Saturday, May 14, 2011

Living Every Day Like Its Your Last!!

I had to share this...
This was a post from one of the blogs I read.  
If there is one thing I have taken from this experience with my Uncle, is live every moment to the fullest, tell those you love how much you love them, don't sweat the small things, because you never know when your last day will be...

I see being a Mom like anything else. The more you practice it, the better you get at it. Just like riding a bike, or playing an instrument. I think my kids would agree if you asked them. I am not the same person I was 10 or 12 years ago. God has done a lot in me during that time. He has used my kids often to refine and mold me. I am a better person and a better Mother because of them.

I have been told numerous times that I must have loads of patience. Patience is something that is learned. It is not something we are born with. It is not something we can one day just wake up with. In fact, I a firm believer that the more you are tested, the more patience you acquire. I have seen this in my own life. I am much more patient now than I was a decade ago. It has taken time to get where I am. I did not just wake up one day oozing with patience. Does this mean that I never lose my cool? Absolutely not. I am human, not a superwoman. However, I do feel that patience is something I had to learn. And the more I have practiced it, the better I have gotten at it. Don't believe me? Just give it try. Start practicing some patience and before you know it, you will become an expert.

I used to sweat the small things. I used to freak out when the house was messy or someone spilled a drink. I freaked out when things got chaotic. Or when the 2 year old had a tantrum in Walmart. Things change. And I am so glad they do. Because now, I don't really care that much what my house looks like. We live here. It can't be a museum and it certainly is not worth making myself insane about. Spills.. they happen too. And getting upset over it isn't going to get it cleaned up. It took me a while to realize that everyone's 2 year old has tantrums in public at some point. It happens. I have learned to take things in stride.

I used to have to make sure every time we left the house everyone looked perfect. I liked their hair combed. Their outfits to be matching and their faces and hands to be clean. I admit, I like the clean part, but in terms of everything else... I am just happy if we make it out of the house and everyone has underwear on under their clothes. Seriously, why did I waste *so* much time caring about any of it? These days, Lulu is often seen out in public wearing a tutu, her favorite baseball cap and sporting her infamous cowboy boots. She will only be two once. Does it really matter how she looks when we are out?

I think the greatest thing I have learned on this journey of Motherhood, is how very precious every moment truly is. Once upon a time I didn't understand this. I wished for the baby to sleep through the night. I wished for the toddler years to pass more quickly. I hurried through life. I couldn't wait for the next stage. The thing is, they go fast enough on their own without me trying to make them pass faster. If I could I would go back and just enjoy my children more. I would relish each moment longer. I would drink in the sweetness of each newborn baby. I would marvel at the adorableness of my toddlers. I would laugh more and stress less. I wouldn't wish a single moment away.

I am loved every second of my last few children's babyhood. I don't care how tired I am. It doesn't matter if they are fussy. Or if the house doesn't get cleaned because I am holding them all day. All too quick they aren't a baby anymore and all of this time with them will be a distant memory. With each baby I have, I enjoy them that much more. And each one that comes, comes also the realization of how very fast time goes by and how precious each moment is. They are gift. Motherhood is a gift.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What It Means To Be An Uncle... By Billy Hopkins (my brother!)

Yesterday, this was the speech my brother gave in front of 500 plus people.  At my Uncles funeral mass...

I just thought he did such an amazing job, I had to share!

What it means to be an Uncle?

I want to say thank you to my Aunt Mary Patrice, and my cousins Mara and Kit for giving me the chance to come up here and share with you what my uncle meant to me growing up and what he means to me today.

Two years ago I became an uncle myself to twin boys, Matthew and Lleyton, whom many of you have had the chance of babysitting over the past month (you are the brave ones in the crowd).  I will never forget the phone call I got from my sister telling me that she was pregnant with twin boys. I remember thinking back and saying to myself, “Gosh Billy, what in the heck do you know about being an uncle; you can’t even feed a goldfish let alone be a good example to two little boys.” So over the next few days/weeks I sat there and pondered my future. I kept repeating to myself the same thought, “If you can be half of what your Uncle Peter is to you, you will have exceeded all expectations for these two boys.”

