What Did I Get From Him?


Dad Collage

The few last weeks I’ve been thinking of my Dad more often.  It seems when I watch my husband and our nine year old daughter together,  my own dad comes to mind.  As I pondered thoughts I was trying to figure out what “things” my own father taught me as I grew up.

When I wrote this piece for his funeral I meant every word.  Many things to be grateful for but yet a 46 year old daughter longing to recall exactly what he taught her is puzzling.   My parents divorced when I was 11 and he was basically absent the couple years before that more or less.  It’s hard to think of any of my daughters being without their fathers. Fortunately they all have had active ones their entire lives.  I hope they realize what a blessing that is.

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This post isn’t a bashing on my deceased father, it’s a thought process.  It’s how I deal with things that fester and instead of letting them grow into something ugly, I’ll turn it into something good.  That working through words will weave an acceptance to an area of my life.

I think he may have even been okay with it.  Writing letters.  I suppose he taught me that. After the divorce we wrote to one another. This was my only real connection with him. He didn’t get me every other weekend or call.  He wasn’t much of a talker.

I recall playing poker with my Dad once, I’m sure there were other times too.  I think I remember it so well because it was Christmas time and my brother and I ended up walking home from our grandparents house.  His pickup broke down and it was freezing out.

There was the time Dad and I were in my Grandpa’s pickup.  YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE came on the radio and he sang to me.  It was funny.  There was more turmoil than laughter in my childhood so this memory is very precious.

He didn’t teach me to ride a bike or even drive a car. Elementary and high school graduations he didn’t attend or the birth of my first daughter.   The absence of him as I began dating was hard but I had a good replacement at the time.  My step-father came into the picture when I was around 14.  I still longed to have my Dad present in my life but Bob really was a good father figure.

I can look in the mirror and see physical traits that resemble my Dad.  But as the youngest of his four children, the question what did he teach me that enables me to conduct my life the way I do is present.

Yesterday I was watching this music video, my Dad came to mind.  I showed it to my youngest daughter, the one that seemed to “give him a new reason to live back in 2008”  as my husband put it.  Johnny Cash always reminded me of my Dad, the physical traits mostly and his size.  As I watched the video with my daughter I couldn’t keep the tears away.

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Almost three years and I still miss the man that I am not sure taught me much.  I’m okay with that I guess.  I am not so very curious for the words I have placed upon this post have brought acceptance I suppose.  Hugs from that little girl he thought was pretty special made things better too.

mother daughter

Julie

Their Mother. A Mother.


I’m not even the one that became a first time mother but my emotions have been on a roller coaster ride this past week.  My middle daughter gave birth to a couple of beautiful boys. Although I am thrilled to grow the number of grandchildren I have, it was my job as mother that I felt so emotional about. In fact, I still am feeling it.

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When I became a mother in 1988 I had no idea the impact it would have on my life.  The paths it would take me on, the pains I would feel or the joys I would treasure. I will assume that my daughter doesn’t either.

With my oldest two daughters the majority of their childhood I felt like I wasn’t a very good mother.  Looking back, the mentality of worry of just that subject was the only real thing that was a hinderance.  Somewhere along the lines I began to accept the type of mother I was, improve upon what I have learned, and go forth even if it ended in a mess. I’ve taken the knowledge I gained from raising the two older ones and am trying to do a better job with their little sister.  I’m far from perfect but you know what, that’s okay. I love each of my children and they know it. Them knowing it is key.

Motherhood changes as our children grow in their own lives. Twenty four years I’ve cared for, battled with, laughed with, and loved the woman who I call my second born.  It’s almost difficult for me to put into words the experience of watching her become a mother herself.  Actually each of my adult daughters have given me grandchildren and it’s a struggle to come up with the right words to describe  what the experience was like for me. Their mother.  It’s a treasure although filled with worry and excitement.  The child I called my own becoming something that I am.  A mother.

grands

I guess what I’m trying to say is that becoming a grandmother once again was great, my mother instinct takes top slot though.  Perhaps it’s so prominent because of the type of relationship my daughter and I have.  Perhaps it’s because I know what her future looks like in a sense.  Perhaps it’s just that the caring nature within doesn’t stop.  I want to make sure she has what she needs now in both emotional and physical support.

Witnessing from a close distance my own children as mothers takes my breath away periodically.  On occasion I have to keep my mouth closed, sometimes I have to speak up. Sometimes it just means sweeping the floor or washing a dish or making a quilt or cuddling with one of the four grandchildren.  Whatever the need I hope they know I’m still here, even if they are mothers themselves. That as their mother, I’m still mothering. And although it’s not always easy, it’s still a pleasure.

