dreams go.

The outlook is bleak, I must admit.  What is a Christian to do?  Hide in bed with the covers over your head? Move to a place where you are more comfortable with your neighbors having the same moral outlook on life?  Stock up on ammo?  Pray more?  All of the above?  I'm going with all of the above.  

In America, we love our children.  Like the South, we have mistaken "loving" for "spoiling".

Have you missed the fact that we have raised generations of kids who never had to earn money for their first car, let alone a college education?  Who grew up with the idea that instead of saving up to buy something you could just charge it and worry about that later?  Whose parents loved them so much they did not want to see their children struggle to buy their own house, especially without an SUV, even if they lived in town?  

How many hours are spent by adults and children combined in front of a television?  Whether you are watching what passes for the "news" or playing video games has never mattered less.  For those of you who can remember Pong it is easy to look back and see how easily it started.  We would have never guessed where that first, seemingly innocent step would take us.  Did we? I certainly never saw Mortal Kombat coming in those days.   I missed it.  It did not look like a slippery slope to me.  Well, there you go.  That is exactly how it happens!

We now see what our love has wrought.  We spared the rod and spoiled the children.  Not just us, the government got into the action too.  Now we are dealing with people who are very good at spending money without ever worrying about paying it off.  Apparently there are more of them now than we who work to contribute to the tax dollars that pay for it all.  How long can this last?  The good news is, not much longer.  The bad news?  Also not much longer.

Apparently,we have a deficiency in knowledge of basic economics.  Four more years of this could actually fix that, for all the good it will do.  The hole will be so deep by then that I am at a loss as to how we will ever get back out again.  It would probably not be amiss to brush up on your choice of a Chinese dialect.  There are plenty to choose from.

If you read the Bible, it will never tell you that life as a Christian will be easy.  In fact, it will tell you just the opposite.  We must rededicate ourselves to helping those younger than us to understand not only economics, but the value of freedom. 

In order to do this, as far as I can see, we will have to figure out a way to make it look like there is a benefit to saving money and for children to have the stability of a home and both of their parents.  How we are going to compete with the government and their seemingly endless Santa's sack of benefits will not be easy.  But just remember that nothing worth having ever is.  I've heard the stories of how many benefits they get and how it actually would be "stupid" of them to get married or get a job and give those "up".  Trying to explain that those "benefits" are not "free" is like having a conversation with a 13 year old.  Full of all the confidence in the world that they are "right", riding fast toward a hard fall that you can see coming and do not want to see them go through, what's a normal person to do?  This is a situation every parent has faced.  

Until now, parent's have had the ace in the hole that they can control the child's "world" in order to teach them these very basic and vitally important lessons.  Now parents are faced with kids who, if they are 18, can thumb their nose at their parents, sign up for benefits, and continue much farther down the path toward their own destruction.  I hate to say it, but it' looks like it's out of our hands.

How do you take over a country?  Get control of the kids.  Brainwash them into little cookie cutter units that never learn to think for themselves and will follow the program that you set out for them.  It's actually the easiest thing in the world, once you get the parents out of the way.  If you can talk them all into going to work in order to afford the cool SUV, all the better.   In any case, offer them free child care under the guise of "pre-school" and you're are pretty much in, womb to tomb.   Should you discover any of the units that can think for themselves and rebel, offer them a position of control and bribe them with more "benefits".  Tell them it's for the children.  Who would have the backbone to fight that?

If you are wondering why conservatives are in mourning, I will tell you: it is because they have seen their vision of what America is die.  Now when they consider the possibility of what the Supreme Court will look like in the future, their possibility of holding onto that idea is now gone for the rest of my lifetime.  (I am 47 years old)  Now in order to ever turn it around, it will be up to our children and grandchildren.  I fear America as a whole has lost the idea that we are the greatest country in the world, able to help other's because of our freedom to make money and control what we do with it.  We know that our country is on a train going 120 mph toward a cliff.  We thought we could put the brakes on that train with this election.  We thought we could stop the train and still be able to dig our way out of this debt and still have an America left.

