Saturday, July 18, 2015

For the Love of Hand Soap

So, I'm mad.

At the beginning of summer I finally ran out of a hefty supply of Bath and Body Works hand soap. I only buy it when it's on sale and I  refuse to buy without coupons. Over the years built up an amazing cache of soapy goodness. But alas, we eventually washed enough that we came close to running out.

I gathered my best coupon and while clutching it in my greedy - yet clean and fragranced - hand, I entered the store to have my olfactory senses attacked. I eventually settled on several bottles of Blue Skies and Blooms, Kady picked out something pear-y, I threw in some coconutty stuff so we could channel the Professor on Gilligan's Island, and made our way to check out. Then I saw the display for the New! American! Summer! Collection! Kady and I instantly fell in love with Driftwood Surf. It smells manly and woodsy and awesome. Her friend Miranda just washes her hands for no reason when she's here, it just smells that good.

And now.....we are on our last bottle. Kady looked last week's gone. No mas. Adios, Driftwood. Sayonara, you manly hand soap, you. I can only find it on eBay. For $5+ a bottle.

 So if you see me on a street corner with a cardboard sign that says "Will work for Route 44's", before you drop some change in my empty Sonic cup, please ask to smell my hands. Because if I'm begging in a corner, it's because I couldn't resist the driftwood and had to pay such exorbitant prices on eBay I can no longer afford my Sonic-y goodness.

Wait.....maybe I should just beg for the hand soap.....

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Curse of the Third

Originally published in the Miami News-Record on July 12, 2015.

It all started back in 2002. It was July 3rd. Paul was on the brush hog and I had just managed to get all three kids down for a nap at the same time. I kicked on the attic fan and lay down on the couch to catch a quick nap myself. I woke up when I realized the attic fan wasn’t on anymore. I had set the timer for an hour and thought surely I hadn’t slept that long. It was quiet. Too quiet. I went down the hall…. and heard crackling. It took about 3 seconds for me to realize it was fire. I woke up the kids, grabbed Kady out of her crib, snatched up the diaper bag and ran out of the house. I tried waving down Paul in the field, but he was in the zone out there on his tractor. It finally took letting the kids take turns honking the car horn to get his attention. The fire didn’t damage anything more than the attic fan itself and we considered ourselves very fortunate.
The following year on July 3rd Paul had a car vs. motorcycle wreck. Unfortunately, he was on the motorcycle. The kids and I had been swimming at my sister’s and walked in the door to the phone ringing. Sam, who was four, answered the phone then said, “Cool! I hear sirens!” When I snatched the phone from my son all I heard was Paul’s friend screaming that Paul had been hit, it was “bad”, and I needed to go to the hospital. He had let the friend drive the bike and Paul was on the back. The guy stalled the bike as they pulled onto the highway. Paul was thrown (people who saw the wreck said he looked like a rag doll when he flew through the air) and landed under the car. On top of a totaled bike (on which we hadn’t even made the first payment) he had a dislocated shoulder, a concussion, got four staples in his head, and had a lot of road rash. He was sore and banged up, but alive. We considered ourselves very fortunate.
The next year a black snake got in our kitchen window and was perilously close to getting in the house when I found it. The year after that Abby spiked a high fever of unknown origin. None of us can remember anything happening in 2006. We were given a break that year I guess.
In 2007 we were flooded in by the river on one side and the creek on the other. We spent seven days unable to leave our house. We had no phone. We had no fireworks. But boy, did we have mosquitoes the size of pterodactyls. We ended up floating my family to the house in Paul’s boat for the 4th. The kids still talk about that being the most fun 4th of July ever. A couple years ago we set the field on fire, but that was kind of our fault for shooting fireworks during a drought.
I don’t really believe in curses, but don’t you find it a wee bit eerie that bad/weird/traumatic things happen to us on the 3rd of July? Not every year, but enough that we all are extra cautious from the time we wake up on that day until we are all safe and accounted for that night.
This year the curse was delayed and Kady was in a minor car accident on the 5th. It was a fender-bender, but shook her up nonetheless. It wasn’t until that night when she was loaded up on ibuprofen, worn out from the excitement that any of us connected the wreck to “the curse”. She hugged me tight and said, “Next year, wrap me in bubble wrap, okay?”

I think I’ll start on July 1st and keep everyone in the house until maybe the 7th or so. Just to be safe. And no one’s allowed to drive or ride anything with a motor.

