family

I just want to share this beautiful photo I took with you. I wish I had a nicer camera that was able to fully capture the beauty of the mountains, but even with the ditsy one I have, its stunning.

I truly love being in and around nature. The crisp air that fills up your lungs. The fresh odor that people try to replicate and fill their homes with is just all around naturally. The majestic elk posed perfectly on the hillside. It’s so wonderful, relaxing, and peaceful.

When I begin to get overwhelmed with life, I stop everything and go outside just to be in it. To breathe it in and calm my mind.

There’s just nothing quite like it.

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family, My Story

The Gangs All Here

Here is Part 5 of my life story. If you have not seen the earlier parts, I’ve categorized these all as Family, with the sub category My Life. If you click that category on this post it will take you directly to all the others. Thank you each for reading my story.

I’ve been trying to leave Oklahoma for years. Ideally, my dream is to live in the French Alps. We talked about moving to Houston, to Austin, to Kansas city, to Canada. But ultimately each time something prevented us from following through. So when an opportunity to move to Colorado arose, we jumped on it. My husband said yes at first I think not believing I was being serious, but I was. I hated Oklahoma. It’s too hot in the summers, and too cold in the winters. There is nothing to do there. The schools are not great. My mother is there. So my husband and I started the hard process of moving out of state.

The thought of us moving did not please my mom. She began to question me about my dreams.
One afternoon she shows up at my door and wants to talk. She apologized for not knowing my favorite animal, that she didn’t know a lot about me because I didn’t tell her. It was true, I didn’t tell her anything. She never listened. If it didn’t fit her perfect picture, she pushed it aside and forgot it. This encounter though just made me more angry. She was sitting there saying she was sorry she didn’t know I really did like elephants that much but not for never realizing I struggled with depression. Not apologizing for trying to get to know me as me and not just the parts of me she liked. Not apologizing for limiting me because of her own fears. Not knowing my favorite animal was just a small scratch at the surface. I had to breath deep and let it go. At least she made some effort.

But then things turned sour again. My husband left for Colorado to work and find a place for us to live. My mom tried everything she could to inhibit our move. She tried to make me feel bad for leaving her. Then for robbing her of her grandchildren. Then tried to scare me by saying it’s too expensive, we will never be able to make it. (Which was just a shielded insult towards my husband) then tried to convince me I was abandoning Gods will for my life, he didn’t approve of this move, like she somehow knew what my life was supposed to look like. Then she got angry and told me I was running my family off a cliff because I was blinded by my own selfishness. None of them worked. In fact, they made me more determined to leave.

It was right at 4 months that we were apart. And they were the worst 4 months of my life. I’ve never missed someone. I thought something was broken in my emotions. Other kids in summer camp got homesick, but I didn’t want to go home when it was time. I have never missed my parents. Usually because my mom was never more than 10 miles away from me at any given time but that’s irrelevant. I thought I literally lacked the capacity to miss another human. Until about 2 weeks into that 4 month stretch. My chest felt hallow and it physically ached. I remember sitting in the sunroom thinking, is this was missing someone feels like? I dont like it. It was also highly stressful. We were both on edge the whole time and that made us snappy with each other. We have never argued as much before. I wanted to strangle him a couple times. It was a very hard 4 months. I was having panic attacks 4-5 times a week.

But, this was the time period in which I met my Friend Mom. I had to get a job to offset moving costs and that is where I met her. I could’ve been her child, but I was nothing like any of her children. In 4 months she knew me better than my actual mother and became very maternal towards me. We still talk about once a month, and she’s the person I call when I don’t know how to wash a pillow.

Finally, 4 months later, the boys and I were able to join my husband in Colorado. Our biggest move yet, and we accomplished it.

After we got to Colorado, my panic attacks stopped almost completely. By this time all my friends had slowly fallen away. I only made a point to see 3 people before I left town. And then, after I got moved, 2 of them stopped talking to me. I had no friends. And the one I still had, lives couple thousand miles away. I was incredibly lonely. I cried watching Spongebob, that’s how bad it was.

But I knew, if I was gonna have friends, I had to get out and meet people. I reconnected with some people I’d known as a kid but hadn’t seen or talked to in years. She suggested I join a local Facebook group. So I did just that. In that group I responded to someone’s comment and we started chatting. She in turn invited me to her MOPs group. So I went. What was the harm in trying. That turned out to be an incredibly good choice on my part. There are 5 of us who really bonded together. We’ve gone out on dates with just us and playdates with our kids. It seemed like such a random happenstance occurence. I know it wasn’t, but it sounds crazy when I say it out loud.

We also have a friend we met in Oklahoma who’s family also lives in the area, and they’ve kind of just accepted us as their own. We went there for Chirtsmas and Thanksgiving. Her sister and I have gotten to know each other over the months and her nephew and my oldest are best buds now.

