finding happiness in everything

Posts tagged ‘Mom’

Apples to Apples


She called me the other day to tell me that she had gone to her first cousin’s nursery.  As I mentioned in a previous article she loves flowers. It’s something that gives her peace, tranquility, and gives her a productive way to pass time. She was really excited about the availability of herbs there. She exclaimed happily, “there’s Rosemary, mint of all kinds, cooking herbs like basil and Sage – bushes and trees. Your heart will be happy when you see everything.”  Before I realized it we had been talking over the phone for over 20 minutes! The best part was that she could hear me. It was a two-way conversation. 🙂 She and I have not had very many two-way conversations in the last couple years. Her hearing has been slowly leaving her for the last 15 years. And over the last couple years it’s been so bad when she calls, she just tells me something, can’t hear my response, then she’ll just hang up when she’s finished talking. 

She’s in her eighties now.  She and I had a very rocky relationship for the first 20-25 years of my life. On my side it was a love/but-don’t-want-to-be-near-you thing from time to time & on her’s it was a love/frustration thing.  I’m quickly approaching my 40th birthday in a few days & maybe this is why I’ve chosen to write about her.  It’s therapy for me. It’s an understanding of who I was as well as who I am now.  I don’t think that 40 is old, but I’ve always thought of it as a halfway point in life. Now that I’m here, I realize how awesome she is and I was never able to see that before.

Edna Hensley

Mom, me and my brother – around 1980

By age 40 she had already lived a very eventful, energetic, entertaining and absolutely amazing life.  She taught herself to play guitar when she was about 10 years old by watching the older gentleman in town play. She was fiercely independent and generally self-taught in just about everything. She had worked on the farm, went out with her sisters, was a waitress at Blue Circle, and sewed at Standard Knitting Mill. She had a couple of short-lived marriages, experienced living independently, and enjoyed attention as an entertainer. She met Dad in a club (he was the entertaining musician of the night) & joined up with his talent to hit the road as an entertainer. She recorded in Nashville and was courted there by some big-time small names.  She used her resources & connections to boost & mold Dad’s career. When she realized some of the contractual deals he had made in the music industry, she took over and became his manager of sorts. She started negotiating his deals.  With her resources, resilience, and intellect they made a lucrative living.

She married  for the rest of her life, for better or for worse, in 1968. She was 33 years old. She had always wanted children but for some reason biologically could not bear any herself. She prayed and she had almost the entire city praying with her – that she would have children. And one day, in 1976, her prayers were answered.

There was a phone call from a lady that they knew on the south side of town. This lady said if you still want a child you can have my youngest, but you have to come and get him right now.  Dad went to pick up the ugliest baby boy in the world, who would become my brother. (If you ever read this dude, you know I love your ugly face.) They had him for several weeks when they received another phone call from another lady. This lady said to them, I’ve heard that you wanted a baby and I’m on my way to the XXXXXX Home for Children with both of mine. To make a long story short, this is where I come into the picture.  There’s an argument over whether I was two-and-a-half or three months old at the time, regardless I was a baby. I was a pretty sick baby, so she leaned toward my experienced Aunt Evlou to help for the first few nights.

At 40 years old she adopted my brother and I. At a point in her life when other people would be considering retirement, taking it easy, trying to finalize how they want to enjoy the empty nest years, she became a parent. I never gave it much thought in previous years, but now that I am approaching that very same age I realize what a heroic feat that was!

At this point in my life, I am very close to the empty nest years. I cannot image chasing a little one around and changing diapers at this age! Most of mine have moved away and I only have one teenager left at home (on a daily basis) – who will leave me soon I’m sure. I am considering the future, and how I would love to retire one day. I’m dreaming about buying an RV and traveling, or purchasing the boat my husband wants and sailing up & down the coast for a few years. I’m considering how I want to rearrange the rooms in the house and could create an office and workout/hobby room in those empty spaces. My Mom was considering how to convert a music studio into a nursery and buying formula, diapers, while seeking parental advice. I wake up in the middle of the night to text messages asking me for gas money; she woke up in the middle of the night to check on two infants breathing.

