Enjoying life's adventures in a secluded mountain cabin

Posts tagged ‘family’

New Directions

For the past few days, I’ve been contemplating my life and the choices I’ve made that have led me to the place I’m at right now.  My personal life, my identity as a Mother, my status as someone’s friend, my career, (or should I say, lack thereof).  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I wouldn’t change a thing about my life.  All of the choices I’ve made and things that I’ve went through have made me the woman that I am today and I’m proud to be that woman!  That’s not to say that things are perfect.  Far from it.  But, I decided a while back that things don’t have to be perfect for me to be happy and live in the moment instead of worrying about the future and all the pitfalls and doom and gloom that it might hold.  That doesn’t mean I still don’t worry.  Quite the contrary.

My mind sometimes takes hold of me and tries desperately to drag me down into the depths of the darkest, murkiest, most dismal ruins of my soul.  At times, I’ve found myself in this no man’s land and couldn’t even remember how I got there.  Other times, I’ve felt the descent coming on for days and tried to fight it with every fiber of my being.  But in the end, the darkness and sadness won.  It never lasts for very long.  After everything I’ve been through, I’m not willing to remain in that closed off space where despair and hopelessness lurk around every corner, waiting like a thief in the night to steal my joy and prove not only to myself, but also to the world around me, that my worst fears are now reality.  I’m way too upbeat and optimistic to remain in that horrid state of mind for long.

And so, this thought has led me to my current crossroads in life.  (I seem to have a lot of those!)  I’m at an age where most women are settling into a career, married, and beginning their families.  An age where most women are frantically trying to juggle motherhood, work, taking care of their house, carpools, PTA meetings, their kids sports, being a good wife, lover, and friend, and finally finding time for themselves.  I’m at an age where all of those things should be new and exciting for me, but they’re not.

My life is different than most women my age.  I had my children at a young age.  A very young age.  Too young.  And I got married at a young age.  A very young age.  Too young.  I’ve already done the juggling act.  I’ve already balanced home, kids, work, sports, and all that other jazz, plus college!  I’ve already been at that frazzled state where you’re just ready to run away from home to find a measly few little minutes of peace.  I’ve been to the depths of insanity and exhaustion that comes with the territory when you’re a working mother and wife.  And I wouldn’t trade a single second of it!  Like I said, my past is what has made me the woman that I am today.  But there is certainly a trade off when you make choices such as mine so early in life.

Long story short, after a little more than a decade in a loveless, hopeless, huge mistake of a marriage, I’m now divorced and my kids don’t live with me anymore.  One’s grown and the other decided on a much different path than I ever could have imagined for him.  One that lies with his father.  And, as many of you already know, I found what I believe to be truly and without a doubt, my soul mate in this world.  My Mountain Man.  My other half.  And with him, life has had new meaning and promise and hope eternal for my happily ever after.  There are still pieces missing, but none that one look from him, one touch of his hands on mine, can’t fix.  Even with him by my side, I still have things left in this world that I want to do before I die.  Like find a job, at this point!  Not just a job, but a career.  A way of life, if you will.

My life now looks more like that of the middle aged woman (not that I’m middle aged) whose children have left the nest and she’s now trying to create a new identity in this big old world.  It’s funny.  I used to think I would enjoy this time so much when I was younger.  I used to think of all the things I’d get to do when my kids were grown.  (And I am getting to do quite a bit of them!)  Don’t get me wrong, tho.  I love being a Mother.  My whole, entire adult life, that’s how I’ve most strongly identified myself.  As a Mother.  However, any of you out there who have survived a day, alone in a house with two small kids, knows exactly what I’m talking about.  We love our kids, and we cherish every moment we have with them, but we secretly, (or in my case, openly), dream about the day when we can sit down and read a book, have an uninterrupted thought, have an adult conversation, or (insert your “guilty indulgence here”), without having to change a diaper, or clean up spilled milk, or referee a fight between two brothers hell bent on killing each other over who took the last cookie from the jar.  We want to feel like a woman again, an intelligent human being, capable of anything she sets her mind to!

