Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Found Out

Last year, as I was busily planning our Annual Thanksgiving Brunch, my Mother- in-Law came to our house to talk about Thanksgiving. I should tell you that she would be the first person to say that she doesn't care to cook. I think that she can't honestly believe that anyone else would actually enjoy cooking, especially a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Her idea was this: She was going to take us all to Cracker Barrel for Thanksgiving dinner.

If my own Mother had been in the room, she would have told me to close my mouth before flies flew in it. I was absolutely at a loss for words, and that doesn't happen to me very often. Thanksgiving dinner at Cracker Barrel? I hope I was kind as I told her I would have to turn that gracious offer down. I explained that we had been having brunch for several years. It works for us. My step-daughters don't have to choose between our house or their mother's house for a big meal...and they don't have to pretend to eat two meals. My daughter and her family are free to have Thanksgiving dinner with her in-laws, if they wish. We have friends who enjoy coming over for brunch and fellowship before going to their respective feasts.

Quite frankly, Edmund and I have come to enjoy the thought that everyone can come and go as they please, and hopefully all of them will be gone by early afternoon and we can enjoy a quiet afternoon and evening together. Sometimes, it has actually worked out that way.

Anyway, as I thought of the offer of Cracker Barrel, I tried to explain that I really do love to cook, and quite is something I do well. I like to think of the wonderful treats I make for our Annual Brunch as a gift I give to our friends and family. I'm quite attached to the whole idea, and don't miss the turkey and dressing much.

After we got the whole thing settled, and she agreed to come to our brunch, I pondered the whole thing for quite some time. I kept coming back to the same question over and over. In what circumstance would I find myself that would make it okay for me to feel good about going to Cracker Barrel for Thanksgiving Dinner? I suppose if I was too ill to cook it myself, and something was terribly wrong with my daughter so that she couldn't fix it and my mother was unable to come and I couldn't manage to score an invitation to eat with friends...I might think it was okay to go to Cracker Barrel for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Fast forward to this Thanksgiving. Edmund was to be in Cocoa Beach for the week proceeding and week of Thanksgiving on business. He would be free to come home the day before Thanksgiving. You know...the busiest travel day of the year! As we contemplated the holiday, the gears in my brain started turning.

We both were in need of some time away to relax. He was already going to be at the beach. I looked into a short cruise from Port Canaveral, but we had to nix that because my passport is expired. We briefly talked about a trip to Vegas, but that would involve even further travel for him, and he hates to travel. We finally settled on what seemed to be a wonderful plan.

I would fly to Cocoa Beach the Saturday morning before Thanksgiving. We would have the weekend together, and I could rest and relax at the beach while he worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, we would take a picnic to the beach and celebrate a very non-traditional Thanksgiving with turkey sandwiches.

Oh! I giggled as I told everyone what a lovely escape we had planned. I was giddy at the thought of the day. I could envision a delightful day.

Guess what? It didn't quite happen like we'd planned it. Ed's Uncle Jerry died after a long illness on the Friday in Macon, Georgia. We found out on Sunday that his graveside service was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Monday turned out to be quite a day. Changing travel plans the week of Thanksgiving can be quite an adventure. Especially since Edmund's travel had been booked through the travel agent his company uses and I had booked my flight using his frequent flyer miles. If there was a possibility to get us to Macon in time for the service that we didn't consider, I would like to know it!

We ended up flying to Atlanta on Tuesday, renting a car and driving to Macon. We kept our return to Huntsville open, not knowing what the situation there would be and if Ed's Aunt would need us to help with details, etc.

We did spent the day Wednesday with his Aunt and Cousin. We decided to drive home on Thursday.

You see where this is going? We checked out of our hotel in Macon at about 10 am, and by the time we were nearing Atlanta, we were getting mighty hungry. Guess what? There aren't a lot of places to eat open on Thanksgiving. But Cracker Barrel is open. They serve a lovely Thanksgiving Dinner!

