With all the snow we've gotten, and now the warmer weather, the inevitable has happened. It's melting. That means lots of flooding in various areas of the state. The creek outside our back door ran the highest I'd seen it for many years – but went down to normal levels pretty quickly. The large front yard where we used to live and our son lives now is about the size of a football field. The whole thing was flooded. Luckily, the house sits on a slight rise, so there was a ways to go before it would be flooded, however it was the highest I'd seen the water since the infamous "floods of '93" that was supposed to be a 500-year flood. As I drove to town one day last week, the whole bottom next to the Squaw Creek was flooded – the banks of the creek totally overrun.

Later that night, Hubs saw on the news where a 79-year-old man had gone missing in a small town to the north of us, and the rescue units were looking for him. Hubs recognized the name as a friend of his mothers', and checked with her (she had gone out of town with brother-in-law's family over spring break). She called back and checked with friends and discovered it was her friend. His wife had gone to town and when she returned home she found his garden tractor near the bank of Squaw Creek where it runs near their home. He evidently had been doing something to try and keep the water from coming up into their yard. Officials think he got too close and was swept away in the rushing water. He was finally found a few days later about one-half mile from his home. Dead.

When we were at the customer appreciation dinner last night we sat next to a neighbor of this man. It seems he had a dog that he took everywhere with him. The neighbor says the dog sits by the bank of the creek where the man went in – still waiting for his master to come home. Aren't critters amazing? So sad… not only the loss of this man in a needless accident, but the poor animal that can't understand that his master is never coming home.

Who’da Thunk?

Wedding_topperMy two sons are getting married. The eldest, in July, and the youngest next February. They are both marrying wonderful women. They are both having black and white weddings. That's where the likenesses end. However, who would have ever believed that it is my sons that are the traditionalists in their relationships?

I've been asked by both brides-to-be to help with various things such as cake-tasting (oooo…twist my arm again, please!). In chatting over wedding plans with each of them, it has been mentioned more than once by each of them that they can't believe the traditional thinking that is coming out of their grooms-to-be mouths. Well, they couldn't be more surprised than I am!

I admit, I'm a little bit different when it comes to the whole mom-thang. Yes, I have a phobia about wanting to know where they are or more importantly, how to get in touch with them at a moments notice. (I can't find my previous post about this, but will update when I find it)…But I am not all funny about needing to have 10 grand-kids or demanding they all have the "big" wedding productions. Amazingly, I'm finding that the boys are all for that! Huh. I guess you're never too old to learn something new about your kids.

Kissing the Mustard

Note to self. Monday. Late morning. Stay away from the grocery store. There are variations on this theme. I've learned I don't like to shop on Saturday or Sunday because that is when all the yuppies with young children seem to congregate and gorge on all the free samples being hawked on the end of every isle. Weekdays, from 4 to 6 pm is the "I just got off work and need to get groceries fast so I can get home and cook for family" working mom marathon. Trust me, you do not want to get in their way. It usually is safe to go in the 1 to 4 pm range. Or mornings. Mornings used to be okay. Maybe not so much anymore.

I went to the store on Monday. I swear I missed the memo. It surely was posted somewhere in big hard-to-miss letters. I say it had to be there because the clientelle was so obvious. Old people and the mentally handicapped. Not that those two classes were exclusive. I can be a very patient person when I have to be. Monday? I had to be.

I know they say as you age you shrink. Something to do with your cartilage and bones. Still… these people must have started out at about 4 feet tall. I had more cow-eyed looks as I moved down the isles wordlessly begging me to get something off the top shelf for them than I've had my whole life. I'm 5'9", which in the real world isn't tiny. Most of my friends growing up have always been shorter than myself and I've gotten used to that wordless thing short people can do where they stare at something on a high shelf, then start gazing around to see who in the vacinity might have the capability of reaching said object. I'm nice. I usually volunteer without being asked, only to have the universal response be, "I was wondering how I was going to get that down!" That was my typical older person shopping time experience.

