My Mother-in-law and how she shows me unconditional love…

One of the best things that happened to me a few days ago, on my birthday, was receiving a birthday card from my Mother-in-law.  Most years she forgets to send out cards so I’m ALWAYS honored when I go to the mailbox and see her handwriting on the outside of an envelope.  I’ve got to give her credit though because she’s a whole lot better about remembering than I am!  I’m ashamed to admit that I truly suck at making a day special for my loved ones.  The people living in my house reap the rewards but those that don’t live here rarely get remembered.

The point of the post isn’t to talk about remembering though.  It’s to tell you how I’ve been SO blessed by my husband’s family.  You all know by now, what MY family is like.  I don’t know what it’s like to have a close family or what it’s like to truly be loved by a family.  I know what it’s like to be “judged” and “used” by my family.  It was a shock when I was shown unconditional love by a family who didn’t have to show me love.

First of all, I want to tell you what the card said from my Mother-in-law…

“Any woman can be a daughter-in-law.

But it takes a certain spirit,

an openness,and generosity of heart

to make the “in-law” part

drop away,

leaving that comfortable word

“daughter”.

You’re a caring person…

loving wife…

giving mother…

and your presence

in the life of our family

is simply a gift.  “

Dang!  That made me cry.  I don’t even know how to accept love or compliments!  I guess it hit me so hard because my own mother doesn’t feel the same way AND I know that Katherine (Mother-in-law) really feels this way.

She didn’t have to accept me the way she did.  Ben’s family had gone through the horror of his 3 other marriages before I arrived.  They’d “accepted” every one of these former wives, even when they knew they’d never last.  Ben had a definite “history” when it came to women, that’s for sure.  But that’s a post for another day!  I’ll save THAT for when he makes me mad 😉  lol  I need to tell you that these people are Christian’s of the Southern Baptist type.  They scared me and that’s NO joke!  I’m Catholic and it’s no secret that Baptists don’t like Catholics.  These people actually READ the bible and LIKE the bible.  Except for religion class in Catholic school (a million years ago), I’d never read even part of the bible.  Ben’s family doesn’t just go to church on Sunday morning but Sunday night and Wednesday nights.  Their recreational activities revolve around church.  Mine never have.  They’re also very “Southern” people who didn’t really know or trust “Yankee’s” such as they think I am!  lol  They’re the type of people who say “Well, bless her heart”, in the sweetest most loving way.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that Southern people say this only when they think you’ve done something really stupid and they’re too kind to call you out on it.

When I tell you about Ben’s Christian family, you might imagine people who don’t live what they preach.  Christians get a bad rap for being hypocrites but not THESE people and most especially NOT his mother!  She lives what she preaches and believes.  Only she doesn’t preach at all.  She leads by example.  She very quietly sits and reads her bible and only talks about it if you ask her about it.  She’ll mention something in passing but doesn’t shove it down your throat.  She’s so kind and loving that you can actually FEEL her love as soon as you get out of the car to hug her.  I’ve never been around anyone like this.  She believes in being a submissive wife.  It’s no secret that I DO NOT believe that I should EVER be submissive to ANYONE, but most especially my husband, her son.  I could go on and on.

Okay, you can imagine the amount of adjustment my new Texas family had to go through and that I had to go through for a few years.  Although, they never let me see that they were having to adjust to me.  I’m loud and bossy and sarcastic.  I say words like “God” when I get mad (that’s a very bad word to them) and I call people “dumb asses”.  They probably dropped to their knees at night in prayer over the things I’ve said and did!  They only showed the world how proud they were of me though.  I have ONLY ever been shown love by my mother-in-law.  She’s cried with me and laughed with me.  She’s felt my losses as if they were her own and she’s shared her thoughts and feelings with me.

Most of all, she’s treated my children as if they were her own grandchildren.  I wasn’t expecting that and neither were my kids.  We knew they’d TREAT my children with love and respect but we just weren’t prepared for them to actually LOVE them.  My girls feel closer to Katherine than they do their own biological grandparents.

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(Here’s one of my daughters snuggling in Memaw’s bed with “Ming-Shoe” the doll that Katherine made for her.  Julia feels safe and comfy in Memaw’s bed and I love that!)

