treasured Finds

August 16, 2018 at 1:28 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Yesterday, I went under my house to clean out some more treasures that have stored under there for the past thirty plus years. I found my son Levi’s paint ball gear; I sat on the dirt floor and laughed at the memories of his friends coming over in full gear getting ready for an all out battle. I am thinking I am going to donate the gear to Levi’s best friend Mike who now has preteens of his own. Most of the stuff stored down here belonged to you guessed it, Levi. I had fun looking at some of his prized possessions and remembering when he had bought the items.

I know how easy it would be to just leave his belongings under the house and not deal with the emotional ties, but I would rather his personal possessions go to someone else who could use them now. Some of my friends wonder how I could turn his old bedroom into my dressing room. I made a decision after my son had well ‘almost’ moved out at nineteen to make his old bedroom into my space now. I knew he would never come back over to spend the night, or have dinner with me, or even to sit down to visit. he was too busy and plus he said “I knew where he was at most of the time, come see me there”. It is a funny thing about being an empty nester, sometimes our dreams do not come true. I used to hear my friends talk about the kids came home for Sunday supper. The parents had fun learning the truth about The stain in the carpet, or how the back door really got broken.

I ran across a couple of my childhood belongings down in the crawl space. I ran across my high school year books, some of my 4-H Club ribbons for my lamb, prized ribbons from the fair. I enjoyed growing up on the ranch. I had many opportunities my friends did not. raising all our animals was a once in a lifetime experience. I could ride my horse in the orchard after school, play with the baby lambs, feed the chickens, or ride our mini-bike. Being raised on the ranch taught my twin brother and I responsibility, dedication,and personal growth. It was fun seeing the birth of a baby lamb grow up and become a Grand Champion in the sheep class the next year.

Life has a way of passing us by if we are not careful. I can say I have some very good memories of the life I had lived and some not so pleasant. I thought when I married my husband, we would grow old and grey together. My life too another direction. I also thought when we had our son Levi, we would one day be proud grandparents to his children, I could watch him buy his first house,upgrade from his beloved car to a mini-van,  watch him enjoy being a father now. My life was again changed forever when he passed away in a tragic car accident in 2007. He was only 20. I am so proud of the fine young man he had become.

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Starting Out

March 21, 2018 at 9:42 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, life lessons, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

When my husband and I were barely married, we were blessed to find our fist place to call home. I remember the nice new trailer was set inside a retirement village. We were living in our park for a year when I found out I was pregnant. The manager informed us we would have to move after the new baby was six month old. As luck would have it, the previous owners came moved back to town and wondered if we would like to sell the trailer. Well, we pondered, no, we said yes right away and began packing not knowing where we were going to move next.

While I was at work one afternoon, my husband and my mom were grocery shopping, and decided to look for our forever home. ( I always wondered why I was never invited to come “look” with them. I guess Jerry wanted to surprise me. It is a good thing I am not picky because I can just hear some couples fight. Jerry saw the for sale sign in the yard. The owner was outside watering his wife’s flowers and waved as Jerry drove by. The young man was friendly and told him to bring me back this evening and look the place over. When I got off work, Jerry was waiting for me at my parents home. He told me he had a surprise for me. We went over and stepped inside the door, and both knew we came home. Three Months later, our son Levi was born.

It is hard to believe it has been thirty two years since we moved into our home. We had the struggles most new homeowners have. Money was tight, we were about to have our baby, energy was running lower than the money and we did not have one thing on our dining room wall for one year. I kid you not. The more I was criticized for my decorating style or lack of as one put it, I did not care anymore. My husband had an illness, I had a new baby and you should have heard our arguments about what to put on the dining room wall. Looking back it is funny now, but it is funny how people perceive others and what their home should look like. Home decorating is an ongoing process. As I lived in my home longer, I started to put the house together more with a style. I have been blessed with Victorian pieces I have either bought or was given to me over the years. I love coming home everyday.

I often wondered just for fun if my late husband and my son could come back for an afternoon, what would they think. I think Jerry would marvel at what I had accomplished without his laughing comments. My son would be surprised I turned his old bedroom into my dressing room. I think they would both be happy I created such a lovely home for myself. I kept my husbands office, but the walls are no longer plain white, they are now a soft peach. I am using my son Levi’s computer, and I am displaying a few of the special gifts Jerry had given to me on display. My bedroom is painted a soft blue/green color with nice floral bedding. (He never minded the pretty bedspreads my mom bough me for my birthdays). My dear friend came over ten years ago and refreshed my bedroom for me. I laugh at the thought now but she wondered how long it had been since the room was touched. Seventeen years it was time I think.

