…hug mamma!

Happy Mother’s Day to all who mother…children, grandchildren, students, others’ children…and, of course, pets. Make sure you get your requisite hugs and smooshies. Have a few extra for me since my daughter is thousands of miles away. Although she and her fiancé had a beautiful vase of fragrant stargazer lilies and roses delivered to me today.

Of all the days we celebrate, Mother’s Day is by far the one I cherish most. If it weren’t for God’s grace I might never have been a mom. Not until my husband and I were wed 16 years was I blest with our only child. That’s why I write, wearing my heart on my sleeve…about my daughter.

Moms are special human beings. We give and give and give…and yet we never think of it that way. That’s just how we’re built it seems. It’s in our DNA. We instinctively nurture our children, fulfilling all their needs…physically and spiritually. When called upon we can even become…Super Women! There’s nothing we can’t do for our children. Nothing!

When our children are ill, we inhabit their bodies with our minds…willing them to heal. We instinctively feel their sorrows and weep as one with them. When they are elated, we carry them heavenward.

Because children are flesh of our flesh, we would step in front of a careening car to save them. Or exchange our healthy bodies for their diseased ones. We would sacrifice our lives…to spare theirs.

The light goes out when a child is gone. All that remain are memories. Truthfully, that’s all any of us have when our lives end. And isn’t that what really counts? Memories. Precious memories. Nothing material compares.

So we should live fully in each moment. Savor our children…their smiles, their frowns…their gusto, their  withdrawal…their mastery of some things, their lack of skill for others.

If we stockpile memories of being with our children we will never be without them. And we will always have…

…a beautiful and happy mother’s day.

………hugmamma.IMG_4128

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teaching our children…

…right from wrong.

That’s what parents set out to do. It’s like the Hypocratic oath for us. Parents: Do no harm. The first line translated from Greek is “I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:…”

Leading by example is the best and the most basic advice a parent could ever follow. “Little pitchers have big ears” is another truism parents would do well to remember.

The Andy Griffith Show and its town of Mayberry is still relevant today. I think even the majority of dissatisfied, Trump supporters would agree. And yet it’s sad to think that while they are clamoring to… “make America great again,” they are sacrificing their children to a slogan.

I’m not a parenting expert, although being a parent is something I take very seriously. In fact, it is my primary undertaking in life…to be the best parent I can be. Everything I believe, everything I do has ramifications…as a parent. Yes, I misstep; but morality is not something I can ever sacrifice for anything or anyone. Before committing to a cause or a person, it has to sit right…in my gut. That alone signals to my daughter that I can be believed; that she can follow my lead.

The end NEVER, EVER justifies the means. No amount of comfort and well being is worth the degradation of one’s soul. Trump has corrupted the morals of millions of parents. In the process, they have shown their children that their morals can be bought by a slogan.

My unsolicited advice to these parents…

…we reap…what we sow.

………hugmamma.

 

in vogue again…

So…if children see Trump bullying his way into the presidency, then why bother listening to adults moralize against bullying? Bullying gets the job done. Trump is proof-positive, and thousands of voters are rooting the bully on to a knock-out victory over any and all contenders.

So…if we see an uptick in bullying…on the playground…and on the internet…adults who voted Trump president have only themselves to thank. They have upended recent efforts to halt suicides by victims who were no match for the bullies.

So…if the would-be president is a bully, why shouldn’t children aspire to be like Trump…a bully? There’s no arguing the point, unless voters want to argue that the end justifies the means.

So…if the end justifies the means…what’s wrong with bullying…if it gets a kid what he wants in the end? It’s getting Trump what he wants. Remember, he swears he could shoot someone and his voters would still support him.

So…if mentally ill kids feel victimized by bullies and decide to retaliate by taking their  frustrations out in mass shootings, then we’ll be right where we are today. No better, but headed for a lot worse, that’s for sure.

So…for adults supporting Trump for president, it would follow that they approve of his bullying tactics. And because they do, it stands to reason that these same adults could not hold it against children who bully. Unless, of course, these Trump supporters are proposing that children “do as they say and not as they do.” That old double standard…that’s as old as bullying.

Sadly…

…some things never change.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

 

being myself…

That’s what I love most about my husband.

He lets me be myself.

He loves my goofiness, my seriousness, my intelligent moments as well as my dumb ones.

He never defines me, instead letting who I am ring true.

He never for a moment considers if others might think ill of me. And if someone should, it has no influence whatsoever on his loving me.

To him, I’m perfect just as I am. Maybe not for anyone else, but for him there’s no one else.

