Here Comes Bride, There Goes Kidney

Really and Not Really!

My youngest, McPaddie, is getting married! Her fiancé is an awesome man; we are all beyond excited. That means we are having a wedding! YIKES.

Fortunately, the big event is a year away. Haven’t broached subject of budget with her dad. While he is totally on board, he has no clue what weddings cost. I’m thinking he’s thinking $7. Am totally Scarlett O’Hara about having that conversation with him. Must contact EMS unit to have on hand when I grow a pair and spit it out. “Tomorrow is another day”.

Meanwhile, this mission requires MAJOR CREATIVITY. A few of the thoughts that have crossed my mind at 3:00 am every morning:

  • Sell a kidney (no, think that’s against the law)
  • Numerous bikini car washes (force future bridesmaids into slave labor)
  • Bake sales (one cookie = $1000)
  • Stand on busy street corner with sign (nope; too hot and I work every day)
  • Call BRAVO and ask Andy Cohen to make a reality series for us (so not happening)
  • Start a new trend: the drive-by wedding (just kidding)

Obviously, I need your help! If you have any ideas –¬†puh-leeze throw them out here. Before throwing, please note: they won’t elope, we will do our best and honor what the bride wants on budget, we know it’s about the ceremony, not the flash.

*We are Southern. That means the weddings in these parts = church ceremony and reception. Reception includes buffet, mucho alcohol, and a great band so you dance your ass off. Just so you know. Oh, and photography. Just blew left side of brain.

You have your assignment. Am off to search for loose change.

Later.

Free Falling

Free falling. There are those times when you find yourself in a free fall. Gravity, disguised as circumstances, exhaustion, or emotions, just knocks your feet right out from under you. And you are free falling.

It’s not so much about the fall, itself, but¬†that you stop it. This is NOT the time to go with the flow.

Catastrophizing, whining, blaming … these are not options but negative motivators (oxymoron?) that¬†build nasty momentum. So, how do you stop the fall?

First, reach out. Grab some strong arms to hug you, seek loving ears to listen.

My very¬†wise friend, Renee, would say, “Shift“. Look at what “pushed” you, shift your perceptions, and find the lesson. Emotions are fickle, not to be trusted”. Ms. Shay would say, “It’s all about will – your will, your choice – and you have abundant, positive¬†choices.”

And then, the rest is up to me … or you. It always is. When I am in a free fall, it is often precipitated by control. Me trying to control anything, everything. And when anything, everything feels like I am herding cats, “tilting at windmills”, and bouncing off the same brick wall repeatedly, I know to stop. Just stop and listen.

Then, and only then, I hear Renee and Ms. Shay. And the Big Voice saying, “You are NOT on a crazy train that’s going off the rails. You didn’t buy that ticket. Simmer down.” And I’m no longer falling, but standing up, sorta straight. And remembering verses that¬†are warm and fuzzy at the very least – to me:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find relief and ease and refreshment and blessed quiet for your souls. For My yoke is useful – not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant, and My burden is light and easily borne.” (Matthew 11:28-30, Amplified Bible)

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? (Mary Oliver)

Then I know that comfort, so momentarily elusive, will come.

And I begin again.

——————————-

*Big Voice would not be Ozzy Osbourne. But I do like “Crazy Train

Blame it on Eve

I’m talking about clothing. While I wouldn’t call Eve a style icon, her curiosity and that damn apple did present us with the need to “cover up”. Don’t know who decided to make dressing an art form, but God bless him/her/them.

Did you know that any clothing over 20 years old is considered vintage? I didn’t, but am all over vintage clothing for a number of reasons. First and foremost …..

My Grandmother

My grandmother was born with style. I think this photo is 1930’s but her outfit looks like Norma Kamali was around at that time. Luckily, I have some of my grandmother’s jackets and other accoutrement which I wear frequently. Because it was so well made and way cool. I LOVE vintage clothing. The fabrics, the craftmanship … oh, I feel a case of the vapors coming on.

