Mardi Gras – Flamingo Style

It’s only been a couple of weeks since their big Valentines Day bash, which turned out beautifully, by the way, but they’re already at it again!

As you know, flamingos are extremely social birds. They can’t resist a good party, and the more flamboyant the better! So when they heard about Mardi Gras, well….you can only imagine their reaction. Talk about a party designed with them in mind….!

So they set out to plan their Mardi Gras celebration. Which of course had to be bigger and better than the ones they’d heard about in New Orleans! After all, they have a reputation to maintain for party planning….whether they’d ever been to a Mardi Gras celebration or not.
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They did their research on line with their pink iPads (well actually they borrowed mine since it has a pink cover), and came up with some absolutely perfect Mardi Gras party plans…flamingo style, of course!

And since Mardi Gras parties are filled with glitter and feathers and all manner of gaudy, flashy and flamboyant decor, it was their idea of a perfect party! And they set to work to plan the ultimate Mardi Gras festivity!

The guest list was easy, and the invitations were simple to create! And as with their many other parties, everyone quickly accepted, because they knew the flamingos threw the best parties in town! Then they set to work selecting decorations, planning their menu and their special drinks, hiring a band, and of course, planning the most elaborate costumes and Mardi Gras masks they could design! (With prizes for the best ones, of course!)

Their masks were amazing! Lots of feathers and sequins and glitter. Lots of pink, although there were a few of the traditional colors thrown in as well. They figured a little purple, gold, and green did blend rather nicely with their favorite shades of pink. What do you think of their choices? And which one would you select as the winner?

And then there were the ropes of beads! Lots and lots of them! In a rainbow of colors….not just the traditional colors, but of course lots of pink sparkly beads, many with fun flamingo figurines on them, of course! They even hung some of those necklaces around the house in strategic places as decorations, and on the front door.

The flaminguys had to have top hats to go with their formal attire, of course. Formal attire for a guy flamingo, being a pink bow tie, vest, and cummerbund. With a pink rose pinned to their lapel…in this case, with the roses sprinkled with glitter!

Decorating was easy. It always is for the flamingos, you know; they’re known for their flashy but stylish decorating skills! And since just about anything goes for Mardi Gras, well, they certainly outdid themselves!

With fancy feathered and beaded chair covers, shiny beaded chandeliers, and tables set with flowers and beads, and beaded wine bottles, well, let’s just say the attendees said they’d never seen a Mardi Gras party as spectacular this one!

And the menu…let’s start with the bar, because after all, Marci Gras is known for the amazing libations, along with the amazing creole cuisine and amazing King cakes.

The flamingos were certain to have the most unique, most original libations to be found! Their version of the popular Marci Gras Hurricane was a work of art, with their own special blend of several flavors of rum, passion fruit syrup, lime juice, and of course their own touch of pink fruit juice that they just will not share! Topped off with slices of lime and orange slices, and a couple of maraschino cherries for the final garnish, well let’s say each drink was a work of art, and served in hand-painted (or rather, wing-painted) glasses that were given to each guest as a party souvenir.

And of course, their menu included their favorite shrimp dishes, along with some Cajun crawfish, red beans and rice, and a few surprises they begged us not to reveal. After all, flamingos have to have a few secrets, only to be shared with other flamingos.

commdiginnews-comTheir grand dessert finale was the traditional King Cake….flamingo style. Traditionally the King Cake is a round cake confection decorated with sugared icing in the Mardi Gras colors of green, gold, and purple. The cake itself may be colored as well, or it may contain apple, cream cheese, or other fillings. It usually contains a small figurine of the Baby Jesus, although today the figurines can be any number of different items. But only one, because tradition says that whoever gets the figurine in their slice provides the cake for next year’s party.

Naturally the flamingos just weren’t satisfied with the traditional one layer cake, so they contacted their favorite flamingo cake artist, and he was able to provide several beautifully decorated cakes (as well as some special Mardi Gras cookies) for the event. And what was baked inside each one? Why a plastic flamingo statuette! What else?!

It wouldn’t be a Mardi Gras party without some New Orleans jazz, though, and let’s just say this…if you’ve never heard the amazing King Creole Funky Flamingo Five, you haven’t heard jazz! Flamingo style, of course!

With Fancy Catfish Fred on trumpet (he’s the one wearing the sequined catfish on his derby hat!). Long Tall Louie on trombone, with his hanging flamingo charms clipped on his trombone slide. Saucy Shrimpy Sal on saxophone, a legend for the amount of shrimp he can consume at one meal (and we hear he’s been known to stash a few shrimp in the bell of his sax, just in case he needs a snack while performing!).