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Thanks for stopping by!

Julie

Daughters & Mothers – Resembling Oneself


Ever since my oldest daughter was little, we have been told that we look a great deal alike.  On occasion she truly loves this when someone calls us sisters.  I love that moment but her, not so much! 🙂

To be honest, she is 27 years old now and the moment it really hit me how much we look-alike is when this photo was being taken.  (The photographer was stellar and I highly recommend her by the way.)

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For a long moment I looked at her and thought, “wow we really do look-alike.”  I find it amazing that God created a child who resembles me so much.  That he felt the looks he gave to me were good enough to use again. The day of her wedding was one of the best not only for her but for her mother as well.

 

My middle daughter, now her, I see more of myself in her as she gets older.

MOther Daughter

She is 22 years old and  with age, although still young, I see her choices and actions resemble some of mine.  It warms my heart to receive a phone call about cooking, as I used to call my Mom when newly married about such things.  And on her sister’s wedding day I realized just how much of me is in her.  Not only her thick hair but her ability to lead and care for others in busy times.  The choices she made and the attitude of some things made me think I was seeing myself in video.  The love she displays in a manner that is not too obvious as mine might be is something good.  I feel blessed to watch this one grow up and become the woman God intended her to be as wife and future mother.  Her choices of things to be cherished brings joy to me.

PV and I

My youngest daughter may not have my genes at all but her attitude and verbal responses seem to come from my example.  Sometimes this brings dismay to her father but that is ok, it’s a good laugh for me! 🙂   On her sister’s wedding day I witnessed her smile many times, enjoy the “girly girl” part of being a Jr. bridesmaid, and help her niece the entire day.  This one, well since she’s 7, she still has a lot of growing up to do, but I’m truly enjoying the gift from God through adoption.

All three of my daughters mean a great deal to me.

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Each of them have a distinct relationship with me and that’s okay.  They do not need to be alike to be loved the same.  As each of them is different, so is our relationships.   My hope is that these three siblings will have as tight a bond and love and care for one another as I have with my three siblings. As one grows older they truly realize what a treasure this is in itself. Hold tight my three no matter the number of years between  you!

Raising these girls has made me a better person.  They are one of the biggest treasures God has given me.  I love you girls, never forget that.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Emotional Roller Coaster


I have been kind of missing in action these days.  I haven’t had time to sit at my computer and put my thoughts and feelings down.  It’s taking its toll on me but there have been some very important tasks at hand taking up my time!  I’ve been on a emotional roller coaster and I was very very high and then by Sunday morning very low, more like drained.  Let’s start with the high shall we?

Our weekend was spent celebrating our oldest daughter’s marriage.

MOther Daughter Wedding

I have to say this day was one of the most enjoyable days in my life.  The weather was lovely, the bride beautiful, the wedding party fun, and it just went off very smoothly.  Being surrounded by family and friends while watching your offspring take a new path in her journey is something surreal.

On Sunday morning I made my way to my mother’s home.  I have one sibling that doesn’t live in state and while they were home we had to go through our mother’s house together.  Let me take a moment to show off my siblings at my daughter’s wedding. They clean up pretty good, don’t they! 🙂

siblings

The task of going through our mother’s home was not one I looked forward to honestly. I would like to say though, if I had to do it, I’m glad I had these three to do it with.  The love and support of these three people is beyond what I deserve.  Although our parents may not have been the best parents in the world, their kids turned out pretty darn good I think!  Our bond will not be easily broken, the material items that lay in my mother’s house are just those.  Material items.  They will not bring her back, they will not bring us a fortune, they will not bring us peace.  They will only remind us of the woman we called Mom.

We spent two days from morning till about 11:00 pm looking, touching, and separating our mother’s belongings.  Those were long days.   We did the following and it seemed to work well for us.  When you come upon an item that more than one would like, we flipped a coin.  When three people were involved, we flipped, then odd man out. Then the last two flipped.  There were no cat fights, name calling, dirty looks or anything like it. I think because when we began we spoke honestly and said how we felt.  No material item is worth losing or fighting with a family member.  It just isn’t.

I’m happy to say I came home with things that I can finish that my mom began, patterns she used, dishes from my childhood, and various other items.  The best treasures were the three I got to share the trip down memory lane with.  My brother and two sisters.

Life can be turbulent at times, but there’s always a safe place to land.  Mine is my home, family, and time with God.

