hiddenblessing

Finding one small blessing each day.

Our version of the Yaya Sisterhood September 23, 2012

Filed under: Family — hiddenblessing @ 8:25 am
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Fairies“>

Fairies by Flo’s shots 4 me (http://www.flickr.com/photos/florencia123/)

* * * *

I am a Yaya.  A princess Yaya, that is.  And oh, how I love this little tiny bit of (pretend, but very real in my heart) royalty.

Did you ever see that movie Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood?  Here is a very brief summary:  there is a group of girls growing up in the 50’s who are best friends.  They have a secret club, as most little girls do at some point, and they name themselves the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. They sneak out late at night in their jammies, have a little bonfire, wear silly crowns and swear their loyalty to each other forever and ever.  Their friendship lasts into adulthood, and when of the Ya-Ya’s has relationship difficulties with her daughter, the remaining friends kidnap the adult daughter.  They sneak her away to the family cabin to try to get her to come to reason with her mom’s history and why she is the way she is.

That’s a terrible rendition, but it’s the core of the movie.  But here’s where it turns really fun… during the summer of 2002 after the movie came out, on some random weekend my extended family and I all sat on my grandmother’s patio talking.  Somehow the movie came up and someone decided it would be really fun if we had a Yaya weekend.  Somewhere where all the girls could get away – no husbands, no kids, and just be us for a weekend.  We would make fun drinks, get pedicures, swim, and basically just have a fun weekend together celebrating us. 

And so it was born.  On the weekend after Labor Day 2002, my aunt, mother, sister, grandmother and I gathered at my grandmother’s house.  We giggled and laughed and did no cooking.  We drank copious amounts of alcohol, swam at my great uncle’s home (he wasn’t allowed to join us except for one cocktail since we were, after all, using his pool), and waited for Saturday night.  And when Saturday night arrived, my grandmother pulled out beautiful crowns she had made for each of us.  We pulled chairs into a circle under the crabapple tree in the backyard, and we lit a bonfire.  And that’s where the real magic of Yaya began.

We had no idea, that first year, what a precious thing we were creating.  We had no idea how seriously we all would take Yaya, and how much it would grow and morph over the years.  But I will tell you this… there is nothing quite like the honesty and love and support you get from a group of women who love you.   Who have known you since you had buck teeth and skinned knees, and watched you dress up for prom.  Who kissed your newborn baby and comforted you when your marriage was falling apart.  There is very little in the world that is more beautiful than the night when one of the Yayas was seriously ill, and the other princesses drove over state lines, donned the crowns and snuck into the ICU late at night, to giggle and hug and love the sick princess.  Or the coronation of a baby Yaya, who was born much, much too early and had to become a Yaya right away. That baby Yaya is now a healthy, happy 9-year-old, and while I’m sure it very much has to do with the powers of modern medicine, there may be a little bit of Yaya magic sprinkled in there, too. 

In two weekends, the princesses and I will be coming together to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Yaya.  Ten years.  It is staggering to me what has changed over those ten years.  I can’t begin to express the enormity of our losses, and the significance of our gains, in what life has dealt each of the princesses in the past ten years.

But one thing remains… we are still together.  We are still gathering to light that midnight bonfire.  To celebrate love and family and all the things that matter to each of us.

I am so honored, and blessed, to be a Yaya princess.

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The white blouse September 15, 2012

Filed under: Family,Parenting,Teenager — hiddenblessing @ 1:09 pm
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Yesterday, my son texted me while I was out running errands.  His text said the following:

“Can u pls bring me a white shirt by 100”

So I responded back:

“For you?  Does it have to be new?”

No response. I have no idea what the boy wants… is this for a project?  Is it for him to wear?  No clue. I happened to be at Walmart when he texted me, so I picked up a $5 white t-shirt and bought it along with everything else.  He really doesn’t own any white t-shirts because my boys instantaneously stain white shirts within seconds of putting them on.

I drove to his middle school, the requested white shirt in a Walmart bag on the seat next to me.  Baby L and I were just going to run it inside and drop it off with the school secretary.  I glanced down at the white bag and I wondered for a moment if it would embarrass him for me to be bringing him a new t-shirt in a Walmart bag.

And the reason why this occurred to me is because my brain instantly jumped to a memory of myself, in high school.  In the small town I grew up in, there was this certain store that was VERY, VERY not cool.  In my high school, like most middle and high schools, what you wore was very important. There comes a time that Rustlers just aren’t going to cut it anymore in the social strata that is teenage life.  Of course, we grow up and pay mortgages and pediatrician bills and insane electric bills and suddenly that little label on our jeans isn’t QUITE as important.  But to a 13, 16, 18 year old… it is of immense importance.

It was almost time for the TWIRP, or Sadie Hawkins dance at our high school.  This is the dance where the girl asks the guy, instead of the other way around.  It’s not as formal as Prom, or Homecoming, but it’s still a dressy event.  I was talking with my grandmother about what I was going to wear and she looked over at me.

“You know, I was out shopping at UNCOOL STORE NAME, and they had these white, cotton blouses that were really pretty on clearance.  I think that if we washed and ironed one very carefully, it would be beautiful.  You could wear a black skirt and pearls.  I think it would be really classy.”

