Mother’s Day (bonus post)

I just read what my youngest daughter wrote for Mother's Day. It moved me to tears. It is one thing to throw all these horrors at your children during your lifetime and try to then explain to them how you ended up being the person that you are now. They lived through a lot of it with me, in one form or another, but that doesn't make it any easier. It is such a feeling of overwhelming love to read what she has written and be able to say, "She gets it. She really understands me." I don't think too many parents get that opportunity. So many times we're trying to figure out what makes out kids tick and never think that maybe they are wondering the same thing. I've said it before and will say it again… I am so proud of my children. I am the woman who, as a teenager, never wanted to have children. Now? I can't imagine my life without them. I love them so much… and I am so blessed to have that love returned ten-fold. Thank you, Em, for the most beautiful words.

Monday Musings

It was interesting to see the comments on my last post. Thanks to Deb for setting me straight – I'm not anti-social after all, I'm avoidant. I'll have to remember that. This is how my weekend went:

  • Friday after work I took food to Hubs in the field, then youngest daughter and I went to "Fractured". It was pretty good – we won't even discuss how much better it was than "Spiderman 3", but it was buttloads better. We thought we had figured it out about half-way through, but curiosity kept us in our seats to make sure we were right. We were.
  • Saturday morning I worked at my "town" job. Then I got my mother a plant and delivered it in person – solving the dilemma of Mother's Day, obligitory visit, and getting to see their new puppy! Yes, they got a new pup and she's adorable. Only 12 weeks old and 3 lbs, she's a black and white (more white than black) shih tzu. Our family is a bit partial to shih tzus, so it was fun to see a little one again. She's a doll and I'll have to post pictures when I have time to download them from my camera.
  • On the 40 minute drive back home, I made an impulsive decision to go watch my son race. Hubs and MIL had already left to drive to the track, and youngest daughter had just gotten off work. She'd called and wanted to know what we were doing for supper. I called her back and said, "Do you want more blog-fodder?" then told her I was hungry for "track food". She said "sure!" and we called eldest daughter to see if she wanted to go with. Sure enough she was up to it! We got there after his hot laps and his heat race, to find a bunch of people crowding around the car. Uh-oh. Not always a good sign. We were up in the stands and luckily his fiance' and her family were there, too, and knew what had happened. Seems he got in a little fender-bender on the track, but nothing major and he just had to replace a front bumper. We were there for the main race, but he didn't have a very good night. Couldn't seem to get a bite on the track and ended up 7th – which in this case, was last. Still and all, from my perspective it was a good night – any night he doesn't crash (and I am watching) is a great night.  Afterwards we went down to the pit and surprised everyone – no body knew we were coming. We joked and visited with some of the people who hang around after the races to talk to the drivers – as well as his friends who help out on the car. It was a good evening, spoiled only by the fact I had to get up the next morning.
  • Another piece of trivia in the "good news" department. At the races? My brother-in-law was there with his two brats sons. You remember, The Boys. At any rate, I guess when my son was working on the car, BIL encouraged his youngest (10?12?) to help wrench on the car. I don't know what it is about that guy… he just pisses the hell out of me. He was so happy that his son got the "experience" of "working on a race car". Gah. He and his wife are the most snoopy, pushy, take-things-for-granted people I know. I've told the tales of him bringing The Boys out to the farm, like it's an amusement park… "c'mon, boys! ride the rides! drive the tractor! stand in front of the combine! play in the bin! isn't this FUN?"… well, that extends to every part of the world, apparently. Now it's "c'mon boys, come to the track! mess with the cars! piss of the drivers! Isn't this FUN?". My son has the patience of Job that he didn't just haul off and smack that kid clear across the track.  You were wondering where the "good news" comes in? Well, first that they were in the pits and I wasn't… and second, that they left shortly after the race and I never had to say a word to any of them. I know, I'm so going to hell.
