Thirty-three Years

Has it been that long?  And yet, who are those two kids in a couple of grainy photographs, getting married.  Eighteen, no jobs, no higher education, no car, no place to live.  No wonder Mother was so upset.

But, that feeling we had for each other would not be silenced.  We had to be together, no matter what.  And I didn’t want to start out living together without a license.  If we had, we might not have stuck it out.

A month later, Pasadena.  A perfect little apartment upstairs on the end.  I remember how he smelled when he would come in from work.  Like sunshine and clean sweat.  He had long brown curls and no mustache, then.  We laughed and played and fought and made up like the lovers we were.

Along came pregnancy and a lay off.  Finally, Uncle Sam put him to work and we took our baby son to California.  Our baby girl came along while we were out there.

We hadn’t been back from his service duty long when an industrial accident took most of his left hand.  People forget he has, I hate to use the word disability, but that hindrance.  After he got that business settled, we set in to making a home and raising our two little ones.

Adventure on the river during a few summers was the main thing. Then, he found a passion for longhorn cows.  The reconnection Mother made to her cousin during this time sustained me through many difficult years after Mother passed away.  She had longhorn cows and we got going with the Butler Sale the year we lost Mother.

I wasn’t long, it seems, Daddy went on to be with the Lord, our son graduated and moved off to school.  He hasn’t resided with us since. Then, our daughter graduated and moved off to school, only coming to reside after graduating and during a couple of job transitions, totally only a few months.  During, he lost both his parents a few months apart.  His father’s was sudden and unexpected. This was a dark and difficult period for those two young lovers mentioned at the beginning of this passage.

He started taking me to the deer lease with him.  Riding in the woods and learning how to hunt with him pieced our hearts back together.

Our son fell in love and got married.  Just that fast.  Our daughter married and then figured out he was not the right man.  So, we all went down and loaded her up and brought her home.  That is the night I realized my little family was going to be strong, after all.  She married the right man a couple of years later.

Our son and his bride have taken me on adventures in Hawai’i and California.  And after several years of wondering if they would, they produced a grandchild for us.  Five months later our daughter and her honey produced another grandchild for us.  Two girls.  Two suns to rise and set each day.

We are officially middle aged.  Grandparents.  We still like to have adventures on the river and in the woods.  Our favorite thing is playing with our girls.  I have a couple of great-nieces we love to play with, too.

We work hard to make sure we don’t take each other for granted.  We don’t want “settled” love.  We want to keep the passion growing deeper and sweeter with time.  I don’t know where I end and he begins.  And, yet, I am still shy to share some things with him.  His is the only opinion I truly care about.  He is the only person who can actually hurt my feelings.  He is the only person who has walked through the fires of hell with me and hauled me through the rough places not letting me quit.

So when I say Happy Anniversary to him, I really mean thank you; I love you; I can’t breathe without you; you still make my heart skip a beat; I am still trying to make sure I am pleasing to you; I need your love to keep me warm; you are my Rock. Happy Anniversary.

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Holiday Countdown

I should be wrapping presents. I have almost everything purchased.  We sent a box to California, today.  I hope it makes it before Christmas.  If not, it will still be full of goodies when it gets there.

Last week, I refinished a table. Photos below.  I used chalk paint to redo an old coffee table I found at a junk shop.  I filled it with votive candles and two birds over a crocheted doily a dear lady made for me years ago.

This past weekend my niece brought my little nieces for a visit. Among the fun was cocoa served from an old tea pot alongside homemade shortbread frosted with milk chocolate and Christmas sprinkles.  We used the table featured in the photos for this event.  It was the follow up to an adventure in town walking through a park filled with Christmas light displays.

We walked and raced round the creek and pond, pausing to look at the lights and get out of the way of the train. We opted to walk rather than wait with a two year old in the line to ride the train.  It was a great option.  She slept soundly, barely moving all night!  This matters because she was in bed with me.

Our daughter and her loves will be here this weekend to have our Christmas with them. I should be wrapping presents.

I am enjoying the season more this year than I usually do. It feels a little more magical for some reason.  A sign of healing?  The grief of so much loss is releasing its grip, perhaps? I am believing Him for that.

