More pictures of things around my parent’s home. Although my momma passed, it’s still their place, you know?
I took these photographs yesterday evening after I walked 44 laps up and down the driveway. Because of an aching blister, my shoes got tossed and I walked it barefoot.
For northern Missouri in late November, my time outside was pretty decent. If there was an invisible scale of “too cold to be out,” I fared quite well. The wind froze my cheeks, but the sun warmed my toes. Seems like a pretty even trade for winter.
Tonight I think we’re going to have a big bowl-a-thon at the same spot my dad has bowled at for 40+ years. Sounds like a fun, memorable way to spend the 2nd day after Thanksgiving.
Sometimes distractions are a good thing. Since losing my momma this spring, the upcoming holidays have been like this flashing, looming billboard, off in the distance, but somewhat visible. It says:
“Hey you, in case you forget, Thanksgiving, your birthday, and Christmas 2022 will be without your momma.”
Perhaps it’s because everyone says all the firsts of the first year after loss are the hardest. I’m not sure who made that up, but so far it’s been spot on. So, for months, I’ve been sad over holidays that haven’t even happened yet. I doubt I’m the only one.
Remember that song- ‘Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go?’ I was thinking about it this morning.
If you’ve lost your grandparents like I have, hearing that song brings memories of childhood trips. I was in my 20’s when my first grandma passed and my 40’s when my second one passed.
My kiddo didn’t get a lot of years with his grandma (my momma) like I did with my grandmas. This will be his first Thanksgiving, birthday, and Christmas without her, too.
Distractions lately have been good. Clubs, bowling, art, new booth. Now here it is, two days before Thanksgiving. It’s a bit surreal, really.
In the beginning, people always said to me, “I can’t imagine” as in what it’s like to lose their mom. Sometimes, my big sister-ness in me wants to protect people from what it feels like because it is flat out heartache.
Other times I feel called to say what it’s like, because sometimes we don’t see the loss coming and sometimes they’re too young and sometimes we are not prepared and sometimes the shock stays around a long time and sometimes there are no manuals for this.
This Saturday, November 26, it will be 8 months since my momma passed away. My how I miss her every single day. The shock that it happened, comes and goes, and I still catch my breath when I realize she’s gone. Crying has lessened a bit, but it still happens a lot of days.
We’re going ‘over the river and through the woods’ on an 8 hour drive to have Thanksgiving with my dad and siblings. It’s going to be really hard to not hear my momma’s whistling and laughter that filled up 3 counties. She so loved the holidays.
If you are in similar shoes this holiday season, my heart goes out to you. Truly.
Distractions are good… until having to face what we don’t want to see. I may cry the entire meal on Thursday. And, that’s ok. She knew I was a heart on my sleeve cry baby and if it were somebody else’s empty seat, she would’ve handed me a Kleenex.
Hugs, if your holidays look or feel different, too.
Just got home from checking on the booth. Before going in, I asked my kiddo how we’d feel if we sold nothing. He replied that we’d feel great! Indeed!
The doilies, potholders, hankies, and books seemed to fit right in. They sure give it a warm ‘pull up a chair and we’ll drink tea while visiting’ feeling. Sort of rooted, in a way. Not quite how sitting at a grandma’s kitchen table feels, but down home.
I thought I’d show you how it’s coming together.
P.S. We’ve had the booth one week and a piece of my art made it into the world!! How exciting! I’m so grateful!
When my kiddo went to kindergarten, I missed him sooooo much that I had to have something to do. His school had a very wonderful nurse who needed help with the Free Store.
The Free Store was a place where people could drop off clothes donations. It was set up as a place where the kids at school were provided clothing, if they needed it and for local families if they needed items for foster children or really fast placements.
When I started volunteering there, the place was a mess. Eventually, I got it all sorted and cleaned out and up. Although it wasn’t a real store, it resembled one.