 

Through my husband’s eyes I’ve come to realize I am “perfect,” just as I am. In moments of self doubt, and, of course, I still get them…I tell myself  that I am a good person. God has let me know that by gifting me with two of His most wonderful creations…my husband and my daughter.

My daughter. When I look into her eyes, I see total, unconditional love…for me. Nothing I do or say can alter that fact. In return, I never overstep my place in her life. Just as I know that I am a good person, I know that she is as well. So why would I need, or want, to trespass upon all that she is?

This morning the imp in me took over and I hid from my husband in the midst of fixing our bed. He had gotten an earlier start to the day, as is his usual routine. He’s an early bird riser. I’m a midnight owl who has no use for worms when I first wipe the sleep from my eyes. I could hear him walking all around in search of me…through the bedroom, adjoining library nook, walk-in closet, bathroom and nearby laundry room. He may even have peeked into the garage. As he strode past the bedroom, I jumped out of my hiding place and scared him. I really did scare him! He kind of froze in place. And then we both burst into uncontrollable laughter. Giggling like high school sweethearts…rather than the middle-aged seniors we really are…we hugged and laughed and laughed and laughed.

I’m lucky. Real lucky. My husband loves me…

…just as i am.

………hugmamma.

 

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/

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.

journeying towards her best life…#19: hello…goodbye…and stuff in-between

Had a nice, long chat with Pat this evening.

Nice and long for me.

Probably tolerable for Pat. 

I’m guessing she was fine with it.

She laughed the entire time.

Never disagreeable.

Pat finds everything I say funny.

Actually, so do I.

Hilarious, really.

Like a screwball…bouncing from topic to topic.

It’s the new diet book I just bought.

To wishing I were there…eating Hawaiian plate lunches. 

It’s about available housing near The Mayo Clinic for her recovery stay.

To my scouring the internet for light fixtures for our upcoming remodel.

It’s asking if her son has a new girlfriend.

To how long before homeopathic supplements kick in.

It’s agreeing that Brad is one savvy guy.

To Pat’s knowing one of her good friends since 6th grade.

It’s her having lost about 30 pounds.

To Filipinos thinking I’m Filipino.

It’s learning that Julie was celebrating her birthday with family on The Big Island.

To Pat’s son texting and calling her regularly.

It’s her wishing she could just yank out her shaky back teeth.

To Jennifer’s Super Bowl Party…minus kids.

It’s Pat’s great conversations with her sons, as she drove them hither and yon.

To my daughter laughing at how I jump from topic to topic…making it difficult for her to keep up.

It’s recipes high in calories to help Pat build up her immune system.

To my husband’s being a little “under the weather.”

It’s how dad…my father-in-law…probably only spoke when he had something to say.

To me me saying I chatter…to fill the silence.

It’s how helpful sister-in-law Bev’s therapeutic massage is for Pat.

To how my legs ached the day after carrying…my darling, almost 1-month-old, great-nephew…up and down his parents’ steps so he’d fall back to sleep.

It’s how much Mel, a co-worker and great friend, misses Pat.

To not being able to postpone her colonoscopy…and tolerating the stuff she has to drink the day before.

It’s Pat’s continuing to feel good.

And to her living in the moment.

It’s saying goodbye to Pat.

Then talking her ears off for another half-hour.

It’s saying goodbye to Pat again.

Then talking her ears off…again…for another half-hour.

It’s Pat saying…”Okay. Goodbye, Millie.”

Then hanging up the phone.

My hubby, Pat’s brother, did get a word in…

…edgewise…and sideways…in under 8 minutes.

………hugmamma.

journeying towards her best life…#10: to dominate the impossible in your life…

Lyrics from Paul Simon’s The Rhythm of the Saints seem more than appropriate in describing Pat’s…Journey towards her best life.

To overcome an obstacle or an enemy
To glide away from the razor or a knife
To overcome an obstacle or an enemy
To dominate the impossible in your life
Reach in the darkness
A reach in the dark
Reach in the darkness
A reach in the dark

To dominate the impossible in your life…Reach in the darkness…A reach in the dark.

Overcoming multiple myeloma AND amyloidosis is a tall order for a petite, gentle, Hawaiian…with a huge heart. Someone who doesn’t go looking for trouble but will oblige an opponent if nudged too far.

I must admit…most islanders will remove their Aloha Spirit if the situation demands it.

Well, MM and AL have picked a battle with the wrong woman and the wrong family. We, Pat’s OHANA…family are in this with our beloved sister…for the long haul.

Not as an obligation, but as a gift, lovingly given…unconditionally…no strings attached. 

