Mother’s Day 2017

My mom. I miss her. She was many things: Irish mother of the year, beautician, wife, nana, den mother, girl scout leader, a nurse in the army, and the list goes on and on. But, above all that, she was my mother.

We didn’t always see eye to eye, and there were times when I did not always agree with her. However, she was my mother, and she raised us all as best she could. She worked hard raising 8 children in that house with only 4 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. (Looking back, that house seemed so huge when we were little.)

She worked hard at home, and when needed, she worked hard outside of the home. We didn’t always have what we wanted, but we always had what we needed. Did I agree with every decision she ever made, or every punishment she put forward? No. Did I agree with every “harsh” word when she would tell us like it is? No. Did I dare question any of it? No. Did I disrespect her in any way? No. Did I try to “punish” her just for revenge, or make her feel guilty for anything? No. Why? Because she was my mother…..not my buddy, not my pal. And everything she did, everything she fought for, was for the good of us kids. She wanted us to be the best adults we knew how to be. Being a mother does not come with an instruction manual. The last thing my mother and I did together was plan the Roland family reunion in 2001. A few weeks later, she was dead. Love your mother and respect her…..because some day, you may not have her around.

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The Words “I Love You”

The spoken words “I love you” are merely just 3 spoken words.  Love is more than 3 words.  Love is a feeling that you should give to others, and that you should receive also.

Without that feeling, they are just 3 words.  If someone says “I love you” but you just don’t feel it….and you have to ask yourself “Do they really?”…well, they are just words.

Don’t just tell people “I love you.”  Make them feel it…show them.  If they have to question your love for them, perhaps you are just telling them those 3 empty words.

In my family, the words “I love you” were rarely spoken…but that love was never, ever questioned.  Because we FELT it.  We knew.  Love is more than 3 words.

Yesterday I received a gift from my brother.  It was a beautiful portrait that he drew of me.  He left it on my doorstep.  I have not seen or talked to my brother in some time.  But, this was an act of love.  Despite the fact that I had not seen him in quite some time, I have never questioned the love.  But, this was just a bit of reinforcement that he still loves his family.

So, think before you use those words “I love you” ….are you speaking empty words?  Are you trying to convince them, or yourself?  Without the feeling they are just 3 empty words.  my portrait 005

Skippy the Peanut Butter Dog

A long time ago….almost 13 years, at least 12, my sister went on a mission for me. I found a puppy on Petfinder down near Keokuk, IA. He was half bassett hound/half cocker spaniel. My sis went to check him out while she was down visiting family. This poor puppy was being fostered out (with the best of intentions by the adoption agency) in a house that unbeknownst to that agency was just littered in filth and squallor. Well, needless to say, my sis took him right out of that for me and brought him here. He was the funniest looking, yet cutest pup I ever laid eyes on. He had long hair, short legs and very very long ears. My youngest named him. Actually she named him about 8 times in about 10 minutes before settling on Skippy. You see, he was the color of peanut butter. We saved him that day.
Poor little Skippy missed his litter mates, and did not like being by himself at night. Skippy would cry at night, so I would spend every night for a couple months rocking him to sleep and singing “Molly Malone”, just like I did with my kids.
We had another dog at the time, and her name was Allie. She was older, and she took Skippy under her wing and they became buddies. Not long after that we had to put our Allie girl to sleep because she couldn’t walk anymore. Skippy saved us that day.
Skippy got attacked by another dog once. The neighbor jumped the fence to rescue him. He saved Skippy that day.
Skippy was long on ears and short on legs. His ears were so long, they would get in his water and food bowl. My youngest would put his ears up in her pony tail holders. He didn’t seem to mind.
He was unlike any other dog I have ever had…He never had accidents in the house as a puppy, and he was housebroken in 2 weeks. He didn’t beg (much), rarely barked, never growled and never howled that bassett hound howl (unless he wanted something or was calling for Emily). He could speak, he could shake, but he couldn’t sit pretty. (His legs were too short.) He minded, he listened, he walked well on a leash. He hated car rides….oh how he hated car rides. He would pant and whimper and shake. Never have I had a dog that hated the car so much. He loved all little kids, and would let them do anything to him. There was not a mean bone in his short legged body. But most of all, Skippy was perfectly happy just being a dog.
Skippy was getting old, and started getting old man problems. He had fatty tumors and skin tags, skin allergies, and he was getting heavy. Each time I would take him to the vet, I would ask…”Doc, is he still doing ok?” Doc would tell me…”He’s doing fine, he’s just getting old and has old man problems.”
Well, those old man problems finally took their toll on Skippy. His heart suddenly started failing and his abdomen filled with fluid. This time I couldn’t save Skippy. I made the best choice I could make….I know in my head it was the right thing. But, I’m having trouble convincing my heart of that….because it is breaking. And suddenly I feel like I’m 12 years old. I will miss Skippy the Peanut Butter Dog, and I will miss him terribly.flowers and skippy 003