Grace is a gift,
Julie

 

 

It’s Begun – A Child’s Changing


It's Begun

It’s begun.  The moment in time when my youngest daughter decides she can fix her own hair and that she only wants it in a particular style! This may not be a big moment for you but it is for me.  She’s seven.

From experience, I knew this day would come.  Some of you are probably saying “she’s seven, she should be like this and it’s fine!”  But it’s not, it’s just not ok.

This mama thought she had at least another year or two, but now she wants to wear her hair in a ponytail that she can pull back herself.  Although her fine hair is in her face not long after it’s up, this does not bother her one tiny bit!  (One of my pet peeves is hair in a child’s face, just fyi) I’m fighting the instinct to force my mothering on her, I have to pick my battles though.  I know this from experience as well.  🙂

The future holds many changes and actions and reactions from both of us.  Now having two twenty- something daughters I cherish the fixing of the seven-year old’s hair or her silly stories or her outlandish ideas.   Even watching her play with her dog is enjoyable and hearing her talk about Pokemon (which I know little about) is a nice past time.

These are little treasures because I know they will soon flutter away.  The day will come when boyfriends will replace the dog,  a certain type of hobby will replace Pokemon, and Friday nights will be spent at school activities.  Those I will treasure too, although more on her own I’m sure.

So, today I will just brush the hair away from her face, kiss her cheek, and giggle as she cuddles up with 5 stuffed animals for bedtime.  I will not worry about the future for tonight. Rest easy mother, rest easy.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Influence – Family


I hear my words, but not from my mouth.

I see my actions, but not from my body.

At times these bring joy and at other times a cringe.

I am in the process of raising my third child.  A total of three females have been in my presence since their birth.

That means my words, my actions, my choices have been one of the main influences in their life. I’m not saying this to make myself seem number one, others have just as much influence.  Perfection is not the goal, acting responsibly, making good choices, teaching while loving all are factors.  I have not and will not always be the best influence but I do try.

I have found myself looking back and seeing the mistakes I made but also the accomplishments as a mother, all while watching my children live their lives now.   A couple in adulthood, another still a child.  I’m lucky I think, for I have been given three people to love, teach, and watch grow.

This life here on earth isn’t forever but the gifts we receive while here are in abundance.  Even the bad days can be turned around by the little things from your children, whether they are big kids or little kids.  Whether they are of your DNA or born of your heart.

I just wanted to say today that I am thankful for my daughters and the opportunity to be one of influence to them.  I pray for them daily, sometimes that is all I can do for them.

Daughters

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Little Girls, Kitchen Love, & Family


E, P, & Me

 

I wrote about these two girls in one of my first posts.  The one on the left is my grand-daughter.  The one on the right is my daughter.  The seven year old (P.) is aunt to the four year old (E.).  The small age difference is due to the fact that I have a daughter that is 27 and started her family 4 years ago.

These two little girls are fun to hang out with!  This weekend E. spent the night and today we baked a cake in honor of Independence Day!  They were thrilled with making a red, white, and blue cake!  I am hoping that my #kitchenlove goes to the generations after me!

Sometimes I’m not able to be a “grandmother” type to E. due to the fact that I have a seven-year old daughter.  I don’t struggle with that too much but the thought does cross my mind on occasion when we are together. I try to just celebrate the fact that God blessed me with both!  They will grow up together more like sisters than aunt and niece I think.

Our family dynamic is not all that different from others.  I think that God brought us together for whatever reasons and we make a good family unit.  I’m blessed to have one husband, three daughters, two son-in-laws (soon),  two grand-kids, and two grand-dogs.

I hope that you are able to spend time with family and friends as much as possible.  Building memories is a wonderful way to pass time!  Although our family couldn’t all be together this weekend I pray we will be soon!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Celebrating Something Other Than Mother’s Day


Another holiday is on the horizon, well it’s actually today.

Mother’s day, Sunday, May 9th.  It’s a day for those that raised children, whether by birthing them or adopting them or fostering them, etc. It’s a celebration of their hard work at raising children.

But I want to celebrate the following instead.

I want to celebrate the women in this world that are:

  • Dealing with infertility each day.
  • Dealing with the choice of adoption for their child.
  • Dealing with the loss of a child.
  • Dealing with the fact they will never be a mother.
  • Dealing with the obstacles that make this life hard because they are caring for their sick child.
  • Dealing with the lonely road of being a single mother.
  • Dealing with the questions from others about why they don’t have kids.
  • Dealing with the struggle within that makes them feel like they are “less than good” due to not being able to carry a baby.
  • Dealing with the shots, the negative pregnancy test results, and the tubal pregnancies.
  • Dealing with the choice that comes with an unplanned pregnancy.