I’m quite sure my eyes bugged out of my head in horror at the notion.  For starters, my God, does she have any idea of the social suicide I would be creating if I wore something from UNCOOL STORE??  And to a DANCE?! It’s bad enough if you got caught wearing something from there to, say, GYM CLASS.  I can’t even carry a backpack from that store!  BUT TO A DANCE?!  AND CLEARANCE?!?!  That part alone is enough to make me want to retract my invite to that boy.  Forget it.  I feel the flu coming on.

She smiled at me, in that beautifully knowing way that she had.

“Will you please just try it for me?  I’ll do all the work for you.  If you don’t like it, I’ll take you shopping and we can find something else.  But really, I think that you will be beautiful and no one will know where it’s from.”

And so, against my hormone-fueled-teenage-not-so-better judgment, I agreed.  She went to the pariah store and bought me this white cotton blouse. It had flowy sleeves, a large ruffle that lined the deep v-neck front, and tiny pearl buttons (she might have added those buttons).  She found me a long black skirt with a small slit on one side that fit my sixteen-year-old figure perfectly.  She washed and starched and ironed this appalling shirt and invited me over to look at it (I wasn’t allowed to see it until she had worked her magic).  I grudgingly agreed the shirt was pretty… I guess it might work.  As a backup plan, I guess we could just stay at the hotel room we had all rented to party at.  I could always accidentally spill something on it, say, in the first ten minutes of leaving the house.  If I had to.  Then we’d be forced to avoid the dance, and the throngs of label-conscious snooty teenagers who might call me out in public as a WEARER OF UNCOOL CLOTHES.

And the night of the dance came.  As usually seemed to happen on big nights, we had family in from out of state and we were all at my grandmother’s house.  I went upstairs to get ready.  I put on my black pantyhose, my black fitted skirt, and hot rolled my hair. I lipsticked and mascara’ed and put on my drop pearl earrings.  And then I put on the blouse and turned to the girl in the mirror.

I looked… well… beautiful.  I looked grown up, and classy, and elegant.  I looked everything my grandmother had said I would and more.  I felt positively perfect in this outfit.  I couldn’t have found anything better if I had tried.

She was a smart woman, my grandmother.  She knew that it wasn’t about the label or the price or the store it came from.  She knew, with enough love and care, that I’d be beautiful in anything, if I could find within myself the self esteem to pull it off.

And really, isn’t that true with most things in life?

I so very much miss that wonderful, beautiful, elegant woman.  She was everything I hope to be.

Have a fabulous weekend, my friends.

 

The gift of a visit April 18, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 7:52 pm
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murasakiiro momoiro odoru
Picture found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarniebill/

*****

My grandmother’s birthday is in two days. Three years ago in June when she passed away, my family almost literally didn’t know how to imagine a future without her. She was absolutely the glue that bound our family, the focal point of holidays and gatherings, and the inspiration behind so much of what makes each of us who we are.

I am a huge believer in visits from the afterlife. This comes from a lot of things, but primarily from my own experiences both with family members as well as having lived for a time in a house that was “haunted”. I say that in quotations because it wasn’t a spooky, dark, creaky house… it was a home full of love and light and laughter… and an extra guest or two.

Back to my beautiful grandmother. I have seen her a few times since she’s died, but not more than a handful of times. Typically I find her in public places… the woman in front of me at the department store, the woman getting gas at the pump two down from me. I usually smile and thank her quietly in my head, and go about my day, thankful for the quick reminder from heaventhat she still exists.

Tonight, I met my husband and children at a mexican restaurant that sells 99 cent tacos on Monday nights. I arrived first, with Little One in tow. We were seated at a table, and I got him into his high chair, tearing open the first of many packs of Saltines that he would crumble and hopefully not toss on the floor. Seated diagonally from me was a group of women, who my grandma would have called “The Girls”. That was my very first thought upon seeing them; oh, look, it’s the girls! I smiled and turned to watch the door for E, B and my husband.

“Oh, look at that boy!” I heard one of them exclaim. I turned back to the women and smiled down at Little One as he began his happy flirting routine with them. Grin, drool, lean his head shyly down, and then shake his head No!. Then start it all over again as they “aww” and laugh at him. It was then that I noticed HER. She sat with her back mostly to me, but she just radiated what my grandma had…. she resembled her physically, her smile was the same, she wore her glasses the same. She animatedly began to tell a story to her friend, who looked suspiciously like my grandmother’s best friend. That woman, too, had her back to me.

I watched them as the others turned back to their meal and resumed their dinner. It made me smile, this woman with such a resemblance to my grandma. I decided to take out my phone and take a picture of Little One, and hopefully catch them in the background, so I could tell my family about this later. I was flipping the flash on the camera to “off” when I heard it.

“You know Kristy? Kim’s daughter?” She had asked her friend, loud enough that I could hear.

I nearly fell out of my chair. My name is not Kristy, but it’s so crazy close to Kristy that it’s unbelievable. And I am Kim’s daughter. And I have zero doubt that my grandma was making sure that I knew that it was her tonight, visiting me. Checking in. Letting me know that she’s around, and aware that I’ve been thinking of her lately.

I am so happy for that visit. What a lucky girl I am. Love you, Grammy.

Goodnight, my friends! BELIEVE, and have hope tonight.