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

Beating Heartbeats – Visual Reminders


I sat in an ultrasound room this week with two of my daughters, the middle and the youngest.  As the little humans that my middle daughter is growing appeared on the television screen I couldn’t help but think of the sonograms I have had over the years.

My first was about 29 years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. During this week’s viewing I giggled inside my head remembering how they put the sonogram on a VHS tape for me.  I was so excited and thought how cool is this!  I still have it, maybe we’ll watch it sometime soon.

vhs-tape

During my second pregnancy I had an ultrasound while they  performed an amniocentesis.  Talk about nerve – wracking!  But everything was fine with the little bundle of joy come to find out.  It can be a joyous experience or a scary one when having a sonogram.

Then there was those littles that my husband and I created in a dish and they placed inside our surrogate.  I have some slick paper photographs of those itty bitty beings we won’t meet here on earth.   With the outcome of that journey  the gift of motherhood to my third daughter through adoption came.  We don’t have any vhs tapes, dvd, or photos of her while in the womb.  All we had at the time  was miles between us and her, and no visual until she was 15 minutes old.

Then there was my first grandchild’s ultrasound,that was amazing in itself. Here we are onto the next set grandchildren (twins) and it’s just as exciting for me!

Through the years technology has come a long way to allowing us to see inside the human body.  I’ve been to two sonograms with my daughter so far and there is a moment that really takes my breath away.

Every. Single. Time.

Those little heartbeats.  The ones that are pumping away.

I almost can’t explain how I feel inside but it’s pretty amazing to me.  I can’t keep from smiling.  There is no doubt in my mind that God created not only my three daughters or my grandchildren or even my petri-dish babies.  His amazing power can take us where no technology ever will.

Julie

 

Quilting A Life


quilt

The quilt before you is my first attempt at something other than square blocks.  In fact, until recently, the only quilts I ever made were square blocks sewn together and my mother would finish them.  I’d help her “tie” them but I never actually quilted them or put the binding on.

I decided after getting a great deal of fabric from mother’s stash that I wanted to dive into quilting.  Knowing my personality I knew I would require assistance.  I searched online for a kit and class I could buy. Craftsy was my source and this quilt was quite the learning experience!

These are my other helpers, isn’t the little girl adorable! I’m a tad prejudice.    Yes, my husband helped because he is a contractor and cuts with precision.  (He’s a trooper for helping me, I would have given up if not for him!)

family-quilt

There were moments of feeling like a failure, frustration, and uncertainty while creating this lap quilt.  Which this reflects aspects of my own life, especially in the past few years, there is more. The bold colors make me happy when I look at them.  Their brightness and solidarity is something I hope to reflect in my own life. Something that is coming in view once more.

All the colors are so very different yet they are harmonious when placed in the same area. They become a union of sorts and create a warm reflection with the soft white bringing them completely together.  Do you long to live this way?  In a common union with harmony and wrapped in the warmth of goodness?

craftsy-quilt

This quilt not only holds beautiful colors and straight lines and areas of strong precision sewing, it holds much more.  For instances,  crooked lines, the fabric that was missed while joining two colors, and the miter corners are pretty rough. When I look at this quilt I feel it represents a few different things but mostly a reflection of life (at least for me.)

My life has so much that is good, warm, loving, and solid.  Yet at the same time it holds messy, sadness, and struggles.  While those threads are unraveling in one area, the threads that are tightly sewn tug even harder to keep the strength up.  I feel stronger with each day.  The process isn’t a quick one, just as this quilt wasn’t to make, but I’ll get there.  I’ll get to the place of balance I once knew.  I’ll be stronger for it and hope to help others from my experience.

If you find yourself in the darkness, whether it’s been for 20 minutes, 20 days, or 20 years you can still step out of it.  Just as the quilt would not be as strong if sewn with loose stitches, rally together a friend or two, a pastor, a doctor, a mentor to help you.  Just start with a baby step into the brightness.  I’m not saying it will be easy, but it will be worth it.

Until next time!

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

Pieces of Her In Me – Mom


Someone that has known me for many years said the following to me at my mother’s grave on the day we buried her. They had a personal business relationship  with my mother and he was my former boss.

