Tag Archive | Mothers and Daughters

Fishy

beach enjoyment fun leisure

Photo by Scott on Pexels.com

Once upon a time, on a warm and sunny summer day, a little girl went to the beach with her mom. They packed up a picnic lunch, beach blanket, towels, sunscreen, a bucket, and a shovel. There was a little spot on the beach just for them. Many people were together enjoying the day too, and those peoples’ conversations floated away with the wind. All the talking didn’t cover up the sounds of the waves splashing on the shore or the rustling of the leaves in the towering trees.

They walked hand in hand in the Minnesota sand, which felt very warm on the bottoms of their feet. The little girl, who would be two years old on her next birthday, looked confident in her pink one-piece swimsuit with a picture of the Little Mermaid on front. They quickly toddled off to find the cooler wet sand. The waves tickled their feet to welcome them in. Soon, the little girl was up to her knees in the very clear blue lake water.

“Fishy,” the little girl shouted and dove into the water face first as quickly as she could, somehow wiggling out of her mom’s grasp. The mom was surprised how courageous her daughter was and was sure the little girl had kept her eyes wide open as she held her arms forward trying to grab the fish with her hands. The mom instinctively pulled her little girl out of the water.

“Did you try to catch the fish?” the mom asked.

The little girl looked surprised, her curls now smashed down after coming out of the water. She didn’t seem to have lost one beat to the rhythm of her breath. The mom held her little girl on her hip and felt little goosebumps form on her own arms. They waded out to the deeper water.

“I wonder where the fish went,” the mom said.

“Fishy,” the little girl repeated in a softer voice as she looked down at the deep water trying to find the fish. The mom and daughter held onto each other while they bobbed up and down with the waves. They twirled about to feel the water cool them. The fun melted away the mom’s goosebumps.

“I think it was a sunfish,” said Mom. “I’m surprised it was so close to all these swimmers at the beach. That was very brave of you to try to get it with your hands!”

The little girl giggled as the mom carried her. They went to the shore, played in the sand, and had a lunch that included gold-fish crackers, which reminded them of the Fishy they found at the lake on a warm and sunny summer day.

The world is as many times new as there are children in our lives. ~Robert Brault

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They Think I Dressed Them Weird

Christmas Picture of Girls

It seemed like such an easy plan, but the process completely wiped me out. The idea was to take a trip to the mall to get the girls’ pictures taken. The baby was only a month old, and I didn’t think it would be a big deal to get both children ready all by myself. The pictures had to be taken in time to be given as Christmas presents and sent out as Christmas cards. Well before that day arrived, I decided the outfits should match and that Laura would wear a dress. Since we didn’t know the gender of our baby before she was born, I made Katie’s outfit using one of my favorite patterns – a one-piece ensemble. I used a red, stretchy cotton fabric for the bodice and cuffs and booties to match. The rest of the outfit was red, blue, and white plaid.  Laura’s dress was the same plaid material with lace added to the hem and with a frilly collar sewn to the top.

After the girls were in their outfits with their shoes and baby booties in place, winter coats, hats, and mittens all where they belonged, I remembered the red bows. One bow was attached to a barrette for Laura’s hair and the other was a ribbon to get stuck on top of Katie’s fuzzy head.  I attached the bow to Katie’s hair with some sort of gooey stuff that was invented for just that purpose!

By the time we got to the mall, I was feeling less stressed and happy to be among the crowds of people. We hung out there for a long while on our first of many shopping trips together.  Luckily the bows and everything else stayed on for the adorable pictures.

Sometimes when our three kids look at old photo albums together now, they tell me that they think I dressed them weird. Doesn’t every older kid say that? Isn’t it because the fashions change? Probably it was because I didn’t dress them most of the time. I let them wear what they wanted . . . (Just saying!)

Anyway, luckily Laura and Katie think this picture is a cute one!  Looking at it brings back a lot of great memories, and I’m especially thankful I remembered the bows!

Celebrate Good Times

She gently took me from the car and carried me like a newborn baby. Each step up the stairs, she held me a little higher. When we got to the bedroom, she swung open the closet door. She reached up to set me at the top of the closet so I could stretch down. When she unfastened the plastic, the bottom part fell. The ladies at the dress shop told her to unwrap me so I wouldn’t wrinkle. Even though she wasn’t the one who would wear me, she let out a sigh of relief because she didn’t want me to get dirty. It was her daughter, Laura, who chose me.