Then there’s Fletch “The Stretch” on sousaphone, who’s known for his ability to stretch some of the most amazing melodies out of that instrument! Watching Fletch perform is always a treat!

Last but certainly not least, we have Lester “Skinny Legs” Lawrence the Liberace of the snare drum, famous for his flowing multi-colored feathered robes!

And they used the occasion to introduce their newest members, Marvelous Matilda and her twin sister Amazing Miss Mavis. Matilda is a delightfully talented flamingo keyboard artist extraordinaire whose feathertips can tickle those keys like no other! And Miss Mavis’ vocal talents are truly amazing! Guess they’ll have to change the name of the band, since they now have seven members!

2017-02-25-09-51-56Unfortunately they wouldn’t allow photos of their performance, as they’re in the process of negotiating a major recording contract, and they want their publicity photos to be released at the time of their first album! What can we say….?

But we did get sneak a picture of Marvelous Matilda…or was it Mavis….? You just can’t tell them apart, especially in costume!

Yes, the flamingos’ Mardi Gras party was a huge success! Did you expect anything less? And imagine our surprise when we came home the next morning (they did ask us to attend, since they were using our house – again – but we decided it would be much more fun for them to just have their flamingo friends at this particular bash!) and found several flamingos we’d never met sound asleep on our floor! It must’ve been a heck of a party!

And I’m sure they’re hard at work planning their next event….! Stay tuned!

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Photo Sources: Header Photo: sketchboo – deviantart.com 1st Row: source unknown via pinterest- 2nd Row: – wrapwithus.com; crazycraftyyoli via etsy; zazzle.com; bonniemadedesigns vis etsy –  3rd Row:  – source unknown; personal files; bobbydidit.com; personal files; wreathywoman via etsy – 4th Row: ChikiBird via etsy; streetsoforleans.com; ChikiBird via etsy; streetsoforleans.com5th Row: source unknown via etsy; source unknown via etsy; catchmyparty.com; bigskyparty via etsy  –6th Row: via pinterest; sunnybelle.com; via pinterest 7th Row:commdiginnews.com-8th Row: viva-la-cake via pinterest; mimissweetcakesnbakes.com; thepastrystudio.com; king cake by chesa lefet on pinterest; Kathy of sugarbabescakes on fkickr;  deviantart.com by naera; flourboxbakery.com; cajunhomesweetsbakery.com –9th Row: personal files

Ready for Paint, Part 2

There are times I go through the blogs I’ve written previously and decide they should be resurrected and refined, updated. This is one of them. It was actually written almost a year and a half ago, but it’s still very appropriate for today.

 

Many months ago, I had a dream.

I was walking through a house, and each room was empty. Very empty. There wasn’t even carpeting on the floor; just a few windows with no window coverings. For a brief moment I thought it was my mother’s old house, except the layout wasn’t the same. And it didn’t feel right.

But the walls…the walls REALLY needed painting. They seemed to be speckled, with big white splotchy dots everywhere. I couldn’t figure out who in the world would have painted walls like that. They looked so….unfinished. So messy.

But the Lord spoke to me, and then it made perfect sense!

He said, “These rooms are ready to be painted. I have filled in the holes. I’ve patched them all, and now the room is ready for fresh paint; for a whole new look. This is your own blank canvas to paint however you wish, in any colors you wish. Use your imagination, for I have prepared it just for you. Each room is a project, and as you paint, all the holes, the disappointments and rejections from the past, are wiped away. It’s a new beginning.”

“Behold, I make all things new….” (Revelation 21:5)

I wrote this originally over a year and a half ago. And now I look back on what has happened in my life over the past 18 months, and I see how that blank canvas has been repaired and patched, and totally repainted for a whole new look. The big splotches are gone, because the repairs have been made. I’ve completed a number of projects, and started several more. I painted with colors I never knew existed, because I let the Lord take over and show me what I needed to do.

Most of the past disappointments in my life, the past rejections, the unhappiness, have been erased, painted over. In my case, I used words instead of actual paint, but the words I wrote were my own personal version of paint. We all have our own type of creativity. Whether it’s drawing, painting, writing, playing/composing music, sewing, cooking, gardening, we all have a blank canvas of sorts that is waiting to be filled. And we are the only ones who can fill it. And fill it in our own special way.

Yes, there are several things I still need to make new in my life. And there will always be more. But I’m looking forward to seeing what else the Lord is going to do as I begin painting more patched walls with fresh colors, fresh words, and fresh ideas. And I’m going out now to buy more paint and brushes, and more journals to fill!

