Gorilla Tape Saves The Holiday

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A recent fall journey began with an evening rain shower that turned to snow during the night. By morning enough white stuff accumulated to require a snow-brush and ice scraper to clean off T.C. (our van), but the roads were bare and all participants woke raring to go.

Taking a road-trip while the beautiful fall colors are out is so worth leaving shorts and sandals behind and packing bulkier and a bit more clothing. Mister and I love to travel at this time of the year.

The luggage stowed inside was for two siblings (myself and one of my brothers) and two outlaws (our spouses). Not to worry, there was more bags than what you see above by the time we returned. (Insert Smiley face here).

Us four have traveled together before. To Las Vegas and last summer we explored the Washington and Oregon coast. This time we headed to Canada’s west coast and Vancouver Island. Our numbers increased to six though on the second day when one of my sister’s and her husband met up and joined us.

The weather system that brought the overnight snow was small, so it wasn’t long into the drive before even the fields and ditches were bare again.

Unfortunately, the trip started like no other; it started with a bang, and not a good kind.

An hour and a half after we set out two animals appeared from nowhere, and as a pair they ran across the highway in front of us. Mister slammed on the brakes which gave the lead one just enough time to escape, but nothing could be done to avoid hitting the second.

Tears filled my eyes as I walked back to check the animal lying motionless on the pavement, knowing very well its state. I apologized to it and hoped death came in an instant so it suffered no pain.

Within seconds Mister appeared behind me and pulled the body out from the path of oncoming traffic. I’m not sure I could have done that.

No humans were injured. The van’s under shroud was ripped off, and a good portion of the front end was either cracked, or broken. Lucky for us though, the air bags didn’t go off, the headlights remained intact, and although the air conditioning radiator was dented T.C. ran fine. Damages were all cosmetic.

Nothing could change what happened, and with a highway not being the safest place to hangout we all got back inside and headed for the next town.

Mister and I stood in the mall parking lot while he made the appropriate phone calls. My brother ran into a store and bought a roll of Gorilla tape. It was needed to hold dandling and vibrating pieces safely in place, so we could continue on our way.

As a side note, this was our first time using Gorilla tape, and we were impressed by its strength and staying power through rain and winds.

My superstitious nature kicked in often during the next fourteen days as I worried about the, “Bad things happen in three’s,” theory. Then, I would hear my mother’s words, “Things happen for a reason.” Perhaps that delay saved us from a more severe incident, we will never know for sure. With us all safe at home now, I can report any other mishaps were minor compared to our start.

I intended to post sights and finds on my blog while on this trip, but the ocean always beckoned for me to spend my spare time strolling the shores.

Truth be known, I need little encouragement to do just that.

The only writing I did while on the road was in our daily travel journal. This is a practice I’ve done for years now. We enjoy looking back on the information, to reminisce, or use it to reference things when revisiting an area.

Do you keep a travel journal?

Can superstitions unsettle you?

Have you ever had a rough start to a holiday? If so, did you continue or turn back?

 

It Happened Again

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The Daughter spotted this little gem coming home on the school bus 20 years ago. Classic vehicles have always had a place in our hearts, so she could barely wait until Mister got home from work to tell him about the truck she discovered for sale.

It took little persuading to get the family to take a drive after supper that night, and that is how and when, the appropriately named “Blue” joined our family.

The kids and I kept him clean and polished while Mister looked after the mechanical end. A joint effort which resulted in him always running great and looking his best, whether at a Show and Shine, or out on a drive.

One of our favorite trips to take with this guy was the few miles into town for ice cream. Habits and laws changed significantly in the last twenty years. Back then it wasn’t illegal to ride in the box of a truck. So our family of four had different combinations of who was in Blue’s cab and who was in his box, the only constant being Mister always drove. I can manage manual transmissions, but I’m not a big fan.

After the daughter got her license, she asked Mister to teach her how to drive, a standard like Blue. The lesson ended in her frustrated because of the hill we lived on. She spun his tires, popped his clutch, and stalled his motor numerous times before, Blue, made it back up into the shop.

In typical boy fashion, when the son became old enough he mastered Blue’s three in the tree manual with fewer issues.

That’s okay, us girls were quite content being passengers.

