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Never Say Never When You’re Hodgepodging

The Hodgepodge…it’s the happening thing today.  Join in by linking up with Joyce!  Since I’m in a rush (it’s 2:30pm and I’m only now answering my questions), let’s get to it!

1.  Do you find yourself influencing your world, or is it more the other way around? 

I usually think of myself as a follower; however, the longer I teach, and the older I get, I’m discovering that I’m becoming more of a leader.  This could be due to maturity.  It’s probably confidence.  As such, I think I am influencing my world through my work in the classroom, my sharing (or oversharing, as the Mr. would say) on social media, and my blogging.  I’m not as quick to jump in on trends (hello, Pokemon Go…no thank you).

2.  July 14th is National Tape Measure Day…the device was patented on this date in 1868. When did you last use a tape measure? Do you always know where to find one in your house? Tell us one way in which you feel blessed ‘beyond measure’. 

I last used a tape measure two days ago when trying to determine how much fabric I would need to line two stockings I just finished knitting.

I keep this particular tape measure in my knitting bag.  I also have a tape measure by my workout DVDs so I can do before and after comparisons.

We have a couple of tape measures in the toolbox in the garage as well.

How am I blessed beyond measure?  I’d say with my husband and my children.  They are my world.  I am so grateful that God has allowed me the privilege of being a mom to two amazingly independent and successful children and having a husband who loves me the way he does.

3.  The Plaza Hotel (Eloise), The Land of Oz (The Wizard of Oz), Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia), The Hundred Acre Wood (Winnie the Pooh), Wonderland (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), or Never Never Land (Peter Pan)…which storybook land (on this list!) would you most like to visit and why? 

I think I’d visit Never Never Land because it’s a place where you can indulge your inner child.  That’s so important in this modern day of technology and rushed schedules.  Getting back to the simple pleasures in life sounds like paradise.

4.  Where and when do you get your best ideas? 

My best ideas ALWAYS come to me in the shower.  It’s the oddest thing, but I’ve noticed this trend for a few years now.  I suspect that I’m most relaxed in the shower, with the hot water working out the tension of my day.  I’ve had the BEST lesson plan ideas while I’m in the shower.  I kid you not.

5.  So what have you been watching on TV this summer? Anything good? 

I love my summertime, non-teaching schedule.  My go-to shows are Big Brother, Next Food Network Star, MasterChef, Wayward Pines, and the Olympic trials.  I watched the EUFA tournament (Euro Soccer)…so much fun!! I’ve also got Netflix, so I’ve been working my way though Agents of Shield.  Oh, and there’s been a lot of Chopped playing on the TV.

6.  ‘Don’t swim for an hour after you eat’, ‘Dog days of summer’, ‘Knee high by the Fourth of July’…choose a summer saying from the list or share one of your own, then tell us what image or memory comes to mind when you hear it spoken.

I’ll go with “dog days of summer.”  I’m spending a lot of time with my fur babies.  They are so funny and just plain old precious.

I took this video of Pele.  He loves bath time, so I thought he would like his own little pool.  You can see from his reaction that this wasn’t quite the case.

7.  In a single sentence, sum up one life lesson you’ve learned. 

My current motto is this:  “She believed she could, and so she did.”

It’s a motto I came across after I started “running” (more like walk/jogging) last fall.

It’s a motto that says so much to me.  I have always lacked self confidence.  I have NEVER lacked determination.  Because of that determination, when I set a goal, I usually obtain it.  It doesn’t matter if it’s getting back into shape, becoming a teacher, or learning a new skill.  I don’t let obstacles get in my way.

8.  My Random Thought

Yesterday, I had to move some things to get to my sewing machine (an epic fail, by the way).

One of the things I moved was this picture…

Oh y’all.  This picture took me back…wayyyyyyy back.  These two have my heart.  My Chicky is still every bit as spunky as you see hinted at in that mischievous smile of hers, and my Rooster is still just as cute as ever.  Both are grown and pursuing careers of their own.  I miss them so much and treasure the memories that flood in whenever I give myself a moment or two to gaze upon their faces in the framed photos that are sprinkled around my house.

