My first born turns 45!!

Well, I was going to write this post one week ago today when my son actually turned 45, but I was out of town tending to my grand kitty and so my draft of my his 45th birthday remained in limbo. Sort of like our relationship lately…but I digress.

Wow! Where has the time gone? My ONLY son turned 45 Oct. 12th!! I was 18 when I gave birth to Troy in 1969. Here he is playing ball in 1975…Little ball player

I was wondering who else might have been born in 1969…so I did a little research: hmmmm

Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lopez, Donnie Wahlberg, Jack Black

Jennifer Aniston, Tyler Perry, Marilyn Manson, Chaz Bono

Catherine Zeta Jones, Renee’ Zellweger, JUST TO NAME A FEW…

Troy’s dad and I were married but were not together. My mom was by my side the day Troy was born for 13 hrs. of hard labor and subsequent C-section. I was a child having a child!! I was scared to death and miserable!! Even though the “shotgun wedding” was well intentioned, the marriage was doomed before it began! I discovered I was pregnant in Jan of my senior year. I married in Feb. Due to major morning sickness I was forced to drop out right before graduation. I never considered adoption or abortion and my son was born the following Oct. Maybe my son would have had a better life I I had considered adoption? I don’t know. I just know that I loved him from the moment of conception and couldn’t consider any other way. My mom agreed to help me and be a support.

So, six days after Troy was born we went home to my parent’s house. That was not what I had envisioned. Going home to my parental home with a new born son when all my friends were going to football games etc; was not part of my life plan! Hmmmmm…

My mom had given birth to my little sister just two years earlier, so Troy’s #1 playmate those first few years was his Aunt Tammy…Christmas pals

I loved my boy, but he had to compete for the affection of his grandparents, since they had a little girl that was born late in their lives. It was so unfair, but a fact of his little life.

Troy’s dad went to Viet Nam and eventually served me with divorce papers so he could remarry. I worked, I dated and sometimes dated men that weren’t good father figures for Troy. But then, when Troy was 5 years old things turned around for us when I met up with an old school friend (the brother of one of my closet girlfriends)and we married. We were now a trio. Troy’s step-dad and I agreed that he should adopt Troy so that when he began first grade he wouldn’t have to be questioned about the change in his last name. Troy’s step-dad and I met and got re-acquainted when we met in a bar after a night of drinking. That should have been my first red flag. But, as we often do when we are young and stupid we ignore all the warning signs.

We were together 10 years. Troy was a teenager by the time his step-dad and I split up and the damage had already been done. The bright side in those ten years was that Troy had two little sisters that were born!! 1977 - 26 yrs. old (2)

Theresa was born in 1977 when Troy was 7 1/2 yrs old. Tanya came next when he was fixing to turn 10 in 1979. He loved his little sisters and was a great babysitter! I heard much later in life when they were all grown that he used to put on rock concerts in the living room with his buddies when we were out and he was in charge! LOL His little sisters were told to sit on the sofa and not move while he and his buddies entertained them. I’m surprised that we never got a call from neighbors.

Anyway, there’s much more history and much more I could say, but suffice it to say I miss my boy! You see, Troy hasn’t spoken to me in almost a year now. I sent him a beautiful birthday card that spoke from my heart in secret hopes that it might open a door. Maybe it will – it hasn’t so far. He knows how to reach me. In fact, maybe he’ll read this post. He knows about my blog. In fact, the last time he got mad at me…it was because of this blog. The time previous to that it was because of Facebook.

Maybe you understand a little bit more why I don’t really like all this Social Media crap. Your thoughts?

I am NOT my mother – or at least (in my dreams) I’m NOT!

My mother could be quite abusive when I was growing up.  She was physically, verbally and psychologically abusive from time to time – but I never thought of her that way until very much later in life.  She is still alive and 90 years old.  I haven’t seen her in person for the last five years, but here’s a pic of her today: ImageMy brother sent me this picture.  I was terribly shocked when I saw it!! My mom always kept herself up!  Her hair was always done, makeup just right, nails always polished etc;  Mom lives in North Dakota. (I live in Texas).

Don’t get me wrong – I love my  mother.  I’ve always loved her, even after I became an adult, addressed some of the “abuse issues” and recognized her shortcomings.  She did the best she could with what she had to work with.  Her upbringing wasn’t so great either.  I’m not excusing her negative behavior – just recognizing it for what it is.  