I think with age comes confidence. Jerry and I were excited about owning our first home, a new trailer. We were lucky because it was pretty much decorated for us. We made some lasting friendships along the way. When we moved into our forever home, we were blessed to have neighbors with kids for our son to grow up with.  I would not trade the early years for anything.We were young , had our first baby coming, and we were both tired. I had always wished I had my dad, my brother, and both my Aunts talent for drawing, water colors, or oil paintings. I have several displayed in my home. My one Aunt gave me the best compliment one day. I told her I wished I was as talented in painting like the rest of the family. She told me “you are talented Julienne. Not many can put a house together like you have and have it look as nice as you do.” It warmed my heart to have more confidence in my abilities and then I realized it was not that I could not decorate, I have another person living here and I have to make him happy also. it is fun to look back on the lean years, raising our families and now the empty nest years. I must say , I have lived a pretty good life so far and looking forward to many more.

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A Mother’s Day Gift

May 13, 2017 at 11:40 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , )

This morning I was feeling a little melancholy; so much has changed in the last few years. I miss my son who died in a tragic car accident in 2007, family and friends have moved away, mom needs extra care now, I was feeling blue. Even though Levi died ten years ago, I still miss seeing him walk through his Grandmas front door for dinner. The last Mother’s day I spent with my son, he hand delivered a bouquet of roses where I worked; What a nice surprise to start my day. We met that evening for dinner at my mom’s house. 

I went over to my mom’s house this afternoon to give her a shower so she could be looking nice for  tomorrow. I have a nice dinner planned for the two of us, and then off to work. My next door neighbors came over to  to help me with her  shower. The kids surprised me with bouquet of daisies, and a box of candy. It wasn’t the fact I was given a nice gift, it was nice to be called mom. The girl next door has been calling me mom since she was little. Levi and Ashley grew up together; Every first snow fall, I knew the kids were outside in front connecting our yards together with a snow tunnel or you could find them sledding down the small hill across the street. They were good kids. Hard to believe the kids are now thirty- something. Ashley and her boyfriend are still a big part of my life. 

I hope tomorrow brings a wonderful day for mom. Maybe not breakfast in bed, or the kids decide to do the dinner dishes,or the garbage mysteriously get taken out without an argument but I wish all the moms a Happy Mother’s day. What I cherish most are the special things said through the years not the gifts. They say some pretty amazing things. This life as that has been transformed by son moving out, new found Independence, taking your time in the grocery store, they have thier own car now, earning a paycheck, but family game night is still special isn’t it?

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A New Season

May 3, 2017 at 5:26 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , , )

A new season is upon us once again. For many families,this will mean new chapters in their lives; Graduates preparing for College, or maybe starting a Military career, venturing into unknown territory with an apartment, a new job, an unplanned pregnancy, or mom decided to go back to school. 

Empty Nest; For so many parents, the very thought that my life is going to change is scary. “We have been a family unit for 18 years now. How can my child think of venturing out into the big black unknown hole?” I have talked to many parents who were not ready to let the kids fly the coop just yet. We think being a parent is going to last forever; we brought them into the world helpless, they one day become a tween, and all of a sudden,they know more than us imagine that! We rejoiced when the kids took the first steps, said the first word, ate without throwing the food on the floor. Hard to think about giving all those memories up now. It is the first day of the rest of our lives my friends. Time to reevaluate our lives. We all of a sudden, are not on time constraints. This was the most incredible feeling I have ever felt. I could actually shop and not dart out the door to get back to the house in time for the bus. All of a sudden, I actually had change in my coin purse, I had hot water once again, no late fees at the video store, food in the fridge, no late night pizza deliveries, no sneaking in the door 2 a.m. Our lives indeed become different. 

The Problem; what to do with all my fee time. Many couples join a gym and get back into shape. the home renovation revolution is in full swing. We build onto our homes a new suit, new decks, revamped back yards for you guessed it the kids coming home for the weekend. I think so many families are so busy,they cannot get away to an exotic location, so backyard decks complete with an outdoor grilling station, pool side comfort, and a place to pitch the tent. I have seen a few commercials that show case what can be done to update a basic backyard with breath-taking results. Having a spectacular out-door area does not take the place of a good day at the park. Flying kites, feeding the ducks, playing on the play ground with other kids are healthy also. What a nice place for grandma and grandpa to come visit for the weekend in a four star retreat. 