What do you need made new in your life? What walls do you need patched? All you have to do is ask Him. And then go pick out your paint, your journals, your yarn or fabric, or your seedlings, because when you come back from the store, there are a lot of things that are going to be ready for a new look! And as you begin to create that new look, just remember, He’s looking over your shoulder, smiling, as you accept and step into your new beginning.

There is so much ahead that’s waiting for you to do. What are you waiting for?

Valentine Love…Flamingo Style

Believe it or not, flamingos are actually quite romantic birds. Oh sure, they squawk a lot, and love to party every chance they get, but when it comes their lady loves, well, they actually become quite serious. Or as serious as flamingos can be.

That’s why they really love Valentine’s Day. Not only is it a day of lots and lots of pink, along with a smattering of red hearts and roses, it’s a day of romance and beauty, which, of course, makes their feathered pink hearts go pitter patter! (That’s what they told me to say! I’d have said it a bit differently, but….)

Anyway, this year they really wanted to do something extra special for the female birds in their life. The sky was the limit! This Valentine’s Day will be a day to remember! And yes, what I’m about to share with you will be a surprise for the lovely flamingirls, because the flaminguys made them promise not to read this until the day after. And the ladies didn’t want their surprises spoiled either, so I’m sure they’re keeping their promises!

So what to do for your special lady when you’re a romantic flamingo?

Obviously, the first thing is breakfast in bed. But what to serve that would be the perfect beginning? Actually that was fairly easy. Heart shaped pancakes with strawberry syrup. A bowl of fruit on the side; strawberries, raspberries, and cherries, topped with a dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with pink colored sugar and a few candy hearts. A strawberry mimosa, of course, to give it that perfect pink touch. And naturally the tray has to be decorated with pink roses and a beautiful romantic Valentine card…the first of several for the day!

After such a delightful breakfast treat, the flaminguys have another treat planned for their ladies. After enjoying a warm leisurely pink bubble bath, with another pink mimosa, of course, the flamingirls will be driven in a (what else?) pink limousine to a day spa where they’ll be treated to a relaxing massage, pedicure, and having their feathers styled. All in preparation for their getting ready for a big night on the town with their favorite Valentines! And yes, I’m sure there will be more pink mimosas…good thing they have a limo waiting for them!

Of course, while the flamingirls are busy being pampered, the flaminguys are going to be busy as well. After all, they have big plans to take their ladies out on the town! But first….They arranged to have dozens of pink roses and pink orchids delivered to the house, arranged in crystal and pink vases, which will be placed in every room! Can’t you just imagine the fragrance when they walk in?

And of course, it wouldn’t be a Valentine’s celebration without chocolate, so they’ll have pink balloons, and pink heart shaped boxes of delicious chocolates sitting around as well, along with a few trays of juicy chocolate drizzled strawberries. And to greet their ladies when they get home…the flaminguys wearing tux jackets, complete with pink bow ties, as they prepare to serve their ladies pink champagne before their evening out.

And being the romantic birds they are, they made reservations for a romantic dinner at their favorite seafood restaurant. Each flamingo couple will have their own table for two, with more flowers, more champagne of course, and a special valentine gift, beautifully wrapped in pink valentine paper and tied with a sparkly silver bow.

What’s inside the gift boxes? Well, they asked me not to tell, but they did say I could give a hint. So…it’s sparkly, and guaranteed to put a smile on each lady’s beak. Oh, and they’re each just a bit different.

After a sumptuous dinner of shrimp, wine, and more chocolate drizzled strawberries, the flamingo couples will head over to their favorite piano bar, featuring a pink piano, of course, for music and dancing, and possibly a bit of a sing-along. Flamingos do have an amazing musical ability, and some have exceptional vocal talents, so I’ve heard!

Yes, it will definitely be a Valentine’s Day to remember for our pink feathered friends. Sounds like a great day to be a flamingo!

Disclaimer: All content posted here is assumed to be in the public domain. If you find one of your images here and wish it to be removed please contact me.

Photo Sources: Header: missrosedanae via etsy – 1st Row: source unknown, verybestbaking.com, proflowers.com, holidaycraftsandcreations.com, swankyrecipes.com – 2nd Row: hqlimo.com. via pinterest – 3rd Row: via pinterest, via pinterest, flowers4feelings.com – 4th Row: via pinterest, source unknown, opajoselito.blogspot.com, via pinterest – 5th Row: marthastewart.com, architectureartdesigns.com, dreamstime.com, baublestobubbles.com – 6th Row: allrecipes.com, packagingoftheworld.com, source unknown, ninorosadowine.com, bcnfashonista.com, theworleygig.com

When the Valentines Don’t Come

How many times have you seen February 14 referred to as “Single Awareness Day”?

