I didn’t do much for “Mommy’s” first Halloween. She was ten months old and really not aware of the whole thing. I am amazed at how my daughters dress up the babies! It makes more sense now that the oldest granddaughters have figured it out. Now they coordinate the babies to go with their older siblings which is actually adorable. We had Merida from the movie “Brave” with one of the baby bears. We also had Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.
I have a special affection for Bugs. I sewed two Bugs Bunny costumes (complete with heads) when “Mommy” and “Calvin” were two and four. I spent weeks working on those costumes. Better than that, I had several weeks of peace and quiet after lunch. I convinced those two that I would only work on the costumes if they napped. Yep, bribery works and I am not ashamed to use it! They were blissful hours of silence!
I was nine months pregnant with “Mini Me” at the time. She was actually due on “Doc’s” birthday, but arrived three days later. I spent Halloween in the hospital with her and never got to see the kids wear the costumes that I had made for them. “Doc” took pictures for me, but it just wasn’t the same. Of course I did miss out on “Calvin” screaming hysterically when he had to put the mask on.
I am happy that my grandchildren live in areas where “Trick or Treating” is still done and it is safe. Watching moms and dads take their kids door to door brings back warm memories of when I was a kid. My parents did not usually “Trick or Treat” with us. We were given neighborhood parameters and knew that we needed to stay where we were told. Back then you got hundreds of kids coming to your door and you gave out full sized candy bars. It was fun to see so many kids enjoying the fun of dressing up in a costume.
I have gotten pictures from all of the gang of the pumpkins that they carved this year. My “adult” children have not grown up yet and I hope they never do. The pumpkins reflected their personalities and where they are at their various stages of life. The married children had family-style pumpkins, “Calvin” carved an elaborate dragon head, and the college boys……..well, use your imagination.
Happy Halloween to all! It won’t be long until Thanksgiving!!!!
Well, 27 years ago, a lot was going on. I had two children ages almost four and almost two. Number three was due on her father's birthday and here we were three days after and no baby. I had worked months on costumes for "Mommy" and "Calvin". I actually got them to nap for a month by telling them that if they took their naps, I would work on their costumes. I did not get to see them trick or treat that year because I was in the hospital with "Mini Me".
She was an adorable baby. Very quiet and cuddly. Her older siblings were very rambunctious and squelched her pretty good for a few years. The day we came home from the hospital, "Calvin" refused to accept the fact that it was a girl. He kept saying "Him pretty neat, or him crying, mom" "Mommy" thought she was in charge, and well...the mommy. "Mini Me" did not say much as a toddler, but on the occasion she did, it was profound. Usually something like "No".
Be careful of the quiet ones. They will challenge you and you had better be prepared for the challenge! This is the one, who would sneak out of the house when no one was looking. This is the one who would sneak different clothes in her book bag or have friends bring them to school so she could change when she got there because she knew I wouldn't approve. This is the one who left home with a freshly scrubbed face which she covered with makeup in the bathroom at school. This is the one who was "in" to boy friends and popularity.
She was a great athlete! I loved watching her play basketball and really miss that to this day. A boy's coach once told me that he could win any championship with four decent players and one son of a b____! And then said, God I wish "Mini Me" was a boy! She was tough as nails! She could stand up to anyone on the basketball court and always did. At 5'3", I remember a broken clavicle from being slammed into a wall by a 200 pound girl, being clotheslined by a girl who eventually played Division I college basketball, and also breaking her hand and begging me not to tell "Doc".
She and I butted heads on more than one occasion as she went through high school. There have only been two times in my life when I was glad to see a child head off to college, and she was the first time! And after all that we have been through, it is now wonderful to have her as one so dear to my heart as an adult. We talk about everything. I spend every day with her children and chuckle when they behave like her or her siblings. Pay back. We are the best of friends, and I would not trade one minute of our experiences for anything in the world. Good and bad, funny and ugly, our life together and apart has brought us closer than I would ever have imagined. I love you "Mini Me" and I am proud of the woman, wife, mother and nurse that you have become. Happy Birthday!
Thirty two years ago, when we planned our wedding date, it was not my first choice for a date. So somehow when we settled on October 23, based on the Ohio State home football schedule, which believe it or not seemed logical at the time, it also placed our anniversary at a time packed with other special dates. Four days after we were married “Doc” celebrated his 28th birthday. Once the kids started coming a year later we seemed to line up the birthday months and found ourselves celebrating, October through February and one that got plunked into June.
Anyway, we have spent 32 years together. My love for this man has evolved over the years. There were times that I wanted to kill him and times that I could not love him more for his love and kindness. I found out that the magical age of 21 does not make you an adult. We all still grow and mature in many ways throughout our lives. We continue to have new experiences every day, whether they are our own or brought to us via our children and grandchildren.