I care greatly about several friends and some family members whose grief might never be relieved this side of Heaven. This season reminds them of the moment tragedy struck. The decorations that were so brilliantly beautiful before that moment of disaster now glare and blur through the tears that still linger in their hearts.  I pray for His Peace to pour into their spirits and His Joy to fill their hearts.

I am grateful I have joy this season. I will savor my joy with praise and thanksgiving.  Not smugly, but carefully.  Mindful of those who do not have it.

And yet, I want some moments of wild abandon. Exuberant joy overflowing and bursting out.  Thrills seeing lights and tinsel, pretty presents all wrapped under the tree, my heart beating rapidly as the children pull into the driveway.  Our son and his bride and our little Princess will not be here physically. But distance is no master to Love.  They will be here in my heart for Christmas.  I will hug our daughter, her groom and our “borrowed” grand all the tighter for it.

Well, enough for now. I should be wrapping presents. Here is my pre-holiday project.  I am well-pleased with the outcome.

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Simple Ambitions

 

I have such painfully simple ambitions.

Once upon a time, you could eat off my floors.  Ceiling fans to baseboards, pantries and potties.  All were kept immaculately clean and tidy.  Even when I started working at the school, I had enough time and energy to keep up with things.

Between working a full-time 9-5 and reaching my 50s, I don’t keep up so well.  We discussed the possibility of hiring some help for me.  At least someone to do the ceiling fans and floors.  I’m not sure how our puppy dog would feel about someone being in the house with us not here.  So, that is on the back burner for now.

One thing I have noticed.  The messes don’t bother me as much as they did when I was younger.  I don’t think my standards have lowered. Rather, I have begun to have more compassion for myself.  Historically, by this time, I would be having a nervous fit over the condition of some areas of the house.  Don’t get me wrong, the house is not filthy.  Things are not piled up everywhere.  Still, things are not as pristine as I would like them to be.

A couple of my phrases from my life book are:  über tidy and operating room clean.  Some of my other catch phrases include words like immaculate and other such “perfection” words, it is easy to understand how I fall ridiculously short of my goals.

Yes, it is my intention to “put wash away warm”.  My poor beloved knows how to dig socks from the hamper of clean clothes.  I console myself by noting that the clothes are clean.  I have heard of those having to dig in the dirty clothes for something to wear.  Never at my house in all my years of housekeeping have any of them had to do that.  Please forgive my boast.  I need something today to reduce the level of guilt over my neglected floors and rugs.

So, my house is not looking the way I would prefer.  My schedule is looking great.  I have several events upcoming.  Nearly every Saturday has some special something to occupy my time and energy.  I will have a large quantity of memories scheduled for accumulating over the next several months.  Memories with my church family, my nieces, cousins, aunts, daughter.  Memories with him and our son and his bride and the Jewel of California arriving soon.

That accumulation more than offsets any anguish I might feel over the accumulation of dust bunnies in the corners.  Über festive, immaculately pleasant, are those good phrases? Maybe I will adopt those to replace the more difficult ones.

Perfection is being in the presence of my family and friends, him, Him, and especially that Jewel on the way.

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Still Too Much

Last week I did a photo group of what I was taking with me for five nights in San Dimas, California, via plane trip.

I still had two shirts I didn’t wear. I opened my Nook for about 3 minutes on the flight out there.  I didn’t wear or need the jacket I took.  I would take it again anyway.  I left my damp swimsuit with my son’s bride to run through the wash and stow.  We had a late evening swim the last night I was there in the newly filled pool.  I plan to need it there, again.

Hollywood is an experience! The crowds on the street were a little overwhelming. Like midway at the fair here in the country.  I did love the opportunity to see some things in person.

The pier at Santa Monica is crazy. Well, the folks on it seem to be. On the pier and along the boardwalk we saw some interesting characters.  I know what slacklining is now.

I got to put my feet in the Pacific again. I always try to take a photo of my feet in the sand at the edge of the water.  Just one of my personal traditions or rituals.

The best part of my trip was simply the visit with two of my favorite people in the world. Just being in the house and watching them living was worth more than anything.  Did I mention how talented his bride is at decorating their home?  So lovely and tastefully done.

