Monday, August 25, 2014

My First No First Day Of School

On more than one occasion this summer my husband and I have expressed the relief of no longer having to buy school clothes or supplies and to no longer have to plan things around school schedules. When we have been out with friends and they have voiced their concerns about standardized testing, school accountability, demographics, staff, bullies, etc etc... my husband and I have just exchanged smiles knowing that we are both thinking something along the lines of "been there done that and we are not going back"

So, no one was more surprised than me when this morning as I rounded the corner on my way to work I found myself tearing up as I saw a group of parents and children anxiously waiting at the bus stop. As I made my way through the neighborhood, on every corner there were children with their new clothes and backpacks, and parents snapping photos to commemorate the beginning of a new school year. By the time I got out of the neighborhood I was sobbing.

Where the heck did that come from????

Wasn't it just twelve hours ago that I was sipping a glass of wine feeling gleeful that for the first time in over twenty years I wasn't spending the night before the new school year packing backpacks or ironing clothes or running out to the grocery store for things to put in lunches? Now here I was having to redo my makeup before work because the realization that a season in my life had come to a close.

So with that epiphany, I decided to have a good old pity party for myself. I was ready to sit down in my stretchy pants and eat a bag of Oreo's while I waited for the grim reaper to come and take my old past my purpose on this earth self home to glory. But literally as I was typing this blog post, my daughter called me to tell me about her first day of school. This time as the teacher. It was nice to hear about lesson plans, class mascots, new faces and the first day down with many more to go. It felt good to listen to her share her day - kind of like she did back in the day but different. So maybe I'm not quite past my purpose. I may not be needed to shop for school clothes or pack lunches, but I'm always here to lend and ear to my kids on their first days or any other days they need me.

Now on to those stretchy pants and Oreo's.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Doing Life

Today I remembered my blog.

It started with my son showing me this picture from instagram.
(yes I know there is a watermark on the photo which indicates the photo was not actually purchased by the poster but I'm feeling sentimental so I'm choosing to overlook that)

Seeing this photo made me remember that I had a picture of these three boys young men back when they were still boys. Since I have had multiple computer crashes through the years, I could no longer find said picture on my hard drive, but I remembered that I had put it on my blog.

So since I had not visited my blog in two years I started to read through my posts and I realized I missed posting ( is it just me or does this all vaguely sound like the children's book If You Give A Moose A Muffin?) Anyways since two years would make for a very long and boring post, I will use visuals of the highlights.
So as indicated in the first photo, this happened:

Yes! My last baby bird finished school!

Just a few weeks before that this happened:

Baby bird number two graduated from college!

A few months before that, this happened:

Baby bird number two got engaged!!

But a year before that THIS happened!!!

Life got so much sweeter because baby bird number one gave us cupcake !!

Life is good!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Politically Incorrect Father's Day Post

I have a couple of girl friends that consider themselves radical feminists. If you are one of those friends please stop reading this post. Trust me when I say that you will not enjoy it because there will be no man-bashing or trash talking of men in this post. Nope, today I will proudly highlight the many reasons we need men in our lives.

There has been a growing trend in the media lately to characterize men in a unfavorable light. You can turn on almost any sitcom these days and see a male lead portrayed as either a bumbling, clueless husband/father, or a slimy, over-sexed deadbeat just looking for his next female conquest. Anytime there is a show that has this type of male character in it, there is sure to be one or more female characters that are identified as being the smarter more able person. I'm not sure why or when it became desirable to marginalize the male gender but from my viewpoint it's a disturbing trend that can adversely effect future generations.

I was blessed with positive male role models in my life. My dad and my brother being the first. Without them I wouldn't be the person I am. Through my dad's love and commitment to his family, a sense of worth and belonging was instilled in me. Growing up with my brother cultivated my sense of humor, as well as teaching me how to "take things" and "dish them out". (He also taught me how to be tough as I was his personal target for every snowball, spitball, rock, BB etc.... but that's a different post all together and I've totally gotten over those things and I'm not bitter at all..... really.....not at all) Learning these things didn't happen over night or by osmosis. They were picked up little by little at every family dinner we all sat down to, every vacation we went on, and every argument we had over sharing the bathroom and phone. ( yes future generations that will read this, we only had one phone and "gasp" it was attached to the wall) At the time they didn't even seem like significant learning experiences, but now I can see how they effected my life. You see through my dads example, I learned how a woman should be treated by a man and when it came time for me to find a man to share my life with, I knew I didn't have to settle for the first one to come along. No, I held out for a man who loves me, gladly serves as the head of the household, models for his daughters the way a man should treat a woman and shows his son how a man should be a man. Through growing up with my brothers torment example I was well equipped to roll with lifes ups and downs with a little bit of humor and a lot of backbone.

