Going Home...

There's an old phrase, "you can't go home again" that has been on my mind all weekend.
I'm "home", but not really. It feels like home, but not really. It looks like home, but not really. I want it to be home, but not really.
I flew back to where I grew up to take care of some things. Cowboy had more important commitments, so I am alone. I don't believe I have actually ever been here alone before. It's strange, wonderful and awful at the same time.
It's been 28 years since my dad and grandma graced the home; 13 years for my mom; and four for my brother, yet I feel them so distinctly, and my mind replays events and conversations so vividly as I walk through the house. I am filled with half joy and half sorrow.
I pass my Mom's art room and I picture her in there with all her paint, canvases and easels doing what she always did best - create. A more talented, imaginative creator I have yet to meet. She was a top notch seamstress, was versed in all yarn arts, including tatting, an accomplished artist who had a show at the San Diego Museum of Art and an avid scrapbooker. Every new craft she tried, she entered wholeheartedly!
I continue down the long hall and pass the huge dining table where we gathered for many a dinner and holiday with family and friends. I hear the loud, boisterous ruckus of everyone talking and laughing and trying to one up each other with the Blanchard sarcasm. We always had a lot of laughter. We were a funny bunch. I can see my brother, Vern, pointing to a "spill" on my shirt and me looking down, getting his finger up my face. I fell for it E-V-E-R-Y time ! I hear Grandma's cackle above all the other noise and wonder if Grandma's passion and affinity for chickens was derived from the fact that she sounded like one when she laughed. 
I pass the living room, the heart of our house and I picture grandma in the chair by the window, singing along with the music Grandpa and Mom were making. Grandpa had been a professional trumpeter when younger and the piano was another art my mom mastered so beautifully. The boys and I would gather round and sing the old time songs and Broadway show tunes, a time of harmony for all of us, figuratively and real. Music was the essence of our home. We spent more time making music together than anything else I can remember, and I truly believe it was a good thing and contributed to our joy. If you know me well, you know I am always singing and have a song for just about every occasion. The music in my heart has gotten me through some rough times. I sit at the piano to play a few tunes, but I'm not ready for that yet and I can't see the notes through my tears anyway.
In the kitchen, I remember the lunches and dinners dad and I made together. Just dad and daughter, making spaghetti (our specialty), talking little, (he was the quiet kind- like my Cowboy) but enjoying the simple act of being together.
So many, many more memories replay in my mind - like watching a movie of my life and I miss them all so much. What I wouldn't do for one more word, one more moment, one more touch.

So, I guess I disagree with the adage that you can't go home. You can. It just isn't the same.

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My waking thoughts this morning were that this is a day that should not be. Today, we would witness a father, a mother and two brothers say their final goodbye to a precious daughter and sister. And we would share in their grief.
At the service, we heard what an exceptional young woman you had become and how your faith and love for God had grown over the years. We heard of your kindness towards others, your joys in life and your hopes and dreams. These weren't anything new to those of us that had watched you grow. But what was so special and unknown to me was the depths to which you had grown in your spiritual walk. Your journal entries that were shared proved what your priorities were in life and it humbled me that you had it figured out so young, when I, over twice your age, still struggle with getting my priorities right.
I watched your mom, sweet Sandra, time and again, comforting those who should have been comforting her, and I realized that the grace and wisdom you already had in your short years was instilled at home by your parents and the work of God in your life.
At the graveside, the reality of the finality of death hit everyone so deeply. My heart broke as I watched my daughter and her friend, the last two remaining of the three musketeers cry in each other's arms as they learned the hard lesson that death isn't reserved for the old and sick. Or the deserving.
Thank you, Megan, for living a life that inspires us all to want to live better, love more, be kinder, and most of all live for things beyond this life.

It was said that God only picks the ripest, sweetest fruit. We weren't ready for you to be picked yet, but you were and that's all that matters.

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When a Mother has a Son....

At some point in the life of a mom with sons, she thinks and frets about the woman her son will love. It can be a little daunting to think that someday you will have to welcome a female into your family that may or may not like you; may or may not share the values you sought to instill in your offspring; and since they are your precious sons, they may not even love and treat your sons the way you think they should and you really have no choice in the matter. Horror stories abound about the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship, right? My mother-in-law had never met me before my Cowboy told her he was choosing me as his life partner. As a mother now, I can appreciate the fear and anxiety that must have caused her. I can also appreciate that she never made me feel like I wasn't good enough for her son and I was welcomed into the family as if I was chosen by them.

My sons have made their choices. I had no say in the matter, but I can say I couldn't have chosen better mates for them myself! They are the daughters of my heart.

The daughters of my heart are beautiful - from the inside out. I love them for that.

The daughters of my heart love my sons unconditionally, despite their faults. Having raised them, I know what a challenge that can be at times! I love them for that.

The daughters of my heart have given me two beautiful, smart, happy grandchildren. I love them for that.

The daughters of my heart have unconditionally allowed the Cowboy and I to spend a lot of time with our grandsons. Even as babies. we have been allowed to have them all to ourselves for extended periods of time. Because of this, we have a relationship with our two grandsons that is enviable to many and absolutely cherished by us. They could have easily and rightfully held the motherhood reins tighter, but they chose to share, and as a result, those two precious boys have enriched our lives in ways we never imagined. I love them for that.

The daughters of my heart have welcomed me into their homes and hearts, and if they have any reservations about me as their mother-in-love, they have hid it well. I love them for that.

The daughters of my heart are wonderful mates to my sons and exceptional mothers to my grandchildren. I love them for that.

So, on this Mother's Day, I think of the two most important mothers in my life right now. Thank you for who you are and who you love. I may not have birthed you, but you are truly my daughters.

Happy Mother's Day, daughters.

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