Mom’s Affirmation

Mom

December 29, 1996 is a date that will never be forgotten nor will the day leading up to and several days after.  It was the day that my mom passed away.  Her 19th anniversary was just a few short days after this past Christmas.

As a child, Christmas was filled with anticipation and pure joy.  I remember as a kid feeling like I was going to burst as we got closer to Christmas morning.  But I also remember family, family traditions, gathering together and being loved by many.  My mom was the center of all of that.  She handled all the preparations (making cookies, gift buying, gift wrapping, grocery shopping, organizing and hosting the day, and preparation of dinner). Grandparents would arrive and we would all be together celebrating.

My grandma passed away on August 29, 1994. My grandpa passed away on January 30, 1995. And their daughter, my mom passed away on December 29, 1996.  I was extremely close to all three of them and losing all three within 1.5 years  was extremely hard. Christmas has never been the same.

With my own children now, I try and give them the Christmases I remember but deep down there is a missing piece.  That piece that my mom gave our family can’t ever be replaced.

Over the last 19 years I have wished that I could have just one more conversation, one more hug, one more argument with my mom to make it real again. Through the years with the ups and downs of marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, parenting, work/life balance, etc. I have often wished that I could hear something from her just one more time.  There was a moment just a couple weeks after I got married which I will share on another day but that was 15 years ago.

My wish came true last Friday night.  Apparently, I dream very vividly according to my sister.  I thought everyone did but as I described my dream I could remember very specific things that I guess most people don’t generally remember.

Here is my dream. I dreamt that I was at a house, not any house I know today but it seemed like an older house, on a small street almost a country feel to it.  The street was very narrow like the one in It’s A Wonderful Life.  There was a lot of snow and high snow banks on either side of the road.  I was looking down the street and saw a man lying under his small blue car with his head facing out. At first I thought he was working on something so I didn’t think twice.  The next time I saw him though I had a feeling that something was wrong, that he was stuck or injured.  A saw a huge bus trying to get down the snow covered street, slipping and fishtailing. It fishtailed right into the man and his car.  The next thing I know someone was with me and we had the man in front of us who was badly injured.  I ran to the house to call 911.  That was the last time I saw the man in the front of the house.

I then remember thinking I needed to get away feeling emotional and stressed from that situation.  I wanted to be alone so I went into the backyard of this house. I was sitting there looking out into the backyard.  I started to look up and on my right was a tall vacant building.  The very top floor had a corner window that was open and you could see through and out another corner window in the back of the building.

As I looked up I thought I saw something in the window. I thought it was odd because the building was definitely vacant.  As I squinted to see better I saw a person who became much clearer.  It was my mom years ago before I knew her. I had seen pictures of her in her younger years.  As I looked the younger version turned into an older version that I would have known.  As I realized that it was my mom I yelled out to her, “Mom, Mom.”  She looked right at me, with this incredible smile on her face. A smile that I had never seen on my mother before. It was incredibly pure and filled with joy.  When I yelled her name she put her hand out to me.  I thought she was reaching to me but then she put her thumb up and raised her arm.  And as fast as that happened she was gone.

I woke up, laid there very still, and tears slowly dripped down my face.  I was afraid to move for fear that I would forget what I had just experienced.  I laid there for about half an hour going over and over the dream and what had happened so not to forget a second of it.

Everyone will have their own interpretation of the dream but for me it was my mom telling me she was doing great hence that smile.  The thumbs up was her letting me know I was ok too in her opinion.  She made sure I would recognize her and once I did and called out her name she disappeared.

I hope I never forget this small moment because for me it was the biggest moment during a time in my life that I really needed it.  That is partly why I am writing it in my blog.  I want to have it to remind me during tough times that my mom is still watching over me. And I am ok!

I wish you many small moments in 2016.  Love to hear about them so feel free to share.

 

 

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Coloring

Coloring

As a little girl I use to love to color.  It may have been the influence of my mom who was an artist.  My mom’s artistic gene never made it to me, both my older sisters got it though.   Coloring for me was a way to feel like I could create something without having to actually draw the picture.  I can’t draw a straight line.

When I had my two sons I encouraged them to color when they were little but neither one showed any interest.  Any kind of work at school that they had to color came with dread especially for the youngest one. As they got a little older my oldest dabbled in it with felt pictures and markers but it didn’t last long. Both my sisters have at least one son each who enjoys drawing and they are really very good at it.  They definitely got the artistic gene from my mom.

Throughout the years, I continued to give my sons coloring books and supplies for birthdays and Christmas gifts hoping that it would inspire them.  But they sit in the office gathering dust.

