Tag Archives: children

Baby birds and healthy meals

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A couple of weeks ago now, I moved my oldest daughter into her first apartment. She packed up the boxes, I helped her unpack a few. We went shopping for some of the necessities of single-living that she wasn’t able to pay for right away – dish detergent, broom, etc… We discussed the best way to buy groceries on a (very) limited budget: meal plans. And then I came home to my house. That evening, as I prepared a yummy dinner that featured pork chops and organic veggies from my CSA bag, I was struck by an unexpected bout of guilt. Guilt that I was making a healthy, not-so-frugal meal that my daughter and grand-daughter were unable to partake of. They only live 20 minutes away. But their meals will be based around cheap staples, 101 ways to use ground beef, and probably not a ton of fresh (certainly not organic) veggies.

That feeling hasn’t hit again, thankfully, and I’ve even seen a post on Facebook that featured a decent meal she created all by herself. I’ve begun to feel a little more comfortable with the idea that they’ll be able to make it. And by “make it”, you know I mean “keep their clothing clean and ingest a vegetable at least once a week.” 🙂 Sometimes, it really is necessary for the baby bird to be shoved out of the nest.

I have wondered if my mother worried about these kinds of things when I moved out. I was single and living on my own for approximately two months before meeting my first husband, who promptly moved in with me. I had my oldest the next January. I figured out how to apply for WIC, how to deal with the county health department when I didn’t have health insurance, and how to appeal my denial for health insurance when I could finally afford it but it was outside of my employer’s “open enrollment” period. (I won.) I don’t remember asking my mom for advice for these things, but I also don’t remember her being much of a worrier. I think she just assumed all would be well. Of course, I was 25 when I moved out, and didn’t have a baby yet… but still. Surely she worried just a LITTLE.

Perhaps I should go dig out her journals and read a little about her feelings on the subject. Or perhaps it’s best to just keep looking forward and expect success. Seems like it worked for me.

 

 

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Sha-ZAYUM!

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Do you remember that show from the 1960s called Gomer Pyle? It was about the mis-adventures of a young man in the Army, and his favorite exclamation for anything that was surprising, or shocking, or just out of the ordinary and unexpected was “Shazaam!” But he pronounced it sha-zayum because he was from North Carolina, where people are even more hick than they are here in Northwest Arkansas. That might be an sweeping generalization.

Today is the day that my baby daughter goes off to basic training for her career (at least for the next six  years or so) in the U.S. Army. She hasn’t decided if she’ll go regular or reserve or National Guard, and won’t have to make that choice until she’s about to graduate from college. And I have been assured by several people in uniform that she WILL get to graduate from college before she is sent off anywhere with a loaded weapon. I won’t say I was hard to convince, but I will share that her recruiter told her that the meeting with me “Wasn’t as bad as [he’d} expected.” Yeah, I’m that mom.

But I’m that mom because she’s this baby…

ImageYes, it’s true, I make adorable babies. She inherited that giant dome from me… bless it.

But those adorable babies grow up to have their own babies while still in high school… or they join the Army. I’m still waiting to see what level of Dante’s hell the Boychild will put me through as a teen. Lord help me.

Today we are driving the sweet baby daughter to Little Rock for her intake requirements at the MEPS center. Now, I joined the Army Reserves when I was younger too… but I was 24. I was already way past cute. My mother isn’t here to argue, so I’ll just state that as fact. One day I will have to go back and read her journals around that time and find out what she thought about all that… I made the decision and signed up without discussing it with her first. Yeah, I was that kid.

Side note: Given all that I and my siblings put mom through here on earth (not to mention 11 months of cancer treatment) I’m sure she’s somewhere unbelievably posh in the afterlife. 🙂

At least the Army is putting the baby girl up in a nice hotel (The Peabody!), before they ship her off to North Carolina for six months of 4 a.m. roll calls and 10 minute meals and snot fests at the gas chambers and communal showers. Good times.

