Sunday, December 11, 2011

All Because Of Coconut Cake

I had not once visited my sister Mickey in Louisiana in the 10+ years she had lived there.  She always came to Tennessee and Kentucky since most of the family was there.  This year, for Thanksgiving, my daughter and I made the trip to see Mickey, her husband Greg, and her two sons Trey and Trent.  I had not seen the boys play football since they were little and now Trey was about to graduate. And both were playing in a state semi-final game.  It was perfect timing.  I also realized that Chapel of the Cross in Madison, Mississippi was along the route to her house.  Several of our ancestors are buried at Chapel of the Cross and it would be the perfect opportunity for me to see the cemetery and take some photos for my genealogy research.  It turned out to be dark and rainy when we reached Jackson so we did not make the short trip over to Madison.

Mickey has the same genetic makeup that the women in my family all seem to possess.  We make way too much food for a celebration.  It comes from my mother’s side of the family.  My grandmother always made a table full of food, so much that it covered the table leaving no place to sit, much more than any family could eat.  It was her way of showing her love.  My mom and aunt did the same and thus, passed it on.  Mickey had more food than I have seen in a long time, all the traditional family favorites and more.  We ate, watched football, ate, watched football, then we ate some more.

As we sat at the kitchen bar sampling the desserts, we discussed coconut cake.  My grandmother made the most amazing coconut cake. It was a bright white cake with soft coconut milk flavor and fluffy icing topped with fresh coconut.  She would always have one in the freezer to take out when we arrived.  That was my mother’s favorite.  Mom would sit at the table and slice off small slivers of frozen cake.  Once that was eaten, she would smile and say “I need to even that side up” and cut off another sliver.

Mickey wondered if I knew where the recipe for the cake was.  I didn’t.  Our grandmother didn’t usually cook from a cookbook, mostly just from recipes passed between friends on scraps of paper or sometimes torn from the newspaper.

Mickey had some old books around her house so she decided to see if maybe it was stuck in one of the books.  She brought some out of a closet.  A small book, too small to be a cookbook, and without a side binding was sitting at the top.  I opened it to see what it contained.binding
It was a bible.  From 1853.  common prayerImmediately I was interested.  As I carefully turned the delicate pages, I ran across poems cut from a newspaper and pinned on a few of the pages.  There were leaves or flowers pressed between the pages.
And then I saw it.  Handwriting in the margins of a middle section.  It said “Our dear Blake and Trinkins married 8th Feb. 1888.
blake and Trinkins married
I quickly recognized the names and the date.  My geeky genealogical heart started beating faster.  Blake Baker Wiggins and Trinkins Cabaniss Wiggins are my great, great grandparents.  I gingerly turned the pages and found so much more.  Blake’s grandmother, Mary Wharton Bryan Dewees, was the owner of the bible.  She had written notes on important events in the margin over about 40 years time.  Notes about her siblings, her children, her grandchildren and even a few about great grandchildren.  There was the day General Lee surrendered, there were notes on crop plantings and frosts and the “worst windstorm I have ever experienced”.  It was noted the day President Garfield and President McKinley were shot.  There were births, deaths, marriages, illnesses and moves to another state.
MWBD Birthday
This one says “ My birth day 1818 22nd June”.  “1891 - 73 years old to day”.  “1892 – still here”.  “1898 – 80th”.  Mary died in 1904 at the age of 86.  And there are a few notes after that from her daughter Mary Lorraine Dewees Wiggins, my great, great, great grandmother.

I have searched the internet and corresponded with many distant cousins to try to track down information on this fascinating line of our family.  This whole time, a book that is well over 150 years old and full of valuable family information was sitting in my sister’s closet.  And written in the hand of one of my most interesting of our female relatives, truly a beloved matriarch. 

I forgot all about the coconut cake recipe and ignored all going on around me as I turned each page carefully and read each line.  Mickey told me to take the book home but I offered to scan each page and leave it with her.  It was hers.  But in the end, she sent it with me.  She will never understand how much it means to me to have it. 

