Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Tribute to my Mother

I want to share with my children and grandchildren how I feel about my mother. My mother is special. She overcame physical pain and hardships to carry me. Her womb was tipped backward and the doctors said she would never have a baby, but somehow she had me and I was her one and only child. She was young...only 18 when I was born. She has always, and still does to this day, worry about me. She gave me a perfect childhood, abounding in love. She played with me and made sure I got plenty of sunshine and vegetables.

She took me on trips, to parades, and the county fair. She let me have pets of all kinds including dogs, cats, parakeets, hamsters,and even a baby opossum. Now I know what a hardship that was. The one and only time it snowed in Texas, I was about 10. My mother put plastic bags around my feet and played with me for hours. We built a snow man, made snow angels, and even snow ice cream. Afterward we had my favorite, hot chocolate and cinnamon toast. Although we lived from paycheck to paycheck, my mother always found a way to encourage my interests, like art lessons and piano lessons. At the time I never realized what sacrifices she must have made to buy a piano. She also made the dress I wore to my recital and I cried because I didn't like it. I was so ungrateful as a child and never appreciated what all she did until I was a mother myself.

All I know about being a mother and wife I learned from her. It seems normal to me to wait on and baby my husband and children. To this day, she still sets the table, uses napkins, and brings everything to the table for my Dad. She writes the checks and figures out the household budget and how to make ends meet. She thought it was important that she be a stay at home Mom while I was young. When I turned 18 and went to BYU, she started her career as a secretary at a school, and later a law firm. She had gone to business college before she got married. Later she owned her own Hallmark card store. My mother loves books and although I preferred TV to reading, she still read to me and bought me classics like Little Women and the original Winnie the Pooh books when they first came out. When I was in school, my mother was always the room mother and even the PTA president for awhile. She was also very active in the Relief Society back in the day when fund raising was a big part of their responsibility. My mother is very organized and creative. She was always in charge of ward parties, decorating for dances, making crafts for church bazaars, ward dinners, rummage sales, and talent shows. The missionaries always ate and did their laundry at our house. She loved music. I know all the hymns and primary songs by heart because of her. Instead of stories, she used to sing to me every night before tucking me in. "Baby Face" was one of my favorite songs. She belonged to a record club and she ordered all the Broadway musical soundtracks. We used to eat popcorn, work jigsaw puzzles and listen to the record player. There was no chance we would ever see a real live play in our little town, but I knew all the words to South Pacific, My Fair Lady, and Sound of Music. My mother is a wonderful cook. She loves cook books and trying new things. Her beans and cornbread and chicken gumbo are so good as well as her cornmeal dressing and homemade cookies. She used to let me cream the butter and sugar when she baked using an old Hamilton Beach mixer on a stand. When it was fluffy, I got to lick the beaters. She loved to fix big meals and entertain her friends.
My mother taught me how to iron. We did not have a dryer until I was 16 years old. There were always clothes on "the line" that we had to hurry and get in before it rained. The dry clothes were "sprinkled" with water and rolled in a ball so they would be damp when we ironed them. The steam iron had not been invented. If we didn't have time, the clothes were put in the refrigerator so they wouldn't mold. Sometimes we had more clothes than food in the refrigerator. She told me she learned how to iron with a flat iron heated on a wood burning stove.

My parents loved to travel and my mother would spend months planning our vacations. We always had a shoestring budget, but she made it work. Our biggest trip was to the Seattle World's Fair. We went in a VW bug with a wooden car top carrier as big as the car on top. We could only afford a few motels, so we slept in sleeping bags without a tent. I can't imagine doing that now, but somehow we managed. There weren't interstates or fast food places back then, so we stopped by the side of the road and ate sandwiches and soup that my mother heated on a small gas grill. We made some wonderful memories on our trips. One time we went on a genealogy trip across Texas and Arkansas, staying with relatives, and searching for "Eoff" on various grave stones at every cemetery we passed. She taught me to love and respect my grandparents, aunts, and uncles. She taught me to send thank you notes, write and stay in touch with your friends, and stay close to your family. She taught me to respect those older than me, to say yes mam and no mam, and to do what your parents tell you. Don't do things that would hurt or embarrass your family.

