#funny, #God's redemption, High School Seniors, momfails, motherhood, parenting, Parenting boys, parents love, Perseverance, Survival

To Moms of 231-Month Olds

The Holidays are over and so is the temporary reunion with my college freshman. What a joy to have him in the nest, to greet first thing in the morning at noon when he awakens and to see little love notes in the form of Taco Bell wrappers regurgitated from our dogs. I am struck now as I mail off the forgotten items today how similar my 231-month-old is to his former 12-month-old self.

1. First: Food

His palette is ever-changing. Remember how she wolfed down carrots and got an orange nose one day and hated tubers the next?  This scenario repeats itself 18 years later after you spent $200 on food craved a mere semester ago. Cue whispers of overheard cell phone comments like, “Yea, there’s nothing to eat in the house.”  This Summer I’ll just buy $3,000 in Whataburger Cards. Family food selectors are left to read the non-verbal indicators such as rotting bananas and a half-eaten dunkin’ stick left for dead in the pantry. Look sharp because gnawed-on treats in cellophane sleeping bags are the only clue comin’ your way,  Little Debbie.

2. Second: Shared Space

Surprise!!! Your house is no longer your own. I remember wondering how my home became a yard sale of Little Tykes molded plastic gardens and work benches.  Overnight. Now the living room is all “Call of Duty” couch-compounds and ghosts of Mountain Dew benders past. So, besides extra trips to the grocery and that little commitment called your job, you have to keep the house photo-ready so your kid’s Snapchat background doesn’t look like Syria.  Sure, it has been liberating cleaning house in a jog bra and fat pants since August but, trust me, you’ll want to cover  up lest your girthy mid-section headline in her own hellish Snap Chat Story.

3. Bad ideas are still contagious.

Even before little ones verbally communicate, you know that two unsupervised toddlers together spell trouble. Just a few:

“Let’s climb the refrigerator!”

“Let’s play beauty shop with real scissors”

“The fish wanted to live in the potty”

Now that young adults are eh hemm..self-supervising, it goes something like this: (and oh so very much worse)
“I bet you can’t jump that refrigerator”

“I cut hair all the time!”

“This is a crazy You Tube- Goldie’s new bowl”
4. And most of all: They still require prayer

I remember praying constantly for my two. Jack’s delivery was too quick to squeeze the fluid from his lungs so he began life in the NICU. Once home, sister tried to feed him a cookie. Then in a few weeks he was hospitalized for RSV. Those were super fun prayer prompters.

I prayed so earnestly for my children before they were born and certainly after. Even now my favorite time of the day remains the wee hours of the morning when I meditate on God’s Word. I love to just breathe, be and pray-lax in His love.

I pray for his continued work ethic and personal safety. Of course I still pray that he will “Make good decisions!” As I used to yell as he walked down the driveway and took off into his 2002 Ford F-250.

I am incredibly grateful that a college education was important to my parents and that they found a way through hard work and sacrifice to send the three of us away to school. It proved a key season for becoming my grown-up self. What a uniquely precious experience of going away and becoming your own person by making all those decisions- good and bad- yourself.

It was a blast to have Jack home and scream-sing certain original ear worms which John has forbidden. (deleted Zimbabwe praise song, you know who you are.) I even watched my son play video games just to hang out. What a blessed few weeks for him to check in, recalibrate and remember why home is such a safe place to fall. As exciting as the launch is, it certainly is nice when they return home. If only for a visit.

Daughters and dads, Father's unconditional Love, parents love, raising children, raising daughters, Uncategorized

Ashes to Ashes…in the Trunk

Fifteen years ago today my father passed away.  He was irrefutable evidence of the axiom that the nicest people in the world get cancer. Per his request, after he died, he was cremated. Now his soul is in Heaven while his Earthly remains are on the top of his dresser next to his french knot cufflinks and Aviators. When visiting me, Mom would put the Pop Box in the trunk of her Dodge Intrepid. When I saw Pop in her trunk and I questioned why his ashes were her plus one she replied that she was afraid that the house would catch fire and that his ashes would be burned. True story.

And why would she possibly see the irony in this? He was her person and she was his. A scrappy Detroiter, Pop moved to Houston to attend U of H and was the first in his family to earn a college degree. Mimi was a beautiful Chi-Omega from L.S.U. with a teaching job and a car. Just a few weeks after their blind date the young buck proposed. I remember my dad’s sisters telling me how shocked they were that he found someone like her. He wasn’t, his strategy was to ask out the really pretty girls which intimidated everyone else and make them laugh. Humor wins every time.

Pop was a hands-on father before men did that. He routinely took my two older brothers and me to The Herman Park Zoo while Mimi graded papers and frocked herself up a home perm. Because my father’s father was chronically ill, he gave us three the engagement he craved but never received in his youth. The singular time I saw my dad cry was at a family reunion when he recounted fishing trips with his much-older brother-in-law Paul whose fatherly kindness had a profound effect upon him. It was as if Pop couldn’t wait to have a family just to get it right.

Whatever I tried and whether I lost or won, I grew up knowing that I was totally adored. I was enough just by virtue that I was his child. There were certainly times when my infractions called for discipline but it truly did hurt him more than it did me. After all, he wanted everyone to like him. I knew that home was my soft place to fall in a cruel, cruel world. Even as a chubbette with a mushroom-cloud haircut and mosquito-bitten legs  I didn’t need to be beautiful to be beautiful to him.

My father loved quotes. Pithy morsels of irony, humor or wisdom. These favorite sayings have have echoed in my brain today:

-The most expensive piece of clothing in your closet is the one you never wear. (He was a haberdasher.)

-Disappointment is based on expectations.

-Kisses aren’t contracts.

-Don’t sweat the small stuff.

-Birth control with your mother was easy. When she laid an egg I didn’t want I’d step on it.

-If you want to be interesting, ask people about themselves.

-Fashion is what they give you. Style is something you create on your own.

-If I had it to do all over again, I would pray more and worry less.


Rest in peace William Edward Richardson, Sr. We miss you every day.