May Our Children REALLY SEE Our Hearts


In life, we have mountain top highs and valley lows. We have anticipation of joyful events yet to come, planned and unplanned. And we have pain that hits so hard we feel sucker punched. We are blindsided by how much it hurts. In my lifetime I have had friends come and go. The going is sad for me. In most cases, it has been a move out of the area that takes those friendships away from my everyday life, and things get busy and you lose touch but remain friends. And yet others have totally been removed from this life through death, which as you get older seems to be a bit more frequent. And then there are the ones you choose to no longer have in your life for important reasons of your own. Though, I think that if I’ve ever made that choice, it was with very good reason because the more I experience how quickly we can be snatched from this life, the more I value the people I love. And the more willing I am to try to work things out. I am a talker. I like to talk things out. I like to gather information. I’ve been called a story-teller, (Heck I’m a writer.) I can tell and retell the same story a hundred times. (My poor husband has heard them all twice.) When I was younger, I imagined my life. I’d fall in love and have kids and be a writer. All so simple. In my head, I had it all planned out. But life is not like that. Crap happens and you are constantly in clean up mode.

baby in hands

We imagine our children, We hold our bellies and pray that we won’t mess up too much. We want to give them the world. We want their lives to be better than our own. I wrote a song when my son was two or three… the lyrics were…

Little boy in my arms,

 tiny and new~

Sleepy eyed

and unaware

 of what the world holds for you~

Lump of clay in my hands,

 still yet untouched~

Oh Lord, please guide me closely,

I love him so much!

Eyes so wide look at me…

 What do they see?

Do they see you Lord,

 looking back through me?

Such a gift

You gave to me!

Yet, I always knew…

That the day

would some day come Lord

When I’d give this precious child

 back to You!

In my heart, I strive to do what is right. I am a hard worker. I love my Lord, I love my family, I love my husband and I love my children and now grandchildren. I am a good and loyal friend, and if you happen to be mine, I will be there for you to the end. My daughter “GETS” me. She is my Jiminy Cricket, my sounding board. I love her but I really like her too. I love the friends she chooses and that she lives life with a love of it that is inspiring. She is my best friend.

If we ever have a misunderstanding, it is resolved that day, usually that hour! But funny, we enjoy each other more and more without those rare misunderstandings of her youth. I think we both have kind of grown up together and just appreciate each other too much to have them. But I do appreciate my parental boundaries and try to respect them, as they make their own journey. I love my son. I love his children. And I love both the girls that gave me grandchildren.

Though, I feel that my son and I totally misunderstand each other at every turn. I feel that he blames me for a divorce that he has no inkling of what really happened and probably never will because I will never talk poorly about the father of my children. He knows the basic reason we split up and I feel that is enough. I feel that he has his own issues with me that I don’t understand most of the time, but I’d like to.

Recently, I have talked to more moms than I can count who are not talking to one or more of their children for different reasons. A lot has to do with money. It hurts more than losing a friend, when we can’t make our kids understand our hearts. And yet, I won’t be silent anymore to just “keep the peace” Why should they be allowed to say anything they want to us, but if we are too honest, we are basically “hung up” on? Or “cut off.”  It astounds me how entitled our children are today. Not just regarding finances, but our personal business. I wouldn’t open up my adult children’s mail any more than I’d expect them to read my bank statement. I am tired of hearing the horrible things that adult children feel perfectly justified saying to their parents. But cut them off if they have a response. If this sounds like you, repeat after me….

I will not be held hostage.

I will continue to voice my opinions.

I will not walk on eggshells.

Nor will I butt into their affairs.

 Is it too much to ask for the same courtesy? We all want the best for our children and their lives. It is not a competition. It is just wanting the very best. I pray for us all. May our children see our hearts. May they GET where we are coming from and not guess. And may all of our relationships be restored. AMEN And if you are a kid who happens to be reading this…  it is not an accident that you are reading this right now. Go call your mom!  🙂

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”  (3 John 1:4)

Empty Nesters Unite! As we watch our baby birds graduate and learn to let go!


 

This is the time of year…

empty birds nest

We are trying not to count the days. We know it is coming up. We are trying to be happy. And yet it is extremely hard.  This is bascially a re-share      that I posted  before my blog was very well known. I thought that I would reshare it as some of you are approaching that time in your life as you watch your babies graduate and wonder where the time has flown off to. It is hard to believe that the boy in this story is going to be 34 tomorrow! I just had to stop today to say….. Happy Birthday Chadly! Your mom loves you!

I remember when my son left home. It was his Senior Year. It was a crazy time for us to move and yet it happened. I remember always shaking my head when I’d hear stories of parents uprooting their kids from their last years of High School and yet we found ourselves in that same position. I was not ready. He was not ready. And yet it is a choice I made and will always look back and wonder about. In the end, he moved in with his dad. I am glad because his dad is gone now and it was a great bonding time for them that my son will always cherish. And yet as a mom who was pretty over protective all of his young life, I had to let go, knowing for the most part, that the supervision would not be identical. In fact, it was pretty non existent. I am pretty sure all curfews flew out the window along with my baby bird!

