Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Nothing has changed

Dear Jacob,

Everyone is writing letters post-election, so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon, or maybe I just like bands, or doing what everyone else is doing, who knows-but I am your mother so you will read this. 

First off and most importantly, nothing changes. In this house, we teach love, patience, and respect.  We practice it some of the time too. ;) In all seriousness, though, what happened last week, does not change this.  This is who we are, who we have always been. We must match our actions with our words and I know it starts with your father and me. 

Let me tell you what I mean by that.  You know that look your dad gives you when you so much as look at me sideways or worse, talk sarcastically or negatively to me?  Yeah, you know. That doesn't change.  Your father and I have built a relationship and family based on mutual respect, love, and trust and I understand you may question if our high regard for one another is the norm, considering the President-elect's behavior towards women, but it is real and it started when we took our vows. It strengthened when we were blessed with you, and when Johnny and Elizabeth arrived in all of their wonderfulness, it became unbreakable.  He loves me and respects me (and I him) and I hope and pray he has taught you to do the same-not just me, but your grandmothers, your aunts, your cousins, future girlfriends-all women. So, nothing changes.

On that note, and this is going to be awkward, when you are in the inevitable situation of being with a girl and she shows any sign of fear, second-guessing, back tracking, you back off. You must be the guy who doesn't push, doesn't take advantage, doesn't take what isn't his.  Please, be the man who knows better and does better. Please, be like your father. 

I know what guys and girls talk about. I am not naïve.  I, myself, have engaged in conversations and language of which I am not proud. Words matter, and I am sorry.

And while we are on the subject of women, YES, I emphatically admit I wanted a female President. But not any female. I wanted her. Why? Because while I went about living my life, she fought tirelessly for women, families, children with disabilities, equal pay, equal rights.....oh my. I just expected she'd keep fighting that fight. I feel overwhelmed by the prospect that now I am alone in that fight. I understand rationally, that this is not true, but it doesn't make me feel less afraid.
We will continue to be a family that loves and respects everyone, no matter if they are different than we. 
Nothing changes. 

As you know, I never expected the outcome of the election or I would've talked to you more about all of the awfulness (and my opinion about it) on both sides.  I was going to be as one blogger put it, "a gracious winner".  But, that doesn't matter because nothing changes. We still love and respect people that voted differently than we did. They are our friends and our family. Their perspective and their experiences are different, but no less important. To say otherwise would be hypocritical. (Deep sigh) 

Oh, and please grow up to be the man that your sister sees when she looks at you. She loves without condition. You light up her world. I hope that never changes.

Also, continue to surround yourself with young men and women that treat people with kindness first and that align with your values. I know it can sometimes be embarrassing when your brother and/or sister do or act in certain ways, your friends have always been good to them. That is important and I pray it never changes. 

Lastly, my dear pasty, intelligent, athletic, handsome son-you have a great responsibility. Your were born with more advantages than most people, this holds a great responsibility for you. I know you're just a boy and that might not seem fair, but I've never told you that life is fair. Of course, you will make mistakes and you will say and do things that you regret, I hope that you'll grow from those things and become better.  Never forget who you are.

So, you see, nothing has changed. 

Yet, everything has. 

