Happy Birthday to Me!

I spent the day at home. Took a day of vacation from the 9 to 5.  I sat on the deck in the heat most of the time.  I would come in and cool off and get something to drink occasionally.  Crazy. Yes. I know.  Southeast Texas in July is hot and humid. Sweltering is a good word to describe the heat.  I needed to be outside.

I have been battling the abyss some this summer. Sitting outside detoxes my mind and spirit. I spent some time reviewing my resource notes.  I like to use my birthday to reflect and assess my situation.

I am pleased at what I found when sitting and listening to my own thoughts. I am not as down as I thought I was.  I have had a few days of aggravation at the 9 to 5 and in dealing with some things at church.  The frustration was at my own performance and attitude rather than other people.  I complain about others when it is really myself with whom I am angry.  I think I have let go of the irritation and I am already feeling better about things.

There was a special set of events today that had a profound effect on my well-being. I got to enjoy the gazebo he put together for me.  Our son called and we had a great visit.  Our daughter called and we had a great visit.  Our daughter-in-law called and we had a great visit.

Another great thing for my birthday-I had an iPod that had become like an IV for my soul. I had my music with me any time I was not at the 9 to 5.  Then, I broke it.  I have had a difficult time since.  I stopped walking at the track. I feel down more than usual.  I was simply crushed without being able to listen to Dean Martin or Martin Denny whenever I wanted.  But, he presented a small package to me last evening.  A new iPod!! I am so grateful!

Now I have to figure out how to make it work again. Our daughter advised me on what to do. I want to wait until I have a clear head to fool with it.  But, I have hope for music again.  I did not realize how critical music is for me until I had it at will then lost it.

I found another gift today. As I was sitting outside, I noticed a tell-tale purple petal on the ground near the porch.  The banana tree has baby bananas!  Year before last, we ate a couple from our tree that produced late in the season.  They were very small. They had a pleasant and less sweet taste than the store-bought variety.  These have developed in time to perhaps have a full hand of them to eat later this summer.

Our daughter had sent books and movies from my Pinterest wish board earlier this month. A card and perfect gift from him.  Calls from my beloved children. Time at home feeling Texas summer to my bones.  No cake or candles. No happy birthday song. None needed.  Happy Birthday number 51 to me!  Thank you to the family for making it wonderful. Thank you to Him for making it wonderful. Thank you to him for being wonderful.

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Orchid Petals

I have noticed a change.  I am sure it has been occurring more and more in recent years.  But, I realized it this  morning.

As is common with children as they become teenagers and young adults learning to use their wings, mine would sometimes respond to unsolicited advice with a less than positive attitude.  “Mom, I’ve got this.”

I had the privilege of spending time with our daughter at her first full dress rehearsal as a theater teacher.  She had the parents of the middle schoolers attend.  I spent time doing make up, encouraging quiet backstage, helping actors get to various places.  Afterward, as we were driving home, she and I chatted on the phone.  I suggested some things and she happily agreed.

Then, again this morning, I suggested another idea and she readily agreed.  I have a similar response from our son these days.  When I suggest some option to his situation, he doesn’t put me off.  He actually welcomes my input.  Whether they take my advice or not is irrelevant.  I just appreciate the chance to be part of their lives in a new dimension.

I remember when they were the ages of my great nieces.  At five, it’s just about playing and having fun.  At 20 months, it is just about playing and being cuddled.  I love being able to watch the older one change from toddler to girl and the younger from baby to toddler.  But, each changing stage is poignant.  Reminding me of time racing and lives changing.  Please slow down just for a minute or two each day old world.  My love is still pouring out for that little one of yesterday.

My mind goes back to a teenage boy I once knew.  He was new to town and his amber eyes melted my heart.  He was strong and stubborn.  Stronger and more stubborn than me.  Yet, his love for me was tender and passionate.  There is a man’s man in his place now.  Still strong and stubborn.  Gentler and more patient than the middle days. Nevertheless, he is not a bear I want to cross.  I am still amazed at how much he loves me.

Our life together is the best part of me.  I told someone recently, my life mainly consists of my 9 to 5, a little housework, going to church and tagging along after him.  Tagging along is the best part of my life.  I love to tag along with him and with our children. You should see the path of orchid petals they leave behind for me to enjoy!

