Creative expression through the written word

Posts tagged ‘Family’

It’s my birthday….

So today is my birthday and funny as it sounds I am far from home on a road trip with one of my girlfriends. We spent the day exploring the area of Montana we are currently in. 

I have had no cell service or internet all day but when I have had sporadic connection I have been flooded with well wishes from friends and family and my heart is overwhelmed with the love that has been poured out my way. 

It is a reminder to me that I have a very blessed life and that I know some truly amazing people. I may be turning 48 but I don’t care. I have lived a good life and I am blessed to be loved by so many people. 

So today, I have looked in the mirror and wishes myself a happy birthday and a blessed year and then I acknowledged how wonderful my life really is. 

Thank you to everyone who is a part of my life journey and happy 48th birthday to me. 

So You’re Proud?

Most people have at least once in their life said, “I’m so proud of you.” Who they have said it to and why they have said it varies as widely as the people in the world. I have never had an issue with saying I am proud of someone but a conversation with a co-worker a few years ago put this seed of doubt in my mind and I find that I struggle with those words now even if I don’t let it completely stop me.

Their viewpoint was that people shouldn’t say that to other people because “only their parents have a right to be proud of them.” Everyone else can appreciate their efforts but only parents have a right to claim pride in their children’s achievements. At first it seemed such an odd stance to me but they were so adamant in their uncomfortableness when someone beside their parent said they were proud of them that I started checking my natural words of pride in others.

Questioning my right to tell a friend I was proud of them for something or tell a coworker I was proud of their accomplishment. I never question saying it to my kids, my nieces or nephews but my topic of the day is, “what is something I am proud of?” and the question made me feel that initial jerk of hesitation.

My answer is, I am proud of my sons. They are all uniquely different and face their own challenges but I think I’ve raised some pretty wonderful young men and yes, I am very proud of them and proud of myself for not screwing they up. however, I wonder……

How do you feel about saying you are proud of someone who isn’t family and /or, how do you feel when someone who isn’t your family says they are proud of you? Inquiring minds want to know.

Passing down traditions

Yesterday was New Year’s day and I started it early. Getting up to begin the process of making 5 pans of homemade enchiladas. As I was standing in my kitchen, up to my elbows in enchilada ingredients I started thinking about all the years in the past that I remembered my mother making enchiladas. We all loved her enchiladas and would get so excited when she would decide to make them. I also remembered when I had been about 16 and she taught me how to make them for the first time. It seemed like such a major achievement at the time. For years I helped her make them and the whole family would gather together for dinner. It was a dinner not to be missed in our household.

I moved to another state when I was 27 and continued to make enchiladas for my family and soon for most of  my friends too. It became a dinner everyone loved and a tradition for me to make on New Year’s and the Superbowl. My family would beg for me to make them but the labor intensity of them always kept it to a couple of times a year.

I moved back home a few years later and in the 8 years since I’ve been back home my mother has asked me to help her make enchiladas only once. The big family dinner’s of homemade enchiladas has always occurred when I make them now. As I was rolling the enchiladas and gently placing them in the pans it hit me that somehow in the course of a few years (well it only seemed like a few years but in reality it has been 15 years) I had somehow switched places with my mother.

I now had the big family, gathered everyone together, hosted big dinners, cooked for masses and was the matriarchal presence that kept communication and organization moving through our family. Mom is retired and about eight years ago quit cooking for more than 2. Mom jokingly laughs about having forgotten how to cook now that she only has her and dad to worry about. She’s always teasing me about being so glad that I have to “do it all” and she doesn’t but I remember when that wasn’t the case. I can’t help wondering when the day will come when a son or daughter-in-law will take over and I wonder….will they look back as I have done and wonder just when they got handed the baton for the family tradition? 

Will they see the understand the long line of tradition they are upholding? Will they even really care? Is this something that will eventually go by the wayside or something my great-grandchildren will gather for as their families grow? I love traditions and I hope my children and my children’s children will come to love it as much as I do. Although I do have to admit that I am looking forward to embracing new traditions they all bring into the mix.

So, as the New Year begins, may you and yours be blessed with the old traditions that keep your heritage alive and may you also embrace new traditions that keep life exciting.


Well tonight was interesting to say the least. I arrived home and went into my room to change out of my work clothes. Its a habit that allows me a few minutes alone before the family descends on me with needs.

