It seems everyone has a blog these days. Not that I'm giving in to the "norm." I just want to have a place that is mine. These are my thoughts, my opinions, my hopes, my dreams, my fears. I am a Daughter. I am a Wife. I am a Mother. But above all, I am a WOMAN.

I enjoy feedback, so please select a reaction, or a leave a comment. I would love to know what you think about my post and how it affected you.

Friday, October 28, 2011

As a Not-So-Strong Woman.....

My last post was about being "A Strong Woman." But this hasn't been the best month for me, so I thought I would talk about the flip side of the coin - being a "Not-So-Strong Woman.".

We have all had them. Days when nothing seemed to go right. Days that seemed to last foooooorrreveeeeeer with Nothing being accomplished. Days when the kids seemed to STAY on our last nerve, and then jump up and down on it. Days when we fought back tears all day for no apparent reason. I dare you to deny you had at least one of those days.

Sometimes there is a reason. Maybe we had a fight with our Significant Other. Maybe our child got in trouble at school. Maybe we had a car wreck. Maybe we burned supper.  Sometimes there is a reason.

But sometimes there isn't. For some reason, we just can't be cheerful. We can't laugh.  Everything seems to be going wrong. We snap at our Significant Other. We lose our patience with our kids. We lose our temper at work. And we don't know why.

Reason or no, we feel . . . Not-So-Strong. But we keep going. We may take a time-out for ourselves and try to get ourselves together, but we come back. We push on through even if there is no fight left in us. We are Not-So-Strong, but we keep on doing what has to be done.

We are Women. There is no other choice for us.

We are Women.  We keep going. Like the Energizer Bunny, we keep going.

We are Women. We ignore our weakness. No, we find Strength in our weakness.

We are Women. We are Strong even when we are Not-So-Strong.

We Are Women.

But Men, when you see your woman feeling Not-So-Strong (and you may really have to pay attention to tell because we're good at hiding those things), be there for us.  Don't try to "fix" us, for sometimes we can't be "fixed," we can only be mended with time.  Instead, Help us.  Hug us.  Hold us.  Appreciate us.  Love us.

Sometimes, a helping hand that we aren't expecting can do wonders.  Sometimes, a quick hug can energize us.  Sometimes, holding us for a few moments (and maybe let us shed a few silent tears) can mean the world to us.  Sometimes, a simple "Thank You" can revive us.  Sometimes, a heartfelt "I Love You" can work miracles.

We Are Women. . . . but we aren't always quite so strong.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

As a Strong Woman.......

We Women feel the need to be strong.  We have to be.  There is so much we must do, so much we are for which we are held responsible (by ourselves if no one else does), so little time for all we need to get done.  Sometimes it's too much.  Sometimes we would like to be weak, just for a moment....we want to give in to the pressure and collapse, just for a moment.......but then who would pick up our load and carry on?

So we're strong.  We do what must be done.  In some ways -- emotional ways, mental ways -- we can be as strong as men, stronger than some, because we must be.  Our loads force us to be.  We wake up in the morning; we do this here, and we go there, we take care of this, and we handle that, and finally we will go to sleep and dream of things yet to be done.  Like the old adage, "A woman's work is never done."  And it is true.  Whether you or young or not so young, a working woman or housewife, working mother or stay-at-home-mommy, whether your children are infants, toddlers, school-aged, teenagers, or grown and gone, the chores are endless.

The chores are endless.......and so is the worry about what has to be done, the stress of deciding how those chores will get done, the feelings of inadequacy when they don't get done.  A vicious cycle we women suffer every day.  Most days, however, we're fine.  This is our life and we are content with it; Happy even.  But occasionally......

To me, and to most women I believe, if someone takes to time to actually "see" us, and realize we're NOT okay, the support for that moment is overwhelming.....and it can give us the strength to go on, to continue doing what must be done.  It repletes what we have exhausted, the one resource we need above almost all others.