Before I take to my fainting couch, I must tell you why I’m double lucky regarding vintage. My city has the very best treasure chest of vintage clothing, shoes, hats, handbags, and other accessories in this hemisphere. IN ONE SPOT! Cheeky Vintage! Just the name makes me swoon.

The owners of Cheeky Vintage, Denise and Tina, are brilliant and have a serious love and eye for vintage perfection. But don’t just take my word for it; Lucky Magazine calls Cheeky¬†one of the country’s best vintage stores. And the positive press goes on and on. Go to cheekyvintage.com to drool.

Chanel, anyone?

Treasure Chest

Just fainted.

Later.

Stop Being A Mother?

I am a mother.

Mercifully, I still have my own mother in a time when the majority of my friends have lost theirs. My mom and I have most¬†certainly had our differences over the years. Big emphasis on differences. But she’s still my mom, and I know that she has always done the best she could to be a good mother. And no matter what my age, I will always be her child.

Many times, I’ve wanted to yell and scream at her, especially when she tells me what I should and shouldn’t do. But I’ve lived long enough to know that she just wants to help, and what sounds hurtful and critical is not meant that way at all. She wants to be relevant in my life, she wants me to be the best person I can be. So, I must let my interpretations of what I think she is saying fall through my mental sieve, and love her. It’s just the way it works for me. Time and experience, wasted anger and rage, have taught me to be the daughter of the woman who would give her life for me. At the end of the day, it’s all about respect. And the fact that my dad would probably whoop the living hell out of me, even at this late stage of the game, if I treated her with any disrespect.

My two daughters are the two best people I know. We get sideways sometimes. I’ll have an issue with one, and after exhausting the topic and getting nowhere, I’ll talk to the other about what I can do – or not do. Mothers are like that; we want our chicks to thrive in the best possible circumstances. And I’ve made more than my share of mistakes, unwarranted comments and offered advice has been¬†misunderstood as hurtful criticism. This part of the mother job is the hardest. And that is an understatement.

Both of my daughters are adults. They are living adult lives. Yesterday, my youngest daughter and I got into it via text; she lives in another city and is making big decisions about the next few years of her life. I wanted to find out where she was in the decision process. Long story short – it ended badly. My opinions weren’t wanted, and I made it worse by pushing and pushing and pushing. Driving home from work, I felt like my skin was going to fall off, I was boiling inside. She was the one who, as a toddler, would press her face against the window and cry hysterically when I had to leave for work. She was the one who would throw up whenever I left town. But she’s an adult now. I forgot.

I’d invited my eldest daughter over for dinner last night. I was still in a swivet when I got home and the story of the day spilled out. She said, “Mom, you’ve got to let her go.” I’d never thought about it that way, but she’s right. The lessons always come from the most surprising places … and circumstances.

So, no matter what, I will always be here for both of them. For the tearful phone calls, for the requests for advice, to feed them when they are hungry, hug them when they are sad, laugh with them when we are amused, help them whenever necessary. Yes, I have to let them go. Hard but doable. This “freeing” process is going to take much discipline on my part. But I’m going to give it my best. I’m quite clear what letting them go doesn’t mean.

I will never stop being their mother. No matter what. Ever.

Be happy. Your choice.

Later.

The Love Letter

My Grandfather

This wonderful man wrote me a letter when I was four days old.

“My Dearest Little One –

Please forgive a fond Grandfather for the delay in welcoming you into our family and accept this letter as a small token of my love and affection for you.

First of all, let me congratulate you on your excellent choice of parents, and always be assured that they are rare people indeed. I have known your dear Mother since she drew her first breath of life and in all the passing years, the love I hold for her has mellowed and increased with the passage of time. Your Father is the newest member of the family, but he has earned a place in our hearts by just being himself and loving your Mother with all his heart. As for your Grandmother and me, well, we are just plain run-of-the-mill Grandparents, and we solemnly promise to spoil you and jump at your every beck and call.