No matter what your age, once you are in a relationship or marriage, you must learn to work hand in hand with your partner. Sometimes you will give 80% and sometimes you will need 80%. The key is whether or not your partner in life is willing and able to make up the difference.
Sometimes you will need to compromise or agree to disagree, but you should generally be on the same page with everything, especially the children. We went through a tough time when we became at odds on issues with “Mini Me” and believe me in a New York minute she figured out how to play us. Her ability to get what she wanted by pitting me against “Doc” was at times damaging. That being said, that period in our life has made us stronger today. We stuck it out after almost calling it quits and the rewards are amazing. Our difficulties had an impact on our kids in a variety of ways. Each of them will decide whether they want the circumstances of their experience to define them or whether they will learn and grow from them.
For me, it means that I will grow old with the love of my life and continue to “LIVE” every day with him at my side. We are better people today and stronger spouses than we were the day we got married. He is not the man I married, and I am glad for that. He has grown and improved! Happy Birthday “Doc”. God Grant You Many Years!!!!
Parenting is a tough job, no doubt about it. You fight an uphill battle every day. Even if you are the best parent with good ethics and faith, and teach all of that to your children, the world outside your home challenges that every minute of every day! It takes a strong and faith filled family to carry on in the face of the world’s adversities. It is also the reason that there are two parents. Often one can keep the other from climbing onto the roof and jumping off when it has been a particularly rough day!
This week, my husband and I celebrated 32 years of marriage. That seems to be more and more uncommon in our world. I can remember having to take “Mini Me” to the emergency room for stitches and having the receptionist look at me like I was from Mars because I insisted that we were her original parents as well as the same parents for all of her siblings!
Today, when young adults get married, it seems as though the focus is on the production of the day, the flowers, the linens, the decorations, who sits where, what do we eat, who pays for what. I cannot argue when our priest says, if couples put as much time into the marriage as they put into the festivities, divorce rates would be significantly lower!
32 years of marriage! It has been a lot of work for both of us! There has been a lot of fun, a great deal of stubbornness (okay – a lot of that is me), arguing, hugging, holding hands, apologies, compromising, and the list goes on and on. Marriage should not be disposable. In other words, you don’t just quit when it gets tough.
The rewards you get when you work through the tough times and when you celebrate the joys are amazing! And best of all, your kids reap the benefits of a solid home. Please understand, I do know that sometimes divorce is the best choice but it should not be taken as lightly as it seems to be in our society.
So thank you and happy anniversary to my husband, my partner and the love of my life. Together we have built a family that will hopefully carry on long after we are gone. (It wouldn’t hurt if they felt like taking care of us when we get too old either – lol!)
We have had many blessings in our lives. Our family is healthy and loving and our faith in God is strong and growing stronger every day. We have experienced a few accidents and minor health issues which God has graciously helped us through. Three years ago, we were all shockingly reminded of the temporary and fragile nature of life on earth. A beautiful young lady and member of our extended family was called to take her place in heaven. She was newly married and by all human expectations had a lifetime ahead of her. We were reminded that God has plans for each of us.
As parents and adults, we get comfortable believing that there is a “natural” order to life. We are not supposed to suffer through extended illnesses with our children or bury our children. We expect the order to be reversed. On the occasion as it happened three years ago, we are suddenly reminded that life is a fragile gift from God and that our children are a gift. God places them in our hands for a period of time, to care for them, love them, teach them. We do the best we can. Occasionally we are painfully reminded that this is a temporary situation. Even the Theotokos, Mother of God suffered the loss of her child.
Today I will spend time reflecting on the gifts that I have been granted, including the beautiful family placed in my care. I will pray for those who have lost a child and suffer with broken hearts. I will miss my own father and friends and relatives who have passed before me and pray for their souls. While I mourn for them, I will remind myself that our lives on earth are meant to be temporary and that they are waiting for me to join them some day. I will remember that all of this is also part of “life”.
Then, because it is such a precious gift, I will go on to LIVE! I will enjoy the treasured moments with my beautiful grandchildren. I will probably call numerous friends and relatives and most especially my children who are away, just to hear their voices and say “I Love You!” I will remember to treasure and enjoy these beautiful gifts from God and not take them for granted, even if for just a day. I will smile and laugh and love! Thank you God for the blessings you have given me. I pray that I will live in a way pleasing your Glory!
Before I get started, I want to make sure that I thank my kids for noticing the last Blog and that the "Dragon" had a great time playing with my caps lock when I typed the title. It is so nice that my children support my efforts to be technological! Wait - no they don't ! But they do count on me to provide hours of amusement!
