Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Alix Joy!

This little lady is who my husband lovingly referred to as "Blond Bombshell II", after her Mommy whom he nicknamed "Blond Bombshell" when she was a very young girl. Nine years ago today, #2 was born and was the first great-grandchild in our family. She was adored from the minute we all learned of her existence and long before she was actually born.

Alix Joy was very aptly named by her parents for she has been a joy to us since she breathed her first breathe. She is a tomboy and will out climb any boy her age or older! Even with her left arm casted from a fall this summer, she continued to climb and do stunts on her bike. She's a princess when she wants to be and an able adversary to any little boy when she chooses!

Her latest passion is cheernastics. Oh, and always, ALWAYS fashion! She has been a fashion plate since she was two years old and insisted that everything match 'very'! She is very outgoing and has a laugh that is contagious. Her smile lights the dark and brings happiness just to look upon. She is, indeed, a JOY!!!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALIX JOY!!!! Your Aunt Di loves you and is so proud of you!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jacob!

This rather dashing young man is my nephew, Jacob, AKA Jake to us. On this day 24 years ago we were blessed with his presence in our world. His big brother and big sister sat in the waiting room with me, his Mamaw Mac and his Aunt Sue and waited for him to arrive. When he was finally wheeled out, they were so excited, wanting to crawl up into the bed with Momma and the new baby. Daddy held them up and they 'oooohhhhed' and 'awwwwed' and gave him kisses. Momma and I cried!

Jacob is such a free spirit on the one hand and yet so cautious on the other. I would say he is an extremely well balanced individual. He has dreams of being a pilot and I pray every day he is able to fulfill that dream. Some discounted airline tickets would be nice for old Aunt Di!!!! ;) He is currently working full time and going to school four days a week. He has a busy life, but he likes it that way.

Now, this OUR Jake!!! He has such a great sense of humor and keeps us laughing all the time! He can make the dullest day bright or the saddest hour happy. He would be a real catch for some young woman out there....hint, hint!!!!

So, Happy Birthday, Jake. I love you so very much and I am so thankful you are my nephew. I pray your day is full of blessings and that you get all things you want out of life.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Adam!

On Monday, October 10, 1977 this precious young man entered my world. Of course, he was a lot smaller then! He!He! This is Adam, my first nephew and the only child of my youngest sister, Debra, and my BIL Dwade. He was the first grandchild in our family and we all thought he hung the moon! Talkin about spoiled.....every single one of us spoiled him at every available opportunity! Momma and Daddy became Mamaw and Papaw on that day and thus, forever after.

Adam is a wonderful man with a loving heart and so much to give, and by the way, he's available! Sorry Adam, had to throw that in there!!! ;) I will readily admit that I am prejudiced, but he honestly is very kind and loving and adores children. Like so many young men before him, he has struggled to find himself and find his place in this world. I am so proud to say that he has found that place and has become a young man any aunt would be proud to call her own!

Adam is an outdoorsman and loves to do just about anything outdoors. He's not particularly interested in hunting, but does enjoy fishing. He finds so much pleasure in working in his yard and I swear I don't think I've ever met anyone who enjoys mowing their grass so much! In his early twenties, he rode bulls in the local rodeo circuit. Thank God, he gave that up before he got his neck broken! He's much more sensible now....WHEW!!!!!!

Try as I might, it is the most difficult thing to get a picture of this man with his eyes exposed AND open! Actually, I'm just teasing. I just wanted to post this picture because it has my sister and BIL in it with him. I'm pretty proud of all of them!

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ADAM! Your Aunt Di loves you and always will. Thank you for being in my life and for caring about your old aunt!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Outta The Blue...........

For the past several days (possibly even weeks or months), I have been having a real struggle trying to deal with the grief of losing my husband, physical illness, surgery and then the revelation that I too am suffering from terminal liver disease. It's a lot to swallow and I must confess, I am choking on it!

