About a month ago, I’m waiting for a medical test when the nurse walks out and starts grinning from ear to ear as she says hello to a woman in the room. They exchange greetings, and then the nurse looks down at the piece of paper in her hand and calls out the next victim’s, I mean patient’s name, which is mine. I look over my shoulder as I walk through the door with her and say, “See you soon, Mom.”
The nurse suddenly realizes the woman she’d been so happy to see is with me. “That’s your Mom?!?” she exclaims, eyes wide.
I grin. “Yep.”
She smiles again. “Oh, she’s SO beautiful.”
I chuckle. “Yeah,” I nod.
The nurse’s brow weaves together. “Oh, you’re beautiful, too,” she adds quickly.
I laugh as she begins telling me why she thinks my mom is so special and beautiful, and quickly I figure out that though she may have only met my mom a handful of times over the years, she knows what most people know…Mom is beautiful inside and out, and that my friends, really is something. Here’s a little birthday card I wrote for the mothership. If you see Jacquelyn, give her a hug…
She prays without end
She’s always a friend,
She falls, she gets up
She tries again
She explores, she sees,
She hikes, she believes
She gardens, she listens
She inspires, she sings
She’s sugar and spice,
She laughs till she cries
She gives everything,
She dares you to dream
True beauty, the real deal
She’s a helper, she’s a fighter
She’s there for you and me.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! I love you.
Love your favorite pain, (AKA the middle child), Sarah xoxoxo
You know you’re doing the parenting thing right when your twelve-year-old is looking at you with a combination of doubt and amusement. At least, that’s the way I figure it. So the other morning, my beloved dog woke me up at 4:30 as she paced back and forth down the halls and up and down the old wooden staircase of our house over and over. I finally convinced myself to give up on the tossing and turning bit and groggily ventured downstairs and to my fuel, ahem, coffee maker at 5:58. As I was pressing start on my favorite kitchen appliance, the electricity went out. Noooooooooo!
The first five minutes of the power outage I was optimistic. I lit some candles, chatted with my ten-year-old, (who was so excited to be using her new flashlight in the dark), and I decided to start my Bible study. But all I could think about was that coffee. So when the power came on about forty minutes later and I had the first cup of deliciousness in my hand, I was dancing across my kitchen. Now, some people know that kitchen dancing is kind of my thing, but this morning I got lost in the moment. All I know is that I glanced up mid-one-woman-conga-line to see that look I mentioned a minute ago coming at me from my 12-year-old. I was singing the Conga beat, (da-da-da-da-da-da), coffee in hand, my favorite cozy robe on, dancing across the kitchen and in place of shouting “Con-ga! Con-ga!” I was singing, “Cof-fee! Cof-fee!” What can I say? I like my coffee.
A little while after my earlier than usual kitchen dance party, I had just finished my yoga and was at the sink, when I spotted a hawk on my neighbor’s fence. I got excited. I always do when I see hawks. I think they’re so cool I had to include them in my teen fantasy book series, HARMONY RUN. I showed my daughters, who both thought the bird of prey was neat, and enthusiastically alerted my husband. Meanwhile, the hawk flew to another tree. By the time Charles got to the window all he could see was, “something black.” Based off his description, I gathered he didn’t quite seem convinced his dream woman had seen a hawk. (Maybe her overactive imagination had gotten carried away again?) To be honest, I think he was only on his first cup of coffee, so maybe he wasn’t as alert as yours truly. Still, in my ongoing quest to prove to Charles I’m holding onto a bit of sanity, I tugged my boots on, grabbed my camera and a winter coat to go with my yoga pants, and headed out into 23-degree weather.
The hawk moved from branch to branch despite my stealth-like approach, (snow boots snapping every twig and crunching every leaf in my yard), but I kept praying that I could just get one picture to show that man. And voilà. I got one, and only one, picture. But thank you, Lord- that’s all I needed!
When I went back inside, my 12-year-old was laughing, the doubt still lingering on her beautiful face. She nodded towards my yoga Capri pants and shook her head. “Cold, Mom?” she asked. “Yes, but I got the evidence I needed for your dad,” I declared triumphantly. The girls were impressed with the photo. And Charles…well, he took one look at the photo and said, “Oh…wow!” surprise evident in his expression, and that made my dash into the cold worth every freezing moment.
