Monday, June 25, 2012


Recently, my maternal grandmother Delores turned 80.
I'm not even sure I want to live that long
...unless I can be as spunky and busy as she is!

This is Mamaw with her four kids.
My mom, and my uncles Mike, Tom, and Tim.

These are her siblings.
Great-Aunt Peg, Mamaw, and Great-Uncle Deb

And these are most of her grandkids (minus spouses) and great-grandkids, but not all of them.
I won't put you through the agony of trying to match faces with names.
Except for that little brown cutie with the orange flowered dress in the front row.
I'm partial to her.

Growing up, I didn't see as much of Mamaw as I did my dad's folks.  It seemed a rare occasion that we got to go and spend the night with her and Papaw Runyan on their farm in Waynetown.  But there are some things about those times that stick in my mind...

Mamaw had a breakfast nook.  And when I say nook, I mean small.  Even to me as a child, it seemed small and cozy in comparison to her more formal dining set.  But I loved it in there.  There were little windows up at the top of the wall, interesting knick-knacks to look at, and she always got Froot Loops for us to have for breakfast.  I also remember following her through the grocery store as we went to get that forbidden cereal.  She walked so fast that I had to practically trot to keep up with her.  Till this day, I have not figured out how her short legs could go places so quickly!

There were lots and LOTS of barn cats at Mamaw's house.  I remember a dog, I think, but I definately remember tons of cats.  I loved it.  I also liked watching Mamaw pour food and water into big bowls and giggle as all the cats sauntered up, rubbing her legs and meowing.  We had cats too, but not that many all at one time.  I'm guessing she never had a problem with mice!

We played upstairs at Mamaw and Papaw's house.  There was a large loft-like area with a bed and toys, and one bedroom that was separate.  I don't remember all of the toys up there.  I'm sure they were your regular old-fashioned wood and metal toys.  But there was one toy I especially liked.  I think the best thing to call it was an electric organ.  It wasn't what we think of as a keyboard that is commonly in use now.  It made this funky sound and it had knobs to adjust things on it.  Another thing I was fascinated by were her lava lamps.  I can remember lying in bed, looking at the lighted lava blobs floating up and down, lulling me to sleep. 

There was a bathroom upstairs that was unique.  For one, it had a window that was nearly floor to ceiling.  I'm pretty sure the upstairs was a finished attic, because the walls slanted inward.  Anyway, this made the shower quite interesting.  I remember that by the time I was ten or twelve, it could be a little awkward, but it was fun, because it was different.  There were blood red bath mats, one in front of the tub, and one in front of the toilet.  I'll never forget those, because the mat around the toilet was shaped like giant feet.  I thought that was the coolest thing ever.

Mamaw and Papaw had lots of land, with plenty of room to run, fields for boundaries, a huge metal pole barn with lots of tractors and tools in it, and the forbidden well.  There was a colapsed wellhouse, and I'm pretty sure she told us every time we went there that we should never, never, never go close to it.  I was horribly curious and wanted to explore, but my very vivid imagination could also imagine wasting away from hunger at the bottom of the well if I went in there, because it would take Mamaw at least until lunch to figure out I was down there. 

Since they had such a big yard, Mamaw did a lot of mowing.  In a tube top.  I remember as a child being almost horrified that someone would wear what was essentially a bra in public (you know, in the middle of countless acres of corn and soybeans).  But she didn't have tan lines on her shoulders that way!

As I grew older, my times with Mamaw changed.  Papaw passed away, she sold the farm house, and moved into a condo.  We spent a lot of lunches at Taco Bell, talking.  I felt like I could tell her all the troubles of my teenage and young adult heart.  To my knowledge, those "secrets" have never passed her lips. 

It was really neat to be there for the celebration of her 80th birthday.  We had people from three states there, and a great dinner at Hollyhock Hills restaurant.  Then we came back to a local banquet room and held a surprise reception.  Mamaw was in her glory.  Her face was just beaming.  Granted, she's had some health issues, so she's slowed down from the speed-walking, tube-top mowing Mamaw of my youth. 
But now she moves more at my speed, and that's just fine with me!

Friday, June 22, 2012


Why is she smiling?
Because it's zoo day!
Marley had been anxiously counting the days, and it was finally time to skip school and head to the Indianapolis Zoo.
This is Kate. 
We were best friends back in college...waaaaay back in college.
Since then she's moved to another state, as have I.  Along the way, we've made a point of getting together from time to time.  Usually we do it by ourselves- meeting at a restaurant and spending the afternoon eating and catching up and enjoying one another's company. 
But it's summertime! 
And that means her packing up her seven kids and meeting Marley and I at a predetermined place to enjoy the day together with our kids. 
This year, it was the zoo.
Here they all are, minus the baby, who preferred
to be strapped to his mama for the day.
We had a great time looking at all the animals

...and Marley was very interested in knowing where we were going at all times.
We got to see the dolphin show, which the kids loved.
But they also loved the tigers.
I gotta admit, I was a little freaked out by the fact that one particular tiger took so much interest in what was on the other side of what I'm sure is
perfectly tiger-proof glass...
Yes, that would be my DAUGHTER that the tiger was nose-to-nose with.
After the fun of seeing all the animals, of course
we had to make a stop at the splash park!
And a snack is also a neccessity.