“It took her a while to figure out what kind of style she liked,” I heard the mom say once. Once she figured that out, it didn’t take her very long to find me.  After Laura ordered me, and I was all put together, I was shipped to the bridal shop. It took four months before Laura got to try me on. I waited patiently in a closet.  I heard people go in and out everyday. It seemed like forever before Laura came to see me. When the lady reached up to pull me off the pole, I thought she was going to take down the dress next to me. When she held onto my hanger, I couldn’t believe it was finally my turn.

The person took me upstairs to hang me on another pole for a while. I was wrapped in plastic, but I heard them coming up the steps. They seemed excited to see me. Their voices were loud and filled with laughter. It sounded like three different types of giggles. They walked right by me and sat down on the sofa. I don’t think they knew I was hanging right next to where they were sitting.

The seamstress helped Laura put me on and then the others came in. Now that the plastic was off, and Laura was wearing me, we both looked in the mirror at each other. I liked the way we looked together, and I thought we made quite a striking pair. It’s like we made each other shine somehow.

When I looked at the other two ladies in the room, I could tell by the look on their faces that they thought I looked good. The way their voices softened told both of us they approved. The seamstress suggested adding a few alterations so the bride would be more comfortable on the day of the wedding.

Laura came back to see me a few more times – sometimes with different ladies but always with her mom. Laura’s future mother-in-law suggested that the belt would look better sewn close to the bodice instead of around the waist, and everyone agreed.  The next time they had to make sure the hem was the proper length. Each time they came, I knew it was getting a little closer to the day when we would get to walk down the aisle together.  The last time they came, the seamstress showed the mom how to fasten the buttons and put up the bustle.

Now as I stayed hanging in the house where the bride grew up, I knew the big day was going to be tomorrow.  That night the house was quiet, but when they came back, it felt like a lot of energy was buzzing about.  Laura came into her bedroom and looked at me hanging on the door.  It wouldn’t be much longer before we would get to celebrate.  We would see how all the preparations would fall together.

The next morning, the doorbell kept ringing as ladies arrived bringing more bubbling energy with them. Happy voices traveled up the stairs as the morning went on.  Then the time arrived when Laura took me down from the door.  Her hair was swept up like a princess.  She carried me to the car, and we went to church.  When we arrived, the photographer took me for a while and took pictures of me in front of a window to make shadows in the sun.  After my solo picture, the mom and bridesmaids helped Laura put on her dress careful not to ruin her hair or smudge her makeup.  The mom closed up the back by using a hair pin to grab the little string to wrap it around each little button just like the seamstress showed her.

Laura and Mom and Dress

“Whew,” she sighed.  “I remember my wedding night and how it took the groom a very long time to unfasten the buttons…”  A few more giggles traveled around the room.  After Laura was all ready to go, lots of pictures were taken inside and outside.  The temperature was cool, but Laura didn’t shiver.

“People are starting to come,” said Marilyn, the coordinator who volunteered at the church.

“They are?” the mom said as if she was shocked that everything was going the way it was planned.

“Yes,” Marilyn said with a smile – like she’d seen this sort of thing before.  “You’ll need to stay in the nursery and hide before you make your grand entrance.”

The priest quickly stopped by to say hello and to give a few instructions to the bride.  After Father left, the father-of-the-bride came in to say, “They told me to come in here right when everyone was starting to show up.  I wanted to say hello to a few people!”

“I guess we’re supposed to do that later,” the mom said.  Marilyn came back in to let the bridesmaids know it was time for them to walk down the aisle.  I waited with Laura and her mom and dad.  It was very quiet in the room.  Off in the distance, we could hear the organist playing Ave Maria.

“It’s time for you to go,” she said.  We walked out to the commons.  Marilyn and the other volunteer closed the doors to the entrance after the groom and his parents walked down the aisle.  All was quiet.  The organist began to play Canon in D by J. Pachelbel while we stood together.  Laura’s dad linked his arm through his daughter’s arm, and the mom held onto Laura’s elbow.  I felt little shivers coming from the mom.  Everyone else seemed to be calm.

“Oh, my god,” the mom said very quietly.

“Mom!” said Laura.

“Whoops,” Mom mumbled.  Marilyn gave us the thumbs up sign, and we walked to the doors.