In the Night

In the midst of the night

The Dark Prince, he takes flight

In search of his fair skinned maiden

Her senses aware

She feels his presence there

While lying in the night waiting

The young maiden has no fear

As her Dark Prince does appear

Yet wonders is this but a dream

They gaze into each other’s eyes

As if passionately hypnotized

She is too entranced to scream

Then with one fleeting bite

The two own the night

Locked in eachother’s embrace

Yet with the rising sun

The Dark Prince he is gone

Leaving not a trace

But the mark upon her soul

From whence the passion did unfold

And this fair skinned maiden

Her senses aware

She feels his presence there

While lying in the night waiting

written by Taffy OKelly

July 17th….a bittersweet day.

23 years ago, I rode to the hospital on an ambulance (my very first ambulance ride). You see, I was in labor, and much to everyone’s surprise (but not mine)…I almost had my 3rd child at home on the toilet. (Because the hospital didn’t believe I was in labor earlier). The ambulance left my house at 02:15 on July 17th 1992. I asked the paramedic “You ever delivered a baby before?”…he said “No, but I saw my partner do it once.”….I said “Oh, that’s just feckin’ great.” I hee hee hee hoo’d all the way, not stopping for any red lights. We got to the hospital at 02:25, and I had to direct the paramedic to the mother baby unit (Seems he’d never been there either). They called the dr, who got there just in time to put on his catcher’s mit at 02:43 am to catch a 10 lb baby girl as she swiftly made her arrival. The staff was running around like chickens with their heads cut off (Which I told them they would be doing when they sent me home earlier) I’ll never forget it….and to all the staff who sent me home 23 years ago saying “Oh, you’re not in labor yet”…well, I can only say this…”I feckin told ya so!” I named her Emily, which means industrious one. That is oh so true.  She was, and is, a beautifully busy girl. And people do like you when you are 23….

14 years ago, July 17th, 2001…I got a call that every child dreads. “This is your dad, and I have the paramedics here giving your mother CPR”….that call plays over and over in my head. She just dropped dead that day, on my daughter’s 9th birthday. The very next day, I had the family over for a very happy birthday party….that is what my mom would have wanted. The last time I heard my mother’s voice was on my answering machine when I got home after she passed. “Kelly, this is your mother, call me when you get home.” We had been on vacation and she called before we got back. This was before the days of commonplace cell phones. I happened to come home early from vacation…I wanted to be home by 2:30 pm. I walked in the door at 2:15 pm and within 2 minutes came that dreaded phone call from my dad. Don’t let the last time you hear your mother’s voice be on an answering machine, or a voice mail…..If she calls, and you are around answer it….because gosh, you just never know when will be the last time you talk to her.

Fixing the boo boos

As moms, when our children are little, there was no boo boo we couldn’t fix.  Be it with a kiss, a bandaid, a little washing, an ice cream cone, a quarter, the list goes on and on.  There comes a time in a mom’s life when she realizes “Hey, I cannot fix this kid’s boo boos anymore.”  When she realizes that…well, it’s not an easy moment.  Her child is not a child anymore, but an adult, or very near adulthood.  Some of the boo boos she used to fix were skinned knees, loose teeth, a bump on the ole noggin, a fever, the list goes on and on.  Now, the boo boos are a bit more complex than that, and there is a point in life when she realizes that no matter what she does, the boo boos of her now grown child can be fixed by nobody else but that child.  Her child could be at the point of losing everything.  At that point a decision must be made.  Does she keeping trying to “fix” it, especially if that means the “fixing” may be enabling?  Or does she finally say enough?  Making the decision to say enough is so difficult for a mom.  So very difficult.  Telling her child “I am done….nobody can fix you but you.” is possibly the hardest thing a mom can say.  Sitting and waiting to see if the child decides he/she is worth fixing him or herself is not easy either.   But she does, and hopes for the best and tells herself that sometimes tough love is what is necessary to get her child to see the light, even though it is killing her inside and she cries because she just wants her child to be ok again.  She wants those boo boos fixed.

