when you are three

When you are three you navigate this world the way that you want…

because you are three.

You eat what you want.

You wear what you want.

You even boldly change your name from Fallon to Caitlin because obviously your Mommy got it all wrong naming you Fallon because it is clear that you are Caitlin. You are especially vindicated when your Mima tells you how your own Mommy decided when she was a little girl that her Mommy Dearest spelled her name wrong on her birth certificate and then made the necessary corrections.

But the best thing about you when you are three is you can sing at the top of your lungs, I came in like a wrecking ball… over and over and over again while you are swinging on a swing because when you are three years old and you are you, it makes total sense.

Happy, happy birthday our perfect palindrome, darling monster, fancy Fallon Elizabeth! I know, your name is actually Caitlin but I am going to play the grandparent card and stubbornly refuse to acknowledge your true name or even the correct spelling as grandparents do sometimes.

play it again: Hazel the First

This weekend the descendants of Hazel Frances Shock Yowell will gather to remember, honor and celebrate the life of Momma Yowell on what was to be he her 96th birthday. Of course that means taking over a hotel as we do when we gather.

originally published May 9, 2014

Bill and I very soon will be celebrating 31 years of marriage, which is a pretty long time to be stuck together with one person. We have shared that day for years now with the birthday of our 4th lovely circus clown, Jodie Grace Wynonna. So it’s never really just our day. But even before Jodie, it never really was our day. We were married on the day of Bill’s grandparents’ (Momma and Poppa – Hazel and Osie) fiftieth wedding anniversary. Yeah, it was their day.

I can’t imagine being as gracious as Momma and Poppa were to share their day, their celebration with two crazy, in-love kids dressed in the OMG-what-the-fresh-hell-is-that 80′s wedding fashion. But they were. I’m so glad that they were so generous.

It was but a couple years later that I knew I truly belonged to this family I married into when Momma would address me as Teri-Toni-Dottie-Patty-Laura.

Yes!

Years and years later, I am carrying on for her, much to the annoyance of my kids, when I address them by all of their names until I eventually hit their name. Deep down I know that Hollie-Zoë-Abby-Jodie-Hazel-Fallon appreciate the family tradition. Of course they do.

Momma and her daughter, my dear mother-in-law, Mom, taught me how to properly fry chicken which is something I know Bill has given thanks for over the years. It’s not perfect or nearly as excellent as their fried chicken is, but it is properly fried chicken. Through the years, memories were made, laughter and tears were shared and babies were born…a lot of babies…

I loved Momma’s playfulness with my babies. All five of them have enjoyed her cuddles and being bounced on her knee trottin’ the pony. The awkward conversation we had where I explained to her that it was her grandson Bo’s fault that we had birthed no grandsons not so much. Still I loved the laughter we shared after that conversation.

Momma and Poppa had three children who became parents to nine grandchildren for Momma, who went on to have A LOT of great-grandbabies (I’m counting 17 but then again my math skills are seriously suspect) and 5 great-great grandchildren. All adored Momma.

Then again, what is there about her NOT to adore?

One memory I have of Momma is the fact that she always seemed to be smiling. No, not a big toothy smile. It was more a quiet smile with the corners of her mouth always upturned. To have lived as long as Momma has I know it wasn’t always perfect and rosey but clearly she lived her life with a positivity that was reflected in her quiet smile. One of many things that made her beautiful. But truth be told, my best, happiest memory was the first Thanksgiving she shared with her namesake, Hazel the Second.

Now how many 90-something year old ladies do you know who will get down on all floors to play with her carpet-crawling great-great grandbabies?

Yeah, I thought so.

I can only hope to be as kick-asstastic as her.

Hazel the First graced this world for over 95 years until today when she passed away.

Mother’s Day will be tempered with the fact that she is now part of our family’s sweet memories. For me, in the short time that I have been blessed to call her Momma, there has been many sweet memories. I will always have her to thank for knowing how to properly fry chicken and to at least try to just sit back, relax and enjoy the blessings around me (and there are a lot) with a quiet smile on my lips.

Hazel Frances Shock-Yowell, November 16, 1918 – May 9, 2014

Hazel the First

Bill and I very soon will be celebrating 31 years of marriage, which is a pretty long time to be stuck together with one person. We have shared that day for years now with the birthday of our 4th lovely circus clown, Jodie Grace Wynonna. So it’s never really just our day. But even before Jodie, it never really was our day. We were married on the day of Bill’s grandparents’ (Momma and Poppa – Hazel and Osie) fiftieth wedding anniversary. Yeah, it was their day.

I can’t imagine being as gracious as Momma and Poppa were to share their day, their celebration with two crazy, in-love kids dressed in the OMG-what-the-fresh-hell-is-that 80′s wedding fashion. But they were. I’m so glad that they were so generous.

