Thursday, September 25, 2014

Love In Stitches

Autumn has arrived. There is a nip in the air, which is a welcome change though I am certain it will be back in the eighties next week. Autumn is my most favorite time of year. The season ushers in wonderful things I enjoy, like pumpkins, craft festivals, homemade soup and thick knitted sweaters. I think of our many trips to the pumpkin patch over the years, but last year is the memory that sticks out most in my mind.

Last year our whole family went to the pumpkin patch together. My cousins and their children, my sister and her children, my mother and father in-law, my mom, my grandma and even my cousin's grand daughter. We took one picture after another, grandma was a little worried about being in every photo and I remember telling grandma she was our prop and she couldn't move until we were done. My cousin Katie told her the same thing. The pumpkin patch we go to is an incredible place and we adore it. There are several photo spots set up and as you can imagine there are one or two that are coveted for family photos. We have a large family so it took us a while to get through all those pictures. There was a niggling thought in the back of my head, though I didn't speak it out loud. I am certain I am not the only one who thought it. I looked at grandma and thought...what if? What if next year... We tried to be considerate of other families, but I have not one regret looking back on it, that we spent so much time taking photos.

My husband, my cousin and I have spent the last few months packing up grandma's house, trying to condense two households into one. We have discovered several treasures. My grandma was a quilter. There has been a sewing machine or three in her house for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, she would make us summer shorts, later on she made us nightgowns. She has made quilts and blankets for her great grandchildren. One year, my daughter Charli was Mother Goose for Halloween and Grandma made her dress and apron. It occurred to me the other day as we unearthed more quilt blocks from the abyss of bins, that my Grandma loved us in stitches.

She spent hours over the course of her life bent over a machine. When her hands were young and sure, when her sight was intact until her hands couldn't remember how and she could no longer see well enough to thread the machine, she loved us in stitches. The time and effort she put into cutting, pinning, patching, and stitching material is remarkable. It's funny how you don't think about these things when you are growing up. It never really occurs to you what a sacrifice of time was spent to provide you with warmth. Grandma sewed and she prayed. She stitched fabric together to provide us warmth for our bodies, and she stitched us up in prayer to ensure the wellness of our souls. They say that some women are born to be mothers...if ever there was a woman born to be a grandmother it was her. It has been three months today since God called her home. I don't let myself cry often. There is still so much to do that I can't completely open the floodgates just yet. Writing blog posts like this, it's like letting steam off a pressure cooker. It releases the valve enough to keep me from a cataclysmic emotional spewing.

When I think back to our pumpkin patch trip last year, my first thought isn't that my daughter fell and bumped her head when she tried to jump between two haystacks, or the subsequent attitude adjustment that she needed later on in the day. I remember my Grandma with a smile on her face, laughter in her eyes, loving on her babies. I remember the kids running and playing together, and producing sounds of childhood. It was a great day. Life is short...take a lot of pictures.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Iron Man & Big Girl Panties...Keeping It Real

They say that which does not kill us makes us stronger. I am not really sure of who "they" refers to. If the adage were true, I could be the stunt double for Iron Man. The amount of self-control it takes these days not to unleash the beast is unfathomable. I have bitten my tongue so much in the past several weeks that I am surprised there isn't a mere bloody stub left. My head is so full of noise. I just need all those rampant thoughts to be quiet and the only way I can get the pressure to ease is to purge them. I probably sound like a crazy person. We all have full plates, things we are going through. I am not alone, however I do wish more people would just own it.
I put my big girl panties on and I wear them religiously every single day. I am accountable for the things I do, and say. I would like to believe that I have faced every obstacle with dignity and grace but that simply isn't true. I have moments I am not proud of but I own them. I don't justify them, or make excuses, or even attempt to defend those moments. When I am wrong, I apologize. The older I get the easier it is to let go of the facade. My life is not perfect. I am up to my eyeballs cleaning up chaos that I didn't have a hand in making. I am exhausted and utterly overwhelmed. I take a few deep breaths, shed a few tears, tug those panties up, say a few prayers and keep putting one foot in front of the other. I am a happy person, not a "Debbie Downer." I always have a can do attitude. The person I see in the mirror lately, I don't even recognize. I am not this frazzled, overwhelmed person that stares back at me.
I am always living for someday. Some day I will feel like I am not constantly dropping the mom ball, or the wife ball. Some day my thoughts won't be so focused on making it from one day to the next. Some day I will have the time and calm to finish that book. Some day the situation that I am trying to take care of will be done and I can have that nervous breakdown I so deserve while sipping a fruity little umbrella drink. Hopefully that some day comes before I need to trade the big girl panties for a straightjacket ;-)