For as long as I can remember, I did not want to be like my mother. Primarily because of her “negative personality traits”. I really feel awful when those traits manifest themselves in me!! But it most cases – I really and truly – AM NOT MY MOTHER!

1) My mother has never sold a thing in her life. (I love to sell and have made a decent living selling everything from toys, home decor, furniture to insurance). Mom was a waitress almost her entire life. I think she was in her 70’s before she quit waiting tables.
2) My mother never dieted her entire life. Although she was never what I would consider overweight until she was over 40 – she has been ever since. No matter – she was happy just the way she was. You never heard the word “diet” leave her lips and she ate what she wanted always. (Not this girl! I started having weight issues when I started having children – and it’s been a daily battle ever since.)
3) My mother wasn’t “crafty” and hated sewing! She always worked outside the home, and when she was home you would find her tending to the needs of her family or watching TV. (I, on the other hand, have always loved crafts, sewing, gardening, decorating etc;) In fact, I recall at Christmas time mom wouldn’t decorate the house – so I would get whatever junk I could find in the house to decorate with so our home had a more “festive” flair during the holidays.
4) My mother doesn’t read. (I love to read and read every day! I read fiction and non-fiction alike and always have at least one book I’m reading). The only thing I ever witnessed my mother reading was the newspaper! I don’t think I ever saw her read a Women’s magazine – and I know I never witnessed her reading an actual book.
5) My mother wasn’t a “social butterfly” as I have so often been accused of being. Mom was a “workhorse” with a strong work ethic but beyond work and her home she didn’t do much. She definately didn’t “get together with the girls” ever, that I recall. She didn’t have a lot of close friends and everything she did outside of work and home she did with her husband.
6) My mom never baked cookies – or anything else for that matter! She was a good cook but my birthday cake was always from the bakery when I was growing up! (I love to bake and bake often. In fact, you will find me baking every day in December to make up goodie trays for friends. I baked with my kids when they were little and I now bake with the grandkids.)
7) My mom was not a church going woman. The only time I saw her darken the doorway of a church was when I was (as a child) singing in the choir. (She and dad would leave right after I was done singing). I went to church with playmates that had invited me and that early experience planted a hunger in me for the things of God and for church! (I’ve been more “in” than “out” of church for the past 30 years now – and am in church 3 times a week currently.)

For brevity’s sake I won’t go on about all the ways my mother and I aren’t alike…but would like to expound more on all the ways WE ARE ALIKE.

1) My mom & I are both very affectionate! If she knows you and likes you == get ready – cause a big wet sloppy “smooch” (as she would call it) is coming your way! We love to kiss and hug and hold the ones we love. It’s really kinda weird cause neither of my grown daughters are the “kissy, feely” type even though they got plenty of affection as children.
2) My mom & I both love to “nurture” with food. It’s the way we show our love for our family and friends. I get a great deal of comfort from knowing my pantry and frig are full and that I can whip something up if we get company. Mom always had a snack cupboard for the grandkids when they came over and was always cooking for her family.
3) My mom can be harsh, short-spoken, judgemental & snarky! I don’t like the adjectives, but this is the one I have battled all my life. I know I’ve offended friends and family by being too short-spoken or blunt at times! I hate that!! I’ve credited it to being brutally honest – which makes it more of a thing of pride. Well, I’m here to say, honest or not – it’s still not nice. I’ve worked very hard on this character trait that I inherited from my mom and I know it’s improved. It’s probably played a crucial role in why I am a believer now and try to stay “prayed up”. I recognize my inability to change the inner man without God’s help.
4) My mom instilled in me good grooming. She advised me to keep myself “fixed up” for my hubby – not laying around the house in sweats and always making sure my hair was done, and my clothes were pressed.
5) Mom and I both have a very solid work ethic! She was always a hard worker and extremely responsible about not calling in sick unless absolutely necessary. I emulate her in this regard.
6) My mom was a mother at 17. I was a mother at 18. Alcoholism and the abuse that comes along with it have played a big role in the women we are today.
7) Last but definately not least – I pray that I have my mother’s health history and have 30 more years to live – so that I can rectify some of the wrongs I’m done (see #3). Here’s what mom and I looked like 10 years ago when we traveled up North to celebrate her 80th birthday:
Mom & Linda 2004

Sorry for the “scrapbook” image – My hubby Jerry and I are pictured with mom on the left. My baby sister and I are pictured with her on the right.

