Another Mother’s Day Without My Son

For many years now I have dreaded Mother’s Day, not because I don’t have my Mom, but because my grown children don’t appreciate that they still have their Mom. I feel like I’m an afterthought.

It seems like everything changed when I moved to Nashville back in 2009. I feel like my kids felt like I was deserting them even though they were all grown and moving on with their own lives. At first they would send a card or at the least call and say Happy Mother’s Day, but as the years kept going the cards became a thing of the past and the calls are now becoming a text message for some. I just want to feel important to them.

I call my Mom every few days and if we go more than 3 days without talking it seems strange. There was as time in the last seven years that we didn’t speak much due to a big misunderstanding, but I didn’t forget about her on Mother’s Day because regardless of all the things we have gone through, said to each other or what knot, she is still MY MOTHER and I love her and would never not recognize her on this day.

My oldest surprised me this year with a gift delivery. She sent a little trinket that said, “Remember I love you mom”. It sits on my dresser so I can see it every day. It also had a little card in the box that said, “everything I am you helped me to be”. I admit I almost cried over that one. She also sent the cutest little candle that said, “Nanas make wishes come true.” I’ve been a Nana for almost 18 years and I definitely do not fill that role like my mother does, but I hope that my grandchildren know that I love them. In addition, she called to talk for a few minutes, but the conversation was more about what was going on in her life, than mine.

The middle child sent a text message first thing this morning telling me Happy Mother’s Day. A text message? I know she has children of her own, but really this is the day that not only does her children get to recognize her, but she needs to recognize the woman who gave life to her. She did finally call at almost 9 pm after I said something to her in regards to a conversation we had on the previous Thursday that she was going to call me back and never did. If I had not prompted her, she would have gone the whole day without reaching out.

I really don’t ask for much of anything from my children or my husband for that matter, but I would like to get recognized on Mother’s Day and my birthday! Neither of which ever seems to happen.

As for the youngest, I NEVER heard from him. I wasn’t surprised by that at all as he has not spoken to me in almost seven years. He was the child who I could always count on to be there for me…until he met a woman, then everything changed. Add to that that I got remarried after the death of his father. I didn’t remarry until six years later, but for some reason none of my children seem to want anything to do with this man. I feel like my children expected me to spend my life alone and be at their beck and call the way I was when they grew up although it was okay for them to move on with their lives, get married, have babies, go through a divorce, repeat, repeat, but Mom is supposed to stay single, live in the same town with them and be there for everything.

That probably sounds like I’m an ungrateful bitch, but I’m not. I give 30 years of my life to raising my children and being there for EVERYTHING and enjoyed every minute of it. I don’t feel like my children realize how much their father’s death affected me. Don’t get me wrong, I know they were affected by it too, but it’s different for the spouse. I was always very close with my children, but everything seemed to change when their dad died and then when they all left home and I moved to Nashville we all changed again and this time not in a good way. Or at least that’s the way I see it. The distance has made us grow further and further apart. So that old saying “distance my the heart grow fonder” is bullshit when it comes to my family.

Once I remarried my son quit speaking to me little by little until the point of no contact at all. It’s been so long since I spoke to him that I don’t even remember the last conversation other than the fact that he called me by my given name instead of Mom. He will never know how much that hurt me. The only solace I get from his lack of communication with me is that he has not only turned his back on me, but also his two sisters, which really makes no sense to me either. Him and the middle child are eighteen months apart and growing up people thought they were twins as they done EVERYTHING together and were super super close. After he came back from Kuwait while serving in the National Guard things started to change and more so when he met the woman he is now married to.

I know he still cares about his sisters whether he cares about me or not as he has shown his caring side when they have gone through personal troubles of their own, but it doesn’t change the fact that he has turned away from the family that raised him and give him pretty much the world growing up.

I want to blame the woman in his life because all of this distance started when she came into the picture, but I’m not sure if that is the right person to blame. I blame myself as well, but I’m not sure why as I don’t know what I have done other than getting married. However, the distancing started before I got married so it’s hard to put all the blame on that.

So here I am on Mother’s Day wishing and praying I could get something…a text…a call…an email…anything to acknowledge that he still cares and love me. Yes I would take a text from him even though it pissed me off that the middle child sent a text today. I just want something, anything to acknowledge that he cares and his thinking about me today.

