Best Gift Ever

On May 22, 1965, I got the best gift ever.  It fit perfectly (and still does).  It still works.  In fact, the more I use it, the stronger it gets.  I almost lost it last year, so now it is even more precious.  Forty-nine years ago, my mom and dad gave me life in the human form.  (Granted, they purchased the gift nine months earlier… but I don’t want to get technical.)

Several years ago, a wise man taught me that the people who should be getting the card on my birthday were my parents.  Since then I have acknowledged my parents every year at this time… sometimes with a card or letter, sometimes with a phone call or a shout out on Facebook.  My dad isn’t on this plane anymore, so I have to believe that he “knows” I am grateful when I put it out there.  My mom is still vibrant and healthy, so this year my birthday card to her is this blog post.

Mom, I am so grateful that you gave birth to me and raised me to become the person I am today.  I am quite happy with my life, so you must have done a good job.  I know that I was placed in this family because you had things to teach me.  As I have in the past, I will continue to strive to become all I am meant to be.  In the meantime, know that I love you and I a grateful for everything you have given me.

Happy Birthday to Me!

 

 

Human Touch

A friend who attends my spiritual center brought her mother with her for the first time today.  At the end of our service, we all hold hands and sing It’s In Every One Of Us, and many folks get the whole Kum Ba Yah sway going.  My daughter and her husband also brought a friend today, and he had the typical reaction that I’ve seen many have to holding hands and singing with strangers… it weirded him out a little.  But back to my friend…

As we were leaving, I saw my friend and her mother.  She was beaming.  I asked her what she thought and she gave an atypical response to the one I often hear.  She said it had been so long since she had held someone’s hand and she talked about how good it felt.  She even talked about holding her daughter’s hand, which made me realize how fortunate I am that I have a “touchy-feely” family.  My parents always hugged us and kissed us, as I do my children.  Even my youngest son with mild Autism likes hugs and kisses from people he loves.

At the end of my arthritis class at the YMCA, the instructor has participants hold hands for a prayer.  For arthritis sufferers, some of those folks (many of which are 20 years my senior) have a serious grip!

My in-laws are huggers and kissers, as is my husband.  It is one of the good things he attributes to his ex-wife.  My husband still holds my hand when we are in the car, or out in public… or when we’ve just watched a touching scene in a movie.

We know that babies can die from lack of physical attention.  Our skin is our largest organ and full of nerve endings whose stimulation can give us a sense of well being.  Have you ever been to a nursing home where many of the elderly have few visitors?  The first thing many of them do is reach out and grab your hand.

Human touch is critically important.  I encourage you to grab your spouse’s hand, hug your kids, or give your mom and dad a kiss.  Obviously, you have to be discerning, but there are people out there in the world that could use a hug or a hand on their shoulder too.

Fighting for Air and Finishing

Fighting for Air
Fighting for Air

Many of the people I love, and some of those I’ve lost, have tried to quit smoking.  Some have been successful.  Others have not.  I support the Fight for Air Walk because the American Lung Association does help people quit smoking.  My first walk was about the grieving process after losing my dad.  This year’s walk was different.  This was Daddies’ Girls third year walking and after my accident in November, I wasn’t sure I would be able to begin the walk, much less finish it.  As it turns out, I was able to begin and I even finished.  (My left hip is not happy with me.)  Thank goodness for Ibuprofen!

Finished!
Finished!

 

Bedtime Routine (Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge)

Tubing on my son's Waterpik.
Tubing on my son’s Waterpik.

This challenge has got me seeing everything as a potential subject.  After struggling with some shots of some textured toothbrush handles, I opted for this one of my son’s Waterpik, another part of his bedtime routine.  I took some others as well, but after careful consideration this one made the cut.  Taken with my iPhone 5S.  Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge, Week 2: Macro.

The wide spectrum…

The wide spectrum of mothering
To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you
To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food
stains – we appreciate you
To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we
mourn with you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and
disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t
mean to make this harder than it is
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit
with you
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your
experience
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of
motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst
To those who have aborted children – we remember them and you on this day
To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn
that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be
To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths
To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren, yet that dream is not to be – we
grieve with you
To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you
To those who placed children up for adoption – we commend you for your selflessness and
remember how you hold that child in your heart
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate
with you
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have
real warriors in our midst. We remember you.
By Amy Young (http://messymiddle.com)

This was read in my church this morning.  It touched me so I thought I would share.  The link to the pdf is here. It was originally part of Amy Young’s May 10, 2012 post, An open letter to pastors {A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day}, on her blog The Messy Middle   

Fighting for Air and Walking Again

Fight for Air Walk2

A few months ago I posted about Why I Walk in the Fight for Air Walk.  Here we are, one week away from the walk, and I am not as “ready” as I hoped I would be.  My physical therapy has been discontinued, even though walking is still painful and sometimes quite difficult.  This evening I went for a leisurely walk after dinner and now I am on the couch after taking 2 Ibuprofen, nursing a painful hip.  I am determined not to let this keep me from the fundraiser to which I am committed.  So rain or shine, whether I complete the walk or not (or whether I am even able to begin), I will be there to support my team.  If you would like support me in raising money for the American Lung Association in the Fight for Air Walk click here.

