Happy Anniversary Love Birds

Today my parents celebrate their 46 wedding anniversary. This duo have been sweethearts for the majority of their lives. They started dating when she was 14 years old and he was 17 years old. People change as they do life. Experiences you have through life shape and define who you are. Starting out together in your teens and remaining a pair in your 60s no doubt takes a lot of embracing change and flexibility while remaining true to each other. It takes a stroke of luck and an extraordinary mixture of love, dedication, hard work, trust, and faith to make life work together over the years.

These two celebrated high school experiences and went to prom together. They have supported each other through college. They packed up from their small Kentucky hometown and experienced the big city of Atlanta as my Dad attended pharmacy school and my Mom worked to be the breadwinner at a bank in downtown Atlanta. Together they have opened, grew, and sold a business. They have traveled together, with kids, and with family. They have enjoyed H&L trips (named after their first name initials) across the USA and beyond where they have stayed in T-pees, tree houses, caves, cruise ships, and jails (they were not booked for an offense-the jail was a hotel).

They have built a house and made a home together. They have sold most everything they have owned and downsized. They have moved their children (nearly 20 times) to dorms, apartments, and houses. They have live through family pets such as cats, dogs, and rabbits. The agreed to crazy things like ant farms and aquariums. They planned and videoed every second of family vacations to the great west, beaches, and Disney. They have owned land and sold land. They have spent most of their life looking for something that someone in the family wanted – a special antique, Cabbage Patch kid, Teddy Ruxpin, a He-man toy, a perfect outfit, a cactus plant, or furniture. You name it, they looked and always brought back the prize.

They have supported each other through raising kids and aging parents. They have raised two kids and now have two grandsons. They have attended football, basketball, and tee ball games. They have suffered through dance recitals and pageants. They did not kill their children during the years of temper tantrums, teenage dating, or college fun. They have weathered the disappointments in life together and celebrated life’s joys together. They have made friends and lost friends. They have won at life more than they have lost.

They have shared good fashion and bad fashion trends. The have weathered good hairstyles, bad hairstyles, wigs, and no hair. They have rode thousands of miles together in a Mustang, minivan, and convertible…just to name a few (who can forget the Isuzu Trooper and Big Bertha).  They have had sunny days, rainy days, stormy days, snow days. They have survived floods, blizzards, and ice storms. Most recently, they have weathered cancer together as my Mom has battled breast cancer.

Many things have changed in life, yet their relationship has not. They have talked on landlines, bag phones, and now the iPhone. They once wrote letters but now text. They have moved from records, to 8 tracks, to cassettes and CDS, to iTunes. They have moved from a giant camcorder to selfies. They have moved from plotting vacations on a highlighted map book to using an app.

When I reflect on what might be the secret to their successful marriage, a couple of things come to mind.

  1. They live life together as one. I cannot recall a time that were not one on life and decisions. Family, friends, jobs, life, etc. whatever they face, they face as one.
  2. They are faithful. To each other and to a higher power.
  3. They are each other’s best friend and confidant. You can guarantee if you say, “don’t tell Mom” about something good, bad or a surprise…that she knows within five minutes or less. And this works the same with “don’t tell Dad.”
  4. They keep it real. Which means stating what is on your mind, not holding a grudge, laughing a lot, and occasionally offering a deserved harsh word.
  5. They are always up for an adventure. Whether it is a hole-in-the-wall diner, a Sunday drive, or a grand vacation-they enjoy it just the same.

On the soundtrack Hope Floats (one of my favorite movies and soundtracks), there is a song by Deana Carter titled “That’s How You Know It’s Love.” In the song there is a line which states, “when the span of forever just never seems long enough, that’s how you know it’s love.” When I reflect on my parents love and devotion to each other as they celebrate their anniversary, it is clear that span of forever just doesn’t seem like long enough for the two love birds that I call Mom and Dad. Thank you for giving me a home with a healthy marriage and instilling in me the values I build my marriage and home upon each day. Happy Anniversary H&L!

Today my spoon is full of a grateful heart for my parents and their love for each other. I am grateful during the blizzard of 1977, the Stork dropped me off at your house so I can share this ride with you.

I did not want to save this post for a milestone anniversary like #50 because truthfully, each year deserves to be celebrated.  I know they will kill me for all of these pictures. However, they are a testament to the fun ride they share… and the many adventures yet to come.