I remember once my son calling me and telling me that one of his dad’s room mate’s had brought home Jack In The Box for everyone but him. I am sure there was food in the house and he was not going to starve and that there may have been a good reason for leaving him out… mainly his attitude which has always been a bit challenging… Smile… But I can’t imagine his father partaking in the food while our son sat watching. Though I “get” that I was not privy to the full picture. As a mother missing her baby you can imagine my heart. So I began sending care packages.

care package

Sure I could have sent money and saved the shipping, but I found joy in choosing his favorite things and “knowing” he’d be fed. I don’t doubt that my ex was supplying the basic needs but not the hugs from his mom and so I sent those packages pretty regularly. Until I was asked not to.

One day I got a phone call asking me to “stop” (sending the packages) by my ex. He said, “Diane, you are not helping.” I will never forget how hard it was. I understood that my son was actually 18 by that time, had a job and was living rent free so just had to pay for his gas and food. My ex had moved out of his parent’s house his senior year, and  I know that he just wanted our son to grow up and learn about life the way he had to. It was a love thing. He wasn’t trying to be mean. But it was hard for him to understand my “mother’s heart” and that the thought of my baby being cold or sad or going hungry for even just one minute was hard for me. Okay well maybe I wasn’t that bad but  I did want to confront him about that Jack In The Box incident but I didn’t want to betray my son. And I wanted to tell my son that it was his dad who was making me stop sending the care packages but I could not betray his dad.

box open

It seemed as if everytime I turned around that year, I’d see a little boy that reminded me of my son. I missed him so much. But I knew that he wasn’t that little boy anymore. He was all grown up and I needed to let go.

Chad's first day of school

 

I guess I actually was glad that his dad taught him the hard lessons that I couldn’t.

I’ve shared this poem before here but it is one that I wrote right before my first baby bird tumbled out of my nest… This one is for all the moms having to let go this year as their baby birds fly off to school or where ever it might be. I understand and feel for you all. And I am here to tell you that you will survive! My son did! He has his own business and a beautiful family. Letting go isn’t always easy, nor is letting our baby birds fall out of the sky sometimes… but if we let them… experience the highs and the lows… someday they will learn to soar and that is enough hope for me. (This poem is also for the young moms who can’t wait for school to start and need a little reminder…  of just how FAST it all flies by!)

SON

 Seems like only  yesterday I held you in my arms

Oh how you swept me away with all your baby charms.

The days just flew by quickly, soon you began to talk

and then a little later, you began to walk….

“Mommy will you cross me? I want to go and play.”

Oh those words ring sweetly, now seem like yesterday.

The years have swiftly passed,

don’t know where they’ve all gone,

And when you cross the street now,

 you don’t need to call your mom.

It has happened right in front of me, before my very eyes…

packed away, your faded jeans, one of every size…

Teddy bears and old match box cars,

all packed with loving care,

boxes son

baseball cards and folded notes of secrets that you shared.

I sit amongst the boxes recalling our memories all alone

and realize that baby, once in my arms,

 is now fully grown~

boxes

And silently I wonder through a mixture of joy and tears…

Did I truly show how much I loved you

through  those tender years?

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the mom

to make your child understand

just how VERY  proud she is when he becomes a man!

Diane Reed

1997

teddy in box

(Time flies! The one I wrote this  this poem for now has a family of his own!)

Brenden and Chad Muslemen

Being Strong


Brenden and Chad Muslemen

It’s not about muscles that make people think we’re strong,

it’s not about the faults of other’s that makes you the one not wrong,

it’s not about the things we do so that others see them too,

It’s more in our transparency that gives us each  a better view.

 boy looking out window

It’s when I’ve seen the strongest man bend down upon his knees

to wipe the tears from a child’s eyes as he listens to his pleas,

it’s when he stops to hold a stranger’s door even when he’s in a hurry

or calls his wife each time he’s late, knowing that she might be worried.

upset

It’s when he brings her flowers home for really no reason at all,

flowers

it’s when he’s kneeling in prayer that makes him seem so tall.

kneeling man at sunset

All these things show more strength than any winner of a fight,

for strength is in the example of always trying to do what’s right.

Someday we’ll all look back and see things from a different point of view

we’ll see the things we did and the things we wished we didn’t do,

little crying boy

we’ll wonder why we were stubborn and just couldn’t let things go,

we’ll each learn different things about ourselves we wish that we had known.