For many years I thought I was the only Mom who had an estranged child, but after doing lots of research I have discovered there are many out there who for no real reason have become estranged from their grown children. I pray that one day he will come back into the fold and be a part of not only my life, but the life of his sisters, nieces, nephews and grandparents.

A Christmas Without a Tree

This year presented a year without a Christmas tree, which has only happened one other time in my life that I remember anyway, but I’ll get to that in a minute. This year I opted not to put up a tree because we were closing on the new house on the 18th and would be moving over the next couple days afterwards. Once we got moved in, Greg asked if I wanted to get a big tree to put up, but I declined. The tree we used in the RV was only 3 feet tall, which is all that would fit. Being that none of my kids live in the area and none of them have been to my house for Christmas since I moved to the Nashville area in 2009 I didn’t see the need to have one. I had already sent all the gifts, which had been delivered a week ago.

On Christmas I got the following two pics from my two daughters of the grandkids. The first pic is my Louisiana bunch who don’t look that happy when they were opening their gifts on Christmas morning. Maybe mommy got them up a little early. I remember getting my parents up by 4 am to open gifts as we were always so excited to see what we were getting. Afterwards they would tell us to go back to bed, but we would sit in our rooms and play with all our stuff. The good old days.

This pic is of the oldest grandson and oldest granddaughter from Florida. I can’t believe my oldest grandchild will be 17 years old in a few days. I wonder where the time went and how he could be this old, which in turn makes me feel really old, but then I remind myself that I’m not that old, I just started early. Matter of fact, when I was his age I was waiting on the birth of my first child who I had five months after my 17th birthday. I grew up real fast and don’t wish that life on my worse enemy. Life was hard for me due to my own choosing, but I have come a long way since then.

I mentioned in the beginning about a Christmas without a tree. It was Christmas 1992. I had three kids, (7 years, 3 years and 21 months). We had moved to Graceville, Florida for my husband at the time and my self to attend bible college. We actually moved in on Christmas Eve. No idea why we moved in then as classes didn’t start until January some time, but I know we always done things backwards sometimes.

Anyway, we arrived on the 24th of December and didn’t have any presents for our kids as back then we didn’t have much money. One of the couples that helped with the move handed my husband a box right before they left and said, “do not open until the kids go to sleep”. We had no idea what was in the box. We unpacked as much stuff as possible to give the kids beds to sleep on, but we didn’t have a Christmas tree as we always picked a live tree and had no time to do that during the move. Matter-of-fact we didn’t even have the stuff to cook Christmas dinner, but things were fixing to change.

No sooner had we finished unloading and reality started setting in as people started knocking on our door bringing us a turkey, cooked pies and all the fixings for a Christmas dinner. I couldn’t believe the generosity of people who I had never met before. It was a blessing in disguise and God knew what we needed and he provided.

Once the kids were in bed we opened that box that the Hawkins had given us (I still remember their names, but have no idea where they are now) and again was overwhelmed by the generosity of others. The box was filled with presents for our children. As a parent, I can’t express how this made me feel. Even though we had presents, I said to my husband, “but we don’t have a tree” and he said, “it’s okay we don’t need a tree…the reason for Christmas is not about trees anyway, it’s about Christ.” And because of that, we unpacked the nativity scene and set it up so we could share with our children about the real reason for the season. It wasn’t about trees and gifts, it was about Jesus and being with family.

I don’t know if my children remember that Christmas or not as two of them were really young, but it is one that I do remind them of on occasion as even though they are adults now with kids of their own, I want them to remember what Christmas is really about and teach their children the same.

I hope all who reads this post will remember why we celebrate Christmas and glory in the things you do have instead of longing for the things you don’t.

Thanksgiving 2020

Despite everything that has happened this year I still have a lot to be grateful for. I fixed our Thanksgiving dinner and we enjoyed our meal together just like previous years. It always feels strange only fixing enough food food for two people, and you would think after all these years, 11 to be exact, I would be used to this, but with each holiday I am reminded that all I have left is my husband and furbabies.

Thanksgiving feast

Yes I have grown kids and grandkids, but they never come to my house for holidays as I have lived in the Tennessee area for the past 11 years. I don’t think they realize how it hurts me that they don’t come to visit. They always want me to go to them instead.

