Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Eight Years Ago Tonight...

I was in the same house I'm in right now....only I wasn't living here. I lived further north with my husband and four children, but I was sleeping in this house.

Actually, I'm not sure you could call it sleeping.

Mom was dying from kidney cancer that had metastasized over her entire body. Her hospital bed was set up in the dining room and I was 'sleeping' on the couch near her in the living room to take care of her during the night. My sister and I took turns.

Mom was sort of quiet that night eight years ago. When morning came my sister arrived to take over the day shift and I kissed my mom goodbye and went to get my children off to school.

When I got home my sister called and told me to come right back. Mom was much, much worse.

She died that morning, with her family around her. I can't believe it's been eight years that you've been gone mom.

Tonight while Ash was at church for a meeting, Lance and I walked across to the cemetery nearby where my mom's body is buried. I say her body, because it's not her. I watched that morning as her spirit left her mortal body. She's not there in the ground...but I go there sometimes to talk to her.

I spoke at her funeral a few days after her passing and this is what I said:

My Momma's Hands

Last night I sat in the dark, holding my Mother's hand. When I first picked up her hand it frightened me, it was so cold. As I sat there, warming her chilled hand with the warmth of my own, memories washed over me and swept me up in river of remembrances of better days. I started to think about all the things her hands had done, all the things I had learned from her hands.

As a young girl I was convinced that my Mother had magic hands. You see, I was born with an ulcer that wasn't diagnosed until I was four or five years old. My very first memory is of pain in my tummy and lying on the dining room floor. Mom would hold me and place her warm hand over my belly where the pain was worst and like the miracle of a Mother's love, the pain would leave my little body. No medicine was ever as effective as her warm hand. It was magic. It always was.

Mom's hands were the ones that brushed and yanked on the hair that went clear down to my bottom. I always dreaded our morning ritual before school. A chair was brought to the middle of the kitchen and I sat down. Mom used the considerable force of her hands to sweep my hair into a ponytail so tight that my eyes were pulled in opposite directions. If I complained too much or brought my own little hands up to protect my sensitive head, I'd receive a rap on my knuckles from the brush she was wielding in her hands. Hers were the hands that washed my long hair in kitchen sinks and in bathtubs until I was old enough to manage all that hair on my own.

My bedroom was upstairs above the kitchen and I would watch her reflection in the neighbor's window as she stood at the sink and washed up the dinner dishes at night. Her hands could withstand water so much hotter than my own little hands ever could. To this day she could fill a sink with water so scalding that I was certain it would take the skin off her hands. It never did. Her hands must have been covered in heat-resistant skin. Those hands washed mountains of dishes by hand until Dad finally gave in and bought a dishwasher. Before that life-altering event, I became old enough to wash dishes on my own and her hands would point out the food residue that my ineffectual scrubbing had missed. Her hands always did it right the first time, every time.

Mom's hands taught me how to bake cookies and set tables. Her hands poured the dreaded iodine over my skinned knees and then applied bandages. She used her hands to dust, to vacuum, to decorate for holidays, and to make sure I knew when I was out of line. Her hands placed thermometers in my mouth and buckets under my chin. Hers were the hands with the white knuckles as she taught me how to drive. Her hands wrote countless letters to me while I was away at college and again when I was living in Venezuela. Each letter came from her heart, through her hands, to me.

Hers were the hands that taught me how to change a baby's diaper and how to test a bottle to see if it was too warm.

"Warm hands, warm heart," she'd always say. And her hands were always the warmest in the room.

Mom’s hands have wrapped 42 years worth of birthday presents for me and addressed 16 years worth of wedding anniversary cards to Lance and I. Her hands held my last baby before my hands did, and she's never let me forget it.

Her hands will never again brush my hair, wrap a package or hold a grandchild. Her hands have a different mission now. I believe with all my heart that very soon her hands will be wrapped up in her Mother's hands, in her Father's hands and she will be taken, hand in hand, home to where she belongs. She will raise her hands in joy at being relieved from her pain and reunited with loved ones that have gone before.

I believe that my Mother's magic hands have important things to do as she continues on her journey. I know those hands will be waiting for me one day.

Friday, March 19, 2010


My mouth is attempting to kill me yet again. I'm sure it's because last week I had this precise thought:

"It's so nice to not have ANY pain anywhere. I feel SO good!"

