Saturday, May 20, 2017

Time Keeps Moving On.....

It’s been a wonderful weekend spent with family celebrating Mother’s Day. Then later today, as I was looking at the calendar trying to decide whether or not a trip to see our South Carolina family was going to be able to happen at the end of this month, all of a sudden I realized – IT’S ALMOST SIX MONTHS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!

I can remember when I was growing-up it took SO LONG for time to pass. To get from one time to another; and now, it seems like everything moves at the speed of light. I’ve become to believe that’s why I have such a problem remembering anything anymore, it all happens too fast!

And I don’t remember families being as active when I was growing up as they are now. The parents went to work, and the children went to school, and everyone came home. They had supper, did homework, watched a little television and then everyone went to bed and got up the next day to do it all over again. The weekends were made for chores, lawn work, and riding bicycles in the neighborhood until almost dark.

These families now are involved in every single activity you can imagine! Tee-ball, ballet, baseball, soccer, and ALL of those activities are now weekday/night events – not just Saturday mornings. Kids belong to all kinds of clubs that have year around activities and someone is always running in one direction or another to get folks where they need to be.

It’s no wonder we can’t keep up with time, it’s stretched so thin, it’s about to snap in two. I don’t know how these young parents do it – I truly just don’t. When I get off work in the afternoons, it takes all I can do just to drive myself home some evenings. I DREAM of what my recliner will feel like when I collapse into it. I can remember some days that have been particularly bad that I jokingly said, “I wish I could afford a driver, I’m so tired I don’t even want to push the gas pedal.”

Real life story – one day last week:
I got home one night from my after-work hair salon appointment and as usual I was tired and starving. I was talking to my husband on the phone, as he was still driving and on his way home from a load. I'm telling him I don't even know what I want to eat, because I'm not even up to opening a can of Spaghetto's because I don't want to stand there and dig out the meatballs (I don't like them, and the cans without them taste different - weird I know).


He sat there quietly for a minute and then he said "Well baby, if it's that bad, do you think you're even gonna be able to chew once you figure out what you want to eat?" And we laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

I know that has to sound familiar to people in “my age group.” But the scarier question is – when did I start referring to myself like that?!


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother to Mother

Do you ever wonder if the day will come when you’ll stop looking at them misty-eyed and in amazement when all you’re doing is having a simple conversation about their jobs, their plans, or their life? Or when you’ll stop imagining the soft, squishy arms and legs from their childhood? Because when you reach out as you walk by, as they’re sitting at your kitchen bar shoving Tostito chips and salsa into their mouths like they haven’t eaten in days, and you give their arm a little squeeze, but all you feel is firmness and strength.  

When our children were growing-up, we spent so many days and nights praying for what we all have now. Children with decided paths, strong and positive points of views, and children who are finally independent and perfectly capable of surviving without us should they have to do so.

From toddler to teen and beyond; we cheered, we cried, we were disappointed and proud. And we all said at some point, “Gracious, I cannot wait for the day they’re all grown-up and I don’t hear Mama called a hundred times a day!”

But you know, that never turns out quite like anyone expects it to. The quietness is stifling. The amount of un-need and lack of attention we continue to receive is devastating.

If we’re lucky though, it all comes back when you least expect it to. And amazingly enough, it’s somewhere around the time that their lives are beginning to have big changes. Weddings, babies being born, their “baby’s” first day of school, teen angst, and “children” driving vehicles.

But what is more amazing that any of that is this: those misty-eyed looks, and soft, sing-song voices; now they come from somewhere else as well. It doesn’t happen every time, but probably one out three times that I call home during the week, my own mother will answer the phone and I can hear her telling my daddy in the background who it is on the phone. And when she says my name, it rolls off her tongue so soft and sweet, it’s how I imagined her to have said when I was a baby. And many times now, when we are talking face to face, her eyes will become misty as we reminisce about one memory or another.

I wonder when my children hear me speak now, if they translate that softness into what it is, or if you have to be a certain age to even understand that it exists. Kind of like those whistles that only dogs can hear; I wonder if only grown children can began to hear that softness again that was certainly used in their first days/years of life. That softness reserved for the people we brought into this world, for the people that we love the most.


Because that is the same softness that will reverse, and be used by children for their parents as those roles also change through the years. The cycle of love between children and parents is ever evolving. Happy Mother’s Day to all who help keep it going. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

There's No Place Like Home

Sometimes the things less prepared for turn out the best. I love Quincy Florida, and I’ve lived here almost twenty years now, and for the most part it seems the like home. But there’s something to be said for the place where you grew-up to feel the most familiar at different times in your life.

This past week, on the spur of the moment, I decided a trip home was necessary – for my peace of mind and mostly because I needed the fellowship. I needed the sisterhood of all those girls, now women, that I grew-up with; I needed those same faces to remind me that this is exactly how life is supposed to feel right now.

So Saturday, as I pulled up at the decided restaurant in Albany Georgia I was so excited about all the faces I was about to see, and how much better I would feel when it was all over.

