Category Archives: Reflection

Finding Success in Failures

So, it’s been a super long time since I’ve wrote but something happened today that was well worth writing about.

My daughter is now 23. (Yeah, 23, as in years.) She graduated nursing school in December (so proud!) and took her board exam yesterday. She messaged last night, devastated that she did not pass. Being the Mom I am, I immediately spouted words of encouragement: ‘suck it up buttercup‘, ‘failure is only when you quit tryin‘…blah blah blah…but I could tell it wasn’t what she really wanted to hear at that moment. She was hurting. Sometimes the last thing you want to hear is ‘keep your head up’. Sometimes you’re just hurt and you just need to feel the pain. It was tough, but I shut up, told her I love her, and let her be. Sometimes we need to be mad at ourselves. We need time to reflect…we just aren’t supposed to stay there.

This morning she texted and confirmed she did not pass. My heart wept inside. I sympathized and started with the encouragements: she can try again; not the first to fail. Then she texted something that shocked me “I’m trying to stay positive. I’m surprisingly happier than I would have anticipated.” I assumed she had come to terms with it and was relieved. My girl is not one to give up.

We continued texting and I told her that I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason, even in what appears to be bad. I told her that maybe there is something she needed to learn yet that will help her save a life one day. This is God’s way of making sure she knows it. Her reply? She’s actually happy she didn’t pass – she didn’t want to ‘barely’ become a nurse, she wants to knock it out of the park.

Then I saw that she announced to the Facebook world: “Well folks, I didn’t pass this time around. but I’m staying in good spirits. Some of the best nurses I know had to take the exam twice. I’m just gonna study my tail off and kill it next time.”

Bottom line is, it’s hard as a parent to watch our kids struggle or fail. We want to help them, heal the boo-boo’s, wrap them in bubble wrap and shield them from the pains of the world…but we can’t and we shouldn’t. Sometimes we need to fall. It’s only after a cold that you realize how great it is to be able to breathe without your mouth open. When we fall we learn the most, both about the world, and more importantly, about ourselves. The world is rough; the world is harsh. We are flawed, but we are also resilient. Attitude is truly everything. You can be down on yourself, beat yourself up, but don’t stay there; at some point we need to admit what we did wrong, let it go, and truly resolve to do better the next time. We have to find the light in the dark, even if that means being the one who builds a fire.

I thought I was proud when she graduated, but surprisingly, I’m actually more proud of her attitude after not passing the board exam. It shows she has the ability to turn failure into success; to see the good even in the most painful of times. It shows that she is resilient…mature. I feel confident that when failure strikes again, she will prevail. As a parent, that is one of the best attribute we can hope our children possess: perseverance. The only true form of failure is when we stop trying and she isn’t stopping. That’s my girl!

 

Before You Know It

Happy Monday, folks. Well, I’ve had my coffee and have succombed to the morning, so it’s happy, but more so because I say it is. Plus, I woke up. That’s a bonus.

It seems my emotional state has been heightened lately. Maybe that is partly from not living on our own yet. I love his folks but not having your privacy takes it toll. And maybe part of that is being away from my kids. Maybe not being away, but realizing that they are all adults now. They don’t need me like they use to. They still need me, of course, but now it’s different.

I became a grandma in September 2012 and again in April 2013. Seeing my boys with their own children…that’s just a crazy feeling. People tout how great it is being a grandparent – and yes, it is all that but there’s another level that is often overlooked: seeing your child become a parent. The look in their eyes when they hold their child. The concern in their voice. It brings back memories of when I held them. And now, look at them, holding their own.

