Most children take some type of nap for the first three to five years of their lives…and their mothers are grateful for that quiet time. I was no different, but I had one problem…my youngest daughter. Amy was a happy, smiley little girl, who loved to laugh and practically always ran wherever she went. Both of my girls were very happy little girls. When they were little, both of them took an hour to two hour nap every day. It was a time when I could clean house, do laundry, or maybe even read a book…which was shocking to my system. At first, they both woke up smiling and very happy, but as Amy approached two years old, things began to change.
My smiling little angel would go to bed so happy and when she woke up…all those little smiles were gone. The best thing to do then was not to speak to her for a while, because she was going to be grouchy for a while. My solution was to get her a glass of Kool-Aid, and wait it out. Amy was so grouchy that she would hold that glass up to her face, for an hour or two, sipping slowly, until she was ready to rejoin the rest of the world. The glass didn’t leave her mouth during that whole time. Now, if you know anything about Kool-Aide at all, you know that when it sits against a baby’s cheeks for a while, it will leave its mark on those little cheeks. One might have thought that it would be hard to catch a picture of a Kool-Aide face, but with Amy it was not difficult at all. She had a Kool-Aide face pretty much every day.
After almost a year of putting a happy toddler to bed and getting a cranky toddler up, I decided that I no longer cared what all the experts said about children needing their naps for the first five years. When Amy turned two, I made the decision that mine would be that strange household where the three year old took a nap, but the two year old took no more naps. Strange as it was, it was the best decision I ever made. Amy stayed happy and the Kool-Aide face became a thing of the past, and her big sister, Corrie took her naps for about another two years. And peace reigned in our house…which made me very happy!!
When you have known someone all their life, it is easy to think of them always as a kid. Then one day you find yourself startled to find that they are all grown up, and while you were around them all their lives, you feel a bit like you don’t them at all. That is how I feel about my nephew, Eric sometimes. When Eric was a baby, my daughter, Amy babysat him and his brother, JD, so I saw a lot of them. Eric was a cuddler, and when we were in church, he would just snuggle up and go to sleep. He was such a good baby. I loved holding him when he was sleeping. Sleeping babies are always so sweet to watch…like little angels.
I don’t suppose most people would use the term angel for Eric any more, as I think he can be quite a teaser these days. During his years of growing up, Eric’s interests turned to things like BMX bikes, motorcycles, cars, and of course, girls. Eventually there would be just two girls in his life, and that’s just perfect if you ask me. He found and married his sweet wife, Ashley and they have a beautiful daughter, Reagan, who looks a whole lot like her daddy.
I guess you could say that Eric’s life has made a few twists and turns. He went from being a little snuggler to tearing up the track to a different kind of snuggling, and finally to a different kind of tearing up and a different kind of building. Eric and his wife, Ashley are in the midst of remodeling the house they bought next door to her parents place, so Ashley can be near her beloved horses, among other things. Ashley calls the remodeling job “building the dream” and I think she is right. Eric and Ashley have a dream life, living out in the country, near her horses, with plenty of places for Eric to ride his motorcycle, and plenty of room for their daughter Reagan to run and play, and sometime in the future, to get Reagan a little brother or sister to play with.
Today is Eric’s birthday. I hope you’ll take a little time off from the building to play today Eric, but if not, I guess you’ll be doing what you love anyway…building the dream. Happy birthday Eric!! We love you!! Have a wonderful day!!
Yesterday I attended the funeral of my 4th and 6th grade teacher. She was my absolute favorite teacher in grade school, and I had the distinct pleasure and was greatly blessed to get her as my teacher for 2 years, because she switched from 4th to 6th grades the year I got to 6th grade. The strange thing was that I didn’t know she was the same teacher…at least until that first day, because since her first husband had died, she had remarried. So the first time I had her, she was Mrs Clark, and the second time I had her, she was Mrs Lloyd. Her name didn’t matter to me, all I cared about was the fact that I got to have my beloved teacher for yet another year. Nevertheless, I still had trouble remembering that she was Mrs Lloyd now.
While Mrs Lloyd’s name gave me trouble, I had no trouble loving my teacher. She was like everyone’s second mom. The things she said to you were genuine…straight from her heart. She always looked for the best in her students, and she expected to find good traits in each and every one of her students. Because of her faith in her students, as well as her genuine love for each one, we all tried our very hardest to make her proud of us, and because of her encouragement, we knew that we could do whatever we set our mind to. Mrs Clark-Lloyd made us feel like there was nothing we couldn’t do.
