I am a huge advocate that parents need to spend occasional one-on-one time with each of their children. From the time they are young, during their teen years, and after they are adults.
I have three grown daughters. This year, their ages will be 39, 37, and 30. I love my daughters more than life itself. Being their mother has been an essential part of my life and has been the reason for the most joyful times I have known.
With everyone having their own life to live, it becomes a real challenge to have one-on-one time with an adult child. A genuine effort has to be made by both parties. It was easy to keep up with each other’s daily routines, good days, and bad days while living under the same roof. But when the chicks begin to fly and leave the nest for their own, the busyness of life and the world’s stresses have a way of pulling loved ones apart. We have to try harder!
Lately, I have felt an authentic, heartfelt need to connect with each of my girls. They each seem so busy with meaningful projects in their lives that I have not had the heart to ask for their time. One of the worst feelings in the world for a parent is to feel like a burden on our children. I felt as if it would be very selfish of me to do so.
Sometimes life just has a way of working things out for us. I have been in desperate need of help with cleaning and organizing my apartment. It was built in 1970 and requires some major repairs. Repairs that will require me to move out for at least a whole week. I will also have to take my belongings with me so the floors can be replaced entirely.
I can no longer do things, like cleaning fast and furious, as I did in my younger years. Much less move furniture around. I knew I needed help, but I became silent in asking, hoping, and praying it would somehow all workout.
And it did. My beautiful Chelsea, my sweet baby girl, saw I needed help and came to my rescue. Like a little angel with the power of a tornado, she came into my home and got more done in a matter of days than I could have done in one year! She amazed me, and she also took a burden from me that was so heavy.
I never asked Chelsea for her help. She offered. Somehow, someway, my youngest daughter grew into a kind, loving, generous, and empathetic adult. I couldn’t be more proud of her. I doubt she realizes just how much her help means to me. She probably won’t be able to until someday, when she is older and in the same need for help. That is how life lessons work.
But that was not the only blessing to come out of this story. My daughter and I ended up spending much-needed and valuable one-on-one time. It had been way too long. Yes, we were sweating, and yes, we were doing not-so-pleasant chores, but the magic happened anyway. We laughed, cried, hugged, and were able to catch up on each other’s lives.
When Chelsea walked away, I was left with a clean apartment, organized rooms, and a heart full of love for my youngest. I felt revived, renewed, and ready to face Spring with a happy attitude.
Chelsea plans to return this weekend and help me finish a few loose ends. I can’t wait to see her. Not just for the help, which I am very grateful for, but for the one-on-one time we will be spending with each other again.
Now to find a way to spend some overdue one-on-one time with my other two daughters. It will be a challenge, but no doubt it will be worth it.
The month of May brings many blessings. Sunny days, warmer temperatures, flowers, bright blue skies, and all things categorized as Spring. But it also brings the most coveted holiday for women who have children, Mother’s Day.
It’s true, that mothers should be thanked, appreciated, and showered with love every day of the year. After all, they earn their title daily. But it’s really special having a holiday on the calendar devoted just to us mothers. One day a year to receive special recognition for our years of hard work being the best moms we know to be. Even if we aren’t perfect at the job, most of us give it our best.
Even after our kids are grown, we never stop being a mother. Age just brings on a whole new set of worries, and reasons to pray for our children. They still need us in every phase of their lives, even if they don’t always realize it. No one can understand like a mother. She has already been through it all and has a reason for her advice. Moms never stop wanting to take away a problem from our children. If they hurt, we hurt. No matter how big or small. You never age out of being a mother. It will stay with you for the rest of your life and beyond.
This year marks 38 years that I have been a mother. I count the first year because I was carrying my firstborn in my womb. I was indeed already a Mama. I took care of her for 9 months in the most crucial of ways. Making sure she grew healthy. I tried with all my might to prepare a wonderful world for her to be born into. Long before she saw my face, she heard my voice, and my prayers for her.
I am still praying for her 38 years later, along with her two sisters that came along after. I have added three grandchildren to my prayers as well. It’s like an enormous ball of snow rolling down a mountain, growing bigger and better with a mother’s love all the way.
