Category Archives: Friends

Life after…..and random acts…….

Time has passed and time has been carrying on for me and the  farmer.  We said goodbye to Momma, each in our own way.  We think about her everyday.  The struggle, the good times and bad.  For me?  I was at a loss a bit, but then found my groove.  Only to be hit by something so totally unexpected, it knocked me to the ground….My best friend of 15 years died so fast and so unexpected, it hit me very hard.  This friend had stood by me through all of Momma’s illness, picked me up off the floor when Momma died, and held my hand through my stupid divorce and pushed me back to my soul mate..  I did inherit a son through all of this.  It was a promise made before we even knew it was our last days together.     I can only be happy knowing, when she died, she knew I loved her, and she knew I would take care of her son.  She knew I would be there always.  Since she has passed, I have been at the birth of her grandson, planted grass on her grave and fought for her headstone.

But this is not what this is about…..grief, it is a strange thing that comes at some strange times.  I’ve had my share, and so has everyone else.  I have chosen to deal with it in a strange manner.  I try to do at least one random act of goodness once a day in the name of those I have loved and have passed.

I am lucky enough to be employed at a job I truly love.  I work at a truck stop, and do a variety of jobs on any given day.  I am a “chef” in the kitchen, or a baker in the “cinnabon” area, or a line person who serves meals, or just a cashier who takes your money for gas.  I have met so many different people and shared so many stories, and just smiled at a million people on a daily basis.  It makes me feel good to know that I can make someone’s day without even trying.  To that free cup of coffee, in Momma’s name, to that free sandwich in Jill’s name, to just listening to someone talk because there is no one else around.

I really do have a good life, It has changed from so much when I first started this blog…..I am loved by many, and cherished by a few.  I have found the love of my life again, even though he and I lost each other for a bit, he is still my main man.  I have another dude in my life who has been around for a while, but he is growing, and still loves me.  🙂   I can’t express in words so here are a few pics…  The Farmer and I at the Memorial for Hospice patients who passed.  Jill, Kyle and I, and my beloved Cam Man at his first t-ball gave.   While this may be a post all over the map, I am doing well, and I miss the blogging world…..Peace to all of you!

 

 

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Where did my Happy Place go?

I’ve asked myself this question, quite a bit lately.  All the things, that I know, seem to be upside down.  I seem to go through my day, as norm, but things that used to make me happy, well…they still do, but it is like a sadness has fallen upon me and I don’t quite know how to handle it.

Things with Momma?  They are painful.  I hate to see how she is now, and I question, the modern medicineYes, she is alive, and Yes, we enjoy her company, most of the time.  But  where did her quality of life go?  The Momma, I know today, is not my Momma.  There I said it.  The woman I see before me today, is NOTHING, like what I know. Between the Parkinson’s, the Parkinson’s Dementia, and just plain old “stuff”, this is not my Momma.

It hurts me to the core, when she cries, because her mind has given her a scene that she thinks is real, but it is not.  It hurts me that she cannot swallow, so she drools worse than a 2-year-old teething. It hurts me when she tries so hard to stand and walk, and she gets scared, because her limbs are gripped in the stiffness, and she cannot make them work the way she wants them too.  It hurts, because her neck is full of spasms, and she cannot hold it up. It hurts me because she is in pain, and full of “things” in her mind, and I cannot help her.  There, I said it.  I. Cannot. Help. Her.

Oh sure, I can give her a bed bath, and scrub her head, so she stops itching,, I can clean her up after she goes on the potty.  I can hold her hand and just sing to her and she smiles and sings too.  I can hold her hand and talk to her in soft tones, and tell her stories of our past, they seem to comfort her.  I call the Farmer in on particularly rough moments, so he can back me up, so she will believe what I am saying.  Momma is tired.  I know this.  Heck for that matter, the Farmer and I are tired too.

It is not all doom and gloom.  There are moments, when Momma shines through and it is truly a joy to see, but they are coming farther and farther in between.  It’s okay though.  Truly it is.  What will be will be.

I haven’t written on my blog for a while, simply because, when I started this blog, it was about my life with Momma.  Life with Momma has been painful lately, and while it is hard for me to write this, I owe it to myself to see it through.  I’ve been contacted by so many people, that have the same disease as Momma.  Parkinson’s Disease.  I’ve made a lot of friends through this blog as well.