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(she just sits, ready to give love to all her little one’s no matter their age)

Most of the time I spend in Texas, Katherine allows me to run her house the way I do everywhere I go.  You know the Mother-in-law on the sit com “Everybody Loves Raymond” right?  That’s how I expect mother-in-laws to be but not Katherine.  She’s happy to sit and read a book while I destroy her kitchen.  And TRUST me, I DO know how to destroy a kitchen.  She’s so gracious and never imposes her will on me.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I impose my will on her.  She’s not used to a whole lot of commotion and when I’m there, I bring my chaotic life crashing into her’s.  I’ll never forget the time she asked me if she could “help” in the kitchen.  Of course, I thought I was being considerate and polite when I told of “of COURSE you CAN’T help in the kitchen”.  I just wanted her to sit there and rest.  I felt like I didn’t want her to go through any trouble when my family was there.  For YEARS I did this.  Finally, a few years ago, she so softly, and kindly explained to me that sometimes a mother wants to feel wanted and needed.  We live over 10 hours away from her and she never gets to be a “mom”.  Sometimes she likes to show US how much she loves us.  Wow!  She didn’t want me to be ashamed because she’d NEVER want anyone to feel shame BUT I was SO ashamed.  I learned to step out of the way and allow her to be the mom when she wants to be the mom.

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(here’s me not only taking over her kitchen but taking over her kitchen AND even wearing her apron!  lol)

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(Another picture of the mess I make in her kitchen but THIS time I had some help from my little niece Selah!)

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(here I am even taking over her Christmas tree…  Geeze, I’m just so BOSSY!  lol)

Like I’ve already said, my Mother-in-law teaches by example.  She rarely needs words.  She’s watched, through the years, as I’ve ignorantly allowed my children to get themselves into trouble.  I was a LOT more lenient than she would have been but I had more faith in my girls than I should have.  I allowed one of my daughters to spend WAY too much time with some boys she met and became friends with in Texas.  They were friends of the family’s so I felt like it would be okay.  It got to the point where she was never home for dinner and she would only come in once a day to say hello to Memaw and GG (Katherine’s mother).  I didn’t want to be too strict with my daughter and I wanted her to have fun too so I allowed her to spend the night camping with these friends and family.  I could tell that it was bothering Katherine (mine and my daughter’s actions were not only improper but just down right rude) so I began to make my daughter stay home more often.  After all, we were only there for a week or two.  Later, we found out that my daughter was doing things that I won’t mention here.  Point being that Katherine knew she was in trouble and instead of imposing her opinions or judgments  on me, she quietly let me know that I was being too lenient by her actions.  She prayed for my daughter and cried when she learned that my daughter was hurt and was going down the wrong road.  She cried real tears like she would do for her own biological granddaughter.  I still can’t get over that.

Over last summer, when I was hospitalized in ICU, my husband called his family and I guess told them that I wasn’t going to make it.  They’ve been in this rodeo more than once with me and have never made the drive to St. Louis to come to the hospital.  I didn’t expect them to this time either because Katherine is responsible for taking care of her 93 year old mother.  Besides the fact that her OWN health isn’t great.  The trip is very hard on them and impossible now for GG.  My sister-in-law told me that Katherine prayed about it and felt like God was telling her to “go now”.  They immediately packed the family up and made the hard drive with 2 small children and 3 adults JUST to see me one more time.  I don’t think they expected me to be conscious but when they walked into my hospital room, I was awake and able to speak.  I believe I was hanging on because my husband told me that I needed to hang on just a little while longer to see “Mom”.  I remember feeling SO much love radiating from Katherine when she walked through that door!  It made me WANT to get better for her.  I promised her that it wasn’t my time yet and that God was good and I was sure I was going to live.  Actually, I was more worried about her making that trip and then turning around and needing to go home the very next day.  SHE wasn’t though.  She was there for me, to hug me and to hold my hand and pray, in person, over me.  The way a REAL mother would.

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(Katherine lovingly does her mother’s hair for church so that GG can feel beautiful too.)

