Growing Babies Breaks Momma’s Heart

By Ashley Whisonant

My youngest child, Gray, was born a happy little guy. I had such a smooth delivery with him. I would even venture to say it was easy.

We are coming close to his fourth birthday in the next two weeks. I have mixed emotions about my baby becoming even more of a big boy. He is dying to grow up and do all the things his six year old brother does. I am getting less and less snuggles from him and more independence. It makes me both happy and sad to see him grow up.

gray

The quote that really stands out is, “Babies don’t keep.”

I will hold onto my baby as long as he lets me.

What’s in a name?

By Jeanne Reynolds

If you’re like most of us, you’ll probably spend more time than usual with extended family this month: aunts, uncles, grandparents, in-laws, parents of old school friends.

Have you ever struggled with how to address them — especially as you get older and are no longer one of “the kids”?

This came up the other day when I stopped by a friend’s football tailgate and the conversation drifted to the topic of their parents — former neighbors of ours — and then on to the names by which we address our in-laws.

I became really intrigued by this, and started a sort of informal survey of other friends and family members. Turns out this is a tricky issue for most of us, and goes beyond family to pretty much anyone a generation older than us. If you’ve spent the first 20 (or more) years of your life calling someone Uncle Joe, it feels weird to start saying just Joe. And if your high school BFF’s mom was Mrs. Smith, how old do you have to be to call her Mary?

In-law nomenclature seems to bring its own set of unwritten rules. If you started out from day one calling your intended’s parents by their first names, no problem. But if they were Mr. and Mrs. Jones when you were dating, when is it OK to segue to Bob and Judy? Does it depend on how long you’ve been married, or your age, or your relationship with them? I’ve been married for almost 25 years, and am just now experimenting with first names for my in-laws. It feels a little odd but seems to be OK. It’s certainly less confusing when there are several Mrs. Reynolds in the room.

I experienced another spin on this generational name-calling last year when a friend’s daughter came to work for me as a summer intern. Like most companies, we’re all on a first-name basis from the president on down, so Mrs. Reynolds wasn’t going to cut it if she wanted to position herself as a capable professional. (Also out: “Yes, ma’am.” Not sure which was harder for her, being a good southern girl.) It was probably even more confusing for her when she went home in the evening. I imagine this:

Her mom: “How was work today?”

My intern: “I got a great new project from Jeanne … I mean Mrs. Reynolds … I mean … oh heck.”

Yes, the names we use for each other do matter. They can indicate respect, professionalism, status and intimacy. It can be annoying when someone takes the first-name liberty inappropriately (think telemarketer) and a slap when someone refuses that permission. And it’s very much a personal preference. An online search found numerous articles offering advice on when it’s appropriate to use first names, but mostly for business situations. When it comes to personal relationships, we’re kind of all on our own.

If in doubt, you could always just ask. More likely than not, most people are just happy to talk with you and really don’t care that much. So don’t be surprised if you hear some version of that old joke: “You can call me whatever you want. Just don’t call me late for dinner.”

 

When Did You Grow Up?

 By: Ashley Whisonant

The day I have been dreading has finally come. My oldest “baby” started kindergarten this morning. I held back my tears and we walked down his hallway and into the room that will mold him into the student he will become. My confident little guy went from attendance check in to lunch choice with ease. He gave me a hug goodbye and sadly did not look back. Here are all the words I wish I could have said…

You will always be my baby. You are the one that made me a mom. I didn’t know how much I could love someone else until I met you. I am a ball of emotions. I am both terrified and overjoyed for you. All the experiences you will have, good or bad, will make you into our future young man. Remember to help others, even when it isn’t the popular choice. Find your voice and use it for good. Kids can and will be mean. Do your best to surround yourself with sweet souls. Remember to be yourself. Love you my sweet boy.

Penny Candy, Souse Meat, Liver Pudding & Bologna

By: Chaunte McClure

Last week I took a trip down memory lane, making a stop at the cinder block pale yellow or beige building on the corner of Highway 908 and what is now Paul Richardson Road. It was one of the mom and pop stores in Britton’s Neck where residents could conveniently buy general grocery items locally, since the nearest grocery store was almost 30 minutes away.