And so, here I am.  Looking for a new direction, yet again.  I’m not veering too far from the path I’m already on in life, but I’m looking for a detour that will lead me to a career that’s fulfilling, meaningful, and satisfying on an intellectual and emotional level.  I want to matter.  I want my work to mean something.  I want to make a difference in people’s lives and I want the end result to be a life well lived and full of promise and hope for every single person whom I’ve come in contact with throughout my years on this earth.  Even if it’s only through a smile to a stranger on the street.  I want to make a difference.

And I’m going to!!!

Right after I finish frosting those cupcakes I baked this morning!

 

 

Lesson Learned

Have you ever thought about what it really means to be a parent?  More specifically, a Mother?  A Mama?  I must say that my definition of this term was pretty standard for most of my life.  When I was a child, I knew what my Mama meant to me.  I knew the emotions and feelings associated with that word.  I knew that even though me and my Mama didn’t always see eye to eye that she loved me and she knew best and I’d better do as she said if I wanted to succeed in this life.  Yeah, right!  Of course I can write that now.  At the time, I would have vehemently denied agreeing with a lot of what Mama told me.  Turns out, she was right about almost every single thing she ever told me.

Fast forward to me embarking upon my journey through Motherhood.  All the rules that once applied went out the window.  All the truths that I once held near and dear are, as it turns out, no longer valid.

I thought I had it all figured out.  I thought I knew exactly what to do.  Well, not all the time, but most of the time.  And I felt like the choices I was making regarding my kids were the right ones, and the very best ones I could make for them at the time.  I sometimes looked at other Mother’s and wondered what in the world was wrong with them?  How could they let their kids do this?  How could they just ignore that behavior?  Or worse yet, I’d look at the kids and think to myself, what is wrong with your Mama that you’ve turned out the way you are?   If I were being honest right now, I’d tell you that not only did I think these things, but I also voiced these opinions, quite a bit.

I’m sure there are a whole lot of people out there saying the same thing about me at this point.  I’m sure there have been people who haven’t always agreed with all the choices I’ve made regarding my kids.  I’m also sure that deep down, I really knew that I didn’t know exactly what to do in every situation, but I did the very best that I could possibly do.  Like all the other endeavors in my life, I’ve given 110%, and beyond.  Especially where my boys have been concerned.

But ya know what?  I’ve learned a very important lesson in this journey.  One that I probably never would have been able to grasp if I hadn’t been in the situation I’ve been placed in by time and circumstance.  And this lesson is so earth shattering and soul-shaking, and yet so simple and so real and so humbling.  A lesson that I’m sure lots of Mothers before me have had to learn the hard way, including mine, bless her heart.

Are you ready for it?

Ok.

Here it is.

No matter how you raise your kids, they’re eventually gonna do things you don’t agree with on their journey to becoming whoever it is they’re meant to be in this life.

That’s it.

There is absolutely no one on the face of this earth who can prepare you for this little truth in life.  No one can tell you this is going to happen.  No one can warn you that this might happen.  There is no book you can read that will alert you to this fact.  There are no seminars you can attend to learn about this phenomenon.  There’s no television show that’s gonna get this message across.  There’s no guru you can visit who will enlighten you to this fact.

Nothing.

No one.

This epiphany only happens once you’re in the midst of your own kids stumbling off the path, or in some cases, jumping straight off the flippin’ cliff that’s just to the west of the path.  Sure, other’s might warn you about these things happening, but your kids would never do any of those things.  After all, you raised them better than that.  You taught them right from wrong.  You showed them the right way to be.  You talked to them about all the dangers they might face out there in the world.  You tried to have an open relationship with them where they felt safe to talk to you about anything.  You did the very best that you could possibly do and your kids will never turn out that way.

Never say never.

That still remains one of the most honest and real things my Mama used to tell me.  It was true back then, it’s true today, and it’ll be true tomorrow.  My journey through Motherhood is far from over, but it sure isn’t turning out to be the trip I always envisioned when my boys were little.

My one and only piece of advice for any parent out there, but especially to all you Mama’s…

Never say never.