How many times have you gone in a store when it’s getting close to Valentine’s Day and wanted to turn around and leave because all it did was remind you that you’re not part of a couple? That you have no one to buy those mushy, sugary cards for? That you have no one to give you candy or flowers or even a card on Valentine’s Day?

How many times have you wanted to take that Cupid and just throw him against the wall, or maybe even run him over with your car? Because his bow and arrow haven’t been working for you, and at this point you’re not sure they ever will.

How many times do you feel like calling out sick from work on that day, because you just know all the other women will have flowers, or candy, or balloons, or other reminders delivered to them at work, and you won’t?! And you’ll feel like everyone else is waiting for something to be delivered for you, and when it doesn’t you can just imagine what they’re thinking.

“What’s wrong with her?”

“Why doesn’t she have a boyfriend/husband?”

“Poor thing, I feel so bad for her…”

How many of you have felt like that? How many of you still do?

Surprisingly, our daughter never liked Valentine’s Day since about the time she entered high school. She always said, and actually still does, that Valentine’s Day is just a day designed for card stores and flower shops to make money. “Why should we have to have a day for everyone to remind someone they love them? They should do that every day.” And she didn’t say that because she didn’t have a boyfriend at the time. Because she did.

She’s even told her husband that same thing, ever since they started dating ten years ago. She means it.

And she has a good point. Why do we concentrate on showing how much we love someone on just one day each year?

What about the other days?

Don’t get me wrong. I like Valentine’s Day. But there were many years I was that woman who felt out of place on February 14 because I didn’t have a special relationship in my life. I was one of those who dreaded the day and was glad to see it over.

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be a day that reminds those who are not in a relationship that they’re alone. But unfortunately it does.

So for this upcoming Valentine’s Day, instead of hiding or feeling depressed, make an effort to show your love to someone who’s important to you. I don’t mean try to enter into a romantic relationship; that’s something that just happens on its own, and usually when you least expect it.

So reach out to someone else who may be feeling the way you do. You may actually brighten each other’s day in ways you never imagined. Send a card to a neighbor or someone else you know who’s lost a loved one recently; Valentines Day is hard for them as well, perhaps even harder than it is for you, because there are so many reminders of what they’ve lost.

Buy a valentine card for yourself…one that speaks to your heart. It’s not as crazy an idea as you may think. After all, who knows you better than you know yourself? And aren’t you worth it? If you don’t really love yourself, how can you expect someone else to?

And remember, Valentine’s Day is just that. A day. One day.  The year has 364 more days in it. Even though you may think love has passed you by, believe me, it hasn’t.

The best is yet to come. It will come in its own time, and its own way. It will come when you’re not looking, and when you’re not expecting it. It’s not something you can rush, or force to happen.

Cupid works all year long. Not just on Valentine’s Day. Just because he doesn’t show up on February 14 doesn’t mean he’s forgotten you. He’s just waiting for the perfect time.

And then the Valentines will come. And on more than just one day of the year.

 

Stories Never Told…Lives Never Lived

I’d like to introduce you to three very amazing people. And I can guarantee you’ve not heard about any of them.

First, meet Jackson. His mother wasn’t married when she got pregnant, and was living with her mother and younger brother at the time. Jackson was an adventurous child, always wanting to learn, to find out what made things “tick”. A very intelligent child, he continually made the best grades in school, and always wanted to be a doctor.

His mother didn’t have much money, but Jackson was lucky, and fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship to a local college. By that time he’d already decided he wanted to concentrate on medical research. Because he’d watched his beloved grandmother die from cancer, he made his life goal to find a cure for that disease. 

And he did. After fifteen years of long, hard research, Jackson made that great discovery, and his research paved the way for not only total cures, but eventually a vaccine against several forms of the dreaded disease. 

Then there’s Christine. Her dream was to become an actress/vocalist. As a child she’d sing along to every song she heard on the radio, until her parents decided they’d better hire a voice coach for her. 

Her singing talent progressed rapidly, and she also insisted on taking drama classes as well, so she could also pursue her acting talents. Christine became the first high school freshman  in her school to win the lead in the annual school play, and went on to do that each of her high school years. When she graduated, Christine received a special award for her musical and acting accomplishments. 

She went on to college and graduated with a degree in drama; she then moved to New York with her parents, where she won a series of supporting roles in several Broadway shows. As her career advanced, she was nominated for, and won several awards, for her musical and acting talent.