I found out what circumstance would make it okay for me to eat Thanksgiving Dinner at Cracker Barrel. A death in the family. Travel. Hunger. I had to laugh as we took our seats. I looked over the menu. I really do love to eat at Cracker Barrel. We decided to go ahead and have their Thanksgiving meal. The whole deal--turkey, ham, dressing, green beans,cranberry sauce, biscuits and pumpkin pie. All for $8.99 a plate. Our waitress was as cute as a button and very kind. Edmund doesn't care for pumpkin pie, and she offered to tell them he was allergic to it and got him a nice slice of pecan pie.

We had such a nice time eating at the Cracker Barrel. I think we'd have had a nice time eating most anywhere. thanksgiving isn't about your location or the food. It isn't even really about with whom you celebrate, although being with someone you love is certainly a blessing. Thanksgiving is about what is in your heart. And mine was most certainly full of gratitude for our blessings, which have been in abundance this year. I hope yours was, too!

Monday, November 23, 2009

You get what you need

When my children were little and something didn't go their way, I sang to them. They got to where they didn't like my little song, but it was somthing I think they needed to hear, so I continued to sing it. It held a good message for children and adults alike.

You see, when I heard a whiney "But I dont waaaannnnt to!" I would sing a Rolling Stones song, "You can't always get what you want...." I usually prefaced the singing with saying something along the lines of 'You know what my friend, Mick Jagger says...." On occasion, not often, they would laugh and sing along with me.

One time, when his 1st grade Sunday School teacher told the class something she didn't want them to do, my son piped up and told her, "My mom's friend, Mick Jagger, says you can't always get what you want." God love that sweet lady, she came and asked me if I really knew Mick Jagger. You gotta love that! I said of course not!

Then she wanted to know why I would refer to him as my friend when he really wasn't. She was quite a literalist. I told her that it was a joke. "Oh, I see...but it isn't funny," was her reply. Maybe not, but that conversation certainly was.

Every now and then, my words/songs come back to bit me in the behind.

This week is one of those times. Remember my plans to spend Thanksgiving at Cocoa Beach with Rocket Man? I could quote another icon of my youth, "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans!" Life has barged into my plans and I am NOT going to spend Thanksgiving on the beach, eating a turkey sandwich.

In fact, I'm not actually sure where I'll be on Thanksgiving. Maybe in a hotel in Macon, Georgia. Rocket Man had a death in his family. His Uncle Jerry died late last week after battling some severe health issues for a long time. I have spent my morning rearranging flights, making hotel reservations, cancelling hotel reservations, etc. etc. etc. so that we can leave first thing in the morning and fly to Atlanta. From there, we will rent a car and drive to Macon for a mid-afternoon Memorial service. After that...who knows?

So, Jamie and Annie...this one is in honor of all the times I sang it to you...
You can't always get what you try sometimes, but you get what you need.

In this case, Rocket Man needs to be with his family, and I need to be where Rocket Man is. Its a good thing I learned a long time ago that holidays are not about where you are or with whom you eat...or even what you eat.

Holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas are about what you hold in your heart.

This will be a wonderful thanksgiving, because we have been so blessed, and we truly are grateful! God's blessings are so bountiful! I'm afraid that no mater how diligently I try to live with an attitude of thankfulness, I often disregard things that I ought to be mindful of as I scurry about doing the things that I do.

This day...this Monday before Thanksgiving...I am thankful that I spent a good deal of the day yesterday walking the beach, picking up seashells and watching the sand pipers. I'm thankful for the pelicans we saw on the pier and the quiet, often amusing conversation that began when we woke up and continued until after we saw a rocket launch from our hotel balcony. I am thankful for a husband who is concerned about my health and wellbeing, and who is very sorry to have to change our plans. I am equally grateful for the kind of husband to whom family is very important and whose intergrity is such that he has forgiven the things that have gone before and lives in the present.

So, no Turkey on the Beach for Mollianne and Rocket Man. But it really is okay.
It did sound fun, though, didn't it?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fear of Flying

Cruising at an unknown altitude between Atlanta and Melbourne, Florida, I look out the window and see the fluffy tops of clouds. Such a lovely view! There is an ocean of fluffiness as far as the horizon.