Lovin' All Y'all

Originally published in the Miami News-Record, July 5, 2015

Man, talk about some turmoil in our great country right now. I have been pretty scarce on Facebook lately simply because I am quite frankly sick to death of all the negativity and conflict I see in my newsfeed. I see rebel flags and rainbows even when I close my eyes these days. I see long rants written by church-goers, non-church-goers, political folks, and those who are far less political (but still argumentative nonetheless), family members and friends pitted against the other and I just don’t enjoy that. Not one bit.
I love y’all. Plain and simple. I love all y’all. I don’t like some of you and barely tolerate more than my fair share, but I do love y’all. I do this because it’s my job to love y’all. Jesus made it pretty clear when He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31) He didn’t say “Love them only when they agree with you,” or “Love them only when their dog hasn’t pooped in your yard and torn up your Sunday paper with all the good coupons.” He also didn’t say, “Only love them when it’s easy.” It’s been my experience that when it’s hard to love someone, that’s when the lovin’ is needed the most. So with all that being said, it boils down to this: love.
Love God (see Mark 12:30) and love everyone else.
I love being an American. I am thankful God put me here in this place at this time. I love the nation I live in. I love the state I live in, the county I live in, the neighborhood I live in, the family I am in and the God Who put me here. Sure, it’d be nice if Oklahoma wasn’t throwing earthquakes in to compete with all the tornadoes. You betcha, I’d love it if the road grader came down my county-maintained road a little more often. And yes, I wish the neighbor’s dog didn’t run at my car every time I drive by, thus making me scream because it never fails to scare the bejeebers outta me. I could also point out some of the things that drive me crazy about some family members, too, but with the holidays approaching, I’d rather things remain amicable.
But wait….did I just say I loved all those places but didn’t love all the things in them or about them? What? You mean, I can love things but not love everything about them – all at the same time? Folks, this ain’t rocket science. Just because your country isn’t everything you’d love for it to be at this moment in time, doesn’t mean you have to stop loving your country.
Be thankful you have electricity, running water, a roof over your head, a McDonald’s on every corner and two Starbucks for every McDonald’s. Be thankful you don’t go to sleep at night hungry. Or listening to gunfire and mortar shells raining down around you. Be grateful to those who have given and continue to give their lives to keep you knee-deep in lattes and Quarter Pounders. Be thankful you can go to church – or not go to church if you choose. See, it’s this thing called freedom. And it’s pretty great.
Even when our country was founded, it wasn’t perfect. It’s grown a lot. It’s changed a lot. It’s been good, it’s been bad. It was founded on freedom and we remain free today. So why are we spending so much time fighting and less time loving? We are all masterpieces created by God. Some of us are fat, some are skinny, some are cat people, others love dogs, some love girls, some love boys, and I won’t even go into all the different shades of skin tone that are out there. Frankly, it just doesn’t matter.

Because love is all that does.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Family Vacation

Originally published in the Miami News-Record, June 28, 2015

Back in March I realized this would not be a year for a Disney vacation and started looking around for a place to stay in Branson. Then I thought that it had been an awfully long time since we’d done a BIG family vacation and immediately sent an email to my mom and sister. After much calendar checking, schedule rearranging, and work schedule securing, we all decided on a date. A couple years ago Paul, the kids and I took a long weekend in Branson and stayed in a condo rather than a hotel room. I gotta say it spoiled us a bit. I started looking for condos then learned pretty quick that it’s darn near impossible to find a condo big enough for 14 people. I started looking at cabins, but the ones big enough for us were all booked up for the weekend we wanted. I forged on, and glory be, I found THE HOUSE and the preparations began in earnest.

A month before the vacation I sent a text in all capital letters to the group exclaiming my joy that the official countdown had begun. And because apparently I have too much time on my hands and a very weird brain, I put together everyone’s last names and came up with an official name for the trip: FORRFERRHOOVESCHTELLE SUMMER VACATION 2015. Someone text me back and asked if we had changed the destination to Germany instead of Branson.

