Tag Archive | joy

Valentine Tears

Today is Valentine’s Day!  A day of love, hugs, kisses and gifts and for some, a day of tears.  Not because the person you are dating didn’t buy you a gift.  Not because your spouse forgot to tell you Happy Valentine’s Day.  Not because your children didn’t show appreciation for what you do for them.  In my case, today is a day of tears because a very special Valentine will not arrive from my Mom.

It’s been 5 1/2 years since my mom died of cancer.  My grief for her is not as debilitating as it used to be.  I can go a month or so without missing her to the point of tears.  But on special occasions like Valentine’s Day, I miss her so much.  My mom always had some special Valentine’s gift for my siblings and I.  It could be something simple like a coloring book or just a box of chocolates, but no matter what, she always had a gift for us.  Even when I moved away, she would send me a care package at Valentine’s with a bag of my favorite candy bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

When I would call and thank her for remembering, she would tell me that she had to make sure her kids had a special Valentine’s gift from her.  (Yes, she would send care packages to all of her kids.)  Which explains my Valentine’s Day tears.  Memories of her love and care flood me with grief over the fact that she is not on this earth anymore.  Yes, I am an adult and a mother of four, I can go and buy as many Reese’s and I want for myself.  But that’s not the point, the point is that my mom took every opportunity to show me how much I meant to her and I miss the fact that I can’t hear her voice or read a special note that she’s written to me in a card.

I miss my mom today more than others, because it reminds me of how great of a mom she was.  I try my best to be that kind of mom for my kids, but I don’t know if I do it as well as she did.  Yes, I have bought some Valentine chocolates for my kiddos to receive tonight.  Yes, I purchased and helped them make out Valentine cards for their classmates.  And yes, I will most likely pop in during their Valentine’s Day party at school today.  But for some reason, that doesn’t seem like as much as my mom had done for me.  I’m afraid my grief for my mom makes my efforts a little less special for my kids.  But maybe that’s just the Devil trying to pull me down when he knows that I am weak.

So now that I have shared with you the love I have for my mom and the pain and tears that come with Valentine’s Day, I will wipe away the tears and do my best to make this day as special as I can for my kiddos.  So that one day, they too can have fond memories of me on Valentine’s Day.  To all those who find it hard to put aside their grief during this Valentine’s Day, I give you my own words of advice.  Spend a few minutes thinking of the one you lost and remember the great things they did for you.  Then get up and make this day a special day for someone special in your life.  Spread the love that you would have shown to your deceased loved one with someone that needs it most today.  Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!



Life Is Like A Cow Pasture

Yep, if you haven’t guessed it yet, my family made another venture into the country the other day.  🙂  My two oldest, Marie and Patrick, had a sleepover with our friends that live in the country.  So the fam and I had to go pick them up yesterday.  While we were there, we had to take a trip out to see the new baby goat via the cow pasture.  As we were walking through the cow pasture, we met a variety of things…but mostly cow patties.

You can imagine the conversation we were having with the children at the time.

‘Watch where you are stepping.’

‘Look, there’s old crap.’

‘Don’t step in the new crap.’

‘Boy, this is a lot of crap.’

I think you get the idea.  There was a lot of ‘crap’ talking.  😉  It was all said in fun, but thinking back now, I realized how true it is.  It’s like the famous quote from Forrest Gump; “Life is like a box of chocolates.”  But it’s a little more messy and a little more real.  Let me try to explain.

Life is like a stroll through a cow pasture.  You start out with a mission in mind like finding a spouse, becoming a parent or living a single life.  As you venture into the cow pasture of life you will encounter old crap that you thought was gone.  Some past mistake, bad choice or old experience that was part of your old life.   Yes, the crap is still there, but it’s old news now.  It doesn’t sting as bad when you think about it.  In fact, you can look at it now and realize that this old crap helped shape you to what you are today.

A step further into the pasture and you hear the sounds of nature.  The sounds make you feel tranquil and calm.  But the next step or two you take could lead you straight into a new pile of crap.  This new pile of crap could be small or big, depending on what direction you go.  So what do you do?  You venture forward and do your best to step over the crap.  Because with every step forward into life, you encounter something new and good.  Like a new fallen pine cone or pine needles on the ground.

Yes, there are times you might step directly into the newly fresh and still steaming crap.  But that is life.  Life is not clean and tidy, wrapped up with a bow around it.  Life is messy and fun, with unexpected messes along the way.  But if you don’t keep going forward in life, you won’t get to experience the pleasure of living.  I don’t mean the kind of living where you are just standing in one place and breathing.  I mean the kind of living where you feel the wind in your hair and hear the sound of your own laughter.  Yes, living will bring times of crying, troubles, sorrows and pain, but it also brings the opposites of those things.

Really living means you have the strength to step out into the cow pasture of life and meet the piles of crap that are along the way.  If you step directly in a pile, you might need to drag your feet a bit and wipe it off.  Or take a moment to take your shoe off and clean it thoroughly.  Sometimes, life requires you to stop in your tracks and back up a step or two, so you don’t walk through the same pile of crap that got you down before.  Sometimes, the piles of crap are so small that you don’t even know you stepped in it and it has left your feet before you ever knew it was there.

Regardless of how much crap you might have to dodge, the outcome is worth it.  For me and my family, it was the pleasure of seeing a new-born goat.  So small and sweet with fur that looked as soft as a feather.  Standing there with my kids, listening to the baby goat make soft baa’s, it was worth the trip.  To feel the wonder and joy of the experience, not to mention the pleasure to enjoy it with my family.

So yes, life is like a cow pasture.  It’s messy and smelly at times.  It’s fun and adventurous at times.  It’s unexpected and hard at times.  But it’s all part of living and isn’t that what God intended us to do on this Earth?  Just live life to the fullest…you just have to be care where you walk sometimes.

What’s the Point?

I am typing this with a tear streaked face, blood-shot eyes and a headache from crying.  That is because Frank & I just came from a funeral for my friend’s dad.  Amanda’s dad had cancer throughout his body and was in tremendous pain at the end of his life.  Amanda’s daughter is my daughter, Marie’s, BFF and Amanda is Ann’s Godmother.  I did not know Amanda’s dad that well, I have probably seen him eight times in the six years I’ve known Amanda.  However, he was the kind of guy that made you feel like you had known him all your life.  Amanda’s dad had suffered from various types of pain throughout his life.  From back injuries, COPD, a broken heart and then cancer.  In his 68 years on this earth, he helped raise three kids, buried his teenage son, buried his wife of 39 years and spent 10 years with his second wife.  Yet, through it all…through all the pain and sorrow, he always had a smile on his face and every one he met walked away smiling too.

I am sure that many people at the funeral saw me crying and thought I had known him all my life and that we were very close.  Actually, in the last two days I have learned more about Amanda’s dad then I can believe.  Unfortunately, after hearing all the beautiful stories about him, I really wish I had known him better.  He touched so many lives and had the best attitude in the world.  It is easy to see why my friend is such a wonderful person…because she had a wonderful dad.  I was in tears, because I know the pain of losing a mom and my friend had already lost her mom and now her dad was gone too.  But she does have two beautiful kids, a big sister, a step-mom and many other family members that love her.  Plus she has a lot of friends, like me, that love her to death.  She is hurting really bad right now, but with all the love and prayers her family and friends are giving her, she is going to make it through this.

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