Tonight when I got home my husband was in our room waiting to talk with me. That in and of itself is not an unusual occurance. What he had to tell me was. Our daughter had called earlier, before I got home. She has been making plans to relocate to Washington from Minnesota with her boyfriend. They have been talking about jobs, travel costs, apartments….you know, all the usual things you have to plan for.

This time when she called she wanted to discuss advancing their plans to sooner rather than later. She wanted to come at the end of October instead of the end of December. So…only a month and a half instead of three and a half to prepare for them to arrive. Well it can be done. Not easily but with planning it can be done.

Okay so that conversation was easy and we discussed what we needed to do to move plans up a bit on the timeline but it was my husband’s next words that threw me for a loop. He said, and I quote, “She’s engaged and five weeks pregnant. ” Okay…engaged is big enough news but Pregnant? That is HUGE! Sometime in late April we, my husband and I, are going to be a Nona and a Papa. Our very first grandchild (at the age of forty).

We are excited, we are worried, we are happy for them, we are terrified for them. A new phase of their lives and a new phase of life for our sons who will be uncles, a new phase of life for us. Where did all the time go? I was just geting excited about the kids almost being done with school so we could be empty nesters…guess that isn’t going to happen now. Our kids might leave home but know we will have grandchildren to fill the use with laughter and childish joys.

Well….here’s to a new adventure. Hold onto your seat we are in for a ride and I’m sure there will be lots of blogs about them living wih us and the journey of becoming new grandparents.

Never Enough Time

I am a pretty organized person. A few of my friends would say that I am neurotic about organization, especially at work. I had several years when my children were younger that my house was never clean, never presentable to the public but not so much anymore. I say all that because I feel like I have no time. I can’t imagine how everyone else gets through their day.

I leave for work early and drive an hour to get there on time. I work eight plus hours depending on whether or not we have an event going on and then I drive another hour to get back home. I have to make dinner, exercise, laundry, dishes, etc. Of course that doesn’t include all the things that get pushed out to the weekend like yard work, grocery shopping etc. I have a few hobbies I love to spend time on like scrapbooking, reading (voraciously), writing on stories of my own but the thing is…I don’t ever feel like I have time for those things.

When I do make time for those things I feel like I am letting everything else go. I know I am pretty organized but I can’t get everything done in 24 hours that I want to do and that is frustrating. What is worse is having a plan for my day, especially on the weekends and discovering that my plan for the day doesn’t at all match my husband’s plans for the day. Guess who’s plans win out? You got it…his, usually. Then I feel even more behind.

I thought that when my kids got older, they are all teenagers now, that things would be simpler but they aren’t. Instead they have gotten more complex because now we are trying to keep 5 people’s schedules organized and on track. My kisd help with chores, thank goodness or I’d be sunk but they also go more places and are involved in a lot more than my husband and I are. I think its all chaotic and when I stop to really look at how much we try and balance in the course of a week I’m amazed.

Someday, like when all the kids are gone and I’m retired I think that life will be a little simpler and I’ll probably start complaining about having too much time on my hands. Oh well…I guess it’s just what it is.

No really, I am the Favorite

My parents have been together for almost 45 years of marriage. Their marriage has brought them 3 birth children, 1 adopted child, 4 spouses to their children, and 19 grandchildren. Despite the fact that my Mother bemoans her parenting skills (I don’t know why – they are great parents) there is one thing that she feels she did right. She made each of her children feel completely loved and special. It’s become a sort of tradition within our family about arguing for the honor of being “THE FAVORITE”.

It is not unusual to hear one of us kids talking about being the favorite and it is usually followed by another one saying something like, “You just think you are the favorite but I know I am.” On and on it continues until we all start laughing. The thing is we all know we were equally loved, equally treated as special individuals and not one of us has a doubt that we are respected for who we are.

The funny thing is that as the years have progressed and we have married our spouses have joined into the fray and now as our children have grown they also are participating in the quest to be “THE FAVORITE”. They have even gone so far as to tell us, their parents, that we will nevevr be the favorite because they are far more important to their “Nona & Papa”.

My parents laugh and smile at each other and know that they had to have done something right if we all feel like we are the favorite in their eyes. Although we don’t have any great-grandchildren added to the mix yet I am sure that when we do, someday, they will be vying for the title of favorite too. It is a legacy my parents have created and I hope the legacy continues on through the generations and I hope that someday my husband and I will be a “Nona & Papa” and that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren feel they same way – as if they are indeed our favorites. The process has started already because my children are proclaiming that they are our favorites and good naturedly arguing amongst themselves for the title each is absolutely sure they possess.

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