Looking for the Great–Shaker’s Story

Today went pretty well, despite its little quirks here and there.  Then this afternoon, I guess someone flipped a switch, and I was ill.  As a hornet.  I’ve spent the week with things and situations weighing on my heart and making me sad, and this afternoon, I got mad.

Mad that there are children and families being persecuted for what they believe.  Chased out of their homes and villages or murdered where they stood.  All in the name of religion.  I’m mad that I don’t hear about the missing Nigerian girls who were kidnapped at the end of April anymore.  The fact that a young woman with a unique disease that alters how she looks has been bullied and labeled “the ugliest person on earth” raised my ire a point or ten.  If one of mine ever…..well, you know.  I worry over the lonely people I see at the grocery store, seeking even there to find a connection, someone who will listen.  The families who are trying to hold it together and do the right thing by their children, with little to no support from their community–I am mad for them.  I am angry that there are people starving in our own community and half a world away.  I am mad that one of our cats not showing up this morning has broken our Princess’ heart.  Most of all, I’m mad that I cannot do a blame thing about any one of the things that makes me so mad.  That is what hurts most of all.

It’s as though my hands are tied and I just have to sit back and watch all of the pain and suffering.  And do…..nothing.

Today was Shaker’s first day of school.  I texted both Leroy and Mess Cat this morning, excited for them as their boy makes his way on the path of learning once again.  The past two years the first days have been hard, so I was eager to hear how it went.  I called and left a message, and then I got the call.

“Hello?”

“Hey,” I knew his voice immediately.

“Hey!  How was your first day?  Was it good?”

“It was great,” he replied, emphasizing the GREAT.

He talked about seeing two of his friends in his classroom, his new teacher, his new friend he made, and how he saw his first grade teacher three times.

“Did she say ‘hey’?” I asked.

“Yes.  THREE times.”  The happiness in his voice caused my eyes to well up.  Precious.

He even got to play with his best friend at recess, even though she’s in a different class this year.

Joy.  Sheer joy.  That’s what I heard in his voice.  And in his Mama’s, who was relieved and thankful that today was good.

Wait.  Make that great.  There’s a difference, you know.

And just like that.  My anger dissipated.

Do I have the answers now?  Did the things that upset me just disappear?  Did I stop caring about them?  No, no, and definitely not.

But I think Shaker helped me figure something out.

In the face of things I cannot change in the here and now, I can do something.

I can love.  Every single chance I get.  As hard and as much as I can.

And I can look for the great in every good thing and sing a song of thanksgiving for each one.

‘Cause when you’re joyful, everything’s better with music, right?

It’s not that I’ve forgotten or let go of the things that upset me, but I figured out the anger isn’t going to do anyone any good.  But love?   In the absence of knowing anything else to do at this point, it’s a pretty good backup plan.  Don’t you think?

Tonight I’m thankful for a phone call from my favorite almost seven-year old, who set me straight by focusing on the joy-filled things in our lives.  Like seeing someone who cares about you and saying hey.  Three times.

That’s the good GREAT stuff right there.

Love to all.

A Literary Dish

My brother Bubba is in town.  This evening after a great time over at Blackberry Flats with Mess Cat and Leroy (who cooked a fantastic meal by the way), he and I sat down to go through some boxes that have been waiting for him to look through and make decisions about.

Of Mama and Daddy’s stuff.

Oh y’all.

We laughed over stories of old teachers.  We were quiet as we read through books from our childhood.  We unwrapped mugs and dishes and things that Mess Cat had tenderly wrapped and boxed months ago.  Bubba and I read inscriptions and discovered that the old dictionary we grew up with was given to Daddy when he was sixteen years old.  Good stuff, y’all.  Really good.

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Halfway through a box, I handed this book to Bubba to decide if he wanted it.  I went back to digging in the box.  Then I heard the unmistakable sound of Bubba getting tickled about something.  That right there.  You can’t help but join in.  Mirth and joy and all kinds of delightful.  All mixed together.

I looked over my glasses at him.  Really?  What book was he looking at?  Surely not the one I’d just handed him.  I mean, I don’t know much about the author, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t a comedy.

“What are you doing?” I asked him.

He laughed some more.  Then he told me he was pretty sure the book was something of a gag gift from Daddy to Mama.  A glance inside the front cover showed it once belonged to a Jack Reeves and that it was 50 cents in a used book sale.  Yep.  Sounds about right.

Bubba told me the story of how one night Mama made sausage rice for supper.  She put a plate of it in front of Daddy and said, “It’s not much, but we’ll call it a meal.”  To which Daddy replied, “Zola?”

Ba dum bump.

After that whenever Mama made sausage rice she called it “Zola.”  And a new dish was born and named.

We are pretty sure that no one ever read the book, but if anyone would have, it would have been my Daddy.  He was an eclectic reader and a lover of words and thoughts.

I love this story, and I love having people to share these stories with.  I am tickled to hear this family lore that happened after I had moved out of the house.  What a gift that my brother was there to see it unfold, remembered it, and shared it with me tonight.  He’s even pretty sure he found the book at the Old Book Sale and showed it to Daddy, who of course had to get it for Mama.

As for the book, it will go on my classics shelf.  Because the story behind it is definitely classic Mama and Daddy.  And now I have a new memory to recall when I see it–the laughter of this night with my brother, the one in which we took on a task that could have been more painful than it was but ended up in us rolling with fits of laughter.

And as if all that weren’t enough, now I am craving me some Zola.

Wishing you all a good story that brings a smile to your face.

Love to all.

 

**Credit and many thanks to Bubba for not only the story but also the title of this post.  🙂

 

Just Some Guy at the Pool

This morning we went with my sister Mess Cat, her husband Leroy, and their little guy Shaker for an early celebration at the pool where they swim.  It was wonderful.  Not another soul there, beautiful weather, clear water, children laughing, folks visiting.

Awesome.

Then Leroy decided to shake things up.  He thought Mess Cat was a little too comfortable, so he jumped in right behind her when her back was turned–SPLASH!   In her good-natured way, she shrugged it off, laughing.  Everyone wanted in on the fun.  The littles came up wanting to be played with.  Leroy obliged them by doing that for a few minutes.

“More, more!” they called after him.  “Uncle Leroy!”  “Daddy!”

“No.  No.  From now on, I’m not Daddy or Uncle Leroy.   I’m just some guy at the pool.”

We all laughed.

“Besides,” he continued.  “Today’s Sunday.  It’s my Sabbath.  No more working for me.”

More laughter.

Except for Cooter, my seven-year old.

