Can’t We Just All Get Along

These last few months have been very trying for me. I have had to adjust to my daughter and granddaughter moving out. This alone could have sent me over the edge a few years ago but now I can honestly say I roll with most of the punches that life swings at me. I have felt blessed to live this life God has given me and am so thankful for my many blessings. I try not to sweat the small stuff. That is unless it concerns my sisters or my mother. I can be overly protective and sometimes very judgmental. I remember being afraid and always working. I expect more from all of us because we have so much knowledge of what can go wrong with life. We know about divorce and poverty. We have experienced child abuse and ridicule. I believe every one of us walk around with something from our past that has a tendency to affect our future and I would like to see that cycle end. When my mom married my last stepdad Ward my life changed. Here he is with Beth on her Bethany and Grandpaconfirmation day. For the first time in my life I was never worried about safety and my mothers love or her judgment. He gave me courage and the will to look at things from the outside. To this day if someone says one word about him not being perfect it makes me sad. I know that quiet man had faults,we all do but because of him and his willingness to change our life is so much better. My mom complains about his transgressions sometimes and I feel like she is angry with him. I could do the same thing about my past but what sense does that make. It is what it is. I try to remember the good times. Granted they were far and few at times but they were there. Linda and I having our babies Linette and Loretta. Seeing Lori when Daddy snuck us up to the hospital after one of her many surgeries and the miracle of baby Lana that we would run off the bus to be the first one to hold her. I hold everyone of those memories so close. They are precious to me. I don’t want those girls to ever be hurt. I don’t want my mom to have bad feelings about any of us and I want us to realize how lucky we are to have each other still walking and breathing when there are so many families that are broken by death way to soon.There is a rift in this family right now and the longer it goes on the easier it is to continue. My mom was only seventeen when she started having kids so a lot of times it is like she is a sister instead of a mother. Then there is the fact we are all women and you know how feelings are with the female species. I can get my feelings hurt with The Work Horse and the poor guy doesn’t even know it.

Al 001Here he is in his Sonny Bono days. The love of my life and sometimes the pain in my neck but always my hero. God help him for putting up with me. Sometimes it isn’t about who is right sometimes it is about who can swallow their pride and remember their blessings.That is what I want for my mom and my sisters. I am not the perfect sister or wife or mother. I have made many mistakes but for quite a few years it has gotten easier and easier to let go of bad feelings. It is exhausting to be hurt and mad. When I leave this earth I want my family to remember me with a smile and know whatever I said was because I loved them and wanted what was best for them never to judge. I don’t care who is the favorite or who does the most. All I want is peace and harmony for a family that so deserves it after everything they have been through. The thing about a disagreement that carries on for too long is people tend to forget about the content and just remember the hurt. How stupid is that when you miss the person and your pride won’t let you move forward. I know as a mom I have been mad at my kids and sometimes haven’t talked to them. I can tell you it is the worst feeling in the world for me and for them. We talk about it now and I am so thankful they accept that I made a mistake. Parents should never close a door on their kids. Siblings should never not use the closeness of their past to render the richness of their future. I want to learn from my mistakes and be a blessing to my family even when I insert my foot in my mouth instead of having someone put theirs in my behind.

Last week Bethany and I had a conversation that left an impact on me. She is in the Navy and married a guy without telling us. After we finally met him her dad and I knew he was not going to work as her husband. He quit his job. He stayed home and played video games and thought of ways to spend her money.She made excuses for him every time we talked to her. We were angry. One night in bed The Work Horse told me we were done worrying and she would come to her senses in her own time. He was right and now they are divorced. It took her a long time to right the wrong but she did it. I hope she learned a hard lesson and is never fooled again. I want her to know that we will always be there for her and will listen when she calls for our help. We might not like what she says but the door of communication will always be open. I need to love that girl with everything in me. She is far away in distance but as close as a heartbeat in my mind. I love her no matter what. That is what I want for all of my sisters and my mom.