“Are you ready?” We gave a unanimous nod, and the ladies pulled the two big wooden doors open to show us the guests.  As we walked down the aisle, some people nodded and smiled at us – Great Uncle Jack gave us the thumbs up sign.  When we met the groom at the altar, there were hugs and handshakes and sharing of “love you” among the four.  Laura and I walked up two little steps with the groom who soon became Laura’s husband.

As the day went on, I didn’t stay ivory clean as the mom hoped.  Only once that entire day did my bustle come undone, and it was during the reception.  After Mom pinned it up, she said, “Oh, look how dirty your dress is on the bottom!”

“That means the bride is having a good time,” said a voice from a corner of the bathroom.  From what I saw, it looked like everyone knew how to celebrate good times!  I’m glad to have done my part of being the wedding dress.  This special occasion was celebrated a year ago today.  Now it’s time to celebrate another special occasion:  Laura and Michael’s first wedding anniversary!

An anniversary is a time to celebrate the joys of today,
the memories of yesterday, 
and the hopes of tomorrow.  ~Author Unknown

Why I’ve Never Had a Puppy

kona at purgatory creek
Kona

 “I’ve had this animal poison hotline magnet on my refrigerator for about 15 years,” I said to the nice lady on the other end of the phone.  “I never had to use it before.”

magnet

“Okay, well, let me talk to the vet who’s on call right now, and I’ll get back to you.  I’m going to have to put you on hold for a little while,” she said.

While sitting on the steps with my cell phone in one hand and the magnet in the other, I thought about when I first picked up the magnet.  It was when we took our first dog, Music, to the vet.  Music never got into anything poisonous and so far, neither has Lila, our current dog.  Both Music and Lila were older when they came to live with us.  As I watched Kona looking at me, I dreaded telling my daughter what happened.  Kona is Laura and her hubby’s puppy.  I’ve watched both of them work to care for and train their adorable seven-month-old dog.

Earlier that night, as I was taking a break on the sofa, I thought I heard a crunching sound when I thought Kona was laying on the mat by the front door, one of her favorite resting spots.  When I went to inspect, I found fragments of red eucalyptus leaves scattered on the floor.  The leaves had been part of a dried floral arrangement.  I wished I would have listened to myself the other day when I thought about throwing away the dusty old leaves.  Then I wouldn’t have this problem.  As I tried to piece the scattered leaves onto the empty spots on the branches, it looked like they matched up and that Kona hadn’t swallowed any.

“Hello?” the lady’s voice was on the line again.

“Yes?”

“The doctor said that it’s really dangerous if dogs ingest the essential oils of eucalyptus.  If Kona only got a little bit of the leaves, she should be okay.  If she throws up, don’t give her any water for about an hour.  If she can keep a little water down after an hour, give her a little more.  If she has excessive vomiting and diarrhea, call us right away.”

“Ok, thank you.  Now I know why I’ve never had a puppy,” I said.  Older dogs work better for me, I thought.

“Your daughter can call us too,” she said as she rattled off the case number and we said our goodbyes.

I grabbed the dusty leaves and threw them in the garbage can in the garage.  When I walked into the living room, I checked our other plants.  After searching “plants poisonous to dogs” on Google, I learned that philodendrons and Christmas cactuses are also poisonous to dogs.  Thankfully, all the leaves were intact on those plants living in our house.

When my husband, Kona and I got into the car to bring Kona home, I made sure the folded piece of paper was tucked inside my pocket.  The case number and phone number of the poison hotline were on that paper, and I knew I’d have to tell Laura what happened right away.  As we drove Kona home, she rested quietly on the backseat with her head hung low, her nose almost touching the floor.  Before the leaf chewing incident, we visited the dog park with Lila, and I figured the exercise wore Kona out.  When we pulled into Laura’s driveway, I was excited to see the new place Laura and her husband had moved into that day.  Laura greeted us at the door.  After we said our congratulations, and after Laura reported that all the carpets had been cleaned, I handed her the piece of paper and told her what happened.

“I’m sure she’ll be okay,” Laura said in a calm and even tone.  I saw a Christmas cactus sticking out of one of the moving boxes and gave it to Laura.

“These are poisonous to dogs too,” I said as I handed over the plant.

After we got the tour, said our goodbyes and made it home, I settled down on the sofa in front of the TV.  Only a few minutes passed and my cell phone rang.

