Tag Archive | help

Study Buddy

I’m not sure if I mentioned recently, but I started my online college classes to get my bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science.  This is the first step to getting my teaching certificate to be a full-time teacher.  I just finished my first 6 week course and I’m about to start my second class.

It has been interesting trying to balance work, family and class work.  So far I have survived and hope it will continue.  I have always been a perfectionist, yet I didn’t realize how bad I was until I started getting graded on my course work.  The first few grades that I received that were not 100% was a little tough on me.  But as time progressed, I was able to rationalize with myself and decided that it would be boring if every grade I got was a 100%.  I needed to get some lower grades from time to time to make it a challenge.  The funny part is that I am the first to tell my kids that I don’t care if they get straight A’s, I just want them to do their best work.  So why did I feel that I had to have straight A’s on my work?  Needless to say, in the course of the last 6 weeks, I have decided that as long as I pass the class, I really don’t care if my grade is an A.

This leads me to my reason for writing this.  My kids have been very good during this first stage in my college experience.  In fact, if it wasn’t for my little study buddy, Ann, I wouldn’t have made some of my deadlines.  My sweet little 7-year-old daughter would ask to sit with me when I was doing my course work.  I told her as long as she didn’t bother me, I didn’t care.  In the end, I am very grateful that she was there.  I don’t do very well when I have to read a big amount of text at a time.  So I would often doze off when I was in the middle of reading some articles.  But my little study buddy was always there to say, “Wake up Mama.” and would even give me a shake if I needed it.  So who says your study buddy has to understand the material you are learning?  My study buddy is in the 2nd grade and I couldn’t ask for a better one!


Bump, Set, Have Fun

Yes, volleyball season has started again and it has consumed the Williams’ household.  My two oldest kids, Marie & Patrick, are on their school’s volleyball teams.  But that’s not all, I have signed up to coach the 5th grade team.  Which means my two youngest are being drug, sometimes willingly, along for the ride.  Oh, but that’s not all, Dad has gotten into the spirit and has agreed to not only be the assistant coach for my son’s team, he has thrown his hat into the ring to be the assistant coach for the 8th grade team too.  I guess he got tired of standing along the line at the games.  (That’s a little inside joke, because last year he was a line judge at the kid’s games.)

This is not my first year of helping with volleyball, but in the past I was the assistant.  Which was perfect for me, because I really am not a competitive person.  In fact, I have no real sports ability what so ever, which is why I was always the student manager when I was in high school.  However, as my favorite saying goes, “God works in mysterious ways” and I found myself in the position as head coach of the 5th grade volleyball team this year.  Okay, not a problem.  I can do this!  I have many returning players from last year.  I just needed to be the adult that was responsible during the practices.  Or so I thought.

We started out with 7 kids signed up to play and out of that 7, only one was a brand new player.  We did our best to get practices going, but inevitably a couple were always absent from one practice or another.  That’s fine, I worked with the ones that could make it.  Then it happened, three days away from our first official game, I find out that two of my players can’t make it that night.  That’s when I go into the recruiter mode.  I have a team with 5 players and one of them is brand spankin’ new to the game.  Technically, we could play with 5 players, but we would have to give up a point every time the absent player was up to serve.  That’s okay, the kids would still be able to play.  But what if one of my players became sick the night of the game?  We couldn’t play with four players.  We’d have to forfeit.

Instantly, my personal goal was to make sure that this team would be able to play their first game, not as a coach, but as a mother.  My son and his teammates really wanted to play and I wanted to make sure that was going to happen.  So as soon as I heard about my absent players, I started sending text to parents that had qualifying students.  I couldn’t get just anybody to fill in at the game, they had to be in the right age limit and have a physical on file.  Otherwise, I would have been sticking my 8th grade daughter on the team, even if she had to play on her knees to make it fair.  Heck, my two little ones had been at every practice and could bump as well as some of my players, so I would have gladly suited them up and had them play if I could.