I love you, 


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I imagine

I imagine you as a girl. A devoted daughter, a peace keeper, a rule follower with a bit of a wild streak. A young lady who loved to play with friends and probably a little boy crazy too. Singing silly cheers (the forest city colts are going mighty far!), but loyal to the cause, always supporting the team. As a young woman, I imagine a bright, confident person-but not too, of course. I imagine you were someone who was willing to take the risk and go out on her own to college-falling in love and then ultimately, doing what was expected, and going back home-but still pushing the envelope by staying away in KY just a tad longer. I imagine you quickly meeting friends that would last a lifetime. There were good times and good friends that will always be there. Those years probably passed quickly and marriage came shortly after college as it did for so many. At the time it was just considered normal to follow your husband's job and make a life where the work was. So I imagine you bravely moving far away to start a new life with new people and fitting right in with volunteer work, bridge, and fun times in a new city. And, of course, beginning a family and making a home. I imagine it was difficult after working to build a life to make another move and then a transition came that would bring you back to the old Fort. I imagine that that was handled with patience and fortitude to make a foundation for your family and the poise needed to move to a new city where "everyone knows everyone". I'd imagine there wasn't wasting any time in getting acclimated to the social scene and involvement in church.  No one would guess you weren't from here, you know everyone's maiden name!
Life probably, I'd imagine, threw you some twist and turns that you couldn't have expected even with two sisters. Having three girls would be hard enough-but us.... one more stubborn than the previous, all knowing exactly their place and their worth in the world. I remember the message, "you can be whatever you want to be." I imagine you shake your head because sometimes our viewpoints appear to be so different from your own. But remember even if our perspective is different, you should feel proud that we think independently, thoughtfully and from experience.
Know that you were present, you were stable, you were hope, and above all else, you were love.  And those things still hold true today.
When we were a little bit older it may have been time to take a breath, but you went back to school and started a new chapter with a new degree and a new career path- wading your way through a different world than when you left it, but navigating it brilliantly and effortlessly. I imagine it probably wasn't that way, but you made it look like it was.  There was always dinner at 6:30 (how did you do that?), a ride to wherever, and stuff just got done. I imagine a woman who valiantly fought for her family and made the decision that she would chart the course of her own destiny.
I imagine you probably didn't think of it this way, but you weren't going to be defined by your past or your children or a job title. You became a pillar of strength. I can't imagine losing a mother, a sister and a best friend.  These tragedies could be life defining, curl up, put the curtains over the windows, give in to grief moments-but they never broke you. Your resiliency-astonishing, your strength-admirable. I imagine it made your resolve stronger in building bonds with other women in church and reconnecting with old friends.
I imagine this decade will bring, as life does, other things that can't be predicted or planned but it won't keep you from being your authentic self. A woman to be revered and respected. A mother, a grandmother, a wife, a mentor, a friend.
I imagine it would have appeared that we may not have been paying attention to your wants and needs, so focused on ourselves and what we wanted from life.  But we were paying attention to your strength, grace, your kindness and compassion, your willingness to help others, and always, your politeness and generosity to all. Because frankly you are "it" for us. Our everything, Our Mother.

Happy Birthday!!🎉

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Never have I ever.  And there aren't a lot of firsts around here. We've seen and been through a ton of stuff. Much I'd like to forget, some, like today, I, unfortunately, never will.
Let me back up.
So, I am totally pumped about the first day of school. What mom isn't? (Well, maybe teachers, but we've already established they are a special breed, of which I cannot even begin to understand) Johnny and Elizabeth are pumped too, of course, they are as tired of me as I am of them. So we are up early, getting everyone ready and Elizabeth is in her usual sweet good mood (at least first thing).  But as we are headed down the stairs, she makes an awful gesture and her arm violently starts shaking, she crumbles to the ground, and the look on her face-I cannot tell you. It was the look of horror. It actually looked like her brain was under attack (which I know is exactly what was happening) and her face wore the image of what that must have felt like. Sheer terror. She has seizures almost everyday, but this has been a really good summer and we have seen very few and they are small and pass quickly, they are not minutes of shaking violently on her part and absolute panic on ours. Yes, they are still incredibly upsetting, but nothing, I mean nothing like what we witnessed this morning. I am truly baffled and so sad. Adam was heart sick and very close to being stomach sick as well, if you know what I mean. (barf city) But, after a few minutes when she came out of it, she was a little shaky (pardon the pun-oh, stop, I am allowed a little humor!), But miraculously, after about 1/2 hour of laying limp on me; she popped right up and was her old bossy self. She wanted to eat and sing and play. She smiled and got her color back. It was surreal. I wondered: does she have a headache, is she super tired, does she understand or even remember what happened, did she lose any learned behaviors, is she in pain, how in the world did she just manage to come out of that?  I don't think I will ever get the image of her face out of my head.
But, I will tell you this-I have never witnessed such resiliency.  What a lesson. I have been boo hooing about how "hard" summer is for me because, well, because of her :/.  (and her darling brothers, of course)  But, what she has in her small ten year-old frame is still what I am seeking in my own self.  The ability to keep fighting, never give up, don't let yourself get defeated. Or even if you are, and I was, exhausted, out numbered, a mess-don't let it get to you. I, once again, felt too beaten down and I lost my sense of humor, my patience and it felt like my mind. I know better than to start down this path. I have a lot of people coming in and out, I have a ton of help but I cannot seem to stay on top of the emotional roller coaster and flat out resentment right before school starts. Towards whom?  Anyone who comes into my vengeful path, unfortunately.  But mostly Adam, let's be honest!
Thankfully I have a new day ahead so I'll start fresh and be grateful,  put on my best face and undoubtedly pray for a safe and happy school year for my dear girl- hugging her tight enough so some of her bravery will inevitably rub off onto me.
A few days ago with big brother Jake (she loves her brothers)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sorry, it is.

Sorry, it is about politics, but maybe not how you might think-so please, read on.

