Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Father's Day Confession: We're Not Normal....

It's true.  We aren't normal, or at least that's what we've been told on occasion.  And...after observing a variety of family dynamics over the past few decades or so, I'm beginning to think it may be true.  We can thank our parents for that, though.  They taught us, by example, that family always comes through for each other through the joyous times in our lives, the scary times, the sad times, and the down right catastrophic times.  They also taught us to find joy and thankfulness even in the midst of catastrophe.  They taught us that life's way too short to let a petty disagreement come between family members.

Our Mom and Dad are the epitomy of selflessness.  They loved and still love all of us unconditionally, and were humble enough to let us think, in all the years we were growing up, that everybody's family was just like ours.  We're older and wiser now, though, and have seen enough tragedy in this world to realize just how blessed we are.

I'm going to let this slide show speak for itself today.  It's in honor of our Dad on Father's Day, and it's also a tribute to our relationship with our parents and the love that they still share with each other after 60 years of marriage.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!  We love you very much!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Patience Under Pressure? That's My Mom

I've written about my family several times, so those of you who take a minute to read my blog already know that God saw fit to give me an exceptional family.   As we were growing up, my sister and I never saw our parents argue.  I suppose they did, but we just never knew about it.  They also rarely lost their tempers with us, which wasn't all that hard where my sister was concerned.  I'm guessing patience took a little more prayer where I was concerned, since I was a little on the rambunctious side in my younger years.  If you don't recall, just go back and read the Koolaid-Gate story.

See the photo at the top of this entry?  That's me on the left,  the little copycat watching my sister like a hawk.  Whatever she was doing with her hand certainly seemed like the thing to do.  Although I don't remember specifically, I'm guessing this photo was taken a split second before my left hand flew up to cup my own face.  After all, if my sister was doing it, it must be cool.  That beautiful lady behind us?  That's our mother.  Do you see how calm and serene she looks?  I don't know how, but she always looked like that, and I'm happy to say she still wears that same sweet expression to this day.

Now if you were to ask my mother, she would deny that I was a "high-strung" child.  Bless her, she has such a selective memory, or maybe she has simply chosen to block out some of the more memorable escapades.   But...there is one little episode that was so outrageous that it sticks out to this day, even in her memory.

I was in college, but had gone home for a weekend to go shopping with Mom at the New Orleans Lake Forrest Plaza.  That mall was brand new at the time, and had all kinds of great places to shop.  Maison Blanche and D.H. Holmes anchored dozens of great little pricey boutique shops, all built around an ice skating rink, which was a novelty in itself in the deep South.  I spotted a white one piece "jumpsuit" with a wide, stretchy red elastic belt.  Now don't laugh.  A get-up like that was quite stylish back then, in an Austin Powers kind of way....I promise!  I tried it on, and it fit me like a glove. A quick glance at the price tag landed it right back on the rack, though.  We continued to shop 'til we were almost ready to drop, then decided to stop for a quick lunch.

While we were eating I decided I'd break some pretty big news.  Remember I told you I was in college?  Well, I was almost done.  In fact, I had only one term left before graduating, but had decided I'd had enough of college.  I'm ashamed to say, but the fact that my parents had picked up the tab for my entire education never really occurred to me.  In fact, I was a little surprised that my mother didn't seem to take my news too well.  For some reason she thought my backup plan for supporting myself...which included the phrase "Would you like fries with that?"...was not my most sound career decision.  We had quite a heated discussion, and both of us shed a few tears.

Then, in a moment which can only be described as sheer genius, my mother played quite a trump card.  She said, "If you'll stay in school, I'll buy you that white jumpsuit".  I think I considered her offer for...oh...about a half second...before flashing a big smile, and saying "OK!!"  We finished our shopping and both of us headed home quite with a snazzy new jumpsuit, and her without a college dropout for a daughter.

Now, before you label me as the most shallow woman on the face of the earth, let me assure you that I've matured quite a bit in the past few decades.  I went on to graduate a few months after that, raised two children of my own, and have spent the past 30-something years teaching.  I don't kid myself that I've been the patient woman that my mother is.  But I can say that she has set the bar quite high, and I continually strive to be the kind of mother to my children that she is to me and my sister.

My mother is a blessing to her husband (our Dad!), her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and a multitude of friends and extended family.   She is having a milestone birthday this summer, and we are going to celebrate in style...(so don't argue, Mom!).  Until then, though, I wanted the world to know that I love her a bunch.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sixty Years Ago Today

My Dad was in the Army, and stationed at Fort Jackson when he and my Mom married.
They had planned a small wedding, but my Dad's leave got cancelled at the last minute,
so they had to postpone the wedding.  A couple of weeks later, Dad managed to get a 48 hour leave,
so he drove all night to get home, he and my mother went over to the local Methodist church
and got married, then the both of them drove back overnight to Fort Jackson.  Mom was 19 years old,
and I believe that was probably one of the first times she had been away from home.
I remember asking her one time several years ago,"Weren't you homesick?"  and I'll never forget what she said.
"No, I was never homesick, because I was with your Daddy.  I was home".
That little wedding took place 60 years ago today;  I thank God every day for them and the love they share,  and the example they've set for me, my sister, and our families.
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!! We love you both and appreciate you more than you'll ever know!