When I was a young Mama, it was a big deal to be recognized on Mother’s Day with cards and gifts. Homemade crafts from the children, a bouquet of Spring flowers, maybe. A day filled with well wishes and family. Now, after so many years, the need for recognition is no longer there. I don’t even need a card anymore. I couldn’t be prouder of the now three adults who made me a proud mother so many years ago! All I care about is hearing my grown children’s voice saying, “I love you Mama”. That is all I need for a happy day.
⚽ I spent 43 years of my life working at the local shipyard. I have been retired for 14 years and, as such things go, I have forgotten a lot about those years, but I haven’t forgotten how important Fridays & Sundays were during those times.
Each Friday I would get out of bed around 6 a.m., head for the bathroom to wash my face and to shave, and then get ready for work. Friday always put an extra hop in each step because Friday nights were always fun, and Saturdays allowed me to do anything I wanted. Most of us know that the anticipation of a vacation to some far-off place is almost as good as the actual trip itself. That’s why planning is so important: it allows you to experience the joy of anticipation and lets you double down on how enjoyable that vacation is going to be. The same applies to anticipating the weekend on Friday mornings.
Now, as a retired person, you would think I would have difficulty telling the difference between weekdays and workdays, and I admit it’s not the same, but back then it was a big thing. I had two small children (a son and a daughter) and weekends let me spend more time with them. Their mother worked at Sears on Saturdays, so I got to spend a lot of alone time with them during the winter months. They felt free to ask any question. Some were frivolous, some serious, and some difficult. I recall my daughter asking me when she was twelve how many times a week did men want sex? I always tried to be truthful with my children, but that question caught me off guard. After some thought, I looked her in the eye and said, “Sweetheart, men want sex often.” That wasn’t good enough for her, so she rephrased her question and asked how many times a week I wanted sex. I read a study once that said men think about sex in some way at least once during every waking hour. I didn’t realize it was that much, but I guess they were kinda right. I have no idea how much women think of it. Of course, those thoughts wane as we men age.
Anyway, back to my daughter’s question. After a few moments, I responded, “Sweetheart, it’s not important how many times I have sex with your mother, what’s important is how much we love each other.” The look on her face waffled back and forth like the bubble on a carpenter’s level. I explained to her that sex is an important part of love but that other things were equally as important, such as holding her mother’s hand as we walked, or putting my arms around her waist as we talked with friends, or showing her every day that I loved her by being attentive. To this day, I do not know whether that information helped her in any way, but I hope it did.
Ok, back to the weekend thang (hillbilly term 😊). As much joy as Friday & Saturday brought me, Sunday evenings were totally different. As each hour went by, the dread of having to get up the next morning and go to work haunted me. The fun was over; it was time to go back to work and “bring home the bacon” (that term originated in 1906 and pertained mostly to boxers who were expected to win and take money home). Sure ‘nuff, Monday morning would arrive, and I would shake off the sadness and head out the door to welcome another week filled with nothing but problems. Fulton J. Sheen famously said that “one becomes more interested in a job of work after the first impulse to drop it has been overcome.” As a teenager, I watched Bishop Sheen on TV (Life is Worth Living). He was often referred to as the first televangelist and won two Emmy Awards for Most Outstanding TV Personality. He died in 1979. I was always impressed by his knowledge and his piercing eyes. I always felt as if he were talking directly to me. Ah, the things we remember! 😊
⚽ I once read that what we say about others gets applied to us. I’m not so sure that I believe those words. It implies that if I say good things about you, then those good comments get applied to me as well. Hmm, I don’t think so. I think the intent was that if you say bad things about someone else, then they get applied to you. The person who came up with that idea didn’t think it all the way through. Of course, I’m guilty of doing the same thing, so I shouldn’t complain.
