Good Memories…for my son.

Good Memories…

 

So Small

Women Who Think Too Much by Jeanne Marie

My six-foot son hugged me and as he let go of me, he looked down and he said, “Mom, you’re so small. You used to be so much bigger.”
I told him that I was the same height. “You have grown. I haven’t shrunk.”
He said, “No, not that, I don’t mean your height. It’s just that I used to be so much smaller, so you seemed so much bigger.”

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To My Children

Picture 1979

To My Children
When my body leaves this earth
and you think that I am gone
go out and touch the rain
and you will know that I live on.
Throw your hands into the drops
and splash the rain on your face
that will be my hugs and kisses
blessing you all over your space.
When my body leaves this earth
rainbows will reflect my smile
coloring the sky for you
for just a magical while.
When my body leaves this earth
and you think that I am gone…
I will be the pink in the sunsets
I will be the puffs dancing in the clouds
I will be the dew that kisses your flowers
I will be the orange butterfly by your side
I will be the tiny bird who sings
outside your kitchen window
because my love will never leave you.
My love will live forever in you…
on and on and on…
Just be still and you will find
my love in all the things I loved
when my body leaves this earth
and you think that I am gone.

Jeanne Marie tagged a photo of you. Today 6:00 am (written by my son, Last Ditch Effort)

Women Who Think Too Much by Jeanne Marie

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These are the words that get me through lately.
I look for them over coffee and a cigarette, before the sun breaks.
A smart ass remark comes to my head every time I see them.
It says “Yeah right, Jeanne Marie isn’t fast enough to tag me!”
But that one remark in my mind is immediately greeted by a tailspin of thoughts.
“Yes, she is,” I laugh, trying to pull my mind out of this tailspin, because I know it’s going to keep charging towards the ground until it reaches that cold December day in 1978 when we first met face to face and then slowly gain altitude through a mist of memories until it’s over and it meets me here, where I started.
“She is fast enough, she moves differently than you! She is calculating and precise, while I move zigzag and fast, all over the place, wasting energy…

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Love Me As I Am

You put an image around me and
you tell me to stay inside the frame.
You say that this is who I have to be
do not color outside the lines!
You expect me to be who
you think I should be.
Angry, when I do not conform
I’m sorry to disappoint you
but I am going to be me.
Love me as I am, my son
Before our time is gone.

The Most Beautiful Girl

I saved a Valentine’s Day rose from my son for twenty-odd years.
Then, when it fell apart, I still saved the petals with the card which read, “To the most beautiful girl I know, my mom.”
He was sixteen that day when he brought me a rose at work, handsome and a foot taller than me.
And very smart, because while my tears were still messing with my make-up, he hit me up for a loan to buy his girlfriend a dozen roses and I gave it to him with a smile and a hug…
I kinda knew I had been played, but his technique was awesome. He played it so smooth, almost a man.
He is forty now and I know I’m not the most beautiful girl in his world…two other awesome ladies were destined to share that spot and I love them.
Still, every time I come across the faded card, the sweet words and the dried-out petals…I smile.
I close my eyes and for just a moment, I soak in the memory of his surprise visit, back to the moment when to my son, I was the most beautiful girl he knew…

Check and Mate

Women Who Think Too Much by Jeanne Marie

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As I care for my plants, l smile. I especially treasure the many plants that my grown son has sent me, plants that express his love for me in a flowering way, long distance. I even save the bows that the florist wraps around each gift.
Last Christmas, my son was visiting and he asked me what I wanted and I said a Poinsettia because I know that they are plentiful at Christmas time and inexpensive. As much as I love his gifts, I still feel a twinge when I receive from him because I have given to him since he was born. The fact that my son has matured and wants to give back to me thrills me beyond measure, but I knew that this year, like most of us, he was counting his pennies.
He went far beyond a Poinsettia. Check and mate. He carried in a huge…

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So Small

My six-foot son hugged me and as he let go of me, he looked down and he said, “Mom, you’re so small. You used to be so much bigger.”
I told him that I was the same height. “You have grown. I haven’t shrunk.”
He said, “No, not that, I don’t mean your height. It’s just that I used to be so much smaller, so you seemed so much bigger.”

