Our grand adventure

Our epic adventure started innocently enough.

Months ago I received a Facebook event invitation for a family reunion in August for my mom’s side of the family. My cousins try to do a camping trip every year to the town where my mom and her siblings grew up. I click “Maybe” as my response because life happens and really, I’ve clicked maybe pretty much every year but something always comes up and I’m unable to make it. The last time I went MiniMe was 3. It’s been 10 years.

This has been a whirlwind year for us. With Beauty’s health problems then Mom passing away in May. Huge change in my job which meant full-time hours, a promotion and a pay raise. Yay me! A month after mom passed I put Beauty on a bus.  Mostly because of mom’s passing and my need to see my girl, I decided that I really needed to go the reunion this year. My cousins were there for my siblings and I in our time of crisis and I wanted to be able to spend time with them for a non-sad reason.

I’ve never driven to the area where the reunion would be held by myself so planned my route out and MiniMe made scores of lists of the things we needed to bring. She wanted to pack her bags 3 weeks prior to our departure! Well, 4 days before our departure date there was a mudslide on the highway I was planning to take. This particular highway would put me about an hour from my destination. Plan B: take the other route that would add a couple hours to my trip. Given that they weren’t able to clear a path the way I wanted to go before our we left I decided to go with Plan B.

We had the van loaded with our stuff for a weekend of camping. It was really full. Tents, bedding, bags, food, coolers, everything we would need for 3 days of camping with family. We left town about 10:00 a.m. expecting to arrive at our destination in about 6ish hours.

Or not…

Three hours into our trip, after crossing a mountain pass on which they were blasting so traffic was slow going, we made it to the town of Leavenworth, WA. Please don’t get me wrong. This is a very cool town. But this trip my plan was that it would a “top off the gas tank, grab a quick bite to eat and get back on the road” kind of town.

MiniMe took a couple of cool pictures while I was driving

MiniMe took a couple of cool pictures while I was driving

Going up the mountain pass

Going up the mountain pass

White Water!

White Water!

Unfortunately my vehicle had a different plan. You see, even tho I had checked all the fluids in my van prior to our trip like I’ve always been taught, my van decided to blow through 6 1/2 quarts of transmission fluid going over that mountain pass. It didn’t really want to move from the gas pump.

The gas station of doom!

The gas station of doom!

Our home away from home

Our home away from home

After lots of tears (I cried. I cried a lot!) and phone calls…

We will be rescued!

We will be rescued!

My brother and another family member made a plan. I had called my nephew and he graciously agreed to let me borrow his car so we could make the rest of our trip! Ginormously HUGE thank you to Timber and Georgia! We love you guys so much!!! The only problem was that we needed to wait. We had to wait for my nephew to get home from work with said car so my brother could go load it on the car trailer to bring to me. We also had the 3 hours of driving time it would take them to get to us. I’ve never spent any time in this little town we were in and it was a Friday evening so my brother suggested we go check it out. Luckily we were only a block from all the very cool little shops and the park.

We found cool stuff like this

We found cool stuff like this

And this! It's purple!!!

And this! It’s purple!!!

It was also VERY HOT!!!  We weren’t really prepared to be walking around town in 97 degree weather! o.O

We found a very cool hat shop

We found a very cool hat shop

I liked this one best! We even found flamingo sunglasses!

I liked this one best! We even found flamingo sunglasses!

We found a t-shirt shop that had this in the window

So true!

So true!

After waiting…and waiting…and waiting…

The cavalry arrived!!!

Do you see how little that car is? I drive a minivan. Remember me telling you that we were going camping for 3 days and had it totally packed? Would you believe that we fit everything in this little car??? Well, my brother didn’t think we would either but we did! So after unloading the car from the trailer, moving all the stuff from my van to the car then loading the van on the trailer, we were ready to go again! I still had another 3 plus hours to drive. MiniMe ended up falling asleep and totally slept through me singing to keep myself awake for the last hour. We got into the little town where my mom grew up and I had to make an executive decision to turn either right or turn left. (My phone was dead, no working cigarette lighters in the borrowed car so I couldn’t use my GPS) My navigator (MiniMe with the map) was mostly asleep. I turned right. Because I didn’t think it looked right (remember, it’s been 10 years since I’ve been there and THAT time it was daylight!) I pulled over. Turns out I pulled over IN FRONT OF THE BAR! Ok, in my defense, the bar was closed! Anyway, I pull over, turn on the dome light and look at the directions.