Recently there has been a lot of talk about adult coloring books and how it is a stress reducer.  I have seen them in many of the stores and there is quite a variety out there.

One day just before Christmas I walked into a store and saw a huge display of coloring books for adults and decided that I was going to treat myself to one.  So after careful thought I picked Fun & Funky.

I have been looking at the coloring book on my desk since I bought it trying to figure out how to find time to start coloring. But with the holidays I have been just too busy.

Fast forward to New Year’s Eve.  With the idea of New Year’s resolutions swirling around in my head I decided to slow down and open my coloring book.

I sat on the couch coloring away – feeling calm and enjoying the time of just relaxing.  I have to say I can’t remember the last time I have just sat unplugged from any electronics or thoughts of what needed to be taken care of next.

My youngest son started to take an interest in what I was doing.  At first it was sort of a mock, wondering why I was coloring but watching very intently as I carefully picked out my colors and took my time coloring inside the lines. He even helped with color choices and sharpened the pencils with our sharpener before handing them to me.  We were enjoying each other’s company.

Then my eldest son who had been on his many electronics in the same room got up and left the room for a few minutes.  He came back with his felt poster and his box of art supplies, laid everything down on the floor and proceeded to start coloring.  I was in shock but tried not to show it in any way.  I didn’t want  to scare him away.

My youngest son, turned to me and gave me a compliment, telling me how nice my picture looked. He then said he wished he had something to color.  Again, my jaw could have dropped but I tried to stay calm and cool as I told him there were several coloring books in the office.  He said he didn’t want to color from those and said he didn’t have any supplies.  I quickly reminded him of the special gift of markers, crayons and pencils he got last Christmas.  He was eyeing my coloring book so I asked if he would like to pick out something from my book.  He lite up with excitement and carefully picked out a picture of the Ying-Yang symbol.

So the three of us spent time coloring on New Year’s Eve.  It was an unexpected moment but an incredible one.  I had tried so hard for years to encourage them but what I wish I had realized years ago was all I needed to do was slow down and do something for myself and they would freely join in.

Now I wish that theory would work with cleaning the dishes, doing the laundry or vacuuming.  I am always doing those things in front of them but it sparks absolutely no interest in joining in.  LOL

Hope you enjoyed our family’s small New Year’s Eve moment.  I sure did.  I wish you many small moments in 2016.  Love to hear about them and feel free to let me know if our moments spark any memories for you.

 

 

 

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A Christmas Story

How many times have you watched A Christmas Story this holiday season?  In our household, my husband’s father absolutely loves the movie.  He was born and brought up in Cleveland, Ohio.  The movie apparently was filmed in Cleveland but was suppose to look like a town in Indiana. Christmas Day we had both sides of our families over to celebrate the holiday.  A Christmas Story was on continuously all day long so we watched it about 5 times throughout the day.

Our youngest son has been asking for a BB gun for a while now since he attended Cub Scout camp this past summer and learned how to use one.  My husband and I had talked about it as a Christmas gift for our son. But I was a little hesitant about it since he is only 10 years old.  We decided to wait a little longer.   Christmas Day my son came to me because he kept watching A Christmas Story.  He referenced where Ralphie looks behind the desk to find his Red Rider BB gun waiting for him.  He wanted to know when he could get one since Ralphie was about his age in the movie. I told my son that maybe if he worked really hard on his math facts and finished the program that he is working on at school that maybe that would be a great motivator to reach his goals.

The day after Christmas my husband tells me that he is going to take our son over to Cabela’s since he has been asking to go and look around for a very long time.

My husband and I had had a couple of conversations before and after Christmas that went something like this:  Husband – “I would love to tell our son to look behind the desk to find a Red Rider BB gun sitting there on Christmas morning but I know you wouldn’t think it was a good idea.”  After finding out they are going to a hunting and fishing store. Wife asks, – ” You aren’t going to buy him a BB gun are you?”  Husband – “Oh no, we are just going to look around.”

Husband and son go off and come back a couple hours later. Son with huge smile on his face returns with an air rifle BB gun. Son says to father, “I will go get your Red Rider from the car if you want.” Wife says to husband, “You got one too?” Husband says, “Yes, I didn’t want to stand outside in the cold and not have fun too.” Wife gives up!! Merry Christmas Everyone!

It is amazing how A Christmas Story has such an impact on a father and son and creates such a bond between them.  Later my husband said to me, “You should have seen his face light up. I had to get it for him.  He was so excited.”  How can you get mad at your husband knowing what that feeling feels like to see  your child so happy and as the parent you know you made it happen.  My husband got to experience his own small moment in his day.  It is priceless!