My Little Purple Book

I am a collector.  I don’t have shelves that hold my treasures and my walls aren’t covered with masterfully done works of art.  I don’t have rows of clothes hanging in my closet, nor do I have shelves of shoes.  I don’t have a variety of handbags and I always wear the same three earrings, never-changing them for any reason.  And yes, you read that right.  Three earrings.  Not two.  Not four.  Three.  I don’t have drawers or bags of make-up and I don’t have umpteen bottles of hair products.

But, as I said, I am a collector.

I’m a collector of words.  If I could afford it, I’d have a hard back copy of every one of my favorite novels ever published.  I’d have rows and rows of books on everything from cooking to painting to fixing anything.  I’d love to one day have my own little library in my home, complete with the little sliding ladder to reach whatever would be stored on the top shelves.  But, besides books, I collect words.  I collect other people’s words and I keep my collection in a little velvet covered purple book.

I’ve been jotting down quotes for about ten years now.  Anytime I see or hear something that pulls at my heart-strings, or appeals to my psychotic counterpart that dwells deep within, or beckons that little kid that I still am at heart, I write it down.  I have quotes on everything from love to bubble gum.  Quotes about death and being born again.  Famous words about living a humble life and being a strong woman.  Proverbs regarding raising children and song lyrics that can bring even the strongest of men to tears.

I seek these quotes out whenever I can and I always try to jot them down, even if I don’t have my purple velvet book with me.  I’ve been known to write them on gum wrappers, napkins, receipts, and pretty much anything else you can think of.  But they always find their way into my book.

Mountain Man still doesn’t understand my collection.  He’s inquired about it several times throughout our time together and I’ve tried to explain it to him as best as I could.  He still doesn’t get it, though.  And really, I understand why he doesn’t get it.  I cannot give any real reason for my obsession with words.  I can’t give a plausible explanation for wanting to write someone else’s words down and keep them.  It makes absolutely no sense in the grand scheme of things.

But, in my world, it makes perfect sense.  My collection of quotes, sayings, bible verses, proverbs, song lyrics, and thoughts from other people remind me that no matter what I’m going through, someone else has been there, too.  No matter how elated I’m feeling, or how unbelievably loved, or how God-awful rotten, or how absolutely pathetic and pitiful and sad, someone else out there has felt that way too.  Someone else out there has been in my shoes and knows my frustrations and pain and love and happiness and helplessness and grief.  Someone else out there gets it.  My collection reminds me that I’m not alone in this world, that it can always be worse than what it really is, and that perhaps I truly might be one of the luckiest women in the world.  For even though my life is far from perfect and things rarely ever go as planned, if I died tomorrow, I can honestly say that I’ve truly lived.

I’ve experienced so many things in this world.  I’ve felt the pain and sting of life’s hurts.  I’ve felt the horrible ache and emptiness from the death of the only man who was always there for me, no matter what.  I’ve also felt the butterflies and the highest of highs whenever my love’s lips touch mine.   I’ve felt the hurt that only a Mother can know when her children disappoint her.  I’ve felt the disappointment from not acting on a gut feeling and following my heart.  I’ve felt a love like no other and basked in the joy that only true love can bring.  I’ve felt the hurt of knowing my friend is making the wrong decision but supporting her anyway because she’s my friend.  I’ve felt the sick worry that comes when my children are ill or hurt and I can’t help them.  I’ve felt the love in a stranger’s heart when I’ve offered a helping hand.

I have lived and my collection of words in my little purple book are a reflection of a life well lived.  I’ll have to replace my book soon because the pages are nearly full.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to find another little velvet covered purple book, but like so many other things in life, it’s not the cover that counts.  It’s what’s on the inside.

A Celebration of Life

Funerals.

I’ve been to more viewings and funerals in my life than I care to remember.  My grandparents were always going to the funeral home for a viewing and to pay their respects to someone in the distant family or a co-worker or a brother or sister from church.  I’m talking four or five times a year.  Sometimes more.  I never, ever liked the visitation or the receiving of friends or the funeral or the graveside service.  Never.