All because of coconut cake.
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Monday, October 3, 2011

Everything Happens For A Reason

My mom always told me that . . . Everything happens for a reason.  Whenever I didn’t understand or something just didn’t make sense to either of us, Mom said that.  And she was always right.  One event influenced another that influenced a decision that influenced an outcome that was absolutely wonderful . . . or at least better.

I’ve maintained that attitude through the worst times of my life and the best times of my life.  I am thinking about it now.  I am going to be a grandmother.  I am quite excited.  Now.  Not so much several weeks ago.  But now, very excited.

When you have children, you see certain things in their future.  They make decisions and show behaviors that influence how you think their lives will go.  Some of that vision is comprised of hopes and dreams but if we look beyond that, and are honest, we can see the general direction of their future.

I saw a pretty easy life for my daughter.  She is very determined and strong. She wanted to finish college, get married to a loving guy who could be a real partner.  She would work as a designer, buy a nice house, and she would wait until her later 20’s to have children.  She would be able to stay at home or work from home when her kids are younger and be your stereotypical soccer mom.  While I see things with a more jaded perspective, I saw a lot of that in her future, just with a few more bumps along the way as we all know life goes.

The guy she was dating was very nice - charming, easygoing, thoughtful, an athlete, ambitious, loved to cook and loved kids.  Things moved quickly but they were very happy.  A pregnancy was not in the plans at all but they were planning to move from Atlanta to Denver so he could train to get back into the NFL.  There was a delay in the Denver plans and the next thing they knew, she was pregnant.  Neither one was happy about the timing but my daughter was going to make the best of it.  Her boyfriend, on the other hand, was determined to go forward with his plans with or without her. The relationship started to break down under the stress and she ended up moving back to Tennessee to have a support system and let him figure out what he was going to do.  Since that time, they have continued to communicate periodically about the baby but while there is hope he will come around later, he remains uninterested in being involved, is willing to pay child support, and she is staring at single parenthood in the future.

And yet, her positive attitude and determination has really impressed me.  Her child will be bi-racial which is unimportant to us but to some people in this country, it’s a big deal.  If anyone can handle that and make it work, she can.  She will be a single mother with only a year of college.  But I know this kid will make that work to her advantage somehow.  And I know she will be a great mom.  Her child is one lucky kid.

And I am one lucky mom.  I mean Grandmother.

Everything happens for a reason.
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Circle of Life Stories

It’s been awhile.  Friends keep asking . . . “Why haven’t you updated your blog”.  I don’t really have an answer.  “I will soon”.

The last few months have been busy and I have had lots of stories to tell.  I took a trip to New York and Amish Country with sister and a friend.  We stayed in an apartment in Harlem and since my sister paid for the apartment, I was able to 4 days on less than $200.  We had so much fun, saw everything, even my nephew’s basketball tournament.  I returned obsessed with the Amish  Lots of stories.  None of which made it to the blog.

Zack_Arbor GraduationMy kids have had lots of changes in their lives.  My son graduated from Massage Therapy School and I am so proud of him.  It has been so hard for him to get to this place in his life and I am overjoyed that he completed the courses and is paying for it himself.  But I couldn’t manage to put it into words here.

My daughter has quit her job to move to another state but hasn’t moved yet.  She has a new boyfriend and temporarily moved back home.  She has had many “learning experiences” in the last few months and probably will over the next couple of months.  I never could decide if I wanted to share my parent’s perspective and ultimately I didn’t.

I have people in my life who are going through things that I thought I wanted to “discuss”, work has been crazy and there have been lots of personal growth and challenges to overcome and I have a torn meniscus in my knee which will require surgery in August.  But I haven’t shared any of this.

Until today.  What brought me back to my blog?  A Circle Journal.  What is a Circle Journal?  It’s a small blank book that you write in and add pictures then send to another person so they can do the same.  That person either sends it on to someone else or back to the person it came from.

