Thursday, October 16, 2014

Our Tangled Web

Yesterday morning. There's lots more color than my little camera can capture. It's a beautiful world.

Remember the blog entry where I talked about being a grandma? My fears about something happening to the relationship between Austin and Tasha? Yeah. Their relationship has really gotten rocky which has my anxiety ramped way up. Neither one is all right or all wrong. I've tried to keep the lines of communication open between them but we've had to put an embargo on overnight visits after a knock down/drag out hulabaloo at midnight the other night that resulted in a broken iPhone. She's hormonal. He has Asperger's. It's a dangerous combo. We're at 11 weeks, two days pregnant. You have no idea how stressful it is to want to be supportive to your kid, who really, honestly, feels overwhelmed... but to know that there's a baby involved who needs to know his dad and who I NEED to know.

I've never gotten over - and I doubt I ever will - the estrangement of my youngest brother and his four kids. Y'all know what kind of aunt I am. It breaks my heart that those kids aren't getting to be a part of all the great times that I have with my two redheads. That brother was born when I was 14. Trust me, he was MY baby! And we just... we have such a great time with my nieces even when one is a sassafrass and won't give her "bibby" (what they call each other) the remote... there are no bad times with them. This picture is Sarabeth with her presents on her 12th birthday. Mawmaw made a cheesecake. I made a bookmark and she said, "how did you know? This is what I say every time I read!" How do I know? Because you're my niece. And I know you HAVE to be a bookworm. The My Little Pony books my parents found at an art shop last week. And the cash? Because...

As far as my grandbaby is concerned,  I've been able to keep the lines of communication open with Tasha. She knows that she's important to me and that I'll do everything I can to support her. I've given her tips for handling Austin and encouraged her as much as I can. The way it's supposed to work is .... a couple falls in love... they get married... they set up a home together and plan to share that life with a child. They took a few steps out of order and are quickly discovering differing opinions about the kind of world their child will come into. I felt a huge, HUGE amount of anxiety when we did the ultrasound two weeks ago because the other grandma was very pushy with Austin (and me) about how "he did this" "it takes two to tango" "he needs to step up"  and how our family needs to pay for things because they don't have much money. Well, I haven't worked in a year and a half. What money my parents have is their LIFE SAVINGS that they planned to live on for the rest of their lives and they're already having their retirement home invaded by me and a kid.

Getting Austin to find a job - any job- has been the most frustrating endeavor of MY LIFE and baby mama's folks are telling him that a fast food job isn't good enough, that he needs to get a factory job, like, a month ago and he's just shutting down. The impression he's getting is that they don't want Tasha to have to work - ever. Tasha worked a day, didn't feel good and just didn't go back. That pushed Austin closer to the edge. I mean, the kid is really stressed out. And for me, nonstop Austin stress means the only time I get a break is when I'm sleeping. Cue full dose of ambien after a year, almost of being on a half dose. I just keep cautioning them both to not say anything that's going to jeopardize their ability to parent together in the future. And I'm trying to do the same. Above it all... I really do like Tasha and want her to have as little stress as possible in this pregnancy. Sometimes, though, doing the hard thing is what gives you the softer pillow to lay your head on at night. The road that looks the rockiest is truly the easiest path in the long run.

So I'm grieving the possibility of having a grandchild that I don't get to know, knowing how heartbreaking it is to have nieces and nephews I don't get to know and have I mentioned how stressed I am? Ok. I guess that horse is dead enough.

The picture above is Sarabeth showing that she's ALMOST as tall as her full grown cousin. They fuss and fight and tease each other like siblings. The other day there was a pool noodle sword fight. In my living room. We put a duster cloth on the end so that when it hit the wall it would also dust. This picture is her turning on him when he said something... Austin-like.

Time for me to get back to the needle - sewing needle. Cross-stitch... take me awayyyyyyy!

Happy Thursday. Love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Work In Progress

I thought you might like to get a peek at what has been taking the place of blogging (and cleaning and everything else) over the past few weeks/months. These are a few of the projects I've been working on... these will be gifted to people who don't follow my internet presence. I think. There are four more that are super cute that I can't show without ruining the surprise. Some of these will be pillows, some will be framed. And there's a bookmark...