Christmas Remembering


As I unpack the Christmas decorations, my memories flow.
I feel my mom all around me because Christmas was my mom’s favorite time of the year. She is the spirit of Christmas to me.
I still see her smiling as she sewed. Doll clothes for presents and our handmade Christmas stockings with our names embroidered at the top.
I’m not sure why it was her favorite because it was also her hardest time of year, with my dad drinking and crazy and hating Christmas.
But, it was and she always made sure…somehow, someway, that there were a few presents and a lot of love surrounding her kids.
I’m thankful that she taught us that it was Jesus’s birthday, not get presents day.
I remember rolling hundreds of Italian Cookies with her, every year.
She packed them in tin cans and gave them away.
Sometimes we had family over for the holiday dinner. I always considered their presence a Christmas miracle because Dad would stop his ranting and raving for just a few hours. He would smile and talk like a sane person and it always amazed me how he could turn it off and on like the kitchen faucet.
I guess he must have known the insane screaming was wrong.
Why else would he have stopped the moment people came in to our house?
Yes, Christmas is a time for remembering and as I move on from my childhood memories, sweet and bitter, I remember my own babies and how I was a child myself when they were young. We grew up together.

I will not think of where I fell short.
I will remember where I succeeded.

I miss them. I miss those babies who grew up before I was ready to let them go.
Pampers and pacifiers, Cabbage Patch dolls and Lego’s. Hot Wheels and Strawberry Shortcake. Little hands rolling Italian Christmas cookies, toddlers growing into teenagers with big hair and big hands hanging KISS posters.
Far too soon, my children were in the driver’s seat, grand-babies and great-grandchildren were born. Years flew past me.
My best chance to be what they needed has been dissolved by time, time I thought was mine, but as I make memories with their children, I pray that they have sweet memories whisper to them on Christmas day.
If you have babies and children, remember that Christmas is a time for making memories and it’s not about presents, it’s about love.
Create the sweetest memories now, not next year.
Next year is not promised.
As the snow is falling outside your windows, and the Christmas lights are blinking on every porch, create the memories you’d like them to remember with a smile.

The proof is in the pictures…

FB_IMG_1489336904450My pictures are a memory I can hold in my hand. My kids always said, “No more pictures Mom,” but I snapped away. As they have grown older, they too snap up every moment with their cell phones. I like to think that I taught them to capture moments. Today is slipping by fast, the hour glass never rests. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow…just a hope, but my pictures are forever and they will exist long after I’m gone. Every picture in this collection has a story. Collecting them for this post has inspired me to make each of my kids a scrapbook instead of leaving behind hundreds of discs. I thought the only thing that I would leave them was my writing. These pictures reminded me that my life has been full of joy and laughter, tears and traumas, but most of all love. That is what I shall leave them. Love. The proof is in the pictures.
Here is an article my son Rick, wrote for me about pictures. I love this.
https://womenwhothinktoomuch.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/jeanne-marie-tagged-a-photo-of-you-today-600-am-by-last-ditch-effort/
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Post inspired by Michelle Marie.

When The Kids Grow Up

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I began writing at fourteen but when I started my family at nineteen, I think that the sterilizer vaporized my creativity. I figured that it had boiled away with the germs on the baby’s bottles. Occasionally, I’d have a poetic burst, but by the time I was twenty-six, I had three children screaming for my attention and my writing ceased.

I told everyone that I was a writer, but my kids kept me too busy to write. “When the kids grow up,” I’d say. When the kids finally went off to school, “prove it” anxiety set in. I thought about having another baby, but that seemed rather desperate. I had to face facts. It was time to write. I began slowly, but regained my confidence as the words poured from me. Poems began to accumulate and I’d read them to friends and family.