“I don’t think I ever told you this but you got all of your mother’s best qualities.”

mother and daughter

He had heard me read the eulogy I wrote and spoke at my mother’s funeral. He had dealt with my mother’s forthcoming attitude, opinions, and  her pick on her daughter when she was in the office ways.  If you were in the presence of my mother you always knew it! Let’s leave it at that.

Hearing those words, a heartfelt compliment from a man who isn’t always full of emotion meant a great deal to me.

The way life is I think we (society)  normally only look at the qualities that may not be the best the that we take on from our parents.  I know I have done this many times throughout my journey here on earth.

Mother and I 2014

As I think about the few days surrounding my mother’s short hospitalization and funeral I can see my mother coming out in me. Strength was ever-present and if she had anything it was that.   So even if we were not a great deal alike, I’m grateful for that particular attribute I inherited.

MOm & I

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

A Mother’s Strength – Tribute to My Mom


Tomorrow is Mother’s Day but I have a different type of post I want to share then.  So today I am going to write about my own mother to celebrate her.  

My mother had me when she was 27 years old and I was her fourth child.  It was 1970 and she welcomed another baby girl into her home.  It had been five years since she gave birth or had a little one.  

MOm & I
At home, a few days old. My mother and I. I just now noticed I am crying in this photo. I must not have wanted my photo taken! 🙂

 

Our family at the time lived at a cattle feed lot, I came home from the hospital and unfortunately my mother had to go to work.  Some of the cattle were out, so she being the woman  she was, helped.  From what I recall of my childhood she could work as physically hard as any man.  She may have wanted to be in the kitchen with her apron on baking and cooking but instead she was working to provide for her family. While raising four children, one boy and three girls, she worked long hours and taught us to be tough.  She withstood an alcoholic husband, all while protecting her children.  

FN and kids
Our mother and her children

 

The things I remember from my childhood aren’t all wonderful Norman Rockwell paintings but there were good times.  There were these and I’m glad I had them.  I know they are because of her.

Sitting in the control room, watching her load the feed trucks, drinking cold coffee. (me not her)

My chance to ride in the feed truck cutting my teeth on that hard plastic dash board.

The pop machine in the break room was the envy of my eye.

Her pecan rolls and pies were the best of the best when she did have time to make them.

The Christmas with the Rub-a Dub dolly and my birthday the next day.

Angel food cake for birthdays.

My sister and I in the kitchen one time with her, using her large cast iron skillet (I now have) frying donuts.

The night she let me start washing dishes with the big girls because I asked to.  (what was I thinking at 7 years old!)

The drive in movies.

The Dentyne gum that was always in her purse.

The long hours she worked to support her children while being a single mom. The home she provided for us. It was  burnt up mobile home but she made it into home for us.  

The times we had after she married Bob my step-dad were some really great times. I’m grateful they found one another.

The day I didn’t have to tell her at 16 I was pregnant, she looked at me and knew.  She took care of me, she held me.  She understood. 

She was always somewhat a protector of her kids, I suppose she had to be. That’s all I will say on that.

Hearing her say how proud she was of me when I delivered my oldest daughter.  She was next to me the entire time. 

Creating a quilt with her for my middle daughter’s 8th grade recognition.

mom and i quitl

 

Having her hand make several items for my first wedding was items I will always cherish.

The blankets that were crocheted and tea towels she embroidered.  The homemade gifts for Christmas all those years.

Today I cherish most when she talks of days of old. Of her life and the memories she has of growing up.  

These are tidbits from my memory that my mother were part of.  From my upbringing I feel I took away the strength needed to endure the more difficult things in life and to work hard at whatever task has been placed before you.

om and us girls
My mother, myself, and my three daughters.

Today my mother is 71 years old.  She isn’t as physically strong as she used to be, but I understand why.  I understand that life has given her yet another task to live with.  She will move forward in her own way, she always does. 🙂  And although we may not always agree, I will cherish her none the less. 

Mother and I 2014
My mother and I at Christmas 2014

 

I am wishing her much love, much joy, and much comfort the rest of the days of her life.  I love you Mom and thank you.

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