Let me set the scene for you a little better.

It’s about 2:15 a.m. I’m pretty much lost. There is absolutely nothing moving in this little town. Not even the trees!!! I’m in a borrowed car that is packed to within an inch of it’s life with our stuff. It’s me and my 13-year-old daughter. All caught up now? Good… lets get back to the story.

As I’m looking at the directions trying to figure out what to do next, a car pulls up behind me. Huh, that’s interesting. Next thing I know…

Of course!

Of course!

All I could do was laugh. Because seriously???

So the cop walks up to my side and the first thing he says is “Ma’am, I have to tell you that you’re being recorded.” OF COURSE I am! I have to tell you, it took every ounce  of self control I have not to ask if it was for Candid Camera! All I could do was laugh. Apparently when I pulled over at 2:00 in the morning in a totally dead town with not another car anywhere in sight I forgot to use my blinker.

So he asks me for my license and registration. Ummm… I hand him my license no problem and begin frantically searching for the registration for a car THAT ISN’T MINE!!! Awesome!

As I’m searching I’m pretty much babbling saying “This is my NEPHEW’S CAR that he’s letting me borrow because mine broke down and we just spent 8 hours  waiting for my brother to bring me my NEPHEW’S CAR that he’s letting me borrow and they brought it to me on the trailer and my van is on it’s way home but my NEPHEW let me borrow his car so I can go to my family reunion and this is my NEPHEW’S CAR. I think I must have mentioned that this was my nephew’s car about 17 times. He apparently thought I was a psycho lunatic because he called for back-up! MiniMe looked out her window and there was another cop on her side of the car!!! Really dude???

Anyway, he let me go with a warning and told me how to get to the resort where Beauty and my niece and the rest of my cousins were waiting.

I just love her!

I just love her!

My aunt who lives there came to the reunion on Saturday afternoon. One of my cousins was talking with her and I hear from across the camp “Hey! You’re famous! You made the news!”

I’m thinking, “Awesome! Which part of my crazy adventure made the news?”

Turns out my aunt was up listening to the scanner and when the cop ran my information she heard it. **sigh**

We ended up having a great time and I got to spend time with my cousins and talk with my mom’s 2 sisters and visit with my remaining uncle.

We had water balloons

We had water balloons

And a bouncy house!

And a bouncy house!

MiniMe, Beauty and Me

MiniMe, Beauty and Me

The coolest dog ever!

The coolest dog ever!

The whole motley crew

The whole motley crew

I think she misses her sissy

I think she misses her sissy

All in all, it was a great time and I’m so glad we went. I’m hoping to be able to go again next year but with a little less adventure getting there.

As my aunt was preparing to leave we were saying our goodbyes and she says to me “Your birthday is on the 28th, right?” I replied, “No, my birthday is in December.” She looked up at me and said “Oh, that’s right! I heard that on the scanner!” **sigh**

Now they call me “The Fugitive”

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Summer fun!

When I was little we lived in a little tiny town. Just outside of town there was a pond where we could go swimming. When I was really little my sister and brother used to take me there. Nothing like being a teenager and having to take your baby sister with you everywhere. When I got old enough my parents finally let me ride my bike to the “second dock” to go swimming with my friends. It was maybe a mile. That was all well and good until you hit the gravel road. Or heaven forbid you got to close to the edge and got sucked into the deep gravel.

I have great memories of swimming there when I was little. There was a little sandy beach we could play on and a diving stand you could climb up if you were brave enough (I wasn’t). I didn’t really know how to swim very well so I never got very far away from the dock where I couldn’t touch. There were drop-offs too. My niece almost drowned because of one of those.

