The high school years are hard on everyone, but sometimes I think that the girls have the rougher time. With girls, every break-up…every friendship ended…every sad moment, feels like the end of the world. As girls get older, they try not to go to their parents with every little thing, but somehow it seems like the things they should go to their parents about, are the things they don’t. Such was the case with my grand niece, Christina Masterson. One day, after school…with the break-up with the first real boyfriend she had, fresh on her mind, Christina came in and sat down on the couch. Her dad, my nephew, Rob Masterson took one look at his oldest daughter, and asked, “What’s wrong?” Christina tried not to go into detail, but told her dad that she and her boyfriend had broken up. Rob sat down beside her and said, “You will always deserve better, no matter who you are with.” Basically, he told Christina two things that day. The first, that in his eyes, no man would ever be good enough for her, which Christina has always felt she needed to hear at that moment. The second, that he would always be there for her.
I think that is Rob’s motto in many ways and with all of the people he loves. I’ll always be there for you. It is a motto that he has applied to a number of people in Rob’s life. His younger three children are not at the “high school break-up stage” yet, but with the little issues they have dealt with so far, that is the same message Rob has conveyed to them. “You can always come to me…with anything. I’ll always be there for you.”
My sister, Cheryl Masterson, and Rob’s sisters, Chantel, Toni, Elizabeth, and Jenny, as well as their grown children, all know that if they need Rob’s help with something, he will do his best to help in any way he can. He has been the one to mow Cheryl’s lawn for a number of years now, and his siblings look to him when they are going to buy a car, or need something done on a car, because often he can help them out with it. I think that since my sister has been divorced for many years, Rob has stepped up to be the man of the family. He may not be able to do everything they need done, in every situation, but they know that he will always be there for them. Today is Rob’s birthday. Happy birthday Rob!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
A lot of people think that a day like Valentine’s Day is simply a commercialized day to get people to part with their money, and maybe to a degree it is, but why not have a day to celebrate love. Our world seems to get more and more filled with hate every day, so maybe we really do need to had a day to celebrate love. A person doesn’t have to have a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife to celebrate love either, because your valentine could just as easily be your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, or friends too. All it takes is to have someone you truly care about. In fact, it’s even ok to have multiple valentines too. In my family, it has always been tradition for our parents to give valentines to all the kids and grandkids, and my sisters and I have continued the tradition. Our kids and grandkids always had a valentine, because after all love takes many forms, not just romantic love. They can even be from brothers, and sent on a day that isn’t even Valentine’s Day.
When I look back on all the years of valentines from the time I was just a little girl, through the grade school years, to boyfriends, and on the my family, I must say that other that valentines from my husband, Bob, none were a sweet as those to me from my parents, and I hope my children feel the same way. I guess it’s like most of the boyfriends, that never measured up. You think that certain things are so important, like having a boyfriend for Valentine’s Day. As a teenager, that seems like the most important thing, and if you don’t have one, you feel like the loser of the year. Nevertheless, later on in life, you realize that all those years, all those boyfriends…or the lack thereof, meant nothing. Those boyfriends weren’t the ones who stayed with you. Their gifts were nothing more that cheap glitter, even when placed next to the smallest, most inexpensive gift from the one who really loves you and has chosen to spend the rest of their lives with you. Just the gift of self from someone who really loves you, boyfriend or husband…well, it makes the others look like dirt, even if they cost more, because cost has little to do with it.
Beyond the romantic valentines, comes the family valentines. Those family valentines, even if they cost just pennies…or nothing at all…are worth really, solid gold. Drawings done by your babies in pre-school or Kindergarten, are simply priceless, because they come from the best that is in your children, and they portray the love they have for their parents. When they are grown and out of your house, those little echoes of their younger years will be beautifully enhanced by things like valentines drawings done when they where little more than babies. Valentine’s Day is for lovers, it’s true, but some of the sweetest valentines are those that cost nothing, but are worth millions because they were sent with more love that anything that was purchased. Happy Valentine’s Day to all!! I hope your day is filled with true love.
A few months ago, our granddaughter, Shai Royce introduced us to her boyfriend, Zach Magner. It was a little unexpected. We had invited her to breakfast, and she asked if Zach could join us. Of course, we said yes, but I have to admit that my shy side was a little bit uncomfortable. It shouldn’t have been though, because Zach was very easy to get to know, and very easy to like. Of course, for us, the biggest factor when it comes to boyfriends, is how they treat my granddaughter. Granddaughters are always their grandparents’ princesses, and since we only have one granddaughter, she is our only princess. We want her to be treated like the princess she is. Zach made a good impression on us in that regard, so that was impressive.