Okay, here is a bit of sound advice for parents of children at any age…Never ask a question that you do not already know the answer to. You will be amazed at how far this will get you. When they are little, it will make you look like a genius! They will think you have supernatural mental powers! Kind of like when you tell them that you have eyes in the back of your head. I don’t know about you, but my kids have actually tried to find mine.
When they are little, and you are trying to teach them about telling the truth you always need to ask them about what they did or what happened. Make sure you already know the answer, and gently guide them to telling the truth. Telling the truth is sometimes frightening to a small child. They are terrified that they will get into trouble, and more importantly disappoint you. Believe me kids really do care about disappointing you, at least when they are little. You have to teach them that they need to tell the truth, even when it means getting into trouble. It can be tough to do as they try to wiggle around it, unless you already hold the answers.
Somewhere along the way, as they got older, I actually and rather boldly would ask them a question and say, keep in mind that I do not ask a question without already knowing the truth. You could watch them turn green and start to sweat! The truth got harder as they got older when the mistakes got bigger. The plan is still the same. The truth is important whether you are three, thirteen, twenty three or thirty! If they know they have your love, they get through the desire to lie. It got to the point where I would pick “Calvin” up after school and simply ask “How was your day?” He would immediately panic and say “Fine, I might as well tell you right now, because you’re going to find out anyway!” and then he would spill it all. I would sit in shock thinking, “I just asked if he had a good day!”
Kids who learn about the importance of truth, become adults of character and integrity. Letting them off the hook, teaches them nothing positive. Hold your ground Mom and Dad! Stay involved, know what is going on in your children’s lives. Know the answers, then ask the questions!
I can remember being told a long time ago, that it was not about how my kids acted when they were with me, it is about how they behave when they are away from you. Unfortunately, I cannot remember who imparted these words of wisdom to me, but over the years I heard them in my mind over and over. And...I find myself sharing that information with my own children today as they are dealing with my grandchildren.
Obviously, "Mini Me" hears it the most because I babysit her little ones on a daily basis. Invariably when she arrives to pick them up, "Max" will either throw a rip roaring temper tantrum or ask for an overnight. Naturally, "Mini Me" gets her feelings hurt, who wouldn't?!
She also struggles to deal with the tantrums, and I get asked why does she act like this around me but behaves for you?
Attention young moms!!!! It is not about you. It is not about how your child behaves around you. It is not about your child wanting to spend time with other people. First, always remember that in a toddler's mind, the whole world revolves around them. There is nothing you can do to convince them otherwise. It is why your name is repeated a million times a day, as if you are deaf or stupid. You know; "Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom..." They expect your immediate and complete attention and response and they will settle for nothing less. See...you are vital to their survival.
Believe it or not, one of your goals in raising your children is to have them become independent and eventually survive on their own. Try to remember that when they want to spend time with others. It is only the first steps in becoming an independent little critter. Isnt' that what you want? Maybe you are becoming insecure as you help them to become confident. Try not to take it personally. Believe me, when they hurt, need to snuggle, need a hug, want to share good news or play, you are the one your child looks for. Remember that when you are too busy.
Finally, your child will act up for you. You are the one person who will always love them, no matter how much they misbehave, or how mad they can make you. They have built an incredible trust in you, that you will always be there, and sometimes they test the theory! You will know that you have been a good parent when your child becomes independent and behaves like an angel when they are with someone else. That means they have absorbed all the love and instruction that you have imparted on them. Hang on to those thoughts, because they will get you over the struggle times when you are ready to pull your hair as well as theirs out. Smile big, give hugs, play and cherish every time they say "I love you!"
This weekends’ events with some of the family and the title of this post which I received from the Ninja on Facebook definitely warrants comments!
I love my kids! It has been a blast from the minute that "Mommy" was born. Now don't get me wrong, it has not been all chocolate cheesecake! We have had plenty of “down” times but they were overturned by the “up” times. We have shed many tears, but they were always dried by the smiles and laughter!
I have loved every stage of their lives. When they were babies, they were so soft and snuggly! They smelled so sweet (except of course at diaper changing time) and they were so helpless. You rocked them into the toddler stage and then they began to rock your world. The learning never stopped! They absorbed everything they could see, smell, touch, taste and feel. They constantly tested the limits of their world and yours too. Everything was a challenge, and you had better be ready to step up to the plate. Their curiosity and your encouragement makes them into young adults who are not afraid to accept any challenge and to tackle it with all the gusto they can muster. As a parent you have to let go of the idea of wrapping them in bubble wrap and trust that God is with them and will not leave them, or you, even through the worst of times.
