Archive for October 2011

Ben is Ten

Friday, October 28, 2011

October 28th is a very special day in our family. Since the early 1900's there has been a relative on my side with that birthday. Yes, there's a story here. My beloved and most favored great uncle Charlie was born on that day. And forty some years later so was my mom. (She's lucky they didn't name her Charlotte or Chuckie) When my parents met in 1964 she discovered her future father-in-law shared her special day. What are the chances? And don't you love stories like this?

Fast forward to February 2001. Every time I was expecting my mother was always adamant that my child had to have his or her "own" birthday. Since I have an extended family of over 50 people, the chances that I'd have a due date close to a relative's was pretty much guaranteed. And it happened every time. So when I learned that our baby Ben was to arrive around October 25th, his grandmother was most worried that he would have to share the rest of his birthdays with me. (October 23rd)

October 23rd came and went. Phew. October 25th came and went. Grrr. Labor was gently induced on October 27th and, after 10 hours, I barely progressed. Just as I was taken off the monitor, it all broke loose and they admitted me to labor and delivery--at 10 p.m. By the time the epidural took effect and contractions slowed down it was obvious we would be passing the midnight mark before a baby appeared. So guess who Ben gets to share his birthday with?? "Ma" couldn't have been prouder to relinquish the rights as the last living family member born on the 28th of October.

Since Ma came to the hospital that stormy October afternoon, she hasn't missed a single one of the birthday twin celebrations. I love that every year I get to honor and celebrate two of my most favorite people in the whole world!

Happy Birthday Ma and Ben!!! And rest in peace Uncle Charlie and Grandpa Marty. Your legacy continues.





First birthday!!



Sunday, October 9, 2011

Well high school has taken us by storm. We blinked and our oldest was a freshman. Before the year even started there was already talk about "where Homecoming pictures would be taken??" Huh? Homecoming? I was just getting used to the idea of having a high schooler and they're making plans for their first formal dance. Wow have times changed.

I don't think my son even knows that I have a blog--or cares-- but I want to be sensitive to him as I write about this. The whole process of planning the asking of his date, picking out his clothes, and ordering the corsage was fraught with misunderstanding, miscommunication and frustration. I have definitely lost my "cool mom" status. In an effort to keep our relationship on a civil level I refrained from asking questions or giving advice. You know this was killing me. I became more concerned about him being a gentleman and how he looked to his date's parents than whether he still trusted me and felt safe talking with me. Lesson learned. The poor firstborn endures all of our parenting mistakes to the fullest, huh?

He let me take him to get his hair cut and pick up the corsage yesterday afternoon. I just cracked up at his reaction when paying for it. When we got to the register and he took out his wallet he looked at me and said "That much for this?? Geez you women are expensive!" That's right son.

In an effort to not further embarrass him, I aquiesced to his request that I not accompany him and his dad to pick up his date and snap a bunch of pictures. Talk about restraint. My husband took them to the house where 15 couples were convening for dinner and pictures. As I waited (impatiently) at home, Trey returned and announced: "She is BEAUTIFUL! You should have come. There were a ton of parents there. It was a big party." Great. He said the group thing made everyone relaxed and I had permission to come back with him to transport the kids to the school for the dance. This was when they reluctantly agreed to take the pictures below. Baby steps, right?

I'm happy to report that they had a great time and he spent the better part of this morning sitting on the edge of my bed giving me a play-by-play of the evening. I wish I could share more but I'll refrain. I'm just glad I'm back in the know--until the next big event.

Before the dinner.

Leaving for the dance. Much more relaxed.

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Happy Birthday Mimi!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Since I've been blogging, one of my most faithful readers has been my mother-in-law. I know she loves to get updates on the family and see recent pictures since she lives 3,000 miles away. But she always takes the time to comment on the posts where I really share my heart. Her love language is definitely "words of affirmation" and she speaks them so effortlessly. I don't think she really understands how encouraging her words are because it comes so naturally to her.

This morning when I looked at the calendar and was reminded of her birthday today, I thought "now this calls for a post."

It seems that most complaints about mother's-in-law center around too much meddling. This has never been an issue here. She has a healthy respect for our marriage and our family and only gets involved if we ask her to. Even if she has had issues with me (and I'm sure there have been plenty over the years) she has never said a coarse word about me to my husband. How many of us can say that about our husband's mom? It's a trait I want to emulate when I am in her shoes.

I still remember when Trey and I were planning our move to Washington D.C. My intended living situation changed a few weeks before we were leaving. Through Trey, his mom communicated that I was welcome to live with them. We hadn't even met!!! One night I mustered up the courage to call and thank his parents for their offer. A few days later I received a letter in the mail thanking me for making the first contact. The letter ended with "we have always been fond of anyone who brings our son happiness, which is why I'm sure we will adore you." Awwww. Once again, her words slayed me.

We spent the first 10 years of our marriage within driving distance of their house. The day we packed up to head west, I know it was killing her to watch us load our belongings and her grandbabies and move as far away from them as possible while still living in the U.S. She never let on that she was thinking of anything except what was best for our family. She always makes the most of our time together. In fact this summer when one of my boys stained her carpet with food for what seemed like the 100th time, my son said "sorry, Mimi" and as she jumped up to get the rug cleaner, I heard her say, "I'm just glad y'all are here!" Well said.

My all-time favorite memory was my 40th birthday. She decided she wanted to hand-deliver my present and join in on the 50's party. I foiled her surprise when I got up in the middle of the night and heard some noise in the basement. I went down there to discover her in the guest room eating a bowl of cereal. I was blown away. She had never come out her by herself, and I know she caught flack for it, but the fact that she was willing to do that for me was birthday present enough. But she didn't stop there. Since 2000, I have been making her a yearly scrapbook for Christmas of our family's past 12 months. It's my favorite thing to do every December and it's the only gift she wants year after year. (or so I think) She decided it was my turn to have someone make a book for me. We cozied up on the sofa the next morning and she handed me the most precious gift I've ever received: a book with 40 pages--each one dedicated to one of the 40 reasons why she loves me. Now that alone is a tall order for anyone. Without a doubt, it is one of my most prized possessions.

If they say a man marries a woman a lot like his mother, then based on my experience, I take that as a huge compliment.

Happy Birthday, Mimi!!! May the time and effort you invest in others be returned to you today! Thanks for emulating who I want to be when I finally get some girls in this family.

Celebrating the October birthdays.

Just before I became the other woman in her son's life.