May is one of those crazy birthday months in my family. As most of you know, two of my kids have May birthdays. Gianna’s birthday is May 5th, and Aiden’s is May1st. But the May birthday insanity goes beyond my little ones. My Mema, my mom, my sister, sister-in-law and mother-in-law as well as a nephew all have May birthdays too. CRAZY!! This blog is dedicated to three women who have been part of my life for as long as I have had a life. The first is my Mema. She is the matriarch of our family. She and my Poppy have raised 5 daughters and a son. (One of those daughters being my very own mom!) My memories of Mema go back as far as my memory does. I remember sitting on her lap with my head resting on her shoulder, thinking that I was in one of the coziest places in the world. I remember hiding in her coat closet and hoping that my parents would forget that they brought me and leave me there so that I could stay overnight. ( I never said that I was normal.) I remember when we moved and I had to ride a different bus, I was panicked because I didn’t know which bus to get on and I turned around and there she was! My Mema had come to make sure that I got on the right bus! Seriously?!?! She was pretty awesome! I remember anytime that we were sick, mom would take us to see Mema. I was shocked when I realized that Mema wasn’t actually a doctor. As I got a little bit older, I knew that I could count on Mema to have my back. I remember one time that I was in trouble, for what I don’t know, but my dad and I were fighting about something and she said, “But Jim, she’s just a baby!” I think that I was 14 or 15 at the time, and I am 99% sure that I deserved to be in trouble, but she still tried to help my cause. My parents built a house beside Mema and Poppy’s house when I was going into 9th grade. Because they sold our house much faster than expected, we had to move in with Mema and Poppy for about 6 months during the construction. Some teenagers might have been horrified to live with their grandparents, but I loved it. I loved to play backgammon and canasta with Mema. I loved to just sit at the table and talk. After we moved into our new house, I loved that we were just right across the yard from Mema and Poppy’s. I could slip out of the house and walk over whenever I needed to get away. Mema was there at my high school graduation and my college graduation. She was there to help me move into my first big girl apartment in Ohio when I got a real job. She went wedding dress shopping with me and my mom. She has been there for new babies and baptisms and first communions. She has always been there…for all of us. I have been very blessed to have known 9 of my grandparents. As that number has sadly decreased over time, I am still blessed to have my Mema and Poppy. I have always said that everyone needs a Mema, I am so very blessed to have the original as my grandmother.
The second amazing May birthday woman actually shares her birthday with my Mema, her mother. She is my mother. How do you even describe your very own mother? She has literally been there since day one! Actually since before day one, if we are going to get technical.She is my safe place. She is where I can go to just be the kid for a little while. Even now, 36 years later, when I go to my mom and dad’s house, I feel relaxed and at peace. Why? Because even though I am married and mother to 9, when I go to mom and dad’s and sit at the kitchen table, I can relax because I am the kid again. The stress and anxiety of everyday life can be put on hold for a minute or two. I am just the kid. Ahhhhhhh. Growing up, I know that I had my challenging phases, for example ages 13-23?! I never realized how much my mom did for me until I had my own children, especially the teenagers. I apologize and thank her often. As a little kid I was so very blessed to have a dad that worked very hard to enable my mom to stay at home with us. I remember coming downstairs and walking into the kitchen and seeing a vase of flowers sitting on the table. There were always little touches like that. The house was always clean and tidy, but homey and comfy. We didn’t have a ton of money, but I don’t ever remember feeling as if we were missing anything. I remember always looking through the scholastic book order forms from school, but never ordering anything and then one day my mom surprised me with a boxed set of E.B. White books, Charlotte’s Web, The Trumpeter Swan and Stuart Little. I was ecstatic! I was a complete book worm and couldn’t wait to devour the new books! In fact I still have the books and recently shared them with my own little book worms. Looking back, I am sure that sacrifices were made to get me those books. (Thanks Mom!) When I left to college, it was a big adjustment for all of us. I was the oldest after all. My parents helped me move all of my stuff into my dorm room. My mom insisted on making my bed before they left. After my parents left, I continued to unpack. I found a little box and when I opened it there was a note from my mom and a very special pair of earrings. The note expressed how proud she was of me and how, now that I was in college, I was “grown up.” I still have the note tucked away in a safe place and I still read it occasionally, usually when I need to remind myself that I actually am a grownup. (It happens more often than I care to admit!) During my college years, I knew that whenever things got a little bit too crazy, all that I had to do was go home. Mom would fix it or at least help me to figure out how to fix it myself. A little chat sitting around the kitchen table always seemed to bring focus to a tricky situation. (She still does that! ) After college I was hired by Nine West Company and I had to move to Ohio to run my first store. I was thrilled and terrified. Mom immediately jumped in and helped me to find an apartment, pack, move and buy some needed furniture. We loaded up the U haul and headed to Ohio. She helped me to get settled and moved in before she headed home. Again, she helped me to calm down and get to work. I did get pretty homesick, but I knew that no matter when it was, I could call home. Mom would be there. After I met my wonderful hubby and we got engaged ( after only 77 days of dating) my mom was thrilled. She never once questioned if we were rushing things. She could see that it was all a part of the plan that God had laid out for me. My wedding was such a beautiful experience and I owe a lot of that to my parents. My own little family was formed that day and I became a mother to three little ones. I am so thankful that I had such a great role model for what a mom should be. She has helped to shape the way that I view things and I am the mother that I am today because of her. She is still a rock and a shoulder to cry on, as well as a friend to laugh with. She has helped me to make my way through some major challenges with my own kids. I don’t know what I would do with out her.
The third May Lady that I would like to thank is my Sissy, Jess. Growing up we fought, I mean we REALLY fought! We shared a bedroom for a while and I am shocked that we have both lived to talk about it. There are 5 1/2 years between us, which can seem like an eternity. She was a typical bratty little sister that got into my stuff and was constantly tattling on me. But all of that started to shift when I went away to college. She became less annoying and easier to get along with. I feel that I need to apologize to her, because I feel that I wasn’t there for her like I should have been during her high school years. High school can be tough and I really wish that I had been around more to help her get through it. Sorry Sissy! By the time I moved to Ohio, we were starting to actually like each other. She was the first person that I talked to after my first date with Brian. She was the first person to know that I was going to marry him. (Even if she thought that I was crazy!) She was my maid of honor and has become my very best friend. We have only gotten closer as we have gotten older. One of the best experiences has been to be pregnant at the same time. (Although I can guarantee that our poor mother would wholeheartedly disagree after having to deal with two hormonal cranky crying daughters at the same time.) To be able to share that with my sister was really neat. It was so nice to be able to call her and be crabby and complain and know that she completely understood. We talk on the phone everyday, venting and laughing about the challenges of being stay at home moms. There is never any judgement with my sister. She loves me just the way I am, massive flaws and all! She is my inspiration and she is amazing! I am so thankful to have such a lovely person in my day to day life!
Happy Birthday to my aMAYzing (get it?! A-MAY-zing…HA!) women!! I love you!