The other night, I sent out an email to some of my best friends and basically just had an emotional 'fall apart'. Today, out of the blue, I received a wonderful blessing at my back door. A group of wonderful ladies, whom I call my Scarf Sisters, sent a special delivery. This is it.........

This beautiful arrangement of colorful fall flowers arrived around 5 p.m. today. I cannot tell you how surprised I was! I cried for probably half an hour after the delivery girl left (who also happens to be my cousin-in-love, Wanda from Fancy Flowers in Middleton!). In the midst of all the pain and heartache, here is this visible witness to the love and concern of some very special ladies in my life.

Trish, Donna, Julie, Pat, Connie, Cathy, Terry and Deb...........these are the names of the girls who had the flowers delivered to me. Girls, I love you all more than mere words will ever be able to convey! These girls love me and pray for me, even when I am so unlovable. We cry together, laugh together, pray together, share our joys and sorrows. These are truly my 'sisters at heart' and I treasure each of you.

Thank you is such an inadequate phrase to express my gratitude to each of you. Just when my heart was truly breaking, you lift me up with your prayers and love.....you are The Wind Beneath My Wings and I love you!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Angel Baby

Forty-five years ago today, October 6, 1964, my baby sister was born....and died. Truth be told, she was still born. I never saw her, nor even a picture of her, but those who did say she looked like me when I was a baby.

Joyce Ann McDonald was her name. She has a little grave in the cemetery where my paternal grandparents are buried. There is a little white headstone that bears her name and the date of her birth/death and the names of Momma and Daddy.

I was not quite 7 when she was born, but I remember it like it happened yesterday. Daddy worked the second shift and we had no telephone, but lived within sight of my paternal grandparent's home. One of my maternal aunts, Aunt Shirley, was staying with us so she could go for my grandparents if the baby decided to come during the night.

Monday, October 5, 1964 was like every other Monday in my young life at that time. I went to school that day. My younger sisters, Charlotte and Debra, who were 5 and 4 respectively, had been at home with Momma, Daddy and Aunt Shirley all day. When I came home from school, Momma was resting, which was highly unusual. Momma NEVER rested. Daddy had gone to work and Aunt Shirley was working on supper.

As the evening progressed, Momma kept grimacing every now and again and holding her back. Aunt Shirley kept looking anxious and nervous. Finally, at some point after dark, Momma said something to Aunt Shirley about her going ahead and getting Maw and Paw McDonald. Aunt Shirley grabbed me by the hand and said something to the effect of "Come with me", and we were off! She literally dragged me down the road from our house to my grandparents!

When we got there, she ran up onto the front porch and started banging on the front door, yelling "Mr. Herbert! Ms. Ilene! Thelma's having the baby!" My Maw came to the door buttoning her dress and Paw followed closely behind. Paw grabbed the telephone and called Daddy at work and told him to come home. Then, we all loaded into Paw's car and they drove me and Aunt Shirley back home.

By this time, Momma was looking pretty sick and had gotten a small suitcase out and had gotten Deb and Charlotte into their pajamas. She told me to go get into my pajamas while we waited on Daddy to get home. Maw and Paw stayed with us until Daddy got home. When he did, he came running into the house looking worried.

I don't know how it was for everyone else in 1964, but in our house small children did not know where babies came from and were not given the truth when we asked! I honestly don't know what I was thinking, just very confused! Daddy helped Momma to the car and Aunt Shirley got all of us girls loaded.

Daddy drove us to Grandma and Grandpa Howell's house, where Aunt Shirley and us girls got out. Grandma Howell got into the car with Momma and Daddy and they were off. We were put to bed with no explanations whatsoever. In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, the telephone rang, waking us all up. Aunt Glenda came into our bedroom crying. She told us the baby had been born, but that she had died and that Momma and Daddy would be home soon.

This was my first memory of having anyone in my family die. I didn't know what to think or feel. Everyone was walking around in the middle of the night crying and so sad. I didn't comprehend it. Not too long afterwards, Daddy and Momma and Grandma Howell got back. Daddy came in to get us. Daddy and my aunts got us all together and took us back to the car. Momma and Grandma Howell were in the back seat and Momma was sort of lying over against one door with a blanket over her.