  • Sunday brought morning too soon. After the night before I wasn't ready. I don't know how Hubs does it. More practice, I guess. He was out the door by 7 o'clock to head to the field to plant. I was barely seeing. No, it wasn't a hangover – I only had one beer. It was more the "I'm an old lady who has a hard time staying out until midnight and then getting up in the morning after eating large quantities of dirt"… thing. I finally made myself move limbs and got a snack for Hubs and took it out to the field. Then did some help moving things around and ran into town with youngest daughter for coffee (her) and a plant for MIL. Back home to drop off daughter, then took plant to MIL's and got lunches around for the guys. More moving help and I was off the hook for awhile farm-wise.
  • Sunday afternoon brought frustrations. First Hubs called me and asked if I was prepared to be pissed off. That's never a good beginning of a conversation and usually involves BIL. This was no exception. For background, you have to know my MIL has a grove of trees (most farmers do have some type of windbreak). Some of her trees are evergreens, but she has quite a few deciduous. Since I've known her, she frets about those damn trees and her "twigs"… fallen sticks and branches that need to be cut, etc. I mean, when the kids were small they never went to their grandma's to visit, no… she always had them come over to "pick up sticks". Is it any wonder they never wanted to go see her? (We won't get into the fact that she refused to be called Grandma until the last grandchild came…) So, back to yesterday. BIL and his wife gave my MIL a mother's day gift of  picking up the sticks. Okay, to be fair, they took dinner also, but here's the kicker… they can't do it without using all OUR equipment, fuel, etc. Yeah. Leeches. They called to ask about using the small tractor (with a bucket and exchangable forks), then MIL called and wanted to know where the next bigger tractor was. Didn't ask to use it, just wanted to know where it was. uh huh. We're not stupid. Even YOU figured out why she wanted to know. Amazingly enough, BIL did bring his own chainsaw. huh. I didn't even know he had one. Another first. Oh, and then they called to see if they could use the Rhino. I was over there later and saw the Rhino going down the road with a trailer attached loaded down with tree debris. I guess they were going to this small patch of grass that's part of the field, but away from the house. No, they didn't take all the debris there, just one pile. Why? Found out later that one of The Boys wants to have a bonfire with some friends out there. (Does anyone know a NARC we can call when they do? I'm just sure they would find something…) Hell. me. Yup.
  • Sunday also found me trying to get my veggie garden planted as well as a couple of flats of annuals stuck in the ground that have been sitting waiting for things to dry up a bit. That was a lesson in frustration. I have a small rototiller that was out of fuel. It takes the mixed kind – oil and gas. The gas can is not at our house. Back to the shop (about 4.5 miles) to find the can. Found it. It's small, just a gallon size. Half full. Hmmm… don't know if that will be enough. Start looking for more oil to mix up more if I need it. End up being roped into going to the house to see MIL's dresses she bought for the boys' weddings. Just what I wanted to do at that point in time. Close proximity to SIL made forced conversation. Ugh. Escaped back to the shop as fast as humanly possible. Found the oil. YAY! Back home, filled the tiller and proceeded to both sweat and swear in equal quantities. I couldn't get that &%#$ to start  and stay running for the life of me. After 90- minutes of messing, sweating, swearing, waiting (did I flood it?) and pissing around, I wheeled the damn thing back in the garage and got out my trusty spade. The garden is planted. The annuals are 3/4 planted. All got watered. Dogs had fun laying on the newly planted flora. What is it with dogs and newly dug earth? They love it. Cool on their hot tummies, I guess. None of them are big enough to do permanent damage. At least my little one figured out not to dig them up as fast as I planted them. I got her broke of that last year, I think. This time she just kept coming around and giving me kisses – trying to figure out what I was doing on the ground for so long. I think if I actually passed out, this would be the scenerio. I wouldn't have "Lassie" getting help for "Timmy", I would just get "kissed" to death. At least I'd die with a clean face.
  • Sunday night. Dinner prepared and delivered to the field. Later I would help Hubs get moved and head for home. He had a busy, successful day – planting 240 acres! Yay! I got home and showered and hit the bed hard. Needless to say, I slept deeply last night!

Rain expected tonight and tomorrow morning – possible severe. Hope it misses us or at least is light. They've only just gotten going again and even now are some wet spots that have to be avoided so they don't get stuck. This post turned out a lot longer than I thought – guess I really DID have a busy weekend! Hope all you Mothers had a good day~~~ 

Se7en

Okay, I know…bad play on words. Hubs HATES that movie. Me? I kinda like it… as you'll see. Cindi tagged me. I'm supposed to reveal seven random facts or habits about me.