When other kids at school wanted limos picking them up from their grade 12 grad supper, our daughter requested, Blue, for her ride home with Mister as the driver.

Over the years, lives got busier, and car show outings became none existent. Sadly, a couple recent summers passed without, Blue, even coming out of the shop.

Last month he made his first trip to our place at the lake, mind you he came by trailer. Having the original straight six engine means he really isn’t ideal for hours on a busy four lane highway at today’s speeds.

Why hadn’t we taken him before? Because we don’t have a garage here.

Why did we bring him this year? Because there was a Show and Shine nearby.

He’s won his share of trophies, and didn’t disappoint, winning “Best Truck” at that outing.

The reason for this post though is because, Blue, went to that show with a “For Sale” sign resting on his seat, and like, General, in my “Heart Of Steel” post he is now sold.

This is a big change for the family, and we will all miss him, but just because he’s not up in the shop anymore doesn’t mean our memories of him will fade.

It’s time for someone else to enjoy this little treasure, and Mister and I felt good about the fellow who bought him.

Of course, there was sadness, but we were also surprised by something else we experienced.

We were reminded of one of Mister’s father’s favorite sayings, and how true it has become, “The more things you own, the more headaches you have.”

To the young or perhaps not retired this may seem exaggerated.

How can just owning something  be a headache or cause stress?

It’s hard to say whether it’s all money related or if a downsizing syndrome has kicked in, but decreasing yearly insurance fees and having less to worry about maintaining has brought us some peace.

So, as emotional as it was to part with first, General, and now, Blue, Mister and I feel it was the right thing for us to do.

Don’t be afraid of a, less is more, lifestyle.

For us the benefits have been similar to what is said about cleaning a cluttered home, and how it gives you a clearer focus and a more restful mind.

Have you downsized and found your stress has lessened?

Heart Of Steel

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His name is, General, and I teared up writing this post. He isn’t a horse, family dog, or a cat. No blood pumps through his veins, oils keep his heart of steel alive. To some, he might be just a heap of metal, but twenty years in our family, means hundreds of memories are attached to this truck.

Our family names their vehicles, and often when we talk of them, it’s like we’re referring to a person. Odd as it may sound, we even find these metal additions have unique quirts which give them personalities.

You know those multi picture frames people use for family photos, Mister has them for vehicles he’s owned since we’ve been together.

We even shared our wedding day with one of our classics. No, actually the customized 1958 Pontiac Parisienne probably starred in more pictures than Mister and I did that day.

General, is one of two we’ve owned the longest. The other is an antique only driven occasionally, whereas for years, General was the work horse. He pulled holiday, horse, or flat-deck trailers and hauled whatever daily life required. He took the family on tons of vacations and road trips, crossing borders and racking up miles, never once leaving us stranded.

He was the grandkids favorite to take for their driving test, labeled the lucky truck by the oldest who passed on her first try.

Mister got a new truck replacing, General, years ago. That’s when his duties and demands became less and less. He was our daughter’s daily driver for a spell and a back-up vehicle for the son from time to time. For about a year now though, he only started when the lawn beneath him needed cutting.

General’s mileage is up there, a couple patches of rust tint his white paint, and he has a few minor hail dints. Yet, his motor purrs, his oils stay level, and his interior shows little wear.

He still has life in him, so the difficult decision to sell him was made.

With our minds made up, Mister and I still seemed to put off advertising him but then I thought to send a niece a message. Her having a family of teens, I thought maybe one of her kid’s friends might need a faithful first vehicle.

It turned out their son needed something reliable to get to and from college.

As sad as it was to part with this truck his story has an interesting twist. The first family trip we took in, General, when he was new was to this young man’s parents wedding.

Him buying, General, made it a tiny bit easier for our family to part with him.

Items of sentimental value don’t have to be expensive heirlooms, jewelry, furniture, etc.

For some it could be a simple ticket stub, or a dried flower, the list is endless.

I believe everyone has a some kind of keepsake which holds a precious memory.

Does aging alter emotional attachment to things like keepsakes?

Does the whole space limited downsizing process change how a person views the importance of keeping items?

My answer is, with age comes wisdom, wisdom brings practicality, practicality has me realizing that the memories will remain with or without the physical object.

Have you been able to part with an item from your past that at one time you thought you could never get rid of?

