What does that mean, girlfriend?
On March 21, 2012 John asked me to be his “girlfriend”. I had no idea what that even meant to him.
I’ve used the term “girlfriend” casually and never thought of what it meant to anyone else. To John it was a big deal. It was a step towards “forever” and his experience with forever wasn’t a good one.
I’d met John eight months earlier, and I can say that the best thing that ever happened to us…for us… was the fact that we became friends first. Once the pressure of the possibility of a romantic relationship was taken off the table, we both relaxed and stopped acting like peacocks looking for a mate.
There was no need to try to impress the other in hopes of “pick me”. Continue reading
Last week I shared a little about how I grew up and how I raised my boys. I even touched briefly on the next generation, my granddaughters.
Then I got busy on Wednesday helping my oldest son, and on Thursday, John and I were back on the road. We took some major twisty roads over to the Oregon Coast and then drove to Sacramento.
Often times, when John is driving, I’ll use that opportunity to pull out my laptop and write. But curves and twisting roads make that impossible for me.
So I was itching to get back to my laptop and write the third installment of my posts about growing up. I got my computer out while John drove us home on Friday, and wrote and rewrote a post to share.
And I agonized over it.
Yesterday I wrote about growing up in Michigan and how we spent most of our time outside.
I also mentioned because of that experience, I wanted to be sure my kids had the same opportunity.
When I got pregnant with our first son, my husband was still in school. We lived in a townhouse near campus and it was fine. By the time our boy was six months old, we’d moved back to Oregon and found a rental in town.
It wasn’t until after our second son was born that I started to remember my own childhood, and what it was like to grow up on a farm. I had married a city boy, and I wasn’t sure he would want to move into the country.
We played outside when I was a kid growing up in Michigan. It didn’t matter if it was winter or summer, we were outside most of the time.
In the summers we would play hide-and-seek until way after dark. There were a bunch of us and so many different places to hide that the game would go on for hours.
We also had a sandbox to play and dig in, though I do remember the cats liked “digging” in it too…which was a little gross.
We found things to do and explored beyond our farm too.
I have a good friend who has a child with Down Syndrome. I will admit, I don’t know very much about this condition.
In honor of her, other mothers, and of Down Syndrome Awareness and Acceptance Month, I would like to share her story with you.
I remember from the time I was little the only thing I really wanted to be when I grew up was a Mom. Not very “progressive”, I know, but it’s the truth.
We were very poor growing up and rarely had any new toys. Instead they were passed down from one child to the next.
The neighbor girls I tried to hang out with had Barbie Dolls that came with different outfits you could dress them in.
I had one doll, and she wasn’t a petite little doll, but more of an old-fashioned Dolly with eyes that would close when you laid her down. And with one arm missing. Continue reading
We learn how to be women from our moms, or at least a mother figure.
So we watch them closely and subconsciously put each act or word into columns of either, “This is good advice to live by and pass on,” or “No way do I believe this and I am so not going to do this to my kids.”
There are probably a lot of other columns too, but those two stand out the most for me.
I learned how to be a woman by watching my mom. Which is probably why I’m not a girly girl. She didn’t wear makeup or dress in pretty clothes. And she lived in “practical shoes” and flip-flops.
I think she made most of her dresses. You’ll recall I said she only wore dresses, even as a farm-woman, right? I have to wonder if her mom wore dresses too. But I can’t recall much about my grandmother.
My mom learned how to be a woman from her mother too. It’s passed down from one generation to the next with varying degrees of changes for each of us. Continue reading
Do you ever wonder what it was like for your parents when they were kids? I don’t think about my dad’s youth as much as I do my mom’s. That’s probably because she was the rule-maker of our home.
And the enforcer too.
When I was a kid, I didn’t think about or care what made her the way she was, I was more concerned with ducking her flip-flop as she tried to swat me with it for not doing what I was told.
But as an adult, I have to wonder what it was like for her growing up in that little farmhouse in Michigan with four brothers and three sisters.
She was born in the spring of 1924, unless you go by what her headstone reads. Not sure how that happened, but it’s off by a year. She was the second child of eight, in a home that would soon be crowded. Continue reading
When my youngest was born I was perplexed by a few who commented, “Hopefully the next one will be a girl”. I was delighted to have another child and I didn’t care if I was having boy or a girl. I just knew I wanted another baby.