But let me backtrack a bit and tell you about what happened BEFORE I arrived at my destination. I saw a CVS as I passed by on route and I decided to stop and go in. I had about 30 minutes to spare and I was hoping they would have what I was looking for. First, I needed a new orange-colored tube of lipstick to go with my outfit as the one I had wasn’t quite the right shade of orange, and secondly, I wanted to purchase a selfie-stick.

I had wandered around a bit before I decided I might as well ask for help, so finally I approached two very young women who were behind the pharmacy counter, and asked could they tell me if they even sold those selfie-sticks. Just that one question sent these young ladies into gales of giggles. I stood there confused and trying to figure out why. I mean, is that not what they were called? Was that just a fad and they didn’t even sell them anymore? Or was it that they had never had a 53 year old woman wearing orange lipstick ask them a question like that?

At any rate, I found the selfie-sticks at the front of the store, paid for it and my lipstick and headed out to my original destination. And just as I knew it would be, it was a day of laughter, old stories, and hugs – many, many hugs.

The only thing was, not a one of us “old” gals could figure out how to hook-up that dang selfie-stick and make it work. No one could read the fine-print paperwork, half of us were pulling out our “readers” from our purses – EXCEPT for the daughter of one of my most treasured friends who had joined us that day. In a snap – Tiffany had that thing hooked-up, angled in the air and we were all smiling for memories. Maybe THAT was what those other young girls at CVS already knew was going to happen – and that was what all that giggling was about.

Home Sweet Home: you never really know how true that is, until you become just a visitor.






Sunday, April 30, 2017

Mostly A Miss

The grass is brown, crunchy, and it’s patchy like a sad old dog with a case of the mange. The blades are practically stretching to their limits as if getting closer to the sky would bring the rain.

We were “promised” a good rain-day today, but that certainly didn’t come to fruition. And of course, when we heard about this rain a ‘coming, all 80% of it, we went racing outside with the first sign of cloud-cover to put the ferns, all eight of them, where they could get fresh rainwater.

We got just enough of a sprinkle to make us both sprint to the front porch, practically tripping over one another and our own feet to see what real rain looks like again. We could actually stand there and count the drops as they hit the hot concrete and dried as fast as they seemed to land. Then my husband looked at me and I looked at him, and we both looked out in the yard at the ferns strewn about, and we just turned around and went right back into the house.

We came back inside, turned the television to the weather channel for what would seem like the 47th time today, to make sure we were at least watching the weather predictions for the right county! And I’m telling you all, it still says we have a 90% chance of thunderstorms tonight! I’m just not seeing that happening.

Now because of all this non-rain we’ve had in the glorious month of “April showers bring May flowers”, I have been watering my yard with the water sprinkler. Funny story about that: our faucet that we connect the water hose to has been “leaking” for about two years now. At first it was just a dribble, then it became an irritating spew. But this year – it became an all-out hostile fireworks water display.

And even though you know how far and wide it’s going to spray because it’s already happened MANY times, and you turn your head to prepare; well you just can’t. It gets you every time anyway. Not only do I have to bend-over, one foot on the ground for balance, and one leg up in the air behind me like a ballerina’s pirouette, half of my face is almost touching the dirt, and the other half is dodging the limbs on the bush that is right next to the faucet so I don’t poke my eye out. So I’m trying to balance, not fall-over and scrape my face upon the side of the house, and dodge the water all at the same time.

After three separate nights of being drenched from my ankles to my ENTIRE FACE, I decided to take charge of getting that dang faucet replaced. I called a local plumber who had done some work for us before. Eighteen total minutes of work and $130 later, I had water that only came out of the bottom of the faucet.

With that kind of work/time to dollar ratio – how my parents didn’t insist that I become a plumber is beyond me!


Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Truth Will Set You Free

I remember it like it was yesterday. So many questions would begin to whirl around in my head. How good at it would I be? Could I even do it? I had never even baby-sat or changed a diaper. But I was soon to learn about all of those things – because I was going to be a first-time mother.

That nine months would fly by as fast as a speeding bullet, just as some of those days would seem like they took forever to turn into the next. I don’t think I completely understood at the time the miracle that was growing inside of me, but I knew enough to know, that this would be one of the most special and precious times of my life.

When my baby was no bigger than the size of a pea, I could already feel an unexplainable connection. I would sing, I would read, and my hands were constantly making contact with the vessel in which I was carrying my first born.

And then my baby was born. And for years and years, I made all the decisions. What clothes looked best, the ways in which to fix the hair, and the shoes that went on each foot. Never really thinking about the day that would come, that none of those things would be my decision any longer. And certainly never knowing that the way I looked at my child’s life, my child’s being, may not be the way that my children would see their own reflection.

It’s a hard thing the day you acknowledge and I mean truly admit to yourself – that as a woman, as a mother, you were simply the means to a beginning. You were nothing more than the vessel, but hopefully the one to be a guide for their educational, emotional and physical needs. It’s a startling realization to know that you never really were in charge of their destiny.  

Both of my children are very independent, intelligent, and open-minded. By the time they were both 18 years old, they had very significant and strong ideas about who they were and how their lives were about to proceed.