So much has changed since I was a little girl. We had a swimming pool in the back yard where the neighbors came for an evening swim followed by desert. We spent many years hosting pool parties and pool table parties. We had a small house in a tract home like many families in the 1960’s. My dad added on a room onto the back patio.  I remember watching my dad and grandpa building our fire place in our living room  out of brick. My dad was the proud owner of a slate pool table. My granddad bought my brother and I a smaller pool table to host our own pool tournaments. Families are busy folks now. Business trips abroad, deadlines to meet, business lunches,  many weekends are tied up with work. Families cannot hardly make ends meet without two incomes.  We needed a nice getaway from the stress of our week, so we created a mini- fortress to escape. Who does not love to enjoy the family outside by the pool, grilling steaks and listening to the kids play football before dinner? Sounds better than the weekly deadlines. Parents are finding ways to have date nights in the backyard by the outdoor fire place. In our ever busy schedules, we are finding time to make lasting memories by having mini weekend escapes in our own town. As the summer begins, the boats come out,a day at the lake,followed by a big BBQ in the backyard. As the kids leave for College,getting married,having families of thier own, at least on thing never changes mom and dads. It is a good place to be.

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This Empty Nest Life

February 23, 2017 at 3:01 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

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I have read some stories of parents count down the days when the kids are grown and gone. Being an empty nester is bitter-sweet for me. When my son Levi first moved out, I was confused. He moved alright, his clothes. He would come home just long enough to get something from My bedroom now. One evening, as Levi was about to leave, I told him ‘either totally move out with all your stuff,or you can pay rent on all your stuff instead’ You should have seen the look on his face. He could not believe he would actually take his prized things somewhere else and stash them. I had plans for his old bedroom and if he wanted to come stay the night(what?) he was more than welcome. That went over like a lead balloon. The price of growing up.

After I had my conversation with my son,I had paint samples dancing around in my head, a new bedroom arrangement,a nice place to drink my coffee. I turned my sons old bedroom into my dressing room. I love getting dressed in the morning and putting on pajamas at night. I did not know,how could I, That weekend, my son was lost to a tragic car accident. I took my time cleaning out his bedroom. gone were the importance of having ‘my space’. Everyone has a different story about being an empty nest parent. I love being in my sons bedroom looking at his life in pictures,remembering the time when I was listening to his stereo when he went to work.  I laugh now at him telling his mom “I don’t care if you listen to my stereo, just turn it off when you are done using it’. Busted! There is a big world out there waiting for us to enjoy in our second half in life. We are now caring for our aging parents,working,spending time with the grandkids if we have a few. Life is good, I intend to squeeze every second out of life I can.

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The New Year

January 9, 2017 at 9:12 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , , )

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This is a New Year resolution gone terribly wrong! Like so many, we have a game plan on what we would like to achieve in the coming year. Funny thing is, if we take a poll say three weeks from now,we will find most have moved on to Reality. I think we bit off more than we can chew,and give up. Getting into shape,stop eating so much junk food on the run, making more time for family are great goals.

I decided a few years ago not to make New Years resolutions. If you don’t make them,you can’t break them after a few days into the brand new year. I think the only things I wanted in the new year was peace, better parenting tips(because Levi was a strong-willed child), less condemnation when I wasn’t living up to others expectations. Over the years, I have had many wonderful friends who really had my son and my best interests in mind. A dear friend gave me some nice jeans and long sleeve t-shirts, plus a new make-up compact. Being a single mother on a budget, I appreciated her out pouring of love.

My life in an empty nest has its blessings and it’s drawbacks as well. Gone are the two a.m. pizza delivery (Levi told them do Not ring door bell, I think he had the delivery guy tap on his window), no more late charges at the video store,gone is the high water bill when your son discovered girls and they want you to smell nice,long distance phone calls(Levi found out the hard way about phone bill coming to mom’s house and she actually reads them), No more son sneaking in the front door or out the window(always a neighbor up at two a.m., you have more cash in your wallet, on the computer until the crack of dawn and then they think mom will let them stay home from school-silly child. Those parenting years,you invest so much blood,sweat and tears into them and hope they can make the best of getting out on their own. I know so many young adults do not want to spread the wings and fly away. Life can be scary outside the comforts of the family home. So many concerns like paying rent,enough hours at work, utilities ,food, clothes. My generation made it,these young adults will make it also. My son and I realized when Levi turned 19, it was time for him to move out. We were Both ready, maybe more me than him,but just the same. He moved in with his Grandma to help her when his grandpa passed away. His grandma kept him honest. Doors locked at ten p.m. sharp. Many times his friends called while Levi was on his way to home begging his grandma not to lock him out. I am proud of the fine young man Levi had become.

Parenting is the greatest blessing God could have ever entrusted parents with. The first cry after delivery,(I made this tiny person), watching the first: first steps,first words,first foods,first tantrum, first time riding a bike,first time training wheels come off,first hospital visit, first swing set and inviting a friend over to help break it in. Life goes by so fast until you realize, your child is now in Grade School; you wonder how did that happen? I was just changing his or her diapers and now we are hosting the Big ten years old Birthday Party. From Royal Rangers, Cub scouts, Boys and Girls Scouts, soccer,baseball, dance recitals, music performances we as parents leave a lasting memory in our children. They can remember mom and dad watching them play ball, or listening for my turn for a piano performance.