This is my third attempt at a bookmark. The first one was adorable but I cut the border too close and it unraveled. The second one I used a second piece of cross-stitch fabric and sewed the two pieces together which took FOREVER. This time I had the genius idea of using decorative duct tape for the back instead of trying to sew that delicate lace. That would have been a super idea except for trying to sew the border THROUGH the tape. Hello blisters and calluses! Next time I'll do just enough tape to secure the lace, sew the border and then cover that with tape.

I am nuts about this red-headed shepherdess. I'm going to do Psalms 23 as a backdrop, if it works out like I hope.  This was two patterns put together and the colors adjusted. That's my favorite way to do things... get a basic pattern and adjust it to suit me. I think this will be a pillow. Not sure.
 Incomplete penguin. There are some other penguins and background stuff I'm doing on this and it will definitely be a pillow.
 I took a photo of an Amish carpenter's wheel quilt and adapted it. I think I'd like to do this same pattern in just two or four colors. It's definitely meant to be a pillow.
This was a kit. It's small but took forever because it has a lot of half stitches. I'm not crazy about it but I think it would be nice framed.

And there are a few other works in progress. Hoping I'll finish it all before Christmas! It's great for morale because at the end of the day I've done more than just watch television... I've actually created something. I've got my sewing nest set up where I'm not putting pressure on my back and it doesn't give me carpel tunnel.

Then when my eyes start getting crossed and I start making mistakes I set it aside for the evening and go see what's been happening in cyberspace without me.

Hope you had a great weekend! Love and hugs, y'all.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Weekly Recap

Yesterday was an eleven on a pain scale of 1-10. Evil gut pain that feels like it goes all the way through to my spine. Even the "good stuff" didn't make the ouch go away. It sucks. Today has been better but the EGP (evil gut pain) is on it's way back and I had an hour of sitting upright at the Vet. More on that later.

Sarabeth and Jamie came over yesterday and we made two count-down chains - one for Christmas and one for Grandbaby #1. Jamie was HILARIOUS trying to keep straight that we were making links for 11 weeks through 40 weeks, a total of 30 weeks. I wish I could recap it for you. She's sassy in a totally adorable way. "So I need to make it to 30 weeks?" "No, it's weeks 11 through 40, which is a total of 30." "WHAT???"  Seriously, cute beyond measure, especially trying to keep her pattern of pink/blue/yellow. Sarabeth and I were trying to figure out how many days we had until Christmas. My mom was trying to find out by asking Cortana (her knock-off version of Siri) and by the time three of us tried to put in her password and find the right screen Sarabeth had counted the number of days on the calendar. Technology isn't always the quickest or best way to go. I don't do complicated craft projects with the girls because it seems to work better when it doesn't feel like a chore. The chains were a good, stress-free project.

Little Kitty caught a salamander on the back porch and brought it down to the Whine Cellar - his personal torture chamber. It's amazing that my sweet, little cuddler can be downright evil when he catches creepy crawly things. I always say, "don't let that thing get your mommy". He works hard at protecting me. What's gross is crunching on a salamander tail in the middle of the night. (reason number 2945 that I sleep with the lights on!)

This afternoon Oscar the dachshund managed to get a fishhook in his mouth. Pop came huffing and puffing up the hill with him and I grabbed my shoes and my purse and headed out the door to the Vet's office. I figured Pop was too stressed to drive, plus he had driven to Atlanta and back to see Grandma this morning. It didn't even occur to me until hours after we got home that I had gone out without brushing my hair. I was a scary, Medusa looking mess with no makeup. Fortunately the vet got him in and sedated him so they could remove the fishhook and we were out in just over an hour. Poor puppy was high as a kite on the way home! We think he will be fine. He has to take antibiotics for a few days. It's really bizarre to not hear his frequent barks from upstairs. Anybody who has been around Oscar will tell you that he's quite verbal. God love him. It doesn't feel right not to hear him.