One specific memory I have was when I was a little older. Pretty sure I was 13 when this happened. I was staying with my sister and helping take care of her and my nephew while she was pregnant with my niece and on bed rest for 6 months. It was a nice summer day we went to the pond and had a picnic with a bunch of her friends. While we were there my ex-boyfriend showed up. For some reason I didn’t have a swimming suit so my sister gave me a tube top to wear swimming. I was pretty proud of myself that I had learned how to swim under water and decided to show off a little. Unfortunately when I stood up my top came down and I flashed not only my ex-boyfriend but his brother and a bunch of his friends. It was mortifying. And there’s nothing worse than trying to get that stupid roll of fabric to un-roll in a hurry!

When MiniMe was a baby we went to visit my parents and went out to that same pond and she got to put her feet in the water just like my sister used to do with me. A couple of years ago we were on vacation at my sister’s house and the girls along with their friends we brought with us spent the day at that very same pond jumping off the very same dock I used to. The diving stand is no longer there but the little baby fishes still like to nibble on your toes if you stand still.

Growing up in the dark ages (i.e. before internet and cable) had its perks. We really did use the sun (or our stomachs) as our clock so we’d know when to come home. We didn’t have cliques or anything. There weren’t many kids in town so everybody just played together. Getting to ride your bike to the pond was a right of passage that we all went through. And jumping off the dock was the highlight of every summer.

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I’m such a follower

I’ve been following a couple of blogs for a while and they have inspired me to step it up. Thanks Lily and Tim!

The writing prompt this time is sleepovers. I actually have a really good one for this!

When I was 13 my mom decided to throw me a big “friends” party. When you have a December birthday that doesn’t usually happen. But my dad had died a few months earlier and my mom wanted to do something fun. Plus my sister had done something similar for my niece 6 months earlier. Huh, mom was a follower too!

Anyway, I got to invite 4 friends over and we had a DIAPER PARTY. It’s not as kinky as it sounds, I promise!

It was a way to say goodbye to childhood and hello to being a teenager. My mom searched the city and found the old-fashioned diaper pins. You know, the ones with the little bunnies and ducky’s on them? Yeah, those ones. She also found receiving blankets to use as cloth diapers. Imagine 5 giggly tween girls all dressed up in diapers and t-shirts. My mom was a brave woman!

Everyone received a 4 oz. baby bottle when they got there and all liquids had to be drank from that. Carbonated soda in a baby bottle was a lot of fun. For games we played Pin the Tail on the Donkey and this one where you were blindfolded and had a big bowl of cotton balls and a spoon and had to transfer the cotton balls into a smaller container. Mom made up a bunch of finger foods and we watched little kids movies. Well, we watch The Care Bears Movie and one that was recommended by the movie store clerk called Zapped! Mom wasn’t overly impressed with that one! We also got to eat Pudding Pops! We didn’t sleep much but had a blast and all in all, it was the best birthday I ever had!

Best childhood treat EVER!

Best childhood treat EVER!

How about you? Do you have any sleepover memories?

Zebra Garden

Mamma Mia

I was 13 and totally rockin' the mullet!

I was 14 and totally rockin’ the mullet!

That’s my mom and I. I was 14 years old. It was about a year after my dad died. We were still having lots of struggles in our relationship. When Dad was alive he was the calming influence between us. I’ve mentioned before that I was totally a daddy’s girl. When he died there was no longer anyone there to calm things down between us. We had lots and lots of struggles. I’m sorry Mom! I get it now!

I am the youngest of 5. My oldest sister has kids older than me. The next to the youngest was 12 when I was born. I was basically like a second family for my parents and when I was younger it was almost like being an only child. Well, until my sister and my niece moved in with us. My niece is 6 months (and 4 days!) older than me and we fought like sisters. We lived in a 2 story house and she and I shared a bedroom upstairs. We were always falling down the stairs. One particular morning we were both coming down for breakfast and each had a glass of water in hand. She went first and fell and didn’t spill a drop. I wasn’t so lucky. By the time I hit the bottom my glass was empty and I was soaked. One year I got a Slinky for Christmas. We were trying to get it to work like the commercials said it did when Mom/Grandma decided to come show us. Mom became a human Slinky. 😦 Of course at the time we thought it was super funny because we did it all the time. Now that I’m about the age she was when that happened, I’m so very sorry we laughed. I’ve fallen down a couple of stairs recently and it’s not funny anymore.