 

 

Cooper Turns Eight!

You just celebrated birthday number eight. What?!?! Almost weekly you ask Siri how many days it is until your birthday. Every time you shout out the number that Siri shares, I tell you that I called in a special favor and that will you stop growing at age 7…no turning eight. Forever, my seven-year-old buddy. You giggle every time like it is the first time you have heard me say it and say “Mom, can you really do that?”

This year has been such a fun year for you, for us, for anyone that crosses your path. You have spent the year deep in your plastic army men, plastic animals, Legos, Nerf guns, and Lincoln logs. You have mastered your bike with no training wheels. We are still working on mastering the electric scooter. Our garage door has a large dent in it from your attempt to master the scooter. You love to play with your Dad. He helped you celebrate your 8th birthday with an epic water war party-complete with tunnels and camo netting. You two invented a game called snotbox hockey which involves a Kleenex box and pool noodles (note: if you visit our house-this is why my walls need repainting and my Kleenex box is duct taped together). Your favorite TV shows are CBS Sunday Morning, America’s Got Talent, The World of Dance, Toy Box, Little Big Shots, America Ninja Warrior, and Teen Titans. You also like to sneak and watch 20/20 murder episodes because you like to solve the mystery.

You are a noticer. You notice someone in need of a smile or friend. Once this year in the toy isle of a local store you noticed that, apparently, there is now a championship belt for WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) women. You said “well, look at this. It’s about time the women can have their own belt.” You notice the shapes and sizes of clouds and you can spot a random camouflaged animal or insect with precision. On a cold, but surprisingly sunny day in February you walked home from your friend’s house shirtless. When I asked you, what you were doing…you said “just feeling the sun and fresh air on my stomach.”

You have developed your own fashion sense and think you need everything Under Armor and Steph Curry. Your “style” is one color. It does not have to be the same shade of blue. In your eyes, as long as generally have the same color on, you match. You still love soccer and futsal. Your Dad was soccer coach this year and you wanted to tell him what needed to happen on the field.

I know your sweet heart had a hard time understanding your Mimzi’s breast cancer diagnosis this past year -all of our hearts did. You religiously Facetimed her throughout the year to check in on her and often asked how her “boob” was doing. You are counting the days down to her treatments are done and she “just does drugs.” I hate you have seen this ugly side of life, but you have also seen the beauty of hope, healing, and strength in your Mimzi. The song you would constantly sing throughout this ordeal was Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.” It was a fitting theme song for the season we were living.

You have kayaked, camped, ice-skated, bowled, hiked, fished, and rode horses (you laughed because my horse went crazy). You have spent time swimming, snow sledding, building snow forts, playing laser tag, building sand castles, finding starfish, and catching lots of critters (rabbits, turtles, birds, and a mouse to name a few). You went to your first comedy show and loved it. You witnessed a solar eclipse. You have visited many places with trips to Tennessee, Missouri, and Florida. You loved Gatlinburg as much as I hate it. While we were in Florida, our family had the experience of riding out a hurricane together. That was interesting and symbolic. You have went on special trips with your grandparents. You lost one tooth this year.

Your taste buds have remained bland. You have only added French toast and scrambled eggs to your favorites (which is a list of maybe 10 items now). You spent the winter months making rubber band bracelets and potholders. I am still finding tiny rubber bands around the house.

You turn songs and commercials into your own jingles. Like Beastie Boys, “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!).” Your version of one of the lines is “My Mom threw away my best toys, oh man” which is way better than the original lyrics of “now your mom threw away my best porno mag”). Instead of a Rebel just for kicks, in Portugal’s song “Feel It Still” you were a Rebel with a kickstand. You take your iPad into the the bathroom and sing at the top of your lungs when you are taking a shower. You belt out “Golden Slumbers” and “Ever Be.” When you are not in the shower, you steal my bath salts and bath bombs and try to make explosions. You are super excited you recently had a pimple because you said it means you are becoming a man.