Christine, who was born with Down Syndrome, against all odds, more than achieved her greatest dream. 

Finally, there’s Carlos. The oldest son of a single teenaged mother. Carlos had his share of problems growing up, including a few skirmishes with the legal system, although fortunately as a juvenile, which may have influenced him to want to become an attorney. 

Although Carlos struggled with dyslexia, he was determined not to let that get the best of him, and enrolled in a community college after high school. Although it took him four years to graduate with his Associates Degree, he was accepted at a local college where another three years went by before he received his degree in pre-law. 

Carlos knew it was going to be hard, but his dream was not going to be stilled. He was accepted at a small law school a few hours from his hometown, where he went to school while working part time at nights with disadvantaged kids. Kids like he used to be.

Four difficult years later Carlos finally earned his law degree, and established a successful career as a juvenile attorney. Although his reading skills were still poor, he never allowed that to stop him from achieving his life goal, and as a result of his work, hundreds of teens were able to turn their lives around. 

Why have you not heard of any of these amazing people? 

Because they were never born.

They were aborted, just 3 of the 665,000 abortions that took place in the U.S. last year. And that’s just in one year.

Brady and Carlos were aborted because their mothers thought their own lives would be easier if they didn’t have their babies. Christine was aborted because doctors told her parents she’d never have a chance at any kind of normal life; and they believed him.

While I understand a woman’s right to make her choice, I am asking you to choose life, rather than the death of your baby. If you do not want to be a mother right now, please, please consider adoption. There are so many families waiting for a child who are unable to conceive or give birth. They would love your child more than anything in the world, and they would be eternally grateful for your gift to them.

Who knows what your unborn child may be destined to do; what discoveries he/she could find if given the chance? What difference that child could make in other lives as an adult?

Think about it before you make an irreversible choice. What difference can you make in someone else’s life, especially in the life of the child within?

Flamingo Day…Move Over, Groundhog!

While the flamingos were enjoying their coffee the other morning they happened to be watching TV, and saw all the commotion about Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow, and how it meant six more weeks of winter. Which did not make them happy. For a number of reasons.

“Why should a groundhog get to predict the weather?” asked one of the flamingos. “What does he know about warm weather and sunshine? He lives in the ground and sleeps all winter. How can he have any idea what the weather is?”

“That’s right,” another Flamingo said. “Everyone knows groundhogs are notoriously unreliable. They say they’re going to do something, but they’re always forgetting because they’re too busy hibernating! They don’t even look at their calendar to see what appointments they have!”

“And did you see those groundhog shaped cookies someone was passing around? All brown….no color…not even a touch of pink! How boring!” (Naturally the main flamingo chef made that comment!)

“That groundhog couldn’t even carry on a good conversation ,” added another flamingo. “All those clicks and squeals…if he hadn’t had an interpreter we’d have no idea what he was trying to say!”

flockYes, the flamingos were quite upset. And if you’ve ever seen a bunch of upset flamingos, you know it isn’t a pretty sight! When I left for work that morning, they were still squawking about Groundhog Day!

When I came back home that evening, they had all calmed down. Or so I thought. Little did I know….

You see, unbeknownst to me, they’d planned their own version of Groundhog Day, and were calling it, what else…Flamingo Day?!!
And since they didn’t want to share their day with any other animal, they chose February 6 for their big event! They didn’t have a lot of time to plan, or send out press releases and invite the media, but I’m sure next year they’ll make all their plans well in advance, and have just as much of a celebration as Punxsutawney Phil. In fact, probably more. After all, how often do flamingos get to be weather birds?

You may not have seen the event for yourself. But it was actually quite spectacular.

Since flamingos are quite flamboyant, as opposed to groundhogs, they wanted to create a splash on their day. There was no emerging from a hole in the ground, being half asleep, and certainly not looking your best. On the contrary, on Flamingo Day the chosen flamingo had to look her best when she emerged onto the stage, her pink feathers immaculately groomed, her makeup perfectly done, and her jewelry especially designed for the occasion. With the appropriate cocktail in hand, of course. After all, it’s always 5:00 somewhere, and no self respecting flamingo ever has an important event such as this without the appropriate cocktail!

As the flamingos explained to me, it doesn’t really matter where the sun is in relation to the star of the show, because on Flamingo Day the sun will find her, and she will definitely be able to make the determination whether or not she sees her shadow. And if we will be having an early spring or not.

keleas-comSo the time arrived. For some reason they picked 3:00 in the afternoon for the event to take place. By the pool, of course, even though it was definitely too cold to go swimming! And at exactly 3:00 Vincent von Flamingo, the host of the event, strutted out, appropriately dressed in top hat and tuxedo jacket, and proclaimed that Dazzling Dorothy, Flamingo Prognosticator Extraordinaire, and Weatherperson of Wonder, would in just a few minutes be presenting herself on stage to make her first major prediction about spring.

