I’ve paced these stories for you because I want each to be read and savored. I was fearful that one singular long post would have gotten glossed over.
Please do not gloss.
These stories are very special to the people who shared them.
I hope they bring up important memories and experiences for you, too.
If you missed posts one and two, click on the highlighted words.
During our senior year, my grandfather passed away and after the funeral my grandmother pulled me aside and in my hand she placed a little aluminum cross and told me she found it hidden in my grandfather’s wallet. She never knew he had it and she wanted me to have it…I put it in my wallet that day and have carried it every day since 1984 through many different wallets but every one has had that cross. It has no resale value but is truly priceless to me. Some days when I pull it out to look at it I cry, other days I smile, but either way it reminds me of the love my grandparents had for me.
A lot of people say their children are their greatest possession, but I don’t feel my kids are a possession! They are my GIFT. I hope they will grow to cherish as they are cherished.
I have both our tickets from Game One of the White Sox World Series. That was the last game me and my dad went to together. It was only game one, but we knew it was their year. Great memories!
One Christmas, many years ago, I went shopping with my mother. We had a productive day sharing, laughing, and buying for others. I took GREAT notes and went out again for HER and bought EVERYthing she said she’d liked, everything she’d commented on the day before. And I mean everything. The wooden fruit, the silk scarf, the hand-woven basket, the neon green heels… Yes, you read that right. NEON GREEN HEELS. The look on her face when she opened that box was priceless. Those shoes came back to me a few years after that. They’ve been back and forth and on a cruise since then. Most recently, they were adapted into an autumn centerpiece. Lovely. Truly a cherished gift, lol.
I volunteer for WBOMRadio.com, a community powered streaming radio station. When I originally started I said I could give two hours tops. Well, since then, I’ve traveled to produce interviews, and actually interview artists, started a three hour EDM show on Saturday nights, and recorded concerts at The Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center. Sometimes in my duties I’ve been there many times in a week for hours. At times I’m tired, like last night. But, when I get to enjoy the unique and amazing artists I view and interact with, I remember why it’s become such a big part of my life. Last night, I saw Ladama. I was in awe of these amazing women’s talents. I had the great privilege of sitting down with @drumrbaer (Joel Baer) and watching his big band play, I ran the board for an interview of a professor at NIU who specializes in Gamelan music sitting cross cross applesauce on the floor in my socks, as it was insulting to wear shoes near the instruments. When I think of how much richer these experiences have made my life, the time donated is more a gift to me than the station. #music #thankful #lifeisbeautiful
My grandmother used to do this crazy exchange with her college roommate. The first time I came across the story was my grandma’s birthday. She received a flower delivery and when she saw who it was from, she burst out laughing. The bouquet was beautiful, but hardly humorous, so I asked what was up. She emptied the card envelope on the counter and this dry, shriveled, hard…stick? fell out. It was a french fry. They had been swapping this same petrified potato, a remnant of some crazy “study” night fifty years ago. It had been found in a make-up case, a high heeled shoe, and a coat pocket, among other places, over the years. That ancient diner fry is in a jewelry box in my desk drawer. It reminds me of my grandma and the fact that people often have (had) a life outside how you know them.
(Thanks for letting me share this story again, it’s been a while, but it’s a fun tale to tell.)
I’m sixty-eight years old. Until just twelve/thirteen years ago my mother and I were not close. I was told when I was younger that it was because we were so much alike. I hated hearing that. Now I know that is was because of something much different.
I believe my mother was stifled in her life from a very young age. She had dreams that she was never allowed to follow. Her parents made her decisions for her. It was a different time then. I was her first daughter. Mother did what she was taught, tried to keep me on a tight leash. That did not bode well, for either of us.
I believe while she wanted better for me, she was also afraid for me. This made for some fearful years for her, and some angry years for me. We were always in conflict.
I moved away with my girls. The distance was good for me. I found my own way and have become the woman I always wanted to be.
My daughters and I have great relationships. We stumble from time to time, yet we are close and love on each other through it all.
As life has it, my girls took their leave of my home. It was their time. I miss them and love it whenever we can connect, even if it’s by text. I smile because I know they were raised to think for themselves. Live their lives as they see fit. Become who they want to be. They are each amazing in their own way.
It became time for me to try to close the gap between my mother and myself. I was hesitant but determined. It took time. What I realized early on with this endeavor was, my mother, the “my way or the highway” woman, was as willing to mend our relationship as I was.
It takes both parties to want to do things differently for a lasting change to occur. My mother’s change of attitude, her willingness to listen, and her openness has been an experience I never expected. I venture to guess that she could say those same things about me. Imagine that! It became apparent to me that we could, we could have a lasting, loving relationship. It doesn’t matter that I was in my fifties when we began the journey that some mother/daughters had from birth.
Mother has weathered some major hurtles with our family. Divorce, single parenting, and a gay daughter, to name a few. She has chosen to live life on life’s terms. She has stretched herself so that she can love and be loved by her family. She has had to let go of prejudice, anger, and righteousness. Why? What made her push past where she was to where she is now? Her love of family. She makes conscious choices at every turn, with every situation. Is my old ideas worth keeping if it takes me from my family? Can I hear an alternative theory to this situation? Mother is 90 and one-half years old and she stretches herself everyday because she loves her family. Now when I visit her, we love on each other and we look after one another. When she goes to bed at night, I lay with her and we pray together. We speak of our family and feel deeply grateful that we are now, at our ages, making up for the years that we missed together.
It was by choice that we went our different paths years ago, and it is by choice that we now are on this path together. It took willingness and work from both of us. We are grateful and blessed by the choices we made, continue to make. What was so hard to do years ago, now is second nature for us.
I am so thankful for you Juanita Katherine. So very proud. Now, when people tell me she and I are alike…I smile because, that is perfectly wonderful for me.
Thanks, again, for reading.
I love to share my words, but what a thrill it is to be able to share other’s words, too. I think the best part of these stories is the different ways “gift” is interpreted.
I would like to close with this wonderful quote:
I think there are truly only 3 things that we can truly and totally own in this world and that’s our thoughts, our emotions and our memories.