Category Archives: The Parentals

Sandwiched

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I was reading the blog of one of my Twitter friends and I noticed that she lives with her mom and helps provide care for her. Then I happened to be on FB and saw the status of one of my college roommates giving an update on the progress of her mother, who had suffered a stroke in late 2012 and who had come to stay with her on a full time basis. That got me to thinking, as we age, our parents do too. And as part of the sandwich generation, many folks are raising kids while assisting with elderly parents. And while if you are married, you may have some help shouldering the load, it’s much more difficult if you are a single person (with or without kids). My folks are in relatively good health for their ages (early 60s) however Myron’s mom left us way too soon at the age of 57 so it’s probably time for me to have that (morbid) chat with the parental units. Can’t say I’m looking forward to it.

Have you talked with your parents about their long term health care or retirement plans? If you are married, how are you handling it?

If you are single, what are you doing? And if you are single, how do you balance managing all of that and trying to date? Are you dating at all?

Thirty Nine

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Today is the last day of my fourth decade on this planet. I turn 40 tomorrow. I’m still unpacking that in my head. I. AM. TURNING. FORTY. YEARS. OLD.

I feel some kind of way about it ..I think.

It seems like yesterday that I was graduating from college, then hustling to find a job, then moving to Dallas for said job, then hating Dallas and running back home after 6 months, leaving my college boyfriend in the process. Then I dated a good friend that I’d known since college, then broke up with him, started and finished grad school, bought a house, ran the streets with my sorors and other girlfriends, traveled out of the country for the first time, had good dates and horrible ones and suddenly I was 30. It’s like my twenties were a blur.

At 39, the memories of my fourth decade are more crystalline, more frozen in time, more focused. I guess as you get older, you want to trap more of those memories in your subconscious.

In my thirties I:

• Sold my house
• Moved to Minnesota for my then boyfriend
• Proved to myself I could live somewhere else and have a good life
• Left a relationship that wasn’t going anywhere and moved back home
• Dated an ex (for the second time) that I shouldn’t have
• Got therapy when I needed it
• Went to the Bahamas and swam with dolphins
• Saw Prince in concert
• Bought another house
• Got laid off/fired a couple of times
• Lost my final remaining grandparent
• Met the coolest dude on the planet
• Planned and pulled off a wedding for 150 people
• Married that really cool dude
• Got a lesson about who is a true friend and who wasn’t
• Saw the Grand Canyon
• Became an aunt to my brother’s 2 adorable children
• Put my feet in the Atlantic, Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico
• Supported my spouse in the loss of his dear mother
• And really for the most part came into my own

I’m sure my life event list could be longer but those are some of the ones that really stick out to me. And that’s what is so wild, that’s just ten years’ worth of stuff. Now that I read that, I guess I don’t feel so uneasy about turning the big four oh after all. It might be just another day, but it’s another day I get to learn, growth, evolve and LIVE.

Now that’s worth celebrating, don’t you think?

On Mamas And Marriage

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I woke up this morning and looked at my FB feed and my Instagram and saw all of the pictures of kids and their moms and I was loving it all. It made my heart so full and it was so fun to look at my friends and realize from whence they came and see them looking like mini-me’s.

But in the Mack household it was bittersweet. It was very bitter for my dear husband. He lost his mom a year ago on May 9, 2012. Yep, right before Mother’s Day. It’s sweet for me because I am blessed to have my mom still here with me, to love on and to cherish.

So it was hard for him, and it was hard for me because it’s awkward when one spouse’s parent has gone to be home with the Lord and the others is still here. Especially when it’s the FIRST anniversary. Those firsts are always the hardest. And it’s hard because you don’t always know what to say. And so I was stressed out about it. And when we went to the store to get peach roses for his mom to place on her grave and to get a gift card to my mom’s favorite store, it just doesn’t seem fair. And it isn’t, because life isn’t fair. When he hurts, I hurt too.

But my husband is so wise and so brave, and he reassured me that I need not be subdued in my celebration of my mama. After all, that’s what I should do and he was happy to celebrate her, after she was his family now too. And I was able to exhale, and to relax, and to be thankful for the gift HIS mom gave to me: which is him. And this is why I love him so.

And so we remembered his mom with peach roses. And celebrated my mom with cards, gifts, a fine dinner, and lots of hugs and kisses.

Happy Mother’s Day Frances. Happy Mother’s Day Ruthie. Our love overflows for you both.

I’m Still Here

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My life hasn’t had too many words as of late but perhaps the pictures can speak for me.

