My Mama went to heaven in 2008... I still have conversations with her in my head, I catch myself picking up the phone to call and tell her something, I miss our talks, our shopping trips, our giggling and silliness. My Mama was my best friend and I won't ever stop missing her... so I talk to her through this blog... hey it helps me!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas is upon us

It's been awhile... busy!

Hugh and I were watching television last night when a K-Mart commercial came on... advertising Christmas pajamas... it's always the little things that make me miss you the most.

I told him that every Christmas Eve, you always got us new pajamas to wear...

I've been sorting old pictures to make scrapbooks for Jeff, Kevin, and Beth for Christmas and have enjoyed looking at the old black and whites of us when we were growing up... I noticed all the cute pj's over the years... every Christmas morning picture! My favorites still, even after a hundred years (LOL!) of new pajamas, are my apple pajamas from when I was five, I guess, and we lived in that A-frame house in Swannanoa. That was the Christmas I got my new record player and all those yellow 78s... Kevin got a "ride-on" plastic train and I think that was the year Jeff got a BB gun. I loved that house!

I remember riding my bike (with the training wheels) down that curved, concrete driveway and missing the curve and skidding across the concrete on my behind! Ouch!!! I decided then and there... NO MORE training wheels for me, I'd just risk it... we took 'em off and never looked back... a bike was easier to steer without the training wheels.

So many great memories growing up... you were the BEST Mama EVER!

Merry Christmas Mama, and I guess I better get to the store and get my Christmas Eve pajamas!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

Well, Mama, another Thanksgiving has come... and gone... our third one without you and it's still hard, mostly down to moments now. 2008 was the hardest, of course, you had only been gone two months then and we weren't really sure how to survive our first "real" holiday with our family reduced by the main character. We muddle through with lots of tears and lots of laughter and lots of memories.

Last year, 2009, Daddy had just announced to us that he was getting remarried, we had just met her, but she didn't spend Thanksgiving with us, so we gathered 'round once again and held on tightly to each other, somehow knowing there would never be another holiday that we felt like a complete family again.

This year Daddy and "the wife" chose not to come to the family dinner... "the wife" cooked for her side of the family and they stayed away. Jeff and Kevin, Hannah and her new boyfriend, Nick, and Caleb and Kaila came. There were eight of us at dinner... the food was great... Kevin made pumpkin pies like you used to.

Hannah and Nick came down Wednesday night so Han could help me with the cooking. It was a wonderful visit with her. There were tearful moments and the oddest times... who would have known how tightly memories are linked to things like food. When I opened up the Lynn Church cookbook to the page with your pumpkin roll recipe I had to brush the tears out of my eyes in order to read the recipe. I've shared that recipe around to a lot of folks recently and it has a whole new group of fans...

Bless Hannah's heart, she was helping make pumpkin rolls and was flipping the pages of that old cookbook to the page with the recipe so she could make the frosting this morning and she happened to pass the "Glorified Banana Pudding" recipe... she choked up and the tears flowed for a few minutes... she couldn't believe how fast and hard the emotion caught her on that one!

I made Jeff a Red Velvet cake for his birthday, which fell on Thanksgiving Day this year. He cut the first piece and took a bite of his favorite cake... he said to me, "I tell you one thing, THIS is the closest you've ever come to this tasting like Mom's red velvet." His eyes filled up with tears and his voice broke...

Like I said, who knew all those simple, favorite recipes were so tightly linked to our memories of you?

And by the way, your favorite food of Thanksgiving, the dressing, was the best I've ever made this year... you would definitely have taken a big plate of it home with you!

You always said Thanksgiving was your favorite holiday, because you have friends and family and simply a feast without all the hustle and bustle and stress that those other holidays bring... this year was like that... low stress, good food, good fellowship, good times.

We ate, laughed, cried a little, played some hilarious video games, took a walk to the lake where Hugh took some great pictures of us with his new camera. Everybody left pretty much at the same time and now the house feels so very empty... if we lived close enough to the mountains, Hugh said he would take me for a ride on the Parkway... ah well, a movie, some computer time, and leftovers and we'll survive the "empty house" syndrome.

I love you, Mama, and I really, really missed you on Thanksgiving.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Baby Boy's Birthday

Dear Mama,

Today is Caleb's 24th birthday, can you believe it has been 24 years since that sweet stinker was born?

He's been married for a little over a year now, you would have loved his wedding, it was outside beside a lake and Kaila was driven down the long driveway to the wedding site sitting on the back of a convertible, like a beauty queen in a parade. She's so sweet and perfect for him.

