nurturing thursdays: she’s getting married…

…my daughter…my only sunshine.

How did my little girl go from shadowing me one minute…to standing apart, aglow in a life all her own?

I can remember hearing folks in my mom’s generation saying of children…”Enjoy them while you can. They grow up so fast.” I too say that to young parents now, more out of habit than something to which I truly subscribe.

I think my husband would have preferred carrying his little “pumpkin pie” about on his shoulders…just a little longer. And building igloos together with her in the icy snow that covered our front lawn…just a little longer. And reading bedtime stories in the soft glow of the lamplight, her little head against his chest…just a little longer.

As for me? I wanted tomorrow to come…and the one after that…and the one after that…and all the tomorrows to follow . I wanted time to pass, knowing that with each passing year my only child was still here, beside me. Not until my husband and I celebrated 16 years of marriage did we become parents. Because of that I always felt she could be gone…in the blink of an eye.

Still do.

Like other parents, I hoped I’d live to see my daughter grow into adulthood…and settle into a marriage with someone who would cherish her for the wonderful person she is. Whether or not she bears us a grandchild is unimportant. She, and the son we gain through marriage, are gift enough for us. Of course we would celebrate a little addition to the family…if that is God’s wish.

And so with my daughter’s marriage, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief, passing the torch of all-consuming love along to her husband-to-be. Although the love I bear my daughter will always glimmer and burn so that she will never, ever...be afraid of the dark.

I’m certain my precious little girl will always remember what I told her long, long ago.

When I’m gone from your side, I’ll still be with you…like a blankie wrapped around your heart…warming you always.

………hugmamma.

Check out more inspirational writings at… 

https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/nurt-thurs-biggest-step-2/

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For you ‘Mama’

…mother’s day…is every day…

…as long as there’s a child…longing to be loved…and hugged.

………hugmamma.

(To hear the beautiful music that accompanies these lovely photographs, go to… https://passiondew.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/for-you-mama/)

The Passion Dew

Forget me not

Forget me not

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…one breath…

A lovely, lovely video created by Livonne…in memory of her dad. 

We can all take away the message of love we hold dear in our hearts…in spite of the heartache that often accompanies it.

You can read the post which accompanies this at… http://livonne.com.au/2015/07/15/with-just-one-breath/

…leaves me…speechless.

………hugmamma.

living her best life: #52…in it together

Today I text Pat…

Will post something today. Always thinking of you both, hoping you’re fine. God bless you for your strength and no nonsense ways. How are the boys? How’s Brad? How’s living been with others? I love you…

And  she text back…

I think the boys are fine…haven’t been up to texting them either. Doing okay…not great…passed out this morning in the shower so had to be admitted for observation. Prior to that I was doing pretty good. Just exhausted and constantly foggy. Thank God I have Brad with me.

Living with others has been great…it really does help both the patient and caregiver.

…God bless the mayo clinic…all the folks at gift of life transplant house

…and especially pat and brad.

………hugmamma.img_4416.jpg

facing our demons…

When I was a child growing up in Wailuku on the sleepy island of Maui, I sometimes wished I could attend Sunday service at the Jehovah Witnesses Hall near my family’s rented house. Walking past the Hall on my way to buy a few things at the grocery store, I could hear the members singing. Unlike the solemnity of my own Catholic church, the Jehovah Witnesses sounded like they were having a blast. What I wouldn’t have given to sing my heart out just like those folks. 

While I never thought twice about what the Jehovah witnesses looked like, I assumed they were blacks. Why? Because of pictures I’d seen on TV and in print of blacks smiling and clapping their hands as they sang their prayers to God. I wanted to be like them. Still do.

I believe in a joyful God, one who focuses upon goodness. One who overlooks our flaws, knowing we will improve…if we want to improve. 

This morning as I watched CNN news, I wished I was sitting among the parishioners of the church where 9 blacks had been gunned down. 

If you’re asking “Why?” The simple answer is “Because instead of hatred for the racist killer, those present inside and outside the church were filled with love for the victims.” As one commentator put it…the dead are now in heaven with God…having died in the church they loved. 

Unlike the media, the church goers were focused solely upon their loved ones.

