Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ebb and Flow (part two) or Where do you want to be at the end?

This tide of children and training and activities and progress will continue to go out until it is just Paul and me. Is it bad that I look forward to those days? WIthout diminishing how much I have enjoyed my motherhood, I really love being alone with Paul. Sometimes, in the evening while the kids are busy with one screen or another, we end up outside by the pool, with our feet in the water talking about things.  We plan the future, we laugh at stupid situations we've gotten ourselves into, we talk about spiritual things, all of it includes just us. It makes me happy.  I look forward the time when it is always just the two of us.  

As the children need me less and I look into the years ahead. I am more and more excited to do many of the things I put off because of money/time/energy.  It seems like all during our marriage I was always missing one of those components I needed to start a long term project.  I think that is why I liked quilting.  I could start on a quilt and work on it here and there and then put it away for years even, then I could get it out and start right where I left off.  Quilting has been such a good creative outlet for me and it has been the conduit to some of the most satisfying opportunities and deepest friendships of my life. 

Over the years there were a zillion things that sounded fun or challenging or interesting to me and I've been envious of people who seemed to be fitting it all in.  It is gratifying to be in a place where all those things are real possibilities, and within my reach.

I think about owning a business with Paul.  We've talked about many things over the years; a hunting lodge, a restaurant, a local sporting event or race, another quilt store or maybe a surf shop.  How about a store called 'Surf and Sew'?  

I think about taking classes and becoming more proficient at some of things that I really like to do but am not as educated as I want to be, for example photography, gardening, and writing.  I wonder if I should work for a degree or or not.  Should I sit in a classroom or is practical experience a better way for me to learn? 

Thinking about traveling with Paul makes me the most happy.  There are so many things I want to see.  Ever since I learned about explorers in history, I've wanted to sail around Cape Horn. That sounds so scary and adventurous!   I'd love to see the Northern Lights and scuba dive off the coast of Guam.  India has always captured my imagination, so has Tibet.  I hope I get to continue to go to NYC with Regina every year. Goodness, on the subject of travel and this wonderful world we live in, I could go on and on.

A few months ago I had a good talk with Jared.  During the conversation he asked me, "What do you want to learn all this for?  Where do you want to be at the end?"  I think about that all the time.  

Where do I want to be at the end?  Hmmm.

The tide hasn't gone out yet, Gloria just turned 10, but it is exhilarating to think about all the possibilities out there waiting for me.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

An Open Letter to Sam and Ken

Susan Ann Hunnicutt VeachDear Sam and Ken,
Lark Montgomery told me that your mother died today and my world just got a little lonelier.

I wish I could express to you what a great friend your mother was to me and how grateful I was to know her.  She was smart and hardworking and so generous.  When she overheard my husband and I talking about the logistics of getting me home from DFW one day, she offered to pick me up.  She hardly even knew me but there she was when my plane landed.  When we got to her car she had graham crackers and a bottle of water for me.  I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, those graham crackers could not have tasted better!  She always thought of the details like that.
Your mother was so dear to me.  I only met her just five years ago.  In just five years she became a very important part of my life and a part of our family.  She listened to me fuss about my kids.  She helped me organize my cupboards and my time.  She checked in on my kids when we were out of town. She once let my husband have it because she saw me unloading groceries from my car while he and my boys were home.  “She should not be fetchen’ and carryin’ for you!”  She was ALWAYS on time and she was so patient with me because I am ALWAYS late.  She supported me in all my projects and activities and plans.   But then, she was always so darned self sufficient she rarely needed my help.  I was always happy if she would call on me for anything but I feel like I did very little for her in comparison to what she did for me.  I loved your mother.
My husband wants to add that in his 21 years of military service.  When it came to commanding respect and getting things done, he never knew a Command Sargent Major who could hold a candle to your mom.
Goodness! She loved you boys!  I've heard so much about each of you, I feel like I know you two better than I should!  If you wanted Susan to talk you just had to ask her how her boys were doing. 
Sam, Oh! how she adored you! There is a relationship a mother has with her firstborn that is different then any other child.  I heard that in her voice when she talked about you.  She knows you didn’t always have a perfect relationship but was so glad that neither of you ever gave up on the other.  She always said you butted heads because you both knew the right way things should be done and you were both stubborn as mules.  I don’t know you that well  but I’m just going to take her word for it.  
She loved to talk about your swim meet announcing and the sometimes exotic places that job would take you.  I think she felt some ownership in that part of your life because she described to me on many occasions, crazy, busy weekends traveling to your competitions when you were kids. She was proud of your real estate career too and worried herself sick about you, when the market turned awhile back. Your mother was so proud of you and what you had accomplished in your life.  She loved Shay too.  She always suspected that it was Shay who influenced you to continue to be patient with her.  She appreciated the way Shay softened you up a little.  She loved her grand-kitties and puppies too.  I heard reports about them many times.  Sam, your mom always talked about you with such pride and confidence, like she knew as long as you were walking the earth she would be taken care of, and looked after.  
Ken, I don’t think it is a secret that you were the apple of her eye.   A mother couldn’t be a whole lot closer to her boy than she was to you.  She told me about when you left for college.  Did you know she went home and cried and sucked her thumb for three days? She told me about when you joined the Marines.  She told me about when you were stationed in the Middle East, at an embassy I think.   You wrote her a special letter when you were there thanking her for the sacrifices she had made for you.  Did you know she’s been carrying that letter around in her purse all these years?  She once told me that she needed to remember to take it out of her purse before she died. She was afraid you would think she was pitiful if you saw how she carried it around with her.  It was a beautiful letter, she let me read it once.  Every mother should be blessed to receive a letter like that from her child. 
She told me about your last deployment. She told me about your promotions.  She told me about when you brought Kim home.   She loved Kim and was so thankful for the way Kim kept her updated on everything that was going on in your home where ever you were.  And Oh boy! She told me about your kids!  She loved those kids!  She loved reporting to me that Brandon was taller than her.  She loved telling me about Christopher, his grades and adventures.  She loved telling me about Leasha’s cheerleading and other activities.  Ken, you and your family made your mother proud beyond description.  She loved you so.
Your mother believed that when we die, just like when we are born, the people we love and who love us, are there waiting for us.  It makes me happy thinking about her greeting her dear mother and her sweet husband.  And it makes me smile to think of her giving instructions to everyone there and making sure heaven is dress right dress. 
I just wanted that you could not have been more loved.  
With all my love and a heavy heart,
Rachel Rodgers

