Parenting

I Want My Mommy!

Today I miss my mom.  It’s not that I don’t miss her every day, but today the gaping hole in my chest where my parents used to be was hurting more. 

I had been doing so much better, I was moving forward, getting things done and looking forward to the future and SLAM, grief strikes again.  I hate that. 

Grief has a way of popping up at times and turning the world upside down when you least expect it.  It’s just the way it works unfortunately.  The name of this round of grief is called – “things I wish I’d done differently.”  The worst part of this round was not thinking of the things I would have done differently with my parents, (I went thru that part last year). 

This was about things I wish I’d done differently in other areas of my life, with my ex-husband, my kids, my school days, and all the time I wasted doing stuff that didn’t really matter or turn out the way I wanted in the end. 

My kids are growing up so fast and I still have questions, but no more answers.  There are things that they bring up and do that I don’t know how to approach, so I make suggestions and do research.  I feel inadequate at times, though I know it’s not true. 

If my mom were here she would listen to my worries and insecurities and tell me to “suck it up,” and “karma works,” then smile and even laugh at me because I put her through many of the same issues and how well I remember that. 

The things we thought were so fun as kids – like staying out too late, and talking on the phone all night, are not so funny as a parent.  Life is a circle, that’s for sure.

I am thankful for the time I had with my mom and my dad.  I’m thankful they always had my best interests at heart, even though they didn’t always understand me. 

I am thankful I have two daughters, that remind me that life goes on and sometimes you have to look back to appreciate where you came from before you can go forward. 

Cherry Coley (c)

Believe and Keep Walking

“If you believe, really believe, then you will persist.” – Zig Ziglar

Life can get hard at times, especially when you are a single parent.  There are days when working, trying to make ends meet, running all the errands, helping with homework, trying to keep up with everyone’s schedule and still have enough time to eat or rest seems next to impossible.

I can’t tell you the number of nights I collapsed into bed, exhausted and crying out for God to somehow hear me and make things easier or me stronger. 

I believe He did both.  There have been times when I didn’t know where our next meal would come from and a bag of groceries would be sitting in front of our door, or an envelope with a gift card to Walmart or Target

We’ve had coworkers or neighbors offer rides and help when needed.  We’ve had coats given, bags of clothes donated and our needs met when we didn’t think they would be.

There have been many days when the only thing to do was to put one foot in front of the other and keep on walking no matter the circumstances.

I have been laid off, and provided for until I found other work.  Time after time we have lived through hardship, prayed, kept going by faith and things would work out the way they were meant too.

No one ever said life would be easy, if they told you that then they either have been lying or haven’t experienced life.  Yet, life has a way of giving back what you put into it.  Through the generosity of others we survived hardship and adversity and in turn were able to be generous and pass on the blessing when we could.

We are all here to help each other on this journey, never underestimate the power of a kind word or action, and when the going gets rough, just keep believing and persist in moving forward.

Cherry Coley ©

Musicals, My Dad and Me

My parents had a love for the musicals.  My brother performed in several musicals in high school like “Music Man,” “Oklahoma” and “South Pacific.”  It was when I was working at the bookstore and musicals were first available on video that we all acquired a nice appreciation and greater love for them.

 My dad and I loved “Singing in the Rain” the most, I think.  We would pop some popcorn and watch that movie on nights when it was raining outside and he would go off to bed, singing either “Singing in the Rain” or “Good Morning.”  His other favorite musical of all time was “Anchor’s Aweigh.”  Since he was in the Navy he recognized and sang along with many of the songs, and of course, he loved Gene Kelly.

 I set about collecting all the musicals and Disney movies that B. Dalton Bookseller would let me order.  They were better than just about anything on television even back then.  We both teared up watching Bambi and laughed at memories of Pinocchio.  Pinocchio was my first movie at the movie theatre and it was also the first time I successfully dumped a large coke all over my lap then spilled the popcorn trying to get up, (I was about 4 yrs. old I think).

 I got to watch musicals like “American in Paris,” “Oklahoma,” “Music Man,” “Show Boat,” “South Pacific,” Unsinkable Molly Brown,” “The King and I,” “Carousel,” “The Sound of Music,” “State Fair,” “Mary Poppins,” and of course the holiday classics like “Holiday Inn” and “White Christmas.”   We watched them, sang with them, and later I shared them with my kids and clapped as they twirled around the room singing and dancing the steps while the music played. 

 My dad loved cartoons too, we spent many hours watching classic cartoons like “Casper”, “Mighty Mouse,” “Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes,” as well as the new musical animation like “Little Mermaid” and “Lion King.”  He was always really happy to babysit the kids because they brought the latest animated movies with them.  He even liked “Jimmy Neutron.”

 I loved watching movies with my dad, he was always so sentimental.  He would tear up like me on the mushy parts and then clear his throat a few times to cover it up.  Yes, he loved the action movies, westerns, and war movies too and watched those quiet often as well, but he had a tender side too and I’m very thankful to have had a dad that was not hesitant to show that.

