The Best Kind of CEO

Our sweet girl received the C.E.O. (Christ-like Example for Others) Award at her school last week so we let her pick the restaurant for our after-church meal. We are so proud of her and her love of God. We were blessed with the most amazing first-born child ever! She is a great daughter, sister, and friend, even if she loves cats!

Congratulations, Sweets!

CEO Vibes!
Lunch!
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3652 Days

I have spent the last 10 years obsessing over every single detail about the last day I spent with my mom on December 25.  

I woke up that morning from the worst sleep ever. The only two words I can use to adequately describe the nightmare I experienced was black and suffocating. I was surrounded by blackness and I could not breathe. I was scared but in a way, I couldn’t describe. When I emerged from the bedroom, my mom took one look at me and asked if I was okay. I wasn’t and I wouldn’t know why for another 30 or so hours. Normally, we would have talked about what I had experienced but, it was just too heavy and sad to share on her most favorite holiday.  
 
We bustled about the house, as usual, that day. Her cooking and singing her favorite Luther Vandross Christmas songs and me finishing wrapping the Christmas gifts she saved for me to wrap for her. We talked, laughed, gossiped and ate the green beans she cooked for later at breakfast; and I felt the heaviness of the night’s sleep slowly lift as we exchanged gifts. Always my best friend, she made everything better for me.  
 
We celebrated Christmas, as usual, that year with our family at my aunt E and uncle G’s house. One of my most favorite family gatherings of the year! My mom knew how much I loved it but took her time getting ready to go…as she did every year. Once you entered their home you were greeted with love, laughter, kids running around and the smell of all my favorite foods. Nothing better! 
 
After a marathon of pictures, catching up, and plates of food, my mom and I packed up to head back to her house. I was scheduled to work the next day in Chicago before returning the next day to finish my week off with my mom in Dixon. I also arranged to take my three-year-old, goddaughter with me. Since the office would only have one other person there, my goddaughter and I would hole up in one of our empty conference rooms to pass the time reading, coloring, and playing with toys until we could head to the zoo. 
 
Once we returned to my mom’s house, I quickly gathered what I needed, kissed my mom goodbye as she laid on the couch and headed to my car to pick up my goddaughter. Small problem, my car was somehow stuck in the driveway. The same car we used to pull into the driveway no more than an hour ago. It wasn’t snowing but there was a layer of ice coating the ground below. I couldn’t move it in the right direction, every effort pushed the car further into the plowed snow on the side of the driveway. My mom, now standing in the door, called my uncle and then my cousins to help in what none of us could understand, how in the world is this car even stuck? I thought about how ridiculous it would sound for me to call my manager and tell her that I couldn’t make it to work because my car is stuck in the driveway with no snow. So, I was determined to honor my commitment. With the help of my family, we finally got the car out. I wouldn’t understand until the following day, why it was so difficult to move that car, I wasn’t supposed to leave.  
 
My mom called me twice on the 26th. Both times mostly to check and see if I was doing okay taking care of a toddler. “How are you and your charge? How did you both sleep? What are you making her for breakfast? What time are you coming back home?”, she asked. The last call that day from her was mid-morning with more of the same ending with her saying she would see me later.  
 
A few hours later I would get two calls from my family in Dixon. One to tell me that my mom was being rushed to the hospital and to come home immediately and the other one I have never forgotten. The second call came as I was driving home from Chicago with my goddaughter in tow about forty-five minutes later. When I answered the phone my normally calm Aunt who was also an LPN was yelling at me to get there and I heard crying in the background. I yelled back at her that I had to drive 2 hours to get home and I was driving as fast as I could. I pleaded with her to tell me what was wrong, but she was having none of it. Hearing a break in her voice when she yelled again for me to get there sent me into hysterics as I hung up the phone. 

I immediately called my dad in Louisiana who did his best to calm me down so I could make it safely. I just remember telling him, “I can handle anything except her death, I will never recover from that.” He told me to focus on getting there and take it from there. 
 
When I arrived, everyone was outside. I ran to the ER entrance. I knew it was bad. I still feel like this part happened in slow motion. They shuffled me down a hallway and into a large room. Once inside, my family lovingly surrounded me and told me she didn’t make it. Make what?  

My mom died on December 26, 2008, minutes before that second call from my aunt. My entire existence changed in one afternoon.  
 
I remember asking for someone to pray and then I went to see her, although not the circumstances we talked about earlier in the day.  She was dead now. The stain of blood still on her lips from the blood clot that took her life. My beloved everything was now pain-free with her parents.  

I can somehow recall things like the color of the first shirt I bought, as the only daughter of her dead mother, a red turtleneck from Shopko. The furniture in her living room hastily rearranged to make room for the paramedics to get the stretcher in and out of her house. The beautiful white suit wrapped in dry cleaner’s plastic I found hanging on the back of her bedroom door, the same day I fretted about how I would dress her for her funeral. Driving with my cousin Londa to CherryVale Mall to buy suits for the visitation and funeral and learning that dead people don’t need shoes in their caskets.  

That first year was blurry. I often awoke surprised I hadn’t died the night before from grief. I got up each day with a heavy sigh convinced of two things; someone was praying for me and God needed me to stay on earth but for what reason, I didn’t know.  
 
Now, 10 years later, the pain is still thick and I maneuver through it. Most days I still find it unbelievable that my mom is dead. But she is and life goes on.
 
I find comfort in the love and lessons she shared with me, my daughter’s connection to the Nana she never met, and knowing that when I need her most my mom is with me. Mostly, I remind myself that I have more memories with her than without her and that means everything. 

Mommy circa 1974

Love-Me-Downs

Often times when we think of hand-me-downs, material items come to mind. Things. The problem with things…they can be lost, damaged or stolen.

