I am a daughter. I am a wife. I am a mother. But through it all, I have been and always will be, a woman.

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

It’s Been 1 Year….

…1 week and 4 days.  376 days since I lost my mother.  And it still feels like I lost part of myself.  But I did.  I lost my mother.  One of my two best friends (the other is my husband).

My sister lost her mother.

My boys and my nephew lost their grandmother.

My husband and my brother-in-law lost their mother-in-law.

My aunts and uncles lost their sister.

My cousins lost their aunt.

I’m not the only one that lost.  I’m not the only one hurting still.

But it feels that way.

Grief is lonely.

Everyone grieves differently, so everyone grieves alone.  My sister and I both lost our mother, but we grieve differently.  She doesn’t understand exactly how I feel, just like I don’t understand exactly how she feels.

But I know we ALL still hurt.  There is a hole in me.  There is a hole in them.  None of us are complete anymore.  Memories are great, but they can’t hug my sister and me.  Pictures are wonderful, but they can’t send birthday cards to her grandchildren.

I wish we could see her one more time.  I wish I could hug her one more time.  I wish I could say “I love you” one more time.

But I’m glad she’s not hurting anymore.  I’m glad she isn’t struggling for breath anymore.

I’m happy for her, but I still cry for us.

I love you, Mama.  I miss you.  I always will.


Lost & Gained

I’ve written before about people I’ve lost.  I will do that again here (one specifically), but I also want to write about people I’ve gained.

My father-in-law was a wonderful man.  He was kind, sweet, smart, caring, generous, and loved life.  My oldest boy, Z, would always make him laugh.  All of his grandkids did, but this blog is from my perspective, so please pardon me if I don’t mention the other grandchildren more.  He called him “Sport” and would always tease me and J about the “fits” that kid was giving us, and would continue to give us in the future.  He loved hearing the new things Z had done, learned, said, in a way that only grandparents can.  Z was only 18 months old when he lost his grandfather.  How we lost him is another blog, but suffice it to say it was a freak accident.  A sudden loss.  An unexpected hole blasted in our hearts.

But our family has grown since then.

My husband and I have given him another grandson, M.  Wow, my father-in-law (and us) only THOUGHT Z was a handful!  Whew!!! M exhausts me just watching him.  He is so full of energy, and mischief.  I never know what he’s going to say.  Or do.  I have not yet figured out how his mind works, and frankly, I don’t think I want to know.  He makes me laugh daily.  And shake my head in disbelief.  And rant and rave.  And pray for patience.  And blame my husband for all of his bad traits (even though he clearly got them from my side of the family.  Shhhhh!  Don’t tell J that I admitted that.)  He is a charmer, though.  He can smile and you have to smile with him.  He laughs and you have to laugh with him.  He brings joy (and frustration, lol) everywhere he goes.  His Papaw would have LOVED him.  I don’t mean just with his heart, but with sense of humor, with his mind, and with his heart.

M would have had Papaw wrapped around his little finger, too.  I have no doubt about that whatsoever.  M would have pulled one of his stunts that make me want to strangle him and Papaw would have laughed, shaken his head, and said (as he did so many times with Z), “He’s all boy, isn’t he.  It’s terrible to spank a kid just ’cause he feels good.”  So, of course, I couldn’t have spanked him then.  No matter how much he needed it.  Yes, M would’ve loved Papaw just as much as Papaw would’ve loved him.

My husband also gave his dad a granddaughter.  We found out about her just a couple of years ago (another long story), but she is a joy.  Her mother is from a previous marriage, and H just turned 13.  Only 13.  And she’s 5 inches taller than I am.  *sigh*  Yes, I’m vertically challenged, but that’s beside the point.  H is pretty awesome.  She got all of her dad’s best traits.  She’s sweet, funny, smart, easy-going, and caring.  Her Papaw B (she calls her other grandfather Papaw) would have loved her, too.  See, she’s just like he was.  H takes after her dad, and her dad takes after his dad.  Seriously, it’s like they were cloned.  Well, except she’s a little goofier (actually more than “a little”), and she’s a girl.  This family is pretty amazing.

And H would’ve loved her Papaw B.  He would’ve spoiled her just as much as her other Papaw.  He would’ve given her the moon if she’d asked for it.  She’d have wrapped him around her little finger, too.  Just like she has her dad.  But I have to say, she doesn’t over-step.  She doesn’t push the limits.  She’s just so quietly sweet, that people want to give her things just to see her smile.  She doesn’t manipulate like so many kids do (including my boys that know exactly how to get what they want out of Mamaw B.)  She’s just H.

My husband’s brother, K, has also gotten married, gained two step-daughters, and had a little girl of his own.  My father-in-law would really have loved to see that.  K had some problems that slowed down his family creating abilities (a third long story, and not mine to tell), but everything seems back on track for him.  As much as I know my father-in-law would have loved to see the family that J and I have gained, I know in my heart that K’s life now would have brought him more happiness and peace than any of you can possibly imagine.