 Cherry Coley ©

Siblings, Gotta Love Them

I love my children.  They are beautiful, talented, highly imaginative, very opinionated and independent girls.  They are complete opposites in many ways and alike in others.  It’s all fuel for the sibling rivalry that crops up now and then and roars through a lot like a Texas tornado.  I hate it when they don’t get along.

 Have you ever stopped to wonder why God, in His infinite wisdom thinks it’s so funny (I’m convinced He does) to put such different people in the same family and under the same roof?  I have.  I have sat in wonder at how both girls are artistic, but draw so differently which reflects how differently they see things.  I have watched one try to force an opinion or viewpoint on the other and tempers flare because of the disagreement. 

 I personally think that God doesn’t do this paring up of people just for kicks.   I learned many valuable lessons from my brother growing up, though we are opposites in so many ways.  I learned that while I like piano music, I am not one to play it for hours and hours until I learn the song the way it’s supposed to be played.  I would gingerly practice a little every day and make some progress while he would hammer things out until it was perfect, which of course meant that the teachers loved him, not me. 

 From my brother I learned that some people can be pushed too hard and you’d either better be able to run fast, hide quick, or prepare to be pummeled.  I learned that if I kept him up all night telling scary stories that he would (while I wasn’t looking) roll the eyes back in my dolls so they looked white, put their arms out and fake vampire blood on their mouths and terrorize me in return. 

 From my brother I learned such skills as: anger management, organizational skills – to clean my half of the room first (before he could put all the stuff on my bed), and disaster training – had to get my miniatures out of the log cabins before Godzilla stomped my village. I also learned excellent spying skills including: eavesdropping, how to find secret stashes of the other people in the house, and how to un-wrap Christmas packages and re-wrap so no one knew.  I also learned how to negotiate chores for cash and that, in general, boys do not like dish cloths and would rather do yard work than dishes.

 My brother was also the one who taught me how to drive and while he cringed at the way I drove through Whataburger and stopped 20 times before getting up to the window, he never out right laughed at me.  I was thankful for that.   

 Because of my brother and an argument we had over whether Ms. Beasley could magically talk or was a robot of some kind, we now know for certain that she had a tape recorder hooked up to a string in her back because of a difficult surgery that left her forever sounding like a chipmunk, and with really bad stitches in her butt.

 My brother and I did not always get along; in fact, there were times we stayed pretty far away from each other.  One thing I have always known is that if there were some kind of trouble and I needed a defender, he would be there for me and I for him.  Siblings might fight each other in petty squabbles, but they don’t allow someone from the outside to step in and go after their brother or sister.

 My girls don’t always get along either, but God help the stupid people out there when someone tries to hurt one of them because the other one will quite literally go after them, hunt them down and make their life miserable. 

 All that being said, I think it is obvious that God puts different people in our lives so that we can learn from them, grow with them, love them, protect them, and to remind us that life should be handled with a sense of humor, a dash of tolerance and a load of patience.  I am thankful for my family mixture of personalities.

 Cherry Coley ©

Thank you for Fathers

Today is a day to be thankful for the men in your life.  Fathers have a very important role in guiding and protecting it is sure, but there are so many men that are mentors, helpers, supporters of those with absent fathers, or fathers who are serving, away working jobs, or just don’t have all the time they need to be the dad they wish they could be. 

Thank you to all of the men who take the time to help a child or a single mom.  Thank you for your kindness, your patience, your sense of humor, your guidance and protection at times.  Thank you for teaching a child to read, showing them how to open a door for someone else, or tie their shoe. 

Thank you for being who you are and know that even the smallest seed of kindness today, can grow into something wonderful later.

Cherry Coley (c)

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s day is a holiday that became official in 1914, and is not celebrated all over the world.  Why not, being a mother should be celebrated and enjoyed. 

My mom was an older mother.  She wanted to be a mom all of her life, it was something she yearned for from the moment she got married.  Yet, nature’s idea of “when” is not always the same as what we think it should be.  She hated going to church on Mother’s day.

Each Mother’s day the church would make a huge deal of recognizing different mother’s including; the oldest mom, the mom with the most children, the newest mom, the mom with the most generations present,  and the mother with the most grandchildren.  They would ask them to come down to the front of the church and give out flowers, bibles, or pins. 

My mom hated the entire ceremony, mostly because she sat in misery for years wishing and wanting children and wasn’t able to have any of her own.   She threw herself into working in the nursery, vacation bible school, teaching, and everything else to do with children.  Yet, there was a vacancy in her life.  Finally, mom was able to have children and fill that space in her heart, but what about the many women that can’t?

I love Mother’s day.  Yet, I have to say that my life has been filled with so many wonderful women that were mentors to me, many of which were not mothers.  Instead they were teachers, choir directors, drivers, artists, writers, story tellers, bosses, and entrepreneurs. 

Women generally are the nurtures, the tender touch, the comforters and gentle guides by nature, whether they are mothers or not.  So be kind, not just to the mother’s tomorrow, but to the women in your life.  We all play a part in each other’s lives each and every day, let us use this time as a reminder to appreciate and look for the best in each other.

Cherry Coley ©

Grief and Birthdays

If there is one thing I have come to realize the last few weeks it’s that grief is completely unpredictable, and that it will not be ignored.  You will not skip by it, you will not just put it off until later, you will get doubled over and knocked down, and then struggle to keep some sort of composure as you muddle through the day.