Shortly before we moved from my little hometown to the county where I currently live, Mom had surgery. It was a huge change for all of us and Mom couldn’t do much at all. When we got here she was stuck in bed for weeks. Not the easiest way to start our new life but she did what she had to do and we all survived. When my dad died we were all thrown into grief, heartache and chaos. I can’t imagine how difficult things were for her. She showed amazing amounts of strength and kept our family together during the most difficult time of our lives.

During my teenage years we had daily struggles. Now that I have teenagers myself, I don’t think I can ever apologize enough to my amazing mother. I love you mom! I moved out when I was 19 and now that I have a 19-year-old myself, I understand how scared my mom must have been for me. But she always let me know that she loved me and was there for me even if she didn’t agree with my choices. I learned a lot from her.

Now that Mom is older and her health is failing, I realize how grateful I am to still have her in my life. We may not always agree on things but I know that she loves me unconditionally and I am so glad God chose her to be my mom.

I love you Mom and I hope your day is amazing!

Mom and I 2013

Mom and I 2013

Life in a small town

When I was little my family lived in a little teeny tiny town. I’m not even kidding when I tell you how small it was. The entire town is 4 blocks long and 6 blocks wide. We didn’t have all of the gadgets kids do today. Nobody had cable TV. We had 3 or 4 channels that we got with rabbit ears and they were all a little fuzzy. It didn’t matter much because the only time we really wanted to watch TV was early on Saturday mornings to catch our favorite cartoons. Well, I watched Captain Kangaroo in the mornings before school until they cancelled him and put The Great Space Coaster on in his place. I really hated that show. In the summer we were outside shortly after waking up and didn’t come home until it was time to eat. There is a little pond just outside of town that when I got a little older my parents would let me ride my bike to go swimming. What freedom that was! We would wave to the log truck drivers as they went through town and they would always honk at us making us laugh like crazy people. It never got old. When I was really little, my parents owned one of the 2 restaurants in town. Half of the building was a restaurant and the other half was a bar. I don’t remember much about when my parents owned it but I remember when my cousins bought it and my cousin Andy and I used to get quarters from them and swing dance on the stage. Not sure if there’s video anywhere (this was the 70’s after all) but I remember we were really good and did an awesome jitterbug! And for the record, I’m positive we danced JUST like that! Hahahahaha

It was a very sad day when the building burned down. They eventually re-built it (my daddy even helped!) but it just wasn’t the same. The new building has changed hands a few times, it’s still half restaurant and half bar. When we go visit we always stop and get a burger there. Even though it’s been owned by different people over the years they have kept one thing on the menu. The DJ burger! This was something my parents made up and named (each of their initials) when they owned the restaurant in the 70’s and the last time I was there, it was still on the menu 40 years later! It’s awesome. There’s just nothing like getting a burger at a small town joint. Trust me, if you ever get the chance to find one of those hole in the wall places, you totally won’t regret it.

Right before my 7th birthday (I’m a December baby) my friend Tina and I decided to go sledding on the hill by the school. They had put in a sidewalk and it was perfect for sledding. I had a plastic toboggan and she had a fancy sled with metal runners. I’d never used one of those before so when she offered to let me try it I was a little nervous but mostly excited. She made it look easy! Well, it totally wasn’t! I’m pretty sure I broke the speed of sound going down that hill and I had no idea how to turn or stop or anything. Yeah, I could have just rolled off or something but I didn’t think of that. All I could think was that I was going way fast and headed for the highway. I did the only thing I could think of to stop myself…ran into the telephone pole face first. 😦 I hit the pole, fell off the sled, and layed there. Lucky for me one of my brothers friends saw me and came and helped me up and to my house across the street. I was bloody and crying. I’m positive he was horrified! I’m friends with him on Facebook now, I wonder if he remembers?

We had an awesome sledding hill right in front of our house (NOT the sidewalk with the telephone pole at the bottom!). I remember one year we had a HUGE sledding party and I’m sure pretty much everyone in town under the age of 30 was there. Trudging back up the hill kinda sucked but man, it was so worth it coming down that hill! And the best part was that my house was at the bottom so I could totally go in and warm up and drink hot chocolate before heading back up the hill.