We got in and rode home in total silence. We got home and Daddy told us to go get in bed. So, we did. When we woke up, Grandma Howell was still there and Momma was in bed. I don't ever remember Momma being in bed during the day in my entire life up until that point. Soon after we got up, Grandpa Howell got there and Maw and Paw McDonald pulled up just behind him.

Then, people started arriving with food. Women were coming in cleaning around the house and working in the kitchen. Daddy was sitting in the living room with all the men and they seemed to be deep into a conversation about something. The women moved in and out bringing in coffee or iced tea and snacks and dabbing tears from their eyes.

Eventually, Grandpa and Grandma Howell left and the others started to drift away as well. Maw and Paw McDonald stayed with us. Momma finally got out of bed. She looked so tired and her face was all swollen and red. She came to lie on the sofa. Daddy sat in the floor in front of the sofa and never left her side as long as she lay there. She would cry softly and Daddy would have tears run down his face.

Finally, Maw called us inside for an early supper. Momma was now sitting up on the sofa and Daddy was there with her. He called us to come sit with them and Momma told us that she had had the baby the night before but that our baby sister was in heaven; that God needed her more than we did. She cried softly as she talked and held us close to her. As long as I live, I will never forget the look on Momma's face and the tenderness in her voice as she talked.

We were still sitting on the sofa when Grandpa Howell's car pulled into our driveway. He and Grandma Howell came into the house and we were shuttled to the kitchen. They talked quietly and Momma kept crying and saying "But I wanted to go".

Years later I was to learn that Grandma and Grandpa Howell had taken Joyce to be buried that afternoon and Momma never even got a chance to see her. Grandma Howell was very superstitious and had some very strange viewpoints about such things and refused to bring the baby by the house so Momma could see her. I'm not really sure Momma ever got over that.

Grandma and Grandpa left, we ate supper, Maw cleaned the kitchen and then she and Paw went home. Daddy and Momma sat with us watching TV almost like nothing had happened. It was never spoken of and we did not go to the cemetery until a few weeks had passed. Then, Momma and Daddy went to pick out a headstone. When it was delivered and set up, we all went to the cemetery together to see it.

Momma cried, Maw cried, Grandma cried; the men all just walked around basically avoiding looking at each other or the women. Finally, Daddy walked over to Momma and put his arm around her. She basically just dropped into his arms sobbing. Daddy almost carried her to the car; Maw and Paw got us into their car and we all left. Maw and Paw took us home with them and Momma and Daddy went to our house.

That night, Maw sat us down and talked to us. She told us that Momma was going to be very sad for a while. She said Momma and Daddy loved our baby sister very much and they were happy God wanted her in heaven, but they were very sad that we didn't get to keep her here with us. Nothing else was ever said until I was a teenager and Momma started to talk about it on occasion.

I never really heard her say very much about it until I lost our first baby. Momma cried with me, I think as much for herself as for me. She was finally able to grieve for her baby.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jaden!

Jaden Isaac Eppers
Blank Park Zoo
Des Moines, IA
Summer, 2009

Seven years ago on this day, my only grand nephew was born! He is a pure delight! He is so atlethic and is ALL BOY!!!! I took this picture in Aug. of this year. It was the day his big sister got her cast off and we went to the pool because she hadn't gotten to swim all summer. Jaden is quite the swimmer and loves to dive and splash!

This kid LOVES skateboarding! I swear, he would LIVE at the skate park if his parents would allow it! He's pretty good at it too! Got a brand new Pro Board for his birthday; he's thrilled! Here, he's riding his rip stick. I took this shot at the local skate park while I was there in Aug/Sept of this year.

All up into super heroes! I have no idea which one this is; but I've dubbed it the 'Ninja Jaden'! I took this picture while I was there in Aug/Sept of this year.

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JADEN! Your Aunt Di loves you so very much! I hope your present got there in time!