Four Weeks Ago – Town Liberty

Four weeks ago, we were spending the Saturday of BMT graduation weekend with our boy.

I put on a couple of pins I’d purchased the day before at the BX.

I’d purchased four of them, unable to make up my mind.

There were no ceremonies to attend that day, so we sat at the mini mall and waited for Rooster to arrive.  His dorm was right beside us.

We were eager.  So were other parents.  The place was packed!  You could hear the excitement as we began seeing Airmen arrive.  They were all decked out in their blues…the uniform of the day.  Most were wearing short sleeves because it was so hot.  Rooster was wearing his new Air Force jacket.  He looked so dapper!

We quickly headed out, not wanting to waste a minute!

The first order of business was taking pictures.  Rooster’s girl wanted to have some pictures taken at the parade grounds, so although it was overcast, that’s where we went.

There wasn’t anyone else around, so we didn’t feel self conscious.  I took a lot of pictures.

This is a panorama I took…

I saw this monument, a tribute to the four legged soldiers who help in the fight to secure our freedom.

We decided to drive back to the Riverwalk.  We weren’t exactly sure what our plans were, though.

On the way, I remembered that the USO has a branch there, and that they serve lunch on Saturdays.  After parking the car, we walked the rest of the way there.

I continued to be amazed by the people who thanked Rooster for his service as they passed by.  ❤

The USO was a welcome sight.  I’ve always heard good things about this organization.

The volunteers who greeted us were friendly, and their smiles were genuine.  We saw this sign by the front desk…

This place was so homey!  There were several rooms in it, all furnished with comfortable seating and other amenities such as gaming systems, televisions, and computers.

It’s hard to believe that this place is run through generous donations!!

We decided not to eat lunch there.  Instead, we headed to the Saltgrass Steakhouse, which Rooster had heard a fellow Airman rave about.  Getting there was an interesting adventure.  Google Maps didn’t help a whole lot.  Eventually, we found our way back to the Riverwalk, where the restaurant was located.

All I can say about the place is WOW!  The service was incredible!  From the time we walked in, we were made to feel special.  Rooster, especially, got the star treatment, as he should have.  He wasn’t the only new Airman dining there.  It made my heart soar to see how kind everyone was toward him and how humbly he took the attention.

The food was delicious!  Yes, it was pricey, but it was worth every penny!  We left with full bellies and another precious memory to tuck away.

After lunch, we made our way back to our car and, ultimately, back to the hotel.  Rooster was exhausted, as were we.  Everyone needed a rest.

On the way back to the car, we saw this…

All was fun until we saw the poop the horse left behind.  Yuck!  What a stink!

Getting back to the hotel didn’t take long.  We’d gotten fairly comfortable navigating the roads by then.

We gave Rooster time to nap while I went on another mission…yarn store hunting!  I’d found one conveniently close to the hotel and got the Mr. and his mom to go with me.

This store was located in a strip mall.  What a hidden treasure!  I should have taken a picture of the inside, but I forgot.  When I walked in, there must have been a class going on because there were quite a few people sitting on couches knitting!!  All I wanted to do was look at the yarn, and what an assortment!  The store owner directed me to a section of locally dyed yarn, which I was all about since it was, after all, like a vacation, and buying something locally made would count as a souvenir.

I couldn’t make up my mind and bought three skeins…

The yarn was dyed according to themes.  I couldn’t pass up the Gambit…it was meant to be since Rooster’s dog’s name is Gambit.  I loved the Jedi.  I am a huge Star Wars ban.  I loved the skein you see below.  I’m all about Harry Potter!

By the time we got back to the hotel, Rooster was awake.  We decided to head to dinner.  We knew we would probably have to wait in line, and we wanted to make sure we got him back in time for his curfew.  The Air Force is very strict with curfews; Airmen, even recently graduated, can get recycled back if they break such rules.

We ate a little fancier that night…an early celebration of Rooster’s birthday.  He wouldn’t be turning 22 until that Monday, the 30th, but we wouldn’t be with him that day (sniff, sniff).

