Saturday, January 5, 2019

Happy 2019

I returned to school/work this week. The principal said, "How was your Christmas?"  I replied truthfully, "There were a lot of happy moments."  And there were.  There was a lot of sad moments as well.
Two sets of precious cousins, a set on Mom's and a set on Daddy's side lost a loved one over the holidays.  Aunt Tish and I headed to Corbin  the Thursday after Christmas for a visit with Ailene, still at that time in hospice care.  Hard to see her that way, but wonderful to see her children that I spent so much time with when Mom went home to Papaw's throughout my childhood.  I was blessed with so many cousins my age.  After our visit with Ailene, I then got to visit with another favorite cousin and hold her first grandgirl, seven days old- be still my heart.  Then Friday's funeral, to say good-bye to a precious son gone too soon and see still more cousins.  Bless their hearts, Christmas will never be the same.
We slid into the parking lot at 6:59 from the funeral to attend Laurie Lou's wedding.  What a joy it was to see her on two legs, after her health scare in the fall.

I've come to the conclusion that I am simply not of this generation.  When I love someone, my aim is to love them forever more and never want to give them up.  It seems we no longer operate that way.  I have a friend who is always sort of surprised that we are still friends.  She was a military kid and in adulthood has lived lot of different places.  She told me once that she thought friends were for a reason and season, then they go and more come along.  I was completely flabbergasted to learn that anyone thought that when I thought every relationship was for the long haul.  Now I see I am certainly the strange one.  This year will bring a new paradigm shift in our little family, as the Captain and Ceece will bring new ones into our circle.  Will the circle remain, or shift to a different configuration?  That remains to be seen I guess.

 I always want the whole Norman Rockwell picture.

The picture of 2018 is going to look like one of huge losses to me it appears.

But, thankfully, there are other pictures.

Back to Christmas, after my visit to the cemetery and church with Rae and family, Aunt Tish and Jordan cooked up something marvelous for us for dinner on Christmas Eve.



Next up, he Captain somehow came to be in possession of more tickets than he needed at the Palace, so Drummer Boy, Bean, Ceece and I  went to Tyler Childers last Sunday night. He sings a song called, "Follow You to Virgie," about a mamaw that listened to them and loved them.  It is a teary one for sure. Ceece joined me in my moment of Mom remembering while he sang about laying to rest this mountain beauty, the one the Lord called home.  Later in the week, Drummer Boy surprised with an audio of he and Gwen on guitar and violin singing.  So sweet.  It is simply "all that" to me to be able to enjoy music across many generations.

New Year's Eve found us in Meijer for poppers.


Then off to see Mary Poppins which we all loved.


 New Year's Day is Noella's birthday, so we celebrated her and the day.



I think the sing along at Mom's funeral prompted us all to think about keeping it up.  Rae bought Mr. Smiley a ukulele and is picking up some tunes herself. 

Bean shared today that he is gong to play the Star Spangled Banner at a swim meet coming up.


I told Ceece I had to have a picture of this as we've never had a team shirt with one of our kids names on the back.  Wow.  This kid. Today he swam in four events and came in 2nd, to  a senior from his school all four times.  We're still asking ourselves where this came from?


My wish is for a happy and healthy New Year for all.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Mother Christmas is Missing

 That's how I think of my Mom.  I'm not sure I've ever known anyone who loved the holidays more than she did.  It took awhile, but one time it dawned on me that to have a Mom so feverish about Christmas, I have almost no memories of her parents being a part of that celebrating. Dad's parents died before I was one, so no Christmas memories there either.  I asked her about it and she said they didn't make too much of a big deal about it.
  My Mom planned for Christmas all year long, as I do.
It is interesting to watch this fall out in the next generations.  Handy Man has no affection for anything holiday and that seemed to pass straight to his three children.  But holiday love has shown itself in spades with Missy Bugg and Giddy-Up.
In some ways, I have just wished I could set myself and the calendar up to January 2 and move on, but there were some little people counting on me to make their traditions hold steady.  And I jumped in on some of their traditions and perhaps we even made a new one.
Ol' Mother Hubbard's Cupboard and Rae joined me for kicking off the holidays early with some festive decor and goody bags, along with chili enchilada's at Shepherd's kitchen. 


 The folks are always so surprised to see someone so young pray the way this kid does.  Maybe she'll be our family's prayer warrior, since we've lost the most praying person I've ever known.



The first Saturday in December is always a day for Gingerbread houses and sausage, gravy, biscuit and cinnamon roll breakfast that has gone on for thirty plus years. 



















This little mister was busy scarfing down peppermints, which must be made with real and potent peppermint oil that left him wheezy.  No more peppermint for this guy.
Ivonne wanted no part of gingerbread houses.


The only toy I have out at Christmas and always an interest to my littles. 

Unlike his brother, this boy is not a party animal.  I guess he didn't find Pap in his usual spot, but still found it a good place to chill for a bit.

Next up was a trip to New Harmony.  I've always loved that little town, but haven't been in a long time. It would have probably been a Mom Sunday.  I thought it might be helpful to just get out of town.  We went to this little church for service, then visited the Christmas Art Show.  I found several gifts I loved.