Ice Ice baby

Yo, I C E, lets salt it

Ice Ice baby

I’m sick of Ice Ice baby

All right stop

I’ve had enough this Winter

The ice is back & I’d rather have a splinter

Someone grab hold of me tightly

Before I fall on the ice & land on my hiney

Will it ever stop

Egads I hope so

Be careful outside and walk real slow

The city is out of salt, it’s a scandal

Oh how I long for spring & my sandals

Dance

But don’t do it outside

Cause your bum will hurt if you fall on the ice

I don’t love it, I hate it

Will it ever go away

It better melt soon

That’s all I can say

It’s a slippery problem

And the city can’t salt it

I’m headed outside and hope I don’t fall-it’s

Ice Ice baby

I’m sick of Ice Ice baby

My visitor.

A few days ago, I kept catching a glimpse of something out the corner of my right eye, or so I thought. Then, Saturday I kept turning to my husband, who was sitting to the right of me and asking “What did you say?”…Nothing, he said nothing. Then, all day yesterday I felt a “presence” behind my right shoulder, and when I went to sleep, it was like someone was touching my right shoulder. During the night I dreamed about my brother Dave who passed away in 1987.  He was in the kitchen where we grew up.  (Mind you, that house no longer exists, as it was demolished in 2000 to build a Walgreens.)  I said “I thought you were dead!” He said “Well, I am, but I heard you needed a visit, now give me a hug.”

My dream about my dad.

My dream started at the house we all grew up in (aka 548), and all of us kids were standing in the kitchen. The house was pretty much torn up, so I am guessing it was in it’s pre-tearing down stage after Walgreens purchased it.  I had just finished reattaching the old brown and white paneling on the kitchen walls.  My brother Will said “Nice job, I like what you did.”  Then, we started talking about Dad, who had been in the hospital, something to do with his hip.  Upon discharge he would be going back to the little red house behind the old dairy queen.  (The house the folks bought when Walgreens took over 548.)  We were all worried about who would take care of him, since I don’t live basically down the avenue from that house anymore.

We decided it was time to leave 548 and come up with a plan.  After walking outside, we turned around to find the back porch was completely gone and the kitchen door was boarded up.  A car then pulls in the driveway and it is my niece, her fiance, my nephew and his wife, their mother and her hubby.  When my niece’s fiance gets out of the car, all these papers blow out into the alley at 548.  “What the heck is that?” we all asked. To which my niece replies “They are all car insurance cards….he saves every one of them!  Uggghhh.”

We all get in our respective vehicles and drive to the little red house.  While there, we are talking to someone about whether or not dad will need care after he gets home.  In the shadows of the kitchen we see someone in a hat with his back to us.  At first I think it’s my brother Will.  He turns around and it’s our Dad!  He looks great, wearing his old light colored 10 gallon hat, a white shirt, black cowboy tie, black pants and his black cowboy boots.  He walks over, standing straight, not limping anymore.  I looked at him and said “Daddy!  What are you doing here already?  We were so worried…I thought you were dying.”  He gave me a big old hug and said “I’m here to tell you I’m ok and so is your mom.  Everything is going to be fine.  You don’t have to worry so much anymore.”  In the middle of the hug, I woke up.  It felt so real, I was looking around for him. My dad passed away in 2007.

6 years

6 years ago, you left this earth as we know it

Such a loss I’ve never truly felt and never was so sad

Because no matter how old a little girl gets

She’s never done needing her dad

I feel your presence in every corner

I hear your voice at every turn

Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry

And often the very soul of me burns

What a 6 years it has been without you

The greatest man to ever grace

The presence of everyone who knew you

On this earthly place

6 years ago you left this earth as we know it

And I have never felt so sad

Because I lost my friend, my hero, my confidante

You were so much more than dad.

Miss you Daddy!