Not Today

On days when you say, more than once, “I can’t do this anymore” and consider putting an ad out there for an adult to come and take over because making one more decision does not sound like anything you are going to be doing this day, here is what I know is good:

*Children (young and grown) dancing to the Gummy Bear song.

*Walks in the finally not freezing cold weather.

*Stepping away from the things that are sapping your energy and time–if only for a few minutes.  Just walk away.  It’ll still be there.  That I can promise.

*Laughing over a parody watched with people you love.

*Chocolate.  Always.

*Cold coffee.  (Or you know, hot, if you prefer it that way)

*Watching Elton John singing karaoke to his own songs.  (“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”  I.  Am. DONE.)

*Finishing up a major undertaking and giving yourself a high five.

*Knowing it’s almost bedtime and tomorrow is another day.  Another chance for things to right themselves.  Well, with a little help.  But yeah.  Mercies anew in the morning.

Here’s hoping that one of these things brings you a smile and brightens your day.  Or better yet, here’s hoping your day has been so brilliant that your spirits don’t need lifting. But here’s what I hope you take away from this tonight.

If you are having “a day,”  you are not alone.  You can hang with me.  And the rest of us for whom some days are hard.  We can help each other through it.  Or at least laugh a lot trying.  This journey isn’t meant to be done alone.

Love to all.

You Know You’re Loved When…..

Yesterday the littles and I were heading over to my Aunt’s for some cousin time and to circle the wagons.  As we traveled the familiar path, our Princess announced from the backseat, hairbrush in hand: “I just want my hair to look nice, and I’m worried that it doesn’t.”

Yes.  We are those people.  We keep a hairbrush in the car.  (Maybe even two) It has made me a better Mama to be honest.  Instead of losing it as we are trying to head out the door and realizing I need to send someone (HER usually) back to brush their hair and wait THAT MUCH LONGER to pull out of the driveway, we just get in the car and she (or you know, whoever) can deal with it there.

I looked in the rearview mirror and saw that she had actually already brushed it and pulled it into a side ponytail style of sorts.  It looked brushed, and really, that’s all I’m aiming for.

I was actually impressed.  This is the child whom my great Aunt W once looked at and commented, “She sure is pretty.  She’d be even prettier if you’d brush her hair.”

What could I say?  I was busted.  She was right.  Our girl has never been a fan of having her hair brushed.

So you can understand why I was VERY confused that my child was suddenly so concerned about the condition of her hair.

She was brushing it and looking quite serious.  “Do you want to know why I’m so worried about my hair?”

Well, ummm, YEAH.  “Sure.  I’d love to know.”

“Well I want Aunt to know how glad I am to see her.  See, I heard that if you show up just thrown together and everything, it will seem like you aren’t glad to be there and you don’t care about that person.  And I don’t want Aunt to think I don’t care.  So I want my hair to look nice.”


For the love.

I’m not sure where she acquired such information, and I do intend to ask her, only I keep forgetting in the busy-ness of our day to dailies, but I will.  I mean, it’s not a bad thing to do, putting yourself together because you care.  Still, I am curious as to where she might have come across information such as that…..the mind boggles.

Tonight I’m thankful for my Aunt, the one our Princess loves enough to brush her hair for. (And y’all know that’s some for real, no kidding love.) I’m thankful for Cousins and laughter and dancing in the rain.  For cups of coffee around a kitchen table and holding on to love and stories and the need to be together.  I wouldn’t trade anything for my time with my people, and that I can have that, I am eternally grateful.

May you all have someone so happy to be with you they’re willing to do just about anything to show it–even brushing their hair.

Love to all.


