So, I've been on this cleaning rampage lately. In an attempt to get some stuff out of my house for a garage sale, I figured why not look through this area and that area to see what we really don't need anymore. This turned into a large scale reorganization project as well. Every item came out of the understairs storage, was looked through and inspected for its worthiness to remain in our abode, then either replacee in it's new home or placed on the unending heap of garage sale treasures. The office closet got a good looksie too, and many of my beloved craft items that have been sitting around waiting for me to get another wild hair to finally work on them...not gonna happen, folks. Items are in the process of getting rearranged in that abyss. We cleaned out the toy area (just couldn't talk Ethyn into getting rid of his beloved train table-oh, and how I have tried NUMEROUS times). Many of my knicknacks are going to find themselves without a home this coming weekend for sure. But one of my last projects was to clean out that ever increasing game closet.
Now, you must understand...I am a gamer. I don't mean those electronic headphone with mic kind of computer gamers. I am one of those board game and card game collectors. I LOVE playing games with the kids. We used to do family fun night every Friday where we would pull out a board game after some crazy fun supper (usually pizza picnic in front of a movie) or we'd play a game on the PS3. I preferred the board and card games. So, I found myself removing all the games that we have had tons of fun with and struggled to which ones would remain in our home. It was like parting with those really cute baby clothes when you weren't really sure if you really wanted to be done having a baby (or for guys, those beloved tools). But you know someone else would probably get better use out of them, so you just have to wrench your heart right out...well, you get the point. It was agonizing. I did managed to get to the way top shelf in that closet and remove a few things we just don't need to keep, like a light cover that we took off 8 years ago, a candle stand (that I still don't know why I bought in the first place), and a sink drain handle. And then there was this odd box, that I figured must be my wonderful husband's.
After he got back from a meeting, I thrust the box at him with a "this junk is yours, look through and get rid of it" look. After careful examination, though, it appeared to not be junk. At some point in our attempt to organize, we figured we'd put these music cassettes, VHS videos, and some old C and 8mm video camera tapes together in a box and stick up somewhere "safe." Well, we junked the music, and some of the videos, but had no clue what was on the video camera tapes. I pulled out the C-tape cassette and headed upstairs to the only working VCR we own.
So, I put in the first tape and pushed play. Moments later, I was watching a video of my husband and I dancing at our wedding reception. We rewinded it to see more, like the little chubby cheeked girl climbing up her daddy to be held, another chubby cheeked little girl carrying around a toy guitar while she jammed around, lots of family and friends who came to wish us well, toasts...and then the dances. A skinnier version of me and my husband all gussied up, swaying to our song. Then, as my father and I took the dance floor, the tears started to flow.
My dad has been gone for almost 4 1/2 years now. But even shortly after his death, my life was business as usual. He lived far away that we hardly ever saw each other, and my life wasn't filled with daily conversations or emails with him until his last three months. Being diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer that was terminal, with 6 months to live, I had a few trips to see him and much more regular conversations with him. Over 10 years, our relationship was pretty strained. The distance between us had nothing to do with miles but instead everything to do with heartache. I loved my father, but there was much about him that I didn't like. We had our disagreements, even our all out arguments, and at one point it was more of the "let's be done with this and move on" rather than express our true feelings. That was not easy to do...for either of us. I was the boy he never had, a tomboy true to my core.
Near the end though, my father and I made peace. He was able to tell me how proud he was of me, of how great a mother I was. He confessed the hardship in his life, the choices he regretted. So though that was not the same man who danced me around the floor at my reception, the man I stared at through a shean of tears, the memory of the man who held me before his brain surgery and told me he loved me was what I really saw.
We also got to see Mark and his late mom dance on that tape. Kayla cried. We miss her so much, though you'll never see my husband blogging about it. Oh, the tea parties she used to have with Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Smith (aka the two oldest girls). Tyler wasn't much into tea parties, more just destruction of grandma's house.
We even got a chuckle out of our wedding party dance when Kayla and Caitlyn both joined us, and Ethyn piped in "when am I going to be in the movie." Um...not so much kid. Not even a twinkle.
We watched a few other tapes too. Got to see my brother in law Scott singing our beautiful song. Oh, what an amazing voice he has. Thank you, Scott, for singing. We didn't watch too much, as I knew I would break down again when my mom sang. So off to see what else was on the tapes only to find Caitlyn's happy mug on a few. Oh, yeah, you know those are playing at her grad party. Bwahahahah.
We ended our week with a family fun night of making homemade pizza...which wasn't too bad mind you, and some games on the living room floor. At one point, the four kids and I were playing Ruckus together. Sheyann asked if dad wanted to join us (he was reading the newspaper on the couch above us when Ethyn replied "he's in his news." We all busted out laughing. We played some Blokus, and then the kids played a bunch of games of Ruckus before we sent them all to bed at 11pm.
What a great bunch of memories!
Friday, July 8, 2011
Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my grandmother's passing. It's hard to believe it has been a year, though I know we went through so many holidays without her. After 52 years of marriage, Grandpa celebrated his first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first New Years, first Valentine's, her birthday and their anniversary without her. Some were harder than others, and of course tears were shed.
I stopped and gave him a call last night after all the kids were in bed (so the house was quite and I could actually hear). It was great talking to him, remembering Grandma and all the wonderful things she used to do, or say. She used to take my sister and I to the mall and out to eat when we were kids. She loved doing that. I didn't care about the shopping...I loved just sitting on a bench (preferably with an ice cream cone) and watching the people pass. Grandma and I were both people watchers (I am convinced I got this gene from my grandmother, as neither my mom or dad seemed to possess it). We would sit, not really saying much, just licking our ice creams and watching as people pass by. Sometimes we would make up stories, or laugh about something silly.
One of my grandma's favorite things to do was count ribs. It didn't seem to matter how old you were, grandma never passed up the opportunity. Last year in April was my youngest son's first time meeting Grandma and Grandpa Stephens. We went out to eat on his 3rd birthday. He had a blast while we were visiting, and loved the rib counting immensely.
Grandma, We love you and miss you.
Posted by jenni at 9:30 AM