Getting along is not easy but it is so worth it. Wouldn’t it be terrible if someone died and you never had the chance to mend a broken fence post. That fence is no good to anyone with a post broke.It lets everything out no matter how strong the other posts are. I don’t want to be the broken post that let all the richness of our hard labor of love out. Do you? Common sense is easy if you let it. I hope my grandkids get the chance to see all of our family at one more gathering before it is too late. When I was little my cousins and my aunts were my saving grace. I want my grandkids to know their nana’s family. I don’t want them to meet at funerals. I want them to play at parties. It can be a reality if we just remember our blessings instead of someone’s faults. There was only one perfect person born on this earth and fortunately He is part of this family and forgives us everyday no matter what we do to Him. He answers the phone when we call and opens the door when we stop in. I hope all of us remember that. Our kids and grandkids are watching and learning from us. We are their compass and they need all of us. I don’t want my little Peyton to think that someone is dying because she hasn’t seen them in church. She told me that is what happened when Grandpa Perkie died (Ward). He got sick and couldn’t come to church and then he died. That is her reality. I don’t want to explain adult things to this smart little girl so don’t make me. Give her peace of mind that her family is ok. Let’s make her fence strong and with boundaries of forgiveness and happiness. This family is a bounty of blessings and I hope all of us know it. Blessings everyone and hope to see you soon. Liz

Driving Miss Lizzy

mom&liz 001

When do you quit appreciating your mother? What makes you think that your mother doesn’t have feelings? Why do some people put their feelings ahead of their own mothers?

These are questions I ask myself and I haven’t got the answers to them. My mom and I have been though more than most in our lives with each other and I guess some of her decisions I have never understood and never will but she is still my mom and I am grateful to have her. Are you that way with your mother? I love it that I still have my mom and cherish the time we have together because I know that many people don’t have their moms anymore. Once they are gone all you have is memories and they are wonderful but there is nothing like the presence of a warm body and a live voice. My mom has beat cancer twice and yet there are some who take it for granted that she is always going to be here. It pains me to think of people that will move heaven and earth to go to someone’s funeral but never take the time to visit or call them when they are alive. The corpse doesn’t care that you are at a funeral but the person still living remembers how much time you have sent their way. I will never understand how you can’t take five minutes out of your day to pick up the phone and show your mother some love. My mom and I have a difference of opinion on more than one thing but most of the time she doesn’t know it. I let her talk and most of the time I laugh at what she says because she is so adamant about her opinions. That I still have the opportunity to hear her voice when she says them is wonderful. She still loves me and she is still kicking, so it is a win win situation for me. I don’t try to debate her because after all she is the mother. She is full of life and she is a great grandma. She loves my kids and the ones that don’t spend any time with her should be ashamed. They will never know until she is gone what they missed. A busy life doesn’t give you a pass for ignoring your mother.Her life style doesn’t give you a reason to not appreciate her in a physical way. You don’t like something she does or says is no excuse for not spending time with her. She is the first person that you think  of when the going gets tough or you need some money. Mothers around the world love their kids in spite of what they do not because of what they do. To ignore that is a travesty because some day when kids do the same to them they will wonder why and not understand how it could have happened. Your mother is human and not perfect,but most of the time she is your biggest supporter.

When I was growing up every summer we got to go to my cousins to spend a week. I loved it because I never had any responsibilities and I was away from any drama that might have been going on. I loved my sisters but it was nice to be a kid like my cousins. My sister Linda was just the opposite. She had a belly ache as soon as she was away from mom. She would be sick until they were together again. I wish adult children knew what that felt like. Linda didn’t care how mom lived or what she did, she just missed her.She appreciated that she only had that one mom and was not the same when she wasn’t with her.It didn’t matter if mom didn’t do what she wanted. She knew that the most comfortable place in her world was in the arms of her mother and I believe she feels that way to this very day.