In 1988 I bought an electric typewriter and started to organize my work. I also took my first college class. I enrolled full time, but the schedule overwhelmed me. After one week, I’d dropped all the classes except for one, Country Song Writing.

Many of the students were my age, which was encouraging. I continued to write, even bought a computer, but I often let kids, grand-babies and housework come before my writing. Then in 1994, a drunk driver killed my son-in-law, Donnie. He kissed his wife and his tiny son good-bye that morning and less than ten minutes later, he was dead. His sudden death caused me to reevaluate my life and to focus on what mattered most. I found out that it wasn’t clean sheets or dustless floors, not even baking delicious desserts or cooking big meals. Again, I enrolled full-time in college. This time I stuck to the plan. My husband was supportive and he took over some of the household chores. Some, I just ignored.

I decided to treat college like the ocean. The only way to go in the icy cold waves is to close your eyes and to run into the surf as fast as you can. Once you make it past the undertow, the waves are breaking in front of you, not sneaking up from behind and the water feels warmer as your body temperature adjusts. The gentle swell rocks you as you swim and the blue-green horizon stretches out as far as you can see.

I enjoyed learning in spite of the tremendous workload. I usually stayed up past midnight doing homework for Comp. I, memorizing outdated laws for Criminal Justice, (don’t even ask me how I landed there) or cramming my head with strange definitions for Biological Psychology and then I’d get up at 5:00 a.m. to study for a test or to finish an essay.

I got past the undertow and I finished the semester on the Dean’s list. (My mom wanted a bumper sticker.) When younger classmates asked me how I was able to do so well, I’d smile and say, “Underneath this bleached blonde hair is a smart brunette.”

The changes in my priorities did upset my fifteen-year-old son (my youngest child) especially since I’d stopped cleaning his room and I’d begun to consider heating a frozen pizza cooking supper. One night, he told me that I was too old to go to college. I laughed at him. He asked why I couldn’t wait to go to college, at least until he was grown-up.

I said, “I’ve already wasted twenty years cleaning closets and vacuuming under the furniture. By the way, you need to do a load of laundry if you want clean jeans for school tomorrow.” As he shook his head and walked away, I smiled.

After five years of working as a sports journalist/photographer, I decided to leave that job and I reevaluated my writing goals.

I’m not afraid because I know I’ll find another niche where my words fit and I know that the answer for me is to just sit down and let the creativity I’ve been blessed with guide me. It also helps to know that the only way I can lose my status as a writer is if I stop writing.

P.S. My kids did grow up, faster than I ever dreamed possible and I now have fifteen grand-kids, ages 28 to 3. I have also been blessed with five great grand-babies. The grand-kids are growing up even faster than the kids.

The picture above is grand-baby #13, Jonas,  playing with me at the beach.

Check and Mate

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As I care for my plants, l smile. I especially treasure the many plants that my grown son has sent me, plants that express his love for me in a flowering way, long distance. I even save the bows that the florist wraps around each gift.
Last Christmas, my son was visiting and he asked me what I wanted and I said a Poinsettia because I know that they are plentiful at Christmas time and inexpensive. As much as I love his gifts, I still feel a twinge when I receive from him because I have given to him since he was born. The fact that my son has matured and wants to give back to me thrills me beyond measure, but I knew that this year, like most of us, he was counting his pennies.
He went far beyond a Poinsettia. Check and mate. He carried in a huge pot of climbing ivy with a tiny poinsettia hiding in the middle. I instantly realized that he had outmaneuvered me. I put my arms around my handsome, six-foot son and I said, “ Thank you, I love it.”

