Friday, June 26, 2009

{love letters from h.mac}

dear grandma norma.

it has been almost three years now since you have left the chains of your tired physical body and had the chance to give me comfort from a place of rest.

yesterday i was driving to the temple for some holy worship at the house of the lord. i was pondering the early morning call we got from cousin billie jean about your sister. i was pondering how aunt donna was laying in her hospital bed hooked to life, waiting for her daughter to arrive from london to give her love. the prognosis was bad grandma. while i drove down washington boulevard, you entered into my world. i don't know how, and surely it is not something i can explain. but you were with me. i could feel your soft touch and inhale your smell. i could feel your warmth and love all around me. in my mind as i was trying to explain this away, my mind reasoned that maybe you got a break from the work you were doing on the other side and you were granted some time to be with your sister. maybe you were as close as i thought you were. there was a song on in the background by the MOTAB. it was "that one". you know. the one that wishes the silver lining to your clouds and the better tomorrows you experience from a place of rest. the one we listened to when grandpa pete was dying last year, so painful was every last breath for him. suddenly it hit me that you were gone. feeling you there with me for a minute made me realize how i miss you. how perfect and warm your love is. the sobs came fast, very very fast. it was such a beautiful thing to feel for a moment, you and i - but oh the ache that followed.

the last time we talked, you gasped as i came into your view. my belly was quite a sight for sore eyes. you then broke into giggles at the belly i was hauling around. and it was a sight for this 5'3" frame, i joined in your giggles. i was so glad i had told you that we were giving her middle name after your first. so glad. i didn't know that was going to be our last conversation here just hours away from the fall that claimed your journey here thru. maybe my hug would have been a little tighter. but then, as the baby redhead's arrival hastened and your passing was so fresh, in that really treacherous part of labor, there you were. i don't know how i can explain it. but i could see you in that corner of the room and oh how i wanted you there and as you could see, i needed you there. it was a scary situation and i needed your angel wings to get me thru.

for a moment yesterday in this experience, everything your physical absence denies me flooded over me and made me realize all i miss about being able to hop in my car and experience something new with you. so, i depend on the 27 years we had together that shaped you and i.

but then in my longing, i remember that hollow look in grandpa's eyes in that lonely time he spent here without you. i remember going to his house for the first time when he was the only hug to greet me. suddenly, my tears came for another reason. my grief came this time for the heartache he felt for you. for that loneliness that filled his every second he was apart from you. and suddenly, being apart from you doesn't seem unbearable. the reunion you two must have had. how i can't wait to hear about it.

on days that motherhood seems tiring, i remember my dad's clear recollection of him never being yelled at by you. never? ever? your patience persisted thru motherhood and your love for kids overcame that temptation. oh my heart swells with happiness that YOU are MY grandma. that i got to eat sundaes on sunday at your house for 27 years, that YOUR refrigerator cake was a part of MY life! that you are forever a part of me. the part that so lovingly raised my dad. every kindness and ounce of love you gave him was passed on. now, daily i get to pass it on to my little ones. from this full heart to yours grandma, thanks seems trite. and the phone call upon exit from the temple that your sister was awake and ready to greet a loving daughter? why yes, surely you were with us.

much love,

Thursday, June 25, 2009

damages and love

the house we now live was built on some water you could say. we have pumps going full blast from every little corner of this house. beautiful spring water all around. this spring season brought a whole new host of problems as the rain comes down incessantly. we have been a whopping 5 straight days without rain here in the desert. now normally i love rain. i am quite sure one day i will plant roots in issaquah, washington, or mystic, connecticut......but for now i take what i can get in the desert. my only stipulation is that it not enters the house. it has been pouring down the basement stairs in large quantity. because we do live super close to the mountain and the run off, there is a hefty flood insurance policy in place that comes with a steep price also. so when i called to make a claim in may as the entire basement floor was floating in water, they told me it didn't cover rain.

