Every year our family does our best to visit Grandma during the summer. There’s something thrilling about piling our belongings and our kids into our car, traveling 1500 miles cross-country – which includes driving through New Mexico (by the way- we counted… for hours… we only saw SEVEN trees! SEVEN!?!), and enjoying each other’s company for a straight 26 hours. Suddenly the ’57 Buick Century Caballero station wagon, and kids in the back makes perfect sense. Parents, must have been on a road trip and wanted their children as far away as possible! Perhaps the safety experts are wrong. It WAS in the youngsters’ best interest to ride that way. Ha! Are we insane for these large treks? Quite possibly. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
What’s so special about Grandma’s house, you ask? First off, whether you’re a five-year-old or middle-aged, everyone appreciates Grandma’s spoilin’ & cooking. 100% homemade. 100% delicious. Crispy, golden fried chicken, mashed potatoes with a butter pond, peppered gravy, sweet corn fresh off the cobb, perfectly browned rolls. It doesn’t get better! Secondly, she reminds you to “eat the frog”. If you’re unfamiliar with that term, it was coined by Mark Twain in reference to prioritizing things that you’d rather avoid doing. Dishes were done immediately following a meal. Laundry was done as soon as showers were completed. Cleaning was sprinkled in during traditional “down-time”. Surprisingly, this workflow decreased the dread of chores and became more of a team-effort. Lastly, family came first. We all believe and purpose this for our lives. It’s a simple statement that most of our hearts desire. With the hustle and bustle of life, work, volunteer commitments, extra-curricular activities, and the tiredness that comes from it all, we are often detoured from that creed. At Grandma’s, the TV doesn’t go on until the evening, solely to catch up on world events via the news. Instead, we spent most evenings fishing, playing card games, or just sitting around the kitchen table talking. It’s such a simple concept, to put authentic family-time first. Why do we make it so difficult on ourselves to do so?
While returning home, I mentioned to my husband that visiting this small town (population 1,800), showed me that we can do life better. As a die-hard lover of all things vintage, returning to a simpler way of life is welcomed! Join me by pulling out a board game or card game, shutting off the tv, and interacting with your family sometime this week.
“His fingerprints are everywhere, I just look down and stop and stare, open my eyes and then swear, I saw God today” – George Strait
They say God works in mysterious ways. If you’ve ever questioned that to be true, let me confirm that for you today! Just last week, I was reminded of this in the oddest of ways. I’m a mom of two children, one of whom is autistic. It seems that autism awareness is everywhere these days. If you don’t know someone personally with autism, you likely have learned a little about it through television shows, blog posts, non-profit organizations, etc. A relevant term you’ll often hear is “the spectrum.” This is an accurate phrase, as one child with autism is often not like the next. My son is very successful at some things that other autistic kids struggle with. He can speak. He is potty trained. However, there are truly random things that cause him to have a meltdown. Everything in life must pause, as his mind obsesses over whatever has upset him. For example, he loves to swim, but a sprinkle of unexpected water from a mister line causes him to panic like a victim in a horror film.
As long as I can remember, he has hated any food that is chilled. He wants everything prepared luke warm or hot. It’s not a life-changing issue, but it’s one of those things that causes him not to fit into societal norms. While we celebrate individuality, a parent never wants their kids to be left out in life. Inclusion is important at some level. I recall my son getting off the bus one day and telling me it was “the WORST day ever!” He had thrown up at school because he had gotten “so sick!” The cause of his sickness? His instructors had made him taste ice cream.
Fast-forward to last week. Out of nowhere, my son asked for a popsicle. His dad and I both looked at each other in shock. We were convinced he wouldn’t eat it, but was solely asking because the packing was Despicable Me minions. We decided to appease him and opened one, waiting for the freak-out. The next ten seconds filled me with such joy as a mom. The simple pleasure of watching my son enjoy a popsicle for the first time. It literally was a miracle, folks! As a special needs parent, you learn to celebrate the little victories. They ARE important! This was HUGE for our family! I wanted to whisk my son up in my arms and twirl him around in celebration. (I didn’t…because he likely would have screamed at me to stop! LOL hey, this is real life! We know not to disrupt their routines! All special needs parents say an enthusiastic “Amen!”)
The Bible says God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” We pray daily for our children. The popsicle is an answer to prayer. Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down by the can’ts, don’ts, and whys of life. Focus on your blessings! What small thing in your life can you celebrate today?
Note: Because I have a special needs son, I do my best to be home as often as possible. As a result, I started my own business several years ago. You can come meet me in person at our next show! I’d love to connect with you and learn about YOUR everyday miracles! The event details: Front Porch Pickins Vintage & Handmade Market October 13th & 14th at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler! Over 100 vendors selling all things shabby chic, rusty, vintage, farmhouse, mid-century, handcrafted, in addition to the valley’s best food trucks and a classic car show. Learn more at FrontPorchPickins.com
Desiree' is the executive event producer for Street Market. Her writing is dedicated to all things related to country living, home décor, travel and events, family, faith, and more. Check out her column in Arizona Real Country Magazine.