According to that same commentator, we cannot deny the killer’s ideology of racial hatred. In fact, we should not. We need to face it head on, armed with the ideology of love.

The fact is…evil exists…as does good. The battle will continue as long as mankind does.

If we can learn from the congregation of Charleston’s Emanuel AME, to honor one another with love…

…good will always conquer evil.

………hugmamma.

living her best life #42: an outpouring of love

When I offered to chronicle her life as a cancer patient, I did so wanting to give Pat an outlet to vent, to get her feelings onto “paper” and out of her head. Blogging these last 5 years has been cathartic for me; I thought it might be the same for my sister-in-law. Writing her story was also a way for me to do something more tangible than just praying.

Don’t get me wrong. Prayer is powerful. I just wanted to do something more, and writing was right up my alley.

Pat’s reason for doing this journal was two-fold. She wanted to provide readers with insight into how individuals with cancer live from day to day. Her desire was to help other cancer patients and their caregivers. She wanted them to know…they were not alone.

Equally important to Pat, was to have her journey with cancer chronicled so that she could remember the good moments and the not-so-good ones. She wanted to look back and thumb her nose at the Big C, once she’d beaten it into remission.

It goes without saying that the loving support of family, friends, even strangers, is hugely important to Pat. She’d be the first to say…her strength to endure has come from her community of caregivers. I couldn’t agree more.

In response to an email sent to update those closest to her about her first day at The Mayo Clinic, Pat received the following outpouring of well wishes.

Steph…I’m glad everything is working out…hope you win plenty at the casino!…safe trip home…sending you prayers and warm hugs!
Lei…You’re numbers may be unremarkable, but you my friend are remarkable!…you know I’d be taking you to the Mall of America…nothing beats chemotherapy like retail therapy!…tell Brad to keep you happy, “happy wife…”…love you tons and big nalo hugs!
Richard…Your positive outlook and sense of humor in the face of adversity are such an inspiration…our prayers and positive thoughts are with you and the boys…love you all!!
Bozo…Pat and Brad, just wanted to add the newest member to our family, Lauren, sends her love too…let us know if u need anything…love u.
Mary L….Pat and Brad, you and the boys are always in our thoughts and prayers…we love you!

And then there was the buzz of caring concern and love via text messages to one another…

Wow thank you! I emailed her too and was waiting for a response. Great news! … Thank you Jen for the update. Aunty Pat sounds upbeat…have good feelings. … Thanks Jen. I’m happy to hear the consultation was good! I was praying so hard for her today. Even though this i a type of aggressive cancer – I’m begging God to heal our sister and Aunty. He tells us to pray interceding for others. Join me in prayer and intercede in Pats behalf for God to perform a miracle in her body!! Love you all!! … Thank you Jen. To all – let’s keep one another updated with whatever info we hear. I know we are all concerned for Pat, and hope for the best for her and her family. Love to all. Lil. … Thank you Jen and to all the family for the continued prayers. Miracles happen through the power of prayer! Love you all. Louise. … Thanks, Jen. Also texted aunt Pat to see how she’s doing. So many responses to her email. Everyone is pulling for her. Love, Kathi.

It takes a village sending an abundance of healing sentiments to ensure that Pat’s in a good place. 

…and she’s deserving of all the love being showered upon her.

………hugmamma.

in the blink of an eye…

That’s all it takes to lose what you love most…the blink of an eye.

As we flew 3,000 miles to be by our daughter’s side as she recovered from a second surgery to repair her bowel wall pierced during a surgery to remove a couple of fibroids from her uterine wall, I prepared myself for the worse case scenario.

Death.

I thought how fortunate I was to have mothered such a lovely, loving, young woman. A gift from God for which I have always been grateful these last 29 years. I would mourn her loss, but I would try to focus upon the years I was so blest to have her in my life. I would not give in to anger. I would honor her memory that way because she rarely, if ever, showed anger towards anyone. She forgave much quicker than I ever could.

So much I have learned and continue to learn from my dear, sweet daughter. Fortunately, I will continue to learn from her.

Our daughter is recovering. The incision is finally shrinking; the wound not so red and gnarly. She just returned to driving again. The need to earn a living as a dance teacher, a strong incentive. There are still bills to be paid, after all. Including the hospital’s $50,000 charge for the 6 days stay. It’s almost certain the surgeons’ bills will amount to as much, if not more.

