Happy 2018!

Happy New Year!!!

Has another Christmas leaped through my life?  How fast it went!  I have started this year full of optimism.  Unusual for me to be in this place at this time of the year.  The darkness of the winter days hasn’t overtaken my mood.

Perhaps, it won’t do so at all this year.  I have been resigned to coping with the low moods all my adult life.  And yet there is always a part of me that believes it doesn’t have to be so.  If I claim I have a choice in how I feel and how I behave, then I must believe it and so prove it to myself.

I don’t have any resolutions for this year.  I have my continuing path of proving myself able to be better at each turn.

One thing I once believed has changed.  I used to believe I was strong and able to withstand pain.  I failed at withstanding. I became crushed in so many places.  Then, I believed I could never heal.  After a while, I decided I could heal, but the crushed places would ever be fragile.  Time never made a difference in the process.  Just lately, over the past year or two, I discovered something has been healing my broken places.  Love.  Just love.  Several girls have come into my life over the past few years.  First, my brother’s granddaughters brought a window of hope. Now, my own granddaughters have broken down walls.

I think about my own grandmothers.  I remember how important they are to me even now so many years after they left this life.  My aunts continue to impact my life.  If I can matter to any of these girls half as much as those women matter to me, I will be loved more than I deserve.

I wonder how things will be between all these little girls as we grow to know each other. And I look so very forward to the love that grows between us.

Happy 2018!  Happy Life! Happy Love!

P.S.  He continues to lift me up to Him.  His continued prayers for me and support of my off-beat self has no doubt had a larger impact on my current state of being than I will know in this life.  My love always loves me.  And besides………..he needs my love to keep him warm!

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Her Name is Sally

Last week, he had me wait for him to go to town after work for some Christmas shopping. This may be normal for some husbands. Not mine.  First of all, he works in the town where we were going to shop.  It is about 30 miles for the round trip.  He doesn’t help me Christmas shop. In thirty years, he hasn’t helped me shop much at all.  He had the excuse for this time that he needed to bring the ice chest full of venison home rather than leave it in the back of the truck, and he thought he would help get something for our son-in-law.  So, I met him at the house. To be very clear, his behavior was out of character.

As we rode to town, we talked about what we could get our daughter’s champion and where we wanted to eat supper. He said he had forgotten his uniforms at work.  We made one stop at a clothing shop. Then, we went to the dealership where he is the service manager to get his uniforms. He went in and got his clothes.  After he locked the door, he motioned for me to come around to the front of the building.  I got out and walked around to look at whatever he wanted me to see.

He showed me a beautiful dark smoke gray Jeep. Big mud grips on 20s. Four doors with a big back seat for grandbabies.  He asked me what I thought about the color.  I told him I thought it was pretty. Better than the black I liked.  He said, “You’d better think it is more than pretty.  It’s yours.” He handed me the keys.  I was stunned and cried.  I still tear up at moments.

I asked him why he got it for me. What feelings were behind it?  He simply said, “I just want you to have it.”  That’s him.  He feels deeply. He cries when he talks about our children and their children and our Lord.  But, he doesn’t express his feelings directly with words easily.

Knowing him the way I know him, this is about the grandest show of love and affection ever. I can never repay with such an extravagant gift for him. I can only continue to do my best to take care of him in every way possible.

I did get a comment from him at some point about my never saying anything negative about his getting trucks or boats or cows or whatever he wants. I don’t. He is a grown man and makes his own money. He takes care of me and his family and contributes to the household expenses. What he does with the rest is none of my business. He is very successful in business.  He doesn’t need me telling him what to do.

I expressed praise at church tonight. He was in another room.  I work for the State of Texas.  I have been working on an audit.  I was a little concerned about locating some needed documents in the allotted time.  He called me on his lunch break the other day.  I told him my concerns.  The rest of the day and into the next day, the audit prep smoothed out and everything has fallen into place in half the allotted time. I have no doubt he lifted up me and the situation with the audit in prayer. My praise is about his relationship with our Lord and his great faith and the positive effect their relationship has in my life.

Why is my Jeep called Sally? When he and I married at age eighteen, we had nothing. No job, no money, no car. Nothing but our love and devotion for each other and a certainty that we belong together. One person in the whole world believed we would make it.  She believed we had that special something that would make our marriage last.  We have lasted almost 33 years.  We started dating 34 years ago next month.  We still like each other.  We still love each other.  I would say she was right.  She was my maternal grandmother, Sally.  The Jeep is a symbol of our success.  Our life, our marriage, our love. So, my Jeep is called Sally to remember that someone believed in us from the beginning.

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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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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!

 

 

The Right Medicine

My grandmother called them “nerve pills”.  She would go to the doctor and get a prescription for anti-anxiety pills.  I wonder what demons chased her.  I wonder why she could be so violently angry and yet so generously loving.

When I was growing up, she would come spend the night and sleep with me in my bed.  She would rub my back for the longest time.  I guess until I fell asleep sometimes.  That was good medicine for me.  I need to be touched to feel loved.  I need hugs and kisses and cuddles and back rubs to feel all is right with the world.

These days those kinds of things are scarce in my life.  There is only him and infrequently my angel baby to provide such affection.  That need in me is why in never put a certain baby down when she is with me.

I must often turn to another kind of good medicine.  A muddy waterhole on the Neches River.  It is actually a legitimate lake.  Neglected and dismissed in the shadow of grander drama queens in the area.  She is home to me as much as this house in which I live.

When the tears flow, I run to her like a mother.  I walk through my abandoned parkway and the tears fall.  I call out to the ones who have gone before.  I call out to Him.  Always, I am met with one or the other of them.  This evening my grandmother, not the one above, but the other one, passed through my mind.  I talked to her and felt her presence.  I could see her clearly and recall images of us together.

I was overcome with despair and grief at the losses I have faced.  But, then suddenly, unexpectedly, something changed.  Rather than ending in resignation and toiling home to endure a season of sadness, I stopped in my tracks and turned to the water.  I spoke out loud.

“I do not want to feel this way.  I do not want to be sad and grieving.  I do not want to feel useless and without purpose.  I will not do this.  I will not despair.”  And I looked out over my muddy waterhole and saw the beautiful lady that she is to me.  I was filled with courage, peace and strength.

Further evidence of my ever improving emotional health.  See my beautiful lady.  She shines gracefully and serenely.  Welcoming my tears and returning them to me as calmness.  She is my nerve pill.  Just to have her in sight is enough to allow me to reach deeply into my soul and straighten out the tangles of darkness.  I never know which of my ancestors will meet me.  My Lord always meets me.  And my lady, the lake herself, patiently awaits.  I live here on a hill above her.  I cannot see her from here, but she in only minutes away on running feet.  Comfort to me for as much of my half century I can recall.  Here she is in her cold winter evening shimmer, veiled with black lace.  Isn’t she lovely?

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