And Amongst All This Division…

…there are two little baby boys that are my grandsons…

Nothing will ever make a middle-aged woman’s eyes leak like holding her grandchildren for the first time…

My middle son’s son was born on June 11th; six weeks early. He was in the NICU for just over a week at a hospital about an hour away before being transferred to our local hospital a week ago.

  I visited as much as I could, but wasn’t allowed to hold him until today.

My step-daughter gave birth to her son this morning, and while we were waiting to see him, I slipped over to the nursery, scrubbed in and held my GrandBoo (my middle son’s son) for the first time. 

He is soooo tiny. He opened his eyes a few times and made some awesome faces while I cuddled, cradled and talked to him. I asked him, “Could you be more perfect?” At which point he wrinkled his nose and appeared to shake his head no. I was no more good. I sat with him for a while, snuggling, cradling, smiling at and talking to him before heading back to my step-daughter’s room.

Once there, I held my other grandson for a bit before handing him over to my husband.

  
I came home, my shirt smelling of babies, my eyes leaking at odd times, and feeling oddly at peace, in spite of the drama that is our country right now.

I wonder what the world will be like when they are our kids’ ages, or even our age.

All I know is that a new life, when held in your arms, will make you forget about the drama du jour and make you focus on what is really fundamentally important…

Until next time…

My Mom = My Hero

I know I said in my last post that there would be pictures in my next one, but I inadvertently lied. I am withholding pictures to protect my mom’s privacy.

Mom turns 75 tomorrow, 9/13.

She is my hero.

Mom is brave. Seriously. She is! She kicked breast cancer’s ass not once, but twice. She was there for me during my two breast cancer scares, always lifting me up and being encouraging.

When I was a kid, I had three recurring nightmares; the house burning down, being kidnapped, and my mom dying. All of them were terrifying to a little kid, but the latter was the worst one. I would wake up, run into my parents’ room and feel immediately better, seeing that she was in there and breathing.

When I was little, Mom was a stay at home mom. She was like June Cleaver. Dinner on the table when dad got home, fresh baked cookies after school, and always there to help my my kid sister and me with our homework. (That is, when I bothered to bring mine home…)

I got married stupidly young. And by stupidly, I mean she tried to warn me, but I did it right out of high school, anyway. God love her. She never EVER said, “I told you so.” My kids can’t say that about me. *shrug* They weren’t as lucky as I was. When that marriage hit the skids, she wasn’t overly sympathetic or coddling, but she was there and let me vent.

I remarried. Not sure she was totally on board with that one, but if she really wasn’t? She never let me know that. Again? My kids aren’t so lucky. That relationship was rocky, to say the least. After my folks split up in 92, my mom and kid sister left California and moved to Raleigh, NC. At that time, I was still married to my second ex, who was in the Air Force. Mom and Sis had a little condo, but were in the process of buying her home in 1996, when the ex and I got orders to Seymour Johnson AFB, here in Goldsboro. This was only about an hour’s drive to Raleigh. I was stoked! To have my boys’ grandma so close after having spent so many years almost half a continent away? Awww, hell, yeah!

In March of 96, we arrived in North Carolina, and my mom was gracious enough to let us stay with her and the ex commuted to the base until our housing opened up for us a few weeks later. We moved there, but stayed in close contact with Mom. No matter what happened, she was just a call or a short drive away.

Mom saw me through some domestic abuse, the subsequent divorce, yet another wedding, and my current husband’s situation with spinal stenosis and disability.

This woman has been solid as a rock.

My mom has laughed with me, held my hand while I cried, picked me up when I was at my lowest points, and cheered me when I needed it. Most recently she and I rejoiced in some long awaited seriously good news.

My mom has been there for me through thick and thin. I love her so much that I cannot find words to express this to her.

When I was a teenager we got along like most teen daughters and their moms…like oil and vinegar…they only mix well when the shit is shaken out of them. I am not proud of how I treated my mom during those years, and I always read about moms that hoped their kids had children that would give them threefold what they had given the moms. I don’t recall Mom ever having said that (out loud), but needless to say? I got that and then some. Times three.

Yet, after all the drama I have brought into Mom’s life, her love for me (and my sister, who is a hell of a lot less maintenance than I am) has never, EVER waivered. I am not the mom she was/is and for that I probably need to apologize to my boys.

I have friends that have lost their moms for various reasons, and I am sorry for them, even though I can’t relate. I am blessed, at damned near fifty years old, myself, that I still have mine, and thank my lucky stars every day for this fact.

I think that if one were to look up “unconditional love” somewhere, my own mom’s picture should be there. Daily, I strive to be like her. I’m not there, yet, but I keep trying.

All of that said?

I wish you a very happy 75th birthday, Mommy! I love you and wish many more happy, healthy, active years for you!

Xoxo,

Your eldest,

Julie

Father’s Day Reflections

I apologize for skipping the Friday the 13th blog. I took some time off work and got distracted. That post will probably find its way to daylight later this week. That said…

My father and me at my wedding...

My father and me at my wedding…

It’s Father’s Day. I called my dad over there in Wine Country, California. It was a hard call to make.

My daddy and I were really close for a really long time. A situation came about a year ago that put a pretty large crack in our foundation. I didn’t blog it then, because it was pretty painful, and I don’t want to share the details now, either, because going through that again will make me cry harder.

I think I have talked to Dad this year fewer times than the number of fingers on my right hand (or my left one, if you are that detail oriented). That hurts me, because I used to be able to call and tell him anything. Ours was a ridiculously cool relationship. Now it is simply cool. By cool, I mean the opposite of warm. That doesn’t feel too good.

My dad will always be my hero, but things have changed in the dynamic of our relationship, and while I understand the hows and whys? It still doesn’t make it feel any less bad, if that makes any sense.

Dad was the one that piqued my interest in photography, got me thinking about more holistic approaches to Heath, and also turned me on to wine and the concept of wine making. My dad rocks. He waltzed with me at my wedding in 2003 to Jim Croce’s “Time In A Bottle” and I still get choked up when I hear that song.

I wish my daddy the best on this Father’s Day, and am glad he is happy and healthy. I won’t know what life will be like one day when he isn’t just a phone call away, even though those calls are few and far between. Even though things have happened over this past year, I feel blessed to know that he is still here.

To all of my friends that are dads, I wish you a Happy Father’s Day.

I love you, Daddy!

Till next time…