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Kindergarten Here I Come

Just look at this sweet patoot. Turning 6 in September, Addie is going to be entering Kindergarten this year. And by the look of her expression, she’s as excited as can be.

For this Mimi, it is hard indeed to believe how quickly time has passed since her birth. Our elders are always telling us to appreciate each day because time flies by…but they say it because that’s exactly what happens!

I remember holding that sweet, tiny one dressed head-to-toe in pink. She was a delicate gift of promise and possibility; a blessing from God.

What kind of personality would she have? Who would she look like? Would she be tall? Would she be a dancer? Would she play sports? Would she be a Daddy’s girl? Would she be fiercely independent?

You find yourself asking endless questions as you look at that bundle of love in your arms, not having any idea of what is to come.

And then she grows and you begin to see hints of just who this little one is going to be. Each day becomes a joy and adventure as you watch this precious young girl learn about the world and develop her individual personality. And since I don’t get to see her often enough, it seems as if each time I do see my eldest granddaughter, there’s something new to discover about her.

Addie is not only a beautiful little girl she is smart, sensitive, deliberate, and thoughtful.

As big sister to Zoe, Addie gladly shares all she knows about the world such as the correct way to do things, or at least the Addison-way to do things. (wink-wink) She loves Zoe deeply and can be so tender with her it can bring a tear to this Mimi’s eye.

Addie also feels things deeply which is such a wonderful trait. She was nearly 5 when her Gigi (great grandmother) passed away last year and it made her very sad for a period of time. It hurt us to know how sad she was but we also knew that it was a clear demonstration of just how much she had loved my mom. As she experiences life, Addie will no doubt encounter more sadness and disappointment but her joys…oh they will be exquisite! She will love well, experience great delight, and truly and thoroughly enjoy and appreciate life all the more.

I mentioned that Addie is smart but even more important than that is that she enjoys learning and the thrill of discovery. And those traits will open the world to her. That excites me tremendously.

So I look at this picture of her and see pride that she’s such a big girl, big enough to go to Kindergarten; I see joy as she’s about to embark on a new journey. But most of all, I see the face of someone I love so very much that it makes me cry out in thanksgiving to my heavenly Father that He is so good and so kind to have brought Addie into our lives.

Mimi

Happy Birthday Mom

I’m writing this post on March 14, my mom’s birthday. It’s the first one since she passed away last April. And I have mixed feelings.

There is still some sadness and a bit of melancholy. But sweet Hubby remembered her birthday this morning and asked if I was ok. Then my brother texted about it and my girls also sent along some remembrances.

I miss my mom every single day. Those who knew her, also knew her feisty personality. Her enthusiasm for life. Her way of speaking (sometimes without a filter). They experienced her deep love and her giving spirit.

Lee Turner (my mom) celebrates her 88th birthday, March 2016.

She was an important part of my life for 62 years and she meant the world to me. Like many mothers and daughters, we butted heads as we openly shared our strong opinions with each other. But there’s no one in this world who loved me more than my mom.

Throughout my life I depended on her. And she always, always no matter what, loved me hard.

As an adult I truly felt blessed to have had her for all these years. She was a wonderful mom and grandma. And the best great grandma to her four littlest ones. I’m so grateful all four of them got to know their Gigi.

Fond memories? There are many. But in recent years one thing that remained consistent was how she greeted Greg and me after not seeing us for a while. Her face would light up as she grabbed me in a hug while brushing aside my hair and whispering “You have such a pretty face; we could see it better if you cut your bangs.” And no matter how bedraggled my hubby might look after riding in the car for hours to see her, she would hug him fiercely and state “You look so good. I don’t know what it is. Is that a new shirt?” Every single time.

After a lifetime of caring for others, at the end of her life, others were now taking care of her. She wanted to be at home and my dad did an amazing job for many months. Hospice was also wonderful. And when we realized her days on earth were coming to an end, the family began making trips to see her.

And boy did she perk up during each visit. We were able to celebrate her 88th birthday and she surprised us all by playing the piano and singing, something she hadn’t done in years. That day was special: joy-filled and sad at the same time.

Just a few weeks later she was gone.

Mom, Kate, Cindi

And though I still want to talk with her and share life, though I want to show her pictures of the great-grands and talk about their adventures, and though it can make me sad at times that she’s no longer with us, for the most part I’m just happy. Happy she was my mom. Happy she so willingly shared her life with others. And also happy that she is now with the Lord.

Mom’s influence will remain with me all the days of my life. And for that I’m very grateful.

And in her honor, I’m signing off today with her own personal sign-off she stated each time we talked by phone or in person:

I love you all the way to heaven…and back!

Mimi

 

Missing Mom

Lee Turner (my mom) celebrates her 88th birthday, March 2016.

Lee Turner (my mom) celebrates her 88th birthday, March 2016.

So while taking a walk the other day and as I often do while walking, I pulled out my phone and prepared to ask Siri to call someone. It’s a great time to chat. No distractions, just plenty of time to talk with a loved one. Only this time I was unable to make the call. You see, when I started speaking to Siri I realized I was asking her to call my mom.

What? My mother passed away on April 27 and since that time I’ve thought about her a lot. Often times with sweet memories; other times with sadness. But never once have I thought to call her until the other day.

