Today I am a girl of few words - sharing two links from my other sites today

Today I am a girl of few words.  Since I used them all up this week on the two posts that were due.  Today I think I'll not write.  And maybe I'll not cook or clean house, either.  

Y'all, here's my latest on the Wilshire blog:

I always say that there's nothing more fun than a retirement party in the backyard of the fire station.
Totally kidding; I never say that. But I actually was at a retirement party in the backyard of the fire station a few weeks ago and I can't quit thinking about it.  You can read more here....

And here's my latest on the Dallas Moms Blog: 

Dear   ………. ,
I thought your mom’s memorial service was beautiful and such a wonderful reflection of her.  I hope that you and your siblings left the church today seeing her a little differently than before, more through the eyes of so many of us who love her.  I say LOVE in the present tense because I will always love your mom. She was my dearest friend and one of life’s greatest gifts to me.  
You have so many of her wonderful qualities and I am proud of you for that. I know how much of a help you’ve been around the house lately and it takes a special person to take on those responsibilities at your age.  Keep up the good work, support your dad, and love your brothers and sister.  Those are the things your mom would want from you …… 

This is a note I sent to the teenage daughter of my friend last weekend, as she, her siblings and her dad are trying to start a new life after losing a wife and mother to metastatic melanoma.  You can read more here....

Everyone have a beautiful weekend.  We're celebrating a birthday around here for Kid 1.  But I decided if I keep telling the world how old my kids are then everyone will start calculating how old I am - so that info is classified.  

Cake for everyone to celebrate the joy of the everyday.  

a little character building

First let me say that we all overslept and missed church today because we are heathens of the Grade AA variety.  But I am a believer that God loves us exactly where we are.  Whether that be in Sunday worship or at the Old Navy store in search of that darling jumpsuit I saw on Instagram.  

And today is Fathers Day and Fireman Dave is at the station saving the world.   Because he's a superhero in every way which is exactly what makes him the most wonderful dad to our boys.  

Now onto some wider scale life events....and some advice if I may.  

I have no idea what to say to the losses of late in the news.  The mass shooting in Orlando - no matter what or why you believe it to be - was just wrong.  That's all that needs to be said.  And those people who have enough time on their hands to turn it into something political? Maybe you should use your time to go help.  Visit a survivor and bring gifts, help the families of the lost, donate some energy to an effort that might actually make a difference.  But sharing hate all around or transferring blame to whatever you believe to be the problem, isn't helping.  Solve the problem, don't be the problem people.  

And oh my gosh the politics.  Which you already know I don't get into here there or anywhere.  Like Dr Seuss says in Green Eggs and Ham, I do not like them here or there... I do not like them anywhere.  Which is my standard reply to all the arguments going on out there.   

My advice to you on the subject... if you don't like a particular candidate, then don't invite them over for dinner.  But for Heaven's sake, respect the thoughts of others please.   Good Lord people.  

And then the Disney alligator incident.  Oh my gosh I can't even imagine the grief.  Fireman Dave and I went to Disney World ages ago before kids and had a wonderful time.  But I remember, in my not having a clue about children stage of life, fussing about all the loud kids with Exhausted Disney Syndrome.   Because that's a real thing.  

Then we went back when the boys were little, on the way to our niece's wedding in North Carolina.  Which people always seem to think is funny when I tell them we drove from Texas to North Carolina by way of Florida.  We stayed at the Fort Wilderness Resort Cabins.  And when they took us to our cabin that first day, I put a kink in the Disney way of doing things and declared the cabin to be both unfit and unsafe - because it sat right on the edge of the waterway.  And I plainly asked them about any history of alligator problems - it being Florida and all and there had just been a slew of alligator incidents in and around the area, one being a jogger that got dragged into the water right off the jogging path.  

But they said they had no history of alligator problems.

Said it looking right into my eyes like that snake in the Jungle Book story that hypnotizes the kid into sleep while he coils around his unsuspecting body.  To which I promptly replied, Um, I still need a new cabin please.  Because y'all, I was terrified to have three littles out there, ages 5,3 and 2 as alligator bait.  

I remember Fireman Dave acting all embarrassed at my insistence on the safety of our children in the proverbial happiest place on earth, but my mom instincts were yelling gator danger,  and they won out over husband's embarrassment of my non-conformity. We did, however, go see fireworks on the beach at the resort and gave that no thought of danger because that particular area didn't look swampy.  So I don't want to hear how the parents of that precious little boy in the news were bad parents for letting him wade in the water.  It was a freak thing and that's it.  Bless their hearts for not only dealing with such a loss, but with the meanness of people on the internet putting in their two cents.  

