Friday, May 29, 2009

Defend yourselves...

Mom always taught me to "take control" of my money, myself, and whatever it was I was doing. She said this every time we spoke on the phone when I was living in Spain. Even we she came to visit - her words="take control of your purse."

While we were at the beach, Jeremy asked if I would accompany him at the golf club one day while he played. Being on 65 degrees and no need for a bathing suit, I agreed to be his caddy for the day.

We had quite the trip and I got an opportunity to practice "taking control".....

This joker showed up 3 holes into the game...and so for the rest of the afternoon, I drove around with a club in my hand - ready to defend myself against man-eating size squirrels! They weren't afraid of us though.

Mom would have absolutely freaked out with these things - creepy!


She is so precious. Simply put.

Rewind about 6.5 years was Wednesday a.m. and I didn't have class until 9. I get a phone call cerca 7 a.m. - it's my sister telling me her water had broken and she was on her way to the hospital to have Grace. Typical college student, I got angry that she woke me up early, rolled over, then waited until the weekend to make the trek to GA to hold my first niece. Back then, I didn't know much about babies, and didn't necessarily care for them.....thankfully, I love Grace and she thinks Aunt Manni is the stuff!

So, the past 7 months have been a 360 from that! I've been anticipating the birth of Sarah Elizabeth, Grace's younger sister, really ever since we found out at Christmas. Then, following mom's death, it was all we could do to focus on something else. And of course, I've grown somewhat from that annoying college student, to a woman with an overflowing desire to become a "mommy" myself (although, not yet the case)....

I arrived in GA this evening and was able to visit with my sister - who is very thankful to have SE in the world and not in her tummy. According to Grace, she just "screamed one time, and then she plopped out!" There you have it. Take a look at this precious baby girl -

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm Aunt Manni - times two - now!!

That's right mom....Sarah Elizabeth Jacobs, your second granddaughter, was born this morning (Thursday) at 6:51 a.m. She weighed in at 6 lbs 9.5 oz and measured 19.25 inches! Mom and baby are doing well, and I'm looking forward to seeing her this evening. Then I'll tell you all about her!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

1095 days ago... life changed forever! Almost to the moment as I write this, I am reminded of what happened 3 years ago on this date - Jeremy's proposal to me to be HIS wife!

That year, he had come with me, mom, and dad to the beach for vacation. We stayed at my grandparents house, and had a blast over the long weekend. We had been talking about marriage for a couple of months, and had decided that we would go look at some rings while we were away on vacation. Little did I know, Jeremy had already had the ring specialy made from a guy in D.C., and had carried it all the way from Rock Hill, to North Myrtle Beach for the craziest weekend ever of vacation!!

Not to mention that the weekend of Memorial Day happens to be Atlantic Beach Bike Week (particularly for our brothas and sistas), it's also one of the busiest weekends for the beginning of beach season. There are thousands of folks on mopeds, harleys, and other modes of "bikes" that just ride all day - that's it, ride. We never figured it out. But anyway, this was always the best week for us to come down and use the beach house, so we just put up with all of the noise, traffic, nonsense, policemen...

This weekend has been such a reminder to me of that vacation with my parents. I remember how much sunscreen mom wanted to wear, then put on her cover-ups, then sit under the umbrella all day. I don't think I could count on one hand how many times I remember her getting sun burned. We have to use the golf cart to get to the beach - which means driving through the neighborhood, then crossing Hwy 17 - only THE major highway of the beach...that was such a sight to see: mom and dad on the cart, coming down the highway. Mom would yell "wooooohooooo" and think she was being funny.

This year, Jeremy's parents have joined us for the latter half of our vacation. It's been nice to be away from RH with them, relaxing and enjoying one another. I praise God for my inlaws, who are more like real parents than inlaws to me. Debbie (J's mom) and I spent some quiet time together on the beach this afternoon reading and sitting, while J and his dad went to play golf. Perfect. Absolutely Perfect!

