Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Senior Parents and the Stuggle

Can I say that I am happy I don't have a senior in high school this year?  I am.  It's emotional and stressful, and goes by way to quickly, and emotional.  I realized all of this when Hop was a freshman in high school.

I'm sitting on a somewhat toasty Monday night watching Hop play in a Freshman football game.  No one comes to the freshman football games but the freshman cheerleaders, and parents of the players and cheerleaders.  We were about half way through his season, and it hit me that I only had 3 more years to watch him...do just about anything.  I voiced it to another mom & of course I started to cry.  I mean, yesterday he was going into 1st grade to be a Hooper Trooper & now he was in high school and time was blowin' and goin'.  Time continued to speed up as each year passed, and he left the nest, and hasn't looked back since.

Then Harry hits high school; a few years later Hop graduates.  Harry is a senior (I really think his year went by faster than Hop's) & Elizabeth is now a freshman.  Harry is now a college freshman & E is a high school sophomore.  When E is a senior, Henry will be a freshman.  Time, time, time.  How can I stop you from passing so quickly?

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited for my kids as they experience the last of everything.  It's just so final, and the older I get the more emotional I get.  I have always wished I could go back to my senior self & impress on her the importance of her lasts.  Did my mom feel the same about my lasts?  I don't remember.  I try to let my kids know how I feel, but am I doing a good enough job of it?  Do they understand the importance of each last thing they go through?

For all you moms & dads with kids experiencing the first of their lasts as school starts back, know I am thinking about you.  I know how hard it is.  I know how much you want to slow the clock to a stand-still.  (Or even better, make it stop for a bit.)  When your child's friends come over, let them be loud.  Let them watch movies, play video games, shoot pool and play ping pong.  If you have a pool, let them go swimming.  Let them eat you out of house & home.  If something gets broken, I hope it's fixable, and I hope you can laugh about it.  (I'll have to tell y'all the story of my mom playing chase & the mysterious broken banister another time.)  Love on your kids and their friends and their friend's parents.  Celebrate the wins & console through the losses.  Make it a year of lasts they will never forget.  And if you need to cry through it, go right ahead.  If you need someone to cry with you, contact me.

You can do this.  Is it hard?  Heck yes it's hard.  Your baby is growing up & are having to learn to let go.  But, be thankful.  There are many parents who never get to experience their child's lasts.  Their children didn't live long enough to reach that milestone.  So, hug'em tight.  Text them on the way to school how much you love them & can't wait to find out how their first last day of school went.  Walk alongside them through their lasts.  It's truly your last time to teach and correct while they are under your roof.

In 2 years I'm going to have to reread this because E will be starting the firsts of her lasts, but this year I'm in the clear.  I am content to be excited about the midway throughs and the firsts.  I love being a momma & wouldn't trade it for anything!

Celebrating Life & first of lasts,
~ashley


Sunday, August 9, 2015

A Month of Changes

I has already been a very busy August for the fam, and we have had some pretty big changes around here in the first 9 days of the month.  But, I have a few questions first:

1.  I'm wondering why & when my children grew up.
I don't remember giving permission to.  I remember wanting them to become self sufficient, but not grow up and leave.  I realize it's a natural progression, but each time it happens I'm shocked it's here.  They leave when they are getting really fun, so it's kind of a bummer.

2.  I don't remember telling them they could age past 20.
Hopson turned 21 August 1st.  I don't know how that happened.  I distinctly remember being 21 yesterday, so how is it possible for me to have a 21 year old?  I asked my in-laws why they were so old.  ;)  They know I'm teasing.  I mean, if I can't be old enough to have a 21 year old, they aren't old enough to have grandchildren that old, right?

Can I tell you how quickly 21 year have passed.  In a blink of an eye fast.  I guess that's why the bible calls our lives a vapor.  Like I mentioned above, Hop just turned 21.  I can't believe that he is that age.  When I look at him I still see my little 2 year old buddy with his sunglasses on jumping into his car seat to go run errands with me.  Now he is a man.  A man that can legally drink alcohol...yeah, I can't be that old.  Right before we left for Auburn Friday, Harry came back into the house to grab his juicer.  He looked at me & said that Hop wanted to borrow it to make homemade margaritas.  You know, there are just some things a mom doesn't need to know & that is one of them.  Good choices please!