However, I had to abide by the rules and make sure my players were legal players.  We are playing in a Catholic league after all.  So like I said, I started texting parents and asking students if they wanted to step in for at least this one game.  Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine what would happen next.

2015 in review

It’s been a great year!

There were a great number of things that happened in 2015.  Below is just a few things that come to mind:

I got to see One Direction in concert with my kids, sister and niece.

I got to substitute teach at more schools in a variety of subjects.

I got my book “Baby Steps of Faith – Marie’s Story” self-published on the Kindle Store.

My blog has had great activity also. (see the stat report below)


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


I would like to thank everyone for reading my blog and I hope that some of my posts have made your life a little bit easier.  I look forward to the great things that 2016 has to offer for us all.

Happy New Year!

New Facebook Page…Please Like

Since I have been having trouble with the whole name search thing on Facebook, I have created a new Facebook Page for my followers to LIKE.  Hopefully this will be much easier for everyone to find.  Try going  to the Facebook search box at the top of your Facebook page and type the following:

Baby Steps of Faith – Marie’s Story

It should get you to a page that looks like this:

Facebook Page


This is where you can find any new and exciting news about my book.  If you are a Facebooker (Not sure if that’s even a word??) and you like my blog, please, please, please like my page and invite your friends to like it too.


P.S.  I’m still walking on air from the whole published book thing.  I like this feeling so much, I’m trying to figure out what my next book should be about.

My Dream Has Came True!!!

My dream of publishing Marie’s Story has finally came true.  I just got notification that my book has been published on Kindle Direct Publishing!!!  I have created my first e-book.  I am so excited that I feel like doing a jig.  🙂

Many of you have read Marie’s Story from its infancy, here on my blog.  Your interest and comments is what kept me writing.  So I would like to thank all of you for giving me the confidence to publish my book.

Anyone who is interested in reading the final product can buy a copy at the Kindle Store on Amazon, by clicking on the following link:

Baby Steps of Faith – Marie’s Story

Some things have been added or modified from the first draft and I am very proud of how it turned out.  To those of you who have recently started following my blog, I hope you find this book as interesting as my current posts.

There is one favor I need to ask my followers.  I have created a Facebook account to help promote my new book, but I don’t have any Friends yet.  😦  I was hoping to get my followers to friend me on Facebook and then share my posts to their friends, in hopes to get the word out about my book.  So for anyone that is willing to send me as friend request on Facebook, please search for the following Facebook account:




If you find my blog inspiring and feel that others would benefit from Marie’s Story, please pass this info on to your friends.

One other way you could help me out, is by writing a review on Amazon to help promote my story.  Thank you again, for helping my dream come true!

Good Mornings??? (It Takes A Village – Chapter 3)

I’m sure that I have ranted at least once or twice about how my kids don’t care about getting to school on time.  It’s a daily struggle to get them up in the morning and get them out the door on time.  Even though life has changed some since I have become unemployed, that fact is still true.  Mornings in our house are very stressful.

Even more so, when I have a substitute teaching job that I need to get to on time.  I’ve had a few times that I was in a rush to get to work on time, because my kids did not want to get up for school.  As I was zooming to work, with my hands gripping the steering wheel so hard my knuckles were white, I had flashbacks of my old working life.

I thought to myself, “Oh yeah, I remember this hyperventilating feeling.  This is the way I felt every morning, Monday-Friday, when I had a full-time job.  Boy, I don’t miss that.”  No wonder why I was always so stressed out and why I would get to work feeling exhausted.  My adrenaline levels were always at the highest point in the mornings and when I would finally sit down at my desk at work, I would collapse into a pile of unproductive jello.  Then I would spend the entire day, pumping myself with caffeine and sugar, in hopes to get some energy to make it through the day.  God, I do NOT miss those days.