So the next time you see a woman working seemingly tirelessly, non-stop, whether she is getting a lot accomplished or appearing to go nowhere, stop and LOOK at her, "see" her, and if she needs a hug, give her one.  Sometimes a hug can do wonders.  An acknowledgement of how much she has accomplished can lift flagging spirits.  Words of appreciation and thanks spoken from the heart of a loved one can bring joy.  All three can work miracles.

Know that your women (daughter, wife, mother, friend) is STRONG.  She deals with things every day that you know nothing about.  She probably has scars she doesn't want to burden you with when they hurt her.  Believe in her.  Support her.  And when she feels weak, hold her.  Love her.  Let her be weak for a moment.  Tell her that it's Okay to let go.You will see a stronger woman emerge from your embrace.  And a greater bond will have developed between the two of you for sharing that moment.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Looking Back to Those I Lost

Tonight is a bad night.  Hormones stretch from extreme to extreme and I'm looking through old pictures (uploading to Shutterfly and saving to Flash Drive) and crying at all the people I see that are no longer here.  I seem to be partly in the past, partly in a world that could have been, and partly lost.

I see my Mamaw J that died last year.  She won't see her great-grandchildren grow up.  She won't meet the newest grandchild that is the only boy of the only grandson who will get to carry on the family name.  She would have been so happy to see this little boy.  And her husband who died over ten years ago would have been ecstatic to know the family name would carry on.  (Y'all know how men are about their legacies.)

I see my father-in-law that never met five of his grandchildren.  Two of which are my husband's and three of which are my brother-in-law's. If he had lived, he would have known about another grandson and a granddaughter by his oldest son (my husband), one granddaughter by blood and two more from the heart from my brother-in-law.

They missed so much.  My Mamaw J lived a long, full life.  She raised five kids, met eleven grandchildren, and so many great-grandchildren (I lost count a long time ago).  I can remember my kids going to her house and her giving them cookies.  I told her it was too close to supper time.  She looked at me (with that look that always scared me half to death) and informed me it was HER house and they would have whatever she gave them.  I laugh now.  That is a grandmother's perogative.

My father-in-law was taken so many years before his time.  He was a second father to me and died before I even admitted it to myself.  He never met my youngest son.  He never met my husband's daughter.  He never saw his middle child released from prison and become the man he was supposed to be.  He never saw that son marry a wonderful woman who already had two lovely daughters we all gladly accepted into the family.  He never met the newest granddaughter that they gave him.

So much loss.  I wish my Mamaw J had gotten to meet my children.  I wish my Papaw J had gotten to meet my children.  I wish my father-in-law had gotten to meet my second child.  I wish they had all seen that I made more of my life than what they saw before they passed.

My Granddaddy M died when I was young.  My Grandmother M died when I was divorcing my ex-husband (she had Alzheimer's and so didn't realize what was happening).  My Papaw died the year before I divorced (and thankfully never knew what I was going through).  So many people I loved, that never knew that I actually turned out okay.  Maybe not wonderfully, but okay.

I wish they had known my children.  I wish my children had known them.  But it was not to be.

I remember my Great-Grandmother -- my mother's mother's mother.  Grandma E gave me a love of poetry.  She still pulled water from a well she actually had on her back porch.  She outlived two husbands, a son, and a grandson.  She was an incredibly strong woman.

I remember my Great-grandfather -- my father's mother's father.  Papa W was a mean SOB. (I'm sorry for the language, but he was).  He scared me when I was little.  He helped me learn my times tables (how many of you remember them being called that!) because I was too scared of him to get them wrong.  He was mean to my Grandmother M, (his own daughter) who was one of the sweetest ladies I have ever known and welcomed him into her home to care for him.

But I am more like my Mamaw.  She was a STRONG woman (like her mother, Grandma E).  She was blunt, and honest.  She saw no point in being tactful.  She said what she meant, and she meant what she said.  She was a survivor and I envied her.  I still do in a lot of ways.  I wish I had her courage, her strength, her faith.