I have taken that HUGE (for me) step of faith and checked my very cute and sharp Kershaw knife, walked down the jetway into the small puddle-jumper, strapped myself into the too-small seat and given up control of myself and my environment in an effort to be reunited with my heart which Rocket Man has taken to Cocoa Beach with him!

As an aside, I feel duty bound to tell you about the man in front of me on the first flight. He got into his seat, buckled in and within about 45 seconds was sound asleep and snoring so loudly that people several seats behind me were laughing. This over all the noise of the aircraft and the announcements over the intercom system. It was pretty doggone funny

Anyway, the only sliver of control I possess is the choice of beverage (I'll take a Co-Cola, thank you so much) and the choice of music on my very pink iPod shuffle. Freddie Mercury makes me smile, wondering if anybody can find him somebody to love. Elton John declares that losing everything is like the sun going down on him. Rascal Flatts assures me that I can lean on them and Carole King is feeling like a natural woman.

The music diverts my attention from the bumpy ride. It takes me away from the normal anxious thoughts and feelings I have during flights. It diverts my attention from the rather funky odor of the man next to me as he is nearly sitting in my lap. He can't help it(the lap part). The seats are small and very close. The music helps me forget my questions about air travel in general and my total distust of anyone who would choose to make their living being a pilot. It's not natural to 'slip the surly bonds of earth' and I really don't care about the thousand things you might have seen! There is a small part of me the honestly believes if God had wanted us to fly...He'd have given us wings.

To top it all off, I just know that the FAA has it out for me. Any minute now they are going to announce that Molli must turn off her pink iPod as we begin to make our descent into Melbourne. My little shuffle could somehow interfere with our ability to land safely...or something. Yeah, right! It is all beyond my ability to comprehed.

My big burning question is this: WHO is giving away the Big Girl Merit Badges today? I write at 9:50am (ET) and I've been up since 3am (CT), parked my trusty Jeep in long-term parking, hiked into the terminal by 4:30 am (CT! I have taken off twice and am about to descend to my final destination and Rocket Man, who certainly awaits in some sort of rental car chariot to take me to the beach!

I have not....not even once...babbled to my seatmate about my fear of flying, my amazing grandchildren, the Ares IX launch, our plans for a Thanksgivig picnic on the beeach, Memphis Tiger basketball or Georgia football. All of this without the aide of any drugs to 'take the edge off'! (even though I have 2 lovely yellow pills that could do just that leftover from my MRI)

I've been very big today, and nobody around me even knows it. I think I've earned my Big Girl Merit Badge today, thank you very much. comes the in-flight host to tell me to turn off Kenny Wayne Shepard while we prepare to land. Guess the hot pink earbuds and my bobbing head tipped her off that it is on. The GRAND PRIZE..the one and only Rocket Man...awaits! Maybe he has my Merit Badge.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I think I’m BIG!

Remember my big girl panties? Gotta put them on Saturday morning. I’m flying to Florida to spend Thanksgiving on the beach with Rocket Man. Most of the time, I think I’m BIG… but I’m not so big about flying. Don’t like it. Never have. Probably never will. If, however, I want to get away and have some time alone at the beach with my best guy and enjoy a picnic on the beach in lieu of Thanksgiving Dinner…I’m going to have to go get in that aircraft, strap myself in, give up all control over myself and my environment and fly away!

I really do think I’m big most of the time. In truth, I am not even 5 feet tall. At my zenith, before gravity began to take its evil toll on my height, I was roughly 4 feet, 11 and one half inches tall. I clung to that half inch, let me tell ya! Proud of that half inch. I’m afraid it has gone with the wind. I’m not quite sure exactly how tall I am (or am not) and I’m quite content in not knowing.

Anyway…my children always say that I grew to be about 7 feet tall when I was angry. You mess with me, and I’m not nearly so cute and perky. Several years ago, I had a very bad day. I’m talking bad like an Old Testament butt-whipping bad day. I was about 8 weeks into wedded bliss with Rocket Man, we were trying to blend a family that included 3 teenage daughters and one grandson. Our house was not nearly big enough and I’m not sure that 7 bathrooms would have been sufficient. My stepdaughters were not taking well to having an evil, wicked stepmother in the house full time. My ex-husband was being a stinker about all sorts of things and I was just about at the end of my rope. Oh, and Rocket Man’s Grandmother had died and we were driving to Macon, Georgia that evening. Ma’s death was the third death of a family member in the first 8 weeks of our marriage.

