Tuesday, December 31, 2013
I was 11.
(I know you are doing math right now. Stop that.)
She had a bee-hive hair-do, painted fingernails, she sold avon, she LOVED Elvis, (had a scarf of his from what I am told) and she wore those turquoise rings on almost every finger.
She lived only 20 minutes or less from us. But as a kid, that drive to her house seemed like it took
Perhaps it was because I just loved loved loved it when I would get to spend the night there. She lived in a 1-bedroom house. With a kitchen and unfinished basement.
Hard for me to fathom (now) how she raised three kids in this house.
But she did.
And I remember a little cubby she had that was sort of a cut out on the way to the basement. She stored shoes there. I would get in there and pull out all of the high heeled shoes I could find and wear them around her house.
Her tiny house didn't seem so tiny 30-35 years ago.
But I would clip-clop around in those shoes around her kitchen while drinking RC Cola and eating Totinos pizzas.
And later I would remember sitting in front of her while she was in her recliner, wheel of fortune was on T.V., and she would make two small braids in the top of my hair and rubber band them together. The rest of my long blond hair hung down past my shoulders. I remember it being so relaxing. And something I would ask for every time I stayed there.
Only gramma could do my hair like that.
I would sleep either on the floor or couch of the living room. If it was summer, a big box fan was set up. And I would lay right in front of it. Something my own mom would never let me do....but gramma did!
We would paint our nails. Gramma kept a finger nail file in the same case that she kept her cigarettes. Why I remember this detail, I don't know.
(Sometimes we would paint my brother's nails because he didn't want to be left out of our fun!)
(Much to my dad's dissappointment!)
In the morning we would eat something like the equivalent of "super sugar crisp" and gramma would make her coffee and share it with us. Of course, ours was basically milk and sugar with a dash of coffee.
Memories are good.
I wish I had pictures of those memories.
I understand that my gramma was one of those strong/stubborn types.
When it came to medical issues, at least.
To the best of my recollection, she either had lung cancer that spread into breast cancer....Or breast cancer that spread to her lungs.
But I do know that she died of cancer.
And I remember her showing me scars from surgeries. While I was wearing some of my favorite shoes of hers. Shoes that she didn't wear....but still kept stored in her closet of shoes.
I saw what it looked like to lose a part of you.
Except when I look back on the experience, I see it as a warning.
From my gramma.
There were no secrets between us when we were together. Not that she just would reveal details to me....but if I asked, she would tell.
So she told me about her breast cancer.
And while I don't know this for sure right now....I am pretty certain she was about the age I am...or not much older than me.
And she told me.
"I know you have questions. I waited too long. this is what it looks like."
and I saw her scar.
In my small little way, I knew it was a significant moment. But in my little kid way, I will still remember how I raided her shoe closet, we drank RC Cola, ate Totinos pizza, watched Wheel of Fortune, she braided my hair, and my mama picked me up after I ate sugar for breakfast and had "coffee."
When Gramma was sick, I vaguely remember my grandpa and his wife inviting us all to their home for Christmas.
As a kid....it was the "bestest."
I knew gramma was not in good health. That was not a secret.
I'm not sure if I remember these details the way they actually happened, but to the best of my recollection, gramma spent the rest of her days in the hospital.
And we weren't allowed to see her.
But I remember talking to her on the phone
like it was just a breath before this....
"Gramma....can I please come see you?"
"Not now. Let's just talk."
And we talked on the phone.
About my Christmas presents, about Wheel of Fortune, about Elvis, about fingernail polish and high-heeled shoes.
A few days later (as best as I can tell), I was watching my new black and white TV in my room after Christmas.
I fell asleep.
And in my dreams, gramma came into my room.
My closed door was opened and she walked in.
"You are a good girl," she said. "Keep being a good girl."
"Gramma is always here for you."
She sat on the edge of my bed and told me she loved me.
"Okay Gramma. I love you too."
And then I woke up.
My gramma passed away in the hospital that day that I had that dream.
I am absolutely sure....from that day till this one....that God allowed her to speak to me in a dream.
And even if I am mistaken....the dream has always been a gift.
Love you gramma
thanks for the shoes
the big box fan
the nail polish
the Elvis stories
and Wheel of Fortune
I believe my mama when she later told me that
You heard music and saw angels.
You had made peace with your God and Savior
And you wanted us to know that you did.
Your story inspires me to live a better story of my own.
Friday, December 27, 2013
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I know the big picture made small is that lives are touched and saved because of the life and death of my niece.
But that doesn't make me wonder/wish/imagine what her life would be today.
It's a selfish perspective, I know.
But that is just me being human, I guess.