For those of you who don’t know me, my uncle and I had a very special and unique relationship. He was a friend, a mentor and in some ways like that cool older brother everyone always wanted. As I looked back on the experiences with my uncle it was immediately clear to me the lessons he gifted me that I would hopefully be able to pass on to my nephews:

1. What it’s like to drive at 100 mph and get pulled over and tell the Oklahoma State Trooper, “I am sorry I was speeding but my nephew is sick—he’s eaten the entire box of licorice and I am racing to get him back to his parents in St. Louis.” This lesson was speeding, when accompanied by a little white lie is okay – as long as you’re wearing your seat belt.  As Uncle Peter always said.
2. The importance of learning how to fish. Once, on a family trip to Texas, my coke-bottle-thick glasses were so fogged from the humidity that my 5 year old self slipped between the docks at a marina.  Thanks to Uncle Peter’s fishing skills and quick thinking, he pulled from the murky-moss infested waters before too much damage was done (my sister still debates the level of damage here).
3. How to keep your cool and not worry about being humiliated when your young nephew runs out of the bathroom with his swim trunks suspiciously in a knot around his waist, leaving what we like to refer to as “a Snickers portrait” on the bathroom walls. Don’t worry Uncle Peter I wont go in to details. Thanks for cleaning up my messes and teaching me how to clean up my own.
4. The joys of driving and maneuvering a car.  Uncle Peter showed me that you should be proud of yourself for showing your young nephew how to drive a manual transmission so when you find him cruising around the neighborhood in your Jeep at age 8 that you smile to yourself that he did it (and arrived home safely) but you also make sure he realizes he can NEVER do that again – until he’s sixteen.
5. To never get bored of hearing the squeaky high pitch voice of your growing nephew constantly yelling out to you “Hey Uncle Peter! Uncle Peter! Uncle Peter!”

It’s not just all of our fun adventures that I will cherish forever. He also reminded me to always try my best; to be the best person I can be, even when it’s easier not to be; to have a sense of humor when something goes wrong; to simply give your nephew a call when you haven’t heard from him, to catch up on how he’s doing and to always offer your assistance and no matter what, to keep trying -- you’ll make mistakes but that’s okay because eventually you’ll get it right.

So Uncle Peter I am trying. I’ve made some mistakes but because of your constant reminders I know I will get it right.

Treecie, years ago you might remember this and you might not but when you and uncle peter were trying to adopt and were so worried I told you, “treecie if it doesn't work out you always have me and the girls!” Well, it worked out and we were blessed with our beautiful Mara and Kit. Today, we have to count our blessings for what Uncle Peter left us with and be the mom, aunt, uncle, cousin, and friend that my Uncle Peter wanted us to be to his incredible family.

As I start working on who my Uncle Peter expects me to be to my Aunt Mary Patrice, Mara and Kit, I’ve come up with the following:
1)   Mara & Kit  -- don't you worry about who will walk you down the aisle at flour delee. I don’t know what a flour delee is but if it includes dancing and looking good in a tux, I’m your guy.
2)   College tours. I am definitely available to help out with these. Before we get into the school stuff, I think I need to help you tour the sorority houses to make sure, you know, that they’re up to code. 
3)   And, Mara and Kit, I have one expectation of you and that’s for you to come with me when I teach Matthew and Lleyton how to fish, drive fast cars, and clean up bathrooms.

I want finish off by telling my Uncle Peter, “You’re always in my heart and you’re always on my mind and there’s no one that comes close to you or could ever take your place. I mean this from the bottom of my heart today, tomorrow and always.” As long as I can become half the man you were I know I’ll make my nephews proud.

How time is flying...

I can't believe that my last post was on the 20th of April...

So much has happened since then.  I have been trying to post and keep everyone up to snuff on what is happening.  I actually have a couple of posts that never got published, because I never got them completed.  

Oh, well!

At 11pm on Wednesday, May 4th, my Uncle Peter passed with his close family and friends by his side.  His body failed him in so many ways.  My heart aches for my aunt and cousins.  The heart ache I felt that evening I can only imagine what my aunts must have felt like then and even today.  

Yesterday, was the funeral services and as I sat in the church and even at the internment I looked at the beautiful casket my Aunt picked out and just couldn't believe he was there.  It's hard to believe that he won't be walking through the garage door saying, "Hi, Sis!"  There are so many memories that I will cherish with him.  

I am now trying to help my Aunt pick up the pieces and face the day to day challenges with the girls.  My Uncle was such a huge part of their lives.  I know over time things will get better and their broken hearts will eventually heal.  Uncle Pete will never be forgotten and will forever and always live in our hearts.