In my family, it didn’t matter if you liked going or not.  You went out of respect, both to the dead and the family left behind.  I attended these functions and I paid my respects as best as I could as a little girl and I’m not real sure I could’ve done it without the one man who was always a constant in my life.   My Paw.  I loved that man better than anybody.  I had my Paw and he always walked with me during funerals or viewings and he somehow always made it better for me.  He knew when I was getting overwhelmed with all the sadness and grief and shaking hands and hugging and crying.  As a young girl who’d never lost anyone I was close to, I simply didn’t understand the pain of loss.  I knew it was sad when people died, but at that young age, I had no idea just how awful that gut wrenching feeling actually was.

Outside our local funeral home there was a fountain.  A fountain that was lit up at night.  A fountain containing various amounts of coins each and every time we went.  A wishing fountain of sorts.  Looking back, I’m not real sure why there was a fountain just outside the front door where friends and family waited in line to pay their respects, but I like to think it was placed there for people like me and Paw.  People that needed to get outside and breathe in some fresh air.  Air that wasn’t thick with sadness and grief.  People that needed to gaze upon that sparkling blue water streaming out of the top of the fountain and trickling back down onto the coins waiting at the bottom.

I cannot remember a time that we went to that funeral home that Paw didn’t give me a few coins to toss into that fountain.  However, he never, ever told me to make a wish before I tossed in my coins.  It wasn’t like the fountain at the mall where he or Granny would always remind me to be sure to make a wish.  For whatever reason, I guess you aren’t supposed to make wishes at this particular fountain.  But, he always made sure he had some change for me to toss in.  Paw always made those trips to the funeral home bearable for me.

Twelve years ago, I finally understood that awful, gut wrenching sadness that envelopes every fiber of your being when someone close to you dies.  Twelve years ago, I had to go to that same funeral home for a viewing and receiving of friends.  I had to walk by that same fountain.  Alone.  Paw was there, but it wasn’t the same.  This was different.  This time, I was in the line of the grieving family.  I was one of the crying, mourning family members.  I was hugging people and shaking people’s hands, some I knew well, other’s I’d never seen before in my life.  This time, I couldn’t escape to the night air and gaze at the fountain and toss coins in to get away from all the sadness.  There was no escaping it.  And Paw was not beside me to make it all better.  This time, it was Paw’s visitation and receiving of friends and those days surrounding his death and his funeral were some of the worst days of my life.

My step Dad’s Mom recently died on the exact same day that my Paw did.  Twelve years apart.  I attended her funeral today.  The preacher kept calling it a Home Going Celebration.  A Celebration of Life.  As I previously stated, I’ve been to a whole lot of funerals, but I think today just mighta been my very first Celebration of Life.  I’ve heard people talk about them before, but I’d never experienced one.

This was exactly the way a funeral should be.  Sure, there were tears.  There was sadness.  There was grief.  There was all that awfulness that surrounds death.  But there was also laughter and rejoicing.  There were songs of praise being sung for having this woman here on earth.  There were many thanks to her family and to God for having the privilege of have known this woman.  It was truly a first for me and there were moments when I was deeply touched and moved by all of this Celebration of Life.

It made me miss Paw so terribly bad and it made me wish we’d have had a Celebration of Life for him when he died instead of all that crying and sadness and what seemed like never-ending grief and pain.  I know in my heart of hearts that he’s in Heaven and that he’s happier where he’s at, just like my step Dad’s Mom.

That doesn’t make me miss him any less.

 

Christmas Stuff vs Everyday Stuff

Every year, sometime during the weekend following Thanksgiving, all of our Christmas stuff comes out of hiding and we hang, drape, wrap, prop, stand, or place our decorations on anything and everything that will hold them.  And let me tell ya, we have a lot of Christmas stuff.  I’ve always had a great deal of holiday decorations, usually adding a little more to the collection every year.  Then, I met Mountain Man and his Christmas collection was quite impressive, too.  After about a year, we decided to move in together, or shack up, depending on which region of the country you’re in.  In fact, that first summer we were living together, Mountain Man had the brilliant idea of having a shacking up party.  Sadly, we never got around to throwing this little shin dig.  Anyway, back to the Christmas stuff.