Not So Innocent

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Don’t let how innocent the ball and rope appear while they hang still on this pole fool you. Swing Ball, is a fast-paced game for players and entertaining for spectators.

It’s like the old playground, Tether-Ball, except you use a racket rather than your hand. The nylon rope easily glides on the smooth plastic corkscrew, and the tennis ball has much less wind drag than a volleyball. Making the main difference, the velocity the neon ball circles the pole with when it’s hit.

This game tests hand-eye coordination, and if you’re not standing in the right place, quick duck and swerve reflexes.

We bought Swing Ball months ago, but because of Mister’s sore shoulder, and either lack of time or uncooperative weather whenever our kids were out, it remained in its box collecting dust.

Sometimes it takes youths to motivate a person which for me was three recent surprise guests.

One of Mister’s nieces from British Columbia called us when the semi she was driving stranded her and her two daughters in a nearby city. When the three got bored with city shopping and such we picked them up to stay with us until the repairs were completed.

It didn’t take long before the energetic youngen’s, age 13 and 11, spotted the unopened game box and asked if they could try it.

Setup took only minutes, then us three adults sat on the deck ready to be entertained. These two tough country girls held nothing back when they swung at the ball. Neither whined though, if they got nailed by the rubber projectile, mostly because they were too busy laughing.

The girls refer to Mister and I as Auntie and Uncle, and soon it was, “Auntie, come play.”

That’s when the valuable lesson, “Never underestimate someone of age,” began.

Here’s a small detail before I continue. I was on a fair amount of school sport teams, Volleyball, Basketball, Badminton, Floor-Hockey, Track and Field, Soccer, Baseball, and Dodgeball.

The relationship we have with these girls and their mother is where joking, teasing and polite sass is common.

Fresh into my game with the 13-year-old, I cracked her up with a statement that became her favourite to repeat and share. To some it may sound cruel but I said it with love and sportsmanship. It followed her apology after a shot that nearly hit me when I replied, “Don’t apologize if the ball hits me because I won’t if it hits you.” I smiled, we laughed, but I think that’s when she realized Auntie has a hidden competitiveness.

During the evening activities no-one thought to snap pictures while four of us took turns playing the game.

It is a cardio workout, but I’m sure that is because we had to grasp for air between fits of laughter.

To the girl’s surprise, I beat them each in well fought rounds. As we sat to regroup, wipe sweat from our brows and gulp water they kept saying they didn’t think I had it in me.

The next day I’m not sure which ached more from the pervious exertion, my arm or laughing muscles or perhaps my knee from when I missed the ball once and whacked it with my paddle hard enough to bruise.

At least I fared better than the two young ones as to how many times the tennis ball ricochet off a body part. Instead of complaining about a sore spot though they bragged, “Remember this one, I got it when…”

Of course, there were rematches the next day before we took them to pick up their fixed truck.

Embraced in so-long hugs the girls teased and warned me, “Wait until next time, Auntie”.

The truck breaking down was unfortunate, but we all enjoyed this fun unplanned visit.

Since then I’ve talked the son and his wife into trying the game, battling against each other and myself. His wife and I even tried with our left hands and did better than we thought we would.

Look out anyone visiting us that may be up for a game, I really enjoy this one.

If you bruise easy, it might not be a game for you, although I figured out, the ball only makes contact if you are too close.

Have you played Swing Ball yet?

Sailing, Boat Names, and Seven Dwarfs

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Last week began with our extra beds occupied and a house filled with laughter during a sibling sleepover.

Monday I had my first sailboat experience as a passenger on the 21 foot, “Huhn Wetter” captained by my big brother. He trailered her to our lake for a couple days visit.

The sailing adventure was extra special because there was five siblings onboard. To bad the other two stayed ashore.

It was also Brother’s first official day of retirement. What better way for him to start a new chapter of his life than giving many of us our first ride on his pride and joy.

Have you ever walked a dock reading boat names?

They Intrigue me, and I often wonder the reasons behind them.

Names usually represent someone special to the owner, a favorite quote or cliché, or they may reference a goal, a dream or a destiny.

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“Huhn Wetter” is named in memory of our mother. These two German words were one of her favorite muttered curses. A habit passed down from her mother and one shared with her sisters.

