Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Disease is a thief. And this one steals your mind. Steals your memories.

She was my grandmother with the eye for fashion, lips always perfectly tinted to match her outfit, and rows of high heeled shoes that fit my feet when I was just a girl because they were so tiny. She was the one who smelled like flowers and had every color of nail polish imaginable. She is the reason my mom puts lotion on her feet every night, wears a silky robe in the mornings and likes her coffee black with just a bit of sugar.

She is still beautiful and beautifully dressed. Her feet are still tiny and soft after years of nightime lotioning. Nail polish still abounds. She still smells like flowers. But now, she is confused. She isn't sure who that lady is painting her nails. She isn't sure why she's dressing up today and who all these people are coming in and out of her house. She isn't sure where home is. And the man who cares for her every minute of every day? Sometimes he seems familiar and she knows they love each other, and sometimes she's scared of him, scared he's gonna take her away, or leave her. And why does he seem so sad?

We sit around and whisper about how sad it is. Tears come easy and we can't help wondering what her last memory of each of us was. Or will be.

This Thanksgiving, I should have spent more time just loving her, instead of wishing it was different. More time praying for her peace. More time loving on my grandfather who shoulders the lion's share of the load and whose heart breaks at the loss of her memories. All those years they shared...gone. I should have spent more time listening to my mom and my aunts and letting them say what we all feel. That we are already missing her and she isn't even gone yet.

But today I choose to be thankful. I am thankful for Meme. That she was the valedictorian of her high school graduating class. That she ran off and married my Dada without permission. That she stood by him while he was away at war. That she raised three beautiful daughters and taught them a thing or two about mothering, hard work, sass, and shopping. That she knew how to put together a killer meal. That she welcomed each grandchild and great grandchild with great joy. And that she loved Jesus.

She may not remember any of those things today. But those of us who love her do. And we're grateful.

Linking up with Just Write today.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Coffee Shop

A coffee shop is not a place for kids. I just took them in cause we had some time to kill before an event we were early for. Being early isn’t cool. I’ve been that person putting on the event when the early birds show up. Then you have to juggle frantically getting everything ready and also maintaining some kind of polite chit chat with the early birds. Not cool. But I’m getting off track.

I took them in just so we wouldn’t have to sit in the car. But, as soon as I said they could have a drink to share I knew I was in trouble. The stand-off that ensued was not all that unusual but today it was infuriating. Why can’t they be empathetic with each other. “What would you like to have, sister?” “Well, that’s not what I would prefer but I don’t always have to have things my way. Let’s have what you want this time.” Is that too much to ask from a 7 year old and 4 year old? Yes? Oh alright.

Then, the little one has her hands on everything. Perrier. Straws. Cookies. “Just stop!” I whisper yelled. I’m pretty good at whisper yelling. It is not my best feature.

Finally, we sit, and I realize that there is not one child, besides mine, in the entire shop. Instead it is filled with students. College students in study groups and adults who can’t be much older than the students, meeting together to have meaningful conversations, I’m sure. Occasionally they glance over at me and I try to play it cool. “Here I am with my kids. Totally not frazzled. Totally in control. Just having coffee. How sophisticated of me.” They aren’t buying it.

And neither am I. “We’ve got to get out of here," I say after the third potty break in 15 minutes. “Let’s get back in the car.” Cause our minivan is a haven for our crazy. And I'm not that sophisticated anyway.

Linking up with Just Write again. Loving the free writing exercises.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


She reminded us once that God's plans are always bigger and brighter than we could ever imagine. And that hope is the gift He gives when we look up from our brokenness. So that's what we named her. Hope.

She's the big sister. Always the teacher. The one who is more like a super hero to them. They bask in the light of her attention and she guides their way into fairy tales and bits of trouble. She is a born leader, and though it's clear she would prefer a dictatorship, even she has learned the art of being a leader people want to follow.

Her natural talent is astounding, her drive...eerie for a 7 year old ("almost 8!", she says). She attacks a hobby and masters it. Soccer, piano, gymnastics. She finds it hard to settle for less than the best and I admire her work ethic. But it also makes failure a hard pill to swallow. And I know we'll spend a good bit of her life assuring her, in ways that are subtle and in words that aren't, that her value lies in who God made her to be, who she already is. And praying...praying hard that she believes us, believes Him.

Cause who he made her to be is incredible. A little girl who knows what she wants and goes for it, but who also has eyes to see those who are ignored or overlooked and a heart to do something about it. She has her daddy's sense of humor and my love of the dramatic. And some crazy wicked dance moves to boot.

She was my first little girl, the one who taught me what it meant to be a mom, the one who continues to teach me what little girls need. Only she's not so little anymore. And apparently 8 is the new 10, and even my lack of clocks in the house won't make time go any slower. So instead I walk alongside her after school as she fills me in on her life apart from me, happy to be the hand she still holds on the way home.

Halloween 84,000 years ago. 2 yrs old

Lookin a little more like this now.