August 7th brought another huge change for the fam; we moved Harry to Auburn.  Yep, child #2 is now a college freshman.  I didn't cry while I was moving him in, because I was too busy sweating trying to get him all settled.  It was a normal summer day in the south, hot and humid! Luckily, I learned a few things after moving Hop in 2 years ago, so this move in was a little easier & Harry's room in his dorm is on the 1st floor.  Thank the Lord for little things!  I took him out to lunch & when we arrived at the dorm I jumped out of the car to hug him bye & then I cried.  And then I started praying...a ton!

Harry has been chomping at the bit since last August, so the fact his freshman year has already arrived has thrown me for a little bit of a loop.  I just thought he wouldn't be leaving so soon.  My little guy with a Buddha belly, is not so little anymore.  He's now starting to spread his wings.

I'm glad he and Hop have each other.  They will start off  seeing each other a lot.  Hop is Harry's pledge trainer, so I know he'll be pushed and taken care of at the same time.  It's amazing how your prayer life changes when the birds leave the nest.  Prayers for wisdom, safety, and that they remember that they can always call home if they need anything.  How I miss those 2.  We still have Elizabeth & Henry, but the house is just a little quieter these days.  It's just time marching on & it's weird.

Oh well, I can fight it or embrace it.  So I'm going to enjoy this ride we're on because it's fun to see how they grow up!

Always Celebrating Life!
~ashley

   

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Dear Facebook, I Hate You

Dear Facebook,
I wanted to let you know how much I really hate you right now.  You have turned my country, state, and city upside down.  You have made enemies out of friends and ripped us in half, and left us bleeding out.  You have lawmakers removing historical monuments because someone screamed 'those are racist'.  The 'R' word scares the holy h.e.double hockey sticks out of people, and sometimes makes them think that by just removing a symbol we can take away the pain of the past.  Wrong.  A symbol is just a symbol & an individual is the only one that can give it any power.  Hate lives within a person not a thing.

To the leaders of our country, state & city:  FYI, this is a southern state.  FYI, we were part of the confederacy.  Does that mean we still believe in slavery?  No.  Does it mean that we believe in the segregation and exclusion that some people assign to this state?  No.  Does it mean we can learn from the mistakes of our ancestors' past?  Absolutely!  I need the southern confederacy  monuments up, so I can tell my children and grandchildren about the rocky past of the south.  I want them to know that the south was drenched in hate, but we make the choice to not carry that legacy anymore.  We have the power here and now to claim what was used for hate and turn it around for good.

This is especially true for my hometown.  What you see as a symbol of hate, I see as something that calls to all alumni and current students to be as one.  When you play one Rebel, you play us all.  And you know why I feel that way?  Because I've lived it more times than I care to think about.  There is something about this town.  We take care of our own and we serve others & each generation lives by that motto.  You ask any student that has had a parent pass away.  You ask any person who has had to face tragedy.  The children at the high school raised over 250K, in cash, for 2 different charities last  year.  These kids: bring food for food pantries; provide clothing and blankets and books for groups; build houses; help widows and the elderly; and log thousands of service hours together.  If one Rebel serves, you get us all.  We are drowning in this legacy, and don't rationalize it away, because it's part of who we are.  The adults in my community are examples of this legacy, because we model the behavior we want to see in our children.

If you don't like what I've posted, sorry, I'm not sorry.  You can go start your own blog and rant away.  If you can't agree to disagree, please say nothing.  If you like what I wrote, please say nothing.  You can send this to someone, but I want NO COMMENTS, from anyone.  These are my thoughts and my thoughts only.  This blog is where I come to get my thoughts in order.  I love my country; I love my state; and I love my city, but my heart is breaking and I'm tired of all the bickering.

I think we all need to be offended less and love more.  Worry about your own side of the fence and not your neighbors.  Instead of trying to tell them how they should believe, how about you just love them.  Love them for or in spite of their differences.  Stand up for what you believe, but be nice about it even if your neighbor is really showing their fanny.  Choose to be the bigger man.

