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Tag Archives: Family

What Love Looks Like

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2-place-settings-lenox-brookdale-china-10-pcs-excellent-f802427e2b02030ac6b7f4134b33c284I really don’t spend a lot of time thinking about love and what it looks like.  This summer I had the occasion to do so.

My sister-in-law, Allene died unexpectedly this summer.  She was the wife of my youngest brother and she was like a friend to me. My brother was mostly devasted and lost.  They had been planning to move to another state.  My sister in law, in her usual neat and organized manner had been packing for weeks and had packed most of their home.

As I stated before my brother was almost immobilized with grief.  I went to his home in Miami to help him finish packing the house so that he could concentrate on his next steps.  As soon as I got there, I thought that I needed to cook him a meal. He hadn’t had a decent one since his wife died. Food is a great comforter and when I don’t know what to say or do, I cook.

I went to the kitchen in the small comfy home.  Everything in the kitchen was spotless.  Of course, Allene had packed everything already. The cabinets were completely empty.

Then, I saw on the corner of the countertop, some neatly stacked dishes.  Two plates, two coffee cups, two glasses and two sets of silverware.  It took several seconds before I could stop staring at them. Tears ran down my cheeks.  It hit me at that moment that my sisterfriend was gone.  More importantly though, was that this simple portrayal spoke so much about the love that she and my brother had.  Those dishes seemed sad but a very beautiful symbol of caring.

While I was there, I could not eat out of those dishes. I knew that they were not meant for me.  I also know that I when I think of love, I will always think of two plates, two coffee cups, two glasses and two sets of silverware.


Blessing in the Flood

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floodI’m just taking a few moments right now to think about how blessed we are.
We have just experienced a 1000 year flood in Columbia, South  Carolina on October 5. It was amazing to see how quickly the situation went from bad to worse to devastating. People lost their lives. People lost everything they’ve worked for for many years. Some people’s lives will never be the same. Some families will never be the same.  My family and I are just so thankful to be alive. We are thankful that we did not suffer great loss.

All I can say is continue to pray for us. Although the storm is over, the devastation is not. Many people are still homeless after two months.  Although FEMA and other organizations came in to help, there are so many that will go under before that help that they need arrives.  Food and a place to stay are the immediate needs of individuals and families. But many of my counseling clients are still traumatized.  Some are still trying to figure out why they are depressed and anxious.  One women stated that when she went to open her front door, flood waters came rushing in.  All she could do was grab her children and run.   She is still dealing with the floos while others are just interested in moving on as quickly as possible.

We have a rallying cry:  South Carolina Strong!  It sounds good and give us hope while we try to find our new normal.  Mean while some of us are still experiencing the Great Flood of 2015.  The blessing is that we are still here to talk about it.

No, I don’t watch…!

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          I was in the dentist chair a few days ago.  As usual, I was clutching the arms of what I always imagine to be the death chair while trying to maintain my cool points.  The hygienist, a young blonde woman, was not fooled at all so she began to chatter in an effort to ‘relax” me.

            “Do you watch any of that trash TV?” she asked while scraping tartar from my back molars. 

            “Ganhh?” I asked.

            “You know,” she continued scraping, “those trashy reality TV shows.”

            “Uh unh,” I slobbered almost choking.

            “Oh, how can you not!  There’s some really good one’s on now.”  She shoved a tiny vacuum in my mouth to suck out the spit and kept talking.  “They’ve got the whole housewives series.  And there one about the hip hop rappers and the ball players wives.  I think I watch about all of them!”

            I tried to say ‘Obviously, you need a hobby’ but it came out like “Ank sluss gah cra cree.”

            “You’re doing just fine, honey.  Almost done here,” she cooed at me.  She shoved the tiny vacuum back into my mouth and pulled it out despite my attempts to hold on to it for a couple of seconds more.

            “But my favorite is Sugar BonBon. Do you know that one?” she asked while examining an especially lethal looking sharp steel tool.

            I didn’t answer because I was busy trying to figure out what she was getting ready to slay with that bayonet-looking needle in her hand. She went in to my mouth with that needle.