I received one today.  It’s a Circle Journal I gave to my sister for Christmas in 2003.  We mailed it back and forth a few times between January and July of 2004 when it got set aside during a busy time at my sister’s house.  We both forgot about it.  Then, a few days ago, she found it.  Without saying anything, she put some pictures of my Dad’s wedding in it, wrote a short entry, and put it in the mail.  I got it today.

I sat in my big comfy pink chair this evening and read through the entries.  It was just random stuff that was going on at the time, mostly stuff I had forgotten long ago.  Little bits of our lives, not really anything important but one memory led to another memory that, at the time, we had no idea was to come.  The pictures made me realize how much our kids have changed and grown.  The entries were written before my mom died.  We had no idea how different our lives would be in the next year.

It made me want to write.  My blog is a little like that journal.  Little bits and pieces of our lives that we want to remember whether I know it now or not.  So it’s time to write again.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Girly Girl Who?

girlyWhen I think of someone who would be described as a “girly girl”, there are so many characteristics that come to mind, none of which I possess.  I am sort of a tomboy and always have been but I also really love being a girl.  I love dresses and high-heeled shoes and dressing up and getting my hair did and all the other girly things we all love.  It just takes a lot of work and not something I want to do every day.

I’ve tried.  I hate it.  It is too much work.  It takes time and my ADHD kicks in pretty quickly, causing me to lose interest.  I don’t think of it as pampering and it is so time-consuming.  I wish I felt differently but it will never happen on a consistent basis.

Some of the ways I am not a girly girl:
  • I hate to take a shower.  Yes, I DO take showers and I kind of like baths when I have the time, bubbles, and a glass of wine but if I could be clean and smell good without getting in the water, my bathtub would be storage for shoes.
  • People give me lotions and powders and shower gels and bubble bath and other bath products as gifts.  I almost never use them and either give them to someone or throw them away when I get on a cleaning spree.  It’s sadly a waste of money.
  • If I never had to shave my legs again, I would be a happy girl.  I like the way my legs look when they are shaved but just hate to take the time to shave them.  One of the few benefits of aging is that the hair on your legs gets lighter and softer.  Unfortunately, I am a hairy girl.  During my teens and twenties, if I didn’t shave daily, my legs looked like Robin William’s arms so this aging thing is making me very happy.
  • Painting of the nails and toes should be left to salons.  For over 20 years I have had acrylic nails and during the summer, I get a pedicure every 2 – 3 weeks.  Recently, in order to save money, I stopped getting my nails done and decided to attempt to do my own pedicures.  What a mistake!  Jagged cuticles, messy polish, uneven filing.  How does one get into the right contortionist position to paint one’s own toenails?  And what about those scaly heels?  This might be the disaster I think it will be.
  • Let’s talk about makeup.  I am old enough that I cannot go without it.  Gotta cover up those blotchy red spots and chin hairs.  Watch out for the wrinkles, they tend to catch the lotion and foundation and sweat in them and it ends up looking like a topical map of the Grand Canyon.  And I hate to take off makeup at night.  Call me lazy.  When I do take off makeup, either at night or before putting on more makeup, I use those makeup remover towelettes – quick, efficient and disposable.
So . . . are you a girly girl? What do you hate about girliness?  What do you love about it?
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Finding Joy

heart shaped boxThe further I wake into this life, the more I realize that God is everywhere and the extraordinary is waiting quietly beneath the skin of all that in ordinary.   Light is in both the broken bottle and the diamond, and music is in both the flowing violin and the water dripping from the drainage pipe.  Yes, God is under the porch as well as on top of the mountain, and joy is in both the front row and the bleachers, if we are willing to be where we are.  ~Mark Nepo

I heard an interview recently with Mark Nepo in which this passage was read.  I have thought a lot about it over the past few weeks and I purchased the Kindle version of Mark’s book The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have. 

The above is an excerpt from a larger passage in which Mark talks about being able to find joy in small things. 

