Category Archives: Family

Entitled to a Title

A well-known radio talk show host once said, “I am my children’s mother”. I’d like to take that a step further and say, “I am my grandchildren’s grandmother.” There are only two women who have the title “Grandma” to my grandchildren – me, of course, and my children’s mother-in-law. This is not open to debate – this title is not awarded to the highest bidder and it is not given on a whim. Like every gray hair on my head, I have more than earned the title of “Grandma” – or, in my case, “Nonnie”.

I carried and birthed each of my children. I endured two months of very limited activity to make sure my second child arrived safely in this world. I changed poopie diapers, cleaned up vomit, stayed up many sleepless nights – first as my children were infants and not feeling well, and then as they grew older and were driving – I cried with my children, laughed with them, attended parent-teacher conferences, celebrated their successes and encouraged them when they were not so successful. I spent hours in the ER, days hoping they’d make friends at school, then months homeschooling them, years encouraging them and a lifetime on my knees praying for them.

The title of “Grandma” does not go to ex’s wife, a family friend or an older acquaintance. I am proud of each of my children, the people they have become and the people they are continuing to become. I am proud of my grandbabies. I was not the perfect parent, and they won’t be either, yet we continue to live each day as it comes. I wouldn’t trade being “Nonnie” for anything! Stay tuned. . . .

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The Next Generation

As I write this post, I am anxiously awaiting the birth of grandbabies #2 and #3. Grandbaby #2 is due to enter the world this week, and grandbaby #3 is due this summer. Grandbaby #2 will have my ex’s last name – the little one will be my second son’s first child.

 When I divorced, I took back my maiden name because my married name, for me, no longer held any honor nor respect. I did not want to be tagged with that last name the rest of my life. My maiden name held more honor for me because my dad was an honorable man. I would gladly bear his name. I was concerned about how I would feel once my sons started having children – would I be bitter when I met them? Would I not love them as much as I would love my daughter’s children? That was something I gave a great deal of thought to.

 Of course, I decided that I would love all my grandchildren, no matter what their last name. I looked forward to holding those little ones in my arms and letting them know how much their Nonnie loves them. Grandbaby #1 is almost 18 months old. She is my oldest son’s first child and she is a delight! I look forward to watching her grow into a wonderful young lady.

 My mom was here over Christmas. We took a four generation picture with her, me, my son and grandbaby #1. As I look at that picture, I am overwhelmed with the short expanse of the generations represented. My mom is almost 82 and grandbaby #1 is a little over a year old – 80 years separate the two and encompass four generations. It was also an honor to take a four-generation picture with my mom. She is alive to see three successive generations – her children, her children’s children, and her children’s children’s children. I thank that is amazing! I hope I live to see my great-grandchildren!

 As I look at my grandchildren, the next generation, I am looking into the future. What will these little one grow up to be like? Will they make great contributions to science, art or literature? Will they quietly serve, making a difference in the lives of others? I am looking forward to watching this next generation grow up and move forward in their lives. I will be here for as long as the good Lord allows – encouraging and loving my grandbabies, investing in the lives of the next generation. Stay tuned . . . . .

Making Memories

One of my coworkers was raised in an orphanage. I have been getting bits and pieces of her story over the past few weeks. When I talk about how excited I am for my mom to come for Christmas, my coworker relates a story from her past. She never really knew her mom and knew very little about her dad. Her stories don’t bother me or make me sad, but they make me grateful for the family I have and the memories we made through the years.

I am looking forward to making memories with my mom. As one of six children, I didn’t always have one on one time with my mom. A couple of years ago at a family reunion here in Mytown for my mom’s 80th birthday, she and I shared a cabin. I was so thrilled to finally have her all to myself. We laughed and cried together. I will have those memories forever.

I have the whole Christmas week planned out with my mom. We are going to see two of my children who live in the middle of the Mystate and we will go see my son and his family who recently moved back to south Mystate. We are also going to the Biltmore in Asheville to see the Christmas decorations. I have built in some “veg-out” days where we can hang out and just enjoy each other’s company. Cycle Dude is taking the whole week off, so he will be vegging with us! I am looking forward to the memories we will make during the week. I know that when the day comes when my mom is no longer with us, I will look back on these days and be grateful for the time we had together.

I hope my children will also take this time to make some memories with their Grandma. We will visit my grandbaby, my mom’s fifth great-grandchild, and take a four generation picture with my mom, me, my son and my grandbaby. I will cherish that picture.

Wherever you are, whoever you are with, whatever you do this holiday season, spend some time making good memories. It is easy to have bad memories about your divorce. It is therapeutic to make good memories – to start new traditions, to make new friends, and to be grateful for another holiday season. Have a thankful heart and a joyous holiday. Stay tuned. . . . .

Getting On In Years

I recently found out that my eleven-year old Boxer/terrier mix dog named Jack has cancer. I was devastated! After surgery and consultation with Jack’s doctor, we decided to monitor the tumor since it is a low-grade, non-aggressive type of cancer. It took Jack a couple of days to recover from surgery, but he’s back to his old self. I have noticed, though, that Jack has seemed to slow down in the last year. He is getting on in years and seems quite content to live his life out in peace.

I, too, am getting on in years – but not how you may think. When I refer to “getting on in years”, I refer to the years that have passed since I got divorced. The years immediately preceding and immediately after my divorce were raw and angry – kind of like a cancerous tumor. It took a few years for me to work through the pain and anger.

I am now eight years on this side of the divorce. Life is good again. I have an amazing wonderful man in my life who I love like crazy and who loves me. My pups keep me laughing. I am going to be a grandma for the second time in January. My children and first grand baby are all doing well. My job is good. I have a wonderful church family. I am blessed beyond measure.

