Sunday, May 29, 2016


Throughout our country's centuries of history, many have been called from their schools and colleges, quiet farms, small businesses, learned trades, and family responsibilities to join in our national efforts to establish freedom and to sustain it.  Hundreds of thousands never returned to the families and children who waited for them but died far away from home in lonely places here and all over this globe.  
I would expect that the people who have given their lives so that future Americans could live free would've had the right to expect certain things from those who would come along behind them. 

-They would certainly have the right to expect that we wouldn't just suck up all the benefits from living in America without being willing to offer her something in return.

-That the same flag that draped their coffins wouldn't be trampled, burned, or disrespected and that we certainly wouldn't idolize or support celebrities who do so.
-That the National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, and American flag would never be banned because of their potential to offend and that those who are living here and are offended by such should be the ones viewed as out of place......not a flag rightfully flying over its own country. 

-That their nation would make it a priority to teach generations to come about history and their contributions and never try to alter it, edit it, or skim over it. 

-That we would be proud of the nation built on the foundation of their sacrifice and not apologize for it or be made to feel ashamed for being blessed to be a part of it. 

-That the generations who enjoy the benefits of their labors would be reverent and respectful of what they've done......never imagining that memorials set up in their memory would be desecrated by the beneficiaries of their sacrifice.
-That citizens who come after them would make the effort to vote and stay informed.

-That Americans and especially students at our finest universities would know as much about the wars that they fought in as they do about the Kardashians or American Idol.

-That we'd never cheapen the label, hero, or lower the standards for what we view as heroic.     
-That we wouldn't become so easily offended by trivial matters but save being offended for things worthy of offense like terrorism, genocide, and infringements on our freedoms.  And when we see things that are worthy of offense, that we wouldn't just stand by and do nothing.   
-And that the name of God to whom their nation once cried out during times of growing pains and war would never be wiped from public display or national history.

I would say of that young soldier nearing the beaches of Normandy with bodies floating all around him......I imagine he knew his odds weren't that great.  But, he stepped off that boat and waded to shore anyway. 

And when he did, he had every right to expect certain things of us........those who would come along behind him. 

God, help us live up to their expectations.



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Beautiful Treasures

I went to a funeral today.

My good friend and college roommate, Karen, lost her grandmother.  Karen's "Mamaw" had lived a long and happy life of 90 years and, even though she'd lived well past the time that most people are allotted and even though everyone knew that she was with Jesus, there were still tears.  I recognized those tears.  They were the tears that come from losing a treasure. There's just something about saying goodbye to your grandmother.  Something that will bring even the toughest and burliest to weep. 

I remember when Karen and I were younger, we'd drop by her Mamaw's house and visit.  She lived in the typical southern grandma house.  I guess I liked it there because it felt a lot like my own grandmothers' houses.  Grandmothers, these days, seem to be a little slower to age and a bit more up to date with their texting and Facebook accounts.  But, if you're around my age or older and from the South, well, our grandmothers were of a different sort and, typically, most were cut from the same pattern....with a few variations here and there.

Grandmother, Granny, Grandma, MeMaw, MaMaw, Nana, MiMi, Gran, Mammie, GanGan, Grammy, Nanny, MawMaw, and a thousand other names.  Whatever you called them, they likely lived in a simple brick home or wood frame house.  There was a screen door that slammed shut when you ran outside.  The floors likely creaked and the house had a comforting smell......kind of like pound cake, bacon, aged wood, fireplace ashes, and moth balls all rolled into one.  There was probably some linoleum on the kitchen floor and a dish towel with a crochet top buttoned around the oven door handle.  I'd be willing to bet there was a giant console television set in the living room with a pair of matching corduroy recliners somewhere in there, too.  There was likely some needlepoint on the walls, a hallway full of wedding and graduation portraits, beautiful china displayed in the china cabinet, and a fresh, crisp tablecloth spread over the table each day.  A cake dome always housed a cake of some kind.  The heaters may have been on the walls and the air conditioners in the windows.  There was probably a porch on the front or back of the house where there was a swing or some rockers.  Either way, it was the place to sit and shell peas or just to visit and wave at the cars that passed by.  There were big trees in the yard that were perfect for climbing and an old clothesline with shirts flapping in the wind.  There was most likely a garden patch somewhere on the property or, at least, some tomato plants necessary for summer sandwiches with Sunbeam bread and Blue Plate mayonnaise, of course.  There may have been some cows or chickens......maybe a barn......a lot of stuff you didn't have at your own house.  Parked under the carport was probably a grandmother-ish car with vinyl seats ......not near as sleek and sophisticated and today's SUV grandmothers.  It was a place that was usually a step or two behind your own house when it came to technology and whatnot but, somehow, it was still your favorite place on earth to be.        