Now, if you are one of my feminist friends and you didn't heed my earlier warning and are still reading this, you might be thinking that I am some sort of shrinking violet that gladly defers to the men in my life on every subject. Let me just clarify that my mother is a strong competent woman who raised me and my sisters to be strong competent women, and we in turn raised our daughters to be strong, competent women. I simply refuse to buy into the notion that somehow men are no longer relevant or influential in today's contemporary society. We need men! Not just as donors to keep the world populated, but as leaders who are willing to step up to the task.

So, to all the dads, brothers, uncles, male role models out there being a positive influence in other peoples lives, let me just say, you are needed, you do matter, and thanks for not shirking your responsibilities as men. Happy Fathers Day!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Good Stuff

Twenty-Six years ago today I was one month out of my teens and a brand new bride.

Twenty -Five and a half years ago I was ready to call it quits on my marriage because quite frankly, marriage was not all that I thought it was going to be. You see like many brides, I had put thought into the "getting married" part but hardly any thought into the "marriage" that would follow the getting married part. Suddenly all those little things that I thought I could live with or change about him drove me crazy ( I'm sure he didn't feel that way about me at all * insert sarcasm here*) . One day I'm enjoying my egocentric life, thinking I just had to let him adore me and make me the center of his universe, and the next thing I know, I'm expected to be supportive, loving and caring to someone other than me! What???

Did I mention I was young?

Immature doesn't even begin to describe it.

So I did what any princess would do, I went to my dad, because I knew he was going to fix this and get me out of my predicament. Over lunch I told him how difficult this whole marriage thing was and that it just wasn't for me. Then I waited for my dad to tell me the date and time I could expect the moving van to come and bring my royal self and all of my worldly possessions home. Instead he told me that "being disenchanted with marriage was not grounds for divorce and that I was to go home and make my marriage work".

Thanks dad, but that was not exactly what I was looking for.

It may not have been what I was looking for, but it was what I needed. I did go back, and well.. something was working in our marriage because a month later I was pregnant with our first daughter and here we are twenty-six years later still defying the odds.

Life hasn't been easy, in fact there were times we both wanted to give up. But thankfully God has blessed us with enough of the "good stuff" to keep us going. Sure there has been the obvious "good stuff" such as births, vacations, family gatherings, and many more priceless times we have shared together. But then there are the numerous trials that could have easily broken our marriage but instead of jumping ship at the first sign of trouble, we chose to hold fast to our faith and work through them. Now that we are on the other end of those trials, we can see the bigger picture and see that they are part of the "good stuff". Without a doubt there will be more of the obviously good stuff and the good stuff disguised as tribulations, but with a lot of faith and a little bit of stubborness, we will get through them together just like we always have.

Recently, I met an elderly man at the hospital. His wife of 56 years had suffered a stroke and the doctors didn't think she would make it. As we talked he told me about how they met and when they were wed. He talked about the births and deaths that they had gone through together, the financial hard times they had weathered as well as the times of abundance that had afforded them trips to exotic places. He had a number of pictures that he had brought to put in her room and he remembered where and when each one was taken. Talking with him was both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. Heartbreaking because a life that he had shared with his best friend was coming to an end, yet beautiful because as he reflected back on it he didn't recall the mistakes, or arguments, or disagreements I'm sure they had. When he looked back, it was all "good stuff" because they had gone through it together.

I know we will be able to do the same some day.

Happy Anniversary Honey! Here's to more "good stuff" to come!

I'm going to end this post with a video called The Good Stuff. While it is written from a man's point of view I think the point crosses both genders. The irony of this is that Paul is not a fan of country music at all but for 26 years he has endured it for my sake. Now that's some good stuff!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Make Like Your Going To Walmart..... But Don't!