You were there with me the day he was born... you were there when all three of my kids were born. I laugh every time I think about the day Jill was born... I had a doctor's appointment, you were with me, and the doctor sent me on up to the hospital to induce my labor. You said that you should drive, it just didn't seem right me driving myself to the hospital to have my first baby, LOL! But, you weren't really accustomed to my car, its stick shift... so we jumped and jolted our way to the hospital, laughing all the way!

The day Caleb was born, they scheduled me to come in for induced labor (again! my kids seemed to NEVER want to be born on their own!) so things were a little calmer. But you were there and hurried back home to get the girls as soon as their brother arrived so they could visit him, thank you for that!

After giving birth to my firstborn, Jill, with only 5 hours labor, then only 2 and a half hours labor with Hannah, we thought this would be more of the same... 23 days late and TEN hard, painful hours later, Caleb finally arrived, I looked down into his eyes, that looked straight up at me and into my very soul, his eyes looked so wise and filled with laughter even at birth... they smiled back at me (yeah, I know babies don't smile at birth, but I swear there was awareness and humor in that child's eyes that I had never seen before in any other baby), I held him close and whispered to him, "Hello my little friend."

And he's always been a friend to me. He has asked more questions (usually beginning with "what if") than any child I have ever known, he has teased, tortured, aggravated and annoyed... he has made me laugh when I thought there was nothing but tears left inside me. Matter of fact, he's made me laugh till it hurt and more tears (of joy) rolled down my face.

We've been through learning to potty, learning to read, 4-H cooking projects, made up songs, a world of memories I can only begin to scratch the surface of in a few words.

One memory stands out today... it was fall, cool weather had arrived and we were clearing some trees in the back area of the property... Caleb had begged and begged for months for an ax for his birthday (why I don't know!) We had found a small, not too sharp hatchet at the flea market and bought it for him, making sure he knew he could not use it without an adult with him. The Saturday after receiving his new ax, he decided to chop down a pine tree in the back yard, I gave him my permission... the tree couldn't have been more that 4 or 5 inches in diameter... and that persistent child started chopping, making small chops with his little hatchet... he chopped, and he chopped and he chopped... for HOURS! Took him all day to chop down that tree, of course he took short breaks, but he NEVER gave up and would not accept any help from anybody... he chopped till that little tree fell to the ground, to the cheering and applause from his sisters and me! What's the big deal, you may ask? Well... that boy who spent the entire day chopping down a tree just to prove he could do it... was only 4 years old!

But enough for today, Mama...

I heard mine and Caleb's favorite song on the radio just last night, like it had been sent to me in honor of his birthday... "Next to You, Sitting Next to Me" ... We would listen to that song and sing to the top of our lungs along to it as we drove down the road...

I miss you Mama!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Another Tuesday Comes and Goes

Dear Mama,

I know I was the one who told them all off, and I was the one who didn't answer the phone when Jeff called a couple Fridays ago, but I was still raw and emotional and had already dealt with Kevin texting me to death with his ranting and raving and rudeness. I had already dealt with Beth's texts about how she is NEVER unselfish and would never hurt me and is sorry she's no more than my bratty little sister... I just didn't want to talk that evening... plus I really was asleep. I had been to the chiropractor that morning and he had relieved so much of the stress I had been holding all week, so when I got home, I just lay down and took a nap... and slept for like four hours! It was such a relaxed, restful sleep! If I had been awake, I would have answered the phone...

But now, three Tuesdays have come and gone, and Jeff has yet to call... I watch the clock, it's usually just after 9 when he calls... by 9:30 I can be pretty sure he won't... I wait... tense, afraid he will call, afraid he won't...

I don't know what I'd say to him anyway... or what he might say to me... they weren't intentionally rude or mean... just cold, distant, and indifferent... and it hurt... and I don't know how to get over it.

Anyhow... the job is going great, I love working there at the paper, gaining more and more responsibility, and more and more experience, love the freedom of creativity they give me...

And my hubby and I are doing great... he has some health issues we are dealing with but we're getting there and our relationship is very very close... you'd be happy to know how happy we are... we actually were able to take a walk around the neighborhood last night since the evenings are beginning to get a little cooler, even though the days are still in the 90s! Almost the end of September!

And speaking of the end of September, Kaila is giving Caleb a surprise birthday party this Saturday... gotta get his favorite Reeses Cake made this week to take up there...

I miss you Mama!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Charleston and the Wedding

Dear Mama,

We drove down to Charleston yesterday to attend Kristy and Chris's wedding and to deliver the cake.