I was exasperated! I had gone to the Court House (with ex-stinker stuff) and was stomping my size 5 ½ feet back to the parking garage. I had my keys in my hand. I carried on my key ring a rather sharp knife. Just seemed like the prudent thing to do. My ex-stinker was a military man and he had shown me how to use the knife if I were to ever need to protect myself. As I stomped my way back to the garage, a huge, rattle-trap, beat-up Lincoln Town Car pulled in front of me as I crossed the entrance to a parking lot. There were some unsavory characters hanging out of the windows and they said some really, really ugly things to me.

I’m talking UGLY. Nasty things. (I had to ask later what some of it meant!) Those boys had no idea with whom they were dealing. I might look short and cute and perky…but I am a legend in my own mind and I think I’m BIG! I stood as tall as I could, flipped my knife open, narrowed my eyes and said very deliberately (so as to avoid confusion about what I meant), “If you come near me I will cut out your hearts and eat them for supper.” Their attitude changed in a big hurry. They laughed nervously and said, “Hey, lady. We was just funnin’ wi’cha. You can put the knife away.” The behemoth of a car was thrown into reverse and they high-tailed it down the street. I must have looked crazed, because they acted scared to death!

As I stomped up the deserted stairs into the deserted parking garage, I did think that perhaps I had acted in haste. Those boys were probably on the other side of that door and would probably kill me with my own knife. Let them try! Knife in hand, I opened the door and proceeded to stomp to my car and head to the house.

Much later that evening, we were between Atlanta and Macon and I told Rocket Man what had happened. He looked at me in horror and simply put his hand out. I knew he was taking my knife away from me. I took it off my key ring and listened to the very stern but very loving rant that he felt obliged to give me. “How many of them were there? Did I know I could have been hurt? What was I thinking?” Well, I was thinking, “I’ve had enough and you better get out of my way!” That’s what I was thinking! Poor, poor Molli. My knife was gone. How was I supposed to be big without my knife?

About 4 years later, when I graduated from college, Rocket Man gave me a wonderful gift. It was wrapped up all pretty. It was the cutest Kershaw Scallion knife to go on my key ring. It is colored like a rainbow…even the blade. He keeps it sharp for me. When it is unlocked, I can snap my wrist and it pops opens. I think they call that automatic. Did I mention it was sharp? He has shown me (even though I already knew) how to stab someone in their liver, twist and pull it out. It is really sharp. But, oh! so! cute! He could shave with it, it is so sharp. Anybody who messes with me will probably laugh as I attempt to stop them in their tracks. Somebody may kill me with my own knife, but you need to know this: I will die having at least tried to stab them in the liver. You see, I think I’m big. Especially with my very sharp knife.

Except when I can't take my very sharp knife and have to get on an airplane, strap myself in and give over total control of myself and my environment to a pilot whom I don’t know. I’m not so big then.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

See, Annie! I told you! Its a learning style!

I have been laughing at my daughter, Annie, on facebook recently. For one thing, she really is a funny young woman. Witty is probably a better word. And she has the most amazing ability to laugh at herself, something I find quite refreshing in a world where so many young women find it necessary to take themselves and their tasks so seriously.

My Annie is in college. It is near the end of her term and she has papers due. On Sunday, she was watching a Looney-Tune marathon…instead of writing her paper. She said that she was going to do it with her 'spear and magic helmet!' I snorted milk out my nose laughing at that one. It is a vewy funny old family joke. She later proclaimed herself to be the Great and Powerful Oz (of procrastinators). She hemmed and she hawed. She finally wrote the paper and finished it a whole whopping 12 hours before it was due. No sense in getting in too big of a hurry to finish, right?

I enjoyed teasing her. I offered to put on my ‘Mother’ voice and tell her to get to work. I threatened to call Rocket Man and tell him. Her reply to that was, “I’m not scared…not much.” We all gave a big Woo-Hoo when she got done. I told her that I think it isn't really procrastination, it is a learning style!! Yeah, right.