Celebrating life and loving my city,
~ashley    


Monday, June 22, 2015

The Anti-Father's Day

I love to take a few minutes each day & just kinda scroll through Facebook.  I love looking at people's pictures, reading from some of my favorite political blogs, funny memes, and even taking a few, some, OK, a lot of those stupid quizzes by buzzfeed.  There are a few times of year that I've decided I don't like getting on Facebook, and Father's Day is one of them.  One thing before I go any further, Hopson thinks Facebook is from the devil.  (He feels that way about Instagram, SnapChat...really all forms of social media.  I think there are days he wished I didn't blog, he hates it when I write about him.) 

I didn't post pictures of Hopson yesterday for Father's Day.  I didn't post pictures of my dad for Father's Day & I didn't post pictures of my father-in-law, Walter, for Father's Day.  You know why?  Because I think Mother's and Father's Day are stupid holidays.  There I said it!  Whew!  And you know what, I really do think that.  Why do we need to set aside to show our appreciation to parents?  It's like me expecting Hopson to show me more love on Valentine's Day...ugh, I hate it.  

For 23 years I have not had a flesh and blood dad.  He's been gone more years than he was part of my life.  Yes, I understand that's depressing.  Yes, I know that he still loves me, but it's just not the same as hearing it come from his own lips.  I do have a wonderful father-in-law who loves me & I know prays for me, by name, everyday.  What more could a daughter ask for?

So this Father's Day, I'm giving the men I love the most, nothing.  No pictures of you with our children, and no cards or words saying how you are the greatest dad.  No showers of gifts.  Just another day of you doing what you do best:  being a man and showing our children what a man and dad should be.   I hope the gifts we give you daily are the ones you love the most.  May we bring you honor, make you feel loved & be a blessing to you.  

Celebrating Life!
~ashley   

    

Monday, June 15, 2015

Good Grief Charlie Brown

Several of my posts have been very serious and, hopefully, a little thought provoking lately & so I'm offering my humiliation up to make y'all laugh.  Laughter is good for the soul.  “Life is worth living as long as there's a laugh in it.”  ~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

I spend just a little bit of time sitting.  I sit when I work; I sit when I sub; I sit when I'm driving children all over the place; and I sit when I write.  It's amazing that my behind is not flat as a pancake.  This is not really about my behind, it's about my new desk chair.

I've wanted one for some time now, but just now purchased it.  It doesn't go with my decor or other furniture at all, but I don't care.  It's an exerball chair.  I like it a lot except for one thing, it's not made for short people.  When I first put the chair together, well, when Henry fixed what I had messed up, I was so excited, but noticed it sat kind of low to the ground.  I was not to be deterred.  I'm going to use this chair & love this chair.

This chair is good for me; it's good for my core.  Now, I can't see over the desk, but no worries.  (I exaggerate, I could see over the desk, but it was even with my armpits.)  I had to stretch my arms to use the keyboard to my computer, but that's the price of doing business.  I blew up the ball a little more and that helped a lot, but I figured that I was going to have to keep blowing it up to keep it tall.

I had an epiphany of how I could make myself really tall on my new chair.  I decided to put a pillow on top of the exerball.  Yeah, that will work.  Hopefully my feet will touch the ground, but yeah this is a great idea.  This is going to work great!  I'm pumped & can't wait to try this out.

Did I mention that the chair has wheels?

So I put the pillow on top of the chair.  I'm loving this idea.  I'm pretty clever, and resourceful, and I'm caring about my body.  I'm going to be able to see and reach everything on my desk.  Yeah, this is a rockin' idea!  Yea me!!!  Until...I go to sit on the stupid chair.  With wheels.  Did I mention the wheels?

So, I go to sit on the pillow, on top of the ball & it proceeds to roll, very quickly, right out from underneath me.  I hit the floor pretty hard and felt like Charlie Brown when Lucy steals the ball away from him when he was trying to kick it.  Can you say total dork?  Yeah, that was me.  I decided to lay on the floor for a bit.  It actually felt good.  The dogs were the only ones who witnessed my humiliation and came and licked my face to show support and love, which was both very sweet and gross at the same time.  I'm still going to try to use the pillow, but will be very careful when I climb onto my chair.

