Monday, August 22, 2016
Friday, August 14, 2015
“No,” I told her vehemently, looking at the bright warm sun and the blue sky that surrounded us. “No, it’s not.”
“It is for us. We don’t get to stay home all day anymore.”
And in that, I realized that she was right. The long summer days of sleeping in and watching movies or playing outside, are definitely over.Internally I sighed. The weather must have realized that it was back to school time as well. The mornings are suddenly chilly, cool enough for the younger ones to don a jacket, and the afternoons have that crisp autumn feel. Before I know it the leaves will start to change color and the rich depth of summer will fade away as the greenery dries up and descends into winter. Although I love everything about fall, from the woodsy smell of firewood to the knee-high boots and the crisp autumn sky, I am loathe to see summer disappear. I’m not ready for the madness of homework and fall sports and daily lunches.
I’m just not ready.
We didn’t take a long summer vacation this year. I had longed for sandy beaches and the salty sea, but we couldn’t work it out. We had plenty of short trips to make up for it - to the zoo and the wilds, once to Seneca lake. We went bowling, watched movies, visited the waterslide, and were able to fit in an evening on the river. The kids stayed up later than usual every night. We had a water balloon fight, made cotton candy, and attended countless softball and baseball games. After talking about it for a year we were able to make our trip back to Indy so I could see friends and old places I had missed. But still, it wasn’t enough.
I needed a week in the warmth of the sun, a week to do nothing but look at the clouds in the sky and build sand castles with the kids. I need more campfires in the firepit, more late nights watching the stars come out, more time.
The first day of school pictures made me realize just how much the kids have grown since last fall. How old they have become. How, somewhere along the way, my first baby boy officially became a teenager. Somewhere in the middle of juggling high chairs and sippy cups, changing diapers and chasing toddlers, finding my way through a tumultuous world, my children grew up on me.
The high chairs and sippy cups are long gone. The echo of chubby toddler feet pounding down the hall , the sound of giggles from the car seat, the late nights of rocking that colicky baby to sleep…those days are long gone as well.
I miss the feel of those tiny little arms grabbing my neck in a fierce hug that let you know you were the most important person in the universe. When the world of school and not-so-nice seventh graders didn’t exist. When you didn’t have to look up at your son, who had grown taller than you, and come to the startling realization that in five short years your oldest will officially be an adult and off to college. Back then, I thought we had all the time in the world.
Back then, it seemed as though we did.
This year we had our ninth year of ‘first day of school’ ice-cream. Nine years of summers turning to fall, of sending Gwen, Lex, and Callie to kindergarten. Of watching my children grow up, gain independence, prepare to enter this great big world on their own.
A lot has changed in those nine years, but I will never forget sending Hunter to school for the first time. We were standing in front of Poston Road with the other kids and their parents. He looked calm, cool, collected. I asked him to hold my hand but he refused, wanting to appear all grown up. My heart sank just a little bit, I already felt like he didn’t need me. Unlike most mothers I had no desire to cry. This was just another step in a long line of them. When the bell rang for the doors to open, he reached over and grabbed my hand, and that’s when the tears threatened to come. He did still need his mom, if only for a short while.
God has blessed me greatly, with not only my own children, but those I have gained through marriage. It is an honor and a blessing to be a part of ALL of their lives. To watch them grow up.
Posted by mindi at 7:28 PM
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
I’ve been hearing the same question quite a bit lately.
“How are you doing? Really?”
My long answer is more complicated than a nod and “I’m doing fine. We’re all doing fine.”
I am doing fine, and the kids are thriving in their new school system, which makes this momma very happy. I’m learning my way around a town I left many, many years ago.
But the complete answer is, I don’t really know.
My thoughts are scrambling around in my brain like ping pong balls against a concrete wall, constantly being shot out of a cannon. I can’t catch them, and if I can’t catch them, I can’t begin to understand them. But there is one thing I know for sure.
I did not marry my best friend.
As time moves on, we’re learning more about each other. And finding the differences that weren't so apparent when dating. Or maybe they were, but they just didn't seem to matter at the time.
I’m not a big fan of hunting shows and football, other than WVU games. Emmett could sit in front of the TV and watch either of those all day long. Just try putting on a romantic comedy and the look on his face is priceless. According to Emmett, that is why we have 3 televisions in the house.
He’s a meat and potatoes sort of guy, but will eat almost anything. I’m more of a pasta and salad kind of girl, and extremely picky at that. Although if you add bacon to just about anything it tends to make it better.
