As the first year without our mother, comes to a close, I find myself with mixed feelings. I miss my mother so much, but I know where she is, and that makes is a little easier. That doesn’t, however, make the sting of missing her go away. It’s hard to live on this Earth without your parents. Oh, I know it is something most people go through at one time or another in their lives, but no one really knows exactly how that feels until they have been through it. I know I didn’t. There are times when the sadness fills my soul so much that I cannot hold back the tears.
At other times, I think back on the things our parents taught us. There are so many life lessons…their teachings that made us the people we are today. My mother was the sunny one. She hated having her family sad or even grouchy. If someone was grouchy, she would often start singing, Keep On The Sunny Side. That song always held a special place for all of us. My mom really was the keeper of the sunshine in our house. She loved to laugh and sing, and many was the morning that we woke up to the nursery song, Good Morning. Mom sang often. I think that went back to her childhood years. When her mother and siblings were working around the house, they always held sing-alongs. The way we grow up has a lot to do with the way we run our own homes…and Mom grew up around songs and team work. We grew up doing chores, and we never felt like there was something wrong with that. I can’t say that we always wanted to do our chores, but we knew there was a good reason to share the chores. Probably the main one being to stay out of trouble.
My mom knew a lot of songs. They filled her heart. Some of her favorites were hymns, because God was always first and foremost in her life. Like many of us in the family, the songs we sang in church on Sunday morning tended to stick in our heads throughout the week. I find myself singing them all through the week. Mom had some particular favorites too. She liked In The Garden, Jesus Loves Me, How Great Thou Art, and What A Friend We Have In Jesus. She sang these songs often, and when she did, she always felt like she was closer to God. Of course, Mom was always walking with God. If she wasn’t reading her Bible, she was reading books by her favorite Evangelists or listening to teaching tapes and videos. Mom knew that Heaven was her home, and when she got ready, and she was satisfied with the things she had done in her life, she made the decision to go home. I know there are those who won’t understand that, but my mom was not sick in any way…she just decided to go home to be with her Lord. That was one year ago today, and while we miss her terribly, we know that she is home, and that’s where she really wants to be. We love you Mom. And we can’t wait to see you and Dad again.
It isn’t very often that we have the chance to get just a little glimpse of what a man was really like, as a child. Oh, we might think we know what the child was like, mostly because all kids are the same…or pretty close to it, right. In reality, I think we would be very wrong. Every child is unique, and unless someone wrote things down, no one will ever really know the truth. That said, I have to say that, while I have never met my nephew, Dave Chase’s mother, Nancy, I find myself quite impressed with her anyway. I hope she doesn’t mind that I read her incredible account of her precious children. That she took the time to write about her children starting when the boys, Dave and Danny were just three and two, and later added little sister, Janie was amazing in it’s own right, but the insight she gave into the real person each of them was is even more amazing. I wish I could tell you about all three of the children, but I will focus on my niece Toni Masterson Chase’s husband, Dave.
I have always known that Dave was a smart man, but in his mother’s writings, there are so many little insights into the kind of man Dave would become. He was much that way from the time he was a child. Oh, there were the typical little three year old boy things in her writings, such as calling a helicopter, a “Heepercopter!” in a voice filled with the excitement that only a child can display. There were the typical fights with his brother Danny, just a year younger than Dave was. Yes, Dave fought with his brother, true enough, but often, he would fix the fight without letting his little brother know the truth…that Dave was kind of a softie where his brother was concerned. Still, there was something else that Dave’s mother saw in her oldest son. There was the little boy who piled all his favorite songs, poems, and sayings into his prayers to God, because it was the very best things he had to give to God.
