When God lets you know you Matter

I had two wonderful grandmothers. I only ever felt love from both of them. They both made huge impacts on both my childhood and who I am today. I was very lucky to have Maw Maw until I was 18 and Grand Mommy Tyson until I was 25. Grand parenting, I have recently discovered, is serious business. It is full of all the wonderful and happy things that are a small child while also freeing you up from the day to day responsibilities of being a parent; however, you still feel such a responsibility towards who those little ones turn out to be.

I loved my Grand Mommy Tyson like no other person on this earth. She has always been almost “other wordly” in my eyes because I saw her as nothing but pure love and graciousness. I never, ever heard her say one bad word about anyone on this earth, and I knew that when we were around, she was a very, very happy person because WE were there. I just KNEW it. WE made the difference. I often wonder if she really knew how very much I loved her and how very important she was to me growing up. Every single happy memory I have from childhood below about ten years old can be related back to her in some way. From the Easter egg hunt in her yellow house when it rained one year to the aluminum Christmas tree with the lighted color dial to taking naps in her house with the snowy white chenille bedspreads, it was only happy memories from her house. There are way too many memories to count. Now, I am not so ignorant to believe that my grandmother was a perfect person in her adult world of responsibilities and stresses of living, but I feel sure she was a good person who loved Jesus, always worked hard and did her best. But to me, she was perfect, and that is how one should feel about their grandmother. It is the payback for all the love they give.

Now that I am a grandmother three times over, I totally get it.  I love these little boys like nothing else on earth. They are my future. They are the world, and I strive to be the grandmother to them that Grand Mommy Tyson was to me. Having the grand parent experience myself only shows me more fully how very much Grand Mommy Tyson loved us because now I know what was in her heart for us every single day. Even if I only get half way there, I know my grands will have an awesome Mee Mee. I had the best example.

I look at these boys sometimes and think, how lucky they are that right now, in this moment, the only goal of every person in their life is to make sure they are happy and well cared for. While that is how it should be for all babies, I know that it is not, and I’m currently ecstatic that Axton, Jensen and Jasper have no other concern than to learn, play and be happy. Eventually life will intrude,  but I pray that will be many years from now. My job is to love them as fiercely as I can, help their parents when they need me and pray over them every single day. I find myself wondering on the other side of the coin now. Do they know how very important they are and how much I love them? I wonder how to convey to them that love and kindness are the most important things on earth, and that I will ALWAYS love them no matter what. They make me happy by just walking in the door. My heart bursts with the overwhelming love and happiness they bring with them no matter where they go.

Now this is where God shows up and lets you know THEY know you love them. I can only hope that God gave my grandmother the same little insights so she knew we loved her as much as she loved us. When I say “it’s the little things, people,” I truly mean it. You just get these subtle messages sometimes that show you the incredible power of love. I recently got one of these tiny little messages, but this little moment assured me that my grandsons are learning love from me, and they know what it is.

It is amazing to me to watch children learn….everything…figuring out toys, shapes, colors, developing their own sense of humor, how they relate to other people and acquire language are just a few things that I pay attention to because kids are fascinating. I think it is the educator in me that pays attention to how they learn. On the other hand, I will turn into the baby talking Mee Mee in a heartbeat to love on and play with them. I am a hybrid mix of old fashioned grandmother and hip, cool Mee Mee. Often when I first see the boys I will say in a baby voice, “hey, darling” as I give them the biggest hug and kisses I can get in with squirmy little boys. It’s not something that I was conscious of really until the other day. Let me back up to give a little perspective on how important those two words are. August 12, 2016 brought my third grandson into the world when my son and daughter in law gave birth to baby Jasper. From the moment Axton saw his new little cousin, Jasper has been “his baby.” You tell him that is Aunt Laura and Bubba’s baby and he will say, “NO, MY baby.” Their house is the baby’s house. When we go to Manchester, we are going to his baby’s house. Axton adores Jasper! We know this. Our family revels in it and everyone knows Axton loves that baby! So here is how God showed me that Axton knows I love him and how important showing that love is. We went to visit Jensen and Jasper one day a couple of weeks ago. Jasper was in the little bouncy seat chilling out quietly. Axton walks right over to him and squats down, leans over very close to his tiny little face, and says, “hey, darling!” I almost missed it! It was nothing big; nothing of consequence, and yet is it was the biggest thing! My heart melted. God just showed me that the way Axton told Jasper, “Hello, baby. I love you,” was the same way I tell them all the same thing. Axton, at only two years old, understands love and how to show it, and he knows how much his Mee Mee loves him too! It’s enough!grandparents

10 Things you Remember if you Attended MHS in the 80’s

Well, it’s been a while, but I do still vividly remember a lot of things about high school. I loved school, and I loved learning (yep, nerd alert); however, as we all know, there is much about high school that will NEVER fit under the category of academia. I thought it would be fun to revisit some of those things that, to me at least, made Manchester High School so incredibly memorable and truly some of the best years of my life.