By Mr. Brian (Brushes) [CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

the last one home

there is little better feeling than being the last one home

the last one to return to the roost where we all grew our wings

the lights on, hearts and stories waiting until all are there

and the smiles grow brighter

hugs are given and given again

and last just a moment longer than they used to

laughter accompanies the threats of telling that one story

that everyone already knows anyway


all await me behind the blinds with the light peeping through the cracks

beckoning me to their warmth

their affection the perfect protection from the cold chill

and darkness of the journey


all those I love and hold dear

tucked away inside,

piled up on every chair and cushion

and even curled up on the floor


plates are full

and so are the hearts

of those I love

and cannot wait to see

a sight for sore eyes

it’s been far too long


there is little better feeling than to be the last one home

unless it’s being the first one there, waiting,


all the joy that is to come


the little boy who’s all grown up

the little guy who taught me all about little guys

is no longer little

the one who brought cars and trucks into our toybox

(I already had the tractors)

now drives one of his own

filled with his precious family


the one who took my hand as we walked and talked

down the old road near the homeplace

now takes my heart and listens

and shares his words of wisdom

that sound more and more

like those of our Daddy


the one who held my firstborn when he was still so young

now watches as that grown baby girl holds his baby boy

and the two of them laugh together

and take selfies and

the little boy who’s all grown up

and I

look on


when did the baby boy

become one of my best friends,

when did he stop keeping me up late with

all the silliness

just to see my eyes droop and hear me talk nonsense

and become the man who sits and shares stories

and joys and worries and all the life thoughts

until the wee hours of the morning?


this person who will always be my baby,

yet who is taller and stronger and perhaps even wiser than I

(though there’s no need to tell him that right now)

and who, as we both tried to do something yesterday,

when I said,

“sorry, just trying to fix it, that’s what I do”


“yeah, me too”

and in that moment

I saw how much more alike we are becoming

than we’ve ever been before


and I give thanks

for I need his strength

and laughter

and I love that he still wears the worn out blue jeans

and t-shirts

and goes barefooted in the middle of winter

and chases the children around


last night he packed his Matchbox cars and children

into his big car and prepared to head back home

the little boy who once lived down the hall

now lives way too far away


as I said “goodbye” and wept

the tears fell unapologetically

for I know that life, it’s too short

and I know that, despite everything,

we all need to be known well

and loved anyway


and that baby boy, the one with the jet black hair

and big green eyes

who changed our world

when he came home to a house full of sisters,

he knows my faults and my flaws and

what the inside of my microwave looks like

and how quirky I can be

and for whatever reason, he says my name and he loves me


the little guy who isn’t so little anymore

he’s grown into the space he owns inside my heart,

the space he’s owned since the first time he wrapped his fingers around mine

and today it feels a little empty

as does the house

as the laughter and stories we shared echo in my heart and mind




Christmas Cheer

Tonight I’m thankful for barefooted little boys feeling well enough to run around outside on a day that has blue skies and sunshine.  I’m thankful for little girls who are growing up but still hug dolls and cry over sweet stories.  I give thanks for big girls who love dolls and listening to the radio and who still get excited about the magic of Christmas.

For the gifts that made me feel loved and the folks who give love so generously, I am grateful–fruitcakes, pitchforks that  turn out to be something wonderful, simple rings that hold a promise, and ampersands and earrings and books and smiles and hugs and phone calls and laughter and time spent together.

Today was filled with the quiet joy that comes from loving those who are here and remembering those who are not and loving and laughing and holding each other close through it all.


Tonight I’m most thankful for all of those who share Christmas cheer with us.

Wishing you all enough cheer that you have plenty to share with those around you.

Merry First Day of Christmas!

…..It All

Today was a day of “it all.”

At our Princess' swim meet this morning.....she stayed buoyant through it all.

At our Princess’ swim meet this morning…..she stayed buoyant through it all.

Our day started off with our Princess giving it all her best.  She swam in her second Swim meet, and she swam in four different events and did it all well.  She did her personal best in each one.  She was so happy and kept her sweet, excited spirit through it all.


Our oldest home from college had a photo shoot with a friend this morning.  She loved every minute of it, and the photos were lovely–somehow they managed to capture her spunk and her beauty and her light all at the same time.  These, however, are not those pictures.  This is my goofy girl keeping me laughing, bless it all.  She nearly made me scream when I turned around and saw her with the dog’s head.  When she donned the horse’s head, I only laughed and told her no way I’d put that nasty thing on my head.  She neighed and walked away.  I love how she makes me laugh.  So much.