Time was you could think things like that and not be struck down. (Get off my lawn!) I'm guessing those times are gone. It's kind of like when you suddenly find yourself with a bit of extra money and you, this doesn't happen that often. It feels fun, it gives you a boost of extra security and then WHAM! The tranny on your car dies a horrible death and *POOF*! Not only is your extra $ gone but you're in a the hole just that much more.

We used to never talk about *extra* money around our vehicles because we learned that for some horrifically costly reason, THEY KNEW WE HAD EXTRA MONEY!!! Not only did they know, but they were determined to suck it from us as soon as possible.

Much like congress, but that's another rant subject entirely.

Then we would whisper about our surprising windfall around our modes of transportation. BOOM. Apparently whispering was still audible to our gas guzzling behemoth. So no talking about it, no whispering about and then that all went out the window when we discovered it could READ OUR THOUGHTS. Either that or it's little computer was somehow connected via the interwebbies to the mainframe of our bank and it was checking our balances.

We're going to start burying our money in mason jars out in the backyard. Let's see our little techno-genius-nosey-machine discover that little hoard! And when I say 'hoard', I really mean just $28.37

So let this be a warning to you. When your mouth feels good and you don't have a toothache, for the love of all that's monetary DO NOT PUT THAT THOUGHT INTO WORDS!

Or you'll end up like me, with a swollen face, prescriptions for oodles of legal narcotics, hours spent in a reclining chair and a guy in a mask doing ugly things to your mouth.

You've been warned.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Failed Experiement

I'm not worthy....I'm not worthy!

Picture me scraping and bowing as I say this to all those parents who home school their children. Either your children are tiny angels, wings and all and my child is ....shall we say, sans wings? Because this. did. not. work.

Ashley Rose was DYING to be home schooled. She begged to be home schooled. She promised she'd do her studies, her homework, her life would be amazing if ONLY SHE WERE HOME SCHOOLED!

So we yanked her out of school and plunked her headfirst into......

Wait for it......


Oh sure, it was called HOME SCHOOL in OUR minds, but in HER mind? No. Not even close.

It was called I-can-sleep-in-until-11-every-day-now! And I-can-stay-up-until-midnight-every-night!. It was also called I-will-watch-every-video-on-youtube-and-every-Hannah-Montana-episode-available-until-my-eyes-bleed.

Oh, in her mind it was called many, many things. The ONE thing it was NOT called was SCHOOL.

So I bow and say I'm not worthy because I do not feel worthy, or at least equal to the challenge of homeschooling a child who does not wish to be a self starter.

All you home schooling parents out there? I applaud you. I bow before you.

And I will humbly drive my daughter back to her elementary school on Wednesday and pass her off to the school district once again.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

We're just two lost souls swimmin' in a fish bowl....

Day after day.

Seems like that on occasion. Not the lost part, but the fish bowl thing is accurate.

It's been a busy couple of weeks. I keep forgetting to update my blog. Yes, I know, you're devastated. Bereft.

I have a good excuse though.

I've been sleepless a bit lately...mostly because my oldest is serious about a young man. Things like this send my mind wandering back to when I too became serious with a young man and the talks my mother used to have with me...

I find myself day by day, hour by hour, turning more and more into my mother. I find myself understanding her better. Again. My first real understanding of her came when I became a mom for the first time with my girl who is now seriously dating a young man. The second time I remember the third big enlightenment and understanding of my mother arrived in my heart and mind when I had teenagers.

And the third overwhelming understanding came when my youngest was diagnosed with her stroke and all the terror of the what ifs about her future washed over me. It was then I realized I never fully understood my mother's pain at the devastating illness that took my older sister's physical and mental function from her when she was just a small child. I didn't know. How could I?

Now...oh now. Now I understand her yet again. Eight years after her death, I understand even more about her than I did before. Experience is truly the best teacher in all things--including things of the heart.

I wonder what's coming next.....

Monday, March 01, 2010

Weekend in paradise...

er, I mean Kingston. Same thing for me really. I love the beach cabin. I love the beach. I love the smell of the campfire and the eagles soaring and the sea lions.

Did I mention I love it over there?

Alli wanted a weekend away, so a weekend away is what we got.

The weather the first afternoon was kind of iffy, but Sunday was glorious.

that's me and my man, but I think there was something on the lens of my cell phone camera so it's kind of blurry. Ashley took that of us.

We were discovered on that side of the water by Lance's side of the family and were forced to participate in a brunch. It was HEAVEN. I love nice to see them as we see them so rarely.

I have a few more pics and videos that I'll post later.

Suffice it to say...I did not want to come home.