“Yeah, back in the olden days, you couldn’t work at all on the Sabbath.  If you did, you could get arrested.”

Leroy nodded.  “Is that right?”

Actually it is.  I am so pleased with my little guy.  He was paying attention when we studied the Revolutionary War this past year.  At one point, we watched the movie “Johnny Tremain,” an old one done by Disney.  There was a scene where the silversmith and Johnny were working on the Sabbath, trying to make ends meet.  The constable (I think it was) was coming, so they quickly tried to hide everything.  In the rush, hot silver was poured on Johnny’s hand.  An important part of the storyline.  I remember us having a conversation about that at the time.  Isn’t it funny what sticks in their little minds?

So it was an interesting coincidence that we talked about the Sabbath tonight at Evening Prayer.  The literal Sabbath, as in a time to rest.

Ahem.

A couple of years ago, I read the book “Mudhouse Sabbath” by Lauren F. Winner.  She described their Friday preparations for the Jewish Sabbath the following day.  She and her husband hurried home from work, prepared meals, ironed clothes, took showers, and  did everything else that needed doing for the next day.  When the sun went down, they were done.  Or had to be.  It wasn’t that they just dropped everything either.  They had worked ahead so they wouldn’t have to.   The Sabbath began and no work was allowed.

At all.

May I tell you how much I love that?

So many present tonight seemed to feel the same way–that we would love to honor the Sabbath, to take time to rest, for meditation and to have a time to just “be” instead of “do.”  We would love to, but we don’t give ourselves permission to take that time.

For some reason I don’t need to hear it’s okay–I need to hear it’s required.  As in if I don’t take a day to rest, to rejuvenate, to “be,” then the constable is coming after me.

Isn’t it sad when we can’t do this for ourselves?

It would be easy to blame the companies that choose to be open on Sunday.  It’s all their fault.  If they weren’t open, I wouldn’t need to go.  I’d have to make do.

Ummm, no.

Or on our busy lives.  We have so much going on each day, and there’s business to handle, to take care of.  It’s more than we can do in six days.  There are dishes and laundry and a house to clean.  We’re at work five days and Saturdays we’re at the ball field or the pool or traveling to see friends.  Sunday’s the only day to get these things done.

Okay.  Or not.

The truth is, it’s a lifestyle.  It’s what we’ve chosen.  We’ve chosen to fill our days and sometimes nights too with activities and meetings and programs.  We’ve made the choice to have all these things that have to be taken care of.  We are the ones who won’t draw the line and reserve an hour, an afternoon, a day each week to sit and be.

It doesn’t even have to be on Sunday in my book.  When we were going to the Sunday suppers each week, and our Sundays were busy with preparations, I guarded my Mondays carefully.  When that ended, I guess I lost my rhythm, and that time fell to the wayside.

I think it’s time I start carving out some “be” time again.  Not “me” but “be.”  Time to be with my family, unencumbered by outside distractions.  Time to sit and think and rest.  Uninterrupted by distractions.

So, in a nutshell, it’s not the distractions that will change.  It’s my attitude.  My setting boundaries.  Making different choices.  My making time for rest. Making it a priority and working ahead so it can happen.  My soul is crying out for it, I can tell you that.

And if the world starts calling out with distractions, I’ll just be some guy at the pool.

Wishing you time to unplug this week.  Love to all.

 

Sunday’s Coming, But It’s Different for Everyone

Saturday.

It’s been on my mind all day today, what with today being, well, you know, Saturday.  And tomorrow being Easter.  And I’m wondering what that first Saturday was like, the one after the horrors and sadness of the day before.  I usually do that every year about this time.   I think about the day and wonder about different things.

I wonder, I mean I was just thinking, did anyone walk up to those who were grieving the loss of the one they loved, the one who had been brutally and suddenly taken from them, and say, “Well, it will all be okay.”   “Don’t worry, he’s in a better place.”  “It’s all a part of the Master plan.”  I just wonder…..

It was Saturday afternoon.  I’d spent the better part of the day at my alma mater with my oldest for scholarship day, a day filled with interviews and forums and walking all over campus.  I’d been anxious and worried, as Mama had been in the hospital for three weeks and moved into a different room on a different floor just the afternoon before.  I wanted to be with my oldest, but I also wanted to be with my Mama. 

Upon arriving at the hospital, a nurse was adjusting some of Mama’s IV’s and medications, and it was apparent that things were not going well.  The nurse was trying to bring up some numbers and down some others.  She saw my face and looked at my seventeen year old, and said she was too young to be in the room.  What she didn’t say was I’d be asked to leave if I let the panic in my face be unleashed.  Mess Cat, who had been with Mama all day and the night before, took my girl and went to get a bite to eat.  I was sitting by myself, willing Mama to fight this unknown evil and soaking in the first quiet moments of the day. 

And then she walked in. 

She introduced herself as a hospital chaplain. 

Ah yes, right.  I had asked one of the patient representatives about having a chaplain come in and spend some time with Mama.  She had been so comforted by her own pastors and friends who had come in and visited.  We had been told by at least one nurse that Mama didn’t seem to be resting well at night.  I had wanted to ask the chaplain on call to check in with her during those long night hours when we hadn’t been allowed to be with her, prior to her moving to the MICU the day before. 

She sat right down next to me on the couch that would later fold out into a bed for me and Mess Cat to sleep fitfully upon.  She asked me how I was doing. 

“Okay, I guess.  I mean, well–” I gestured toward Mama in the bed a few feet away.  I started to explain what we were hoping for.  “I am glad you are here though–“

She interrupted me.  She was not there because she’d gotten the message that Mama needed visits.  I’m not sure if we were on her room list and needed to be checked off or if the nurses had asked for us to have a visit to get through this difficult time.  Whichever it was, she was not going to sit and listen to me explain about Mama.  She had her spiel, and she went into it.  About how I needed to turn to my faith and not let the darkness overcome me.  That I needed to turn to God. 

It was overwhelming to tell you the truth.  In the past forty-five minutes, I had driven across town while listening to my oldest compare the two colleges she’d visited over the past week, parked on the roof of the parking garage, where I’d changed out of my dress pants and into the jeans I’d brought, switched from dress shoes to my comfortable ones, entered the hospital, walked down to Mama’s floor, been admitted to the unit (imagine having to have permission to see your Mama!), and been hit full force by the apparent problems that were needing to be addressed for Mama.  I was having to think about changing her code status; and if that weren’t enough, this woman who didn’t know me or my Mama or what we were going through, and apparently wasn’t going to take the time to hear any of our story, tells me I need to turn to God. 

Excuse me, lady, if it’s all the same to you, you don’t know me like that. 