⚽ My Grandma McCoy had a sister (Naomi) who had 13 children, all named after someone in the King James version of the Bible. They lived just across the Virginia border in Kentucky (45 minutes away), so as a young boy of 4 or 5, my grandparents took me with them to visit her. I was amazed at how well behaved the kids were, and it was easy to tell who was in charge (Aunt Naomi 😊). Those visits were utterly confusing to me, because with so many kids around I felt insignificant and believed the other kids felt the same way, except for the older ones. As I got older and moved away, I forgot about that big, wonderful family that lived down by the river in the middle of nowhere. I have heard of larger families with 15 or more children, but the most prolific mother of all time, and the one that holds the record for childbirths, is Valentina Vassilyev (Russia 1707–82). She gave birth to 69 children, including 16 pairs of twins, 7 sets of triplets, and 4 sets of quadruplets. She was pregnant 27 times and 67 of her 69 children survived infancy. Now you would think this was the end of the story, but as it turns out, her husband, Russian farmer Feodor, fathered 6 sets of twins and 2 sets of triplets by a second woman, giving him a total of 87 children. Of course, we all know that mothering takes a lot more strength than fathering, so I’m not so much in awe of old Feodor as I am of Valentina.
I knew a family in our little coal camp whose mother, upon giving birth to her 5th child on a chilly winter morning, got out of bed in the afternoon and washed a load of clothes, and put them out on the clothesline to dry. I was amazed at that feat then, and still am to this day. I can only wonder what the neighbors thought about Valentina. I imagine there was fear on her face whenever Feodor looked at her with the gleam of passion in his eyes. Undoubtedly, tubal ligation (tying the fallopian tubes) wasn’t available in the 1700s, so the poor woman was doomed to be pregnant almost all of her adult life. I assume Feodor had more grandchildren and great-grandchildren than anyone else as well. Heck, he may be responsible for a large portion of the Russian population. I have a good friend in Russia (Irina), and I’m thinking that I should ask her if she knows about old Feodor’s reputation 😊.
Having raised two children, I’m at a loss on how you raise 87 of them. It was hard being a good parent for my two, I don’t know how that happens when the number goes that high. It’s a good thing that he was a farmer, because if he had to buy all the food for his family, the Devil would always be dancing in his back pocket 😊. I see it now: the school principal calls Mr. Vassilyev and says, “sir, we’re having a lot of trouble with Vladimir, could you come down to my office for a visit?” He scratches his head, pauses for a moment, and kindly says, “who?”
John Andrew Holmes said that “a child enters your home and makes so much noise for twenty years that you can hardly stand it. Then he departs, leaving the house so silent that you think you will go mad.”
BETTER WITH A BISCUIT
Summertime always brings with it memories of summers past, growing up in Northeast Tennessee my first 10 years of life. We lived on a mountain top, my mama, daddy, sister, brother, and me. My surroundings were some of the most ideal any child could ever hope for. Not because we had a big house, fancy furnishings, or a lot of toys. But because of the many little things we shared daily.
My Mama was a wonderful cook. A true Southern cook. It was typical for her to cook three meals a day, seven days a week. And with each of those meals, homemade bread was served. Either her biscuits, or her cornbread. Anyone who knew my mama’s biscuits and cornbread, knows there are not enough words in the Webster’s dictionary to describe just how good they were! Mama took great pride in making her biscuits or cast-iron skillet of cornbread perfect, every time!
During the summer, it was not unusual to have an entire dinner consist of fresh veggies, cooked or raw, from my daddy’s garden. Meat wasn’t as plentiful in the hot months. But it also wasn’t needed. Not with the bounty my daddy would provide from his garden. A typical dinner would be corn on the cob, fried potatoes, green beans, sliced onion, tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers. With Mama’s hot biscuits and cornbread, it was a dinner for kings! We never, ever, complained there was no meat on the table. Our taste buds were blissfully satisfied and our tummies sufficiently filled. Add a cold glass of milk or buttermilk and your mouth is watering. We left the dinner table happy and healthy.
I never thought much then about my mama making hot biscuits or cornbread at every meal. I guess I took it for granted. It was our norm. But now I realize one of the reasons she did it was to make the simple ingredients she had to prepare more substantial. It probably grieved her that she didn’t have meat for every supper being the perfectionist that she was. Likely, she questioned her ability as a mother providing for her children. But without even knowing it, she set a standard that I myself have never been able to meet.
Mama was right when she used to say that everything is better with a biscuit. Maybe one of her biscuits! To this day, I have never had a biscuit or cornbread that can hold a candle to my mama’s. What I wouldn’t give to sit down to that table just one more time. Slice up the cornbread, pass out the biscuits, and enjoy the love that surrounded me there.