Jeanne Marie tagged a photo of you. Today 6:00 am (written by my son, Last Ditch Effort)

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These are the words that get me through lately.
I look for them over coffee and a cigarette, before the sun breaks.
A smart ass remark comes to my head every time I see them.
It says “Yeah right, Jeanne Marie isn’t fast enough to tag me!”
But that one remark in my mind is immediately greeted by a tailspin of thoughts.
“Yes, she is,” I laugh, trying to pull my mind out of this tailspin, because I know it’s going to keep charging towards the ground until it reaches that cold December day in 1978 when we first met face to face and then slowly gain altitude through a mist of memories until it’s over and it meets me here, where I started.
“She is fast enough, she moves differently than you! She is calculating and precise, while I move zigzag and fast, all over the place, wasting energy, while she plans her next move like a chess player.”
I giggle it, over and over in reality, hoping that laughing about it will take me back to the present day and I won’t have to make this 1,000 mile per hour journey through my past until I finally reach myself when I was young.
But to no prevail.
It’s not that I mind. I have so many great memories of my mom, and I can’t wait to see the two of us young, in that sun that seems more orange than it is today, laughing.
But I also know I cannot control the memories.
I couldn’t stop from hurting her feelings, the way that I can watch the things that come out of my mouth today.
I am much smarter now, but the things I said in the past were at times dumb.
Things I said when I thought I knew everything, with no intention of hurting her.
I just wanted her to see how smart I was…even if that meant I had to prove her wrong.
(I know now that I rarely proved her wrong, but she would listen to my rationalizations and kindly shrug her shoulders yes and say “hmm”.)
Jeanne Marie tagged a photo of you.
Has she always been doing this? Before The Facebook was here to tell me she was doing it?
My mind firmly tells me yes. Jeanne Marie has never been far from my thoughts,
but it wasn’t till now that I realized that I haven’t been far from hers.
Jeanne Marie tagged a photo of you.
I can’t wait to see what photo caught her attention this time.
Is it something that made her proud of me?
Is it something that gave her the warm feeling of being a good mom and a sense of family?
Is it just a silly snapshot that was taken, that when done, turned into a captured moment that we treasure?
Did I ask her not to take this photo, only to thank her later for taking it?
Jeanne Marie tagged a photo of you. Today 6:00 am.

James Dean Had An Enduro (by Last Ditch Effort)

I want a motorcycle. James Dean had an Enduro. There are far more practical motorcycles in the world. But James Dean had a Enduro.
There are lots of motorcycles in my town to buy.
There are fast ones.
There is the Lime Green Streetfighter from my young dreams.
There are new ones. The latest flat black killer.
There is a hip little Japanese Motorcycles made back when the Japanese didn’t build cars yet, just Motorcycles. I want a motorcycle. James Dean had and Enduro.
I am told they won’t ride nice. They will be rough. And although its seems fun to dream about riding down the trail on your Enduro, you are trapped in the pavement jungle, and that’s all the bike will ride on, and it will be rough.
So much for daydreaming of riding to the riverbank for a picnic.
Enduros are not practical.
I want a motorcycle. James Dean had a Enduro.