It was but a couple years later that I knew I truly belonged to this family I married into when Momma would address me as Teri-Toni-Dottie-Patty-Laura.

Yes!

Years and years later, I am carrying on for her, much to the annoyance of my kids, when I address them by all of their names until I eventually hit their name. Deep down I know that Hollie-Zoë-Abby-Jodie-Hazel-Fallon appreciate the family tradition. Of course they do.

Momma and her daughter, my dear mother-in-law, Mom, taught me how to properly fry chicken which is something I know Bill has given thanks for over the years. It’s not perfect or nearly as excellent as their fried chicken is, but it is properly fried chicken. Through the years, memories were made, laughter and tears were shared and babies were born…a lot of babies…

I loved Momma’s playfulness with my babies. All five of them have enjoyed her cuddles and being bounced on her knee trottin’ the pony. The awkward conversation we had where I explained to her that it was her grandson Bo’s fault that we had birthed no grandsons not so much. Still I loved the laughter we shared after that conversation.

Momma and Poppa had three children who became parents to nine grandchildren for Momma, who went on to have A LOT of great-grandbabies (I’m counting 17 but then again my math skills are seriously suspect) and 5 great-great grandchildren. All adored Momma.

Then again, what is there about her NOT to adore?

One memory I have of Momma is the fact that she always seemed to be smiling. No, not a big toothy smile. It was more a quiet smile with the corners of her mouth always upturned. To have lived as long as Momma has I know it wasn’t always perfect and rosey but clearly she lived her life with a positivity that was reflected in her quiet smile. One of many things that made her beautiful. But truth be told, my best, happiest memory was the first Thanksgiving she shared with her namesake, Hazel the Second.

Now how many 90-something year old ladies do you know who will get down on all floors to play with her carpet-crawling great-great grandbabies?

Yeah, I thought so.

I can only hope to be as kick-asstastic as her.

Hazel the First graced this world for over 95 years until today when she passed away.

Mother’s Day will be tempered with the fact that she is now part of our family’s sweet memories. For me, in the short time that I have been blessed to call her Momma, there has been many sweet memories. I will always have her to thank for knowing how to properly fry chicken and to at least try to just sit back, relax and enjoy the blessings around me (and there are a lot) with a quiet smile on my lips.

Hazel Frances Shock-Yowell, November 16, 1918 – May 9, 2014

 

play it again: the baby sway

originally published February 22, 2005

If you are a parent you probably know what I am referring to here.

Have you ever noticed a parent of a new baby, especially the mom, when they are holding their baby they tend to sway rhythmically to an fro. It seems to come naturally and it usually does wonders for calming a fussy newborn. Have you ever noticed the same parent when they put the baby down or hand them off to someone else? They are more often than not still swaying. I call that the baby sway.

I did this with all of my babies. I don’t know why, I just did. Maybe it was comforting to me too.

Well, last night I cared for a term newborn being treated for hyperbilirubinemia. She was a doll and her parents were the sweetest couple. Mom was really determined to only breastfeed her baby and insisted on coming in every time her daughter was hungry. I was able to accommodate her request and more than supportive provided mom promised to lie down and at the very least, rest in between feedings as her daughter was demanding to be fed every two hours nursing for thirty to forty minutes.

After one middle of the night feeding, her daughter seemed to have a little difficulty settling while under the phototherapy lights. Mom stayed at the bedside “nesting” her daughter on the warming bed like I showed her how. Eventually, the baby quieted and was soon sleeping but mom and I continued with our conversation about other ways to soothe her baby. It was then I noticed that mom was swaying as if her baby was still in her arms. I smiled to myself as I remembered doing that with my own babies. It was such a warm, fuzzy memory.

And then I realized I don’t do that anymore. Of course I still do the baby sway with a baby in my arms or MY baby in my arms….but he isn’t really a baby anymore. He will ALWAYS be my baby, but he definitely is a little boy. He still needs me very much and makes that known with his numerous requests for hugs and cuddles throughout his day but once that need is fulfilled off he goes back to his little boy adventures. I remember the same transition with each of his sisters.

It is bittersweet. My internal baby sway is now dormant as we enter the next phase of my son’s life. There are no more babies for me. It will have to be the babies I care for in the NICU, cuddle at church and someday…..a long time from now!…..my grandbabies. Then the baby sway returns with the soft grandmom shoulders that all grandbabies love to snuggle against.

December 2013:

Of course I had no clue that three years later I would become a grandmother, a Mima, much, much sooner than I was ready to be. Oh well. Thankfully, my own baby sway did return and on many occasions, I somehow managed to put those grandbabies to sleep when no one else could.

Skills…I haz skillz!