Archive for the ‘grandchild’ Tag

It’s been 25 years today….Mom, I still miss you!   9 comments

 

Admittedly my blog has been sorely neglected lately! There are many reasons for this but only one good reason to resume writing. This would be that perhaps I could help just one person get through a tough time by reading my words…then it has served it’s purpose!

It has now been 28 years since my Mom passed away… It is so hard to believe that it could actually have been that many years since that Saturday in 1986. Here is my original  blog post that was dated May 2011. I feel for anyone who has experienced a similar loss or is going through it right now. The Sunday after my Mother’s funeral was Mother’s Day and continues to be a difficult time every year. I wish I could tell you the pain subsides. You just learn to lean on the Lord a little more each year…

 

It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning. Perfect really. The weather was glorious. Clear and crisp with birds chirping and butterflies flitting around. The sound of grass being mowed filled the distance. Flowers bloomed and lawn sprinklers hissed. May is such a pretty month in Tennessee. Then the phone rang. I didn’t want to answer it. I knew who it was. As I answered it, the person on the other end said in a very upbeat tone “I just wanted you to know that Mrs. Todd just left us”. I said “Thank you for calling”.

Mom was 63 and I was 30. She was gone too early and I wondered what I would do without my Mother! I even asked her about 2 weeks before she left. It was a selfish thing for me to say to my dying parent. She could not have known the impact that her words would have on me and do to this very day…..

Through my tears my question to her was “Mom, what am I suppose to do without my Mother for the rest of my life? I’m thirty years old!”  She replied in a still small voice but with strength unimaginable “I don’t know darling, but I know the Lord will help you through it”……And He has! Unbelievable that it has been 25 years on May 3rd. Unbelievable that my daughter was only 5 years old then and a pre-schooler. She is now a grown woman and a Mommy herself. Unbelievable that somehow, someway I have been able to navigate the past 25 years “without” her! She was after all  my best friend and my Mother. By far the hardest thing I have ever gone through in my life was watching the slow deterioration of her body as Ovarian Cancer stole her from us and the eventual loss of her everyday presence in my life. But even so….her spirit lives on in me. It was about 8 months later when I found myself at a cross-roads regarding my decision to return to college or not. I was 31 by then and a single Mom of a beautiful 5-year-old daughter… and in my deepest time of need I cried out to my Mom. I had made a commitment to return to College to finish the degree I had started 12 years prior! I was panic-stricken as I thought about what was ahead of me…. I said out loud (as if she could hear me) “Mother, what HAVE I gotten myself into????”. That’s when it happened. A warm peaceful feeling blanketed my body from head to toe, a comfort like I know I had when she covered me as a child in my crib… and her “voice” came into my head saying “You can do anything you put your mind to!” I don’t know if it was her spirit speaking to me or just my recollection of the MILLION times that she had said that to me in my lifetime, either way it was all I needed to push me through that moment of doubt. I will quickly tell you that I took those eternal words of advice from my Momma and proceeded to excel beyond my own belief. I finished 4 years of college in 2 and 1/2 years, graduating Cum Laude with a 4.0 GPA in my major course of study at age 33 as a single mother! I’m not boasting, I’m just saying that if you think we as Moms don’t have an everlasting effect on our children….even after we are “gone”…think again! Mother’s Day is a tough day for me… and next Sunday represents 26 such holidays without her. I still miss her so…

I dedicate my blog to my Mother and all that she has meant to me during her life and everyday for the past 25 years! I thank her for all the inspiration that she brought to my life and appreciate the way that she prepared me to be the best Mom and Grandmother (“Gigi”) that I could possibly be. After all it isn’t so much what we TELL our children to do…as it is what we SHOW them. This is written by a grateful daughter…. I love you Mom.

A few years ago someone sent me this poem in an email:

This is a truly BEAUTIFUL piece. Please
read this at a slow pace, digesting every word and in
leisure…do not hurry….this is a treasure…
For those lucky to still be blessed with your Mom,
this is beautiful. For those of us who aren’t, this is
even more beautiful. For those who are moms, you’ll love this.