Jesus looking back

We all will someday end up at the same place of awakening

where we each  meet our Maker, at a time when our heart is breaking,

where we fall upon our knees, realizing where we did it wrong,

and in that moment of weakness it is then we’ll be most strong.

Diane Reed

2013

mans praying hands

Empty Nests… Letting the first one go…


This is the time of year…

empty birds nest

We are trying not to count the days. We know it is coming up. We are trying to be happy. And yet it is extremely hard.

I remember when my son left home. It was his Senior Year. It was a crazy time for us to move and yet it happened. I remember always shaking my head when I’d hear stories of parents uprooting their kids from their last years of High School and yet we found ourselves in that same position. I was not ready. He was not ready. And yet it is a choice I made and will always look back and wonder about. In the end, he moved in with his dad. I am glad because his dad is gone now and it was a great bonding time for them that my son will always cherish. And yet as a mom who was pretty over protective all of his young life, I had to let go, knowing for the most part, that the supervision would not be identical. In fact, it was pretty non existent. I am pretty sure all curfews flew out the window along with my baby bird!

I remember once my son calling me and telling me that one of his dad’s room mate’s had brought home Jack In The Box for everyone but him. I am sure there was food in the house and he was not going to starve and that there may have been a good reason for leaving him out… mainly his attitude which has always been a bit challenging… Smile… But I can’t imagine his father partaking in the food while our son sat watching. Though I “get” that I was not privy to the full picture. As a mother missing her baby you can imagine my heart. So I began sending care packages.

care package

Sure I could have sent money and saved the shipping, but I found joy in choosing his favorite things and “knowing” he’d be fed. I don’t doubt that my ex was supplying the basic needs but not the hugs from his mom and so I sent those packages pretty regularly. Until I was asked not to.

One day I got a phone call asking me to “stop” (sending the packages) by my ex. He said, “Diane, you are not helping.” I will never forget how hard it was. I understood that my son was actually 18 by that time, had a job and was living rent free so just had to pay for his gas and food. My ex had moved out of his parent’s house his senior year, and  I know that he just wanted our son to grow up and learn about life the way he had to. It was a love thing. He wasn’t trying to be mean. But it was hard for him to understand my “mother’s heart” and that the thought of my baby being cold or sad or going hungry for even just one minute was hard for me. Okay well maybe I wasn’t that bad but  I did want to confront him about that Jack In The Box incident but I didn’t want to betray my son. And I wanted to tell my son that it was his dad who was making me stop sending the care packages but I could not betray his dad.

box open

It seemed as if everytime I turned around that year, I’d see a little boy that reminded me of my son. I missed him so much. But I knew that he wasn’t that little boy anymore. He was all grown up and I needed to let go.

Chad's first day of school

 

I guess I actually was glad that his dad taught him the hard lessons that I couldn’t.

I’ve shared this poem before here but it is one that I wrote right before my first baby bird tumbled out of my nest… This one is for all the moms having to let go this year as their baby birds fly off to school or where ever it might be. I understand and feel for you all. And I am here to tell you that you will survive! My son did! He has his own business and a beautiful family. Letting go isn’t always easy, nor is letting our baby birds fall out of the sky sometimes… but if we let them… experience the highs and the lows… someday they will learn to soar and that is enough hope for me. (This poem is also for the young moms who can’t wait for school to start and need a little reminder…  of just how FAST it all flies by!)

SON

 Seems like only  yesterday I held you in my arms

Oh how you swept me away with all your baby charms.

The days just flew by quickly, soon you began to talk

and then a little later, you began to walk….

“Mommy will you cross me? I want to go and play.”

Oh those words ring sweetly, now seem like yesterday.

The years have swiftly passed,

don’t know where they’ve all gone,

And when you cross the street now,

 you don’t need to call your mom.

It has happened right in front of me, before my very eyes…

packed away, your faded jeans, one of every size…

Teddy bears and old match box cars,

all packed with loving care,

boxes son

baseball cards and folded notes of secrets that you shared.

I sit amongst the boxes recalling our memories all alone

and realize that baby, once in my arms,

 is now fully grown~

boxes

And silently I wonder through a mixture of joy and tears…

Did I truly show how much I loved you

through  those tender years?

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the mom

to make your child understand

just how VERY  proud she is when he becomes a man!

Diane Reed

1997

teddy in box

Honey Girl


Sorry that I have not been around lately! I’ve had a busy week! I always take my birthday off if it falls on a workday. That is my gift to me. But that didn’t stop my sweet friends at work from remembering me!

river oaks birthda

I am so blessed!

And then my daughter surprised me. I had planned on having a quiet birthday at home. My husband’s birthday is the day before mine and we just happened to be expecting our second granddaughter around the same time. And so Brookie called and said that she had taken the week off to come and celebrate our birthdays and hopefully be here when her brand new niece was born. So she spent the day with her dad. She made him breakfast and then they hung out all day until I got off. They went to Parkfield and ate at the James Dean little diner on the way home.