I feel unworthy to call Katherine “Mom”.  I know she wants me to and she certainly deserves the title…  but something inside me won’t let me most days.  I feel like to be her “daughter” , I should be a whole lot more deserving or full of grace.  I’m getting better about it but I’ve been in the family for 12 years.  Today, instead of feeling unworthy, I just want to take a second to thank God for this woman who has shown my family and I so much love.  I’m smart enough to recognize that’s it’s not very often that a wife can brag about the fact that they actually LIKE their mother-in-law.  I don’t just LOVE her, I respect her and actually LIKE her.  Thank you God for this woman.  Because of her, I know the love of a real mother and I am blessed.

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(she loves us all like we were her very own)

A MAJOR rant and a happy ending :-)

What a CRAZY weekend and week, for that matter!  I’m getting TOO freaking old for this, really.  lol  Today, I talked to somebody about my brother, who is a Leo.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the personality traits of a Leo, they’re just a tad self centered.  They’re STRONG and funny, but yes, the world as they see it, should ALWAYS revolve around them.  My brother came from the womb this way and he received many an a$$ kicking from me when he was little.  I should be ashamed, but I’m not.

This weekend, my brother suggested we have a birthday dinner for me.  He planned this with my husband.  I have to give little brother credit for even caring at all because I can’t remember a single birthday where he actually did anything for me.  Not that I mind… my birthday’s were something I’d like to forget, mostly because the brother that I shared every birthday with is gone.  I just wish they would come and go quietly, really.  Anyway, little brother planned a dinner.  You’d think it would be at HIS house right?  Nope.  He wanted to have the dinner at MY house so that my hubby can grill.  Little brother was going to provide the meat to be grilled but we had to do the sides.  He DID offer to HELP Hubby grill.

First of all, you know what having company means, right?  I have to clean.  The burden of cleaning and getting the house ready for company fell on me and my daughter.  I’m sure Hubby would have done it if I’d asked but he’s not good about details.  SO, I cleaned AND I made part of the dinner.  Once little brother arrived, he was “too sick” to help with anything. Hubby did it all while Little Brother went and laid down in my bed.  He had a headache and he was SURE that nobody in the world ever suffered from a headache such as he had.  Seriously.  I told him I understand headaches because I suffer from migraines but he told me that he knew I wouldn’t be able to LIVE with the kind of pain he suffered from.  Hmmm… how quickly he forgets that I have MANY a scar since I’ve been cut from my neck down to my belly button.  THAT’S nowhere near the pain Little Brother was having though.  So, I left Little Pumpkin to sleep in my bed while we got the food ready.

You might be interested to know what my birthday present was?  Okay, I’ll tell you.  My brother allowed me to take care of his baby daughters overnight and all the next day.  Thank GOD Hubby, Daughter and her friend helped me with this because I, myself, felt like complete crap.  Although, I’m sure my pain couldn’t compare to Little Brother’s.  I love my nieces, you all know I do.  I love them like they’re my own kids and why shouldn’t I?  They spend more than 2/3 of their life with me!  lol  It’s just that I’m tired.  And one of my nieces is possessed by the devil.  No joke.  I love her but she’s got some serious problems!  Far be it from ME to mention that to Little Brother because his progeny are perfect, just like him.  Oh and he really feels that if he tells me enough how I’m privileged to be able to watch them (because he won’t allow anyone else to take care of the little angels), I’ll look at it as my most honored privilege.  Only it’s my BIRTHDAY… so can’t I get a pass at least for this week?  Nope, I can not.

Little brother and his wife wanted/needed some time alone Saturday night so my family took care of my nieces.  3 of them.  Granted, the oldest one is a PLEASURE and no trouble at all.  The baby is also an angel, but you know how much time babies take, right?  Even the BEST baby is a handful!  lol  I could have said no, but I recognized that they don’t have time together (brother and wife).  They’re in their 40’s, like me and they get tired too.  So, just like he knew I would, I felt sorry for them and tried to FIX things.  So how did Little Brother and his wife spend their night together?  Little Brother was too sick to pay attention to his wife so he moaned and groaned and complained while she quietly read a book.  Wow.  What a waste.  Can’t he just fake it and TRY to act like he wasn’t the center of the universe?  It took SO much for my sister in law to rearrange her schedule just to be ABLE to spend an evening with her husband.  This was an evening he said he desperately needed with her.  I guess it was all good for him because she got the opportunity to dote on him and be concerned with his sicknesses.  She must be a saint.  I’d have killed him.