MOTHER

The young mother set her foot on the path of life. “Is
this the long way?” she asked. And the guide said:  “Yes, and the way is hard.
And you will be old before you reach the end of it.. But
the end  will be better than the beginning.”

But the young mother was happy, and she would not
believe that anything could be better than these years. So she
played with her children, and gathered flowers for
them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams; and
the sun shone on them, and the young Mother cried,
“Nothing will ever be lovelier than this.”

Then the night came, and the storm, and the path was
dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother
drew them close and covered them with her mantle, and the children said,
“Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come.”

And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and
the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary.
But at all times she said to the children,” A little  patience and we are there.”
So the children climbed, and when they reached the top
they said, “Mother, we would not have done it without you.”

And the mother, when she lay down at night looked up
at the stars and said, “This is a better day than the last, for my
children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage.
Today, I’ve given them strength.”

And the next day came strange clouds which darkened
the earth, clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped
and stumbled, and the mother said: “Look up. Lift your eyes to the light.
” And the children looked and saw above the clouds
an everlasting glory, and it guided them beyond the
darkness. And that night the Mother said,
“This is the best day of all, for
I have shown my children God.”

And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and
the years, and the mother grew old and she was little and bent.
But her children were tall and strong, and walked with
courage.  And when the way was rough, they lifted her,
for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill,
and beyond they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide. And
mother said, “I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know the end
is better than the beginning, for my children can
walk alone, and their children after them.”

And the children said, “You will always walk with us,
Mother, even when you have gone through the gates.”
And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates
closed after her.  And they said: “We cannot see her
but she is with us still. A Mother like ours is more than a memory.  She is a living presence…….”

Your Mother is always with you…. She’s the whisper
of the leaves as you walk down the street; she’s the smell of bleach
in your freshly laundered socks; she’s the cool hand
on your brow when you’re not well. Your Mother lives
inside your laughter. And she’s crystallized in every tear drop.
She’s the place you came from, your first home; and
she’s the map you follow with every step you take. She’s your first love
and your first heartbreak, and nothing on earth can
separate you.

                                  Not time, not space… not even death!

                                  

                    My beloved Mom….Marjorie Holderfield Todd

                        November 21, 1921 – May 3, 1986

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Cute ideas for the little one’s Halloween!   3 comments

Happy Halloween!

I invite you to read my post from last Halloween as I celebrate my one year in blogging!

 https://dsgnmomonline.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/happy-halloween-superheros/

 This Halloween spend some special time with the little one. Here’s some ideas on how to make your holiday a little more fun!

 

1.  Carve some pumpkins

I have listed some links below that have free pumpkin carving templates. Just practice safe knife skills while watching little fingers! Also tips on toasting the seeds are also available online. This teaches resourcefulness to kids and gives you a treat to eat!

2. Decorate some mini “pumpkins”

Here’s a simple trick if carving is not possible. A visit to the grocery store then the fabric shop for a few ribbons …

a little glue and you have your decorations (which will keep til Thanksgiving!)

33. Let them help you decorate a table

See this quick and easy tablescape above using the same cute “pumpkins” and some hurricane globes with pins to hold in place. These items can easily be found at many local craft store!

4.  Go candy shopping

Find some coupons for Halloween candy in your local paper (lots of them this time of year) and look at the store ads… like Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid. Then match them to your coupons for the most bang for your buck! Let the kids help scout for the bargains. You have to buy candy if you are going to participate in “Trick or Treat” so you might as well make it a fun experience while saving money and teaching the little ones to save too! 

Whatever you do… have fun and be safe! These meaningful times together will never be recreated so please spend it wisely!