Next up, Rae invited us to Spring Mill.  Of course, Bean was swimming, so Missy Bugg joined as we stepped back in time for a bit.  We ended the day at a restaurant, joined by a good friend.  It was another good day of distraction for me.  Missy Bugg was  photographer for most of the day.  It was very cold. I brought hot chocolate.

My Mom's mom was a Granny White too. 



Mr. Smiley has developed a fondness for all instruments. This lady was so kind to bring him right over to help her play. 






So scary.  I have ever loved Eeyore, and have, I fear a very Eeyore personality, which I've been feeling, so wore my gift from Ol' Mother Hubbard. 

This was Father Christmas.  My whirring dervish boy couldn't manage to hold still for even one picture. 

How lovely that they had candy sticks instead of peppermint, so both boys could enjoy something. 

Missy Bugg found a necklace from a craftsperson there she liked. 
At our last stop, we sang Christmas carols around the fire with more dulcimer players. It was lovely.

Next up was a bread baking class.  I so enjoyed just spending the morning with some of my people and enjoying good bread, yummy soup, and as always- fudge.  



Next up was Black Bean Christmas with Ol' Mother Hubbard in her new digs.  As the kids get older, I find it harder and harder to get any type of gift that they enjoy. Well, the boys especially.  I was making each of them an ornament with a picture of the house they left, with a charm of angel wings for David, but you know most kids aren't too sentimental about such things.  I happened to Google "Best Little Gifts this Christmas" and came across the new Orbeez toy. We really enjoy Orbeez around here (Ol' Mother Hubbard and Gwen, not so much).  So, I had to buy all the kids one.  I told them when they opened their package that I knew they had technically outgrown such things, but just go with it and have fun, and they did.  As always, I just love watching them play, laugh and have fun.  The older I get the I more I appreciate what remains of their innocence. 






I don't quite know what to make of Rae's transformation of the past few months, but she decided to host a Winter Solstice party, her third hosting since September- gasp!  I'm seeing more and more glimpses of her mama in her.  I think she's surprised herself.  I was out of school for this activity and got to meet some sweet friends of hers.
Handmade ornaments for each kiddo.




A scavenger hunt for a plethora of things, including lichen.



Then it was time for our Christmas, always the Sunday before the big day.    Awhile ago I finally decided I really was never going to use those tee shirts I'd saved to make blankets and there is a company that will do it for you.  You have to bundle cut fronts the tee shirts.  I added the shirt I've worn every summer at Playdate and their own kids Playdates shirts, as well as one of Pap's Beach shirts.  Sadly, I missed getting a picture of the finished product. 
I wanted to be buried in this shirt as it has been the fascination of every baby at Playdate.  Because it went on and on, I thought it would last forever, but alas, this year was showing signs of coming apart. My family was showing no signs of there being another baby, so I decided to let it go. 


When I went through these shirts it was  most emotional, all that remembering.  I realized it really depicted our life, our priorities with all the church camp shirts, school shirts, etc.
I had the big kids open their blankets first and was able to share their childhood timeline with the Gramerlings.  Ahh, a teary time.

Next up, was food and gifts and fun.  We enjoyed Christmas Trivia and a movie and lots of goodness.
Rae has taken this sourdough bread to a whole new level.  It is almost too gorgeous to eat.



I'm ever on the hunt for anything red made without red dye devil 40.  I have always loved old ribbon candy, but stopped buying it. I was so happy to find this. 

I thought these petit fours were so adorable, and imagined the kids would be delighted with them. They were really good too.  But they were dessert, and if you go back up to the candy table, let's just say by dessert it was practically gone and these cakes while cute weren't quite so appetizing. 
 Time for stockings.


 Dinner was up next.


 They all had the Orbeez toy in the toy of their stocking. I told them to wait and we'd all do it together after dinner. Look at my Brown Eyed Buttons.
 And this little one wins the prize for making Gramerly's Christmas. When the Orbeez turned from a bowl of multi-colored balls to completely clear to  reveal a toy inside, she squealed and laughed her little head off.  Magical.



An this little one, who quietly whispered, "You are the best Gramerly in the whole wide world."


 I've sat down here multiple times to make a new entry as the month unfolded, but just didn't seem to have it in me.  Now, the time this has taken, I see I've been very busy.  Some days, Sad is in the driver's seat and joy didn't get in, or rides shotgun.  Other days Joy is in the driver's seat, at least for a few minutes, but Sad, Sad never forgets to ride along.
I've dreaded this day since November 16.  59 years is quite a long time to be focused on one thing- following the marching orders issued by the Queen of Christmas.  I've just felt lost and undone.  I've never been a cemetery visitor, but I'll make an exception this afternoon.  I'll show up, like I always have, and bring her favorite black walnut fudge and sing her a song for Christmas.  Above all, I'll try to remember that the reason we celebrate is the reason this separation is just temporary.
Peace and love to all who are joying in these days.  Peace and love to all who are hurting.