The Legacy of a Mother; My Great-Grandmother, Grannie Sammie

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As a mother, I feel constantly like I have a direct impact on the life of my tiny son. But it took today for me to see that I will not only shape his life, but I will shape the lives of many others by my actions.

Mothers, in words, thoughts, and actions, touch generations and generations of people.

My great grandmother, Sammie Patterson, passed away at 10:30 this morning. Being a writer, I have to discuss a woman as beautiful and pure as Grannie Sammie, because her inner beauty influenced the lives of countless children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. That inner beauty will touch many more in the generations that follow.

In the last 96 years, Grannie experienced famine, war, and prosperity. She saw America in all of its glory, and all of its ugliness. But despite all her experiences, she never quit her endless faith in Christ or her softness of spirit.

She once told me a tale about her younger years that I believe shows her spirit better than any other story.

She explained over a game of Scrabble (of which I was losing miserably) that when she was a young girl, she had heard a dirty word and wanted to see how it felt to say it.

Mischievously, she grinned at me as she recounted her youthful actions.

“I went into the bathroom, shut the door, and said ‘Durn! Durn! Durn!'”

Even as she was telling me her story, she lowered her voice as if it was the dirtiest word in her vocabulary.

“I felt so awful after I said it, that I never said it again. It just wasn’t part of me.” As she spoke, her smile deepened the laugh lines on her face. And a since of mischievous beauty made the smile contagious.

I giggled at her silliness.

Only a soul as beautiful as her’s can feel horrible after saying such a word. A word many, including myself, would hardly consider “dirty”.

Grannie was not only soft in spirit, but humble graciousness filled her soul.

I have, in my lifetime, been gifted with $270 from Grannie Sammie. That would be $10 for every birthday I’ve ever had. And I’m only one of dozens of great grandchildren.

Sometimes the card would be a month or two late with a scribbled, “I’m sorry this is late…” But it was always in my mailbox. It made it to my mailbox as a child. My mailbox at college. My mailbox in Dallas at my aunt’s home. And my mailbox in where we lived for the last five years.

Boy will I miss that 28th birthday card.

I don’t know how she always found where I lived, took the time to gift me with a card and check for $10, and still make me feel special miles and miles away, but I know that it brought a smile to my face every year to know that I was worth the effort.

And this effort wasn’t lost on her other descendants.

Grannie has, at this moment, 22 great-great grandchildren.

TWENTY-TWO GREAT-GREAT GRANDCHILDREN.

Let that sink in.

Her influence as a mother will directly touch those twenty-two individuals, their mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, and great grand mothers and great grand fathers. That’s a lot of people.

What makes Grannie Sammie even more special is this: She was so very proud of every, single one on her descendants. Not for a moment, not even a second, did she not remember and love each individual.

The last time I spoke to her, she proudly told me about how many great-great grandchildren she had. She began naming them, and telling me about each family unit. How they were doing, where they lived, and who just had babies. I was blown away by her ability to remember so many names and locations, but I was also amazed by her obvious love for every member of her family. No one escaped that love. It reached across states and back into her heart. Her family was the joy of her life.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with it’s passions and desires. If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit.”

Galatians 5:22-25

I cannot think of a verse that better describes Grannie Sammie. No one will ever say of her that she did not walk in the Spirit. Her fruit showed every day of her long, blessed life. It shows in her children. Her grandchildren. Her great grandchildren. And it will continue to show in the generations that learned to live their life all passed down from one classy lady.

There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus smiled at her this morning and said, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

And she probably answered him with a soft smile, and grabbed his hand gently in joy as he led her through the gates to meet those she loves that went before her.

We love you, Grannie Sammie. And your life will not be lost on the generations you graced the world with. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for your inspiring life of love. Thank you for the generations of influence you left on us.

To the rest of my readers, remember that you will have a legacy one day. What you leave behind is the most important gift you give the world. Large amounts of money leave grief, large plots of land leave feuds, but a beautiful life leaves a legacy.