The women I’ve mentioned all have names, faces, feelings, triumphs, troubles, and many other things.  But there is one special woman in my life that I dedicate this post to.  My middle daughter.  She has PCOS and hasn’t been able to conceive to date.

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I can’t relate to her pain exactly, but as her mother, I do feel pain.  I feel for my daughter because this day is hard for her.  This day of celebrating being a parent and being appreciated for all that one provides for a child.  The one that reminds her that she hasn’t had the opportunity to be celebrated too.

I don’t know what the future holds for my daughter in regards to parenting, but I do know this.  I love her just as much as I did the day she was born, possibly more.  The reason is because I have watched her grow in many ways and conquer many obstacles.  Whether anything changes or not, she will always be a wonderful woman to me.  God bless her journey and others.

I am hoping this post will bring awareness to others about PCOS and the way we should think before asking questions to those without children.  Those that may have been dealing or have had to deal with difficult outcomes in regards to parenting.  May they all find peace.

 Grace is a gift,

Julie

Correction – God Can Be Spoken About Outside Church


Correction - God Can Be Spoke About Outside Church

When my seven year old casually tells me that two children at her school told her that God and Jesus are to only be talked about in church I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs!  Of course it wasn’t intended at anyone directly. It was a knee jerk reaction to something I totally disagree with!

Instead of screaming I calmly asked a few questions, then proceeded to explain to my daughter that what was told to her was incorrect. That you can talk about God and Jesus anytime and that is what we are to do.  I also told her that some people will not agree with this but that we can still do it respectfully.  She didn’t seem traumatized or act out of sorts about the entire thing.  She just casually told me as if she knew that it was ok to talk about God and Jesus and that she was sharing with me.

I am proud of the way my seven year old believes.  I sure didn’t at that age and it took me until my adult life to understand the full grasp of the gift.  My daughter talks more about God and Jesus than I do.  And I sit on the board of missions for my church!  I suppose she is inspiring me, it’s been on my mind lately how I need to be more outgoing about God.  In fact I wrote about it in Mission Work – Where am I headed?

Honestly, I know that a day may come that she won’t talk so freely about God and Jesus amongst her friends.  The world of today may tatter her and she may fall to the “no one else does that” mindset.  I pray this doesn’t occur, but I’m realistic.  When I think of this my heart literally hurts in my chest.

I know why this effects me so much.  Because the child in me and the adult in me missed out on so many years of not knowing what was placed here for me.  I don’t want that for any of my children, in fact for anyone at all.  As her mother, all I can do is continue to teach, educate, learn with her, and guide her.

Do you ever find yourself wishing you could, just for five minutes place how you feel inside within your own child?  I have on more than one occasion.  Hoping it would save them some heartache, some pain, some mistake.  But that isn’t how life works does it? Each must learn in their own manner.

So for now, I will continue to listen to her as she tells me the things.  I will share with her why we believe, how to handle such circumstances, and allow her to take the lead in a lesson of her own.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Children’s Requests, Hearts Smiling


Embroidery work

Recently I took up embroidery.  My mother had taught me many years ago but I never really did it much. I did quite a bit of crosstitch when my older girls were young.  Since picking it up once again my youngest daughter, that is seven has watched me.  She checks in to see the progress of each project and helps me pick out colors.

This evening she finally asked me if I would teach her how to embroider.  I thought perhaps that might be a tad difficult so I told her I would teach her to crosstitch first.  We dug out my old stuff and I found a pretty simple butterfly pattern.  She chose her colors and the lesson began.

Embroidery

She still needs guidance on almost every line but it’s OK, I don’t mind.  As we sat together on the love seat, both doing needlework I found myself smiling.  It wasn’t just from my face but my heart was smiling.  She was learning a hobby that my mother had taught me.

When my children show interest in something that brings such joy to me, well…. it’s a pretty awesome feeling!   For instance, my middle daughter embroiders too and is quite talented at it.  My oldest daughter loves to cook.  Each child is different and they each take different characteristics from me. I hope they continue these talents and also find new ones to try as well!

As we spent our evening together, I couldn’t help but think of simpler times.  Days long before I was born where families sat around in the evening with no television, smart phones, or any such thing running.  Gathered together visiting, perhaps listening to a story read by the father, while the women mended or embroidered.  During our time together my young daughter shared with me, needed me, and didn’t need me!  She learned how to tie off when finished with a section!

I have found that life is pretty nice when slower and simplier.  I am glad my mother taught me this hobby, I’m glad my children enjoy the common things in life.

Grace is a gift,

Julie