The crowd went wild! Actually it was a huge crowd of flamingos who had flown in for the event, some from as far away as Puerto Rico and Aruba. Dressed in an array of colorful hats, sparkling jewelry, and of course sipping from an array of pink cocktails garnished with hibiscus flowers and pineapple, they were more than ready to witness the inaugural event of Flamingo Day!

And Dazzling Dorothy did not let anyone down, as she strutted to her place on the makeshift stage to stand under a floral canopy designed to shield her from the elements until it was time to see if she saw her shadow. What a sight! She was perfectly attired in her very own floppy hat, adorned with jeweled pink feathers and tropical flowers. Her jewelry, sparkling with colorful gems, pearls, and beautifully crafted silk flowers, wrapped gracefully around her neck. Perfectly completing her outfit was a stylish pair of sparkling shoes, with 4 inch heels, making her appear even more impressive!

alice-tams-birdsinhatsThe crowd went wild, taking pictures, videos, and squawking in delight! They knew this was going to be a day to remember!

Dorothy looked around, smiled at the crowd, and said, “Are you ready for spring? Me, too!” She raised her glass, downed the rest of her drink in one gulp, tossed the empty glass to Vincent, and stepped out from under her floral canopy. Taking a quick look around, she took off her hat, looked up at the sky and then back down, and happily announced, “The Groundhog was wrong! There’s no shadow! I proclaim an early spring! Now let the party begin!”

Cheers erupted throughout the crowd. Glasses clinked together in celebration. Pink feathers flew, and from the stage, Vincent announced, “The party’s inside! It’s time to celebrate!”

And the flamingos certainly celebrated! Shrimp of all kinds. Special Flamingo Day cocktails! And of course, instead of those unexciting groundhog cookies, bright pink flamingo cookies, all beautifully decorated for the occasion!

It was an awesome day to remember. And trust me, I’m sure they’re already planning next year’s Flamingo Day celebration, and most likely inviting Punxsutawney Phil himself to join in the fun and see how NOT seeing your shadow is done!

Happy Spring! It’s coming soon!

Disclaimer: All content posted here is assumed to be in the public domain. If you find one of your images here and wish it to be removed please contact me.

Photo Sources: 1st Row: cafepress.com- 2nd Row: source unknown – 3rd Row: kelas.com – 4th Row: via ebay; mymajesticboutique.com.au; source unknown –  5th Row: alice tams – birdsinhats.com –6th Row: treatsbyterri on etsy; mrslilien.com; juliausher.com; bybecca.com; source unknown; atmercybakery.com

The Secret Child, Part 3

Part I introduced you to Elizabeth, a brave young girl who made the difficult decision to choose life and give her baby up for adoption many years ago. In a time where abortion had just become legal, she could’ve gone the other way and simply dealt with it quickly. She knew it was right, but had no idea how difficult it would be.

Part II introduced you to Elizabeth as a grown woman, living with her secret until she finally found someone she could trust to share it with. She had her life mostly where she wanted it, but knew something was still missing, and most likely always would be.

Until….she got that phone call and heard the voice on the other end saying, “This is your son.”

If you haven’t read Part I and Part II yet, I urge you to do so before reading this last installment.

 

Elizabeth’s heart most likely stopped beating for a couple of seconds when she heard those words. “This is your son.” She was afraid to breathe because the voice might go away. She thought she might even drop her phone and break it.

So she just sat there, as the voice said again, “Hello? Are you still there?”

“Yes. Yes I am.” She took a deep breath. “How do I know this isn’t a bad joke?”

So he told her. The day and time he was born. The name of the hospital, and where it was. He described the tiny birthmark on his back. And the stuffed dog she’d given him before she handed him over to the nurse to be given to his adoptive parents. “I still have it,” he said.

It really was him.

And the tears came. Real sobbing, gut-wrenching tears. But this time they were tears of joy. Finally, she’d found her son, more appropriately, her son had found her! Could she now actually allow herself to say she was a mother? Would he ever call her mom? So many questions…

Because she was at work, she couldn’t talk as long as she wanted to, which of course her son understood. So she got as many phone numbers for him as she could, as well as email addresses, and promised she would call him back as soon as she got home. And as she ended the call, she sat there and just looked at her phone, almost unsure if that phone call had just taken place, or if it had all been a dream.