In other, "this wouldn't happen in Riverdale" news... not long after we arrived at the vet's we see a dog running across the parking lot with a girl in scrubs chasing him. She yelled for help and two other girls from the office joined the chase. The vet's office is right on the main drag heading into Cleveland and late Friday afternoon traffic on an October day is really heavy. I was sure that poor runaway was about to be road kill. There was a guy in the waiting room with a big dog and a little dog and a five year old little boy. He remarked that he would help chase if we could watch his kid and dogs and we eagerly agreed. That would never happen in Riverdale - leaving your kid and dogs with complete strangers to chase down the dog belonging to a complete stranger. The good news is that they caught the dog. Austin had turned in an application for a job there the other day. I couldn't help but say, "my son applied for a job here the other day and he's GREAT at catching runaway dogs". *crickets* Oh well, it was worth a shot.

I switched from frantic "Christmas gift" stitching to "birthday gift" stitching today. Sarabeth will be 12 next Tuesday. I am about 75% done on her gift and will finish up tomorrow and get back to Santa's Workshop. I've made a lot of progress but still have miles to go on my Christmas gifts. I'm not a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination but I usually keep things fairly tidy. Lately I've been too focused on sewing to clean. This is how the nest looks now due to my lack of attention:

 My bed piled with clean clothes. The floor piled with dirty clothes and clothes that need to be sorted. I've been sleeping on Jamie's nest in the living room so my bed only gets cleared off when Tasha spends the night and sometimes not even then... she just pushes them to the side.
 Jamie's nest / My cross stitching nest / last week's newspaper / empty snack packages. #mess
Boxes of craft supplies, wrapping paper and other assorted things that found their way to my living room. At least I can say it looks lived in.

This is the funny one (to me). For a few toilet paper changes nobody bothered to throw away the cardboard tubes. They piled up and someone made a pyramid of them. The pyramid has grown and grown. Little Kitty always supervises my bathroom visits and manages to knock the pyramid over half the time.

The leaves are really starting to look beautiful right now, especially the reds. One day I'll take photos. These will have to do for now...
 just a tiny bit of change...

And... I guess that's about it for now. Love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Lot of Words then A Lot of Pictures

Sorry it's been so long since I updated. Life has been happening a lot around here and in the pauses in the action I'm either (a) too drained to write or (b) it's better if I don't share my thoughts until I can make them more Christ-like/positive/uplifting/etc.

We went to the OB with Tasha on Thursday which was interesting for so many reasons - not the least of which having to "pull over right now, she's going to throw up" and the closest place to stop was The Demorest City Cemetary. The kids are sure that the zombies are going to get us for that one. They did an ultrasound so we both got to see the bitty baby AND hear his heartbeat. Due to his heart rate of 174, my early gender guess is BOY. We asked the technician about the whole concept of placenta placement revealing the gender and she said... well this one is posterior, not left or right. Austin says that means it's a hermaphrodite. :shakes head: Austin is very tactile - must touch everything - imagine that in a OB/GYN office. Fun times.

At any rate... the baby looks great, his due date is 5/5/15 which is such a cool birthday, even though I know first babies never come on their due date. Except my brother Jim and if you know Jim, you know how perfect that is! So we have a Cinco de Mayo baby.

As exciting as all of that is it has been an emotionally exhausting week for me. Austin in relationships means him not always getting all the social cues of knowing what is expected of him in this situation. It's all new. It also, unfortunately, adds a new group of people with opinions about how he is supposed to act - people who don't yet really understand his quirks and how the surest way to lose him is to make him feels pressured to behave a certain way. And in our situation it's a clash of parenting styles among grandparents with hers being much more confrontational and mine being my tried and true - "sit back, let them figure things out between them and offer advice/support when asked".

All of this means that Austin wants to be where he feels safe and supported and loved and comfortable - which is the Whine Cellar - and Tasha feels sick and exhausted and overwhelmed with all that is happening and wants to be where she feels safe and loved and so forth, which is her home with her parents AND Austin. It has been a huge bone of contention and I, as usual, am Austin's ambassador to the world and the world's ambassador to Austin and it. wears. me. out. We love Tasha and I enjoy having her here but I'm a homebody myself. I know that when I'm not feeling good I want to be where I'm comfortable.