However, those days are about to start-up again, since I am getting more and more substitute teaching jobs.  Which makes me a little scared and pissed off, to tell you the truth.  I have an opportunity to substitute teach at a school in October for 3 weeks.  This is big, because it will be for the same 5th grade class, so I will actually be able to see if I enjoy teaching on a daily basis.  However, the job will require me to be there by 7:30am every morning.  Which means my kids will need to get their rears out of bed in the morning and get to school by 7:00am.  Considering the fact that they are normally slipping through the school door at 7:59am every morning does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling about this.

However, I have a choice to make.  I can either turn down this sub job, because it will be too inconvenient for my kids or I can take the job and make my kids grow up and take more responsibility.  I had to think it over a bit, but I decided it’s time for my kids to grow up a bit.  So how do you do that?  Well, my big sister gave me a great idea and I put it into play the other day.  Wait until you see what I did.

Tattling Mama (It Takes A Village – Chapter 2)

If you recall, I said I had a few incidents lately where I had to snitch on my kids.  So let me tell you about Incident #2.  This one happened yesterday with my youngest son Christopher.  I was working Aftercare at my children’s school for my friend (Ann’s teacher).  She had a dentist appointment to go to, so I said I would fill in.  Ann’s teacher has the younger group of kids in Aftercare, which means that my three youngest were in my class.  That is not a big problem, except when your kids don’t want to listen.

I’m not sure why, but Christopher was wild that day.  Actually, they all were.  Most of the things Christopher did were just annoying, but he went too far when he decided to run out of the school building and into the school parking lot, ON HIS OWN!  I saw him do it, Thank God, so I could go after him.  However, I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.  I had a classroom full of kids I was responsible for, that I couldn’t leave alone.  Yet, my son had run out the door and could have been running into traffic as we speak.

There is another teacher that works Aftercare for the Middle School students, so I told Marie to go get her to watch the little kids.  When I noticed Marie walking at a normal pace to the other room, I had to emphasize to go QUICKLY!  One would think that moving quickly would be your automatic reaction, however, my oldest did not.  Oh brother!!!

As soon as the other teacher rounded the corner, I asked her to watch my class and then I was dashing out the door with Patrick right behind me.  We found Christopher in the parking lot, just waiting for us to come after him.  I snatched him up and I gave him a few smacks on his butt.  I scolded him, as I carried him back into the building.  Then I planted him in a chair and told him not to move a muscle.

I was so angry, scared, frustrated, worried, relieved and exhausted from that little incident.  Luckily, I had seen him leave the building.  If he had left the building without me being aware of it, this story would have been a lot worse.  Because, once you leave the school building, the doors lock behind you.  You have to press a button to call for someone to let you in.  However, Christopher is not tall enough to reach the button.  Now, do you see why I was so upset.

The other teacher was gracious enough to let me leave early that day.  I got everyone home and as I was sitting at the kitchen table, I sent my friend (the Aftercare teacher I was filling in for) a text that said I would not be able to fill in for her anymore.  As I was typing it, tears ran down my face.  I cried because of what happened and what could have happened.  I was crying because I was having to let my friend down.  My friend has needed me in the past, because sometimes her life does not cooperate with her work schedule.  I hated to have to tell her that I couldn’t be her backup any more.  I was still angry, frustrated, and embarrassed that I could not control my own kids.

Needless to say, Frank heard all about it when he got home.  Christopher’s punishment was no ice cream and no tablet time for the night.  I know that some of you are saying, “I’d have beat his butt.”  He got another spanking before the night was through, however Marie and Christopher just laugh when you are spanking them. So that does not get the same response as no ice cream and no tablet will produce.  When I told Christopher ‘no ice cream’, he acted like I cut off his left arm.

When I took the kids to school this morning, I had a brilliant idea.  I made sure Christopher was the last one to be dropped off.  After I gave Christopher a hug and kiss goodbye, he went to join his classmates in the center room.  That is when I had a little talk with his teacher.  Their class has been discussing safety and learning what police officers and fire fighters do.  So I asked if she would address the importance of boundaries and how they are there for our own safety.