So…you know that old saying about apples not falling very far from the tree? I’m supposed to go get some blood work done today. I was going to do it on the way to work, but would have had to drive right past the Church House to do that. I convinced myself that I would be conserving gas if I pulled on in and went to work (not to mention that I need to put gas in the Jeep, and haven’t done that yet). Then I was going to take a break and drive across the street (I am not kidding when I tell you that I can probably see the lab from the other side of the building) mid-morning. Hmmmm, couldn’t do that without putting gas in the car. So, I decided to wait until after lunch. It is now after3 pm and I STILL haven’t done it. I guess at this point, I’ll leave work early and go get the blood drawn. Maybe. By the end of the day, I can convince myself that it won’t make any difference if I do it first thing tomorrow.

Here’s the deal. I don’t really want to know what the results are going to be. We are trying to rule out a fairly serious and nasty condition with the blood test. You’d think I would be just thrilled to have someone push a garden hose sized needle in my arm and draw about a gallon or two of blood. I’m just not! And if I’m going to find out that I have this condition, I REALLY would like to put it off. And if I DON’T have the condition, why am I letting them put the garden hose in my arm?

If I don’t have it done by the time the lab closes, I’ll have to explain it all to Rocket Man. I’ll hear the special way he says, “Mol-li!” I’d really rather hear my name said that way when I’m giving him a bad time. Not because I deserve to be fussed towards. (He NEVER fusses at me…he fusses near me, toward me, around me, over me…but not at me). So, in order to avoid hearing, “Mol-li” tonight, I’m going to go on over and bare my arm and let Lady Dracula draw some blood.

In the meantime, I got a lot...I’m talking a LOT of things cleared off my desk today. Paperwork done and filed, database entries up to date, things a bit straighter than they were. All in an effort to avoid the awful, evil lab. I’m tellin’ ya…I have accomplished much today. In fact, everything except my blood work.

See, Annie. I told you. It’s a learning style!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fly Away

I made my way to the Huntsville/Madison County Airport this morning…AGAIN! Not that I was headed for anyplace other than work, but I needed to drop Rocket Man off…AGAIN! This is the 3rd time in 4 weeks that he has left to be gone for at least a week. I am beginning to wonder if I’ll see his face on the back of a milk carton with the missing people!

I am not complaining. Really, I’m not. I’m so thankful that he has a job and a good one at that. I know that there are people who are really struggling financially, and some of them live in my neighborhood. I know a couple who has lived here for years and years and they are selling and moving to Houston for work. I know another couple and the husband is working in North Carolina, coming home on the weekends. I know people who have been laid off or had their hours cut. So I’m really not complaining.

Not complaining, however, I do not like this. As much as I cherish a little time all alone, I’ve had plenty of my own company lately. I miss seeing the light in his eyes when we meet up at the end of the day. I miss having those strong arms around me when I wake up in the morning. I miss the whispered, “God Bless Molli” in the middle of the night when he thinks I am asleep. I even miss the game we play with the toilet lid. He walks through the bathroom and puts it up and I walk behind him and put it down. (Still trying to convince him to keep the lid down because I have NEVER dropped anything into a toilet when the lid was closed...we're not even talking about the seat here..just the lid!) I miss the possibility that someone else might let the cheeky dogs out and feed them, or take out the trash or make up the bed. The bed I can let go…the cheeky dogs and the trash must be attended to.

So, my Rocket Man is on his way back to Florida. The good news is this: at 4:00 on Saturday morning, I’ll be driving back to the airport...AGAIN! Not to pick him up, but to join him. I’m going to Florida to stay with him while he finishes up his work next week. We’ll come home the day after Thanksgiving. Our plan right now is to eat Turkey Sandwiches on the beach. How cool is that?? Those plans could change, depending on the weather, but he has our beach blanket packed in his bag for the occasion.

Knowing that I would join him made the good-bye this morning a little easier. The idea of a relaxed Thanksgiving on the beach with my favorite human in the whole- wide world has me just about giddy. What a blessing after such a hectic…oh….about 3 years!

