Beatitudes of my life

Being grateful for everything in my life…. no matter what…

My Mom… December 28, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — beatitudesofmylife @ 8:14 pm

mumpics

Gwenn Bream Drum: 10.18.34-12.15.16

I am stunned… I am numb… I am grateful… and I am devastated.  I got the call from your best friend shortly after she found you still in bed, still in your pajamas (you know… the black and white leopard print with hot pink piping).  She said you had died.  What?  How was that possible?  You were supposed to be coming down to our house to spend Christmas with us… I had *just* said the words “this could be her last Christmas with us”, but never believed that we didn’t have more time, more holidays, more years.

I had spoken with you on Tuesday morning. We talked for an hour about how much you enjoyed your HS holiday party on Thursday, how much you loved singing with the Adelines, how much it meant to you to sing for others and bring them joy, and how much you were looking forward to coming to MD for Christmas.  You gently reminded me to plan some time to shop together and told me how excited you were to have lunch with Kati at Iron Rooster.  You told me about everything that was going on in your life, but you didn’t tell me anything that would make me worry, nothing that would draw attention to any problems that might be popping up.  I heard all the happy, good, lovely, shiny details, but I completely missed the dark, scary side of things.  I didn’t really ask the questions for which I didn’t want to know the answers… I still expected you to be my mum… I still thought we had time…

You didn’t tell me that you were having serious trouble seeing, that your macular degeneration was getting significantly worse… because that might force my hand into taking your car (and your independence) away.  I didn’t know that you’d told your friend not to let me know how serious that problem had become… and that you probably shouldn’t have driven down to our house to fly to Florida at Thanksgiving.  There’s so much that I wish I’d known, yet I know that you were simply doing what you always did… you protected me from seeing things that might be upsetting or change my vision of you.  You did your best to let me be your child for just a little longer.  You didn’t want me to see the problems you were having because that might have changed our relationship forever.

I listened to this special woman tell me the story of what happened, the night before you died.  She told me of those few moments of pause that caused her to take you to the ER… she told me about the tests they ran and the concerns that were addressed… and she told me that you turned to her as you walked into the house and, with a smile, said “I feel so much better” before going inside.  Those were the last words she heard you speak… she left three messages on your answering machine the next morning to check on you, not knowing that you were already gone.  When she came to check on you, the door was closed, which concerned her.  You weren’t in your chair when she used her key and opened the front door, which made alarms go off in her head.  She walked into your bedroom and found you laying on your side, looking to all the world that you were peacefully sleeping, when you were actually gone from this world.  I thank God that she was the one who found you.  She called 911… she waited with you for the ambulance… she called me… she waited for the coroner… you would be so proud of the love she showed as your dear friend, in making sure that you weren’t left alone.  I’m so grateful that she was your “person”… she embodied that role in the best possible way, and I will always remember to honor her.

I hope that you know how much I appreciate all you did to raise me to be the wife, mother, and woman I am today.  For better or for worse, your life was the one that was most familiar to me when I was trying to find my way in the world.  You taught me to cook (thank GOD) and to follow my heart.  You taught me to cherish those I love and to respect those from whom I would learn.  Whether I was to follow or to divert, you were my role model and I am so grateful that you were my mother.

You gave me my roots, in family, friends, and Camp Robin Hood… and you gave me my wings, by allowing me to become my own person and make my own mistakes.  There are times when I glance at my hands and see yours… times when something pops out of my mouth and I just *know* that it originated with you… times when those around me say that I’m just like you.  Occasionally, I shrink from that comparison because there are things that you’ve done in your life that I don’t want to repeat, but most times I am proud to be the embodiment of you… your daughter.  

