Monthly Archives: June 2013

Some big shoes to follow in…

I wanted to get this written for my dad’s birthday… but couldn’t make it through it. So here is for a second chance.  I am so blessed to have my dad still in my life…  This list is by no means in any particular order…

My dad and mom had routine time out together, often by bowling, and would take one of us along with them.  The rest of us got to stay at Pap and Grandma Frazee’s

My dad taught me about work ethic – i.e. you never miss work!   He was a faithful employee who rarely missed even when juggling all the many roles in his life.  He worked more than one job often from his full time job as an electrician to picking up extra work as a milk truck driver, paper route, etc.  He took care of his family.

Family time was important and so was time together with your wife.  I remember many rides on the snowmobiles as a family.  I also remember the buggie we had that had a cart on the back where the boys rode and I rode up front.  We would go various places.  I also remember the annual camping trips with the church.  One of my favorite things would be the Sunday drives and we would leave and end up who knows where and sing songs in the car together.  He has an incredible voice (can be a little, actually a lot scary, if he yells – Lol)

Speaking of church – we rarely ever missed.  If there was too much snow we would all dress in our snowmobile clothes and still made it.  He served various leadership roles in the church and was also a Sunday School teacher.

He taught us great values about honesty… I will never forget the time that my brother and I “borrowed” money from our other brothers’ banks to buy these plastic tool boxes from Humberts store.  Well, I remember the look on his face today and the disappointment in his voice.  A lesson I will carry forever.

My dad didn’t just take care of my mom, but also her mother and father.  After Pap Frazee died he stepped up to help Grandma with coal, jobs around the house, transportation (and taking Grandma and Mom together was no easy job – lol).  He loved all of us unconditionally (but did expect us to follow the rules “as long as you are under his roof” LOL.  When my brother shared custody of the boys, they practically lived at dad and moms with us.  My dad would make runs with my brother to go get the boys from Florida with no questions asked.

When I gave up my nursing scholarship at LibertyUniversity to stay home to help take care of mom, I was blessed to get accepted into WVU and rode everyday to work with him.  Sometimes the rides were quiet, he has often been a man of little words, and other times we would talk. Although, he is usually quiet he has some great military stories.

He does have a little stubborn streak, which I have likely inherited.  I remember all the times I have been blessed to use my nursing skills to help take care of him.  It is just a small payback for all he has done for me.

He taught me the value of companionship.  After my mom passed away, we tried to surround him with us so he would not be lonely.  In fact one afternoon, the October after she passed, he spent the whole day helping me bake sugar cookies in the shape of ribbons (i.e. each cut, we didn’t have a cookie cutter) and helped put the pink icing in honor of Breast Cancer.  I used them for my job so we made hundreds.  But he needed someone more than us, and I am thankful that he has Karen to be with, travel with, etc…  He so deserves happiness if anyone on this earth does!

When they (Dad and Karen) talked about selling their house and mentioned moving to the south, my gut sank and I lost a lot of sleep.  I will ALWAYS support them in their decisions if it will truly make them happy, but do I NOT have to like them.  I want to be there for him (and for Karen) when they need me.  If they would move too far, that would make it quite difficult for me to get there.  I know I am not the best daughter and probably don’t go down often enough… I know I let the craziness of life and kids gets me distracted and not realizing how much time may have passed since I saw them.  But maybe I take it for granted they are just down the road!

So now is the really sobbing part… my dad taught me everything about marriage, commitment, and unconditional love.  He married my mom with already 2 small boys… he lived next to her parents and helped faithfully on the farm… My dad NEVER walked out when that would have been the easiest thing to do.  People who did not visit or take care of my mom have NO idea what my dad did for her.  From working fulltime and picking up extra jobs to help support the extra costs, to doing the laundry (including all the urine soaked towels), to lifting my mom in/out of bed, to cooking all the meals, to helping her get dressed, to eventually help feed her.  The conversation of her going to a nursing home never entered the picture.  He served her every hour that he wasn’t at work.  Not just for a short time but for YEARS.  He sacrificed his life, his hobbies (bowling together), their friends (because people stopped visiting and they couldn’t go there), etc… to be sure she was cared for.  We would still try to take Sunday drives and the brave man even took Grandma Frazee too.  He truly cared for both of them and helped Grandma to be able to keep living in her home as long as she did.   I helped when I could, but it was NOTHING compared to what he did for her, and I am a nurse and a daughter.  He rarely complained when he had every reason to.  He could have walked out, but he chose to stay.  He taught me that walking out is just not an option.  So if/when they (dad and Katen) need help, they can count on me because my dad has made so many deposits into my life and in caring for my mom that I will forever be in his debt!