To make Monday even more exciting there were several handicapped people in the store. I don't have a bias either for or against the mentally handicapped, only to be grateful that I nor anyone in my immediate family have this disability. In my younger days I did childcare for a girl who was 12-years-old physically and had the mental capacity of a 4-year-old. It truly made me appreciate what the parents and caretakers of these people must deal with each and every day and I hold them in the highest esteem. Myself? I can't do it. I have the patience necessary to deal with the situations of a grocery store happenstance, but not in hours, days, weeks or years of continuous proximity.

For the most part, when I see these people out with their caretakers, I am only a bystander. Monday I became a participant when a woman, approximately my age (late 40's, early 50's) was being led through the store with her 20-something caretaker. At a glance, the older woman appeared to be very child-like in her winter parka with the fur-lined hood pulled up and the fact she was only about 4-foot tall. Immediately, you could tell by the way the caretaker was speaking to her that this was a situation of the smaller woman being cared for as she was coaxing her with conversation you might overhear with a mother and her young child. I was standing in line to check out when they went by my cart.  Suddenly, the small woman's eyes lit up as she looked at my cart. Standing as I was, on the opposite side, I couldn't see what had grasped her attention. I'm running a quick checklist through my mind trying to think what I'd put in the basket that would be so appealing – not being allowed to buy candy or any sweets that might have caught the eye of this child-woman. Against the scolding of her caretaker, she reached into my cart, triumphantly pulling out the Plochman's mustard in the bright yellow bottle. She held it aloft, a beautiful smile splashed across her face. Ignoring her caretaker, she proceeded to mumble a few things I couldn't understand while gazing lovingly at the bottle…. and with a tender kiss, she put it back in my cart. The caretaker apologized, and continued telling "Missus" that she couldn't just take things out of other people's carts… all the while "Missus" continued to look back at my cart and wave to her friend Mr. Mustard.

Makes you wonder. I know that I probably will never be 4-foot-tall when I'm older, even with "shrinkage". I doubt if I'll ever have to ask for help getting something off the top shelf. But the other? How quickly we can presume that we will never be mentally handicapped, then turn and in the blink of an eye have a stroke or a car accident and end up having to learn everything all over again. Even if we are not born with the handicap, sometimes fate deals us a cruel blow and we can end up that way. I hope if I ever end up that way that someone else can smile and be patient with me when I decide to kiss the mustard.

You Never Stop Being a Parent

This isn’t going to be a newsflash to anyone who has older children, but to those of you who have babies or toddlers or god-forbid-teenagers or who maybe haven’t taken the plunge into parenthood quite yet but are thinking about it – it never ever ends. Not when they become 18, not when they graduate from college, not when they get married, not even when they have children of their own. They are always your babies, in your heart.

A bit of poor communication this week resulted in this being brought home once again in the most gut-wrenching way. A night was spent in worry and frustration as temperatures outside plunged below zero and people weren’t where they were thought to be and gravel roads were driven with one eye to the road and the other to the snow-filled ditches. All was well and communication was re-established by ten o’clock the next morning, but this mom didn’t get any sleep Thursday night. At all. Those are the times when an over-active imagination and love of all mystery-murder-CSI-type shows came back to bite me in the ass.

It’s a fine line to let your children live their lives and yet keep an eye out for their safety and happiness. It’s hard to know that they are self-sufficient and yet feel if I were the one in the snow-filled ditch with a dead cell phone and sub-zero temps and only ice covered cornfields between me and civilation, I would hope someone would miss me and come looking.

I’ve been accused of being over-protective at times. As I’ve told my children many, many times… “If we didn’t love you, we wouldn’t care”. I know this was just a case of mis-communication. I know it’s not going to happen again. Still… it’s a sleepless night that will take awhile to get over. You just don’t spend sleepless nights with a baby’s ear infection or a toddler’s bad dreams. You don’t only sit up worrying that your teenager is hanging with a bad crowd or that the last time you had a fight there were hidden messages between the lines.

It really never ends. I wouldn’t want it to. It’s called love.