If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I know that everybody has heard the old saying about if we knew how fabulous grandchildren are then we would have had them first...  Well, I must say, it is absolutely true! 

I am the lucky grandmother of two girls and bonus grandmother of two more.  So, when a friend recently expressed concern over becoming a grandmother, I had to take a little time to reflect....

I recall when my daughter first told me that she was pregnant.  My first thoughts were, "What were you thinking?  You all are not ready for that!"  Then, "I'm not ready to be a grandmother yet.  You are too young for that.  Heck, I'm too young to be a grandmother!"  All of these things flitted through my mind and then I said, "Why honey, that is just wonderful!  I can hardly wait."  I knew that was the expected and proper response.  I was channeling that counseling I'd had during and following my divorce about convincing my mind.  It seems we tend to tell our brain what to think and eventually we do actually think that way.  (I know this was meant to be done to build and improve self-esteem and positive thinking habits - but isn't that exactly what I was needing to do?) 

Knowing how these things go, I didn't say anything to anybody about our expected family addition for quite some time.  First, I learned really early on in Bridgette's pregnancy and didn't want to broadcast the news when anything could happen in those first days.  I didn't want to jinx things, you know.  Then, it was just a habit to not say anything.  It didn't leave my mind, though.  I kept having misgivings.  I knew I couldn't be the wonderful grandmother that my children had been blessed with - my mother. 

Bridgette and my mother inspecting some of the flowers.

I had to work long hours away from home.  I couldn't be the handy babysitter.  I wouldn't be able to drop everything and assist with doctor appointments.  I didn't have all those talents to share.  Heck, I wasn't even as good a mother as my mother had been!  I used all the patience I had to deal with the students in my classroom and didn't know if I would have any left over for a grandchild.  I was so out of practice with the sewing heirloom clothing for children skills that I didn't know if I'd remember how.  Plus, with school all day and grading papers deep into the night, when would I have time?  I had not been around little children since my own two were little.  I was accustomed to interacting with adolescents - not little children.  I thought of all sorts of things which would impede my grandmothering.

(Bridgette is the one on the left!)

Then, there was also that stigma which comes along with the word grandmother.  Weren't these little women who baked and cleaned and sewed and grew a garden.  Well, of course, I did bake, clean, and garden.  Weren't these little women who had white hair and peered over the steering wheel of their vehicle and wore soft soled shoes.  Well, of course, I did wear soft soled shoes because of my hard classroom floor and my hair was beginning to have showy highlights.  Anyway, how on earth could I be a grandmother?  I was single and young and independent and vibrant and living life to the fullest - wasn't I?  Well, really, no; I was mostly exhausted. 

Finally, I didn't even LIKE little people!  I realized this when I was getting my teaching certification.  Those little vermin are all wiggly, and touch everything, and invade other people's space, and yicky, and might even cry!  So, how on earth was I ever going to be a good grandmother?  Heaven help the poor little mite!  And, what if I don't love the little thing?

Eventually, of course, my friends and aquaintences learned that Bridgette was pregnant and soon expecting a little girl.  I grew to be okay with the fact that I could never be as good at grandmothering as my mother - just like I'm not nearly as good at cooking, cleaning, gardening, or sewing.  However, I knew I'd be the best grandmother I could be and began to look forward with pleasant anticipation to the impending birth. 

About 24 hours before I became a bonafide grandmother.
The thing is, now that I reflect on those days before she was born, I have to just chuckle.  I guess it is that old fearing of fear itself.  No, I'm not and never will be the wonderful grandmother my two children were fortunate enough to inherit.  However, I am the best Grand B that these granddaughters (and bonus granddaughters) will ever have. 

Somehow we are prepared for every step of the way in life and grandmothering is just one of those little steps.  The nanosecond that things changed for me was that moment when I held that little bundle and we peered into each other's eyes.  That was all it took and that was quite enough. 

My friend raised three wonderful daughters - she is still a phenominal seamstress, a pretty good cook, a green-thumbed gardener, wears hard-soled-cutesy shoes, and lives life to the fullest, too.  So, while she is sitting at that hospital hours away from home, I'm thinking of her and lifting little prayers.  I know that her misgivings and concerns are no more an obstacle than mine were.  That little grandson will have one fabulous grandmother to cherish and dote on everything he is.  Best wishes, Kathy!

Free Book

I got the book Good Things Happened Today by Christopher Atwood free with one of the goodreads giveaways!  I did enjoy the book.  It was from an interesting perspective and not always predictable.  I was reminded quite a lot of the book The Shack.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

In Honor of My Mother

Here are some fun pictuers of my mother in honor of her on Mother's Day...

 Mom and my mother-in-law on my wedding day.

 Sharing her flowers.

 Sharing her talents.

 Blowing bubbles with the great grand-daughters.

 The game of tickle.