We were wrong.

Trying to tell my children what their "rights" under the law were was confusing a few short years ago.  In the future it may be quite a bit easier if only because there will be so few left! 

If you are a young person, I urge you to put forth the effort to find people who will tell you the truth, fight for your freedom, hold you responsible for your choices and help you do better when you make mistakes.  Yes, you will make them.  We all do.  How do you think we learned these painful lessons for ourselves?   I would urge you to learn what you need to sustain yourself and take care of your family in whatever way you can without anyone, especially the government, ever telling you what you "have" to do. 

But you know what?  It's not going to be easy.  America, I pray for you, I still believe in you, and I know that God wins in the end.  It's the spiritual battle that is getting me down, and on my worst days, I fear we are losing this battle.  On my good days, I renew my strength to fight it at every turn,  It's all I can do.  I pray that it is enough. 

I see America on her knees.  Why would she be put in this position, I wonder?  The only answer I can see is so she will get up and FIGHT.  This is not her first rodeo, and she still has many brave defenders.  This is not the time to give up.  So we fight.  We pray.  We watch for those small steps (think Pong) and we guard against them ever getting a foothold.  We may not win, but we must not ever stop fighting.

The ability to deal in the "now" is what separates people who survive extreme situations from those who do not.  Dealing in the "now" is dealing what is, not what we wish was or how we think things should be.  I will admit it's ugly.  I will never admit it's too ugly for me to fight.  It's the American in me.  You should be so lucky. ;)

It's not much, but it's all I got.  I still believe.  I still choose to believe.  I will choose dying for freedom over living in slavery.  It's time we all decided for ourselves, at least those of us who are still able to think for ourselves.  I just hope it's a majority of us.  If not, then I will fight and I will die gladly, for I know where I'm going.  I am not worried about that part at all.

Take time to grieve, but then gird your loins and rejoin the battle.  I beg of you.  I cannot promise you any benefit from it in this world.  That's why it is called sacrifice.  We just have to believe the sacrifice is worth it. Choose to believe.

Oct 10, 2012

I salute Lara Logan

May 28, 2008: Lara Logan arrives at the 33rd Annual American Women in Radio & Television's Gracie Allen Awards in New York.

Pundit & Pundette: Video: Lara Logan on the Obama administration's "major lie" about Afghanistan and terrorism [updated]
 This is basically an update to this post, which was the first time I ever introduced a topic which I considered to be not "child-safe".  Ironic, when you consider that no one needs to be more aware of this kind of thing in our world than the children.......After all, they are going to grow up with this going on if we don't stop it soon.

I was so glad to see it, and hope that Lara can get the attention of the few who remain ignorant of world events.  I mean, this is very serious.  American's have been killed and then their bodies have been dragged through the streets.  And we have done nothing.  We couldn't even manage to get a team to investigate to the scene for 3 weeks.  In fact, CNN did, and managed to grab the ambassadors diary, which they then read on air.  You might think this would have made the powers that be start to tell the truth.  That would make sense and the urge to believe is seductive, but we need to focus on the cold, hard truth.  The cold, hard truth is that our government decided to cover it up with a story they thought we were stupid enough to believe.  Some us, God help us, WERE stupid enough to believe it.

This woman has learned her lesson, the HARD WAY, and still lives to tell the truth.  Basically, her message is "Who are you going to believe?  Me or this lying administration?"

And let us not forget what is really going on in the world right now, despite an extremely ludicrous attempt to blame this on some movie trailer, which went on for 3 weeks, by this administration.  What was the word the Libyan president used?  Ah, yes, "prepostorous".  Perfect.

The house of cards is collapsing faster than the Arab Spring, which is saying something!  Also, check here to find some comfort.  At least the wheels have started to turn.  Kudos to Trey Gowdy.  Let's hope his attitude catches on and multiplies.

