There is nothing worse than uncertainty… the phone call that says there may be a problem with your mom but they won’t know until they run a test in the morning. What to do? Drive across the state to sit and wait just in case? Or stay home in hopes that it is nothing. It’s especially troubling when you’re also packing your son to leave in two days for a semester abroad and you are torn. Go be with your mom or stay and get your son off? It’s not a fun or easy decision…it’s one that no one wants to make.
I’ve always been close to my mom, especially since we share a lot of similarities not the least of which is a tremendous love for reading and the beach (and yes, reading at the beach is HEAVEN to both of us!!) My boys will tell you that she is the best cook in the world and that her hoe cakes are the greatest food known to man. My mom never meets a stranger and shares Tim’s love of talking to people. I cannot even begin to count the number of times we’ve been in line at a store and my mom will start a conversation with a total stranger… yes a TOTAL STRANGER people!!
Mom also possesses great genetics. She looks way younger than she is and always has. It was at my very first wedding shower in 1989 in a receiving line at the front door with my mom and Tim’s mom that I learned firsthand what it’s like to have a beautiful, young looking mom. I was talking with a friend during a lull when a woman walked up to my mom and said, “You MUST be the bride!” I spun around so fast my shoulder pads almost flew out my sleeves! My first instinct was to march over there and firmly say that I was the bride but then I noticed my mom. She’d never looked younger or more beautiful as she was laughing and correcting the kind lady. For many years people asked if my mom was my sister and truth be told, I was flattered for her (and I like to think it bodes well for me too…good genes are hereditary, right?!?!)
So in the midst of all this swirling in my mind about should I stay or should I go (name that band….The Clash), I did what I always do in these situations. I called my mom. I knew I’d be able to tell from her voice how she really was and if I needed to go be with her (which I didn’t and she is totally fine!) Yes, I’m thankful for many things this holiday season but at the very top of my list is that I can still pick up the phone and talk with my mom. So if you’re ever in line at a store and a beautiful brunette old enough to be my mom starts talking to you, say hi to my mom for me!!
It’s New Year’s Eve Eve which is one of my favorite days of the year. Why? No pressure… nobody asks about my plans for the day or the night, football is on, no need to dress up and typically I’m enjoying my Christmas decorations knowing they are about to come down. Also, no one asks about my New Year’s resolution. Good thing too because I don’t make one any more.
Years ago my resolutions would either be exercise more, eat/drink better or get organized. I know, not very original and they typically didn’t pan out after more than a few weeks…at most. But like the rest of the free world, I know the beginning of a new year is a time for fresh starts, a reset button on your life if you will but I also think that brings way too much pressure. Why not just take the New Year and use it embrace who you are. Why must I be organized as long as I know where my stuff is? Who cares if my house looks slightly less than HGTV worthy? If I am content with my caffeine intake why should I feel pressure to change that? (hello… I don’t like the taste of water and going cold turkey drinking only water is not going to change that.) To me it all boils down to this: am I really doing it for the right reason if the only reason is that I feel like I’m supposed to??
Years ago I was telling my dad about someone who I didn’t think liked me. He then pretty much changed my life by saying, “Well Wendy, I’m sorry for them because you’re a pretty great person and they’re missing out.” Wow!! What dad made me realize was that I am who I am and there is no reason to change that… unless I want to.
But just to change things up, maybe I will give in to the pressure and make a New Year’s resolution this year. I resolve to stress less about things I have no control over and be more present in each and every moment. Or maybe I’ll resolve to read more books. Yeah! Let’s go with that last one… its one I’m sure I can keep!!
Today is December 27th. Could there be a less heralded day of the year? On the twenty-sixth you are still coming off the high of the twenty-fifth and if you are like me trying to clean up the mess. But on the twenty-seventh it’s like… nothing. Life should go back to normal but you don’t really want it to because one, you don’t want the holidays to be over and two, you don’t really want to begin the process of returning your life and home to normal…cause that’s a lot of work!! I mean you have to disassemble the tree, take down all the Christmas tchotchkes, begin to make a dent in the pile of laundry that has accrued and remember where all your old stuff goes. Whew, I’m tired just thinking about it…which may be why I don’t want to actually do it!