Old southern grandmas wore a lot of elastic waist polyester pants with starched coordinating floral tops and usually footwear was from the SAS collection.  Pantyhose were worn daily except on the days when knees highs could serve as a suitable substitute.  When you hugged them, they smelled of Chantilly perfume or White Shoulders dusting powder mixed with Aqua Net.  They had their standing hair appointments on Fridays to get them ready for church on Sunday.  They always got up early enough to make biscuits for breakfast and put a roast in the oven before heading out to Sunday school.  Grandmothers always had Wrigley's chewing gum and lots of change in their purses.  They had a big King James Bible- large print edition, a basket of brush rollers with picks, and a wallet full of school pictures.  Our grandmas never missed prayer meeting or a chance to make pear salad.  They liked talking about their azalea bushes and clipping camellia blooms to bring inside.  They always met us at the door with a hug, enjoyed cooking for their families and, most of all, they faithfully prayed for us.  Every day.
I think that was the dearest thing that stuck with me from today.......when Karen's dad told how, each night, after they'd helped "Mamaw" into bed at their home, they would hear her in her room praying.  Praying out loud......alone in her room......for each person in her family.  Sometimes, for an hour or so.  Talking to God about specific needs that family members had.  How beautiful is that.  A grandmother who couldn't physically do for her family anymore but she could still talk to her Savior about them.

I went to a funeral today. 

Another sweet, little, southern Mamaw has gone to be with Jesus.

What a beautiful treasure they all were. 

Do something today that would make your Mimi/Granny/Nana/MawMaw/GanGan proud. 



Monday, May 23, 2016

Exit Stage Left

If you've been on social media lately then you've seen the flood of pictures from graduations, awards programs, weddings, championship name it.  A lot of big moments happen in May.   Milestones reached.  Hard work rewarded.  

You can't help but think of all the siblings out there who've temporarily been pushed back into the shadows by a brother or sister's big moment......eclipsed by their big heads blocking all the light.  Yes, those annoying siblings who have sucked all of the family's time and energy and left you feeling cold out in the dark.    

Yeah, it's the little brother of the graduate who's had to dress up a lot and listen to a bunch of long speeches while his mother cries, looks through pictures, and gets all sentimental about every little thing.  It's the sister of the Eagle scout who doesn't see what the big deal is with all those patches and wishes they'd made this big of a thing out of the time she placed third in the science fair.   It's the brother who's listened to the nauseating details of his sister's upcoming wedding for so long that he feels like he might vomit.  It's the sister of the all-star pitcher who finds herself sitting on metal bleachers every, single weekend of her life eating hamburgers and cheese fries so he can get a scholarship.  These are the children in the shadows.  They're like moths who fly around looking for their way back to the light. 

Oh, sure, their time in the dark is temporary and won't cause any permanent harm.......but there's nothing more annoying to siblings than "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" moments in life.   
At our house, the last couple of weeks have revolved around Blair and her graduation and moving her out of her apartment and getting her all set to start her new job.  Meanwhile, Carson has been off to the side, wandering around, or following along behind smothered by her cap and gown and swallowed up by all of its glory. 

Oh, I remember times like that.  It happened to all of us if we had siblings.  When my older brother got his Eagle Scout badge, there were banquets and receptions and presentations and photographers.  For a couple of weeks there, I'm not sure my parents could've come up with my name if they'd had to.  "Hey, you, over there......yeah, you, the one who's not getting her Eagle scout."  Of course, being the middle child, eclipses seemed to happen a lot.  The oldest brother was always doing something impressive and the youngest was always doing something adorable and I just wandered around in the middle running into things and being average. 

So, today, I want to just say to all of the forgotten brothers and sisters out there.......come back to the light.   It will take your eyes a little while to adjust but it's time for you to reclaim your place. You've lingered in the shadows long enough.  Inform your brother that it's time to dismount his high horse.  Tell your sister to get her big head out of your way.

You may have to knock their cocky tail off of the pedestal.

And do something to let your parents know that you're still around.

You could be met with some resistance.

But, if you persevere, you can assume your rightful place back on the stage where you belong. 

They'll get over it. 

Ya'll have a good day, people!


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Now Don't You Feel Better?