Zach works in the oil fields as a wireline specialist, and that means long hours sometimes. Nevertheless, he is good at his job and in today’s economy, just having a full time job is a plus. Of course, I can’t say that I’m surprised, because I don’t think my granddaughter would go for someone who doesn’t work as hard or harder than she does. I like that Zach has the same kinds of values that Shai has. Shai is a hard worker too, and so she expects that her man will be the same. I have no doubt that Zach is exactly that.
Zach has been so easy for Bob and me to get to know, and we liked him instantly, and we have now made him a part of our breakfast circle. My daughter, Amy Royce and her husband Travis, Shai’s parents, and her brother, Caalab Royce all liked Zach as well. Shai and Zach had the opportunity to go to spend Thanksgiving with her family, and everyone had a great time. Shai, Zach, and Caalab spent some time in Seattle just touring the area, since Zach had never been there. They even got to ride the Ferris Wheel that we had only looked at when we were there. They had a great time. I can just imagine the view from the top.
Zach is the kind of guy who is always willing to help others. He never refuses if he is available, and sometimes he even does things without being asked, like the time he went to pick up my grand niece, Christina Masterson, so she could come for a visit with Shai, because they are best frineds. He just did it because he knows that they miss each other sometimes, since Christina lives in Colorado and Shai in Wyoming. I think Zach’s thoughtfulness is the thing I like most about him. Being kind and thoughtful says a whole lot about the character of a person. Today is Zach’s birthday. Happy birthday Zach!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Sean Mortensen, who is my niece Amanda Reed’s boyfriend, and the father of her daughter, Jaydn, is a sportsman in every respect of the word. His favorite things to do are snowmobiling and four wheeling, which pretty much covers the entire year. Sean’s days off are spent happily riding…when he isn’t doing something around the house, that is. Sean and Amanda recently bought a house, so there is always work to do there. It’s never easy making a house a home, so, working on the house is a given. Nevertheless, a guy can’t work on the house all the time. So that’s when Sean heads out to go snowmobiling or four wheeling…and its a great family outing for everyone.
Sean and Amanda met in high school, and they have been together ever since. When Jaydn joined the little family, they knew their lives were complete. Eleven years later, they are all three just as happy as they can be together. Their family loves spending time at the lake in the summer, and with daughter Jaydn being born just one day before her dad’s birthday, having a birthday weekend at the lake is their idea of perfect. Having my dad’s birthday just two days before mine, I can relate to how special it is to share that day with your dad. Of course, those fun birthday weekends won’t last forever. Kids grown up, get married, and move away…or at least, move out. Life gets busy and there is often barely time for an hour to have a birthday party, so I hope that they know how blessed they are to have that time now.
Sean also likes to work on the different toys and vehicles the have, so that keeps him busy as well. Jaydn likes to help him…for now anyway. As she gets older, I suppose that like most girls, that dad time will be replaced by a boyfriend. Nevertheless, for now, they work together as a family to get what they want in life. Sean is a good dad and he is good to Amanda…and for the rest of the family, that is the main thing. Today is Sean’s 30th birthday…the big 3-0. Happy birthday Sean!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
While my dad was in England fighting in World War II, his brother and sisters were working in the shipyards helping with the war effort there. On their days off, the workers at the shipyards liked to go and picnic in the area parks or a friends cabin. There was usually a group of young men and women that would go on these picnics, and Aunt Ruth and Uncle Bill were among them. In an effort to make my dad feel like he was a part of things back home, they would send him pictures of the things that were going on with them back home. Dad enjoyed the pictures from home immensely, but that didn’t stop him from being the typical big brother.
While Dad was in England, letters from home were like a lifeline. Those men were lonely and homesick. They depended on those letters from family and friends to help them get through that time of uncertainty and the ugliness of war. I have been reading his letters home for some time now, and while some of the letters reveal the loneliness that can only be seen if you read between the lines, others are more about having a little fun teasing his siblings, and especially his little sister, Ruth. Of course, you’ll have to admit, that she really walked right into it, but like any 18 year old girl, she probably didn’t realize what would come back to her.