The next day I woke up to bustling in the kitchen and she made me a delicious vegan birthday breakfast.

brookie's breakfast

And baked me a delicious vegan cake!

brookie birthday to me

Did I raise the most thoughtful offspring or what?!

I was born on my grandma’s birthday. We always had a special relationship. There is just something very unique about sharing the same day we were both born.  Over the years, I learned to appreciate our bond more and more. She called me “Honey Girl” That was her name for me. Even into my thirties, I would call her and I can’t explain just how wonderful it felt hearing her greeting “Well, hello Honey Girl”. She always sounded so happy to hear from me. I miss her more than I ever could imagine. Sometimes I still feel the urge to call her  when I need a soft place to fall or just to hear her sweet voice say “Well hello Honey Girl.”

img206img180img060 - Copy

This year I got a wonderful birthday present! My 2nd granddaughter was born! And you guessed it! On my birthday!

Randy with our babyChad and Sophia1 (2)

My Son and his Daddy                                                  My Son and his new daughter

baby sophia and auntie brookieAuntie Brookie and

My Baby and her new niece

(I had to respect Sophia’s sweet Mama’s wishes to not be photographed quite yet~ But she is beautiful too!)

I pray that baby Sophia and I have the same special relationship that my grammy and I had! I have a new Honey Girl. I never realized that name meant so much to me until now. But I think I just may pass it down again…

brookie's cake

So this year I say…

Happy Birthday Grandma and Happy Birthday Sophia Oh Honey Girl of mine!

I wonder if my Grandma had something to do with the date from up there in heaven?

Do ya think?

*wink*wink*

They are precious in HIS sight


glass house

I have written a lot about glass houses. Maybe because I despise those who judge. Perhaps because I just might find myself behind those very same glass walls  from time to time. As a parent, I have had my share of stellar moments and I have had my share of not so stellar times. When I was growing up, I had a pretty decent childhood. I never saw my parents fight. I never heard them talk about finances and never had to worry about their bills.

I did however, know that my dad had “a drinking problems” he had to wine and dine clients in his line of work and my mom made the mistake of unloading her worries on me at a very young age. I am not blaming her. She did not realize that she was rocking my solid childhood to smitherings at the time. She threw me wonderful birthday parties and baked with me, she read stories to me and built me wonderful doll houses. She was defintely where my artistic and creative side comes from and she taught me about Jesus.  My dad was the one who I hung out with on the weekends, if he had a project, I was his wingman, tagging along to the hardware store or the barbershop. He took me school  clothes shopping every year and encouraged my writing.  I remember some amazing talks with both of them. But even though I am a “talker” I never felt that I could talk to my dad about his drinking.

worried little girl

When you are a kid and the one person who is your hero, who makes everything better, could make everything come tumbling down as well, it kind of shakes a kid’s whole being. You feel out of control and yet you really don’t understand any of it while it is happening. Years later, I studied Psychology. I worked in a private Psychiatric department at a hospital in my twenties. I even considered a profession in it. The whole thing fascinates me. I started out working with adolscents and that was about the time when the insurance  companies started screwing around with coverages and adults and geriactrics had better coverage so slowly over the years that I was there, I was moved to the adults.  It really frustrated me because it IS all about where we come from. We need to start with the kids and give them the tools in their adulthood. I know now that as I look back at the damage done in my own young life that I could have used some kind of an explanation why I felt so odd, scrambling to find my own control in my so called perfectly imperfect world. Kids are great in following the lead and pretending that everything is okay when it is not.

fighting

When my kids were young, I tried to never say bad things about their dad or burden them with too much. But I know they heard our fighting. I know I made a whole set of other mistakes and no matter how hard I tried to protect them, their childhood damaged them in someway. We are never going to give our kids the perfect childhood. But we do need to make an effort to protect them. As I look back through my own journey and education. I think that the thing that made me so frustrated with the switch from adolescent and not want to continue with working with adults… is because adults are so darn selfish. We say we put our kids before ourselves but we need to consider them more. What are they hearing? How much do they really know? Are you really protecting them? Or…Are you fooling yourself? How much do your kids know about your problems? Think about it for more than a minute.

I don’t mean to judge. I see my own glass walls perfectly clear and realize I have shared too much with my kids even though I set out to never do that. They are both adults now and I stand at my glass wall and look out at the world that I have created for me and them and think that now that I have some perspective, I want to share my message…. If you are reading this and have young children, I’m not judging you… I am imploring you to stop and really look at what you may be doing. I am trying to help you not make the same mistakes that I have come from…  The whole point of my blog… heck, the whole point of all of our lives…  is to learn from our mistakes.  And I am here to tell you that your children and mine really don’t need nor want to know our every waking thought. And for some reason, I feel the need to share the message TODAY

Please STOP robbing your children of their right to be children.

