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By Lauri Mackey — 2 years agoThe Mom GearGrand Baby Visit October 2016“Can you watch the kids for a few days?”, my eldest daughter asks. We have a wedding to go to and then I can get ready for Riley’s 4th birthday party. I will bring them out to you (about a 3-hour drive) and then you can bring them back for the birthday party. “Of course!”, I say, “That will be fun!”Never mind that they had never stayed the night at my house without mommy before and that my youngest left at home is a Junior in high school. Never mind that I’ve gotten used to actually sleeping through the night and have been spoiled about having most of my time as my own. Never mind that I rarely change poopy diapers or have to keep “mimi’s”, “b-b’s”, and “mina’s” definitions straight.Now, don’t get me wrong…I absolutely adore my grand babies. They are super cute, loaded with energy and say the funniest things I’ve ever heard. They are fascinated by the littlest things, call big rocks volcanoes, know how to make my youngest dog do tricks on the walking bridge by our house, and save roly-poly’s by picking them up and putting them on trees.They finish a huge breakfast eating waffles, bananas, strawberries, and some dry cold cereal to boot and walk away only to be back 15-20 minutes later telling me they are hungry. They dump the entire toy basket out and put it all back at least 5 times a day and that doesn’t count the other two where I put them away for them.After two days I remembered what it was like to have the extra “mom gear”. The Mom Gear is only available to moms of young children when they need it. It’s like a super power that can only be called on when it’s needed. It’s something akin to the mom’s having an extra pair of eyes in the back of their head. It keeps you moving when you’ve been up several times a night to a child needing their “mina-mina” (which is a drink to my 2-year old grandson), their “b-b” which is his pacifier, or his “mimi” which is his blanket that he can’t sleep without.It’s the extra gear you find when you’ve already run 4 loads of laundry that day, but then you forgot to put the 4-year old in a diaper for her nap and she peed during her sleep so you have to do one more load and then scrub the bed. It’s the extra gear that gives you patience when something you have owned for a very long time gets broken from curious little hands and makes you realize that the kids are far more important than whatever it was that broke.I was ever so grateful that as a Gram who had not been in this situation for quite a long time that I still had my “Mom Gear” well intact somewhere in the depths my being. Today, I am grateful to be in the stage of life that I’m in, but I am even more grateful to all of you mom’s like my oldest daughter who possess the “Mom Gear”.You are incredible. You are making a difference in this world with every smile, every load of laundry, ever meal prepared, every errand run, every time you’ve had to call on the strength of God for more patience.You young moms rock! This is a shout-out to all of you, but a special shout out to my eldest daughter, Erica. You are a beautiful, caring, loving mother. I am so proud of how you are raising these beautiful grand babies of mine. You matter. You rock. I love you, period.
By Lauri Mackey — 3 years agoOde to MaudyFlowersWhen we first met, I brought you flowers. I was trying to make a good impression. Who knew that it was the first and last time I would see you laughing and talking normally before a dreaded stroke would hit on Valentine’s Day 2007? Looking back, I wish that I had spent a little more time and had asked you more things, but my relationship with Eddy was brand new. I met him face-to-face the first time I met you. I was so caught up in meeting Eddy and making a good impression on him (it worked by the way) that I didn’t realize our time was so short.In a way, you truly brought us together. After your stroke I came out much more often, fixing meals for your family, being there for Eddy, even making you bread pudding when you were still recovering in the rehab facility.When Carl died, Eddy moved in with you and in a lot of ways simply picked up where Carl left off. He took on the responsibilities of changing the timer on the sprinklers, being home for dinner or picking something up to eat, putting gas in your car, emptying the dishwasher. I know you must have been so grateful to have him with you to help you grieve through your loss.And then I came into the picture and mucked it all up. Eddy took me to Cambria for a weekend get-away and proposed. I think that completely cemented your dislike for me at the time. You had already lost Carl, you had suffered a stroke, and now I was taking your Eddy away. It was like losing Carl all over again.For a long time I felt a certain resentment from you, but over time it magically melted away. We started to enjoy each other’s company. I loved to make you laugh and I loved to laugh when you brought up particularly embarrassing stories of Eddy or you simply cursed out loud because you could.The last couple of years before you passed away I enjoyed our monthly day visits. We would pick a day that I would come and do whatever you wanted to do. Sometimes it involved doctor’s visits and sometimes just errands to this store or that, but it always included lunch. I enjoyed using the handicapped placard – what a bonus for parking!I am a doer and the hardest thing to do was come visit you in the hospital and be completely helpless. Helpless to help you, helpless to console your family. It was awful! Just give me a task, a chore, anything! I will make it happen! How hard it was to fluctuate between hope of you getting well and the bad news of imminent death.It’s been almost two years since you passed and I realize that I need to thank you personally for a few things. First and foremost, thank you for raising such a great man in your son. I love him with all my heart and am so blessed to have him in my life. Much more materialistic – thank you for introducing me to Brighton! Well, technically I suppose you introduced Eddy who introduced me, but you still get the credit. Thank you for instilling in your little family the importance of family. They were and still are completely dedicated to you. You done did good.As I sit here and write this, I am looking at a small bouquet of dried flowers from your funeral. It’s today that I realized that the first and last moments of you for me started and ended with flowers. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “the earth laughs in flowers”. I will continue to see you laughing (with all of your own teeth as you so proudly declared) in all the flowers I see.