Aunt Ruth wrote a letter to my dad, her brother, Allen, told him a little bit about this boy named Selmer that she obviously liked, and included a picture of Selmer kissing her. Well, my dad couldn’t let that one slide. This was his little sister, and she was growing up too fast for his liking. And who was this guy kissing her anyway? Dad remarked on how unusual the guy’s name was, and teased his sister about whether the guy was kissing her or looking at her locket, pretty much settling on the former thought. He teased her about the fact that she had apparently been telling him that she didn’t have any boyfriends, but clearly she did. And then, out came the big brother in my dad, when he told his little sister that this guy had “all the earmarks of a wolf” as far as he could see.
Now, all the rest of the teasing aside, I had to laugh at that part of the letter. A wolf!! I know that many people wouldn’t really understand the significance of that remark, but we…in this family…totally get it. It was almost as if my dad was predicting the future. Did Aunt Ruth marry Selmer? No, she didn’t! The prediction that my dad spoke, without realizing it, had more to do with the word than the man. You see, when my Aunt Ruth did get married, it was to a man named Lester (Jim) Wolfe!! So, while Selmer didn’t turn out to be the wolf my dad predicted, I guess my Uncle Jim Wolfe did, and that wolf literally swept my Aunt Ruth off her feet.
Recently, while looking through some old school pictures, I came across one of my own, that I vividly remember being very embarrassed about as a kid. It was silly, I suppose, but at the time…I just couldn’t believe it. Back then, the photographer couldn’t be totally sure that the subjects eyes were open, or that they smiled, or if they had hair in their eyes, or much else about the picture until it was developed. They looked through the view finder, but there was that second when they snapped that picture where they just had to hope the subject held the position they had seen them in just long enough for the picture to be taken. And film cost money, so they didn’t take several shots in the hope of having one turn out…at least not until the senior pictures were taken and the family was paying for all that film.
The other challenge a photographer faced, was getting a child to smile when they maybe didn’t feel like doing so. With no parents there to make the child sit still and smile, the photographer was on his own, so he would usually come up with any funny comment he could think of to guarantee that coveted smile in each of the hundreds of school children that passed in front of his camera on any given day. Sometimes, that was a huge challenge. Kids might have had a bad morning, didn’t like what their mom made them wear, or didn’t like their hair. Whatever the case, kids can be very temperamental when things aren’t going their way.
I don’t recall ever being one of those children who didn’t smile for the camera, but still the photographer didn’t know that, so he had to do what he felt was necessary to guarantee my smile. In this particular year, the photographer thought he had it all figured out, and on the smile part, he did, but there was just one small problem…the eyes. No, I didn’t close them, as you can clearly see, but I wasn’t looking at the camera either. When I saw the picture, I thought, “Oh yuck!! I look goofy!!” I couldn’t have retakes, because the stipulations for retakes were things like eyes closed or hair in the eyes, not eyes looking up. You might be asking yourself, what was she doing that caused her to be looking up. It’s a valid question and one that I can still answer for you. This is the look you get when you ask a little girl, “Do you have a boyfriend?” I always did those days, of course, but I had to think about whether or not I was willing to tell the photographer that. You might be wondering why my hair didn’t bother me too, but that was the style then…my goofy look wasn’t. I just have to wonder if he asked the girls that particular question after that.
I finally got my Christmas decorations and my tree down today. My grandson, Josh came to help me. Some years are just like that. I love the holidays, but like many people I know, the un-decorating is…well, not so much fun. This year was messed up, because we had to put my mother-in-law in the hospital and then a nursing home on the weekend I would have taken down the tree. After that, there just never seemed to be a good time. We were either visiting her, or visiting and taking care of my father-in-law. Of course, there were a few moments mixed in there that might have been used for taking the decorations down, but we were just too tired to think about it.
This year reminded me of another year when I just couldn’t get to the task of taking down the Christmas decorations. We were living out in the country then, and bowling every night of the week. We weren’t home very much, or as my sister, Alena would say, we weren’t country people…we were city people who slept in the country. And she would be right. We took a change of clothes and came home after bowling. Needless to say, it made taking our Christmas decorations down, a little difficult.