I salute you, Lara, you have my undying admiration for continuing to stand strong and report the truth, and my undying thanks for it.  I thank you on behalf of women everywhere, and the girls who will grow up to become the women of tomorrow.  You have been in my prayers and will continue to be.  I wish I could send you a present.  It would be an assault rifle, for the peace I know it would bring you.  God bless you, and the rest of us too.  Let's hope that we never see this on American soil, but if we do, let us be prepared to defend ourselves.

Oct 6, 2012

Growing, growing, gone......

It's colder now and was about 30 degrees this morning.  Cold weather always makes me feel like cooking, so I promptly threw a chicken in the crock pot this morning.  I plan to make chicken enchiladas and chicken pot pie with it.  THEN I used the rest of a roast, carrots and potatoes and made the best beef vegetable barley soup I've had in a long time.  THEN I made a pan of butterscotch brownies for the boys to snack along on.

Something about colder weather makes my nesting instinct really kick in.  I may not be able to do anything about the shape that the world at large is in, but in my house I rule the kingdom, and we are prepared.  I find comfort here now, where used to it just seemed like a sort of prison where I was sentenced to life, continually doing the same, monotonous drudgery.  It may be a case of Stockholm Syndrome, but if that's what it takes, well, it is what it is.  I've made it work for me.

I have been noticing that I have been loathe to throw food away for awhile now, but it has become sort of an obsession with me.  If I have leftovers that no one will eat, instead of giving them to the dogs now I throw them in the freezer for another day.  I used to think this was a throw back from having grandparents raised during the depression.  Then I thought it was an influence of growing up during a recession and just having too much common sense to throw away food.  Now I think it's just the proof that I am actually a grown up.  The dogs are not thrilled, but I save quite a bit on my food bills.

The boys came to the (excellent) decision to start taking their lunch to school.  I brought this subject up at the beginning of school but they rejected it.  Out of laziness, I think privately, but that's normal.  After a couple of months of eating whatever it is that they serve there, they changed their minds.  So I went out and bought a bunch of lunch stuff and they dug out the perfectly good lunchboxes that we have had for so long I can't even remember, and we got prepared.  It was much needed proof to me that they are growing up and are starting to be able to make good decisions.  Common sense decisions.  I am so proud of them.

Last week I was talking to the Rock Star and we were discussing different things to eat.  He has been struggling to make do with what he has and only go to the store once a week.  I told him that since he had no one else to eat his food when he was gone, he should try Edy's ice cream.  It's expensive, like everything else, but it's worth it.  He laughed and said that he had spoiled himself so much that he was beginning to wonder if he would ever be able to live with anyone else.  We laughed a lot over that, because I have always said it is hard to live with people.  I don't care how much you love them, they can even be your own kids, but it gets old.  The truth is that you just adjust, and then about the time you get used to it, everything changes.  You get used to a newborn and they turn into an infant.  Then toddlers (Oh, how I remember the little things I used to step on and how bad they hurt!), and eventually surly adolescents.

The surly adolescent stage is the one we are currently in at my house.  Sigh....   It doesn't last tooooo loooooong, but I could really do without it.  Every morning for a week I have gone into the bathroom and asked whose towel is laying on the floor.  Every morning for a week *one* of my boys, the *same one*, has come in and picked up his towel.  Why he cannot do this after he takes a shower is one of the great mysteries of the world.  But that's ok.  I know that I won't have to keep asking too much longer.  Why?  Because he is smart enough to know that it is really beneath him to leave it on the floor every day, and he will eventually realize that I am not going to quit asking.  It will be a matter of saving time to him, and he will be embarrassed that I have to ask every day.  As he should be.  I am probably too easy going, due to the fact that when you have 4 children is is most often easier to just do it yourself.  I am a slow learner, additionally hampered by a control streak what will undoubtedly outlast the days when I will be described accurately as "in my right mind".  I can see it now, I will be the old lady at the nursing home picking up wet towels.  I may do it silently, thinking that I'm just being a good mother.  or, I may do it while harassing the guiley party who left it there, thinking that the only way to be a good mother is to make your kids take responsibility and become independent.  We will just have to see, but I have a feeling some nursing home will save a lot on aides!