This may be the truest/hardest story I have ever written – for when I say – that my children’s favorite saying to each other was always “you’re not the boss of me” – it is now being silently said to me.

My oldest child’s story is not mine to tell. I already have my own story and it is in progress, and ever-moving. My children are but chapters in my story, just as hopefully I will always be contributing and continuous chapter’s in theirs.

Changes of major proportions are being made and it has been an emotional struggle for everyone involved. But this beautiful person will always be my child, and will always be loved. And I am the Mama that cannot be anything other than the same Mama I have always been.

Happy 31st Birthday to my oldest child, J.  May you progressively plow through this sometimes treacherous and scary world, and hopefully find comfort and peace within. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Angel Wings

Any of my neighbors could testify that I spend hours upon hours sitting on my front porch, on the right-hand side of our glider, because that’s “my” side; more times than not with a camera strapped around my neck. 

My name is Michelle, and I am addicted to bird watching. Sometimes I don’t even realize how much time has passed; until suddenly the sun has moved/gone down considerably from the time I originally planted myself and all my camera apparatus in my seat.

A few weeks ago now, I asked my husband to move our shepherd hooks (again) that our bird feeders hang on. I couldn’t seem to find the optimal location for them so that I could take my bird pictures in full view. We (he) had just moved them two weeks prior, putting them right where I asked him to, all the while telling me they would be too close to the front porch and the birds would be afraid to feed there. After another two weeks of no-show birds, I admitted he was right.

So when I asked him once again to move them, he never complained, he just went right outside and did it all over again for me. Now during this move, I’m perched up on my glider, giving directions (which you probably already knew) and he manages to get one of them in the ground, in the spot I picked, successfully. The other one, which I asked to be placed on the opposite of my jasmine-covered swing, is being stubborn about going into the ground. No matter which way he seems to move it, two inches either direction, it’s not going down.

I looked down at his feet (because he said his feet were starting to hurt) and he had on his rubber clog thingies.  So I said/suggested “Well, why don’t you go inside and put on your hard-soled boots to try and do that?” He walked slowly away from the hook, which is still half in the ground and half out, his head is down and he’s shaking it from side to side, and then probably counting to ten, he stopped. He looked back at me and said, like I’m the biggest ignoramus in the world, “Michelle, 200 pounds is 200 pounds, no matter what pair of shoes I have on – that hook ain’t going in the ground right there.”

Those hooks are now in a much better place, and my nightly/morning/feeding-time bird shots have resumed.

I post a lot of the pictures I take on Facebook and the other night a friend of mine who has recently

lost her husband, the love of her life, posted a comment that maybe he was one of the cardinals visiting my yard that particular evening.  And as broad and proud as the shoulders were on that one particular cardinal, I’d say my friend was exactly right.

I’ve heard all of my life that cardinals are angels visiting from heaven. Flying-high angel’s right here at Easter are both a beautiful thought and comfort, to myself included. Wishing Easter blessings to all.




Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Purge

I pulled the doors open wide, switched on the overhead light, and just stood there, pondering my next move. I don’t really know what I thought I needed to decide, I already knew what needed to be done. But it was taking that first step, making that initial move, forcing myself to either keep the things before me or give them up.

It’s hard sometimes to know just exactly what you’ve had long enough, what has served its purpose, and what you can now do without. And as I stood there with plenty of built-up energy and all-day-long for time, I knew I was ready to take the plunge.

I’m just like every other female I know, I cannot seem to bring myself to give up any article of clothing – no matter that it hasn’t been seen or worn since two sizes ago, no matter that my body may never see the likes of those peg-legged pants again, and no matter that I cannot even remember when
I would have ever thought that style of blouse and the color of it, would have looked good on me.

But today I woke-up in a positive frame-of-mind. I had laid there still in my bed, in the earlier morning hours, making plans for how my day was to go. And this, this closet full of far too many non-worn clothes was to be my main project of the day. I made-up the rules in my head as I went along, knowing that I would have to be the worker-bee AND the boss today. I would have to be firm with myself, and MAKE myself part with things that had been hanging in that closet so long, they practically had “she knows full well I don’t fit anymore” signs attached to each hanger.

So out it all came, whatever I knew I hadn’t worn, or heck knew I hadn’t even SEEN in over a year, and it was put in a stack to go. Little by little I whittled the closet down as the stack on the top of my bed grew. I had bags set to the side so that when I was done, I would place all the to-go-clothes in those bags and I would immediately place them in my vehicle and take them to a drop point. Mainly, because I knew if I didn’t carry this act all the way out, it would never happen. There have been times I have ridden around with bags of clothes in the back of my vehicle for weeks, just because I was in denial that I really need to part with them.

My husband’s closets are next – and believe it or not – he has three to my one! But I wasn’t about to try and bag up any of his stuff – his relics – like some shirt he’s had since 1977 that he wore to a Nascar race one time when Dale Earnhardt Sr won. Oh no sir. I’d be digging those bags back out of the Goodwill box come daybreak! But his closets are next! I guarantee it!