Part of the problem for me is also knowing that before I blink the boys will be heading back to school and let’s be honest, there was just something fun about a house all decorated up for Christmas. When the decorations come down and the kids head back to school, all I am left with is January. January?!?! Other than a few family birthdays it’s got nothing. I mean sure there is MLK holiday on a Monday late in the month and that’s all great but it’s not like it’s a holiday where you get together as a family. It’s more like a holiday where you just take a break from doing nothing to do…. nothing. Plus, as we have discussed before, I like warm weather and sunshine neither of which is found in January.
But why rush things? In just four short days it will be New Year’s Eve and all kinds of great football begins. Also, this is the last year of the much maligned BCS and that in its self is a reason to celebrate. My boys are all still home for a few more days and now we have the time to stay up all night watching all those movies we keep saying we want to see. Plus, I also have a great excuse to crack open some of the hundreds of books on my shelves…after all it is still the holidays! So I’m publicly changing my mind… because December 27th just may be the BEST day of the year!! Now, biggest decision of the year- which to begin with book or movie?!?!?
You ever notice that no one sets out to start a tradition? It just happens. We have a couple like that which just happen to revolve around Christmas. Years ago when the kids were little we would always be on the road Christmas Eve (since both our families live in Carrollton and we lived in either Atlanta or Augusta.) Therefore we found a restaurant that was always open and always convenient. Waffle House. Since my husband is naturally a giver, we also adopted the tradition of playing Santa to another family there by paying for their meal and we try to leave a VERY generous tip for our server (at least $3.00… I kid, I kid.) Always looking for teachable moments when the kids were little, we always let them help decide which family we would play Santa for (yes, some years we have paid for two families since nothing says Christmas like the kids fist fighting in a Waffle House!!) and we never fail to be blessed seeing the surprise on the other family’s faces!
Another tradition that has just recently developed is having soup with Tim’s sister, Robin, and her family over the holidays. Some years at our house and some years at hers. It’s fun because it’s family and it’s easy!! Who doesn’t have time to throw together a pot of soup, a salad and some cornbread?!?! We also enjoy getting to look at someone besides each other (just living the truth people.) Years ago the boys wanted to stay home on Christmas to play with their toys but in their vast maturity (I’ll give you a moment to stop laughing…) they are more open to getting out of the house and mingling with others. Plus it allows Tim and Rick (Robin’s husband) a chance to sneak a nap in the recliners since Robin and I are undoubtedly talking in another room.
Yes, it is hard not being with all of your family on Christmas day but some family is way better than none! Besides…it is way more fun to clean the kitchen with someone else. What?!?! Yes, you’re right, it is way more fun for someone else to clean the kitchen but my “maid money” is now being used to fund Georgia Tech and Furman. Merry traditional-making people!
I love getting Christmas cards, especially photo Christmas cards. Even though I’m not a card sender, there are still a lot of people in this world who love me and my family anyway (who knew?!?!) Oh I say I’m going to send cards every year but then I take a thousand photos of the boys and the BEST one looks like the photo this:
I know, one looks ok but the other two… in spite of what they say, would be mad at me and probably not give me a Christmas gift. (and who takes their Christmas card photo in a restaurant?? Yes, the ridicule would never end…)
Every day from Thanksgiving on, I look forward to getting the mail in spite of the bills because it usually contains a Christmas card or ten. When sorting the mail I put the cards off to one side and open them last so that I can savor them. The very best part of the cards we get is watching the families expand and seeing the kids as they grow up. We have begun to get cards from children who we saw grow up that now have children of their own. We have so many friends that we haven’t seen in years who still remember us every year with a Christmas card. In spite of my lack of planning, these people who we have known forever, still think fondly enough of us to send us their smiles.
So on this day that we celebrate the most important birthday ever in the world, I wanted to share with you what I would say in my Christmas card to everyone this year:
Tim and I have nine nieces and nine nephews between us and of the eighteen people that call us aunt and uncle, ten are married. The latest one happening this past weekend in Athens, GA, when our nephew Rett Reeve out punted his coverage and married the smart and beautiful Gini Eldridge. Each and every wedding in our family has been without fail different yet fun in its own way with this one being no exception.
