Tag Archives: Mom

Letter to Lucye

 

 The first week of 2012 has been full of reflection and resolution.  In cleaning up my computer to speed things up a bit, I came across a letter I wrote to my niece who was born last March.  I have a special place in my heart for each of my children and all of my nieces and nephews, but it is a strange thing to look at this little girl and see so much of my mother and grandmother.  Little LuLu has brought us all so much joy!

February 24, 2011 (Eleven days after I spent the day praying for sweet Jude Eli and two days after we spent all evening playing family charades trying to cajole Little LJ out….I just realized I never posted about this.  Tomorrow!!!  I promise.)

Dear Lucye,

I am sitting down to write you a letter because you and your mom are all I can think about this morning.  We are so excited about your arrival, but your mom is being stubborn and is insisting that she stay with her 5th grade class until you are “really ready” to be born.

There are several reasons I am so excited for your arrival….the pink, the bows, the shopping….although I am not a big shopper…..and our future trips to New York and Paris.  I am also excited about what your birth will represent.  The past few years have been so painful for your mom, Aunt Mary and me.  We loved our mother, your grandmother so much, but it became clear that we could not save her and she finally gave up the fight.  That was one of the biggest defeats of my life and I am sure my sisters would say the same.

Your birth feels like a new start.  Not a complete do over, just a new bud on a tree that has been dormant for awhile.  I love your brother’s name, Jesse.  Every time I hear it I am reminded of the verse in the Bible that is included to trace the genealogy of Christ.  “There shall come a shoot from the stump of Jesse…”  Isaiah 11.  You represent what is left.  Not just the memory of your grandmother, but a legacy.  A legacy that although went through a dormant phase, is still present.  It is a legacy that came from generations of love and struggle, from both you mother’s family and the family of your father.  It gives us permission to take our family story and go on to create another chapter.  This is the chapter where we can decide the ending and can heal from the past.

Your name and gender are such clear signs of this transformation, but your brothers and cousins are equally a part of the destiny of this family.  Your aunts and uncles, mom and dad, will do our best to lead you in a way that allows you to find peace and happiness, but as you get older, the hard part will be up to you.  You alone can decide what God’s plans are for your life.

Your mother is one of the strongest people I know….in fact, at times this is her weakness.  My prayer for you is that you find strength in your relationships with others and let them hold you up when you feel weak.  Your mother is also stubborn, she willed your brothers into this world and she is willing you into being as well.  I anticipate you will inherit this characteristic too.  Use it wisely, it can either lift you up or hold you down.

I know in my heart your grandma Patti is holding you right now, ready to hand you into our care; we are ready.  Kiss her for us….it is time for you to arrive.

We will love you forever!  Please let her know that it is her love and devotion that will be our family legacy.

Aunt Amy

Healing

Things have been very quiet here on R&TM.  This, again, was unintentional.  This time it lasted longer than usual and there have been times that I wondered if I would leave things this way.  This blog has become sacred space for me.  A place where I can be me…the me that loves to create but also is in constant battle with myself about what I can do to make myself whole again after losing myself in my mothers illness.  I was sad to see it come to an end, but what has always come as a natural longing to write in a public forum seemed to be gone.

Today it hit me.  I haven’t been silent here because I had given up.  I was silent here because I have been healing.  Opportunities have arisen as catalysts to facing things and people that I was afraid to confront.  This is difficult in the midst of raising two little boys.  They have needs that only I can meet and the older and more active they become, the more demanding they can be.  Needless to say, this does not lend itself to fertile soil to confront this emotional *stuff*.  Know thy self, is a phrase that I often meditate upon.  And, knowing myself has kept me keenly aware that I do need to confront these shadows that have remained in the wake of my mother’s death.  So, I persevered and moved toward them instead of away.  The dilemma was that every step forward seemed to lead to two steps back.  The more forgiveness I felt the more I missed my mom.  The more relationships I fostered in her memory the more I just wanted her back instead.  It was in this process that the giant weight fell on me.  The last couple of years of her life I felt a constant sense that her not being here would be better than the pain she was causing.  The boulder that fell on me was that no, it is not.  I wish she were here.  Sure I wish she had found a place to be whole, but either way, I just want to hear her voice and tell her about my kids.

This is where I spent the holidays.  I wrestled with this truth and the more I wanted to tuck it away and “just enjoy the time with the family I had left” I kept it in my heart and on my mind.  Now, as the dust is settling from the season, I can see that the steps that I felt were going backward were tiny and the steps forward are leading me through this darkness and I am healing.

So, it looks like I am back.  Back to share the magic of Christmas that we experienced here with my mom’s presence and memories.  Here to remind everyone to continue creating your own beauty and make space for the simple things in life.  My word this year,

healing |ˈhēliNG| noun

the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again: the gift of healing.

