Friday, March 8, 2013

See You When I See You

Yesterday, I told you I had a lot of cousins.  I do.  And I'm close to most all of them.  Even my 3rd, 4th, and 5th ones.

But one of them is extra special to me.  She's one of the few family members I have from my dad's side.  And after knowing her my entire life, in the last 6 years she's become more than family to me.  She's become one of my very best friends.

And she's leaving me tomorrow.

She has found her dream job and dream man in another state.  And she's moving away.  I can't fathom trying to say goodbye in person.  So here goes nothing...


Dearest Cousin:

The past six years have been so much fun.  All the therapy sessions; all the shopping; all the trips, and lastly (and most importantly) all the concerts.

All.  The.  Concerts.  (I lost count after a dozen.  I almost posted pictures from them all, but that would take several...several...several blog posts.) 

We could probably buy a new car for all the money we've spent on concert tickets.  But I wouldn't trade it. 

You have become like a second big sister to me.  You have become a confidante for me, a counselor, and a best friend.

I am so very, very proud of you.  To see all that you've been through and how you've handled it is an testimony  your strength and God's grace. 

From our countless trips to see Jason, to our adventures to visit Trackpants, to stuffing dozens of bags for the Ladies conference, to our Family Feasts... you have given me memories that I will cherish forever.  I will miss you more than I can ever actually voice.  Driving by your little white house and knowing you're not just a 10 minute trip away will make me so sad.  But I can't wait to see what God has in store for you.  I can't wait for all the shopping at your new house.  And all the concerts and sporting events you'll be able to sneak me into.

I wish you nothing but the very best of luck.  I expect texts, emails, and pictures often.  After the excitement wears off, come see me and come see me often.  There will be no one here to replace you.  Your seat in my van will be empty. 

I love you so much, Cousin. 

See you when I see you...


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What Happened to Helpfulness?

What has happened to helpfulness?  Just pure, straight from the heart goodness?  Why are we so shocked anymore when someone is helpful?


Lemme tell you a little story...actually two little stories...
Where I work, every Monday morning, new jobs are posted.  And they always post the location.  Some are by territory, some can be negotiated, some are by specific location, and some are even virtual.  (And some, especially the DC positions can be virtual but they don’t advertise it till you negotiate it.)

One particular posting said – “Mid Atlantic Territory.”  I thought, “I wonder if I’m included in that?”

So I emailed the person it said to contact with questions and asked if my city was considered Mid-Atlantic.
The response I received was this, “The locations are listed in the posting.  Let me know if you have further questions.”
Really?  REALLY?  It took you longer to type that response than to say, “No, I’m sorry it’s not.”  Or “Yes, it is considered Mid-Atlantic.”  That's just laziness.  I wanted to slap that recruiter via email.

And now for Story #2
I was pregnant with the Princess.  (Hugely preggo.)  It was about 5:15 am on Black Friday and all I needed was an extension ladder for Mr. DDA.  I stood in line at Home Depot like the dutiful wife.  And began to feel extremely woozy…for lack of a better term.  I got really hot, even though it was probably 34 degrees.  And began seeing spots. 

I was going to pass out.  All xxx pounds of me was going to hit the sidewalk.  I wanted to leave...just call it quits and go home.  But all Mr. DDA had asked for that year was this ladder.  So I looked at the guy behind me and asked him to save my spot while I went and sat in my car for a few minutes. 

Probably 20 minutes later, the nice man behind me and a worker from Home Depot came out to my car and knocked on my window.  He asked if I was ok and what I was there for.  I told him I wanted this ladder.  When I got back in line, the gentleman behind me said that he called inside the store and explained what was going on.  And that when the doors opened, they would have my ladder, in a cart, waiting for me at the cash registers.

I was floored.  They really went out of their way on the busiest shopping day of the year.  Talk about helpfulness.  I emailed the store, headquarters, everyone I could think of so I could thank them.

Each event left a lasting impression on me. 
Why do we sometimes go out of our way to be difficult?  I know it's rough out there.  We'd all like to be Melinda Gates, married to a billionaire and spending our days buying third world countries and giving away money.  But I'm not.  And you're not.  And I doubt Melinda Gates reads a debt blog.  That'd be pretty ironic.
But I just think that all of us touch someone every day.  And our interaction can be what defines the department, company, agency, or even Christians as a whole.  (I remind Mr. DDA of that all the time.  When he's unlocking someone's car for his 4th time that day.  That one event can be what decides that person's impression of all of your department.)
I'm always lousy at ending my blogs.  I can write a whole blog and not an ending paragraph.  So, I'm just going to say what my Nanny told us all, a gazillion times while we were growing up...
"Be yeeee (very Southern) kind, one to another, tenderhearted and forgiving."

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I Am a Good Mom

I am not the perfect mother.  According to many people's lists, I'm not even a good mother.

If you google "perfect mom" this is what comes up...hysterical.
I do not buy all organic food or grow our own tomatoes.  We do get happy meals from McDonald's on routinely, every two weeks on Sunday afternoon's when my spouse is working.  They don't eat all their vegetables.  I even let them eat white bread sometimes.