She battled depression her whole life and never knew it would go away with medication until she was in her 70's. Until then she suffered alone. Sometimes I saw her cry, but back then it was called "nerves". "I just don't feel like smiling for people today" she would say. But she always smiled for me. My mother is very beautiful, but because of an abusive father she has never liked herself. I thank her for giving me complete acceptance and understanding. My mother is left handed, but can write with her right hand. As a young school child, the teacher spanked her hand with a ruler if she wrote with her left hand. Something when I think of all the things she went through growing up, I feel sad for her and appreciation that she made sure my childhood was the opposite of hers. She never yelled at me or argued with me. The truth is she spoiled me and sheltered me, but at the same time taught me to be kind and thoughtful of others. Now my Mother is 80 years old. She is almost deaf, suffers from arthritis, and heart trouble. She is two or three inches shorter than she used to be and her skin is wrinkled, but inside she is still the same beautiful person.

She is the main caregiver to my 86 year father who has Alzheimer disease. Many days he doesn't know who she is. He asks, "Why didn't we ever get married?" One time he said, "Are you my cousin?" She can hardly sleep anymore because of the fear that he may get up in the night and wander off. The police have brought him home several times. Her only brother lives too far away to visit and she can't hear him on the phone. Her own mother passed away almost 40 years ago. She still misses her. So that fun, hard working, kind, enthusiastic lady is now trapped in a body that doesn't work anymore and alone in a house with her husband who grows more distant every day. I am lucky to live next door and see her almost every day, but I'm too often in a hurry. Writing down a few of my childhood memories has made me realize again what a wonderful mother I have. I love her. The scriptures say that we will be judged by the righteous desires of our heart. I believe this is true and my mother certainly has a heart of gold.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Smokey Mountain High

For the first time in 39 years, George and I went away together ALONE for a week. We did not take any children, grandchildren, friends or pets with us. This wonderful opportunity was a gift from my parents who own a time share in Gatlinburg Tennessee. They are no longer well enough to make the trip, so they let us go.

At first I was worried about what we would talk about and do with so much free time, but it turned out to be great fun and very relaxing.

We slept until 10, each read an entire book, worked two 500 piece puzzles, watched movies, sat in the outside hot tub in 35 degree weather, soaked in the inside tub, ate Krispy Kreem and other assorted junk food, and slept some more.
We also managed to go on an outing everyday too. Here are some of our side trips.

Oh Yeah, Polish sausage and watching all the people go by in downtown Gatlinburg. What could be better?

How about the Forbidden Caverns? An Indian princess once got lost in the caves and was never found. After that, the Indians were "forbidden" to go there.

Melting and dripping. George, don't forget to watch your head. George, watch out!

Yep, George banged his head and smashed his shoulder into a formation. No blood though.

After the Indians left, the bootleggers used the caverns to make whiskey and the old stills were left behind 300 ft. below the surface.

The next day, I picked a real live magic show and I was not disappointed. We saw the floating lady, metamorphosis, great slight of hand and lots more. It was two hours long and the last act was an empty cage that was suddenly filled with a 500 pound white tiger. Awesome!

We went to Dollywood on Wednesday and saw two wonderful shows, Smokey Mountain Christmas and Babes in Toyland. We ate at Aunt Granny's. Strange name and the food was not near as good as my granny's or my aunt's. George spent the whole time looking for Dolly Parton but had no luck finding her.

We stayed in our apartment on Thanksgiving Day and I cooked a small turkey and heated up Bob Evans sides. George said, "It sure is quiet" so we called home and asked the kids to put the phone on speaker and sit it in the middle of the table so we could hear all the noise and fun that we were missing. (Seriously, it was just George...I wasn't missing a thing!)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Big Bounce Theory

When the grown up world is getting you down...


Amy---former high school cheerleader

Bo---former high school basketball player

Brandon---former high school pole vaulter

Bryan---former high school swim team diver

The adults were all so happy that Eliza had her 4th birthday party at the Big Bounce Fun Zone.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Caillou Mystery Solved

Did you ever wonder what happened to Caillou's hair?


He tried................

to cut it himself!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Dad

My Dad celebrated his 85th birthday on July 7. Amy, Amanda and I put together a memory box with some of his WWII pictures and souvenirs. In the center of the box is a picture of him when he was 19 years old. It was taken at Marine boot camp in San Diego California. It was the first time he had ever been away from his home in Texas. He was so young. I think about how young 19 is and how I've worried and missed my 19 year old sons who have left home to serve missions so far from home. My grandmother had to say good bye to all three of her sons at the same time and they were gone for more than two years. They volunteered to fight until the war was over. For my Dad, that was almost four years. They all served in different places and they all came home. My Dad was the only one who was wounded. Even when he was shot in the shoulder, he was not sent home. He was sent to a hospital in Hawaii and when he recovered, he was sent back into battle.

