Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Thanks, Mom"

Today started out pretty rough. I woke up feeling very sad, mainly because I am still trying to cope with the loss of my mother this year. It was hard to see her birthday come and go when she wasn’t here to celebrate it anymore. It was hard to go through Thanksgiving without that phone call to my mom. And now Christmas is coming. I am trying VERY hard to stay chipper even though I am deeply saddened that I can’t call Mom on Christmas like I did last year. I can’t call her ever again! And it’s hard. She’s gone during Christmas, too.

So, yes, I woke up feeling pretty sad. I’ve been sad a lot lately. I have been told that there will be good days and there will be bad days. And after I broke down in tears in the bathroom, behind the locked door because I didn’t want Jesse to see me cry, I started to ask myself, is this going to be one of those bad days?

But it couldn’t be one of those bad days! Not today! I had WORK to do! I have book promotion stuff to do for certain authors! I had a cover reveal for a new book to announce! I had some reading to get done for a book I’m going to write up a blurb for! And I had some writing to do!

This could not be one of those bad days.

So I tried to just continue with what I had to do. Even as I got Jesse up for school and get him his breakfast, get him ready for school, I barely had the energy, the drive, to do anything. I just wanted to climb back into bed and be sad all day.

But I couldn’t do that.

Later, after I got Jesse to preschool, I got on the computer and did as much as I could get done. I read an email from a friend of mine. This friend knows about my loss and she has been an awesome amount of support and understanding. She has lost her mother, too, in the past, so she knows that pain. And in this email, she offered some very comforting words. Something along the lines of “it will get better” and “You start to remember and think about the good times and the pain only comes once in awhile.  I think it is God's way of helping us bear it.” And the fact that she was keeping me in her prayers helped A LOT, too.

But, still. I was sad. I just couldn’t function like always. I went to lie down on the couch, covered my head up and fell asleep. And when I was sleeping, I felt something on my back. It was like a light touch on the center of my back. And when I felt that, I was just really filled with so much love and comfort. When I woke up, I wasn’t sad anymore. I actually felt a lot better. I even smiled. I was HAPPY.

When I got back to work on the computer, I thought of my friend’s email. She was talking about how she’d helped her daughter with something, something that cost a bit of money, and she said her daughter did not say “thank you” when all was said and done. I could only shake my head and mutter, “Ah, parenthood. The most thankless job in the world.” I could relate. Many times I have helped my kids with something or another and didn’t get a “thank you” in return. (The same goes with dads.) Of course, I DO try to teach my children manners. To say “please,” “excuse me” and “thank you.” But sometimes they forget. And we moms, we can only mutter to ourselves “yeah, you’re welcome” because we do the things we do for our kids because we LOVE them. We’d do ANYTHING for them. Even if we don’t get a “thank you’ in return. And we’d do it again!

But I thought some more on that. I HAVE said “thank you” many times to my mom, for some thing or another. But then I realized, you know, there are some things that I HAVE NOT thanked my mother for.

And maybe I should thank her for them right now. Why not? I AM grateful to her for these things! And I know she’s not here to hear them or to read this, but I felt it was important to say.

Thank you, Mom, for being in this world and becoming the wonderful you that you were.

Thank you, Mom, for having me and being my mother. I could have had any other mother in the whole world, but God picked YOU to be my mother.

Thank you, Mom, for caring so much about me to teach me things. To teach me right from wrong, how to be smart, how to be strong.

Thank you, Mom, for always being there to talk to. For always being that shoulder to cry on and that ear to listen. And thank you for talking about things when I needed you to talk to about things.

Thank you, Mom, for always being someone I could talk to.

Thank you, Mom, for supporting me no matter what choices I made in life. It helped knowing that you were still on my side no matter what, and that you still loved me no matter what.

Thank you, Mom, for keeping all of us safe. For making sure we had a home, a bed, clothes to wear and that we got an education. Even when you were firm with us about going to school and eating our food, we knew you did this because you loved us.

Thank you, Mom, for making sure we had good times, fun times, more than the bad times.

Thank you, Mom, for always having good advice and telling me how to find my way whenever I became lost or afraid. Even across the miles, you were there for me when there was nobody else, and nobody else on my side.

Thank you, Mom, for your love, your attention, your guidance and wisdom and strength. You inspired me in more ways than you will ever know.

Thank you, Mom, for being in my memories. You may be physically gone from this world, but you are still in my heart, in my mind, in my dreams and in my thoughts for always.

I love you, Mom.

Friday, November 23, 2012

I am thankful

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and no matter what people are going to say about how the first Thanksgiving got its start or what exactly was eaten on that first day, one truth remains: It is a day we should all set aside some time to give thanks. I have noticed a lot of people on Facebook and Twitter sharing what they are thankful for for each day of this month, but if anyone is going to give thanks on any particular day in November, it is Thanksgiving Day.

So yesterday, as we sat down to our feast of a turkey and all the fixings, we shared what we are thankful for. We each shared one thing, but all day long I was counting my blessings.

I am thankful to be alive, especially after that car accident I was in, that time my heart stopped while in surgery and after surviving a bout with spinal meningitis that left me deaf.

I am thankful for my family, even the ones who have not been so pleasant or kind. Even the ones who have abused or wronged me in the past. I am thankful, because all of those experiences made me a stronger, smarter and better person. (In other words, not like them!)

I am thankful for my husband and for taking second chances. We may drive each other crazy and fight, but I know he is the right man for me and he is good to us, too. He is the yang to my yin, and I love him.

I am thankful for my children, the greatest blessing I have ever received.

I am thankful for my gift to write.

I am thankful that my son can read and write some words.