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Busy Orchiding

I finally got to “unwrap” my birthday present this past Friday! He bought tickets a while back. He took me to see Travis Tritt perform! It was a wonderful event. The songs brought back so many memories of our past.

We have had so many wonderful years of living and loving together. We have had our problems, of course. But, we have continued to love each other through it all. We laughed as we remembered the songs. And we joked about some of the lyrics.

He has been helping me get a project done and I appreciate it so much. It’s one thing for someone to tell you they support your plan. But, actually helping move it forward makes all the difference.

Saturday was spent apart. He went to work on things for hunting season. I took one aunt to see the other. We had a smaller group this time, but still had a ball like always! Shrimp gumbo, brownies and homemade ice cream on the menu. Old fashioned dresses and bonnets for the group photos.

Our daughter had her iPad full of photos from the wedding and honeymoon. The aunts spent a long while looking through all of them while the cousins peeked over their shoulders.

Sunday was my first week to teach in my new full time position for the senior adult ladies class. Teenagers have nothing on them for being rambunctious! I love to teach and am looking forward to the continued experience.

After service Sunday evening, we caught up with a couple from church and had supper. We are in the process of getting acquainted with folks at our new church. She is precious and has been warm and welcoming to me from the first day. But, then, so has everyone else. We have been blessed to find a church family so full of love for the Lord and for others.

Looking forward through the fall weekends, I have lots of plans.  Festivals, birthdays, Hallowe’en, hunting season.  It will be the holidays before we know it!

The weekend brought many orchids. Monday, not so much. Maybe Tuesday will be back on track. Meanwhile, I will savor the fragrance of my weekend blossoms looking forward to many more.

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Monday Blues

I don’t hate my job.  But, Monday is a challenge for me.  Not because of my job, but because of all the undone things from the weekend.

I always seem to have too much to do on the weekends and in the evenings.  But, I don’t stay as busy doing as I should.  I like to sit and drink coffee.  Therefore, I stay behind.

I keep trying to remember I am not 25 and super woman anymore.  I used to go out in the yard and work all day in the flower beds.  I used to start at one end of the house and clean top to bottom, back to front, in a day.

Not only do I not have the physical energy and stamina, I don’t have as much enthusiasm to do so.  I want it done.  But, other things attract my attention.

I keep trying to figure out how to do all of it.  Work all week, cook supper, keep up with the washing, do all the dozens of little things that need doing to keep house. When do I get to the ceiling fans?  What about the rose bush that needs a good feeding before it gets too cold?

So, why didn’t I get a lot done this past Saturday?  Well, he got his four-wheeler running. He took it to the woods.  No way am I staying home when I can ride with him!  Of course, it was rough and tumble and wore me out.  But, I would rather be with him and be behind on chores any day of the week.

Someday, I will have time and energy to do all of it and keep up with everything.  But, not at the expense of time with him.

What about the upcoming weekend?  The women will be gathering again.  I have gumbo and ice cream to mix up.  Four generations of women laughing, talking, and just by being together, gaining courage and strength.

Mother would be so pleased. Is so pleased.  I am sure she knows about it.

We have lived in the house Mother built for ten years now.  No. She doesn’t haunt it.  But, when my little nieces come to visit, I feel Mother there with us.  When we all gather to visit at her sister’s house, no doubt her spirit comes to linger and laugh, too.  I certainly feel her closer after the visits.

We are still living her legacy.  Love, laugh, pull together to face the difficult things life brings.

The dust and the weeds will have to wait.  Love calls. I answer, “Here I come!”

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Tears

My little nieces came to visit this past weekend. They are wonderful little folks!

But, it is hard on me when they leave. I cry for an hour or so each time they pull out of the drive to go home.

This house is so painfully quiet most of the time. Our own children have been out and on their own for ten years already. He and I ramble around trying to keep up with things.

I miss my children. Yes, I miss the adult children they are now. But, I really miss my little ones. When they were babies and small children and even big children.

I tried to have special times with them every chance I got. I was selfish with them, too. I didn’t let the rest of the world have much of their time until they were too old for me to keep them close.

