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

this week’s photo dump

Feeling lazy…fighting hard against Bill’s nasty cold that he picked up after our trip to Texas that everyone else is succumbing to…thinking that I have way too much to say and not really wanting to say much of anything at all…I’m just going to dump another slide show on y’all.

Yes, I’m running more again and I am thinking seriously about running the Modesto Half…the one I couldn’t run three years ago. No, I still don’t have a place to hang all those race medals from all of those other half marathons that I ran three or four years ago. But I do have these new, sweet compression tights which proved to be AMAZING on their inaugural 5 miler.

Yes, I am THAT mom who sent her son to school with mismatched socks. In my defense, it was Spirit Week and yes, one day was Mismatched Socks Day.

But the next day was NOT Dirty Face and Un-brushed Teeth Day. Twelve is such a wonderful, kind of scummy age. Yes, I am THAT mom who didn’t notice this until he leaned over to kiss me goodbye at the drop-off. I don’t imagine that he will forgive me for the spit bath I gave him anytime soon. That’s okay.

Halloween came the next day and that trauma was soon forgotten. This happens to be the first year where an older sister wasn’t using him as her trick or treat beard…er, I mean volunteering to take him trick or treating which meant even more candy for him and his new neighbor and friend here. Do you know how awesome it is to have a friend your age living on your street and who likes doing the same things you do? Daniel says it is definitely awesome.

And while Daniel was haunting the neighborhood, some sisters were busy making adventures of their own.

Nieces too.

Fallon’s very first flight, from San Francisco to Atlanta.

Where she and Hazel rocked it as the flower girls.

Hard!

Meanwhile, you know that Halloween drinking game everyone was playing this year?

Major fail here under The Big Top.

Two Elsas and one Anna.

A good thing since I voted while passing out candy.

Then there was the end to Daylight Saving for this year. For some of us it was hard…really hard!

As for me, driving home from SFO late tonight, after picking up my daughter, her husband and their wonderful, little flower girls, I am thankful for that extra hour. Yes, as a matter of fact, there is wine in that cup.

 

 

 

walk with me

Fall Break is over but we had to get in just one more fun adventure because I promised.

Walk with me, I asked my clowns and most of them said yes. Stupid work responsibilities getting in the way for the rest to join me! Then again, work is good. Can I just say how proud I am of the strong work ethic my kids have? I can! Abby wanted to be with us. I wanted Abby to be with us for this adventure. But those procrastinators who filed extensions last April 15 for their income tax filings OF COURSE wait until the NEXT deadline to finally file which means Abby’s office is busy and Abby must work.

Next time, Abby. Next time I walk with you. I promise.

Meanwhile, this adventure today is here.

Walk with me, I asked them.

Sure, they said.

At this point they had no idea that our walk would be about 3.5 miles long.

Oops!

Seriously, if I told them I doubt they would have agreed, adventure or no.

And so we walked…

And stopped.

and looked…

and looked because it was a the kind of beautiful day that you just can not let slip away.

Walking just past the first tower, Hazel grabs a hold of my hand just a little bit tighter shouting, “Mima, we’re up so high! It’s kind of scary.

Exactly what you want to say to your acrophobic and agoraphobic Mima who is struggling mightily with anxiety when she is 220 feet above the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

It is kind of scary,” I agree. “I’m scared. I’m definitely scared.”

You are?

“Oh yes. But I know that I can do this. I look up at the towers and I hold your hand and I know that I can walk across this beautiful bridge on this beautiful day.”

Me too, Mima.”

And then she runs on ahead because OMG we are almost done!!!

Perfect day.

Perfect 3.5 mile walk.

Perfect Fall Break adventure in our own backyard.

CHecking this adventure off of my to-do list.

 

the Four Horsemen and other signs of the coming apocalypse

The End Times are coming!

Earthquakes.

Drought.

Wars.

Plagues.

And these two are getting along…

playing together…

happy to see one another…

HUGGING!!!

Prepare your hearts.

Gird your loins.

Pray.

Get your zombie kits ready.

The apocalypse is coming!!!

I do believe that I will see the apocalypse in my lifetime. And when it comes, I’m not repenting for anything I’ve done
~Nate Lowman

the last first grader in the whole wide world

The last first grader to lose their first tooth in the whole, wide world is Hazel Faye.

Go ahead, ask her.

Her Mima LITERALLY asks her every day and every day she yanks and pulls at her teeth, heaves a super heavy sigh and tells me no. There is complete resignation in her voice that this milestone will never happen when she tells me that she is the ONLY first grader who hasn’t lost a single tooth. There isn’t even one single, blessed wiggly tooth.

Poor Hazel Faye!

Then again she is so mature in every other way and growing up much too fast; so what’s wrong really with a delay?

For what it’s worth my darling Hazey Face, my kids’ dentist assured me once that it is perfectly normal and definitely okay. Oh, and your own Mommy did not lose her very first tooth until she was pretty much the last first grader in the whole wide world back in her day.

There’s time…lots of time. For now I am going to continue to savor my favorite gap-toothed, little girl smile.