The Daily Prompt asked, “Tell us about some of the meaningful hand-me-downs in your life.” I decided to share a few verbal hand-me-downs that have stayed with me through the years.

From My Grandma Josie:

“Never love a man more than you love yourself.”

“One of the reasons I decided to marry your Grandpa was because he was sincere.”

“Don’t expect to be paid for everything you do.”

“Praying is your letter to God.”

From My Mom:

“I know you think you are too impatient to be a Mother, but I see the capacity in you. You will see it one day too.”

“The sooner you realize that life isn’t always fair the better equipped you will be to handle it.”

“I wish you could see the beauty I see when I look at you.” 🙂

There really are so many nuggets of wisdom my Mom and Grandma shared not only with me but, with so many others over the years, I could really write a longer post. Even though I selfishly wish I had more time with them both, their many hand-me-downs always provide me with what I need, when I need it most. Comfort, laughter, strength, support or direction.

And they will never be lost, damaged or stolen.

Photo Credit

And So, It Begins…

When I became a Mommy, there were many things I looked forward to experiencing as a parent. But, there was one thing the Coach and I decided on up front that he would take the lead on when the time was right.

Watching animated movies with Georgia Peach(GP).

Couple of little known facts about me…

  • I have a thing for bullet points (if you hadn’t already figured that out, I think they are great and very useful).
  • I have little or no motivation to see dancing/singing animated characters in a full length movie.

I accept your judgement. 😉

The latter truly baffles The Coach. From time to time, he will see a title to one of these “amazing” movies and ask me with the tiniest bit of hope the SAME question only to be disappointed with my response, “No, I haven’t seen that movie, either.”

Sure, I have seen a couple since becoming an Adult but, I can count the ones I have watched from start to finish on one hand.

  • The Lion King-Who hasn’t seen this classic, right? I get it. I’m not saying much with this one.
  • Shrek-Hey, I am an Eddie Murphy fan. And to The Coach’s dismay, I find the movies Norbit (check out the awards for this film) and Bowfinger to be ridiculously hilarious. Again, I accept your judgement.
  • The Incredibles-Any movie that has Samuel L. Jackson adding his yelling I mean acting voice to an animated character warrants a try. And let me tell you, it does not disappoint!
  • Rio-I hear from those who watch these types of movies, I should not be proud to mention this one.

As a side note, we are aware that in a game night situation if the category of Disney or Animated movies comes up, I can offer limited assistance. The problem is that we are pretty competitive and have been known to randomly practice different trivia categories so we are ready to win when we get the call. So, I’m not sure what is more disturbing, the fact that we practice or that we haven’t actually been invited to a game night as a couple. We obviously need some friends here otherwise we will have to keep traveling to FL and IL to play with our family. 🙂

Back to these movies…so, my thought was that when Georgia Peach was old enough to see one of these movies, I would buy the tickets for them. Their first Daddy/Daughter Movie Date, cute right?

Obviously, I am too slow for them. Check out one of the gifts GP got for Christmas from her Daddy, a DVD. I suppose it doesn’t matter that she hasn’t seen the first movie of the series?

At any rate, I guess she was old enough on Wednesday. And so, it begins…

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Oh Shirt!

For the past three months, I have been living in a semi state of fear…of my two-year old.

Here’s the long and short of it…

One day while Georgia Peach (GP) was playing she accidentally knocked over her tower of Lego’s and I thought I heard her say something when they fell.  I brushed it off and kept it moving. A few days past and while drinking her water GP spilled some on the floor and as clear as day…I heard what I thought I heard her say the other day.

“Oh, sh*&!!”

What???  No no no no no no no! The room started spinning! I freaked out and said to GP, “DON’T SAY THAT!!”.

I started to panic.

She started to cry. 😦

I immediately start apologizing, hugging, and consoling my sweet girl. I knew she heard someone say it and I was determined to get to the bottom of who had turned my Southern Belle into a two-year old trucker.  I knew it wasn’t her fault.

The reality of the situation started to settle into my brain. Did we just become THOSE parents? You know what I’m talking about.  We have all witnessed a little one saying something a tad bit naughty and perhaps thinking (I’m just saying, I have) ‘What is that kid’s parents teaching him/her? Terrible.’  Now, the problem is in my house.  I can hear our neighbors now, “Georgia Peach has always been such a sweet girl.  We can’t believe it. Things like this never happen in our neighborhood…” 😉

To add to my angst one tiny additional detail…she was scheduled to start preschool at a Christian school in a few weeks.  She is going to get kicked out the first week! We will be on the local news.

I started with the Coach.  After I explained to him what happened, he told me that I probably heard her incorrectly and she was likely saying, ‘shirt’. After all she is only two and still working on speaking to us fluently in English (we are pretty sure her current language is a mix between French and Chinese). Nope. I know what I heard and it wasn’t ‘shirt’. Besides, she used it in the right context. Who says, “Oh, shirt!”?

At this point,  I am living in fear.  I’m worried that something will trigger the phrase and I will be outed as a terrible Mommy.

A few days past and I dropped something on the floor and without thinking, I said, “Oh sh*&!”.

Nooooooo. Aww man, it was me! I am the bad influence on my precious angel.  I like how I didn’t think to consider myself as the culprit in this entire situation.  Seriously, I’m an idiot.

I tried a number of ways to correct the problem when finally the Coach came up with a solution that stuck.  Anytime we heard her say well you know, we corrected her and replaced it with…

‘Oh, shu shu!’

It worked!  For us both. 😉 And just in time to start preschool.

Now, even though we have moved past it, I still have “Mommy Shame” about the entire situation.   I am just relieved GP only shared her new words with us. Whew!

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