Saturday, August 30, 2014

And This Too Shall Pass

As parents, I think we always want our children to be happy. For their lives to be like fairy-tales with white picket fences and perfection that we were somehow never really able to achieve.  I mean we’re all okay and we made it; we’ve had some bumps along the way, but we also had some beautiful, intelligent children and we want their roads to be slick as glass for smooth sailing.

Well the fact is, their lives will be just like ours. Sometimes good, sometimes awful and heart-breaking, and many times, unexpected. They will have losses, disappointments, failures, and complicated circumstances; because we created human beings, not robots. They have blood running through their veins, not wires and electricity. They cry crocodile tears, lose red-hot tempers, and scream with raucous joy.

I raised my children to be fearless, to understand the strength and importance of a good education, and to never settle for less than what they believe in. To believe that the truth was the only way to live, and nothing less should be given or accepted. To never be afraid to stand-up when everyone else is sitting down, and to speak your mind and your heart with respect, giving the words the reverence they deserve when you deliver them.

I also taught them that life is not always fair, we don’t always win, and we don’t always get what we think we deserve. That there are three sides to every story, one-side / the other side / and the whole side; and that when it’s their turn to recite the side that belongs to them, they should be able to honor and uphold the words that they speak.

Sadly, though they do their best to live the way they were raised, they cannot control outside circumstances that intertwine within their constructed walls / boundaries. This can result in blind-sided pain and hurt that no words I could have ever said would have prepared them for in the end. We as people who love and trust, always depend on the system of honor whether it is reciprocated or not.

But that’s the thing here, we’re ALL human’s; we’ll make mistakes in judgment, have thoughts in retrospect, and have many visions of hind-sight that we can never regain. So in those situations, I urge them to stand strong, hold their head up, and take the high road; I recite every single solitary cliché that I can, to make them understand that to lower their standards to feel better is never the answer.

I have heard that saying “You can’t go home again” more times than I can count; well you can come home again. Home is family and love, and it’s where you go when you need to know that the people who loved you the most, always will.  It’s a place to heal and feel safe and no matter what, both of my boys / men should always know, that my home is right where their heart belongs, because it’s right where their hearts were born. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Breaking Bread, Break The Silence

As we sat around the breakfast bar this morning, and I listened to the Sunday morning ramblings, my mind drifted back to the Sunday mornings of long ago. When I was growing up, both of my parents worked, but during the week, no matter how tired my mama was, we almost always had a sit-down supper, having take-out for supper was so rare, I barely even remember it.

Breakfast on school days was cereal of some kind and a nasty chewable vitamin. For years, I ate the cereal but tossed that vitamin to the base of an old pecan tree in our back yard; that tree should live to be a million years old. Saturday mornings were pretty causal for breakfast too, as that was yard and house cleaning day. 

But Sunday morning breakfast, now that was a big deal. Whether we all sat down together any other time or not, we sat down together on Sunday mornings. Both my parents were great cooks, so it alternated who would be the chef each week, and we would have different variations of breakfast. My Daddy liked to cook fried eggs, bacon and real cut-up French fried potatoes. I believe my Mama's favorite was oatmeal, the real kind, not that one-minute mess; with condensed milk and sugar added in and pattied sausage.

It is the same in my own house now; Sunday morning breakfast is the best meal of all. I cook a big meal and we all sit down together. This morning I cooked oatmeal for me and my son, and as I watched him eat his oatmeal, taking his spoon and running it around the edge of the oatmeal on his plate; I remembered teaching him how to do that when he was a little boy, as my Mama had taught me, because the middle is always too hot.

Times change, or maybe people change and/or are different, but my eating tables have always been the place to unite. And for the nights I am just too tired or my mouth has run out of words, I let my family take over and bring me back to life with their stories and laughter.

Last Fall I bought a new dining table that would hold all of our family, my parents and partners of my children. So now during holidays or special occasions, when everyone is here and we’re all sitting together, good gracious at the laughter and conversation that goes on.

Cherish these times folks, don't lose yourselves in silence and call it comfortable. Taking the time to make conversation is taking the time to show your interest and love. And we all want to know, that what we have to say and how we feel, is something someone is waiting to hear. Enjoy your children and their conversations about their days at school, work, boyfriends and girlfriends; the test they could have done better on, or their nervousness about cheerleader or football tryouts. Believe me, it’s too late to wish those conversations back when they’re grown and gone.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Moms Of Fall

It’s that time of year again ladies, and there is something a little different about being a football mom. I've been a baseball mom and a basketball mom, and while I loved all of those sports, and I loved to watch my son play all of those sports, none of them made me feel quite like I did during football season. Maybe it's a mixture of the smell in the air, the smell of the boys, and the crashing of the pads. 

Or maybe it's just the free license, the free pass, to holler like a maniac. To stand up in a crowd and holler as loud as I wanted and not really be noticed. To let a few saucy words slip when the referees are OBVIOUSLY calling for the OTHER side. Because in a crowded football stand, loaded down with people, it's not near as noticeable when you holler out things at your kid like "Boy, if that #45 hits you again like that, you'd better get you some!"