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My Four Month Old Who Won’t Sleep

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Your first night out of my tummy your grandparents and dad left me alone with you. Just us. For the first time since your birth, it was just me and you.

You rustled around in your plastic hospital crib and I nursed you. Then I put all seven pounds of you under my gown, skin to skin, and we fell asleep.

Oh the night nurse was so mad at me! She took you away when she came to check our vitals and re-wrapped you up. She told me again about the dangers of us sleeping together.

As soon as she was gone, back under my gown you went.

You see, you knew the best way to sleep was close to my heart. And I didn’t sleep much that night. I stayed awake and cried from the depths of my love for you. I felt you breathe. I smelled your head. I ran my fingers over your little hairs. I took a selfie with you. I told the whole Facebook world that I was exhausted, but that I couldn’t sleep because I just wanted to be with you.

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The next night my exhaustion got the best of me. My emotions took over and I cried, and cried, and cried, and the very sweet night nurse took you to the nursery and told me to sleep.

I did. I had just gone through hours of labor and months of pregnancy that exhausted my body. On top of that, as much as I wanted to stay up all night and soak you in, I physically couldn’t.

You knew, though, that you weren’t with me. You knew and pitched a fit. The nurses claimed you were a night owl and looked at me with tender sympathy.

But sweet boy, you are not a night owl. You rather cherish your night sleep. You simply knew that you weren’t with me.

Tonight, you’re almost four months old. You’re sound asleep, right now, in my arms. For awhile we were chest to chest, just like we were seven pounds ago.

Did you know that you’re double what you weighed at birth?

And you’ve grown a few inches too!

And your feet have outgrown that one pair of socks that you wore home. The only pair that fit? And then some that were once too big?

And you’ve long since been unable to wear those newborn clothes. Or the 0-3 month clothes.

And you out-peed not only those newborn diapers, but the size one and size two diapers also.

Your face changes before my eyes. Your ability to do new things is incredible.

Some nights, I cry for you to go to sleep. I need a break.

But tonight I was reminded of that very first night with you. The sweetest memory of us breaking the rules I’ll ever have.

I have to tell you that one day, you won’t want me to hold you anymore. You won’t wake up arms flailing when you notice I’m gone. You won’t cuddle your head on my chest and snuggle with me. You won’t even need me when you go to sleep, because you’ll be big.

Baby Boy, I refuse to rush this sweet time with you. I will continue to rock you. Hold you. Snuggle you. And love you. Until you want to do it all by yourself. And then I will step back and smile at your big boy accomplishment. I will even encourage it and praise you.

*Note: this was written almost a month ago. Today my big boy sleeps in his crib all night, all by himself. We never cried it out and I always rock him to sleep. Despite many fears, he will have nightly parties in his crib and go right back to sleep all on his own. No crying. No need for me to help him.

This doesn’t mean that every baby is the same. All are different and no judgement from me. Do what is best for YOU and YOUR baby.

And he always wakes up with the biggest smile.

If you liked this post, check out Fifteen Things Babies are Certain Of.

Also follow me on Twitter @daynakhickman and on Instagram @daynakay

Midland, Texas Ice Storm 2015

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My hometown is in southeast Texas. We never saw much ice or snow. Maybe an almost-dusting here and there (like, I remember when I was in kindergarten and there was sleet coming down. They let us play outside in it. It was just a tiny amount, but we were going crazy over it). IMG_2695Snow never stuck in our coastal area, so on the rare occasion that we get these nasty storms, I happen to be more excited than bummed.

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Actually, in all of my scant 27 years I’ve seen it snow in my hometown only once. On a Christmas Eve when I was in high school. A whopping foot of snow. The only white Christmas I’ve ever seen.

It was magical.