Through various discussions we’re finding that there is quite a bit we don’t agree on. The fact that we’re both stubborn and highly independent people makes for some interesting conversations. I’m crazy about animals, I have been since I was a little girl. Emmett is crazy about animals too, if they’re on his dinner plate.
I’m used to doing what I want, when I want, and so is Emmett. Now we have each other to think about. It’s definitely not easy, considering someone else when making decisions.
Putting completely different families together, is a learning process that we're making our way through.
I don’t like to use the term ‘blended family’ because that implies that we were all thrown into a blender and come out similar size and consistency. It’s not really like that at all. We’re more like a big bag of trail mix, all different shapes and sizes and personalities thrown into the same container.
But even with all of these changes and dissimilarities and stubborn opinions, I’m crazy in love with my husband.
I fall more in love with him every day. I love him for the differences and the quirks and the things that make him the man he is.
Yes, we’re different in some ways, but in the ways that count we’re in complete agreement. The more I get to know him, the more I admire him. He is a strong Christian man who practices what he believes, in a world where that is no longer the norm. He is one of the hardest working men I have ever known. He’s generous and kind, and is constantly helping others. He inspires me to want to be more like that - selfless and thoughtful.
He is a man who actually does what he says he’s going to do. He won’t promise the moon and stars and show up with a flashlight as a consolation prize. If he promises you something, he will do everything in his power to make it happen.
He’s talented, creative, and is an amazing Dad. He puts on a gruff exterior, but he truly cares about his family and would do anything for them. There is no doubt he puts too much on his plate, works a lot harder than he needs to and after a long day still comes home to build me a cabinet or install an appliance. But I see the love he has for me when I look at the cabinet he built with his own hands. Or the flowers he surprised me with at work. He truly is an amazing individual, and I am thankful that God led me to him.
No, he isn't my best friend. Not at all. But he’s better than that. He’s my husband, my counterpart in life, the one who holds my heart.
I made the right decision moving here, marrying Emmett, changing jobs and changing lives. The right decision for me and for my kids.
It’s not an easy road, I didn't truly expect it to be, but there isn't another person I would rather walk it with.
I’m a lucky girl, not to have married her best friend, but the person God picked out for her. As always, God knew what He was doing.
I just need to remember that the next time we’re watching How to Skin a Deer Six Different Ways or The Best Moments of Professional Football Marathon instead of Pride and Prejudice…
Posted by mindi at 6:29 PM
Monday, September 8, 2014
Posted by mindi at 3:32 PM
Sunday, July 13, 2014
“You’re leaving Rolls-Royce? Are you crazy?”
My co-worker stared at me in shock after hearing the news, and I wondered if maybe I was a little crazy for making this life altering decision. But it was definitely too late to turn back now.
I distinctly remember my first moments in Indiana.
We had left West Virginia well before dawn and somewhere along the way, shrouded by the darkness of early morning, I fell asleep in the car. I woke up to see the land rushing past us in a blur. We were surrounded by fields and flatness, there were no hills to block the view. The giant orange sun was rising slowly rising in the sky, the pink and purple hues reflecting off of enormous puffy clouds. It was beautiful, and I was filled with the hope and the anticipation of a new college graduate. The world was mine for the taking. I was naive and innocent, believing in goodness and love and dreams that actually came true. And so excited to start life in a brand new state, which might as well have been a brand new world.
We had arrived in Indiana, our new home.
That was almost 15 years ago. In that time I've gotten used to the vast expanses of sky, the large buildings of the city. The traffic, the wide straight roads. Some parts of me have merged into those of a Hoosier. How could it not, after living here so long? In the summer we visit the Indianapolis zoo, with the city skyline in the background. The state fair with its little hands on the farm display, year after year I watched my kids grow up in that exhibit, donning their bright green ball caps and toting their baskets along the path to gather eggs and grain. Each time they would drive the John Deer tractors until finally the year came that Hunter was simply too old. That year, my heart broke just a little bit.
We’re used to this life, it is all my children have ever known. And for so many years, all that I have ever known.
But my life has not turned out as I had once planned. When arriving in Indiana that frigid January morning, I had no idea what would happen to my family. I could not have predicted the struggles, the triumphs, and the loneliness of single motherhood. I could not have predicted the pain, or how it would affect me.
The pain of divorce changed everything for me. Everything.
I didn't expect to meet Emmett. I expected even less to marry a man from a town I grew up in. Where I was born and raised and left after high school. A town I never expected to live in again.
