Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shut the front door

One of my sister's had sent me a picture of a wreath a friend of hers made. Oh? I love a well-crafted wreath, but usually they're $50+ and I don't pretend to be gifted in the art of wreath-making. I'll try just about any other craft, but somehow I don't see wreaths and I getting along. Usually they're more than I'm willing to spend on something I'll only hang a few weeks out of the year, but when my sister said she makes them for $40, I was all, "Shut the front door." I can manage $40. The image she had sent was a burlap and hydrangea wreath. Perfect for a spring or summer, but I wanted a fall wreath. My wish was delivered. Now I want a wreath for every season. Adds a little bit of happiness to our entry, even if the only people who can appreciate it are the occasional visitor and myself when I go to check the mail. Love the "G" nestled in there. Initials make my heart pitter patter.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A forgotten post: This is what my mother looks like

This last weekend I had the honor of attending my neighbor's baby shower. I say honor because I'm lucky to have such great neighbors. Even though we have both lived here for three years, we've just recently decided we should do more together. {Maybe it's having kids that finally make you neighborly and part of the elite league?}
During this shower, the host decided to forego games and keep it simple. Instead we went around the rooms telling the mom-to-be what we learned from our own mothers. Expecting a daughter, we were supposed to offer the mom an anecdote of something she might teach her own daughter. I thought it was a lovely and more spiritual way to honor this woman as she approaches motherhood. As all the mostly late 20s women went around the room, I was definitely overcome by their words. They listed strength, courage, creativity, religion in their stories. It was touching and beautiful.
I was never more thankful to be last. 
What do I say about my mother? What did she teach me? My mother wasn't what these women painted of their own mothers. Mine was a struggling single mother of six mostly grown children and two young children {my sister and I}. She was a "recovering" alcoholic that would see herself go back to school and get her degree. A worthy goal by any means, much less a single mother. But she wouldn't stay recovered and the cigarettes she smoked to ease her stress and worry would be the demise of her health later. 
Although she was strong enough to go back to school, she battled depression and anxiety, and they kept her close to the bottle most of her short life. These things kept her away from really truly being the mother these women described and I'm sure the mother my mom envisioned.
But she didn't leave me without anything. For certain I persevered. I weathered the drunken bouts, the poverty, her middle life crises as she lost both parents, and then eventually, her illness and death. But while these women listed attributes of their mother, I listed the one thing she gave the world: 8 children. I talked about how my mother gave me family that would always be my safe haven. Ready-made friends and sometimes mothers {and father}. The best thing you can give your child is family, a strong family with an unbreakable bond. 
I don't have all the fond memories like these other women have of their mothers, but maybe I have something better. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bonfire, pumpkins, and hayrides

This past weekend my side of the family got together, more on account of my dad buying a lake house and spending the weekend there (which sadly, I hardly took any pictures of...bummer), but before we did that my sister Rebecca put together a sweet large bonfire. It was out in the middle of her new husband's (congrats!) pasture. They put out hay bales (so fitting, right) and pumpkins. We gathered around the fire, the kids took Gator and mini back hoe rides (when in rome), we ate turkey chili and grilled hotdogs over the open fire and so many other good foods that made me have to pop my button (you know you do it too). There was even apple bobbing that was more splash party for some (I'm looking at you Brody Bear!) And when the sun went down, we had a hayride through the pasture. If it sounds like something out of Martha Stewart Living, it could have been. It was so fun and really made me think how special family is, and how I'm glad that my family loves to get together and enjoy each other company. There isn't any drama. Just enjoying all the kids, laughing, and occasionally picking the hay out of your butt—I'm not kidding, we were all picking. I even got a few pictures, but I won't share here. I fear retaliation.