Well, actually the best part of my trip was this:

I had the privilege of feeling our little one kicking and squirming. I got to hook up to Facetime and share a photo session with him.  It was a shoot of her perfect little face and a wonderful little hand and two little feet with legs crossed at the ankles.  The wonders of technology exposing the miracles of Him!  It is all so surreal.

It’s good to be back home. With him.  But, come on November!  I am ready to fly again.  Next time we go together.  For a very special someone’s Grand Entrance!

There was a lot of too much this past week. I took too much stuff in my bags.  I was stunned by too much traffic in the Greater Los Angeles area. The concept of that little girl growing is still too much for me to grasp.  I can’t completely write or even think about her.  I become overwhelmed with too much emotion, still.

I will set aside a day, soon, to let my mind and heart go. I will let it all be too much and when my tears have been shed, I will know it is all much too wonderful, still.

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See What I Mean?

My friends are skeptical about my claim of packing light. This post will be unusual because it is photographic evidence and comments regarding my “luggage” for my trip that starts tomorrow.  I will fly to California tomorrow and spend five nights with my son and his bride.  We will stop off to get a few products like deodorant and shampoo before we go home for the evening.

Exhibit One

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Foreground is jeans and tennies for wearing. See the backpack in the background?  A pair of pants, a pair of shorts, a few t-shirts, swimsuit, pajamas, undies are assembled on the bed.

Exhibit Two

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Rolled up to stow.  Jewelry and undies in the small bags.

Exhibit Three

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Room to spare in this regular student size backpack (Wal-mart).

Exhibit Four

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My purse has a journal and small notebook that I carry most of the time everywhere.  Plenty of empty space here.

Exhibit Five

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These items will load in the morning.

Exhibit Six

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Purse, backpack, white denim jacket, Nook bag.  I weighed the whole lot and it comes in at 16 pounds or so.

Almost ready for take-off!

One thing wrong with the whole deal.  He won’t fit in my bag.  Already the pain of missing him has started.  I will have to enjoy the company of our children doubly for his not getting to be there, too.

 

A Ticket

I have a ticket to fly to California! I am going to see our son and his bride. And I am going to touch a tummy to feel her kick, I hope!  She seems like a half remembered dream.  I can’t get my mind wrapped around the reality of her existence.  I see the pictures of the ultrasounds. And, yet….

I have felt a shift in my perception of my world, too. I don’t know if it is the recent birthday or the slowly developing thought of her coming.  Perhaps, both? Things I thought I wanted are fading. Even the things I thought I wanted for grands is changing.  I had some preconceived ideas about what I wanted to do and how I wanted things to be when they came to our house.  I may be letting go of those ideas in favor of more meaningful ones.

I was thinking about what my grandmothers meant to me. What happened when I was with them that made the difference? What made them so golden in my memory? They listened to me. They wanted me near them always. They just paused and connected with me.

I could tell them anything. Especially my maternal grandmother. I could say whatever and she would never be shocked.  Only one time did she fuss at me.  I was mad at my mother. I was about 18.  She told me to get over myself and be respectful and compliant with my mother’s wishes.  I don’t even know what the details of the disagreement were.

Time. Not toys, games, events, tea parties and costumes. Time is what they gave me. Never too busy to sit and snuggle or hold me in their laps.  Even as a gangly teen, my one granny would hold me in her lap. Our big adventures amounted to walking to the cemetery on a dark night or watching the full moon rise over the lake.

My paternal grandmother would let me do her makeup for her. I would smear the green primer over her smooth rosy cheeks.  Then, the foundation and powder. I think that is all she used.  I was quite young when I started.  I don’t recall ever seeing her correct my work.  She likely did when I wasn’t looking.  Later, after her stroke, when she would come visit, I would help her dress.  She didn’t really need the help, but it was a few moments of intimacy we both loved.

My own children were young when my mother left this world. They have some memories of her. His mother saw them to young adulthood before she left us.  Both of them left their mark on the lives of our children.  Our daughter is so much like both of her grandmothers. Our son, too, has some ideas traced to them.  His love of fun and ability to connect to people are part of that legacy.

What legacy will I create for the California Dream? I want her to know that she is loved as much as one human being can love another. Already. Even though she is elusive in my mind, she is rock solid in my heart.

I will be on a westbound airliner, soon, little one. The love is already pouring out of my eyes and down my cheeks.

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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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