Monday, June 28, 2010

He made me a MeMe.

Dylan was born and I became a MeMe. From the moment I saw him come into the world, look around and take his first breath, I knew I was in love. I had never been a MeMe before but I somehow felt different, changed, responsible in a new kind of way. Shortly he came home and I gave him his first bath. The start of many first shared between us. He was my little man. I knew I wanted to always show him, "hey here I am here, I am YOUR MeMe". I wanted him to be proud and secure of our love. I wanted a super closeness.

Both of his parents were in the military so needless to say Poppy and MeMe had Dylan Bear alot. We watched him learn to crawl then learn to walk and talk and his favorite toys. His likes and dislikes. We learned to play his way then tuck him in bed happy. Life was so good. Then...orders came and they were moving to Germany. I couldn't even say the always got stuck in my throat. But, the day came and away they went for 4 years. I cried buckets of tears. I was sure he would not remember me when he returned to the states and that broke this MeMe's heart into a million tiny pieces. Of course, I would ship packages, and I would call. But that was not the same. I felt empty.

Now he is 12 and he flies in on a jet all by his self in the morning. I can't wait. Will he still let me baby him the way I want to or have I let that slip by never to have again? I guess I'll just have to roll with it, that is what my youngest child tells me to do with life...roll with it Mom. Mom is trying to roll with it, but I don't know if I like where everything in life is rolling these days.

I want him to know I am his friend, but I want to set standards and teach him about people in our family that have gone on and how he fits in. That there are consequences to actions, but never anything that would make me not love him. Which means I have to do the ...dare I say Memommie's job. I am not ready! I am unworthy. I just can't do what she did....I am not the woman she was. Maybe I can come close with my unique spin on it. Maybe.

I want to do the best I can. I want him to have wonderful memories of his Poppy and his MeMe. I want him to have what I had ...I knew I had two people who loved me unconditionally. I knew they stood for something. They stood for so much. They stood for love, the Lord, and it made a difference in my life. I didn't understand the word unconditional but I knew it was something there, something unique between us. I don't think I can live up to be as good at being a Grandparent as they were, but I am trying and that's all I can do.

My little man, my first born Grandson is coming to stay a month tomorrow. I still can't believe it. God let me do my best. Give me the words and the patience and guidance I am sure I will need. I want him to have nothing but happy memories, filled with love and laughter. I'll keep you posted on how we do, or how I do.

I love you Dylan Christopher always have and always will. I'm so happy you are coming to visit. We are going to have fun, and lots of talks, when you leave we will know each other differently. You can't redo a missed occasion, you can't take back an unkind word, you can't speak words left unsaid.

I will cry and feel sad seeing you leave but I will have so many happy memmories of you and how you are changing. We have promised to always love each other and that I know we will do and do it well. Memommie will be here with me I believe somehow and she will nudge me when I need it. I hope I do you proud my little one.

Sometimes a gardener grows flowers and tends the soil. Sometimes a gardener grows Grandchildren and tends to love.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

He lived, He laughed and He loved.

It's been 28 years and I miss him more today than I did a year ago. Today is Father's Day and I can't seem to quit thinking of him. No need to say I was a Daddy's girl. I think...I'm sure it shows.

I was the third girl born to my parents. I was also born on the Saturday before Father's Day Sunday. Keep in mind this was before the days of ultrasound. I know he wanted a son, and there I was one more girl.

Daddy never treated me like a dainty flower though. I went wherever he went, to the bank, the tire shop, to pick up a lawn mower it just didn't matter. What did matter is...we were buddies. He did expect me to act like a lady and dress appropriately but always told me I could be anything and do anything a man could do and maybe better. He taught me how important common sense was and how everyone isn't born with it. You would have never known I wasn't the son he so wanted.

My Dad liked to remain anonymous. He would buy 10 or more watermelons in the heat of the summer and deliver them under the cover of night to porches of widow women in the community. He would buy Easter baskets for a family that couldn't afford for the Easter bunny to visit with loads of candy for their children. He was kind. He was thoughtful. Maybe they never knew, maybe they did, I'll never know. Some things in life a better a mystery.