  1. The Mighty, Mighty Blue Devils: Friday Night Lights! Enough said; there it is…Go Big BLUE! ALWAYS!
  2. The Smoking Area: Yes, there was one back in the day when there was no age restrictions on teenagers smoking. I didn’t smoke, but I had a permit. My friends were there. Several hot guys were there. I was going to be there too. Try explaining that one to your momma, but she signed the thing for me every single year I was there.
  3. The Pay Phone: Who remembers waiting in line at break to use the stupid pay phone between A and C hall? I tell people about that phone, and they are amazed. They can’t believe we had access to a pay phone in the building. We did! There was ONE, and it was generally in high demand!
  4. Sweeping Floors: The ultimate in detention! There was always a crew sweeping floors after school to the tune of Mr. Glencamp calling someone “girlfriend” before that was even a thing! No one wanted to do it, but almost everyone did at some point or the other. As for me, I avoided the sweeping floors but had to attend Saturday school twice. Once we cleaned the football field after a game, and the other time I cleaned the front office. I don’t litter because of that football field clean up by the way.
  5. Hardee’s: The best early morning meeting place was Hardee’s. You stopped by to get a sausage biscuit before heading across the street to the student parking lot where you could finish your smoke, and it would be unusual if you DIDN’T see a truck with a gun rack and guns in the back window!
  6. Tutorial: Those were the days! Two classes with a L…O…N…G tutorial in the middle. What is a tutorial, you young ones ask? Literally an hour and a half long study hall, and you went to the cafeteria at some point to eat lunch. Much better lunch than we have today, mind you. I still remember having Mrs. Thompson for a tutorial one quarter…fun times, fun times.
  7. Senior Agreement: What agreement? I do my work; I graduate. That is the agreement these days. However, back in the 80’s, if you had passed all your classes, you only needed three credits your senior year. If you had a job you could leave every day at lunch. Amazing!
  8. The Teacher Room on B Hall: Seriously, I saw this by accident one day. There was a room where the B hall teachers kept a coffee maker full all day. They would head in there during those long ten minute breaks (while we were chatting up our significant others or some other silly kid stuff) to drink coffee and smoke. It was a shock when I saw one particular teacher open the door puffing on a cigarette, but I got over it. When I taught there years later I looked for this mysterious place, and all I found was a book room.
  9. Mums: Every fall, all the girls would find the perfect plaid, wool skirt and sweater to gear up for homecoming. The court was chosen, the parade was set, and we would have a great, fun filled spirit week (except in 9th grade when I decided to wear a yellow Gone with the Wind dress…big mistake!). Homecoming night the boys would all bring their dates corsages. Every single girl, and I do mean every single one, had the same corsage! A huge white mum with some blue pipe cleaner in the middle with long blue, white and silver streamers hanging down. When my own son attended in the early 2000’s, the corsage was still basically the same. Don’t mess with a good thing, I say.
  10. Goody Road: While a couple of miles away, Good Road was where everyone headed after school and probably before school too for many. I don’t know if other schools had a “Goody Road,” but ours was the best. We are that town where everyone literally drove up and down one street all night for fun! Everyone hung out there, and if you weren’t there, you had been there and someone knew where you had gone and when you would be back. The penultimate meeting place for a bunch of rowdy, let’s have a great time teenagers!

Attending MHS in the 80’s was an experience of a lifetime. I’m not sure my own children will have the same type of memories of their high school years as I have, but I certainly hope they are equally good!

How did this end up Happening?

Note: This is the very first blog article I wrote. A former student graciously allowed me to be a guest blogger on her blog to get it out there, but I figured I might as well start at the beginning. So I am posting it here as well. road-1520629

HOW DID THIS END UP HAPPENING?