The Little Things

Image

 

Although I do say thank you to my husband, I don’t say it nearly enough.  And it’s the little things for which I need to thank him.  Tonight he put these lights up for me.  It really wasn’t a little thing, but he made it seem like it was no big deal.  The thing about it is that all I had to do was mention it and he was right on it.

I don’t give my husband “honey do” lists and he doesn’t expect dinner on the table at a certain time… or at all for that matter.  My husband does what needs to be done, when it needs to be done.  I love to cook and when I feel well enough, I do it.  When I can’t, he does it.  I am such a fortunate woman.

What prompted me to write this particular post is the fact that my husband has really had to do so much to help me for the past several months, and I haven’t felt like much of a partner.  This weekend, we have had time together like we did before my accident.  He did help me with some physical activity to help me strengthen my legs, but he sang my praises and made me feel like it was enjoyable for him… even though I know he could have done much more without me holding him back.  For this, and many other reasons, I love him more than the day I married him.

He supports me in my writing… and creeps my blog.  He picks up a drink for me when he stops at the convenience store.  If he takes the car I drive somewhere, he fills up the gas tank before he brings it home.  He notices when the air is low in my tires and fills them.  My husband looks out for me.

I think if more people did little things for their spouses, there would be more happy couples and maybe even less divorce.  I know my husband loves me when he brings me a piece of dark chocolate from his stash, pops popcorn for me (because I have tendency to burn it), and reminds the server “no croutons” on the salad.

I guess this post is a little reminder to myself to do more of those little things for my awesome husband.  (He’ll agree he’s awesome, but that’s another post.)  But for now, I am going to see if he’ll pop us some popcorn and watch a movie with me.  My guess is, he will.

 

 

Happy Birthday, Suzanne!

I attended service at the spiritual center to which I belong this morning.  Then we celebrated my sister’s 31st birthday with lunch at a Mexican restaurant.  I then spent some time with my two oldest children, their spouses, and my granddaughter.  Beyond that, I have been writing the better part of the day, either in my head or on the keyboard.  So this is the extent of my post today:  Happy Birthday, Suzanne!  

(Incidentally, I am inspired to write about my family and how we celebrate every chance we get… and how I learned that my grandfather was always hoping someone would marry so there would be a party and he could dance… but I’m too tired… perhaps later this week.)  The photo is completely unrelated, but I thought it would complement my sister’s birthday wish.  Suzanne, I hope you got some rest this cloudy afternoon.

My oldest son brought me this Easter lily last Sunday.
My oldest son brought me this Easter lily last Sunday.

 

Rites of Passage

Rite of Passage My son and his girlfriend, just before the prom.  I love this photo because they are on playground equipment, yet look so grown up.  My son will attend prom tonight.  Then he will finish high school and turn 18 later this month.  These rites of passage are somewhat bittersweet (as well as a relief), as my boy is becoming  man.

Traditions

 

My two youngest sons (17 & 11) dyed these eggs yesterday, as is our tradition.
My two youngest sons (17 & 11) dyed these eggs yesterday, as is our tradition.

 

As I watched my sons dye Easter eggs, I thought about our family traditions.  We always put up our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving night.  We go to my in-laws’ for Christmas Eve and my mother’s on Christmas night.  And we dye eggs for Easter.

These traditions help give our family predictability and identity.   Some traditions simply keep us connected.  We used to go to lunch every Sunday after church, but a series of events (losing a pastor, my accident, my brother moving) have made it more difficult and less frequent.  I miss it.

It makes me happy that my 17-year-old son is still voluntarily dying eggs (he shot this video), that my daughter and her husband now spend the night at my house the night before Thanksgiving so we can cook all the traditional holiday dishes, and that my husband and I take an annual anniversary trip.   I look forward to these rituals, big and small.  They help define who we are as a family.

Joseph Campbell’s book, The Power of Myth, addresses the lack of myth in our culture.  Much of the disconnect among generations, lack of familial and community responsibility, and individual identity issues can be traced back to a lack of ritual and story.  One way to remedy this is through family traditions.

What are some of your traditions?