We ALWAYS got lots of snow. The most I remember was about 6 feet when we lived there. More recently (5 or 6 years ago) they had 10 feet that fell! O.O Yeah, where I live now, we get a few inches and the whole town freaks out and pretty much raids the stores. In Podunk? The power goes out (heavy snow takes out power lines) but it’s ok because pretty much everyone has a wood stove for heat and cooking and kerosene lanterns and candles for light. Snow and power outages never meant school cancellations for us. Heck, we usually WANTED to go to school since at least they had a generator so there was real light and all of our friends!

My girls would never survive. And for that matter, now that I’m older and have lived in a much bigger town for the last 30 years, I don’t think I would either. I love to visit and just relax but I’ve found that I really don’t like the snow anymore. I’m ok with it for a day or 2 but then it just needs to be gone. When I went to visit last month they still had snow on the ground. And it snowed when I was there! Yeah, I’m not ok with that. I also appreciate the convinces we have here. Like gas stations and grocery stores.  I like the fact that if I am in the middle of cooking and run out of something, it’s just a quick trip to the store to grab what I need. Not a 3 hour tour. And no, I’m really not kidding.

In retrospect, I’m glad that I grew up in my little Podunk town. There was a sense of community that you just don’t see these days. As kids, we didn’t really do stupid stuff because even if our own parents didn’t see it happen, likely someone else did and would call mom and dad before we could even get home. There was a real sense of innocence that has been lost in today’s youth. With the technology available to even the youngest of our children, it’s no wonder that some of these kids make the choices they do. I’m not saying that all technology is bad, I have a droid phone myself that is totally my lifeline. I just think that our youth today have been desensitized to violence, profanity, nudity and drug use. Now, even my little tiny town has cable and the internet and there really aren’t any kids left.

Starting Over

Someone recently asked me “Are you happy?”. That question made me stop and think. In the last year:

  • I turned 40
  • I lost my home
  • Lost my job
  • Found a new home and a new job that I love
  • Said goodbye to some people
  • Reconnected with some old friends
  • Purchased a different vehicle
  • Started a new blog
  • Felt heartache and loss
  • Discovered joy in things I hadn’t thought about before
  • Discovered Pinterest and learned  how to make my own yogurt
  • Learned that sometimes people aren’t what they seem

Am I happy? Well, I’m not unhappy so that’s something, right?

When I was a little girl, like pretty much every little girl since the beginning of time, I dreamed what my life would be like when I grew up. I pictured myself married with 2 or 3 kids, raising my family in the house with a big yard surrounded by a white picket fence. That’s about where my fantasy ended. I never thought beyond that. I’m pretty sure most little girls back then didn’t. Then my life got turned upside down. My parents told me we were moving to a different state. My 9 year-old self was devastated. We all survived the move and I survived starting a new school that had more kids in 3 classrooms than there were in the entire school in my hometown. It wasn’t an easy transition but it was a fresh start and we made it work.

Then my world got turned upside down again. Two months before my 13th birthday my dad died. Talk about devastation! I was a daddy’s girl and pretty much my whole life revolved around him. I once again had to figure out how to start over and get through life without the most important man in my life. My mom did the best she could and I will always be grateful to her for trying to make sure our lives went on. I’ve been a single mom for 19 years now and I now have a small idea how hard that must have been for her.

When I was 19  met the guy I thought was “the one”. I was wrong!!! I didn’t listen to my family or any of my friends when they tried to tell me. I ended up pregnant and alone. I had to learn how to be strong because I didn’t have a choice. If I wasn’t there to advocate for myself and my child, nobody else would do it for me. That child is now 19 herself and I see a lot of myself in her. It scares me to death!

Thirteen years ago I gave birth to my second miracle. We had to start over with a new person to care for and love. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been worth it.

In my 30’s I went to college for a fresh start. I had big dreams of landing a job in the field I had been trained in. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I ended up working at Walmart just to pay the bills.

Last year I landed a great job working in a totally different field that I frankly knew nothing about. I love it! For the first time in my life I feel like I have truely earned the respect I so badly wanted growing up!