My parents were every fatalistic statistician’s dream. My mom got married exactly two months after her 16th birthday, and I was born exactly seven months and four days later (you do the math). It was 1968, and I guess there were only two choices: go somewhere and hide until you could give the baby up for adoption or get married. I’ve heard they were counseled both ways. I have never asked my mom if she was tempted to go the other way, but I don’t think she was. The point is I sometimes feel as if I grew up with my mother, and I hope she doesn’t mind me saying that. I don’t want you to think this is a sad story. It’s not; it’s a story of triumph through Lord knows what happens in a life.

I can’t remember a single time when my life was carefree. I had fun. There was childhood and play. I wasn’t deprived or physically abused, but I was not carefree. I have memories from a very young age, but many of them are times of turmoil. My father is an emotionally manipulative addict whose drug of choice has changed every ten years or so. I lived with that…that was my normal. This created a very co-dependent relationship between my parents that went on for twenty-five years before my mother finally escaped (which is another story altogether). Carefree was not in my vocabulary. My dad’s vices caused many issues that required me, at the age of seven, to grow up pretty fast if our lives had not already predisposed me to a propensity towards responsibility. That is the word: responsibility. My sister became my responsibility; my dad became my responsibility. All of this was because my mom had to go to school and then to work for a good long time. Looking back it seems like my father projected every serious event in our lives onto me. I realize now it was in order to manipulate the rest of the family, but at the time I was just overwhelmed by the hugeness of his personality and how much I loved my daddy. It’s funny how children love their parents no matter what when they are little. I wish all parents knew that and took that RESPONSIBILITY to heart. My dad didn’t. My life was good in many ways, but always responsible. I made good grades, I helped take care of my siblings, I got a job, and I did all the things that were expected of me. I was also a rotten, self-centered teenager in the process just like any other normal kid.

We were dirt poor in Georgia in the 1970’s and 80’s. Vintage was not cool and second hand clothes were not without consequences, but I survived. For some reason, I was tough, and after a year of bullying I found books. Then it didn’t matter anymore what anyone thought. I was in Turkey or England or some other exotic place doing other things that were totally beyond my reach. I was smart, and I liked school so my way should have been set. However, I became a statistic myself. I married right out of high school and had my first child at 19, five months after I married (math again).

Still I kept on keeping on. That marriage only lasted three years, and the first thing I did after I filed for divorce was register for college. Well, actually, I bought a truck first…then I registered for college. It took me five years, but I finished, and then went back to get not one, but two, advanced degrees. School had always been my happy place anyway, so I was suited to school and learning. A favorite teacher once wrote a recommendation for me, and I took a peak at it. She wrote that if one knew my family background they would be amazed at how far I had come. I realized that all the years I thought no one noticed the life I had, there were people who not only noticed, but cared deeply. Although I never saw it as amazing; I just saw it as living. Yet as I age, I see many others who grew up much like I did, and never overcame those statistics. So twenty years into a career I started five years after all my peers, I stop and ask myself, “How did this end up happening?” The road wasn’t smooth; it was curvy and twisted and sometimes torn slam up, but I just kept going and going until I got here. It’s been a pretty good journey.

My life is not perfect and it’s certainly not carefree, but it is well lived and I can be proud of that.

 

So it begins….

So it begins…..lithuanian-landscape-1500778

For many years, every time I start to tell stories someone says, “you should write a book!” I usually reply with “I know!” or something of that nature, but I never really thought it could ever happen for me. The reality is I have hundreds of stories that are actually totally true and can beat almost any sob story you could hear from any kid or adult. I think what makes my reality palatable to others is that I have almost always decided to couch my trauma in humor when it is retold. Even when I got divorced and cried for literally two years and thought I would die, I knew that one day I would be able to make people laugh when I recounted the stories. I just always figured if I could laugh about it, the horrible nature of a thing wouldn’t kill me. Now, I have never had to bury a child or deal with cancer, so I am not entirely sure my theory would hold up under those circumstances, but so far this quirky part of me has kept me sane.

As I get older I really think about things that have happened in my life and the things I observe in the world. Some are good, some are not so good, and some are down right sad and gloomy. I have an opinion on everything from the way we cook our broccoli to the idiocy of helicopter parents. Wide range there I know…which is why I started a blog. I’m not sure one single person would be interested in reading what floats around in my head, but this is really more for me, right? Maybe it will give some people insight to similar things they have endured in life, or maybe my kids will string it all together and publish a book after I die and become rich off their old, dead momma! I’m totally good with that.

In any event, I will be writing about a WIDE variety of things. Some may flow well together and some may be totally disjointed. There will be no rhyme or reason….just what I feel like dissecting when I mosey on up to the keyboard! I hope you join the journey and enjoy the ride!