I have to ask: when was the last time you read a political post and thought something awful about the person that said/shared it if it was a differing opinion than your own?  I know, like 10 seconds ago. Me too, and I tired of it. These ridiculous negative thoughts that are barraging my brain when I read these posts are about and from real people, my supposed "friends" on Facebook.  Of course, I could block or unfriend, but who wants a feed that is all the same views and opinions as your own?  Admit it or not, we all like to peek at what the "other side" is talking about.  And that is perfectly normal. What has gotten out of hand is the name calling,and hateful spewing of awfulness. I know-newsflash. But we are still engaging. And, unfortunately, I am not talking about the candidates.  We need to realize we WILL NOT change someone's opinion or mind on FB about Hillary or Donald.  That ship has sailed. And seriously do we really think that those that may be undecided are going to be swayed by the lunatic (there I go) who spews rage and hatred and calls those that don't agree with them uninformed, stupid, or moronic? And that is the nice name calling. Again, I am not talking about the candidates here and it happening on both sides. We are acting like toddlers that say, "mom, mom, mom, mom and when she won't respond, because she might be going to the bathroom (the nerve), talking on the phone (the audacity), working (NO!) so the little angels leave a gallon of ice cream under the bed, an open liter of Coke sideways on the steps, a full box of cereal strewn about the living room (Just my house? Oh well, you get the point.)

And to what end? How can we expect more from our candidates and in turn ourselves when we are just as guilty of acting like spoiled children?  The only obvious difference-the people in my above example ARE spoiled children. My own.......


Can we not take a moment and step back and think about from where people's posts and points of view are coming?

Their perspective.

Just as I cannot form an opinion from the perspective of any American mother whose lost a child in senseless gunfire, a parent grieving a mentally ill child who took others' lives, a single mom working so hard for her children and never getting ahead, an immigrant with a family trying build a life in America, any parent who has lost a child to war, a business owner struggling to keep their head above water, those with children that are suffering from devastating illnesses, a military veteran struggling with PTSD-I cannot relate and form a political view from their perspective just as they cannot form one from a mother of two special needs kids (unless of course, they have two special needs kids, but you get my point). What I can do is try and understand and empathize why they may have to come support the candidate they have instead of figuring they are just an idiot who needs to be "informed".

I understand we are passionate about our wonderful country and her future. We all want a safe America where our kids can get the best possible education. We all want our police officers to be protected and feel safe and not questioned when protecting us.  We all want our military to feel appreciated and honored and have all the support and opportunities available after they have served. We all want color, religion and gender to go unseen and opportunities to be for all. We all feel that opiate and heroin addiction are stealing lives at an alarming rate and more must be done. We all want healthcare for the poor and sick. We ALL want radical terrorists from home and abroad destroyed.
And we should never give up on these dreams and goals, no matter what.
Yes, we have different ways of getting there, but how does name calling and hate help the cause that we all want?  How can we expect something from our candidates (and our children for that matter) that we are unwilling to display ourselves?  Clearly, we need to step up and be the example.

Next time I read a post that is so sick it makes me sick, I am going to take a huge breath and think thoughts of gratitude and love. I am going to put goodness into the FB universe instead of rage.  I won't respond because no attention should be called to it. (ignore it, see toddler example).  I will think respectfully of their opinion even if I respectfully disagree.  I will not engage in hateful banter and I will mind my mind. I will choose to rise above it because that is who I am or at the very least who I am striving to be. I am going to gain some perspective.
It's not a definitive solution, but it's a start.

Just think, I was going to name this blog, "don't be a dick." Oh, the irony.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


On our anniversary
Which we both forgot
Because we are #busy (everyone is, I deplore this word)
I just wanted you to know that I am committed. And this could mean a couple of different things. First and most probable it means I fell apart. It happened-there just wasn't enough energy, positivity, self help-books or even enough wine to get through. So, I gave up. I gave in. Please put me in a padded room for an infinite amount of time. I cannot lie-a room with just a bed and my own thoughts and no one else-for maybe just a bit? Well that sounds eerily scary and spectacular.
But that's not the case. Turns out, I am somewhat sane and there is plenty of wine. The committed meaning I am referring to is about being with the same man for over 17 years and sticking with it. (married 15 of those years-every minute counts!) Sticking with the good, the bad, and the ugly, the awful, the terrible. 
Have you ever considered the dual meaning? Committed and (insert daunting music).....Committed.
Regardless, I want to write briefly about the former of the two, rather than the irony of the definition. 
I am committed
To God
To you
To our children
To our life
To our family
To our friends
To our work
To our health 
To what is right

 I am flawed, and by all appearances and historically speaking, you are not  (you totally are, I just haven't found it yet-don't get a big head-I'm always watching! ) 

Seriously, though,  I am committed to you. I love you. Happy Anniversary!