Before I could pick my chin up off the floor, she patted my hand.  “I tell you what, I want you to sit here,” she patted the couch, “just sit right here and think about God your Father.  Just think about Him and how much He cares for you and take all of that in, and I’ll be back in 30 minutes and we’ll talk about how you’re feeling then.” 

My chin slammed back down and hit the tile floor again.  The only thing I could think, as I held back the tears was, “My Father is gone, and I’m scared I’m losing my Mama too, and you want me to sit still?  There are things I.  Have.  To.  Take. Care.  Of.  That I Must Do.  Thank you, but NO.” 

Instead I sat and didn’t dare speak for what might come out of my mouth.  The one who had raised me better, to act like I am somebody, lay only a few feet away, and for all I knew, she could hear every word.  So I just stared blankly at this woman who called herself a chaplain, as she gathered her clipboard, handed me her card, and made her way out of the room. 

Soon after that Mess Cat and Aub came back in the room.  I shared with them what had happened.  I was livid–appalled, and they were too.  When the chaplain came back, my sister excused her and told her it wasn’t the time.  And it wasn’t.  I was signing paperwork about insurance coverage, as Mama had been in the hospital enough days that they needed additional information.  Right after that, I talked with Dr. G, who was such a great ally for us and good advocate for Mama, and I signed paperwork, changing Mama to a DNR. 

Horror.  Sadness.  Nothing like what those who loved Jesus and watched the crucifixion went through, but painful still.  As I sat there on that Saturday, waiting and wondering and talking to God, and shaking my head, hoping it was all a very, very bad dream,  someone sat next to me and said, “It will all be okay. God’s got this.” 

And all I could think of was, “Really? Because I’m not so sure. Couldn’t He have stopped this at any moment?”

I wonder if any of them–any of the disciples, Mary, Mary Magdalene, I wonder if any of them thought these same thoughts–if any of them wanted to scream and punch a wall.  I wonder if anyone, well-intentioned as they might be–said to any of them, Just sit here and think about your faith.  Trust.

I wonder what it was like fearing you had lost the One who gave you new life.  The One who made a way for you to live out your life.  The One whose example you sought to emulate.

Or maybe I don’t have to wonder about that part so much.  Because in just over twenty-four hours after the chaplain visited, my Mama was given new life of her own, healed, no more pains and heartaches–she joined my Daddy and the little ones whom she never got to hold.  The woman who gave me life, who called me out about my poor choices, set a beautiful example of how to live, and loved me through everything–she was gone.

The brokenness of Friday, the waiting and wondering and heartbreak of Saturday, and then there’s Sunday.

Tonight my heart is heavy for those for whom tomorrow does not bring joy.  Easter is more than a day, it’s a lifting of the spirit.  And not everyone is able to have that on this day.  There are friends in the hospital, friends who have just said goodbye to someone they loved most in this world, friends who are waiting on tests to come back, friends who will wake up in the cold air of morning and their day will be no different from any other, except that those who pass them by, seemingly without seeing them, are dressed a little brighter, a little fancier.

For them, Sunday comes, but Easter may not.

May our words be a comfort and not leave the ears upon which they fall filled with sadness and hurt, may we understand that not everyone is able to rejoice on this Day of days, and may we seek to listen and to love first and foremost, putting others before ourselves.  And may the quiet moments of this day sound louder than the festive ones, filling our hearts with more to ponder upon as the sun sets and a new season begins.

Love and understanding to all.

 

 

 

From Tranquil Bay to Autumn Moon–and ALL the Colors in Between

So today, this brought me to tears.

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And so did this.

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No you are not looking at the handiwork of one of my littles.

I did that.  All by myself.

After seven years, it is time to paint these walls.  These walls that are that special shade of perfectly neutral beige have been this way for the almost seven years we have lived here.  Stick with me here as I do the math–seven years.  Same number of years that Cooter has been alive.  And only two less than our Princess.

Yep, these walls have seen their share of handprints and pencil marks and knicks from the wooden hammer in the little tool set.  They have spots where tape was stuck and peeled the paint off (lesson learned) and places where I scrubbed too hard to get something off.

Suffice to say, it is time.  Plus this paint is flat, which makes me feel flat.  It’s time to jazz up the color and the finish–time to go with some satin.

I come from a line of women who like their color.  My Granny had some color of peach walls at one point in her house on the farm.  I don’t think I’m misremembering.  Her stool was painted a coordinating color before Daddy stripped the paint and refinished it.  (He left some flecks of that paint, which makes it all the more precious to me.)  My Great Aunt went with seafoam and mauve in her home when that came in style, and that black and white tiled bathroom?  She did all kinds of things with color coordinating in there.  My Mama loved her some avocado and then a light green and a pretty blue.  I’m following a path of bold color choices, and the pressure is on.

I have been picking up samples and trying them out for two weeks at least.  I dreamt of a lovely coral with our white trim and wood ceiling.  I just knew it would pop.  The problem is when I put it on the wall, my Fella said, “Wow, that’s really orange.”  And I realized how dark it would make my kitchen and den.  We don’t get a lot of natural light and I feared that instead of lighting up the room it would make it dim and dark.  So no.

In the meantime I was also choosing colors for the “garage bathroom.”  It’s not actually IN the garage–just near the door to the garage.  It’s where we send folks we like to go.  And it too was suffering from flat paint syndrome.  You just cannot erase water marks from that kind of paint.  I found some blue and green samples, and this is what we went with.  It has turned out beautifully, I’m really so pleased.  This is how I know I haven’t totally lost my mind or my sense of color, but just barely.

The "garage bathroom," freshly painted and beautiful.

The “garage bathroom,” freshly painted and beautiful.

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It’s hard to tell the exact color, I know, but trust me–it is lovely.  Soothing.  I want to put a chair in the corner and work from there.  Really.

Now that the bathroom’s done, I have to choose the color for the kitchen and den.  I want this room to be as perfect as that bathroom.  I want it to be inviting and soothing and for the color to reflect what little light comes in and make it seem brighter.

Is all that too much to ask of a paint color?

Apparently it is.

Tonight was the last straw.  The littles, my Fella, and I went to the getting place and looked at paint colors again.  I went, intent on getting two samples.  The plan was run home, try them on the wall, pick one, and he would run back and get a gallon while I fixed supper.

Problem number one–I have a headache.  I can never think straight when I have one of these.  So there was that.