The years since I was in 4th or 6th grade have passed quickly by, but my memories of my favorite grade school teacher have never faded. I could see her face in my memory all those years. I think we all have one or more teachers who inspired us to do our very best, and their lessons don’t fade as the years go by. Mrs Clark-Lloyd was one of those great teachers. Over the years, this tiny woman always seemed larger than life to me. She was like an angel of the human kind, who’s faith in God inspired her to instill faith in her students…faith in God and themselves.
As we get closer and closer to the Christmas break in school, I am reminded of the many Christmas Programs of the past. So many schools don’t do those any more, and I find that very sad, but as most of you know there might be someone who is offended by such activities. Again, I find that sad. I am reminded of the program where I started out in the choir, and then was elected to be an angel. I didn’t need wings for that one, because I was so excited that I was floating all on my own…well, it felt like it to me anyway. That was the most exciting Christmas program ever for me, and it was probably a good thing I was an angel then, because I don’t think acting for really for me, or at least, I had no interest in it later on.
I remember the one where the choir was performing, and one of the boys got too hot, or nervous, or had locked his legs, and suddenly he passed out right in front of the whole crowd. The music teacher was horrified, and really didn’t know what to do. She was leading the choir, and the show must go on, you know, so she tried in vain to get him to just get up, but to no avail. He couldn’t after all, because he was out cold. Finally a couple of teachers came up and carried him out of the gym. He was fine, but very embarrassed. I don’t recall if he came back in for the rest of the program, but I don’t think I would have wanted to.
The programs my girls and my grandchildren were in have special meaning to me. Though they varied in theme and some were after you couldn’t make a Christmas program be about the true meaning of Christmas, they were all precious in my heart. Little tiny voices singing loudly, and often off key. Forgotten words, and the teacher reminding the child of their lines. Those dreaded costume failures, that thankfully weren’t as bad as some of the celebrities failures. The jitters and tears over parts forgotten, or even that the child worried would be forgotten. It all added up to the Christmas program, and it didn’t matter if it was a total flop or done to perfection, when it was your kid out there, it was the best program you had ever seen…and you truly meant that.
Most of the time, when you think of the words “Heaven Sent”, it pertains to a person, but today, that is not the case, or at least not exactly. A short time after my dad passed away in December of 2007, a cat started hanging around my mom’s porch…howling from hunger. Mom couldn’t stand it, and gave him some food. That was the beginning of such a beautiful relationship for our entire family, but especially for my mom and my sister Cheryl, who live together. Once he was fed, Quincy, as he would be dubbed, was here to stay. He never left again…until yesterday. Yesterday our Quincy went to Heaven. The veterinarian believes that he ingested antifreeze. By the time we knew what was wrong with him, the damage had been done. We are devastated by this tragic loss. We all loved that cat very much.
So rarely does an animal that is a perfect match for your family, literally show up on your doorstep. We didn’t even know that we needed him…but God knew. Quincy was a companion to my mom during a difficult time when she was often lonely, and he was a caregiver too. When my mom fell several times, Quincy stayed right beside her. He wanted to make sure she was alright. He was also a very social cat. He loved to carry on a conversation with which ever of us might be at the house at the time, but he and Cheryl were particularly good friends. He was a part time outdoor cat and a part time indoor cat, but when you came over or they came home, Quincy was usually there to greet you. He loved his family so much. And, he took his responsibility very seriously. He was the man of the house.
Quincy had a special personality. He loved to sit on top of the back of my dad’s easy chair and sometimes when you sat down, you didn’t even realize that he was there…until he would reach down with just 1 claw, and very gently touch your head. He always used a claw, but never hurt you with it. As I said, Quincy was part outdoor cat, and so once he had made sure things were ok in the house, he wanted outside for a prowl…even if only for a few minutes. Then, when he was ready to come back in, he would jump up on the air conditioner and scratch at the window, until you opened the door. Yes, he was spoiled…the king of the castle, for sure. Quincy didn’t think he should have to drink out of a cat dish either. He wanted to drink out of a bowl in the sink, or the water dripping from the tub faucet. That was more special…like he was. And, while he had a bed to sleep in, he fully enjoyed curling up in the bathroom sink too.
I’m sure Mom and Cheryl will get another cat, but there will never be another cat quite like Quincy, and our family will miss him very much. Angels come in many forms I think, and I believe that Quincy was an angel sent by God when we really needed one. He may have been just a cat to many people, but to us he was people…he was family…and he was definitely Heaven Sent. We love you Quincy, and we will miss you very much.