oh, i mean that makes perfect sense. because naturally flooding is caused by er, anyway. i gave them a good battle and finally got a poor fellow from arkansas to come look at the damages. he arrived to a kidless house. my mother had declared this specific day a birthday redo and had the short people for the entire day. there was nothing else i wanted to do than go to costco and get groceries. i was cutting watermelon, grating cheese on the cuisinart that fabulous redhead purchased for his wife and listening to pandora. my favorite station is a jazz one. i typed michael buble in and etta, norah, frank, harry and bing sang me into a sous chef prep heaven. i had just finished singing norah's "turn me on" when this poor fellow rang the bell. i still had the music blasting when he insisted he needed to come in and assess the damage and measure the house. he had a deep drawl that made me want to eat collard greens and fried chicken. after he puttered around a bit measuring the house, i offered the house plans to him and he wiped the sweat from his brow. this would save him 45 minutes he declared. he planted himself down at my kitchen table writing away. all the while i was slicing veggies, grating cheese and cutting watermelon.

conversation grew dim as we both plunged into our work. all of a sudden my lost in thought self became aware that my music was still blasting away. i then tuned into what was playing. it happened to be frank sinatra singing "i only have eyes for you." i was whistling along when i realized that this situation might seem awkward for this poor young fellow. a woman prepping food with no apparent children around whistling love songs. i didn't want to immediately go over and turn the music down for two reasons a) i didn't want him to think i was embarrassed 2) if i made any sudden movements and broke his train of thought and say he hadn't noticed the air of love about the house, this sudden movement might draw attention to it. but then etta james broke into singing "aaaaaaaat laaaaaaaast, myyyyyy loooooove has come alonnnnnnnnggggggg". i was red faced thinking that this poor boy could possibly be thinking that this lonely woman might be trying to lure him into her watermelon trance.

when he first entered he apologized for his appearance because he'd been driving for days. i immediately offered him use of the facilities or drink or food. i believe in the hospitality of aunt bea and offered him a chicken salad sandwich. he declined with many "no ma'am and thank you no ma'am" responses. i might have embarrassed him initially with my hospitality and as my mind started racing as etta proclaimed her love thru tunes i was fully embarrassed at how this situation was playing out. when norah jones started singing "come away with me" i ran to turn the music off. i didn't care what he thought, i was red cheeked. the appointment was over quickly after that and this poor lad excused himself with a handshake.

i have vowed to keep my music habits away from all service people who enter this house, AMEN!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


kind of how i feel as of late. getting down to the last of this house business and not without a lot of lost sleep at night. that is all i have to say about that!

last weekend we went up to the ward's girls camp. my little sister joined my ward again this year, mostly because i force her. i like to go up friday night and camp without kids and snuggle with the redhead. we make breakfast for the girls saturday morning while everyone breaks down camp. i deliberated all week about what i would serve them. last year i did breakfast sandwiches and a yogurt and fruit bar. this year, word has got out about the infamous quiche, so i plunged forth. 8 ham and swiss quiche and danish with weeping strawberries. it was delish. i have lots of cute YW asking me for the recipe which is the best compliment of all ;)!

friday night i got there and the bishopric prepared a wonderful feast including bruschetta, a pasta bar and creme brulee for dessert. complete with a torch and all. the red head claimed it was the bishop's dinner and he was the sous chef taking directions. later that night, one of the girls looked miserable. when i talked to her she was saying that her stomach felt miserable and she couldn't walk. i asked her if it was sharp pains. she told me it was. i just had to let her know she was suffering from a serious case of camping gut. girls especially are prone to the camping gut you know. we need our own house and own facilities to feel right. plus, i am sure there wasn't a whole lot of "healthy" anything going on. i saw so much candy and pop up there. i gave her some dissolvable gas x and told her to go get in the praying position on her sleeping bag, hot air rises i reasoned. i then went to the campfire and offered my two bits to the other girls, letting them know they were completely normal if their internals were begging for mercy. they all laughed and i told them i felt their pain and they knew where to find me. later that night as the red head and i were asleep, we got a knock on our car with two girls claiming misery and telling tales of a whole tent in misery. i gladly gave them all i had and wished them happy sleep with the relief the dissolvable strips would lend. funny? maybe, but s.mac and i have been on our way to the er thinking i was dying only to have me realize i am a victim of that miserable feeling of my intestines revolting.......misery. indeed.