I was happy raising my two sons and never had a daughter. Continue reading
My final trip to Florida to visit my son and his wife Amber was August of 2011. I picked that time to go for two reasons: One to help them move to Mississippi but more importantly, to meet my first grandchild.
In May of 2010 my son graduated from the Naval Academy and married his high school sweetheart the very next day. Then they started their lives together as a military family. By August of that year I was back to help them move to Florida, where my son would begin training as a pilot. Continue reading
The first time I went to Ireland and met John’s family I was a bit overwhelmed with their accents, especially those in the North. And it’s not just the way they pronounce words; it’s their colloquialisms.
For instance, when they introduced Sharon to me, she was called “Our Sharon”. And believe me it didn’t sound like our Sharon. It was more like “R Shrn”. So to me, she is still R Shrn.
After that I started calling John, My John.
The other day I was desperately looking for a specific photo I wanted for one of my blog posts. If you’ve been following along, you know I use my own photos for my posts.
It was written and ready to publish, but I was determined to find that one photo, so I kept digging. I was pretty sure it was on an old hard drive of mine, so I plugged it into my laptop and poked around.
I didn’t find it there, but I did find something else.
It is something I wrote years ago, when I was trying to sort out some emotions I was going through. Wait, let me stop right here and find my courage.
Deep breath in.
Have you ever associated an object with an emotion?
I hate desk calendars. I just recently bought one to pull the pages off and stick to the refrigerator. I thought it would be a good way to keep track of my schedule with diet and exercise.
But it didn’t take long to realize it was a source of contention for me. Let me back up and explain. Continue reading
The #MeToo Campaign has been going on for a few months now, and ever single time I see a Me Too post, my stomach knots up, my throat closes and I have to choke back tears. Every single time.
A year ago, my son wrote this open letter to his daughters, my granddaughters. I am asking you to read it, digest it, and share it. Please join me in a new campaign to help the next generation to be filled with #NotMe and #NotUs. Continue reading
My first pregnancy and delivery was so easy, right after my son was born my doctor told me he would like to say the second one would be easier, but it doesn’t get much easier than I had it. I was lucky for sure.
When my oldest son was two I was pregnant with my second baby. It was fun having a toddler asking questions and wondering what was going on with his mommy. I did my best to get him ready for what was about to happen, but I don’t think you can fully prepare a two and a half year old for a baby brother.
Because my fist son’s birthday was December 30th and so close to Christmas and New Year’s, we had a few friends suggest celebrating his birthday on his half birthday instead. June 30th.
That’s the day his brother was born. The minute that baby showed his face he had a smile. I don’t care what doctors or researchers say about a newborn not really smiling until they are 3 months old, that baby boy was smiling from the beginning. Continue reading
I absolutely loved every minute of being pregnant. It helped being 24, fit and in great health. I was ready to be a mom, and when the test came back positive, I was overjoyed.
A few people told me I was too young, but in my heart I was ready. I’d read all of the books and followed every instruction to take excellent care of my body.
The due date was set for January 10, 1984, but my little one was ready early. On the morning of December 30th, I knew I was going to meet my first child that day. As it turned out, my husband and I had sold a home two years prior and our taxes would be due in 1983 on the sale. Our son showed up in the nick of time for us to declare him as a dependent for that year, essentially cancelling out any owed taxes.
And that pretty much sums up our first son. He’s a bit of a rescuer. But I’m getting ahead of myself; let me back up a bit.
Apparently I left a few people wondering what Fireball is, from my post about my boys growing up on a farm. I may have even left the impression that they were sweet little boys.
Let me set the record straight.
Even before moving to the farm, those two boys of mine kept me on my toes. They were curious about everything. One time my youngest tried to electrocute himself with the Christmas tree lights. That was after he fell in the river and almost drowned. But moving to the farm was an open door to explore nature and the world around them.
Have you ever said, “Just a minute” to someone who was trying to get your attention? I used to say it all the time, especially to my kids.
One day when my youngest son was about five years old, he responded to my ‘just a minute’ with, “Why do adults make minutes seem like hours?” I stood there looking at him with my mouth opened to say something back, but no words came out.