I haven’t had the opportunity to be with you yet, but you can bet your Sunday boots that I am looking forward to that time with the greatest anticipation. I shall probably cause you some discomfort with all my foolishness, but just don’t be too harsh on me as all Grandfathers are just a bit silly at times. My chest has increased at least 10 inches since you were born and I’m sure it will continue to do so as I compare you with all the other inferior grandbabies of my friends. You must not feel any conceit, but I am sure there is no other little girl in the world quite like you, and you must always accept this position with charming grace.

Once again, let me tell you how welcome you are and how much I love you even though we haven’t met. I am counting the hours until I can hold you in my arms. The name I sign at the conclusion of this letter is a first for me, and it brings an overwhelming feeling of pride to do so. Give my best to your Mother and Daddy and save a little bit of your love for your –

Granddad -“

I Remember (Grand)Mama

My Grandmother, in a piece from her trousseau

“Don’t frown; it will cause wrinkles!”

If my Grandmother said this to me once, she said it a million times. I miss her. While it has been years since she passed away, she took flight over Memorial Day weekend.

Grandmother was elegant, charming, and always a lady. She was also an extraordinary flirt, which is a win-win for a gorgeous woman, which she was.

She was the only child of prosperous parents. Her aunt made every piece of her wardrobe (including everything from the lace to the buttons of her trousseau).

Grandmother had three husbands, three children, and seven grandchildren. People still come up to me and say that she and my Grandfather looked like a movie star couple.

I don’t think she felt like much of a movie star during WWII. My Grandfather was in the Cavalry and she lived on an army base in San Antonio with three children under five. There were lots of Hispanic children on the base, which, for some unknown reason, inspired my five-year-old Mother to become a humanitarian. She took my Grandmother’s jewelry box, which was filled with some serious bling, and passed the contents out to all her young friends. My Mom still remembers the spanking she got and none of the jewelry was ever recovered. Whoops. Completely overwhelmed¬†with kiddos¬†and trying to live on a very small budget, she finally threw in the towel, called my Great-Grandmother and pleaded for help. My Great-Grandmother thought over her darling daughter’s plight –¬†no money, three ankle biters, and¬†army base life. She did what any mother would do. She sent her a full-length mink coat. No wonder my Grandmother’s hair turned white at 26.

Flash forward to my appearance on the scene. Grandmother was all of 40 when I was born. She adored me because she didn’t have to birth me, I was her first grandchild, and I went home with my parents. She also loved me like her own child, which I could have been. My sister and cousins will tell you I was the female equivalent to “Baby Jesus” according to my Grandmother. They were loved as well, but sort of had “shepherd status”. Happens.

Four Generations

Mom, me, and Grandmother

I spent lots of time with my Grandparents. And it was all good.

The Three Amigo(a)s

Flash forward to the last years. She called my Mom, “Sis”; they lunched together every Friday. While “mothering” might not have been her best gig, she gave it what she could. Grandmother never said a bad word about anyone but I’m sure she thought of some zingers. And she had very nice manners. When my Dad’s father, Andy, came to town, she invited him for dinner. Andy was born and raised in the very rural¬†deep South. And he thought Grandmother was “hubba hubba” material. After dinner, he gave my Grandmother a big compliment. He said, “Beautiful Lady, them squashes was delicious!”. Her reply, “Oh Andy, you do go on so.”

She was a steel magnolia. Her¬†southern accent got deeper when she sipped on her favorite adult beverage, a scotch mist. The only time we got sideways was when McPaddie was born.¬† We decided to call McPaddie by a nickname; Grandmother said she absolutely would not call the new baby anything but her formal name. I said that was fine, the entire world minus her, would be using the nickname. She caved, and dearly loved both of my daughters. When she passed away, we ordered a blanket of fresh magnolias for her coffin. When I went to check on the situation, all the magnolias looked like they’d barely survived a southern tsunami. I marched myself into the funeral director’s office and said, “SHE MAY BE DEAD BUT THE FLOWERS SHOULDN’T BE, MR. MAN!”. Winner, winner, scotch mist for dinner!

I miss her.

The Steel Magnolia in her early 20's

My Grandmother at 78

And she was right, you know. If you frown, you will get wrinkles.