1.) As I implied in the beginning… I like weird movies. I won't say scarey, as I'm not into the whole "BOO!" jumping in the seat – slasher flicks. I like ones that make you think a bit or ones where I feel compelled to go back and see them again to find out if there were clues I missed. Ones like "Se7en", "The Sixth Sense" – so on. This also extends to TV viewing and books.

2.) I have a facination with British mysteries. "Prime Suspect", "Wire in the Blood", "Waking the Dead", "Rebus"… the BBC's 'mystery monday' is a must-see in my house. It puts Hubs to sleep. I think part of it is the language. Accents are sexy. All accents. What can I say?

3.) Don't talk to me in the morning. I have been up since 5a.m., showered, have my makeup on, my hair done, and be walking out the door to go to work. That does NOT imply I'm awake. I don't really wake up until about 9 or 10 a.m. When I was young I was a "night person" and still was no good in the morning, but could stay up half the night without feeling it the next day. Now? Well, I'm a bit "older" and I conk out about 10:30 or 11:00. Doesn't make the mornings any better.

4.) I like end results. I'm probably strange, but as much as I putter in the gardens, knit, crochet, cross-stitch and other crafts… I hate the process. Why do I do it then? I like the results. I like being able to look at the garden and know I did it – the design, the planting, the growing. I enjoy having a framed piece of cross-stitch to give to someone to hopefully cherish all their lives. I like having a warm afghan or scarf to bundle around in the wintertime and realize I didn't pay someone else to make it. When I'm in the middle of it all? Ick.

5.) I am not a people person. This is no surprise to anyone who is close to me. I am a self-proclaimed "anti-social" person. That's probably taking it a bit far, if you get into true descriptions of anti-social, but it is how I feel. I am not comfortable around people… only a handful, mostly my children and my husband… ever get close enough to realize how I really am. I can fake it well.

6.) Along with number 5 goes one of the most important truths about me. I must have solitude in my life. Daily. I have the greatest Husband in the world. He is there for me through thick and thin and will do anything in the world for me. I'd like to think I'd do anything in the world for him, too. One of the most generous, loving things he does for me on a daily basis is give me some solitude. I love his company, I do. We accept that we have differences and one of those is our taste in movies and/or TV viewing. With a multi-television household, it is easy for each of us to watch what we want to watch without having to force each others' taste on to an unsuspecting spouse. Rarely, we watch the same thing in the same room. We do "check up" on each other throughout the evening… we aren't totally ignoring one another. Take it back to my OCS (only child syndrome) but I just must have that "down time". He respects that and I love him more than he'll ever know because of it. It is one of the greatest gifts he gives me. Daily.

7.) Last, but not least. I am insecure. Years of a childhood being told I was nothing still lurk in a 50-year-old body. I'm better than I was. I'm not as good as I could be. I wish I were more resiliant. Do we ever really escape those demons or do they just get "resolved"?

I'm supposed to tag people. I'm trying to pick some new ones so don't think 'cause you weren't picked it is because I don't like you anymore. This isn't gradeschool kickball, folks. In no particular order: Em, Kenna, Beckett, Michael, and Kate. If you're bored, feel free to do it anyway!

Introspective

The funeral for the young man who died was hard. Very hard. My daughters went with me, as they, too, had known him. We went early as I thought there might be a lot of people. There were. I found my elder daughter's observation interesting. She said she had never noticed so many similarities between weddings and funerals… the music is the same in many cases, candles being lit, the food. My son was a pall bearer so we weren't sititng with him and didn't see him or his fiance' until afterwards. When I did see him, all I could do was hug him and want to hold on tight. The young man's uncle spoke, as well as his elder brother. I understand the willingness to want to say something at the funeral, but I've never been able to fathom how these people can say such moving things and keep their composure. I was only listening and was moved to tears. When his brother turned to the casket and asked if he would still be the godfather to his youngest child… well, it was the gut-kicker.

A parent burying a child. That's just not the way it is supposed to go. It messes with the natural order. I have to believe there is "something" more out there… and that there is a plan. I have to believe we will see those who have gone on before us… human and critter… again. It's what keeps me going in times of grief. Still? I cannot speak for those who have lost a child. As heartbroken as I was for the family, his friends, and the loss of such a good, sweet, successful young man… I was so overwhelmingly grateful it wasn't one of mine. Somehow I think I should feel guilty about that… but I can't bring myself to get rid of that thought. Thank you, God. It was not one of mine.