Some articles I like!

http://theresjustonemommy.com/?p=1413

http://www.hgtv.com/decorating-basics/beginner-halloween-pumpkin-carving-templates/pictures/index.html

http://www.hgtv.com/decorating-basics/beginner-halloween-pumpkin-carving-templates/pictures/index.html

http://halloweencoloringpages.blogspot.com/2011/07/halloween-party-coloring-pages.html

http://halloweencoloringpages.blogspot.com/2011/07/charlie-brown-halloween-coloring-pages.html

“Attitude”… No! “At-TWO-tude”   3 comments

 

“Attitude”… No! “At-TWO-tude”

On living with a two-year-old…. “Gee Gee…. dolly, wankie, piggie!” she said this morning. “Okay Marissa, you carry them downstairs and I will carry you” I replied. “No Gee Gee!” as she layed on the floor in defiance. I stood at the top of the stairs waiting for Marissa to comply with my request. And I waited! And I waited! Then the threats started… “One….Two….Three” (to which she replied “four”. Then I said “Do you want to go to timeout?”…. That was the only thing that seemed to have any influence on her….. At-TWO-tude I tell you!

Funny how time heals the jagged memories of such things. About 29 years ago I had a two-year-old. My now 31 year old daughter has my two and a half year old granddaughter. I will admit that being a grandmother is very different than I thought it would be… in a good way. I have this amazing connection to her and now “get” the whole “GRAND”child thing that all my friends would talk about- make that RAVE about. I suppose the independence that she is showing which creates this whole “at-TWO-tude” should be celebrated. It means that she is thinking for herself and trying to make some of the little life decisions.  I will celebrate that and remind myself that they grow up far too soon and the “at-TWO-tude” that she displays today will quickly get better as she learns to navigate this life… And I will be helping her to pack for college next week, or so it will seem!

12 answers for the question “What can I do for free with my kids this weekend?”   2 comments

What can you do for free with your kids this weekend?

  

Now that Fall is here you might be looking for a way to spend some quaility time with the kiddos… but since it’s the end of the month (and the month ALWAYS seems to last longer than the money) I thought you might enjoy knowing about some free things to do together! 

 

1. Build something with your kid!

This Saturday (9/24) take the kids to Lowe’s! No they aren’t paying me to say this…. 😉  They are offering a free “Build and Grow” workshop where your kids can build a firetruck! All supplies are free and kids get an apron, goggles and a completion patch at the end of the workshop… only catch… you have to register! So go HERE and get them on the list for this fabulous free even! 

 

https://www.lowesbuildandgrow.com/

(If you miss this week… check the schedule at your local store! They offer these free events almost every month! Other home centers do as well….) 

 

2. Take a walk!

 

A walk is free and priceless at the same time. It is a perfect time to walk and pick up beautiful leaves which could open up all types of topics. You might ask (unless they ask first) “How do the leaves turn all these colors?” or “Can you name the colors you see?” My daughter used to love to collect leaves in the fall and we would press them between wax paper to preserve them. She is 30 now and I swear I believe I STILL have some of those leaves!

 

3. Teach your kids to use a camera!

 

 I recently heard of an idea where your child is asked to find something to photograph that begins with the letter A, B … and so on. If this idea initiates a conversation then I say give it a try. Otherwise, with todays digital technology… they might just like to go out and  take pictures of things that they like. Again you might be amazed at what they find interesting and you might just have a budding photographer on your hands!

 

4. Let’s have a cooking lesson!

 

Photo Credit: http://cooking724.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/kids-cooking/

Pick one fall treat that you enjoyed as a kid (mine is homemade popcorn balls….yummy) and teach your kids to make it. Or let them suggest something that they want to learn how to make. You may be surprised at how creative they can be! 

 

5. Involve them in your football watching!

Whether it be your favorite college team on Saturday or your NFL Fav on Sunday… let the little ones get involved too! This is a great time to answer questions about sportsmanship and how to be a team player.  Please remember to be patient and watch the explatives … they are little carbon copies of you!

 

6. Teach them one thing that you learned from your Grandparent!

Photo Credit: http://www.lilsugar.com/Family-Ties-What-Call-Grandparents-1134034

In my most recent blog post I wrote about my Grandmama Bessie (https://dsgnmomonline.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/on-being-a-mother-and-even-better-a-grandmother/). She taught me some amazing “lost arts” like sewing and cooking. What type of things did you Grandparents teach you? How to whittle? Make a bird house? Master the yo-yo? 

 

7. If you blog, ask each of them to write a guest post

 If  they aren’t old enough ask them to draw a picture which you can feature on your “guest blogger’s” day! This will bring them such joy to be “published” and who knows what budding writers we have hidden in our own families!