IMG_2626  I moved away from the coast just enough to have seen snow every couple of years lately. But I’ve never seen an ice storm like this.IMG_2675
I’ve never had the opportunity to enjoy one.IMG_2682

Oh, I know. I’ve been locked inside my house for a week while the logistics of the thing have quickly broken down trees, power lines, and crashed more cars in Midland, Texas than anyone cares to deal with.IMG_2683

But isn’t nature beautiful? IMG_2685

I will admit, I had to snap these photos after I helped the kid to sleep. I love some of these night shots. IMG_2699

Last night, between the ice and the snow, I was completely enthralled.
But this morning, when the blue sky showed for the first time all week and the ice glowed, I had to take more photos.IMG_2713

And of course, the dogs wanted to play. They’re way over being cooped up in the house.

Anyway, looks like a batch of homemade soup and some hot coffee in is our future. I hope you enjoy the images.

Dear Father of My Son

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WE’VE MOVED! Read this exact same piece at our new site by clicking here. 

This post has received so much love! Over 150,000 views and still going strong months later! I’m so humbled by all of you!

 

To the Father of My Son,

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I know he’s hard to handle right now. You can barely deal with him long enough for me to wash my hair.

“He hates me,” was your response as he screamed at you. “He hates me.”

And yes, he’s better for me because I have boobs. Thank the heavens for boobs. He would be impossible otherwise.

But “better” doesn’t mean he’s easy for me. Nothing in the whole wide world is easy about this job.

If I could paint a picture, it would show me with our child straddling my back while I dog paddled into a hurricane. Because honestly, that’s how I feel some days. Like I’m dog paddling into a hurricane with a kid on my back.

I spend my entire day teaching him rhymes, tickling his tummy, teaching him to sleep, helping him eat, making sure his diaper is clean and dry, trying to keep the spit-up to a minimum, worrying about his mouth, worrying about that stuffy nose, worrying about the dogs, worrying about anyone and everyone who looks at him, trying to keep the house as clean as possible, forcing myself to let him cry just long enough for me to scarf down some semblance of lunch or use the bathroom.

Then I find myself wondering if he’ll recognize everything that I’m doing when he’s an adult, wondering if his girlfriend will have a clue or if his wife will know, knowing she won’t. Knowing I’ll lose him to her.

This. Right now. This is truly all I have.

I spend my time snuggling him. Oh the snuggles. The sweet, sweet snuggles. And I give him every piece of me because babies don’t keep.

They grow up. They won’t be like this forever. Or for long. And when he’s an adult I’ll miss his baby feet. I’ll laugh at the way he hated naps. I’ll tell him about how he rolled over when he was two weeks old and scared me to death. Or about that time he spit-up all in my hair and I was so exhausted that I wiped it out with a damp cloth and didn’t find a moment to wash my hair until two days later.

I’ll lose him to you, too. He won’t want his momma when Daddy teaches him to cast a line. He won’t want his momma when his daddy gives him a rifle for Christmas and takes him out that evening to learn how to use it. He won’t want his momma during the following October, November, December, and January. Or during the rest of the year when it’s this season or that.

Well, at least not like he wants me now.

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I’ll lose him to you when you take him to the lake. I’ll lose him to you when you teach him to shave. I’ll lose him to you when you tell him how to treat a woman on his first date. I’ll lose him to you when you talk about manly things in the truck.

Love, I’ll lose him to you, first. Then we’ll both lose him to his wife.

It’ll happen slowly, then all at once. You’ll see.

We have right now to teach him to love. That’s it.

He has to love us the way he’ll love that woman someday. That woman who will no doubt be the luckiest girl in the world, because he has two parents who taught him in the best way. By loving one another so very deeply.

So be patient with us, Love. You’ll have the opportunity to steal him away soon enough. He doesn’t hate you. I promise.

Right now he’s Momma’s baby. But tomorrow he’ll be Daddy’s son.

With love,

Your Wife

If you enjoyed this post, check out A Letter to my Unborn Son.

Also, follow me on Twitter @daynakhickman and on Instagram @daynakay.

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28 Thoughts Mom’s Have when their Baby won’t Go to Sleep

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I’m guilty of doing all the things wrong about child bedtime. I nurse this kid to sleep and lay him down and sneak away. Don’t judge. I like it this way.