I spent many childhood summer days riding my bicycle to the Richardson Store, as my family affectionately called it. Grandma rarely sent me to buy anything, but I wanted to go sometimes to rack up on penny candy. I shamefully admit that I used to rob my aunt’s Maxwell House jar of the old pennies and other coins she collected in it. (I confessed my theft to her years ago, but it’s not like she hadn’t already figured out why her penny jar was dwindling.) I would take the time to count and wrap those pennies to present them to Ms. Mary or her husband, owners of the Richardson Store, to pay for my penny candy, Now & Laters and other cheap sweets that, over time, contributed to my cavities. I’d buy as much candy as I could for a dollar and share with the other grands at Grandma’s house.

I miss stores like the Richardson’s where you could go to the counter and ask for $2 dollars worth of souse meat, liver pudding or bologna. Let me tell ya, the pan fried bologna cut in the center would make for a good bologna sandwich. I remember for supper some nights we’d have just grits and bologna. It was filling and something quick and easy for Grandma to prepare.

Curious of whether my Facebook friends remember the mom and pop stores, I invited them to share in my nostalgia, posting a related question one night and surprisingly, many of them replied with places in the Columbia area where one can find fresh cut souse meat, liver pudding and bologna. Places like Conwell’s, Caughman’s and Mr. Bunky’s made the list. One day I’ll make a stop at one of those community staples and share my experience with you.

What were some of the mom and pop stores in your community?

No Longer Scared of Splinters

By: Leah Prescott

LeahA wonderful thing happened this afternoon.

My daughter got a splinter.

I know, you’re thinking, “How is that a good thing?”

That’s a valid question.

Today, I took the three kids to the park with a few friends to enjoy the beautiful weather. After the cloudy and rainy days we’ve been having, it was a huge treat to just soak up the warm afternoon. We were enjoying it so much that I let the kids ditch their shoes and run around barefoot. After about thirty minutes of running around like crazy, my eight-year-old walked up to me. “I’ve got a splinter,” she announced. “Ok,” I said, taking a deep breath. “It’ll be ok; let me take a look.”

My girls have always been sensitive, very shy and very connected to each other. When one got upset, the other would respond with even more tears, and the hysteria would escalate. For a while I suspected sensory issues because of the way they responded to situations. It was difficult to even go out at times because they were so afraid of strangers. It was exhausting and I spent so much time worrying about them. They were over-sensitive to strangers, injuries, sounds, and new environments. When they were toddlers, I was genuinely worried we wouldn’t get past this. Heaven help us if there was a real emergency. Hair tangles, chipped nail polish, or finding socks that don’t have the wrong kind of seams have been about all the drama this twin mama could take.

Fast forward to today. When one of them got a splinter, I was gearing up for major drama. You see, splinters are something that had been a HUGE ordeal in the Prescott home in the past. My little curly-headed darlings used to be terrified of splinters. Many tears have been shed over tiny specks so small they are practically invisible to the naked eye. So today, anticipating a big commotion, I was ready to scoop up all three and take off. But an amazing thing happened: Nothing!

She put on her shoes and went back to the slides. Her sister glanced over with disinterest and went about her play. Later we went home and took the splinter out with tweezers, applied some Neosporin and stuck on a Frozen bandaid. JUST LIKE THAT. And it was over, with no hysterical tears from either of the girls. I was gobsmacked.

And then I realized: only a rookie mom would be shocked to see her children grow and mature. Why am I surprised that these challenges that have seemed insurmountable are now becoming merely a thing of the past? Even though I’ve been told that the days are long but the years are short, I somehow fail to believe it. And even though we successfully moved on from potty-training snafus, breastfeeding obstacles, and those Braxton Hicks Contractions that I thought would never end, somehow I still live as if today’s problems will never go away.

My goal in this post is to encourage all of us today. Whether you are dealing with your children, or health issues, or difficult situations at your job, none of it is permanent. We can all look with hope to the future. All the craziness of my life right now… from my toddler’s best efforts to drive me crazy to the challenges of teaching fractions to my second graders…..all of that will later become something to reminisce about. So instead of collapsing into a fetal position on my kitchen floor, drinking my coffee through a twisty straw, I’ll remind myself that “this too shall pass.”

And that now I don’t have to be scared of splinters.