Monday, June 26, 2017

Pity Party


Raised by my mother and grandmother, I was never able to get away with much.  They both agreed on swift and immediate punishment, so the wait time between my being naughty and my punishment was almost instantaneous. My grandmother would at least ask for my side of the story before yelling at me.  My mother was more the spank first, ask questions later type.  She often discovered I was innocent afterwards, but that never prompted an apology.  
One time I woke up from an afternoon nap being spanked. I must have been twitching in my dreams so she thought I was faking and administered the swats. When I convinced her that I had been fast asleep she said it was for all the other times I had fooled her.  We went through a spell where I got one or two spankings a day, so the one day I made it until bedtime without one, I mentioned it.  She grabbed me and swatted my bottom twice for sassing her. Oddly, the spankings eased up after that.
Neither one cared about my privacy or self-esteem, so if I saw them burst out of the house and march at full speed toward me while I played outside with the neighborhood kids, I would run back inside the house.  I preferred the privacy of our house than being punished in front of all those witnesses. Not that it mattered; the whole neighborhood knew what was happening. 
Mom blamed me for looking more like my father’s family than hers and she made it sound like a curse, but I took it as a blessing.  Maybe I was adopted? I confided that to a friend’s mom one day, but she smiled at me and told me she was pretty sure I wasn’t adopted. Without taking sides, she comforted me saying some parents are just stricter than others. I would one day be too old to spank. I prayed she was right.

I decided when I grew up and I had children, I would treat them with respect. If they needed correction, I would try other means first before administering a spanking.  And I certainly would never do it in public.  I came up with warnings, time outs, and “trips to the bathroom” which meant the culprit and I were about to have a private “talk.”  Sure, there were swats on the hands when they reached for something dangerous and swats on bottoms when they were disrespectful, but they were never spanked out of frustration or anger, and it was never without thought. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Finding Your Courage


I read somewhere that courage is the amalgamation of all the other character traits.  That makes sense to me.  Integrity, leadership, unselfishness, loyalty – name them and I can see where they would all come together in a moment of courage.
What are your top five best character traits?  List them on a piece of paper so you can look at them.  And then look at yourself.
Have you ever had to do something tough, show your courageous side?  These top five character traits you listed are what will get you through whatever you have to face. 
I once told a friend in conversation how lucky I was, how blessed.  She looked at me like I had lost my mind.  She proceeded to list all the bad things that had recently happened in my life:  my divorce, my health, my lack of money.  I was stumped.  Yes, those things had happened to me, but what I saw as blessings, she saw as bad luck.  I honestly think she felt sorry for me.
The difference between us was obvious.  I have a positive outlook on life.  I am hopeful.  I am thankful and grateful for all the good that has happened.  I am not only intelligent, but I am also smart.  I am loyal and honest and demanding. 
And all those things give me courage to give this thing we call life a real kick in the pants.  So when I am faced with tough outcomes or tough decisions, I gather those things within me and get the job done.
What are your top best five characteristics? Take a good look at yourself and the next time you have to face a tough decision, go find your courage.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Grandpa HoneyBunch


When I started dating HoneyBunch, I only had one grandson.  The four-year-old asked me where I was going one day. Instead of telling him I was going on a date, I told him I was going to get us a grandpa. He told me we were fine without one.
When HB and I decided to get married, we only invited our children and our parents.  They witnessed the pain our divorces from our first spouses caused and we wanted everyone to know that we still believed in the institution and that marriage can end in happiness.
HB’s two sons were single at the time and in school pursuing their law degrees.  Two of my three were married and I only had the one grandchild back then. We asked our five for permission to marry which surprised them all, but we did this because our five were still reeling from the pain of our divorces from their other parents. We wanted to know how they felt about our decision since this concerned them.
I didn’t want to replace HB’s sons’ mother, and HB didn’t want to come between my children and their father, but we wanted to be together legally and spiritually. We knew we might have to face obstacles blending our families together.
It surprised us when our children accepted us as a married couple so quickly.  Maybe it was that my children saw how kind and loving HB was to me.  Maybe it was the way his sons saw that I loved and cared for their dad. This is a real marriage; the only one for the rest of our lives, so my three and his two soon became our five. There is no yours, mine, and ours. 
When people ask, we say we have five children, four sons and one daughter.  They are all married and we have nine grandchildren but there may be one or two more one day.