My Grandmother M was a Lady.  Not that my Mamaw J wasn't, but Grandmother M was a gentler creature.  Her strength was quiet, tactful.  She would shame us into behaving.  They both threatened to spank us when we misbehaved -- the difference is that I believed Mamaw J.  When I doubted Grandmother M, she proved me wrong and spanked me!  She hurt my pride more than my rear, but she actually SPANKED ME!!!!!!  Unbelievable.  I smile when I remember her.  I wish I were much more like her.  I wish I had her gentleness, her gift for laughter, her capacity for forgiveness.

My father-in-law, Papa B,  was a gentleman.  As is his son.  As I hope my boys will be.  He will never know how much he meant to me because I didn't know until it was too late.  I remember his ready laugh.  I remember how he welcomed me into his family like I was a foregone conclusion.  I remember his laugh; his smile; the way he called my son "Sport."  I remember how he said "It's a shame to spank a boy just 'cause he feels good," and he'd laugh.  I didn't know what he meant then (I didn't have any kids), but I do now.  Sometimes, my boys don't get spankings because I hear my father-in-law laughing those words in my ear.

I miss them all.  I miss being able to turn to any one of them.  My Grandmother M made me want to be as gentle-natured as her, getting my children to mind by shaming them into being better boys.  My Mamaw J made me want to be as strong as her and raise my boys to be "men."  My Papa B made me want to laugh at their antics while still teaching them right from wrong, to be gentlemen, but to be MEN.

I miss them all.  And my children miss them even if they don't know what they miss.  It is said that you are supposed to learn from the past.  I just wish I could really show my children the people they missed.  I really wish they could "know" them.  They don't know what they missed.  But I hope those that have passed on are proud of what my husband and I have created.........and are looking down from Heaven smiling, and protecting and guiding the next generation.

Who do you miss?  Why do you miss them?  Please comment and let me know I'm not alone.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Mini Man's Mercurial Moods!

Things have been a little serious on my blog lately, so this is one to lighten things up a bit.  You know how all parents (well, most) say "If I had had my second child FIRST, he/she would be an ONLY child!"  I have to admit that I have thought that on more than one occasion.  See it all began like this.

When my first child, Z, was born, he was a relatively easy baby.  We expected the normal sleep deprivation and strange feeding schedules.  We expected fussiness puzzles for us new parents to solve.  And we got all of that, of course, but he was still an easy baby.  His feeding schedule was almost regular.  (You could count on being up at 5 am to feed him.)  At six weeks EXACTLY, Z started sleeping through the night.  He ate whatever he was fed (then, not now), and played quite happily by himself or with others.  He had a very laid-back, middle-of-the road personality.  Easy baby.  This was much easier than we expected!  Let's have another!

This is where the word "sucker" was imprinted on my forehead I am convinced.

M. was anything but "easy."

He was colicky from the start.

He refused to be put on ANY feeding schedule.

He didn't consistently sleep through the night until he was close to six months old.    You never knew when he was going to wake up (and us, too, with his enthusiastic crying -- he completely skipped the polite "come-get-me-please-Mommy crying and went straight to the COME-GET-ME-NOW crying that would bring us straight up out of bed and halfway across the room before we realized our eyes were open).

"Fussy" doesn't begin to describe it.  Saying M was "fussy" is like saying the Grand Canyon is a "little hole."  It just doesn't come close to being accurate.  He would be happy and grinning and laughing one second, and exploding like an atom bomb the next.  Screaming, kicking, little eyes squinched shut, turning red, flailing arms -- full temper tantrum mode like I had never seen before! From one extreme to the opposite in .02 seconds flat.  (M's was the first case of Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome that we had seen in children.)

And he's still like this at 4.5 years old.  Oh, not the FULL temper tantrum mode, but whining, stubbornness, stop-in-his-tracks-not-go-anywhere-til-he-gets-his-way mode.  For instance, this is the conversation we had yesterday morning:

Me:  M, here you have to put a jacket on because it's cold outside.

M:  I don't want to wear a jacket.  I won't get cold.