Nancy commented on her son’s memory, which she called elephantine, when he mentioned a bee in the car the prior summer on a trip to Wyoming. Dave was just two at the time. Dave was also quite logical. When told that a girl had butterflies in her tummy, he quickly remarked that, “No girl eats BUTTERFLIES!” His remark almost implied that no girl would have the guts to eat butterflies…and almost that maybe a boy would. Being the big brother was a big responsibility. When Dave’s baby sister, Janie arrived, he wanted to make sure she knew who he was, so he would introduce himself, saying “oo know me, baby, David Chase” repeatedly. I think Janie knew his name pretty early on. After all, he was her big brother, and he made her feel important. When given an explanation of how the sun “burned off” the fog over the base, Dave commented, “the sun is smart.” I think that this little boy was smart…and quite possibly the apple of his mother’s eye…along with his siblings of course. Today is Dave’s birthday. Nancy, thank you for this little bit of insight into your boy, who is now a special part of our family. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My mom always wanted to hear nothing but happiness in her home. Really, what parent doesn’t? The biggest problem was that she had five daughters who were all very capable of being drama queens, and we didn’t mind a good argument or even a big fight either. That situation made for a house that could, on occasion, be…a little less than happy. I’m sure we pretty much drove her crazy at times. Mom tried a lot of things to restore her preferred mood, like singing “You Are My Sunshine” or doing other goofy things.
Of course, Mom’s cheerfulness wasn’t just during times when we were fighting, and she could get grouchy if she needed too, but then who can’t? The funny thing about some of the things Mom used to do is how totally random they were. Take the Cha-Cha for instance. Most people would never imagine that my mom would do the Cha-Cha…and do it often, but she did. It was all a part of her love for life style. Sometimes, that happiness would just burst out of her, and she had to do something with it. It was like a nervous energy of sorts. You never knew when to expect it. It was totally random, but you had a pretty good idea that this would not be the last time your would see it.
Of course, she did other things with that happy energy, and as kids, and even sometimes as adults, we were a bit embarrassed about some of them. The parade is a prime example. Mom just can’t help but let out a big “Woo Hoo” when the floats go by. She hates for anyone not to be cheered on for their efforts. She stands out in the crowd too, because she always wears her cowboy hat. I used to think that was how everyone knew just who it was doing all the “woo hooing”, but then I realized that lots of people had cowboy hats on…Mom was just the one with the loud voice that happened to be “woo hooing”…and by the way, everyone else was “woo hooing” too, so I seriously doubt that anyone even noticed my mom’s “woo hooing”…except maybe her kids. I used to think, “Oh my gosh!! Do you have to do that?” But these days, it doesn’t bother me. I guess that as we get older, we don’t worry so much about what other people think, and we are finally able to just enjoy the moment. That’s what my mom was always able to do…enjoy the moment. Maybe more of us should be like that.
When a family has sisters in it, there is always the possibility of fights going on, and even more the possibility of arguments. It is no different with my nieces, Michelle and Lacey. Most of the time they get along very well, and they always love each other…that is just a given. I suppose it could have been different when they were little. They might have had the sibling rivalry, the kid sister, or just the you touched my stuff fights, but those things didn’t completely dominate their young life.
As little girls, I didn’t think there was a huge resemblance between the girls, but as they get older, I find myself thinking that maybe I was wrong. Recently, Lacey posted the above picture on her Facebook page, and I had to do a double take. She looked so much like a picture of Michelle that I remembered seeing, that I couldn’t believe it. Sisters can resemble each other sometimes, but rarely do they look like they could be twins, unless they are twins. The girls dad, is a twin, of the fraternal type, and I think these girls look more alike that their dad and his twin brother. I couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t noticed it before. Well, I had to point that out on the picture that Lacey had posted, because I knew that they were very close, and they would like that.
Lacey did like the comment, but little did I know that my comment would start a sparring match between the girls. While Lacey liked my comment, Michelle posted, “Haha, she wishes!” Then, Lacey came back with, “I got the good genes…Michelle is just jealous!” Michelle followed with, “Good genes? More like identical genes.” Now on that comment, I think Michelle hit it right on the button. That seems to be exactly what my sister, Alena and her husband, Mike managed to do…create identical twins 5 years apart.
The girls and their brother Garrett always have a lot of fun when they are together. They share a great sense of humor, and a love of laughter. They don’t mind clowning around to make people laugh either. Lacey can be the quiet one of the bunch, but when she gets to know the people around her, she can clown around with the best of them. Today is Lacey’s birthday. Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a great day, and don’t fight with your sister so much ok, hahaha!! We love you!!