We've also been blessed to have some precious time with people who are precious to us - Uncle John (my mom's youngest brother) and Aunt Gerri, our usual weekly visits of the beloved redheads and two brief visits from Cody and Marquee as they dropped off/picked up Sammy on the bookends of their trip to Disney World this weekend. Many people who make our lives richer and deeper and a lot of social time for this introvert.

I had one big cross-stitch project that I was working from a Spanish pattern that I snagged from Pinterest that the further I got into it, the more I realized something was lost in translation because it just didn't look like the picture at all. It drives me nuts to start a project and not finish it, not to mention the lost time and materials but it was never going to be something that I would be proud to give. I'm so excited to put a little love and a lot of prayer into every gift I give this year and I love that it's something that I can do with my "budget" (of no money at all). However... the days are ticking by and I've still got many, many projects to do.

We're also, as collective grands of the wee one, in very different places on this "getting ready for baby" planet. I have no money at all and medical expenses every month put me in the negative but... almost certainly before he gets here, I will have had my disability hearing and either (a) received a chunk of change or (b) be even broker than I was before with a huge attorney bill to pay. Under situation (a), I'm happy to take care of many baby needs. Under situation (b) I have nothing to contribute. They (the other grands) want me to participate in the shopping process NOW which I can't do because... I can't just wander around stores, I don't have that luxury and I can't share in the expense because I have no money. I know there's a limited amount of time to get ready but that doesn't change my circumstances. It is returning me to Darby-level anxiety (but not Darby-level depression, I'm ok.). Her mom wants to bond. I'm not a bonder. I once was but life - and pain - has changed that. And pushing me towards that makes me want to run and hide.

So that's where I've been. Dealing with stuff. Seeing people. Sewing. And now some pictures:

Dipped into the thirties here last night therefore we have had a lovely fog on the lake this morning.

Pop made a big batch of chili yesterday. Perfect for football watching! I had my chili over fritos and topped with cheese, sour cream and guacamole. IT WAS SO GOOD! Totally worth the heartburn / reflux and pain that comes any time my belly is full. Oh... and that cornbread beside it... cracklin' cornbread cooked in an iron skillet because, is there any other way?

What are mama and Oscar looking at?

 My grandpuppy Sammy loosing his MIND because he got a wee bit wet going outside to potty.

Old folks on the dock + Austin. Austin said, "they're SLEEPING while they fish!"

 Stepped outside for a second without Little Kitty. First he raps on the glass with his claws and when that doesn't work............
Full on begging, "PLEASE don't leave me!"

A little  less stressed in this one.

Jamie loves Pop's electronics. She's a whiz.

 Mom and Pop's combined birthday celebration. Grandma spent the weekend with us. Grammy (my sister-in-law Angie's mom) loves spending time with Grandma. And we love having extended family around.
Mommy and Daddy to be...
 I'm always at the kids' table - by choice. That's where the fun happens!
Is there any doubt these folks are related? Grandma and Jamie have the same grin, the same cheery personality and are, at least for the moment, the same height.

And that's all, folks! Love and hugs!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Last Weekend in September

Yesterday was my mom's birthday. Her brother John and his wife Gerri are in town from Florida. John is the youngest brother. There were four boys in a row and then three girls in a row. My mom is the middle girl. Anyways... John and Gerri are here for the week, staying in the house of a friend of theirs? Or something? I'm not sure. They're not staying with us. They came over yesterday and then we went to Wendell's for lunch. Wendell's is sort of a meat and three type place. Everyone except for me and Pop had liver and onions. :shudder: I had fried chicken and Pop had grilled chicken. The food was good. The company was great. The stress on my back was unbearable.

Afterwards we visited the little thrift store next to the restaurant where I picked up this amazing picnic basket for only $5!  I knew it was perfect for a sewing basket so that I could organize my embroidery supplies. Sidebar: whenever I type the word "picnic basket" in my head I hear Yogi Bear's voice saying "pick-a-nick basket". Anybody else have that problem? Gerri found a great deal on some dishes and made arrangements to go back and pick them up later this week when they've been packed for travel back to Florida.

