Archive for May, 2012


It’s Really Not A.D.D.

Ready to leave the house yesterday morning, I walked downstairs and noticed the flower pots on the front porch needed a drink of water. So I headed to the kitchen to put some water in a pitcher.

As I stood over the sink ready to fill the pitcher, I noticed a few dishes that needed to go in the dishwasher. While I was shifting the pile from sink to dishwasher I came across an item of some sort that didn’t belong in the dishwasher – its home was in the trash can. So I walked over to the pantry where the trash can is kept out of sight.

The trash can was full (as always). Removing the lid, I wrapped and twist-tied the bag and took it outside to the big trash can. Walking back across the patio, I stopped to ‘dead-head’ a few petunia pots and a basket of impatiens, observing that they were the perfect dampness for that time of morning.

Back inside the house to put a new bag in the trash can, I noticed a trail of ‘something’ brown and icky across the floor that had apparently dripped out of the trash bag. I took the mop out of the pantryand gave the floor quick once-over to clean up the mess; back to the pantry to put a new bag in the trash can.

As I reached for the trash bag I noticed a plastic Home Depot bag with some items that my husband needed to return. Better move this right now, I thought and walked back outside to his truck where I laid the bag on the front seat. Back to the pantry and finally, a new bag was in the trash can.

I turned around towards the sink (why is that pitcher sitting out on the counter?) and remembered I had left my cell phone upstairs on top of the dryer. I walked upstairs to retrieve my phone and realized that the washing machine cycle was finished and the clothes were now ready to go in the dryer. I put my phone down (big mistake) and moved the clothes, set the dryer cycle, and trotted back downstairs.

Grabbing my purse, ready to go, I opened the door to the garage. Remembering that I wanted to take yogurt with me, I turned around and went back to the kitchen. When I opened the refrigerator, an opened stick of butter fell out – someone had forgotten to close the little plastic lid on the shelf where the butter sits. I grabbed a paper towel (the last one) and cleaned up the butter mess on the floor.

I went to the cabinet under the kitchen sink where the extra roll of paper towels is kept.  By now I had to go to the bathroom, which was thankfully right by the kitchen. And which I discovered was out of toilet paper. Back upstairs to the closet where bathroom supplies are kept. Downstairs again to the bathroom (why didn’t I just go while I was up there?)

Out to the garage again, I got in the car, hit the garage door button and reached for my phone, which was still upstairs on top of the dryer. Okay, really? This is getting ridiculous! Another trip back inside the house, upstairs to grab my phone, and finally out the door.

About halfway down the driveway, I remembered the yogurt. Forget it, I told myself. At least I had my purse, my keys, my phone, and matching shoes. Thank the Lord my head is attached at all times to my shoulders.

Pulling out onto the street, I looked up at the house and muttered to myself, “Oh yeah, I forgot to water the flower pots.”

I don’t have A.D.D. – I have T.M.D…. Too Many Distractions! 

Let’s face it: without our men, none of us would be mothers.

This time last year, I dedicated a full week leading up to Mother’s Day to celebrate all the Moms in my life: friends, my mother-in-law, my grandmother, my mom, and the moms who – for whatever reason – have lost a child.

So this year I’d like to look at motherhood from another angle and dedicate this blog post to my husband, the father of my children.

Dear Richard, Thank you for Rachel and Stephen. They are the joy of my life. True, if I hadn’t married you I would never have known them and in essence would not have the capacity to miss them. But I can’t for one second imagine my life without them. My children are my heartbeat.

Thank you for being patient with me as a single mom and for understanding that Alex and I came as a package deal. I think you may actually have loved him before you loved me. And I’m ok with that. Thank you for being there when you didn’t have to be. And for sharing that freezing sink full of ice cold water after the firecracker accident. Thank you for making vacations fun and for your quick, strong arms when Alex tried to jump out of the boat!

You stared in disbelief at the card I gave you announcing that you were going to be a daddy (both times). You endured my morning sickness (which always hit around dinnertime), my emotional breakdowns and outbursts, my cravings (cheese pizza with green olives), my ever-expanding backside, and my labor. For all your jokes about a man’s place not being in the delivery room, you were right beside me to deliver both of our beautiful children.

You’ve helped me relax and appreciate eating popcorn on the sofa and leaving the beds unmade. You’ve shown by example the importance of being at every practice, every game, every doctor’s appointment, every parent-teacher conference, and every performance or competition. You’ve been a friend to our children’s friends and always made them feel comfortable and welcome in our home. You’ve encouraged our kids to expand their world by trying new foods, going new places, and being friendly and kind to everyone.

You make our children laugh, you tell them daily that you love them, and you shower them with genuine affection. You challenge them, encourage them to push a little further, try a little harder, and you celebrate every victory as if it were your own. Our mattress may be destroyed, but our kids hold wonderful memories of having an indoor trampoline on the ‘big bed’.

