Hello again as we share another gift of life together. I hope this day finds you well. On with my story.
I signed up again for EMT I class which started that January. It was now the year 1997 and our January birthdays begin. Jessica turned 13 and I did something silly for her. When I was in school, although my birthday was in August so I never got to share my birthday during the school year, the birthday kid wore a birthday ribbon which was pinned to their shirt. This ribbon consists of a big bow followed by streamers of ribbon layered with candy tapped to them. This ribbon would be long and hit the floor and just covered with different kinds of candy and gum. I am pretty sure she took it off once I left the school building, but I am also pretty sure she had fun sharing the candy with her class mates.
Jimmy had his 44th birthday and Jenny had her 18th birthday. Before we knew it February came around and little Adias turned one year old. It was fun with a first birthday party full of teenagers at the house along with purple grandma and Jason. Jessica and Gina seemed to have fun with this child, like she was their little sister, taking Adias to the park and putting her on the rides. March came around with Regina’s birthday and getting her ears pierced. In April we had a picnic at Mt Scott and ran around The Holy City, and May shot by with Jennifer going to her prom with her new boyfriend and her best girl friend.
Finally Jennifer was going to graduate high school. The high school had a special dinner for all the teenage moms who actually finished school with flowers and a special award given. This was such a proud experience for Jenny. A week later we watched Jenny walk down the aisle for her graduation and yes we were / are very proud of her. We had her graduation dinner that day at Olive Garden and later the next week we went as a family for paint ball wars.
The next week after graduation I cut Jenny’s hair so that on June 1 she would be ready to leave for the army.You see while Jenny was in her senior year she signed up for the National Guard. Having Adias, Jenny had to learn to be more responsible and she knew that she needed more than a high school diploma to take care of her child. Jason, Adias father, did not walk down the aisle with Jenny to
graduate, so she couldn’t depend on him to help with their baby. I already made it clear that we could not pay for college so the next best thing was to have the army pay for it. This was a difficult choice to make, but Jenny also knew that I would take care of her baby, my grandchild while she was gone, and that she was leaving to make a better life for her and her child.
So on June first, after the tears and goodbyes, Jenny left us and her baby for a new adventure while we promised to keep her informed how her baby was growing up. We decided to make a garden in the back yard, something I hadn’t done in a long time. This was going to be our new family project for the summer. I also finally graduated EMT-I school and you have no idea how excited I was.
The summer was full of adventures to the zoo and the play ground and working on the garden. I was pretty busy with work and taking care of a one year old with my underlying worry about Jenny being so
far away. Adias was more like one of the kids instead of being a grandkid. With every trip with we took, my kids took Adias as one of their sibling and would help her and have fun with her.
Jessica and Regina got back into their softball teams and took turns letting Adias sleep with them, play with her in the swimming pool or hold her while watching TV. I found these post cards in the store that had a sticky front so you can put a picture on it before sending them in the mail. So as we went to the zoo or to the park or when the kids were helping Adias blow bubbles or go swimming, I would take a picture and place them on the post cards and send Jenny a card every day while she was gone. I didn’t want her to feel left out, or feel like she was not a part of her child’s life. I didn’t want her to miss anything and to let her know that we were proud of her. I am pretty sure she enjoyed getting my daily pictures in the mail.
Kristina turned 21 yrs old that July. Time was really going fast to me. Aaron found a place for us to go to
celebrate her 21st birthday so we had dinner at Indian Hills Restaurant. This is when Kristina had her first glass of wine.
Sometimes while in the middle of your life, even though you may be busy God works at getting your attention. This man came up to me and asked me for some money to eat breakfast. I have seen people on the street corners holding up signs asking for money and I would pass money out the car window but no one actually came up to me before. He had a wife and two children. Jimmy and I took them to McDonalds for breakfast. I listened to their story and I felt a twinge in my heart. All I could do was cry. I felt like I needed to take them out and enjoy life for a while. So I took them to the Oklahoma Zoo with my kids. I made a picnic lunch and we actually had fun with them. But I didn’t have the courage to have them come home with us so we put them up in a hotel and tried to figure out how else we could help them.
I tried the next day to help him get a job but he didn’t have a green card and I was so naïve I didn’t know that he was here illegally. They were trying to get to California to where he had relatives to stay with. I dropped off dinner that night and after Jimmy and I talked we came up with the money they needed. It felt so good to help them.