The day of vacation finally arrived – and so did Hurricane Bill. We loaded the Durango in between showers and downpours and any attempts at fixing hair that day were for naught. Sam had opted to ride with Mom and Pops and they were about an hour and a half ahead of us. He was sending texts telling us how hard it was raining, but we were already quite aware. Paul had to drop something off at his mom’s on our way out and got drenched, then rode most of the trip freezing because I was having hot flashes most of the way and was pretty sure if I turned the AC down I was going to spontaneously combust. And apparently he found my being vocal about it rather annoying. We drove in and out of rain bands, some pouring so hard we could barely see the car in front of us. When we finally made it to the resort and pulled in, the rain had stopped and the sun was attempting to peek out of the clouds. Then as I got halfway up the sidewalk with my arms full of bags, it was like someone in Heaven said, “Hey y’all – watch this!” and let go with a bucket the size of the Grand Canyon.

The guys fished in the rain, the kids swam in the rain, I loved on my sweet baby nephew while it rained, we cooked and ate while it rained – I think you get the picture: it rained. But eventually the rain stopped and the sun came out enough to effectively sunburn everyone who visited the pool that day. They didn’t mind. I got a new owl coffee mug, the kids all got new Disney t-shirts, Pauly got new shoes, my sweet baby nephew ate his first Oreo while we were there, we learned just how twisted (and hilarious) we all are when we played Cards Against Humanity, and we made a heck of a lot of memories.  

Mom and Kady cried when we had the leave the house Sunday morning. It had been such a wonderful time of togetherness, no one wanted to see it end. I probably would’ve cried, too, but I had a belly full of Krispy Kreme donuts and hey, it’s hard to shed tears when you’re riding that high. We all decided that time is too short to let moments like those pass by, so we’ve decided to do it every year and stick to it. In a few years we’ll be adding in-laws and grandbabies and so many more memories. I can hardly wait!

Hydrox and Kool-ade

Originally published in the Miami News-Record, June 14, 2015

I’ve been going to VBS pretty much my whole life, starting back at Hudson Creek Baptist Church in the late 1970’s up until present at Hart Baptist Church. I made my fair share of God’s eyes from popsicle sticks and yarn, cigar boxes covered in glued-on macaroni and spray painted to a lovely golden sheen, a Bible made out of a bar of soap and a piece of black velvet, and many other gems. It was at VBS where I learned the pledges to the American and Christian flags and the Bible. I have sung “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “Father Abraham” more times than I can even fathom. There was nothing more fun in the eyes of the elementary school set back in my day than dividing the church down the middle and one side singing “Hallelu—Hallelu—Hallelu—Hallelujah!” and the other side echoing “PRAISE YE THE LORD!” Oh, and who can forget “Deep and Wide”?

When I was a kid, Ella Lou Reynolds was the church pianist and she took care of all the accompaniment needs of the church. There were no themes having to do with space, jungles, or beaches – just five days’ worth of stories about Jesus and you came up with your own songs. So after the giant hoard of children pestered the VBS director (usually my mom or Helen Merit) on the front steps of the church to pleeeeeeeeeeease let them be the one to hold the American flag during the pledges, everyone lined up and marched in with their class while Mrs. Reynolds played the “marching-in song”. Everyone filed in to their designated pews and participated in the pledges and their assigned songs: Pledge to the American flag paired with “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”, pledge to the Christian flag paired with “Onward Christian Soldiers”, and pledge to the Bible paired with “The B-I-B-L-E”. We awaited the “sit down chord” and then we were welcomed, informed, and encouraged. After the offering was taken up, the littler kids marched out (after the “stand-up chord” was played and the “marching-out” song was played) while the big kids were treated to a story about a missionary in the Congo or Brazil. You know, purely “big kid” type stuff because they didn’t fidget after sitting in the sanctuary too long.

I remember learning about Jesus walking on water, Zaccheus, Moses and the Ten Commandments, John the Baptist (and everyone always went “EWWWW” when the teacher said he ate grasshoppers), the names of all 12 apostles, and other Biblical wonders. Craft time was the creating of the treasures I mentioned above – things that would now make any good Pinterest-er cringe. Recreation was tag, leap frog, hide and seek, dodge ball, kick ball, or jump rope. There were no themed games like “Space Tag”, “Beachside Hide and Seek” or anything like that; just good ol’ smacking each other with plastic balls or getting whacked with a rope. And raise your hand if you’ve had a Styrofoam cup of red Kool-ade and ate a Hydrox cookie off a napkin in the church fellowship hall more than once in your life. Because if you grew up around here, that was the staple of every VBS snack time. Even visiting a friends’ VBS, no matter the denomination, we got the Hydrox/Kool-ade combo.