This little guy was an absolute angel the entire day!
Isn't he precious??
In fact, I think her seven kids were better behaved than my one. 
Gotta love having a three year old!
Overall it was a great day! 
I love this friend of mine.  Even if we haven't spoken more than the occassional text for several months, we can pick right back up where we left off last time.
My family size stays the same, but hers just keeps growing, and I love watching her interact with her kids like the super-mom that she is. 
In fact, I think it's about time for us to meet with just the two of us again soon.
I've got things to tell her.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Today would have been our eighth anniversary.
I remember this picture fondly.
We were 3 months pregnant with Marley, and the "C" word hadn't intruded on our lives yet.  It was taken at our annual Christmas getaway with my family. 

Miss you, Sugar.
You have no idea how much.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


"Mama, tomorrow is Father's Day?"
"Yes, baby, tomorrow is Father's Day."
"But Mama, I don't have a daddy."
Instant torrential tears stream down her face.
"Oh, honey...yes you do. 
You have a daddy who loves you very much."
"But he's in Heaven.  He's not here with me. 
I can't hug him.
I can't tell him Happy Father's Day."

And so...
"Daddy, 'cause he doesn't have any hair,
then you, then me, 'cause we have curly hair."

I didn't hear the words that she
tenderly whispered to her daddy. 
Somehow I felt that Jim heard.
I did see the kiss she gently placed on his face.
And I saw this...
Someday, I hope her heart will heal, so that Father's Day isn't such a hard day for her.

Someday I hope I will have the wisdom and words to help her understand that her Heavenly Father loves her more than she or I can ever comprehend.

Someday I hope that there will be someone who is able to stand in for her daddy on a daily basis to give her the "daddy love" she so desperately wants.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Growing Up

My baby girl is growing up. 
It seems like just yesterday when she was born...

A very busy baby who loved to snuggle up for naps with Jim,
 and play.
 Before long, she'd found her toes
 and she was much more interactive in her playtime with her daddy. 
 I remember Jim saying when she was little that he couldn't deny that she was his child...they looked so much alike!
 She was a very busy baby,
 with crazy hair!
 Soon, sitting up turned into rolling all over the livingroom,
 feeding herself,
 and then to crawling.
 Bathtime moved from the kitchen sink to her ducky tub.
One day (Fourth of July weekend 2009, as a matter of fact!), she decided it was time to start walking.
Along the way, her very distinct personality became more aparent!
 But she was still a sucker for naptime with Daddy.
 Her cousin (who is 6 months older) and she became best of friends.  It is fun to watch them go through the same phases, and to be able to swap clothes.
 She idolized Jim.  He had a special bond with her.  They spent a year at home together while he was on an experimental chemo and I worked.  Sometimes I kind of felt like the third wheel, but I wouldn't change that year for anything!
 Jim was responsible for her love of sunglasses.  I think she had three or four pairs!
 Then, all of a sudden, my baby started looking less and less like a baby, and more like a little girl.
 She was wanting more than bottles and snuggles.  She was wanting horsey rides
 and developing her own sense of style.
 But naptime with Daddy was still one of her favorite things.

 Before I knew it, she was talking and developing a passionate personality.
 We were a happy family!
Who aparently all liked the same hair style- ha!
 Her glee-filled giggles and smiles have always been contagious.
 She was just as comfortable all dolled up for church or mostly naked in the pink camo hat Jim got her.
 She started making friends.
 And trying out new shoe/hat combos.
 She and her cousing love playing together.
 There were the inevitable fits that come along with being a toddler.
 And the excitement as she got to experience new things.

 The baby toys that used to fascinate her turned into places to be silly and pose for the camera.
 The bigger she got, the more she liked to take care of her "babies", whether dolls or stuffed animals.
 The Christmas that she was two was so much fun!
 See what I meant about the babies?
 Her third birthday rolled around, and there was no denying that my little one was indeed growing up.
 And her personality was...ahem...growing as well!
No words needed for this face!

 The year she was three, she was quite proud of herself as she mastered the tricycle
AND started riding her bicycle with training wheels!

There's no getting around the fact that she's growing up!
 The baby pudge is all gone and she's really into princesses, babies, and art projects of all kinds.
 Our lives changed forever on January 25, 2011.
 We went through a rough adjusting period for a while. 
Our beautiful little girl misses her Daddy dreadfully, but that smile is still there.
 She's impressed me this year that she's three about how big and brave she's becoming.
 But some things never change...cuddling with her animals is still very important!
 So is making people smile at her fairy costume as she dances her way through WalMart.
 Bubbles are even more fun this year than they were last year.   
(For those of you who are wondering, yes, the colored bubbles really DO wash out of clothes!)
 And she and her buddy don't fit in the little sandbox as well as they used to.
 Her preschool teachers pretty much rule her world.  She looks forward to going there each weekday morning!
 This Easter, when I saw this picture, it hit me like a ton of bricks that my baby is
growing up.
 I love that visiting the cemetery for her is not a sad thing.  It's a place full of beautiful traditions, pretty flowers, and a place to visit Daddy's stone. She likes to step up on the base and rub the picture of his face and talk to him.
It gets me every time.

 I've really loved watching as she's become a confident, self-assured little person.
 Jim would be so proud of his little girl.
I tell her all the time how proud we both are.
 This year, she's decided that she doesn't need me quite so much when she's swimming.
 She loves story time at Papaw's library.
My baby is growing up.
I wouldn't have it any other way!