By July 31 we were on our way to Ft Jackson to watch Jenny graduate boot camp. I was nervous but also excited. We packed up for the trip, brought all the kids and Adias and found a hotel for the night. I remember waiting for her, with so much anticipation, and how happy I felt when I finally got to put my arms around her for a big hug. She was so happy to see her baby again. Jenny looked so thin, but she said she felt great. My mom and dad and my sisters and their kids also came for her graduation. It was like one big party with all of us together again. But it was also a teary goodbye as we had to leave without her not really sure where they were going to send her next for her AIT training.
Back home the garden was growing. The ears of corn were taller than Jessica and the cucumbers decided to take over my garden. We were getting to know Aaron parent’s better now, with Aaron and Kristina getting so serious. I was talking to Willogene on the phone complaining about how the cucumbers took over my garden so she asked us over and to please bring her a basket of our cucumbers and said she would show us how to make pickles. It was such a wonderful afternoon swimming in her pool and learning to make and can pickles.
In August I met a couple of new people that were homeless. I remember seeing them in the park alone, looking cold and hungry. So I got talking with them and helped them get into a shelter. But they had two children and didn’t like to be separated. Somehow I felt like I could not trust the husband so I let him go back to the shelter but let the mother and her two children come and stay with us. This was not an easy task with five children living in our home. The mother had a head full of thick red curly hair and full of lice. So when the beauty shop was closed I took her inside and it took about a couple of hours to wash and pick out all the eggs from her hair. At home I did her kids and a week later I took her husband into the shop and just took a razor to his head. We let the husband borrow my bike as he was trying to get back and forth to the shelter. It seems back than you could only be in the shelter from 7pm to 6am. Then you had to leave and you were on your own.
Finally Jimmy and I decided that we would help them get on their feet. They moved into our living room which was a separate room off the family room with a door that could shut and this room had a couch that opened up into a bed along with a TV set so they could have their privacy. I guess I was so naive I would leave my kids with the woman to baby sit when I went to work, and would have her make meals for all of them. On my days off I tried to help the man get a job. Finally Jimmy helped him get a job at his bakery. We let him take my car back and forth to work. The plan was they were to live with us and give us half their pay check with the intentions of us giving it back to them when they were ready to live on their own, you know so we could save it for them. Finally they wanted to leave. So Jimmy found a place for them to stay. We tried to get them the basics like plates and silverware, pots and pans, towels, you know things like that, before they moved in. We paid up front to the man who was letting them rent a couple of months with the intention that the tenants were going to keep paying rent. Also this place was close enough for this man to walk to work. I mean Jimmy and I both prayed and discussed this for a while before we did anything. I remember bringing it up at our Sunday school class and they had to have a meeting on this and came up with $300 to help this family. The day came and we helped them move out. We got a call a week later from the apartment complex. The family moved out without saying anything. The husband didn’t go back to work either. He just stopped showing up. My kids told me that they were missing money from their room when the family was living with us and I didn’t mention that the husband totaled my car. I don’t have any regrets about trying to help them, but I have learned that I have to be more responsible about things like this.
I had changed beauty shops and I heard that my old boss was having trouble with her daughter and threw her out of her home with both of her daughters (my old boss's grandchildren). These kids were around the same age as my two youngest children and this really hurt my heart. So I put some bunk beds into my girl’s room and the four little girls shared a bed room as I took them in and gave their mother my Jenny’s bed to sleep in. Unfortunately this didn’t have a good ending either. This mother started on her drugs again and had to go to a rehab again and the girls were taken from us. I started to learn that life is a lot harder than I thought. To see these people with all these problems and to try to help with negative results blew me away. I don’t understand people but I still love them. I finally learned that we have to accept people how they are and that we can’t always put our feet into their shoes but we can still be compassionate and love.
Jenny finally came home and as we celebrated Halloween she dressed her baby in an army uniform to match hers. We also had our annual pumpkin carving contest only Erik decided this year to paint his instead. I also started Paramedic school and was ready for the challenge.
I shall let you go now. I hope I am not boring you to bad. I am a normal person with a normal life like everyone else, but I am hoping to show you what love is all about. Look at that stranger in the street, and try to put your shoes on his/ her feet. Can you understand them? They were brought up different than you, but that doesn’t make them a bad person. Have a great day and thank you for reading my blog.
I am the Author
a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and still believe in the power of love &