Jesus loving the children

I mean, I get that we can shelter them to the point of them not being able to handle real problems when it is time for them to go out and live their own lives. But I am not talking about that…  We just need to stop in our tracks when we are going through a moment of crisis and consider who else is in the room… And if your children are nearby…save that break down for another time behind closed doors  and…. for heaven sakes… let them have their childhood!

Seems Like Only Yesterday…


SON

 

Seems like only  yesterday I held you in my arms

Oh how you swept me away with all your baby charms.

The days just flew by quickly, soon you began to talk

and then a little later, you began to walk….

“Mommy will you cross me? I want to go and play.”

Oh those words ring sweetly, now seem like yesterday.

The years have swiftly passed,

don’t know where they’ve all gone,

And when you cross the street now,

 you don’t need to call your mom.

It has happened right in front of me, before my very eyes…

packed away, your faded jeans, one of every size…

Teddy bears and old match box cars,

all packed with loving care,

baseball cards and folded notes of secrets that you shared.

I sit amongst the boxes recalling our memories all alone

and realize that baby, once in my arms,

 is now fully grown~

And silently I wonder through a mixture of joy and tears…

Did I truly show how much I loved you

through  those tender years?

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the mom

to make your child understand

just how VERY  proud she is when he becomes a man!

(My son and his beautiful family)

by

Diane Reed

copywrite 1997

In Honor of my 100th Post!


This is my 100th post. The one I have talked about many times before. The one that is supposed to be the milestone that inspires me to finish my book I have had in waiting….  I thought that it would be the perfect post to…. honor somene who inspires me daily…

My Mom…

She was born  March 3rd in  1934.  My grandfather was a machinist and my grandma stayed at home, being a mom. My mom was the apple of her parent’s eye. Blonde and full of life.

When my mom was six years old, “polio” was a dreaded word, feared by all. There was an outbreak of it, right in their own neighborhood in Seattle. My grandma was especially careful trying to keep her little family far from any germs, staying away from public places and washing everything. One day her neighbor asked them to go on a picnic to the lake, explaining that they would stay far away from people. My grandma reluctantly agreed and as they were unpacking their lunch all the kids  went exploring,  and accidentally knocked down an old hornets nest. My mom was stung where ever her little sunsuit did not cover. They rushed her to the lake and placed mud all over her wounds. shortly after, she came down with polio. It could have been a number of things that led to her contracting the terrible disease. The stings, the mud, or the trip on the bus downtown a few days later when her resistance was low. Who knows. It doesn’t really matter now. (Though I will always be puzzled about why they went on a bus ride downtown, right smack in the middle of people~ with all those germs, but… Oh well…)

     My mom on her way to school. (Her crutches are laying in the background)

The fact is that her life was changed forever. Her childhood was taken from her, the life she was meant to have was as well. And yet she learned to walk again where the doctors predicted a life of being paralized. She had horrendous surgeries, a bone taken from her leg, to straighten her back, a body cast for a year, and then later as she learned to walk again, cruel and clueless kids, stealing her crutches as she walked to school. And yet, she has fallen in love and been married twice in her lifetime.

           I’ve always  loved this one of my mom! She looks so happy as if her whole life was ahead of her!

She has been a successful artist and a wonderful mother. From an early age, she would sit me up on the counter and let me help…  pouring in the ingredients and stirring it with a spoon, always remembering to let me smell the vanilla and stir up my own concoction of “something.” I am sure that is WHY I love to bake!… she has been a wonderful grandma and the best memory maker you could ever ask for!

Mom and me 1958

One year my mom, found Winnie the Pooh (Always my favorite) blow up characters as party favors at my 8th birthday party! Every party she threw was more special than the year before. (She always out did herself!

My mom with my son (her first Grandchild)              My beautiful mom and daughter on the boat in New Port Beach, on my wedding day

She is in a lot of pain a lot of the time and I guess I never really understood much of it, until I got to an age when it was a little harder for me to get up in the morning and I began having the usual aches and pains that come with getting older. And I know, I only experience an inkling of a crumb of a speck of what she experiences daily and has for a long, long, time.

When I was younger, I hate to admit that I hated her polio stories. In fact, I’ve hated the number six all of my life because that was the age my mom got polio. I hated that she complained about her aches and pains and that she couldn’t do as much as I wanted her to. To attend my school functions and walk long distances. Funny, how selfish we are as kids. Now it is as if I have different glasses on, (I actually do! Recently having to finally give in to getting a REAL pair due to old age!) I can see more clearly. She is actually a hero for doing so much. She did art shows for years. With my dad’s help. And then ours, when I was able to drive. We all pitched in to help set her up and break down at her shows. My dad was so tickled as she obtained a following of faithful customers. She always made sure that we went to church every Sunday, even though my dad only would go on very special occassions… Easter mainly. Oh yeah and when I got baptized… smile.