Yesterday, Sunday, the little angels were supposed to go home by noon.  They did NOT.  After noon, little brother called to tell me that his wife would be tied up at their oldest daughter’s tournaments until 5:00 p.m.  Did I want him to come and pick the kids up?  HELL YES, I wanted him to come right then!  Did he?  Nope.  He called his wife and asked her to leave the tournament, over an hour away, and come pick her kids up.  She couldn’t leave so the kids stayed here until after 5:00.  Little Brother had to go to the dump to empty trash and he actually said that he was going to be “stuck” with his kids for this entire week so he couldn’t come get them.  He’s a SAHD.  He doesn’t much like his role as Mr. Mom.  REALLY?  His poor wife works over 12 hours a day and still has to take care of the house and her kids when she gets home.  She NEVER has a break but my precious little brother needs a break.  Seriously, the kids are with me more than half the week, most weeks.  I guess I just thought that I would be exempt from having to watch the little darlings on my birthday.

Done with rant… kind of.  We made the best of the weekend, still.  I DO enjoy my nieces (when I’m feeling good).  I do NOT enjoy the devil that resides inside my 4 year old niece.  Luckily, Hubby was at home to restrain her from hurting herself this weekend.  She went into a RAGE, growling at us and slobbering because Hubby made her put a shirt on to go outside.  She feels like she should be naked all the time.  That would be fine with me if not for the fact that at 4, she’s getting a little too old and I don’t want some pervert driving by to look at her “business”.  lol  Hubby doesn’t “lose” it often, he’s got the patience of a saint.  However, even though he doesn’t believe in spankings, he had to administer one yesterday.  AND hold her so that she didn’t bang her head (on purpose) on the furniture.  I really can’t even describe her tantrums because I’ve never seen anything like them before.

Things DID settle down after the restraining incident and Precious Jr. became my Hubby’s best friend!  lol  Here they are cleaning up the playhouse.

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(this old playhouse was one we built for my 28 year old daughter when she was 4!  My youngest daughter and her friend ghettofied it with paint a few years ago.  Ignore the paint. Besides Hubby and Esme’ are going to paint it white and also make a sign that says “Esme’s Playhouse 🙂 )

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Here’s my teenage munchkin and her bff helping to keep the baby occupied so that I could do my birthday dishes.  lol  These kids were a LIFE saver!  Eventually, my daughter’s bff took off because she couldn’t take it anymore.  lmao

Once the babies left, we all got the heck out of Dodge and went to Dairy Queen!  There’s not much that ice cream doesn’t fix, right?  We ended the day with lots of laughs and fun and yumminess 🙂  All is good again at my house!

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(Hubby contemplating the Oreo Blizzard that will be coming his way soon)

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Hannah the bff, enjoying her ice cream, maybe a little TOO much!  lmao  BTW… she’d KILL me if she knew I posted this pic 😉  You can see that my daughter didn’t have much time this weekend to take care of her own very special hair needs?  hehehe

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Life is good again and everything’s fixed, all because of a little ice cream 🙂

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Hmmm…. maybe I should pay attention to my OWN hair and grooming needs?  Naw.  I didn’t give two $hi*$ about who was looking at me.  Sometimes, you just have to NOT care and enjoy your ice cream 🙂

Hope you all had a spectacular weekend?

