If We Make It Through December. The title to an old Merle Haggard song. I actually love that song. I always have.
The last day of November and I’m already singing that song. I spend more money during the first part of December than I do any other time of the year.
I love Christmas and I love watching the grandkids enjoy the holiday.
While I love Christmas, I hate cold and wet weather. With that said, I still hope and even pray for snow on Christmas. Yes, I’m a bit strange.
We rarely ever get snow in Texas. So a white Christmas would just seem extra special to me.
Even though I hate cold weather there is something about being in short sleeve shirts or even shorts at Christmas that doesn’t seem right! I don’t think that will be true this year, but don’t know yet if we can even hope for snow.
Tomorrow is the first day of December. I only have one more gift to by for Christmas. A bit unusual for me to be almost done shopping this soon.
One of the longest months of the year for me. And maybe one of the coldest this year.
But it’s Christmas time! So I will happily make it through December this year!
Black Friday for me doesn’t hold the same meaning as it does for most people.
Supposedly it’s one of the greatest shopping days of the year. Well, big whoppity do! I honestly cannot see the importance of going out spending time, money, and stress of fighting to get big sales.
Don’t shoppers realize that merchants have planned for months if not most of the year to mark those products way up in price just so they can put them on sale for Black Friday?
Yeah, I know. Bah Humbug. I sound like Scrooge. I’m not really a scrooge. I love Christmas. I even love shopping for my grandkids’ Christmas gifts. But not on Black Friday.
Black Friday for me is just another day that actually depresses me. Society as a whole depresses me. It’s only the day after Thanksgiving and people aren’t even thinking about family, blessings, and all the things they are thankful for.
Nope, not today, they are out fighting the crowds. Running around like crazed animals in a feeding frenzy. Grabbing items, some people even get into physical altercations over items. It’s completely ridiculous.
Today should be a day to just relax. Enjoy some quiet time at home with family. Not the entire extended family, just the immediate family of your household.
Rest, watch movies and put up your Christmas tree. How often do you get a chance to just be at home and not have to go anywhere? Take advantage of the opportunity.
Reflect a moment. Take time to just watch your kids and talk to them. Truly be thankful for what is right in front of you. I know I am. That way today isn’t such a Black Friday for me after all.
Thanksgiving Day 2019. Again I’m awake before 4 am. It seems to be normal for me these days.
Normal. What is normal? I don’t even know what that word means. Normal is different for everyone actually. My normal definitely is most people’s definition of normal. I’m learned to just accept that fact.
Honestly, I embrace the fact that my normal isn’t normal for most. I kind of like my kind of (ab)normal life.
Our normally abnormal family
My family started out normally enough. My parents, my brother and me with two sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. The whole works just like normal families. We gathered for holidays, even regular Sunday dinners.
Cousins grew up and married. The family extended and we continued traditions.
But eventually, life happened. The family started getting smaller as well as growing. First the grandparents, a cousin and then aunts and uncles.
Wait! A cousin? Yes, one of the youngest cousins. Actually my brother’s daughter. That’s out of the natural order of things. Life was suddenly all messed up. Nothing feels right anymore, not even in our abnormal way.
We are dysfunctionally functional
We only seem to function in a dysfunctional way these days. We are still full of love for one another. We enjoy being together and laugh with each other.
Although, most times we seem to love the anticipation more than the doing. The planning and desire to have family gatherings is more exciting than actually being all together. Because when we all get there it’s painfully obvious who is missing.
We need each other. We need family and need to be together in one place. Yet still after all the planning, the night before Thanksgiving we have canceled the day again, like so many times before. We just can’t do it again this year.
If I could forgive myself first, then maybe I could actually ask my kids to forgive me. All those screw-ups, those bad decisions, and mistakes that affected them during their childhood.
How Can I Forgive Myself
How can I possibly forgive myself for all those mistakes? All those selfish and foolish decisions that I made when my kids were young.
First of all, I can’t understand why I did what I did. How did I not realize that my decisions were going to affect them?
I don’t feel I deserve forgiveness
It’s difficult to forgive myself when I don’t feel that I deserve forgiveness. It’s the biggest, and possibly the one true regret in my life.
The problem with the past is that’s it’s already happened. Most things in the past cannot be changed. There’s no going back to 1992 and reliving that year.
No do-overs. No going back with hindsight and knowing what I know now. Life doesn’t work that way. So I’m left with the regret. But my children are left with a lot more. More than what my apology can make up for.
I Can’t Seem to Forgive Myself
Although I try I can’t seem to forgive myself, but I apologize to my children anyway.
I’m sorry that I divorced your daddy. I’m sorry you spent so many years of your childhood without him being around when he should have.
I’m sorry that I remarried. So very sorry that I married that abusive alcoholic that put each of you through a living hell. I’m sorry I couldn’t have known better at the time.