Today, my mom has survived a lot. Polio was just the begining. My sister was in a horrific car accident and my mom would drive an hour a day to go see her. Sometimes twice. She did not give up when the doctors told her to not hold out too much hope. She prayed and talked to  her, until she came out of her coma and worked with her until she was able to live a pretty normal life. A few years later, my dad died of a heart attack jogging around the block, she was the one who found him. When you add it all up, she has not had an easy life. And yet she has proven that she is who she is because of surviving it all. And she has survived.

The thing about my mom is she has always had faith. She always believed that God had a plan. She never gave up. After my dad died, she began reaching out to hurting people in way of cards that she wrote in the form of letters, adding different scripture verses that pertained to what each person was individually going through at the time. They say Elizabeth Barrett Browning is in our ancestory somewhere and I don’t doubt it~              and so we write. That’s just what we do. My mom does it, I do it, my daughter does it. It’s just in our blood!

A few years after my dad died, she reached out to an old childhood friend  at my grandmother’s suggestion, with one of those letters right after his wife died.  He ended up coming for a visit.

They have been happily married for almost three decades.

So you see, even though life handed her some big obstacles, she always rose above them and God blessed her for it.  The lesson she has taught me and many others through out her life is that God is a God of MIRACLES and that nothing is too big for HIM. Not the opinion of a doctor or the diagnosis they may give, or the closing of a door. She has taught me that there is always a door to open somewhere, not too far down the road.

I don’t always tell her often enough but I am proud of her and she is one of my biggest heroes and best friends.

I love you mom!

Drive In Days


One time when I was about four years old, I had gotten into an argument with a neighbor kid and I came home crying. I remember my dad saying “That’s okay YOU get to go to the drive-in tonight!” For some reason I remember feeling that, THAT made it all better for me. I stopped crying, grinned and said “Yeah huh?!” And my day was perfect again. I can remember that day so clearly, it was a Saturday because my dad was home in the middle of the day and I can even picture where he was sitting in the living room of a house that has been followed by many more since.  It was so easy to fix my broken spirit back then. Not so much now. For one thing, I don’t have my daddy around anymore to make things okay again and drive ins are just a nostalgic memory.

It is funny because as kids we set up patterns for ourselves that we tend to follow throughout life. This memory makes me realize that I always have to have “something” to look forward to. Like a vacation, or an event, or just something happy. When there is nothing in the radar I can’t seem to be content in the present. And so I have been working on figuring out little quirks I have that have made me into who I am. How funny that in that one little lesson, my dad unknowingly set me up to always need something to look forward to in order for me to feel better about things.

I wonder how many other memories I have left to uncover, how many layers I have to peel back before I can relax in today. Sometimes I feel so alone. I can feel lonely in a room full of people. I can feel hopeless when I know there is so much to be grateful for. And yet I want more. Not necesarrily materially, but from people. The feeling of never feeling  satisfied kills me. I fear that these are the good old days and I am missing the whole thing by checking out of where I am right now. And yet I can finally close my eyes again and be in God’s presence in an instant. I can lift my praises up to Him when I feel far away and feel Him fill me. I know I am the one who moves away. He is unmoving. He is always right where I left Him.

I have realized that when the molding and refining hurts the most, that is when He is truly changing me. When I let go of my own will and fall before Him, He will find me where I am, in all my brokenness He is always there for me to run to and make things better, and remind me of greater things… far greater than any drive in or vacation I could hope for. He has a place for me in eternity with HIM and that is good enough for me.

  • He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense      and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. Psalm 62:6 (AMP)
  • ·         “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

 

  • Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of      it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently]      righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). Psalm 55:22      (AMP)

The Wrong Gate!


Just another empty nest story….

My heart goes out to Mamas this time of year. It’s that notorious time of letting go… For some, it is an exciting time of new beginnings. For others, it is a time of dread. I know both too well. The one place I feel like a true expert. Once upon a time, I left both my babies their first day of school. My son was a little different because I worked when he was a baby so the sting of leaving him on his first day of school was a bit muted after leaving him with sitters and at Day Care but I do have a few stories that were memory makers.

Though I loved him dearly, my first husband was a little selfish and careless when it came to parenting. Funny, because when I first met him, I watched him with his little niece and he obviously loved her very much. As I watched him color with her and listened to their  conversation and the sweet exchange,  I KNEW that I wanted him to be the father of our future children. Don’t get me wrong, he ended up being a good dad in many other ways but in his youth, and theirs, at a pretty crucial time, when I needed him to be seriously responsible, he just wasn’t. One shining example is when my son was about two, I woke up the next morning to a big mess. I had waitressed the night before while my husband babysat and I guess he had a small party with some of his regular friends over or so I thought. Obviously some other friends of his I did not know came over that night as well.

