Friday, October 22, 2010

Some Fun and Some Not So Fun

It started out O.K. as weeks go.  Monday I got my hair colored and hung out with 2, two year olds and that was fun.  Monday evening we went to watch my oldest grandson play football and that was fun.  They lost.  That wasn't fun!

Tuesday I got to play most of the day with my granddaughter who doesn't live here and that was fun.  Went and did a little shopping with her mommy and that was fun.  That evening Lauren Beth took pictures of Gary and I.  That was fun.  McKinlee  went with us and after a long day she was a bit out of sorts and demanded attention by stripping down to her diaper in 10 seconds while crying and screaming, "Shoes Off!"  Not fun for her but funny for us.
Yeah, we are those people that laugh at our little ones when they are in distress and act totally irrational.   This was also a not fun evening for my daughter Crystal.  Someone broke into her car and stole her purse while she was at her dad's house.

Wednesday I worked.  Not fun.  Got a hot pink hair extension for breast cancer research.  That was way fun.  Took 4 grandkids to supper and that was fun.  We were celebrating birthdays and so we went for ice cream afterward.  Annalee got her face smashed by the door.  Not fun!  Ice cream makes it better though when you are 4 years old.

Thursday a red truck pulled out in front of me on my way to work.  No, I was not on my cell phone.  I slammed the brakes on with such force that my toes hurt afterward.  Now when faced with impending impact a million thoughts speed through your mind and everything else seems to be in slow motion.  A few of my thoughts were, "Are you kidding me?  You are seriously pulling out in front of me?  There is no way I'm going to miss them.  How do I cause the least amount of damage to my car?  Turn the wheel!!!!! "  I missed them by inches and they sped on their merry way as I sat sideways in the right lane shaking uncontrollably thanking God that no one was in the lane next to me and that I was safe.  Not fun!   Lunch and supper (that is dinner to those of you who aren't from the south) with some friends and that was fun.

Friday is today and the washer broke.  Wringing out wet jeans is not fun!  Being told that the warranty has run out, also not fun.  Learning that they can't come fix it for 8 days, not fun.  Cleaning house falls in the not fun category.  Taking a break and writing on my blog, that is fun!

Wait, isn't this suppose to have something to do with courage?  I'm thinking it was more of a week requiring self control.  I didn't say what I was thinking to the rude parents at the football game.  I didn't yell at the grandsons for slamming their sister in the door.  I didn't chase down the driver of the red truck who made me cry.  I didn't even let a foul word slip from my lips as my car was skidding  sideways down the street.  I continued to smile and talk calmly to my confused bloody patient who pulled his central line out and was swinging and yelling at me.  Yes, I would say it was more about self control.

Well that's the week so far and now it's time to scrub the tub and toilets!  NOT FUN!!!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Wicked Stepmom

Lauren and Katie
When I was a little girl, "Cinderella" was one of my all time favorite children's stories.  I watched the Rodgers and Hammerstein version of it on TV and danced around singing the songs and imagining myself wearing the beautiful dress with all the dazzling sparkles.   Oh how grand it would be to be a princess!  ("In my own little corner, in my own little room, I can be whatever I want to be.") I'm rather amazed at this moment that I still remember the words to that song!  Go figure!  Childhood dreams seemed to disappear as I reached adolescence and were replace by more realistic aspirations. Maybe I'd just be a teacher.  After all, there isn't much of a demand for a princess in Texas anymore.  In all my dreaming and aspiring I am absolutely certain that I never once wanted to be the wicked stepmother in the story.  As fate would have it, all the princess jobs were taken and it was my lot in life to become, you guessed it, the stepmother.  

Now I've never considered myself wicked, but I use to worry about what my reaction would be when I heard the dreaded words, "You're not my mother!". If they ever thought it, they never said it and I'm eternally thankful to 3 step daughters that I never had to find out.  There are some things in life that we don't need reminded of as a step parent.  

When my step daughters were young I use to pray all the time that I would be a good step mom and that I would love them like they deserved to be loved.  For some people this may come naturally.  For me, it was a source of anxiety and self doubt.  Was I being fair?  Would I make the same decision if this was my own child?  Am I showing them enough love?  Did I spend enough time with them when they were here?  Could I ever possibly love them as much as I love my own daughters?  The list was long.  It's so much easier to fuss at your own children and then forget about it.  When you fuss at your step children you tend to keep thinking about it and trying to justify your position.  

A couple of Jokers!
My oldest step daughter Lauren Elizabeth turned 21 this year.  For her birthday Gary and I took her and her friend, Katie, to Las Vegas.  We had a great time and they loved the shopping, eating, site seeing, shows and yes, even a few slots.  It was a fun trip and we all had a blast.  

The girls flight left earlier than ours so I told them goodbye the night before and Gary got up and made sure they were headed to the airport on time.  We caught our flight a few hours later and they called to let us know they had landed.  They had a 2 hour drive from the airport back to college.  We got home and unpacked and then we got the call that no parent wants to ever get.  The girls were involved in an accident on the highway and were being transported by ambulance to a hospital in Austin.

A million questions racing through my mind all at once.  Some things too horrible to even verbalize.  Lauren's mom was already on the way to Austin.  We were debating what to do.
No flights out until morning and the drive would take us 6 hours.  The details were sketchy at best and we were unsure of their injuries.  I suggested calling the hospital and seeing if we could talk to someone in the emergency room.  When we got hold of the E.R. nurse the girls were still being evaluated and they said we could talk with Lauren if we called back in 15-20 minutes.  I retreated to my room and prayed.  When we finally got to talk to Lauren it was evident that she was very medicated.  She had no memory of what happened and still doesn't to this day.  We were told that she had non life threatening injuries and would be moved to a room when one was available.  Since we weren't Katie's parents we couldn't be told about her condition.  