Not everything is as I had hoped it would be but I feel like I’ve been given a fresh start this year and I don’t plan to waste it!

Of Mice and Me

My biggest fear, other than something happening to one of my children, is mice. I don’t care how many people tell me “They’re more afraid of you then you are of them!” LIES! I think it goes clear back to when I was a child and my parents and I used to live out in the woods in our camper for the entire summer. My dad was a real cowboy. He worked for a man who had cattle all over the countryside and his job was to round them up, count them and move them to different areas to graze. I had a horse named Midge that I would ride and help him. I was maybe 7 years old. This was in the days before cell phones and Ipods and video games. We actually lived in a camper. Not a big fancy 40′ motor home either. Just a little cab-over camper that my dad and uncle built onto a flat-bed truck. We bathed in the creek upstream from the cows. We cooked over the fire. We didn’t even have a bathroom, just a hole that my dad dug and put a wooden box over with a toilet seat on it. My city kids would never survive!Anyway, in our camper there was a drawer below the fridge. One day my mom and I were fixing lunch and when my mom pulled out that drawer a rodent jumped out and tried to kill us scared us. It was probably Chip or Dale (Please tell me you know what I’m talking about?!?!) but I didn’t stick around to make friends. My mom screamed, I screamed, I’m pretty sure my horse even screamed!

That was the beginning of my completely rational fear of rodents.

I had a cat as a teenager and she loved to bring me presents. One time she came in the back door and when I saw what she had in her mouth I screamed, she dropped it, and it ran straight for me. It was still alive! I ran outside and refused to go back in until they found it and disposed of it. When Beauty was a baby I climbed over a bar to get to the phone to call my neighbor to come dispose of another of those “gifts”. When I was pregnant with MiniMe my roommate decided it would be a good idea to breed hamsters. Seriously??? And when MiniMe was born my sister-in-law decided that Beauty needed a pet. Wanna guess what it was? I’ll give you a clue. It wasn’t the puppy she had asked Santa for!

When MiniMe was about 6 months old we moved into a mobile home located near a big field. One evening after MiniMe was in bed and 6 year-old Beauty was in the bath, I was in the living room when I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a GINORMOUS mouse run across the floor and go behind the shoe box by the front door. I immediately started hyperventilating and tried to figure out how I was going to get myself out of this. Remember, 6 month-old MiniMe asleep for the night, 6 year-old Beauty in the tub? That’s important. So I very very carefully crawled over furniture to get to my phone to call my friend. The hamster breeder roommate I mentioned? Yeah, that’s who I was calling. She convinced me that all I needed to do was get a big bowl from the kitchen and move the box the nasty creature was hiding behind, throw the bowl on top, trapping him underneath. Want to guess how well that worked? I moved the box, the mouse ran, I screamed, threw the bowl and ran out the front door pulling it shut behind me. Now I’m standing on my front porch, in shorts and a tank top, no shoes, pouring down rain, holding the phone and listening to my so-called friends hysterical laughter. Some friend, right? So while I’m standing outside getting drenched, I hear Beauty yelling for me. I refused to go back in the house. In fact, I believe my exact words were “I am NOT going back in there, EVER!” Of course, my friend reminded me that my children were in there and I had to go back inside. My response? “Sorry, they’re on their own!” Yep, I was totally willing to leave my 6 month-old and my 6 year-old to fend for themselves as long as it ment I wouldn’t have to go back inside with the mouse that tried to kill me. After some coaxing, I finally agreed to go back inside and gather up the kids and clothes and head to the friend’s house. It was midnite by the time I got there. It’s not like we were neighbors. She lived a good 40 minutes away. I didn’t care. I wasn’t staying there! So the next day I got some traps and set them and promptly left the premises again. Well, we got that sucker but then I had to figure out how to get rid of the evidence. I mean sure, it was dead now but that doesn’t mean that my completely rational fear was any less! I wasn’t able to do it. I tried but as soon as it wiggled I screamed (do you see a pattern here?) and ran back outside. Lucky for me, Beauty came to the rescue. Yep, my 6 year-old daughter had to dispose of the mouse because her mother couldn’t do it. That was only the first of many times that Beauty saved the day. I had a mouse commit suicide in my bathtub. She had to get rid of that one too. Then there was the time about 5 years ago that she chased me to the neighbors driveway holding a dead mouse with my salad tongs! Yeah, those ended up in the trash.