While it is painful for me to share with y’all these things, I will do it.  If only to let y’all in on my world and let you know, or simply just to educate others.

I really just wish I could find my Happy Place about now, and trust me I will.

Nostalgic….. and the Power of prayer…..

Have you ever had just one friend in your life, who is your go-to person?  Someone who has known you the  longest?  As a military “brat”, who transformed into an Overseas “brat”, I made friends, but left them behind each time we moved.  We moved a bunch too, until we arrived in England.

In the first 18 years of my life, I believe I lived in England the longest.   If y’all follow my blog, then you know I went to a boarding school.  To an only child it’s like having about 100 brothers and sisters, who have never left me.

I’ve been dealing with some personal stuff lately, with one of my kids.   It has been a Mother’s nightmare.  Just because a child grows up, and is 30 years old, when they come to be on a “suicide watch“, it is a very scary thing.    This is not the first time with this son.  Hopefully it will be last time.    It is a very heartbreaking situation, and I am praying so gratefully for the outcome.

My son’s father committed suicide, and when my son gets overwhelmed, or in general just feels he has done so much wrong, and cannot be forgiven, and so far down in that pit of deep despair, he feels this is his only answer.

I have clawed, prayed and fought for him.  He deserves it, and he is very loveable.  But sometimes he makes very bad decisions.  He knows right from wrong, and he is not a bad kid.   Kind of like that saying ‘When I am bad, I’m bad, but when I am good, I am great.  Good kid, wrong crowd, and BAM, trouble.  (Uhm, bear with me I do have a point, but I am working my way to it ok?).

I have been on a roller coaster all weekend, this past weekend being Father’s Day, and stuff, and it hit my kid hard.  I kind of felt guilty in a way that I was having so much fun, while he was in such despair.

I posted on Facebook to everyone I knew, to please pray for him.  I started prayer chains all over the place.  Friends of mine, started prayer chains for him to.  People who did not even know him, prayed for him.

I breathed a sigh of relief today, after a pretty heartbreaking discussion ( might I just say, my kid is not in the same State as I, and is also in jail and our only contact is phone and letters),  My son was crying and hung up on me.  He was not happy with what I said.  About five minutes later, he called again, and it was as if a light switch had went off in his head, and he told me “I get it Mom.  I love you and Thank you for never giving up on me, I won’t be selfish anymore, I’ve made mistakes, and I get what you’re saying.   Just please, do not ever give up on me, I’m ok now, I’ve got a lot to think about, especially what you have said.  I would never hurt you for the world after all you have done for me, and I was not thinking about how what I would do, would affect you.   You are right, there is more to this life than what I’ve done, and I am on the way up.  After all, I’m in the bottom now, and like you said I can only go up from here.  Thank you Mom.  I Love you, ”

After typing this, it brings tears to my eyes, simply because I was fighting with all I am, for him.  Now mind you, while I had this conversation with him, I was giving Momma a bath and washing her hair, and doing what I normally do.    I finished up getting Momma up and doing all the stuff I do, and headed home.

When I walked in the door, the first thing I do is check my phone.  I had 3 missed calls and 2 voice mails.  After by-passing the missed calls I went to the voice mails.  I started laughing, belly laughing at one of my voice mails.  I couldn’t help it.

One of my “former” room-mates from about 35 years ago, had left me a voice mail, that I had to laugh over.  I dialed up her number and spent the next (cough) (okay, I’m busting myself out) 1 1/2 hours on the phone with.  Her and I giggled, talked about life, both of our stuff, and also the reality of our situations..

She told me, that whenever she reads something on Facebook that I put out there, I am real. (Well duh, it’s life and I’m dealin), but other’s put stuff out there to make them look perfect.  We discussed a bunch of stuff and have figured out that no one is perfect, but we are ready to accept and deal with what we have.

I truly spent an enjoyable time this afternoon, and the Electrician was laughing at me, because when he arrived home (I was talking on the phone baking cookies and not really paying attention to anything but my phone call), he walked in and said ‘Uhm Hello?”  When I came around the corner he asked me if I knew the Air conditioning was on and the house was opened wide up.  Oops….Thanks P…..

I give serious Thanks to those peeps, and ALL of you, that have helped me make it through this weekend, with my son.  But I have to give a special shout out to my girl “P”.  Who knows me better than most, she knew when I was ready to talk, and talk we did.