He was born in February and in November of the same year his Mother passed away suddenly. He never knew here. How fitting he would be surrounded by my Mother and three daughters the rest of his life. Dad always had a special affection for women who were widowed, perhaps he understood what it was like to be left alone. He would take my Grandmother to visit my Great Aunts who lived on top of a hill in Alabama on his days off. He wasn't selfish. He would take care of them the best he could run errands and repair what he could. He didn't have an easy life, no Mother to teach him understanding and the more emotional side of life. You would have never known.

Dad loved adventure. Sometimes over breakfast he would announce to us all, "we are in a rut." Followed by, "where do each of you want to go?" A trip was planned before the jam was passed and we were off to a new adventure. The summer he passed away he had just taken a vacation. He visited both of my sisters who lived in other states. He couldn't wait to come home and pick up me and my children. I had made a Blueberry Pie for him. We ate and laughed together, how would I ever know that would be the last time I would hear his laugh? Share a meal with him? That day, I believe was the hardest day of my life. I can remember praying so hard he would take one more breath and open his eyes. Life is often unfair. I needed him, I still need him.

My Father loved music. At random times he would break out in any given silly song. I think of that so often and even sing some of them to my Grandchildren. He used to tell us when he was little people in town would tell him to sing a song for a nickle and he would. Sing and dance no doubt. He loved life. He loved a good meal and he loved to Barbecue. He got a bit carried away with things to prepare and went ...ah..lets say..overboard. Whatever he had he loved to share. The more the merrier.

Dad signed his High school year book.. Live,laugh and love for tomorrow you may die. I guess he knew at a very early age what was important. I might have not had him as a Father but for twenty two years but what an impression he made on me and my life and who I am today.

So, Happy Father's Day Daddy. I miss you everyday and I love you.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

photo uploads

I hope you enjoy some of these pictures of plants blomming now in our garden.


The Red Hibiscus have just starting blooming along with most of the butterfly bushes. Hopefully that will bring the hummingbirds. I saw a few scouts but not the ones that usually stay and nest here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Visit

Dylan Christopher is my oldest Grandchild. The last time I saw him was almost three years ago. That is way too long not to see your Grandson. His parents are in the military and have just gotten a little closer to us and school is on break.

Two days ago I received the good news that he is old enough now to fly down South for a visit. Yippee!!! One excited MeMe here. I finally get to put my hands on this child.

Sure, there are many calls, e mails, packages and now the possibility of SKPE shared between us. This is not the same as touching them, tucking them in at night, reading to them. Looking deep in their eyes as they tell you a story to make them feel they are the only person on this earth you are listening to.

I've started to wonder what will we do?? He will be 13 this December 7th. A notable day for a birthday, hopefully his destiny will be impressive. How do you entertain a teenager these days. All the recent video games and equipment came to mind, no, to shallow I decide. I had hoped for trips to the beach. Maybe he would learn to love the beach like his MeMe. Looks as if the oil is going to ruin that idea. I plan to find some of the old classic movies to watch together. Hey, think I'll look for Gilligan's Island DVD too. What other memorable way can I fill the days? Pop Pop might come up with a fishing trip or maybe a project built in the Shop. hmmmm... I know he would love to go tubing down the Coldwater Creek while he is here, now that is a fun time.

Then I remembered what I most loved about spending time with my Grandparents. I loved doing anything they did. I helped my Memommie put up pickles, or make pear preserves, or shell peas and beans. It was just fun being with them. We hung clothes out on the clothesline, planted flowers or picked blackberries.

I can smell her house to this day if I really try. Every morning when I woke, she was up and had coffee going in the kitchen. Breakfast was of my choice. The rest of the day I followed along. I was happy. I was loved and I knew it. I had just the two of them to myself. No one to compete with me over conversation or affection.

Maybe that is all Dylan will really want is to spend time together. He does love to cook. He told me their are things he wants me to teach him in the kitchen and so I shall. Their are things I want to teach him about life...and so...I shall. Their are things he will teach me about life...their always are.