On certain days, volunteers brought kids who needed clothing over and they got to shop. You guys, they were so excited! Everything we had was used, but they didn’t care. Another volunteer and I had the clothes all sized and on hangers, so they could go right to their sizes.
One time the principal at one of the school buildings told me that some of those kids were SO happy that they got to go shopping! Kind of like we do when we go to the mall or a new clothing store.
Then, I found out that some of the kids had-never-been to a store with clothes in it. Not even to Walmart. My heart cracked into a million pieces.
So, what did I do?
I made them their own store, in their school building.
I took real round clothing racks in, size tags, shelves, hangers, and more. I set it up as a beach shop. I made a huge mural on the wall with brown paper, fish cut outs, and nets. With chalk, they could draw on it.
On the door, I made a sign, like they’d see at a real shop. Our “store” wasn’t for all kids, it was for kids who needed a little help or didn’t have any clothes or had never been shopping.
It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been apart of in my life.
Back at our other building, I had a list of kids ages, and when clothes were donated, I’d go through them and make clothes piles for the kids. That was really fun to pick out in-style clothes for them.
One day, someone donated a pair of little red tennis shoes. The old fashioned kind. Soooooo cute. I kept one to remind me why I volunteered to help those kids and I gave the other one to my friend.
I’d forgotten all about the school stuff until the other day. While I was looking for vintage potholders from eBay to put in my new booth, I saw the cutest thing!!!
How cool is that?! I had to have it!
Love when something suddenly brings back memories that warm the heart.
Today I’ve been thinking about kindness. Sure, the world catches holy heck for all the negativity, but I still have faith in all the glorious goodness out there.
For instance, today one of my friends asked for food to help some families out and let me tell you, people stepped up!!!
Even with groceries being incredibly high priced, many asked what was needed. I looked in our cupboards and will be making my donation tomorrow.
On a bit of a different note, I was also thinking about all the kindnesses extended to me during this weird year since I lost my momma. Initially, it was the cards, flowers, showing up, meals, etc.
But since then, my blogging friends have stepped up. Writing about loss is not easy and writing about parent loss is jaw-dropping hard. You all have been super supportive in offering your insights and support.
Another sort of kindness was given to me today that on the surface may not seem as profound as feeding someone who’s hungry or helping someone through loss, but I believe it’s monumental just the same.
You know I’ve been struggling with my bowling and I almost quit. It’s supposed to be fun, but it was stacking up to be annoying and frustrating…
In bowling and just in general, it seems like we can get a lot of advice about what we are doing wrong and sometimes it’s hard to feel good enough right where we are.
I am in touch with this. I get the last place score A LOT.
I’d seen online that there are bowling coaches. Like, that’s a thing. At a bowling alley about an hour and a half from here, I asked about coaching, then I went there today.
The beauty and the best part of the whole bowling coach experience was, I was being met where I am. The tips weren’t ‘change this, this, and this.’ In fact, it wasn’t any ‘change this.’
It was about adding to, not taking away. I love that on about a billion levels.
No one asks anyone to change in order to feed them and fill their fridges. No one asked me to change in order to support me in my momma loss. And, I didn’t have to take apart and put back together my bowling steps, throw, or swing.
These situations are not the same, of course, but the feeling of being able to stay authentic in any of them is pretty huge.
Today I took an art plunge. I set up my stuff in a local resale shop. I’ve never done anything like that before, so I was a bit nervous.
As soon as I started filling the shelves, I about fell over! One of my momma’s most favorite songs came on the radio in there! Followed by another one and another one. So, my gratitude today is about my momma and her love for music and that I’m proud of myself for not quitting art.
CCR’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain”
The Police’s “Every Breath You Take”
CCR’s “Suzy Q”
me, taking a leap for art
It felt good to actually get it set up. To give my art and myself a chance. Will it be successful? Already is, it’s out there. It never even would’ve been seen in my basement. So, that feels like a win.
Thanks for being here and for all the kind comments yesterday. Means a lot!