Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 9-13: Extended Family Blessings--Mine

Do you call members of your childhood family, "extended family"?
I don't think so?
With the elections behind us, I don't think anyone would be confused if I called my childhood family, my first family. :)

I was the product of a his-mine-and-ours family.
My mom was married and had John and Nora.
My dad was married and had three girls (I have no relationship/contact with them).
They both divorced.
Then my mom met my dad, they married and had me.
Fairly straight forward.

Pictures of my dad predate the era of the digital camera.
This morning my printer isn't understanding my need to scan photos.

He died February 14, 1991 of a multiplicity of things.
I don't know what the death certificate says.
Too much alcohol, too much smoking, emphysema, and bi-polar disorder.
He also had PTSD that was never addressed from World War II.
Finally, he had a broken heart.
My mom left him when his self destructive behaviors just became too much.
I understood.  Still do.
He sounds like a train wreck, but was really a wonderful guy.
He taught me how to fish, hunt, and treasure the great outdoors.
He taught me how to train a dog and love a dog.
He loved all of us--my brother and sister, too.
I loved him. Still do.

And as Forrest Gump once said, "And that's all I'm going to say about that."

Mom, Me, Nora
My mom was the next to last of 11 children.
I think her mom was pretty done much raising kids by the time she came along.
So was her father.
In her later years, her mother told her that if birth control had been available, 
she would only have had 3 or 4 kids.
She never received the tools to nurture her children, as she was never nurtured herself.
She taught the three of us to be good, responsible, reliable adults.
She taught us to be caring and thoughtful of others feelings.
She was just never the huggy, kissy, lovey sort of mom.
She didn't come to softball games, or school plays, or choir concerts.
She loved us.  We loved her.  It just wasn't always clear.

This blog was started because of her.
Because I didn't really know who my mother was.
She never seemed happy my entire life.
Not depressed, but always like she wanted something more out of life.

She died on February 23, 2008.
Lou Gehrig's disease is a torturous way to go.
It's the worst kind of thief.
It steals your body, but leaves your mind.

"And that's all I'm going to say about that."

John and his wife, Kat
My big brother, John was a great guy.
He would do anything for anyone, all they had to do was ask.
If he had his demons, he kept them pretty well hidden.
I don't have a lot of distinct memories of him, as he was 9 years older than me.
By the time I was big enough to really be paying attention, he was out of the house and married.

That marriage was blessed with two children.
My how he loved them!  
Fondly, fiercely, totally.

He died on March 10th, 2011.

I'm not sure what his death certificate says either.  
I believe he had an anaphylactic (allergic) reaction to something, and his advanced emphysema complicated the hospital's ability to properly understand the seriousness of his symptoms.
In a matter of 36 hours, he was dead. 
I miss him.
I wonder if he's riding his motorcycle in heaven--without a helmet--because he can. :)

"And that's all I'm going to say about that."

Thankfully, the rest of my family is alive and well!

Nora and me

My sister, Nora and I are 7 years apart in age.

We weren't close when we were young.
My memories are mostly of making her crazy by being a snotty little sister.
We had to share a tiny bedroom and I was constantly in her stuff.
She moved out her senior year in high school, because we moved and she didn't want to transfer to a different school.  Who would?
We did't reconnect until I had Preston.
Being an aunt suites her.
She's perfect at it!
She has no desire to 'parent' them, only to play with them, to hang out with them.
She's funny, and silly and listens to them.
She remembers things about their childhoods that I don't.
She loves my kids, and John's kids with all her being.
She mourns when they seem to outgrow her.
She's thrilled when they get big enough to finally come back to a relationship with her.
All kids do that---just like she and I did.
We parted as teenagers and came back together as adults.

We are all so blessed that she's a part of our lives.

My kids would not have some of the values they have, if it were not for her influence.
We love her madly!


Saran and Ryan
This beauty is my brother's daughter, Sarah.  Here, she's marrying her love, Ryan.
We love him too.  He's such a great match for her, and a great dad, too!

She is smart, funny, thoughtful, crafty, practical, and the best momma I've ever known.
I still remember when she was born.  I was in middle school and we had a pay phone in the lobby.
I must have spent $10 in quarters that day, calling the hospital to see if she'd been born yet.
I didn't know it took all day to have a baby.
She was the first grandbaby on my side of the family.  She had every one of us wrapped around her tiny finger when she was around.  

Grayson and Bella
Speaking of babies, these two scrumptious creatures are Sarah and Ryan's little ones.  All I can say about them, is that they are so lucky to have such great parents.  That's not true, I could have a whole blog post (or 2 or 3) about how yummy and silly and entertaining they are.  The only bad thing about them is that they live in Wisconsin and I live in Texas.  
We're not exactly neighbors.
In late January/early February, they will have what Sarah and Ryan are calling their "tie-breaker".  A little brother or sister will join this happy little family.  
The sex of the baby is going to be a surprise.  I can't wait meet him/her!

Lastly, I have Sarah's brother/my nephew, John.
I can't find one good picture of him (eyes closed, back turned, blurry, etc)!
He is married with 6 kids.  He's making his daddy very proud in heaven, of the man he's becoming.
He's making the rest of us proud as well.
He's had a long row to how and had some struggles, but he's now got a job in the same tool and dye shop that his dad worked at forever.  A steady paycheck and benefits are his rewards--long in coming.  I'm so thrilled for him!
He's a hunter like my dad was.  I'm sure they'd have had a fabulous relationship, had my dad lived longer.  It's funny how young ones make you miss the ones that have passed on.  

And there you have it.  
My childhood family.
It continues to evolve.
Some have passed on, but the rewards of the new ones help ease the pain.


  1. I cried through your entire post like a big baby! Ryan asked "what is she writing in there?" I'm sure he really wanted to say "wow you are pregnant, psycho and an emotional train wreck" but he didn't. I loves me just the same. Thanks for this post. Thanks for loving us, all of us! It's still so hard to look at pictures of my dad. It's weird, I looked at Grandma's picture without a blink of an eye, didn't cry at all. Just thought, damn I really miss her... but when I got to dad's picture, it was like a waterfall. It's hard to remind myself he's gone, pictures remind me. Thanks for this post. I love you so much!

  2. All this has got to be priceless for your family. You are wise to continue to write down this info. It will help others understand. Fun to see your smiling face and get to meet your family. Thanks.

  3. Thank you for sharing your "family" story with us. I think we all have had heartache and joy in our family life.

  4. That's pretty cool CeeCee...thanks for writing!

  5. Thanks CeeCee, I feel very Lucky to have All of you! OXO

  6. Thank you for sharing your life and your family. I think lots of families have heart aches, and some never make it to the love part. You have.