 

 

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Kindness… Love…

Red heart in hand

Kindness… Love..

Sometimes it is hard to see kindness and love in a world that is changing before our eyes.  I don’t watch a lot of television but I do see the news on the internet through some media outlets.  The stories are scary, they are all around us, and at times I don’t recognize our world anymore.  I worry about the world my children are growing up in and what my future grandchildren will have to be a part of years down the road.

My blog today is not about the hatred and violence that we see in our world but kindness and love which I believe each and everyone of us has to work harder on so that we can overpower what we are experiencing in our world today.

The other day I was talking to my 10 year old about his friend of about four years.   At 10, having a friend for four years means something because that is almost half of his lifetime.  On top of that his best friend is a girl. I asked him what he likes most about his friend.  His reply, simple but extremely meaningful, “She is the kindest person I know.” I dug a little deeper, what makes her so kind, I asked? She is always doing nice things, she is sweet.  I looked over at my son and felt so proud of him.  One because he is only 10 and he has the ability to see kindness in a world that isn’t always kind.  Two, he is a 10 year old boy – that in itself is impressive to take the time and acknowledge kindness in his friend.

I was talking to my friend who happens to be this little girl’s mom about the two of them.  Apparently, they have been texting each other.  The little girl texted that she loved my son.  What I found out later..  surprised but delighted me.

I was talking again to my 10 year old after school one day.  He told me that his friend (girl) texted that she loved him.  Now I don’t know what I would have said had I not known about it a head of time.  I acted nonchalant and said, Oh, really – what did you say to her?”  He looked at me sheepishly and said, “I told her I love her too.”  Another proud moment for me.  We women probably all have our own stories of when we told a boy we liked or loved them.  And I am sure we all have our own stories of how that turned out.  But I was proud because I knew that little girl thinks the world of my son and I was happy that as she gets older her story about the boy she told she loved will have a great ending.

My son asked me what I thought about that.  This is what I said.  “I think it is great that you could tell her how you felt. Love means many things during our lives.  At your age of 10 it means how you feel right now, you know she is kind and sweet and that is what you love about her.  When you are 16, 25 even 55 when you say those words to someone love will have a different meaning.  But I am very proud of you that you could tell her that you love her.”  He looked at me and said, “I am really surprised because most adults would think saying that wasn’t appropriate, that we are too young.”  I simply said, “Aren’t you lucky, I am your mom.”

We all need to take a lesson from two 4th graders.  When you see kindness acknowledge it. It will make you feel really good but you can’t imagine how powerful your words are for the other person.

Enjoy your small moments in your day! Feel free to share them with us, I would love to hear about kindness and love in our world.

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Living Life

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I have a quick story to tell you.  I was sitting at the kitchen table with my youngest son the other day.  We were talking about school and life in general. The best time to get the most information from him about what is going on in his life is right after he gets off the school bus and it is just him and I at home.

So we are sitting there and we were talking about the phrase, “To live and learn” when he says to me, “I learn so much about life, I must be living.” I started to smile and realized he really wasn’t trying to be funny he genuinely felt that way.  I quickly wrote it down because it is one of those small moments you don’t want to forget.  He is so cute and such a polite, kind boy, sometimes I can’t believe he is mine.

I told you it was a quick story but I wanted to share it because it put a smile on my face.  Hope you are enjoying your small moments today.

 

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Endings… Beginnings..

There are No Endings Just New Beginnings Saying Sticky Notes

It has been almost 5 months since my last blog post.  I have found it hard over that time to find the small moments in a day to write about.  When I started this blog I vowed to myself that I would only write about uplifting moments. But today I hope is the only day that you will have to read about the not so great moment in my life.

Without explaining too much I had a friendship/business partnership  dissolve. And it has been one of the worst things that I have had to personally experience in a long time. When I was 28 years old I lost my mom.  It completely changed my life going forward.  This situation is different and similar in many ways.  My mom and my friend knew everything about me.  They were the sounding board on all kinds of topics. They also knew the right buttons to press to get me going.  They knew my weaknesses and my strengths.  Over the last  19 years since I lost my mom I don’t think I have ever opened up to anyone as much as I did to my friend.  After this experience I know I don’t open up as much just to protect myself.

I often think about what my friend would say about a situation I am going through.  Things between my friend and I were going down hill for a while but that is not the part that I remember the most. Some of my friends think I should be angry and they can’t believe that I never speak unkindly about her. But even after all the painful things said between us what I remember the most is the beginning and the next two years after, all the good times, the conversations, the fun, the support we gave each other. We had each other’s back. She got me and I got her. It was easy.