And now onto the latest Walters news.  I spent $600 at the dentist last week  because that WaterPik I bought the boys to use to better clean their braces is apparently going unused in their bathroom.  But I met the nicest man in the waiting room and I wish to goodness I had gotten his full name and contact information.  He was an older man sitting in there waiting on his wife and keeping up with his 11 year old great grandson who they are raising.  He was diagnosed in the past couple of years with diabetes and due to some health problems, had to retire as the maintenance man for a company that owned several apartment complexes.  And he told me how lonely his days have been since his retirement, with his wife and grandson going off to school and work.  And how he misses the people more than anything.  Problem is that God spoke to me a little too late and I wish I had gotten his phone number since I always have repairs that need to be done - and I, too, have had experience in the Department of Loneliness.  That and everybody knows I like to talk as much as it seems he does.  And I can think of no better situation than a good visit while getting my broken shower tile repaired.   

And y'all, we all need people.  I think that's why we had such a nice visit in the dentist waiting room.  I've been plunged into a new state of missing a friend, and he understood.  Thank you God for making my billion dollar dentist visit more pleasant than it would've been otherwise.  

And the biggest news of the week.... two of my kids are juvenile delinquents.  And oh so glad to be able to say two instead of three in that sentence! The two involved remaining numberless to protect what is left of their reputable reputations.  

I had just finished a long day at work, settled into my car with the air conditioner blowing right on my sweaty face, when I picked up voicemail messages.  One in particular involving two of my boys, a school district police officer, and a stolen popsicle. But y'all, the voicemail actually said that my boys had been involved in a theft and my already elevated heart rate skipped a beat and I prepared to post bail at whatever jail they had them in.  

The boys were at the high school participating in a couple of things... a sports conditioning camp for athletes and a PSAT college entrance exam prep course.  Not your usual stomping ground for criminals, mind you. Turns out they weren't the most interested students in the college prep course and after sitting in a four hour lecture on pronouns, they found the teachers lounge and an open box of popsicles.  Each kid in the notorious PSAT gang took one, thankfully not the entire box, then took their prize into a downstairs bathroom where they spent a generous amount of time obviously hiding out from the law.  But everything was caught on security video which is when they met Officer Garcia, who happens to be just lovely.  And of course after the phone call I rushed to meet him at the school where he helped me put things into perspective.  He smiled at me and said, Mom, they could be doing worse.  

And y'all, I had just had that conversation with someone days before.  About how I'm a mom who tries to never say never.  As in, my kids would never do that.  I think the more accurate statement would be that My kids are capable of anything, today just wasn't the day.  

Kids are a work in progress.  Heck, I'm still a work in progress.  And I told the boys exactly that as I took away their phones for the weekend.  I totally get how boring the class was that they were in.  And I completely understand that an open box of popsicles left behind in a school in the summer time looks like a free treat to a kid.  But the popsicle is just the object, not the lesson. 

Our character is showing through our words and actions.  And apparently on security cameras everywhere.  And those are things people will remember us by.  Will we be popsicle thieves or will we be something better? Today being Father's Day, I'm thinking about how my dad, in every situation, talked to me about building character.  

It's building character.  Every challenge, difficulty, problem or opposition was building character.  And he was right.  

My dad was far from perfect.  He drank too much, he was gone most of the time because home for a very long time just wasn't the place most of us wanted to be.  And he lived with a lifetime handicap of scholiosis, short arms and only three fingers on each hand.  And then there was bone cancer, chemo, radiation, multiple surgeries, and loss of his hip, pelvic and thigh bones.  But he still went fishing.  And he still went hunting.  And almost got us killed in a bar one night when he and I went to hear Merle Haggard perform, drunkenly trying to pick a fight with a cocky young man who looked at him wrong.  

But man did he have character.  And he provided endlessly for us without question or hesitation.  And he taught me more about being strong than anyone else I know.  He's been gone 14 years and I wish for lots of things regarding that.   

Summertime and the living is .... rainy

This week I thought I would just give y'all a few highlights of the beginning of summer for the Walters family.  

Summertime and the living is .... rainy.  

Our power went out last week.  Maybe because Kid 3 caused a smallish explosion trying to microwave poptarts in their foil wrapper.  Or it could be because of the weather.  Both are acts of God, I think.  

Here is today.  I sent Kid 1 out in the flood to take a picture but he took a picture of something else and this is what I ended up snapping out my window just now after it almost all drained.  Looks like my next door neighbor got out the kayak in case she needs to paddle away. 

And I am most thankful that I made it out of the grocery store before the flood.  I am also thankful I only saw one person I know in the store because while in there I decided I didn't like my outfit and that I kinda looked like a teenage girl in her pajamas.  Except for the parts of me that no longer look like a teenage girl, of course.  

Here is also today.  And every day.  

This is the afternoon laundry piled on my bed.  Kid 3 couldn't get himself up and ready for church this morning so I took away his phone and all other toys and he stayed home and folded about 3 baskets while Kids 1, 2 and I sang praises to our Lord.  I sang particular praises that I was not home folding the morning laundry.  Every year the laundry grows in the summer as does the number of times I have to run the dishwasher.  It's a happy kind of crazy that one day I feel sure I will miss, but today I would enjoy a personal assistant. 

And maybe a nanny that isn't afraid of the boys of summer and has more energy than I do.

I took them to the pool Friday afternoon after work and it was a gorgeous day though the broken thermometer in my car said it was 113 degrees.  I got in the pool with them for a while till about 200 small children took over the deep end and I felt overcome with anxiety.  So I got out and lounged and read a book - and wasted about an hour on Facebook. 