His teacher was really on board.  She said she would address the class about that, but also pull him aside and have a little chat with him.  She said they have already discussed that they are not to be leaving the building without a teacher.  So yes, I snitched on my son and I’m pretty proud of it.

It takes a village to raise a child.  We all have different roles in that village and we all have different ways that we influence that child.  My son knows that I love him unconditionally.  He is not afraid to push the envelope with me, because I am his mother and I am his safety net, so to speak.  He trusts me enough to push my patience farther than he would push his teacher, because he feels safe with me.

That fact is like a double-edged sword.  It’s great to know that I have his trust and that our relationship makes him feel like I will have his back, no matter what.  But it’s bad when I am trying to instill in him the importance of following rules that are there for his own safety.  I know that he did not realize all the bad things that could have happened to him that day.  He was just trying to get my attention and be funny.

So when things like this happen and I feel like my kids don’t fully understand what I am trying to teach them, that is when I ask for help from one of the villagers.  It’s not that they honor or obey their teachers more than their parents.  It’s the fact that another adult is conveying to them, in a different way, how wrong they were.  That message will hit home with them later, when they think back at what mom said before.  Then they will realize, ‘Oh crap, Mom just told the teacher on me.  I better straighten up.’

You can’t out-fox a fox…unfortunately, my child’s haven’t figured that out yet.


Too Much Silence (Life After Layoff – Chapter 22)

I never thought I would ever speak these words, but it’s too quiet at home when the kids are at school.  I know that I have waited all summer for this type of silence, but I discovered something about having too much silence.  It gives my mind too much time to think.  I have finally discovered something that I probably have always secretly known, my mind is my worst enemy.  I assume that this is the case for everyone, but then again, I could be wrong.  As for me, I have discovered that when the kids are around, there is so much noise going on that I don’t have much time to think.  The kids act as some sort of buffer between me and my mind.

But when the house is quiet and I’m all alone, my mind starts playing tricks on me.  I start wondering what I will do with the rest of my life.  I wonder if teaching is really for me.  I start to doubt if I can handle a full-time job.  My dream of publishing a book seems unreachable.  I doubt my ability to go back to school.  I turn into a little kid again, I guess.  Where everything seems scary and impossible.  I lose all confidence and faith in myself.

This might seem outrageous to some of you and maybe it is for most people.  Maybe these feelings are coming from my depression.  I don’t know.  But they are real and I find myself struggling with them more and more.  Before you question, I have not stopped taking my antidepressants or changed the dosage.  The only thing that has changed is that I have more quiet time on my hands.  You see, for two months I had to put all my plans on hold, because the kids were out of school for the summer.  Now that the kids are in school, I have no excuse not to go forward with my plans.

There is only one thing holding me back…me.  I am allowing the devil to get on my back and cause me to struggle.  It’s easier to hear his whispers of doubt in my mind, when there is no kids around to distract me.  Because I know that is where the doubt is coming from…the devil.  So maybe I need to adjust some things in my life.  Maybe I need to start doing something that I have always been too busy to do.  Maybe I need to start taking time each day to let God speak to me through the Bible.

Something that I had wanted to do when I lost my job was to read scriptures daily and pray more for people.  In fact, I wanted to learn how to pray the whole rosary, because it is something I have never learned to do.  But somewhere down the road those plans faded away.  Now that I have this quiet time that is consuming me, I guess I need to start doing what I had planned to do…read the bible daily and pray more.  What better place to look for answers than the bible.

So scriptures, here I come.  To find guidance from my creator.  God put me on this earth for a reason and I don’t think it was for me to work in Accounting all my life.  I know he has plans for my life that I can not even comprehend yet.  Things that I would not believe possible.  So I will trust in Him and let Him help me to fight this wave of doubt and fear that the devil has brought into my mind.  Our God is an awesome God!  It’s sad to say, but sometimes I think we as humans forget that.