If Only I Could Forgive Myself
I can continue to apologize to each of you from now to eternity but it doesn’t change the past. My apologies will never change what my decisions put you through.
Apologies will never change the trauma you already lived through. My apologies may indicate that I want your forgiveness. But I’m not sure that I do.
Wanting your forgiveness seems like I can forgive myself and I still don’t feel I can do that. Not yet, if ever.
Honestly, I just want to know that each of you understands that no matter what I did then, do now and always will love you more than anything. I can’t understand why I did not think about y’all more than myself when making those decisions. I thought I was considering all of us and what would make us happy. I can only claim a period of stupidity.
When do you feel the most confidence? Again I’m awake at 4 am and for some unknown reason, I’m thinking about confidence.
Some people have confidence, and some people don’t. There are people that have a lot of it while others have none.
As always I think of my children. All three raised the same way in the same house and yet all three are so different. They each have different kinds of confidence.
When do you feel the most confidence?
What gives you confidence? Is it whatever you are doing at the time? Your knowledge about what you are involved in?
Perhaps it’s the people around you that give you confidence or makes you feel less confident. Can your clothes or how you’re dressed increase (or decrease) your confidence?
When I feel the most confidence
Yeah, I’ve always been self-confident. Maybe a little too much at times. But there are times that I’m even more confident than others.
As a nurse, I was always very confident with my knowledge and skills. When I put on my scrubs/uniform I felt I held my shoulders and head a little higher. I knew who I was and knew I was good at what I did.
I became a nurse because I wanted to help other people. I had a passion for taking care of sick people. The health-care profession was (and still is) my compassion. The time I was going to nursing school was a tough time. It was difficult struggling to work full time with 3 small children while going to school full time. And going through a divorce. Thankfully with a lot of help from my parents, I made it! When I walked across that graduation platform I was relieved and filled with pride. My parents and children were there to cheer me on. Afterwards, my Daddy hugged me (which he rarely did in public) and he said the words “I’m proud of you”. Also, something he rarely ever did/said. That moment between me and my Daddy instilled so much more pride and confidence in my achievement.
Other times I feel the most confidence
Another time I feel the most confidence will probably sound silly. Although if my daughters ever read this, they will get a good laugh.
Clothes do sometimes make the man/woman. ha-ha When I put on my wrangler jeans and boots! Yee-haw! Boy, do I feel good! Not that I think I’m “hot” looking, I mean c’mon I’m 58 years old! But I have always felt good in my jeans and boots.
I’m a down-home country gal. Jeans and boots are what I’m most comfortable in, next to those nursing scrubs. I was country when country wasn’t cool.
Dress me up in jeans and boots then send me off to a dance hall! That’s when you’ll see the confidence make me actually strut! I love to dance! I’m not by far the best dancer around, but I can definitely keep up on those old wood floors. Let’s just say I’m in my element and I cannot hide my confidence!
I sure miss being able to work as a nurse. And I think it’s time to hit a dance hall soon.
Who I was as a child…remembering that carefree, bold and daring little girl makes me laugh. How did my parents deal with me?
I was definitely the wild child in our family! I often wonder what made me so different. I always wanted to bend the rules and push the limits.
Remembering who I was as a child
Only having one older brother that made me the baby of the family and the only girl. I was spoiled rotten. I was a Daddy’s girl. My brother also spoiled me.
Tagging along behind my big brother was my favorite thing to do. He probably got tired of it, but he never complained. He always looked out for me and took care of me. My great protector!
Things I loved as a child
As a child, I loved horses more than anything! Growing up on a farm/ranch we used horses to pen the cattle. But to me, the horses were pets, for enjoyment!
I loved living on the farm
Farm life was great as far as I was concerned! I loved roaming all over those pastures and open fields.
Most of the time I was riding my horse all across those pastures. Every Sunday after church we rode as a family. My parents, my brother and I would all saddle up and ride all afternoon. My momma didn’t really like horses but she rode with us anyway.
During summer months we would stop along the way and take a swim in the lake. I have so many wonderful memories of family times together.
How Am I Different Now
Who I was as a child isn’t much different from how I am now. I still love making memories with family. I love living in the moment.
My brother is still my hero, my great protector! I look up to him in so many ways. He probably doesn’t even realize it. He is my anchor in this world.
My brother is my connection to that perfect, carefree world of our childhood. If not for pictures and shared memories I might think it was only in my imagination.
Who I am Now
Now I am still that same little girl that looks up to her brother.
Perhaps I’m not as carefree. I suppose I’m a little more jaded due to life in general.
That free-spirit and carefree attitude are still deep inside. But the reality is that we live in a totally different world than the one I grew up in. Society has changed. And not for the good!