And in spite of the train wreck that was my first marriage, it would be shameful for me not to thank him for my first-born, Alex. I cut my “parenting teeth” on Alex and although there were many challenges it was Alex who gave me the strength, courage, and motivation to carry on. When I became a single mom, Alex brought a smile to my face and warmed my heart when no one else could. He taught me to be careful with my words and generous with my affection. Alex taught me to love with abandon, to trust when all the odds are stacked against you, and that the most important thing about falling is to get up again. Alex gave birth to the Mama Bear in me and renewed the wonder of Christmas morning.

So for Mother’s Day I say thank you for the privilege and blessing of being a mom. Without you, I would never have heard the sweetest words to echo through the Universe and into my heart: “I love you, Mommy.” 

This weekend marked my maternal grandmother’s 97th birthday. Yes, 97. She looks like a spritely 75-year-old, is in excellent health, and until very recently could work circles around anyone half her age. I remember a few years ago when she was in the emergency room with an about-to-rupture gall bladder and the nurse asked her what medications she was currently taking. She said, ‘I don’t take anything’. The nurse turned to my mother and asked the same question, remarking that my grandmother didn’t hear or understand what she had asked. My grandmother, in excruciating pain, fired right back, “I heard you and I understood you. And I will tell you again, I don’t take any medication for anything.”

 My mother didn’t need to say a word.

 This weekend my family also celebrated my youngest son’s 10th birthday. Finally, double digits. My grandmother, his great-grandmother, “Memaw”, 87 years his senior.

 Although we don’t get to spend a tremendous amount of time together, my children adore their great-grandmother. And I’ve been thinking of a few things I hope they have learned from her, passed down generation to generation, reminding them of their roots and the legacy they’ve been given.

1. Family is everything. My earliest memories of my grandmother center around family gatherings. She and my Papa loved nothing more in the world than being surrounded by their children and grandchildren. They loved the churches my grandfather pastored and poured their hearts into the lives of its members, but nothing – and I mean nothing – brought them greater joy than having family around them.

2. Loyalty matters. My grandmother is fiercely loyal. She can correct, rebuke, and even punish a family member who gets out of line, but woe to the outsider who attempts to do the same. My Memaw is one of the sweetest, most gracious and forgiving Southern women you could ever hope to meet. Until you say something unkind about one of her own. Then I would suggest you head for the hills. Fast.

3. Growth is important. My grandmother was a teacher for most of her adult life using a teaching degree she earned in 1934. And at the age of 50, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education fromBerryCollege. Yes, going back to college was difficult. Yes, it took time, and energy, and commitment. But she did it. She also learned to drive. And for the record, she was a better student than she was a driver. The roots of my “Lead Foot Lucy” nickname can be traced straight back to her!

4. Change is inevitable. My grandfather was a pastor. Not at one church. Not at two or three churches. In his 57 years as a pastor, my Papa shepherded seven church congregations spread out over three states. My grandmother always made it an adventure, a calling, an opportunity. And she always made it home. No muss, no fuss. Just set up house, share the (one) bathroom, gather the family around the table for a home-cooked meal, and say the blessing. Make friends, embrace change, celebrate birthdays, holidays, and babies, and be grateful for the pillow on which you lay your head at night.

5. Marriage is forever. My grandparents were married for almost 60 years. When my Papa, her beloved Charles, was dying of cancer she was his advocate, his caretaker, his nurse, his meal planner, his gentle bath-giver, his prayer warrior. She was strong as he grew weaker, and she bravely held his hand as he left his earthly body to embrace immortality. Memaw taught us how to grieve loss and celebrate life in the same breath. She cried and she laughed and she hugged long and hard those who shared her grief. And she has faced head-on the years without him, sadly at times, accepting that it is not yet her time to be reunited with him. When it was suggested at one time that she consider re-marrying, she looked away and softly said, “it’s not for me; Charles was my one and only.”

6. The Bible is true. I don’t know how many times my Memaw has read through the Bible but she can teach it as if she wrote it herself! (No disrespect intended.) When she talks about her favorite passages or verses in the Bible, they truly come to life. Her love for God’s word is the foundation and cornerstone of her existence. And anyone who has ever met her knows that to be true about her. She doesn’t preach the Bible to those around her. She doesn’t have to because she lives it every single day.

7. Prayer works. My Memaw has spent hundreds, probably thousands, of hours throughout her life praying for her family, her friends, her community, her country, and the world. When she awakens during the night, instead of getting a warm glass of milk and going back to sleep, she gets on her knees and prays for whoever is on her heart and mind. And she stays there until she feels a peace about climbing back under the covers. I’ve heard her tell of many a night when she prayed right on through the night until it was time to start the day’s work. My life is living proof that her prayers were heard and answered.

8. Eternity is forever. I can’t remember a time (almost ever) when my grandmother hasn’t reminded us all that she wants nothing more in the world than for her family to be together. Forever. Eternally. She reminds us all how important it is for us to stay in right relationship with God, to love Him above all else, and to be obedient to His leading. Through teary eyes and strained voice she pleads with us all to be sure, be absolutely sure, that we know where we will spend eternity. And then she smiles that sweet little smile, cocks her head and whispers, “I love you all so much.”

 Happy birthday, Memaw. Happy birthday, Stephen. As I find myself standing between the young and old, it occurs to me that the distance between 10 and 97 is not really very far. Not when it’s measured with love.

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