“She threw up!”  Laura reported in a scary voice.

“Oh, no!”

“I gave her a half a cup of food after you left.”

“Do you see any little red leaves?”

“No.  It looks like she had a chewie.”

“Yes, I gave her half a chewie and half a dog bone when she was here.”

“Well, it looks like her dinner is here, and all that stuff too, but I don’t see any red leaves.  It’s a lot.  It’s gross.”

“Do you usually feed her food that late at night?”

“No.”

“Maybe we fed her too much.  I’m sorry!  How’s the carpet?”

“I’m not worried about the carpet, I’m worried about Kona!  We tried to get her in the bathroom, but she didn’t make it.”

“I just hope we fed her too much and that she’ll be okay.”

After we hung up, I knew the night would pass slowly for Laura and me.  When I checked my phone early the next morning, I was glad to see a text message from Laura saying, “No more barf!  Kept a little breakfast down.”

The following day Laura, Kona, Lila and I went to a dog park where we tried to coax Kona into going for a swim.  Even though Lila showed Kona how to fetch a tennis ball from the pond, Kona only ventured to the shoreline.  Laura reported that Kona only had a big cough in the middle of the night after throwing up, and that she has been okay ever since.  Plus the incident didn’t leave a stain on the carpet.

Now I know I can’t let my guard down whenever I watch Kona.  That is, if Laura will ever ask me to watch her again.

2015-05-03 14.49.11
On the shoreline!

213

Katie’s Mom

Katie and Me

My duffel bag contained the most pairs of shoes ever for an overnight stay. The brown pair worked for the afternoon but would not work later that night. Neither of those two pairs would go with the outfit the next day. Another pair needed to be packed for the trip home because tennis shoes go best with sweatpants. I tried to figure out a different wardrobe so fewer shoes could be packed, but doing that would be too much work, so all the shoes stayed in the heavy duffel bag.

When my husband and I arrived at the Senior Artist Thesis Show, no one noticed my shoes. The crowd was focused on the art pieces and followed the students as they talked about their work. We arrived in time to hear one of the students talk about her pottery creations. When she finished, we listened to another artist speak about his charcoal drawings. The only sounds we heard were shuffling feet and the voices of the students.  Megan was the one we came to see. Megan has been Katie’s roommate for the last four years. I thought back to the day when they moved into their freshman dorm. By the time my husband, Katie and I arrived, Megan and her family had gotten almost all of Megan’s things in order. We arrived late because the battery went dead in our van.  While we stumbled into the room with boxes and clothes falling off hangers, Megan sat quietly at her desk organizing pencils, pens and markers. Each of her books was carefully arranged on her desk with a nice supply of snacks on a shelf above. After we carted in Katie’s stuff, I worked on covering the mattress of the top bunk with sheets and blankets. As I stretched my arms as far as they could reach, I wondered how that night would go for the two of them because I didn’t think their organizational traits matched.

Katie and Megan

No matter what kind of organizational skills Katie and Megan have, they found a friend in each other. Many of their other friends were at the art show too, and they whispered how they were nervous for Megan to give her speech. Megan wasn’t sitting quietly in the corner of a dorm room arranging writing utensils any longer. It was her turn to speak.  Megan talked about her works of photography surrounded by people who care. When the professor concluded the event by thanking everyone for attending, she asked us to raise our hands if we were family or friends. I was proud to raise my hand as a friend even though I was far from college aged!  🙂

After taking a closer look at the individual pieces of artwork, my husband and I went to check into our hotel room. While Mike put on a nice suit and tie, I stayed in jeans but changed into a dressy blouse and black shoes. We met Katie’s roommates and parents at a little fancier place. It was nice to introduce myself as Katie’s mom to the parents I hadn’t met before.  It seems like as more time goes by, the less chances there are to introduce myself as my kids’ mom.  As we munched away on burgers, salads, sandwiches or wraps, we listened to the students future plans and learned about upcoming events as they counted the days until graduation.

Father Daughter

The next stop was a little get together before the father daughter dance in one of the senior student’s apartments where I was introduced as Katie’s mom a few more times.  The moms stayed in the apartment chatting while the fathers and daughters went to their event.  During our conversations, I couldn’t help but notice how some of the moms’ shoes looked nicer and newer than mine.  Some were ornate while mine looked blah.  When the dance was over, we walked over to the very crowded local bar to be all together again.  Even though my shoes looked comfortable, my feet hurt.  Mike and I decided to leave around midnight because the music was too loud.  It wasn’t worth staying if I couldn’t be heard, hear, or introduce myself as Katie’s mom!