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ebb and Flow (Part 1)

I just dropped Dan and Sara off at the church for a three day youth retreat.  At home today it is just Gloria and me.  Because Pauly is working so much, this weekend will mostly include just Paul, Gloria and me.  Okay I lied back there, I didn't just drop them off, I left the keys to the truck in the van and Pauly took it to work so I had to call someone to come and get them.  Ugh! Am I ever going to get it together??

When Robin and Paul were toddlers, somebody referred to the invisible rope that connected a mom and her ever moving baby.  I was amused to see she was right, if I walked away a few steps, the baby would follow (mostly) and if he wandered a little way from me I would follow him.  Both of us, never any farther away than was just right and always aware of where our counterpart was.  

I remember during our move to Mannheim, I was unpacking a bathroom and 13 month old Daniel showed up at the door and said, "There you are!"  It was sweet because it was more inflection than actual words but I knew exactly what he was saying.  The rope was still there.   

Then one day with each child, the rope was snipped.  These little ones no longer felt bound by the hem of my skirt or even the walls of our home. They figured out how to open the front door, they walked halfway across the park, or saw something interesting and went to check it out unaware and unconcerned about where I was. In Daniel's case he walked away from us at every airport, park, church, grocery store, soccer game and one of the worst moments of my life, he walked away from us in Prague.  Holy Cow!  That was scary!  

When that rope is snipped, that is when when I always felt my work really started.

As our kids have grown and needed me/us less it has been less like a rope and more like the tide going out. 

They learned to walk and didn’t need to be carried anymore; but sometimes they still did until one day they didn't. 

They learned to read and didn't need me to read with them.  But they still liked when I read to them.  I still read to the girls at bedtime but not as often I think I should.

They go to school and come home. They go to their friends house and come home. They go to a competition/tournament/concert/camp and come home. 

Each time they come home they are a little more independent, they need me a little less; they've become comfortable just a little bit farther away from me. It happens so gradually though. I don’t even notice how far away they've grown until I look up from my book one day and realize they are 50 feet away and the water hasn't covered my feet for 30 minutes or so.

So I move my beach chair and reassess. How do they need me now? What can I do to help them be successful? What else do I have to teach? What else do they have time to learn? Or are they on the right track and do I just need to be here making sure there is good food to eat when they arrive with their friends?

My time as a mother with children in my home is ebbing away and that's a little sad to me but it has turned into such an interesting time for me as well.  I am feeling reflective of who I've become as a mother/woman/wife/person.  I am feeling the pressure of time to teach and prepare the ones still in my charge.  I am feeling excited to get this all over with, sometimes a little too eager to move onto the next time of our lives. I'm feeling adventurous, thinking of all the things I've put off for all these years.  Things that are now all possibilities.  Mostly though, I just feel grateful, for every minute of my time as a mother.

I look at this weekend as an opportunity for Paul and me to soak Gloria with all the attention that was once showered on Robin. She's parched. This opportunity is a good thing, another reason to be thankful.  But the tide is unrelenting and even though I know they will be back on Saturday, I am watching as Dan and Sara distance themselves just a little more than they did before I dropped . . . before they left on their excursion.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Little Memory of Grandpa Stanley

The first half of my senior year I lived with my Uncle Mark and Aunt Robin. I attended El Dorado High School in Placerville, California and while I was there I was cast in a play called ‘The Dining Room’. My Grandma and Grandpa Stanley drove from San Carlos to see me in the play.

At one point in the visit we all stood in the driveway talking. Mark and Robin, Grandma and Grandpa Stanley and me. I think Aaron was running around chasing a ball or something.

My grandpa stood next to me. While everyone talked my grandpa took a small step toward me and nudged me with his hip. It was a small movement; I don’t think anyone else even noticed. I didn’t look at him but I smiled and nudged him back. He smiled and he didn’t move away from me. We stood there a little closer to each other and listened to the others until we all went into the house.

I don't remember Grandpa Stanley ever being any more demonstrative than that, except maybe for a quick hug when we arrived for or departed from, our annual visits.

It might seem unimportant but that moment shaped me. In that moment, I knew my grandfather knew me and kept track of me, I knew he loved me and we both knew that we belonged to each other.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What did you do yesterday?

This is what I did.

I made this quilt. Did you hear me? I made it in one day! I'm still feeling a little high because I don't think I have ever made a quilt from start to finish in one day. Okay, I'll be honest, I already had the little pinwheels. They were left over from a quilt I made for my sister. But other than that, I cut it, pieced the front, pieced the back, quilted it, bound it and I did it all in about 7 hours. I'm feeling kind of awesome.

Isn't it cute?

The pale grouchy child holding the quilt is Sara who is not feeling well and home from school.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

They're afraid you'll knit an Afghan.

The zillions of different patterns that can be knitted are intriguing to me, so I am knitting a sampler afghan with 20 different squares to teach myself some of them, well, 20 of them. This is the first square, it's called 'Diagonals'.

I am using this box of 101 different pattern cards as my inspiration.

~Why don't the airlines like you to take knitting needles onto an airplane?~