So I have gone from nothing to a web of friends in just a few months. It’s still not the same as being in the city you grew up in where you just had aquantences in every which place. But for me, when 75% of those individuals drudged up bad memories, not running into people in the grocery store is a good thing.

family

Day of Sadness instead of Joy

Today would have been my Grandpa’s birthday. It’s the first he’s not here to celebrate. I know he lived a rich and full life, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t selfishly want him to be around forever.

I can’t say I’ve ever truly experienced grief before. I was merely a child when my dad’s mom passed. Even my Grandma, I was sad, but it still wasn’t the same. I was very close to Grandpa, more close than I was to Grandma. And even though I was a teen when she passed, I still don’t think my mind was mature enough to fully realize both the importance she played in my life and the finality of her death. So this emotion is not one I’m accustomed to.

It seems to blubber up at the most random of times. I was watching Coco with my son, a granted emotional movie but one everyone loves, and it made me weep. I’ve had dreams he appeared in and I’d wake up crying. We were watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and my son was certain that Sean Connery was his great grandpa. He kept saying things like, “hey look! Its Grandpa!”, “what’s Grandpa doing?!” And “Go Grandpa!”. I can understand the confusion, especially to a young mind. He did have a white beard like the one Dr. Jones Sr. has. He was an educator, and during his years of teaching he did wear some outfits similar to the style of Jones. Had I noticed any kind of similarity between my Grandpa and Sean Connery? No. But now I do. And just the simple sound of my child’s voice calling out for Grandpa welled up a deep sadness within me. Not only does my kid not understand Grandpa is gone forever, but hearing that tiny voice say his name tore me down to the core.

My Grandpa was born on a farm and grew up through the Great Depression. He could recall riding a horse, with his younger brother, to school and the very first electric light ever installed on their farm. At 17, he joined the United States Navy and served in World War 2 and the Korea conflict. He served as a cook the majority of the time, but he was also a look out and a gun cleaner. Normally cleaning guns seems like a small task, except that these guns were the massive cannons found on battleships, not handheld muskets. There is a photograph of him, sitting on the end of one of these cannons, over the edge of the ship, just dangling hundreds of feet over the water.

After he left the Navy, he went to school, where he met my Grandma. She was a very strong willed, take charge kind of woman. Which fit perfectly because Grandpa was a very laid back, go with the flow kind of guy. They were not the stereotypical family unit of the 1950s. Grandma worked to put Grandpa through grad school when their kids were young, though she was further educated than he was. They were both teachers and they both loved it. Grandma handled all the finances, while Grandpa did all the cooking. We always joked that he never adjusted to cooking for such a small group. He still cooked enough food to feed a boat. We always got containers full of food because he’d cooked too much again. He and Grandma were married for 55 years before she passed.

He was incredibly witty and always had a quip ready to fire. Even into his old age. At some point he has made a snarky remark about everybody, even the people he liked. If you did something he didn’t appreciate, he was sure to let you know. Never, in all my life did I hear him say one snarky or unpleasant thing about Grandma. I know they had to have argued and bickered. They were married 55 years and raised two kids, they had to have disagreements. I know Grandma would get annoyed with him sometimes. You could hear it in her voice and she’d call to him using his first and middle name. But for all that, he’d say, he didn’t remember any of their disagreements. Maybe because he’d chosen to forget them. When the dementia started to progress he’d have these “visions” he called them. They were so vivid, he was sure they were real. Once he swore there was a dog on the back patio for instance. Rarely did they include a person, but the few times they did, it was always Grandma.

One of my favorite memories is from a few years ago. The local symphony orchestra did a Disney Fantasia show. I love Fantasia with all my being, and Grandpa loves symphony orchestras, so I bought us tickets to go see it. I think the fact parents had taken the opportunity to bring their children made him even happier. He was joyful and beaming. It still is the most vivid and happy memory I have with him.

Not that it was my only happy memory, in the least. I have several with him on road trips, stopping at some hole in the wall restaurant because he had a feeling they had good BBQ. He would go all the way to Maine for lobster, Fredricksburg, TX for pecans, and New Iberia for some omelette. In fact, a lot of our travelling revolved around good food.

He loved his grandchildren, but he especially loved the great-grandchildren. When he went in for a hip surgery, he rolled around the hospital with my oldest on his lap proclaiming to all the nurses that this was his great-grandson, and he was named after him. I never saw him happier than the Thanksgiving my niece, then about 6, just learned how to read, sat next to him and read him book after book. He was able to meet the youngest member of the family just weeks before he passed, my brother’s daughter, and he was still alert at the time. I know how important that was to both my Grandpa and my brother.

He never dated or remarried after Grandma’s passing. He was in love with her until the very end. When he died, I knew he was ready to go. He was tired and aching.

I guess I can hold onto the fact that I can tell my son all the great stories about the person he was named after. That I know he has some of his own memories of him. He did get to see all of his grandchildren marry and have families of our own. It is some joy to me that my husband and Grandpa liked each other so much. That his legacy lives on in our memory and in the influence his life had on ours.