The next morning, I dressed in black pants, a white blouse, and a nicer pair of black shoes.  I met Katie at her apartment, and we walked over to the mother daughter brunch with Megan and her mom.  A big table lined up with mimosas greeted us.  After we wandered around a little and a few more introductions were made, we found a table and sat with Katie’s roommates and their moms.  We listened to a couple of speakers, ate a wonderful brunch of chicken Kiev, cheesy potatoes, an egg dish, spinach salad, fruit and banana bread.  After we played and lost a couple of games that involved a coin toss and who had the most stuff in their purse, we listened to one of Katie’s friends and her mom talk about how their struggles made them closer.

When the brunch was over, I stopped by Katie’s apartment to change into sweatpants, a t-shirt and tennis shoes.  It was hard to say good-bye after such a nice weekend.  Thinking about shopping for more shoes for future celebrations helped make me feel better!

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present,
and the hope and promise of the future.
~Author Unknown

Yeah Write 212

Shook Myself Back to Reality

“Can you please make a new place card for me?” my daughter, Laura, texted me. She explained how I needed to change her last name to her new married name.

“I didn’t even think of that,” I said.

“Neither did I!” said my daughter. My future son-in-law was the one who thought of that important detail!  Old habits are hard to break, I thought.

The day before, the three of us sat at the kitchen table. I had printed off place cards of the names of all the guests who would be attending the wedding. The weekend before that, we figured out where people would sit. The table number was on each card too. My future son-in-law held the spreadsheet in his hand, read off the names and table numbers while Laura stamped the back with that person’s food choice.  The choices were represented by a cow, pig, chicken, carrot or fish.

When I first created the spreadsheet, I made eight columns. The names were first, with a column for each person’s response of yes or no, and if they were going to attend, what their food choice was. Of course I put Laura’s name on the sheet the way her name was at the time, and that’s how I made up her place card. I think I might have made a mental note about changing her name later, but with all the commotion, I forgot.

When wedding plans started unfolding, I wondered if Laura would keep her last name. She informed us that she was going to take her husband’s last name, and we all supported her decision. I told her the story about how my dad wanted me to keep my last name as my middle name, but since we gave Laura my previous middle name, I didn’t mind if she kept it.

Before my husband and I got married, my dad had a little heart-to-heart talk with me.

“You should keep your last name as your middle name,” he said one day, out of the blue. I must have had a blank stare on my face. “Then people will know where you came from.”

I agreed right away. I didn’t question his reasoning because I thought it was a great idea. I didn’t really like the thought of losing my beautiful middle name of Elizabeth that is nine letters long, but I knew I couldn’t fit all those names on my driver’s license, and I doubted all that would fit on a check. Checks are only so big.

When Laura reminded me that she was going to have a new last name, it was five days before the wedding. I had started counting the days when it was no longer possible to count the months. As the day got closer, the amount of time we spent finishing up small details got busier. Being busy like that helped me realize we were working towards a goal, and finishing things up made me feel happier about how everything was moving along. As the day got closer, the less busy I was, and I started to think. When I got that text about how I needed to change the place card, it made what was really happening all sink in a little more, and I realized why Dad wanted to me to keep my last name. He wanted to hold onto that little part of me that was my name and who told the world who I was.  I was his daughter.

Up until that time, I thought of the wedding day as being the day I would gain a wonderful son-in-law. For the first time, five days before the wedding, was the day I worried I was losing my daughter, and it was all just because I had to change her name on the place card.

After about three minutes of worrying, I shook myself back to reality. Deep inside a mom knows “that nothing in this world can sever the bond between mother and daughter.” (From Mother of the Bride Article.) After I read that article, I wondered if I should have been freaking out more about how I’m aging and turning into an “elder.” The subject matter in the article is true. I am getting older, but aren’t we all? We’re all moving into new phases of our lives. The best thing to do is go along for the ride and look forward to what will come our way.  The ride keeps going no matter what, so it’s best to enjoy it.

Besides, anyone who is going to have a son-in-law who helps with stamping place cards, is one lucky lady!  Even though Laura will change her last name, she will always know where she came from!

If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies. ~Author Unknown