Tuesday Tidbits

I'm feeling a bit dis-jointed today, so you get scraps.

  • The funeral is this afternoon for my son's friend. I'm going with my daughters, who also knew him and went to school with him. It is going to be a rough afternoon.
  • For those of you playing along, youngest daughter is going to be MORE than 2 miles away… more like 7.
  • Racer son came in 6th Saturday night. He was 7th the week before. He's getting closer…
  • It has stopped raining. For now. The sun is actually out today. Can we please keep dry long enough to start… and finish… planting the crops?
  • I feel for the people in Greensburg, Kansas. Their town was destroyed by an F5 tornado and 8 people lost their lives. Although I didn't live through it, my Hubs did go through one here back in the 70's. I've seen the pictures. Scarier than hell. Truth be known, I'm surprised the people in Kansas had 20 minutes to prepare! Normally, you are lucky to get 5 or 10, if that. My fear is one coming at night when you're sleeping and not realizing. We live in the country and are not where you can hear the sirens. I've tried two different weather-band radios that have alarm systems, but we can't get a good enough signal for them to work. When we are under a tornado watch, I've a tendency to either sit up or sleep very badly.
  • I need a nap

Happy Tuesday.

All Grownup

I'm not sure I like being a grownup. There, I've said it. Sometimes I'm not prepared for the way it can hurt. I want to say right up front, this is not a guilt trip for anyone in my family, so please if you're reading this, don't take it that way.

When I was growing up a lot of bad things happened. I couldn't wait to move out of my house. I turned 18 in December and plotted and planned for a month ahead of time how I was going to move out of the house while my parents were at work. I secretly stored things in boxes in the basement in areas I knew they wouldn't notice. I sorted through and picked out the things I couldn't leave there without because I was sure I was never going back. Ever.

On my birthday, I pretended to go to school. I waited until I was sure my parents were gone then moved everything that was mine out of the house. I had already rented a small furnished apartment in the upstairs of an elderly woman's home and spent the day taking several loads of possessions to the new place. I had a Gremlin (those of you who know what that is, stop laughing) so it took several trips.

I delivered a letter to my dad's workplace telling him I'd left and letting him know so he could tell mom before she got home from work and found me gone. I didn't tell them where I went. They got it out of my boyfriend (someday-to-be-ex-husbands') parents. He and I were not living together, but had planned on being married as soon as possible. My father found me that night and asked me to wait to marry to give me, his only child, the wedding he always wanted to give me. What can I say? I was weak and gave in.

I'll skip some of the drama here – it's all over at "Dark Madness". At any rate, after getting married and a few years of marriage, I was broke, had two small children, some bruises – both internal and external –   and whatever was left of my pride was gone. I went to my parents to ask if the kids and I could stay with them for a little bit until I could get on my feet. The answer was no. That changed my life as far as the way I looked at parenthood. I swore, no matter what happened with my children as they grew I wanted them to always feel they could come home.

Through the years the kids have come and gone. Sometimes for a few days, sometimes for a few months. Lately, it has been a year. It doesn't feel like a year, but it has been. My youngest daughter who had married and moved out-of-state came home to divorce and re-group and renew her life. It is what I wanted to be here for. I wanted to be the net.

Now she's talking about moving out. She's been apartment hunting. She's found an apartment. Although we try to give her space and independence and we have a large house, I know she still feels as though she's 'living at home'. Yes, she's an adult and I do want her to go back out into the world. That's what we do – we raise them up and let them go. At least I know she's not moving out-of-state again (at least for the time being). We may be will be keeping her dog, as there aren't many decent apartments that allow pets. That won't be much of a stretch, as the dog has pretty much taken a shine to "grandpa". (Could it be the little nibbles of things he slips to her as he watches TV?)

Still and all… I don't know if I like this "grownup" business so much. I'm sure gonna miss her.

P.S. Check out her blog if you want to see how we spent Saturday night~~

Racing Through Time

I didn't get this posted yesterday as I wanted to, so a day late I will announce it was my youngest son's 24th birthday. He is the car racer in the family. With Brad's help, we've gotten a new site set up for his racing over here, but it's still a bit under construction so please keep that in mind.