If not for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, our daughter might have been another liability for the taxpayers. Instead, she’s been able to afford the $89 monthly premium, instead of the $200+ our daughter would have had to pay without the government’s tax credit.

Money matters. It helps pay the bills. It affords us respite from life’s daily challenges. And yet…

Without those we cherish the most, life would hold little meaning. Not that we should end our existence. Only that we should love deeply, remembering that nothing lasts forever. That, however, doesn’t mean our lives can’t end happily.

Quite the contrary. Abandoning ourselves to love will guarantee us…

…a very, very…happily ever after.

………hugmamma.

nurturing thursdays: celebrating the goodness of people…

My husband’s 40+ years of dedicated service to the traveling public has come to an end.

What began as a summer job with Pan American World Airways in the mid-to-late 60s, followed by a stint with American Express as a travel agent in the early 70s, eventually flourished into a full-fledged career in the cruise industry.

I have never doubted my husband’s charisma and talent to do anything he wanted. Although his seeming shyness and humility had me wondering if he could ever climb the corporate ladder. I didn’t think he had the killer instinct required to get from one rung to the next. Last night’s retirement dinner confirmed the fact that he remained true to himself through all the twists and turns of a career that took him from airport ticket agent in Honolulu to Vice President of Human Resources in Seattle…via The Big Apple, New York City.

One of three executives who retired the beginning of this year, my husband listened as others spoke of their personal and professional experiences with him throughout the years.

The man who heads the entire brand has known my husband since their younger days working at another cruise line headquartered in NYC. That’s going back some 30+ years. My husband was then a reservations supervisor; the other, a purser on board one of the ships. I didn’t know him then. We only became acquainted about 6 years ago, when my husband moved out of Guest Programs into Human Resources and reported directly to his former colleague, now in charge of the whole operation here on the West Coast.

Small world. Even smaller when folks remain in one industry throughout their entire careers. Our daughter, the dancer, will confirm that.

It’s always deeply moving for me when others reiterate the same qualities I most admire in my husband…his compassion…his fairness…his trustworthiness…his calming influence. Once a prospect for the priesthood…before we met, obviously…he has never lost his Christianity. He continues to practice his faith in God and others…in all ways.

Last night some jokingly referred to him as a saint, including his boss.

During one of our first arguments as newlyweds 44 years ago, I asked if he knew how hard it was living with a saint. Genuinely hurt, he said that was the worst thing I could have said. Of course I never went there again. Nonetheless…it isn’t always easy trying to modify my behavior according to someone who is so uniquely wired.

I had worked for a number of corporations before opting out of the rat race for the best career ever handed me…motherhood. None has been more satisfying or rewarding. I got out what I put in. I couldn’t say that about the corporate jobs I’ve had. I always felt I put in more than I got out. It was always…”manana”…tomorrow. Do this today and you MIGHT see some payback tomorrow…or the next day…the next year… or the year after. I didn’t have that kind of patience. Still don’t. A little better, but not the same as my husband’s.

I’ve always felt, still do, that employees are a reflection of those for whom they work. They embody the corporation’s principles. The management style of the person at the top filters down throughout the entire workforce. Great employees are a credit to a great boss; on the flip side, a mediocre boss inevitably breeds mediocrity among his employees.

Having had access to the back story via what I saw for myself as well as what my husband confided in me, the corporation from which he recently retired was the best I’d seen in all my time in and around the business world. 

The man at the top, my husband’s boss, held to the same values as us…uncompromising integrity and family above all else. The leaders he chose to effect his agenda were men and women who demonstrated similar principles. I can attest to it because I met many of them, even getting to know some well. Talk of family, interest in our daughter’s dance career, was always part of the conversation. And, of course, we always asked after their children’s well-being and what they were doing.

My husband’s boss and his wife are the only executive couple with whom I have ever been able to speak freely and from the heart. So I guess it was no surprise to them, that when after all other speeches were made, including those by the retirees themselves…I asked if I could say a few words.

Speaking from the heart…as Hawaiians do so well…I explained the attachment I felt to my husband’s boss and his wife. Once, some time ago, at a social function I had said I would have loved being both their mothers. (They are good people. They would make any mother proud. Having met both sets of parents, I understand why they became who they are.)