Bob and I had always felt that our kids didn’t really need a phone in their room, and for the early years, they didn’t have one. But, when our girls reached the pre-teen years, we decided that since the phone was always for them, and having them talk, talk, talking in the living room made it really hard to watch television, maybe having a phone in their rooms wasn’t such a horrible idea after all. The constant chatter and loud laughter was hard to ignore…not to mention having the girls constantly telling everyone not to listen!!
So, along about the time they were 11 or 12, we decided that Christmas would bring a rather unexpected gift for our girls. We were going to get them phones for their rooms. Of course, there would not be a separate line, but there would be some peace and quiet in the living room. For the most part it brought peace to our home…sort of. There were times when one or the other of the girls took too long in their turn on the phone, and then we would have a few fights. Still, the moments of fighting were a small sacrifice compared to the hours of peace that fell in between. I will never forget the look on my girls’ faces that Christmas morning. They couldn’t believe that they could talk in their bedrooms and not have everyone listening to every word they said.
Much has changed since those days. Pretty much every child has their own cell phone these days…and their own phone number…and it is more important than many people would like to think. A cell phone can be a life line if their car breaks down, or they missed their bus, etc. I know of many parents who don’t think their child needs a cell phone, and that they are a distraction. In some ways, that is right…especially if they are using it during class, but a child walking home alone, who gets lost or is being followed…needs a phone…now!!
I am grateful that my girls have continued the tradition and that their children each have a cell phone. It’s nice to be able to get a hold of my grandchildren whenever I want to. Of course, today things are different. Phones are used in a completely different way…texting. And if you want to keep up, you have to be able to text. I personally like texting, because it allows you to go on doing what you were doing while you are waiting to hear back. And cameras on the phone can be fun and functional too.
Yes, much has changed since my girls’ first phones, but kids haven’t changed. They still get excited about that new phone, and just the fact that it is theirs. They still want the latest and the greatest technology. And what is cool today, will be old news tomorrow. As excited as my girls were with their new phones that Christmas morning so many years ago, today they would wonder if I had lost my mind, because I would be giving them an antique that would be viewed as worthless.
My girls, like most kids had great cousins, but like most kids, there were good days and bad days. This applied to both sides of our family. Their relationships with their cousins have spanned 3 decades and have grown into beautiful friendships, despite the rocky starts.
Since I was the second child, my older sister’s children were the only cousins on that side for a long time. Her older daughters were always a source of goofy antics, while providing my girls with a little bit of a look at how the bigger kids acted, and what they did. Her son gave them a glimpse into what boys were like…quite a culture shock for my girls who were around mostly girls. Her younger girls were really the ones my girls played with, and also, where most of the fights occurred. There were fights of the real and imagined kind. Now many people might not know what an imagined fight is, but I know. It is when one child tells on another child for hitting them, when in reality no such event took place. I expect this type of fight happens more than we know. Thankfully, as time goes by, those same kids who fought like cats and dogs, and then turned right around and played until they dropped from exhaustion, grow up to become wonderful adults, who are the best of friends and the greatest allies for life.
On Bob’s side of the family, things were much the same. Great little friends, but also serious little fighters when they felt like their territory was being invaded. The would play together, quite happily, until someone had a toy or other item…such as the seat of an old tractor that Grandpa had, and the other one wanted. Such invasions of perceived territory, might get one socked in the nose…or even bitten. Because the kids were all so close in age, they each felt like they were the one in charge, and sometimes the only solution was to make them all come in and let them know that…none of them was in charge. We were!! Again, thankfully those years have passed and yet, the relationships survived.
There truly is nothing like family. It doesn’t matter what you agree or disagree on, you always love each other. You are friends forever, because you have grown up with all the secrets, adventures, and yes, fights that build the lives of children. You have survived the most embarrassing moments, the most horrible looks, and those awful fads that your parents still cringe about.
You are now adults with kids of your own. You have come full circle…and your kids are fighting with their cousins, wearing clothes and hair styles you hate, telling you that you don’t understand anything…basically after all those years of trying to be yourselves, you have become…your parents.