But with time came wisdom, and a subtle shift in my outlook. Home is where your heart is, where your children are. Where your husband is.
A career is important, it helps pay the bills and raise your kids. But it’s not everything. Money isn't everything.
I've been at Rolls-Royce for going on 14 years, and I’m leaving for the unknown in the hills of West Virginia.
And those hills are beautiful. That is where family is, and family is worth far more than gold.
I don’t know what the details are, I don’t know how everything will work out. I’m losing my security blanket, but we all have to get rid of it sometime.
I know it’s going to be okay, because God is with us. He’s always been with us. One day Callie saw God in the trees behind our old house. She was two years old, staring through the window during the winter months, and I looked but saw nothing but scraggly branches and dried out brush. She told me God was standing right next to those trees. And to this day, I believe that she really did see something that I could not.
I see God now too. I see him in my life. In meeting and marrying the man that I love. In selling my house, the way the puzzle pieces have clicked together. No longer do I fear an empty picture being formed. It is full, it is complete, and one day I’ll get to see what it is.
I’m not crazy for following my heart, for following God’s plan for my life.
I’m happy, I’m hopeful, and I’m at Peace.
God will always provide.
“And my God shall supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
Our future is ahead of us, and it is going to be a great one.
Posted by mindi at 7:26 PM
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
I have written anything in ages.
And I have been asked many, many, times how I met my new husband.
So here is the story...
I knew I would love him before I ever met him.
That thought scared me, those feelings scared me. I didn't want to get hurt again. I had a heart that had been shattered and pieced back together with fragile thread. So although I knew that I would love Emmett from the very beginning of our real life relationship, it wasn't something I embraced willingly.
And I had a very hard time with belief in commitment, because there was a possibility that one day he might just disappear.
We met online, I had commented on furniture he made. I needed a dining room buffet and I liked his style. We started to talk, and months later, the talk turned to something besides friendship.
Our talks were centered on two strangers who would never meet in person. We were immediately close in ways that take months for others in real life. There was the anonymity of the internet, of a keyboard and a chat window. He didn't ever have to look in my eyes and see who I was in person. He was safe, someone to encourage me and be there for me.
We shared experiences, I was selling a house and he was selling furniture. We were both navigating the painful world of dating after divorce. Not something either of us relished.
It was obvious there was something there, and finally, after months of chatting our conversations turned to meeting each other. We set a date, he was going to drive out to Indy and meet me in person.
I was scared witless.
What if, after all this time, he didn't like me? What if he thought I was uglier in person, than I was in pictures? Most of my fears centered on him not liking me, not the other way around. But I had hopes and aspirations and I prayed that maybe, just maybe, he would be the one.
Although I came close to cancelling altogether, to just staying friends, the day finally came that we would meet face to face.
I was literally shaking. I paced, I wondered, I worried.
If we had kept a virtual relationship then I could still him as a friend. As it was, I didn't know what was going to happen.
And when he came walking up the sidewalk carrying a handful of yellow carnations, I knew that it, at least for me, it was over. His eyes were blue, a beautiful shade of blue. His smile made my heart turn somersaults. He was finally standing in front of me, and I felt like I already knew him.
When I hugged him it felt like coming home.
I felt safe and right where I was supposed to be.
Needless to say we got along just as well in person as we did online.
And as I got to know him, I found that he was even better in person than he was online. He was someone with faults and idiosyncrasies, but then again, so was I. I found that the perfect online image was replaced with someone much, much better. Better because he was real.
And I could easily love the flesh and blood version of the man who walked up my sidewalk clutching those flowers, with his crooked smile I now love so much.
But although ours was a typical boy-meets girl love story, there was an element that wasn't typical. Something that made things work even though they probably shouldn't have.
I had my issues, he had his. There was the distance, the travel, the time. My fear of what was around the next corner. My ever present fear of getting hurt.
But through it all we had that special something going for us. We had God on our side, He brought us together. He had a big hand in everything, from the very beginning.
Even before we met I told Emmett that God brought us together for a reason. Two people sharing similar life stories, there to understand each other.
But as usual God had bigger plans for us. Bigger than anything I could have fathomed from the beginning.
We went from friends to newlyweds.
And I am very, very happy with that plan.
As usual, I have no idea what our future will look like. But I know that it will be wonderful.
Posted by mindi at 6:06 PM
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
The other day a friend asked me what we had for dinner the night before.
I thought a minute, snapped my fingers, and said 'cereal!'