And my kid usually goes to bed by 8:30 and sleeps almost 12 straight hours.

But some nights, he seriously won’t go down easy. I usually recognize what’s about to happen, but the truth is, us moms think about all kinds of crazy things while we deal with our children’s antics.

Here are 28 thoughts that run through every mom’s head when their kid is acting like a lunatic at bedtime. Enjoy!

1. Is this a growth spurt?
2. Maybe he’s over stimulated.
3. Oh. This is probably my fault for playing with him so late.
4. Is this kid human? This is the equivalent of putting a frog to sleep.
5. His diaper is dry.
6. Switch sides?
7. I know he’s tired. Why is he doing the funky chicken?
8. Maybe I need to switch sides again.
9. He has to be going through a growth spurt.
10. There can’t be milk left.
11. What kind of noise is that? A yelling snort? Can I make that if I tried?
12. Maybe he’s cutting a tooth!
13. I hope he isn’t getting sick.
14. Let’s switch sides again.
15. Oh no. That’s not going to work.
16. I’ll just stand him up. Maybe he…
17. Wow. That was a loud belch. Maybe that was it.
18. He wants the left side. Okay.
19. WHY ARE YOUR LEGS FLOPPING?!
20. I’ll stand him up again.
21. Agh! You ate too much. Spit up everywhere.
22. I give up. I’m turning on the lamp.
23. Are you grunting?
24. You are grunt…
25. Oh wow. You stink.
26. Go ahead. Finish.
27. You seriously better go to sleep after this.
28. You’re lucky that smile is cute.

Fifteen Things Babies are Certain Of

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Anyone who’s hung out with a baby for more than a few minutes learns one very important thing: they know what they want and aren’t afraid to wail for it.

Not only are they willing to wail, they will continue to do so until their “needs” are met.

Here are fifteen of those needs that babies are 100% certain of.

1. When they’re hungry, they’re starving to death.

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2. Cribs are obviously made of molten lava.

3. Moms are made of all that is right with the world.

4. Baths are only fun if you can get ALL THE THINGS WET.

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5. Pooping is best done at a squat while mom holds you.

6. Slobber and spit up are the prettiest accessories to any outfit.

7. Dad is not mom.

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8. Strangers are not mom.

9. Grandparents are not mom.

10. Nobody but mom is mom.

11. When mom tries sitting down stars collide and threaten planet earth. Mom must never sit.

12. Moms really only need one meal per day. Usually breakfast.

13. Grocery stores are really boring. Liven them up by screaming.

14. Peeing is most fun without a diaper.

15. Babies really love their mom.

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Almost four months later…

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I guess I have to start somewhere.

How about with this guy.

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Almost four months old and he’s more handsome than I imagined.

Holt John Hickman was born on August 25 weighing a mere 7 pounds 2 ounces and measuring in at a whopping 19 1/2 inches long.

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Then we went through this terrifying thing where he puked blood.

That was fun. Not.

It turned out he had a dairy and soy allergy. Since he breastfeeds, it meant I had to adjust to a dairy and soy free diet. That’s been fun too. Not.

You know, people warned me that parenting was hard. They warned me about the sleepless nights, difficult decisions, and never ending putting-of-the-baby-down.

I was prepared for that.

I was not prepared for the other stuff. The weight of it all. The mere fact that this child truly is dependent on me.

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He depends on me for food.

He depends on me for shelter.

He depends on me for comfort.

He depends on me for sleep.

He depends on me for giggles.

He depends on me to find the source of tears.

I am depended on to a level that is deeply, truly exhausting.

But it’s as exhilarating as it is exhausting.

When he’s asleep for more than a couple of hours, I get ants in my pants and want him to wake up and interact with me.

When I let someone else hold him, exasperated because he needs so much of me, within seconds my arms feel itchy and I bite my lip to keep from grabbing him up.

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Anyway, that’s the update (in a minute nutshell) of my last fourish months.

I’m hoping to share some of my recipes, thoughts, and life as a new mom with you.