And right on the heels of calling Mom came the realization that I could never do that again. And that, my friends, led to the waterworks being turned on. Instead of walking and talking to Mom, I walked and remembered her. I talked with God about her. And I realized how very much I miss her as I cried my way through my neighborhood.

After arriving home, I called my sister-in-law to share the experience as I knew she would completely understand. Because she had lost her father earlier in 2016, too. Since both our parents had lived enjoyable and long lives, and because both are in Heaven with the Lord right now, most of the times we experience the joy of knowing we’ll be reunited with them again one day. Yet, sometimes, the sorrow of missing them rushes in and sticks around awhile, before once again retreating. I knew Linda would understand. She did. And she provided that human touch I needed at the moment.

This will be my first Christmas without my mom. For just about all my 63 years we’ve been together each December 25, a tradition that began on Christmas 1953…when I was born.

12-13-2016-mothers-quoteThis year there will be no homemade coconut cream birthday pie lovingly made by Mom. There will be no reminders that when she gave birth to me on Christmas that meant she wasn’t home with her 16-month-old daughter, my sister.  There will be no memories of how long it used to take to open all the presents because we insisted on watching each person open every single gift one at a time. Indeed, one very special someone will be missing from the festivities. And this daughter will no doubt experience her loss all over again.

I know for many Christmas can be a reminder of what isn’t rather than a celebration of what is. So I will allow the sorrow to wash its waves over me but I will also smile and be ever so grateful that God gave me a precious, wonderful mother to raise me and point me to Jesus.

Mimi

The Family Tree

Two weeks ago today was my sister’s 62nd birthday. Two weeks ago Monday was Labor Day…the day my sister passed away and her battle with multiple myeloma came to an end.

In the past two weeks I’ve found myself thinking about life…and death…more than I have in the past. Losing someone and coming face to face with the reality of not seeing them again in this lifetime is very sobering.

You take a hard look at what matters. You re-prioritize. You find yourself saying “I love you” much more frequently. You find yourself hoping you’ve said and done things that make a difference. You realize life is so much shorter than you’ve thought in the past. You decide to make changes you’ve been putting off. You determine that moving forward things will be different.

There are probably a million other things I’ve pondered over the past few weeks, especially in the dark of night with the house quiet—the perfect time to reflect. Haven’t necessarily come to any earth-shattering conclusions but this I do know. Family matters.

It’s not the size of the house, the amount in the bank, whether or not you have fancy jewels to wear, or if you’re driving the latest, greatest car. Nope, for me it’s all about the fam.

With my sister in the hospital and very little room for any extras, we came up with a fun idea that would represent the family…something she could hang on the wall and look at to remind her of us. Sadly, that won’t be happening, but the idea is a good one and I think we’ll make it a tradition, perhaps each Christmas. Over time we’ll be able to look back to see how many more “leaves” we’ve added to our family tree as what are now little hands grow into bigger ones.

Welcome to part of our family tree.

Mimi

Kate & Pop Pop work on the family tree.

Kate & Pop Pop work on the family tree.

Mimi adds her own "leaves" to the tree.

Mimi adds her own “leaves” to the tree.

On turning 60.

60 years. Me. 60 years! How did that happen?

It’s been nearly two months now but on Christmas day I turned 60.

I’m not re why, but for some reason we put a lot of emphasis on becoming a number that ends in a 0 or a 5…with the biggest emphasis on the zero-ending ones.

I know a zero marks the end of a decade but is being 60 really a bigger deal than being 59 or 61? At some point it’s just plain nice to mark a birthday, any birthday, as a reminder that we’re still here.

I don’t want to wait for a “big” year to appreciate someone. I want to celebrate the lives of those around me every year, every month, every day. I want those I’m connected with to feel loved and valued every single day they draw breath.

And now for the nitty gritty: I don’t feel a bit different. I don’t feel older. I don’t have more aches and pains. In fact, nothing much has changed. I can’t draw Social Security, I don’t even think I get any additional senior discounts (I’ve been getting them for years). Turning 60 doesn’t make me feel any more mature like turning 30 did. Now that was a great year because I finally felt like others would see me as a grown-up! And turning 60 doesn’t even make me think more about end of life issues. It was really just another day.

But I did get one very special gift that truly means the world to me—a book of memories from friends and family. It was daughter Kate’s idea’s and I’m assuming with her dad’s help she hijacked my email address book and wrote to my loved ones inviting them to send her a memory about me. She lovingly compiled them into a beautiful book complete with photos. I was so moved in just receiving it that I couldn’t even read it for a good week because the tears would start that minute I glanced at it.

Finally, a week or so after receiving the book, I opened the pages planning to read just a few notes each night. I ended up reading them all! They made me laugh, cry, sigh, and they even made me remember things I had long forgotten. And to me each one was a love note sent from the heart of the writer straight to my own.

Cindi Turns 60

Cindi Turns 60

In the photo here you’ll note a picture of the actual book, a close-up of the book’s cover photo (yes, that’s me), and a copy of the title page inside.

A great big thank you to each one who took the time to share a memory or two, and a very special thank you to my precious daughter for all the effort and time that went into it but more importantly for the love behind it.

Mimi