Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

Oh, 2014. You’ve been good and you’ve been bad. As far as I’m concerned, you can go ahead and get on out of here…

Last year, I chose Intuition to be my word of the year. I’ve worked very hard to trust my intuition this year. It isn’t always easy, and sometimes it’s downright impossible, but when I’ve listened? It’s never led me astray.

+++++++++++++++++++++

2014 was a busy year, and unfortunately I didn’t share a lot of what we did in posts. But here are some of my favorite moments from the year.

January: I cut off all my hair and the entire metro Atlanta area shut down from #snOMG14. Auburn went to the National Championship and lost, Henry won a trophy in the Pinewood Derby and Henry and I ran the Hot Chocolate 5k.

january2014

February: Henry was asked to be in the Austin Chorus that would perform at the local high school. It snowed again. This time, like 6″. We had an amazing time playing in it for days and drinking iced snoffee! I started and completed the hardest weekend of my life, running 19.3 miles over the course of two days. It was stupid and amazing!

february2014

March: March was super busy with Listen To Your Mother stuff. We held auditions and planned, plotted, and schemed. I spent a full week traveling the Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi area with my boss and coworker. I got to ride in the backseat of the truck the whole week and needed serious pain meds when it was all over!

march2014

April: In April, my dad tried to catch himself on fire by blowing up his lawnmower. He’s fine… now we just laugh. Henry spent several days camping with his grandmother and her friend at Stone Mountain. The girls I grew up with from the time we were born all spent a day together. We always have such a great time! Listen To Your Mother: Atlanta happened. It was magical!

april2014

May: May saw the end of third grade for Henry. Mom 2.0 was in Atlanta and I was fortunate to have been asked to be on the social media team. It was an amazing conference and I just l.o.v.e being able to see my friends… especially in “my” city! We marked Charlie’s 11th birthday without pomp and circumstance.

may2014

June: In June, I left my job at the wholesale nursery to do social media management full (part) time. Jason and I took Henry to New Orleans for the 70th Anniversary of D Day. We spent the full day at the National WW2 Museum, which I highly recommend to anyone and everyone. On this trip, after probably 6 years of being friends online, I finally got to give Leah a big hug in person!!

june2014

July: July was busy. We moved into a new house where we have a small pond behind us. Henry and his friend had a lemonade stand. He also participated in the GIANT Dunwoody 4th of July parade and went to Camp Winnataska for the 3rd year. I posted my 700th blog post on this here site.

july2014

August: In August, Henry and his first girlfriend Daria were able to get together. Our families went bowling and they were absolutely mortified to have to take a picture together (though later, I saw them playing a game standing about 1cm apart). Henry started 4th grade and I landed myself in the ER with a crazy reaction to a sulfa drug. Fun times, y’all! I also shared a recipe for the Georgia Cash Crop Cobbler. It’s seriously delicious.

august2014

September: In September, Jason and I dressed up and went out. It was to a wedding where we knew only the bride, but it was out. And fancy. Henry’s hair got to epic lengths and he looked like a teenager in his school pictures. Type A Conference was in Atlanta and I spent a few nights down in Buckhead with dear dear friends, old and new.

september2014

October: In October, I went to a few Auburn football games, hanging out with Kim and my #BelieveBitches crew! We went to the fair down in Perry, as usual, and celebrated Halloween with the Hollidays for the 5th year.

october2014

November: November marked Henry’s TENTH birthday. Double digits. He had a Game Truck birthday party, which was amazing! I highly recommend having someone bring a game truck to your driveway. You can drink while they play games and entertain your child! The Cub Scout Den went zip lining. What a blast! Henry was a narrator in his class’s patriotic program. If you want, I can have him recite his part in his Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation. My friends got together for an unofficial 20th class reunion. There was much drinking and much Cards Against Humanity going on. 

november2014part1

We spent Thanksgiving Week in New York City.

This was by far the highlight of our year. Henry and I got to hang out with my dear friend Neil for two days while Jason worked in Long Island, and then we spent the next 5 days as a family doing amazing things, like the Intrepid Museum and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Yes, I’m going to recap the trip after the new year because there is SO much more!

november2014part2

December: In December, I turned 39. Yes, I’m staring down 40. We celebrated my birthday and our friend’s 50th with all you can eat catfish! We celebrated the holidays with Jason’s side of the family at the annual Anthoine Christmas Party, and of course, took goofy pictures of ourselves with our Christmas tree! Christmas was wonderful as usual, with my parents coming over for Christmas day lunch and then going to Jason’s mom’s for the weekend.

december2014

+++++++++++++++++++++++

2015 is now upon us.

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I hope 2015 is better than 2014. Not that it was horrible for my family or myself exactly, but there’s always room for improvement. I’ll be spending the next few days thinking about what I want in 2015 and I’m sure you’re going to do the same.

My big hope for everyone is that we can all find happiness and peace.

Cheers!

 

The Photographs

The Photographs

We had been talking about getting a fancy digital camera.

In 2003, there weren’t a million choices like there are now, and the choices that were out there were either expensive or Capital E Expensive. We’d done our homework and knew which one we were going to get.