Yesterday we went to the Fair Park 80th anniversary celebration and it was a really nice event.  I hope you got to go too if you're in Dallas.  Kid 1's guitar teacher was in one of the bands playing there and we enjoyed seeing him.  But they were playing 1920's and 30's dance music and no one would dance with me so I got mad/sad and left that venue promising to sign Fireman Dave up for dance lessons.  

We also rode the Ferris wheel which was free this weekend and would usually cost our family about $60 for the experience.  

And you know the Walters are all about free and reduced cost experiences so here we are at the top.   

Here's Kid 2, Kid 4 and Kid 1 pretending they aren't on the Ferris wheel with their mom.  

Then we stayed a little while for the main concert which pointed out to Fireman Dave another glaring difference in the two of us.  He likes loud concerts and I do not.  So we technically stayed for about 2 minutes because I think he hated me at that moment.  But he's always the gentleman and would never say those exact words.  He just sighs really loud and tries not to look straight at me till his frustration passes.  I know this pattern from years of experience.   

And I call this one, Mom is the shortest person in the family.  We all went downtown last week on an urban scavenger hunt and it turned out to be lots of fun.  It was also lots of hot and we paused the hunt after two hours because our parking meter ran out.  But we plan to finish it soon.  I actually bought this one on Groupon from Urban Adventure Quest and I highly recommend it for families, teens and anyone else who just wants to learn more about your town.  They had hunts in so many major cities that you just might have one in your town, too. 

Anything else? Absolutely.  And this is the best.  

I sat by the pool Friday afternoon and fell totally in love with my kids all over again.  And I think that's what love is all about.  Starting again and again every time we need to be renewed and refreshed.  Three brothers playing together, the beautiful sunshine, a warm breeze and a lounge chair painted a gorgeous picture of how lucky I am.   And I could feel my smile all the way inside my chest as I was so thankful for that exact moment.

Sometimes grief craves fried chicken and chocolate

I lost my friend last Saturday morning. 

And I had someone comment to me about our relationship, specifically my absent expression of grief, not posted for everyone to see on Facebook.

And my reply was something along the lines of .... I don't feel a need to Facebook tell everyone that I'm sad.  Because everyone who really knows me already knows that I am.  In fact I had to turn off Facebook and every other notification involving Debi.  Because it got crazy.  And I really just needed time to sit with my sadness for a while, by myself,  to decide what to do with it.  

I think grief is sometimes a giant cry that can last a few minutes -  or in some cases, a few minutes each day for a billion days.  I also think grief sometimes hides behind naps and compulsive shopping for summer clothes.  But I also know that grief sometimes just has to be quiet.  And it has to sit by itself to move from the heart to a new place where it can eventually do some good.  (I also think that sometimes grief craves fried chicken and chocolate.  And that these things are considered soul foods for a reason.) 

And I just don't feel a need to let everyone know when I last spoke to her or sat by her bedside.  I know when I had the privilege of doing those things.  And she knew.

Y'all, of course I miss my friend.  I locked my keys in the car in the pouring rain a few days ago - and standing there, she's the first person I wanted to tell.  Because something like that, so small, so everyday, so inconveniently ridiculous, was something I knew would be of value to her in the context of us.

And I wanted to tell her that I totally ruined my gorgeous wedding ring Friday night as I had the most fitful night's sleep worrying about her.  And somehow in a part sleep, part restless state, my body knew something was more wrong than it was earlier in the day.  And if I could, I'd show her how bent the ring is - so much that I can't wear it right now - and how I knocked a stone out in some sort of dramatic reaching for answers in my sleep about the why's of disease and the people it chooses to take.

My heart has ached for days.  And I know it will for a while longer.  But then one day it won't as much.  That's the good news about grief.  It moves things forward toward a better place. 

Today I want the attention to be on Debi.  Not on me.  Not on who liked who the most, or for the longest.  Like is like.  The end.

And love lives wherever two hearts meet at the point of I promise to always be your friend.

I haven't decided if I will attend her memorial coming up soon.  Number one, because I happen to be the world's biggest crier and not at all pretty doing it.  And number two, because maybe I already said my goodbyes in my own way.  I'm hoping I did it well.  

post script.... one thing that this past week has made me want, even more than cookies and an entire box of tissues to dry my eyes, is time with my kids.  Kid 3 cried the tears of a heart broken for someone he knew as a friend, a sometimes stand in mom, and a fixture in his young life.  And I can't help but think that when little eyes see tragedy like this for the first time, does it worry him that it could happen to his own mom?  I hope not and I really doubt it with the Walters boys because they're just not that deep.  

But I've made a point to sit with them, hold them closer than I have in a while, and memorize the feel of being their mom.  Kid 2 and I also won some sort of online trivia game challenge one night and we were rock stars on the internet for about 10 seconds. 

And the bottom line is this.... the real loss belongs to the 4 kids and a husband that Debi left behind to hold a family together.  It's just starting for them. 
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