So we lost one.  And we’ve gained six.  But each of those six lost one they never knew.  And that was a treasure of which they can never know the value.

I do like to think of my father-in-law looking down from Heaven and smiling.  Happy at what he left behind.  Proud of how we’ve grown.  Laughing at our children and how they make us pull our hair out.  Yes, I can see him laughing at us all.  And that makes me smile through all of the tears.

"Home Is Where the Heart Is"

Pliny the Elder sure had it right.  Home IS where the heart is.

I have moved 22 times in my life.  I’ve had 18 different addresses (yes, I admit, I moved back in with mom a time or two, and I discovered college dorms weren’t THAT bad).  I have lived in 3 states.  But only 1 place is home.

I spent the years between 3 and 15 in a very small community called (believe it or not) House.  I say that is where I grew up, though maturity is another matter entirely.  The closest town is a half hour away.  Growing up I was bored to tears.  I could NOT wait to get out of there!  I was going to go to college.  I was going to be a lawyer – a Prosecution Trial Lawyer.  I was going to be rich, have a very nice, large house.  I was going to drive a Jaguar.  I was going to marry a rich, powerful man and have 2.3 children.  I had PLANS!!!  Note the emphasis?

Guess what?  Not much of that happened.

I went to college, but I dropped out after 5 semesters.  I got married, and I got divorced (thankfully with no kids!).

Then my life got back on track . . . sort of.  I went back to college and got a Bachelor’s in Accounting.  Somehow over the years, I lost all desire to argue and confront people so being a trial lawyer was definitely out.

I remarried a wonderful man even if he was as broke as I was.  Well, maybe he wasn’t THAT broke as he wasn’t paying off student loans.  We have 2 beautiful, sweet, bratty,charming, brilliant (okay, maybe just very, VERY smart), loving, annoying,  boys that drive me crazy and I wouldn’t trade for all the gold in the world.  Most of the time.  Other time. . . . another story.

My plans changed.  But home?  That never changed.  I was always still that small town country girl from House. I still wore t-shirts, and jeans with boots most days.  I still wasn’t comfortable in a fancy dress.  I still liked to walk anywhere I could, and my idea of fun was curling up with a good book in a quiet corner somewhere.  And being who I was, the place I called “home” never changed.

Oh, I used that word to any residence I had, but it was just a word.  Home (with a capital “H”) was always that small community where I grew up.  I could still remember the way the sunlight would shine down through the tall pines and make the water in the creek sparkle where I would walk in the summer afternoons.  I could hear my grandmother’s voice calling me to come out of the woods and eat.  I could remember the sounds of the whippoorwills calling at night.  I remembered Home.

And I went home.  The place I thought was boring growing up suddenly seemed like the place I wanted to raise my children.  Quiet, old-fashioned, moral, peaceful.  I didn’t have to worry about drive-by shooting, gang related violence, or drug deals at the end of my driveway.  The local gas station still closes at dark.  My boys play outside without me having to supervise every move they make.  I don’t have to worry about strangers talking to my kids.  I even live on a dirt road if you can believe it.

And Home now is just about 1 little within-walking-distance mile of Home where I grew up.  Thomas Wolfe said “you can’t go home again.”  He may be right.  Home may not beexactly what it was while I was growing up, but it’s close enough for me . . . and my family.

My heart, my family, and I are Home.

As a Daughter…..

Family is important.  They are the first ones that love you, and the ones that stay beside you through life.  They’re behind you when you need holding up, they’re in front of you when you need to be led.  They are there at the beginning and at the end, though some faces might have changed through time.  Family is important.  At least they are supposed to be.

My mother isn’t in the best of health.  Details are irrelevant, but it will suffice to say there is a lot she can no longer do.  She has to rely on others.  That should be me.  I help her change the sheets on her bed, I help her move furniture, I help her do anything she asks.  And therein lies the problem.  She shouldn’t have to ask.  I should visit her more often and see what needs to be done.  I should do more than just call regularly.  She doesn’t always like to admit when she needs help.  She doesn’t always tell the truth when I ask her how she’s feeling.  I should see for myself.

My father lives too far away.  His house is almost an hour from me.  We could meet in the middle.  But we don’t.  We could get together for lunch more often.  But we don’t.  We could make a point of visiting him more often.  But we don’t.

Life gets in the way.  I work.  I have small children.  I have a never-ending list of chores to be done at home, such as laundry, dishes, etc.  I have to help with homework (and make sure it’s even done).  Weekends are usually devoted to housecleaning and laundry that is let go during the week.  It’s hard to visit.  It’s hard to check on my parents.

I should do more, but I don’t.  I feel guilty, but that doesn’t help.  I make excuses to myself.  I’m too busy right now.  She could ask for help more.  He could come visit us.  But in the end, that’s all they are:  Excuses.  I can’t control them.  I can control me.  I can control my own decisions and my own priorities.  I need to change what I can.  I need to be a better daughter.  I will try.


Author and Editor of Literary and Arts Magazine, The Woven Tale Press

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