When Pat informed 9 of her siblings at a family meeting, Richard’s immediate response was offering that they all be tested to see if one or more might be compatible donors for the stem cell his sister might need for a transplant. As it turns out the risk of rejection is too high. Pat will have to act as her own donor, since her body would be more receptive to her own stem cells.

Since my husband, Pat’s eldest brother, and I live on the mainland we offered to stay with her during her stem cell transplant at The Mayo Clinic, should she need us.

And what is Pat doing on her own behalf? She is dominating the impossible in her life…reaching in the darkness…a reach in the dark. 

Pat is facing her formidable opponents with…a broad smile on her face! She is not allowing MM and AL to subjugate her sense of humor…her sense of fun.

Following is Pat’s List of…Favorite Things…Wishes…and other stuff:

Things I Love About Hawaii
     How the sun shines while it’s raining.

Sweater weather…70 degrees outside.

No matter where in the world you are, one of the first things you ask someone from Hawaii is “What school you went?” Then you figure out how you’re related to each other…’cause you are.

Makapu’u hike and the lighthouse on the cliff.

Everything about the ocean…the smell, the sight, the sound, the feel and its power.

Having to make room in the fridge for fresh-caught mahi or paka.

Hawaiian music. Most songs are about the natural beauty of the islands…family…food…or surfing. What’s not to like?

The trade winds that blow through our house when the doors are wide open.

As you get older, you are not addressed as ma’am or sir. It’s “aunty” and “uncle.” I was pissed the first time a guy in a surf shop came up to me and said “Aunty, you need help?” But it’s all good. I like it when my sons’ friends or a dude in a surf shop calls me aunty. It shows they’ve been raised right.

Packing up dinner at the last minute and eating it at the beach. It shall be a regular thing whenever you guys…hugmamma and family…are home in Hawaii. 

What I’d Be If I Weren’t Me
A seeing-eye dog or other service animal.

My Super Power, If I Had One
Clarity

My Last Meal Choice
Vinha d’alhos…Grandma V’s sweetbread…fried eggs and rice.
I had to look up how to spell vinha d’alhos…not in the dictionary but in a local MAUI cookbook. Visiting with Mike on Maui a few years ago, he said he never understood what being Portuguese really meant until he moved to Maui.

What Makes Me Special
Being the youngest of 12 in our clan. No one else can ever make that claim!

Hidden Talent
Still looking for it.

What I Want For My Kids
To be healthy, happy, and successful…by their own definition. My definition: they’re out of the house and on their own.

Parental Advice If Any One Should Ever Ask
The best thing you can do for your kids is to let them fend for themselves.
DITTO FOR THE SPOUSE.

 

…a knock out!…in favor of…pat!!!

………hugmamma.

charitable gifting…a holiday twist

The Food Bank in our community recently held a holiday event for parents unable to provide gifts for their children.

Rather than having donors make the selections for family members, we were invited to bring our unwrapped donations to a specified venue on December 8th and 9th. The Food Bank’s website provided the age categories and a list of possible suggestions of gifts for both boys and girls. Donors were asked to indicate, if possible, what items we were planning to bring. Most likely it was to have an indication of what and how much to expect.

Parents wanting to participate in the shopping spree which occurred on December 10th and 11th, were asked to register online. Again, it was probably to ensure that there would be a sufficient inventory from which they could make their selections.

A friend and I had fun shopping for items to donate. With no child of his own, he relished purchasing a couple of things to make someone else’s child happy. It brought me joy as well knowing that the toys and clothes I bought would bring great pleasure to the parents who would, in turn, give them to their children.

What a wonderful way to give during the holidays. Letting parents shop from among the donated items, allowing them to have the same experience as we who have the means to buy gifts for our own children.

…anonymity for the donor…dignity for the parent who can give…

………hugmamma.

nurturing thursdays: their problem…not yours

A mother’s comment led me to repostBelieve at https://hugmamma.com/2014/09/24/believe-2/, something I’d written a few years ago. Having read the original post only a couple of days ago, she left these words…

“Thank you for your beautiful poem! I just sent it in a card (with you credited of course) to a homesick son away at boot camp.”

I could only think how inspiring this mother is to take her son’s preparation for the difficult road ahead…with such grace. I thought “I should thank her,” and I did.

At the time I wrote Believe, I was experiencing self-doubt.

I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, diving into situations with a typically hugmamma attitude. Not quite Pollyana, since I do have a cynical side…partly because I was raised by a single-parent…and partly, because I was a New Yorker for 10 years.

Without going into details, I was totally blind-sided to discover that my good intentions of many years were probably not received as they were offered…unconditionally and without reservation. Instead, criticism withheld for who knows how long seeped in. Like molten lava…hot to the touch…becoming solid rock over time.