The thing is that when you are young, you don't think about the way you are raised or why you do the things you do.  It is only after you get older that you start to remember some of the reasons.  Actually, I think we block things out when we are young, and it takes life knocking the heck out of us (which it will surely do!) to bring us to a state of mind where we can let ourselves remember, and analyse the why's of what we do.  I find that I feel close to my grandmothers and mom when I am cooking, cleaning and making my house a home.  There is something about kneading bread that soothes my soul in a way nothing else does.  Looking around my house after a day of cooking & cleaning and seeing my boys happily munching away on something I have fixed & cheering for their football teams makes me feel successful.  It may not sound like much, but it is all I need to feel like I am a grown up, capable, and equal to the test.

These days won't last forever.  In fact, they will only last about another year.  As I recall, you don't see much of your teenager's once they can drive.  Then they get a job and between school, jobs and social lives (their, not yours), they have basically left home a couple of years before they graduate.  Oh, they stop in occasionally to sleep or change clothes, at least until they have enough of a wardrobe built up in their car....but they won't "be home" the way they used to be.

I take a lot of comfort from the fact that I know, one day, they will look around their environment and think "this place is a wreck!  If my mom saw this........."

Because your mom is always in your mind.  You can't get her out, no matter how you try.  At some point you will not resent this, you will welcome it instead.  That is one of the first signs you are grown up.  At the point where you choose to pick up instead of sit and complain, take heart!  Your mother will, I am here to tell you!!  And I think all of those who came before will, also.  You are on your way to being what you were raised to be.  You are a link in the chain, and if you have any pride at all (and I hope you do) you will be equal to the task.

I miss my mother so terribly, but I know she will never leave me.  it comforts me to know that my children will have these memories of me, wearing an apron, picking up and putting
away without missing a beat in my by-now standard lecture about "how we don't live in a barn (!) and is this what you want people to think you are (?) and how you have to take CARE of the things you HAVE........."
and get up and keep going, doing what comes next, whether they *like* it or not, and know that they are not the only ones.  They will think of me, at their age, and remember what life was like, and (this is my favorite part) they will finally understand that I didn't want to do it either.  But I did it anyway.  For them.  They will know then that they are also a link in the chain.  The goal, of course, is not to be the weakest link.  Do I need to say that?  If so, there it is.

So carry on, friends, getting ready for winter, whatever that may mean to you.  But please know wtha you are not alone.  I found this poem recently on a FB page called Oh So ShAbBy by Debbie Reynolds (not THAT Debbie Reynolds) that I love for her pictures and peaceful attitude.  It really touched me and seemed the perfect thing after the day I have had.


Your Mother is always with you. 
She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the 
street, she's the smell of certain foods you remember,

flowers you pick and perfume that she wore, she's the
cool hand on your brow when you're not feeling well, 
she's your breath in the air on a cold winter's day.
She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep...
the colors of a rainbow, she is Christmas morning.

Your mother lives inside your laughter.

And she's crystallized in every teardrop.
A mother shows every emotion...happiness,
sadness, fear, jealousy, love, hate, anger,
helplessness, excitement, joy, sorrow...and all the 
while, hoping and praying you will only know the good
feelings in life.

She's the place you came from, your first home, and 
she's the map you follow with every stop you take.
She's your first love, your first friend, even your 
first enemy, but nothing on earth can separate you.

Author unknown

Sep 21, 2012

We finally meet Adriana Rose!

On the day she was born, I got up at 4 am and headed to Columbia to meet her mother and her friend at the hospital.  The stars looked like diamonds in a soft black sky, and Venus was shining down like a spotlight in the eastern sky.  I even drove right to the hospital and found the main admission desk without any trouble, which is kind of a big deal.  I always leave myself enough time to make a few mistakes, but there was no need for that on this day.