This past weekend there was one event that… well, shall we say stood out? I walked out on our balcony very early Saturday morning (ok, 9:00 but that’s very early to me!) and saw what appeared to be a tuxedo on the red tin roof of the building next to us. Since I was on the seventh floor and said building was only a one floor structure, I couldn’t be certain it was a tux. So I did what anyone would do, I called my husband to come look. Yep, it was a tux and yep, it looked like it was freshly placed upon the roof. (I later learned that people really do get so angry that they throw every piece of their spouses clothing out windows… who knew?!?!) Tim told Tee and right then it was ON!! My husband and his brother are two of a kind and, believe me when I tell you, the one thing that doesn’t follow them is dullness. They decided there was nothing else to do but go roof fishing… what do you mean you’ve never been roof fishing? Well you haven’t really lived until you’ve been roof fishing!
Tim and Tee, being the adventure seekers that they are, immediately recruited Jonathan the maintenance man to let them in the corridor between the buildings. Once there an eight foot piece of trim from the garbage pile, one six foot dog leash from Tee’s truck and two wire coat hangers from our closet later they had a top of the line roof fishing pole (oh yes, I can feel the jealousy flowing through you people!) Naturally, Tim (being the younger brother) was the fisherman with Tee the fishing supervisor while Jonathan was the fishing guide. Right away Tee and Johnathan directed Tim to the tuxedo fishing honey hole where he got a bite and while trying to set the hook his pole broke becoming a six foot pole. But have no fear, these are some world class tuxedo fishers. They were not to be deterred and just a few casts later Tim hauled in a size 40/32 pair of tuxedo pants followed right up with a 44R jacket. And I know you won’t believe this, but they were a matching set!! It was truly a record setting day for roof fishing.
Yes my friends, a good time was had by all! And the Reeve Brothers roof fishing business is off to a phenomenal start…
Today is my dad’s birthday, so if you see Greg make sure you wish him a happy birthday. Happy Birthday Daddy!!
Will got home from Memphis last night so my nest is full…and messy…and my fridge is empty…and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Anchorman 2 is out… wonder how long before I get to hear my boys reciting every one of the movie lines?
Why do boy’s dorm rooms smell so bad?
Robin Thicke is the son of Alan Thicke… you know the dad on Family Ties?? WHAT?!?!
James Marsden, who I may or may not have actually met in person while on a girls trip in Atlanta, may have the most beautiful eyes ever. Well, other than my husband of course. Of course…
How can one boy coming home from college for the break have so much stuff and have it ALL OVER THE HOUSE in just two short hours??? Yes, I’m talking about you Luke Reeve!
Why can I think of thousands of things I want until someone asks me?
Did anyone ever really care who let the dogs out? Whose dogs were they anyway?
Why is there a difference between “for sale” and “on sale”?
Speaking of which, why can’t car dealers just tell me how much they want for their cars? I don’t haggle over milk at the grocery store or my mortgage payment…just tell me how much the car is and I’ll pay it if I want it. DONE.
Rett and Gini are getting married tomorrow…unless Gini gets around our family and realizes she doesn’t want to sign on for all this! So y’all hide your crazy at least until after they’re hitched… then go wild. Seriously, can’t wait to begin celebrating with them tonight!
p.s. It’s almost Christmas Day so you might want to start your shopping. I might want to start mine too… I might…
I gave birth to three sons, but in reality we have a fourth son. He came into our family when he was about seven years old and not matter what we do, we cannot get him to leave! Yeah, this is not a “Blind Side” kind of story. Nope, this it’s more like Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver…I kid, I kid! It’s really like Fred and Barney from The Flintstones. Two guys who are good separate but better (and full of trouble!) together.