Problem number two–I’ve lost my mind.  The two colors I brought home to try?  See those two blobs in the second picture that look peachy?  Yeah.  They are the same color as the crayon that had all its papers peeled off  in the book “The Day the Crayons Quit.”  Ahem.  Yeah, growing up I used that crayon for one thing and one thing only.  Coloring skin color sometimes.  How could I possibly have thought it would be a good wall color?  Why didn’t a siren go off when I asked for those samples?

Sigh.

At that point, I was in tears.  Maybe I should just go with the beige.  Maybe it wasn’t so bad.  Maybe I’d feel better about it when it wasn’t a flat paint and it was all clean-looking.  Maybe that blue wouldn’t be bad.  Let’s smear a little more and see if we could stand it.  Because that’s how you want to feel about your wall color–“Oh well, it’s okay, I can stand it.”  I didn’t want beige because when we lived in Japan on the base EVERYTHING was that color–inside and out it seemed, and that blue kept reminding me of my brother’s room growing up.  Tears, people, I was beyond frustrated with myself.

And then there was the whole thing that this is such a first world problem.  And I use the word “problem” very loosely. I’m whining about not being able to find a perfect color, and it made me not even like myself very much in that moment.

My Fella took over supper plans and sent me back to the getting place.  He liked the greens, and the blue–but nothing made him say, “That’s the one!”  At least he didn’t say it out loud.

I looked at him before I left and said, “If I come home with a bright yellow gold, we gonna be okay here?”

He nodded.  “Just find what you like.”

Poor man. I know he loves that blue.

And I’m telling y’all when the time comes to paint our bathroom, by golly, he will have his blue.  Just please, not in my kitchen and den.  Okay?

I called Mess Cat and asked her to talk me off the ledge.  She knew just what to say.  As usual.  And I give thanks for that.

I walked through, fingers crossed that the numerous paint people who have prepared a whole rainbow of samples for me would not be there on my second trip today.

I walked through, willing my headache to go away, and breathed slowly.  I tried looking at totally different paint chips and choosing colors that weren’t so bold.  All the ones I’d chosen before seemed to be too bold for the space.

And then there it was.

Autumn Moon.

Yes, the romantic in me fell in love with the name first.  (And as a sidenote–I would love to be hired as one of the people who names these colors, if anyone hears of an opening–I mean how fun could that be?  Wonder if I’d get free samples–that could be quite helpful. So please, if you hear of anything…..)  Awesome name.  My favorite season.  Yes.

And the color.  It is a lovely golden-yellow that is subtle not bold.  It is my hope that it is the perfect color for the sun to reflect upon and magnify as we enjoy another seven years here in these rooms making memories and hopefully not as many marks on the walls.

So I got a gallon.  It will go down the hall to the bathroom.  If we hate it, we can change the color in the den and kitchen, but I’ve got to tell you.

I sure hope we love it.

Because I found out a few things in this experience.

*What looks great on Pinterest does not always look great in one’s own home.

*Grief has greatly affected my decision-making skills.  Now I understand why Mama had such a hard time deciding on some things after Daddy got sick, and especially after he passed.  Somehow I just felt that if I could ask Mama, it would have all worked out.  Which is funny because we had different tastes in color for the most part, and I probably would have chosen what I wanted anyway, but the point is that grief has taken away much of my ability to figure out what I want.

*Finally I realize that I have very, very varying and eclectic tastes.  Do you see that rainbow on my wall?  I would take any one of those colors in some room or another–well with the exception of the naked crayon color and the funky yellow-green that is not pictured.  Again, why don’t they have an alarm that goes off when you choose something like that?  “THIS IS NOT THE PAINT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR!”

Tonight I give thanks for a skilled painter in my midst who has the patience and the ability to take color and make it look beautiful on my wall.  I appreciate my family who has put up with my dreaming about bold and beautiful colors, and when I was about to have a meltdown *over paint color* (shaking my head ashamedly), they hugged me and took care of things so I could do what I needed to do.  And for the kind paint mixing man who wished me luck and was probably worried I was going to burst into tears at the getting place this evening, bless him.  I appreciate the many good people who have mixed my samples and talked colors with me.  Especially Mess Cat.  And my Fella who has been very patient and my Aub who has dreamed big with me.  I love all of y’all.  And if Autumn Moon doesn’t cut it, y’all will know where to find me.  In my “Tranquil Bay” bathroom, working at my new job of naming colors.  (Seriously y’all, I could be good at that.)

Love and soothing colors to all.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Done with Apologizing

Mess Cat was over today, and we just visited.  The way folks do.  Sat on the furniture that’s for sitting and talked about a little bit of everything.  It was awesome.  She’s been working on home projects and so have I, so this was a nice respite for us, as our littles played together.

We started talking about our personalities and how they are different.  An incident from when I was in fourth grade came to mind.  My teacher, Mrs. W, who had taught my Daddy and my Uncle, was teaching us about quotation marks.  We were to write a sentence using quotation marks.  Correctly.  She asked a few of us to write our sentences on the chalkboard.

I loved writing on the chalkboard.  Something that has continued on to the whiteboards in my adulthood.

Love.  It.

So I was thrilled when she called on me.  I went up and wrote my sentence on the board.  I had tried to step outside the box and make my sentence a little different.

Big mistake.

My sentence was:

“She said she was going to town.”

As in someone asks, “Where did Mess Cat go?”

And I would reply…..

so proper use, right?

Only Mrs. W corrected me, had me correct it on the board, and totally misinterpreted my meaning.  She wanted,

She said, “She was going to town.”

Which doesn’t even make sense, am I right?

Ah, well.

I was a people pleaser.  So I never said a word or tried to explain myself.  That was 36 years ago.  And I’m still carrying it.  What is that about?

I told Mess Cat today that I’m trying to outgrow that, living as others expect, trying to people please.  It hasn’t always been healthy for me, holding in what I’m really thinking, what I really believe.   And I’m paying for it, so I’ve decided no more.  I’m not talking about showing out or picking fights.  I’m just going to quit apologizing for certain things I do or say or believe.

So here goes:

–Today while we were visiting, my oldest called me a name.  And it made me laugh.  “Helicopter Mama.”  I looked over at her, and she nodded, “Yeah.  You.  You hover.”

Y’all.  For the love.  I busted out laughing.  Forget monogramming.  I am so having that put on something.  A name I’ll wear with pride.

