An Engagement, a Prom and a Birthday

  

I have learned that it is much more difficult to parent older children, especially adult children, more so than smaller ones. I’m not downplaying the difficulty of raising little ones. Raising little ones is more of a physical drain whereas raising older ones is an emotional one.  Yet, all of is more gratifying than most anything else you’ll experience in life.

I remember those days when my kiddos were little and learning to ride a bike. It was hard in its own way but mama had control of it all. When your kids are older, you must parent with little to no control over their lives. Letting go is hard.

Within one week, my oldest got engaged, my youngest went to his first prom and he also turned 17.  It feels very surreal; like being in some sort of time warp or maybe an out of body experience.  At times I feel like I’m hovering above my life looking down and not really even recognizing it.  It seems like everything is changing all at once but I guess that how life goes, right?  “Children grow old and then they leave.” -Parker Millsap, Homeless.  Just sitting over here trying to adjust.

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A Heavenly Birthday

Granny Bridesmaid granny Rose Mardi Gras

Today would have been your 84th birthday if you were still here on earth with us.  They say that time heals.  Maybe it does.  I still just feel emptiness in my heart.  I don’t think there’s a day that goes by that I don’t think about you.  I miss the days when I could pick up the phone and say, “hey granny” and hear your voice on the other end reply, “hey bébé”.

I’m going to admit something here that haunts me everyday.  It’s three simply words that continue to mull over in my mind…I didn’t call.  You died in the midst of my mom’s tragedy.  You were sick.  I didn’t want you to know about mom because you would get upset and worry making your sickness all that much worse.  So, what did I do?  I didn’t call. I didn’t call because I wouldn’t know what to say when you asked about mom and dad. I didn’t call because I didn’t want you to get upset.  In my heart, I thought I was doing the right thing.  I know now that I was wrong.  So what if you asked me about mom.  I should have called.  You needed to hear my voice in the midst of all that you were going through. For that, I am eternally sorry.

I love you with all my heart and miss you like crazy. Happy heavenly birthday, Granny!

PS – My deepest apologies for the heavy post.  You can read the “One Year” tribute post HERE that is a bit on the brighter side.

What Shall It Be?

nell and dee skipping kauai

What does a person need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life? ”

― Sterling Hayden

Friday

Sunset

Eat food from farmers markets.
Drink good tea each morning.
Read books that make you feel.
Paint, even if you’re awful.
Write, even when you have nothing to say.
Sit in the fresh air outside.
Go on hikes.
Swim in lakes and wade in streams.
Sleep as long as you need.
Work hard at what you love.
Work hard at what you hate.

Love unconditionally and wholeheartedly.

Happy Friday!

Perspective and a Mexican Fisherman

Sunset Hand

Where are you going?  This is something that I’ve been reflecting on here recently as I think about the fact that my children are getting older; one in college and one in high school.  I technically have three years left with kids living at home full time.  This is surreal.  I want to soak up every last minute; every last second with them.  I want to slow down my life.  I want to slow down time.

At the same time, it’s exciting to begin thinking about and planning the future with just me and the hubs.  What will our lives look like?  Will we live in a cute cottage on a big piece of land?  Will we live in an old Florida home near the ocean?  Will we travel around part-time or maybe even full-time in an RV? There’s so many questions and so many unknowns.  It’s exciting.  I love daydreaming about these sort of things.

Today, a lady at work shared the following story that completely touched my heart and certainly put into perspective.  We must be sure to focus on what really matters in life.


A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

“Not very long,” answered the Mexican.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I have a full life. I play with my children and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, and sing a few songs….”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”

“And after that?” asked the Mexican.

“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? Well my Friend, That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?” said the Mexican.

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings doing what you like and enjoying your friends.”

“With all due respect sir, but that’s exactly what I am doing now. So what’s the point wasting twenty-five years?” asked the Mexican.

Know where you’re going in life… you may already be there.

House or Home

Grannys Ring
cooking with grannyMS Welcomes You20140324-195403.jpg
My grandmother’s wedding ring. It signifies a 56 year successful marriage. I never get tired of looking at it. I wear it proudly and think of her every single day.

This weekend has been a bit tough emotionally. I found out that my grandparents house, the place where I grew up, is being sold (my grandmother passed away one year ago this month).  I know it’s just a structure; just a building and I shouldn’t care, right? Well I do. I can’t help it. My entire childhood is wrapped up in that structure; on that property.  My baby footprints are stamped in the foundation.

We went on vacation March of 2014 to visit Granny (you can read post HERE). Little did I know at the time, that would be the last time I would set foot in that house.  It was the last time my Granny was well and able to live in the house by herself.  She cooked and cooked and cooked.  She was in here true element.

It’s so hard to think that I’ll never set foot in that house again, but maybe that’s for the best. I thought that I might want to go back and see it one last time,  but being in that house without Granny means that it is just a structure. It is just a building because my Granny is what made the house my home.