To be continued…

 

I’m not like her, am I?


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Noticing the changes that occur in all of us as we grow older is chilling. It’s a reminder that this life is not forever. It can also give a subtle reminder to enjoy each day as though it were our last.

My mother was always very happy while she was working in her flowers. My grand mother was the same. I also very much enjoy all the time I get to spend outdoors and my flowers make me happy too. Isn’t it funny how we become so much like those who raised us? Some say that they are nothing like their parental figures, but if taking an honest look, we all become like them in some ways.

There was a day when I would cringe and possibly fight someone if they said, “You sound like your mother.” I was very young then. I have a birthday fast approaching and will be nearing the mid-point in my life. These years, especially the last 4-5,  have been my pinnacle period where I have been happy, satisfied, loved, content and enjoying the day-to-day. I have also come to understand my mother in ways that I never thought possible. So now that I can see her with different eyes, I feel it a compliment if someone compares us.

Here she and dad are a few months before they adopted my brother and I

Here she and dad are a few months before they adopted my brother and I

 

 

There are stories that aren’t appropriate to hear when you are young that fall on your ears as you mature. Your parents had a life before you. Their personalities and previous life experiences might impress you if you take time to listen.

My mother was a beautiful young lady that turned heads everywhere she went. She had an appeal about her that attracted many people. She was also very forthright and spoke her mind. She was called blunt, uncaring, hard, and mean. She was a savvy business woman that knew what she wanted; this drive and desire overflowed into all she touched. She was obsessed with continued learning and was enthralled by conversion with someone well educated. She was firm yet loving and she was stern yet compassionate. She had some less desirable traits as well, but don’t we all?

The thing I admired her most for was taking me in. She was 40 years old that year, in 1976. I was just a few months old.

To be continued….

Ending a day with Pooh – wait, what?


A few days ago we had a family talk with the kids about being a stronger & united family unit instead of pointing fingers at each other & declaring “I didn’t do it” or “It was him, not me”. It went well. Each of us came up with something to do to take responsibility for our family’s success.
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Fast forward to the next day…

One of the boys took his part of the family talk serious. He decided he would do more things around the house to help out. We were all getting ready to go to supper & didn’t see him inside. When I looked outside, he was raking leaves in the front yard. 🙂 I smiled & was proud of him.

I walked over to where he was & told him I was proud of him. Nick came outside & saw him next. He also reinforced this positive behavior 🙂

We all went to supper & ate. In the truck on the way back home, I heard one of the boys talking about something stinky on the bottom of their shoes.

Fast forward again…
We are home, changed into our night clothes, and my son (previously praised for his good deed of leaf raking) is in the kitchen under low light scrubbing his shoes.

From the other side of the house, I hear Nick yell, “Chrissy!!”
It was pooh. [Pooh everywhere.] My son was scrubbing pooh off the tread of his shoes in the kitchen sink. The kitchen had tiny flecks of pooh and pooh juice all over it. There was pooh on the wall, the window blinds, the sink, the dish drainer, the “clean” dishes, counter tops – you get the picture?

My son had stepped in a massive pile of pooh while raking the leaves and he thought he was doing another good deed by cleaning the pooh off his shoes…in the kitchen sink!

We spent the next half hour with bleach in the kitchen cleaning the result of his shoe cleaning, which resulted from the good deed yard raking, LOL!

I love my boys, I love my boys, I love my boys!!!

The Sport of Motherhood!


The Sport of Motherhood!
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The definition of a Mother in my mind is a selfless, patient, observant, willful woman whom loves children; not just the fruit of her womb, but all. I get my definition of Mother from my mom’s example in life.

There are no classes to enroll in that prepares a woman for motherhood. There’s no fancy degree awarded once this position has been granted. There are levels that can be achieved, but there is no Final Exam, EOC, or ECA.