But none of that stops the welling emotion, or the tears the come up and cannot be stopped. That instead of today being cheerful, it’s a solemn reminder of the magnificent man we lost.

family

Take Pride in the Things you Love

I took this picture on a walk. It wasn’t in a garden. It wasn’t anything fancy. It was simply brightly colored and something I found pretty.

I think there’s a beauty in the simplicity of finding something pretty. And that being that.

We spend so much time obsessing over how others perceive us and what everyone else thinks. People get mocked and ridiculed for the things they like. We take the joy out of enjoying things. In the bustle of appealing to all the people we lose sight of the things that once made us happy. We don’t notice the beautiful mountains or the singing bird. It’s not just about taking the moment to “stop and smell the roses” as they say. Now, it’s more about not being ashamed to let others know you love the roses and to continue being unashamed of it if you are belittled for liking something so cliche or so dumb as smelling roses.

I see this rear its head every fall when all the “basic white girls” flock to get their Pumpkin Spice Lattes and every one makes fun of them for it. Do some girls do it just to fit in? Sure, probably, but everyone does stuff like that at one point or the other. When I was younger I pretended to like a movie I’d never even seen so that all my friends that loved it wouldn’t think I was weird. So that’s really more than likely a little hypocritical of us to point fingers at them.

And even so, what does it matter? They enjoy their coffees, why can’t they just enjoy it and that be it? They are spending time having laughs with their friends. Isn’t that a good thing? Why have we as a society separated certain things as socially acceptable things to enjoy? This varies by the group or kind of people you have around you, but I’ve seen it just about everywhere. Maybe that makes me an oddball for loving the things I love and feeling no shame over it, but so be it.

Be proud of what you love!

family

Changing Some Things

I’ve been posting bits of my story on Monday mornings, and other posts later in the week. But the story can sometimes be kind of heavy, and I don’t want anyone starting out their week with something heavy. So I’m going to swap things up, and see how it works. I’m still getting a good foundation and structure and so not everything is perfect yet. Not that it ever will be 😂

Thank you to everyone who has been reading and liked or followed. 💜 You are wonderful! Thank you!

I hope you all enjoy the upcoming posts and stories!

Art, family

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden. The influence this story has had in my life is immense. We didn’t have a big TV in our house; we had a tiny 13 inch TV my dad would use to repair video cameras. So the number of films I remember from my childhood is very small, but this was one of them. I would hide trinkets in the slats under my bed when I was young. I was constantly knocking on walls hoping they were secret passages. When I was in a production of A Christmas Carol as Ebenezer’s school teacher, my entire costume was based off of Mrs. Medlock. The film was also my first introduction to Maggie Smith 😍. I loved this movie when I was little.

Somehow though, I was never provided with a copy of the book. I had an abridged picture book of it, but that didn’t count, as it was mostly just pretty paintings. I do still have it though. I was an adult before I got ahold of an unabridged copy. I loved the book as much as I had loved the film as a youth.

My only criticism now is that Martha and Dickon’s mother was omitted from the movie save for one small mention of her from Martha. But, throughout the movie they really expounded on Mary feeling unwanted and forgotten which was only eluded to in the book. I appreciated how they fleshed Mary out a little more for the film adaptation.

This story may be why I love growing things so much. It might be why I have such fascination with old keys and old houses. It’s probably why I talk to birds and cats like they can understand me.

Regardless if it is or not, I love this story so much, and I will continue to watch it and read it again and again. I will read it to my children and show them the movie so they can experience the same story I loved when I was their age. And it’s a reminder to me that the littlest joys they experience may the greatest memories of their youth.

Art, family

Paper Plate Pumpkin

It’s almost 🎶Autumn🎶, it’s cooling down and its almost Autumn! 🎶 Auutummmn🎶

I love the fall. My favorite seasons are spring and autumn. They are both that perfect in between temperature that’s not too hot and not too cold. Spring is bright with colorful flowers and Fall is bright with colorful leaves. And sweaters are always appropriate for both seasons. So when it comes to cute seasonal crafts, Fall and Spring get a few more than Summer or Winter. So when September hit, I excitedly pulled out all the fall crafts.

I saw this paper plate pumpkin and thought it looked cute and simple, but the original had a pipe cleaner stem and I didn’t have any pipe cleaners on hand. So I thought I’ll just cut the top and make that the stem. I’m not sure where I thought I was going with it, which is abundantly clear with this first one my younger child did. I don’t have an explanation for that.

But by the time my older child was ready, I had a better idea of what I was doing, which is good because he cares about his crafts a great deal more. I helped him make the face, but if you wanted, you could cut the face out of black paper and have the child glue it on instead of drawing it.

This is, I think, adorable and easy. It took a little paint, paintbrushes, and a paper plate. I let my small one try to paint with this craft. A good craft to get the little ones involved and start jogging their creative juices.

A thumbs up 👍🏼 craft.