I’m proud to have a mom who cared deeply for her family, her friends, her commitments, and her faith.  I’m proud that people remember how caring and loving you were to those in your life.  I’m even a little proud that you were able to leave this world on your own terms and in your own way.  Maybe it wasn’t exactly when you wanted to leave us, but I do take comfort in the idea that you’re now whole, and happy, and having a “healthy scotch” with your sisters again.  62ce3486-39a5-48f6-a9ff-d26befe0eed9

Rest easy, Mum… we’ll take things from here as we sing to your memory:

There is a Magic Something, camp so dear  

That fills our hearts with laughter all the year

Every girl who’s been here

Has that something in her

It is the spirit of Camp Robin Hood.

 

The “Santa Plan” December 5, 2016

Filed under: Christmas,Family,Holidays — beatitudesofmylife @ 10:10 am
Tags: , , , ,

I have always been firmly entrenched in the “Santa is real” camp.  I love the mystery and the excitement that comes with believing in Santa and love sharing that with others.  I feel that the best way to continue that belief, as we get older, is to strive to become more Santa-like in our approach to the holiday season in general and to our fellow man in particular.  That being said, the question of how to create that “Santa is real” feeling in our kids can be a daunting task.  Here’s how we chose to represent Santa in our family.

santa2016

When my boys were young, I found it increasingly difficult to figure out how I was going to adequately respond to their analytical questions as they got older.  M is a fact-and-numbers kind of guy while I am more of a touchy-feely person, so I needed to come up with a plan that worked for both of us.  We also lived far from family who wanted to give things to our boys, so I needed to make sure those gifts were properly thanked and appreciated.  On our first Christmas as parents, I realized just how difficult this could become, given that we used money from relatives to purchase items that our boys wanted to find “from Santa” under the tree.  Why did someone else get credit for the gifts that my child/ren would receive?!?  Enter our “Santa Plan”.

At our house, Santa only leaves one present.  That Santa present is usually the big/bulky gift that’s hard to wrap… and sometimes darn near impossible… cozy-coupe3remember this “must-have” gift?  This was the “Santa gift” for D  when he was 5 years old and we got a similar one for E when he was old enough.  We lived in military housing (and a third floor apartment) at that time, so these cars ended up being indoor toys.  As the boys got older, the Santa gift adjusted and became something that both boys could use and enjoy, but it was always something big.  We explained it to them by saying that we’d “told” Santa that we’d rather have him focus on giving gifts to those kids who needed him more so we asked him to just bring one present and leave it unwrapped.

One of my favorite Santa gifts was one of the last gifts the boys got from Santa (before we dropped all the pretense and simply gave our kids their gifts from us)… a 7-in-one game table.  I bought it at a Black Friday sale and M/I put it together in our bathroom a few nights before we left for PA that year.  To heighten the surprise, we sent a letter to my mom’s house “from Santa” explaining that Santa knew we were spending the holiday with family, instead of at our house, and that he wanted them to know that he had left their Santa Gift in our living room for them to have when we got back home.  M/I loaded the van and were ready to leave for PA when M said he needed to do one last task before we left and asked for my help… so we left the boys in van and quickly moved the game table from our bathroom and into the Living Room before heading out for a PA holiday.  The boys read their Santa letter on Christmas morning and were really excited to come home to see if he’d actually come to our house while we were gone.  The look on their faces when we let them race in before us was worth all the hiding we’d done… “Santa really DID come”… they were so excited!

One thing that I wish we’d incorporated into our Santa Plan was the concept of a “Santa Key”.  We have lived in a few places without chimneys (apartments or houses without a fireplace), so this idea would have worked well.  The plan is to use a special old key that you leave on the outside door to your home for Santa to use on Christmas Eve – those skeleton keys are perfect and you can spray paint them gold to make them look even more festive.  Santa enters your house, using his special Santa Key, leaves his gift(s), and then places the key on the tree for the kids to find on Christmas morning.  Since we didn’t do the traditional cookies-and-milk-left-out-for-Santa thing, this is a fun way for the kids to search for proof that Santa had indeed stopped by their house.

However you teach your children about Santa, may this coming holiday season be one of childlike wonder and wide-eyed joy at all that can be good about Santa’s presence in our lives.  Wishing you a Happy Ho-Ho-Holiday, however you celebrate!

 

 
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