Greg (my husband) has a saying, “Us against the world” and it really feels like that more times than not, especially at the holidays.

For this Thanksgiving, I am grateful that after all that we have been through this year we have come back together as husband and wife. We are currently in the middle of purchasing a new home which we are scheduled to close on December 18th. We will still be in the Nashville area, but will be trading the east side for the west side.

In addition to fixing our tradition dinner, I also baked a cheesecake. For the first time in my life I bought a cheesecake pan to use. It didn’t turn out as great as I would have liked, but using something new always has a few learning curves. I’m sure I will get better the more I use it. Regardless of how it turned out, it was still edible and we enjoyed every bite.

Cheesecake in my new pan

Doesn’t look the best when I took the circle off.

Thick slices that tasted delicious!

A Trip to Florida During Quarantine

It has been months since I have seen my parents and children. My trip to Louisiana was canceled back in March due to COVID-19 and I was at the point that I needed a break from all the bullshit and was ready to take a trip. Because we live in our RV full-time we are able to take our house with us, so on Thursday, May 14th we headed to Florida. We only drove to the other side of Montgomery as we usually only drive around 4-5 hours before we stop. We don’t like doing 8-9 hour drives. We thought the worse roads we had ever been on were in Louisiana, but going through Birmingham about beat us to death. It hasn’t been that long since we drove through there, but the first time in several years since we drove with the RV attached. It makes a big difference. 

We stayed at the first park we stayed in back in 2015 when we began our RV journey the first time in full-time travel mode, Montgomery South RV Park. The park has expanded since 2015 as they have installed several more lots. It was nice to get a pull-through, which all their sites are and it was long enough that we didn’t have to unhook as we would be back on the road before 8:00 am Friday morning. We only drove about two exits before getting off on Exit 142 at Priester’s Pecans. I had ordered some pecans in the mail back in April, but my mom talked about wanting some, so I stopped to get her a 5 pound bag. It would have been cheaper to order online and have them shipped. Found out the sister runs the physical store while a brother runs the online shop and since they don’t get along too well, there is more competition to see who can make more money than they other.

Once we were back on interstate, it wasn’t long before we were pulling into my parents house, arriving around 11:00 am.  We only have electric hook up there, but our holding tanks hold the waste and we dump once we’re back on interstate in Alabama. Unfortunately only one daughter was able to join us and she only had 1 kid with her, but we made the most of our time together. On Friday night, we grilled steaks and had everybody over in the RV. I had to do a makeshift table to sit at, but we made it work. One thing I forgot about traveling in the RV is how much it takes to set up and take down each time you move it. I will have to get used to that again if we make too many more trips as it took a lot more time than I remember it taking to complete those tasks.

On Saturday, us girls went for a much needed pedicure while the guys worked on our A/C’s that are not functioning the way they should be. They needed some freon added and 1  of them needs a new mother board. Still having trouble finding the replacement part, but not giving up. We also went to Kohl’s to do some shopping and I’m happy to report that the clothes I bought fit perfectly when I got home. Due to COVID they won’t allow people to try on clothes, so I was taking a chance with all the weightloss as to what size to get. I picked this one correctly. After some shopping we ended up at Joe Patti Seafood to get some shrimp, not only for dinner, but also for me to put in my freezer for the future. Nothing better than fresh ocean shrimp. I also got the hubby some oysters, which he got to enjoy when we got back home.

We were supposed to split our return trip into Sunday and Monday, but we decided we would do the entire drive back on Sunday. I didn’t do any of the driving, but was extremely exhausted by the time we got home around 6:00 pm. It took a few tries to get the RV back in its spot, but without either of us killing each other, we got it done. 

Just about every time I am around my Florida child, she wants a photo shoot of either the family or the kids and this trip was no different. She only wanted pics of Madi done, which I was more than happy to do, as she is a gem to photograph and is changing and growing up so fast that I want to have the memories of her childhood as much as her Momma does, if not more. 

My 3 favorite poses are below. I can’t believe she is almost 7 years old. She is not a little baby anymore, instead she’s becoming a little girl who is growing up way too fast. She’ll be in second grade next year.