This is not what I'd call an insightful post or one that will thrust anyone toward greatness.  It's certainly not spiritual or inspirational or profound.  You will never see this one cross-stitched on a pillow.  But, what it is an encouragement to all of you, women, out there who find yourselves putting the milk in the pantry or driving off with your coffee cup on top of your car or getting halfway home before you realize that you left one of your kids at church.  If I was put here on this earth to do one thing, it was to make you all feel better about yourselves.  I consider it my calling and I am quite fulfilled in my work. 

So, my sweet friend, Michelle, took me to lunch for my birthday this week.  Yes, I'm still celebrating that.  I don't think it hurts to extend your birthday out as far as others are willing to take it.  Anyway, we had a lot to talk about and then we exchanged gifts.  She gave me a sweet something for my birthday and I gave her a gift to take home to her daughter who is graduating from high school this weekend.  We enjoyed each other's company for a while and our delicious lunch and then we parted ways.  She was just in town for the day and had some other things to check off her list that afternoon.

Well, that night, I was working late at one of the stores and I started getting texts from Michelle.  I got this new Fitbit watch for my birthday, you see, and my text messages come across its screen but not picture texts.  So, I glanced down at my vibrating wrist to see that she'd started out by saying, "Joni, dear, I know you just had another birthday" and then she went on saying something about "Which one do you want us to tear up?"  I realized that there must have been an attached picture on my phone that would bridge the two mysterious texts and, from the sound of it, I'd done something to reveal my sprint toward menopause.  I raced around trying to find my purse so I could see if I'd advanced to the championship round of absentmindedness.  Well, she'd sent me a picture of the two checks that I'd written her darling daughter for graduation.  One was inside the card and one was inside the gift.  Written nine days apart.  I told her she could pick her favorite.....or just keep them both for hush money.

So, listen.  Next time you do something that causes you to pause and think that you could be losing it, well, just know that you have a friend in Mississippi who is driving around with one leg shaved and one not, looking for the glasses that are on top of her head, indiscriminately writing checks and passing them out like candy.  That should make you feel better........and that is why I'm here. 

It's just another service that I offer.     

Y'all have a good one! 



Monday, May 16, 2016

Not Feeling It

I was clothes shopping, the other day, and a precious friend spotted me as I stood at the register waiting to make my purchase.  In true southern style, she ran over, gave me a big ol' hug, and said, "Hey, honey! Don't you look beautiful today!"  Without even missing a beat, the words, "Well, you're sweet but I don't feel beautiful" just fell out of my mouth.  They just came out as naturally as exhaling.  I know all the do's and don'ts about graciously accepting a compliment and all that but, sometimes, we forget our manners, I suppose. 

I was telling the truth, though. I didn't feel beautiful.  I know my friend was just being kind because I'd just emerged from the dressing room, a few minutes earlier, where I'd wrestled myself in and out of several tops and dresses.  And not the kind with zippers or buttons that enlarge the head opening but those that you have to really work your way through.....not unlike you did through the birth canal, oh, so long ago.  So, yeah, by the time I got out of there and she saw me in the checkout line, I looked like I'd just been delivered with forceps and that head suction thingy.  Or that's how I felt.   

Face it, sometimes, we just don't feel pretty.  We just don't.  And it got me thinking about all the times that we, women, might not, necessarily, identify as being beautiful, delicate flowers.     

-When you come out of the dentist's office from having your teeth cleaned and you have this big circle of no makeup from your nose to your chin with those little splatterings of fluoride all over your face.

-After you eat some ridiculous portion of food like after I ate a 4"x4" piece of bread pudding, this weekend, I wasn't feeling pretty one bit with my pants unbuttoned. 

-When you're surrounded by people that you perceive to be aesthetically superior to yourself.  Like, say, if you were backstage at the Miss America pageant or like when I volunteered at the sorority house and was surrounded by 200 young women with long, flowy hair, perky bosoms, and well- defined lashes.  I was feeling way more Nanny McPhee-ish than pretty.
-Those last few days before an overdue haircut appointment when your hair won't do a thing but bring sorrow and despair upon your life and you threaten to start chopping on it yourself if time doesn't move faster as you finally opt to sit in the salon parking lot for the last six hours leading up to your appointment.     

-It is hard to feel pretty in the summer down here when it's 98 degrees with 97% humidity and sweat is continuously rolling down your back, your hair is matted to your head, and you feel more like a farm hand than a beauty queen.  It's difficult to feel attractive when dampness is oozing from each of your pores covering your entire body with a thin coating of sticky glaze. 

-During a woman's "special week" and the days leading up to it, we don't feel very pretty.  A dead, bloated seal rotting in the sunshine might be a more accurate description. 