When I moved up to his mountain cabin, it was already fully furnished and had everything anyone could ever possibly need, so most of my belongings went into storage.  I only brought my clothes and personal day-to-day items, and some others things that I just couldn’t live without.  You know, the little things that bring a smile to your face when you see them lying around your house.  One of mine is a small copy of my favorite painting, Starry Night, that my oldest son presented to me one Mother’s Day long ago.  Another is a glass turtle that I cannot recall where it came from, but it just makes me smile when I see it.

We didn’t bring any of the Christmas stuff with us up here because we really weren’t sure just how long we’d be staying up here on top of the mountain.  That first summer, I really thought we’d be gone by the time the first flakes began to fly.  So when the holiday season arrived and we were still here, it was kinda exciting to go dig all of my Christmas boxes out of storage and pull all of Mountain Man’s out that were stored around the cabin.  Exciting might be an understatement here.  I was as giddy as a school girl!

We had so much stuff!!!  Together we had three full size artificial trees and at least four small ones!  That’s not even counting the artificial pines that stand on either side of the fireplace year round that would be decorated, too!  And we were bound and determined that each and every one of our trees would be put up and decorated.  I’d finally found a man who loves Christmas as much as I do!!!

In the past, I had always had to put all of my everyday stuff up in order to make room for all of my Christmas stuff and now that there were two different collections of Santa’s and snowmen and Christmas moose and villages and snow globes, we were definitely gonna have to pack up all the cabin stuff, too.  By the time we finished placing all of our beloved holiday treasures around the cabin and decorating all nine of our trees, it was gorgeous!  An absolutely stunning Christmas display in a snowy cabin perched high upon a mountain top.  It was every Christmas lover’s dream come true!

I believe Mountain Man said it best, though.  He took one look at the living room alone and said that it looked like a Christmas store threw up in there!  And he was right.  I loved it!  And I think he loved it, too.  But, I don’t think either of us thought we’d have that much stuff when we first started converging our two collections.

That first Christmas together in the cabin was wonderful, just like every other Christmas we’ve shared.  My problem today lies in the fact that it’s now January 2nd and it’s time to take down all the pretty red and green decorations and pack them all away again until next year.  It’s time to get all of our everyday stuff back out.  Don’t get me wrong.  All the everyday stuff is nice and pretty, too.  But it’s not the Christmas stuff.  It’s just not as shiny and happy and whimsical as the holiday stuff.  Each year, I’m always kinda sad to see the Santa’s and snowmen and Christmas moose and villages and snow globes go back into their boxes and hide away for the next eleven months.

I’ve not really bought anything for the house since I moved into the cabin with Mountain Man.  I used to see things that caught my eye and if they weren’t too awfully extravagant, I’d buy them and bring them home with me and they’d find a new home alongside all my other little treasures that just make me happy.  I’m thinking it might be time to start adding to my whimsical, often kooky, sometimes off the wall collection of everyday stuff.  I’m thinking Mountain Man and I need to find some things that are ours.  Things to hang, drape, wrap, prop, stand, or place throughout the cabin that will bring back fond memories and smiles to our faces every time we see them.

Perhaps then, having to put all the Christmas stuff away and unwrapping all the everyday stuff won’t be such a dreaded chore anymore, but a more exciting, thrilling job.  One that can be just as happy as cracking open that first Christmas box right after Thanksgiving.

Unexpected Happiness

How many of you out there consider yourselves to be Type A people?  I don’t fall completely into that category, but I do have strong tendencies toward it.  And I used to be a whole lot worse.  Little things would get to me so badly.  Spilled milk would literally bring me to tears at times.  Especially if the milk were spilled right after I’d mopped the floor which usually was the only time that ever seemed to happen.  Looking back, I can laugh now at just how ridiculous this reaction was.  I’ve lightened up and let go quite a bit in the last few years.