I don’t care what anyone says. My fear of mice is completely rational and holding them and playing with them to “get over it” is NEVER going to happen!

Purging!

Last month I turned 40. Ok, I admit it. I don’t like it, but I admit it. Last year was a rough one all the way around and I’m not sorry to be done with it. Things seem to be looking up so far this year. Hey, it’s January 8th and other than being really sick for the last 3 days, nothing really bad has happened. That’s a good start, right?

MiniMe and I are settling into our new home. Getting the routine down. I’m still going through boxes and getting rid of more stuff. This is the smallest space I’ve ever lived in and between the girls and I, we’ve collected a lot of crap in the last 20 years!

I feel like I’ve been purging for the last 3 years, and I still have more stuff to go thru! All of the “Congratulations Graduate” cards from when I graduated high school 20 years ago? Fun to look at and remember how young and naive I was back then but do I need to keep them and store them in my very little storage area? Probably not. The doll my parents picked out for me for my 13th birthday but didn’t give me because my dad died 2 months before? Yeah, hanging on to that one. She has a special place on my shelf. The reports I used to get from the daycare MiniMe went to when she was a baby? Ok, those are already gone, but you get the idea. Right?

MiniMe has a great big closet in her room that is full of boxes of stuff she doesn’t even remember she has. We will be purging her room as well. She has a whole stack of postcards that her grandparents send her when they are traveling. Those will be turned into a cool mural on her bedroom wall. The Easy Bake Oven she has never even used? It’s on its way out the door.

Christmas gifts at our house were very minimal this year. Partly because 95% of my money went to getting into our new place and partly because, none of us have room for anything right now. I’m going to make a deal with the girls that if they make room for new stuff (by getting rid of the stuff they don’t wear/use anymore) I will get them some cool new things. We’ll see how that works out.

Until then, I’ll be reminiscing and shredding and Craigslisting and giving stuff away to people who don’t have enough crap of their own.

Reflection

I haven’t posted anything for a few days because I’ve been leading up to this one.

On this day 27 years ago, my life irrevocably changed. I was a child and I watched my dad die.

That’s not something any child should ever have to experience. Death of a parent is hard any time it happens, whether it is natural causes, accidental or illness. Going to bed, falling asleep thinking about tomorrow but getting woke up in the middle of the night because there’s something really bad happening… sucks. When you’re a child, you think your parents are going to live forever. When something happens and you lose one of them, it changes everything you ever thought you knew about life.

I wonder how different things would have been for all of us if he had lived. There are 15 of his grandkids and great-grandkids that he never got to know. Home much would my life be different if he hadn’t died that night? Would I have made the choice to start a relationship with an older man simply because I was lacking that love in my life? I have to believe that I would still have ended up there because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have my children who mean everything to me. Would he be disappointed in some of the major life decisions I’ve made or would he be proud of the woman I’ve become? Would he look at my oldest daughter and see how much like him she is? Would he see the similarities between my youngest daughter and myself?

Things would be very different in my brother’s life. The reason he met his wife is because my mom belonged to a support group and met a man. We had a BBQ and met his 2 daughters. One of them ended up becoming my sister-in-law. If my brother had not met her, he would not have the 2 children he does.

My mom would not have met and married the man who became my step-dad. He is a good man and he loves my mom. Both he and my mom are aging and have some of the health problems that come with that. How much different would our lives be if he had not come into her life?

Would I have gone on to have the singing career I dreamed about? My dad is the one who gave me my love of music and the joy of singing. I remember every time we got in the car for long drives my dad and I would sing. My mom wold just listen because she couldn’t carry a tune but my dad just had an amazing voice that I loved to sing with. He taught me lots of songs, including the one that got me 1st place in a talent show! Would he have encouraged me and pushed me in a ways that no one else did?

This morning one of my daughters friends gave birth to a baby girl. As I mourn the loss of what could have been, I rejoice in the new life that begins today.