Suffice it to say, I miss mom. But after seeing the pic that my brother Jim sent – I’m not sure I want to see her in the condition she is currently in. I would much rather remember her with her hair done, makeup on, smiling at the camera. What do you think?

My Daughters Inspire Me to be a Better Human Being!!

As I wind down from a great Mother’s Day weekend I am filled with awe and wonder over the two wonderful & beautiful daughters that I have!  I am so blessed to call them mine and filled with gratitude over the realization that they have grown into such awesome women! As a mother you often pray and hope that you will have a positive impact on your children and the adults that they become. But, rarely do we think about the reverse.  Rarely, do we think of how they as adults might impact us as parents or the effect they may have on our lives.  More specifically, and in commemoration of Mother’s Day – how our grown daughters may effect us as mothers!

ImageTheresa, Linda, Tanya – July 4th, 2011

I became a mother for the first time in Oct. 1969 when I gave both to my son.  That means I’ve celebrated 44 Mother’s Days!!  Wow, how time flies when you are having fun!  It hasn’t always been sunshine and roses by no stretch of the imagination – but if anyone would have told me how wonderful it would be to be the mother to two grown daughters – I would have gotten here quicker!!  

Theresa is mother to 5 children. Tanya is step-mother of one.  They have both suffered disappointment and heartache but have come through it gracefully.  

Theresa is a fun-loving, gregarious, outgoing personality.  She lives her life to the fullest among many setbacks.  She is a single mother that works very hard to provide for her family.  She’s creative & talented and loves her kids! She inspires me to be more tolerant & understanding of those around me.  No matter what race or religion you are, Theresa will be your friend.

Tanya is a more reserved but a very kind & generous personality.  She prefers a more “private & quiet” existence with her Police officer, husband, Rob.  She has great business & money sense and loves to bless others with the fruit of her labor! Because of Tanya’s influence I have found myself being friendlier with the girl at the check out counter.  Tanya inspires me to be more kind and generous with those around me and to avoid keeping score.  No matter how little or much she has, she is always planting seed in the lives of others.

This weekend it just became so much more apparent to me of how blessed I am to have these two beautiful women in my life!  It is so much fun raising little ones, but when they are grown and I see all that they have become – I can’t help but be thankful for the way God has moved in their lives and blessed me, as their mother!

ImageTanya, 34, Theresa, 36 – 2014

Friday evening, Tanya drove in from Wichita Falls, TX to spend some mother/daughter time together.  She’s a Type A, hardworking lady who rarely takes time off as a Realtor. She took me for a manicure/pedicure shortly after arriving and then we met her sister at the Theater for a movie.  Theresa had already blessed me with some really cute sandals, a wooden cross she had made and a Daytimer to keep track of all my projects!  ImageAren’t they cute?  They are very comfortable, too!

ImageThe picture doesn’t really do justice to this beautiful cross that Theresa made me.  Maybe I should have it on a blank wall rather than this busy wallpaper?  But, this is my prayer closet – a place I thought was appropriate for it.

Naturally, and as expected, neither of my daughters would let me spend any money this weekend! I am so blessed!! Tanya knew that after taking care of grandsons as much as I have and feeling the pain of a 20 lb. weight gain over the last 3 years that I was needing some “retail therapy”.  So, Saturday we had a “girl day” of shopping.  It still amazes me at how frustrating it used to be (when Tanya was a teen) when we went shopping. We never liked the same thing and she was (and still is) so tiny that the clothing she wanted and that was age appropriate was too large for her petite frame.  In order for clothes to fit, she had to shop in the children’s department or have adult clothing altered. She would get so frustrated and I would get so tired of even trying to help her find something!  We didn’t shop well together at all!  Nowadays, we love to shop together and both always find something pretty and new!  What amazes us most is how often we will spot something and call attention to it, only to find out the other was looking at the very same item!  Our taste is clothing is very similar now.  I guess my tastes have gotten “younger” and hers have gotten more mature?  Not sure, but we sure have fun helping each other put outfits together and trying on clothes together.  