Because I am.  You got it.  And baby girl, I know you are 18.  Legal in different ways, still not in others.  However, here’s what you need to know and I’m not sorry a bit.  I will always be your helicopter Mama.  I will be hovering when you are my age, good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.  I love you, I want what’s best for you, and forgive me if sometimes I think I might know what’s what a little better than you do.  Or when I ask too many questions.  Or when I worry because you got off from work 45 minutes ago and I still haven’t heard anything.  *ahem*  I’m asking for forgiveness but I am not apologizing.  It’s part of what I signed up for nineteen years ago when I was waiting on you to arrive.  I hovered then, every little flitter or burp had to be interpreted…..and the first time you had hiccups in utero?  Oh my land.  Called the doctor I think. Or my Mama.  So yeah, I’m the best Helicopter Mama there ever was and will be as long as my blades will turn.  You call it hovering, I call it love.  And I do.  Love you.

–I’m done apologizing for my dog barking when folks come over.  Yeah, she’s shy.  She’s slow to warm up to new people.  She barks like mad when someone comes through the door she doesn’t know.  However, she loves like nobody’s business, and that is pure joy.  Many nights my writing is delayed because she is laying at my right side, patting my right hand, wanting some attention and cuddles.  That right there.  That’s why I wanted a dog so much.  While I wish she didn’t bark quite so much, and that my word about someone being okay could be enough, I’m done apologizing for it.  I give thanks she is so attentive and protective of all of us.  For such a sweet little fluffball, she’s a smart girl.  And she knows who her people are.

–I have found myself apologizing for my child’s food allergies.  Lately I’ve heard my own words, and I’ve thought, “What on earth? Why am I apologizing for taking the best care of my child that I can?”

I’m done.

No more apologizing to servers in restaurants as I explain for the umpteenth time about her allergies and ask them questions.  I appreciate their compassion and attention to details and I will compensate them for it, but I won’t apologize for asking what I need to know to make sure she’s going to be okay.  No more apologizing to folks when I have to carry separate food for this precious child.  She’s okay with it, I’m okay with it, and I hope you will be too.  (And I’ve never had anyone who wasn’t–such sweet Mamas at birthday parties–who let me know ingredients beforehand or who say “please, by all means, do whatever you have to do to feel okay for her sake.”  This is an issue that is about my mindset, not theirs.  For whatever reason I’ve felt like I should apologize for “inconveniencing” someone else, and I’m done with that.)  And no more apologizing for the paranoia and OCD that comes with having a child with food allergies.  I appreciate your help and your ideas and suggestions, but I’ve got this.  I’ve been trusted with this child by a Power Higher than anyone who walks on two feet, so please, trust me too.  I’m really trying to trust myself.  It’s taken years for me to get where we are today, mentally and in our routine, so yeah, we got this.  As “got this” as anyone can be in this situation I guess.  It scares me to death on a regular basis just how fragile life is, so I really appreciate those who go out of their way to understand and to join the “Keep Princess okay” team.  And there are many of you.  Thank you.

–I’m done apologizing for where my children are in the learning process.  When our Princess was “behind” learning to read, I stressed.  I worried and I wondered.  And I STRESSED.  With Cooter I have worried a little, mostly because he didn’t seem the least bit motivated, but then, that’s who he is.  He is motivated differently than either of my other two children, so I had to learn about what makes him tick.  Once I did, it seemed like he took off.  But we have many years ahead of us, and many more opportunities for me to worry and apologize for them being behind, ahead, or right on target.  (Believe me, I have very nearly earned a doctorate in apologizing–I can find a reason in any situation for me to need to say “I’m sorry.”  But no more. I hope.)

My house.  Oh good gravy.  It’s a cluttered mess.  Especially right now.  In transition.  Moving precious memories and things from my growing up home to my home now.  I want to be a good steward of all of it, and if I can’t, then I need to let it go.  (Is that song playing in your head now? I would apologize, but…..) I want not to feel like I need to apologize every time someone walks through my door.  “I’m sorry it’s such a mess.”  Oh my.  That would be nice.  And the only way I can change that is to do something about the clutter.  And I am.  Oh, it won’t be huge, I guess.  We still live, work, play, eat, sleep, and learn here–pretty much 24/7–but it could use some organizing and culling…..and we are on it.  Seriously.  Be impressed.  I did not inherit my Mama’s organization gene.

–My faith.  My beliefs.  My values.  So many times I hold my tongue for fear of offending someone else because I know they wouldn’t understand; I know their beliefs are different.  I don’t want to upset anyone.  And yet, I get so frustrated when I see others who are more conservative with different beliefs being so vocal and adamant that their way is the. Only. Way.  I need to reach a better balance. I need to be able to speak my mind, respectfully, without picking an argument.  And I need to be able to share my opinions and thoughts gently without feeling apologetic.  *deep breath*  This is going to take a while.  It’s a hard one.  But no more apologizing for what or who I am.  I just can’t do it, and I’m not being true to myself if I do.

–Finally, I am trying to stop apologizing for my slow progress on the whole grief journey.  When I was with Hospice many years ago (is it possible that it’s been thirteen years?), I came across something that blows the whole “wandering on a path” idea of grieving out of the water.  It was a Grief Wheel.  And the thing is that you can go round and round on it a few times before heading towards Recovery, and sometimes the least little things–something you come across, a song on the radio, the smell of sweet potatoes baking or squash cooking in the skillet–can send you right back on that wheel again.  It’s not a long and winding road with an end in sight.  It’s cyclical, and no two days might ever look alike on this journey.  There are days I just can’t be a part of the world and all that is going on, and there are days that I can’t wait to get out there and be with everyone and all that is.  Those days are not common, but they happen more than they used to.  I am sure I seem sad sometimes; I am.  I know I must seem angry too; I am.  I probably seem very lost; yep, that one too.  But I have joyful and happy moments too.  It’s all a part of figuring out my life without folks whom I loved and respected and went to when the world came crashing down or everything was awesome.  They multiplied my joys and divided my sorrows and were a safe place for me to land.  I’m sorry they are gone, but I’m not sorry for missing them.  I have to work through it at my own pace, and I need to stop feeling like I need to apologize to everyone for where I’m at.

Years ago in my previous life, I had a friend who was a manicurist.  She pointed out to me on a Tuesday evening over a beautiful French tip manicure that I said “I’m sorry” way too much.  She told me that the world did not need me to nor did it expect me to apologize with every other breath.  I felt a little put off at the time, but you know what I said to her?  Yep.  “Oh, I didn’t realize.  I’m sorry.”  Sigh.

Over the years that conversation has come back to me.  And I’ve realized more and more that she was right.  I did apologize for things that an apology was not necessary for.  As though I need to apologize for my mere existence taking up space.  It’s not about others most of the time.  It’s about me.  Feeling intrusive, inconvenient, and in the way.  Troubling others.  Yes, occasionally it was because someone made me feel “in the way” or “a bother, ” and other times I needed to offer a real apology.  But way too many times, it was about me, myself, and I. And my skewed perceptions.