But we had time.

After all, the baby wasn’t due until June.

Until it was time.

As I moaned and groaned in the L&D room, my husband gave his work-wife instructions on EXACTLY which camera it was. The lens size. The case he wanted. The extra memory card he would need so he could fill it with memories of this day. And to hurry. Instructions to take his credit card and hurry.

She came back with our camera.

Lucky for the camera, labor took for-freaking-ever so the battery had time to charge and Jason had time to read the instructions.

A couple hundred pictures were taken with that camera over the next few days and weeks. We had enough memory in the card and computer to hold many more days and weeks and months and years of memories.

Little did we know…

Yesterday morning I woke up to a notification that a photo had been shared on my wall. I figured it was a meme of some sort that I was tagged in so I could share with my favorite people so I wouldn’t have bad luck.

But no. It was a photo. A real photo. Of Charlie.

Well, I take that back. You couldn’t really see him because he was in a front carrier and it was from a distance. But it was a photo of him. And us. The three of us. A family. Because something that’s even more rare than photos of him are photos of all three of us together (there are now two).

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 4.14.37 PM

My friend’s mother in law had snapped the photo at Relay for Life and it’s spent the last 11 years in an album in her home. Now it’s headed my way and will be added to the handful of tangible memories we have.

And now I have to wonder if there are more pictures out there… maybe there are. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to see them one day.

Until then, when the photos in my head start getting blurry, I have one extra one to pull out to remind me that he was once here with us.

Her Last First Day of Football Season

Her Last First Day of Football Season

Football season is here. The countdown has been on since January 6 when Auburn and Florida State faced off in an amazing final BCS National Championship Game before the new Playoff system goes into play. As the clock ticks down and the very first college kickoff is within reach, or even on the same calendar page, plans start being made. Tailgates are planned. Trips to games are scheduled. The excitement builds!

Both of my grandmothers were big football fans. My Mimi (my Dad’s mom) was an NFL gal. Of course, she watched Auburn play, but her Sunday afternoons after my grandfather died were spent watching the NFL. I remember her talking about Refrigerator Perry, Joe Montana, Dan Marino… all those guys who were household names were burned into my brain after hearing her wool suit and pantyhose in all seasons wearing self yell at them on television.

My Grannie, though, she was a college football girl. My Grandaddy much preferred golf and baseball, played as background noise to naps, card games and the heat of summer. But my Grannie? Well, she wanted to watch a hard hitting football game, preferably Auburn, Georgia or Georgia Tech, any day of the week. Those were her grandkids’ alma maters and she did everything she could to support them. Up to and including missing the evening news on Channel 13 to watch a game well past midnight.

I couldn’t help but think about her this weekend.

This time last year we were with her in the ICU, wondering if and when she would recover from the stroke she had suffered on the first Saturday night of football season. She died a few short weeks later.

When I took my walk through her house a few months ago, I only got a few things. I got all the deviled egg dishes I could find, a desk, a few photo albums and a few kitchen items. But the one thing I cherish that sits on my desk is something most people would have thrown into the trash.

It’s my reminder: She had big plans on that Saturday night.

Her Last First Football Saturday

In the emergency room, while she was still able to help us piece together a timeline of when she suffered the strokes, we learned that she did watch the Auburn game and was excited that we won. We know she started the other two games and took her medicine at 10pm. We know she was very mad when we told her that Clemson had beaten Georgia.

She was excited about the start of football season — excited enough to have my aunt write down when and where to watch the important games — and I’m thankful she got to see and enjoy some of it. Getting excited about the start of certain seasons — whether it’s football, NASCAR, deer hunting, golf or hockey — is important. Being able to forward to enjoyable activities is really what life should be about.

This piece of paper is a good reminder to me.

This paper reminds me that she was excited about her evening activities. It reminds me that she always thought about her children and grandchildren (and great grandchildren) and knew that we loved these teams alongside her.

It reminds me that the majority of her last pre-stroke hours were enjoyable for her — spent celebrating her last first day of football season.

A Mother’s Heart

A Mother’s Heart

On April 26, 2014, at the very first
Listen To Your Mother: Atlanta, I read these words.
I should tell you to bring tissues.
photo: From The Hip

photo: From The Hip

It had been a rough week around here between me and the 9 year old.

My husband had been traveling a lot and work had been stressful.

Henry and I had butted heads, talked back to each other, and raised our voices way too many times.

It wasn’t pretty, y’all.

I’m ashamed to say, I had yelled more than I should.

I’m sad that Henry had said “I hate you” more than he ever should. I know he didn’t mean it, but he said it.

He had already gone a few days without riding his bike to school as punishment for previous transgressions and at that moment, I may or may not have threatened to make him wash all of his clothes, cook his own food and pay his own rent for the rest of his life if he didn’t shape up.

Maybe I meant it. Maybe I didn’t??

Jason had to be made out to be the bad guy, the one I threatened to call so he could “handle it” and he’s the one who actually got to handle it when he got home.

I don’t like that I had to stoop to that because my GOSH I hated it when my mom used to threaten to tell my Daddy when he got home what I had done wrong.