We took a break while hubby met us for lunch at Cracker Barrel.  He doesn’t like Cracker Barrel much – but it was “all about me” yesterday (Tanya made me promise)…but I compromised by using an Olive Garden gift card Tanya gave me to take him to his favorite eating establishment today after church.  

I am a grateful person.  Gratitude comes naturally to me. But, today I am especially grateful! I received 6 text messages this morning from different girlfriends wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day.  I also received a beautiful (very private) letter from my hubby that brought tears to my eyes.  While at church, my sister-in-law gave me a beautiful card that had a very personal, sincere loving message written inside.  It also made me cry.  Then, just a little while ago after getting home from Olive Garden my step-granddaughter, Lani wrote a text that said, “Happy Mother’s Day! Thanks to you, you brought a beautiful lady in this world that takes care of my dad and loves me like her own.  I am so happy you are my family! Have a beautiful day, Maw Maw! I love you.”  Wow, what more could a mom, grandma want?

I am truly inspired by all this kindness and love to be the best human being I can be and to pay it forward as often as I can.  A more recent quote I read that I truly try to embrace says, “A rejected opportunity to give is a lost opportunity to receive”.

Happy Mother’s Day, friends! Inspire someone as my daughters have done me. It costs nothing and the rewards are immeasurable.

How quickly time passes!

I really begin to feel my age when I realize that my 2nd born child turned 37 today!  OMG, do I feel old!!  Theresa was a C-section and my first daughter.  Here she is all grown up:  ImageShe has always been a beauty, even when she was little.  I have such fond memories of her birth, unlike my other two.  All three of my children were C-section, but Theresa’s birth was planned two weeks prior to my due date.  Before the delivery I was asked if I minded if nursing students watched the delivery from the observation window overhead.  I was also going to be numb, but fully conscious for the delivery.  Since, I barely remember the first week of my son’s life (from over sedation etc) I was very excited to see & hear my daughter come into the world and share it with the observing student nurses.  I wanted a girl so bad and didn’t know ahead of time what I was having (like they do nowadays). Theresa was my biggest baby, weighing in at a mere 7 lbs. 4 oz.  Watching the doctor pull her out of my body, and the loud sound of suction is as vivid today as it was 37 years ago.  Hearing her cry for the first time was amazing!  I was and still am so blessed to have this beautiful lady in my life!!

Theresa is the daughter that has blessed me with 5 grandchildren.  Her oldest, Christian (and one of four sons) will be graduating from high school in a few short weeks.  You have heard me speak of Ethan and Kash on this blog quite a bit.  That’s because I’ve had the opportunity to take care of them both while Theresa worked.  ImageThey love to play in the sink.  Theresa is their mother.  Ethan is now in school, so I don’t get to see him as often, but Kash and I are still best buds!  ImageHe’s smiling because the other day he discovered that he could reach the pedals on Ethan’s old bike.  Our goal this next week will be to teach him how to pedal it.  With 5 children, Theresa has got mothering/parenting down to a science!!  When I took her out to lunch today for her birthday she shared with me how she just doesn’t relate to young mothers who have one child and are always stressed! LOL  Having babies has been a breeze for her!  She was always more of a dare devil then her younger sister.  She gave me plenty of worrisome days!  One of her favorite sayings when she was little if there wasn’t enough going on was “Mom, I’m bored”.  OMG!! If I heard that once from her I’d heard it a thousand times!  I’ve often referred to her as my “material girl” because material gifts is her love language.  Since I’ve never been rich by no stretch of the imagination – showing her love that way was often a challenge.  ImageThat’s my girl, tho!  I love her to the moon and back!  She is so uniquely her own person in more ways than I can count!  She has added more than her share of gray hairs to this old head of mine, but it doesn’t change the love I have for her.  This picture was just taken a couple weeks ago at her sister’s house.  She finally had a chance to get away and see her sister’s new home and spend some much needed time away from work and children.  Her other two have given me much joy as well.  When they get older and get involved in school activities, unfortunately, I don’t get to see them as often, but Hannah, 16 and Preston 13 are still awesome kids!

ImageOn this day, Hannah and I had gone shopping and had pedicures.  It was just a little quality girl time.

ImagePreston, on the other hand, really likes hanging out at the water park and playing board games with Maw Maw.  He’s my game playing boy!