So I’m done.  I’m going to try to hold back on apologizing for these things that are a part of my world and just are what they are.  Apologizing is not healthy in every case, and if I’m wrong, well…..then.

I’m sorry.

Wait.
No.

Oh boy, this is going to be a long rehabilitation.

Love to all.

 

 

PS–Did anyone notice all the proper use of quotation marks throughout?  In the words of Eeyore, “Thanks for noticing.”  🙂

 

 

where you find your treasure…..

This past Saturday was a beautiful day of weather very becoming to the month of March.  Or any month for that matter.  A day like that–we’ll take it any time we can get it.  Temperature in the low 70’s, light breeze, gorgeous sky and shining sun.

But Mess Cat and I were inside for much of the day.  Saturday was the day we loaded up things that had filled our Mama and Daddy’s home–the house we grew up in.  Mess Cat had packed up most of what needed boxing up all on her own.  A gift to the rest of us.  And one that should not be underestimated.  That girl can pack.  She is so organized.  Everything was labeled and taped and ready to go.  As the guys were taking things to the truck, my sister and I sat on the floor in the “big” room and went through the children’s books that had been read and loved and laughed over for many years.

Oh y’all.

For almost eighteen years, my Mama read stories to her grandchildren.  Before that she read to us and to nieces and nephews and neighbors and children in classrooms in school and children at the library storytimes and anyone else who loved to hear a good story.  Reading was one of her most favorite things EVER. And sharing that love with others, especially children, that was her thing.  It’s where she shined brightest.

As we sat and looked through book after book–Little Golden books, Eric Carle, books by the Provensens, Little Critter and Pooh and Peanuts books, Choose Your Own Adventure books, stories about Cinderella from all over the world, books we grew up with and books that were acquired especially for the grands–memory after memory washed over us.  We sat quietly, each lost in her own memory of a story or the pictures that took us back thirty-five or forty years.  Ahem.  At other times, we laughed over a story that triggered a particular memory of Mama reading it.

And then there were the tears.

I held them back as long as I could, but they really had to come.

Because, in the midst of all that we have packed (okay mostly Mess Cat) and decided what to do about, the place where I felt my Mama the most–

it was in these books.

Tonight as I pulled my pan of baking sweet potatoes out of the oven, a smell wafted up to my nose and I was overwhelmed with the memory of coming into the house at Blackberry Flats years ago when I was only a little older than our Princess is now.  It was dark early and cold–the sun had set in true Wonderful World of Disney Technicolor fashion and all that was left to do was go in for the night.  Supper was in the oven, and coming in from outside, the heat of the oven enveloped me as I closed the door to the laundry room where the back door was.  In that moment tonight, I was home and eleven or twelve and all was safe and warm and right again.

And yes, there are tears.

But as much time as Mama spent in the kitchen, taking care of us and making us special treats–brownies or cookies or chewy bars (oh my gracious goodness)–I did not sense her as much there as I did in her books.

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It made me wonder where my people will “find” me one day.  Will it be in the kitchen?  Will it be as they go through my yarn stash? (ummm yeah, there’s some in the closet too–sorry y’all) Will it be in my books?  Or will it be when they close this laptop for the last time?

I find my greatest joy in my people and words.  The folks who are mine.  The words in books and the words I piece together to share my thoughts and stories.  Is that where they will feel me close?

Tonight I am thankful for the time with my sister.  For the joy of sharing memories and laughter and the times we had to look away to keep from falling into each other’s arms, crying the tears that have threatened to surface since we told Mama goodbye.  I give thanks for the grace and love of a sister.  One who loves you even when you’re being a jerk and always shows up.  No matter what.  One who loves you so much she gives you the gift of her time and energy and effort.  Because she knows you can’t anymore.

I am most thankful for the books that Mama held close that now hold her close and share her memory with anyone who reads them.  The sweet pictures, the funny stories, the great way Mama made a book come to life with her voice and intonations and peeking over her glasses.  I miss that so much.  She gave a love of reading to each one of my children and to so many others.  That’s a legacy that is priceless.

Just like her.

Love to all.  May you find your day filled with a great story.

“Let’s Get This Thanksgiving Started!”

This morning when he woke up my little guy Cooter came right up to the kitchen door and proclaimed quite loudly, “Let’s get this Thanksgiving started!”

That made me laugh.  I mean, the turkey had been in the oven for a while, but yeah…..it’s not Thanksgiving without the “fambly folk” there.  And how can your day go any way but great when it starts out with someone so excited to start the day right there by your side?

A morning of cooking after a day of baking yesterday, all with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade playing in the background.  I’m a purist.  We do NOT switch back and forth between channels and parades.  I do have someone on remote control duty to mute or block out the picture when certain commercials come on.  *sigh* I thought it was supposed to a family friendly program.  Ahem.

It was perfect timing as the last of what I was preparing was finished at the same time Santa arrived at the parade.  We did our traditional waving to Santa, and then we loaded up everything and headed to Mess Cat’s.  We had a wonderful meal with great folks.  As Mama and I used to say after Daddy died two years ago, “It was really good, contextually speaking.”

And yes, the memories came flooding back.  When I made Mama’s dressing and her gravy this morning, I thought back on all the years she made it and how sometimes she would make it just to give us a special treat.  Have I mentioned that cooking was her love language?

The memories took me back even further.  To when I was little.  We were having a holiday meal at my Granny’s house.  She had cooked and cooked and the food covered the stove and the countertop.  How she fit all of us in her house back then I have no idea, but she sure did.  I was finally old enough to fix my own plate, so I walked down the line and noticed there were two pans of dressing.  One had a lot out of it, and one only had a little.  I don’t know if I felt bad for the pan no one seemed to want (yeah, I do stuff like that sometimes) or if it was just easier to get some out of that pan because of the line.  Regardless, I got a helping out of the pan with more.  I realized my mistake on my first bite.  Mushrooms.  I really don’t care for mushrooms, but I sat and ate the dressing I’d spooned out for myself and didn’t say a word, exactly as I’d been taught.  On the way home I leaned forward in the backseat and proudly told Mama and Daddy how I’d eaten the dressing with mushrooms without complaining once.

Daddy laughed.  And then Mama.

It was a few minutes before they could catch their breath and tell me why that was so funny.

Granny, who also showed love with food, had made a special pan of dressing for her oldest, Daddy’s older brother.  Not mushrooms.  No.  Oyster dressing.  He loved it, so she made it especially for him.  Oh dear.  (Daddy later mused at what my Uncle must have thought, seeing more of his dressing gone.)