When you completely trust someone, share same thoughts and ideas on topics it is difficult when gradually you begin to take different roads.  It is hard to recognize that person as the same one you confided in and when the end comes it feels like a tremendous loss.

I know there is a greater purpose for having had that friendship just for those few short years.  And I have tried really hard over the last 8 months to look for the silver lining as hard as it has been.  I know I grew in ways I would never have imagined, learned about valuable skills I never knew I had. I am a better person for having had her in my life even for a short period of time.

So that is what has been going on in my life.  I am hoping that now that I wrote about it I can start sharing some of the positive things that are starting to come my way.  It has been a long road for me but I definitely have some good things happening and I am starting to get excited about sharing them with you.

Thanks for taking time out in your busy day to spend some time with me. Hope you are enjoying your small moments in your day.

 

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Helping Hand

Hand helping a climber man to raise the top

The other day I drove up to the light at the corner of my street and was sitting in line waiting to make my turn.  I was looking around and noticed that cars were moving really slowly through the light so I looked ahead and saw this man parked just past center of the light and he was standing behind his vehicle.  Then I saw a pile of 2×4 pieces of wood dumped on the road.  He was quickly trying to pick them up and throw them into the back of his truck.  As I was sitting there watching this I thought I can’t believe all these cars are just slowly passing him but no one is stopping to help him.

In my head I was trying to figure out if when the light changed and it was my turn could I some how stop and help him.  Would I be of any help because these pieces looked pretty heavy even for him?

Then the light changed and as I was making my turn and was passing the man I saw two gentleman running from their cars across the street to help the man.  I was so glad because he looked out of breath trying to move fast so the spilled wood wouldn’t cause an accident.

When I got close enough I saw a big smile on the man’s face as he saw these two gentlemen running over to help him.  I know this wasn’t necessarily my “special moment” but it made me feel really good to know this man was being helped by complete strangers.  My faith in the goodness of mankind has not been altered.

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Holding Hands

Mother holds the hand of her child

When my kids were little holding hands seemed so natural.  I didn’t want them running off in public and getting lost and they felt safer close by in crowds.

But nothing lasts forever and as they grow up the times that we hold hands has become fewer and fewer.  There comes a time when they feel more independent and they want to branch out or they are with their friends and boys don’t hold hands with their mom in front of their friends any more.

As a mom you know in your heart these are all good signs that they are growing up but there is always that small part of your heart that knows that they are growing up and don’t quite need you in the same way any more.

Last weekend we were in church and we were coming to the point when we hold hands and pray.  Now we have been doing this for years and for the last several years my younger son has been willing but the soon to be teenager sometimes refuses. Most of the time he lets me hold his fist.  Moms can’t get too picky! When he is in a “mood” and doesn’t want me to even hold his fist I generally give him a look like “REALLY” in disgust and let it go for that weekend.  I figure it is a phase and I will go with it.  I try not to make a big deal about it because I find that phases come and go a lot quicker if you don’t put to much attention on them.

This particular weekend I was daydreaming.  Yes, I admit my mind was not paying attention to where we were in the service.  I was thinking about my life and all the things that are going on. When suddenly I felt my soon to be teenage son’s arm push up against mine.  My mind went zooming back to reality and realized that we were about to get to the point of holding hands.

I stopped for a minute and looked at him because this was amazing.  After all these years, every weekend I attempt to hold hands with him during the prayer part not knowing what his response is going to be but keep doing it any ways.   At this moment I realized he has been paying attention and he wants me to hold hands or fists with him.  He just gives me a hard time because he doesn’t want me to think he likes it but he expects it and when I wasn’t paying attention he was.  🙂

I thought to myself,  “See, most of the time I wonder why I even try when I am up against resistance. But here is the proof that a mother should never give up because they really are paying attention. It is their job to try and wear us down but the proof is in the hand holding. They do want to be a part of things.  But there is some hormone or something in them that makes them feel like they aren’t suppose to show the outside world that they care. But deep down inside they do care. They count on us not to give up because they are paying attention, they are learning, they are growing and our jobs are not to stop showing them the way.  They eventually get it and mature enough so they feel comfortable doing the things that they are suppose to do.”

So this was my “small moment”.  I have been having a lot of them with my kids lately.  And I love it!  Hope you are enjoying the special people in your lives.  Time does seem to go a lot faster as I get older and I don’t want to miss out on any “small moments”. Thanks for allowing me to share them with you.  Please feel free to share your moments.  I would love to hear about yours too.