So many of us have been trained to think that being particular about what we want is indicative of good taste, and that not being satisfied unless our preferences are met is a sign of worldliness and sophistication. I remember being at a party where a woman wouldn’t accept her drink unless it was made with a certain brand of vermouth. She was, in fact, indignant about it. Or going to dinner with a colleague who had to have his steak prepared in a complex and special way, as if this particular need to be different was his special public signature.  Or watching very intelligent men and women inscribe their circle of loneliness with criteria for companionship that no one could meet.  I used to maintain such a standard of excellence around the sort of art I found acceptable.

Often, this kind of discernment is seen as having high standards, when in actuality it is only a means of isolating ourselves from being touched by life, while rationalizing that we are more special than those who can’t meet our very demanding standards.

The devastating truth is that excellence can’t hold you in the night, and, as I learned when ill, being demanding or sophisticated won’t help you survive.  A person dying of thirst doesn’t ask if the water has chlorine or if it was gathered in the foothills of France.  

As I said, this has made a huge impact on me recently.  My attitude over the last few weeks has been poor and this passage keeps coming back to me, reminding me of what is important in my life.  Reminding me there is joy.

I think about some of my favorite times in life, many of which I have written about here.  I go immediately to the memories of being on my grandparent’s farm.  My sister reminded me last week of the sounds of the frogs and crickets at night outside the window.  I remember the sunshine and cool breeze coming through the open window beside the daybed while the old metal fan swung from side to side.  The smell of my grandmother making breakfast early in the morning.  Picking blackberries, chasing fireflies at dusk, coke floats on a hot summer night, huge country style meals with hot biscuits and homemade strawberry jelly, swinging on the grapevines from big flat rock to big flat rock to get down to the lake, jumping from the hayloft and climbing in the corncrib.

These days, as I sit in the sunroom with my windows open, a soft breeze blows in the warm late afternoon and that feeling returns, the feeling that I realize now is joy.  I am reminded that there is joy every day that I miss because I have been too busy looking at the negative of every day life.  The hot coffee in my favorite cup from Anthropologie, meeting friends for a quick chat at our favorite coffee shop, riding in the car through the country while a friend introduces me to where she grew up and shares the memories from each house or store or creek along the road, stopping at an old drive-in for hot crinkle cut fries and a homemade banana milkshake, meeting my daughter for a margarita and people watching on the square, my son posting a quote from his favorite childhood book on my facebook wall – “I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as I’m living, my mommy you’ll be”.

I hope I always remember to recognize and appreciate the joy that is there in life every day.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I've never been here before . . . not knowing what I want out of life. Knowing I don't want to be here but not having a clue which way to go. No ideas whatsoever. Such unfamiliar territory.

I have always had an idea of where I wanted to go with my life. Not really goals or defined steps but a general idea of what I wanted and a dedication to trusting the Universe to take me there.  I am not a planner but it works for me.

When I was younger I knew I wanted to teach, to get married and to have children. That's exactly what happened although the route to get there was not one I could ever have planned. Most of my life has been that way. Not necessarily the way I would have planned it but mostly perfectly interesting and amazing.

I've had a lot of different jobs in my life that were not in the plan but I loved most of them and I learned something from all of them that I took to the next job.  I usually had some idea of what I wanted to do next, beyond the job I had  at the time and sometimes I was pleasantly surprised by a job offer that turned out to be just perfect for me.  The one thing that never worked . . . me looking for a job.  Somehow, when I was unhappy and went looking for jobs outside the company I worked for, it never worked out.   I learned to just trust that it would all work out and it always did, much better than I could have planned.

I was raised to want more, to learn and grow and to move up in your position.  When I was a teacher, I wanted to be an assistant director.  When I was the assistant director, I wanted to be the director.  And so on, and so on, and so on.  I have worked for the same company for almost 30 years, all of my adult life.  I have been in my current position for 14 years.  The next step up is a VP position which I have been interested in before and have even applied for twice in the last 7 years.  I'm not really interested in that position anymore and thankful someone else got the job instead of me.

That's the problem.  I have no goals for my career any more.