Infinite Thanksgiving

Seven years ago today I sat staring out the window thinking that I would never have a baby. We had been through months of infertility and I was losing my mind on Clomid. Fast forward…..two days later, Thanksgiving. I found out I would be a mom. That was a day of infinite thanksgiving. Ten months later, Big Guy was born and 16 months after that, Little Guy. Thanksgiving marks for me what I am most thankful for…..my sweet boys.

So, why this year, am I feeling more like the old Smashing Pumpkins album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Saddness? Thoughts of my mom and my family that haunt me when I am awake and while I am sleeping. This is year 3 of holidays since mom died and the world keeps spinning, but I feel very stuck. Stuck in grief and “what if’s”. It is so easy to fantasize of how great the holidays would be, “if only……” My boys, all three of them, are so excited about all of our plans. The lights, the decorating, the tree, the food. The boys really believe it will snow this year. Bless their hearts. We have had snow three of the past six Christmas’ here in Oklahoma. That is about how many we had during my entire childhood and they are predicting a very dry winter.

This season of infinite saddness will end, I know it will. Infinite Thanksgiving will return. Until then….

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
–Maya Angelou

There are No Words

Today my mom would be 60 years old.  There are no words to describe how much I wish I could tell her Happy Birthday and go to dinner with her, my sisters, our families and let her enjoy the evening with her grandchildren.  I am not sure mom ever thought about what her 60th year would look like.  It is one of those milestone years that seems so far away and then shows up on your front porch someday.

I spent Friday having lunch with one of mom’s friends.  She talked about her 60th and all that has happened sense.  I think mom would have liked it.  She would tell me that she “feels” old but I know she would be beautiful….she always was.  I wonder what she would think of having five grandchildren and if she would make it to all of their sporting events, school assemblies and family dinners.  She would love that Tracy has mastered so many of her family recipes and laugh that no matter how hard I try I still can’t bake to save my life.  And I know she would be amazed at the young woman her baby Mary has become.  She would enjoy her sons in law as much or more than her daughters.  I know she would be going nuts over the OU and OSU football seasons this year.

I don’t think I will ever get used to the idea of not having a mom.  I will probably dream of her and have pretend conversations until I die.  It is strange not to have anyone ask what we are doing for her birthday this year.  I guess I would say I am looking through pictures because there are just no words.

img129Me and Mom 1978

img099 - Version 2Mom (and me on the far left) at the zoo for my 5th Birthday.  She would have been about the age I am now.

img088This is my 7th birthday party….the Ladybug Luncheon that was the start of all of the crazy birthday traditions with my boys.

img005Mom holding me with my Paternal Grandmother and Great Grandmothers

Me and Mom with my Maternal Grandmother and Great Grandmother

 

Grandparents

Today Grandma Jan and I went up to have lunch with the Little Guy to celebrate Grandparent’s Day…..the Grandpa’s couldn’t make it…..those pesky jobs!  🙂

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Giving Grandma the flower he made

We had such a great time and it went just as you would expect…..Grandma drove 25 minutes to my house to pick me up, I made lunch for both of us, we arrived and had no idea where to go, we were asked to go outside in the hot but wet courtyard, and Little Guy sat with his friends and did not really eat a thing.  Then he got up, lost control of the stick I asked him to put down….the stick flew into another mother’s lunch….he tried to climb a tree and then ran and ran and ran.  He paused twice once for me to open his chips and once to give me and Grandma a kiss.  IT WAS SO WORTH IT!

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My Grandparents at Mom and Dad’s Wedding

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Nanny at my second birthday party

IMG_6782Grandma Brown never liked her picture to be taken….but this is one of my favorites….she is in the red with her little sister a couple of years ago.

IMG_3812Nanny holding Big Guy

I remember as a child that every time my grandparents came to something it must be “really important”.  Now, as a parent, I realize exactly why his precious school asked grandparents to come have lunch and meet their friends.  This is such an important part of their lives at four and a half.

I am so thankful for the time I had with my grandparents growing up.  I am also so pleased at the way life has allowed my boys to spend time with their grandparents.  They have different relationships with each set, just as I did.  But, my dad and Dillon’s parents make sure to do what they can to offer their love and get to know each nuance of my precious boys.  The boys get to know my mom from the stories my sisters and I tell and her wonderful brothers and sister’s in laws who go above and beyond.

I will say there have been times when I want to hog my kids all to myself or not go to “the trouble” of getting two little guys out for a holiday or family get together and yet I remember with such fondness Grandma, Nanny and Papa.  Selfishly I am so happy that I realized these important relationships early in my parenting….planting seeds for my little guys of how great grandparents are……like ME!  🙂

 

Off to pick up the sweet little guys who will be tired and starving, nurse them back to tolerable creatures and take them to Cub Scouts.  Did I mention I am now a Den Mom.  REALLY?  This should be interesting.