The place was PACKED.  I was nervous about getting served in ample time to get him back; however, a quick conversation with our server alleviated that concern.  She must have had a chat with someone in the kitchen because our food came out very quickly.

Rooster and his girl even got dessert…a luxury.  He was full when he finished.

Mission accomplished.

We got him back in plenty of time to meet curfew.  He was, once again, tired.  The poor guy.  BMT is a stressful and strenuous training process.  Not only are future Airmen away from loved ones, but they are performing overnight security details and physical training exercises that most are not used to.  It’s no wonder that they crave sleep.

Turning out the lights that night was bittersweet.  I knew that Sunday would be my last day with my boy.  For the time being, I tried just to enjoy the time I had.  I didn’t want sadness to creep in and steal away my joy.

A Perfect Saturday

Saturdays are simply wonderful, don’t you think?

I purposely don’t plan a lot because after a whole week of teaching, I’m exhausted.

The Mr. and I had loosely made some plans, but we had not exactly firmed them up.  As such, when he got up, I asked if he wanted to still go, and he half-heartedly said yes.

We loaded up the towels, sunscreen, and the Yeti cooler he’d purchased last year and headed out.

Our destination?

The beach!

Y’all, we really do have some of the prettiest beaches in the world.  They are light colored and debris-free.

We stopped for ice, gave half of the bag to a nice lady in the parking lot who only needed a little bit for her own adventure with her kids, and headed out.

We found the BEST spot…fairly close to the water…not too close to kids who could kick sand onto our little oasis…not too far from the restrooms.

This is the beach I grew up going to on vacation.

It is home.

It didn’t take me long to settle in.

My new bathing suit…one of four the Mr. bought me for this summer season…fit perfectly.  My new beach body, courtesy of the two Beach Body programs I’ve completed since September, had me wearing the suit confidently.

We were careful and reapplied sunscreen every hour after trips to the water to cool off.

I got in a lot of reading time.  In between chapters, the Mr. and I exchanged small bits of conversation.  The day was so relaxing.

People watching was about as much fun as anything else.  Watching college guys try to pick up four girls seated not too far from us made us chuckle.  Oh, to be young again, eh?  Not really though.  😉

We stayed until 4pm.  I took one last photo of the beach.  So pretty.

Before we headed home, we ate at a little indoor/outdoor restaurant on the beach.  We’d visited it last year and had enjoyed the food.  My vegetable tacos (salsa, rice and beans, and lettuce) were divine.

As we left, Chicky called.  My heart seriously soared.  I had not talked to her in over a week, much longer than the allotted amount of time.  ❤

When we got home, we had a letter from Rooster waiting in the mail.  He’s doing so well in basic training…really stepping up to the plate.  Missing him is so hard, but hearing that he’s adjusted to a new routine makes things a little easier to bear.  ❤

Saturday was the perfect day.

The Best Read Aloud EVER

Today, after completing a virtual run (more about that in a later post), I arrived home to find something special in the mail…

My heart beat a little faster when I saw THREE letters from Rooster.

Three!!!!

This is the first “real” written communication, other than the postcard that arrived last week, that I’d received since he left two weeks ago.

The Mr. was out shopping, and I texted him the news.  I knew I had to wait until he got home to open the envelopes.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long.

I sat down at the dining room table while the Mr. stood.

Anxious much?

We opened the envelopes and determined the order in which we should read the letters.  Rooster had dated each one.  Thank goodness!

And thus began the best read aloud ever.

The first letter started off with, “I’m doing well.”

Yes, we needed to hear these sentiments.  It was a good way to begin.

He said that he liked his MTIs (military training instructors), and that he’d been sick the first day he was there.  Oh, that was hard to read.  Who likes their babies being sick when we can’t tend to them?

The letter was brief.  We didn’t care.

On to letter #2.  It was even shorter and told us to ask for details from his girl, to whom he’d written much more.  Ahem.  At least he wrote!!

Letter #3 got us in our “feels.”  It was the longest of the three.

He told us that he missed us a lot.