I am sure there is more that will come to me after I post this blog… after all how do you contain the description of your hero to just one blog… My dad’s actions spoke louder than any words he could ever say.  And I know to this day, that if the world would all walk out on me…He would still be there.

Thank you… just isn’t enough…  All I know is I have some big shoes to follow if I ever live up to his… ( =

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Teaching about Life

I posted a picture today on my Facebook that I saw several days ago and cried.  Maybe it was because of the timing of the picture and Sam just celebrated his 10th birthday.  In case you missed the picture it said ‘I couldn’t wait to teach him about the world, Instead he taught me about life!”  And I still sit here and cry when I read that.

When we had our little girl I thought the stereotypical ribbons, dresses, tea parties, Barbies, dress up, dance…. And well she fit into so many!  I remember her dressing in her princess dress up clothes to go to visit my work on my days off, often complete with a crown and a wand.  And over the years, she has turned into an amazing young lady who still has “girly phases’ and others dresses in her dad’s camo coat and a hat with a pony tail.  Though I taught her about the world, she taught me to look at life differently.  She just completed a research paper for school on what she wants to be when she graduates.  A young lady on a mission and the beginning of well thought out plans,

When we had our little boy I thought the stereotypical ballgames, riding bikes, boy scouts (after all Jim was a troop leader when we didn’t have any children), etc.  But Sam’s drum sounds a little different.. it is trains, Godzilla, dinosaurs, action figures  – which are all “boy” things, but no sports, no bikes.   It isn’t something I usually discuss or dwell on, but there are days it is hard.  I often say I am thankful he isn’t into things because it simplifies my life, which is partly true.  The other part by being grateful for the positive makes the negative hurt a little less.  When I have to help him do things that other kids at 10 can do for themselves, it scares me a little and stings a little because I don’t know what his future will be.  I talked yesterday to someone yesterday about how it was just a couple years ago that he could finally express if something hurt.  I watch him struggle with speech and little things that come so easy to most.  I guess only time will tell.

But one thing I know for sure, that through Mary’s eyes AND Sam’s eyes, I have learned a lot about LIFE!  Mary and I have some GREAT conversations about her view and my view on things.  I love to take the devil’s advocate role just to make her think outside of her world.  I also have a bad habit of being a people pleaser / peace maker (probably a whole separate blog) and have seen myself try to push that on her.  Well, she isn’t so much either of those anymore and has become ‘Mary” instead ( =    Anyway, she recently said something to me and it was the light bulb moment for me  with her… it went something like this ‘Just because my problems /issues don’t seem as big as someone else’s does NOT make them any less important.”  (or something very close).  In life, and in nursing, I learned the customer is always right.  Life isn’t about outdoing someone else by having a bigger problem.  Nor, should it be about undermining someone else problem as being less than mine.   She is definitely teaching me about life as she navigates hers, and though there are times I wish she would conform to my thoughts (less arguing), I am so thankful she has learned to just be ‘Mary”.

Sam has so taught me about life… about the power of being 100% honest because he can’t conceptualize a lie in the black/white world.  He has taught me not to take life so seriously, but to laugh about the little things.  He has taught me that even Sponge Bob has great phrases that can fit nicely into socially acceptable phrases.  His memory is amazing and serves him well to survive in the world.  He has taught me how simple things are not always so simple and should never be taken for granted.  It is okay to meltdown as long as you pull yourself back together and continue on!  His imagination and how he sees life is brought out in pictures, expressions, or building of a new adventure.  There is never just one use for an item, but a hundred if I just “think outside the box.”  Just yesterday with all the rain we have the big puddle formation.  He found a ‘family of rocks” and brought them into our garage as “guests”.  He carefully laid out a paper towel for each to sit on.  That family had races to the puddle and then came back in to dry off and keep warm.  As he talked more, it became a lesson to me on family and how he views family.  There would have been a day I would have been so busy with getting the garage worked on that I wouldn’t have really listened.  Samuel was teaching ME on what is important to him – family, warmth, safety, and fun… All with four little rocks (and then when Melissa came for Mary, he found a fifth rock).

Both our children have taught me about life by beating their own drums and dancing to their own music…Sometimes we are in rhythm and sometimes a little off-key.  They teach me to be ME and shut out the world’s expectations.  I am learning to believe it is better to STAND OUT than try to fit in.  I can dwell on the expectations I thought would happen, or live a better life with a better plan God had for me.   Though the future is uncertain and at times scary, it is more important to Intentionally LIVE in the moment…