 

8. Storytime at your local bookstore!

 

Check out the scheduled free storytimes at your local bookstore. Doesn’t cost a thing and they may just fall in love with reading!

 

9. Check your local museums for their “free” day!

We are so fortunate in Memphis to have an array of fabulous Museums available and many of them have free or greatly reduced days for kids! So while you may not have the Cotton Museum (shown above), the Civil Rights Museum or even the home of Elvis in your city… There are wonderful museums everywhere just waiting for you and the kids to explore! *Ask them about a yearly family pass to save money all year long.

 

10. Google your city then go explore a site that you have not visited yet!

http://www.memphisloveskids.com/

 

Find out what untapped resources you have in your city. In Memphis we have trolleys to ride and Beale Street to see. Do some digging on the computer and see what your city has that could be fun for a free fall afternoon!

 

11. Farmer’s Market exploration!

Photo Credit: http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/836245/things-your-kids-can-learn-at-the-farmers-market

The Farmer’s Market is a wonderful place to share your knowledge of different types of fruits and veggies. How many vegetables can they find? Make a game of trying to fill in the blank A-Z. Then let them pick one vegetable that looks interesting to them that they have never tried. Who knows, maybe their involvement will make them more interesting in eating it.

 

12. Check out your local “Kids eat FREE or CHEAP” for Saturday and Sunday

In Memphis the following restaurants offer cool deals for kids and parents on weekends!

Texas Roadhouse, Piccadilly Cafeteria, Firehouse Subs… just to make a few! Check out your local area online to see what you are missing!

 

 

 

 

 

Please remember that the meaningful conversations… the ones that lead to stories and lessons of life… often come from the small quiet times that we spend with our kids one-on-one! Doesn’t have to be an elaborate day out or an expensive event… just you and them sharing life and making lasting memories! 

 

Related Articles:

http://www.shesaved.com/2011/09/free-lowes-fire-truck-workshop-for-kids-this-weekend.html

http://www.techlicious.com/guide/the-most-and-least-reliable-digital-camera-brands/

http://www.myrecipes.com/kids/cooking-with-kids-recipes-and-ideas-10000001814441/

http://cooking724.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/kids-cooking/

http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/836245/things-your-kids-can-learn-at-the-farmers-market

http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/greenscene/2009/11/raking-and-composting-leaves.html

On being a mother…and even better, a Grandmother!   3 comments

I read and enjoyed this quote recently:

“Being a mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my
field, since the payment is pure love.”
~Mildred B. Vermont

Happy Birthday Shaftora 

MARISSA GRAY!

It’s fitting that I write about my only child’s only child on the occasion of her second birthday!

Honestly… before I became a Grandmother, I thought “What is the BIG deal?” When my friends who had become grandparents prior to me would go on… and on… and ON about their kid’s kids… again I would say “What is the BIG deal?” (if only to myself!).  I now know what the big deal is. It is joy at it simplest. It is unmeasurable happiness. It is a vulnerable love that opens your heart and reminds you of the sweetest memories that are tucked way back in your mind… twenty… thirty years old or more.

When Marissa was first born I would sit and hold her, looking deep into those beautiful brown eyes. One day I just began to weep as I held her. The love overflowed and came out in the form of tears… guessing it had to go somewhere! This immense love washed over me and I felt that I truly “got it” that day.

I remember the beautiful connection I had with my Grandmama. Having lost her some 28 years ago at age 27 I should have to dig deeply to pull up the memories of my times with her… but I do not have to dig at all. They are here on the surface of my soul. I was lucky enough to spend many summers with her in her small rural town…even though we lived about 400 miles away in a big city. She taught me the lost arts of quilting, cross-stitch, and crocheting. We made clothes from the left over Pajama Factory remnants that she inherited from a close friend. She taught me to cook, bake and canning. I learned when and how to pick beans and other vegetables from their small but bountiful garden. I had cold biscuits and gravy (cold by my choice) which my Grandmama had made from scratch every morning at about 4 am prior to my Grandaddy’s departure to work as a carpenter. She let me sleep until I wanted to get up which as I recall was typically about 9 am. My memory of bedtime is amusing. Since my grandparents arose so early… they would literally “go to bed with the chickens”! So before the sunset had time to sink into the night… I was expected to be asleep. What? It’s light out…. I’m 12! Nobody I know goes to bed that early! So I chuckle as I re-live the memories of TRYING to go to sleep before 8 pm.