After much soul-searching and loving support from my own family, I moved on finding renewed faith in myself. I awoke early one morning and wrote Believe.

Compassion for others begins with compassion for myself.

As I reflect once more upon what I’d written, I’m reminded of what I told my daughter when she was too young to understand why others could be so unkind.

When others said or did something hurtful to my child, I told her she wasn’t responsible for what they said or did. Their words and deeds were coming from within themselves. The problem was theirs, not my daughter’s.

We are not the focal point of others’ lives. We should not think we are. Once we accept this fact, we can be free of the chaos we create for ourselves. We needn’t be bound by the ill-placed actions of those with an axe to grind.

Everyone lives their own lives the best they can. No one is exempt from life’s dark side. While I try very hard not to pass judgment on others…only God can do that…I prefer to thrive in the company of those who are generous in thought and deed. They keep me grounded in who I am and want to be…

…a person of compassion.

………hugmamma.

ENJOY other inspirational pieces at http://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/nurturing-thurs-that-one-person/

there’s no quitting this job…

…full-time parent.

For those of you on the verge of diving into parenthood, be prepared to go the long haul. Once that little bundle of joy enters your life, there’s no chance for a do-over.

If all the stars in the universe are aligned in your favor then I say…go for it! However if you’re not in a secure frame of mind where you think you can do this job, then I’d say wait until you are. Another year or two can make a dramatic difference in how well you perform this lifelong task.

No joke! As a parent, you’re employment is guaranteed for life. There’s no retirement when you’re 65. There’s no “golden parachute” of benefits and monetary compensation for decades of stellar performance.

When I signed on as a parent, I was 36. In 1986, I was probably teetering on the brink of acceptance as an older mom. No one wagged a finger in my face as if to say “Well! It’s about time!” Although my younger sisters-in-law had broods of little ones long before me.

Married for 16 years, my husband and I had come to accept that we might never conceive. While I never discussed the possibility of adoption with him, it had entered my mind. I wasn’t prepared to jump through hoops to get pregnant. I would have been stressed, and my unborn child would have felt the impact of my being on an emotional roller coaster.

Jubilant when we got the news that I was finally “with child,” my mood eventually disintegrated into worry over my sanity at being home alone with a newborn. After all, I’d been on a career track for most of my adult life. I’d even contemplated entering law school since I enjoyed my job as a paralegal for a major airline in New York City.

Women are in a unique position when we find ourselves pregnant. We must decide the rest of OUR lives when a child enters the picture. We must incorporate a totally dependent creature into whatever it is we’ve been doing until that point.

It’s like trying to fit 500 extra pieces into a thousand-piece puzzle!

Somehow we manage to stretch ourselves to include more time, more energy, more mental capacity for juggling, more emotional stamina, more backbone for confrontation.

All this while bulking up our softer, gentler side.

We must strive for more patience, become skilled listeners, refrain from nagging, dispense appropriate portions of praise and criticism, appease the disgruntled, soothe the weary, uplift the downtrodden, heal the wounded.

Our call now and then to be the “hostess-with-the mostest” is super-sized to that of Social Coordinator-In-Charge-Of-Everything. Overnight we morph into taxi-drivers, sleep-over monitors, committee chairmen, teaching assistants, Brownie leaders, cheerleaders, snack-time volunteers, costume designers, seamstresses, referees, nurses. The list goes on.

If desired, you could be on-call 24 hours a day. Just don’t expect to be paid like a doctor.

Why in the heck, then, would any, fun-loving, devil-may-care, free-wheeling couple want to tie themselves down with kids?

Because the rewards are as overwhelming as the myriad of duties that go along with being a parent. That’s why!

Yes, there are the acclaims and congratulations when my daughter achieves what might seem impossible to others. And there are the compliments of a job well done from friends and strangers alike. However nothing compares with the love and admiration of the child you’ve nurtured from womb to adulthood.

When my daughter says “I love you,” there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s heartfelt. When we laugh until our sides ache and tears stream down our cheeks, we are bff’s…best friends forever. In that moment, the reward of being a mom is the greatest.

Who knew I would give birth to my very own best girlfriend?

The journey’s not easy. It’s laden with pitfalls, like broken hearts and car accidents. Worrying becomes second-nature. Sacrificing goes without saying. Relaxing is a thing of the past. Considered last is normal.

One day though our children become adults, and they turn to us for help in navigating the challenges of everyday life. It’s then that our validation as parents is complete, even though…

…our job isn’t.

………hugmamma.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/editing-challenge/

 

 

 

 

 

 

unique is…as unique lives…

( Move your mouse over each photo, to read its caption.) 