I have been student, teacher, and director in all my 42 years. I have an allergy to red dye, so my Kool-ade drinking days are over, but I still love a good Hydrox cookie every now and then – especially off of a napkin in the fellowship hall. And just last week I caught myself transported back to that old sanctuary at Hudson Creek Baptist Church as I heard the words “No running in the sanctuary!” coming from my own mouth, not directed at me. VBS has changed a bit…..but I guess maybe it really hasn’t. As long as God’s love is the underlying theme, that’s what matters. 

Sort-of Camping

Originally posted in the Miami News-Record, May 31, 2015

This past year a new family joined our homeschool co-op and while I had their oldest son in my class, we hadn’t really gotten to know each other that well. Eventually I asked the husband to speak to my inventions class and they asked my son to play on their basketball team. Slowly, slowly (because turns out, we’re all just a bunch of dadgum introverts), we started testing the waters of becoming “family friends” and thankfully, it worked. Our son and their oldest are good friends (and involve the middle brother in moments of brotherly kindness), their little guy is still enchanted by my youngest, and all of us adults get along insanely well. For a bunch of introverts, that is.

Toward the end of winter we decided to have a camp-out here at our house. We had to start planning it fairly early because she’s a nurse, he’s a firefighter, and their schedules call for creativity and very little spur-of-the-moment stuff. The plan was for the boys to camp out at our pond and we girls to stay in the house in the air conditioning. I’m not opposed to tent camping; I would just rather, given the option, hang out in a house if one is nearby. (I am far more diva than redneck, no doubt.) The plan was to fish, shoot guns, watch fireworks, and my husband even got us permission to ride four-wheelers on the trails over at D-Day, the paintball place just behind our property.

After months of anticipation, the camp-out day finally arrived. They pulled in our driveway in their minivan full of a giant tent, food, fireworks, and boys. We had to re-configure the camping a bit because back in March we had no way of knowing that Oklahoma would have a monsoon season and our pond would exceed its banks, thus running every snake for higher ground. That made camping down there a seriously bad idea no matter how much emergency training anyone had. We ate lunch, visited, did some front porch sittin’, drank some sweet tea, shot a few guns, and just generally enjoyed relaxing. Finally we could put the kids off no longer and loaded up on the four-wheelers and my brother-in-law’s UTV for a very muddy, hot, and sweaty adventure. I forget how rough four-wheeler riding is on a hind-end until I ride for an hour – and then walk like my Granny Glenn for awhile after I dismount.

After our ride, about 2/3 of us stunk to high heaven thanks to some stinky, stagnant puddles and the males’ attraction to splashing their cohorts with said disgustingness. We made the boys hose off so we could stand to be around them, then sent them off to set up the fireworks display. Abby’s dog had been bitten by a snake while we were gone, so we women tried our best to get some Benadryl down her. Then we needed hosing down because we were covered in dog slobber and pond water funk. That dog hasn’t quite figured out that snakes are not fun toys.

After more gun shootin’, tea drinkin’, and porch sittin’, we roasted hot dogs on the fire pit, shot off fireworks, ate watermelon, and then when all threat of bad weather was past, the boys set up the tent close to the house, away from snakes (we hoped). Eventually, the boys settled down in their tent and we grownups kicked back in the recliners, turned on a movie (that we didn’t really watch) and visited some more. The next morning after breakfast, the men went out to build gates for our new front porch, the boys shot more guns, we moms talked curriculum, birth stories, parenting woes, and other mom-ish things. When the rain moved in, all nine of us piled onto our couches and watched “Jurassic Park”.

So….how many rednecks does it take to get dirty, drink a lot of sweet tea, and make some memories?

Apparently, for us, nine is the perfect number. 

Puppy Love

Originally published in the Miami News-Record, May 24, 2015

I’ve written about hamsters and mice and twice about our cat. Heck, I’ve even written about a possum. But I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned much about our dogs. I’m not sure why seeing as how we really love our pups.