By Lauri Mackey — 3 years ago5 Analogies I Learned While Riding My Bike This MorningFancy’s Neptune’s Net Ride1) Enjoy the Moments My ride this morning took me through neighborhoods, long stretches of farmland where they were growing artichokes, bell peppers in yellow and red, celery, and acres of sod. It went past a naval station, a shooting range, hiking and camping areas, and miles of beach along the Pacific Ocean where people were walking their pets or out in the water surfing it up. Don’t forget to look up every once in awhile and enjoy your surroundings. We get so busy with life that we forget to look up and enjoy these little moments of beauty that surround us daily.2) Share the Road This morning found me on a lonely 30-mile ride and while it was beautiful, it’s much more fun to bring a buddy. I enjoy riding with my husband or friends or my daughter. Due to different levels of fitness, I highly recommend a tandem. It evens up the odds in a hurry and it’s easier to visit. While tandems are certainly fun, you have to work “in tandem” or it’s literally a train wreck. Which foot to have on the pedal when you start, which foot you will put down first when you stop, shifting your weight carefully so you don’t weeble-wobble and fall right over. Share your life. It is much more fun when you have a buddy to share the road or to simply go “in tandem”.3) Think Happy Thoughts Let’s face it, this life can be a cess pool of negativity. Here’s an example of that on my ride this morning…it was 46 degrees and I hate the cold. My Garmin wouldn’t work so I wasn’t able to see how far I went, how many calories I had burned, what time it was, and how my heart rate was doing. There was a horrible head-wind that made me work much harder on the way home. It took ten minutes longer than my ride out. My fingers were freezing and at one point I couldn’t feel my toes. Some of the drivers definitely are NOT observing the 3-foot rule and made me nervous coming so close. And some parts of the beach ride just smell plain fishy…and I don’t like fish! Why did I do this by myself? I should have just stayed home. Here’s what actually happened…I was cold for awhile, but reminded myself of how blazing hot it had been this summer and was glad for the change in season that finally appeared. My Garmin didn’t work so I decided to just enjoy the ride and not worry about my heart rate or how long it would take me to finish. I was cold during spots, but enjoyed the morning sunshine as it warmed me up to get through the next cold spell. The headwinds are a blessing in disguise as while I’m slower, they make me stronger. I was grateful for good health that allowed me the opportunity to ride my bike and for the quiet time it provided me to think of all these analogies!4) Embrace Your Own Journey While there were not a lot of other cyclists out as early as I was this morning, I passed a few. And then one passed me! My initial reaction is always, “Man, I’m slow” or “Speed up! Quick! Don’t let this guy pass you!” Why? Why do we compare ourselves to others so often? I’m enjoying my Garmin-Free ride over here moving like molasses through this headwind…I don’t need to compare myself to the rest of the world. Embrace your own journey in this life. There is no one else like you, period. So why would you want to take someone else’s journey? This is yours…own it.5) Always Another Hill My tooshie is sore after all the hills. I admit it. But there is always another hill. Those hills build character, strength, resolve, and tighten my rear end. That’s a huge benefit! I ride with a group of guys on Thursday afternoons and one hill in particular is called “Power Line”. It is insanely steep and it takes just plain power and grit to climb. A few weeks ago, one of the guys told me he’d never made it up so I climbed with him and became the best little cheerleader you could imagine (without pompoms of course). He made it! And you know what? Last week we went to that same hill and he did it again and it wasn’t as hard as the first time. Those hills make you stronger and give you the confidence to tackle it again. In life there is always another hill. I enjoy the downhill and the coasting, but I know that hills are just a part of my life. Just as in my bike riding (whether mountain or road), they are building muscles, creating experiences, and giving me confidence to tackle even bigger hills in the future.