Year in Review – 2017

As I look forward to 2018 and all that we have planned I wanted to step back in time and do a review of 2017 as we had a great year.

JANUARY

January started with us in a small-town east of Tallahassee, Florida called Quincy. We were staying at a campground right next to Lake Talquin. It was quiet and serene, and we could see the lake right out our front door. We loved that we could walk down to the marina, climb into our boat parked in the boat slip and take a ride out on the water. Sometimes we were greeted by an alligator or two, but if you didn’t bother them, they didn’t bother you. I caught several bream and Greg was always good for a bass or two on each trip out.

FEBRUARY

This month marked my 50th birthday. Not a birthday I was really looking forward to, but the alternative would have been much worse, so I took turning the big 5-0 in strive and kept right on going. In addition, Greg had surgery this month which required a stay in the hospital for several days.

MARCH

This month brought us a brand-new baby and little Miss Ryan was born on the 28th in Louisiana. We left Florida around the 20th to make the trip towards LA to be there for the birth and for me to stay a few weeks after to help if Momma needed help. It was great being there and seeing that sweet baby so soon after she was born. It’s always an experience seeing the birth of a newborn baby.

APRIL

After the baby’s birth, the plan was for us to move to Texas so about three weeks into April we headed for the Lake Fork area in Alba. It’s a very small town in the middle of no where land of BFE as some people would call it. We found an RV/Tiny House park right on the water. Unfortunately, our lot was not right on the water as you had to own a tiny house to live right on the water and we had our big rig, so we stayed in the middle section. It was always quiet and nice being that close to the lake.

MAY

This month meant going back to work to earn a little money for me as I decided to go back to work for a little while. I had to drive a little over an hour one way to each day and it didn’t take long for that to get old.

JUNE

We spent as much time as we could around the rain on the lake enjoying the fishing. Other than that, the month of June was not very exciting.

JULY

I took a trip to Louisiana this month to see the new baby and to be in attendance for her christening. The weekend also marked the third birthday for Jackson, so I was able to do things in one month on the same weekend. The drive there and back was long, but so worth it to be able to hold my babies again.

AUGUST

This year seems to be the year for surgery and hospitals for Greg as he had hernia surgery this month. While he was in the hospital I worked from my hotel room in between visits to the hospital and Greg’s parents came to the house to babysit the fur babies for us as the hospital was an hour and a half from home and too much to drive back and forth every day. He was there for about 5 days.

SEPTEMBER

Greg came home, but ended up back in the hospital with complications twice before we finally got him on the right track and healing. He ended up with a wound vac that would take him seven or eight weeks before he would heal. With all that was going on with Greg’s medical issues and issues at work, I ended up quitting my job this month.

OCTOBER

We spent the entire month with a home health nurse visiting three days a week to replace the wound vac and make sure Greg healed correctly. We couldn’t do any fishing and the weather was mostly either windy or rainy so even if Greg had been feeling like it, fishing wouldn’t have been possible.

NOVEMBER

Time to celebrate turkey day and we did just that. We had ham, turkey & dressing and all the trimmings. It was a nice celebration. Greg finally got healed and got released from the surgeons’ care. We have a lot to be thankful for and grateful that he made it through this year.

DECEMBER

Wow we made it to the last month of the year and boy was this month a busy one. I took one weekend to go visit the grandbabies in Louisiana and celebrate Christmas with them. Greg road with me so I wouldn’t have to do all the driving myself and give me company. We also took the fur babies. Then I took a weekend and flew to Florida to be with two other grandbabies to celebrate with them. It was go, go, go. The week after I returned from FL we drive to Tennessee to put our boat in storage and within a week of getting back we were loading up the fifth wheel and heading to Tennessee to start a new chapter in our life.

Neither of us were happy with life in Texas and it just never felt like we could make that home, so we decided to move back to Tennessee where it all started for us back in 2014 in Nashville. Although we didn’t settle in the city of Nashville, we are only about 45 minutes away in Clarksville. Greg lived here back in the 80’s and late 90’s when he was stationed at Fort Campbell, so to him it feels like he’s returning home. I’m looking forward to going back to work and then buying a house. We are putting our RV back on the market and hoping that someone will want to buy a great rig and give it the proper road time it so deserves.

Here’s to 2018 and all that it has to offer.