As much as I love my daughter and the grandchildren she has blessed me with she knows that I don’t want her to have anymore. When she comes by the house and holds my other grandson, Jackson, I fear she’s gonna get “baby fever”. But, it’s not for me to say and not in my control.  Regardless…I’m so happy to call her mine and so proud of how far she’s come in her 37 years.  One thing I can say for sure – as long as my Theresa is around there will never be a dull moment!!

Happy Birthday, Theresa! “We’ve come along way, baby!” Mom loves you!

Jackson Dane or Ella Harper

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Unfortunately, I’ve been MIA for awhile. Don’t confuse that with “inactive” because although I have been missing in action I have definately not been inactive or idle during this time.
July 2nd was the beginning of my official “staycation”. The grandkids that I care for are spending the entire month of July with their dad and other grandparents and so I only have Granny to tend to this month. That has allowed me to spend more time on some hobbies I enjoy.

In addition to getting back into walking in the morning, the first week of July I spent alot of time sewing/quilting. It was nice to not have to clean up my mess each evening because “little hands” wouldn’t be arriving in the morning to get into stuff!! 🙂 And of course, every summer I have at least one DIY project planned while the kids are gone. Last summer it was sanding and refinishing my kitchen cabinets. This summer it was re-doing our home office. So, Monday I prepped and taped. Tuesday I painted the walls and ceiling. Wednesday I painted all the trim and baseboard. Lastnight and today we’ve been working on putting it all back together. Pictures posted soon.

But, the best news of all – yesterday my baby step-son came by to show us ultra sound pictures of his new baby!! They just recieved news that they will be new, first time parents in February! They had a difficult, etopic pregnancy last year and so we were exercising caution until the doctor made it official and yesterday it became official! We and the happy parents are so excited!! Although a healthy baby is the priority we are in agreement that we would like a boy. If they have a boy he will have the same initials as his daddy, uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather – J D for Jackson Dane. If a girl, she will be named Ella Harper (daddy’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name).

I guess my Maw Maw t-shirt will have to go back to the seamtress for an additional monogram! Yippee!!

Image

My “Ruth” came out!

My mom (Ruth) is 88 yrs. old and the bane of my existence.  I love her more than words can describe.  Even so, she has caused me great pain and heartache through the years.

No, she wasn’t blatantly abusive, at least not by most people’s standards. But, that’s another story and for brevity’s sake, one I won’t go into here.

Anyway, that being said – the grandsons & I went to the park on Monday.  Ethan is 4 (almost 5) years old and Kash is 11 months old.  I take care of them 3-4 days per week and am having the time of my life! They are such a JOY!  Ethan just got a new bike to keep at Maw Maw’s (that’s me) house.  It’s a 16” inch with training wheels.  (Please don’t leave me yet – keep reading because “Ruth” is about to make her appearance.)  The park is just down the hill from our house, the entrance being only 2 blocks away, but on the return trip the last block is UP A STEEP HILL.

This trip to the park was only our second trip with the new bike and unfortunately, because of the hill Ethan had to walk his bike down the hill and on the return trip push it up the hill.  Suffice it to say, he’s better at riding the bike than he is at pulling or pushing it!!

It’s very challenging indeed to help a 4 yr. old with his bike while pushing a baby in a stroller.  We had a blast at the park and playground, but unfortunately, on the return trip up that hill Ethan kept running his bike into the curb or his heels!  While he was sweating and complaining (90+ degree weather) and we were starting and stopping, I was becoming more and more frustrated.  It didn’t help that everytime I would stop the stroller’s movement to help Ethan, Kash would start fussing!  Grrrrrr…

Needless to say, I found myself grumbling and grousing at my 4 yr. old grandson for his lack of ability to pull that bike up that stupid hill!  I hated what I was experiencing, but more so felt guilty for the “I’m sorry, Maw Maw” that I kept hearing from Ethan.  The poor little tyke…got a glimpse of the “bane of my existence” – RUTH!

One of my favorite quotes that I’ve heard from Dr. Phil is…”you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge”…and so I’ve spent my entire adult life recognizing and acknowledging those times when I needed to change and this was one of them.

I promptly got on my phone and called Paw Paw who fortunately, was at home.  He drove down the hill, loaded up Ethan and his bike and by the time they pulled into the driveway Kash and I were sweaty, but home as well.

 

 

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