It’s very difficult to live as a carefree person filled only with love and compassion when the society around you is full of only hate and violence.
That very fact of reality fills me with anger. I miss the era I grew up in, so the little girl I was then could shine through again!
Who inspires me? Have you ever thought about that question? Who inspires you?
Somedays I don’t feel like anyone or anything inspires me. I don’t know if I’m inspired at all.
Who Inspires Me
When I give thought to the question the answer immediately comes to me.
Easily I know right off, it’s my children that motivate and inspire me.
I was never a perfect mom, probably not even a great mom, but I tried. I love my children more than life itself. Always have.
My Children Inspire me
Growing up I was never sure if I even wanted to be a mother. Although I didn’t actually plan the first pregnancy obviously God did plan it.
The minute the doctors laid my first daughter in my arms I had no doubts that I wanted to be her mother. She became my sunshine in life. She inspired me to try and be a mom.
Stepping up the challenge
Five years later when I gave birth to twins I really thought I wasn’t capable of taking care of two infants at one time!
But again, looking down into those sweet innocent faces inspired me to try. Again I wanted to be their mom and they inspired me to try even harder now with three kids.
Being a mom is hard
One might think that being a mom is easy. But it’s quite the contrary! Being a mom is one of the most difficult things to do!
OK sure, a woman can get pregnant, give birth, and raise a child. But it is very difficult to really be a mom and do it well!
My children are now 38, 33, and 33 years-old. Daily I still wonder how badly did I screw up. Did I damage them in ways that still affect them? When I hear or see them do something that I think is odd I quietly think, “Did I do that?”. I can’t help but wonder did I cause them to think or feel that way.
My Mom Inspired Me
Who else inspired me? My Mom was my inspiration! She was my rock! Throughout my life and especially when I had my kids. My mom was always by my side, helping me and teaching me.
Until my mom died, and her death rocked our world, mine and my kids’. Again my kids inspired me and motivated me. Without my kids, I don’t know how I would have gone on without my mom.
Who Inspired Them
My children inspired me, so who inspired them? I’d love to take that credit, but I know it was also my mother that inspired my kids.
I became a mom for the first time when I was still practically a kid myself. My oldest daughter and I tease that she raised me instead of me raising her.
Although at times it almost seems closer to the truth than a joke. Having her caused me to grow up and start thinking of someone other than myself. It didn’t happen instantly, but it happened sooner than it would have if I had not had her when I did.
They continue to inspire and amaze me
All of my children continue to inspire and amaze me. I was a single mom during their childhood. Raising them alone was tough. We always had each other no matter what. Our love and each other are what we depended on.
It’s sometimes odd now when I think how each one of the three grew up in the same house with all the same obstacles. They each went through the same hard times, losing loved ones and raised the same exact way. They shared all the same experiences. We dealt with all those experiences together. Yet each one apparently dealt with them all differently. Each one has turned out as their own unique person due to their life experiences and their own coping mechanisms.
I love each of them so dearly. I’m so proud of them all. I only pray they are happy. Truly happy. And I honestly pray they can forgive me for my parenting mistakes. I also pray that I didn’t screw them up too badly or beyond repair. The mistakes I made were totally out of my own stupidity, never out of not loving them or wanting the best for them.
“Memories Light the corners of my mind Misty watercolor memories Of the way we were. … “
The Way We Were by Barbara Streisand
Memories, when is it time to let go
The above quote is that famous line of the old Barbara Streisand song, “The Way We Were”. Memories are wonderful. They keep the happy times alive in our minds.
But some memories keep us locked in the past and we just need to let them go. Lock them away and keep them in a safe place.
Memories to let go of
Safe memories I never want to let go. Childhood memories of being young, free, and innocent. No worries, just absorbing the love and safety of my parents and family.
Other safe memories are those of loved ones that have passed on to Heaven before us. I need to keep them with me if only alive for brief times again in my mind.
Gotta let go
Unsafe memories do more harm than good. I have to let go of them. For my own well-being and safety. The memory is no longer good or safe. It is no longer a pleasing memory because it never has a happy ending.
Unrequited love or relationship that ended in a break-up is just that. If you’ve tried to rekindle it and it still ended in a break-up then it’s time to move on. Save the good memories only for what they were. A time and a season in your life. Perhaps a lesson, but it’s over. You don’t live there anymore. You aren’t meant to live there anymore. Not in reality and not in your mind. That’s a memory to let go of.
The hardest part for me of letting go of memories is that you can save those memories and travel back there. In your mind, you can dream of those old days. You can even dream up any happy ending you want.
But that’s just it. The thing is that it’s only a dream. It’s your fantasy and you have to come back to reality. Sometimes reality sucks.