Why would anyone use curse words to name their boat?

Hold on, I’ll explain.

“Huhn Wetter,” translated means, “Chicken Weather.”

Yes, our mother had a real potty mouth. (Smiley Face)

Sailing has no history amidst our immediate family, so my brother is sure when he bought this boat he heard our mother curse his new hobby. She wasn’t a water fan, and she always worried about us kids’ safety.

The gang woke on Tuesday to clouds, wind and a coat wearing chill, so the boat stayed in the marina. Three of us girls went beach combing for driftwood in the morning getting quite a haul for a sister’s lamp making project. By the afternoon the boys suffering with cabin fever went out and worked on the boat trailer.

Wednesday once the morning fog cleared, and the sun came out, Captain Brother, his wife, and I went for another sail. He had me man the rudder while he raised the sails. Once done he surprised me when I went to move for him to take over, and he said, “Nope, she’s all yours.”

He explained how to make slight shifts in the boats course to catch the breeze instead of us swinging the sails, and how to watch the dangling string on the front sail as a guide. I steered for a spell, and even managed a turn, but when we caught stronger winds and picked up speed, I chickened out and handed her back to her rightful captain.

Mister and I own a pontoon boat which we’ve enjoyed for years, and I doubt we would ever trade. Now, I can understand though what about sailing appeals to my brother. It’s the peace and quiet. Here’s to him for learning the skill.

I would consider learning the craft if the mast was maybe 6’ high making the sail’s surface small enough that the boat would stay rowing speed slow. Something about being at the weather’s mercy and being so tall when the boat lists that would take me time to get use to. No matter how many times the brother says they wouldn’t sink even if they fill with water. Laying over or flipping really doesn’t sound fun to me, either.

Since the sleepover had seven participants, I thought it would be fun to match each of us to a Disney’s Seven Dwarf character. It got complicated though. I could have assigned, Sleepy, Sneezy and Doc, but none of us are Bashful, and if I labeled someone Grumpy or Dopey, I would get in trouble. Plus, all of us qualified to be, Happy, so it wouldn’t have been fair to choose only one.

Could you match your siblings to any of Disney’s Seven Dwarfs?

Have you ever been on a sailboat?

The Power of A Photograph

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I scrolled a photo album for a picture with the power to calm my troubled mind.

Family pictures bring me the most joy, but I choose the above holiday shot because I’m sure seeing a place is more interesting for strangers.

Shores and Coastlines are always a happy place for me to visit. This is the sun setting on the walkway at Seaside, Oregon.

Are you ever amazed how a simple picture can trigger emotions?

Do photos do this for you?

There are two other common memory triggers. I’m often shocked how quick, and out of the blue, the past will flash when you hear a certain tune or smell a certain scent.

Without going into detail, we’ve had a somewhat crappy week, and I’ve been sporting puffy eyes.

Why, the puffy eyes you ask?

I Could literally be the “Town-Cryer”.

As in, that’s my coping mechanism. I cry when I’m sad or receive unsettling news, when I’m stressed, when I’m overtired, when I’m happy or I laugh too much, and if someone else gets teary eyed, no problem, I’ll join them.

When my gene pool was filled, I must have gotten extra emotions, and a sensitive waterworks trigger. If not that, I’ll blame aging and adulthood. I’m sure others will agree that at times, those both suck.

Who here can tear-up reading something, or watching a TV commercial? (Surprise! My hand is up.)

Have faith in me, my family and friends, I’m stronger than I may appear. (Smiley Face)

I hope your days are running smoothly.

Family, His Side & My Side

Puppies cooling off

Grand-puppies Cooling Off

Road Trips will always be one of my favorite things to do. The distance traveled, or the destination isn’t what’s important, it’s who I will see when I get there.

I won’t bore you with details of how busy we are, other-than we rarely unpack our suitcases these days.

Two of our many trips so far were Family Reunions.

One on my side.

When my parents were alive, they would have whoever could make it of us siblings and our families together at Christmas. Since their passing though, to avoid worrying about winter road conditions, us kids plan a yearly, June reunion.

Out of five children, four of us are close and we visit each other numerous times a year. Sadly, a brother for reasons unknown has stopped communicating with the entire family. We have reached out, but he seems content replacing us with his wife’s family. Back to the topic though.