The best thing that ever happened to this family was the day I decided to ignore the four-year-old’s advice and set out to get us a grandpa.  Our family was blessed the day I married Grandpa HoneyBunch. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Fathers’ Day Celebrates the Good Guys


It is difficult shopping for Fathers’ Day cards when Dad is no longer with us.  I stay in the section dedicated to husbands and sons, and I do not tarry looking at cards for Dads. 
It’s been eleven years since he has been gone, and it does not hurt as much when I think of him, but that does not mean I do not miss him.  I wish he were here to meet HoneyBunch and to enjoy my grandkids, his great-grandbabies. He would have loved them all.
I was one of the blessed ones, those who had a great father and who the holiday celebrates.  He had his quirks and he wasn’t perfect, but he was kind and protective and a great provider.  He was funny and gentlemanly, and he was as intelligent as he was handsome, but he preferred to be known for being a dad. We meant the world to him and we always knew it. We were his legacy.
I shared him with two other sisters and three brothers.  My sisters and I joke that each one of us was his favorite.  We say that because he had the knack of making us each feel special, the loves of his life.
As I chose cards for my husband and my sons for Fathers’ Day, I realize not every father deserves a card or to be honored next Sunday. There are those who, unlike my Dad or my husband or my sons and my son-in-law, do not deserve the title.  Instead of kind and protective, they are cruel.  Instead of good providers, they shirk their responsibility.  Instead of loving their children and guiding them through this world, they think of themselves first.
My father said those men did not deserve to be called men, much less “fathers.” He said a real man would face his responsibilities and protect his family.  A real father would think of his family first and would set a good example for his children.   To deserve his children’s respect would be foremost in his mind. 

I wish all good fathers a wonderful day next Sunday.  I am blessed to have had a wonderful dad and he would be pleased to know that his legacy lives on through my children and their families, and I see the same integrity in my grandchildren.  

Monday, June 5, 2017

Ten Things I Hate About Traffic


Folks ask if I miss “the big city.” Yes, I miss a lot of things about living in a big city, but the traffic is not one of them.
Why would I miss drivers who do not know how to use a blinker? What is so difficult about turning on a blinker when switching lanes, or turning it off when finished?
Why would I miss drivers who think they alone own the Multi-Trillion Dollar Roadways when we all know they’re in the same tax bracket as we are? These road hogs honk and cuss and gesture obscenities as if they own the place and I am trespassing.
Why would I miss those who ride my bumper so closely that I can see them in my rear-view mirror as if they were riding in my back seat?  
Why would I miss the drivers who force themselves into my lane after I have been in line waiting my turn, or those who shoot into my lane from a non-turn lane and then honk at me as if I am the one in the wrong?   
Why would I miss those who depend on my benevolence to offset their stupidity?  I’m the reason they made it home today - the fool who swerved into my lane before clearing my front fender, or the idiot who waited until he saw the whites of my eyes before darting out in front of me at an intersection.  You’re welcome.  You owe me your life. 
Why would I miss the speed demon who passed me up because I was going too slow for his taste and then refused to make eye contact when we met up again at the next light?
And I do not miss the sadistic bozo in front of me who waited until the left arrow turned yellow before making a run for it, leaving me to sit through another red light. Or his cousin, the jerk who blocked the intersection during a go light instead of waiting back at the intersection like the rest of us, and now no one can move because his vehicle is in the way.

Yes, there are lots of things I miss about living in a big city, but the traffic and their drivers are not among them. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Aging Gracefully


HoneyBunch and I are blessed to still have our parents with us.  We are also blessed that they are in good health for their age.  His parents are extremely active in their church and community and travel quite a bit; my mother is still sharp in mind and has her sense of humor about her. So many of our friends cannot say the same about their parents.
HB attributes his parents’ mental health to their spunk and activity.  He thinks this is what has kept them “youthful” in comparison to everyone else who suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s. All three of our parents are in their late 80’s and early 90’s and do not like to be treated “old.”  I have often been scolded for helping my mother-in-law into my husband’s truck, and my mom is the same way. As matriarch of the family, my mother rules with a firm hand and keeps everyone in line. 
I have noticed lately that my mother rambles and repeats a lot of things, but then so do I, and I am twenty years younger. I have noticed HB’s parents tire easily and talk about the same things over and over.
I prefer this to others their age who have been robbed of their lifetime memories because of some form of dementia.
Though I agree with HB that it is their activity that has helped keep the three of them “youthful,” I often wonder if it isn’t the opposite.  They continue to be active and spry because they did not fall prey to dementia.  I have witnessed some with Alzheimer’s who were more physically and mentally active in their lifetimes than our parents. They were athletes, professors, scientists, multi-linguists. They cared for their bodies by eating right and exercising.  They had brilliant minds; yet, they did not escape this cruel disease.

I hope HB and I inherit our parents good fortune.  I hope one day to be the grandparent who “never aged,” and I pray the same for my HoneyBunch. I want to swat at people’s hands when they try to help me climb into trucks. I want to be known as the family matriarch.  I want to die of old age with all my memories tucked inside my heart and mind and soul.