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Bursting with Pride

Garrett Playing King Leodegrance        Colin Playing Piano

Yesterday was a double “small moments” day for me.

First, I started off at my oldest son’s class play, The Sword in the Stone. They had to create all the scenery on their own and came up with their own costumes.  They have been working on all of it for weeks. There were many different parts in the play and my son was given the part of King Leodegrance which had a small speaking part. My son is not one to put himself out there so I was a tad nervous on how he would handle it.  The night before the play I suggested to him that he speak loudly because he tends to be more on the quiet side.

Act One was over and my son was going to be in Act Second.  I started to feel nervous as I saw him get up in front ready to walk out in front of everyone.  Up until this point, all the other kids were really good; clear, loud and showing enthusiasm as they appeared on stage.  They all looked really comfortable. I was hoping that he could pull it off and speak up so everyone could hear him.

Then came his moment.  He came out on stage and with my video in hand I watched King Leodegrance appear; confident, loud, engaging and my heart burst with such pride.  He did it, he looked and sounded great.  I couldn’t have been more proud.  When the play was over he came up to me and I told him how great he did.  He just looked at me like it was no big deal, it was a piece of cake.  But as his mother I know it added one more notch of self confidence on his belt that he didn’t have when he walked into school that day.

As a parent, you wish that you could hand out all the characteristics you want your children to have in the beginning to make life easier and more enjoyable from the start. But you know that it is a process and they have to learn along the way living through experiences.  To recognize when they have just earned one of those essential building blocks in life that will help them on their way to adulthood is priceless.

There have been a few “small moments” over the years with my boys that have brought me to tears.  Not tears of sadness but tears of such pride that overwhelm me. The first couple of times it happened I couldn’t believe how my emotions came out of nowhere but I was so proud of them that I couldn’t contain it.  I didn’t expect such an overwhelming reaction. This had been one of those days for me but little did I know that I was about to have a second “small moment” with my youngest son too.

He recently started piano lessons.  And each day he sits and practices what he learned in his last lesson.  I was sitting at the kitchen table doing work and he was in the room next door playing the piano.  I stopped for a minute to hear him actually playing a song.  I walked in and stood behind him and said, “You know you have had only two lessons but you are really good at it. It is amazing that you are playing a song so soon.”  Without hesitation, he said to me, “It isn’t me, it’s my teacher.  She has the perfect teaching method.” He genuinely won’t take credit for how he is playing.  I said well it might be her perfect teaching method but you are doing the work and you are the one playing the piano so you should take some credit. And he just simply said, “No, it’s her perfect teaching method.”  I just looked at him and smiled.  He is truly a humble kid at 9 years old and he couldn’t make me more proud to be his mom.

So yesterday was a full day for me.  Here’s to finding your “small moments” in the day.  Sometimes they will make you burst with such pride it is hard to contain yourself.  What an amazing feeling it is!

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Hard Not to Smile!

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I was sitting in the hospital waiting room waiting for my name to be called to get blood work done on Wednesday. I was looking around at the other people sitting in the waiting room wondering what their stories were. I have learned over the years that everyone has a story.

There was someone that caught my eye.  She was a woman around my age and she looked petrified.  She was all alone and I felt bad for her. I tried to give her a reassuring smile from across the room but I know it wasn’t helpful.  I don’t like getting blood test myself.  Growing up, whenever I had to get shots or blood work I would pass out but fortunately as I got older I have been able to handle it better. I still don’t like it but I don’t pass out anymore. Later when I was called in I heard this woman ask if she could have the booth where she could lie down to have her blood drawn.  I wanted to volunteer to sit with her. I know how that feels. Sometimes you just can’t control how your body reacts to situations.

I am working really hard to appreciate life and pay closer attention to the “small moments” in my life. Sometimes it is harder than I thought to find “small moments” in my day.  But today I was telling myself that things could be worse.  People were getting pre-op tests done, coming out of the hospital in wheelchairs, there  were going to be people leaving the hospital today having just lost a loved one.

My story isn’t that tragic.  My health issues will be figured out and I will continue on.  I was sitting there in the waiting room looking through my emails from work and checking my Facebook page when I came across this picture up above of a baby in the sink and I had to laugh. It was exactly what I needed to lighten the mood around me.  I couldn’t stop looking at the picture after I read the baby’s comment.  That face is priceless.  I thought it was the cutest thing.  You may not think it is that funny but maybe it was one of those times when someone says to you, “You just had to be there.” But I hope that it made you smile at least a little today. And your story wasn’t as scary as some of the people I saw at the hospital today.

Here’s to finding those “small moments” in our day!  Sometimes in the strangest places!

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