all in all it was a lovely weekend and we discovered that the seats that lay down flat in the expedition are a lovely way to camp. we were warm and slept as good as you can outside your own bed.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

bud "e"

on tuesday as we were kissing a family birthday celebration goodbye the more the porcelain bowl was flushed, s.mac had to take "winds of love" and go coach her baseball team. we strategically place the kids on a plastic blow up camping mattress when they get sick. it is cleanable, germs can be wiped off easily, and it also moves. being able to move a mattress where they can sleep by the bathroom always makes me feel better. i was laying on the floor next to him watching the tube and he looked at me for a while. he asked if i was sick too and i told him i was. he let me know he hopes he never gets sick on his birthday because that would be the worst ever. i told him i was going to be okay. after coming back from the porcelain throne i sat next to him rubbing his head. he looked at me and said, "mom, you are sick and it's your birthday. how about you take care of yourself and i will take care of myself." our kids are bucket trained when they are sick, and that means they usually can take care of themselves when they are sick. as the mother, i still needed to be by him until dad came home to take over. so i sat there and wondered where he got his happiness from. nothing gets him down too much.

as i was pondering this, i remembered an article from a monthly church magazine i subscribe to called the ensign. there was a great article by steve hillard talking about faith, charity, and hope. it stuck in my head and has rolled around as i have taken to heart the concepts presented. the one he focused on was hope and how we seem to think of it as something spoken and not believed in. you can hope for something but never count on it. then he so beautifully worded a poem that talked about hope being the outstretched hand that you reach for in the hard trials of life that always pulls you thru. that hand we take has nail prints in the wrist and palm. that is hope. it is that feeling that keeps you going when the fog of life temporarily distracts us. my little bud "e" has serious hope. it is his gift. it was a great way for me to see how these special gifts we all come with affect those around us. i got teary sitting by him and his sick belly, knowing that this setback wasn't going to damper his hope. he knows dark clouds will clear and the sun shines eventually.

how happy being his momma makes me, and how happy i am to get to partake in each of their inherent gifts they possess.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

thank you

for all of the kind happy 30 wishes.

it was a day i had been dreading almost? i don't know why. i went back and forth between embracing aging and then wanting to be 20 something for ever. it came in like a lamb and out like a lion. little elles coming in and tugging my arm to the hiding place her card was as soon as her eyes saw morning light. she was so proud to show me the scribbles of love. bud "e" had written my name atop a beautiful portrait of yours truly. "winds of love" had written in robot writing about how much we love each other. the red head had a lovely food processor waiting on the bar for his cooking wife. it had a note on it to be ready for a lunch date with him. i knew that took a lot of planning and work on his part as it was a surgery day. that is a huge day for him and near impossible to get out of.

we went to a lovely italian bistro, Zucca, which turned out to be my last visit. as we were headed home, the stomach bug that left the girls in peril in days past, had bud"e" and i in its grips for the remainder of the birthday. i have now successfully had some fluid and a few crackers without incident. although the most violent flu i have ever had, certainly a birthday we will never ever forget. thanks to all the kindness that was brought to my house as i kneeled to the porcelain sculpture all night. i think getting rid of lunch took around 30 times and the best birthday present of all was getting on the scale around 1 o clock this morning to discover i had lost 8 pounds since that morning. (i have a weird ocd about weighing myself everyday). anywho. what more could a girl ask for on her birthday?

i woke up this morning to a house full of popcorn, flowers, cookies, and a plethora of kind cards that had been dropped off as i was begging for mercy. the thoughts made it lovely! so thank you thank you, and here's to hoping i can retain at least one meal today......