However, there are still things that just make my skin crawl and illicit strange reactions, usually laced with a slew of profanities that are normally reserved for the really bad things in life.  Things that don’t seem to affect the Type B people in the world.  Things like spilling something on my clothes; mud tracked on the floors, especially if I’ve just swept or mopped; mascara being smudged on my face instead of my eyelashes in a hurried, frenzied attempt to get ready when I’m running late; people who cannot drive and should not be allowed to operate a vehicle, but always decide to pull out in front of me when I’m in a hurry.

And then, there’s the one that inspired me to write today.  And this is something I’ve done more often than I care to admit.

How many of you have went to cook/bake something and only after you’ve started realized that you didn’t have all the ingredients needed to make whatever it was you were cooking/baking?  Now, you’d think as many times as I’ve done this that I’d look and make sure that I have everything necessary before undertaking anymore cooking/baking.  Nope.  Not me.  I still find this happening at least once or twice every few months.  And the stress levels are always higher during the holidays, which leads to me forgetting ingredients even more so than usual, which also leads into a much more dramatic meltdown when the moment actually arrives when I figure out that I don’t have what’s needed and necessary to complete my cooking/baking.

This year was no different, as far as the forgetting goes.

We made cookies for Santa this year, just like a lot of folks do.  We were going to make Mountain Man’s Mom’s sour cream cookies, but we waited too long and ended up just making some plain old sugar cookies.  I don’t think Santa has a preference on cookies, but those sour cream cookies are pretty darn tasty.  Well, that was strike one.  I really had my heart set on making those cookies this year.  But, I put all that aside and just went with the easier sugar cookie recipe that I could whip up rather quickly.  No melt down.  Not yet, anyway.

We got the cookies baked and set them aside to cool while we all got ready to go to my family’s Christmas get-together on Christmas Eve.  We planned to decorate them that night once we returned from the big family festivities.  Waiting until late Christmas Eve to decorate Santa’s cookies with a seven year old, strike two.  Last minute things always stress me out.  I’m a planner.  A doer.  I don’t like feeling rushed.  I get sweaty and I just wanna throw up.  But, I put all that aside and I tried just rolling with the punches.  Playing it by ear.  Enjoying the moment and not stressing about the time crunch.  Santa surely wouldn’t stop by while we were still decorating cookies for him?  Would he?  And surely he wouldn’t just skip right over our house if we were still up at midnight covered in frosting and enjoying a little sugar high from all the cookies and frosting we were eating and licking off our fingers during this little last minute Christmas project?

Now, for me, having these two things already going against every grain and fiber of my being to just slip into a full on holiday melt down, but refraining and actually relaxing and embracing the new and last minuteness of all this Christmas madness was a feat in and of itself.  I was so proud of myself at this point.

Then, it happened.

Somewhere around 10 o’clock, Christmas Eve, after mixing the four or five bowls of frosting up, I opened the cabinet to get the food coloring out so I could tint the frosting for the cookies.  See the pattern here, after mixing the frosting, then and only then, did I look for my other essential ingredient.  Bright red, vivid green, bold blue, vibrant yellow.  You know, Christmas colors.  Guess what we were out of?  Yep, you got it.  Red, green, blue and yellow food coloring.  And I just knew we had these items in the house.  I knew it!  I pulled every single item out of that cabinet looking for those elusive colors.  They weren’t there.

However, we did have a box of neon food coloring.  Neon food coloring.  Who has neon food coloring just lying around their kitchen?  I can’t even begin to imagine what I’d bought those colors for.  Oh, wait.  It just came to me.  I bought them for decorating little girl’s birthday cakes.  So anyway, in this box of neon colors, we had fabulous shades of purple, pink, yellow/green and blue.  Absolutely not anything that even remotely resembled Christmas colors!

I could feel the demon rising inside me.  I could feel the melt down coming on.  I’d been able to keep it at bay with the other two things that usually would’ve set me off.  Why oh why hadn’t I checked to make sure we’d had the right colors for Christmas cookies?  How could I have over looked something so important?  And on Christmas Eve!  Of all days to forget something so crucial!!!!  What was wrong with me???  How could I be so stupid!!!!???!!!!