Here’s my version of motherhood:
LEVEL 1 (Preparation): mental roller coaster. Begins with conception. Part 1 First Trimester – either begins in absolute bliss & gratitude or anger & frustration with the male involved in the act.
Part 2 Second Trimester – acceptance and love. Love being pregnant. Loves the baby. Accepted the “baby shape” her body took on.
Part 3 Third Trimester – ends in absolute bliss & gratitude or anger & frustration with the male involved in the act.

LEVEL 2 (Trial Run, warm-up, Beta phase)
This level is inevitable. All new mom’s know everything, yet know nothing. Receiving unsolicited advice not acceptable, yet asking questions is. During this test run, babies are accidentally scratched, bumped, diapered too loosely or tightly, baby poops on the last clean outfit & is destined to hang out in the buff cutely, formula is mixed wrong, the blanket is forgotten in Spring/Autumn/Winter, and the bottle runs out before mom makes it back home for more. (Not everyone breastfeeds.) During all events, mom looks around to determine if anyone saw her & is deeply embarrassed even though each oops is private & unnoticed! She learns from each mistake and grows.

LEVEL 3 (Dentistry & Theater)
During this level, use of recently acquired cry decoding skills are tested. Mom may think she’s failing. Baby needs mom – clingy yet squirms when held. Many new acts & scenes are created to satisfy baby. New voices, faces, dancing & twirling, musicals are performed. Accents are developed & mom begins to speak baby to adults unknowingly. Once the culprit is discovered (evidence of tooth or fever, unsolicited advice is given, or grandma steps in) mom is determined to help the teeth make an entrance! Many dental therapies are attempted (gels, ice, rags, toys, massage, pacifier, etc). After 1st & 3rd tooth arrive, mom’s an expert!

LEVEL 4 (Case Study/Analytics)
Testing commences on food studies. New cereals/foods are introduced. Gag reflexes are studied and results are documented and shared. During Pediatric check-up results are proudly delivered. Poop Analytics begin. More unsolicited advice is administered.

LEVEL 5 (Olympic Training)
Several new sports are mastered.
A. One hand hip hoist – picking up baby from floor with one hand free
B. Hurdels – running & jumping from one side of the house to the other while jumping gates, toys, or sippy cups to reach baby just in time before certain disaster.
C. Diaper Dash – changing diaper quickly in public before anyone notices…or smells it.
D. Clean Sweep – leaping, running, crouching, and reaching quickly to tidy the house when unexpected company or guests arrive
E. Spelunking – skill of saving baby from heights (cabinets, refrigerator, tables, stairs, or banisters at incredible speeds
F. CrossCountry Running – Running at gravity defying speeds to catching baby across a yard, field, park, or grocery/retail store.
G. Geocaching – locating a sippy cup/pacifier when dropped or thrown into a field, thicket of brush, driveway, park landscape, or retail store dump bin of merchandise.

LEVEL 6 (Literature and Audiology)
Reading to toddler. Teaching new words & phrases. Baby learns to mock & repeat…everything. Embarrassing and unsolicited phrases acquired from other children & family members. Baby repeats said phrases in public or church. Mom buffers impact, apologizes & corrects baby.

LEVEL 7 (Electrical Engineering)
Learns how to revive electrical devices after food, slobber, water, or impact damage. Items include VCR, DVR, DVD player, MP3, IPOD, cell phone, remote controls, PDA, etc)

LEVEL 8 (Gymnastic Floor Exercise)
Lego high stepping, lil green army men dodge, baby gate hopping, toy reach, baby swing, and toy ducking.

LEVEL 9 (Acceptance, Accolades & Admission)
This level occurs multiple times: Daycare, Preschool, Kindergarten, Middle School, High School, Driving, Graduation of any form, College, Engagement, Marraige, Grandchild announcement.

To sum it all up, mothers are a special breed of people. Any woman can morph into this status, if she is selfless.

Happy Mother’s Day Mommy! I love you 🙂

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