Warm Through the Night – Thankful Thursday

Today I’m grateful for all the quilts my mom has made over the course of her life. She’s made one for each of her children. She’s made some for her dad and now she’s making them for her grandchildren.

image: martha0stout's phone, my space quilt and Mirir
image: martha0stout’s phone, my space quilt and Miri
 
Quickly is the opposite of the time to make
Unless you can teach your children to help along.
It isn’t so much the labor as it is the
Labor of love
That keeps me warm during the nights.

I am extra grateful for this quilt as it keeps me warm with the winter coming and the nights freezing!

Check out the original Thankful Thursday as well.

Instructions

Sometimes the hardest thing in life is to follow the instructions. The reasons vary greatly on why that is.

(You don’t need help!)

(You know what you’re doing.)

(That detail wasn’t that important.)

(You misread them.)

(You can’t read them.)

(You forgot to check.)

(You didn’t have them in the first place.)

(Life isn’t that straightforward, better not chance it blowing up when winging it has always worked in the past.)

My mom has this little plaque that she got for Mother’s Day one year (or was it Christmas?).

Anyone can make a plan, but it takes great Management to leap from crisis to crisis.

Like a lot of people, my life has been chaos for most of my life, no matter how hard my mom tried to make it otherwise. Some of it was my fault (kids can be really stupid), some of it was just life being life and an awful lot of it was out of her control. The only thing she ever really had control of was her own influence over her children and even a lot of that just didn’t work the same for her as for others. (She had no idea that the thought of her disappointment was enough of a determent for most of her kids; there was no way we were going to tell her that when we were all minors. She still marvels over it now that we’re adults, though it isn’t quite as powerful now.)

She largely let us decide what we were going to do with our lives with only a few things required.

  • no drugs, alcohol, etc.
  • no premarital sex under her roof (or anyone else’s while underage)
  • must go to school
  • must graduate, GED or equivalent
  • must make own choices and live with the consequences
  • must never lie to her, not even a little white lie

I’d rather hear the gosh-awful truth than a pretty lie.  –Mom

  • must try to get along with each other

She’d give us instructions on things if we asked (how to cook this or that, how to clean this or that, how to sew, sing, musical theory, help with English homework, etc.) but when it came to advice it was always:

Mom, what do you think I should do?

What do you want to do? Why do you want to do it? What does the Lord tell you?

She would not give advice. Mostly because her folks and elder sister were very…enthusiastic…(yeah, I like that word, enthusiastic) with their advice about what she should do with her life. Mom was not very bossy or leader-ish when she was younger. She was the type who followed. (I’m a bit of a follower myself, but I also like to boss people around…so I’m a manager-follower-thing.)

Following instructions can both be very easy and very hard for me. Take cooking for instance, I can follow a recipe fairly well (as long as I don’t accidentally misread tsp for tbs and put 4 tablespoons of salt into a meatloaf) but if it’s one of those easy out of a box things? Somehow I cannot make them.

I know a lot of my friends during our teen years would often comment on the ‘freedom’ that my mother allowed her children. She trusted us to follow the rules she’d set down without her having to stand over us all the time. As she had to work most of the time, she wouldn’t have been able to stand over us. We had babysitters when our eldest siblings were in school, but once we were older and they were at home after school, we stayed home.

What they never seemed to realize that if you broke Mom’s trust, it took a VERY long time for it to come back.

(If, indeed it ever did…)

The point was, you need to follow the directions but you also need to decide for yourself just what those directions are worth because only you can make that decision.

This was originally for an old Light and Shade Challenge prompt that didn’t end up being posted for that particular prompt. I was going through my old drafts (I’ve been doing that a lot lately) and decided this just needed a little more before posting. I hope that it was enjoyable in some way.

The Shinies – Ramble-y Reminiscence 2

For a time I had a boyfriend (snorts ‘for a time,’ we dated for two and a half years…). The point of mentioning this is because every night at about the same time we text-ed and/or called and chatted. One evening I was out looking at a new boutique with one of my older sisters and my mother. We had meant to visit it earlier in the day, but life happened and we didn’t get there until just before dark. (It was summer, so that’s pretty late where we live.)