The title to this post is actually one of my favorite quotes from my Father-in-law. He used it once to give someone directions. If you knew my father-in-law and were schooled in the Cajun language, the directions to "Make like you are going to Walmart ... but don't" would make perfect sense to you and you would know to drive in the general direction of Walmart, but turn before you get there. I'm not sure if the recipient of those directions ever made it to their destination, but I know that that line is one of many "papaisms" that always makes us smile.

Papa was a Cajun through and through. He grew up in a large family, knew what it was to have much, and knew what it was to have nothing. His early years were sometimes difficult and he had to learn to take care of himself at an early age. What he lacked in formal education he made up for in drive, ambition and tenacity. He was truly a self made man as it was only by his own determination and initiative that he became successful in life.

I remember the first time I met my then future father-in-law. It was at his favorite place in the world - his lake house. He immediately made me feel welcomed and made sure that I was well fed which I learned through the years was his way of showing affection. He loved to feed people and everyone was welcomed to come and eat at any time. If by chance you couldn't make it over to his place he would bring the food to you. Many a neighbor and acquaintance found themselves on the receiving end of Paul's great cooking.

He wasn't one to share his emotions and he didn't subscribe to using terms of endearment to show his love, but looking back there were many times when in his own stoic way he showed that he cared. On many occassions early in our marriage when finances were more than tight he and my mother-in-law would show up with groceries and much needed baby things. There was no condemnation associated with these gifts, only the silent understanding that this is just what family does for one another. Or when I suffered a miscarriage and had to go into the hospital for an out patient procedure, Paul showed up at the hospital and sat with his son while I was in surgery. There weren't many words exchanged between the two as they sat there together, but just the simple act of him showing up on that sad day spoke volumes to both Paul and me.

So as we gather together to say goodbye to Paul Sr. there is sure to be some tears, undoubly there will be laughter as we recount the past, and there will probably be some sort of food because to quote my sister-in-law, " He never liked to see anybody go hungry"

Good-bye Papa, you will be missed.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Date Night!!!

Ciara came home for spring break so we had a mother/daughter date night at the movies. We shared a lot of laughs, some girl talk, popcorn, and a yummy dessert. I know from experience it is just a matter of time before some guy comes along, sees the treasure that she is, sweeps her off of her feet, and then date nights with mom will be few and far between. In the meantime, I'm going to savor every moment of mother/daughter time I have!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Is In The Air

I'm not one to go for chick flicks, or sappy love songs, and I don't fall for charm or flowery phrases. I prefer people to be honest and up front with me even if it is going to cause a little upset or anger. I like the direct approach and I would rather get it all out there and move on than to be left wondering about someone or something. I think after all these years Paul has come to appreciate this more "low maintenance" side of me. Oh trust me there are areas of my being that are not low maintenance, ( stop nodding your head in agreement here Paul) but my non-romantic tendencies make ostentatious holidays such as Valentines Day a proverbial "piece of cake " for him. That being said, he doesn't totally get off the hook because it just so happens that my love language is gifts so that means I like to be given gifts. Often.

Now I have heard the argument from some people that a gift should well thought out and personal, and that things of a practical nature should not be given as gifts. I understand that point of view but I don't necessarily subscribe to it. I'll be the first one to admit I love when someone remembers when I say I would like something in particular or knows me well enough to get that gift that they know I will love. Even a heartfelt card or note goes a long way with me. But if my vacuum breaks right before Christmas and you buy me a new one as a Christmas gift I will be just as thrilled with it as I would be anything else. To quote an old cliche , "It's not the gift but the thought that counts" and I feel like any gift that is given to me means the giver thought of me.

So last night I was laying in bed reading my Nook ( which happens to be a gift my husband gave me) when Paul turned to me and said "Hey I know our morning is going to be crazy, so I'm going to give you your present now". Let me just say, that was not the first time I have heard something of that nature come out of his mouth while I was reading in bed so I didn't exactly expect a fancily wrapped package, but to his credit he produced a tangible gift in the form or a gift certificate for a private hand gun class out at the shooting range.

Right now my romantic leaning girlfriends are saying "What??? You let him get away with buying your Valentines gift at the shooting range when he just happened to be out there in the first place???"

Oh yes I did and I love it! He knew it was something I would like and the way I see it, while he was hanging with his buddies out at the range, he thought of me long enough to want to get me a present. That works for me.

Call me crazy, but I get the feeling that there is a new pistol in my future..... perhaps sometime around Mothers Day????