I’m crying even as I write this now, just as I did when I read those words the first time.

He told us about specific things he missed.

The waterworks were on full-blast at this point.  The moments he shared were exactly what we’d been missing too.

He explained why he hadn’t been able to call and when he expected to be able to phone us next.  It won’t be soon enough, let me tell you.

The most precious words he shared were “Love you guys!”

Y’all, I read aloud for a living.  It’s what I do as a reading teacher.

Today, reading my sweet boy’s personally handwritten letters put my fluency skills to the test.

The emotions were raw.

I will tell you one thing that is good about not being able to communicate via the phone.

Writing letters back and forth is forcing us to talk the old-school way.  It’s a lost art form, precious but rare.

The Mr. and I have written our Rooster letters (we each write our own) every single day, starting with the night before he left (we snuck those into his travel bag, which he found his first night).

It’s probably no surprise to you that I find the process cathartic.  I NEED to write to process my feelings.

I look at each letter as a continuous conversation with the son who would sit and chat with me for hours about random stuff.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I will be the happiest mama on earth when he gets his phone back after basic training is over; however, I’m choosing to look for silver linings in my current circumstances…to find joy in the smallest of things.

Seeing my boy’s handwriting, taking note of his excellent grammar (I did something right as a mother and English specialist), and holding pieces of paper that he held three or four days prior lifts my spirits and helps ease the anxiety of not being able to hear his voice whenever I want.

I pray that these special read alouds are repeated…often…hanky in hand…heartstrings pulled taut.  These will be treasured moments, tucked into my heart to be pulled out time and again as I remind myself just how blessed I am.

The Art of Letting Go

Last summer, on July 9th, I was awakened by Rooster.  He said, “Mama, I’ve decided to join <insert certain military branch>.  I’m going up to MEPS to take the ASVAB.  See you in two days.”

That was it.

It was quite out of the blue and a bit of a shock.

Then, he left.

I spent the next two days crying, uncertain of what this meant for him…for us…for the future.

Don’t get me wrong.  I was proud.  My boy had always been extremely patriotic; however, nobody in our family had served in the armed forces before, so this was going to be a brand new experience for all of us.

It was at this point that my mama heart broke a little…a lot…as I officially began wrestling with letting go.

Through conversations with my sweet young man…through the dialogue that opened up…we began investigating and exploring his career goals.  In this way, we shared the burden of uncertainty, lightening the load as we began to forage our way toward this new season of our lives.

His dreams became mine as I did what I’d always done and walked beside him, figuratively holding his hand, watching the excitement in his eyes as he envisioned a future filled with service and adventure.

As the months passed, he continued preparing his body for service.  He quit his job, worked out diligently at the gym, and went running several times a week.  He had a few disappointments as he waited for jobs to come open (that’s how this branch of the military works).  We didn’t know exactly when he would be leaving.  All I knew was that every single moment with him was a countdown toward the time I’d have to say goodbye.  I was going to make the most of those moments.

Although I put full effort into my professional life, I began to balance it out with home and family.  My goal was to spend as much quality time with Rooster as possible.  I was also grateful for a laid-back summer of working out with him at the gym and fixing him lunch afterward.  Those conversations at the table were priceless then, for I did see their value, but became even more so when I went back to school and lost that time with him.

We were able to get through a September trip to Universal, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and a January trip back to Universal before he got offered a position he couldn’t refuse.  He received his ship date shortly afterward.

My heart broke a little more when I got the news at work.  I rejoiced with Rooster but began to quietly lament the shortened time with him.

In the midst of all of that, Rooster met the girl of his dreams.  I’ve talked about her before.

Well, the Friday that my Spring Break began, March 18, they got engaged!  It was done in Rooster’s way.  We were fortunate to be there, and I snapped photos.  Despite the rain (it must have rained for a week and a half straight), he got down on one knee, and she accepted from the hood of her green rain jacket.

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The Mr. and I would not have an empty nest just yet when he would leave.

Time flew.  Lord have mercy, but it flew.

This past weekend was hard in many ways.  I knew it would be the last time he would be in my home as my baby.  He and his girl spent Sunday packing up his room.  He had done some cleaning out but not enough, apparently.