Our daughter and future son-in-law, Kevin had been dating a while by then, so Kevin felt comfortable teasing me about the Christmas tree that was still up in March, and I guess I deserved that one, because I suppose I should have found a way to get it down, but time just got away from me. Before I knew it, March had arrived. Then, the girls and Kevin had decided to take matters into their own hands.
We were coming home from bowling one night, and when we pulled up, Kevin’s car was there too. He wasn’t usually there when we got home, so we wondered what was up. When we walked in to door, here were the three kids, taking down our Christmas decoration, and having a good time laughing about the fact that it had come to this. Needless to say, I was quite embarrassed, by their teasing, and vowed never to let that happen again. It isn’t March yet, so I guess I’m ok, but I’m sure that the kids have had a laugh or two this year too, because as we all know, the holidays really are over.
My younger sisters, Caryl and Alena were in high school, when our church decided to have a church camp. All the cool stuff happened after I went through, of course. I had always thought church camp…or camp in general would be great fun, but there just wasn’t one when I was the right age. Anyway, the girls went to church camp for a week, and everyone had a great time. That was a week that the girls would remember for many years, filled with friendships, both new and continuing, and new boyfriends, but then what was camp for anyway, if not for finding a new boyfriend.
It’s funny how camp always seems to end up with those boyfriend/girlfriend situations. Most of them don’t last very long, because other than camp, what did you really have in common anyway. But sometimes, there were a few that lasted as long as any other boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. The friendships the girls made at camp, whether with boys or girls, did last for years to come, however.
You never know how far reaching those friendships can be until years later. And you also don’t know how strong family resemblances can be either. About 5 or 10 years ago, I was approached by a man at the mall, when Bob and I were in the food court having a lemonade, and he said, did your last name used to be Spencer. Amazed, I said “Yes, how did you know that?” He told me that he had gone to church camp with my sisters when they were all in high school, back in the late 70’s, and he knew that I had to be their sister, because we looked so much alike. Now, I have always known that we looked a lot alike, but seriously, the last time he had seen my sisters was about 25 years earlier. I marveled at how he had picked me out of all the people at the mall, and without my sisters there, and he just knew I was their sister.
We talked for a couple of minutes, with him reminiscing about the fun times they had a church camp, all those years ago. Then he asked me to tell my sisters hello for him and he went his way. I don’t remember his name anymore, but the girls were sure surprised that I had run into him and he knew I was their sister. They were even more surprised that he still thought about church camp after all those years. But then, some experiences just stay with you. Maybe it’s about wishing we could have our youth back, maybe about lost loves, and maybe it’s just about the fact that some experiences are just so much fun that we want to reminisce about them once in a while, just for the fun of it.
When you first meet your daughter’s boyfriend, you feel uneasy. You don’t know what kind of a person he is, if he will treat your daughter like the princess you know she is, and ultimately, if he will break her heart in the end. It is real easy to just wish she was a little girl again, so you wouldn’t have to go through all this, but dating and marriage are a part of the growing up process, even if it is a hard part of it for parents.
When Corrie met Kevin, it was our first time in dealing with the whole dating thing, and I just wasn’t too sure about it all. Kevin seemed so much more a grown up than Corrie did, even though they were only a little less than 4 years different in age, but the Lord knew what He was doing when He brought these two kids together. I get to call them kids, even though they have kids of their own now, because that is a mother’s privilege.
Kevin is such a blessing to our family. He is loving and caring, and kind to people, but is able to pull off a joke with a straight face…something his boys inherited. I often find myself wondering if he is serious or not, and of course, once he reaches that point of knowing that he got me, he laughs and I know I’ve been had. I’m sure he takes great pleasure in getting the better of me, but it’s all in good fun. Kevin is just pulling off another good joke.
It isn’t all about jokes with Kevin though. He is a deep thinker. He works things out in his head…plans ways to make their lives better. He is great with design and creates beautiful rooms in their home, making the rooms unique and yet useful. Of course, Corrie helps too, but a lot of the design comes from Kevin’s artistic mind. When they have finished something, we get a call, wanting us to come and see. I always know it will look fantastic.
Kevin is also a hopeless romantic. He works very hard to find romantic gifts for Corrie…yes, I guess he does treat her like a princess. When he finds a gift that particularly excites him, and he can’t stand it any longer, he calls me up and says, “You have to see what I bought for Corrie.” It’s always something very special, from a very special guy…a hopeless romantic. That’s my son-in-law. Happy birthday Kevin!!