 A rose among thorns (my sister, Brenda, and me).

 Helping Lillie.

 Surprised and excited.

Making work fun!



You know the old cliche about mother-in-laws?  Well, it doesn't fit mine.  She is a wonderful woman - if for no other reason than that she gave birth and raised my husband.  I will always love her for that.  What a precious gift she has shared with me!

A Few Things About My Mother

My husband teases (at least I choose to think it is teasing and not criticism) me that I am a Daddy's Girl and, for the most part, I guess I am.  That certainly doesn't mean that my exceptional mother hasn't been impactful in my life.  She is truly a gem and one that is without compare.

She has taught me more than I could ever capture with words.  Most importantly, she modeled even more lessons. 

One of the things I've learned from her is that children are precious gifts.  I know that there were days when I wondered if I'd survive - or would threaten not to let them do so!  Yet, I do look at the two children I gave birth to as precious gifts.  They both came and spent time with me yesterday and it was confirmed that they now are worth all the sleepless nights they gifted me with when they were babies.  I am grateful for the opportunity to pick up after, wash clothes for, clean up after, cook and feed, scrimp and save to buy for, and sacrifice myself in simple little ways in order for them to be able to have and do.  I appreciate all the running here and there and scheduling my life around practices, performances, ball games, and lessons.  I'm glad for all the chances to read books  before bedtime and chances to read books while waiting for them to come home.  I treasure the hours I spent sewing beautiful clothes so that they would be cute, their attractiveness would be enhanced, and they would look presentable, if not trendy.  Without these opportunities and chances to mother my children, I could never appreciate them as adults now, I know.  Yet, I learned to provide these things by following the model given to me as a gift by my own precious mother. 

The concept that children are precious gifts certainly has been extended for me.  How lucky I am to now have the bonus children given to me through marriage with my husband.  Stephen and Laura have been precious gifts as well.  They treat me with respect and are friends to me even when they don't have to be and probably even when they don't want to be! 

Plus, I'm lucky enough to have children-in-law. 

Corey, Jessica, and Bonnie are more than just our children's spouses; they are also close friends who know and understand the quirkiness of our family and love us in spite of it.  They love those children I have been given as precious gifts and care for them in ways that nobody else on earth ever could.  I embrace them just like my mother has done with her extended family - always treat them with love and respect and appreciation because they CHOSE to be a part of this family.  Love them because they love your children.

I guess the most precious gift of children is probably grandchildren.  Truly, they make the struggles and strife we had with their parents worthwile!  I love spoiling them and cuddling with them and doing simple things with them and simply sitting back and watching them do.  They can say the funniest things and sometimes the wisest things, too.  My mother defined the meaning of a grandmother when my children were little ones and I only hope that someday my grandchildren think half as much of me as my children do my mother.

How lucky and grateful I am to have the mother I do.  My sister and I didn't get to choose her but God sure looked out for us and chose her for us.  She taught me to be the woman I am.  She taught me to be a better woman than I am!  I hope one day I can grow up and be the woman she would want me to be.

I wonder how she knows to be such a priceless treasure?  Perhaps she learned from her mother...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Birds and Blooms

This little area has been the center of my focus lately.  When I came here almost two years ago, this area was neglected and overgrown.  Mike has refered to it as the Tennessee garden several times.  I just thought it was because of the sprinkler which looks like a UT football helmet, a gnome wearing orange, and a rock with a big T on it.

I have pulled weeds, chopped, raked, and sprayed weed killer to get it to this point.  I still need to get that vine growing on both of the stumps cleared away and another bit of weeds out but it is getting near to where I can mulch, sit back, and enjoy.  I've added a yellow iris which came from my grandmother Noland, Muffa.  It won't bloom this year, I'm sure, but I'm glad to have one of these irises here with me. 

She planted them all along the fence at the farm on Carothers Road when they lived there.  The farm is now sectioned off and multiple houses are there.  Her house, the barns, the pond and most vestages of my grandparents are gone.  However, those irises remain there growing along the fenceline near the roadway.  Several years ago my mother went over and dug up a few of them so that we could each have one in remembrance of Muffa.  It bloomed a couple of times when I lived in Rover and I was sentimental about it.  So, I pulled one of the tubers when we sold that house and have plopped it out there in that little patch of wilderness. 

I opted not to put it out here in this crescent where Mike has loads of 'flags' already because I wanted to be sure I knew which one was the "Muffa-iris."  It is full of blooms of all colors and varieties right now and is really beautiful with the spiky leaves, the grey woodpile and row of laurels in the background.

I hope to have black-eyed susans and some other perinniel bloomers which attract butterflies come up and add a riot of color here this summer.  I guess I've ruined the concept of it being a Tennessee garden with my plantings.  I realized when these irises bloomed that they were orange in color and the garden was refered to as the Tennessee garden because all of the plants were orange and white.