Tag Archives: mother daughter stories

Memorial Day Honor, Duty and Sacrifice

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“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
~ President John F. Kennedy

Freedom is never free.  This Memorial Day I want to say thank you to all the men and women who have fought and died, giving the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our country remains free.  And to all the of the soldiers, past and present, thank you for your service, your dedication and the sacrifices you and your families have made on behalf of us, our country and for Freedom.  It’s a day to cherish family and give thanks for the wonderful privilege of living in such a great country. It’s about the honor, duty and sacrifice of so many American families, just like mine.

The year was 1953, the world was still reeling from the end of  World War II, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the newly elected President and the Korean War was being fought.  All young men of that time period were required to register for the military Selective Service; so upon his eighteenth birthday my father dutifully completed his registration card.  Around that same time he also met my mother and they fell in love.  Following a year-long courtship, they were married in February of 1953.  My mother had just turned seventeen and my father was two weeks shy of his nineteenth birthday.

After their first year of marriage they were eager to begin their family and tried desperately to have children.  But that greatly desired child never came.  They continued to hope and pray for a family of their own, but after the third year of trying, they lost hope and decided they were destined to be childless.

In the early part of 1956, my father received his Order to Report for Induction; he had been drafted.  He was to report to the Fort Ord U.S. Army post in Monterey Bay, California for basic training.  My mother was heartbroken.  How was she going to make it without him?  So they did what all young couples in love do when faced with an unwanted separation, they made the best of it.  They spent as much time together as they could until the day came for my father to depart for basic training.  My mother wrote him every day and missed him terribly, so terribly she began to get ill.  It seemed everything she ate made her immediately nauseous.  This went on for a couple of weeks until her family suggested she might be pregnant.  What?  Could this be possible?

A trip to the Doctor confirmed her families suspicions and gave my mother the blessed news; she was in fact pregnant.  Excitedly, she contacted my father in California to relay the news.  They were both overjoyed!  Then reality set in.  She would have to carry and birth this child alone.  The plans they had made for her to come out to California and live in the on-base family housing were dashed.  She was too sick to travel.  Summer turned to fall and my father completed his basic training.  Then he received his orders; he would be deployed to Germany.

Somehow, he was allowed a short leave for Christmas.  My mother was overjoyed to see him one last time before he was shipped out and they spent a glorious Christmas holiday together.  Shortly after Christmas, my father had to returned to his military duty.  The Army allowed him to stay Stateside until my brother Monte was born on January 15, 1957.  My father learned of my brother’s birth via telegram and the next day he was on a plane to New York.  Once he arrived in New York, he boarded a ship and began his trip overseas.

My father was a good soldier and soon was promoted to the position of Military Police or MP.  He and my mother carried on their relationship via mail.  They wrote to each other almost daily.  My father got to know his first born son by reading letters and looking at photographs.  While serving his country, my father missed all of my brothers milestones.  When my brother got his first haircut, my mother tuck a lock of his hair in with the photo and letter she sent to dad.  My brother’s first tooth, first Christmas, first steps and first birthday passed while my father was on patrol in snowy Würzburg, Germany.

My father honorably completed his military assignment and finally returned home to my mother and oldest brother Monte in the Spring of 1958… Nine months later my brother Randy was born.  And a few years later, I came along.

Although my parents made great sacrifices during this difficult time, God poured out his blessings upon their lives.  What seemed like tragedy was actually a gift.  My mother thought she could never have children, but was blessed with three.  And while my father was serving his country, my mother had my oldest brother to love, care for and keep her company.

After 59 years of marriage, my parents are still madly in love with each other.  Our roles are reversed and I now have the honor of caring for them, just as they have cared for me all these years.  I am so thankful my life is at a point where I am able to devote my time to them and truly enjoy our time together.  They are the best parents a child could ever have and I love them dearly!

Fun at the Renaissance Fair

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My husband, youngest daughter and I traveled back in time to the 16th Century this weekend with a visit to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival, which is held in Waxahachie Texas weekends each Spring from April until Memorial Day.