Missouri-139-v2 Mom use to tell me that you always worry about your kids, no matter how old. Man. Was she right. I pray for their marriages, for their kids, for their health, for their jobs, for the ability to make good decisions and cling to their faith. It’s never ending. And yes, Mom was right. The worry gets bigger as they get bigger. It’s no longer just a matter o worrying if they will scrap a knee or get their feelings hurt at school…

We also hear oh so often how “I’m turning into my mother/father”. Well, I definitely feel like I’m looking through different lenses. It’s like I’ve crossed another threshhold. Like when I watch my kids with their kids; I think to myself “So this is how my Mom felt.” It makes me miss her. My older siblings do not know how blessed they were. I was 33 when Mom passed. (And in that instant, I turned 5 again.) She didn’t get to see my grandkids. She didn’t get to meet Dave. She didn’t get to see me overcome my addictions and really make something of my life. I believe she is still around me. Albeit not the same, I find comfort in believing that she visits and knows how happy I am and how far I’ve come. I believe she sees that all the prayers she prayed for me, worked.

I guess what has gotten to me is, the realization that time doesn’t stop. Some threshholds are bigger than others… I can recall hollering for my mom to watch me do flips on the clothesline pole. I remember her opening the back door and hollering for me when I didn’t want come in from the rain. I remember her disappointment when I was caught playing sick at school and she had to come pick me up, when I stayed out past my curfew, when I dropped out of school. I remember her walking into the hospital room the day I gave birth to my first child. I remember her in her wheelchair, being there for my first college graduation. I remember that call at 4am that she had a stroke…I remember seeing her. It didn’t look like her. I remember her hospital bed in the living room and sitting on her bedside, crying when she asked what I wanted after she passed. Some day that will be me…I can only hope that I have a slue of grandkids, a book of stories, and all the aches and pains that come with age. And I can only hope that I’ve instilled good values in my children who will pass them on to their children, who will ultimately carry it forward after I’m gone. Maybe that’s why I’m so into photography. It’s a way you can stop time. Capture a memory, share it and relive it.

So, what’s the moral of this post? Heck. I don’t know. The old cliches just don’t seem to cut it anymore: ‘Live life to the fullest’, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’, ‘Give it all you’ve got’…when we reach the end, who knows what happens next. All I know is, we will all makes mistakes. We will all have some type of regret. We will all fall down and hopefully, we will all get up better than we were before. We will all have good memories and yes, they will be sprinkled with some bad. I guess the moral is, own it. It’s yours. Take photos. Document your life. Leave behind something good. Be grateful for today, be grateful for yesterday and for as many tomorrows as you can get. Embrace the good and the bad and all the treshholds of life. It’s over before we know it.

Expanding the Tree

Well. I was woke up early today. Thought it was my alarm and ignored it like I’m programmed to do. Lol. My second grandson, Noah, was born 4 1/2 weeks early. His lungs are under developed but his weight is good: 5 lb 2 oz. Please pray for him to recover quickly.

Little bug, Noah

Little bug, Noah

All this has brought a flood of emotions and tears. It amazes me how we can love something so much before even meeting them. Little Noah looks like his daddy. The majority of our stuff is still packed and stacked in boxes in the garage. Wish I could get to the album that has Noah’s Daddy’s baby pictures in it. I did have a couple on my phone. Mind you, these are pics of pics so the quality sucks, but, the emotions are still there.

My bundles  This is all three of my bundles, back in 1993 when my youngest was born. So tiny. 5 lb 9 oz. My kids kept shrinking: 8lb, 1 oz; 6lb 13oz; 5lb 9oz. Lol. I look at this photo and I’m transported back to the hospital on that day. Couldn’t see her the first couple days because I was sick…that was so hard. Amazing how I can transport myself back to that hospital on all 3 occassions. I can recite the hours leading up to their birth, the hours following, but I can’t remember the exact pain. I know it hurt, but I can’t fathom it like I can the emotion I felt holding each one. God does that on purpose. We recall the best, the best. The scars fade, even if we know they are there.

Any who. I keep getting distracted. The point of this blog is just to share the unconditional love of parenthood. The innocence of infancy. The wonderous emotions that come along with being a parent…a grandparent. I look back and I can see all the things I did wrong, but likewise, I can see what I did right. Without my faith, I would’ve gotten no where. I praise GOD for watching over me…and I’m proud of myself for having faith and pulling through the rough times.