I went on to explain to those gathered my own corporate career experience, and how I’d never witnessed the same familial environment apparent in my husband’s company. I credited that fact and my husband’s ability to thrive within such an atmosphere…to his boss’s management style. One that wasn’t only focused upon “the bottom line,” but also upon the coming together as…ohana…Hawaiian for “family.” 

In conclusion, I asked that those present…all in varying leadership positions within the company…”hang onto that feeling of ohana. That it is a rarity, as much now as in the past.

Hugging both the CEO of Holland America Group, Stein Cruse, and his wife Linda, I said I loved them. She and I shed tears as we hugged. Just like a daughter… And he stooped to embrace me in a bear hug, whispering that it was sweet of me. Just like a son…

Public speaking has never been my forte. My voice cracks. I ramble. I say things which might make most husbands and daughters cringe with embarrassment. Fortunately for me, mine “get” who I am. As my daughter explained…whatever I know might go public. She knows too that it’s only done out of love and compassion.

I have no filter when it comes to praising others. I say what I feel. Perhaps because I craved approval the better part of my life, and probably still do, I give it freely whenever I am afforded the opportunity.

Seeing others warmed by a few words of praise…blesses me.

And so I count my blessings…

…as often as i can.

………hugmamma.

Enjoy other inspirational words at
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/nurt-thurs-you-are/

 

 

A Butterfly Companion

…beautifully written…of cherished pets…and loved ones…and our insecurities…real or imagined…
………hugmamma.

rachelmankowitz

Butterfly flits around like a ladybug. I always think she should be wearing ballet slippers and a tutu, the way she twirls and flies. She is gossamer. Her wings are so ethereal that they are almost invisible. Almost.

My Butterfly My Butterfly

She doesn’t seem to be like any other dog I’ve known. I’m used to moody dogs, dogs with personality problems, dogs who use guilt to push me around, dogs who could be diagnosed using the DSM V. But Butterfly is a different. She poops and barks and begs for treats, yes, but she’s also untouchable in a way, so sweet as to be unreal.

"Gimme some sugar!" “Gimme some sugar!”

In a way her butterfly-ness is upsetting, because she is always a bit out of reach. Cricket will jump on me and curl up on my chest, or my hip, while I’m sleeping. She scratches me and shrieks in my ear. She is…

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journeying towards her best life…#17

Last night I had asked Pat if she preferred I not continue to blog her health journey. I thought it might be too difficult to share her thoughts, thereby baring her soul, as time went on. 

In no time, I received a reply.

Pat explained that if what she was going through could help others, than sharing news about her experience was worth it. She went on to say

“…writing about it helps me.”

Most of what I’ve sent [you] so far has been light, meant to make me (and, hopefully, others) laugh.

It wouldn’t be fair, however, if I led people to think that I’m breezing through this, although, luckily, so far it seems I have.

And although I really like all the doctors and nurses taking care of me, the reality is that after certain appointments, like today, I get just a little depressed.

I’m reminded “Yes. You are sick. And yes. It is serious.”

So when Brad asked if I was going to update the family, I said I would but that I needed to digest it all for myself first.

It takes a little while to get my mojo back.

It’s on its way back now.

I’ll pray. Reread your blog and the comments left. Listen to Hawaiian music and do whatever else I can that allows me to take a step back and ask myself…”How am I feeling right now? Because right now is all I have. And if in this moment, I feel good, then let’s celebrate!”

Worrying about things that may [or may not] occur means experiencing them many more times than necessary. In reality, I’ll only experience them when they actually occur. ( FYI…I’m not as smart as you might think. This came from a bible study passage I’d read on 1/16.)

Anyway, [hugmamma], I think you know where I’m coming from. I trust your judgment when it comes to blogging. 

So let’s blog on! 

I’m feeling better…can you tell?

…yes, pat…i can tell.

As a postscript, Pat added that since she couldn’t get a hold of her sister to wish her a Happy Birthday she did the next best thing. 

During today’s treatment, to take my mind off the shot I was getting, I sang “Happy Birthday” to her in my head. Corny. I know…but it helped.

…hugs and aloha…pat…

………and…hugmamma.