Will Kittle (Kittle in my house since i already have a Will) played soccer at the YMCA with Luke when they were little boys. They became fast friends who despite going to different schools until college, remain best friends to this day (I like to think Kittle is Luke’s Lynne… except they break more stuff and eat more food!) So as is want to happen, over the years of the boys being together, he just became family. I can’t even begin to count the nights he spent at my house nor the meals he’s shared with us and vice versa at the Kittle house. So much time together that both my other two boys are almost as close to him as Luke is.
Now don’t misunderstand, it has not always been smooth sailing with these two. Oh no! There was a time amidst broken school bus windows, destroyed furniture and conversations with the youth pastor about their latest “incident” at church when I thought I would pull their hair out if they didn’t calm down and straighten up! But not only did they straighten up, Kittle and Luke have become fine young men who are both excelling at Georgia Tech (yes, Ga Tech even though for most of his life, Kittle, bled the red and black of the University of Georgia BullDawgs!)
I love the fact that even if Kittle is only home a few hours, we get a visit. Heck, he comes by to visit whether Luke is here or not. Like I said, he’s our fourth and cheapest son… we’ve yet to pay a dime for his college tuition! Now food on the other hand…
If there were an elected position for Mayor of the World my husband would win HANDS DOWN!! From the time we started dating until now, whenever (and wherever) we go out to eat Tim always winds up doing what I call “politicking.” Others may call it working the room or meet & greet but no matter what you call it, it is something he had always done. Usually when we enter the restaurant, he’ll tell me what to order him to drink because he realizes that I’m going to make it to the table WAY before him.
Don’t get me wrong, this does not bother me, it simply fascinates me. How does one man know so many people? No lie, we have traveled all around the world and no matter where we go, he runs into someone he knows. We’re not just talking Alabama and South Carolina here but Israel, Greece and Mexico just to name a few. It is really funny when you are walking around thousands of miles from home, and hear someone yell your husband’s name as they run up to hug him. Sometimes I know them but most times I’ve never even heard their name before.
My theory is that Tim is simply what you call a people person and to him life is all about relationships. Much like his mother whose hobby is socializing! Now after 24 years of wedded bliss, I find myself becoming more like him. My youngest and I headed out to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant during Thanksgiving break and I’m sure he thought we were never going to get to our table simply because I kept running into people I hadn’t seen in a while…oops!! They say the longer you are married the more alike you become and frankly I’d consider myself lucky to be like him… well except for the lack of hair and goatee!
(Mutt and Maude aka Haddie, my father-in-law Tom with Haddie, 4 year old Tim and Haddie)
Today would have been the 114th birthday of my husband’s grandmother, Haddie. Her real name was Maude Snow Hadley and she was quite the woman let me tell you! She gave birth to two of the spunkiest people you will ever have the pleasure of meeting and loved her husband so dearly that after he died she remained a widow for the rest of her life which was more than forty years. She lived all by herself in the same house where she raised her family from the time Mutt died until she was 95 years old (yes, they were Mutt and Maude…hey, the Reeve side were Ellis and Etha!!)
I remember the first thanksgiving after Will was born. Papa, Mema, Tim, Will and I loaded up Mema’s blue Oldsmobile station wagon so we could head to Statesville, North Carolina to spend the holiday with Haddie. (oh yes, we were styling and profiling in that swagger wagon!) At the time she was almost 92 years old but you would never know it to spend time with her. My favorite part of the holiday visit (not counting the hours of amazing conversation and storytelling!) had to be when Haddie sat down at her piano to play from memory The Maple Leaf Rag. It. Was. Amazing. When she first sat down at the piano, she couldn’t remember how to start the song and as we talked, she began to peck at the keys until suddenly in the middle of her talking with us she realized she was playing the song!!
How I wish I had been given more years with Haddie and her zest for life! Imagine a woman widowed in the prime of her life, choosing to live alone and do life her way for the next forty plus years. She was so active, she drove up until her ninetieth birthday when her kids realized that backing out onto a four lane highway was just not a good idea any longer. Haddie even did dying her way. She moved to Carrollton once she realized she could no longer live alone and after charming the entire community, she quietly died in her sleep less than six months later.
The world was a better place because she was in it and my family is blessed to have loved and been loved by her. Happy birthday Haddie! I’m certain that for today, God is doing things your way.