1  King Henry and Anne Boleyn.

The festival includes a 35 acre village consisting of artisans that create one-of-a-kind works of art and quaint shops featuring unique handmade jewelry, clothing, leather goods and other fun items.  I couldn’t resist buying a spicy scented bar of handmade organic soap.  Here’s our daughter Caitlin (or Cake as we affectionately call her) with a Gandalf looking Wizard in his sterling jewelery shoppe.

The artists, peddlers and performers all dress and speak in character.  Performance acts include jousting competitions, comedy routines, music, dance and many other unique entertainers on 22 different stages.  All the performances are included in the admission price.

After shopping and checking out a few of the acts we had to stop for some yummy fried festival food.  My husband Scott chose a healthy baked potato (no bacon), but Caitlin and I went for the fried mushrooms and onion rings.

It was a lovely Texas afternoon with clear skies, a light Southern breeze and temperatures in the mid 80’s.

We couldn’t resist a cheesy photo-op as the King and Queen.

Cake fit right in with the Renaissance characters.  Here she is with a couple of Ogres.

This guy is lucky he didn’t get my husbands size 11 boot up his you-know-what after calling out to Cake “Hey, come here horny girl!”  As penance I made him pose for a photo.

We finished the day off by checking out some of the beautiful performing animals.

Majestic birds of prey and obliging elephants.

I felt a little sorry for this long eye-lashed beauty as she patiently carried kid after kid around and around.

What better way to end a perfect day than with a poem inspired by Cake and the Renaissance?

Absinthe eyes

Dancing fairy sprite

  Cast not thy gaze my way

Bewitch another

His heart enslave

And corpse the birds to pick

Springtime Girls

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I am Sister.  A pet-name bestowed upon me by my own sweet parents.  I am no longer a Springtime girl.  My Spring is far behind me and I live in the early days of Fall.  Fall is good, Fall is stable.  Fall is steadfast and reliable, you know what you are getting with Fall.  The trees begin to lose their green glow of youth, but a new beauty takes its place.  Warm reds, golds and yellows color the Fall canvas and a cool brisk air stirs the inner desire to move on, to migrate to the next chapter.  I like being Fall.  These are my Springtime girls.

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My oldest precious daughter is Baby Sister Girl.  She came to me in the Spring, like the first tender blossom, stretching her tiny face toward the warm sun, full of wonder and eager to meet every challenge put before her.  She is strong, she is confident, she is a go getter.  She knows what she wants out of life and she will stop at nothing to get it.  You always know where you stand with her, she pulls no punches.  I have made my share of mistakes in tending to this flower, but in spite of my shortcomings, she has thrived.  Her roots are strong, her core is solid.   In a field of flowers, she’s the one your eye is drawn to.  She is my pride and joy.

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My youngest is Cake.  She is another Springtime girl and like her mother, she is an old soul.  Cake is the Ghost Orchid, a precious and rare flower.  She is one of a kind, she is unique.  She marches to the beat of a different drum.  She is excentric and hilarious, delicious and irresistible.  Cake is a bohemian, a gypsy, an artist.  Cake does not conform, she does things on own her terms.  She is tender, compassionate, loving and kind.  She is the most optimistic person I know.  Evil does not exist in her world.  She teaches me something new every day.

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I am Sister, the mother, the teacher, the gardener entrusted to the care of these Springtime Girls.  My harvest is rich, my basket is full.

The Blood Bank Incident

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Last week my darling daughter Rachel asked if I would like to go with her to donate blood.  She donated once before and the blood bank had recently sent her a card letting her know that her blood had gone to a young boy in need.  She was so excited to know that her blood had actually helped and she was looking forward to donating once again.  I know that donating blood is so important and God bless all the people who donate regularly.  That being said, I have never donated blood before and was not totally comfortable doing so.  I remember the blood drives at my high school and seeing my friend’s pass out in the hall after giving blood, so I had a negative impression of the whole process.  But I wanted to do my part to help and seeing Rachel’s enthusiasm spurred me on to give it a try.

We arrived at the blood bank and went through the screening questionnaire and had our iron levels checked.  Mine was only one point above the lowest limit allowed… this should have been my first clue.  We were escorted to the donation area, our arms were prepped and poked and we settled back to wait until our bags were full.   Everything went pretty well until the phlebotomist removed the needle from my arm.  I started getting fidgety and feeling a little queasy, then the room began to close in on me.  The phlebotomist jumped into action with ice packs, juice and a package of Oreo cookies.   After about ten minutes, I felt fine.  The last thing we were told was to be sure and have a hearty meal for dinner.