We had a lovely dinner Sunday night and sat for two or three hours afterward…TV turned off…enjoying sweet conversations with one another.  This time will replay itself in my mind when I need to feel close to him.

While he was out spending precious time with his girl, I sat down and wrote him a book letter.  Ok.  So it was four pages long.

Ahem.

After reading something about not being mushy on a Facebook support group I joined a couple of weeks ago, I decided to give him the shortened version…along with the longer one.

I smuck the letters into his bag when he wasn’t looking.

And then Monday…yesterday.

Oh heavens.

Rooster was beside himself happy, although he played it cool.  I did everything in my power to hold myself together.  Breaking down in front of him wasn’t in my plans, although we had, throughout the months, talked very openly about how hard his leaving would be for me.

When we got up to leave yesterday, he was kind and allowed me to snap a few last pictures.

They are priceless to me.

I prayed for him before we left, and then we drove him to the recruiter’s office where we sat in the parking lot for an hour watching the time creep up to when we would have to say goodbye.

It was like ripping a band aid off a wound.  Fast.  No warning, really.

And then he was gone.

Just as he’d done when we left him at college, he never looked back as he walked away.

We texted back and forth yesterday and today.  He had to go back to MEPS and go through his swearing-in ceremony and last-minute medical checks, before flying to basic training today.

But yesterday.  Folks, I did the ugly cry a time or two or three during the day.  I had taken the day off from school, thank heavens, and while out shopping had a fit of crying in the Michael’s parking lot.

That’s my “I’m really going to miss my son” face.  😦

I did have some better moments.  The day was too lovely to waste completely on sadness.

Still, the nighttime was hard, and I went to bed exhausted.

I did the cry thing three or four times today…even at school.  My students were very sweet and understanding.  I waited for news of Rooster’s travel itinerary.  He had a few hours of flying ahead of him after a 3:45 wake-up call.

I got a minute-long phone call when he landed, and he sounded happy and strong.  This phone call did my heart so much good.  I’d spent two days crying on and off, and I needed to know he’d be okay.

And now I sit…and wonder…how bad is he getting yelled out by the MTIs?  Is he in bed (hopefully so after the early start to the day)?  How in the world am I going to fill eight weeks with busy-ness so that I won’t feel as though time has stopped?  I’m already looking forward to attending his graduation.

He’s gone off to be rebuilt into the military’s version of a good service member.

I know he’ll do himself and us proud.

I hope I’ve done him proud by how I let him go.  I hope I did it gracefully.  I hope I left no doubt how much I love him and cherish the time I had as a hands-on mama.

A Little Bit of Sun, A Little Bit of Spanish

Yes, I’ve been quiet for the last little while.

I have lots of excuses…fatigue from teaching…other online responsibilities…laziness.

Today, though, I decided to venture back to share how my children blessed my day.

It started yesterday when I received the following…

For years, sunflowers have been my flower-of-choice.  It all started when I began growing them when we lived in Coral Springs.

Chicky developed an affinity for sunflowers, and I’ve often surprised her with sunflower arrangements.

This weekend, she took it upon herself to treat me.

I cried when I saw them.  Chicky is not overly demonstrative with her love, and we have battled one another for years in true mother-daughter fashion.

It appears as if reconciliation has begun, and my heart is filled with joy.

The ray of sunshine from these flowers will illuminate my soul long after the flowers wither away.

Rooster was not to be outdone.

After church today, he presented me with the following card…

Now folks, you must realize that we speak no Spanish.  He took Latin in high school.

He knew that I’m rather silly, so he thought it would be fun to give me this card.

I did chuckle.

Then, he typed the words on the card into Google translator and emerged from his room able to tell me what the card said…that I’m marvelous (maravillosa), and that words cannot express (empezar) how much he loves me.

He also told me that I would never forget this card.

That’s for sure!

I am so blessed to be a mother and thank my heavenly Father for the gift of motherhood.

My children fill the empty places that pervaded my heart before I had my babies.