So imagine my surprise when I was doing JUST THAT?

Finally, I had to make good on an earlier threat and put Henry to bed early — and without supper! I mean, it was like 6:30 early. But it had to be done or I was just a pushover.

I sat with him and we talked about a magazine he had been reading and school and how he was going to respect me more. We were both mad and frustrated and insanely tired.

Then he started crying a little and asked me to stay while he tried to go to sleep. He rolled over and guided my hand over his heart — covered it with  his own small hand — and he pressed it to his chest as hard as he could.

His other hand held on to his beloved Muffins like his life depended on it.

I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed with love. There’s a pretty good reason why that’s my Henry’s middle name.

I laid there for 45 minutes with his heart beating perfectly in my hand. t felt like I could just reach in and grab it if I wanted to.

My brain told me this was one of those “Mom moments” I needed to hold on to.

So I stayed there, watching him doze off into dreamland, eyes twitching and mouth moving slightly — in awe that I was chosen to be his mom.

As I held his heart in my hand, I also realized how much like his brother he seems, and how much alike I think they would be if Charlie was alive.

But comparing a 9 year old to a baby who should be 11 but will always be 24 days old?? That’s ridiculous.

When Henry sleeps, though, even at 9 years old, it’s so clear to me that they have the same skin and eyes and that funny droop on one side of their mouth.

It’s very rare these days that I stop and think, “What would life be like if Charlie and Henry were growing up together?”

I think I don’t allow myself to think these things because honestly, it hurts to imagine it.

But then there are moments like these.

Moments when I am reminded how much they look alike and how I’m sure their personalities WOULD BE not necessarily the same, but complimentary to each others.

There are these moments, as a mother, that take my breath away.

It’s moments like these when I really remember that I have two sons and am forever mothering two sons.

One is here and one isn’t.

One has a heartbeat I can feel and one whose last heartbeat I felt in my arms.

One says things that break my heart and the other I carry in my heart.

One can wrap his small hand around mine, hold it to his heart, and make me realize that my life is complete because I am the mother of two.

 

{Part 2}: The Door To Christmas: Story of The Christmas Room

For Part 1 of The Christmas Room story, start here.

*******************************

door

Once everything was checked out, we were given the thumbs-up to go into The Christmas Room. In spite of being in that room year in and out, the magic of the room made your brain feel all oogly woogly and for a moment you couldn’t remember where you were supposed to go or sit or what you were supposed to say and YAY IT’S CHRISTMAS WE’RE FINALLY IN!

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to go into The Christmas Room, you know that whether it’s April or July or the day after Christmas, you will long for wrapped gifts and stockings. All year, this room is dedicated to Christmas.

There are two Christmas sofas, one for each family like we’re on Family Feud. I’m not sure how or when they were covered in this epically textured red velvet fabric, but I know that they were probably the subject of thousands of conversations over the years.

christmassofa

Someone would inevitably try to squeeze into the small chair that had once been my Mama’s, noting that “I can still fit in here” for all the family to giggle at them.

littlechair

Stockings were laid out in the corners of the sofas, perfectly filled with equal amounts of goods. Dads and boys got water guns and silly string. The Moms and girls got smelly lotions and lip gloss. At some point, we all started to get lottery tickets.

And there was always the famous cash envelope that the parents immediately confiscated – I can only assume that was so we didn’t throw it away with the wrapping paper.

Gifts were passed out by two of us. Everybody waited until all the gifts were carefully (and quickly) delivered to dive in. But when all was delivered, it was game on. Paper flew, “thank you” was said quickly when eye contact was made with the giver, the next gift was grabbed to open in a hurry.

As the years went on, we realized that Grannie and Grandaddy would sit and wait before opening their own gifts, watching and taking it all in before turning their attention to the gifts from their grandchildren and daughters.

It all moved dizzyingly fast – from the opening of the door to the moment we all leaned back and sighed from exhaustion. The next thing you knew, the parents were back at the table with pecan pie and coffee while the kids were laid out in the floor in front of the TV and electric space heater watching WMAZ’s coverage of Santa’s flight across the globe.

And just as we rushed to get TO Grannie and Grandaddy’s, once we realized Santa was close to our area, we forced the parents to rush home. Bags were gathered, trunks were filled (to the brim, to be honest), cars were loaded and goodbyes were said.

Before we got to the river, my sister and I were normally asleep. In fact, we were so sound asleep we would have to be carried into the house and placed in our beds with visions of sugarplums and the magic of The Christmas Room dancing in our heads.

*******************************

The Door To Christmas is more than just that. It’s the door to memories, ones that we can all share and cherish and open the door to whenever we want.

My wish for y’all this Christmas season is that you have a door in your heart and in your mind that you are able to open and be transported to happy and beautiful memories of Christmases past. And also that you are taking the time to enjoy the memories you are making with your children and grandchildren. Those memories will stay with them forever.

I also know that this Christmas, my Grannie and Grandaddy are together, sitting on a Christmas sofa holding Charlie, waiting patiently for all gifts to be open before they open theirs. They’ll smile down and make sure we are all equally  blessed, just as they did for dozens of years before.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...