A Day That Snuck Up

My father and I in the Adirondack Mountains. My favorite picture of us.

With the prolonged winter weather, plumbing issues, and car trouble I’ve experienced this year, I’ve often lost track of days as I work through it all. The late arrival of spring has me thinking it’s still April some days and therefore I was surprised to realize that one day in particular snuck up on me unawares: today, my father’s birthday.

As my mother said incredulously yesterday, my father would’ve turned 77 this year. That’s mind boggling to me because in my mind, my parents don’t really age. My father left this world when he was 68. His health had deteriorated in the last years of his life. But fortunately with the passage of time, I usually remember him as the healthy, fit man he was in his 50s. That really is a blessing and something I’m certain makes his spirit happy.

In past years I’ve felt sorrow in the days leading up to his birthday and on his birthday, but not this year. Admittedly, I’ve been stressed about getting my car’s transmission fixed, dealing with yard work, and so on, but even without those things, I don’t think I would’ve felt sad.

I miss my father every single day and I wish he was still here to help me with so many things, but overall I feel like I’m in a good place in my life. I’m content and happy and don’t feel as lost as I used to. I believe I owe that in large part to everything I inherited from my father. He taught me to always see the bright side of life, to look at things from different angles, and to appreciate all the blessings I have.

Life isn’t always easy, but it’s always a gift. So while I no longer have my father here to give gifts to on his birthday, he continues to give me the greatest gifts of love, strength, faith, gratitude, acceptance, and determination.

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The Amazing Hiccuping Kicker!

 

Jaycie in pool by JulieAnn Corbin

My long, tall Jaycie Bear loves pools!

My youngest daughter, Jaycie, turns 10 today and with every birthday, I wonder where the time went! Jaycie is a sweet soul and she makes a memorable, positive impression on everyone she meets. She certainly made some impressions on my insides when I was pregnant with her and she made sure her entrance into the world was unforgettable.

As Jaycie is my second child, I was better prepared for what labor and child birth entailed. I was much calmer and more in control than I’d been while giving birth to Jordan. I was also able to get an epidural with Jaycie, whereas I hadn’t been able to get one with Jordan for various reasons. All due respect to the women who do childbirth without medications, but I’m just not one of them. Even with the epidural, I still felt some pain, but as the drugs were at max dosage, I managed it. I can’t even imagine what the pain level would have been without the drugs!

What made Jaycie’s birth truly memorable was that she kicked and hiccupped through at least the last hour of labor. I’ll be telling the story forever about how the nurses found it fascinating and amusing that Jaycie kicked and hiccupped through all my pushing. They just couldn’t seem to fathom how she was able to do that while under so much pressure. It was just another indication of how unique Jaycie is and gave me fair warning that she was not like “normal” children.

When Jaycie was finally out, I was ecstatic that I had a second daughter and surprised that she looked nothing like her older sister. I’d expected another little Jordan but Jaycie wasn’t that, never will be that and that’s fine with me! Jaycie was very active when she was just born and nearly rolled out of the plastic bassinet they put her in. I thought for sure she was going to do everything early because she was obviously a fighter.

As soon as she figured out how to smile, Jaycie woke up every single day as a smiling baby. She’s never thrown a temper tantrum and I’ve only seen her slightly mad once when I made her eat summer squash. There isn’t a mean bone in my Jaycie Bear’s body and there’s an innocence about her that everyone notices. When we go out to playgrounds, parks or swimming pools, she happily introduces herself to any children she meets and asks their names. I love that she’s outgoing and that’s another thing that makes her different from Jordan and I.

As it turned out, Jaycie did almost everything much later than other children and she’s still catching up, but that’s okay. She’s a very intelligent, clever, kind and loving child with endless creativity. I’m grateful every day for both my girls and I can’t imagine my life without my amazing hiccupping kicker!

Little things are bigger than you think

Winter crescent moon photo

Glimpse of the crescent moon this morning

You know those little things that people take for granted? Well, they’re not as little as you think! I do my best to appreciate the little things in life and I thought I was doing a good job until I got sick. Only then did I realize how being able to swallow without pain, having energy, sleeping to wake feeling rested, and having non-aching muscles are anything but “little things.” Today dawned with the first clear sky we’ve had in days and I took that as a big thing and a sign of another positive upswing in my life.

winter sky photo

Throughout my day I’m often grateful for and wish for more of three little things in particular, or at least I thought I was grateful for them. Whenever I look at a clock and it says something like 11:11 or 12:12 or even 3:33 I say out loud or in my head “I wish for continued health, happiness, and love.” I’d forgotten what an amazing blessing being healthy is, but my very recent reminder will remain with me for a while.

As I continued to feel better today, I finally had the energy to do some of the tidying and holiday decorating I’d planned on doing over the weekend. I also took some time to just sit and watch a movie. No beading, no playing on my phone, no working on freelance or college at the same time, just sitting on the couch with Owl and Jazzmin watching a holiday movie called The 12 Dates of Christmas. It was one I hadn’t seen before and I was watching it on Netflix because they weren’t showing any holiday movies on regular TV. I rather liked the movie and I liked even more the fact that I took the time to focus on one thing and enjoy it.

Jazzmin and Owl snuggling with me today

Jazzmin and Owl snuggling with me today

The woman in the movie starts out being overly anxious about her future and worrying about being alone and I can certainly relate. By the end, she realizes that it’s more important to live in and be grateful for the moment than to have everything planned out. She realizes there are others like her who don’t want to be alone on Christmas and she works on fixing that instead of fulfilling her own needs. As it turns out, through helping others, she finds happiness and the fulfillment she was so worried she’d never get. She also gets the man of course. 😉

I’m now going to refocus on not planning so much and just trying to live in and enjoy the moment. The woman in the movie realized she couldn’t change destiny so there was no point worrying about it and it all worked out in the end. I imagine it will all work out in the end for me too eventually…

And of course I'm grateful for my little things called kittens!

And of course I’m grateful for my little things called kittens!

daisy goof2

Rainbows without Sunshine

Photo courtesy of Food Network

Photo courtesy of Food Network

The sun never came out today but to me it was a bright, beautiful day! Something that I’ve been waiting a long, long time for finally happened today and a great burden has been lifted from my shoulders. It is an amazing gift just in time for the beginning of the holiday season and I’m going to spread the sunshine I feel within me wherever I go!

I’ll finally have more time to write in Unbroken Flames and my New England stories. I can get my house all reorganized and start knitting, crocheting and painting again. I’ve missed expressing all of my creativity and it’s eager to escape in every way possible now!

I did a lot of running around today and tying up loose ends that have been tripping me up for months. By the time I reached my second to last stop of the grocery store, I was starving! I grabbed some food from the store’s cafe, ate enough to curb my hunger and then headed into the aisles for the few items I needed there.

In the bakery I saw a delicious looking rainbow in the form of cookies on a shelf. I love rainbow cookies and they seem to pop up all over the place this time of year. I decided to give myself a little treat and buy a package. There was no sunshine out today but those cookies were bright, beautiful and eager to be eaten! I sampled one on the drive home and it tasted like a little bit of heaven!

The path of my life continues to head upward in new and interesting ways and I’m never afraid to climb the hills to see the breathtaking view waiting at the top. Blue sky, sunshine and rainbows are always there, even in the rain.