They fulfill my need to take care of people.

They keep me grounded (boy, do they ever).

More recently, they show me love in return.

That’s How You Celebrate!

People have already been asking me if I’ve enjoyed my Spring Break, now that it’s almost over.

I can say, with all honesty, that it’s been the best one to date!

I got to do everything I’d hoped…

Yarn shopped…clothing shopped…stayed up late and sort-of-slept in…

The best part, though, was spending a few days with Chicky!

Chicky and her roommate, K, drove up to visit on Thursday, walking in the door an hour and a half earlier than originally planned.

Do you have grown children?

If not, you have yet to experience the joy of welcoming one back home.

I’d spent the entire afternoon cooking, and the girls were ready to chow down, beginning with the vegan-friendly Cowboy Caviar

For dinner, we ate Parmesan Chicken over Lemon Butter Pasta.

I ate my Daniel Fast Black Bean Soup.

For dessert, I’d made another batch of brownies, as well as a double-recipe of Velveteen Cupcakes…

The frosting on those cupcakes is very messy, and I’m a bit ashamed; however, after spending over five hours in the kitchen, I was simply happy that 1) The frosting turned out well and 2) That there was an end to the cooking.

We watched Catching Fire after dinner before turning in for the night.

Friday was a bust as far as venturing out.  It poured like crazy here, so I stayed inside.

For dinner, we met some of the people in our Small Group.  We went to a Mexican restaurant across the bridge and had a lovely time.  It’s a place meant for the tourists, so there was live music.

Chicky told the waitress that it was my birthday the next day, so I was serenaded…in English and Italian.  Though I was quite embarrassed, the man who did the singing was so sweet that I had to hug him afterward.

We went home fat and happy.

Today was the real treat, though.

Rooster had to work, and the Mr. took Chicky’s car to the auto shop for much-needed repairs (shout-out to our friend, T, who gave us a super-awesome deal on the repairs!).

Chicky, K, and I headed out for an afternoon of fun.

First, we visited the boutique where I’d purchased the dress and sweater I posted pictures of a few days ago.

The day was simply glorious.  I should have taken pictures.  We were down at the marina, and it was in the low 70’s…perfect weather.

We walked to a coffee shop nearby, and I treated K to her first Espresso shot.  Chicky got regular coffee, and I got hot chocolate.  The owner was a sweetheart, and Chicky was reminded of how nice the people in Podunk, USA are…something she misses living down in South Florida.

We stepped next door to a small show where I purchased a bottle of wine.  The wine came from a local winery, and on a whim, I asked the girls if they wanted to go wine tasting.  They are, after all, of age.

They did, and so we drove across the bridge to the beach.

What fun, although the experience was a bit awkward at first.

Social graces are not my thing, I fear.

We got over our nervousness and simply had a good time.

I bought a few bottles…

Don’t you just love the bottle topper?

By this time, we were starving, so we headed back into town, drove past my school, where I waved at it, and parked the car in front of one of the many stores that lined the street.

We took a leisurely stroll, glancing in the windows and reading the menus at the various restaurants before finally setting on a well-known restaurant in our area…one that I am fond of for its Mediterranean food.

We sat outside and ate…enjoying the people watching we were doing as well as the easy conversation.

By this time, we were quite tired and headed home where Chicky presented me with my birthday gifts from her…

The wine is a Riesling called “Relax.”  This was the theme of the entire package of gifts, as you can see from the body scrub, body wash, body mist, and spa socks.

Super Sis sent me this lovely bracelet…

The bracelet was made by a single mom who is part of Trades of Hope.  The proceeds go to benefit women who are trying to create a sustainable income for themselves.

Coupon Queen and Grand Pooba sent me a card and a check…much appreciated.  🙂

We then sat down and watched Frozen.  I had been singing Do You Want to Build a Snowman ever since Chicky had walked in the door.  It was good that she finally got to see the movie!

Spring Break was a total blast.

I did not work, except to answer one SOS email from a parent (a quick response).

I got to see my Chicky and spend some time with Rooster (we met for lunch after his classes ended on Thursday).