I wish my Mom could see this…me being a grandma, my children becoming parents. Her birthday was 4/4, she passed 4/20. Noah wasn’t due until 5/22. I know my Mom would be honored that Noah was born in her birth month. Out of 30+ siblings, neices and nephews, only my brother shares the month with her. And she would just love his name. I know she’s around me, but I’ll always miss her. I guess, what I want to close with is this: today is a day you’ll never get back. Only in memories. So make the most of it. If you regret today, be better for it. And if it filled with a great memory, cherish it. No day is guaranteed. Time has this way of continuing…

 

God, please watch over little Noah and his parents. Bless him and guide the doctor’s so they can ensure his healthy recovery. Tell my Mom ‘hi’ for me. And tell her I’m sorry for all I put her through when I was young and stupid. And thank you, Lord. Thank you. For everything. ~Amen

 

 

 

Aside

I’ve had an urge to blog lately. Fortunately the urge has struck again and I’m at my computer with a little spare time. So, here goes! Hang on…gotta turn Kenny Rogers off… I think some thoughts are going to come … Continue reading

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Behind Closed Doors

 

My furry little buddy...

My furry little buddy…

Who would have thought that my cat would give me something meaningful to blog about? Don’t get me wrong. I love my cat. I am a cat person. I just never imagined gleaning valuable insight from a cute little ball of fur.

I got Mazzy back in November 2012. She was one of many Humane Society residents and I just couldn’t pass up her cute little face. She warmed up to me quickly and the same to Dave after I brought her home a couple days later. Sure, she was super curious about her new surroundings when I brought her home, but she didn’t run and hide or act especially fearful from day one. She’s my little buddy. Well, until she decided that using our bedroom for a bathroom was ok…

mazzy 2Hence, she was banned from entering our bedroom. That was easy; just shut the door. She had free reign over the other 2200 square feet of our barren residence and she was much okay with that. Then, we prepare to move. I don’t need to go into that much – it’s a pain. Short and simple. During the heart of the move we put her in the laundry room  to give her a space of her own and no worries to us that she may dash under someone’s feet or get out of the house. At one point I went into the laundry room to say hi and I couldn’t find her. I started to panic, but low and behold, there she was snoozing away inside the washer where I had put a few dirty clothes. She was so cute. My little buddy.

But that’s not where she taught me something. No. That happened in Georgia. Before the first night we decided she would be restricted to our bedroom. Why you ask? Well, keep in mind we are staying with his folks until our house sells and his mom has a fancy for nick-nacks including a beautiful decorated Christmas tree with all the gold, shiny embellishments cat’s enjoy. Yes. The bedroom would do quiet nicely. With a large adjacent bathroom, walk in closet and myriad of windows, she had plenty of space to explore. (Not to mention the accident on night #1 – we would not tolerate a repeat of said accident throughout the abundantly furnished home of people we love who have never had an indoor pet.) Plus, she has tons of toys. Never had a cat that enjoyed her toys as much as Mazzy does – especially the little ones that look like mice and are filled with catnip…she loves those!

At times I would let Mazzy out – always careful to keep an eye on her and her whereabouts. She enjoys sniffing the tree, chewing on fake plants and perching in the windows. Nothing bad or potentially dangerous for neither cat…nor human. A shake of her treat bag or her dinner food would quickly get her running back to the confines of her room. Yes. At times she meowed like a 5 year old, begging to be let free of her large prison. I could see her shadow on the other side of the door just waiting to dart to freedom once we opened the door. Sometimes she would make off like a sprint racer and slip out the door before we had a chance to close it. We’d let her enjoy her successful escape then, shake, shake: “Want a treat?” Don’t get me wrong. I let her out frequently even if just for a few minutes. I would also take her to my office at times while I worked; although much smaller, it gave her a different space to claim. I didn’t want to be her warden by any means.

Dave’s Mom told me repeatedly to just let her roam. I was terrified. I love these people. I don’t want their love for me stiffled because something got ruined by cat urine or destroyed by the wrath of Mazzy’s jaws. But she hadn’t repeated said accident from night #1 and she was being good when I let her out, so I obliged. I left the door open and let her have free reign over the majority of the house.

