Tag: Family

A Walk Down Memory Lane

One morning, many years ago, a little red-haired girl stood at the top of a flight of stairs, rubbing her eyes and yawning the remnants of sleep away. Her stuffed turtle was clutched in her little fist as she descended the stairs toward the scent of freshly fried bacon and homemade pancakes. That little girl was me, of course, and this morning I was transported back to those days thanks to the kindness of strangers.

Growing up, I spent a good deal of time at my grandparents’ farm. The century old structure somehow soaked up all those memories, holding them tight within her walls through the years, and today they came spilling out. Ten years ago, Doug and I sold our home in Columbus after agreeing to purchase “the farm” (as we lovingly called it) from my aunt. Unfortunately, the best laid plans do not always work out, and such was the case with the farm. Instead, we were left to quickly find a replacement home and ended up where we live today. I’ve always wondered what would have happened if the transaction had worked out. Those walls that saw so many Christmas gatherings, the floors that withstood the frolicking of rambunctious cousins, and the yard that provided endless hours of sun-drenched entertainment would stay in the family. I often regret that we couldn’t make that happen.

This morning I drove down a familiar long gravel driveway. Under the guise of a garage sale, I was prying into the lives of the couple who now lived within those memory-filled walls. The closer I got to the house, the more solid the lump in my throat became. What would I find? Would this couple have any interest in sharing a walk down memory lane for people they’d never met? Thankfully, they did.

These amazing people have lovingly returned my grandparents’ old farmhouse back into a well-loved home. As I ventured inside, I was struck by the care they’d taken. Flowers bloomed across the yard and along the walk. The kitchen, where I’d eaten more silver-dollar pancakes than a child ever should, was in its glory. An apron front sink spoke of an era gone by, and each furnishing seemed specially chosen to accent the age of the home. I was enthralled, and frankly, leaving was hard.

But as I drove away, I realized something. These wonderful people are perfect caretakers for the farm. I’d been afraid the new residents would somehow strip those memories away, but instead, they’ve managed to magnify them. I can still see that little red-haired girl at the top of the stairs, with turtle in hand, waiting to join her Grandmother and Grandaddy around a worn kitchen table.

Deep down I will always bear a seed of regret, and perhaps, when the time is right, I’ll have the opportunity to make it right. But in the meantime, I can rest easy, knowing that through the kindness of strangers, I got one more walk down memory lane.

Blog-o-Rama, Day 18: Want

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I felt myself becoming one of those moms today. You know the ones, the moms who nag at their children at sporting events as the child puts forth as much effort as she can muster. Yeah. That was me today at Jillian’s swim lesson. And I’m far from proud of my behavior.

Okay, so what does this have to do with today’s prompt? You see, my biggest want is for Jillian to be able to experience success… at something… anything. Jillian has struggled and been behind her peers in virtually every area of life. School is difficult for her, although she’s made huge strides in the past couple years, we still have a long way to go. She was never quite coordinated enough for cheerleading or gymnastics or dance. Horseback riding lessons went well, but there’s a fear factor there that I’m not sure we’ll be able to conquer. Last year she was going to show a rabbit in 4H. We practiced and practiced the information she had to memorize for the interview portion of her grade, needless to say, she ended up not showing the rabbit.

Right now, Jillian loves to swim. This is the same girl who screamed bloody murder when I took her to her first Mommy and me swim lesson when she was about two years old. I never thought I’d be sitting the sidelines at swim lessons, gearing up for her second season of swim team.

Which brings me to today’s breech of etiquette. Jillian was definitely off her game today. Her strokes were short and choppy, her rotational breathing was non-existent, and she was having serious trouble following simple directions from her instructor. Now, Jillian always struggles with directions. They have to be repeated several times and even then she sometimes gets them wrong, but today was different. Today I watched the other kids in her lesson group show her up time and time again on skill after skill.

Swim is her thing!

I just couldn’t take it.

So, is it too much to ask that my child be successful at something? I want her to be able to feel the pride that accompanies a job well done. The excitement at earning a ribbon or hearing praise from others for something you’ve done is a precious gift that I want her to experience. But beyond that, I want her to know she’s perfect, no matter what challenges await her. I want her to believe in herself.

Is that too much to ask?

Blog-o-Rama Day… uh… 16: Mailbox

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Well, for those of you who’ve been keeping tabs (although bittersweet, I don’t think there are that many of you) I’ve missed a few days. I could go on about why I’ve been neglecting my blogging duties, but the mundane drivel of my everyday existence may bore you to tears. Regardless, today’s prompt was, “mailbox”.

As if the universe knew I needed some inspiration for this post in order to set me back on track, I opened my mailbox to find two very exciting packages. The packages were identical with the exception of their addressees. One was addressed to Doug, and the other to Jillian. Inside were my beloved family members’ brand new passports. Eek!

Okay, that may not seem very exciting, but I am very much looking forward to our travel plans this summer. I will be traveling to Ireland for the Spalding University Low-Residency MFA program and Doug and Jillian will be joining me after my classes are finished. Neither of them have ever been overseas, and I can’t wait to show them one of my favorite places in the world… The Emerald Isle. Talking Doug into this trip wasn’t the easiest thing in the world, and he’s still not crazy about staying as long as we are, but I am confident that once he is there he will be very happy he decided to go.

So, in the mailbox today was the first stepping stone along the path that will lead (push) my “happy to go to Gatlinburg every summer” hubby across the pond (no disrespect toward Gatlinburg intended, I do love the Smokies). Now I just have to hope he falls in love with the country as easily as I have.

I mean, come on, who couldn’t love this:

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Slàinte, my friends!

Blog-o-Rama Days 11 & 12: Smile & A Mother

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I decided to combine these two prompts because they seem to go hand in hand. My mother has rejoiced in my happiness and helped wipe away my tears, making her inextricably linked to my smiles, and since today is Mother’s Day, it seemed like a perfect fit.

I chose this picture because it captured a wonderful moment in time this afternoon. We had lunch at The Claddagh Irish Pub where they were having a special Mother’s Day buffet. It was delicious and spending the afternoon with my family was a wonderful bonus.

Happy Mother’s Day to all those hard working moms out there. I hope you have had a day full of love and appreciation that will carry you through until next Mother’s Day! 😉

Until next time!

Blog-o-Rama, Day 5: Paper

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Paper… wow! So much is made from paper! I thought about money, but that didn’t really inspire me. I thought about posting a pic of my marriage license, but that would require me digging through my house to try to locate it… nah, too ambitious for a Sunday afternoon. Then it hit me. I’ve done a ton of scrapbooking in the last fifteen years. So, I decided for this prompt that I had to post a pic of something I created from paper. Something that means quite a bit to me. In fact, the item I chose is one of just a handful of things I would grab if I were forced to evacuate my home in a hurry.

It’s Jillian’s scrapbook.

She has more than one, so I would have my hands full in an emergency situation, but photos are like little mini-memories. You just can’t get them back once they are gone. After much debate, I finally settled on two pictures. One is a Favorite Things layout from Summer 2008, and the other is a Life’s a Beach page from our Spring 2008 Hilton Head Island vacation. I couldn’t decide between the two of them, so I hope you’ll indulge me and enjoy them both.