I feel rejuvenated and ready to face the next two and a half months left of school.

Most of all, I feel loved after the extra pampering (by myself and by others).

A Visit From Chicky

Guess who’s home for the weekend?

My Chicky’s school district has had this week off for Spring Break, so she and her roommate, K, drove up to spend the weekend with me!  Their other roommate, K#2, was supposed to come as well; however, she’s been feeling under the weather and decided to stay home to recuperate (i.e. keep her germs contained to her house).

I’m not sure what the next couple of days will bring, but I do know that my heart will be full, and I’ll be treasuring every moment!

My Weekend in Pictures

It’s 9:13pm on Sunday night.

I’m a bit tired from a busy weekend, so I thought I’d try something different and let my pictures speak the words my fingers are too tired to type.

Here is my weekend, in pictures…details to follow…tomorrow, if my fingers get “un-tired.” (not a word, but it’s my blog, and I get to make up the rules).

How I Know Chicky Loves Me

Chicky is not very demonstrative with her love.

I have often doubted that she cares for me because we have spent so many years at each others’ throats.

Such is the life between a mother and daughter, it would seem.

However, things have begun to change, I believe, and I’ve begun to recognize the ways in which she shows me that she does, in fact, love me.

    1. All summer, Chicky has been quite mindful of my eating habits and has strongly encouraged me to eat regular meals.  I tend to skip out on eating.  Aside from certain dishes, I really don’t enjoy this task.  I’m usually too busy to eat, and I find it easy to ignore my stomach.  Even though she comes across as angry, I know that Chicky is simply frustrated because she wants me to take better care of myself.  She often took extra time to plan meals that included items I could eat, and her grocery shopping included the ingredients necessary for these meals.
    1. Chicky bragged to Special K, her roomie, about the vegan desserts I had made all summer.  I’ve rarely heard her brag about the stuff I’ve done.  This warmed my heart more than she or anyone can ever know.  To feel like my child approves of me when for so long I’ve felt as though I have not measured up has gone a long way toward healing that hurt in my heart.
    1. The evening we moved Chicky into her new digs (Wednesday night), I set off, very late (she would not let us eat dinner before she had unpacked) to pick up dinner at Chipotle’s.  They closed at ten.  It was 9:30 when I left.  I got lost while chatting on the phone with my friend, Barb, and couldn’t find my way out of a neighborhood.  I hung up, got the GPS going, and got there with ten minutes to spare.  After that, I decided to treat myself to Starbucks…especially after the crazy day I’d had.  Chicky called as I was nearing her place on my return drive.
      Our conversation went like this…”Mama, are you okay?” she asked.”I’m fine,” I said.

      “Did you get there before they closed?” she continued.

      “Oh, so you’re only worried about your food.  I see how it is,” I replied.

      “No, actually, I wanted to make sure you were still alive.  You’ve been gone a long time,” she quipped.

      I think she really was worried.  We’d had a scare with the moving truck earlier that day (I will blog about this tomorrow, I promise).

  1. Later that night, she asked me where I was going to sleep.  I told her, “Right on that Woody (Toy Story) pillow you have on your bed.”  I expected her to tell me I could take my pillow to the couch, but she surprised me by telling me that I could sleep in her bed, albeit using the Spider Man pillow, only if I didn’t cross my side and absolutely did not touch her.  I chuckled as I told her that I would wait until she was sound asleep to snuggle.  Unfortunately, I was so beat that I was probably snoozing long before she succumbed to dreams of three-a-days (for you non-sporties, that’s three practices a day).

I have learned to treasure such moments instead of overlooking them.

Chicky doesn’t say the three words I desperately long to hear and have not heard her speak in a number of years.

She does, however, show through her actions what she cannot say.

Actions speak louder than words.

That’s how the saying goes, isn’t it?

While it is wonderful to hear the words, I take such times as those described above, tuck them away for safekeeping, and pull them out when I begin to doubt…or when we are in the middle of three u-turns in a row and she’s yelling at me to listen to her and turn on the stupid GPS.

My Chicky loves me.

And I love her.

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