So, here are the images I’ll be keeping in my head today. I know they won’t be there for long, and I’ll have to accept that the baby girl has grown up. But today – TODAY, this is what I see.

“Sha-ZAYUM!”

Baby Girl in Crocheted Dress

The Bug at 1-year-old. Her dress was worn by her sister, me and my mother in our 1-year-old pictures as well.

Baby Girl on the Fayetteville Square

At the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market in 1996 or 1997. When her hair finally started growing, it was a sight to behold!

Oh, hello June.

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My youngest daughter is 18, and she has been enlisted in the U.S. Army since last fall. So, we’ve known since that time that she’s headed off to basic training this month to get fine-tuned according to the military code and training schedule. She’s been having mini-panic attacks in the last month or so – homesickness is making a pre-emptive strike it seems. I assured her she’ll be fine, and that once she gets there and gets busy she’ll feel better. And of course, she’ll be home next November.

Last month, my sister was offered an amazing career opportunity in Portland, Oregon. She’s been looking for a new job for a year or so, so I’ve known she was going to go somewhere for quite a while. But Portland… well, it’s not a long weekend’s drive away.

Today, my oldest daughter (and mother of the Grand-Cuteness) found out there is an apartment available at a transitional housing program for single parents called Havenwood. She and her daughter have been living with us, and she’s been on their waiting list for a little while. They’ve called before, but she wasn’t making a steady income… and simply wasn’t ready to make the leap. This time, she’s ready to go. She’s understandably nervous about the idea. She’s afraid of losing her job, and the instability that would cause. But of course, that’s what all “grown-ups” worry about, right? I assured her that life is unpredictable, and that this experience will help her gain confidence and be ready to be truly independent when she leaves there. And a healthy pocketful of fear is not a bad thing.

Daughter & Grand-cuteness

The oldest and the Grand-Cuteness.

So, suddenly, June’s theme is going to be about leaving.

It’s odd, this piling on of things. It reminds me of August 2009… that month my youngest daughter decided to go live with her father and my mother died. It was fairly devastating – dealing with those two loses at the same time. I think I shoved the grief of losing my daughter deep down and haven’t really dealt with it. The grief of losing mom was more than enough. But with my daughter it was not a loss as much as a feeling of rejection and failure. Strange how things come along in rushes like this.

This month will be different… since I know that I’m not losing anyone permanently, but I’m sure there will be some tough times here and there. And of course, I’m also looking forward to some of the changes. Cleaner bathrooms, spending time with my oldest that don’t involve lecturing and griping… cleaner bathrooms…

I don’t have anything wise or witty to finish with. I simply needed to put down the words. Sometimes that’s all I can do, I suppose.

Tell Me A Secret

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We all have secrets. Some of us keep secrets from our spouses – the fact that your credit card balances aren’t quite as low as you claimed, or maybe the fact that you were engaged to someone else before you met them. But what about secrets that would be appreciated, or even cherished, by someone else… but you decide to keep them to yourself. Have you ever been selfish with a memory?

As my husband has been receiving updates from his step-mother and watching his father suffer what is probably his last battle with a lifetime habit of cigarette-smoking, we have talked about his feelings and how I can support him through the child’s journey he’ll be taking as his dad goes through treatment. One evening we reflected on my mom’s cancer battle, and he suddenly said “There’s something I haven’t told you before.” Obviously, in other circumstances, I might worry about this statement, but in context I simply wondered what he could be referring to.

His tears welled up a little as he confided a secret he’s kept for over 3 years. The night before mom died, as my siblings and I wrapped up an evening spent laughing (loudly) and telling stories in her hospice room, we each said our good-nights to her and headed out the door. Rick was the last to bend over her and give her a kiss, and he told her he loved her. She was heavily medicated to relieve the seizures she was experiencing due to her brain tumor, and had not been responsive or able to communicate for a couple of days. We were hopeful that she was able to hear us, but unfortunately we didn’t get to hear what she may have wanted to say to us. But when my husband said goodbye, she responded to him. He doesn’t recall recognizing any words, but she mumbled. She recognized that he was communicating with her, and she let him know.