 I have just been sort of going through the motions the last few days, putting one foot in front of the other and acting like everything is fine.  It’s not fine; it doesn’t seem real at all.  At least 4-5 times I started up the road and thought, “I have to call mom,” then would remember that she’s not there to call.  Then my mind would do this weird flip flop of trying to reject that fact and act like it was all just a bad dream.  If only we lived in soap opera land that might be true.  Then again, I’m not one to stand around plotting and worrying all day. 

 Somehow I just didn’t plan for this rollercoaster, and feel like I should have seen it coming, I should have anticipated or something.  You see, my birthday is tomorrow.  It’s never been that big of a deal for any of us.  We don’t go way out of the way, or celebrate for weeks or a month, or anything like that.  I am not really sure why, we just never have. 

 Yet, every year my mom would call me at 5 minutes until 5 o’clock and say, “Well, it’s about time you woke up!  (insert year)’s ago you kept me up all night long waiting for you to get here!  Happy Birthday!”  Then later on we would meet up and she would have made a cake and have written out a card.  It didn’t hit me until this weekend that I wouldn’t hear that message that used to make me smile and roll my eyes at the same time. 

 This last Saturday, my oldest daughter went to her Senior Prom.  She was simply beautiful, so very grown up looking in her dress with her boyfriend by her side.  I had to work so I wasn’t sure I would get to see them before they went to Prom, but they waited and made a special trip to come back by the house so I could snap a few pictures.  It was a bittersweet moment, I am so amazed at how much she’s matured and has really grown into a wonderful person, I was nailed again thinking how my parents would have loved to see her all dressed up.

 My youngest daughter went to a friend’s house to stay so it was just me, the dog, the cat and boxes of stuff to go through.  I was at a really low moment on Saturday, and just let myself cry for a while, talking to my mom as is she was there with me in the room.  At one point I asked, “Why, Mom, Why did you leave?  Why aren’t you here now?”    It was then I looked in the drawer of a cabinet, and found an envelope. 

 I turned the envelope over and pulled out a birthday card from my mom.  There was no date on it, but I know it must’ve been one from the last few years.  There she had written “Happy Birthday, Cherry.  If wishes were dollars, we’d both be rich.  I have so many wonderful wishes for you, and in the end, it’s the thoughts and wishes that count the most anyway.  Love, Mom”

 Thanks, Mom, you have NO idea how much I needed that!  Then again, maybe you do.

 Cherry Coley ©

 

Unfinished Treasure

My mom was crocheting a tablecloth.  It was a project she started about two years ago or so.  She had crocheted a tablecloth for my brother and his wife and asked if I wanted one.   I said yes, but not the same pattern.

The pattern we chose was called Cathedral Window.  She kept telling me over and over through all the time she was working on it that she didn’t think she would live to see it finished.  She had a terrible time with gout and arthritis, but she worked on it whenever she could.  I told her if it was too hard, then don’t worry, but she wouldn’t hear of it, she was determined.

Truthfully, I think it was finished, but she loved the pattern and the challenge, so she kept on working on it.  So, technically she was right, because she was in the middle of a row and so it wasn’t really finished when she passed away.  I am unsure what to do with it.  Should I try to finish it?  Should I leave it as it is and put it in a display case?  Should I have the last row removed and a border put around it to complete it?  I just don’t know.

I love it, but it makes me sad because it was on her lap, she had been working on it when she left us.  For now I am going to gently pack it and preserve it for when I can look at it with a clear thought process and perhaps a heart a little more healed before I decide what to do.

I miss you, Mom.

End of a Hard Week

This week has been hard.   There have been a lot of odd things to deal with in many areas.  One of the things I was working really hard on fell through and it completely threw me off track. 

My dad’s cat passed away and somehow that was like losing another piece of both of my parents again.  Yet he was an old cat and just got sick, so it was one of those things. 

I suppose there are times when the days will just seem harder, longer than others.  I don’t like it, just for the record.

I found myself spreading myself way too thin on too many things.  I still have a ton to unpack and sort through.  I will be going along and making good progress, then I’ll run across a stack of coasters my mom crocheted and get lost in the memory of sitting and talking to her while she made them. 

Or I’ll run across some pictures, an old card or note, and will just wind up staring at it for a long while not realizing how much time has passed. 

This week has also been a week of nightmares.  Sleepless nights and what sleep there was to be had was tainted with dreams of searching through fog and darkness trying to find my way.  It’s a mirror to how I’ve felt this week. 

Today, I just didn’t feel good.  Worn out tired from restlessness, allergies that are trying to turn into a cold and worry over our little dog who managed to somehow hurt himself yesterday.  Lord, I really don’t need all this right now.  I was able to get some medicine and go home to take a nap this afternoon and that made a world of difference.

Some weeks are just harder than others for no particular reason, just a lot of odd and unrelated stuff.  One thing I’ve noticed to be true though is that before good things happen, often there is a time of trail and struggles.  I am choosing to think that this week is a precursor to a much better week next week. 

Cherry Coley ©