Well, I hadn’t been shopping lately and the cupboard was a little bare.  There was a Tom Thumb grocery store right next to the blood bank, so we decided to run in and grab a few items for dinner.  When we got to the checkout line Rachel said “Mom, I don’t feel very well, will you go get me a juice?”  I sat her down on the end of the checkout counter and ran through the store trying to find the little bottles of cold juice.  Now, any other time I would have known right where to go, but this time I went from one end of the store to the other, frantically searching for the juice.  I finally found some cold coconut water and ran back up to give it to her.  But then I thought, I better pay for this first.  So I went over the self checkout line and chose to pay by cash, but the stupid thing wouldn’t take my dollar.  I thought, you’ve got to be kidding me!  I took my bill and smoothed it out, then tried again with no luck, then back to smoothing when I heard Rachel say “Mom I can’t see!” I’m panicking, what do I do, what do I do?  After what seems like forever I finally get the damn thing to take my dollar and rush the coconut water over to Rachel.

Here baby, drink this.  “Mom, I’m hot and I can’t see anything.”  I’m thinking, people can’t die from giving blood, can they?  Then I hear “Mom, I’ve got to go to the bathroom… now!”  Well, one thing I know for sure, this Momma is not about to let her baby mess herself in the Tom Thumb checkout line!  So I grab her up and put her hands on the cart and ask one of the cashier’s to help me get her to the restroom.  Rachel can barely stand up, much less walk, and I’m thinking this cashier must think we are drug addicts or something.  I look at her apologetically and say we just gave blood and she is not feeling well.  Meanwhile, Rachel is saying “Mom, I can’t see anything!”

We’re trotting along with the cart, trying to hold Rachel up, but her knees buckle and she starts to go down.  When she does, she hits her knees on the bottom rack of the cart and the jolt brings her back around.  We finally make it to the restroom door and I thank the cashier and let her know I can take it from here.

It’s just a single restroom with the sink right beside the toilet and thank God it was not occupied.  I drag Rachel inside and get her on the toilet with mere seconds to spare.  She is teetering on the toilet and I have to hold her up with one hand while running cold water in the sink and trying to splash her face with the other.  After a minute I hear her say “I feel better, I can see again.”  I say, great why don’t you go sit down in the lounge and drink the rest of your coconut water.

As soon as she is out of the door, I begin to feel weird and hot all over.  I strip off my hoodie and begin splashing water on my face and even drinking water right out of the bathroom faucet.  Normally, I would NEVER drink water in a bathroom, but I’ve since discovered that you will do the most unusual things when you think you’re about to die.  Unfortunately, the water doesn’t help and I begin to slowly nod out. The last thing I remember thinking is, I look like one of those junkies on Intervention right after they shoot up with heroin.  Then I slide into darkness.

After a minute or two I come back around and to my horror I’m sitting in a wet puddle.  Yes people, I had wet my pants!  Now this is the first time in my entire adult life that I have ever wet my pants.  Even in my younger heavy partying, passing out drunk days, I never wet my pants for Pete’s sake.  So, as I am struggling to get to my feet, the door suddenly opens.  There stands some strange lady looking at me with this awful shocked expression on her face, I think she actually gasped.  I’m sure I was quite a sight, with my wet face and hair, mascara running down my cheeks, wearing a white wife beater, with my hoodie thrown in a heap on the floor and a big wet spot on my jeans.  Poor lady, I bet she thought, wow, this store has really gone down hill!

I put myself together as best as I could, wrapped my hoodie around my waist to hide my shame and go out to collect Rachel.  As we are walking out to the parking lot we turned to each other and in perfect unison say “I’m never giving blood again!”  I follow with “I hope I don’t get mouth herpes from drinking out of the bathroom faucet.  To which Rachel replies “Yeah, and we better find another place to shop.”  We hug each other and begin laughing hysterically, thankful we survived and happy to have yet another crazy memory to look back on.