I never write about my job here.  It's something I don't believe in doing.  But I'm not really writing about my company or my job in this post.  It's more about where I am in my life right now.  There are a lot of people that I work with that read this blog and this is in no way related to our company.  It's ALL about me. :)

Part of it, I think, is related to turning 50.  I am looking back at my life and wondering where it went.  I feel young and I feel like I have lots of opportunity ahead of me.  But the fact is . . . it's hard to start over at 50.  And I'm locked in to a certain salary in that I have expenses and obligations and no spouse to support me.  And for the first time in my life, I don't know what I want to do.  Even if I were to leave my company and go to a whole new industry or start my own business, what would I want to do?  I can't think of anything I would want to do as a full time job.  It's kind of scary.  Something is missing.

I am not saying I'm too old to start over.  My mom was almost 60 when she started her own business.  Age has nothing to do with it.  You need a dream and a passion.  Where did my dreams and my passion go?

Things are changing right now.  But I'm a survivor.  The thing is . . . I don't want to just survive.  I want my life and my job to mean something.  I'm passionate about the people I work with and our customers but I'm not sure anymore if the position I'm in is where I need to be. 

I am reminding myself that the Universe will  take me in the direction I need to go . . . that things happen for a reason . . . that I need to trust that things are moving forward and will be better.  I am remembering and thankful that my family is safe and healthy, that I have a home, that there is much suffering in Japan, in the Middle East and so many other places and my frustrations are insignificant and temporary.

Is this a natural occurrence at a milestone birthday?  I don't remember doing it at 30 or at 40.  What are your experiences?   What changes did you make?  Are you happier?

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

What’s In A Name?

name-tagAn interesting phenomenon has occurred in my family.  It started when my siblings and I started getting married.  It has continued through the years and now, with my Dad’s new marriage, it continues.  We have so many of the same names throughout our family.  Let me try to explain without too much confusion.

My middle sister’s real name is Michelle but we have always called her Mickey.  My husband’s brother is married to a Michelle whose mother’s name is Mickey and whose dad’s name is Terry.  My new stepsister’s name is Michelle and my new stepbrother’s name is Mickey.  Growing up, my sister was always Girl Mickey and by new stepbrother was always Boy Mickey.  Now that our parents are married, they are once again Boy Mickey and Girl Mickey even though both are in their mid-forties.

My husband’s brother’s name is Greg (married to Michelle above) and my sister Mickey is married to her husband Greg.

My brother’s first wife was Terri and his second wife was Casey which is my daughter’s name.

My youngest sister is married to Josh and our cousin’s name is also Josh.

So now, my daughter is dating a guy named Austin which just happens to be my brother’s oldest son’s name.  I have already joked that he MUST be “the one” because he has the same name as someone else in our family. Smile
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Not Exactly What Anyone Was Expecting

My dad and Mike met in Kindergarten in Clarksville, Tennessee.  They became fast friends, grew up together and stayed “best friends” throughout their lives.  While in high school, my dad dated every girl that would go out with him.  He was also voted Biggest Flirt and has his picture in the yearbook to prove it.  He dated a mutual friend, Linda, and her mother sent a hatpin with her on the date so if he got out of hand, Linda could poke him.  That relationship didn’t last long.  He ended up engaged to their friend Jill and Linda became engaged to Dad’s friend Mike.  Then Dad went away to college in another state.

During Dad’s freshman year, he met Annette in drama class and they were in several plays together.  A little bit of heat developed and they fell in love and eloped.  Lives changed, Jill was hurt, his friends questioned his decision but they all accepted and grew to love this stranger named Annette and things moved forward.
I came along quickly, followed by my brother, and they struggled to stay in school and support themselves.  Eventually Dad joined ROTC because the small payment he received paid for married student housing and allowed them to remain in school.  As a result, Dad had to go into the army upon graduation.  Besides marrying my mom, it was the best thing that ever happened to him.