This kid (yes, although he is a man, he will always be a "kid" to me) has been racing in one form or another ever since he was born. As the youngest of four, he was the last to speak – (who has to speak when you can just grunt or point to something and three siblings will jump to do your bidding?) – yet he was very active physically from the get-go. Always impressive with his hand skills, he was able at an extremely young age to not only escape his crib, then playpen, but would take down the baby-gate and put it back up, leaving me with no clue he was out roaming the house in the middle of the night. (Can you say, yikes?!?)

Sometime in his teens he got the racing bug. He started off in the class "cruiser" cars – old junkers that had a two-man crew. One would steer and one would run the footfeed. Entertaining to watch, to say the least, but not very safe. Through the years he's moved up from one class to another, always being successful in every class he tried.

As a mom, I find it difficult to watch the races. My imagination is a bit too vivid and my heart a bit too easily bruised. I told him from the beginning that I probably wouldn't be at many races as if something did happen accident-wise, I'd be an embarrassing basket-case although he would probably barely have a scratch. Hubs goes to every race as I wait by the phone for the call that says "the car is on the trailer"… and how he did. What broke or didn't break, how well the car handled, and how he finished in placement. A win would indicate a late night as they celebrated with fellow racers and friends at the track, and a breakdown would be days of grumpy males grouching around until the problem could be fixed.

In all cases, my son would take it in stride. I am so proud of him. Although he farms with Hubs, he's really found his niche with racing. He's earned so much respect from his peers and has fans too numerous to count. I know his dream is someday to be able to make his living racing, and with his talents I could see it happening.

I've watched him grow from a small, shy kid to a very tall (tallest in the family), out-going, loving, sweet and caring man. He's an animal nut, like his parents, and between him and his fiance' he has several critters that he already treats like children. A wedding date has been set for next February, but it will just be making "official" the life he's already living. As a human being, he's so loving and considerate of his family and friends and he does it without a second thought. One of those things I think about when Amy talks about her small children and how they interact. Although my kids didn't always get along when they were younger, they seem to be very good friends now.

At the track, he treats everyone as an equal, whether they young or old or at the bottom of rankings. He gets along with the consistant winners but will help the losers with advice when asked. He's as good a mechanic as he is a driver and much of his success can be directly related to his keen eye and ability to find problems before they become bigger problems.

When he wins, he is as generous a winner as he can be a gracious loser. Time after time as he's stood in the winners' circle to have his picture taken, he's encouraged kids who want to have their pictures taken with the 'winner' to "come on in"… giving them a piece of himself. To him, that's what it's all about.

I'm probably getting sickening about now… but for those of you who are still reading, thanks for sticking in here. yeah, I love my kids, all of 'em… they all have a special place in my heart. This one will for all intents and purposes always be "the baby"… the last one. All grown up now. Love ya, honey.

Unexpected Heartbreak

This was not the post I was going to write today. This is not a post anyone wants to write. Ever.

A good friend of my eldest son passed away yesterday. He had a heart attack. I don't know his exact age, but he was a classmate of my son, so has to be 30 or 31. It was a shock to everyone. Growing up in the midwest, he'd gone to New York City several years ago to become a chef and I remember when 9/11 happened he was there and it was a bit of panic wondering how he was. He'd married a home-town girl, a classmate of one of my other children, and although there had subsequently been a seperation and divorce – ironically final just last week, he had bounced back and been dating someone new and was very happy.

My son said when his friend separated from his wife was when things had gotten bad, about a year ago. The friend had gone on medication (something was said about "the same thing Anna Nicole was taking") and he'd been struggling. However, with the new relationship and new hope he'd decided to go into rehab and kick the medication. Nerved up, he'd taken something before going in and was told when he arrived at the rehab that he'd need to detox first and was sent to the hospital. At 2 a.m. check at the hospital yesterday morning, he was fine. At 4 a.m., he was dead.

There will be an autopsy, then he'll be coming home to be buried, probably next week. Such promise. Such hope. Such a crushing blow to those who knew him. My son worked for his familys' business for many years and became close to them all. He and his fiance' came to town yesterday to see the family. What can you say? How can something like this be explained?

I've said it before, and will say it again. Give your special people in your life all the love you can today. Don't wait. You never know what tomorrow may bring.