Monday, October 21, 2013
...if you are taking one of my children, during their sophomore year, to the homecoming dance, your dinner may be paid for.
I have a Junior and a Sophomore.
Two weeks ago, they both went to the homecoming dance.
I found out, after the fact, that my daughter (the sophomore) went out to dinner with her date and another couple, and when they went to pay....the tab was already picked up.
I had nothing what-so-ever to do with this ticket-paid-for turn of events.
I have my suspicions...but do not know how this person would have taken care of Nathan's tab last year when he was on a party bus of a bunch of people....all who had to pay for their own way.
The only thing I can guess right now is that there is an angel watching over my kids during their sophomore year in high school. (and if you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I'm not just talking about homecoming tickets.)
Feeling like I have a Sophomore Angel....helping me watch over my sophomores....
Monday, October 7, 2013
(consequently sending me to my knees in prayer)
In keeping with birthday tradition in our house, she got to choose her birthday breakfast. Her favorite cake...angel food with strawberries.
No surprises here.
Which is unlike the story of her birth...which she likes to hear every. year.
Claire was due on the 19th of the month; I had a scheduled c-section set for the 11th; water broke on the 6th; she was born on the 7th. And she has been cutting her own path in life ever since.
Last night as I was tucking in my 12-year-old for the last time we chatted about how special it was to be a teenager and some of the important things to remember during these years. We talked about when she was little and how she used to say that when she grew up she wanted to live in a camper in my driveway with her two adopted daughters. We talked about what she was going to wear for school on her birthday. We talked about her friends. We talked about her. And I might have said something like this:
Now that you are a teenager, it is important for you to know a few things.
I know that you know this, but it bears mentioning...deodorant is a necessity, not an option. Personal hygiene and taking good care of you is important because...
You are special.
Probably more special than you even know...but I know these things and I need to tell you. Again. And again.
You are special.
It is important for you to always remember this. You need to treat yourself as the special person you are. The best person that you want to be is the way you should treat yourself.
Do not ever talk badly about you.
Do not think badly about you.
You are a daughter of the most high King.
That makes you a princess.
Remember that and treat yourself and others accordingly.
And on the same note...don't let anyone else treat you in a way that you do not want them to.
Some may say things or act in ways that hurt your feelings or are unworthy of a princess.
It is okay to stand up for yourself.
There is no reason for you to believe or follow the world if it is not fitting for you.
You are special.
And you have many sisters who are also princesses.
Remember that and stand up for and by your sisters in Christ.
It's okay to cry.
And eat cake for breakfast on occasion.
It's okay to reach out and ask for help.
And even though you have been blazing your own trail in life since before your first appearance on earth,
Know this one thing....
the "okay" sign
Our code for
"I love you this much"
the 3 fingers meaning "i love you" and the pinch being "all the way around the world and back to where we are"
and if there is another thing I can add to this...
as you grow up, I know you no longer aspire to grow up and live in a camper close to my house so we can always be together....
but as you grow up, I can honestly say that my proverbial camper is always parked outside of wherever you are....praying for you no matter where you are.
Happy Birthday, teenager!
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Not sure which emotion I want to feel right now; embarrassed that our lawn hasn't been mowed in over a month and my almost father-in-law showed up out of the blue to mow it, or thankful that Brian's dad came over to mow our overgrown weeds/lawn.
I think I'm feeling both.
Monday, September 30, 2013
Even though numbers are a big part of my life.
But I have found something to the following equation to be true, no matter what the numbers are:
(# of extra curricular activites) x (# of kids and young adults )
is directly related to
(# of hours on the road/in the gym/on the field) PLUS (loads of laundry) Plus (# of times I am so thankful for the help and support of friends and family)
So here's a math problem for all you who like a numbers-sort of challenge
If a mama spends 15.75 hours in 4 days (mostly at the speed limit) in a vehicle
in order to watch 6.75 hours of various sporting events
does 11 loads of laundry at home and 5 loads of laundry simultaneously at the laundromat in the 2 days immediately following the aforementioned sporting events/extracurriculars,
with 5 loads of laundry left to do before the 48th hour of the second day is up....
Exactly how insane does the mama in this scenario go before she snaps?
Just curious...in case you are good with numbers, I'd like to know.
'Cause like I said, I'm not so good with numbers.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
2 kids and a significant other are tied up with football.
1 kid spends her after-school hours running cross-country.
2 kids are in volleyball.
And some bonus kids who are away from home are busy with their own sports. Brian and I try our best to keep up and support them in their respective lives and activities.
Each week, on the night before a game or a meet, the kids all go to a team dinner. Moms of each class take turns hosting the team dinner.