            “Little pinch,” she said cheerfully. 

             It wasn’t little.

            “She is the cutest little girl!  A pretty dainty little thing but you know they try to make her and her Mama look like a backwoods red necks.  Sugar BonBon is a little beauty queen and her mother is her manager, I guess.  Anyway, it is a little trashy but still a good show.” 

            By then, I had to spit.  I held my mouth open obediently as she vacuumed along my gums.

            “I just love it when they show real people on TV.  You know? People like us.  Everybody isn’t rich and fancy. I don’t have anything against those people but that is not how most people live!”

            I decided to settle in and let her chat on.  And she did.  She described the entire HBB family, her most exciting moments and the recipe for an energy drink that the little girl guzzles before her pageants.

            “My little girl took pictures at church last Sunday and I fixed her hair just like Sugar BonBon wears hers.  She looked real pretty!”

            After a few moments, she squirted frigid water in my mouth then vacuumed it out.

            “You’re all done, Sweetie!  You did real well and I got your teeth looking real pretty. Come on up to the front and we’ll schedule your next appointment,” she gave me a sugary smile and set my death chair upright.

            At the front desk, I waited with numb lips while she set up my next visit.  She handed me an appointment card.

          “That’s when you come to see me again,” she leaned in and lowered her voice.  “On the back, I put the day and time that Sugar BonBon’s show comes on.  Watch it and we’ll talk about it next time. ‘K?”

          “Gah,” I nodded and turned to leave.

          “I know you’re gonna be hooked!”  She waved and smiled.

          Once in my car, I looked in the mirror.  My teeth did look real pretty but I still don’t plan on watching the show.

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I think we all have done enough for other folks,

Trying to get them to

Do more

Be more

Care more


It’s high time we did something for ourselves

Something big and positive

Something awesome and explosive

Something to be remembered for a long time

Let’s do something selfish

Really selfish so that we can leave it as a legacy for our children and theirs

Not the selfishness but the magnificence

Let’s do something earth-shaking world-changing unimaginable

And then pat ourselves on the back and smile

Something that will make everyone else who is not doing it sad that they didn’t join us!

Come on, let’s do it for real just for ourselves

We can start right now and love each other all the while

I’ll go first if you promise to follow

And we can motivate each other to

Do more

Be more

Care more.


Mothering in the Middle

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If I have not said it fifty-eleven times, I became a mother rather late in life. I am really enjoying being a Mom to my son…but it is not everything I thought it would be. You see, I thought there was some kind of a unity, some unspoken bond, some kinship among mothers. I always look for that from other mothers. I mean, isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?

Yesterday, I was driving home with my 10 year old in the backseat. It had been a long workday for me and I had navigated rush hour traffic in the rain to pick him up from aftercare and make it home. He was upset because we stopped at the grocery store but we didn’t stop at the game store. In the store parking lot, I calmly explained to him that we really needed to eat dinner but could certainly survive for a few more days without the latest electronic game. Well that was not the response he wanted so he became pouty and annoying. (Yes, I said it! My kid was being annoying. Does that make me a bad mom?)

So after a few minutes, I was more than a little frustrated. I mean, there was the traffic and I was really tired. My kid was whiny and I still had to get home, cook dinner, and help with homework. What a day! We had a dog at home that needed to be walked, a load of laundry waiting for me and, on top of that, this was my husband’s lodge meeting night.

Finally, I was at the corner waiting to turn out of the parking lot into the street. This corner is notorious in that it takes forever to turn during rush hour. So here I am sitting at corner trying to ease my way into nonstop traffic. I was at a standstill.

And then, there she was! Another mother stopped at the traffic light wearing a pinstripe suit in her blue–gray minivan. I could see car seats in the back and little heads bobbing around. Then, she turned around and mouthed some words. I don’t know what she said, but I could tell by the look on her face and the tension in her neck that those kids understood every word.

For a brief second as she turned back to the front, we exchanged a weary glance. I thought, Oh thank goodness! She is going to let me into the lane. She understands!

I waited a few moments for some sign of recognition from her… didn’t see it. I thought okay, maybe she is distracted. So I kind of eased my mini-SUV forward just a few inches, just to grab her attention. Again, she looked over my way with a glum expression and then turned her head away from me. I thought, Oh, okay is that some kind of mom code that I don’t recognize?

I waited for a couple of moments as traffic was still at a standstill but I knew that any time now the light was going to change. I waited a couple of moments and then inched forward another couple of inches. I tapped my horn very lightly to get her attention and kind of smiled like Can I get in?

After couple seconds, I realized she was ignoring me. What kind of stuff is that, I thought? Why would she not want to help out another mother struggling with the same issues that she is struggling with? I mean, obviously there we were, career women in our career women’s suits in a car with a whiny kid(s) with obviously other duties waiting for us at home.

I realized that she was not going to let me into the lane. As soon as traffic began to move forward, she drove right on past me as if she’d never seen me.

In a light degree of shock, I waited a few moments and lo and behold, a young guy in a Jeep beckoned and allowed me to get in through the traffic. How kind, I thought. And he’s not even in the Mommy Club! Or maybe he’s got one of those wife/mommies waiting for him at home and understands how frustrating it is to be in traffic with the kids in the backseat and dinner to be cooked.

I made it home that day not the worse for wear but I realized that I could not count on a bond between Mommies, at least not in rush hour traffic. Maybe I just imagined that there was a Mommy Club. Maybe I made it up in my head during all those years when I daydreamed that being a Mom was all Mother’s Day cards and hugs. Is there really no such thing?



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This past Christmas, a close relative of mine gave me a holiday package.  You know the kind that contain summer sausages and cheese? This one had two different kinds of summer sausage, a package of crackers, some spreadable mustard and spreadable cheese. I was delighted!  I thought this is the perfect gift!  My husband and I will be able to enjoy this on New Year’s eve.  I took the package home and stored it as mentioned on the directions.  I actually went ahead and put it in the refrigerator.

On New Year’s Eve, I made a beautiful snack tray for my family.  It is our usual New Year’s Eve tradition to enjoy snacks as we listen to music, watch comedy shows, sip champagne and wait for the ball to drop at midnight. The champagne was chilled. The candles were lit.  I had sliced some lovely fruit and decided to add the summer sausage, cheese and crackers to our snack tray.  I went into the refrigerator to retrieve the snack package and went to open one of the flavored summer sausages. Much to my horror, the sausage was molded!  There were large areas of mold on both packages of sausage.

I searched the package to see if I could find the expiration date.  Much to my amazement, the package indicated that it had expired in February 2010!  The package was almost 2 years old! Disgusted, I threw the entire package into the trash can.

I called my relative and thanked him for the snack gift and I also informed him that the expiration date was almost 2 years ago. I wanted to make sure that he had not purchased an expired package. He was embarrassed and admitted that this was a re-gift. (duh!)  He said that someone had given the package to him and that he had passed it on to me because he did not eat that kind of meat.  Hmmmm… As I always say, there ain’t nothing like family!

Well, lesson learned here:  If you are going to re-gift, make sure that your gift is appropriate and within the expiration date.

Happy new year!

Fishing on Good Friday

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Wow! I spent the day on a fishing excursion to a local state park with my son and husband. Not being a nature person, it was a struggle for me to agree to this fishing thing. I have a few issues: I am allergic to outdoors, I am grossed out by bait worms, I am afraid of live jumping fish, etc, etc, you get the picture.

Anyway, I went for it and guess what? Had a grand time. The park was filled with beauty–delicate dogwoods and white flowering Bartlett pear trees. We spotted crane, duck, and geese flying and fishing right alongside us. A light breeze circled us the entire time.

We didn’t catch anything. My son chattered the entire time and kept getting his fishing line caught in nearby tree branches and floating twigs. Still, it was the best fishing trip ever.

Seeing my son so excited over a chance to go fishing with his dad and seeing the hubs relaxed with his line in the water was indescribable.

And for me, a few uninterrupted hours reading a great book: Priceless!!!

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