And this is where Maz taught me a lesson on life. Keep in mind, she’s only had free reign a handful of times. I just went back into the house a little bit ago and where do you think Mazzy was? Under the dining room table? Perched eloquently on the window sill? Dinign on fake plants? High atop the Christmas tree? No. None of the above. Good ole’ Maz was laying on our bed. She looked up at me as if the say “Oh. Hi.” Then put her head back down and enjoyed her slumber. Door wide open and she chose to relax in what I thought she felt was her prison.

So. Where’s the lesson, you ask? Simple. We often wonder what it’s like on the other side. When we are given restrictions, we want what we can’t have.  We may think we’ve been given a small window to escape so we explore and explore and push the limits of our boundaries, but when it comes down to it and we remove what others deem as restrictions, we realize just how comfortable ‘home’ is. The mystery of what lies beyond loses its flare. If we continually tell our kids ‘no’ – they will inevitably want to do it. And when they do it – they will do it with a vengance. Whatever it is. So, we can drive ourselves nuts trying to keep the door closed and wear ourselves out diverting their attempts to escape, but we have to trust at some point. Let them explore, knowing that we’ve made home is a place where they can always find comfort. And if they get stuck in a Christmas tree, well…we politely help them out, give a little lecture and hope they learn from it. It’s hard to learn anything behind closed doors. Shake, shake “Want a treat?”

Keep Believing

Just wanted to share my good news. Dave got a new job in Georgia, so it looks like I’m moving! Be planning on a great blog to get you up to date once we get settled, but for now, please forgive my absence.

To all those who pull inspiration from this blog, just let me leave you with this. I have struggled the majority of my life, being loved and loving the wrong people. I have fallen, scraping my knees down to the bone at times, I have survived on near nothing, I have had my heart beaten, but every time, I managed to get back up and keep fighting, keep believing. Something in me told me he was out there; I couldn’t allow myself to give up. Now, even my dreams weren’t this good. I don’t know how we found each other or what I did to deserve someone I hold so special. I had no idea it would be like this when we first met. We battled our hurdles eariler on which made us even stronger. He makes me smile, he holds me when I cry and he listens when I need an ear. His touch is better than ice cream. 😉 The part that makes us special is, we just fit. He’s my boyfriend, my love, but best of all, he’s my best friend.

There is no recipe to finding love. There’s no quick fix to silencing the emptiness of being alone. I know it sucks, but we must learn to embrace it, even if we don’t like it. I had finally resolved to giving God the time to bring someone special in my life. When in a bad relationship, I quickly removed myself. I didn’t search for forever in every set of eyes. I gave it time and let God and time reveal things to me. And I saw them, even if it wasn’t what I wanted to believe. Don’t make something more than what it really is.

Put yourself first and eventually you will meet the right one. And if not, you will find something even better: YOURSELF. Everything you’ve ever wanted or needed is right there starring you in the mirror. If you do not agree, then what exactly do you plan to offer the one who loves you? Spent time finding that out myself. I’m just me and I love who I am, even if I’m not perfect. Give yourself credit especially for the small thing. Love yourself like you want to be love. Find out what makes you tick. Pamper yourself, even if it’s just a warm bubble bath. It doesn’t have to cost money. DO NOT allow yourself to believe hateful or negative thoughts, whether it’s someone else saying them, or it is yourself you battle. Don’t worry. That’s normal. I still fight with allowing myself to be happy, too. But don’t worry. We will get through it…together 🙂

Moral of this blog post: Love yourself. 🙂

And if I haven’t said it enough: Thank you Lord. Thank you for being here for me and for putting Dave in my life. Thank you for my children and for walking with them even if they don’t see it. Thank you for my family, our health, my renters, everything! Bless Dave and I as we continue our life together in a new state. Bless our finances and help me find a good job quickly. God, bless our relationship as you have continued to bless me. And thank you again, Lord. Amen

See you in a couple weeks!