My life in middle age is full of life,blessings,a good jog I love,caring for my aging mom,snow(until one gets stuck at work in the driveway and has to get a ride) but hey, this is part of Winter right? We are getting one storm after another now. I can deal with a few more storms and then Spring will arrive. I some help this year  to become even a better reformed black thumb gardener. At least I have trees that are fifteen feet tall now, I can wait to start planting, pruning, dead heading,and fertilizing my yard. I live in one season at a time; Right now, I am shoveling snow and really appreciate my neighbors who have helped keep my driveway cleared for me. Everyone has their own dreams about what middle age will be:traveling maybe, more free time to go fishing, buying a motor home for weekend getaways, time spent with grandkids, down sizing the home because we don’t need as much room now or buying a bigger house to accommodate your ever-growing family. I am happy where my life has taken me. I have had some personal tragedies along the way,but I would not trade my life for anything. I am only fifty-five, so I am not ready for the Senior center just yet,but I do enjoy nature hikes in the beautiful mountains,watching the deer,elk, quail,and wild turkeys that roam around the neighborhood. I spend time with my aging mom making dinner,showers, getting the mail(I feel like cinderella sometimes). I try to see the beauty in each new day.

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Finding Happiness Again.

September 15, 2014 at 9:22 pm (Creative Non- Fiction) (, , , , )

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When I married my husband, we thought we would grow old together. we had dreams of buying our first house,starting a family, envisioned a life as proud grandparents to our son Levi’s children. We often talked about traveling after we retired someday. 

My husband died 6 short years after we married from complications from his diabetes. I found myself with the awesome responsibility of raising my young son alone. As a single parent, I had many hardships and difficulties, but Levi and I survived his childhood through his teens-no easy feat. I raise Levi to be a man  of his word. 

On a sunny morning July 2007, Levi set out with some friends to float the river,by that evening, my life was once again forever changed.

Levi died in a car accident. he was only 20. there are no words to encompass the depth of grief I felt. my healing continues daily and I have found a new purpose for my life.I have come to realize the deaths of both my husband and my son, did not mean my life had ended as well. God is a loving God who has taken good care of me these past seven years. I look forward to seeing what he still has in store for my life.

I could have become bitter and angry at God blaming Him I chose to trust Him. Today is a day of reflecting for me. I miss both my husband and my son dearly; I know I will see them again soon. where my house was once filled with laughter,rough housing, and motorcycle rides has been replaced with stories to help keep both their memories alive.

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The Perfect Solution To The Empty Nest Syndrome.

September 3, 2014 at 6:21 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

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The Empty Nest Syndrom

May 22, 2014 at 8:37 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

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I love this image of the empty nest syndrome.

First, let me clarify something. Being promoted to status of the empty nest is not a bad thing. It means you raised your children the best you could, teaching them the skills they will need to out on their own cooking,laundry, A BUDGET, just to name a few. no over due  movies at the video store, hot water on demand, left overs, no 3 am pizza delivery when you have to up at 6 am. for work, no more loud music, or ‘mom, where’s my____.’  Never a dull moment while raising kids.

I wasn’t thinking about my son moving out until the last year he lived at home. As a single parent I had a few challenges with my son. I was a young widowed mother caring for my young son alone. There were many hardships and difficulties but Levi and I survived them all. I am proud of the fine young man he had become. Levi moved out at age 19 to help his Grandma after his Grandpa had passed away. His grandma kept him honest. The doors locked at 10 pm. It was funny because Levi’s friends would call his grandma at 9:59 and tell her he is on his way home please don’t lock the doors. It is a different feeling when you have dinner with your mom and son at her house now. I always brought tacos home on Tuesdays for dinner. Over dinner, we shared about how the day went and our plans for tomorrow. 

Getting through the fears and lonely feelings are normal. It is an adjustment for all involved. You feel like the kids are gone, now what? I understand. Many parents start a second career, many travel to dream locations, others take a night course. I wrote and published my first book, and I blog often. I have a rewarding career in healthcare as well as care for my aging mother.My life is full. As for my son Levi, he died in a tragic car accident in 2007 at the age of 20. Even though my life had been forever changed, I have the love and support of family and friends who help me keep moving forward in the good things God still has for me. After Levi moved out, I turned his old bedroom into my dressing room I love to get dressed in the morning and put on pajamas at night. Everyone has an empty nest story to tell. I would love to read some of your stories.

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