I did a lot of people watching today (listening to Jack Johnson) because I wasn't in the mood to engage my mind in one of Nicholas Sparks' books today. A girl from college, Helen Joy likes to do this too, and she's a photographer, so she typically always has her camera on hand to take photos, then comment later. I thought of her today, and all of the photos she would have taken, and the comments that would have been added. I would have you belly laughing at some folks. But, I love it that at the beach, there's only innocence. Folks don't realize what they say, how they look, or what they're doing - it doesn't matter....they're "on vacation"

I, too, have succombed to the "on vacation" mentality - late night Krispy Kreme trip, splotchy burnt red spots from a spray sunscreen gone bad, spending $3-5 on frozen lemonade that melts as soon as it gets in my hand, and forgetting what an alarm clock is. I love vacation. It totally takes me out of my zone and puts me in a much better one. I needed a new zone - BADLY, even if just for a week!

So I'll continue to enjoy my last 3 days "on vacation" with maybe an $8 round of putt putt golf, a trip to the outlets, breakfast on the shore, dinner on the shore, and sliced watermelon on the beach (the only way mom would recommend eating it!)....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"I see the ocean!"

Those were the words out of mom's mouth that meant our hours and hours of driving were finally coming to an end and our destination had been reached - the beach. We spent countless summers as I was growing up at Surfside Beach and Garden City Beach. Then after my sister went to college, we were lucky to make it at all. But, my grandparents made it a bit easier by allowing us to use their beach house (in North Myrtle).

So, that's where we are now. The first week long vacation since the honeymoon 2.5 years ago! Jeremy and I arrived on Monday afternoon - and it took until today (Tuesday) to hear "I see the ocean!" It's been ridiculously cold and windy the past two days. We haven't done really much of anything - which would be alright...except I'd really love to be doing that "nothing" on the beach, reading mindless Nicholas Sparks novels, and getting a tan. However, we've been forced to really be creative with our time.

Yesterday, we shopped at the discount golf store and talked to the owner about how the upcoming Atlantic Beach Bike Rally was going to be (for those that don't know, Harley week ended on Sunday before we came - Atlantic Beach Bike Rally is for the African-American bikers and their "babes") In the past years, Myrtle Beach has been trying to stop the week, but they obviously can't put a ban on they're making really really strict laws, and closing up shops -it's actually kind of wild...but this is the week we've always come down to the beach, so it doesn't bother us. In fact, on Saturday, we'll celebrate the third anniversary of our engagement - how sweet!:)

Today, we slept in - until 8:45 AM!!!!! Got bagels at my favorite - Goldberg Bagels in the shopping center right above the house. Then, we split up the afternoon. The first part we went antique/consignment/thrift store shopping. Unfortunately, we weren't too successful - although I did find a boppy pillow for $8 in "noah's ark" fabric...but just didn't buy it. Then, the latter part of the afternoon was spent in downtown Myrtle, stopping at Sonic for a bit of Happy Hour specials, then, onto The Market Common - the newest section of this area that's an all-inclusive living square - filled with ritzy shoppes, dining, college, park, grocery store, and gas station. We did some looking, but no shopping.
Then we headed to Miyabi's Japanese Steakhouse for dinner. We have been saving up our $$ for this dinner and it was SOOO worth it! We sat with an older couple who had connections in Loris, Wilmington, Charlottesville, and even Rock Hill!! They were so sweet. The other family we were with had their 3 year old birthday boy with them. We learned that they eat at a Japanese steakhouse every Thanksgiving as well as his birthday. I thought to myself "I wonder if they sing "fa ra ra ra ra"....
Now, we're home, watching CABLE and reading and writing. I almost don't know what to do with myself!

Today marks month 3 of mom's passing. Some moments, it feels like an eternity, others it seems as it if never happened! I was telling Jeremy the other day that it typically comes at a random time and all of the sudden I freak out - "oh my gosh, I don't have a mom, what am I supposed to do? I can't do this without a mom!!!" It's almost like a panic attack - and then my fears are subsided and I calm down. Weird, I know....