During lunch Uncle John entertained with stories about mom's early childhood when they lived in Cohutta, Georgia. Cohutta is near Dalton, Georgia, in the far northwest corner of the state. It was (and still is) primarily rural and poor. Their house - my mom's first home - didn't have electricity or running water. The barn and the chicken house had water and electricity but their home didn't. They used well water to drink until a cat fell in the well and ... well, contaminated it. Then they finally piped running water into the house. Can you imagine having seven kids without running water and electricity? Ironically, the year they got electricity was the year that the last child was born. Apparently they found something else to do at night.

All was well with the grandbaby at the doctor on Wednesday. They did not do an ultrasound, she goes back for that next Thursday and I'm taking her! I've heard this thing on the internet about how the placement of the placenta in early pregnancy is an indication of the sex. I mean, I know that's probably as much of an Old Wives Tale as the peeing in drano thing or the swinging wedding ring or how you carry... but I'm still going to take note of it, if possible.

I'm so proud of Tasha because she has gone back to work! I've been there... I know how hard it is to work in early pregnancy. I also know that she wants to give this baby the best life possible, which was always my motivation. Every job I ever worked was to provide for my kids, especially those last few months that I worked full time while Austin was finishing high school. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to just give up... how many days I came home in extreme agony... but I had to give him that stability for his last few months of school. Thanks to help from family, we didn't have to move out when I lost my job which would have been devastating.  I hope that seeing Tasha work hard to provide for their baby will be inspiration to Austin to do everything he can to find a job. There are a lot of places hiring.

Going out to lunch yesterday was painful. I wanted to push myself because we don't see Uncle John that often, just like I pushed myself last weekend when Grandma was here and the result was the same. I was in such horrendous pain by the time we got home - after a little detour through Helen - that I was pouring sweat and sick to my stomach. Today my spine feels like it's on fire and in a vice. I'm having muscle spasms and my legs feel like they're made of lead. It's crazy. I was out and about for just a little over two hours and not all of that time was sitting. Two hours of activity takes me out of commission for days. That's just ... frustrating.

Mom and Dad went this morning to watch my niece Jamie cheer. I sent along the camera and Sarabeth took a bunch of pictures for me. Jamie is the one with red hair, in case you can't spot her.

And now my parents are at a Sunday School social and I'm dog-sitting while watching the Florida State game. I've been a Gator fan ever since the Darby era. I mean, I lived in Florida at the height of the Tebow reign and it was great to be a Florida Gator. At least it was then. I'm not a fair weather fan but I did promise my children to change my allegiance whenever they gave me a grandchild. Even though Austin knows nothing about football, the older boys insist that a grandchild is a grandchild and they have invoked the Grandchild Clause. I'm told a FSU sweatshirt is in the works. I'm watching FSU vs. NC State. And trying my best to pull for the right team. I figure it's the least I can do. Go Noles. 

I guess that's about it for now. Can you stand a few more Jamie pictures? I love my sweet girl!

she's spotting in this one

Happy Weekend, y'all!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

More Grandma Musings

My 90 year old grandma spent the past weekend with us and I took not ONE single picture. I can't believe it.

It was my dad's birthday Sunday and my mom's birthday is this coming up Friday so we had a cookout with my brother and sister-in-law and my sister-in-law's mom (who adores my grandma) and, of course, my nieces and Austin and his baby mama.

We had a great time but I got a real big reminder of why I don't sit ever, anywhere. Still, this morning, three days later, my lower back is so tender that I can't get comfortable in any position, in any chair anywhere. Sunday I could hardly move. Yesterday was a tiny bit better and this morning I said, "to hell with it" and went to Walmart. Had to get out of the house and the change of scenery was good.

It's such a beautiful time of year up here in the mountains! Only a few trees have started changing colors but the air has that hint of crispness that makes you believe that the hot, miserable days of Summer are over.

At Walmart (back tracking a bit, sorry) I wandered through the baby section. It's been many-a-year since I had any babies around and the stuff has changed quite a bit. I wouldn't allow myself to look at clothes because I don't want to dream about pink & ruffles if I'm going to have another baby to dress in blue. Not that I wouldn't love a baby boy - I'm good at raising boys - but I would adore a little Cosette!

My niece Jamie said to me Saturday night that she didn't want me to be a grandma because I'm her Aunt Heather. She said this to me with my face in her hands - so precious! I told her that I'd always be her Aunt Heather but now I'd have a baby cousin for her to love. I got a big grin for that. I didn't tell her it would actually be a first cousin- once removed because that would be too confusing.