None of these thoughts found their way to my mouth.  Thank God!  And about the time the sweat beads started to form and the nausea was just about to kick in and the words were ready to spill out, Mountain Man came to the rescue.  God love him.  He’s one of those Type B people.  At times like these, I envy him so much.  I think he knew I was fixing to just dissolve into tears because he walked over and touched me gently and started explaining how it didn’t matter that we didn’t have the traditional Christmas colors for our Christmas cookies.  They didn’t have to be bright red, vivid green, bold blue or vibrant yellow to be Christmasy.  We’d have funky, psychedelic Christmas cookies this year!

He explained to me that the best memories are sometimes born out of the most unexpected things.  And he’s right.  I knew in that moment that he was right and I could actually feel my melt down start to dissipate as he spoke.  The little beads of sweat just went away and my nauseousness disappeared.  Mountain Man talked about one day in the far off future, how his little girl would always remember the psychedelic funky Christmas cookies from the year we didn’t have any regular food colors.  And I really hope he’s right.  I hope we talk about the funky Christmas cookies for many years to come.  My youngest son still talks about the year that I sprinkled nutmeg all over the turkey instead of poultry seasoning because I was in a hurry and grabbed the wrong thing out of the cabinet.  I freaked out thinking the turkey would be awful, but it turned out to be one the best ones I ever made.  And he will always remember that.

Change can be a very scary thing for some people.  It can be a terrifying thing for us Type A people.  And even though I’m not on the extreme side of the Type A spectrum, I do know that I have tendencies to go overboard sometimes.  I like to think that our funky psychedelic Christmas cookies helped me overcome a great obstacle in life.  I hope that I can approach all future cooking/baking dilemmas where I’ve forgotten a seemingly crucial ingredient with a different attitude.  One with hope and optimism instead of profanities spewing and nausea inducing stress.  Perhaps it’ll even spill over to different areas of my life as well.

I’ve just got to keep reminding myself that it’s the little things in life that mean so much.  Especially the unexpected ones.

I have to thank my Mountain Man for pointing this out to me and reminding me that this would be something wonderful to write about.  I don’t know what I’d do without him.

Becoming an Auntie

I got the call a little over nine months ago.  My Mama was calling me and she had me on speaker phone.  Again.  I hate when she puts me on speaker phone ’cause I can barely hear her, and when I do actually hear her, I can’t understand her because of all the other various noises in the background.  However, this time it was different.  It was quite in the background and she was happy.  In fact, she sounded downright giddy!

I answered the phone with my usual “hello” which was very quickly met with something along the lines of “Do you have any baby clothes you wanna get rid of?”  I had to have her repeat the question because, 1)I couldn’t hear her, and 2)I was sure I’d misunderstood her.  Again, “Do you have any baby clothes you don’t want anymore?”  I laughed, rather heartily, because my two babies are both teenagers and I quickly reminded my Mama that my youngest was 13 and that any clothes I might’ve been saving had long since been given away.

It was at this point in the conversation that my Mama got tickled and I heard other, muffled giggles in the background.  A few seconds later, Mama is telling me that my middle sister and her husband are expecting their first child.  I’m not real sure what the next words out of my mouth were, but I think I might’ve called her a liar or asked if she was joking or had gone temporarily insane.

After that, there was definite outright laughter in the background and I could hear my sister and her husband confirming what Mama had just told me.  I was so excited, I think I squealed!  Just a little, though.  I congratulated the new parents to be and with a few more brief sentences, the phone conversation was over.

I remember being so excited at the thoughts of being an Aunt.  I have two boys of my own, but I’ve never been someones Aunt!  Fond memories of my favorite Aunt and all the time we’ve spent together over the years washed over me.  I was filled with such hope and love for this little being whom I’d yet to meet.  Anyone out there who’s an Auntie can hopefully relate.  If not, then this is yet another fine example of the depths of crazy lurking within.