Our little family traveled with the army and grew to include my sister and much later, another sister. Whenever returning to Clarksville to visit our grandparents, we always visited with Mike and Linda, Jill and her husband Phil and when they were in town, Reda and her husband Phil who was also in the army.  They had all been friends for years and they felt like family.  Kids were born and we Ellis and Cunningham kidsall got to know each other and became friends.  Mike and Linda and their 3 kids visited us wherever we moved and we have lots of fun stories about each other and things that have happened over the years.  You know, those stories that no one else really gets but you think are hilarious.  The photo at left is of a long ago visit and left to right is my brother Chip, Linda’s oldest daughter Michelle, my middle sister Mickey, Linda’s twins Mickey and Merci, and me.  My youngest sister Andie was not born yet.

In 2004, Mike got cancer and passed away.  Within a year, Mom died of cancer.  My dad lost his best friend and his life-long love in a year’s time.  Linda and Dad supported each other with what each of them was going through.  Dad began dating quickly.  He really could never be alone.  He reunited with a friend named Mary from grade school who had lost her husband a few years before and they have been dating since 2005.  This was a struggle for me and my siblings.  My dad adored my mom more than anything in this world.  It was hard to see him with someone else.  But he needed to be with someone.  So we were polite and supportive.  Well, most of us, most of the time.  The old friends accepted Mary into their group and everything went on as normal.  I got to know Mary, she was a nice person and really cared about my dad.  It was still weird.

About 2 years ago, Dad arrived at my house for Christmas before everyone else and we just hung out and talked.  The conversation turned to his relationship with Mary.  He said she was pushing to get married.  He said he would never get married again.  I asked why.  He said “I loved your mother more than anything in this world and I was devastated when she died.  At my age, you have to really love someone to watch them die.”  We talked about the reasons he did not want to marry anyone.  So he wasn’t getting married.  I have to admit I was a little relieved.

Last night, my phone rang.  It was Dad.  He asked what I was doing.  I said watching TV.  He said “I’m getting married.”  I could hear laughter in the background so I refrained from reminding him that he said he was never going to marry Mary.  I simply told him congratulations.  Dad said “Don’t you want to know who I’m getting married to?”  I told him I assumed it was Mary.  He told me to hold on and I could talk to her.  I didn’t really want to but I said “Ok”.  I heard laughter.  I recognized the laughter.  A voice came on the phone.  It was Linda!  Ahhhhhh, this was a joke.  They were punking me.  I told her they were crazy, still thinking this was a joke.  Linda said “Well we may be crazy but we are getting married.”

I was stunned.  She began talking.  I tried to process it all.  She shared that this could never have happened 5 years ago.  That things had just changed between them a couple of months ago.  They really knew about 3 or 4 weeks ago that things were different but Dad had to tell Mary.  He did that yesterday.  They were calling all the kids.

I started to cry.  I couldn’t figure out how I felt, if I was happy or sad.  I felt bad for Mary but this just felt right.  I told them I was excited.  I told them they would probably kill each other.  Linda agreed that might have been true at one time but said they would be ok now.  She said almost the same thing my dad had said those few years before.  “At our age, you have to really have to love someone to be willing to watch them die.”  We talked a little more then I congratulated them as they got off the phone to call my siblings and share the news.

My phone rang quickly.  First my aunt.  Then my sister.  Then my other sister.  We did a three way call.  Finally my brother called.  We were all shocked.  We still weren’t sure this wasn’t really a joke. But we were all ultimately happy even though we were confused.  We grew up with Linda’s kids.  We have a history together.  We all agreed Mom would have been surprised too but would also think this was a good idea.

I guess that’s really what love is . . . to love someone so much that you are willing to watch them die.  To love them so much that you are willing to go through the bad stuff because the good stuff is so good.

I wish that for all of us.
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Things I Already Knew But Learned Recently

My youngest sister had a baby.  She wanted her sisters there.  We wanted to be there.  We live nowhere near her.  My youngest sister Andie lives in California.  My middle sister Mickey lives in Louisiana.  I live in Tennessee.  As you can see, there is some physical distance between us.  There is also a large age difference.  I was in college when Andie was born and Mickey was 13.  Since our mom died 5 years ago, the two of us have kind of become her substitute for Andie.  Of course we would be there.  We planned the trip and my daughter, who lives in Atlanta, asked to be included.  Andie had been trying to get my daughter to come out to Los Angeles for several years and now would be a great time for her to join us.  We didn’t tell Andie she was coming.  We coordinated flights and arrivals from 3 different cities.  It was a great surprise and we were so excited as we waited for the baby to arrive.