Celebrating Life & laughing at myself,
~ashley      

Thursday, June 11, 2015

When a Heart Breaks

Somebody write it down, I'm blogging two days in a row.  So much is going through my melon & this is my therapy.  Well, this and getting my hair done, but this is free.  Hopson likes free, but my hair does look much better.  Anyway...

Last year some of E's friends had a lyrical dance to the song "When a Heart Breaks" by Ben Rector.  (here's a cool remake that's acca-awesome.)  This song is one of my faves, although I would change one of the lyrics.  When you hear it you'll know which one I mean.

Have you ever had events in your life where you have literally felt your heart break?  The, I just need to lay down and wish the earth would swallow me whole, kind of breaks?  I have, and this song just speaks to my soul.  I have felt almost every emotion he talks about.  If you haven't been through something that shatters your heart, prepare yourself because it's coming.  None of us escape it, because we live in a fallen creation.  Fallen, but not forgotten, and not without hope.

Yesterday I wrote about how I love the town I live in.  I do love my city, but there has been so much heartbreak lately.  It feels like it just heaps upon itself.  Children getting sick; freak tragedies happening; parents passing away; heartbreak upon heartbreak upon heartbreak.  Heartbroken, but not forgotten, and not without hope.  Hope is a good thing, especially when you have a broken heart.

The girls took this dance to competition this year, and since they did, they also performed it in this  year's recital.  During dress rehearsal,  another mom and I sat there and cried when we watched the girls dance.  Her heart was broken, and this song touched her, here and now, but the song makes me remember.

When you experience a heartbreak it doesn't ever go away, it just becomes part of who you are.  If you let it, it can consume you or you can use it as part of your testimony.  Can you still claim that God is bigger even when the outcome you hoped and prayed for doesn't happen.  It's a sobering thought, and not one I like to dwell on.  What I do know is that God is bigger no matter the outcome.

Let your heartbreak help and bring comfort someone else.  Allow yourself to become hands and feet, and show the love of the one who brought us hope.  Remember that He cried when Lazarus died, and He knew what was about to happen.  Remember we have a hope that is eternal and has power behind it.  It's the power to take a broken heart and piece it back together so it can be used for a better purpose.

Celebrating life, broken hearts, and hope,
~ashley

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

#lovethistown

There are days I really love the town I live in and at the same time really hate it.  Even though it's a midsize city, it can be like living in a small town.  Everyone knows your business.  And, everyone is willing to crawl all up in it and share it with everyone.  It can be a real big pain in the behind.

Except for days like today.  It's today that I remember why I live here.  It's days like today when I cry because I live in a community that surrounds, loves, and takes care of its own.  (We will love you to death if you let us.)  I remember that I live in a place where we'll hit our knees for you in a heartbeat, bring you dinner (thankfully I didn't mix the tomatoes with anything else), clean your house, take your kids where you need them to be, and bug you to let us do more for you!

Those of you who live here know what I'm talking about, and you're probably laughing and shaking your head.  It's a well oiled machine, and we run it like no body's business.  It's also really fun to see everyone's gifts.  We all have different ones & it's during this time that they shine.

I'm so glad I know people who love to bake, because I am horrible at it.  I love people who are super crafty and make anything they do look beautiful.  I love people who have the gift of empathy and are willing to help others carry their burdens.  I love the bossy people who are so organized that they laugh in the face of a mountain of tasks.  I love the encouragers, because they drink from the cup that is half full and help you look from a different perspective when you need to.  Of course I love people who can make a mac daddy meal.  During a crisis they will make you something magical & you decide you may never cook again.  You have those that you are certain have a direct line to God's ear.  Technically, we all do, but you think they may be one of His faves.... They are the ones you want laying hands on you and praying.  You have the joyful ones that just make you laugh even when you're going through hell, and you have those you know you can call on to cry with you when you need someone to cry with you.

Yeah, we got'em all right here, in my town.  If you don't have a bunch of busy body, up in your face people in your town, I'm so sorry.  While there are a few days a year I want to crawl into a cave and live life as a hermit, I have to admit that I love my town & I love my people.  We're really more like family.

So, Rebel fam, good night, God bless, and good job today!  Keep praying and loving each other.

Celebrating life!
~ashley