Archive | May 2012

Happy Birthday Blog!

 Picture Courtesy of Moodester

When I think back to last year and the day when I created this blog, I remember how scared and excited I was. I had no idea what to expect after I clicked the publish button. I did get one like on my first post, and there were a few views too. The first few times I received a comment was really exciting, and I still really appreciate receiving comments and having people subscribe to my blog!

My daughter Katie convinced me to post my blogs on my Facebook page which was a really scary moment. Now people I actually know could choose to read my blog. Katie said, “You want people to read what you write, right?” Now friends might mention a post they like, and I might act like it’s no big deal, but it is such a big deal to me because I love to write.

Starting up a blog was a huge step that I am glad I took. There are many drafts of stories and poems hidden away in drawers, trunks and filing cabinets that are not ready to be seen by others, but somehow blogging has been a fun experience that I always look forward to.  Sharing what I write is good too because it helps me pay attention to life’s little moments, and how they connect to other events. I get the chance to make the events connect into a story. Working with words and how they get arranged is a fun process to be a part of.

This is my 52nd post over the year, and that works out to be one post a week. My posts don’t fall into a very rigid schedule, but it helped me keep writing for a whole year now pretty regularly, and that is a good goal that I can be proud of.

I just want to thank you, my readers, for stopping by when you can! Thanks so much for stopping by, liking a post or making a comment! I am so glad I got a chance to meet you (if I didn’t know you already).

Cemetery Thieves Cause Emotional Rollercoaster Ride

courtesy of kimberkraft

As I looked to make sure that the words were spelled correctly, and that the dates were right, I started to feel that I needed to get some flowers. I hadn’t thought about getting flowers when we first arrived, but since it was Mother’s Day, it was the right thing to do.  Luckily there’s a flower shop close by. While we waited for the lady to put together a bouquet, my husband and I walked around the store. I had never been there before though I had driven by many times.

“Do you have any water?” the little man with gray hair asked me.

“No,” I said.  He must have noticed that I looked lost.

“The water isn’t on in the cemetery yet. I can get you a pop can filled with water.”

“Thank you.” It was a weird feeling, being at the cemetery without my mother. My mother and father always made sure that we paid our respects and visited the cemetery every Memorial weekend. It was a family outing, the kids going with Mom and Dad and even way back, with my Grandpa and Aunt. Mom used to bring peonies from her garden for my Grandma’s grave.

After my Dad passed away, my children and I went with Mom to make sure that the gravestones were swept off and that there weren’t any mysterious critters lurking about or grass growing where it shouldn’t. I cleaned off my Grandma’s grave most of the times because she was the one I never got to meet. Like I used to do when I was small, my kids read the dates on the gravestones trying to see which were the oldest.  Plus we made sure that no one ever stepped on the markers.

Mike and I went back to Mom’s gravestone. I unscrewed the bronze vase, poured in the water from the pop can, and placed the bouquet of flowers inside. Mom would have loved the sweetheart roses.  I know it would be important to Mom to have flowers placed on her grave and being remembered in a respectful way since it was always something she did during her lifetime.

The next week, I had to go back to the cemetery to make sure that the vase was put back the way it should be. Even though I called the cemetery and they assured me that the workers put the vases back, I just wanted to be sure.  Plus, I had a funny feeling.  When we pulled up to the familiar spot, I saw that someone had thrown the dried up bouquet on the side of Mom’s grave, and the bronze vase was gone. We looked around and saw that many other vases were gone. The grave markers looked so bare because there were holes where a vase had once been. I looked around and saw all the empty spots, and it made me so sad. A place where most people come to pay their respects had been tragically dishonored.

When we got back into our car, I told my husband that I felt violated.  I tried to imagine what type of person would steal from a cemetery.  That sad feeling stuck with me for days even though I tried to push it away.

On Thursday, when I came downstairs for breakfast, my husband told me that there was an article in the newspaper about how lots of vases had been stolen from gravesites from three different cemeteries on the north side.

“Did you bring that paper home from work yesterday?” I asked. We only get the paper delivered to our house on Sundays.

“No,” he said. “The paper was out on the steps this morning. This is today’s paper.”

“Isn’t that weird?” I kept asking over and over again.

“Your Mom wanted you to see what was going on,” Mike said.

If you want to read the article, click here.

On Friday morning when our clock radio alarm went off, the first news story we heard was that the vases had been found in a park.  I hope all the media attention scared the thieves off forever.  The vases are being inspected by the police for any signs of evidence, and then will be returned to the cemeteries.  You can read about it here.

I was very happy to hear that the vases were found and will be returned.

I wasn’t planning on going to the cemetery this weekend, since I was just there twice, but since it’s Memorial Day, it’s the right thing to do.