Mom was probably the closest thing to a real mother that my husband had, but they had only a short time together – almost exactly 6 years. She was never one to mince words, nor did she hold back when heaping praise. She took Rick in when he moved here, unemployed and broke, from Colorado to marry her daughter and be her grand-daughters’ step-dad. They had so much in common it was kind of funny. I used to joke that he married me for her. 🙂

We left my youngest brother with mom that night to spend the night in the room with her, and around 6 a.m. he let the rest of us know that she had died in the night. I suppose I could be upset that my husband never told me about that night. Some people would be, I’m sure. I mean, she was my mother, afterall. I certainly would have enjoyed knowing that she recognized him. But, I know she thought he was pretty great, and I’m so pleased that her effort to say something to him at least confirms that she knew we were there. I hope that she heard our laughter and knew that she had done her job in this lifetime… she raised four children who will care for each other and be there for each other in her absence. She taught us how to remain positive and move forward through difficult times with determination.

I think it’s better that she didn’t respond to me, because I probably would have wanted to make her say something… I would have asked the doctors if perhaps she wasn’t ready to go. I would have hung on, even when it was obvious there was no point. It was time to let go. She said what she needed to say to the person who needed to hear it. I’m glad he has that special memory… but I’m also glad he finally told me about it.

The Boy-child entertains again!

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All kids say hilarious stuff. Some moms write it in journals. I share my son’s witticisms with you. Are you lucky or WHAT??

Today, we have TWO moments of hilarity:

On the way home from soccer this evening Enter Sandman by Metallica came on the radio. I told the Boy-child that it is a classic song, and turned it up a bit. I then instructed him in the proper way to “head-bang” along with the beat…  He attempted the move for an 8-count or so, then he announced that he doesn’t like it, because it made his head hurt. I guess his future is in folk or bluegrass instead of metal and prog rock. Hope daddy’s not too disappointed… 🙂

Then, tonight as we were watching Glee on Netflix (haters, move along!) they sang You Can’t Always Get What You Want. The Boy-child said “That’s just like me.” He likes to sing, so I asked “Do you sing like that?” “No.”  He likes to dance, so I asked “Do you think you dance like that?” “No.”  Out of ideas, I asked “What part of it do you think is like you?”

“Because I can’t always get what I want.”

Preach it, son.

The sweetness of Boy

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My son is my third child. The last I will carry and birth, and my only son. I’m sure my daughters said things that made me laugh out loud, or swell up with pride, or just smile that “how can I love you THIS MUCH???” kind of smile that moms wear at times… but my son just seems to make me do those things more often than I remember my girls doing. Maybe I’m just old and forgetful.

While on a family weekend trip this weekend, the following things caused that smile to appear on my face:

I came out of the cabin to join my hubster and son at the picnic table on the porch, wearing my new navy shorts and white peasant-style blouse, and my son said “Mommy, you’re pretty!” I should note that I had no makeup on and my hair was still wet from my shower…

Yesterday morning, as we were waking up, the boy was overheard saying to the hubster “Daddy, you’re the best daddy ever.” Hubster, being one who needs explanations, asked why this was. The boy said “Because I love you!”

Like a Hershey’s chocolate bar squished between burning marshmallows, my heart melted…

My silly, silly boy…

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talking griffin

Okay then, my son has been full of crazy comments and weird behaviors since he was able to talk, but I haven’t written about any in a while.

Tonight he had leaned over onto his daddy while we’re watching t.v., and his daddy started saying “I love your hair, I love your forehead, and your left eye…” and I said “I like your shoulder…” and the boy chimed in…

“I like my booty. And, I like my wee wee too.”

Oh the joy of boys. 🙂