I find such value in sitting down with others and sharing a meal. It's no surprise that this serves as a team building event between the athletes, coaches, managers and all involved. I believe there is even research that supports the the benefits of regularly sharing a meal with your....team.
I guess that is why I am pouting today. I used to host these team dinners. It was a time to re-group, talk, plan, dream, laugh and even argue. No matter the meal or the topic/sport/theme, I can honestly say that I saw the benefits of regularly sharing a meal with my team.
Only we just called it "supper."
And nobody called me "coach." They just called me "mom."
I'm trying really hard to keep building up my team. To remind them that no matter how the game of life turns out, there are always people in their corner. A place to share a meal and people to share it with.
A Home Field/Court/Course Advantage.
But it just isn't as easy anymore. And my team isn't always receptive.
This weekend I had something planned for all of us to do together. I have two willing participants, one reluctant participant, and one who just can't squeeze the time into her schedule.
It's not their fault that I am upset about this. I'm extremely proud of my team and have seen them become great leaders in their own lives.
I just miss the days when our activities revolved around our lives and not the other way around.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Some have asked me if I'm trying to do something that someone else already does as far as taking pictures of the team.
No. I'm not.
I'm organizing a story in snapshots for some athletes whose parents have asked me to do so.
As I do this, I look back at my own Wildcat's story from last year. And this week, of all of them, is harder for me.
We play North Cedar this week. Last year, this was the last game that I was able to see Nathan in the role that he played for so many years.
And this time last year, I didn't know that it would be the last time I'd get to see him calling plays, leading his team, defending and receiving the ball.
This year his role is different. He is on special teams. And his role is no less important. But there are things he misses.
There are some who give him a hard time about this.
But I see how far he has come just to do what he is doing.
And I know that the story could have turned out way different.
It's a new season.
A new story.
And a new normal.
And I'm so thankful for being given a new chapter.
I guess sometimes you have to know what the previous chapter said in order to appreciate the new one.
Monday, September 16, 2013
I stand along the sidelines of a high school football game, camera in hand.
I'm taking photos for the team and for parents of some of the athletes who have requested a photo-score of their son throughout the football season.
I'm pretty good at tuning out the smell of sweat, the spitting, the swearing and other sideline distractions.
I'm pretty good at capturing the guts and heart of the story taking place on the field. Through snapshots.
There is one sound that I cannot tune out.
In the middle of the thundering noise of 22 young men running feet in front of me,
In the middle of all of that I hear a a sound that rings like music to my ears and reaches the depths of my soul.
Spoken through the facemask of one athlete.
That one word and an outstretched arm in gesture to give me a fist pound...
and for those few seconds the entire game stops for me.
Then he runs out to the field and kicks an extra point for the team.
I'm just so thankful for the opportunity to capture the stories of several athletes on this team.
But forever grateful to be a character in the story of #6.
Monday, August 26, 2013
And I take pictures.
I've mentioned that I am taking pictures on behalf of the football team.
It's really quite a nice little gig for me.
It would be quite accurate to say that my heart is totally in this job.
On Friday nights you will find me down on the sidelines, taking snapshots of the Durant Wildcat football team.
And my heart will be under those same Friday night lights, only on the other side of the camera.
You will find my heart wearing the number 4 and filling water bottles and taping wrists.
My heart may also be wearing a headset and calling plays or assisting the line players
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
I have exactly ONE post up over there. It's called "Football is a team game. So is life."
I think I am scared of the word "professional."
And I'm not sure if I should just keep it all here on Write-On, Mom!
Tell me what you think. Click on over to A Well-Storied Life
Should I keep up with the two blogs, or keep them all here on one?
Seriously...I want to know what you think.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Outfits were picked out, lunches packed. Band instruments, gym clothes, binders....
The kids got it all together; my role downgraded to merely spouting off the checklist before they headed out the door.
And taking the traditional first day of school snapshots and my rah-rah pep-talk to get them fired up for the new school year. They used to roll their eyes at me when I would get the camera out. But now it is old hat. Expected.
They still roll their eyes.
As I was getting my camera ready, it occurred to me that this is a temporary tradition. Just because August comes every year, doesn't mean I'm gonna have students in my home heading off to their first day of a new school year. I only get 13 first-day-of-school photos.
And I'm on the 12th first day with this kid:
7th First Day for Tookie:
I was asking the kids how they hoped their new school year would go.
Actually I said "How do you want the story of your (junior/sophomore/7th grade/6th grade) year to read?
Responses were things like: good grades, no drama, go to state in sports, the best jr. prom in the history of our school.....
Mind you, the discussion was forced. I was the only one who really wanted to talk about it. So I forced my pep talk which I wanted to sound like this:
Except that my pep talk came out more like this: