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The Magic of Memories

6 Dec

I am fortunate enough to have some of the best memories of childhood. Many of those memories were created around the holidays and I am reminded of them each year at this time.

There are a million little details that I still remember. We would always have Johnny Mathis playing as we put our Christmas tree up. My parents always purchased a live tree and the smell was so wonderful and lingered through the entire house. I loved getting sticky sap on my fingers as we would decorate the tree with all our handmade and sentimental ornaments. We each had very special stockings that we would hang on the mantle each year and await the moment that they would be filled with goodies. My  mom would decorate the mantle and sitting in our living room would feel like the coziest place on earth. On Christmas Eve we would have a huge dinner with our grandparents and then open gifts from one another. We would stay up way too late watching The Christmas Story, even though it was on for 24 hours straight. We would wake up on Christmas morning to find that Santa had been there a few hours before. Once all the bows were ripped off and the last package had been opened we would have a wonderful breakfast with everyone. The remainder of the day would be spent eating, napping, playing with new goodies and watching Christmas movies. It was such a magical time.

Once you have a tradition it’s hard to break it. When Josh and I got married he would want to integrate or try a new tradition and I was always opposed. I guess I had it in my head the exact way things were supposed to go because that is all I knew. However, since Lila’s arrival I feel like I am becoming much more open to new traditions. I want her to always remember this being an incredible time of the year. I want her to feel those butterflies in her belly that I remember feeling as a child. From time to time I still that amazing feeling as Christmas approaches but it is much more fleeting now. I want to re-live all those special moments through Lila’s eyes. I know she is still a bit young and most likely won’t remember this Christmas but that won’t stop me from trying to make it as special as possible. Nothing beats seeing your child’s face light up with joy and discover something new.

40 Years = Whoa!

27 Sep

 

I’m pretty behind on this post but I couldn’t let it pass without sharing.

The 1st of September my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. I think this is pretty incredible and pretty rare. I don’t think I really appreciated how special this was until I got married myself. Marriage isn’t always easy, it is waking up everyday and thinking about someone else’s needs just as much as your own. My parents have been a solid foundation of love and something I have aspired to have for so long. Their example has shown me it really can work.

As I am about to enter my fourth year of marriage, I look to them on a consistent basis for guidance. Four years seems like nothing in comparison to the forty they have clocked in but I have to remember that you have to have your fourth before you can have your fortieth. Sometimes it is odd to think of your parents when they were age and wonder what they were experiencing in their life. As I have positioned my feet a little more into adulthood I love to ask them questions about what they went through to get where they are today. I am grateful that they are here for me to be able to do that. Each day that passes I can look back at choices they made and see the wisdom in them where I wouldn’t have ten years ago.

I remember when Josh and I were dating and things were getting serious that my dad gave me some great advice. He told me I needed to make sure my partner and I both had staying power. He said things wouldn’t always be easy and fun and you have to have that desire to stay and make it work even when things get tough. I will never forget this advice. As I look at my parents I see two people with the greatest staying power I have ever seen. They continue to choose one another each day. Some days that may be the easiest decision of all and they may not even have to think about it and other days it is a choice.

 

I will continue to watch and learn from my parents. They have laid out a roadmap in the last 4o years that if followed will lead to the best love there is.

For Daddy

15 Jun

I have been blessed with the best daddy in the entire world. When I look back over my childhood he was at every basketball game, every swim meet, ready to help me with my homework and eager to teach me new things. I think I have taken for granted what a present father he has been. It was the norm for my dad to be such a huge part of my life and I didn’t have to question whether he would be there or not. Through the years, I have found out just how lucky I am to have father who didn’t and still doesn’t want to miss anything.

My dad is an incredibly smart man, it is rare that you can catch him without a book in his hand. As a child I could always find him tucked away in his cozy study in the evenings. He is responsible for teaching me how to write and how to use my words to make a page come alive. I would always  be timid to show him any paper I had written for school because I knew it was coming back with changes and lots of them. I hated that then but I appreciate it so much now. He pushed me to be better and not just slap something down for the sake of having it.