-When you wake up in the morning and your face is a shade just whiter than loose leaf paper and you have that one side of your hair that is stuck flat against your skull and the other side looks like Shaggy when he sees a ghost.  Zoinks! 

-When you don't feel good and your eyes look weak and bloodshot and your crusty nose has a red tint to it caused by tissue overuse.   

-When you run into someone who you haven't seen in years and they look like they did 25 years ago and, well, you don't and they have on their Marc Jacobs and Louboutin while you and the Kim Rogers collection have gotten real tight. 

-When you get the courage to quickly run into the grocery store on a Saturday even though you've been working in the yard all morning and you smell like a goat and so you pray, as you go in, that you don't see anyone you know.  Well, you don't feel very pretty when, against all odds, you run into 47 people you know.

-When, suddenly, at 45, a zit, the size of a tootsie pop, appears on your chin and you try to do what you can with concealer but every time someone is talking to you, you feel them looking at it and it is then that you find it difficult to feel pretty. 

I could go on because I'm good at this but you get the point.  I can think of a thousand times that I don't feel pretty.  But, when I think about what makes someone beautiful to me, it has very little to do with their appearance.  It's a bright smile, quick wit, joyful generosity, loving compassion, quiet confidence, kind eyes, an endearing personality, loyalty and trustworthiness, a selfless heart.  I'm met with protest many times, too, when I tell other women that they look pretty.  There's usually something that makes us feel unworthy of the compliment.  Something we feel insecure about that makes us uncomfortable with that label.     

I did flowers for weddings for about 20 years and I'd work and work and work and if there was something that I thought was off just a little, I'd work on it ad nauseum.  Davis would be ready to go and he'd always assure me that it was fine and that no one would ever notice it but me.  He was probably right.  I obsessed with what I thought was wrong but everyone else saw it differently. 

I think that's how most of us are.  We mainly concentrate on the things that we perceive as flaws while other people skim right over those and see the big picture, your whole package deal.....your eyes, your smile, your heart. 

The Bible tells us that...... "We are the work of His hand"......."We are God's masterpiece."  So, the next time you're told that you look pretty, don't blush and fidget while you think of something clever to say to deflect the compliment.  Just simply say, "thank you."

Because we are God's handiwork and God don't do no ugly work. 

I hope y'all have a beautiful day!! 


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Birthday Crown with all of Its Rights and Privileges

Well, my 48th birthday is winding down.  It's been a great day!  Well, with the one exception that came in the mailbox.  Mixed in with some bills, junk mail, and a few lovely birthday cards was a Poise bladder pad coupon book addressed to me.  Do those automatically go out to women on their 48th?  While I appreciate Poise's concern for my bladder control, I thought they could have waited a day or two after my birthday before they go offering their assistance with such a delicate matter.  Nothing like.....BAM, you're 48 and here are your bladder pads.  Well, you can keep the $2.00 off your absorbent, discreet protection, Poise.  I'm good.        

Besides that, though, I did get some awesome gifts and happies today.  And a co-worker baked me one of my favorites, a carrot cake.  Blair cooked a delicious dinner and the fine china was even used.  We ended the day by taking a family walk on the trails around the lake.  It was perfect weather with a cool breeze and we even took Sugar who's finally come back down to earth after the whole portrait hype.  And I still have my mother's caramel cake, a party at work, and Tim Hawkins to look forward to!  If I could have planned my birthday week, myself, it couldn't be any better than this right here.

The best part about a birthday, though, is that I've heard from so many friends today.  Old friends, newer friends, relatives, co-workers. There's nothing like being remembered.  I think we all need one day a year when we're treated extra special.  It helps charge us up for some of those more mundane days that are scattered in between.  Those days when we feel like we're running on fumes and we're the only car out on the road.  We need a day to be celebrated.  To be told that we matter.  To be sung to and asked what we want to do and where we want to eat.  Days like that put a bounce back in our step and make us want to show other people they matter, too.  Birthdays are like a shot in the arm.  It may hurt for a second, but it gets us feeling good.    

I've never resented growing older or tried to hide my age.  I even go ahead and round up after Christmas.  I've been telling people that I was almost 48 since the New Year.  I'm proud of my age.  It's just a number that means that I've learned a lot more than some of those lower numbers have but have far less understanding of the game than those players with the big numbers.      