My little guy who at the beginning of the year could not read.....I love this picture so much.

My little guy who at the beginning of the year could not read…..I love this picture so much.

At one point while we were in the Getting Place looking around, I couldn’t find Cooter.  When I looked down and around, there he was.  Y’all.  For the love of it all.  This little guy amazes me.  At the beginning of this year, he could not read.  And now it’s very common to find him just like this. Tucked away with a book.  Sure, a lot of times he is tucked away trying to keep from cleaning his room or picking up his Lego’s but yes, he’s actually reading, so I count it as a win.  A big one.

And moving on to the category of “Now I’ve seen it all…..” I offer you the following from our adventures today:

Party in the Tub.....need I say more?

Party in the Tub… just sells itself, doesn’t it?

Our Princess saw this in one of the Getting Places and was so excited.  “Mama, I’ll start taking baths again if you get me this.”  Ummm, no?  I am actually quite okay with her showering rather than taking baths, so that bargaining point was null and void.  Seriously though, I’d love to see the episode of Shark Tank where the makers tried to pitch this idea.  It’s a light, for your tub–it’s a party in the making!  Because we all need a bath time light show…..ahem. If you have one and love yours, no offense.  I’ve just never heard of such.   Oh my.

And then this.....y'all I'm laughing so hard right now.  It's clever and ridiculous all at the same time.

And then this…..y’all I’m laughing so hard right now. It’s clever and ridiculous all at the same time.

This made me laugh.  I saw this as I was dashing through to meet my crew on the other side of the store.   I had to stop and take a picture though.  Cooter came up asking me what was taking so long, but how could I not?  It’s mesmerizing.  I almost think I need one. Or that someone I know does.  Wouldn’t this be the talk of Christmas morning if I had this wrapped under the tree for that special family or friend?  Shhh.  That’s just between you and me.  I cannot stop laughing or looking at it.  I think it’s clever and ridiculous all at the same time.  Yep.  Somebody’s getting this for Christmas this year.  For sure.

I might just have seen it all, y’all.

Tonight I’m thankful for a day spent with my crew,  a day with no math involved.  (Just kidding, we love math, but some days I’m glad when we take a day off from homeschooling.)  I give thanks for the laughter, the joy, the love, and even the arguing.  Togetherness isn’t always happy happy joy joy, but when it comes right down to it, we know who will be there to see us through it all…..and that’s these folks right here.  I love this crazy bunch of people I share this home with.

May you have a day of celebrating the little things, the “it alls” of life, and may it make you happy too.

Love to all.


Our oldest came home from college for a short visit yesterday afternoon to spend some time celebrating fall and all of its goodness with us.  She wound up spending the night and driving back for class this morning.

There is a feeling I get in the middle of the night when all of my people are here.  Safe and sound and tucked away–all of them.  That’s a powerful good feeling, especially since it’s not a common occurrence so much anymore.

As my girl pulled out in the same little car I asked for angels to watch over my Mama driving, I reminded her to call me when she got back to campus.  Knowing that she’d be in class almost as soon as she got there, I didn’t want to have to worry if she forgot and was in class or if something had actually happened to delay her.

In her true typical “shorthand,” Aub texted me about forty minutes later.



Again, here.

I love that word.

It’s a word of comfort.  It means that folks are safe.  Where they should be.  And that means so much, especially considering how things are playing out all around us right now.

The other day I got a message from a sweet friend–“Let me know if you need anything.  I’m here if you need me.”


The gift of presence–of her being here–oh me.  Yes, please.  A priceless gift to be treasured indeed.

Tonight I’m thankful for safe journeys for my Aub and for the one word message that lets me breathe again, giving thanks with a peace-filled heart:  Here.  I’m thankful for the special occasions that find us all here under the same roof.  And I give thanks for the ones in my life who offer me their love, their shoulder, their presence–and make themselves “here,” wherever that may be.