I may be a coffee-chugging-one-woman-Conga-line, but I’m not seeing things. Well, not all of the time, anyway. 😉 Don’t forget to look out your window, friends. You never know what you may see. And the next time your morning cup of coffee brings a smile to your face, why not consider doing the kitchen Conga line? I promise I won’t judge. I’m too busy amusing my children.
Today, in honor of the man, my dad,
Who brainwashed the younger me,
I’ll try to live by his favorite rules
I’ll do my best, let’s see…
I’ll start with the indoor waste
‘Cause a clean trash can is a happy trash can,
Empty each one into the central outdoor bin
Then scrub each container best I can
I’ll put on some classic rock
Throw in some eighties big hair greats,
There’s something about cleaning your house while belting lyrics
To Bon Jovi and Whitesnake
I’ll Windex every window, TV,
Anything that can gleam,
I’ll clean out my cabinets, closets, and drawers
I’ll douse everything in bleach
I’ll try not to overdo it
Every so often I’ll have to take five,
I’ll spend it watching a classic war movie
With the surround sound cranked up high
I’ll tackle each item on my yellow legal pad
Understand the importance of this list,
Work hard, accomplish goals, and cross off each item
After I’m done with it
I’ll do good, what’s right
Treat others how I want to be treated,
Have my friends over for roast
And once they are seated…
I’ll tell my favorite jokes, the old, the new
And sing my favorite tunes,
We’re not gonna take it, no, we ain’t gonna take it
And Beans, beans, the magical fruit
Pass the sugar, Sugar, the honey, Honey,
And please pass the tea, Bag,
I’ll reveal the origins of baby carrots,
How they were taken from their moms and dads
I’ll ask my kids if anyone is picking on them
Offer to beat up a bully or two,
Run five thousand errands, cleaning as I go,
There’s so much dirt, so much to do
I’ll try to be like Dad, the birthday man
Leave a trail of laughs and smiles in my wake,
He touches lives with his humor and kindness
He’s one of a kind, one of the greats
So, today, in honor of the man who taught me to dream big
Who taught me how to ski,
I’ll try to accomplish this daunting list
But at the very least, I’ll scrub my trashcans clean.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD! I love you!
Love, Princess (AKA your favorite middle child) Sarah Louise
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
This is a card from your middle child,
I don’t understand why we have to keep secrets
from my siblings, about my rank,
I know I’m your favorite
even though you won’t say it, and you still mix up our names
You say it simply means
you love us equally,
But when you call me by the dog’s name,
it leaves me wondering
Yet clearly a woman who takes her kids on adventures
loves each one with all her heart,
And you still accept our phone calls, provide prayer, pep talks,
and therapy free of charge
From road trips to boating to hiking in Whistler,
there’s never a dull moment with you
I remember the nights you defended our houseboat,
chasing raccoons with your flashlight and broom
I’ll never forget when the wise men messed up
every line in the Christmas play
You tried to stay focused and read from the script,
but you couldn’t keep a straight face
It started in your tailbone and traveled up your spine,
soon you were hysterical and laughing to tears,
The minister, the wise men, the entire congregation
joined in, and talked about that show for years
If I had a penny, for every time
I’ve seen people listening to your stories,
Before they know it, they are crying from laughing,
nothing about you is boring
You taught us to spot birds on wires, in trees,
and on the side of the highway and street,
With one hand on the wheel and the other pointing up,
it’s educational and exciting to say the least
You inspire me to write my own story, to dream big,
and to use my imagination,
You were the first person to teach me to live by the phrase,
It’s the journey, not the destination.
You taught Sunday school, you sing with the choir,
you pray with and help those in need,
You’re a listener, a friend, and you point me to God,
you’re always there for me
So while I might not be your favorite,
I know I’m blessed-
I’m one of three people in the world
who can say their Mom is the best.
I’ll respect your phone-free vacations
–my longest week each year,
But I’ll never quit calling,
Yours was the first voice I heard and that I still love to hear.
So on this birthday if I haven’t said it enough,
let me be very clear indeed,
I am undeserving and SO grateful to be the middle child
of the amazing woman known as Jacque.
I LOVE YOU, MOM!