Grandmama Bessie –

She would say “If it don’t love… don’t make it eat it” (we -the grandchildren- were the “it” she was refering to… so spoiled WE WERE!)

The tight bond between Grandparent and Grandchild. Is it because the years of parenting make us more grateful for the little things? I know that since I have become a grandmother, a “Gigi” to be exact, I have enjoyed precious moments with my granddaughter… as if I really didn’t know how to enjoy them the first time around as a Mom. I guess God gave me a “do-over”. I think I did pretty good the first time… kind of like taking a class and getting a “C+” or maybe a “B-” the first time around… then re-taking the class like 25 years later and getting an “A+”. Funny how a little life under your belt helps your perspective. Maybe realistically I have a Degree in Mothering and a Masters in Life 101. That is the “it” that I needed to get to…

So I hope when Marissa Gray turns 25 she will be blogging (or who know WHAT they will be doing by then!) about her crazy “Gigi” who she has shared many countless wonderful fun filled days with and from whom she has learned much. I hope that I can impart some of my wisdom in her so that maybe her road to happiness will have less bumps and more downhill coasts! One Gigi can only hope.

I love you Marissa. Happy Birthday angel. And to my daughter Alissa, I love you and thank you for giving me this precious gift. Being a “Gigi” fits me JUST RIGHT!

Related articles:

https://dsgnmomonline.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/special-guest-post-lifes-leaves-by-alissa-gray-mcquaig/

Special Guest Post: Life’s Leaves by Alissa Gray McQuaig   2 comments

For “Be My Guest Thursday” I have chosen a VERY special guest blogger! My daughter Alissa! About six months ago she wrote a beautiful letter describing her baby’s first experience with the fall leaves. Marissa was about 14 months old then. This poignant piece is insightful from a new mother’s perspective.

Since this week was Mother’s Day and if it weren’t for her….I wouldn’t Mom or a Grandmommy (“Gigi”)…. I thought it would be a great time to share this with all of you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I love you,  Alissa…. ALWAYS have…and ALWAYS will! I am so proud of the Mom that you have become. You are the sweetest gift God every gave me… and now I think you know how that feels!

 

Life’s Leaves by Alissa Gray McQuaig

 
“My Sweetest Marissa,

Today I thought I’d take you outside for a few minutes to see that Fall had arrived. You took a few steps, looking around at what I could guess would be all the bright beautiful colors around you. Just as you like to have a cracker in each hand, you gently picked up two leaves amongst the hundreds lying around you. You continued to walk around, even took the hill in our driveway with ease. “Yeah you did it!” I said. Beaming with joy as if you had climbed Mt. Everest, still clutching the leaves. One brilliant red, the other was brown. They had cracked a little in your tiny hands. We said goodbye to Daddy, he was in his car at the street. You reached your hands out to him, as to show off those leaves. I wonder what you said to him? As I carried you back to the house I had to slowly pry away the brown leaf from your right hand, you started to chew on it. “Oh no Marissa, that’s nasty” I said. The red leaf was getting smaller from the pieces that had broken off. But you were clutching it, as if it was the only leaf that you would ever touch, smell or crumble in your hands. “Oh Marissa” I said, “there will be plenty of leaves for you to play with. This isn’t the only one baby”. Your eyes welled up with water, just as mine are right now. Your head was thrown back and your bottom lip pushed out as far as it would go. One pretty red leaf, broken into about 20 pieces, as I took the last crumble from your tiny hands, I nuzzled my face in your neck and told you that you didn’t have to hold on so tight to this leaf and it was okay baby. I love you my Pookie Boo!