Survival Guide Review (Confessions of a Middle-Age Mom – Chapter 15)

If you recall, I had created a Concert Survival Guide for our 1D Adventure.  Now that we have attended the One Direction concert, I thought it would be nice to go back and review the survival guide and comment on what worked and what did not work.  That way, mother’s of little kids can have something to reference if they take their kids to a music concert.  Oh heck, who am I kidding?  I am writing this so I can remember what worked best, because I see myself taking my kids to other music concerts in the future.  In fact, ever since the One Direction concert, my 4-year-old son Christopher keeps asking when we will go see ‘One Ection’ again.  He doesn’t seem to understand that the concert was for one night only.  So if you see me blogging about packing up and following One Direction around the world, it will be for the sake of my little boy.  (That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.)

On to the review of my Survival Guide for our 1D Adventure:

  • Skip opening act – Because of Icona Pop’s “R” rated lyrics and because the kids will not see this as a fun build up to the main event.  They will see this as torture, because they came for one band and one band only.        This was a great call on my part.  Even if the opening act is a “G” rated band, it’s not a good idea to make little ones seat through an additional hour at a concert.  Thanks to some replies back from a comment I made on One Direction’s Facebook page, I was able to estimate our arrival time so we arrived when the opening act was completely over and there was an intermission before 1D arrived on stage.  Kudos for Mom!!
  • Watch California concert video before-hand – This way they will have an idea of what it is going to be like.  I would hope that it will be scary enough to my little ones that they will want to stay at home with their aunt.  I doubt it, but a mother could always dream.     After we surprised the kids with the news about the One Direction concert, I showed the kids the California concert video.  The theory that it would scare my little ones out of going was wrong.  But I think it helped to prepare them a little bit for what to expect.  What I didn’t expect was all the questions that Marie and Patrick would have after watching it.  They were wanting to know if our view would be better than that and didn’t understand why I didn’t buy tickets for floor seating.  (Um, cause I’m not rich!  That’s why.)  So I sort of wish I hadn’t shown the two older ones the California video.
  • Get earplugs – This way the kids will not be as overwhelmed by the shrill screams of the fans.  I don’t know if they will want to wear them, but I hope they will be willing to wear them after they watch the concert footage.     Earplugs…good.  My children…stupid.  LOL  I had bought a box of soft earplugs that you put in your ears.  This should be a simple thing that I can get my kids to do.  Wrong, they were not going for the earplug thing.  I was smart enough to bring two headphones that had been broken.  So I cut off the cord and since the headphones had belonged to the kids, they were willing to wear them.  So don’t throw those broken headphones away, reuse them for events like this.  Patrick and Ann ended up wearing the headphones.  Marie refused any type of device that would block out the band, so she will probably have hearing problems in the future.  I wore earplugs and was able to get some to fit in the outer area of Christopher’s ears.  I even gave some earplugs to another fan’s mother that was sitting by us.  With all the screaming around you, I’m glad we had them.
  • Glow-in-the-dark shirts are a must – My thought is that if we all have glow-in-the-dark shirts on, then the kids will not be as afraid in the dark.  So I went to a craft store and bought some glow-in-the-dark iron-on material that you can print a decal on and attach it to a shirt.  I also got some glow-in-the-dark fabric paint.     I am sad to report that my glow-in-the-dark iron-ons didn’t glow in the dark.  I’m not sure if I did something wrong in the creativity process or what, but we did have some good-looking shirts when the lights were on.  I never tried the fabric paint, so I guess that is something we can try on a rainy day.  I still believe the glow-in-the-dark shirts is a great idea though.
  • Glow-in-the-dark necklaces – Another item that we can wear, to help counteract the dark arena.     The glow stick necklaces and bracelets worked great.  In fact, they acted as entertainment to my little ones while they were waiting for the concert to start.  I would highly recommend them.