My mom has been hauling me around for about a month now. Today I told her that I wanted to give her some gas money for all of the time we have spent in her car. It made her mad because she said it was time we got to spend together and she wants to help us out like we do her when she needs it. We have had many discussions in her Acadia on the way to physical therapy and her main concern is the time that people give her.She loves her family and wants to be with them. I agree. Today the conversation was about my hair. It needs a cut pretty bad and I can’t stand long enough to do it myself like I usually do. Mom told me she would trim my bangs for me and I smiled. She said she doesn’t cut her own hair anymore because she can’t see good enough. I looked at her and asked why in all that is holy did she think I would let her cut my bangs when she couldn’t see good enough to cut her own. That is when we started with the horse laughs. Long and braying and tears running down my face. We talked about the frost on the trees and how beautiful it was as she hollered at drivers on the road. I laughed some more. Mom was just a kid when she had me barely seventeen and I am sure she kissed my little feet and knees  like I did my kids and here she is still helping me with my new knees. I won’t let her kiss them but I bet she would if she thought she could get away with it. She loves me unconditionally just like Jesus. She’ll be the first to tell you she is no saint but I don’t care. I am going to get as much as I can out of this mother ride because like everything it doesn’t last forever and I want no regrets.

If I leave you with anything today I hope you have a new understanding of mothers and time. Don’t be a right fighter with her because you are not her mother,she is yours. Cherish her like Jesus did His. As He was hanging on the cross He gave His mother a son. That is how much He cherished Mary. He didn’t care that she wasn’t perfect. He loved her because of it. Can you say that about yours?

IMG_0010 I love you Mom. Thank you.

The Christmas Miracle

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With Christmas coming up the past few days has got me to thinking of how not only do seasons change but so do our lives.When we were young parents Christmas was so important to me because I wanted my kids to have a good holiday.I know that sounds bad but there is a reason.

My Dad was killed when I was eight years old.He was in a car accident on September 8th,my sister Linette’s birthday.We were sitting at the table getting ready to eat birthday cake when a police officer came knocking on our door.I can’t remember how the whole thing went down but I know they took my mom to my Uncle Ralph and Aunt Charlene’s that lived around the corner because we didn’t have a car for Mom to get to the hospital.We were farmed out to family as my Mom stayed at the hospital with Daddy.He died of head injuries on the 13th of September,my cousin Elaine’s birthday.Some of the things I remember so vividly and some of them are sketchy.Eternal sadness was the worst because our laughing Daddy was never coming back.Reality set in and with it came responsibility shoved on a big sister way to soon.I felt the world change in an instant and took my sisters in my aching heart never to be taken out.As kids are I soon got the new normal down pat and we got to living this hard life.After September came October and no Halloween for us.I think Mom was just used up by then.I can’t imagine having five little girls and no job not driving you stark raving mad.

We went to a little church school and as Christmas came up started to practice for the pageant at church.It was the light of the school year for me and my sisters.We always had a pretty dress and my Mom fixed our hair and had us smelling pretty from our baths.We would come home from church and Santa would have come and left our presents.This year was going to be different I knew because Mom wasn’t acting right.I would hear her crying in her bedroom at night and wonder what was wrong but too scared to go ask her.How I wish I would have went in there now and comforted her.She needed me to hug her now I know.To tell her everything was going to be OK but I never did.

The night of the Christmas program came and we went to church.Mom was so sad I remember and I couldn’t imagine why.After the program was over she packed us up and we went home.Mom was crying.We lived in a big farm house that belonged to my Grandpa Jahr.It had a sun porch that you had to enter before you went into the kitchen.When Mom opened that door she got the biggest surprise of her life.It was stacked from front to back with presents for us.More than we had ever had in our life.I really don’t remember what we got but I remember the look of disbelief on my Mom’s face.

That night we stayed up late playing and it was my old Mom back for a while.I found out many years later that she was crying because she had nothing to give us for Christmas.To this day we don’t know where the presents came from.I wish I knew so I could tell them that as a grandma now I still am thankful for the little girl in myself.That is why I think Christmas is so important to my sisters and me.That picture above is of our little kids that were about the same age as we were when Daddy was taken from us.We never wanted them to feel the sadness of a parent like we did and for the most part most of them haven’t.