Here is a picture of him on deck of a warship cleaning his weapon in preparation for the landing on the Japanese held island of Tarawa. He came ashore in an amphibious tractor like the ones in "Saving Private Ryan". He made it to shore alone after most of the men on his boat were killed getting out and into the water. A sniper fired at him, but the bullet hit his rifle and shattered. The pieces of metal peppered his shoulder. He couldn't feel his arm. The shrapnel is still in his arm today.The rest of the day and night he hid,wounded, in a hole on the beach. He was barely 20 years old. He received the Purple Heart from Admiral Chester Nimitz (yes, the same one they named an aircraft carrier after) who just happened to be in Hawaii the same time as my Dad was in the hospital there. Other items in the memory box are a silver Japanese cigarette case found on the island of Sipan and a statue of three monkeys found in the ashes of Nagasaki .
My Dad was training off the coast of Tokoyo in preparation for the invasion of Japan when the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His Marine unit was the first to enter the city after the blast. He was also given a signed paper fan from one of the survivors outside the city. This is also in the memory box.

Making this box has given me an increased appreciation for my father and all the young men who volunteered to serve during the second World War. My favorite war story that my Dad tells is about the time he stood on board a warship one evening and prayed. He asked God to please let him live so that he could some day father a child. He didn't want to die without having the experience of being a father. I am proud and thankful to say I am the answer to that prayer.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

You Might Be A Redneck..........

If you sleep with a squirrel.

If you find a squirrel nesting behind your computer

and using your printer for a bathroom.

If you have ever kissed a squirrel

If you share your milk first with your squirrel

and then your dog.

Friday, April 4, 2008

I Can't Wait Until I'm Eight

During the Easter Lesson in Nursery, I showed the children a series of pictures showing events in the life of Jesus. When I showed them the picture of Jesus getting baptized, I asked, "What's Jesus doing in this picture?" Brady was the first to answer, "He's playing in the lake." Guess what Brady was doing the day before.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Epidural, What Is It Good For?

Absolutely Nothing

Amy arrives at the hospital with the idea that this labor would be as simple and easy as her first two.

Four hours later they break water and begin pitocin.

After three stabs, the epidural is put in, but never works. Panic sets in.

Help me! (scream, scream) I'm dying! (scream, scream) I don't want to do this. (scream) I can't do this! I'm not doing this any more! (scream). I can't breath. I like to scream.

Oh, my sweet baby. I love you. You are beautiful. I'm so happy

Amy collapses into a drug induced post traumatic shock sleep.

Who's Your Daddy?

My daddy is Bo and I am 100% Widmann. Brett Widmann, 9lbs. 11oz., 21 and half inches.
I'm not a real alien, I just play one on TV

Emily (5 yrs.) and Brady(2 yrs.) getting to know their new baby brother.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Having my baby

Amy is having her baby tomorrow, March 27. The baby now weighs 8lbs 14oz (we know through the miracle of ultra sound) and Amy's blood pressure is rising to a dangerous height, SO dear Dr. Courtney decided to induce 2 weeks before her due date. The only problem is that March 27 is Amy's alternate birthday. Her real birthday, December 27, was taken over by her daughter, Emily. Now this baby will take over her alternate birthday. Poor Amy...the things we sacrafice for our children.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Egg Hunt at Grandma's

I wanted to show this bunnie cake that Gavyn made. He is very creative as you can see and he told me the Fruity Pebbles cereal that he sprinkled on last were "freckles". This was supposed to be the last picture, not the first. I hope some of you expert bloggers out there can help me figure out how to move around pictures and text so that they are in the right order.

I haven't figured out how to make the first picture and text I enter show up first on the post. Anyway here is a great picture of my Mom (age 78) and my Dad (age 84). I think they both look much younger.

The day before Easter 11 of my grandchildren and their parents gathered at our house for an egg hunt, bunnie cake decorating(thanks Aunt Melanie), and boat rides with Uncle Brandon. G.G. and Papa gave everyone bubbles and candy necklaces.