Godspeed, my Dearest. Tell the pilots to fly carefully…they are carrying a precious cargo!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Day of Remembrance

Veteran’s Day sparks a flame of patriotism for many people. We celebrate with parades, memorial services, sales and for many…a day off. I am so privileged to have known many vets, and to be related to some.

My first marriage was to a young 2nd Lieutenant, freshly graduated from the Air Force Academy. He was on active duty the first 10 years of our marriage and in the Tennessee Air National Guard the last 10 years. I have first hand knowledge of the military, its members and its workings. Even though our marriage didn’t turn out so pretty-good in the long run, I was always proud of my ex-husband’s deep call to duty, honor and country. He was an exceptional officer and he served our country with dignity. I am thankful for him and his sacrifice to our nation.

Our family sacrificed as well, and I understand in some small ways what the military family of today goes through when Daddy or Momma has that bag packed and at the foot of the bed, waiting for that recall notice. I have answered the questions of my children when they wondered why was Daddy leaving and when would he be home? To all those who are currently serving, I offer heartfelt thanksgiving. May God grant you his full measure of blessings to keep you strong, brave and to give you comfort and peace in your hearts.

I am the daughter of a man who served during Korea. Daddy didn’t have to serve. He could have used his exemptions, but he chose to offer his service in a time when our country was involved in a ‘police action’ half-way around the world. For men and women like my Sweet Daddy throughout the ages who have chosen to serve, even though they didn’t have to, I am grateful.

Both of my brothers served. My brother, Terry, served during Viet Nam. My brother, Rob, was a career military man. For part of his career he was a drill sergeant, training the troops and preparing them for duty. To both of them, I offer thanks.

My son was enlisted in the Air Force and is now a disabled veteran. For his service and for what he sacrificed for duty, I am not only grateful but also proud. God Bless you, dear son.

To Bob Austin, Gene Austin, Charles Austin, Sherman Buster, Chuck Sheible, Chuck Nathan, Jerry Strange, Pete D’Agistino, Brydon Ross, Carla Wood, Jim Lambirth, Dave Lambirth, H.D. McFetridge, Lynn Wills, Clark Wigley, John Yoder, Ryan Todd, Nick Reybrock, John Garrison, Wally Pearson, Elmer Bush, Jeff Grechanik, Bill Hogan, Jerry Murphree, Mark Ross, and many, many more who have answered the call to duty and served our country with honor and dignity…I say thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Baby

I say the words, but they don't make sense to me. My baby girl will be 29 years old tomorrow. What a ride her life has been. So many precious memories flash before my eyes, so many heartaches are right there, too.

How can I possibly tell you about my Annie? She has a smile that is pure sunshine, and she flashes it indisciminately. I am not kidding...when she walks in a room and smiles, it is like someone turned on a 1,000,000 watt bulb.

I had a troublesome pregnancy with her. In my first trimester, the doctor decided that I either A) had twins or B) the fetus was not alive. I was so huge and they could not find a heartbeat. The debate was how far along I was. I insisted I knew when I got pregnant (I was in North America and her father was in Europe for about 6 weeks before she was born. Those dates didn't impress the doctor, but I knew. In the end, I was right! Duh!) Anyway, at one point, the doctor was insistent that I check myself into the hospital and he would do a 'little procedure and take care of the problem'. It was all I could do to keep from decking him. I was not going to abort my baby. When she was born by scheduled C-Section about 6 weeks before I insisted she was due, the doctor decided that she was 6 weeks premature and said, "oops. Guess you knew what you were talking about!" She was perfectly fine, and weighed almost 8 pounds. Pretty good for a preemie, don't you think?

She has been a source of pure joy to me, but she has not always been an easy child. She was born when her father was on a remote tour of duty with the USAF in the Philippines. She was 9 months old when he came back stateside to reunite with us. You can imagine that I wasn't all that trilled to be sacrificing for my country, left with a precocious 2 year old and an infant. And this infant was not so happy to join the party. It seems that she cried 26 hours a day. She was not,and is not the best sleeper in the world.