Not 30 seconds in the house you had forgotten about the leaf which lay in our garage. You were off to play with your next toy. But it stuck with me, as much as I wanted to for you to understand that it was okay, that you could let go of it, I was also amazed at just how innocent you are. You don’t know how many leaves you will encounter in your life. One day those leaves may be a friend, a special toy, a dream of what you want to be, a pet, a boy in school. As much as I don’t want you to hold on too tight to the first one, I hope you will always embrace life’s leaves with the sweet innocence of a child and remember, if you hold too tight, it will crumble in your hands.

With eternal love,
Mommy”

Marissa with Alissa

First Born Moving Day by Guest Blogger – George L. Fisher   5 comments

I have my very first Guest Blogger! I’m so excited to share George with my readers. He is a gifted writer, dad, granddaddy (“Tah”-his nickname) and all-round funny guy.

He serves our country as an officer in the Georgia Army National Guard and did a tour of duty to Iraq in 2005. I am proud to know George and hope that through his writing you too can know this man who is my friend.

Here’s his letter to his oldest daughter as she left the nest recently flying off to start her life with her brand new Marine Corps husband…taking the only grandbaby with her. This is priceless and SO George! See the note at the bottom explaining the nicknames for his kids… it will help if you have that information first. Thank you, George, for sharing your heart and showing us that your daughter is “Holding Daddy’s Hand Forever” just like I am! http://wp.me/p1aeRt-9L

 

 

 

 FIRST BORN MOVING DAY by LTC George L. Fisher
“Dear Booger–
Sorry I got something caught in my throat when I was talking to you on the
phone…it must have been the chicken biscuit….

I will call you later because I know you are busy on MOVING DAY……

When you were born they threw your goo-covered butt in the warmer thing at
the hospital–you were squawling to beat all getout. I went over to where you
were and held your tiny little hand–you latched onto my pinky finger and
held on–in just a few seconds you stopped crying and the new parents had a
daughter….

I was hooked from that moment on—proud as I have ever been—as was your
Mom—and as a result you “may” have been a little bit spoiled…

So for the last 20 years or so you have been right there with us, thru thick
and thin..good times, bad times, and lots of just regular times.
Amanda “Booger” Fisher was there.

Along came Joe, then Winnie….. The tank of tropical fish, the cats, and
everything else—and the Booger was still there…

Then there was himself–your baby boy, aka “The Pottamus”–not exactly the
best timing in the world, but inasmuch you do things your own way, it all
worked out–Mom and God both knew this and as usual I was the last one to
figure it out– but eventually I did. (I’m not as big a heathen as folks
think, Booger…)

And the Booger…. like the Flag–like the mortgage–and like the
everlasting pile of laundry— was still there.

Our Booger AND our Pottamus, who is just as much “ours” as any of you kids,
even if he is a GRAND…. And he has been just that…GRAND—and
incidentally has a window into my soul and I’m powerless in his clutch.

Your Mom loves her babies—all of them–unconditionally. That means no
matter what. (I do too, but you kids aren’t supposed to know it)…

AND That means—while no matter that Moms’ babies are 20 years old and even
has a baby of her own, who is moving away–and regardless that there are
still two remaining kids , three dogs, and yet another round of trips to the
orthodontist and teenaged drivers pending to break our butts and our bank
account—the reality is our Boogs and our Pottamus won’t be there…..and
that, Dear Boogs, is what makes things get caught in ones throat.

And that’s why Mom and I wish we had a pinky finger to latch on to right now.

Love,
Daddy

George and his daughter Amanda on her wedding day

George’s Nicknames for his kids–
Amanda (oldest) is Booger (because she’s so fun to pick at)
Joe (middle) is “Mans best Friend” in my stories because he is and has been the most loyal to me especially when he was small because we were so tight..most other times I call him “buddy”-which is for the same reason…
Lyndsay (youngest) is Winnie just by default and she was into Winnie the Pooh so she got winnie poops and other variations (nothing spectacular on her nickname) but primarily

Tah and Pottamus

And the Pottamus (grandson) —well, he was 2 days old and was having tremendous gas–Amanda called and said I have a name for him-Poot. So Poot became “The Poot” then Pootie then Pootiepottamus which morphed into a prehistoric animal called the Pootasaurus, or Pootipottamus Bunkus Rex (his latin name) which translates to little brave scout. Ha ha.