I can't wait for the journey to begin. I have to remind myself I can no longer hold him and rock him the way I always have. I keep repeating to myself, "he is too big Carol." "he is almost 13 Carol". Well, maybe I'll let him decide if he is too old for holding and rocking. However, I'm tucking that lil bugger in at night and that I can promise you. Just like a good MeMe should. I've been given a good example of what I should be and do with my Grandchildren and I thank her and God for that. Can I live up to it? Will I do as good of a job? I'm going to give it all I have. I want him to leave after three weeks and have sweet memories in his heart. He's gonna need them.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Through the Distance

They say in are blessed if you have a few close friends. I am blessed. I have several good freinds I enjoy spending time with and would do anything for. But then their is this one person, for reasons unknown, you feel a special connection. I have one friend who is a blessing to me every time I see her. I wondered why our relationship has remained so close. We have been through everything together. Marriages, divorces, the birth of our Grandchildren, moving,buying new homes, retiring...need I go on? So we have a long history. She is my rock. She is the one I want to talk with when I know my husbands ears are tired. Some things man ears don't understand anyway, it's true you know. She always listens, but she will tell me what she thinks. She's not one of those make nicey, nicey friends. She is the friend that will tell you the pure truth, and noth'in but the truth so help her God.

I can count on her. She has seen me at my worst and at my best and everywhere in between. I could probably buy her clothes because I know her style and what she likes and I bet I get the sizes right too. She could probably order my dinner from any restaurant and get it right, because she knows what I like. She pays attention to small things because she cares. I wonder if she knows or realizes how much I listen and I care. I hope she does.

How many conversations do you think we've had? How many tears have we cried? How many belly laughs have we shared? We give each other fashion tips, dos and don'ts. We consult with each other of moral issues of right and wrong. We give one another a massage when we need it. Hairstyles...that's just another story their. Maybe I'll write about that one day! Really!

We've been friends for eighteen years now I guess now. I think of her like a sister. I am relaxed around her and just can be myself. She might "oh geeze,You didn't," accompanied with the head roll, but she tolerates me. For the most part. Again, because she loves me. I hope I've taken the chances to tell her ...or have I? I'm thinking it is hard to tell someone that they make your life...More.

Some people make your life sweeter, better, lighter, she does all that for me. I hope our friendship is like one of those old Live Oak trees found in the South. Deep rooted and always alive, living, strong and green. Thy can handle any hurricane come there way. The age gracefully too, this is so important to us. We will let all the trash we've been through just hang off of our branches, much like the moss. We can still dance with the wind girl! The trash and troubles will look like fringe from a distance. It is about looking good, I'd be lying if I said it isn't a little about looking good.

It is also about knowing someone is there with you and always will be there due to mutual choice. We've made a choice to be together as best friends for the duration. No matter what. If you have a friend like that what more could you want?

It was time for her to leave today and I had planted one of her favorite vines in a pot for her. It had come up and it was ready to move to its new home. I remembered she lost one of her vines she so loved from the bitter winter we had here. This new vine can take its place in her garden. It isn't that way with best friends though, no one could ever take her place. She has earned her permanent spot with eighteen years of being there, caring, and loving me. It was all good including the "oh yeah", and the head plus eye rolling. I don't want to change her. I just want to keep her and All that she is. All that fabulousness she brings with her everywhere. I can count us lucky to be best friends before the storm, during the storm and after the storm. We will make it through the distance.

Monday, June 7, 2010

No words

As I've stated before, I live in Florida. As I've also stated before the beach is my favorite place in the world to be. It is the salty smell of the warm air coming across the waves. It is the warm sand, cradling my foot and feeling and looking like baby powder. It is the bubbles that tickle my toes down by the water where the waves lap the shore. After being there for just a few minutes I feel my mind calming, I listen to my breath as it is in rythm now with the waves. I'm free!

No words are really enough. No words quite explain what we have here. I know we all have taken it for granted a bit. It really hit me yesterday when my daughter sent me a picture of my grandson on the beach holding a tar ball. The look on his innocent face said it all. He asked me later, "MeMe what are we gonna do"?