They broke her mother's water at 7 am and she was very explicit and clear with her Dr. and nurses that she would not be having an epidural.  Her exact words were "nothing to do with my spine", accompanied by hand actions that mimicked the shape of a spine.  The Dr. and nurses were very supportive, and the nurse even got excited that she would get to see a natural birth.  Isn't that the craziest thing you ever heard?  Unless you are over the age of 40 it probably is not, and we are poorer for it, in my opinion.  I have high hopes that "natural birth" will be making a big comeback, as out-of-favor as it has fallen. 

The next 3 hours we spent walking very fast for 40 minutes, followed by 20 minutes  on the monitors.  I was seriously impressed with how fast that girl could walk!  She even bounced with every step she took and did stairs!  I admit she lost me on the stairs.  I was winded after about three flights up and down a couple of times.  Plus, I admit the friend and I were trying to talk.  We were quickly left behind, and I told the young girls to carry on.  I would just be right there when they came back down. We went through 3 rounds of walking for 40 minutes and resting for 20 before that girl slowed down and the labor picked up.  Once she started stopping for the contractions and random nurses started asking if we might need a wheelchair (which she always refused) I knew we were getting into the thick of it.  (also, it was the most intense workout I have had since I picked up all the riffraff from the roof.  My legs are still sore-but in a good way now.  The first couple of days I felt like I had been hit by a train.  Or maybe just laid 50 feet of train track single-handedly.)
One determined mama!
Once she quit the walking she just sat on the edge of the bed, not wanting to be touched and not really moving.  I worked on her breathing, which she said helped a little, and she did eat a Popsicle at one point but she wanted no ice chips and did not even hurl any verbal abuse.  At one point she started to cry out, and then stopped herself.  I told her there was nothing wrong with making a little noise, and that she certainly would not upset anybody there by doing that.  She just grinned.  Grinned and bore it.  What a woman!  Don't get me wrong, she was in pain, and at a certain point panic started winning.  She agreed to what the Dr. termed a "baby dose" of Nubane, (no clue how to spell that one-sorry) which would knock the pain down a little and would wear off within about an hour.  It turned out to be exactly what she needed to get her over the hump of what would turn out to be her last hour of labor.  Reading it, it sounds like her "last hour of labor" was a small thing, but believe me, it is no small thing.  It's one of the scariest, longest, hardest hours anyone ever lives through.  My best advice is to never mention any one's last hour of labor lightly, or as if it's almost over, unless you want to be kicked in the stomach (at the very least).  Just in case you ever find yourself in that position, being in labor is to live from one moment to the next, and each one seems never-ending.

By that time she had gone from a dilation of 4 to 7 and it was time to call Daddy to come!  I left to meet Daddy and get Abigail, who was very excited to be a big sister!  I was very excited too.  I wish I had video of Daddy coming through the hospital doors.  He was stepping lively with a car seat under one arm and an eager 4 year old angel attached to the other.  Clearly, this was a man on a mission.  Abigail and I headed to the cafeteria to have a Popsicle.   We had no more gotten them opened and taken a bite than Daddy called and announced "7 lbs., 4 oz., 20" long" in the most proud and pleased voice I've ever heard.  "Oh!  We are right downstairs in the cafeteria!", I said.  He said "Come on up!"  And we did.
One perfect baby girl
Abigail was not getting rid of her Popsicle, but to hold it took both hands.  I tried to just drive her down the halls with my hand on her back. I freely admit she didn't walk fast enough for me, so I just picked her up, Popsicle and all.  Some Dr. behind us heard me tell her I loved her and he came up even with us and remarked "I'd say!  Carrying that big girl around!"  I just smiled and said "She has just become a big sister and this is probably one of the last times I ever will carry her."  He looked at her, looked at me, his eyes kind of teared up a little, and then he said, "Well, carry on."  So I did, Popsicle, angel and all.