Me:  It's cold outside, honey, you have to wear it.

M:  Well, I don't like that jacket.  (Whine begins here!)

Me:  It's the only jacket you have, put it on. (I'm getting a little forceful here)

M:  Fine!  (Yes, he got that from his mother, I admit it)
M:  I want it zipped up.

Me:  We're just going to the car, it's only 10 feet, you'll be okay.

M:  NO!  I want it zipped up!

Me:  Okay, fine!  (See?  I told you he got it from me)

So I stopped, put down my purse, my keys, my cell phone, his blanket and pillow for nap time, and zipped up his jacket.  Finally, we are out the door.  We're in the car.  He is buckled, I'm buckled, car is cranked and ready to go. (Yea!  Progress is being made!)

M:  Here, Mama.

I reach back to get whatever he's handing's his jacket.

Me:  Why did you take this off, M?

M:  I didn't want to wear it anymore.

Me:  *sigh*  Fine.  (yes, again)  Whatever.

Off we go.  He happily watches cartoons in the back seat while I try to get the car warm enough that he doesn't get a chill.  A half hour later, we get to his daycare.  I get out of the car, holding my car keys, his blanket and pillow for naptime, and say:

Me:  C'mon, M.  Let's go.  Put your jacket back on.  (which he DOES!  No argument?  Wow!!!)

M:  Zip it, Mama.

Me:  No, M.  I have my hands full.  We're just going up the stairs.  Come on.

M:  But I want it zipped!  (Here comes the whining again.*sigh*)

Me:  (quickly losing patience since this is Round 2)  No, M!  I don't have a two hands to zip it. You'll be fine, Now. Come.  On.

M:  But I'll get cold!!!!  (Remember this is the child that didn't want to wear a coat?)

Me:  NO! I do not have a hand to zip it.  We're going 10 feet.  You WILL be fine. Come on, NOW.

M:  Whine, pretend cry, whine, pretend cry

But he does get out of the car.  And starts up the stairs.  I give a sigh of relief/frustration.  He stops.  In the middle of the steps, he stops.

M:  (whinnnnnniiiiinnnnnggggg)  But I just want it zipped, Mama.

I give up.  I'm not fighting anymore.  I pick him up like a sack of taters with the one free hand I have and carry him up the steps.  Fortunately the door opens, and in we go.  Finally!  We are here!  I talk to the young man at the daycare and warn him about M's mood this morning.  I turn around to say "Good-bye" and get hugs and kisses (hopefully).  M is gone.  I look through the building.  No M. Huh?  Where did he go?  He didn't go outside.  The daycare worker and I both start looking again.  Behind doors, under desks, in closets......No M.  Finally, I give up and hope he will answer me when I call.

Me:  M?!?  Where are you?

M:  BOO!!!!!  You couldn't find me, could you, Mama?  (Grinning from ear to ear, giggling happily)

He pops out from BEHIND the piano!  How did he get back there?  How did he FIT back there? Where is his bad mood?  Never mind.  Forget I asked.  Let's not remind him.

He happily gives me bye hugs and kisses.  That's the thing about M.  He goes from mad to glad just as quickly as he goes from glad to mad.  It's amazing.  People don't believe me when I tell them M is moodier than any teenage female I have ever known (including myself as a teen).  But it is true!  Phenomenal really.

That night I marvel at my sleeping little boy tucked in bed.  This sweet little angel sleeping so peacefully is that same whining little demon I dealt with this morning.  And even though his sweet little hugs and kisses and unsolicited "I Love You, Mama" declarations make up for all sorts of misbehavior, I still maintain that M is my difficult child.  Lovable, sweet, tortuous, stress-inducing, mischievous, mercurial, mini-man M.

I wouldn't change him for anything.  He keeps things.........interesting, shall we say.  He keeps me on my toes.  I never know what he's going to say or do next.  And part of me loves him because of that very trait.

And in the end, I have to laugh at him and all of his quirks............because strangling is illegal, ha-ha.