So, I'm sitting here in the chair where I write....... in my Mom pajamas, my glasses, my moisturizer, my hair still damp from the shower, no makeup......and my birthday crown and sash.  Because today was my birthday and I want to enjoy every drop of it.  It won't come around for another year, you know. 
Tomorrow, it will be someone else's turn and I will relinquish my crown. 

I hope it's as good for them as it's been for me. 

Happy Wednesday to my friends! 


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Picture Perfect Weekend

After our jam packed weekend, I'm going to let pictures do most of the work in this post. 
So, we spent Friday with Blair before her graduation.  It was an incredibly beautiful day!
 We were the typical proud parents taking way too many pictures. 
Here and there.
Way too many.
She was excited to see her honey, John Samuel.......who began to suffer from food poisoning about halfway through the graduation ceremony.  Bless him.  It was a long night for the poor thing. 
Speaking of long nights, we knew that just as soon as they finished calling all of these people, one by one, across the stage, we could go.
So, Davis became prayerful..............or asleep.  Not sure.
Finally, the name we'd been waiting for!  Only 3 short hours from procession to recessional. 
So, on Saturday night, we had family over to celebrate!
 There were relatives.
And more relatives.
And more.
And John Samuel's family, who get bonus points for meeting so many of our relatives at once.
There was cake and notice that I branched out and wore pink in honor of Blair.
And on Sunday, we spent the whole day with my family celebrating our Mama. 
Both of my brothers and their families were there.
Her in-laws and grand in-law.
She is a firm believer in water safety as well as sun safety.
We thought her hat was cute.....after we laughed for a minute....or two.
There was some underage driving.
Some sweet kisses.
And the mother geese were out celebrating Mother's Day, too.
Fun was had by all.
Because we have a lot to celebrate. 

So, now, I'm going to sleep until I simply cannot sleep anymore. 

Hope you all had a great Mother's Day weekend, too! 

Happy Monday!! 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Day is Here

Blair has taken her last exam.  The last few straggling sorority fees have been paid.  The last week's spending money has been deposited into her account.  The cap and gown fee has been paid.  We still have to move her out of her apartment next week, but the reality is starting to set in for Davis and me that we have a couple of years ahead of us with no college tuition.  You get used to paying all that for so long and then, suddenly,  it stops! 

So, I'm gonna be feeling like......

And Davis, well, he'll be feeling like......

Blair came home for about 24 hours earlier in the week to get her Phi Mu stole that she needed for graduation pictures and the two of us decided to take a quick road trip to get a couple of things we couldn't get around here.  She needed to go to Sephora to pick up some makeup that she'd been wanting to try.  She does love some makeup.  She would eat cereal for a week to work it into her budget if need be.  So, you'll all be happy to know that she will be wearing the same foundation to her graduation that Kate Middleton wore on her wedding day. I don't even know what else to say about that because I don't even live on that planet. 

Then, we headed to look around in a few more stores before heading home.  She helped me look for Mother's Day gifts for both of her grandmothers and then I thought I'd see what I could find for myself.  I don't know why but I thought I needed something new for graduation.  I have the hardest time finding dresses that I like, these days.  And you know I'm not like my daughter.  I have definite color borders over which I try never to cross and there are other boundaries that I have set in place. 

So, she was walking ahead of me through the racks.  "Oh, this one is pretty," she'd say.  "Too bright....I don't want to look like a traffic cone."  "Well, what about this one?  It would look nice on you."  "Can't do sleeveless."  We repeated this back and forth as we worked our way through the dresses.  "Too short."  "Cut too low."  "Pattern is too busy."  "Ugh, well, let's just go ahead and get something black or brown and get out of here," she said in her frustration.  

I've told you before, it's like Zsa Zsa Gabor taking Laverne DeFazio shopping.  I agreed to try on some that were out of my comfort zone and then took some that I preferred along with them to the dressing room.  I called her to come with me so she could give me her expert opinion......and I also thought it wouldn't hurt for her to see how some of those college book smarts play out in real gravity.....and elasticity.        

So, I tried on dresses and tried on dresses.  She did talk me into a sleeveless dress as she assured me that my arms didn't look bad.  So, she had her say with the sleeves and I had my way with the black.  I do love a black dress and she even admitted that it was the most flattering.  Could be that she would've said anything to get out of being locked in the tiny room with me and the glimpse into her future. 

So, we're headed up to Mississippi State for graduation today.  I don't really have the sad feelings that I had around her high school graduation.  I cried from the middle of April to the end of May that year.  But, this is different.  Maybe because I've gotten used to her being away from home.  Maybe because I see her more as a grown up now than as the child that left here a few years ago.  Whatever the reason, this is a happy place for me as a mother. 