We're waiting on Sarah Elizabeth to join us in this world. I can't wait to hold her and love on her and to see her grow and to teach her about her Nana. I know she'll get some good lessons from her mom and from Grace, but I'm "Aunt Manni" - by far the coolest aunt on the planet (you can ask Grace to confirm that)! It could be any moment until then, I'll just enjoy my vacation and hope to see the ocean in my bathing suit and sunscreen tomorrow -

"Good Lord, you must be HUGE!"

One of Mom's favorite pastimes - making telemarketers regret they even called. There are at least 3 of these stories that might make you "pee-pee laugh" that I want to share. The first is quite possibily the best one - I can only hope that I give you enough of the story to give you a good chuckle. I have taken some liberties with the exact conversation flow, but this is basically how it went...

ring ring ring...
Mom: Hello?
Telemarketer: Uh, Yes ma'am, may I speak with Mrs. Jackson please?
Mom: Well, you got her.
TM: Well, Hello Mrs. Jackson, my name is Melton, and I am calling on behalf of (some travel company). You are one lucky lady.
Mom: Oh yeah, why is that?
TM: Well, Mrs Jackson -
Mom: Melton, you can call me Debi.
TM: Well, Okay, Debi, you've been chosen to receive a free trip for you and your family to Disney World.
Mom: Oh my, we've always wanted to go back to Disney World, have you ever been to Disney World?
TM: Eh, um, why no I haven't.
Mom: You mean you gotta call people to tell them that they done won a trip that you ain't ever been on? That's not fun.
TM: Well, I guess so.
Mom: Well that's a shame, we went a while back. I took all my kids, step kids, and three of their daddies and we went for a whole weekend. It was so much fun, you just wait until I tell them what I've won.
TM: Alright..
Mom: You know, Billy, well, he was the first boy I had with Darrell, he was my first husband...anyway, he really liked Mickey Mouse. Since then, none of the other kids with any of their daddies have liked Mickey as much as Billy did - you should have seen that excitement on that boy's face when he saw dem black ears of that mouse - wooowee!
TM: That's great Mrs. Jackson, eh, Debi.
Mom: I know Melton, but ya see the last time we went I weighed about 200 pounds less than I do now. See since my boys done gone and grown up, I aint gotta chase them around the house no more. And I love me some soaps. So you see, I guess I done put on a few pounds now.
TM: Okay, why is that a problem then?
Mom: Well Melton, how many tickets did you say I won?
TM: Well, Debi, it seems here that I have you and 3 other tickets.
Mom: Well, I guess that means I can only take 2 of my 7 boys with me.
TM: Who will be the 4th then?
Mom: Well, Melton, I'll need two seats on the airplane - oh I'm so embarassed!
TM: Oh Debi, don't be embarassed - I've had to do that before too.
Mom: Oh really Melton? Hey Melton, can I ask, how much do you weigh?
(at this point it really didn't matter what number Melton gave mom - and I didn't hear it...)

(The conversation continued a bit, and then mom just told Melton that it would be okay, and that she was giving her "gift trip" to Melton and his family. Melton TOTALLY forgot why he was calling mom and actually hung up on her).

Mom loved to talk with these folks. And she could carry on a conversation and not even bust a laugh. I loved that about her. She would later tell us these stories with us doubled over laughing so hard. So if you ever hear us say "Good Lord, you must be huge!" we're remembering, fondly, mom and her love for letting telemarketers feel like they accomplished something in a day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Breakfast with Nana

Mother's Day will never be the same again. After yesterday, I realized it wasn't SO bad. All last week, I had been dreading the moment that Sunday, May 10 would roll around - the day everyone on the planet would celebrate, fix breakfast in bed for their mom, and have a meal together after going to church and getting the usual carnation/rose to say "Thanks for being Mom." Instead, I woke up, and handed a gift bag to my sister.

While waiting for her to open, I prayed to myself - "Please Lord, don't let this be difficult" As she unwrapped it, tears began swelling in my eyes. Tearing off the paper, she turned it over, and saw it was a framed 8x10 portrait of mom. The funeral home had done some magic before mom's visitation and took a photo and created a portrait of mom - almost exact of how it would have been. So, I ordered a print, framed it, and for the first time, bought my sister a mother's day gift. We then starred at it for several minutes, and hugged dad, and then we layed it down, and began to cook breakfast.