Not quite four years ago we got a brother sister pair of German Shepherd pups from my brother-in-law. Boo and Bolt (yes, named after Disney characters) were inseparable. So much so that when they went to the vet to be fixed, the vet ended up kenneling them together because they were both so distraught at being separated. From the get-go we knew Boo was going to be rambunctious, hyperactive, and very needy while her brother Bolt has always been calm, watchful, and incredibly neurotic. He is also claustrophobic. Leave it to us to have a 100-pound dog that flips his lid when he’s enclosed in something. Making the 30 minute drive to the new house last year nearly did the poor fella in. In the winter, he will not get in his custom-made, carpet-lined barrel; he will sleep on the ground in the middle of the yard rather than get in something that might protect him. If it’s super dangerous cold, on occasion, we have convinced him to get into his also custom-made, very large and very open dog house that’s really just three walls, not a real “house”. The things we do for those dogs. When Boo disappeared last fall we were devastated and still every now and then will think we hear her bark from across the field. We miss that girl.

Last spring, our oldest began her campaign for her own puppy. She wanted a dog of her own and was determined to get one. Lo and behold, this extremely dirty, very hungry yellow lab pup just showed up in our yard. Abby didn’t even wait for her daddy to get home to ask if she could keep her – she just gave her a bath and a name and the rest is history. Today Josie is a giant, wiggling 85 pound mass of lab that has her own chair to sit in at the fire pit, but if she’s cold, will heave herself into your lap and sigh contentedly even while you struggle to breathe with that much Josie against your chest.

Our son has been on his own canine campaign since fall, but his dad didn’t want him to try to care for a puppy during winter. One day a woman at Paul’s work said her pups really needed to find new homes because their momma had stopped letting them nurse at four weeks and that the ten of them were eating her out of house and home. That very night Sam became a doggy daddy to a very fluffy, very adorable Husky/Great Pyrenees he named Hero. There isn’t much to him under a massive amount of fur, but oh goodness, is he fun to pet. He’s already learned to sit on command, and he’s a pro at peeing on the kitchen floor and biting toes. He’s a genius, I tell you. We aren’t really pets-in-the-house kind of people what with all the allergies we have, but Hero was just too tiny to leave outside since this spring has been so cold and wet. We know his time in the house is limited (I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know this), but man, are we having fun while he’s in here.

In the past two weeks I have stepped on little bits of dog food, tripped over his favorite toy (a stuffed jalapeno wearing a sombrero), and nearly broken a hip when I’ve taken a step backwards and realized he had fallen asleep right behind me. But seeing my teenage son taken such good care of this puppy that makes him lose sleep but also makes him deliriously happy at the same time, makes me a proud momma. And the skunky puppy breath kisses are just an added perk. 


Originally posted in the Miami News-Record, May 17, 2015

My Papa Leo was a dairy farmer, so I grew up around a farm. As a kid I watched my fair share of sheep shearing, cow milking, field plowing, and chicken scratching. I can still remember the smell of the milk barn – a mixture of wet concrete, feed, manure, and bovine. Even now, when I hear Waylon, Willie, and Dolly on the radio I am immediately transported back to that old barn where I’d sit on an overturned feed bucket in the corner and watch Papa with fascination. Some of my fondest, most vivid memories involve Papa’s farm. And while I’m a country girl, I am not a farm girl by any stretch.

My sister married a farmer a year and a half ago and because we’re a family that likes to do stuff together, we help them when they work cows. I didn’t really know what it meant to “work” a cow before she met Nick. I guess I had seen Papa work his when I was a kid, but I had never heard anyone call it that. To me if you say you’re going to “work” something, you are either going to put a hard hat on it or hand it a briefcase and send it to its job. I have since found out that cows aren’t keen to wear hard hats well and they certainly don’t carry briefcases.

Ever since my sister and I started having kids, I have been the designated babysitter. Everyone would get together to paint someone’s house or move someone and I was the one who volunteered to watch all the kids and cook for the folks who were working. The first time we worked cows it occurred to me that we only had teenagers and my childcare job had been made obsolete. I actually had to go work with the grownups for the first time in nearly two decades. And while I was a part of the farmhand crew, I did not come dressed for the job. I wore shorts and flip flops. Yeah, stop laughing at me. I really didn’t know what we were going to do. My sister who was five months pregnant at the time, was in her jeans and boots, wielding a cattle prod like a pro and yelling things like “GEHONOUTTAHEEYAH” and “HEY, BOSSY! GET GET GO ON!” (The first time she yelled “Bossy” I thought she was yelling at me.) So because of my inadequate attire, I got to stand behind my brother in law and hold a gun-looking contraption that he used to apply some goop to the cows’ backs. I got sunburned to a crisp. It was super fun.