What I want to leave you with today is this.Don’t be afraid to do a random act of kindness for someone.I have heard people grumble about so and so not having any money because of this or that,but the little ones are not in charge of the money.They are the innocent in all of it.You never know what kind of a Christmas Miracle you can create at any time of the year.I know the one my sisters and I got that day long ago is something I will never forget.Was it a person or was it something else,a vessel God used,I don’t know,but it is something I will always be thankful for and I will never forget it.

To my Grandkids when they read this after they get older I want you to always remember that giving is a part of growing.Kindness is one of the things that is so important to your Nana.Try not to judge.It is something your Nana has struggled with and if there is anything I want you to remember about me it is that I want to be kind.You already know that I love you now I want you to take it out into the world and pass it on.

Mom Get The Fatted Calf,They’re Coming Home

add  Bink 001My sisters Linette and Loretta are on their way home from Montana.I am so happy.They have been out there most of the summer working.This is the two of them one Christmas.They are holding hands and have been best sisters for most of their lives.They got married the same day and their kids are about the same age.My coffee pot is clean and my ears are ready.I haven’t been speaking much to save my voice for when you get home and I have been lifting weights and pole dancing just so I have the stamina to keep up with you two.

100_0719Do you remember how Mom begged you to  come to her and not leave?She had a smile on her face trying to be brave but in her heart all she was thinking —If only I had a banana………………….

dr-phil-4My therapist says I am doing very well and that in no time at all I can quit the meds and the tracking device comes off next week.I can’t tell you how much I am going to enjoy getting rid of that thing.My cankles are killing me and I am getting a rash.I know when you get home it will be easier on the rest of the family.You can take your turn on my middle of the night phone calls because especially Loretta I know has night owl fever just like me.

Beth and JanMy beautiful guard can finally go on her deployment without fear. Do you see that shirt my son-in-law has on?He wore that as a reminder of my tracking bracelet.Quite cunning I say.When you guys are home Beth can go back to taking care of all things Navy and not all things wack-a-do trying to call home and find out if I have fallen and not be able to get up or tried to ride a bike and crashed into the old shed.If you have time please give her some love,she deserves it after having to put up with all my antics.

All kidding aside I am so looking forward to you girls being home.God’s speed dear sisters and God’s blessings on you too.Your big sister loves you and can’t wait for you to come home.I have to go now because Mom just called.It seems the fatted calf just got away on her and she almost started the barbeque pit on fire with some lighter fluid…………

One more thing,Loretta will you please make sure Linette has on her underwear?I know she is a lot older now but she might get in a hurry and we sure don’t want history to repeat itself.

       God knew what He was doing when He made sisters.I love ALL of mine.

Good-Bye Cancer and Hello Daniel O’Donnell

new eats 002Here she is the little ole lady from Pasadena and does she like to travel.I have had the privilege of being her partner lately and it has been something else.This is her taking her car off the lawn where she had it parked because rain was in the forecast and she wanted the lawn watered and her car washed.Notice the back wheel.When she got out she laughed and said that little bit wouldn’t hurt.

I have been to the city with her three times in the last little bit and I think she is some sort of celebrity.Mom is a cancer survivor and she had her check ups last week.I am off work because of my knee replacement so I have been going with her.She had esophageal cancer and it was a hard and very long battle,but this will be her five year mark and I am so proud of her.Her husband Ward was battling colon cancer and we lost him in January so this is a very sweet victory after a devastating loss.I don’t know how this family would have survived if we had lost them both.Esophageal cancer is horrible as they have to remove your esophagus and replace it with part of your stomach.I haven’t heard of many people that do well after the surgery.It is a long recovery and she still has bouts of sickness and sometimes she gets depressed but over all she is doing well.The most important thing is the cancer is gone and only one more six month check up and then it will be once a year.When we get to any doctors office they all come out to meet her and there is hugs all around.People come out of their offices and you hear other people saying “Lorna is here.”Everybody loves Mom and wants to see her.