To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour

-SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL –

I would like to credit the assembling of this post to another blogger from whom I borrowed SWC’s words. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to relocate the blog from whence it came. If you recognize this quote, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due. Without it, I would not have thought to post this homage to my UNIQUE AND BELOVED…DAUGHTER.

………HUGMAMMA.

“good morning america” interviews…my nephew and his 4 children…

A very proud moment for our extended family was broadcast to the world on Good Morning America this morning.

Our nephew was interviewed along with two other dads by George Stephanopoulos.

Loreto has been a military man for many years, having served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan through several tours of duty. Needless to say he has missed watching his 4 children grow up, being home intermittently throughout their young lives.

Our niece Danielle, Loreto’s wife, has supported her husband in his career and seen to the upbringing of their children while he ‘s away. They feel blest when he is home with them and knowing Danielle, I’m certain she assures Loreto that he is still very much head of their family.

I’m certain they have their share of problems to deal with, as any family does. However I’m just as certain that military families with loved ones fighting overseas suffer in ways most of us could not even imagine.

Loreto and Danielle have done brilliantly…together and apart. Upon returning from the Middle East, he spent a few years at West Point teaching. And while tending to the needs of her children, she managed to earn a nursing degree and became a pediatric nurse. No slouch, either of them.

I salute our nephew and niece in their determination to do right by themselves, their children, their families, and their community.

Hawaii Pictures Kelly's Wedding 010Danielle and Loreto carry on the legacy of my mother-in-law and father-in-law. Parents who, by their example, instilled in their 12 children the importance of education, hard work, and compassion for others. All of which continues to pass from one generation to the next with the same dedication to living exemplary lives.IMG_3363

If I sound like a proud aunt…

…i am!!!

………hugmamma.

(Click below to watch the interview with George Stephanopoulos on today’s segment of Good Morning America.)

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/fathers-day-dads-surprised-kids-fathers-day-message-24102898

friday fictioneers: …of butterflies and innocents…

Copyright - Renee Heath

It felt like my insides were oozing out through all my pores,

as my tears spilled uncontrollably down my cheeks.

Could my heart break any more than into a million, tiny pieces?

I drown in sorrow. 

What madness this that another mother’s offspring should savagely gun down my own?

Is there no safe haven for the butterfly, newly emerged from its cocoon?

What price heaven, that my innocent should die?

As for me…

I will glue my brokenness back together again.

I will live happily…as best I know how.

Until my eyes light once more…

on my beloved butterfly.

Newtown.IMG_0964

 

nurturing thursdays: quality time…lasts forever

It’s nice being a normal family once again, doing simple things together. 

My husband and daughter are having a rare father-daughter day. They visited the Motor Vehicle Licensing department to switch her driver’s license over to Washington State. Upon entering, they were pleasantly surprised to find they were the only customers. When asked how they could be helped, my husband replied that this was the first time he’d ever seen a government licensing department empty, especially at 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. The ladies behind the counter chuckled.

Expecting to wait an inordinate amount of time, my husband and daughter found themselves with hours to kill before seeing our tax accountant. Without me offering a myriad of suggestions, they opted to have a nice breakfast nearer the accountant’s office. That ate up an hour. When I called to see how they were doing, they had another couple of hours to waste. They spent it walking around the few small shops in the area. Since both had their Nooks, they figured they’d read or play games to while away the remaining time.

Our family is fortunate to spend so much quality time with one another. It’s been the driving force in our lives. Or I should say…in my life.

Not having had a father, and having to share my mom’s attention with so many siblings while she was our sole breadwinner, meant I clung to whatever thread of stability I could find.

Children crave stability. Without it, they flounder as adults.

With my husband and daughter, I found the home I’d been without for so long. Happily, we will always love and support one another through all the changes life still has in store for us.

Last night I learned from an older brother that our eldest brother is dying. 

I remember Stanley as being shy and gentle, with a nice laugh, and a tall, lanky frame. From what I can recall, he never lacked for female companionship. I think he had 3 wives and just as many children. I can’t be sure because I rarely saw him or them. Sadly, we were worlds apart as to…where we lived…and our life experiences. Bridging the gap never seemed a possibility because he was such a loner.

Nonetheless, I will always remember my brother affectionately for trying to help mend a broken bridge between another sibling and myself. The moment was awkward and she never took up the challenge to right things between us. Being the youngest, and unable to drum up the courage to speak of the past hurt, I clung to my husband seated beside me and kept my head lowered until the moment past. 

Broken families beget broken people who find better lives for themselves…

…and never look back with regret or remorse or bitterness…

……….hugmamma.IMG_1997