The next time they worked cows I got my babysitting job back because I had a super squishy two-month-old nephew to love on in the house. But this go’round last weekend, my 16 year old niece took on the babysitting of her baby brother while I – in my tennis shoes this time – went to work with the other adults. My husband and son jumped in the corral with my Pops, sister, and brother-in-law while I just stood there shaking my head. That was not gonna happen. So Mom, bedecked with rubber gloves, handed me some syringes and some bottles of stuff and said, “I’ll get the ear tags ready, you fill syringes.” Whew. I was in a relatively poop-free zone and behind a table a good six feet from any large, scary bovine creature. Crisis averted.

I spent that day drawing up wormer, antibiotics, something for Black Leg (that sounds simply awful, glad there’s a shot for it), and even got to where I could predict how much wormer to draw up by the size of the cow in the chute. It was not altogether a bad experience. Well, at least, until the vet got there. Preg-checking and emasculating are not for the faint of heart. Holy cow.

Yeah, pun totally intended – those three soon-to-be-momma cows and that one very unfortunate steer deserve bovine sainthood. And a steak dinner. Oh wait. Nevermind.    


Originally posted in the Miami News-Record, May 10, 2015.

I spent my first Mother’s Day still mourning the loss of our first baby. I sat in my church pew that Sunday, overlooked by the folks passing out bookmarks and pins to those with babies in arms and children in pews, fighting back sobs at the emptiness inside me, the emptiness in my arms. It was my own mother who boldly left the pew and followed the man passing out the trinkets, informing him that her daughter had been overlooked. I have always loved my mother dearly, but that Sunday in 1995 I had a powerful adult realization: she was always going to look out for me, she was always going to stand up for me, she was always going to defend me.

Before Abby was born I remember thinking about how I was going to do everything “right”. I was armed with books, magazines, pamphlets, and all the latest information from Dr. T. Berry Brazelton’s daytime TV show. And speaking of TV, I was only going to let her watch shows on PBS. She was going to be breast-fed until she was a year old. She was going to have the most adorable clothes and was always going to have that “baby smell”. The introduction of new foods was going to be done by following a strict chart provided by her pediatrician. She was going to have all of her immunizations on time. Her baby book was going to be one that other mothers would envy. And most of all I was going to protect her fiercely.

Then she got here and refused to nurse. She developed a case of reflux that rivaled something from The Exorcist. We went through every formula on the market and they all smelled bad, thus canceling out my dreams of perpetual “baby smell”. Her “smell” was baby barf with only underlying hints of Baby Magic. While I stuck with PBS shows as long as I could, I ended up crumbling under the pressure of Nick Jr. and she became obsessed with “Blue’s Clues”.  She refused to eat any baby food that wasn’t a fruit or sweet potatoes and green beans made her vomit violently.(It was this that prompted my tearful call to the Gerber hotline where a very sweet operator told me, “Ma’am….did you ever think that maybe she just doesn’t like green beans?” Hmh, no, not that had not occurred to me….) She had ice cream at Braum’s with her Gram, Grandma Ginger and Papa Jim when she was only four months old. The one thing I almost did sort of the way I had planned was her baby book. I wrote down a lot of infinitesimal things that don’t mean much to me now, but compared to her sister’s baby book which merely states her name, I am counting it as a victory. 

Few things have gone as I planned. I planned on two children, a boy and a girl. I have three. I had visions of red caps and gowns and getting misty-eyed to “Pomp and Circumstance” at their graduations. Now we homeschool and Abby’s graduation was celebrated with nary cap nor gown. Instead of always having the right answer, I sometimes answer with “Because I said so” and I don’t even feel bad about it anymore. I have also on more than one occasion locked myself in the bathroom to eat a candy bar so I wouldn’t have to share it. I have swatted, smacked, spanked, and grounded. I have cried, laughed, sighed, smiled, patted, and rocked. I’m not always sure I’m doing this whole Mom thing “right”.

Before I even knew she did, my momma had my back. She may not have always agreed with me, but she has always trusted me and empowered me to make my decisions and own the outcome, no matter what. I hope and pray I am doing my kids the same service. And at the end of it all, I hope my kids have the same assurance I have had for 42 years now – that their momma would do anything for them.

Thank you, Mom. You are still and always will be the wind beneath my wings.  

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...