To my friend P….HOLLA….girl I love you…To the Farmer…Thank YOU for all you have done, and once again…uhm…we got a phone bill.   To the Electrician, just a quick HOLLA….you know what I mean.  To my son, who will not read this until about 4 years from now, Your Momma loves you with all of her heart, and I hope and pray, it will be okay….

Guest post…..AGAIN…

DSCN4162Hey y’all, it’s me…Ms. Baby, or as Mom calls me, “Fat cat”.

I’ve had a very productive day.  My Mom stayed home with me today, well she did go out for a bit, but it was okay, I was ready for my nap by then.

My Mom was still asleep after my Dad left this morning.  He told me to let her sleep, so I did, for a bit.  How long does a Momma need to sleep for?  I went in and woke her up, because I wanted some food, and cuddles.

Mom goofed around and did something called “cleaning”, but her and I took time out today to have some cuddles.  She washed the sheets on the bed, and we had our favorite game, I “helped” her make the bed with clean sheets.  I like how they smell.

Around noon or something like that, I wanted to go outside, so Mom let me out, and I noticed something.  Every bird in the neighborhood was visiting our middle hanging plant on our porch.  I laid underneath it, not quite sure what was going on, and Mom kept her eye on me.  Something was happening.

Mom said the birds were singing, because of an “event”.  Whatever that means.  This evening, I went outside again, and got busted in the garden by my Dad, he made me come inside, and I heard Mom and Dad talking.

Apparently the robin bird that has made her nest ON MY PLANT on the porch, had her babies tonite.  Mom said she looked from the top of the deck and there are 2 little baby birds in the nest.

Hmmm….I may have to lay underneath the nest for a bit, baby birds have to fly sometime, and I’ll be waiting.  Okay, who am I kidding, My Mom and Dad will have my skin, if I do something to a baby bird, but it might be fun to be a “God mother” or something…….

 

Troubled…and heart-broken….

Camsgranny is troubled…. She has had some awesome days with Cam-Man and momma.  But today when she arrived home, and checked her e-mail and other stuff, She carried on.  Nothing new here…..

I had just finished doing a warm-up meal ( food out of the fridge that was saved for day’s like this), when my phone rang, it was from one of my fellow bloggers, that I’ve known for about a year.

Her journey is similar to mine to an extent.  While I care for Momma, she cares for her brother….It broke my heart, at what she told me.  The desperation in her voice, hurt me.  While I tried to give her comfort, I knew in my heart what the new, news means.

I can’t make it all better, I could not even try, the only thing I can give her is my experience over what I’ve dealt with. It does not even reach what she is dealing with.

It’s hard this road I travel.  I don’t just deal with Momma, I deal with other people and their journey too.  Maybe I am to empathetic over not only my own struggles but other people’s as well.

My Biggest concern today?  And trust me it might change at any given time….BRING awareness into other people’s lives.  I’ve had a good long time to get prepared for what Parkinson’s will bring us, other people might not.

The biggest thing?  Parkinson‘s will attack you and take from you what you are not willing to give.  Us?   The Caretaker‘s of our family members….we sit back and try to make the person affected with this nasty disease, feel comfortable and do the best with what we know.  But…we don’t know a lot…..

While Parkinson’s might not affect you, it does affect a bunch more people than you would like to think,  Let’s be there for them?

I typed this last night, and I saved it, obviously for a reason….  Sometimes, I type out my story on this keyboard, just to let my emotions out.  It’s been my saving grace so to speak.

I’m worried tonite folks…Momma is battling a cold which could turn into pneumonia at any time.  That is one of the front-runners of killing a parks person.  My beloved Nurse, came over today to “check” Momma out, the prognosis was good at this moment.   I think we all fear the same thing.

But the fear itself is only selfishness on our part, by wanting to keep our loved one’s here.  At what price? I   probably should not post this, simply for the fact, I’m open and my heart is ready to be tromped….Please let us dodge this bullet for the time being, because honestly….I’m not ready to let go….

I was not going to post this, I have been working on it all week.  I used to post on my blog everyday.  It helped me to release some of the feelings I have.  But I have found recently, with events changing, I can’t put out there what I used to.  It is to personal for me.  The Farmer reads my blog, and he is dealing with everything that I am, if not more.

I have found through my journey, and it’s not over, but I have become aware of a bunch of different things.  I used to sail through life, not giving much attention to things, that didn’t really affect me.    My eyes have been opened to so much, and I have felt more emotion in the past 3 years, than I could ever begin to describe.  My journey has changed me as a person.