My dad was always the softy and I knew to go through him if I really wanted something. He truly has such a kind heart and knows the words to speak to make worry or heartache fade away. I remember one time in particular that stands out in my mind. I was still in college and Josh and I had broken up. I was emotional, upset and sad. My dad came up early in the day and he took me to lunch, we went to a movie and he even took me shopping. He would have done anything in his power to make my hurt go away. I will never forget that day with my dad and all the wise words he told me about life and relationships. The relationship thing worked out….ya know, Josh is now his son-in-law:)

As hard as it is for parents to see their children in pain, I think it is pretty hard for children to see their parents in pain too. This past year has been a challenging one for my dad as he underwent three back surgeries. I have never seen him in so much pain and it was truly heartbreaking. Thankfully though he has made a huge recovery.

I love watching him interact with Lila and how their faces light up when they see each other. It brings me so much joy for him to be able to get in the floor with Lila and cut up. I look forward to the adventures they will go on together and I can’t wait to see all the amazing things he teaches her.

We are all lucky to have him in our lives and I am especially grateful to call him my father.

I love you daddy.

The Love of Grandparents

30 May

After Lila got to spend the week with her grandparents last week it really made me start thinking what an impact they have on our lives. I remember so many wonderful things about my grandparents and they comprised a large part of my childhood.

We referred to my grandparents as More-Mama and More-Daddy, I had 2 More-Daddys and 1 More-Mama. My brother deemed them with these names when he was small. My parents were trying to explain who they were to him and his cute name stuck. My More-Daddy Overholt, my dad’s father lived with us for basically my entire life. The house we lived in was the house my dad had grown up in. More-Daddy lived downstairs which was its own little apartment and we lived upstairs. He was a part of my everyday life and I feel so grateful now that I got to spend so much time with him. He would pick me up from school everyday, join us for dinner most evenings and was always there for you no matter what you needed. His favorite pastime was to sit out in front of the house and watch the world go by. He was a fixture of our house and it was almost a disappointment to arrive home and not have him sitting out front greeting you. If it hadn’t been for More-Daddy I wouldn’t have discovered the joys of “The Price is Right.” He never missed it and I remember sitting with him in the summers and watching Bob Barker give away cash and prizes. That may seem silly but those little moments are priceless.

I also spent a large amount of time with my mom’s parents, especially in the summer. They only lived a short 2o minutes from us. We spent summers building teepees, going to Dollywood, swimming and having overnight visits. I always loved going to their house and More-Mama could make the best mac n cheese in the whole world. They would take me to the local drugstore where I enjoyed chicken n dumplings and chocolate malts. Also, from the time I was 4 until I was about 12 or 13 we would go to the beach each summer. My grandparents along with my mom, dad and brother would spend a week in Garden City, SC. I have some of the most vivid memories of my life from those trips. My grandparents would get up at dawn and walk the beach, only to return with a plethora of sharks teeth. My brother and I thought this was the coolest thing and would fight over the biggest ones. We would have cucumber and tomato sandwiches for lunch while my grandparents caught up on their favorite soap opera at lunch, As The World Turns. I can see the condo as clear as day in my head, I remember the sweet smell of the saltwater, and the instant feeling of never wanting to leave as soon as we arrived.

I can’t help but think about all the lessons my grandparents shared with me and how my life would be so much different if I hadn’t had them. I wish they were around now to see how our lives have changed and blossomed over the last several years. I know they would be proud though. I want to share all these good memories with Lila and let her know how important all her grandparents are. I want her to come away with these tangible memories that she will carry with her throughout her life.

My parents always told me when I was growing up that it was important to spend a lot of time with my grandparents because they wouldn’t always be around. Even though I got to spend an amazing amount of time with them, it is was hard to appreciate all that time fully until it is too late. It is easy to take the people you love most for granted.

This is a good reminder to love hard and often. Take full advantage of the time you have right in front of you.