Linda and John's stockings--compliments of my Grandma Aldridge

Linda and John’s stockings–compliments of my Grandma Aldridge

When I was a child, my favorite grandmother knitted stockings for each one of her grandchildren. Mine was mainly red. Soft, wispy, white fur (representing snow on a roof) had been stitched into the design of a row of green houses. A huge yellow moon became a backdrop for a Santa and his sleigh flying through the sky. As soon as Mom took out the Christmas boxes, I rummaged through the packages until I found my knitted sock, stuck my foot in it, pulled the garment all the way to the top of my thigh, and ran around the house, yelling, “Santa’s gonna have to get a lot of stuff to fill up my stocking!”

When I married, Grandma knitted one for John, and when we had children, she knitted one for each of my babies too. I finally understood what it was like to fill such grand socks and wondered how my parents had ever afforded this for four kids. John and I bought matchbox cars, stuffed animals, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Hello Kitty Stickers, small books, Cheese-it crackers, Chicken In A Biscuit, tangerines, apples, boxes of licorice, movie-sized boxes of candy, and candy canes–just to see our children’s faces fill with joy. And as they grew, Lindsey and Michael had loved their stockings in similar ways to the way I’d loved mine–wearing them on their feet and arms, hanging them in their rooms, and squealing when they dumped out the heaping contents on Christmas morn.

Now it was 2012. And our children were grown, married.

“You don’t treat me like an adult,” Lindsey said. My daughter (who has developmental delays) stood in our family room two holiday seasons ago, hands on hips, chastising me for something I can’t even remember right now. “I’m over thirty. You shouldn’t treat me like a child anymore.” Her timing was perfect. I handed Lindsey her red and white-striped, snowman Christmas stocking with her name knitted into the design. Lindsey’s blue eyes grew wide; she studied the candy cane-looking sock. “This isn’t what I’m talkin ’bout, Mom.” Lindsey frowned, holding onto the treasure with tremoring hands.

P1090324

The mantle is rather lonely-looking with only two stockings

Continue reading →

Dinner for fourteen

Dinner for fourteen

I’ve been away for awhile, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about posting every single week. Then time gets away from me, and I’m too late. But I’m thankful…thankful for so many things, but this week, I’m especially grateful for:

1)   my completely decorated house. The tree is up, the lights are on, the poinsettias purchased, the garlands hung. Yep, everything is in its place. Now it’s time to get our Christmas cheer in gear.

2)   Christmas music. Sometimes I wish Christmas came several times a year because I love the holiday tunes. One of my favorite songs, Mary’s Boy Child, by Boney M (a Canadian group) has me tapping my feet every time it plays. First I bought their tape (I know, I know–this dates me), then I bought a CD. I never tire of listening to this group (and Jewel and James Taylor and Arthur Atsma and the list goes on and on).

3)  sixteen friends who came to our house last night to help kick off the Christmas season. (We sure missed the ones who’d already made other plans for the evening). There was food and laughter and a new, fun game. Our group doesn’t really like change, but they played the game without complaint. I just wish we weren’t getting so old. We used to stay up till after midnight. Now if we make eleven, we think we’re kicking up our heels. Continue reading →

Lindsey on "Thank You Lunch" Day

Lindsey on “Thank You Lunch” Day

Nothing makes my daughter’s grin widen more than doing something nice for somebody else. And although her budget is small, her heart is huge. Lindsey sure loves to give. (To read about one of her other acts of kindness, click here.)

P1090309

Lindsey files papers at Analene Waterman’s in Silverton

My daughter has filed paperwork for State Farm agent, Analene Waterman, for over five years now. “I work fulltime, two hours a day,” Lindsey tells anyone who asks. “I love my job. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.”

This Silverton insurance agency is incredibly patient with my daughter–Lindsey is not an easy employee. “I know I make mistakes,” Lindsey said. “Sometimes I file things in the wrong place. But I keep trying.”

Continue reading →

P1080701“I wanted one calico cat.” Lindsey picked up Cuddles and showed me one of the two adorable, healthy kittens she adopted five years ago. (Cute and healthy were her two requirements.) Lindsey set Cuddles down on the carpet. She tossed the red ball that Cuddles likes to chase. The cat ran after it, pawing at the toy. Lindsey giggled. “She’s so cute!”

Before selecting a kitten, Lindsey searched all the adoptable cats and kittens in every single room of Friends Of Felines in Salem. We picked this organization because they operate a no-kill rescue program and believe that every life matters.

Still, Lindsey was particular. She wanted to pick the perfect kitten. For her.  An hour later, just as my daughter made her selection, the volunteer told Lindsey that a tiny white kitten was the calico’s sister. Lindsey’s blue eyes widened; she tilted her head. “I didn’t want to separate the two of them. You don’t separate sisters. So I ‘dopted them both.”

Continue reading →

P1080582

Lindsey

Lindsey received her November Marion County election ballot in the mail last week.

“I don’t really care to vote,” Lindsey said when she called her dad. “But I’m trying to do the right thing.”

John was surprised Lindsey received a ballot for the upcoming election. In Oregon, we vote by mail, and the last time our daughter marked a ballot, she lived at a different address.Unknown-1

Way back then, and out of the blue, Lindsey called our house.

I want to vote for BarackObama,” she had said, asking us how to do that. John said she’d have to register first, and he’d help her do it if she wanted.

Continue reading →

neck-pain.nashville“Have you experienced a major trauma in the last couple months?” Dr. Good Hands asks quietly, holding a stapled packet of papers, ready to share the results of my recent chiropractic examination.

I stand in his office, the door shut (most of the way). My right hand reaches back and and squeezes my neck, my shoulder. I try to concentrate on his question instead of the pain in my neck, the ache that’s been there, off and on, for as long as I can remember. At least twenty years.

My history of chiropractic treatment has been simple. Dr. Good Hands treats me a couple times, I feel better, and don’t need to see him again for weeks, months, maybe even a year. But late last spring, I’d received seven adjustments in fourteen days and wasn’t getting better.

“Or anything that has caused you a great deal of recent stress?” Dr. Good Hands clarifies, flipping the packet to a page titled: Autonomic Activity Diagram. It’s an evaluation of my nervous system, the unconscious part that operates involuntarily.

Continue reading →