I think it has changed me for the better.  I do not judge ANYONE anymore, I have learned it is not my place.  I have also learned, compassion.  I have also learned that Parkinson’s affects more people than even I realized, and if talking about it, helps one person, than I am helping.  In some small way, I’ve helped.

Momma is ok today.  The cold has not turned into pneumonia.  The Nurse has helped me learn a bunch of new things, and if they help Momma,  I’m all for it.

While I will tell you, I will try to post more often, I sometimes hesitate, simply because, it’s real, it’s emotional, and sometimes….it hurts to open yourself up that much.

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month…..

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I may be 6 days late in advising that this month is dedicated to Parkinson’s Awareness.  But…better late than never.

I have plans for this month, to try to bring awareness of this disease to my Community, and anyone and everyone that will listen.

I am a Caregiver to my Momma who is in Stage 5 Parkinson’s, I have watched the progression of this disease for about 10 years now.   At times, we were never sure what “Stage” Momma was in,   We are very clear now, though what stage she is in.

The funniest thing about this disease, is it, does not affect every person the same.  There is no manuscript or instruction manual on how to proceed.  Most times, we fly by the seat of our pants, especially at this stage.

I have talked with many different people about the disease.  Most people, who have never dealt with it, and are under the “assumption” that is just “tremors” of the body.  It is so much more than that.   Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder with no known cure.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and  the most common movement disorder. It is characterized by progressive loss of  muscle control, which leads to trembling of the limbs and head while at rest,  stiffness, slowness, and impaired balance. As symptoms worsen, it may become  difficult to walk, talk, and complete simple tasks.

The progression of Parkinson’s disease and the degree of impairment vary from  individual to individual. Many people with Parkinson’s disease live long  productive lives, whereas others become disabled much more quickly. Premature  death is usually due to complications such as falling-related injuries or pneumonia.

In the United States, about 1 million people are affected by Parkinson’s  disease and worldwide about 5 million. Most individuals who develop Parkinson’s  disease are 60 years of age or older. Parkinson’s disease occurs in  approximately 1% of individuals aged 60 years and in about 4% of those aged 80  years. Since overall life expectancy is rising, the number of individuals with  Parkinson’s disease will increase in the future. Adult-onset Parkinson’s disease  is most common, but early onset Parkinson’s disease (onset between 21-40 years),  and juvenile-onset Parkinson’s disease (onset before age 21) also exist.

What causes Parkinson’s disease?

A substance called dopamine acts as a messenger between two brain areas – the  substantia nigra and the corpus striatum – to produce smooth, controlled  movements. Most of the movement-related symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are  caused by a lack of dopamine due to the loss of dopamine-producing cells in the  substantia nigra. When the amount of dopamine is too low, communication between  the substantia nigra and corpus striatum becomes ineffective, and movement  becomes impaired; the greater the loss of dopamine, the worse the  movement-related symptoms. Other cells in the brain also degenerate to some  degree and may contribute to non-movement related symptoms of Parkinson’s  disease.

Although it is well-known that lack of dopamine causes the motor symptoms of  Parkinson’s disease, it is not clear why the dopamine-producing brain cells  deteriorate. Genetic and pathological studies have revealed that various  dysfunctional cellular processes, inflammation, and stress can all contribute to  cell damage. In addition, abnormal clumps called Lewy bodies, which contain the  protein alpha-synuclein, are found in many brain cells of individuals with  Parkinson’s disease. The function of these clumps in regards to Parkinson’s  disease is not understood. In general, scientists suspect that dopamine loss is  due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

There is also something called Parkinson’s Dementia,  which is a whole other ball game.

Early in the course of Parkinson’s disease dementia, mental slowing is
seen. Another sign (In medicine a sign is what a physician finds by examining
a patient. )For example, a patient with the symptom of pain might have signs of a
fast heart rate, a pale face, a clammy touch and tenderness. is
mental inflexibility. Compared to people with Alzheimer’s disease, those with
Parkinson’s disease dementia have somewhat worse visuospatial function, although
at the early stages, this is usually demonstrated better by formal testing (such
as the clock drawing task) than is seen in everyday life. Hallucinations are
often seen in Parkinson’s disease dementia. The hallucinations typically consist
of seeing things that are not there. In Alzheimer’s disease, hallucinations
generally occur late (e.g. in the severe stage), but in Parkinson’s Disease
dementia, they usually occur early (when the dementia is in the mild stage. )
In fact, in Parkinson’s disease dementia, hallucinations can be an
early sign of dementia. Even when seen as a reaction to too much dopamine, they
can be a sign of dementia to follow later.