She is the child I rushed to the emergency room over and over and over again. Who knows how many stitches she has had in her body? The night I watched as they put 53 total in her beautiful face was a long night. I lost track of the number of times we went for stitches, but it was a lot. Can't forget that she broke her wrist twice in 3 years, either. Or the broken fingers. Did I mention stitches? She has never done anything half-way. Nope. Not Annie. She broke out with the chicken pox on top of a bit of sunburn and already on antibiotics for strep. That's my girl! If you are going to be very, very sick!

I can remember holding her when she was a preschooler and thinking that if I admited to myself how absolutely amazing and beautiful and wonderful (not to mention smart) she was, that something bad would happen. Like in ancient times when people were afraid that the gods would be jealous and bad things would happen. I was content some days to just sit and look at her. How in the wide, wide world of sports did someone as average as I am have this wonder-child surgically extracted from my body?

She was magical and precious and so loved. She spent an entire day once being a kitty cat. As a toddler, she was fearless. I keep looking for the suction cups that must be on the bottom of her feet, because I promise you...she could shimmy to the top of the refrigerator. The words, "Momma...come look!" could strike terror in my heart, because that could mean that she was on the roof, the refrigerator, or perched to do a swan dive from the top bunk of the bunkbeds.

Her teenage years are her own story to tell...not mine. Her early twenties were not easy for any of us. But from those hard times has emerged a confident, sparkling, brilliant young woman who has such a heart for family and friends and the people around her. I never wanted my children to be rock stars or even 'the best'. I always wanted them to be strong in their faith, able to make good decisions, and be citizens in their world.

My Annie is all those things and more. The path she chose has not been easy, but she has come through the fire, purified and strong. I was in awe of the wonder of Annie when she was a baby, and I am in awe of the strong woman I see today.

Happy Birthday, Annie Sunshine. The world is a much better place because you are here. I love you with all of my heart.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Day to Remember

I’m not very sentimental. I don’t like books and movies that are oooey-goooey. I don’t cry when children start kindergarten, walk to the pool all by themselves for the first time, get their drivers license, or take their last final. I will admit to shedding more than a few tears when my daughter got her Associates Degree last spring, and no one was more surprised than I was that those floodgates opened!

Anyway, sentimental or not…I am a keeper of dates. I couldn’t tell you when my utility bill is due without looking, and I imagine it is due the same day each month. But anniversaries and birthdays and the like…my brain recalls that date. Who can say how and why ANY brain works, much less one such as mine.

Today, however, is an exception for me in that it is a date about which I am sentimental. I miscarried a baby 25 years ago today. I have peace about that loss and have had for a long, long time. But on November 3 of each year, I think of the dark day in 1984 when I suffered that loss. I occasionally wonder where that child would be and how different would my life be if that angel had blessed my life by being born and living. That child is a treasure who lives deep in my heart and is my very own.

The other occasion for sentiment is a kiss. Not a simple kiss. This kiss was a kiss of monumental proportions. It was 13 years ago on Sunday, November 3 that my Rocket Man rocked my world with perhaps the sweetest kiss ever given or received! Do you know that in 13 years there are: 156 months, 676 months, 4748 days, 113,568 hours, 6,814,080 minutes and (can you believe I’m doing this?) 408,844,800 seconds? (Live with a Rocket Engineer long enough and you might begin to do crazy things like this, too!)

THAT kiss, the one that changed my life forever, was full of promise and anticipation and hope and grief and healing and joy and passion and contentment. Did I mention passion? I’ll have to say…I thought he would NEVER actually kiss me. We had been ‘keeping company’ for some time and things had picked up in intensity over Halloween. Emails were flying between us, phone calls, sitting on couches with our children around us. That very evening, he had driven in from out of town and come to the church to get his youngest daughter who happened to be in my children’s choir. I wasn’t aware that he was in the building and was watching the bedlam of children going to their next activities. He came up behind me and whispered in my ear, “Do you want to go to Wal Mart with me?”

My knees turned into overcooked elbow macaroni. My heart started pounding. I got so short of breath that I had to take a whiff of my asthma inhaler. At that moment, I would have gone to Timbuktu with him, and not stopped to get my toothbrush!