I am thankful my daughter can create such beautiful art and write exciting stories.

I am thankful for my friends, the REAL friends who have stuck by me no matter what and all through these years. And I’m especially thankful for being able to recognize who my real friends are.

I am thankful for my relatives, even those who I have not seen for years and don’t even talk to because we don’t know each other or can’t connect in some way.

I am thankful for the experiences I’ve had in life, especially the bad experiences, because the bad experiences have made me appreciate the good experiences all the more. Both good and bad experiences have made me who I am today.

I am thankful for this beautiful home we have.

I am thankful my dog is still with us, after 18 years!

I am thankful for technology to help me communicate with others more easily and stay in touch with long-distance friends and family. And for the technology that allows me, a deaf person, to watch movies with subtitles and closed captioning.

I am thankful I can still talk, that I have a voice to speak with.

I am thankful I can still see, although not as good as before.

I am thankful I can still remember music and some of my favorite songs. I may not hear them ever again but I do hear them in my head.

I am thankful to be a Real Published Author and to have written many books (with many more on the way!).

I am thankful to all of the teachers I have had who helped me to learn to read, write, do math and understand the world we live in.

I am thankful for books.

I am thankful for coffee.

I am thankful for modern medicine and to the doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and specialists out there who have helped us.

I am thankful for living in a free country and to those who fought and lost their lives to make this a free country.

I am thankful that there are kind, honest and generous people in this world.

I am thankful there are people promoting peace, especially during a time when there is so much violence and bloodshed in this world. 
I am thankful that there are groups out there helping people in need -- the soup kitchens, food banks, disaster relief groups, warming centers, shelters and other groups helping animals and people.

I am thankful that we live in a country that respects all religions.

I am thankful to God for answering the prayers He has answered and helping me to understand why some prayers were not answered.

I am thankful for the people who I have crossed paths with, especially those who are no longer in my life.   

I am thankful for having so much while others out there have so little…

And that last one is one I keep thinking about. Especially after reading in the paper about people who survived Hurricane Sandy but have nothing left. Nothing but the clothes on their backs. I was especially moved by the story of one woman who lost her home and everything in it, but was so thankful this Thanksgiving that her two sons also survived the storm.

Reading that one story alone made everything else I thought about pale in comparison. It made me close my eyes and say a little prayer for all the victims of Hurricane Sandy, that they would have new homes, food to eat and each other to hold on to. Especially each other. I prayed all the families were together and safe again.

This Thanksgiving, those people REALLY had something to be thankful for. They didn’t have a table to eat their meal at or a kitchen to cook their food in or even their own beds to sleep in anymore, but they had each other. I am thankful for that, too.

Monday, November 19, 2012

No more Twinkies? Say it ain't so!

As busy as things can get, I try to stay updated on the news. I’ll watch news on TV as well as read news stories online. I’m subscribed to a few newsfeeds (among them, CNN), so I read these to find out what’s going on with the world.

That is, when I have TIME.

Recently, I have definitely made time to stay updated on news stories, because one Very Big news story has sent shockwaves across the country: Hostess, the maker of fine treats such as Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, is filing for bankruptcy and will stop making the same delicious delicacies generations of children and adults alike have enjoyed. That’s right: They are liquidating their assets as I type this. Shutting down. And will stop making their sweet treats.

The news left me in shock. No more Twinkies? NOOOO!!!!! Quick, somebody start a “Bring Twinkies Back” campaign!

I don’t think I can live in a world without Twinkies.

Oh, I have such fond memories of chomping down on those delicious, sugary and cream-filled yellow cakes. Yes, I know they’re loaded with sugar and fattening, but when you’re a kid, YOU DON’T CARE! The only thing you do care about is that it’s a Twinkie, that it’s delicious, and that it is YOURS.

It’s not so much sugar addiction or a desire to pack on the pounds that makes me sad over the disappearance of Twinkies ( as well as the Ding Dongs and cupcakes). I am an adult, in my late 30s, and I can tell you I have definitely had my fill of Twinkies in this lifetime. I can live without eating another Twinkie! But it’s just the very DISAPPEARANCE of Twinkies I am sad about. I want Twinkies to stick around! Thinking about them and looking at them bring back such happy childhood memories.

But there’s another reason I don’t want Twinkies to go away: My children. My kids LOVE Twinkies. They have enjoyed them as an occasional treat, and it makes me sad that they will never be able to enjoy them ever again. My daughter, age 11, became very sad when I told her they’re not going to make Twinkies anymore. It’s not like we were shoving them down the kids’ throats; like I said, Twinkies were an occasional treat. But now that they are GONE, as in NO LONGER EXISTING, it’s sad because now she’ll never get to have another Twinkie again. Ever! (Unless I happen to buy a box of Twinkies selling on eBay going for the price of $15 million.) And it’s sad for her because she DID enjoy having them every once in a while.

My youngest, age 5, has had Twinkies, too. Now I’m starting to wonder if, with Twinkies gone, he’ll even remember them at all.

I am sad about the Hostess treats going away, but I’m angry about it, too. The world just really sucks right now. Everybody is losing jobs and nobody can even GET a job. The cost of gas is outrageous. The cost of food is outrageous. People are losing their homes and people are really struggling with health issues because they can’t afford to go to a doctor. And now there won’t be anymore Twinkies! We are losing a lot of things and seeing a lot of businesses we all knew and loved in our childhood fade away into obscurity.

I have to wonder what other cherished foods or beverages are going to go away, too. Is Coca Cola next? Well, if Twinkies can be taken away, Coca Cola will probably be taken away, too.

The Mayans were right, folks. This IS the end of the world!