He loves the beach. He would go everyday if some of us would take him. It is just a big wonderful playground for him. The look on his face said it all. His body did the rest of the conversation. His shoulders went down. He was no longer running and playing. He looked at me and asked, "Meemze, is the bay safe"? I wanted to say yes baby I'm sure it will be safe. But I couldn't. I had to have a conversation with him that no grandparent should. Explaining we just don't know what will and won't be safe just yet." Time will tell, and I followed that by "this too shall pass Buddy." I wish I could read his mind. Did I explain enough?

I'm upset that we have to try to explain something so horriffic as this to him and expect his five year old understanding to comprehend it.

Here are some pictures of my beloved Gulf Coast of Florida. Maybe just maybe if all the great minds in the world can't come up with a solution we shouldn't have/or should never drill that deep anymore. Just enjoy the pictures. And pray we will find answers soon. Because all of us children just don't understand why? Why did it happen? Why can't they fix it? How long will it last? but it will pass as all things do.

Godspeed everyone.

Friday, June 4, 2010

the secret life of...

I love movies. Some movies my Hubz and I make a date and go see them together. I've been married long enough to know what he will sit through and enjoy. I don't ask him to go see "chick flicks" anymore. Some movies are just better on the big screen, while others I prefer to just order on Netflix and watch at home in the comfort of my favorite PJ's with my blanket. Ya know what I mean?

One movie I feel in love with recently is, "The Secret Life of Bees". I love this movie. Maybe because the movie takes place in the South. Maybe because all the main characters are women. I especially fell in love with the character, May.  May feels things very deeply. Her compassion for other people is extraordinary. At times, overwhelming. I am much like May. When things make me sad, I am very very sad. When I worry, I really worry. I seem to take things much more to heart than most people I know. This is a heavy burden to carry in life, but occasionally it feels like a blessing like I'm more in tune with life than most. My husband says I have some sort of sixth sense when it comes to all emotional things. My mother says I have always been very sensitive and sentimental. What ever it have to find ways to deal with a blessing or a curse, understood or not.

One way May dealt with her "special" gift was to build a rock wall behind their home to take her troubles to. She writes all her feelings, worries, concerns and heartaches on little pieces of paper and takes them to the rock wall. There, she tucks the pieces of paper in for safe keeping and somehow it seems to help her let go and heal. Much like the wailing wall in Israel.

I think maybe this blog might become my rock wall. Hopefully, I can bring my worries here write them down, tuck them in for safe keeping and walk away feeling better about the situation at hand. Fingers crossed. Much has been heavy on my heart for days now.  So here goes.....

One of my favorite places on earth is the beach. I live in Florida. The Florida Panhandle. To get to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world takes me about 35 minutes. Today the oil found us. We can no longer avoid the inevitable. The oil has been spilling into the Gulf of Mexico for 40 some days now. The winds have shifted and and no longer driving the outer portions of the massive slick into Mississippi or Louisiana, but rather to our shores. I watched the news this morning. Saw the images. The authorities are going to close the Pensacola Pass sometime today or tomorrow. This is a problem that isn't going to go away or get fixed anytime soon. Something I love so much is very sick. I think of the white pristine sand, it looks just like sugar. I think of the dolphins I watch swim and jump in and out of the teal water. The pelicans, shorebirds, crabs...they are like family to me. My heart weeps.

One of my favorite people on the planet earth is my Aunt Oopie. I know, I know crazy name, but families do that. This past week she suffered a heart attack. We knew she had some heart problems and was planning on having surgery some time soon. She wanted to visit my niece in California before the surgery and got the "all clear" from her doctors here, in Mobile, Alabama. She made the flight there fine. On the second day of her first vacation in years, she has a heart attack. My heart feels attacked too! She is like a mother to me. She is the most kind, gentle and loving soul on this earth. I'll have to write much more about her later. She is far too cool to devote just a few sentences to. Today, she is doing better, still facing surgery, still in California, still trying to be strong for all of us who know we couldn't bare life without her. She is the anchor for many of us still trying to find our way out here in this world. She knows all the family stories all the family secrets and she speaks the truth. She is example. I still need her, I haven't learned enough yet to fly solo.