As I was cleaning the mess up from the night before, I frowned when I noticed a treasured mirror my very best friend had given me was laying on the coffee table. Puzzled,  I thought that was odd and wondered why it was there until I saw my son pick up a straw and stick it in his nose. Horrified, I realized exactly why he did that and what his innocent eyes had witnessed the previous night and my nightmare began.

I realized that my son’s own father was not going to be the one watching him ever again or at least for a very long time. I promptly went back to school to get a job so that I could work  in the day, put him in Day Care where I knew he would be well watched without coke heads partying in front of him. And even though that may have been a one time incident and little did my husband know that his own barely two year old baby  unknowingly toldl on him, I freaked out enough to realize that it was up to me to take care of my baby. So between my mom and a neighbor, I found safe child care. Sometimes a mama has to do what a mama has to do. And it is ALWAYS about putting the safety of your kids first. Period. I don’t think I even made a big deal about it. I just adjusted things and filed the information away realizing what I was dealing with.

Fast forward, a few months, I finished school, was working and had my son in what I thought was a good school when we ran into the Director of that school. I loved her. She was amazing, or so I thought until my son totally freaked out when she came up to him at a local Fair. I had no idea why, and it didn’t matter. I promptly removed him from that school and put him in a Christian School until we finally moved and I was able to stay home. By then I was pregnant with his sister and had enrolled him in the public school around the corner. He was in second grade and I walked him to school the first day.

He was already showing signs of not needing his mom by then. Though I could tell that he was a little happy that I was there. I had packed his lunch trying to imagine him eating it and thinking of me, lovingly putting in all his favorites, how funny. Now I know he wasn’t thinking of me at school while he was eating his lunch!!! As a young mom, it helped to imagine that anyway~

He had a new backpack and new clothes he could care less about but it made me feel better  knowing  his shoes were new. I prayed all the way to school that he would find a new friend and like his teacher. As soon as he saw the first glimpse of the school, he dropped my hand. Ouch. He puffed up and marched into the line of his new second grade class. Leaving me totally in the dust. Double Ouch. I smile as I think back at how I felt back then. I decided to not make it worse by trying to kiss him but I did remind him what gate to meet me at when school was out. “I KNOW mommm!” He stated as he followed his new class to their classroom.

When school got out that day, I was excited to hear about his day. I watched for him. I watched for his class. I thought I saw his teacher. But I never saw my kid. I panicked. I went to his class. It was empty. I went to the other gate. Everyone was since long gone. I finally went to the office. I was barely four months pregnant but I felt as if I was going to go into labor right there when they told me to call the police! I ran home crying, hysterical. My neighbors had their screendoor opened and I didn’t know what to do or who to call so I told my friend across the street the whole sorry story. She immediately got on the phone and cussed out the office saying “WHO tells a pregnant mother to call the police?” Then we hopped into my other neighbors car promptly drove back to the school.

So let me clarify, I had come from the arms of a private school where anyone picking up my child practically had to give their blood type before they would release him from their care, to a school that loses your children and then takes no responisbility after they have done it! I laugh now but you have no idea the feeling I had back then. I can still feel it even though it was almost 25 years ago. Well, obviously we found him. My friends and I split up and one of them came back with him in tow…. He had gone to the wrong gate! Oh my gosh. Really?!

I guess my point of sharing this story is: we all have those memory making moments… The first days of school, the first time you let go of the back of their bike without training wheels, the first time you watch them drive off with their fresh new license in hand. And then off to school or to whatever life they are heading to. The thing we have to adjust to is that no matter what the age, 7 or 17 or 32…. when they take that metaphoric hand out of ours it hurts a little. We let go in different ways throughout the years. And then we finally adjust to that empty nest. Or do we? Yes, we do. We start writing our own second chapter. We realize that we made all our dreams come true in our first chapter and become inspired to write the next and then the next, only imagining what we can do!

Like I always say, I will always see the little feathers stuck at the bottom of my nest and remember that my own little birds once filled that nest giving me a lot of joy. And know that even now, they sometimes will end up at the wrong gate. But my prayer is that there will be a lot more right gates than wrong… and that sometimes they will come home to let me hold their hand from time to time and I will understand when they need space, and pray that they will always know  that I will be okay when they let go but will always be here  with an outreached hand and a soft place to fall as needed. Because…. I’ll love you forever and forever your mommy I will always be.

The Difference Makers


A child is supposed to feel safe. And yet if that is the case, why are so many adults in therapy?

Some people had wonderful childhoods and were raised with caring and loving parents who taught them right from wrong, others had good parents and comfortable childhoods and their parents made mistakes but did the best they could. And still, others had horrific childhoods and terrible parents and seem perfectly fine. And yet all of these people have one thing in common. An inner child who is still there.