I guess when the nurse places that baby in your arms for the first time, you realize that child is yours to nurture and grow until.......well, this day.  College graduation.  Not that the care and parenting suddenly dry up as they walk across the stage but I do think that parenthood changes there.......from caretaker and guardian to something more like customer support.  That's the way I see her now.  A grown woman who no longer really needs my oversight but who needs a supportive friend as she takes the first wobbly steps into independence.     

From the time Blair first started to talk and was able to express her feelings or show signs of her disposition developing, I knew that God had given her a second helping of personality.  She's been happy from the time she came into this world.  Expressive.  Bubbly.  Bouncy.  I can say that without a smidgen of boastfulness because, well, she didn't get that from Davis or me. 
Face it, we're just not very bouncy.  In fact, we're not really sure she's even ours but we're not giving her back at this point.  What we are sure about is that she's got joy, joy, joy down in her heart and she's brightened all of our years with her beautiful light.  

As she graduates, she'll walk on ahead down the path she's chosen and I'll hang back.  She'll busy herself with the details of her new life and I'll find something else to do with my hands.  She'll take flight.  Solo.  And I'll be here.....honored to be her mother and her friend.  

I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother's Day weekend!  See you Monday!



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Throwback to Mother's Day '15

It's Blair's graduation week, which means it's turned out to be a busy one, so I decided that we'd throw it back to last year's Mother's Day post.  In other words, this is a rerun.  I do hope you like reruns.      

Well, Mother's Day is almost here so, today, I went out looking for just the right card to express my love and appreciation to my sweet Mama.  It's difficult, however, to encompass the vast array of loving deeds that our mothers do and have done for us in just a simple fold of cardstock. 

Indeed, there are some lovely cards out there with beautiful sentiments for Mother like.....  
"I thank you
For each truth you've helped me see.
I thank you
For each tear you cried for me.
I thank you
For the heartache that you've known.
I thank you
For the wisdom you have shown.  
Thanks are easily given
But as I hope you are aware
I'll give you something more precious
My devotion, love, and care."  
"You gave the gift of life to me
And then when the time came, you set me free.
I thank you for your loving care,
And now for just being there."

"You're loved so very much
for everything you do.
Your caring heart and thoughtful ways
are special just like you."
Those are lovely, yes, but I think the traditional card largely ignores a broad swath of loving acts that our mothers do quietly and without giving a second thought.  Many of them aren't glamorous or typically enjoyable and yet none are covered in the standard greeting card section.  Greeting companies should consider cards which thank our Moms for those unnoticed and unheralded ways in which they've loved us through the years like...    
For always insisting you take the last piece of pie when, secretly, she wanted it more than life itself.

For using her cupped hands to catch the contents of your stomach when you got sick in the middle of her favorite dress shop.

For dragging you to piano lessons every week, kicking and screaming, all while telling you that you'd thank her one day.

For smelling the armpits of the shirts you left on your bedroom floor to determine if they were clean or dirty.

For making you sit up straight and poking your shoulder blades as a reminder to hold your shoulders back. 

For unknowingly walking around with dried spit up on her shoulder for the first year of your life. 

For the muffin top you gave her, which will be with her until the day they close her casket.  

For cooking your favorite meal on your birthday even though it always consisted of a fried meat and three starches.

For reminding you that you were not raised in a barn just before saying, "This is why we can't have nice things."

For carrying your ghastly school picture around in that plastic picture sleeve that came with her wallet. 

For quietly pinching you under the table instead of slapping your face and causing a big scene like she should have.   

For your large head circumference taking away her ability to laugh or sneeze without concern.   

For telling you how pretty you were during those awkward years when she knew the truth.

For using her finger to get the sleep boogers out of the corners of your eyes on your way into church.

For teaching you which fork to use when there were more forks on the table than you could shake a stick at.   

For holding out her arm to keep you from crashing through the windshield.

For letting you lick the beaters before raw eggs were bad.

For all the times you wiped your nose on her blouse and drooled on her skirt in church. 

For sucking out your nasty nose with that bulb thing.   

For holding you over the public toilet, so you wouldn't contract a dreadful disease for which there was no cure. 

For warning you that your eyes would get stuck that way until you finally stopped. 

For never wanting a second piece of chicken.   

For giving you "the talk" as vague, awkward, and uninformative as it was.

For having just enough OCD to insist she glue the pictures down on your science project board, so they'd all be straight.

For all the times you made her when you took your first step, outgrew your crib, went to kindergarten, told her she was the worst mother ever, and left for college. 