Through a Mind of Myriad Memories

I wrote this a couple weeks ago. I could examine why i didn’t post it but i think it would be safe to summarize that i didn’t want to admit my weaknesses out loud. Yet, the whole purpose of this blog is to be transparent. So, without further adieu….

My heart is so heavy right now. The 45 minute drive to work was uneventful yet I enjoyed the time to clear my head. Ever feel like something isn’t right but you can’t put your finger on it? Yeah….it’s one of those days. Maybe it’s nothing, Maybe it’s everything…hell if I know.

I get to work and my boss isn’t here. Very unlike him. In the past couple years I’ve seen him come in 5 minutes late once. Within 15 minutes he sends an email to the team explaining that his father died last night. My heart goes out to him. I was pretty close to my mother and it’s been almost 10 years since she went to be with the Lord. The pain she carried 2 years prior was unbearable. My Dad was right there by her side – the hard working man I grew up knowing. He gave up his freedom to tend to her needs, just like their vows promised. I admire him for that, but I saw in the pain in her eyes; she missed his love. She didn’t just want a bath, she longed for his loving touch. A kind word said out of love, not anger. I saw how incredibly unhappy she was the majority of my life. Always yearning. Always sacrificing. Maybe I still carry that…maybe I still resent my Dad on her behalf. He is a pro at spitting words laced with poison. None of us children escaped his rath. We each endure our own scars.

I’ve always felt that those last 2 years was God’s way of helping us let her go. She was everything to me and I couldn’t bear seeing her in constant pain, restricted to that bed unable to move half her body. Her tears…they tore right through me. She spoke often of death…even before her stroke. For some reason, out of 8 kids I was the one she confided in regarding her suicidal thoughts and her feelings that she was going crazy. I remember her laying in her hospital bed in the livingroom asking what I wanted when she was gone. I hated talking about it, but I’m so glad we did. Those crowning memories just before Mom’s passing are mixed with sorrow and joy. Even if I missed that last opportunity to talk to her, in my mind, not talking to her was the permission she needed to escape her pain. Her baby was all grown up now.

So, why can I not quit crying? I feel there’s a message here. My mother had this 6th sense about me. She would call and just know. Maybe she couldn’t put her finger on it, but when something was wrong, she could sense it. It drove her nuts sometimes. I think I inherited that ability. Something isn’t right. Some may think it’s a gift but it can be a damn curse at times. I’ve ignored these feeling too many times and got hurt in the process, so the feelings can easily turn scary. I miss my Mom calling, I miss her conjecture. I miss those moments where she didn’t get me and it made me mad. Funny how perfect isn’t love, but love itself is perfect.

Why did God take my Mom when He did?? I was 33 but I felt like I was 5. Sometimes…I still do. I still need her. She was the buffer for my dad. She couldn’t fix me, but she listened and she wasn’t afraid to tell me ‘what do you want me to do about it?‘. I know she felt my pain, and felt helpless as well. Being a mom myself, I can relate to that now. She loved me unconditionally, and I knew it. I remember in my late 20s, how often I’d call her just to apologize for being the little shit I was when I was younger. I hurt her so bad. But there’s no escaping hurt in this life. And there’s no picking the ones who will hurt you. Sometimes that hurt severes ties, other times, it creates an atmosphere for a new level of growth.

So many things going through my head…some how the thoughts get polluted churning through a mind of myriad memories. The Bible says not to fear, well dammit, I do. What happened to just being happy?? What happened to the serenity and peace? Why the hell does everything have to be so fucking temporary?? I think hell is sometimes right here, on Earth.

So, where did the strong, confident Angie go? I’m right here, this is just me. If you are going to love me, you better love my flaws, too. I rarely ever show any signs of weakness on this blog…well…here it is. I bleed, I hurt and I cry just like the rest of the world. Usually behind closed doors, in private, but not today. Today I mourn. I mourn my mother. I mourn the little girl in me and her arduous memories. Maybe it’s nothing and I’m just letting it get the best of me. Maybe it’s so small that it doesn’t matter. Maybe I am just like my Mother…