Indigo_32We arrived the day after Andie’s daughter Indigo was born.  She is perfectly perfect, a beautiful baby.  Andie’s husband Josh and her 7 year old son Taj picked us up from the airport, we headed back to their house in Tarzana and Josh left to go pick up Andie and Indigo from the hospital.  Over the next 4 days we visited and shopped and did tourist stuff and held the baby and cooked and loved each other.  There were so many reminders of things I knew but forgot about all of us, the way you forget when you don’t see people often.  Here are some of those things:
  • Andie is married to an amazing man.  Josh waited on Andie, changed diapers, took care of the baby, took care of Taj, washed dishes, gave us the tour of LA, had very little sleep and never complained.  He is the most patient human I have ever met. My sister describes herself on her blog as “A fiesty, short-tempered, in-your-face lunatic that really wishes for peace and equality and harmony and love” and that’s a pretty good description of her.  When Josh took her on, he also took on her son Taj, the sweetest boy in the world.  You would never know that Josh is not Taj’s biological father.  He is an amazing father to Taj and he is already a great dad to Indigo too.  He is my idol.
  • We sisters are all very different.  We have always known this but when you put us all in one room, it is so comically evident.  Part of this is our age differences and life experiences.  I am the oldest and my brother and I were very close in age.  He was my best friend growing up.  Mickey was 5 years younger and we had very little in common.  As we became adults, our friendship developed and now we are very close sisters and friends.  As I said, Andie was born while I was in college and I am more like an aunt or mom to her than a sister.  My own children are just a few years younger than her.  Andie is kind of a rebel but as she has matured and I have mellowed, we have found we are probably more alike than any of our siblings.  And this trip showed that my daughter is more like Andie than any of us.
  • I need more private time than I think I do.  I am quite aware that I occasionally need some alone time.  As I get older and my children have become adults, I realize I am pretty set in my ways.  This trip reminded me that, while I love being around people and family,  I have to have a place to retreat.  I didn’t really have that and I struggled occasionally.  I’m pretty sure I was not the only one.  My daughter is the same way and I think my sister Andie also feels the same.  We are all control freaks and when one is not in control . . . well, our eyes give it away. There were no issues but it was a short visit Smile
  • We all miss Mom.  I kept thinking about how much my mom would have loved holding Indigo and playing with Taj.  She would have loved that we are all so close now.  She would be so impressed by Josh.  She would be so proud of Andie.
  • We will all make it without Mom.  We are closer now and have each taken on different “Mom roles”.  Mickey has her caring nature and giving spirit as well as her sense of humor.  Andie has her strong will, independence, and determination.  I have her love of cooking, travel, and new experiences.  The three of us together make a pretty good combination.
  • Andie is a good mom.  She is very traditional but also very non-traditional in her ways of motherhood.  She is a hand washing and hand sanitizer Nazi.  She is careful to make sure Taj is ok and is having fun.  She knows what is right for her daughter and will make sure the right things happen.  She is going to be just fine.
  • I actually CAN make Mom’s biscuits.  Our mom comes from a long line of amazing Southern cooks.  Mom and her sister inherited her biscuit making skills from our grandmother.  Their biscuits are legendary in our family.  Of course, there has never been a recipe so I had Mom figure out amounts and wrote them down.  We have all tried to make her biscuits with varying degrees of success but no one comes close.  Andie requested Biscuits and Chicken ‘n Dumplings during our visit and I warned her that mine were not like Mom’s.  But I gave it a try.  I thought about watching my grandmother, aunt, and mom as they made biscuits.  I remembered how they made a well in the flour for the oil.  How they kneaded the dough on the floured surface until it was smooth and rolled out the dough until it was just thick enough.  They must have been there with me because the biscuits were perfect.  My daughter said they were the best I had ever made.  I may never be able to do it again but I did it this time!
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