For using your middle name as a warning to you to put your hands up to protect your face.

For bending over the bathtub and bathing your wiggling tail, while her knees dug into the pink ceramic tile.

For cutting your meat up into small pieces, so you didn't choke to death.

For lying to you for your own good about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the fact that spanking you hurt her more than you. 

For agreeing to sit in the passenger seat, while you learned to drive despite the strong possibility that she would die.  

For wearing the $3 necklace that you gave her out in public.....and for the green ring it left around her neck.  

For licking her fingers to get the grape jelly off your face before you got out of the car for school.

For these things and more, we could never thank our mothers enough.  If you find a card, which mentions any of these quiet acts of love and sacrifice, I suggest you buy it.  It would do your mother's heart some good to know that you recognize what an absolute burden you were.......a leech on her very existence.   

Only four more shopping days, so get out there and get your Mama something good! 

I hope to check back in with you before the weekend! 

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Old School Mothering

With Mother's Day only a few days away, I thought I'd address our mothers, the mothers of the 60's and 70's.  They were of a hardier stock than us.  Raising children without all of our modern conveniences and the vital information needed and, yet, doing a bang up job, I might add. 

So, in their honor, I want to recognize the mothers out there who packed our metal lunchboxes without the convenience of Snack Packs, Handi-Packs, and Variety Packs.  No, you were old school with your big bag of Golden Flake cheese curls, a pack of Butter Rings, and some sandwich bags with handy tie closures.  Crustables?  Hot Pockets?  Pshhh.  Not for you.  It was a loaf of Sunbeam, a pack of bologna, a jar of Blue Plate, and a block of cheese, all cut at a diagonal with the crust manually removed.  There were no foil pouch drinks to throw in there either.  No, you had to wash our Charlie's Angels thermos, make a pitcher of Kool-Aid, and pour it in there with a couple of ice cubes you'd popped out of the trays.   

You didn't even have cartoon channels to entertain us all day.  If Electric Company was over, you were out of luck until the next day.  There were no tablets or iPhones to keep us occupied in waiting rooms or while you shopped.  You actually had to talk to us.  I mean, there wasn't anything else to do.  You couldn't call your friends while we were in the car either.  You had to wait until we got home so you could use the phone on the kitchen wall.  So, you had to sing and play a lot of car games with us to pass the time.               

You didn't have Pinterest or Facebook or Instagram or Twitter.  Bless your heart.  You didn't have recipes, theme party ideas, decorating tips, and a daily dose of insecurity-feeding comparison right at your finger tips 24/7. Nothing by which to gauge your social standing.  Nothing to help you assess the job you were doing as a parent.  Nothing to monitor how you were doing in keeping up with the Joneses.  Nothing to guide you toward what's trending when making decisions for your family. That must have been hard for you.         

You made pies before store bought pie crusts were a thing.  You cut up chickens. You set the table.  Made Sunday lunch.  Never fed us in the car.  Supper was something you made at home and was eaten around a table.  You washed dishes by hand.  Kept ice trays full.  You baked our birthday cakes.  Made Rice Krispie treats without a microwave.  You fried chicken in Crisco.  Your spaghetti sauce didn't come from a jar.  Your macaroni and cheese wasn't safety cone orange. 

You didn't have the convenience of the time out chair or the treat jar.  No, discipline meant you had to get your hands dirty.  Swatting at bare legs with your hand or a belt to the bottom.  A switch, a wooden spoon, anything would work. Sure, there were some slammed doors and a lot of tears but you took it all in stride.  After all, I guess you thought the goal was to make decent adults out of us not best friends. 

You didn't have the luxury of the embroidery machine to personalize everything from our pencil bags down to our underwear.  No, but you were quite crafty with the magic marker monogramming that you did inside our jackets and book bags and, well, it got the job done. 

You didn't have online shopping so the need for anything would require that you load us up in the car and traipse all over town until we found it.  Store to store.  In and out.  In and out.  At least, though, you didn't have to worry with those pesky seatbelts which were stuffed so far down into the vinyl seats that you couldn't have found them anyway.   

And anytime a report assignment was given to us at school, it meant driving us all down to the library and pointing us in the direction of the card catalog.  You had to help us find where the heck 021.009 HOB was.  Heaven forbid it was already checked out and we had to go back home and borrow the neighbor's outdated World Book Encyclopedia. 