Symptoms that are more specific for Parkinson’s Disease dementia are a mild memory impairment that at first responds to hints and cues. just as in Lewy Body dementia, patients with Parkinson’s Disease dementia can show large changes in attention and alertness from day-to-day (one day they are able to hold conversation, next day the cannot). Other manifestations of fluctuation in symptoms are episodes of staring blankly, especially if occurs to such an extent that you find
yourself touching or even shaking the person you care for so that they will
“snap out of it”. Daytime sleepiness can be another sign of fluctuation.
Sometimes, for reasons that are not clear, the fluctuation in alertness can be
made better by making changes to medications that smooth out the level of
dopamine.
Parkinson’s Disease dementia is a progressive Progression
A disease that is increasing in severity; going from bad to worse over time. disorder that has an average length of several years from the beginning of symptoms. The cause of Parkinson’s disease dementia is still unknown, but it is thought
that there are many genes which contribute to the development, including some
that are also thought to cause Alzheimer’s disease.

In the course of the 10 years, I have dealt with this disease, I have done a BUNCH of research on the subject.  If only to find a way that will make the Road Momma is travelling easier for her.    It is not an easy road to travel, and my heart goes out to other Caregiver’s that are dealing with this disease.

If I can get the word out and help at least one other person who has questions, then I feel good.  If my experience on this road helps someone else on the journey they are on, then I am not on the road by myself.

I do have to say, I have found friends through my blog, and we have helped each other, y’all know who you are, and I thank you, for making my road easier to travel, because I have found I am not alone.

Ooops.. I got in trouble….

Where I live in Central Illinois, we got a heck of a snow storm yesterday and last night, it is probably the most snow we have had all of this winter season.  It would have been nice if it happened in December, but not especially in March.  Last night, the Electrician and I watched it, had our power flicker about 3 times, and at one point, the Electrician went out and shovelled off our deck.  Simply for the fact, it was a very heavy and wet snow, and I did not want the deck to collapse.  While areas around us, got up to 18.5 inches of snow, we thought we were lucky with the 11′ we got.

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DSCN4376This morning dawned and the Electrician went out and shovelled the sidewalk, and also cleared off both of our cars, but it was still snowing.  He went to work and gave me strict instructions, I was not to go anywhere.  He called several times on his normal 25 minute ride to work, which took him almost an hour, and told me it was bad.

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The Farmer called me several times this morning, and while I guess His area did not get what I had, and he informed the roads were clear, I told him, at this point, I could not get out of my driveway.  The Electrician had dug out my driveway so to speak, but my neighbor came along and used his snow blower to make my driveway more accessible.  I had yet to see a snowplow.

 

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Around noon, I got brave.  That was my first mistake.  I decided I could drive it, heck the Farmer said the roads were clear, and apparently in the next town over, the roads were clear, so what the heck?

Well, let me inform you and everyone else, my brave a$$ was very stupid.  Making it out of my driveway, piece of cake, driving through town, easy, getting out onto one of the most treacherous roads in the county, STUPID.

Driving 20 mph, I must have hit a patch of snow/ice and my Rav4 and I did a 360′ across a lane and straight into a ditch.  God was watching out after me though.  First off, there was no oncoming traffic, second off I screamed the whole time like a sissy, and third off I did not hurt the Rav4.

After catching my breath and prying my hands off the steering wheel, I took a second to get my bearings and realized I was in trouble.  It was STILL frigging snowing, and I was scared.  There was no way I could get the Rav4 out, when I opened the door to  get out and assess the damage, I stepped out into waist-high snow.  I realize I am short, but DAMN….  I called the Farmer and let vent with a stream of cuss words, (Sorry Dad).

Luckily for me, I grabbed my cell phone and called one of my BFF’s and asked her where her hubby was, she gave me his number and I called him.   He said oops, Jo, I’ll be there in about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, a County Sheriff, (whom I also know) pulled up and was going to try to push me out, until his butt was up to it in Snow.  “Jo, uhm, I’m not sure how you did this”.  “Well duh…neither do I…”   “The only thing I am allowed to do, since I am on duty is call a towing Co. for you”…forget about that, I got a friend who is coming to help me.  He went on his merry way, and I was sitting there and the only thing I could think about, is my husband is going to kill me.