Wishing you all safe journeys and someone whose shoulder never tires of being leaned on a bit.

Love to all.

The Comfort When Things Get Wonky

Today we were on our new “fall” schedule in earnest.  I use the term “fall” loosely because there’s nothing remotely related to fall in August in Georgia. (97 degrees people.) Except for the fact that all of the schools have started.  There is that.

Today was “divide and conquer” day.  As in, if the Fella were deployed, I’d need a clone to get it all done.  But he’s not, so we each took a little and headed out in opposite directions.  We didn’t even all eat together tonight.  That is important to us, so it’s rare for us not to eat supper together.  Very different.  Very hard to wrap my feelings around it.  I like to be where my children are, a spectator and cheerleader when possible and appropriate, a quiet support when not.  So today was…..

different.  Have I mentioned that already?

The Fella and Cooter went to eat (because of our hectic schedules on Monday, it is unofficially our “pickup supper” night).  Then they headed to swim lessons.  Since our Princess made the swim team last month, Cooter wants to try his best and see where he lands (or swims–ha).  He will take classes for this lesson period, and we’ll let him decide if he wants to continue after.  This is all him–we have no pressure or expectations.

After stuffing the Princess with yogurt and having her grab a couple of healthy snacks and water for the car, she and I headed to her dance and gymnastics classes.  She loves it there.  And we love the people there too.  It’s a great experience for her.  I used to wonder at parents who over-scheduled their children.  Now my girl is in dance, gymnastics and swim team.  Ahem.  Be careful what you judge, my friend–yeah, you just never know.  I’m hoping that, since we are at home for school during the days and have little to no other commitments right now, this will be a stress free, really great year for us all.

Check with me again in May.

Yeah.  I’ll let you know.

After her classes were over, we did a run-in at the grocery store–I was out of Granny Smith apples, and that’s my usual bednight snack, so we HAD to stop for those.  Then we did our drive thru routine (minus food for the boys) and headed home.

All out of order.  Feeling rather wonky at how different it all was today–and will be for a few weeks.

And then we got home.  Cooter came and met us and our grocery bags and supper bags and dance bags at the door.

“Hey!”  Oh that toothless grin.  (He lost another yesterday, just came up and handed it to me with a smile and a hug and then ran off to play.  Bless him.) I will never tire of it.  “Guess whose group I’m in at swimming?”

“Who?” our Princess asked quickly, as she dropped her bags.  (I had the apples, thank goodness.)

He told us the name of the male instructor our Princess  had this summer.  He teaches the students at the other end of the pool.  This is a huge deal, y’all.

“What?!” she squealed, hugging her brother.  “That is awesome!”

The light in that boy’s eyes.  Oh me.  He was so happy.  And to have his sister celebrate with him…..good stuff right there.  The best.

As we moved to the kitchen and our Princess pulled out her supper and began eating, Cooter said, “Sooo, how was dance?  Who was there?  Did you have fun?”

I was putting things away in the kitchen with my back to him, but it straight tickled me.  To hear him asking his sister these questions, it was like hearing an echo from the past.  The questions I’ve asked over and over through the years.  They are listening, y’all, never doubt.  More than we know.

After baths and things started settling down, Cooter came in and called his big sister away at college.  He wanted to tell her too.   I could hear her excitement three feet away from the phone.  Sharing the joy.  I love it.

Tonight I am thankful that even when things get all wonky and out of sorts and far away from my comfort zone, there are things that stay the same and remind me how wonderful family is.

hugs and high fives between brothers and sisters

compassionate, tender hearts

voices squealing in excitement

caring questions of genuine interest

giggles and dreams shared

That’s the really good stuff in life.  The stuff that makes heading back out there into the unknown just a little easier.

Here’s to comfort when things get wonky.  May you all have a bit of that right when you need it most.

Love to all.