The most troublesome memories that I can’t seem to let go of are of the one love in my life that ended with an incomplete story. Our reality was incomplete. We bounced back and forth for almost 30 years. On again then off again. In and out of a relationship with each other from high school until he suddenly and unexpectedly died! So I can play out all the good memories in my mind. I can create all kinds of happy endings. Yet the fact remains the only reality I will ever have is he died. End of story. End of our love story. Perhaps I’ll get around to writing our story as a short story here one day, but now you already know the ending. And honestly, it sucks. But there were some really great memories between the beginning and end that I’m not ready to let go of yet.
I do want some of those memories written for my children to read and have later. Maybe at a time when I’m no longer capable of remembering with detail or able to tell the stories myself.
Early Friday morning as I sit here sipping my coffee at last feeling peaceful. This week has felt extremely long and chaotic.
Not sure what has been the real culprit stealing my joy and peace for the past few days. But finally, the turmoil in my mind is settling down.
Early Friday Mornings
Most early Friday mornings are like this for me. I seem more at ease. I think it’s because even though I don’t work, my oldest daughter looks forward to the weekends.
My daughter and I have more time to talk on the weekends. We normally have our phone call marathons! Sometimes lasting up to 5 hours, depending on what kind of week we each endured.
How do we stay on a phone that long?
Yeah, I know! Up to 5 hours on a phone is an extremely long time. We put the phones on speaker and go about our mornings. Talking, laughing and doing our normal morning things around our homes.
It’s like being together without actually being in each other’s physical presence. I also get to talk to my granddaughter when she comes and takes her Momma’s phone for a bit.
Today I’m relaxed
Today I actually feel relaxed, anticipating a weekend. The weekend before Thanksgiving. For some odd reason, I’m not even as anxious as I usually am over the holidays this year.
Still, I am physically alone yet I don’t feel so alone today. A friend of mine lost his mother yesterday. So a group of our friends was all talking in a group last night.
Perhaps all of us joining together sharing memories, feelings, and prayers helped to give me a feeling of solidarity and belonging. Alone, but never really all alone.
Early on this Friday morning
Peaceful is the one word I can think of to describe my feelings on this particular early Friday morning.
I enjoy this peaceful, easy feeling. Because this is when it’s the easiest to remember just how blessed I truly am. Grateful, thankful and awesomely blessed with family, friends, and to be alive another day.
An Outsider, silently intruding, reluctantly easing into the infusion room greeting the nurse and waiting to take my chair.
Not entering the room with confidence and cheer the way I normally enter a room. But here I am again daring to search for some bit of hope.
An Outsider Silently Intruding?
Do I dare enter this room searching for hope? This somber room is full of cancer patients. Some are young, while some are old. Many look full of hope, yet others seem already defeated. Merely going through the motions.
They meet there week after week, many even need to come 2-3 times a week for their treatments. Some become sicker before they become better. If they become better at all.
Why do I feel like an outsider?
As I enter the room, I always get the same feeling. That feeling of being an outsider, silently intruding on their sacred place of hope.
It is not that I do not feel like I belong there. My doctor feels that I have to have my infusions. That requires that I go here to this infusion room. I am always greeted warmly and even cheerfully by the staff, nurses and some other patients.
I’m not really intruding!
Praying silently, I eased into the room yesterday. Praying as I do every week. Praying for everyone in the room. Also, selfishly praying that I’m placed in a chair far in the back. A chair away from other patients, or near one that is napping and doesn’t want to talk.
Selfish, yes I know. Chatting makes the time pass. Chatting perhaps helps the other patients.
However, chatting with other patients is when I feel the most intrusive! After polite greetings, the first questions are always about what treatment I’m getting or what cancer I have. I immediately feel like the outsider silently intruding, now being forced to announce myself. I hear myself saying: “Oh, I don’t have cancer. I’m ‘just’ getting iron for my anemia”.
My Right to the Hope Room
Yesterday was different. I entered meekly as usual, but I was placed front and center beside a middle-aged, perky looking lady. I was relieved though to see she was reading a book.
Soon after my nurse had my infusion started and had left our area, my “neighbor” put down her book. I tried to look busy with my phone, but it did not stop her. She started chatting with me. Then came the question and I explained why I was there.
My new friend
This sweet blessed woman surprised me with her words. She also changed my perspective.
Sweetly she said: “Honey that isn’t just iron running into your vein. That is your ‘life-juice‘ for without it right now your body can’t stay alive.”
Of course, she went on with more chit-chat, which I enjoyed. Talking about blessings and being grateful. She continued to compare my iron to be just as important to her chemo.
Admittedly, I had never thought of it that way. As I left I realized we never exchanged names. I decided to think of her as Grace. I was blessed to be seated by her. I am blessed to have met her. I continue to pray for Grace. Now I pray to be seated by the ones God wants me to talk to.