When we got older and started driving, you had no way to know if we made it safely until we got there.  No, you had to worry and worry until we could arrive at our destination and find a pay phone to call you.  And if we were late getting home, well, you were all alone with your imagination until we finally showed up.  You couldn't text us while we were in school to ask if we'd finished our project or if we'd worked out the problem with our friend.  You had to wait until we got home and, even then, you, sometimes, thought it was best if we dealt with it on our own without your intervention.  You didn't have any means by which you could stay in communication with us every minute of the day.  You couldn't even text us to come to the dinner table.  You had to do it the old-fashioned way and scream our first, middle, and last names down the hall and then count to 3 if you needed to. 

You couldn't google questions about us......or search WebMD........or email Focus on the Family.  No, it was left to your own judgment as to whether we had a concussion, a case of tetanus, or a multiple personality disorder.  These conclusions were usually derived from at-home diagnostic testing like "How many fingers am I holding up?'....."Can you move it?"....or "When's the last time you went to the bathroom?"      

You did so much that our generation didn't have to do as mothers. 

You washed our cloth diapers and had to stick those pins through them without puncturing our small intestines.   

You rolled our hair every Saturday night on pink sponge tight that our eyes were slanty.

You mastered those twin bead ponytail holders and, how, I'll never know.

You managed to keep us from swallowing those bite-sized Fisher Price people that came with our schoolhouse and circus train.

You didn't let us turn over in those top heavy walkers or fall to our deaths from those rickety high chairs.

You always had our painter's pants looking as white as snow and without Oxi-Clean. 

You kept us from flying through the windshield with the quick draw of your right arm across our chests as we moved around the car at will.

You reminded us to be careful when we went out in traffic on our bikes since there was nothing but prayer between our heads and the pavement. 

You sewed the pom-poms back on our footie socks when they'd gotten loose.

You needlepointed Holly Hobbie to adorn our rooms. 

You dabbed a little clear nail polish on our pantyhose runs to keep them from getting out of control. 

You were awesome. 

Just awesome.                 

There were some things you didn't do, though.  I hate to even bring them up.  But, we can't blame you, really, because you just didn't know any better.

You never called out our ball coaches or got in their faces when they didn't play us.  Knowing good and well, we were better than all the other kids out there and, most likely, destined to go pro, one day. 

You didn't buy us cars that were nicer than yours.  In most cases, they were so bad that we named them.  Naming them was our coping mechanism to help us endure the humiliation of driving a pea green used car that was as long as a city block.       

You didn't hire a photographer for our prom like it was our wedding day or something. 

You never told us how we were the best at everything and how we deserved the top spot at anything.  You didn't even fill our daily schedules with lessons and practices and push us to be out front and outshine the other kids.  You wasted so many of our afternoons by just letting us stay at home and play outside.  It's most likely the reason why we never made it to Broadway or the MLB. 
You and our fathers didn't go out in a field of wildflowers and have pregnancy pictures made, depriving us of the chance to know what your bare bellies looked like when you were carrying us.  This has taken years for us to overcome.   

Not once did you go to the school and defend us and put the teachers in their place.  What was that about? 

You, apparently, didn't know you were supposed to take enough pictures of us to compose a short film each day.   Heck, we were lucky if you went through a roll of film and a pack of flash cubes in two year's time.

You were, obviously, unaware that using phrases like, "I'm gonna beat the living daylights out of you," or "I'm gonna whip you so hard, you won't be able to sit down for a week" could cause irreparable harm to our fragile psyches and give us lifelong trust issues. 

If we got a new toy, you had the gall to tell us to read the directions and figure it out for ourselves when you could have done it so much faster and saved us a lot of trouble. 

You sent us outside with a bag of firecrackers and a box of matches and never once did you hover or fret or make us wear safety goggles.  I guess you thought we had enough common sense and fear of pain to make good decisions. 

You let us fill out our store bought Valentines all by ourselves.  I suppose you thought it was ok that our valentines looked like a child had done them.  Embarrassing.   

You thought we'd be happy with a little birthday cake in the backyard with a handful of neighborhood kids when all we secretly wanted was a 3 ring circus with live animals, overstimulation, and hundreds of our best friends to shower us with enough gifts for all the children in the tri-county area.

I guess we'll forgive you.  Bless your hearts.  You just didn't know. 

I suppose, we'll cut you some slack.........because, well, the cloth diaper thing.

Personally, I think we benefited from an amazing generation of mothers.  Sometimes, I wish we didn't have so many tools and information and conveniences to help us with this parenting thing today.  Our kids might be better off.  And us, too. 

Only 6 shopping days to get your Mother something nice! 

Happy Monday, y'all.