Try that in a gymnasium during basketball season; they carry sound and echo incredibly loud. It is unbelievable how loud you can sound when you're hollering at your kid, that's the third time he's been caught traveling; all eyes turn to the crazy woman/mama in the crowd.  Yes sir, it took me a few weeks to get the feel of basketball. Football season always ran smack into basketball season and I guess I just couldn’t downshift that fast. There's some hollering that goes on, but its dignified hollering and not much carrying on at the referees. They're right there, on the floor, where they can identify the rude parent who is calling them names. They come to the edge of the court, make eye contact with you, and you feel ashamed; for calling them "blind as bats, don't you know a foul when you see one? What's he gotta do, knock my kid unconscious for you to see it?!"

And because baseball is the gentleman's sport, it tends to be pretty quiet on baseball fields. Parents are "talking" to their kids through the mesh fence, but not too loud, they don't want to break their concentration. You don't holler at your kid when he's up at bat, he's in a zone, and you don't want to holler at him coming off the field, because he dropped the ball, you could mess up his mojo. Even though, since he's dropped three balls by now, you doubt you could really hurt his "mojo". 

Fall and football season are upon us. And as with every new season, there are new moms who are welcomed to the fold, and “retired” moms who will still attend to cheer the fellas on. I’ve already seen a few pictures of my son’s high school alma mater, training young men and getting ready for the season; and that’s a mighty fine-looking 2014 team. I can’t wait to see them in action! So come on out to Corry Field and join us! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

When The Bough Breaks

Admittedly, when my first child was born and riding around in vehicles, the air bag had not been created yet, and there were no rulings or laws about children being in car seats in only the back seat. Everywhere we went, he was sitting beside me, facing away from the window, I could see his little face, and we talked.

Once my second child was born, although air bags were now in the newer model vehicles, I still had my same old vehicle that had none. By then the laws had changed and my second born would ride in the back as instructed but could face forward because I had no airbags; and we would talk. I could see him clearly in my rear-view mirror and he learned how to see me as well.

There was never a ride, to or from work, or anywhere else that I was not carrying on a conversation with my children. I don’t care if they were one year old or four, I would sing and I would talk and if they were old enough, they were talking back. That was our special alone time with each other; either before our day began or when it was winding down.

So forgive me if I find it so unbelievable how anyone could not know that their child is still in the vehicle; the same child that they strapped down in a car seat and rode whatever amount of time to their destination. How in the world can that possibly happen? What was the parent doing all that time? What could have possibly been so important that they completely forgot the human being that was still sitting in the vehicle, the same one they just locked up and walked off from?

Are we so preoccupied with our favorite song on the radio, talking on our cell phones, listening with our ear buds, reading text messages at red lights, or the presentation we have to give at work today, that we have forgotten about what should be the most precious to us of all?

And now someone has created an application for your cell phone to REMIND you to get your child out of the car? Really? Those cell phones are what is wrong with us now if you ask me. We use them for every single life event there is, no wonder our minds can’t remember anything, we have a noise-maker strapped to our hip that goes off to alert us of every little thing in life we should be able to remember on our own; doctor’s appointments, to take our medicine, our tee-time, and now, when to get your child out of the car-seat you strapped them into.

If it helps one mother or father remember, then something good will have come out of it and God bless who invented it. But my question is this: what have we come to that we have such a hard time remembering there is another human being in our presence? Does anyone have an answer?     

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Strolling Down Butterfly Lane

I always thought I was from the South. I was born in the South, raised in the South and I still live in the most Southern located state that there is; Florida. But living at the furthest point does not make you Southern. It doesn’t make you speak with a stronger southern dialect, it doesn’t make you swoon with larger vapors, nor does it mean that you will ever drink mint julep tea in your entire life. 

I went “home” with my husband this weekend to Turbeville, South Carolina. The southern tongue spoken here has a swagger that I can barely imitate. The slickness of the drawl and roll of the tongue is such that it’s unimaginable that there is ever a harsh word spoken here.

Even the land that is swallowed by corn fields, tobacco fields, cotton fields, and soybean fields have a grace about them that cannot be denied. The rows, one by one times a million, are straight as an arrow, lining every field, on every paved and dirt road. Some are plotted with family homes off to the side or the far back, and some are simply empty fields except for the product they bear.

Road after rough asphalt road have been tagged with names that ironically drip with southern softness; Butterfly Lane and Puddin’ Swamp Road. The stories that these old back-roads could tell if they could talk; well there is just no end to the wondering.

I’m not sure what the state tree for South Carolina is but it needs to be the Crepe Myrtle. I did not pass one yard, one business, one median, or one field that did not have multi-colored Crepe Myrtles lining driveways, property lines or growing wild in the fields. I mean huge, full-grown trees with wide-legged trunks and 30ft wide girths of blooms cross-wise. Just amazingly beautiful landscaping as we drove back and forth across two counties for the last three days.

Their historical districts are just glorious. Old homes with wrap around porches and rockers galore. American flags perched on the corner of each porch stoop and gardenia’s blooming and smelling-up lawns all the way to the sidewalks like freshly spilled perfume. Multi-colored Lantana lining the flower beds and sprinkled around like bursts of sunshine in some of the more obscure areas of each lawn.

I came to South Carolina to see family. Family that wasn’t originally mine by blood, but is now mine by marriage and by love. I spent the last three days eating meals, attending a baby shower, sharing fellowship, stories and laughter. My grand at the laughter; that loud, guffawing laughter that can only come with people who love one another and their shared faults and shortcomings. 

But what I also found here thru the eyes of my husband was his childhood, his memories and his life before me.  Learning his life through his stories only makes me wish I could turn back the hands of time, and found him sooner, so I could have loved him longer.