Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spanning the Generation Gap

This is me at 3 months old,

Sarah at 5 months,
and Leon at 3 1/2 months.

See any resemblance? Leon looks just like his Mommy
and a little like his Mimi (especially the ears). LOL

I had the privilege of spending the whole Memorial Day weekend with my little one. Sarah had to work all weekend and Memorial Day. Babysitters for the holiday weekends are impossible to find, so Poppa and I drove 3 hours (each way) to get him Friday afternoon and kept him until Monday. He was so good and so sweet, even though he had a slight cold and thrush. :( In the 3 hours it took us to get home, he rarely made a peep. We changed one diaper in the car on the roadside and stopped for one feeding. We were 10:30 getting home that night. He and I bunked together in the guest room, Leon in the port-a-crib and Mimi in the guest bed. (Poppa had just worked off the night shift Friday morning and, after he drove 6 hours, I wanted to be sure he got some sleep.) My oldest stepdaughter, Debbie, arrived for the weekend a little while after we got home, so we were up till about 12:30. Leon fell asleep at 1 am and slept 5 straight hours! He ate at 6 am, was back "out" by 6:40 and slept another 3 hours. This pattern continued all weekend, sleeping, eating, and a few hours of play time in between.

Larry returned to work Monday morning, so I had to take him back by myself. Everything was fine for the first hour, then he started screaming. I pulled over and calmed him down with his paci when he first started, but as soon as I got back on the highway he started back up. It was close to bottle time and lunch, but we were in the middle of nowhere. I had to drive 20 min. with him sounding like a siren in the back seat until I could find a restaurant to sit and feed both of us. An hour later, we were back on the road and he fell asleep. I stopped along the way to see my cousin, Lee Ann, that I hadn't seen in two years. Lee Ann lives an hour from Sarah and just had her first baby May 1st.

This is Jayla Rene'. She was even prettier in person! =)

Of course, Leon needed to eat again, so we ended up taking 2 extra hours to get to Sarah's. Except for that brief, nerve racking time on the road, he was an angel the whole weekend. I was SO exhausted I stayed the night at Sarah's rather than drive back alone late Monday through all the Memorial Day traffic.

Leon had some tummy time. His Nana (my Mom) bought him his first patriotic outfit.

Before I had to leave Tuesday, I managed to get a few cute pictures. I mentioned earlier that he had a case of thrush, so his mouth is purple from the violet antiseptic stuff we had to swab in there. It looks like he has lipstick on. =)

I love the sweet expression in this one! He's looking at his Mommy. He was so excited to see her Monday, he started kicking and shivering. So sweet to see them love each other!

I enjoyed my time with my sweet baby and hated to give him back. It was his first time to be away from his Mommy overnight and he did great! We're supposed to get him again for a few days at the end of June, while Sarah moves to another apartment and settles in. Can't wait! ;)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Last Minute Mother's Day Post

I know, Mother's Day is winding down with only a few minutes left. I should have done a big spread, right? As far as mothers go, I do have a lot to be thankful for. I am thankful, of course, that I am a mother. (Thanks Mallory, Sarah, and Shelbi! Love you.) I am thankful that I am a stepmother. (Hey, Debbie, Stephanie, and Leslie! Love you, too.) I am thankful to be a grandmother to my little hearts: Becca, Noah, Mason, Lauren, Harlee, and Leon. =)

However, it would be impossible to have any of these blessings without my mother. I don't know where to begin with this one.

I was born while my dad was in the Navy, so most of my early years it was just my mom and me. Therefore, most of my baby pictures are only of me, or of me and my dad taken by my mom when he was home on leave. I realized this when I searched for some of mom and me together. That's exactly what I found... a few. These are two of my favorites.

I love how beautiful my mom looks in this picture, but I really LOVE the way she was looking at me. This is one I have framed in my living room.