In all honesty, raising them has changed me. I was not very daring as a child, and certainly would never have tried some of the things I have done with the family. This grandmother got in a raft on the Gauley River in West Virginia and tackled Class V Rapids (Those are the BIG ones!). Okay, the last one of the day actually tackled us! We hit the rapid and an 18 foot drop which launched our friend and guide, Andrea head over tincup out of the raft. Apparently, she did not want to go alone, because on the way out, she cannonballed me and wiped “MiniMe” out. All three of us ended up in the rapids and do you know what?! My family, worked as a team and got all three of us back in the boat before we finished the rapid. It was awesome!!!! Okay, I could do without the bruised ribs and the black eye, but it was awesome!!
Thanks to my gang for teaching me that age doesn’t matter, and for teaching me to live every day to the fullest. We only go around once in life, and I for one do not want to have many regrets. What is the next adventure!?
Time. There never seems to be enough of it and I always seem to be running late. I am willing to take some responsibility for being late, especially when I cannot leave the house until the Grandfather Clock is reset to the proper time. Even though it means going through all of the cycles and chimes for an eight hour span of time, I will not leave. By the way, that is a sure fire way to upset “Doc”.
I used to be on time before I had children. I only had to get myself dressed and organized. Piece of cake! Then “Mommy” was born. Suddenly prep time to leave the house more than doubled. I used to be able to throw on a pair of shoes and leave the house to run a quick errand in leass than five months. Once “Mommy” arrived there was a lead time of thirty minutes or more for gathering diaper bag, bottle, pacifier, and put her in the car seat and in the car. “Calvin” joined the crew and the time increased exponentially. My the time “Mini Me” arrived we were on the verge of chaos.
I did manage to get organized to the point that we were like a miniature military unit. In fact, I cannot believe that drill sargeants were not calling me for advice on handling their troops! I could get them all dressed and to a photo studio without a hair out of place in record time when they were small and containable.
I think we started a slacking off as they got a little older. I lost control of the prep time as they got older. They were becoming responsible for showering and dressing themselves and that created a multitude of variables. As time went on, we always seemed to be ten to fifteen minutes late. I tried everything! I reset all the clocks in the house periodically so that no one knew the actual time. It kept them in line for a bit because they never knew if they were early, late or on time. Then they got watches and phones and no longer relied on the house clocks.
For me, it was too late. Being late was now my lifestyle. I tried interventions on myself to no avail. I reset the clock in my car to the point that the kids accused me of having my own time zone. I outsmarted myself. I knew the clock was twenty minustes fast and I would automatically decuct the time in my head. At my age, I am starting to believe that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I am late ten to fifteen minutes everywhere I go. Can’t blame the kids because they aren’t there, but the years with them have ruined my internal clock. And even on the off chance that I am actually going to be on time, it won’t happen. The laundry could be folded or a clock set. Five minutes late again!!!
I have spent most of my adult life raising our family. "Mommy" was born just after I turned 26. Let's just say I have more than doubled that number - and that is all you really need to know! With six kids and all of their friends around the house, there were a lot of opportunities to teach lessons on sharing. Actually, those lessons occurred at least daily and sometimes hourly. I now babysit grandchildren and a friend's children and the lessons go on. The whole thing is not much smoother than it was when my gang was little.
They fight over the darnedest things! Some silly plastic piece of a toy from a kid's meal usually takes the hot seat. You would think that it was made of gold and the most precious thing that they have ever seen, when it is nothing more than a plastic dog or something similar. But they way they tug at it and scream about it can wreck your mind! My solution to not sharing when it occurs a little too frequently in one day, is to put the two offending parties in a chair together and make them hold hands. It is a hoot to watch what transpires. I have seen them start to giggle, I have seen them try to let go of hands, and I have heard them instantly say "I am sorry, can I stop holding hands now?"
The problem I have right now is realizing that not only have I taught the children to share, but I have also had to share my belongings with the kids too. I don't want to share any more! I get it now from their perspective. I often hear myself saying things like "That is mine, and you can't play with it!" or "Don't touch my things!" And you know what? It sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Besides, I am bigger and in charge! I get to say that stuff.
I have also devised ways to keep them from getting my stuff. Don't get me wrong, some of it, like my sweatshirts still goes home on "Mini Me's" back. There are things that I hate not having when I need them - like batteries. I hate it when a battery goes dead and reach for a new one and the box is empty. The box is there but it is empty! So, like some crazy person I now "stash" batteries around the house. My children are now forced to ask me for batteries when they need them and just in case they see where I have stashed them, when the kids are out of the house, I move them to a new location! Brilliant, right?! Yea, well getting older and filling my head with so many things has made me forgetful. I am going to have to create some sort of treasure map to keep track of where I have hidden the batteries lately so that I can find them when I need them. Back to square one - I need batteries, but I don't have them or at least can't find them. My kids would call that poetic justice.
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!