I had decided last night that for tonight's meal, I was hungry for corned beef and cabbage -with onions and potatoes and carrots -all cooked together in the crockpot. Figured as cold as it's been, it would be a good hot meal that Mandy, her brother Clate and I would all enjoy. (The kids -probably not so much but if they didn't want that, I had leftover homemade Swedish meatballs and some buttered noodles in the fridge, just in case.)
Well, dinner was just cooking away when about 3 p.m., I got a phone call from my son. Make that my "Favorite Son" which is my pet nickname for him -since he is my ONLY son!
Anyway, he was on the road and wanted to know if Mandy or I could meet him up at the truckstop at Kylertown and supply him with two Mountain Dews and a pack of cigarettes as he was almost out of both those things. He said he was on his way to Pittsburgh and didn't know if, once he got there, they would have him return to his home port or if he'd be sleeping in the truck down there overnight.
Well, I told him that I'd have Mandy meet him and luckily for him, the supper was almost done then so I decided to surprise him and pack up a nice little "care" package for him of the corned beef and cabbage mixture and had Mandy take that along to him.
I knew he had no money to stop anyplace and buy any food -as he is dead broke ya know since he hadn't worked since mid-November so knowing that, knowing too that he really likes corned beef and cabbage too, that this would at least give him a hot meal in his belly for the night, at any rate.
I had posted a blurb about sending this care package up for him on my Facebook page and a girl who is a dear friend of his and of Mandy's too replied to my post, saying that she would do the same for Clate anytime he needed help. Then a lady from town, who used to babysit my kids when they were small -and who just so happens to be one of the aides too at the school Kurtis attends -posted that she thought I was being the good Momma that she thinks I am by doing that for him and she'd do the same anytime for him too!
You know, reading those two comments really made me feel darned good -to hear people of two different generations really -talk about my kids and the way they feel about them that they would do whatever they could to help them because A) they're my kids and B) they think they're good kids and that I did a great job raising them alone!
There were many times over the years that because of some of the circumstances that often existed in this household, folks around here might have a totally different attitude about my skills as a parent.
Things weren't exactly what one could call stable here a whole lot of the time, ya know!
For the most part, pertaining mainly to discipline, I tended to be a bit hard-nosed with my kids -mainly because they -my children -and I -were pretty much on our own and alone since their Dad wasn't anywhere near these parts much of the time back then.
But I raised them to believe everyone is equal -regardless of race, sex, intelligence, ability, wealth or sexual orientation. And it makes me feel very good to see that they -all three of them -exhibit those qualities I tried so very much to instill in them when they were growing up!
About 22 years ago, when my older daughter had to have surgery and had to go to Harrisburg to a hospital there for that, I was concerned about the two younger kids as my older girl was my babysitter for her siblings on the days I had work. How was I going to be able to go down to Harrisburg and spend two nights in the hospital with my daughter and still manage to have someone here with the kids.
So I called an aunt who was then living up outside of Erie and asked her if she could come down and stay here with the two younger kids -just see that they had a meal (nothing fancy) and be the adult in charge while I was away. She agreed to do that for me, for her great-niece and nephew and when I came back home, she told me she was totally surprised by something the kids did.
Every time they called the hospital to talk to their older sister, as they hung up the phone from each conversation, my aunt noticed that they always told their sister the same thing -"I love you!" And also, when they went up to bed at night, as they headed up the steps, they also turned to her, their great-aunt, and told her too -"I love you."
My kids and I kind of adopted a bit of a Walton family routine over the years and we still practice this too. When Mandy goes to bed to this day, as she heads to the stairs, she always says good night to me, followed by "Love you, Mom." Any phone calls between the kids or me, as we end the call, we also always -or still -say that very simple phrase. Even if during the phone call there might have been a few angry words back and forth at times, still -when parting -it's a mandatory thing for us to say that.
And just those three little words I do believe are the glue that has held us together through thick and thin, for 30 some years now!
If you and your family aren't accustomed to showing how much you care for each other, to do this might at first seem a bit difficult, downright strange.
But trust me, once you pick it up and make it a habit, it becomes very ingrained and also, leaves each person knowing yes, I am loved, cared about and I feel the same too about whoever I am talking to.
The past few years when my late cousin and I had begun to reach out to each other by making phone calls fairly frequently, I started to do the same thing when we would end our talks by saying simple "Love you" as we hung up. The first time I said that to her, she kind of paused then, caught her breath and said that back to me. Till up until our very last conversation, we ended our calls that way then and it had become with her, as it was with me and my kids, second nature then.
And I am so glad that I made that move because I am at least at peace with myself, knowing that I did tell her I loved her and through that, she knew how very much she meant to me.
Try it, if you don't already do something like this.
I bet you'll like the feeling it gives you deep inside and sure makes those long, hard days seem much easier then to contend with!
And now -I'm going to bed but before I retire for the night, let me say this to all of you, my friends, or family, reading this - "I love you!"
And don't you forget it either!