Last day of sanity and a peek into Hubby’s future ;-)

Here’s the song that reminds Hubby of me especially when I have no synthetic hormones (refer to my last post “And you think I’m crazy now?”). lol

Watch the video and it will scare the crap out of you! I asked Hubby if Pink really reminds him of me and he says “Honestly, yes. On a bad day”. Well, honey, it’s about to be a bad day! I just took my last little life saver! lol So today we’ll celebrate, cause all should be good 🙂 Tomorrow…. I pity you 😉

Of course I’d love to tell you all I’m joking. And I’ll even go so far as to say I kind of am… the reality of it is, I can be BAD when it comes to mood swings and lack of hormones. How come nobody ever talks about these things? I guess no woman wants to admit to their own psycho menopausal behavior? Come on now, I CAN’T be the ONLY one! Well, I’m about to break the cycle of silence! lol Here I am telling you that it’s NOT a pretty picture. At least for ME, it’s not.

Pink
Please Don’t Leave Me

Da da da da, da da da da
Da da da, da da
Da da da, da da

I don’t know if I can yell any louder
How many time I’ve kicked you outta here?
Or said something insulting?
Da da da, da da

I can be so mean when I wanna be
I am capable of really anything
I can cut you into pieces
But my heart is broken
Da da da, da da

Please don’t leave me
Please don’t leave me
I always say how I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come right back to this
Please, don’t leave me

How did I become so obnoxious?
What is it with you that makes me act like this?
I’ve never been this nasty
Da da da, da da

Can’t you tell that this is all just a contest?
The one that wins will be the one that hits the hardest
But baby I don’t mean it
I mean it, I promise
Da da da, da da

Please don’t leave me
Oh please don’t leave me
I always say how I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come right back to this
Please, don’t leave me

I forgot to say out loud how beautiful you really are to me
I cannot be without, you’re my perfect little punching bag
And I need you, I’m sorry
Da da da, da da

Da da da da, da da da da
Da da da, da da
Please, please don’t leave me
(Da da da, da da)

Baby please don’t leave me
(Da da da, da da)
No, don’t leave me
Please don’t leave me no no no

You say I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come right back
It’s gonna come right back to this
Please, don’t leave me

Please don’t leave me, oh no no no.
I always say how I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come right back to this

Please don’t leave me
Baby, please, please don’t leave me

Oven Baked Parmesan Meatballs with ALL the Fixen’s! (plus a little brag thrown in for good measure)

Today marks the end of my lil teenaged Munchkin’s self imposed “fast”!  I can’t TELL you how excited she’s been to eat real people food!  lol  For those of you who don’t know, she made a commitment to sacrifice or “fast” for 2 weeks.  It was something she felt she needed to do to show Jesus how much she appreciates his dying on the cross so that we can go to heaven.  She’s also been praying for His grace and guidance.  Fasting for Julia means that she eats only healthy food and mostly just raw vegetables, boiled eggs and lot’s of fish.  The best thing she’s had in the past few weeks was on Sunday, when I made chicken and rice soup!  Poor baby.

So today, she wants meat!  Lots and lots of meat!  hahaha  I let her choose what she wanted me to make. She chose meatballs and french fries.  NOT the most gourmet of meals but something I can do quickly, before she and her friend Hannah go to church tonight.  I need to stop here and tell you how EXTREMELY proud that she still looks at church as a fun, social activity.  ESPECIALLY when I’m just learning that another one of her bff’s (also 14) might be PREGNANT!  Once again, reminding me that it can ALWAYS be worse!  Wow.

Oven Baked Parmesan and Herb Meatballs

(revised by me from Pinterest)

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup milk or half and half

1/2 cup grated Parmesan (fresh is ALWAYS better)

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (or regular but Panko is better)

1 small onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together using your hands.  Form into golf ball sized meatballs .  Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.  Bake in preheated oven, 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

*  I’m eating these right now and they’re SO freaking tasty!  I wish you could smell my house 🙂  Smells like home!  lol

Okay, next I made my easy oven baked asparagus.  This is pretty much the ONLY way we ever cook asparagus anymore.

Oven Baked Parmesan Asparagus

Ingredients:

1 bunch of medium to small stemmed asparagus (with woody ends cut on the diagonal)

About 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

About 1/4 to 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (eyeball it)

2 tsp salt

About 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

Toss asparagus with all other ingredients.  Make sure each piece of asparagus is covered with oil and seasoning.  Place asparagus onto a foil lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until bright green and cheese is melted.