She still looks beautiful in this one, but this time its the expression on my face that I'm drawn to. I look like I'm just enthralled with her. It is so sweet! Like almost all little girls, I remember thinking that my mom was the prettiest mom ever. This picture is so faded, you can't tell that we have matching Easter dresses on. :) (You also can't tell she's pregnant with my younger sister, Bambi.)My mom had the best imagination ever! She played with me on a regular basis. I remember tea parties with Momma, playing "Mommies", coloring together, Barbies, games, etc. My favorite times were story times. My Momma LOVED to read and she enthusiastically passed that love down to us. I still have some of my childhood books. I can't look at them without hearing Momma's voice reading them to me. Those books are some of my most treasured possessions and are now loved by my grandchildren. What better legacy than a love of reading and learning?!

Life with Momma was never dull! There were many spur of the moment trips out of town to the zoo, state parks, or museums. Once, she decided late in the day to take us, and my best friend, to the state fair two hours away! I'll never forget riding those swings under the night sky and getting home well after midnight. As a single mom, she didn't have much money, but she made the most of what she had to do little things with us.

She also taught me to share what little I do have with those less fortunate. She truly believes that giving is better than receiving. She would buy a friend's child a pair of shoes if they were down on their luck or help another single mom out by loaning out her baby equipment. I follow her example by giving to St. Jude and March of Dimes, and sponsoring a child through Compassion.

I learned responsibility watching her raise us on her own. When her brother suffered a brain injury in a car accident and ended up in a permanent vegetative state, she took charge of his care and brought him home with her. That was over 15 years ago and she is still my Uncle Jack's caregiver. She helped her parents during my Poppa's last years and after his death, took my Nannie into her home and cared for her for the last five years of her life. I've told her many times how in awe I am of her sacrifices. She is a living example of John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

I learned from Momma that we love people in bad times, as well as good. We love them despite their faults. We love them through their mistakes, as well as through their successes. We love them in times of disagreement. Thanks, Mom, for all the lessons you taught me.



And to My Other Mother...

My stepmother, Margie, is one of the strongest women I've ever known. Her oldest son, my brother Ronnie, died in a car accident in 2004. It was Mother's Day and he was only 41 years old. Margie was devastated. That July, Margie's daddy (my PaPaw) passed away after a long battle with cancer. Margie had been there for him through his entire illness. That November, she developed pancreatitis and her organs started shutting down. It was a miracle we didn't lose her, too.

January 2006, her younger son, Keith, fell 30 feet from a train trestle onto the river bank. He was found a day later and they didn't know how he was still alive. He spent over a month in ICU in a drug induced coma. It was touch and go several times. He survived, but the nerve damage in his legs was so severe, he was wheelchair bound. With his wife as the sole supporter for his family, Margie spent the next couple of years taking Keith back and forth to doctors and therapy. Then, in September 2008, the unthinkable happened. Lightning struck twice in Margie's life. Keith died in his sleep. He was 41 years old. As if Ronnie's death weren't devastating enough, she was now completely crushed. I'd never known anyone who'd lost all of their children. My heart was broken for her. I miss my brothers, but she is their MOM! It still seems so unfair, even though we've seen God's hand and felt His presence through all of this. The amazing thing is that Margie was able to let God comfort her. So many people turn from God when these things happen, but Margie turned TO Him. I am in awe of her strength and her faith!

For weeks, I have dreaded this day for her. Every time I thought about Mother's Day coming up, I would tear up at what she must be feeling. I couldn't send a card that said "Happy" Mother's Day, but I couldn't ignore her today. I found a card that was a Mother's Day card, but with a message of comfort and sent that. I also called her this morning. I'm thankful that God gave her blessings this weekend. She had a good visit with her siblings yesterday. My niece, Lindsey, called her with BIG news! Margie is going to be a great-grandmother! She also got to hear her granddaughter, Shelbi, tell her Happy Mother's Day and that she loves her--- for the first time! Hallelujah!

Margie, I hope you read this and know how much I agonize with you (for you). I am blessed you came into my life 34 years ago! I love you with all of my heart!