I do not make my kids' birthday cakes from scratch.  I usually buy them...from a store.  And that's if they have a birthday party.  My kids don't even always have birthday parties.  Sometimes it's just dinner, at a restaurant, with us and their grandparents. 

My kids probably watch too much TV.  I don't paper-mâché.  I don't do crafts with them to document their artistic inspiration with elbow noodles and popsicle sticks.  My idea of bonding time is watching a Christmas movie with my kids, in May, eating bowls of popcorn...microwave, to be exact.  Out of store bought "popcorn" bowls.

My kids haven't been to a Mickey Mouse, Sesame Street, or Dora the Explorer "LIVE" event.  We've been to the circus - once.  And saw Disney on Ice...with free tickets. 

I am not always home in time to do homework with my son.  4 out of 5 nights, Mr. DDA does homework with him.  I have to ask to sign the homework slip every once in a while so I at least look involved.

My kids are not in soccer, karate, tee ball, ballet,, and French lessons.  ALL AT THE SAME TIME.  We're just now trying out pee-wee basketball and I'm about to have an apoplexy.  I can't handle it.   (Can you "have" an apoplexy?  I don't know...forgive me if my English isn't correct.)

I work.  Not like work out.  I work - at a job. I get up at 5 am, leave the house at 6, go to an actual office, and most nights don't get home til 12 hours later.  Out of every female friend that I went to high school and college with, I only know three of us (with kids) that work...outside the home.  And the other two are teachers so they get all those crazy breaks and snow days.  (I shoulda been a teacher.)
I don't troll Facebook all that much.  But if I do, it's easy for me to feel like a second rate mother.  I, apparently, am not doing any of the things the "best" mother is supposed to do. 

I will never be able to "get stressed" because the clothes I'm sewing for my child just aren't turning out right.  I will never post pictures of my perfectly decorated themed cupcakes I've made for the miniature circus birthday party I'm hosting.  I will never get to stay home with my kids. 

And in moments like these, I have to actually remind myself that I am a good mother. 

I would lay down my life for my children.  In a heartbeat.  I would go without food so that they could eat.  I'd go without...even shoes. 
I want my kids to not just know what it means to be a Christian, but to actually be one.  I want them to see their parents read their Bibles and hear them pray.  Not just drop them off at Sunday school for their weekly dose of religion.

I want them to know what's it's like to go to work.  I want them to know what it's like to give to someone in need.  I want my kids to know what's like to save, and spend, and save more. 

I want them to know that this world absolutely sucks sometimes.  People will hurt you.  People you never would've expected will betray you.  But that that doesn't mean you stop loving people.  And everyone deserves a second chance.

I want to shield them from as much pain as I can, but I don't want to make their life a cakewalk either.  I don't have any desire for them to never know what it's like to want something.  Even if it's just a toy. 

I want them to know what's like to know that their Dad & Mom will always be there for them.  Because we will be.
And in this Facebook perfected world, all those things sometimes don't seem to matter. 

And I may be the only one saying, and I may have to say it to myself more than I should, but
I. Am. A. Good. Mother

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!

Happy New Year!
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Christmas, and every other holiday I've missed with I've been on my blogging hiatus.  (If you've been with me these past two years, you know, I go on them randomly.)
So here were my resolutions last year: 
1.       Lose one dress size - up until Thanksgiving & Christmas I had lost two dress sizes since last year.  Now I have to lose one all over again.  Grr!
2.       Give more.  - eh...I didn't do as great as I hoped. 
3.       Buy fewer shoes. - EPIC FAIL  :)
4.       Try new foods - That's a heck yeah!

2012 was not a banner year for me.  It wasn't bad or traumatic, just one of those growing, painful kind of years that I'd rather forget.  There was a lot that was good like sellingour house, meeting my culinary hero, watching my son start kindergarten...
We survived Hannah's ordeal, the Hokies football team was dismal (although we did pull out an OT win in our bowl game), we lost people near & dear to us, we didn't get our house built - or even started, it was just one of those years...  Oh and to top it all off, one of our babies, Piper, had to be put down...ON CHRISTMAS DAY!  She had a stroke.  It was awful.

But 2013 is all new.  In my OCD brain, 2012 is like a box that all the good and the bad get packed up and put on a shelf.  I don't know that 2013 will be amazing or perfect, but I love getting a brand new calendar and starting over.  (I've been known to throw away a whole calendar if I put someone's birthday on the wrong day.)  I love starting new file folders.  I love fresh starts.  And the new year is always a time for fresh starts.

I know, some people don't do resolutions.  And it's fine if you don't.  I like it.   I like goal setting.  So, here are my resolutions this year:

1.       Give more.   I'd like to, as a family, take on a missionary or two and give to them every month. 
2.       Try new foods at our regular restaurants. 
3.       Lose one dress size.  (AGAIN!) 
4.       Read my Bible through this year.  Our church got these amazing Bible reading calendars that will have us read the Bible in a year and Proverbs each month.  (I used to do that in college.  It was a good habit I got away from.)
5.       Run, really run, a 5k.

So there you have it.  (I gave up on the buy fewer shoes...I should add build a bigger closet to my list.)
Happy New Year!  Enjoy every minute of it.  There are only 525,600 of them.