Her mouth dropped open in shock and she looked at me like I had toilet paper stuck to my forehead. I swiped at my forehead discreetly, and said 'What?'
'You had cereal for dinner. The kind from a box.'
What other kind is there, I thought to myself. 'Yep. The kind with all those essential vitamins and minerals. I also added some dairy in the form of milk. You know, to help them grow strong bones.'
She was still staring at me, and her expression was now one that consisted more of derision than shock. 'What about vegetables?'
I wanted to laugh. Unless I hide them in smoothies and cookies, or count ketchup as a vegetable, my kids are not really fond of the vegetable variety of food. Gwen even thinks she is allergic to anything green, as long as it's not mint. As in mint chocolate chip ice-cream. I do my best, but my kids don't always eat what I make for them. Except for cereal, of course.
As she continued to stare at me, I wondered if this was another one of my 'Mom Fails.' You know, the kind when you forget to pick up the poster board for their big project due the next day, or send them to school without lunch, or lunch money for that matter. Something I know nothing about firsthand of course, but I'm sure it happens to some people.
I recalled the day before, trying to remember why we wound up having cereal for dinner...
As usual the alarm clock went off way too early. Anything before 6am is way too early, unless it's going off for trout fishing, or leaving on a vacation. This was neither. I didn't want to get up, and had to shove a chubby foot out of my face in order to roll out of bed. Another night when Callie decided to crawl into my bed, steal my covers, and kick me in the eye.
Finally looking at the clock, I realize that I'm going to be late.
After joining the land of the living, I got the kids up and we all proceeded to get ready for work/school/daycare. I remember my work clothes were in the washing machine, I had forgotten to put them in the dryer the night before. Great.
As I head for the stairs Miss Callie runs to her room and says she wants to wear a bathing suit to school. Remembering that a good parent gives her choices, I tell her 'Go put on anything BUT a bathing suit.' And feeling proud of my mommy skills I traipse downstairs only to trip over a doll baby and crumple in a heap at the bottom. Nice.
Once I get there Lex thrusts papers at me that are the length of the declaration of independence. Apparently I didn't see them the night before because they were buried in the bottom of his backpack, and they had a scrawled sticky note from the teacher that said 'DUE TOMORROW'. I was falling behind in my parent homework.
As I sat down to read and sign the papers, Gwen came running over asking me to fix her French braid that I put in the night before. It 'fell out' when she was combing it. As if braids are meant to be combed. But I sighed and reached for the comb, and a pen, and continued to fill out papers while braiding hair. Not an easy feat let me tell you. But I was managing.
Then Miss Callie reappeared wearing an outfit that would make Miley Cyrus proud. A tiny cropped shirt that must have come from one of her baby dolls, and a pair of too-small capris, none of which were even remotely the same color. Or even remotely fit. I sighed. So much for giving her choices.
I finished up Gwen's hair, remembered my work clothes, and ran in the laundry room to switch out clothes.
I was really going to be late now.
Then I looked at the clock and remembered Hunter. Ooops!
I ran upstairs and woke him up before he missed the bus. It was a mad dash out the door where he grabbed something from the fridge for lunch and took off. Disaster averted.
Until I realized he had taken MY lunch box to school. Now I have to make another lunch or take Hunter's. As I look at his soggy peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I shake my head. No way.
I finish Lex's documents, get them all ready to go, and get a more suitable outfit for Callie. I decide I can't wait on my work clothes, and throw them on, slightly wrinkled and damp. Oh well, it's not a fashion show anyway. I picture the guy who wears elastic pants every day. I have to at least look better than he does.
Finally, I'm getting in the car and backing down the driveway. Then I remember that it's trash day. Getting back out of my car I go through the process of pulling out recycling and trash, and continue on my way. After daycare drop-off, I realize that I'm probably going to get to work about lunchtime. But at least I'll get there.
Settling myself in at work, feeling a bit more orientated, elastic pants guy walks past and appears to snicker at my wrinkled pants. Great.
As I sigh, I remember that I forgot to put the chicken in the crockpot. And haven't been to the grocery store in over a week.
I run through the list of things we can eat at the house. Ketchup, mayonnaise, crackers, bananas, cereal, chicken broth...
And I settle on cereal.
So as my friend stares at me, I try to sum up guilty feelings. But I just can't. I tell her the next time she feels sorry for my kiddos for eating a bowl of cereal for dinner, she can bring over a pizza. Extra dairy, and hold on the veggies.
Posted by mindi at 4:48 PM