Now, let me tell ya, nine months passed with snail like speed when I was waiting, rather impatiently toward the end, to meet my babies.  Those same nine months don’t go by any faster when you’re waiting to meet your niece or nephew.  It’s not the same kind of waiting, but it still seems like the day will never come when you get to look upon a new little life and know that you share something special with this little being.

So, I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Along the way, I got texts and phone calls about the new Mommy and baby.  My sister sent me a picture of the first ultrasound.  My little nephew’s very first photograph.  My nephew.  Another boy.  The third grandson for my Mama.  He was precious.  Simply precious.  And yes, I’m fully aware that in an ultrasound picture, especially one sent to a cell phone, one can’t really see the baby’s features to tell if he/she is gonna be a cutie, but trust me, I knew he was precious.

My sister and her husband took what seemed like forever to choose a name for my nephew.  They were going back and forth for months but they knew they wanted to give him a family name.  They finally decided one of his names would be Charles after mine and my sister’s Paw.  The other name was going to be one from my brother-in-law’s family.  It wasn’t revealed until right before the baby was born.

So, again, I waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  And finally, the day came.  The day we’d all been waiting for.  The day I’d finally get to meet Little Charlie.  And again, you must remember that I’ve never been someone’s Auntie, so this newfound form of love was totally foreign to me.  I was so excited to finally meet this little bundle!  I felt like I couldn’t get to the hospital fast enough!  My youngest son and I met my baby sister, who had already met Charlie the night before, shortly after he made his grand entrance into the world, and we were off to pick up my Mama and then on to the hospital so I could finally meet him.

I’m telling ya, the excitement I felt that day cannot really be put into words.  It’s a feeling that’s just indescribable!  And that was just the beginning.  Once we finally made it to the hospital and we finally made it to my sister’s room, I felt a sudden surge come over me.  Someone else had my nephew when we entered the room, but she was a very sweet lady and gave him over to us willingly.  My Mama got him first, and I tried really hard to remember that when it was me laying in that hospital bed with people coming to see my babies for the very first time, I was just a little hurt that people completely forgot about me and went straight for the cute, pink, cooing baby in the room, so I made sure to speak to my sister and her husband.  Albeit briefly.

Then….  It was my turn.  I was finally gonna get to meet my nephew.  I was finally gonna get to hold Little Charlie.  Oh, and have I mentioned that, while I do not have an addictive personality, I think I might have an addiction to babies.  I love everything about them!  Their sweet smell, the precious cupid’s bow lips, the beautiful color, and those feet!  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  Those adorable little piggies!!!  A strange desire comes over me whenever I see little baby piggies.  A desire that gets even stronger if I can hold said baby and smell said baby while looking at said baby’s little baby piggies.

At first sight, I was hooked!  That precious little baby boy is just beautiful.  He is perfect and wonderful and just…. beautiful.  It was love at first sight.  At first sight, at first smell, at first touch, and especially at first sound.  He cooed so sweetly.  He was just so stinkin’ cute!!!!  Immediately, I felt my addiction grab hold of me and begin the tug at my heart strings.  The tug that makes me think I want another baby.  This tug can be dangerous if I let it completely take hold of me.

Then, it occurred to me.

I’m an Auntie.  I have the best of both worlds with this little fella.  I get to love and cuddle and coo and swaddle this sweet little precious baby boy, and then I get to go home and sleep, and eat peacefully, and have sex every night if I want to, and go to the bathroom by myself, and watch an entire movie from start to finish uninterrupted, and shower alone, and read a book if I want to, and write a blog if I want to.

Insert reality here.

The high left me nearly as quickly as it had taken hold of me.

It occurred to me as we were walking back to the car to return home how truly lucky I am.  I’ve already experienced the newborn baby thing and made it through the toddler years.  I’ve trudged through the elementary school years and now I’m in the deep throes of the teenage years, or Hell, as I like to lovingly refer to this stage of development.

So, I’m thinking I really like this Auntie deal.  All that love to share, all that hope for another new life, all those elated baby feelings, and all the freedoms of having older children back home who can pretty much take care of themselves, and will soon be grown and gone.  I don’t want any more babies of my own, but I really think I’m gonna enjoy being an Auntie.

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