Monthly Archives: August 2015

Motherhood

image

One of my earliest memories is my Daddy helping me get into a striped shirt and little corduroy pants and my leather moccasins.  We got into the car to go pick up my Mama at her job.  She was working at The Yarn Spinner.  To a very small child, this meant she was magical like Rumplestiltskin.  I was pretty sure she spun yarn out of thin air at her job.  Of course, it was a yarn store and she didn’t make the yarn, but I truly thought she did.

At this time in Mama’s life, she should have been fragile.  I don’t remember her being that way, though.  It had to have been around the time her own mother passed away, because she went on to her heavenly reward when I was 3.  She was very close to her mother.

My Mama also raised the four of us kids with my father most often working second shift, or sometimes third.  This meant that she dealt with the lion’s share of the everyday parenting, the in-the-trenches sort of stuff.  She and my Daddy lost twins during a pregnancy.  Then one of their children was born with developmental and intellectual disabilities and my Mama was a special needs parent before the term was ever coined, and certainly before there was much tolerance or acceptance.  She actually had people she loved tell her that she or our Daddy must have done something to deserve having a child that was different.  There was no knowledge about how long life expectancy was for their special child, and decisions about anything weighed heavily on their shoulders because no one had any helpful answers.  There was no advocacy group, no Facebook group, no Internet forums.  She had to blaze her own path. She also had 3 other children at the same time, “normal” children to take care of.  I think most of us realize by now that “normal” is just a setting on the washing machine. The other three of us are willful and full of mischief, just as our “special” sibling was and is.  In other words, my Mama has had her hands full since the minute she became a parent.

I still remember so many small and big things that she took the time to do.  Cooking meals, reading with me, turning my brand new earrings around and swabbing them with the cleaner so that they healed perfectly and I’ve never had trouble putting earrings in.  Before Mama had to stop working due to disability, she had a passion for elderly folks.  She took every kind of care of them, from bathing and diapering to playing Bingo and attending sophisticated social functions with them.  She really shined as an activities director, probably because she’s a fun person.  They all loved her so much, and I know I got special attention when I went to the nursing home with her because I was her daughter.

These days she spends at home with us.  We are fortunate to be spending some time living with her, my Daddy, and my sister.  I am so glad my children are getting this time with her and their Papaw.  My Mama always showed strength, even before I knew what strength was.  She has overcome some hard things that I don’t even want to contemplate what it must have been like for her.  She has always trusted in The Lord, and I’ve been so blessed to have her as an example.  She has always taught us to follow Jesus, and I remember learning to pray early on.  My Mama has unshakable faith and unconditional love.  She has a lot of pain now due to things her doctors still don’t quite have all sorted out, but she still got out of her own bed the other day to rub my leg and back down with cream when I was crying in pain from a pinched nerve.  She has always helped others, always given of herself.  We haven’t always seen eye to eye, but we do love heart to heart.  I’ve always known she was here for me.  These are the best things you can give your child.

I am so blessed to be your child, Jennifer Louise Griffin Smith.  It is a wonderful and precious gift that you gave me, teaching me to be a mother.  I wish you another Happy Birthday.

Advertisements

Fresh Start

image

     You’ve probably seen the meme by now that says for children to patiently teach their parents how to use technology; after all, their parents taught them to use a toilet.  This is definitely true for me as I am something of a technophobe.  I do have a smartphone that was passed along to me, but I am certainly no expert at using it.  Lucky for me, I am sure my husband or one of my kiddos can help me figure out how to get my ramblings onto the interwebs.  Not sure if that’s lucky for you or not. 😉

     I took this photo with the phone about a week ago.  It had just stopped raining, a steamy afternoon after a flash summer storm, and my husband was driving us down the road. We had just left home and I looked over and saw the rainbow.  I definitely needed to see it.  My little family has been through a lot lately, and I always see a rainbow as a reminder of the promise from our Lord.  I am reminded of His faithfulness to us, and how He has carried us through so many things that might have torn others apart.  I am so grateful for His blessings, and even in the midst of the storm I try to hold those blessings close to my heart.

     Of course, I’m not privy to His exact plans, and I’m human and I admit I become frustrated and brokenhearted at times when life’s events spiral downward so quickly that it feels like I’m drowning in quicksand.  I don’t always give things to Him in prayer the way I should.  Learning to lean on Him can sometimes be hard when a mother is used to being “the glue.” Funny how you have to take a step back from your hopeless situation and remember that can’t solve everything yourself.

     Of noteworthy importance, I am not the most scholarly Christian you will find.  If you stumbled upon my writing expecting to find extremely well-versed teachings on The Word because the name has the word “blessed” in it, you are in for a surprise.  I won’t say in for a disappointment, because God can even work in His mysterious ways through someone like me.  I pray that He might choose to do that.  I am merely doing what a lot of others decide to do at some point – it’s time to “get some things off my chest.”

     Remember the word “broken” in the blog name?  Well, that word can be taken a lot of different ways.  Christians sometimes refer to themselves as “broken sinners, saved by grace, or something similar.  I definitely fit that category.  You’ve heard the phrase “broken spirit”, but that doesn’t describe me anymore.  It did for a while.  Broken, in this case, actually mostly refers to a family joke.  My sweet husband Tim often refers to himself as broken, because of his health.  He is disabled with Type 1 diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.  It’s a family joke, because all four of us have actually been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.  Tim and I didn’t know when we married almost 15 years ago that we both had a connective tissue disorder.  I have also been told I have fibromyalgia and I have some other health issues that are likely related to the EDS.  Our son also has Eosinophilic Esophagitis, or EoE, and is fed mostly by G tube (a tube in his belly.)  He also has quite a few anaphylactic food allergies.  He and our daughter also have asthma, eczema, and other gastrointestinal problems.  We’ve also been learning how to best live with ADHD and SPD.  I’d love to spread awareness through my words here, but I’d settle for spreading some tolerance for people who are differently abled.

We have some hobbies we enjoy, and I’m sure I will share about that here.  My daughter and I have a shared love of many things – reading, sewing, and makeup are a few of those.  My son enjoys science activities, nature, Minecraft, and Legos.  The last two I will admit I know next to nothing about, but he’s doing his best to teach me.  We do homeschool our kids, and it has been a very fun adventure so far.  My husband and I spend our time together doing such scandalous and interesting things such as going to the grocery store and doctor appointments together.  If the timing is right, we might even catch a show or two on Netflix together!  We’ll celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary in September.  God has blessed us with a beautiful relationship (that we treasure and do our best to take care of) and a beautiful family.

     I hope that my words might end up as inspiration for some, as education for others, and at least a laugh for the rest of you.