Easy as THAT and I have 2 very happy munchkins and a husband that can’t wait to get home and eat it all up!  I’d tell you about the Ore Ida frozen french fries…. but I’m pretty sure you won’t be impressed with how I threw those babies in the oven for 30 minutes with season salt!  lmbo

Happy Eating to you 🙂

Birthday boy and other stuff :-)

What a week!  Can I just tell you that I’ve realized, this week, that I’m INDESTRUCTIBLE?  If this week didn’t kill me, NOTHING can.  Can I also share with you that one thing I’ve FINALLY gotten through my head is that I should NEVER EVER EVER get too complacent or self assured especially when it comes to my kids?  If there’s ANYTHING you’ve ever learned from me, this should be it.  I want you to know that when you FINALLY feel like you’re doing something right and that you have at least ONE kid who seems to be rolling right along on the right track,  you should probably dig a little deeper.  Or maybe you shouldn’t.  Maybe it’s a VERY good thing to live in denial.  I wish I still lived there! I’ll have to tell you about my little angel later.

Right now, I want to share with you some other fine points of my week 🙂  My husband took the week off so we’ve been bonding.  It was his birthday on Tuesday and he likes to take some of his vacation time to chill out and regroup.  He COULDN’T have known all hell would break out during this week.  *snicker*  It all actually worked out very well that he was here though, because he kept me from killing the teenage munchkin.  See, I’ve told you all before that there ARE no accidents!  It wasn’t a coincident that he took off on the week that I find out about all her shenangins.  I think that was a GOD thing.  lol  Thank you God for saving my lil precious “angel’s” life…  I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself had I REALLY wrung her neck the way I wanted to!  lol

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Here’s how we celebrate birthday’s around here.  We do whatever the birthday boy wants to do. Ben LOVES his guns and he’s wanted to get me at the shooting range for a while now.  We shot his 9mm, his 357 magnum and the one I personally love shooting, the little bitty BB type gun… a 22.

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I can’t say I’m really a fan of guns.  I’ve had some pretty nightmarish experiences when I was young.  I was the victim so I have PTSD when it comes to hearing gun shots.  The only way to sweeten the pot and GET me to the range was to tell me that I could learn to protect myself from those zombies that I’m positive I’ll have to learn to kill during the zombie apocalypse!  lmao  I’m a HUGE Walking Dead fan:-)

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Here’s the mess of guns we used to kill those zombies!

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Here’s the 357 magnum that kept jamming up.  We would have been up a creek if the zombies got too close and we had to depend on THIS thing working.  Time to find a gunsmith 😉

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I’m actually a really good shot (most of the time).  I’m not sure how smart my husband is for wanting to teach me to love guns.  Wise people have told him that this could be dangerous for HIS life.  I have to agree.  My temper and a gun?  Maybe NOT the smartest idea he’s had.

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He had to eat this cake all by himself because he’s the ONLY one who likes coconut.  Coconut is one of the only foods that will make me gag.  Oh and fish.  I can’t even bear the smell of fish.  But it turned out pretty, huh?  It’s a 3 layer, made from scratch coconut cake.

I also made a killer filet mignon and homemade herb butter!  OMG!  It was SO good 🙂

Happy birthday Honey!  Here’s hoping for another 45 years!

On being a strong woman…

Happy March the 8th! International Women’s Day!.

I became aware of International Women’s Day only this morning, on Evelina’s blog.

I’ve got to admit, at least at MY house, every day is Women’s day!  lol  We’ve always joked that my husband is a “king” in our “Queendom”.  Of COURSE I’m the Queen and we’ve had 4 little princesses.  Most of them grew up to be queens in their own “dom’s” .  Seriously, can you imagine 1 man floating in a sea of estrogen?  As women, we understand that when females live in close confines with other females, we all start “cycling” together.  NOT fun at all.  Lots of tears, lots of rage, lots of EMOTION.  I’m really not sure how any of us are still living!  lol  You’d think at least ONE of us should be dead.  I was probably the worst but not by much.  My girls were BAD little bags of hormones too.  You know the saying, right?  “The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree”.  Nope.  It sure does not.  lol

Evelina’s blog got me thinking.  I’ve always been sort of a feminist.  I was born the only girl with 2 brothers and an EXTREMELY Chauvinistic father.  My mother despised feminists.  She believed a woman’s place was in the home and behind her man.  Even as a small girl, I walked around my house angry that I didn’t have the rights that my brothers or my dad did.