  • Pre-paid parking spot – I purchased a parking spot to one of the Gold level parking garages on-line.  This way we know we have a close parking spot and can arrive at the concert later than the other fans.  Plus, like my sister pointed out, we might be carrying a few sleepy kids on the way back to the van.     This was the best idea ever.  In fact, we saw what it would have been like if we didn’t get a pre-paid spot.  We had to make a U-turn in a Denny’s parking lot on the other side of the interstate in order to get into the concert traffic.  While there, we noticed a sign for $2 concert parking in the Denny’s parking lot and many girls and chaperones walking the 2 or 3 block trek to the stadium.  Marie asked me why we couldn’t do the same.  She just wanted to get to the concert as soon as possible.  I told her that I didn’t want to walk that far with all the kids.  I am usually the one that will go for the best price, even if I have to walk a little more.  But I am so glad I went the expensive way this time.  The price I paid for the Gold level parking was worth it’s weight in gold.  We got a parking spot right next to the venue.  I’m talking, the equivalent of a close parking spot at Walmart.  So we had a very short distance to walk.  This was a great thing to have when you had stood for two hours, holding little kids, in the heat.  So around 11:30 pm when we were driving out of the venue’s parking lot, we were watching the people who had parked in the Denny’s parking lot start their trek back over the interstate bridge.  Sometimes cheaper is not always better.  
  • Enough Adult Supervision – I have learned over the summer that I can’t be in two places at once.  That is why my sister and my niece are coming with us.  So if/when some of the kids can’t handle the noise of the concert, I will be able to have an adult walk with them in the corridors.  While another adult (hopefully me) can be with the ones that want to watch the concert.     This is definitely a must.  It was so helpful to have my sister and niece there to help with the little ones.  They took Ann and Patrick out to the corridor when the screaming was too much before the concert.  They helped me hold the two little ones up during the concert.  They helped keep track of all the kids in the crowds.  Without their attendance, that concert experience would have ended a lot less enjoyable.  So bring plenty of back up.
  • Last but not least, No High Expectations –  Not on the concert itself, but on our experience.  I live my life WITHOUT rose-colored glasses.  I know that all four of my kids are not going to act the same way towards this event.  I know that one might be excited and another one might be scared to death.  So if I don’t have high hopes that we will all have the best experience ever at this concert, then I won’t be heartbroken over the outcome.     I was so right on this one.  Not all the kids enjoyed the concert the same.  I believe in my heart that each one of them had a good experience, no matter how brief, during the concert.  However, some of them were ready to leave half-way through the concert.  While some of them, like me, wanted to stay until the last song was sang.  In fact, as we were waiting for the concert to begin, the girls in the crowd were getting so excited that they would scream over any movement they saw on the stage.  That was when Patrick and Ann was asking to go home.  I didn’t want them to be miserable, but at the same time, I didn’t want to disappoint Marie by leaving before the concert even started.  Thankfully, with my sister and niece’s help and some popcorn, Patrick and Ann stayed for the concert and had fun.  Like I said, they wanted to leave before the concert was over, but they did have moments where they let the music get in them.  So I have photos of them smiling and some photos of them sad.  The thing is, I know that if I suggest going to another concert down the road, they are going to remember the good parts of the 1D concert and forget about the things they didn’t enjoy.  Because that’s what humans tend to do, block out the bad stuff.  Going into the concert with No High Expectations helped me enjoy the experience for what it was.  My joy was not crushed by my kid’s actions.  I enjoyed it to the fullest and brought home many great memories of our 1D adventure.

I’m not a good planner but, for this situation, I am glad I planned ahead.  It made the experience much better than I could have imagined.  So if you are as crazy as me and decide to take your little kids to a music concert, go prepared.  You can do anything as long as you have a desire, a plan and good support to back you up.  This is probably the craziest thing I will ever do in my life…or is it?  LOL  By now, you should know that this sort of thing will become the norm for my family.  We will most likely attend many, many more concerts in our future.  Because life is too short to sit around in the comfort of your own home.  Sometimes you have to go outside of your comfort zone and let your hair down.  As long as you have a plan, anything is possible.