Anyway, he text-ed me…something. I don’t remember what started it, but I text-ed him back, “The shinies, honey, the shinies.”

In the little boutique I was standing near some jewelry that had been handmade. It sparkled in the light and was very shiny and sparkly and beautiful.

When it gets late enough, I kind of…float off. I’m not really awake anymore, but I move around, talk, eat and generally am pretty disoriented. And easily distracted by shiny things.

He tried text-ing me back several times, but the response was pretty much the same.

“Where are you?”

“Near the shinies, honey.”

“What are you doing?”

“Looking at the shinies.”

He tried calling me and trying again. It pretty much went like the text-ing part of the conversation until he asked where my mom was.

“Where’s your mom?”

“She’s over there,” points even though boyfriend is obviously not there (yes, I was that tired). “She’s not near the shinies.”

That last bit was said with such sadness, as if I couldn’t comprehend why anyone would even want to be away from the shinies.

He asked to talk to her and I happily floated on over and handed the phone to Mom.

Everyone still jokes about the shinies more than five years later.

“Dawn” by my mother

My first books of poetry were given to me by my mother. At the time I was studying different styles of poetry in elementary school and found that I loved it, even if it was one of those things that I wasn’t the best at. It wasn’t until several years later, when cleaning out some boxes from the storage room, that I found a slim red-covered notebook with ‘A Collection of Poetry’ written on the front page in my mom’s elegant cursive.

(Seriously, her cursive is so beautiful that it reminds me of calligraphy. I lament the fact that cursive wasn’t as important during my learning years as it obviously was during hers.)

Inside of the notebook held a lovely collection of works that my mom had written throughout her life. Many of them were written for people that I have never met, but my favorite one is the first one inside the notebook. It goes as follows:

Dawn
 
I saw my daughter just today,
All rosy pink and new.
My precious little gift from God
Shone fresh as morning dew.
 
I saw my daughter just today,
Her chubby hands still held
Her favorite doll, a circus clown,
All ragged, smiling still.
 
I saw my daughter just today
With pigtails curling round,
And tied with ribbons, white and pink,
Dressed in my evening gown
 
I saw my daughter just today
With rouge and lipstick on,
High heels and all the latest styles:
My little girl was gone.
 
I saw my daughter just today,
A woman now, full grown.
Her beauty took my breath away;
Oh, how the years have flown!
 
I saw my daughter just today,
So still and white with death.
I pled with God with all my heart,
“Please, do not take her yet!”
 
I saw my daughter just today,
She talked of memories sweet,
And of tomorrows we will share
When once again we meet.
 
I saw my daughter just today,
A promise in her eyes.
“Someday I’ll be with you again,
We’ll say no more goodbyes.”
 
I saw my daughter just today.
“Keep close to God,” she said.
“Draw comfort from the things He says
And death won’t be so sad.”
 
I saw my daughter just today.
“It’s time for me to go.
My love for you is always here
Because you loved me so.”

She wrote this for her cousin when she lost her daughter. I don’t think I was even born at the time. She says she was cooking dinner at the time she received the call from her sister-in-law. Mom had to stop what she was doing, sit down and just write this.

“It just flowed.”

I still can’t read this poem without crying no matter how old I have gotten and how many times I’ve traced her words.

Written for Suzie’s Weekly Challenge: http://suzie81speaks.com/2014/06/08/weekly-word-challenge-books-poetry-and-prose/

Holiday Cookies For All

Cookies are something that I have always loved making and one of the first things I learned how to make successfully before I hit the double digits. Made cookies with my parents and every sibling I have along with my grandfather. Making cookies from scratch is easier than figuring out how to make cheese sauce from those little packets in Mac ‘n’ Cheese.

My eldest niece convinced me to make some sugar cookies so she and her brothers could frost them with the leftover frosting from another project they did with their mom and another aunt.

My mom comes into the kitchen.

“Why are you making Valentine’s Day and Halloween themed cookies?”

Oops.