It turned out pretty don't you think?
The bottom tier has a lemon curd filling and the top two have raspberry cream cheese. The frosting is buttercream with turbinado (raw) sugar sprinkled around to look like sand. I made the candy seashells using candy melts in some shell molds I found at Michael's. It was tasty as well as beautiful.

The wedding was small, very romantic and sweet. Kristy made a beautiful bride, she wore a flowing long white dress, very simple, like a floaty sundress with spaghetti straps, her hair was up in a curls at the nape of her neck... she looked so pretty and happy. Madi and Macie were her bridesmaids, they wore sort of teal greeny/blue short dresses with straps, again simple but elegant. Chris, his brother Anthony, and Taylor and Tyler all wore khaki linen pants and creamy linen shirts... Chris's shirt was white, while the guys shirts were more off white. Everybody was barefoot... we all stood on the beach at Folly Beach near Charleston as the sun set for the sweet ceremony. They had a guitarist to play the wedding march and a couple songs during the ceremony. Jordan and Heather photographed it all... Jordan is getting to be quite the photographer!

After the wedding, we had barbecue and fixings in the house they had rented on the beach. Marcia did most of the cooking... I think Brad made the barbecue and Sabrina helped with the cooking. It was small and intimate, less than 20 people there, but so perfect. We stayed and visited for a few hours before heading back home to Columbia.

You would have enjoyed it, Mama.

I miss you Mama!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Kristy's Wedding

Dear Mama,

Kristy's getting married tomorrow. I'm making the cake... the wedding will be in Charleston, on the beach and she's only allowed up to 25 people there without having to get special permits and such, but we're going because I'm taking the cake. It's only a couple hours drive from here.

Marcia is making most of the food for the reception and she said this morning that "Goin' to the Chapel" keeps running through her head as she packs and prepares to head to Charleston... I told her I couldn't hear that song without crying anymore... she agreed, saying it's just running through her head, she can't sing it out loud... not without her two backup singers! She really misses you and Beckie, her two sisters who left us within a year of each other. You and Beckie can look down tomorrow on Folly Beach and sing for us!

Kristy has finally found a wonderful man who is good to her and she's head over heels in love... I'm so happy for her... she's had a tough time of it... Danny remarried awhile back to none other than Beth Lynch! Amazing!

Anyhow, wedding bells are ringing once again in the family!

I miss you Mama!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Two Years

Dear Mama,

Two years ago, yesterday, I got a call at 11 p.m., a call I wish I had never had to answer...

The family had tried several times throughout the evening to call... we were out and about all that Sunday evening and I didn't hear my phone ring, I'm sorry... not that I could have done anything to change the subject of that call.

Finally about 11 p.m. Kevin got through and I answered... he had been calling every few minutes for hours and was getting more and more frantic by the minute, so when I finally answered, all he could do was blurt out "Mama died!"

My mind just would NOT wrap itself around that statement, so bluntly and harshly put. I kept saying "No, No, No!"

Daddy got on the phone then and his voice was cold and detached and pitiful... he was still at the hospital, but was heading home, as he said to me then, "I don't know why I'm going home, there's nobody there." He was so sad, in a state of shock, just as I was.

I hung up the phone, threw myself into Hugh's arms and sobbed uncontrollably, he held me and tried to understand the garbled words coming from my face pressed against his chest. He got Kevin's phone number from me and called him back to get more information, as I was unable to put two words together clearly.

All I could keep saying was "No, No... NOT MAMA! NOT MAMA!"

Hugh was able to find out what had happened and helped me pack a bag, take a shower and get on the road for the longest two hour drive I've ever been on. I don't know what I would have done without him. I remember calling my best friend, Kitty, as we drove through the early morning hours, around 1 or 2 a.m., telling her as soon as she picked up her phone, "My Mama died!" just as bluntly and starkly as Kevin had told me... how else do you impart such news?

I had just talked to you, Mama, two weeks before when you called to say the "September" poem to me... we had chatted like old times for half an hour or more... I look back at that conversation with such gratitude that we had talked like that, and just a few weeks before that we had been up to visit, going to the Forest City Owls baseball game to hear my Caleb sing the National Anthem... we were so proud, and I'm so glad you went with us and shared that evening... dinner out at Fatz with Caleb and Kaila. It's a wonderful memory, the last one I have of you... the last one of a lifetime of wonderful memories.

Thank you Mama for being such a big part of my life and for the love, laughter, tears, and memories I now have of my precious little Mama.

I love you, I miss you Mama!