Sometimes I drive and she rides shotgun manning the radio or usually the cd player,and she plays it LOUD.I like most music but I sometimes wonder what people think when they pass us with this guy blaring….

daniel_odonnell_livefromnashvilep1He sings Irish music and she sings along in harmony.He tells jokes and Mom laughs.We pull up to the pool place for chlorine  and some young guy starts looking at me like I am crazy when Mom went in the store.I should have hollered at him that he just missed the polkas.This is what she likes, pal, and I know it is loud but get over it.I am not sure why I didn’t turn down the volume,maybe it was so some teenager knows how it feels when you feel the earth move as they pull up beside you or my hearing was gone.

My sisters and I  should have tried this years ago.It would have solved a lot of problems trying to sneak in after a night of toilet papering and driving around with a few brews.Instead of mom riding shotgun she could have been the designated driver.It would have saved her a lot of aggravation too.She could have drove us right past the police station just to scare us instead of threatening to call them.Back then the driver always got to man the radio and she probably would have on some gospel music to soothe the ride.We would be in the back seat laughing the gut busting laugh of Sunday service in our little church in Kilmanagh.She would give us the LOOK and we would try to stop laughing.Just so she wouldn’t be mad  we would all start singing My Irish Eyes Are Smiling.She would be hollering for us to be quiet but if you listened real close you would hear her singing along—in harmony………………………

My Mom The Third Therapist

mom&liz 001My mom and me the first summer of my life.I am sure never in her wildest dreams did she think that some day she would be rubbing my swollen and fever filled leg with the very same hands that spanked me into the rightness of life.

100_0732My Mom is royalty to me because she is now my third therapist.Look how she gets dressed up just when she hears my car pull in the driveway.She knows that those white coats of the other girls now scare me so she tries to make it fun and this is how it goes………

I usually go over to Mom’s when I know that nobody is there because we are a sight for sore eyes.She puts me in her rocking chair,pulls up Wards big ole cloth chair and we begin.Her legs spread apart and my foot in between them.If I wanted to I could push her over like a leaf in the breeze she is so tiny now,but  of course being the grateful daughter I am I don’t and also I still have the fear of Lorna in me like a good daughter should.She is always worried that she is going to hurt me.It is then that I laugh because she really goes at it.I never tell her but she always looks like she is playing  Motor Boat Motor Boat Go So Fast.She is making up movements as she rubs and soon I can tell she is getting tired.It is usually then she tells me she doesn’t have the upper body strength she used to have and to that I think THANK GOD.She means business when she is trying to help me.My mother does nothing half way and when she puts her mind to it nothing stops her.It is at this time that I like to pick her brain and the next thing you know we are finishing each others sentences.I love this time with my Mom.

She is the best not like that Handsome.When Jared was home the last time my knees were really bad.I was laying on the couch and I asked him if he would give me a rub down.It is the least he could do after the years of massaging his sisters and I did when he was sick.I knew he really didn’t want to do it because he was rubbing so hard I was jumping and wreathing in agony and he didn’t even care.I thought any minute he was going to slap me into submission and he was laughing like paybacks are fun.As a matter of fact he even told me my feet were ugly!I tell you people go to your mother not your kids when you need a massage,I think the kids start remembering when you had to correct them and they go back in time and try to get you back.Hee Hee the joke is on him,I made his cookies this week and Brooke ate the last two.

Thank you Mom for being there with a smile when I come limping into your house.We have a lot of laughs and I think we both look ridiculous but that’s us.I got ‘er done and I ‘m getting better everyday.I know my boy loves me even if my feet are ugly and I know my mother doesn’t think anything on me is less than perfect.If she is anything like me and I know she is ,she probably kissed those fat little legs and feet a million times when I was a baby in that picture above.Just like I did Jared’s.Thank you God for my family.