When we got to the room, the baby was nursing.  Abigail was not too happy about that, she wanted to hold her right away, but she was content to sit next to her mother and stroke her sister's soft skin.  They did all the newborn testing right in the room a little while after that.  I was so happy to have the chance to actually check out a newborn, up close and personal.  When my own babies were born they were whisked away from me. Just across the room, but I didn't get to see anything.  I held Abigail and explained what the white, waxy coating was, why there was a little dried blood on the baby, and -------the umbilical cord.  Abigail was VERY ALARMED that something was wrong!  So I explained that she had had one just like that when she was born.  So had Mommy, and I, and, well, everyone who had ever been born.
"No, honey, your baby sister's inside will NOT leak out of that thing on her stomach...."
It wasn't too long until we left for the evening to spend it watching Disney movies and making frozen pizzas and pre-made cookie dough.  My own Beautiful Redhead came with us and it was pure heaven.

The next morning, when I was doing my hair under the close scrutiny of Abigail, she looked at me with those big blue eyes and pronounced "You have Dora hair."  Dang if I don't!  LOL   4 year old's have such clarity and honesty, who could ever resist them?  Want to know what's going on?  Ask a 4 year old, but only if you really want to know.

The next day Abigail got to hold her baby sister, and shortly after that, the entire family was able to go home.
Two happy sisters!

Their first good look at one another.  Alone at last!  There are things I need to you to know!!

Let's roll, folks.  I got all dressed up and everything.........
Everyone is doing very well.  Her mother reports that Abigail firmly announces "It's my turn" every time anyone holds the baby, and that "baby sister" has quickly replaced "Mommy" as the center of Abigail's world.

............................Told ya!
Mission accomplished.  Note "Dora hair" ;D

Sep 15, 2012


Regardless of recent world events, this is not a post about anticipating the end of the world.  I know, that's a surprise, isn't it?  Well, the way I look at it, if the world ends, it will be God's will, and the end of the world will find me steadily doing what I believe is right and true for me to be doing.  And who can do better than that?  What better way to go?  I can't think of a better way, so bring it on.  Whatever will be, will be.

How this world will continue to hold on, with 1/2 of it crazy and wanting to kill the other 1/2 and the other 1/2  unsure of how to go on with their lives, depending on who the new judge for American Idol will be, I really do not know.  I just tell myself that God is in control and we are going to have to bear whatever He gives us next, and continue to do what is in front of me.  I choose to believe this.  Anything less would leave me cowering under my covers, unable to leave my bed.  Nice as that would be for me, it would leave a pretty big hole in the world for the people who depend on me, so that is not an option I choose to take.

What is in front of me right now, besides the end of the world as we know it, of course, is the arrival of a new baby.  Yes, we're going to have a baby!!!!   Well, not "us", exactly, but my bonus daughter, who is the closest I have been able to get to a new baby in a while.  

My bonus daughter is due to deliver a new baby girl, if not this weekend, early next week.  Poor mama has been walking, eating pineapple, and doing various things that may or may not be superstitious, trying to get this show on the road.  So far, the new baby is having none of it.  I already admire this new baby's sense of herself.  I always do admire a woman who simply refuses to be hurried, as long as she is also able to jump into action at a moment's notice.  I don't expect to be disappointed.  I just don't.  I choose to believe, it's what I do.

In order to prepare, and wait without calling my bonus daughter and driving her stark raving mad with questions, I have had the boys helping me clean, move furniture, wash curtains, etc.  The boys are less than thrilled, but I must say, they are big enough now to make quick work of moving furniture.  Not to even mention taking down curtains!  I guess it's my version of nesting.  Or maybe I'm having my own rush of energy before the baby comes.  All I can say is that cleaning goes a lot faster with a crew, just in case you are one of those people who plan everything and only want 2 children.  It's up to you, of course, but think long and hard about how you are going to get everything done without a crew.  My sense is that you will never regret having a crew.  Just sayin.  hahahaha

