Sunday, May 25, 2008

In the Army

I was 8 years old when my brother Taylor was born. I was so excited! For me, it was like having a real life baby doll. I was big enough to help with the baby and I'm pretty sure I never let him out of my sight. The moment Taylor came home from the hospital I literally carried or drug him around everywhere I went. We were inseparable. I used to call him my little sweet pea. I have no clue where I got it from but that was my pet name for him. Once Taylor could talk he started calling me "Mama Nisey." He called me that for years and was kind of sad when he decided he was too old and too cool for that. We still laugh about those nicknames but they are precious, precious memories for me.

On March 13th of this year Taylor turned 18 years old. Within a week of his 18th birthday he decided he was joining the Army. He "discussed" it with my parents, however, his mind was firmly made up and our opinions carried very little weight. It really all happened so fast. We have all tried to just accept it and be supportive but we haven't had much time to process this thought at all. It was a very serious and honorable decision.

This weekend all of the family gathered for a going away steak dinner at my Grandmother's house. It was a fun gathering as long as I wasn't thinking about the fact that this was the last time I would see my little brother for a while. I have never gone more than probably 2 or 3 weeks without seeing him. Taylor and I are obviously not as close as we were when we were kids but I have always felt a special and very strong bond with him. I think I'm a little more protective over him also. I have just always felt like his other mother. I love him dearly and I am extremely proud of what he is doing. I am also terrified and anxious about all of this for him. I know deep down he will only benefit from this and become a better man. I cannot believe that he is old enough to be in the army. I feel like it was just yesterday he was following my every move calling me "mama nisey." I guess I was hoping I could grow up but freeze my siblings in such luck.

It was a pretty emotional weekend. My mom has been crying everyday since he broke the news of this decision. I've done good holding it together but I don't think I let myself really think about what was happening until this weekend. I cried during my dad's prayer at dinner, after I got a sweet text from a friend saying she was thinking about my family and when they started singing patriotic songs in church I really lost it. Then of course having to say good-bye to Taylor for good on Sunday afternoon was super tough for me. I hope that he knows that I will always love him and support him in any way I can. I just have a hard time letting go!

You are probably wondering exactly where he is going and based on this blog you probably think he must be getting shipped off to the front line in Iraq tomorrow. That is actually not the case....YET! He is leaving on Wednesday for his basic and advanced individual training. I don't know how I will deal with it when the time comes for him to actually be deployed. I can always hold out hope for the end of this war right? I have always respected and appreciated those who serve our country. My granddaddy and uncles all served and I'm always aware of the sacrifice that is being made for us. I've always admired those who are willing to serve and have admired the families that they leave behind. I've always said I can't imagine how it must be, unfortunately now we may have to find out. I have been in constant prayer about this for the last month and I know that is where I will continue to find comfort. I trust that God is in control and feel sure this is how I will deal with the absence of my little brother.

Finally it let me post my pictures!

Monday, May 12, 2008

My First Mother's Day

Some might argue that last year was my first Mother's day. Although I was pregnant which technically made me a mom, my pregnancy was fairly easy and I was getting plenty of sleep back then so I'm not sure that counts. The real mom work didn't start until the 26 hours of labor and every moment since has been nothing short of wonderful. I love being a mom and even though I am far from the perfect mom, I think it is what I was made to do.

So my first Mother's day was a great one. We had a busy, busy weekend in Prattville. Mary Selwyn and I went to Daphna's softball game and watched her hit the ball all the way to the outfield, it was very exciting. We also got to spend time with our dear friends the Underwoods. We haven't all gotten to hang out in a long time. The highlight of the weekend for us, of course, was just spending time with family. Shannon and Ben and Kate were in town also. Kate and Mary Selwyn looked so cute on Sunday in their matching dresses!

Being a mom now really makes me appreciate my mom. I knew it would. Not just what she has done for me for the last 26 years but having Mary Selwyn has made me realize how much I really need my mom. I have relied on her more in the past 10 months then I ever have before. I have learned nothing makes me want my mom more than being a mom. It is funny but true. She has been there for me without fail every time. Mary Selwyn has also given me a new appreciation for my Mother-in-Law. If you know her, you know I have the sweetest mother-in-law in the whole world. I could not ask for anyone better. She is precious and has always treated me like I am one of her own. I have come to really rely on her with the arrival of my new little one too and she has been so helpful. Both of my moms would drop anything to run to Dothan for whatever we may need them for. You would think by 10 months I might have this mom thing down but it turns out there is something new everyday that leaves me in need of some guidance. It is definitely a learning process that surprises me daily. I'm so lucky to have these two women in my life.

Finally, my sweet husband made sure that I felt appreciated on my first Mother's day. He bought me a nice dress and funny card and let me eat lunch while he followed around our munchkin so I could enjoy it. I have the most wonderful husband. I love him and respect him and appreciate him more than he will ever know! I'm thankful for this loving man and the adorable red head that have made me a mother. I'm blessed with sweet sweet family! Again, I'm one lucky girl!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A wedding weekend.....or not!

A few years ago our friends Ryan and Jill got married in Gulf Shores. Of course Shay and I were planning to attend a fun beach wedding. So I packed up all our stuff and I hung Shay's suit and my dress in the door way of our closet for him to grab as he loaded the car. We left Saturday morning and drove to Andalusia to carpool with another couple and then headed to Gulf Shores. We ate lunch in Andalusia and had left ourselves just enough time to make it to the beach to get ready for the wedding. When we were transferring our stuff to the other car I realized that something was missing. That's right, Shay forgot my dress. I went into panic mode! I had nothing to wear to this wedding and we were on our way. The day became complete chaos. We had about 5 minutes to stop at the outlets and find me something to wear. Then we rushed to our condo, which they were still cleaning, to get ready. I had to kick the maid out of my bathroom and the four of us were able to get fully ready and make it to the wedding in 15 minutes. I've never gotten ready so fast in my whole life. So what seemed like it was going to be a huge disaster was just a minor set back and we ended up having a great time and a wild wedding reception. However, I have never let Shay forget about the time he forgot my dress for this wedding. I have teased him about it and brought it up at every opportunity just to be funny. Well folks, this weekend that teasing came back to bite to me!!!

Friday afternoon Shay, Mary Selwyn and I all went home to Prattville. We were leaving Mary Selwyn with Shay's parents so that he and I could attend the wedding our friend Whitney at the lake on Saturday. Again, I packed all our stuff and even loaded it in to the car since we were having to make a stop by the DMV for the fourth time before we left town, don't ask! Anyway we finished our errand and headed home. It was going to take us about an hour and a half to get to the lake so we left ourselves just enough time to travel and make it to the wedding at an appropriate time. I was putting on the final touches of make up and that one last spray to hold my hair while Shay was getting dressed. He buttoned his shirt and went to the closet to get his pants and you will never believe what comes next! You guessed it, NO PANTS!! This time Denise forgot Shay's pants! Again, panic mode! He tried his dad's suit but it was too short and since we had left just the right amount of time to get there we didn't have the time to go scrounge up a suit from any other relative or buy one real quick. Needless to say we did not make it to the wedding and I was SO disappointed! That was the whole reason we traveled to Prattville. My hair did just perfect, and you know that never happens when you have somewhere nice to go. I was really looking forward to that wedding and there I was all dressed up with nowhere to go. The worst part is I can no longer give Shay a hard time for forgetting my dress because I did the same thing. Karma I guess. Looking back this story is funny and will continue to be so just like the story of Shay forgetting my dress. I did make him take me to dinner since I was all dressed up but the whole time I was thinking about what I was missing. So turns out it was not a wedding weekend for us!