Reunion hosts change from time to time and this year it was a three-hour drive for Mister and I.

The gathering is a BBQ or potluck style meal open to, nieces, nephews, and their families. Not to brag, (smiley face) but Mister and I had four generations in attendance.

Special to this year, the four of us siblings and partners stretched it into a fun two night sleepover, under the same roof.

There was a downpour the night before the gathering but the day was clear and sunny. The turnout was good, and it’s always great to see those we don’t see often.

The next reunion was on Mister’s side.

Mister’s mother was one of fourteen children and their family tradition is a reunion every three years. Again, different families host, and so the location varies, but it’s always in British Columbia because that’s where the majority who attend are from. We hosted the previous one and this year’s which was last weekend, both at the same venue in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley.

There is a bit more to this reunion with rented facilities, a gathering Friday night, Saturday during the day is occasional activities, and a catered supper. Then Sunday morning is a catered breakfast. We left Thursday morning to pickup keys, touch base with the caterer, etc.

The son, his wife, and fur baby rode with us with the men sharing the 10 hours of driving. The oldest or her family couldn’t make it but our daughter, her husband, and their fur baby met us at the hotel Friday afternoon.

Although, this was the first reunion with none of the original aunts and uncles alive it was a great time with over 60 people in attendance. The weather was hot, hot, hot and unfortunately British Columbia’s interior is in havoc with hundreds of raging forest fires. None were in the immediate area where we were, but our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.

We said our goodbyes until next time after Sunday’s breakfast and hit the road. The last 45 minute drive home from this 4 days away had extra stress when warnings binged on phones and emergency alerts interrupted radio programs, the area where our home is located was under a tornado warning.

We have weathered two serve hail storms in the last 6 years, both which wrote off numerous of our vehicles and required new roofs, siding, windows, and damages too many to list.

No matter how much you tell yourself that there’s nothing you can do about mother nature’s fury, a part of me wanted to get home fast, yet part of me was afraid of what we would find when we got there. Thankfully, all was well at our place, but unfortunately some nearby areas weren’t as lucky receiving golf-tennis size hail stones.

I will close this post with a short list of things I think about family and gatherings.

F – Fond memories, fun times, and food.

A – Always there for each other, even and maybe more so as we age.

M – Missing those who have passed or unable to attend functions.

I – Informal.

L – Laughter. There should be a T for teasing.

Y -Yellow belly sap suckers, because I just couldn’t think of anything related to family that started with a Y.

What would you have used that starts with Y?

Oh, “yappy” would have worked for us.

Do your families do reunions?

Is This Normal?

ShirtThis topic is a bit odd for a post but it came to me while I was trying to fall asleep. There’s an occurrence that’s common with Mister, myself and our kids which we often joke about, and I’m curious if it happens to others.

The, year after year, appearance of certain clothing in holiday pictures. In our defense, T-shirts, tank tops, button up shirts, and hoodies don’t go out of style, right.

Do you have an average time period you keep your clothes, or do you keep them until they wear out or don’t fit?

As I laid in bed, I did a mental inventory of my clothing. I’m almost ashamed to admit that probably 85% of my wardrobe is 5-10 years old, and 10% is older (some pieces by a lot).

My reaction was, yikes, but if the items are still in good shape and in style, why replace them.

I grew up very money conscious and have been thrifty all my life but is keeping clothes for years normal?

Can anyone relate to this?

My next thought was, I wondered how many pieces in my collection, that aren’t new, still have the price tags on. The count was five. What’s up with that I’m not sure, other than most of those are dresses or too fancy for everyday. The dresses were bought with good intensions to wear them, but it rarely happens.

Will the revelation brought on from post trigger a thorough wardrobe revitalization, I doubt it will.

I’ll share one more confession which I’m sure may make some of you grasp in horror. The oldest item of clothing I have and still wear is my favorite work shirt pictured above.

Mister bought this western shirt shortly after we met then years later passed it down to me. It has been in the family since the late 1970’s.

I like wearing it on hot days at the farm when we’re working and I want my arms covered for scratch protection. The fabric is breathable, but is getting so thin I’m not sure how many more washings it can take before falling apart.

What is the oldest piece of clothing you have and still wear?