I may have shared that story before, but for some reason it came to my mind as we had dinner today.  Leroy, my brother-in-law, had prepared his dressing.  I don’t know why dressing was so important to me this year.  Maybe it’s because the past two years, even though I made many of the side dishes, Mama brought her dressing.  Aub would go over the night before and help her make her dressing and gravy.  They’d drive up mid-morning with all that deliciousness in tow.  As has happened with each family get-together since Mama passed on in February, the thought comes to mind–“Who’s going to make (fill in the blank) now?”  I knew I was going to make some dressing, and I knew Leroy was too.  But I also knew neither would be hers.

And you know what?

It was okay.

Leroy’s dressing was delicious.  I found out how much I really love sage when it’s added just right.  And while my dressing wasn’t hers either, it’ll eat.  I think I did her gravy justice, but Leroy’s turkey gravy was absolutely delectable.

It was a good day.  I realize that even though she’s not here to make her dressing, she is here with me.  Always.  I just have to listen a little differently now.  And as I was listening today, I remembered the Thanksgiving two years ago when Mama came to my house.  With her dressing.  And gravy.  Only one week after Daddy left this earth.  She came with dressing and love and time and smiles for all of us when that was probably the last thing she felt like doing.  There’s a lesson in that.

Today as I finished prepping the sides–the sweet potatoes and apples, the homemade cranberry sauce, Mama’s gravy, pineapple casserole, and other things we traditionally have, I remembered the people I love who taught me to make them or whose favorites they were.  And I realized that in trying new things, like Leroy’s dressing and gravy or Granny’s all those years ago, I was stepping outside my comfort zone and embracing the day.  Instead of mourning that Mama is gone, today–just for today–I was able to remember without tears, and take a taste of what this new different normal is like.

And it was actually rather okay.

And tonight I’m giving thanks for that.

(Oh and just to let you know, Cooter was ready to start the day because he loves peach cobbler.  He asked me to make it yesterday.  And today, as he sat eating it, I heard him tell his sister and cousin, “This is the best Thanksgiving ever!”

That’s more than I could hope for.)

Giving Thanks for Aunt Bee and Slow Readers

When I shared about my six-year-old son Cooter giving me the honor of naming me the “Meanest Person in the World,” I mentioned that he might not have school and learning as a top priority.  He’s very bright and he loves learning new things–about Star Wars, animals, the world.  Because of an episode of Andy Griffith (the one where Barney tries to marry Andy off), he really wants us to read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  I mean, he really wants us to…..as in he keeps asking me so many questions about it that I pretty much have our favorite used bookstore and the library on our agenda for tomorrow.  However, when it comes to phonics and math, he will do what he needs to, most of the time, but it just isn’t his thing.

And yesterday I gave thanks for that.

We were riding over to Mess Cat and Leroy’s house yesterday afternoon, and I went a different route.  After I had already committed to it, I clenched my teeth and looked in the rear view mirror.  I usually avoid going that way, but I let my guard down and was trying to go the quickest way I could.  My glance backwards showed my two littles entranced by the episode of Andy Griffith where Aunt Bee got into the “elixir” and was singing and playing “Toot Toot Tootsie, Goodbye” on the piano with all she had.  I was thankful.  They didn’t see the sign.

The sign for the club that we passed yesterday.

The sign for the club that we passed yesterday.

I’m not writing this to make a commentary on the people who work there or the people who go there.   I am writing because I struggle with what I will say when, as will inevitably happen, one of my littles asks me what that word means, and what kind of dances they are doing, and why do people have to pay $5 for them?  That.  I dread it.

Tonight we were going to meet Mess Cat and Leroy across town.  As we neared the movie theater where our favorite coffee shop is, something on the marquee caught my eye.

“Bad Grandpa”

What.  On.  Earth.

Okay, I just looked it up and read about it.  In the words of my math teacher from high school when she heard a far-fetched answer:  “Do wha-ut?”

Yeah, not even worth your time in checking it out.  Just my opinion, but yeah.  Who is making these movies anymore?

Again, I was thankful that my littles were distracted.  I did NOT want to have to answer what that might mean.

We make weekly trips up to Macon, and I have planned my route for a long time based on the location of a billboard that asks the question of where the reader will spend eternity.  It bothers me, as did the one before it that warned of one of the seven “deadly sins.”  I want to explain religion and spirituality to my children in my own way.  I’d rather not have to do it because one of my children is afraid of what will happen to them because of what it says on a billboard.  When it was first put up, I would try to distract my reader by asking a question or pointing out something in the opposite direction.  I am thankful in those moments that she is easily distracted, and we can get past such things without her reading them and wondering what they mean.  But most of the time, I tried to avoid that route.

So yes, Cooter can’t read well yet.  His sister was a late bloomer as well, so I’m not worried about it much.  She reads like a fiend now, zooming through her books as fast as she can, and she loves to read.  He’ll get there one day too.  But I am glad that he can’t read well yet.  He watches things and people a lot more than she does.  So I know when he does start reading well, I will have lots and lots of questions to answer.

I think I’m going to stop feeling guilty about and apologizing that my vehicle has a built-in DVD player.  I may be a little freer in letting them play their electronic games as we ride around from point A to point B.  I’m done.  I am happy for anything that will keep their minds innocent a little longer, and for a little while longer keep them from asking me the hard questions that I know are coming.  When they do come, I will answer the best way I can, but until then, bring on the Gilligan’s Island and Leave it to Beaver and Andy Griffith.  I’ll take those over a bad Grandpa any day.

GPS Coordinates for Grace–About Losing, Seeking, and Finding

 

Today we went out geocaching for the first time with our friends from The Light at Bare Bulb Coffee.  They are like family to us, this group of folks who set out to try something new and learn a little about seeking and finding and apparently, patience.  And all about accepting there are some things we will never find no matter how hard we look.  We used GPS coordinates to seek the little treasures hidden along the trails, working together, poking and digging and laughing and pondering where would be the perfect hiding place.  Ah those tricky clues!

Our Geocaching Adventure today--a first for me and mine.

Our Geocaching Adventure today–a first for me and mine.

It was a beautiful day for wearing hoodies and vests and jackets and watching the patterns on the ground the sunlight made as it filtered through the trees.  At times it was hard to tell the difference between the grownups and the children.  In the end we arrived back at the starting point, having actually found one geocache and all with smiles on our faces.

Until.