I remember one time, when my brother broke his leg, my dad AND mom told me that I had to wash his feet.  You know how your toes hang out of the cast?  They get really nasty and grimy.  My brother was EXACTLY, to the day and hour, 1 year younger than me and was perfectly capable of figuring out how to wash his own nasty feet.  Of course I protested but I was told that I’m a girl and I needed to learn to take care of a man!  Okay, I’m fuming even now, as I type this.  I loved my brother.  He was my best friend.  BUT….  because I was forced to do this for him, and because he laughed all the way through me trying to wash his nasty feet, AND because he was kind of immobile, I took one of his toes and bent it backwards until he begged mom and dad not to ever make me do it again.  lmbo  GOOD times, good times!  Okay, now I’m showing my twisted and warped mind.  If that was the ONLY incident, it wouldn’t have been so bad but every day was a day my mother and I would serve the men in our house.  My dad’s meals had to be put on the table when he walked through the door (and he NEVER walked through the door at the same time ANY day).  My dad’s meals were steak dinners while my mother and I ate economical meals.  My brothers also ate steak because they were “growing boys” and needed to develop muscle.  My dad tells me now that it was my mother’s idea to feed us differently and that he felt we should ALL eat steak.  If my dad was thirsty and his glass was out of reach, he’d call me or my mom in from another room to bring him his glass because he was too lazy to get out of his recliner.  When he’d get home from work, many times I’d have to rub his feet or scratch his back.  I’d also have to rub my brothers feet (both brothers) and make their beds and do their laundry.  I was taught to do all the chores around the house (mop the floors NOT with a mop but on my knees, do the dishes and we didn’t have a dish washer, empty the trash, rake the yard, vacuum, dust all rooms and clean all 3 bathrooms) but my brothers were not because they would one day grow up to marry women who would be responsible for those chores.  My dad had been a military man and he learned to expect his clothes pressed, even his underwear and handkerchiefs.  I had to do this.  He demanded that when he got out of bed, his bed would be made and it wasn’t done right unless he could “bounce a dime”  off the bed covering.  He learned this in the navy and he expected the women to do this for him.  Ummm….  I’m pretty sure the military doesn’t have women coming in to do these things for their male soldiers???  Anyway, you get the picture.  I was a bitter, bitter child.  You see, I was my father’s daughter.  VERY strong and as opinionated as he was about the role of a woman, I was JUST as opinionated about the role I would NOT play once I got out of that house.

I did what I could do to protest my family’s twisted beliefs about women.  I absolutely knew that I’d grow up and change the way I allowed men to treat me.  As a child of the 80’s, I believed women could have it all.  I could have children and I didn’t need a man.  I didn’t believe marriage was important and neither were father’s.  I had my girls and I believed that as long as they had ME, that was all they needed.  I’ve always been tough and demanded that I be respected by a man, but didn’t necessarily GIVE respect.  Okay, almost never did I give respect.  In other words, I took it to the extreme in my attempt to right the wrong of the way I was raised.

What I have learned in the nearly half century that I’ve walked on this earth?  I’ve learned that I was just as wrong as my parents were.  My daughters DID need their fathers.  As good as I was, I would never be able to play BOTH roles, mother and father.  I learned that women CAN’T really have it all and if I have to work all the time to support my daughter’s, who would be actually RAISING and guiding them?  I’ve learned that women who choose to stay home and raise their children are the one’s who deserve respect.  I worked out of necessity because SOMEONE had to support my children and their fathers were NOT.  Back then, I felt like I deserved kudos because I was able to do that.  As a result of me working all the time, my oldest daughter was forced to take care of her younger sisters after school and during the summer months when there was no school.  She was 9 years older than my middle daughter and 14 years older than my youngest so I felt she was old enough.  Other babysitters raised my children as well.  When I talked to my girls, I always told them “you are NOT statistics”.  I felt I needed to drill this into their heads because 2 of them were illegitimate the one who WASN’T illegitimate, was a child of divorce.  They ALL have different fathers.  Most kids born the way they were born are children who are welfare recipients.  WE were not.  As long as I was able to work and provide, we would NEVER be on government assistance.  My girls had material possessions, nice clothes, a TV in their rooms, music, nice bikes, etc…  They had nicer things than many children did who HAD fathers.  I thought this was important.