I suppose I knew even then these days would come. Days when those amazing grown-ups would call me Mother and I would look in wonder at the marvelous people who honor me with that title in their lives. I suppose I knew even then I would forever miss my little ones.

And so I cry because the little ones who come to visit me now will someday be grown-ups and I will miss their little selves.

Such is life. Hurling through time at the speed of love. Life is far too short to be in a hurry. My motto for many years. Better stop and experience this life at this moment. Don’t rush headlong into the future. It doesn’t exist. Only now is real. Only now fills the heart with love. Only now allows memories to build the beautiful life I so long for.

Let my eyes fill with tears and my heart ache only for a moment. Then let the memories sustain me until the next now happens. When I will not rush to do, but pause to be.

 

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The Women

Once again the women gathered. This past weekend my mother’s two sisters, their best friend, and several more of us gathered for dinner and laughs. There were four generations represented. The oldest in their mid-seventies and the youngest at eighteen months.

We ate dessert first. Then after dinner and a lot of talking and laughing, we donned Mardi Gras beads and crazy hats for our group photo. My aunt figures out something silly for us to put on each time for the pictures.

The littlest two girls loved the beads. They loaded all they could around their necks. Our baby girl finally dropped hers down to her ankles and kicked them off!   Big sister’s pile must have weighed half as much as she did!

This is a new ritual for us. My mother’s youngest sister has been diagnoses with Alzheimer’s. One would have to pay attention to realize she is having problems. When we are all together, she laughs and visits right along with us. We will try to get as many laughs and hugs in as we can in the time each of us has left.

What else is there? Love. In the end, that is all that matters. In the end, it is what made us and what sustains us. He is Love. From His Love He created us. Through His Love He saves us. To His Love we will return.

To love and worship Him through Christ. To keep His commandments. To keep His command to love each other. When one really gets to the center of that concept, everything else is a natural outpouring of true love. It is hard to love others. To make our way to true love. It is risky and dangerous to extend the heart and mind to love. To love and be loved.

And so, Lord willing, the women will continue to gather. To love and be loved. To learn to love even more. To teach the little ones how to love and be loved. Just as our mother’s before us taught us to love. In their memory and honor we gather to sustain each other and grow another generation to love and sustain each other.

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Her Wedding

Our beautiful daughter has married her true love in a wonderful event this past Saturday. She combined the old and the new throughout.

The ceremony was held at the more than a century old farmhouse of our friends. We used Skype to connect to Oahu. Our son and our daughter-in-law were able to be with us through the latest satellite technology. Antique chairs combined with iPhones and iPads to have us all together to see them wed. My office mate first mentioned the satellite link up to me. I hadn’t considered it until then.  Her father gave her away while I held the camera for her brother and sister-in-law to watch.

Afterwards, we blended the current idea of cupcakes for the bride’s cake with her grandmother’s cake plate. The table also held her grandmother’s punch bowl set and was laid with the Battenberg lace tablecloth belonging to the same grandmother, my mother.

We indulged in sirloin steak at a table set with even more of her grandmother’s treasures. The tea cups are a collection of my mother’s. We use them every chance we get to have a special event. No two are alike. There are a few dozen in the collection. They always elevate things to something more with their delicate loveliness.

She used the flowers she had arranged for his and my vow renewal last year. She carried the bouquet she had made for me as well.

Her dear friend acted as official photographer for the day. If that wasn’t gift enough, she presented the bride with a handmade quilt sewn by herself and her grandmother.

Old and new. Tradition and modern. Very much like the bride. Understanding and honoring the old ways while expressing her own imagination and creativity in modern ways.

The local restaurant we used for the reception is owned and operated by a wonderful couple. He makes trademark cinnamon rolls as lagniappe occasionally for diners. We were generously provided more than we could possibly eat! The guests were thrilled with the take out boxes of cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, mints, and chocolate cake.

We wished the bride and groom away with traditional rice. They flew out to Maui the next afternoon. They are there now and will join her brother and sister-in-law on Oahu in a few days. Yes, there is a tropical system headed toward them. Prayerfully, it will pass far enough north to not interfere with the honeymooners’ plans!