While I'm standing at the stove fixing pancakes, Grace (my neice) all of the sudden says "I'm gonna eat my breakfast with Nana this morning!" - I look over and she's holding the framed portrait on her lap, with her arm around it, and eating her "papa grits". So innocently, she was enjoying her morning with mom and for a moment, I was jealous of her, that she was eating breakfast with MY MOM!!!

But, she was so sweet - it made me realize that yes, I too, can eat with mom. Mom's body and spirit may have left us, but her love for us and stories continue to bring great memories that make us laugh and cry. I pray that I can continue to remember her in the days to come. And I can eat breakfast with her any time I want to!

I have a few stories I can't wait to tell you about and hope to get them to you before we go on vacation next week. I hope you can laugh (and maybe cry) with me.

Monday, May 4, 2009

May 5

I wonder what tomorrow will be like. Something gives me the feeling that it will be a bit different.

While mom was at home in the last weeks of her life, most of us had the opportunity to sit with her solo and just be, talk, laugh, and/or cry. I know I had 2 of the most unforgetable conversations and moments with my mother that I will always remember (hence, the unforgetable part:)). We decided early on that I would ask mom each day if she was scared about dying and going to heaven. Her answer, most every day, was "yes, I'm not ready to leave you yet." It was difficult to hear the answer each day, but I knew that she wasn't going unless she had gotten rid of that fear. I remember the last time I asked her that question was the Monday before her death. She just looked at me, and didn't respond. I wanted to weep and wail, but on the inside I was filled with some type of joy that soon, my mother wasn't going to suffer anymore. Are you scared?

So, my sister apparently had a few of these moments with her too. In one of their times together, mom proceeded to tell her that May 5 was a special day, that God had put that date on her heart for some reason - either it would be the day she would die, or the day of new life. Now, we know that the first choice of that one has already happened, and we also know that my sister is about 31 weeks pregnant. So my question is this - will I become another Aunt tomorrow?
If I do - how weird is that? If I don't, I wonder why mom was so attached to May 5??

I guess only tomorrow will tell. Until then, I'm going to rest - I'm so exhausted!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Wind

I now am the closest I can be to my mother...all because of a pair of rocking chairs that my wonderful husband assembled this afternoon.

When we lived away from the house, mom would always give us sweet, emotional and sappy "goodbyes" as we headed out the door to go back to school, or in my sister's case, back to her house in Georgia. She'd always tell us "when you hear the windchimes, know that I'm thinkin' 'bout ya." I didn't always get the chance to hear chimes on Erskine's campus, but whenever I visited my "home away from home" I could hear them, if there was just enough wind blowing through them.

This past Christmas, Jeremy scored big points with my gift. Timely as it was, a nice set of windchimes, with a cute little house, and a leaf hanging as the catalyst for making sound. We immediately hung them on our porch and went on with our way of things, letting them get tossed in the wind, and stilled by the calmness of the days.

I even remember in those first moments after mom breathed her last breath, hearing those chimes that hung out the window on her front porch. It was like mom saying "it's okay now, just know that I'm thinkin' 'bout ya." Some folks might think I was crazy actually enjoying the constant clanging that those things can make, but that day, I couldn't have been filled with more joy. In the days that have past since then, there are occasional moments that I hear our chimes blowing, but without the help of any wind - almost as if they're blowing completely on their own.
Now that we have rockers (our first and only bit of furniture purchased since we bought the house in September), I can sit on the porch and listen to them clang all day, knowing that my mommy is thinkin' 'bout me. Joy, in the wind, is completely mine!

This wind that blows, and sometime doesn't blow, yet still reminds me and brings me close to my mother, is kind of like faith. In the Bible, faith is explained as something that is unseen and unheard, yet is still there. My mom is definitely not here in the physical sense, and nor does she speak (although I still hear her voice in my heart), but yet she is there. She brings an understanding of my Heavenly Father - although he's not physically at my side, He is holding me in his right hand.

I'm so glad we have these rockers, the chimes, and the presence of God right on our front porch. If you don't believe, just come for a visit, and you'll quickly discover!