I miss her.

Sixty

60 sized

This sweet mama is 60 today!  This is certainly a day worth celebrating.  One thing I will never do is take her life for granted.  I will celebrate it and what better time to do it than today.  Join with me in a big celebration of this amazing lady’s life, God’s miracles and grace all around.  She is my miracle mama and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for her life.  She is truly a blessing to all of us.  Happy birthday, mama!  I’m so glad you are here bringing us your sweetness and that beautiful smile each and every day.

One Year

Rose and Earl George at TableRose Mardi GrasRose and First New Car Rose and Glen Granny Recent

One year ago today, I lost one of the most influential and monumental women in my life; my Granny.  This amazing lady was not just a grandmother to me, she was a second mother.  I was her girl; her “baby girl” to be specific.  She called me this every single time we talked.  You see, she had three boys, but always wanted a girl. Then I came along. This changed her world. I was special to her.  My Granny loved me with a special kind of love that I’ve never experienced anywhere else and never will again.  I could do no wrong in her eyes.  We had such a special bond and it was irreplaceable.  I had the special privilege of growing up next door to her and lived there my entire childhood.  I spent just as much time at her house (or more) than I did my own.  Her favorite story to tell was the day I “ran away” to her house with a paper bag filled with one pair of underwear, one shirt and one shoe.  I think it made her feel so special that I wanted to be at her house rather than at my own.

My Granny taught me what hard work looks like by working in seafood factories, sewing factories and even working in my grandparents own seafood business where my Gramps caught blue crabs and she picked them to sell to restaurants.  She taught me to never give up.  My Granny did this manual, difficult work up until the day she got sick (and even afterwards at times).  She taught me what true marriage looks like.  Granny was married to my Gramps for 56 years.  I will never forget the one line of advice that she gave me at her kitchen table (that’s where all the good conversations happened).  She said that a successful marriage is made up of two things; compromise and selflessness.  If you can do these two things, your marriage will last forever and she was right.  My Granny taught me what true sacrifice looks like.  She gave absolutely everything for her family.  She never went to the doctor or took care of herself in order to focus on everyone else.  Granny served her husband and took care of him and the entire family.  She was the glue that held everything together at home.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of my Granny and miss her dearly. There is a hole and emptiness that will never be filled but I do have the memories, joy and the incredible influence that she had on my life. She will truly live on forever in my heart.

What’s in a Decade?

Last Day in 30s

Today is the last day to be in my 30’s. Overall, this decade was pretty good to me. I was much wiser, made better decisions and accomplished more goals than in my 20’s. My 20’s was a decade of navigating a new marriage, having babies, finishing college and starting a career.  They were years of indecisiveness and uncertainty but they were the building blocks for what was to come.  My 30’s was a decade of accomplishment; moving 1,000 miles, pushing the career envelope and it paying off (thank God!), raising one child successfully to adulthood, getting another to a successful place in high school and establishing a very happy marriage.  The 30’s was also a decade that drew me much closer to God which has made all the difference in my life.

I have been told that the 40’s are even better; that life begins at 40. Well, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be to take it on. I’m excited to see what this next decade will bring.

A Christmas Celebration

I first want to acknowledge that it has been quite a while since I’ve posted here.  As you all can probably understand, this season has been quite busy.  But more importantly, I’ve been spending time focusing on the things that truly matter most; my family and the multitudes of blessings in my life.

This Christmas was quite a bit better than last.  Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t have taken a whole lot of good things to be better than last year.  Last year was spent in a trauma ICU room with my mom fighting for her life.  I am happy to say that this Christmas wasn’t just a little bit better than last Christmas; it was leaps and bounds better than last year.  My mom’s amazing recovery resulting from miracle after miracle (see the one year update here) which meant that she was with us this Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus, opening many presents and eating delicious food.  My daughter was home from college and we enjoyed some great family time with her and with my husband and with my son watching movies, shopping, opening presents, laughing and enjoying life.  And if that wasn’t enough, we had some very exciting Christmas news that was icing on the cake.  My brother proposed to his girlfriend!  I helped him pick out the ring weeks earlier.  He proposed on Christmas morning but my parents had no idea.  He surprised them on Christmas day with the proposal.  We absolutely love her and are beyond excited that she will be joining the family.  I am finally getting a sister!

So this Christmas was a celebration of life; recovered life, renewed life, and new life to come.  It was a Christmas of hopes and dreams and pure joy and happiness.  We are truly blessed!

Merry Christmas to you and yours during this wonderful season!

Nell and Steve RestaurantBanana with Bow Candelight Christmas Service Earl and Joanna  Nana and Papa on Boat Nana Many Presents Nana Papa Earl Bunny Ears Nell and Joanna Nell Dee Trey Restaurant Papa Hammock Papa Leezo  Papp Driving Boat Steve Fried TurkeTrey on the Boat