Recently, I have gone through a process of recognizing my inner child. She is the one who doesn’t trust because those who she trusted hurt her. She is the one who was never allowed to talk about her anger and so she learned how to lash out. She is the one who always wanted a voice, and now speaks too loudly sometimes. She is the one who felt so out of control most of her life, so that now she needs to control EVERTYTHING!. She is the one who was disappointed and so only sees the negative in things so she will never be disappointed again.

Ahhh, that feels so negative. It really isn’t. My inner child remembers the great things too. She loves to learn and organize and create and run and laugh and play. She has a special handful of friends that she trusts with her life and would do anything for. She always looks forward to a good time. She is in there too, all of her. Experiences and memories, Lessons and moments, all moving her along like editing a motion picture.

Stop and close your eyes and find your inner child. Who is he or she, really? If we all got a chance to go back and meet each other’s inner children, and really understand where the guy who cut you off on the freeway or the back stabbing, coworker at work first began, perhaps maybe we would have more compassion for all of them.

The little girl who was always worried that her Daddy wouldn’t get home safely because of his drinking, the little boy who felt brushed aside because his mother was too busy getting ready to go out. The kid who always heard fighting and never knew when the next explosion would take place. The little step son who never could do anything right, the kid who always waited for his dad to show up when each time he never did.

Always lonely, always worried, always brushed aside, feeling unimportant, abandoned,  the one who started out not fitting into his own family, always seeking the perfect place where he could feel as if he belonged. The little girl who had to grow up fast because she wasn’t allowed to be the child. Always fixing, always nurturing.  Always performing, and yet she was just a little girl, but today not quite a grown up.

And yet the parents that did come through, the other family members who stepped up to the plate when they were needed most, the friends and mentors, the teachers, the ones who gave them a voice, the protectors and rescuers, of those who were lucky enough to have them, all MADE A DIFFERENCE.

Today, if we look inside of ourselves, we all can find a piece of that child still lingering inside of each of us. Perhaps if we all reached out to just one child we recognized as hurting, and began mentoring instead of criticizing, hugging instead of scolding, teaching instead of berating, sharing with instead of rushing away, we might just break the cycle and begin to lead the way, to find the children and to become the protector, the mentor and the difference maker, in a way helps lead the child inside of them to a place where we all can grow up and be someone else’s hero. Because…. all of those children eventually grow up to remember the difference makers in their own lives and hopefully, someday will grow up to  become somebody else’s hero.

That Comfortable Place


ImageImageSometimes my mind replays like a home movie. Summer time and being a kid always snaps me right back to my grandma’s at Lake Washington. My cousin Pammy was my first best friend and we would spend a few weeks together each year there, and I always had “Summer” to look forward to. Back then, the simple things filled me up with such contentment and joy. If only I could bottle those moments and take a swig every time I needed to feel that feeling again.

Funny how later, I let other things get in the way of those trips. I think that I was about sixteen and driving the first year I missed Seattle because of boys and jobs and other things I thought were more important back then. Now, I would give anything to recapture some of those moments for just a few days in my life.

I remember the smell of coffee and the first rays of sunlight flooding my room as I would pad down the stairs on those lazy summer mornings. Our days were not filled with anything special. Most were just hanging out and swimming and exploring the nearby woods. Sometimes I would invent adventures that my cousin usually was a willing participant in. We could spend hours planning shows and making tickets for our parents who would be the audience whether they liked it or not, or walking to the nearby store and sometimes sneaking to the lake instead.

Every empty building held a story that I would make up. The old girl’s boarding school, now all boarded up, held stories of characters that I would build adventures around. The big old corner house at the end of the block was definitely haunted. As well as the Synagogue around the block and our grandma’s basement! I was a writer and my imagination was my pen and my sweet little cousin a willing reader.

Today, those memories are like old books on a shelf, stories tucked inside the pages, not forgotten but hazy from time and space. Once opened, the scent of the pages and the joy of remembering seem to snap you into another time and place. Much like today. It is summer. So many decades later, and I want it all back. I want to go down the rabbit hole and spend my day in yesterday where our biggest problem was what bathing suit to wear to the pool.

This last weekend, I spent a few days visiting my childhood best friend. I met my daughter up there and we bunked together. I realize more and more how my baby reminds me so much of my little cousin and realize that I actually have “made” my own best friend! I enjoy her so much and love the quirky, crazy wonderful, fun, talented person she is becoming! It was so much fun having a slumber party with her for just a few days. Each night we would talk until the wee hours of the night… about silly memories and important things, about things that made us laugh till we cried and other things that just made us cry.  It reminded me of that comfortable place I shared with my cousin so many years ago. And for a tiny moment, I was transported back to those lazy summer nights where nothing mattered and yet every minute was the most important of all and it made me treasure the fact that every moment is what you make it.