But then an email came in, and when she opened it, there he was. Her son had sent her a picture, just as he’d promised. There he was, a handsome grown man, with her eyes and her nose. And the tears came again. She wished her parents were still alive, because now she’d have the courage to tell them.

She couldn’t wait to tell Carl, but this wasn’t something she could tell him over the phone.

So she rushed through the rest of her day, her mind 3,000 miles away, in a small town in California. Wondering when she could get there to see him, and wondering when he’d even let her do that. And praying he would.

Carl knew something had happened when she came home because even though her makeup was smeared, there was an excitement on her face he hadn’t seen in years.

“I have the best news ever!” she told him. And started crying again as she said, “My son called me. I know where he is, and I talked to him….”

“I was so happy for her I didn’t know what to say,” Carl told me. “All I could do was hug her and cry with her for several minutes. I’d never seen her so excited and so happy.”

Elizabeth quickly told her husband about the call, and all about their too-brief conversation. How she’d signed up several years ago on an adoption registry, hoping to someday get this call, but never really expecting it. And she showed him the picture he’d sent her. “This is Brady. This is my son.” And she cried again.

She quickly looked at the time, and told Carl she’d promised to call Brady back when she got home, and of course he told her to go do it, and take all the time she needed.

Of course she was terrified he wouldn’t answer when she called back; that he’d have changed his mind, or he’d tell her it was all a mistake. But he answered on the second ring. And they talked for hours, and he told her his story.

Brady’s adoptive parents had been wonderful, and he’d known he was adopted from the time he was about 4 years old. Unfortunately his adoptive father died a few years after that, and his mother moved to California with his adopted sister to live with her parents.

He’d gone to college there, and now owned his own small construction business. He’d married when he was in his mid 20’s, and they had 3 children. Elizabeth was a grandmother! He explained his adoptive mother had recently died, and even though she’d encouraged him to look for his birth mother, he’d held off looking for her because he didn’t want to upset the mother who raised him.

Elizabeth certainly understood.

Over the next few weeks they talked, emailed, or texted on a daily basis. They shared pictures and stories. Lots of stories. She was finally getting to know her son. And at last he asked her if she would like to come out and meet him and his family in person. An invitation she’d been waiting to hear. Would she? He didn’t have to ask twice!

She and Carl headed to California a few weeks later. She was nervous. Scared to death was more like it! What would he think of her in person? Would he resent her or welcome her with open arms? And his wife, her daughter in law? And their children…her grandchildren…

By the time they arrived she was as scared as she was excited. They rented a car, filled the trunk with the gifts she’d bought for her new family, and they drove the two hours from the airport to her son’s home.

She had no idea what to expect.

Imagine her surprise when they pulled up to the address he ‘d given her and saw the huge “Welcome Mom” sign in the front yard, surrounded by dozens of balloons, and all of them standing out front to greet her! She jumped out of the car and ran up to her son and they hugged each other and cried for what seemed like forever.

“It was amazing,” Carl told me, wiping a tear away as he remembered that day. “Her dream finally came true.”

Elizabeth was fortunate enough to be reunited in a wonderful relationship with the boy she gave up for adoption. And she was fortunate to be accepted in his life and the life of his children. They still talk at least weekly, and visit as often as possible.

Her grandchildren call her “Grandma” and her son finally calls her “Mother.”

As she said, “That’s the best name I’ve ever heard.”

 

If you are a birth mother, or an adopted adult who would like to have a chance to find your biological mother or child, you may go to Adopted.com and register. Just bear in mind that not all birth parents want to be found, and not all adopted children want to find their biological parents.

To all birth mothers who chose life, and chose to entrust their precious child to a family they didn’t know to raise him/her, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You may never fully know how much that one act meant to others.

Sometimes the Memories…

Of what might have been…of what could have been…or what should have been… Of what will never be again.

Sometimes those memories are too painful to think about.

But we still do. It’s how we’re made.

We miss our loved ones so much…and there are still those times, no matter how many years it’s been, that we just need to hear their voice. That we need so desperately to talk to them, tell them our problems, and ask them what to do. Because they always had answers when we didn’t.

At times like this I try to imagine what my mother would tell me to do. What she’d say about the particulate problem I’m wrestling with. She’d have an answer; she always did. And usually she was right on the mark.

There are so many times I still wish I could ask her what to do. I wish I could dial her number just one more time, hear her say “hello”, and as soon as she’d hear my voice she’d know something was wrong. So I’d pour out my heart. And then hear her tell me….what? I’ll never know her answer to this problem…or others that will also present themselves from time to time.