A Tribute to my Daughter on Mothers Day

brookes baptism 001My step into motherhood started with this little baby and what a baby she was.To me Brooke is the true picture of motherhood and one of the best moms I know.Here she is with my grandparents and Al’s mom.

brookesbaptism2 001She was beautiful to her dad and me from the start and a blessing after a long wait.We were married about seven years before she made an appearance.

baby brooke 001I realize she looks like a sleepy baby in most of these photos but actually she was nocturnal and never slept at night until she was about two years old.I didn’t care.I was at my thinnest because I learned to go without sleep because of this precious bundle.

brooke garyswedding 001This was her first husband she thought at two and she let us all know it.At the church she beaned the brides dad over the head with that little basket.About a year later she was asked to stand up in another wedding and tried to tell them she couldn’t because she was already married to this little guy.We told her the marriage was annulled and it was OK.

brooke kdg 001It was a blink of the eye and she went to kindergarten.Her teacher made me mad because she told me Brooke was socially retarded and never colored the trees green or the sky blue and wanted her to repeat the class.We decided to move her to our church school.

birdy brooke 001I don’t know what in the name of heaven she is holding this bird for because I can’t stand them.I guess it was a good thing because I once left her in her stroller after I thought a bird was attacking me and her beloved father had to rescue her.

b&jat haags 001This is Brooke and Jared at the neighbors.They are an older couple the two of them would ride their bikes to see.Who knew that Mrs.Haag would get Brooke’s bouquet for being married the longest years later at Brooke and Mike’s wedding.I think this was my favorite time of raising these two.Look how cute both of them are and they aren’t fighting.She could get a little rough with her brother but she always always loves him.

high hair brooke 001This is her high hair days and I just hated it.I knew what battles to pick and this wasn’t one of them.I always thought she looked like she had one of those semi wind breakers on top of her head.She now hates this picture so of course I had to put it in for her brother.We should have bought stock in hair spray.

brooke confirmation 001Brooke at her confirmation.She had hurt her foot or leg or something and had to tough it out for this picture.God has always been important to my girl.She now raises her four kids in the same church she grew up in.God is good.

brooke homecoming 001Our church school only went to eighth grade so when she was a freshman she went back to the public school and she was on homecoming court.She wore her cousin Jami’s dress and she was beautiful.I video taped it and all you can hear is me bawling.I put this picture here because you can see how much she looks like her dad.They have the Kovach nose.I think that always kept her humble because she hates her nose.I love it.

brookemike rick 001Here she is at the junior prom.She was always friends with Rick and we actually didn’t meet Mike for a while.The tall one was Mike’s girlfriend at the time.We called her Amazon woman because she was so tall.I wonder if she had any idea that someday Rick would be her brother in law.

brooke grad pix 001This is Brooke’s senior picture.This girl wasn’t a minutes trouble in high school.If you told her to be in at eleven she was there at ten to eleven.I found out later she did a few shady things but nothing to out of the ordinary for a kid.She told me that her best friend asked her to try a cigarette and she told her that was the last seven minutes she was ever going to give her of her life and she kept that promise.

brooke gradwith leash 001This is Brooke walking out of her graduation ceremony.She was second in her class.Not to shabby for a socially retarded not coloring right kid.Of course by this time we had the little girls and she had her Little Wheel with her on the big walk out.

brooke jare party 001Her Aunt Linda was always special to her and here they are with Jared at one of our many family parties.She was in college here.Both of these two love their God mother.

brooke wedding 001Brooke’s wedding was a blast but one of the saddest happiest days of my life.I knew it would be hard to let go of this thing of beauty that started my own motherhood walk but it has been such a blessing to share all of her life.Brookealexisbaptism 001Here are all of my precious daughters with our little Alexis at her baptism.Brooke was born to be a mother.Alexis was a very sick baby when she was born and Brooke and Mike took such good care of her.Alexis spent time at the University of Michigan NIC unit as she was a gastroschisis baby.This means a lot of her organs were on the outside of her body when she was born.Brooke spent her birthday that year in the NIC unit and was so happy because she was holding her baby.She never once complained about the problems with her little girl.Alexis was so blessed God looked down and saw Brooke as her mother.

Brooke and Miss P 001Brooke has no idea how wonderful she is.She is kind and she is smart.She is a teacher, a wife, a daughter, and a sister,but she is also the best mom and I am so proud.I have no idea how she got to be what she is but I am so glad she is mine.Happy Mothers Day Brooke.I love you.Mom