You have moved from asking “why” to “how” and ask how about 100 times a day. You are still doing great in math and you are slowly starting to understand the power of reading. In your words, reading “just takes too much time.” You have learned so much at school and have been blessed with good teachers and friends. You soak up everything your teacher shares. You spent weeks telling me about and asking at least one million questions about “King Martin Luther” (Martin Luther King) and Harriett Tubman. While having lunch with you at school, I learned some of the girls have nicknamed you “buttocks” because you have a nice butt. I am pretty sure my jaw dropped to the floor when I heard that but you laughed and said “girls are crazy. They like big butts and they cannot lie.”

You love being with your family and friends. You love all holidays. You even wore a tuxedo to school for Valentine’s Day. You love playing with your neighborhood friends. This summer you and your buddies enjoyed setting up shop in our front yard and selling every drink, individually package food item, and the rubber band bracelets you made. You were very proud of the “profits” you made and told me you offered a military discount to you customers. You are still kindred spirits with your grandmother’s dog-you might have been brothers in another life. When you grow up you want to live in a dimension (AKA mansion) and be an engineer and inventor. You even said I could live with you too!

You really do say the funniest things. You came home from school one day telling me that someone told you Justin Beaver” (Bieber) ate drugs”. You were so disgusted because you like some of his music. When I start fussing at you, you will say “momma stay” which is your way of saying “Namaste” which you think means calm down because it is said in yoga. You think any adult male who smiles, waves, or holds a door for me is trying to “flirt on me.” This year on my fortieth birthday, you woke me up first thing early in the morning and brought me a mirror so I could look at all the wrinkles all over my face. On Mother’s Day you woke me up with a big kiss and said, “Girl, me and you are like Mary and Jesus.” I could go on and on…about your funniness. And about you. This has been a fun year and I am thankful I was able to be along for the ride.

Today my spoon is full of sweet memories of a seven years and anticipation of the journey we will share in year eight. Thank you for letting me live life through your eyes and heart.

 

A Younger Fellow in My Bed

That title was designed to grab your attention….especially all of you “Fifty Shades of Grey” readers (really, I am jealous because I haven’t had the time to read some good smut).  Yes, I have a younger man in my bed. He snuggles with me most of the night and occasionally rubs my arm and pats my back. The young fellow in my bed is actually my almost two year old.Cooper, Brown, and Blue...sound asleep.  I will be the first to admit, I slept in my momma’s bed most of my childhood. I really don’t recall why, except I remember my brother wanting my dad to sleep in his bed, so I felt sorry for mom. At least that is my story…she might not agree.

Anyone close to me knows I pretty much require a minimum of eight hours of sleep a night to be at my optimum. My husband probably appreciates this fact the most. When I am sleep deprived I turn in to what you might call at “bitch-a-saurous” (can you tell we are into dinosaurs at my house?). These days, sleep rarely happens at my house. As matter of fact I don’t recall the last time I have had more than five hours of sleep a night. Okay…I know-pity party of one you may be seated. But the point I am making-I really value sleep. I believe in the rejuvenation it brings to the mind and body. My rejuvenation has been invaded by a two year old in my bed that spins like a rotisserie chicken and is accompanied by a bear named “Brown” and a blanket he calls “Blue” (creative aren’t we?).

My husband’s career is temporarily taking him out of town a lot more than usual. Like-he gets visitation rights to our life on the weekends. Somewhere between the two year molars, our move into a rental while our home is being built, and my husband taking a new job-my good old friend Mr. Sandman got lost. I am not sure if he didn’t make it in the move, hides in my husband’s suitcase, or just got mad at us and left all together. I sure hope he will at least visit us in our new place. I have vowed my entire life to never let my child sleep in my bed. This week, I ate those words and they tasted darn good for the extra hours of sleep I gained.

After two weeks of sleepless nights which include the old scream it out method; which by the way whoever came up with that didn’t have my child…he has the heart of a fighter so his vocal chords are armed and ready for a night of screaming. I gave in. Now, I have to work myself out of this mess. Even our cat, Miss Kitty, is mad. She sits beside Cooper on the bed and meows most of the night for him to leave.  Occasionally, our eyes will meet and exchange a look that says “we could go sleep on the couch” but instead she goes and sleeps in his toddler bed.

I know it’s temporary and these are the days that pass us by. Maybe I will even be able to laugh and tell stories about it to his kids (I hope they cause him the same grief). But right now for the record, having a younger fellow in your bed ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Today my spoon is empty and begging for some magic sleeping sand dust from my old, friend Mr. Sandman.