Why I Miss The Boy

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As told by Peggy Sue to Jeanne Marie
I know that my owners were overjoyed when their last child left the nest. Still, I wish that they’d asked my opinion before they let him move out. I may be just a dog, but I have feelings too.
The boy came by the house to visit last Sunday and it was then that I realized just how much I’ve missed him, him and his big, sweaty tennis shoes.
While he was busy talking to Dad, I casually strolled over to the rug near the front door where the boy had politely left his shoes.
I stuck my head, well almost my whole body, in one of them. I rolled all around on the floor with his shoe and the odor brought back such fond memories.
I remember when the boy and I first met. He was very young when I joined the family and quite a handful. I used to help Mom with his discipline. I didn’t mind. I was glad to help. When she’d yell at him, I’d chase his rascally butt right into his room, nipping at his heels for good measure.
We also had two girls. One lived in Boston, but the other one always said, “Yes Mom, okay Mom.” What she did was another story, but at least she pretended obedience and I never had to chase and snip her. However, she did give me a few exciting nights when she tried to sneak out her bedroom window and inadvertently set off the burglar alarm. When Mom checked on her and saw her “sleeping” in her bed, I uncovered the hoax with some strong barking at the foot of the girl’s bed. Mom caught on real quick. She unrolled the covers and sure enough, the girl was fully clothed. The girl was somewhat boring except for her repeated attempts to beat the alarm. (She was a slow learner.)
On the plus side, she did share her yogurt with me and she scratched my head with her long fingernails while she watched the soaps.
But the boy? Oh, he was such fun, a human ball of energy! A stick of dynamite waiting for a match! Running through the house, going in and out, in and out! Me, chasing and barking all the while!
Sometimes I’ve gone too far, I have to admit it. I did bite him on the eyelid once.
Then, one time when he was being hollered at, I jumped up to bite him for emphasis. I caught hold of a piece of his shorts and if I had caught him just one-inch closer…well, let’s just say that I could’ve endangered his future fatherhood, if you get my drift!
I hung on; unsure of the protocol required in this situation while Mom rolled on the floor laughing. Finally, I realized that she was saying, “Let go Peggy-Sue, let go!” So I did, no harm done.
Sometimes the boy was nice to me. I remember when I took a stuffed Donkey Kong off his bed and I adopted him as my own. The boy said, “Let her keep it Mom, I don’t want it after Peggy-Sue messed with it. And they look so happy together.” I have tears in my eyes just thinking about his generosity.
One day, as he lay on the floor watching cartoons, I paused to take a bite out of his apple. He just laughed and called out, “Mom, come see Peggy, she’s so cute!” He thought I was cute!
The last few years that we had him were the best. I adored the way he would come in at all hours of the night. The way that it allowed me to wake up Mom and Dad with my insane barking. (Mom’s description.)
Nights can be very lonely for a poodle, what with sleeping all day, so I’d just lie on the bed and wait for a good excuse. The boy would turn the key ever so quietly and shut the door softly. But I didn’t care.
“YIP, YIP, YIP,” I’d shout out, using my “stranger\danger” bark to get the full effect.
Then, the mutt the folks had bought to keep me company, Charlie, would join in the ruckus.
Dad would yell at the boy and Mom would yell at Dad. “The damn dogs woke you up, not the boy!” and the whole house would be lit up like Christmas morning!
Just when Mom and Dad would start to fall back to sleep, the boy would tiptoe out to the kitchen for a drink and the whole thing would start all over again.
“YIP, YIP, YIP!” Soon as things quieted down again, his phone would ring. Third time around, I was pushing it, so any noise the boy made after that-I had to let it slide. Ah, how I loved those noisy nights.
Another favorite time was when the boy’s friends knocked at the door. I got some good barking mileage from them. His girlfriend was a special delight to chase from the front door to his room and then I’d catch her again on her way out. I knew she was scared of me and that made me feel like a guard dog, tough and strong.
I even miss the arguments that the boy and Dad used to get into. Those were great times for starting up a storm of barking. I’d run around them in circles, yipping to my heart’s content, taking first one side and then the other, as I tried to mediate. Although they never seemed to appreciate my efforts, I like to think that my participation often helped them work out a quicker settlement.
Now when the boy comes over, no one fights and the boy acts so different. I hardly know him. Saying weird stuff like “yes, ma’am” and “no, sir,” to the folks. His shoes smell the same, but I think that maybe he’s a man now. That could explain his strange behavior.
Dad and Mom are so hum drum. I can see their Golden Years coming fast. Most nights they sleep right through until morning. Thankfully, a fierce thunderstorm or a strange car door wakes them up now and then.
Without the boy, I just lie here and think of the good old nights. How much of a racket we used to make…
I never realized that he was moving out; although, I should’ve caught on when I saw him take a pile of boxes from his room to his car and then he carried out his bed. When he didn’t come back that night, I realized, I’d lost the boy.
There’ll never be another pair of shoes that excited me like his did.
We were quite a team. That’s why I miss the boy.
I think Mom misses him too because her eyes were dripping when she typed this story.