We took his daughter and went to WalMart. (I’m telling ya, I was a cheap and easy date!) We got something to fix for dinner and went back to his house. I could see something in his eyes that fascinated me. I began to notice that he has a crooked tooth and found that wildly exciting. I was a goner.

We ate dinner and he put his children to bed while I sat on the couch nearly swooning. He sat close to me…he took my hand. He leaned in and whispered, “I want you to promise me something.” Yeah, right! Anything. Just kiss me before I die! “Promise me you won’t ever be crazy.” Say what? “Yes, I promise. I won’t ever be crazy.” “Promise me that you won’t ever call me cheap.” You got it! I’m dying here. I promise, I promise, I PROMISE! “Do you want me to promise anything?” Sure! Promise that you are going to either kiss me or call 911 because my heart has exploded! “Yes, Ed. Please promise me that you won’t have a mid-life crisis or ever say ‘Shame on you’ to me.” He thought about it and nodded solemnly. Good gracious….I was dying. DYING!

Then he did it. First kisses are often sweet. At least, I think so. I haven’t had all that many, but I’m not so old that I don’t recall the thrill of my very first kiss. But this kiss…man, oh! man! So tender and careful. It was as if he had my broken heart in his hands and that with this kiss he could heal it. You know what? That kiss couldn’t have completely healed all the hurt my heart had endured. But the man giving the kiss most certainly has.

Yes, I’m sentimental about November 3. One of the hardest days I’ve ever endured and one of the sweetest I’ve enjoyed. Oh, if that Rocket Man were at home tonight, the kiss I would give him!! *sigh* It will just have to wait until he comes home!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Party is Over....Everyone Out of the Pool!

WHEW! October 2009 will go down in the history books as one of the more exciting months of my life. Much more drama than usual for my mild-mannered family.

Started out by having surgery to remove a cyst from my spine…with only 40 hours notice from the time the doctor said the word surgery to me until I was getting that lovely shot of whatever they gave me to ‘take the edge off’. In 40 hours I cleared my desk, lined up folks to stand in for me with various duties, packed my bag, straightened my house, got my affairs in order, made a stew and did the laundry! That in itself was quite a feat, and I hope I never have to do that again! I was amazed at what I could do when I was really under the gun, but I prefer taking my time and procrastinating a bit.

October 2 saw the removal of that pesky cyst and a night in the hospital. Oh, if I emailed, texted, or posted to your facebook and it seemed that I might have been just a bit stoned…I was. If I said anything lewd, embarrassing, or way out of line…please forgive me and believe that it was just the drugs talking.

Two weeks at home with my Dear Mother and Sweet Daddy helping the Rocket Man take care of me and I was almost as good as new! How comforting to wake up from a drugged stupor on my couch and have my Sweet Daddy keeping watch. How wonderful to have my Dear Mother keeping house and feeding me whatever I thought I wanted. And, how amazing the tender love and care I received from my Princely Rocket Man! He used the exact amount of ‘be careful, Mollicaution with the best ‘you can do it, Mollianneencouragement and it all equaled one of the easiest and fastest recoveries from surgery that I have ever experienced.

I was back at work for a week, helped with a terrific rummage sale, and then left for Cape Canaveral on the 24th to see the history making launch of the Ares IX (see earlier blog about that). She flew on the 28th and we partied a bit and came home on the 30th. Quick trip to the store to get the necessary candy to give out to our Trick Or Treaters, and all of the sudden…It is November! And The Rocket Man is headed back to the Cape today for the week, working on a proposal.

November? Seems like it was just May and the year was lollygagging along. Where and when and how does the year pick up such steam and seem to be firing on all cylinders so that it seems to be moving so quickly? March NEVER seems to move this fast. But have a little surgery and a launch and you can lose an entire month!

So now I have to begin to take seriously the fact that Daylight Savings Time is over, Thanksgiving is around the corner and Christmas is but a few days away. List making will commence and a Merry Molli-Holiday Celebration countdown will begin. The Party is over. No more lollygagging. Everyone out of the pool!