Once the crew and I get the house all back together, my bag is packed and I am ready to report for duty.  My duty will be the best for my role, I think.  My duty will be to go through the early part of labor with my bonus daughter.  I am prepared to feed her ice chips, make small talk or make no talk, as I can remember getting extremely rude with my own loved ones (poor dears) in various stages of labor.  I am prepared to take hurled abuse without one blink of either of my eyes. I am prepared for all manner of natural bodily fluids to be spewed and think nothing of it.  Motherhood prepares you best for this, in my opinion.   I am prepared to massage her, balance her on a big ball, walk with her, and wait......wait........wait.......all while appearing as this is just the most normal thing in the world.  It actually is the most normal thing in the world, and I am so very excited to get to be involved without being the one having the baby!! I can do this, gladly!   Once she gets closer to the actual delivery, I get to switch places with her husband and go home to my sweet little pretend grand baby and spend some time with her and then bring her to the hospital to meet her new sister.  Isn't that just the most wonderful thing you ever heard?

I am so honored and happy about this I am just about to burst!  I cannot put into words how proud I am of this girl, who is now a wife and about to become the mother of two little girls.  She has grown up so much in the last few years that I have wondered at what age we really become adults.  It's rarely at 18, I have noticed, it can come as young as 12, too, depending on what life throws at you, but I think it is most often after you become a parent, whenever that may be.

Until then we are hardwired to think only of ourselves, and that is perfectly natural and fine, as long as it's just us.  But throw a new little life that you are responsible for, and the growing up starts and probably never really stops.  I thought I was grown up after I had my kids, but I have continued to learn and still don't feel like I'm completely done.  Maybe we never are.  After all, if I was really grown up I probably would have bought a common sense gift of diapers to bring with me, but instead I opted for a LED light with a rock water fountain that will "gently light" the room and changes colors. You also get to hear "the soothing sounds of running water", and it will double quite nicely as a night light.  I don't even know who it's for, yet.  I guess whoever likes it better, my bonus daughter or my pretend grand baby.

I have listened to my bonus daughter worry about how it will affect my pretend grand baby, when the new baby is here.  I have remembered feeling that same way.  But now I already know the answer.  The answer is that you are NOT taking anything away from the first baby.  You are GIVING them the world.  Their role in the family and their perceptions of themselves are about to be expanded and varied.  And I might add, they are going to be so very proud and impressed with themselves in it. It will build their confidence and bring joy (and irritation) to their lives that will never stop (or will have to dealt with).  Of course, sibling rivalry and possessiveness are on their way too, but without these things, a child would never learn a lot about how to get along in the world or how to stand up for themselves, let alone anyone else.  Every one's life is about to change, forever, and after this, we will-hard pressed to even remember back before we had this new child in our lives.

I can't wait, but I must.  At least a few more days.  Just remember, as you worry about the world ending, that there is joy, too, to be found.  You just have to find it and nurture it along a little.  It may not change a thing in the world, but it can change the way you feel about the world.  It can help a lot.  

Quick!  Go find the nearest baby and hold it, smell it, let your soul feel the peace that comes with that little weight that may seem to be all that anchors you in this messed-up world. Look into it's eyes.  Especially with newborns, I always get the strongest sense that they already know everything, without being emotionally attached to this world as of yet.  I always wonder how I stack up in their estimation.  Of course, I never find out, but that does not lessen the experience that they give me one bit.  I think you will feel yourself feeling like maybe you can do a little more, try a little harder or longer, give up and make do, reuse and recycle and all that good stuff.  You will feel better and the world, whether you know it or not, will be a little better.  If there is a scale for the world, with good things on one side and bad things on the other, the balance will tip with 1 thing.  Lots of little good things may help balance out a big bad thing.  We don't know.  At least, I don't.  Just think about that and never give up, because slow and steady has won many races.  Probably all of the races that really matter.

Wish us luck and a safe delivery.  A speedy delivery would be too much to ask for, no use tempting fate.  Everything in it's own good time, as (I think) this new little jewel is already teaching us.  We all have so much to learn from her.  It will be a wonderful journey, this is what I choose to believe.