I still think about the past at times and remember the pain, the anger and the mess that my marriage had become. Those years were difficult, but they are getting further and further away. Like Jack, I am quite content to live out my life in peace – surrounded by those I love and blessed more than I deserve! Stay tuned. . .

 

Seeing with New Eyes

I had the delightful opportunity at the end of January to visit my grand baby. She and her mom and dad live in another state. I love to travel and love even more to arrive at my destination with someone I adore waiting for me. My little Sweet Pea greeted me at the airport with her mom and dad. Of course, she was sleeping, but it was still wonderful!

I spent the weekend encouraging my son and daughter-in-law, sharing all my delights of parenthood. One of the most amazing things about being  a parent is seeing the world through the eyes of your children. To them, all things are new and exciting. Little ones are fascinated by the seemingly most mundane things – a leaf, a blade of grass, a cow, a plastic spoon – the more mundane, the better. Their curiosity knows no bounds.

As I thought about that – seeing the world through new eyes – I thought about being divorced. At first, I was angry, then relieved. But now, all things are new! I am seeing with new eyes. I no longer see the weekend as a horrible place because I have to spend it with someone I loath. I no longer dread getting the mail because of the kind of advertisements I might find. I no longer hate to check my bank balance because of the questionable charges I might find. (Someone else has to handle all that now. Ha!)

I see my children as amazing adults and parents and look forward to spending time with them. I see Cycle Dude as a treasure. I can’t wait for the weekend to come – to spend time with the man I love and my pups. I love waking up to each new day, knowing that a wondrous adventure is waiting for me. I enjoy my ride home at the end of the day, knowing that three of my favorite people are waiting at home for me – Jack, Shirley and Cycle Dude.

I know that it takes time to get past the pain and anger of a divorce – I get it. But resolve that one day soon, you will see your life and the world with new eyes and with curiosity that knows no bounds! Stay tuned. . . .

 

Things That Matter

Last January, I bought a new car – a Nissan Versa in gun-metal gray that I named Jet. Jet does not have many bells or whistles – he does not have power windows or locks, heated seats or back seats that fold down or  lot of other things. That’s fine with me. He has what matters – the ability to get me dependably from point A to point B. He does that quite well and doesn’t use a whole lot of gas in the process. In fact, I discovered this morning that he also does quite well on snow and ice.

For me, getting divorced took me from a house full of stuff to an apartment full of half that stuff. The longer I lived in the apartment, the more stuff I got rid of. When I moved in with Cycle Dude, I got rid of tons more stuff. Truth be told, I could probably get rid of even more stuff.

Stuff wasn’t the only thing I got rid of. Friends who knew ex and I together seemed to evaporate. I also got rid of a great deal of anxiety, suspicion, and (eventually) anger. I felt like my life was like an onion, peeling away layer after layer. I finally got down to the things that matter.

I don’t have the latest, greatest and most updatest of everything – I don’t need it. Jet doesn’t have tons of bells and whistles – I don’t need it. I don’t have a walk-in closet full of clothes or shoes – I don’t need it. I don’t have a house full of knick-knacks – I don’t need it.

What do I need and what are the things that matter in my life? My faith, my children, my grandbaby, my sweetheart (Cycle Dude), my pups, my family, a roof over my head, food in the fridge and a job that meets my financial needs. My perspective has changed a great deal over the past seven years. My needs are met with simplicity and my wants are few. I find happiness in relationships, not things. I get to come home each day to three of my favorite people – Cycle Dude, Jack and Shirley. And for that, I am grateful! Stay tuned. . . .

 

Blessed

Christmas is only a few days away. I am keenly aware that this time of year can be incredibly stressful on its own without adding the additional stress of going through a divorce. I also know that the holidays can be a painful part of the year, too – especially if one has experienced a loss during the year. I remember the first holiday season after my dad died – we felt empty, like something was missing. The holidays are still a rough time for my mom because she misses my dad so much.

I divorced right before Christmas seven years ago. As a result, I didn’t have much money, but I did have a great deal of anger. I was angry that my finances were shot. I was angry that my children did not have good holiday memories like I did. I was angry that ex had more money and was able to give my children more for Christmas than I was. That first Christmas after my divorce was not a very good one.

I was so angry for so long that I lost sight of one thing – how blessed I was. I had a roof over my head, a job, food in my cupboards, a car that ran and people who loved me. God had provided the things I needed. There is a big difference between needs and wants. Our needs are those basics we need for survival, food, shelter and clothing. The wants are everything else – a car, a cell phone, new shoes. Even with as little as I had, I was still richer than many people in other parts of the world.

I am blessed. I do not have the latest and greatest of everything – I don’t need it. I don’t have a car with all the bells and whistles – I don’t need it. I content with what I have, where I am, and with whom I am sharing my life. I have man who loves me. I have a new grand baby. I have six amazing children. My mom is in good health. My siblings are all doing well. I have a good job and a good boss. I have two hilarious pups who think I am everything. I have wonderful friends. What else is there?

The floor beneath my Christmas tree is not stacked high with gifts. I didn’t go into debt to buy gifts this year. My bills are paid. I am content. I am blessed. I thank God for keeping me in His care. As this year comes to a close, I do not wish for next year to bring financial prosperity or more stuff, I wish for more opportunities to serve – my coworkers, my family, Cycle Dude, my church and my community. I am blessed and I wish to bless others.

Keep a quiet heart this holiday season as you meditate on the reason for the season – Jesus. Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by expectations, relationships and unfulfilled promises. Know that you are loved. Stay tuned. . . .