A red truck pulled over and a guy got out, and I almost got scared, until I realized it was one of the Electrician’s and my friends.  “Jo..uhm…you want me to pull you out?”  (By now I AM FACE PALMING MYSELF…duh)  “Yes, please, and what ever you do, PLEASE do not tell the Electrician that you did this ok?”  Our friend pulled the Rav4 out with no problem, and come to find out, they had passed me right after my very unhappy butt got stuck and turned around just to help me.

My friend drove my car back into town, and then let me drive my VERY unhappy butt home.  I was trying to figure out how to tell the Electrician that I had tried to venture out on my own.

I learned a very hard lesson today, folks.  By my own hard headiness (is that even a word?)  I risked my life when I should have just listened to the Electrician .  If there had been oncoming traffic when I hit that icy/snowy patch, I could be in the hospital right now. I was VERY lucky, that I live in a small town, where people “rescue”other idiot drivers, who should just stay home.

I did tell the Electrician about it, when he arrived home, he was not very happy with me at all.  Heck at this point, I am just thankful that the ending was happy.

So, I guess the moral of my story is, when it snows that much, keep your happy butt at home.  Because in all honesty, MY roads were not clear, and obviously, I cannot drive on that stuff.

 

Confessions of a Parkinson’s Daughter….

The screen was ready and I had already planned about what I would write, I’ve been absent from my blog for a few days.  I gave no warning, and really did not mean to forget you, but sometimes, life gets in the way of the best laid plans.

Tonite’s post was supposed to be about, how I’ve been oh so busy the past few days, and while that is true, I’ve had other issues.

I’ve been for the past few days, doing ‘double time” at the Farmer’s.  Caregiver Beth was sick.  So for a few days, not only did I go over and spend most of the day at the Farmer’s house, I went back in the evenings and put Momma to bed.

Now for me, it’s a given, Momma is one of my priorities.  While I have missed being home, I’ve also missed putting Momma to bed at night.  She sort of rallies at night and becomes a bit more livelier at night, than she is during the day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve kept the home fires going at the same time.  The Electrician has come home to his meals prepared and ready to be heated up, AND I’ve done all those domestic diva things that I normally do.

Momma is holding her own, she gets a little whacky sometimes, but that is to be expected. Yesterday, she did so well, that I gave her a couple of sips of coffee in the morning, and when I went back that evening…well… ok, I may or may not have snuck her a couple of spoonfuls of gravy, Which she swallowed.  I also may or may not have snuck her a couple of spoonfuls of orange sherbet  Which she swallowed.

When I arrived today, it was kind of funny.  Things have been crazy today.  I arrived at the Farmer’s and got his list for the store and went shopping.  GASP, YES, I went shopping AND might I say pretty darn proud of myself for staying UNDER budget,

I arrived back at the Farmer’s with ALL of my purchases, and the Farmer was pretty happy with all I had gotten.  I wrapped some gifts that went under the tree, and then went to get Momma up.  Momma was a little ray of sunshine on an otherwise gloomy day.  For real folks, it’s snowing, blowing and just down right nasty here today.

Momma picks out the colors she wants to wear each day.  Today it was a Ms. Kitty Sweatshirt and some sweat pants.  Momma did good today, While I recognize that I am very territorial, and I might hover over her a bit.  I’m kinda sad that I do not get to put her to bed tonite.

I’ve made some serious memories of Momma lately, and that’s a good thing.  Because I know those memories will keep me going for a good long while.  But ya know what?  I’m going to keep on making those memories….as long as Momma lets me.

I truly believe we are each given something by each person that comes into our lives.  It’s our journey to find out what it is.  I think I know what Momma is teaching me in a subtle way, it’s taken me a while to understand it.  But I think I am learning the lesson here.  I’m just not ready to share it.

In my month of Thankfulness….

This has been a month of Thankfulness for me.  While I am thankful for everyday, truly I am.  There are things that make this month stand out the most.  Just for me, and maybe for someone else, something I may say, might  mean something.

I am always Thankful for my family.  They truly are my back bone and give me the strength to go deal with what I do.

I am thankful for everything I have, from my house, to my clothes, to my car, to well, just everything.