What was important, in reality, was that they had a family.  A mother AND father.  If I had to go back and do it over again, I would have stayed married.  I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to have those kids out of wedlock just to prove something to society.  I always told my girls that they weren’t accidents.  They really weren’t.  Aside from my oldest daughter, who really wasn’t planned, I took NO precautions to prevent any of them and neither did their fathers.  I always told them that God had a reason for each and every one of them to be on this earth.  I still believe that, however, NOW I know that God will make good out of our bad decisions and he never intended us to be irresponsible with another little life.

I’m not so much of a feminist now.  I know that respect goes both ways and women play MANY roles.  Men should too and I’ll never change my views on that.  I believe that women have HAD to play many roles because so much of the time, men don’t step up to the plate and do what THEY’RE supposed to do.  Thankfully though, my girls haven’t taken things to the extreme the way I did and they try to treat the men in their lives with respect.  I guess they learned from my mistakes and they were able to recognize that what I did wasn’t what THEY should do.  NONE of them have had illegitimate children and equally important, none of them have felt the need to be married at a young age.  They’re independent women who know that there’s a time and a place for marriage and children.  They’re not in a hurry to start a family.  For THAT, I’m so thankful.  My stepdaughter is married and she’s only 21.  She’s lived with me full time since she was 9 years old.  I believe her ideals were formed before she came to me.  Ahhh well…  so far, and I hope forever, she and her husband are happy.

What are your thoughts on feminism and the role that you feel a woman should play?  Just curious.  There are really no right and wrong opinions and answers 🙂

Tested, tried and STILL here…. Happy Anniversary Baby!

Yesterday, February 22, marked our 10th anniversary!  We didn’t think it was possible for EITHER of us to make it to 10 years.  Actually, we’ve been together for 12.  Like I’ve mentioned before, this isn’t our FIRST rodeo!  For me, I never seem to make it past the 7 year itch.  lol  I’m feeling accomplished and SO happy that I lived to see this day.

I wasn’t predicted to live another 6 months in 2008.  In fact, every year that passes, my team of doctors are amazed that I’m still here.  Now, with an upcoming intestine transplant, they’re giving me even less time.  Life is precious and we try to celebrate every chance we get.  The hubby wants SO BADLY to take me on another cruise before we undergo more medical procedures.  I’m not very sure that I’ll be able to go on a cruise because once you’re put on a transplant list, you have to stay close to home in order to wait for that call.  The call that tells you to jump on a plane and get there immediately.  We can’t get a call like that if we’re in another country or on the ocean.

For now we’ll celebrate close to home and with little things.Image

Note from Ben that says:  10 years!  Are you freaking KIDDING me?

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I was not expecting more flowers!  He’d already given me 2 beautiful bouquets this month!  I have the most romantic husband in the world, I think.

Our wedding song turned out to be prophetic.  It makes me cry every time!

Love Is All by Marc Anthony

When you hold me like this
so many memories fill my eyes
the first time we kissed
the times we nearly said good-bye
but still here we are
tested and tried and still true
and stronger than we ever knew

Chorus:

Love is all
the laughter and the tears that fall
the mundane and the magical
love is all
all is love
the careless word, the healing touch
the getting and the giving of
all is love
there’s a me you’ve always known
the me that’s a stranger still
the you that feels like home
and the you that never will
but still here we lie
tender and trusting and true
with everything that we’ve been through

Repeat Chorus

All the glory
all the pain
all the passion
that turns to ashes
only to rise again

Love is all
the laughter and the tears that fall
the mundane and the miracle
love is all
all is love
the careless word, the healing touch
the getting and the giving of
all is love