Being Part of Proud Moments

On the morning of a very proud day, I thought back to when Laura was celebrating her fifth birthday. We watched her open envelopes and gently tear wrapping paper. Bows decorated her head and shirt. When she opened an envelope that contained some dollar bills, Laura held them in her hand, and shouted, “Money” in a nasally voice, which made her grandparents and other family members laugh.

“That’s for college, not a car,” said Grandpa. We all chuckled, except for Laura whose eyebrows drew close together making her look concerned. Some of Laura’s closest family members secretly programmed her little brain into thinking about going to college at a very young age.

“Oh,” Laura said as she stretched out her smile. We could tell by the way she tilted her head that she was about to say something.

“Mommy, what’s college?” she asked.

We all smiled at each other, and I explained that it’s a school where people go after high school. I knew that thought was too much for a kindergartener to grasp.

Many other proud days went by, and the day arrived where we would witness our dream for Laura come true. Like most school events, my husband and I ended up sitting way in the back. As usual, this made me wonder what time the other parents arrived to get the front seats. Mike’s parents were with us too, and we were happy to find seats by the aisle. Spotlights glowed showing the path where the graduates would soon walk. We waited patiently and watched the later arrivals scramble about trying to find a seat as the orchestra played unfamiliar tunes.

The president of the college started the procession, with the guest speaker, and professors. They paraded down the aisle and looked as if they were characters from a Harry Potter movie with their flouncy hats and long robes. Then the graduates entered, some with smiles and others with wide eyes in search of familiar faces.

“There’s Laura,” my husband whispered. I grabbed my camera and in all the excitement, I couldn’t see her. “Where is she,” I thought. Mike could see my confusion. “She’s there, coming around the corner.”

She walked by me with a big smile. She looked back, waiting for the camera bulb to flash. Sometimes trying to capture a memory can ruin being in the moment.

Not My Best Picture of Laura
That’s My Girl!

Still my spirits were high and after all the graduates passed by, the president began her speech, and I listened as best I could to her, the guest speaker and valedictorian. They all gave inspirational talks about how the graduates could make a difference in the world.

Then the moment came when all of Laura’s hard work was rewarded by her receiving her diploma. Now she has a degree, and “no one can ever take that away.” The guest speaker words echoed in my head and reminded me that it was all worth it.

One of the best things about being a parent is being a part of proud moments like these even if you have to sit way in the back!

Having fun celebrating with cake!

Lila Figured Out She’s Home

Last year when Lila first came to live with us, thunderstorms didn’t bother her. She sat outside on the front porch and watched the lightning, and felt the earth rumble without one shake of a leg or turn of an ear. Lila just sat and watched the rain as it poured down ready to be soaked up into the ground or to join the creek at the end of our street.

Now this spring when we started to hear the rumblings of our first thunderstorm of the season, Lila panted and paced about the house as if she couldn’t decide if she was supposed to go somewhere. Every time my husband made a move, Lila would be right there, on his heels panting.

“It’s okay, girl,” he would say. She sat by his side as he petted her ear trying to make her feel better.

When it was time to go to bed, Lila was right on my husband’s heels again even though she never sleeps with us. We thought she was one who wasn’t bothered by the storms and we couldn’t figure out what happened. What changed? We thought it was so cool last year when she didn’t even flinch at the booming thunder.

The next day I joked to my friend about how Lila had changed, that she was not the dog that we thought she was and that she had made a complete change when it came to thunderstorms.

“Maybe she’s used to you now. Maybe she was worried about you,” she said.

I smiled a very big smile. I was surprised that what seemed like a courageous dog was just scared now because she actually cares about us. It was just another way that I realized that Lila figured out that she is a part of our family even though it took her a very long time to do so.

When Lila had been living with us for a few months, I thought that there was something wrong with her. Lila didn’t show the signs of love that dogs usually show when they become part of a pack. I looked into her brown eyes, and they seemed like they were not connecting with me. Her eyes looked cold. She sometimes barked and snapped at us like she wanted to be in charge. I didn’t think that she knew how to wag her tail to show happiness at seeing us after being away for just a few minutes or for a long time.

It seemed like she was just as happy to see any human who was at the dog park as she was to see me or any other members of her pack. Everyone thought she was so friendly, but I just thought she didn’t know how to love us yet, and I wondered if she ever would. There were times when I called her name at the dog park, and she didn’t come to me, and that made me very nervous.

Then one day she barked from our front steps when she saw me coming home, and that’s when I knew she got it. The closer I got to her, the faster her tail wagged. She was really happy to see me, and I was so happy to be seen.

I also noticed that she stopped running after all the humans at the dog park to try to get their attention. She played with and greeted other dogs, and then she made sure that she walked with me. When I called her name, she came to me. Now she listens. She figured it out. Now I know that there’s not anything the matter with her at all. She was just trying to see if we were going to keep her here. And we are keeping her here, and she’s here to stay, big fur piles flying across the kitchen floor and all the other stuff that goes with a dog who figured out she’s finally home.