Into A Whirlwind

IMG_2179Female writer surfaces after recent disappearance into a whirlwind. It was a good and joyous kind of storm, not the kind where her home was re-rooted and yellow brick roads or witches appeared.

The last four days of May literally flew by.

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Could you go to town for a hair cut, dress and shoe shop for 3 hours, wash and dry 2 loads of laundry, as secretary take minutes for a 2 hour condo meeting, cut lawns, weed flowerbeds, get 3 short visits in with friends to explain a coming disappearance, research and book flights and hotel, get travel medical insurance, pack for an international trip, spend 4 hours driving, all before you leave for the airport in 39 hours.

Requirements to accomplish this were simple, eat while moving, keep moving, multitask, and divide less then 10 hours of sleep between two nights.

I’m not complaining though. I enjoyed every minute of hurried preparation for the trip to Las Vegas for our son’s impromptu wedding.

After four years together the son and his girlfriend decided to tie the knot and with Vegas being his favorite place to visit, they chose a destination wedding, the first in our immediate family.

A quaint yet elegant affair at a Fremont Street chapel with Mister and I as witnesses.

The groom was handsome in his tux. The bride was beautiful in her formal gown.

After the ceremony we all walked a section of Fremont Street for their photo-shoot.

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Memories were made as the four of us shared little glitches and unique situations.

The men thinking they were late and rushing from the hotel to the chapel because they thought the ceremony was a half hour earlier then it was.

Myself and the bride walking blocks in 114F carrying our clothes and shoes because the new limo driver didn’t know where to drop us off closer to the chapel.

Mister and I getting on the wrong freeway back to the hotel which ended with us four separated into 3 parties. Resulting in an interesting task of trying to locate each other in a large Vegas hotel without having use of cell phones.

Doing the cake cutting using plastic utensils in our hotel room, and having no plates with ate using the dig in method.

All things we laughed about and will certainly never forget.

We welcome the son’s new bride into the family and hope they have a long and happy life together. If their smiles are any indication, they are off to a great start.

Mine and Mister’s schedule didn’t quiet upon returning from this trip though.

We were home for Thursday and Friday. I did laundry, he did yard-work then we packed a suitcase and left for three days so Mister could help the son work on his truck.

We arrived back home this Monday night, with thoughts that the week will settle. No road trips in the plans, maybe just a trip into town for groceries. Then I realized I left my laptop at the daughter’s, a two hour drive away, each direction. Today had another road trip, but I think our pace will slow some now.

It’s times like this that make life interesting, and we’ll keep enjoying them while we can.

People always ask us if we get bored now that we’re retired. Ah, no.

This was our first trip as spontaneous as this. Would we do it again?

Mister would probably say, no, but I’m sure he would.

As far as me, I prefer not being so rushed, but sure I would do it again, why not?

Are you a spur of the moment traveler, or do you like to plan in advance?

A Queen Of Hearts

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Sharing a life with your child or children is a wonderful and indescribable journey. Not everyday runs smooth, and they shouldn’t. Lessons, good or bad are crucial to a person’s growth.

There are two sides to Mother’s day, a time for children to express their appreciation and a day for mothers to reflect on their joy.

Sometimes, work schedules or time with their spouse’s family means I can’t spend Mother’s Day, with one or all of our children. I understand though, and I’ve said this before, “Any day with them during the year, is Mother’s Day for me.”

Whether a visit on May 14, a phone call, or a message, I’m touched to receive the simplest acknowledgement.

Me as a Mother

Have I made mistakes?

You bet, but I’ve always done the best I could with the knowledge I had at the time.

Will I make more mistakes?

Probably. There should be no repeats, but parenting didn’t come with a manual for new situations, and I will be a parent until the day I die.

I believe, I’ve had a few successful moments too, though. About now, I’m imagining the kids and Mister, groaning and rolling their eye’s, but I’m sure, given enough thought they can come up with some precious memories of things I did right.

My message to our children, forgive my past and future imperfections and misjudgments and know the bottom line is, this Queen of Hearts, will always love you.

To my long past Mother: My love didn’t die with your physical being. I miss and think of you every day.

The years you get with your parents are never enough, so appreciate them while they are alive.

For Mother’s reading this, I hope you have a day that makes you happy or words or a message that make you feel special and loved.