Family Hugs

If you have followed my series ‘Confessions of a Middle-Age Mom’, then you know that I have camped out at my sister’s house for the last four days.  Her willingness to let me and my kids stay at her house for free is what made it possible for me to bring my kids to the One Direction concert.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to afford the road trip and the motel stay.  So I am forever in her debt for that kind gesture.

But what she gave me the last four days is more than a floor to sleep on and a bath to bathe in.  If you ask my kids, they would say that their aunt also gave us good food to eat, new toys to play with and access to their pool.  But something that my kids might not realize is that my sister and her family has given us so much more.  It’s not a tangible thing that you can pick up.  It’s a feeling that can be relayed through words and actions.  The best way to describe it is the feeling you get when you are embraced in a hug from a loved one.

My older sister and my brother-in-law has blessed my parents with seven grandchildren.  Actually 9 grandchildren when you add my niece’s husband and my brother-in-law’s nephew who we consider part of our family.  Their children’s ages range from 10 to late 20’s.  Yet the vast age difference does not matter.  The little boys are best friends with the big kids.  They are a tight-knit family.

Although my sister only has her three younger boys left at home, the older kids are in town.  With the exception of one of my nieces who is roughing it out as a camp counselor this year…in Hawaii.  Boy, that gig must be pretty sweet.  🙂  She is the only one I have not gotten to see on this trip, but I did get to talk to her briefly on the phone.

I had stood there in awe many times this past week, as I watched the older kids stop by to see us and their younger siblings.  The younger boys greet their older siblings like they haven’t seen them in months and when the older kids say goodbye, they hug everyone like this could be the last time they see them.  That gives me such a warm feeling inside.

Don’t get me wrong, I grew up in a house full of love, but I don’t recall this much hugging going on in my childhood.  In fact, this week has made me realize that my immediate family doesn’t hug one another enough.  We hug family when they have come to visit and when we are saying goodbye, but my immediate family is not hugging one another as much as we are yelling at one another.  This is something I will work on changing in the future.

Because I want my kids to be more like my nieces and nephews.  I want my kids to love their siblings so much that they hate to see them grow up and leave our house to make their way in this world.  Not be thankful that their sibling has finally moved out so they can take over the space.  I want my family to be a hugging family too.

Yes, my sister’s family will forever be known as the Hugging Family.  Because that’s what they do, they love one another so much they have to hug each other.  And it’s not just that, they don’t just hug the younger boys and then have nothing to do with them.  They talk with them, they play with them, they help them with things.  They walk back into my sister’s home and take on the role they had in the family as if their beds were still under that roof.  They are not visitors, they are family.  The older kids might have their own place they live at, but they still belong in their parent’s home.

My wish is that my immediate family will be that way too in the future.  That Marie will still feel like she lives at our house, even if she has her own place that she calls home.  That Christopher will look at Marie’s visits as a treat instead of an invasion of his space.  I hope I can get my family to be more of a hugging family now, so that my grandkids can witness this type of bond that my sister’s family has.

I have always been strong on saying “I love you” to my family, but I’m a little weak on my physical expressions of love.  So that is something I am going to try to work on more.  To embrace my kids more, while they are still around, so that they will come back for more once they leave to make a name in this world.

So thank you big sister, for all the many things you have given me this week.  You have not only provided me with a place to lay my head and food to eat.  You did not only help me care for my kids at the concert.  You have taught me some valuable lessons about life that I had overlooked recently.  You have such a wonderful, loving family and I just want to tell you that you and your husband have sown so many wonderful seeds into this world and we are all blessed by your bounty.

Although she can’t tell you in person, I know that Mom is so very, very proud of the family that you have created and the woman who you have become.  And I am very thankful that I have you in this world to file some of the void that Mom’s death has left.  I love you sis, more than words can express.