I just think about a little girl at our church who was ten when Austin was born (the age Jamie will be when baby gets here).  Cody was in the hospital when Austin was just a few weeks old and Joy's family was one of the many who took care of my itty bitty brand new baby during that time. I think he was more bonded to Joy than me for awhile! Joy LOVED Austin and toted him around like he was her own living baby doll. She now has a house full of her own babies. Time goes by so fast.

I still can't really wrap my head around it. I mean, I have grown children, I knew it was possible. It has been weird, having been a young mom - having babies before all of my friends - it has been weird to watch friend after friend after friend become a grandma before me. And now it's weird that I'm joining their sorority!

They have their first doctor appointment tomorrow and hopefully we'll get some ultrasound pictures.

I have been working like I'm in a sweatshop trying to get Christmas gifts sewn. I took a break over Friday and Saturday to make a bookmark for my dad. I have this book of patterns for bookmarks that my mom found and there was a saying in it that we had heard in a church conference when I was a young teen. It's based on Judges 3:31. The three points from that sermon were,
1. Start where you are
2 Use what you have
3 Do what you can.
How many sermons do you remember from when you were 13 or 14? It was the first sermon I had ever heard from a black preacher and he was so passionate that it really impressed on my heart. Since I had the lettering on the pattern already, I just had to adapt the border to something fitting. Dad led the worship service at the Presbyterian church this week (shhh! don't tell the Baptists!) and he used it in his message, so it was worth the effort.

I've  been wearing out Pinterest finding cross stitch patterns. There are SO many out there! I'm working on one that is perfect for a family member but it's in Spanish. It's a little tricky to figure out the colors in Spanish but ... at least the pattern was free!

Did you watch The Roosevelts documentary series that was on PBS last week? I found it fascinating. One thing I didn't know was that Warm Springs, Georgia (where FDR's Little White House is located) was formerly known as Bullochville until 1924. This is interesting to me because my great-grandmother was a Bulloch and they came from that area so I'm certain it must have been named after one of my ancestors. I haven't been able to pull anything up on the internet - but I'm still working on it. Grandma also enjoyed the series and did not know about Bullochville either.

It's been mild enough for us to cut off the air conditioning which means that it's warm enough in the Whine Cellar that I can put away the long sleeve shirts and fleece sleep pants that I've lived in all Summer. When the a/c is on it's FREEZING down here! I'd rather - much, much rather - be cold than hot so I'm not complaining. It's just been weird all Summer to have to take off my sweaters and thick socks before going outside.

AND I guess that's about all I have to say today. Hope you're all well. Love and hugs everybody!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Are There Introverted Grandmas?

I'm really not sociable. I mean, I try to be friendly and involved with my grandbaby's Baby Mama while her and Austin are here but after a couple of hours I just want to not talk. I realize from a totally logical perspective that pain has made me an introvert and ALL introverts need time alone but I am trying hard to not be that way. I think grandmas are supposed to be extroverts.

The thing is that I've realized that boy mamas aren't usually as "involved" in the grandkids' lives... ok, truthfully... I just know that growing up we didn't spend as much time with my dad's mom as my mom's mom... and I know that my kids have had almost no contact at all with their dad's mom and I worry that as a paternal grandmother that I'll not have the same opportunities in my grandkids' lives, what with me not getting out much and all. I logically understand that with my dad's mom she worked full-time and then when she retired she moved to Florida and then she re-married and moved to North Carolina so - you know, distance - but I live a distance away from 2/3 of my kids. And with my kids' grandmom she was/is really not mentally stable and then married a crack dealer who kidnapped and beat up his mother-in-law (true story) and that she never really made an effort to see my kids, save a once a year Christmas letter but still... ok, I have nothing in common with her but still, dad's mom = distant.

And I've got to be honest... I *hope* that Austin's sweet loyalty will make him a good dad but I know that he's got a long way to go before he's what I would call a provider. I mean... I was a teen mom but my first thought was... "omg I need a job so that I have health insurance and can afford diapers and formula" and these kids' reality is medicaid and WIC and sleeping all day. I had Duchess Kate level morning sickness - constant puking - and I worked full time because my baby needed to have health insurance.