Aub opened up the back door and called out that we’d been robbed.  Her purse that she had left under her sister’s jacket in the backseat was open and things were strewn all over the backseat.  When we realized it was her wallet, The Fella asked me about mine.  I opened the front door and looked down under the seat where I’d left it.  Nothing seemed to be disturbed.  Thank goodness.  As Aub searched it seemed that all they absconded with was her cash.  Which was sad enough, but not as bad as it could have been.  Rightfully so she was pretty upset.  As we began the drive home, tensions were high and our Princess started crying.  Aub turned to her, and Princess said, “I lost something too.  My DS.”  Remember how much she and Cooter wanted one of these?  I got really good bargains on the local bookoo site.  Bless her heart, she has done a really good job of taking care of it.  It’s not her fault someone reached in and took what wasn’t theirs.

Oh the tears.  Her heart was broken and suddenly what had been so wonderful was marred.  When we got home, Aub shook her head in anger and said, “I’m more mad about the DS than I am the money.”  She looked at her little sister.  “She will never be the same again.”

I know.  I know, and it makes me sad.

When I was little we didn’t lock our doors.  We lived in a little row of brick houses over on Boy Scout Road and all was safe.  There was a little girl living next door and sometimes we played together, though for the life of me, I can’t remember her name now.  One evening I told her I couldn’t play long because we were going to KMart after supper.  It was a pretty special event, because it was rare we did evening shopping trips like that.  When we returned home after dark, a light was on in the house and Mama’s jewelry box had been gone through.  The one thing missing?  Her ten commandments charm bracelet.  I’m not making this up folks.  I’m not sure exactly what all transpired, but the next day the little girl was at our front door apologizing and returning the bracelet.

Even though I knew who had done it and all was back in its proper place, my world had been changed.  To think that someone was in my house, my safe place, when I wasn’t there and I didn’t know about it.  It upset the heart, the mind, and the stomach.

Aub was about the same age when the house she and I were living in was broken into twice in a six week period.  They ransacked and took, between the two occasions, her change jar, her embroidered backpack, her VCR with her favorite Olive the Olive Reindeer movie in it, and a video camera that I was using for my grad school project.  It was terrifying.  Especially for Aub.  After the second time we set about finding somewhere else to live.  We moved in short order and got a dog who very quickly took it upon himself to let me know if someone so much as slowed down passing by our house.  Bosley was an awesome protector.

It took quite a while for us to feel safe again though.  As a matter of fact, there are times that the old fears come back full force.  When I walked in my house both of those times, I wasn’t sure if the person was still in the house or not.  The second time I was so angry that it had happened again, that I yelled out, daring him or her to show his/her face.  Yeah, anger can make us do a lot of foolish things, can’t it?

Today I felt that uneasy sensation come back.  That unsettling anxiety and feeling off-kilter.  Someone had been in our stuff, had made what felt safe and secure to us suddenly seem unsafe.  It broke my heart to see the six-year-old little girl in Aub’s eyes this afternoon–fearful all over again.  And mad.  They weren’t supposed to be able to get to us now.  How had this happened?  And then there was our Princess.  Her first time realizing that there’s some mean folks in this world.  She kept saying why would someone do that?  Why?  And, to keep it real, Cooter would pipe in with, “I’m the only one who didn’t get something stolen.”  Ummm, yeah, thanks buddy, keep that to yourself.  Please.

I kept thinking about Mama and how much I wanted to call and tell her about this.  And it was like she was on the other end of the line in my mind, saying how someone needed some praying for real bad.  Poor things, look at where their life had gotten to, taking things that weren’t theirs.  From a car parked at the entrance to a walking path.  Bless their hearts.  And then she’d probably point out how lucky we were that it wasn’t so much worse, to which I would respond sarcastically most likely because I wouldn’t be ready to hear THAT.  (We have conversations like this from time to time.  Still.) But in the end I’d probably say well, okay Mama you might be right.

And I guess I pegged the conversation pretty good. As much as I wanted to come home and hole up and be sad and depressed and mope for the rest of the weekend, Mess Cat wanted me to call her.  She had a Mama story to share.

One day they were on the way home in the car.  Out on the backroads where we live, you’ll pass folks walking from time to time.  Sometimes they’ll “white-line” it and other times they’ll get over on the grass when a car passes by, but on this particular day there was a fella who didn’t seem to be planning to do either one.  He just stayed in the road.  Mama made a comment like she wondered what was going on or something like that, and Mess Cat, being Mama’s girl and feeling protective, turned around and gave the man a dirty look.  He promptly made not one but two rather crude gestures with his hands.  Mess Cat said she’d never seen the gestures before that day, but judging from the look on his face, she was guessing it wasn’t good.

My sister told me that Mama just kept on driving and said, “Well my goodness, he sure is having a hard day to be acting like that.  I can only imagine what kind of day it has been for him. Poor fella.”

That.  That right there.  That’s my Mama.

When Mess Cat told me what Mama said (and sorry girl, I might not have gotten the story word for word), memories flooded back of Mama saying just such as that in different instances when I’d come in sharing the stories of the ugly comings and goings of folks.  She was just about always ready to give grace first and point fingers later (or usually not at all).

And so tonight as I think back over the day, I know that it was her voice that I was hearing when my heart went out to the person who desperately and quickly grabbed what they did from our car.  And it was her voice I heard when our Princess said, “I guess they must have really needed some money.”

I am thankful for a merciful robbery.  It really could have been so much worse.  I could still be on the phone right now calling and cancelling and so on.  I am so grateful that our Princess had a bounce in her step and a twinkle in her eye tonight before she went to sleep.  She will be okay again.  And I know it sounds superficial, but I’m glad they didn’t take Aub’s new GW Boutique Vera bag.  She was tickled to make such a find, and I’m glad that she didn’t lose it too.  I’m thankful for my sister to share stories with and to remember Mama  with and who will remind me of Mama’s wisdom when I need to hear it most.

It’s not been easy today, but I want to be like my Mama.  She was a GPS for grace–she’d show us the way to find it and give it and how to forgive and show compassion.  Her “coordinates” were spot on–there was no missing the direction she was pointing us in, because she was leading the way.  I want to give grace like that–grace that doesn’t make sense at all, today and everyday.  And I hope to show my children the way as well.  But most of all, no matter what else that person stole from us today, I don’t want to let him or her steal the joy of a fun-filled day with friends that are like family.  The beautiful day, time with folks we love, great conversations, laughter over our missteps, and the fun of being just where we were in the moment and not rushing to the next thing on the calendar.  That’s something that poor soul can’t take from me unless I let him.  If I do, then I’m the poor soul.  And I can’ t have that.  Nobody wants to go where those GPS pity pot coordinates will lead.  There’s for sure no treasure to be found there.

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