I am thankful for my friends….y’all know who you are…you guys hold me close, let me say whatever I need to, just to blow off steam, to just saying you love me, and somehow my world turns to right.

I am Thankful for my Cat, ok, y’all can laugh if you want to, but this cat has given me more love, affection and attitude than any of my kids (ok that might be a tie), but she loves me, and loves to curl into my lap, or sleep at my feet and take care of me when no one else is around.  (It’s a cat thing…sorry if you don’t understand it).

I’m thankful for my husband, who truly I never thought I would ever find a soul who matches mine as much as he does, we are on the same wave..dream the same dreams and love the same things. Not to mention we love each other to the moon and then beyond……

I love my birth kids, more than words can ever say, I am thankful for both of you, you each have given me joy, and a bunch of pain, but I guess that is part of being a Mother.  Never doubt my love for you, even though it may be tough right now.

I am thankful for my “other” children, I refuse to call you “step’ because truly in my eyes, if I could have given birth to you I would have, the fact that I love each and every one of you, is to me a Blessing, because God gave you to me, I truly tried to step to the challenge., If I have let you down, sorry, but I truly love y’all like my own and hope you know it.  Each of you is a Blessing to me in one way or another.

I’m Thankful for one little dude, that probably no one can understand….That would be Cam-man…I cannot even begin to describe what this little dude means to me.    I never wanted to over-step any bonds. But from about day 2, because day 1 I was too afraid to hold him, This dude is my Buddy.  I may have been replaced because his papa is his best friend and that’s ok.  This little dude, gave me strength to survive his papa being away from me, and giving me joy in his little face.  To this day, this little dude and I share a bond that was re-inforced to me today, and I am oh so thankful of this little guy.    He still loves me, and plays hide n seek with me and all of those other games him and I share.

But to be truthful, I am thankful for the Farmer and Momma, simply because…they are my parents.  For Momma maybe by default, but it is what it is, and SHE is MY Momma.

I am Thankful for living the life I do, with all I have, and all I am thankful for.  I am truly one Blessed woman.

My life may be complicated, but truly, I’m not used to any other.  I’ve lived all these years and I’ve learned a bunch of lessons.  I am still learning.  But I do know I am Thankful, and I give all of my Blessings thankful to God, AND my angels, I truly have a bunch of them.    This month, My Angels added another.  While I am sad, I am thankful for the party going on up in heaven.

I just hope that when it’s all said and done, eventually, it’s gonna be one heck of a party when we all get together…..

The Folded napkin…A Trucker’s story….

This is not my story, I borrowed it from a friend….

 

The Folded Napkin … A Truckers Story

I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn’t sure I wanted one. I wasn’t sure how my customers would react to Stevie. He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Downs Syndrome.

I wasn’t worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don’t generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade. The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded “truck stop germ” the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks.

I shouldn’t have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck stop mascot. After that, I really didn’t care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table.

Our only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus dishes and glasses onto cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag. If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.

Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truck stop. Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home. That’s why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work.

He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Downs Syndrome often have heart problems at an early age so this wasn’t unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.

A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery, and doing fine. Frannie, the head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Bell Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of this 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look.

He grinned. “OK, Frannie, what was that all about?” he asked.

“We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay.”

“I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?”

Frannie quickly told Bell Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie’s surgery, then sighed: “Yeah, I’m glad he is going to be OK,” she said. “But I don’t know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they’re barely getting by as it is.” Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables.

Since I hadn’t had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn’t want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do. After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her face.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“I didn’t get that table where Bell Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off,” she said. “This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup.”

She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed “Something For Stevie.

Pony Pete asked me what that was all about,” she said, “so I told him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this.” She handed me another paper napkin that had “Something For Stevie” scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds.

Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply: “truckers.”

That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he’s been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn’t matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy.

I arranged to have his mother bring him to work. I then met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back. Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn’t stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.

“Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast,” I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. “Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me!”

I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room. I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins.

“First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess,” I said. I tried to sound stern. Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had “Something for Stevie” printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table.

Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it. I turned to his mother.

“There’s more than $10,000 in cash and checks on table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. “Happy Thanksgiving,”

Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well. But you know what’s funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table. Best worker I ever hired.

Plant a seed and watch it grow. At this point, you can bury this inspirational message or forward it fulfilling the need! If you shed a tear, hug yourself, because you are a compassionate person.

Well.. Don’t just sit there! Share this story!

Keep it going, this is a good one!