Marriage. No there is a complex word. A dear friend of mine just told me that she and her husband have been seperated for four years. She was keeping the bit of news from me, probably thinking it would upset me. Go figure. This year they will be(would be) married for forty years. She said her husband just told her one morning he thought they should live apart, that maybe they would be happier. You have no idea how that made me feel. I wanted to run outside, and scream until I couldn't scream anymore. I know he is a very independent person but seriously?

It is no secret that I've been divorced twice. Now.... I am married. I finally know what is like to love someone everyday no matter what. Whether is is easy or hard, good or bad through thick or thin. I have learned to share my existence with him. He makes my life better, my days fuller. I trust him. I would be devestated if he were to tell me something like he wants to live separate. Oh, did I mention that my friend has cancer? Yep. She does. She found out after he wanted to establish his independence. I think she would like nothing better than to have her husband back home, but not willing to think that he would come back due to sympathy. Now that is a difficult place to find yourself in. This whole situation has my brain working overtime. I have asked myself all sorts of questions. I dream about it. I've wept over this situation. Maybe because I love her so, maybe because you never know for sure what another person will do. Maybe because he isn't the man I thought he was. Maybe because I have to let it go and leave it up to God and I'm not good at that. Maybe because it is all so uncertain and unfair. I know, life isn't fair.

People always say if you can do nothing have to let it go. I suppose that is true. Some of us just have a hard time letting things go. Some of us are just like May. Some of us choose to carry all this stuff around in our hearts, in our minds and tuck them away in a place where we hope they will be safe and work out and get better.

Normally when things in this life are too much for me, burdens too heavy... I go to the beach. There I remember and realize how small I am and how small problems really are. Sometimes I call my favorite Aunt and talk with her and she always makes me feel more at peace. She always says, "this too shall pass"and she is does. Or I might call or email a friend who has always been level headed and not heart driven. She has a great sense of humor and in no time at all we are laughing our heads off and I've forgotten all that is wrong in this life. Thinking instead of a good joke to share with her.

All of my methods of coping are out of the equation due to reasons previously explained above. Instead I think I'll work in the garden with my ipod in my ears. Music always takes me away. Then I'll cook dinner for my husband. I'll rely on the things that I know I can count on to comfort me. Maybe I'll catch a good movie tonight.  Say my prayers like I always do.  Hmm,... Maybe I should start building a wall too.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Garden

I've been taking pictures lately of the different blooms in my garden. As each one opens, I am excited and run out with camera in hand to see if I can possibly capture the beauty. The picture count gets higher and higher. I enjoy posting the pictures and sharing them with family and friends that live away and don't get to visit.

Yesterday, I was thinking of different homes I remember from my childhood and the flowers that stood out in the yards of those homes. My Grandmother had a lovely blush pink "old timey" rose, as we say in the south, that really put on a show when it bloomed. I can't think of her yard without thinking of the huge Blue Mop head hydrangeas that graced each side of the steps to the front porch. Their were Camellias, Gardenias, and of course Daylillies too. My Grandfather even planted some Olive trees. My Dad had a beautiful English dogwood tree. Each spring he would cut the bloomed branches and make a bouquet from them and the Red and White Amaryllis he grew. He would take the bouquet to Church on Sunday and place it in a prominent place so that all the members could enjoy it. Kinda strange for a Southern man to do...but a memory I love. A softer side of my Daddy.

I had a great Aunt, who I swear, could grow anything. She would take cuttings from other people's plants and soon hers would be much bigger and prettier too. People nearby would save seeds from family plants and give them to her ...hoping she could revive the chain. She caught rain in huge blue barrels before recycling or water conservation was cool. She watered every evening as she explained to me was the best time of the day. Her porch cluttered with pots of clippings, seedlings, beautiful full ferns and blooms. She never had children, but she had her plants. She babied those plants!

I wonder...if children pass by my little garden and notice. I try to plant with my Grandchildren because I know the planting of the seed, or flower is really much deeper. It is hope. It is love of the land. It is the nurturing that goes with it. It is a gift from God. It is part of who I am.