11 o'clock at night with no hopes of seeing your child until the next morning is not when you want to hear that they are moving her to CCU because she has a possible brain injury.
I couldn't quit crying.  I wanted to be there to hold her and tell her it was all going to be OK.  Was she scared?  How much pain was she in?  Did she wonder where we were?  Did I kiss her goodbye the night before she left?  Suddenly the last haunting question that had plagued me for years was answered.  I do love her as much as I love my own girls.  It hurt just as bad as if she were my own flesh and blood.  I couldn't have been any more upset or any more worried.  She is a part of me even if I didn't give birth to her.

Lauren had a bruised liver brain and lungs, a cut on the back of her head, a broken pelvis and numerous other bruises and scrapes.  Katie required surgery to repair her broken arm and she also had a cut on the back of her head and numerous bruises and scrapes.  From the looks of the car it was nothing short of a miracle they survived.  Their seats appeared to be a cocoon where angels kept watch as the rest of the car smashed in around them.  The contents of their luggage exploded all around the countryside and Lauren's bible was found beside the passenger side door.  It was retrieved by the tow truck driver who did his best to gather all the belongings for the families of the victims.  He was surprised to learn that the occupants of the car were alive.  When Katie's dad asked him if he believed in God, he handed over the bible and said, "I do now."  

Being a stepmom takes courage.  Courage to love when you think you can't and courage to believe that God will supply what you lack.  Courage to let their mom be their mom and to find your place in their lives.  I'm thankful for a God who loves me enough to show me in the midst of such turmoil that He answered my prayer somewhere along the way and has now removed my doubt.  Isn't that just like HIM?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Memorable Birthday Wishes

I recently had a birthday.  Recently as in last week.  As I was reflecting, I became increasingly amused by what the occasion had revealed about our 6 daughters.  Each of them unique yet somewhat predictable in their actions, they helped to make the event fun without even trying but just by being who they were created to be.

Let's begin with the day before my birthday.  I received a text bright and early from Crystal, the oldest, explaining to me that she would be calling me later to wish me a Happy Birthday officially.  I laughed as I texted back to tell her that it wasn't until tomorrow.  Now Crystal is the mother of 4 with 2 playing soccer and one playing junior high football so it was easy to understand how she could get confused about which day my birthday actually fell on.  With 5 games to attend that week and everyone having practice and homework she was actually being quiet efficient by letting me know early that she hadn't forgotten.  So a big kiss and a hug for Crystal for being on top of things. 

Melanie arrived to pick me up to run a couple of errands later that same morning.  As I jumped in the car I told her that Crystal had texted to tell me happy birthday.  Before I could finish the story, Melanie began to apologize, "Oh, Mom I'm so sorry I haven't even wished you happy birthday yet."  I laughed and said, "It's not until tomorrow so you can tell me then."  She looked very puzzled trying to figure out in her mind what day it actually was on.  Now Melanie has always been a bit oblivious to what is going on, so it was not surprising at all that she might get the days confused.  I'm sure that when God passed out the post it notes for the brain, Melanie was not present.  She was however present to receive an extra portion of tenderness and for a moment her heart was sad when she thought she had forgotten to wish me a happy day.

Now let's fast forward to my real birthday.  My mom was first to call followed by my best friend Laura who calls each year without fail and sings the entire Happy Birthday song.  Next came a text from Lauren Beth who said she was at work and would call when she got off.  Around 11 a.m. Lauren Elizabeth called from college and wished me happy birthday right after her only class for the day.  I'm sure Gary texted her and her sisters to remind them and she took care of things right away.  She is very responsible and more of the get it done before I forget to do it type.  Both our Laurens are very thoughtful and are good about planning ahead.  She had already mailed me the sweetest card which arrived the next day. 

Emily, the youngest,  tried to call but missed me so she left me a text message.  Being a senior in high school keeps her social calendar pretty busy so I'm lucky she got me squeezed in.  I sent her a thank you text and we called it good.  I know she loves me whether I actually got to talk to her or not.  Emily loves big and lets you know how much you are loved all the time.

Lauren Beth true to her word, called as soon as she got off work and let McKinlee my 2 year old grand daughter wish me happy birthday.   It was so sweet and her mommy knew that it would make my day to hear that cute little voice telling me how much she loves me.  Now Lauren of course had already sent me a gift the previous week.  Like I said before, both Laurens are very thoughtful and good planners.

Birthday dinner was consumed at a local restaurant after we watched a riveting soccer match between a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds. The grand kids loved it when they came out banging pans, announcing to the entire restaurant that it was my birthday and making everyone wish me a Texas sized happy birthday by yelling Yee Haw or something like that.  Honestly, at that point I was too embarrassed to pay attention to what they were yelling.  Texans are into public humiliation on birthdays!  

Fast forward a few more hours as I was getting into bed.  Gary asked if everyone had called.  I laughed and said, "No and I'm sure you can guess who I haven't heard from.".   Within a few minutes my phone rang and we laughed again knowing full well who it was.  Our little procrastinator and other college student Lindsay was on the line.  She and I shared a good laugh as I told her she had gotten the call in just under the wire with almost an hour to spare.  She entertained me for a few minutes with her quick wit and then the day was done.

So for me, with 6 you get courage but you also get a lot of fun and amusement along the way.  I'm blessed beyond measure by these 6 beautiful women in my life and look forward to what this new year holds for each of us.  Somehow I'm thinking that next year's birthday wishes may play out about the same.  Absolutely perfect!