That's another thing about my kids' other grandmother... when I married my kids' dad (at 17) my three little brothers still lived at home in a house with one bathroom and so we started out marriage living with his mom. She was on disability (painful irony) and my baby daddy was still in high school so I was the only one in the house who was working but she had a CHORE LIST for me to complete every day after working full-time, spending two hours commuting back and forth to work and puking my guts up every day. She also expected us - and by "us" I mean "me" because I was the only one working - to pay 2/3 of the household bills because we were 2/3 of the household. So... long story short, we didn't last long with her and I honestly never forgot how she treated me at that really, really difficult time in my life. We never bonded over picking out a crib or buying baby clothes or coming up with a name. No, what I remember most about my babies' "other" grandmother was her best friend calling me while I was IN LABOR to harass me about including my mother-in-law in the birth.

I know it's all freakishly modern to have natural childbirth with half the family watching but I was a "me and the daddy only" type birth-er and I let the doctor be there for two births but the third was just some random nurse we grabbed at the last minute because they didn't believe that I was really in labor. (For the record - I don't joke about such things). Anyways... back to last paragraph... I politely but in no uncertain terms told the best friend where she could shove it because I was busy trying to shove a kid out. Back then I wasn't as tactful as I am now, maturity and all.

Anyways... so I have major fears about being allowed to play a role in the lives of my future grandchildren because my past experience with bonding and paternal grandmothers isn't all that great. I mean, then there's my sister-in-law who has basically banned our entire family from seeing her kids for - long story but it should have been over long ago. Then there's my brother in Chattanooga who is a Jehovah's Witness but other than birthday and holiday bonding he has worked hard to have us be a part of his kids' lives but it's awkward because, you know, holidays and stuff...  and then, of course, there's my older brother whose two little girls are very, very much a treasured part of our lives.

Major fears about being allowed to play a role... major fears of my son doing something that gets us all banned from the baby's life... which leaves me really trying hard to bond with my grandbaby's Baby Mama.

And here's the thing: I'm just not that sociable. I've always been the "let me just stay out of your way" kind of mother to my adult children. I'm not one who has expectations about obligatory phone calls once a week or attending certain holiday events. I'm just not. I want my kids around me when they want to be around me and not a second more. That whole "stay out of the way" thing has worked fairly well so far. (except on Cody and Marquee's wedding night when they had to drive three hours round trip to meet up with me on a really rainy night because I had the keys to the reception venue in my purse...  sad, sad memories of them eating Waffle House in the car waiting for me to meet them).  I have never, ever, not one single time interfered in my grown childrens' lives (correct me if I'm wrong, y'all). I give opinions only when expressly asked for an opinion and then I preface it with, "well, do you want my opinion?" and if the answer is no, I shove it back in like two hours of pushing that ended up in a forceps delivery, child number one, thank you very much.

But grandbaby's Baby Mama IS sociable and wants to talk about all kinds of things that, oh my word!, I'm tickled pink (or blue?) to be included in... from what to expect when you're expecting to baby names (so far it's Cosette Raquel or Hayden James, both highly, HIGHLY subject to change) to gender reveal parties (back in my day that was aka "birth") to showers to ... everything. And I so very much want to bond with her and be supportive and encouraging and let's be honest... fill in the gaps that my sweetly earnest but very naive grown child may leave but I am SO UNSOCIABLE that I encouraged them to spend this evening back at her house so she could "be more comfortable" before my paternal grandma comes to spend the weekend with us because... although I know that it is an incredible gift that my almost 91 year old grandmother is still with us... it's also really, really exhausting for me to be sociable all weekend.

I know that all of this is just a big long string of run-on paragraphs and what I should be focusing on is how blessed we are to have five living generations, even if that means I have to actually interact with the non-furry, three dimensional people for a little while. If you take anything from this let it be that people who are in pain a lot are not unsociable because they don't love you or want to see you... it's just that the "surviving" part of life has become much more difficult than it should be.

And ... cat pictures... just because.... waiting for nummies is so funny!

Remind me to tell you later about the snake in the kitchen.

Happy Friday-Eve!