I can’t hear that voice any more except in my heart, because she’s no longer here. And I miss her so much.

Yes, no matter how many months, how many years go by, nothing can replace that special bond we had. No one else, not even my husband, or my best friends, can give me the answers she did. And the problem I’m wrestling with right now can only be solved by my thinking the way she would have.

That’s easier said than done.

I’d also like to share my joys with her as well as my problems, but I can’t do that either. I can’t tell her about her beautiful great granddaughter, or what a good mommy her beloved granddaughter is. I can’t tell her how much our son in law loves that little girl, and what a proud daddy he is. I just hope she knows.

So tonight, as I sit here again missing my mother so much, all I can do is write this and tell her in my heart how much I miss her and how much I still love her.

And remind each of you reading this…don’t let time take away your opportunity to make memories…to ask questions. Or to just say “I love you.” Don’t waste even one day, because one day you won’t be able to make any more memories, and your loved one won’t be able to hear you say “I love you” any more.

The Secret Child, Part 2

Part I introduced you to Elizabeth, a brave young girl who made the difficult decision to choose life and give her baby up for adoption many years ago. In a time where abortion had just become legal, she could’ve gone the other way and simply dealt with it quickly.

But Elizabeth made the only decision she could have made, and live with herself afterwards. This is Part II of her story.  If you haven’t read Part I please do so before reading this installment.

 

After she had her baby Elizabeth went back to school. And when she finally trusted herself to face her parents, she went home for a visit. Of course she’d stayed in touch all summer while she was doing her “internship”, and they really wanted to hear all about it. Fortunately some of her friends had actually done an internship that same summer so she was able to share their stories as her own, but she felt terribly guilty every time she recounted those stories as her own. And her parents believed her, which made her feel even worse.

But time is a great healer and although she never went a day without thinking about her son, and wondering how and what he was doing, what he looked like, eventually Elizabeth was able to face her parents without feeling such immense guilt and shame. She knew she’d done the right thing, but there was still that twinge of guilt every time she thought how she’d not only given up her son, but her parents’ first grandchild.

Years went quickly by. She graduated from college and began her career in banking and finance. Her younger brother married, and she rejoiced over the birth of his first child, and inwardly cried when she saw how thrilled her parents were to finally become grandparents.  She should’ve told them. But now she certainly couldn’t. It had been far too long, and would hurt them worse to think she went through all of that by herself, and lied to them. So she kept silent.

And she still wondered about her own baby boy, who certainly wasn’t a baby any more.

She knew exactly how old he’d be. She remembered every birthday, and even the exact time he’d been born. Although she didn’t have any pictures, she remembered what he’d looked like as if it were yesterday.

She went through a series of relationships, but somehow she just never seemed to find that right man she could trust enough to be totally honest with. After all, she knew she couldn’t commit to anyone unless she was able to share her secret with him; and unless he’d understand.

Finally she met Carl. A few years older than her, he was divorced with two teenaged sons. Unlike the other men she’d dated, Carl didn’t want any more children, because he already had those two boys who were almost grown. Which was fine with Elizabeth, because after what she went through as a young girl, she just didn’t think she could face having another baby, knowing that first one would never know about his brother or sister, nor could that other child ever know about their older brother.

She also knew she had to tell Carl her secret, especially since he was starting to talk about marriage. “I knew there was something in her past that was bothering her,” Carl told me. “But I had no idea what it was. When she finally got the courage to tell me her story, her voice was cracking, and she couldn’t help but cry. I can’t imagine how she held it in all these years. I couldn’t imagine the hurt she was going through. And it made me love her even more.”

Elizabeth and Carl were married a short time later, and she did everything she could to be a good stepmother, and eventually grandmother. Her own parents were thrilled to have Carl’s boys in their lives, which made Elizabeth feel even guiltier.

And she still couldn’t help wondering, so many times, “what if?”

But she had no answers.

Until one day when her cell phone rang while she was at her office. Because of the type of work she did, Elizabeth normally answered her cell, even when she didn’t recognize the number. This call was from California, where it was three hours earlier. She didn’t know anyone out there, but it could be a potential client someone had referred to her. So she picked up the phone, pen in hand, ready to take notes.

“Is this Elizabeth Patterson, or should I say Elizabeth McCall?”

Hmmm….who would be calling on her cell phone and referring to her maiden name? Was it an old friend from college?

“Yes. Who is this?”

The voice hesitated a few seconds before answering, “This is your son.”

 

Yes, dreams sometimes do come true, but not always in the way we expect. Don’t miss “The Secret Child, Part III,” to be published here on February 6.