We had a very good Easter:

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My mom and my niece in their Easter dresses.

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Miss Chandler is missing some front teeth!

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Happy Easter from the Macks!

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Daddy’s little girl.

It’s spring time in Houston (FINALLY) and Lent is over so it’s time for crawfish!! We went to the Pearland Crawfish Festival this weekend.

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Corn, potatoes and bugs..10 pounds worth!

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Lots of ducks to win a prize.

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The brothers Mack: middle, oldest, youngest.

And of course, everyone loves a Carnival!

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Hopefully it’s warming up where you are!

A Family Affair

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Yesterday, Myron was on FB and saw something his aunt posted about one of his family members which triggered a bit of internet sleuthing and ended up with him mapping out 3 generations of his family tree on Ancestry.com. The site is pretty slick, as it lets you view copies of public records such as draft cards, census reports and marriage rolls if they are available.

We spent a good portion of yesterday evening talking about what he’d found out such as:

  •  A female ancestor of his moved to the UK shortly after being emancipated from slavery.
  • A male ancestor fought in WW1 and we were able to see his draft card.
  • A great-great grandmother was married at least 3 times and we saw the various name changes on the census records
  • A great-great grandfather apparently fought on the side of the Confederacy!!!  He applied for a Confederate pension but was denied. Here’s a picture of the application.

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And we haven’t even started mapping my side of the family yet. I’m excited to see what I find out. I’m going to have to call my mama and take good notes.

Do I have any amateur genealogists out there? Any tips for us??

Odds And Ends: The Monday Edition

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I was laying in bed this morning, waiting for the alarm to go off and I had a jumble of thoughts in my head so here we go:

  • I was supposed to be reading 30 books this year, up from last years total of 25. I have failed miserably at this and going into Q42012 I am unlikely to reach that goal. But I have been reading, quite a bit actually. My Pocket app on my phone and my tablet is my new best friend. If I come across an interesting link on FB or Twitter, then I save it to Pocket so I can read it later. I’ve also started following 2 Twitter accounts @longreads and @longform, which tweet a variety of longer articles from the web on various topics from sports to technology to pop culture to literature. If I get stuck somewhere (like at jury duty a couple of weeks ago), I can always pull up something to read.
  • I might not be reading many books but it hasn’t stopped me from downloading them like a crackhead, though.
  • Do you consider yourself religious or spiritual? Do you attend church regularly? I ask because my mama was fussing at me last week about attending church. I must admit that our church attendance has fallen by the wayside in the last year or so. But just because I am not in church, doesn’t mean church isn’t within me. I still pray and I talk to God pretty frequently but I still feel some guilt around  the church attendance thing. I also think that Myron and I need a new church home, as our current church home (that we grew up in) isn’t really doing it for us anymore. This is going to require some more prayer, thought and discussion I think.
  • I went to a kid birthday party of Saturday. I immediately got drafted into refereeing kid disagreements and dealing with tattle tails. It’s not as easy as it looks. And my soror’s little boy (the birthday boy in fact) asked her the same question SEVEN different times. Yes, I counted them. I keep wondering if I’m equipped to be a parent.
  • I’m still having a struggle at my workplace. I’m still praying for peace about it.That’s all I’m going to say about that.
  • I had an interview for a really exciting position last week. Got some goot coaching from a Twitter friend too. I didn’t get it. Turns out they didn’t like ANY of the candidates that were sent over. And of course, no feedback to find out what you did wrong. I think the recruiter was more aggravated than I was. At this point, I figure if I am supposed to get another job then I will.
  • @OneChele over at Black n’ Bougie, did a insightful week’s worth of posts based on the Iyanla Vanzant’s Fix Your Life interview with Evelyn Lozada. Click on this tag: http://www.blacknbougie.com/search/label/Lessons%20learned and read all the posts from the week of September 17-21. You will be glad you did.
  • Myron and I have been eating a mostly Paleo/Primal diet since the beginning of August and we joined the gym. I can see the difference in how my clothing is fitting. Slow and steady wins the race for us.
  • Summer is over. Fall is upon us. I’m sad. Fall isn’t my fave time of the year.

That’s all I got. Got any odds and ends to share?

Trial by Fire

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I didn’t really know what to write. Partially because I didn’t really know what to say. When I took my hiatus, I did so because I was having issues at work and I was angry about that situation and didn’t really know I was going to handle it. I have a job I love and a boss that I don’t. I was griping and whining, yet I had to be a grown up about it and frankly I didn’t really want to. It was poisoning my home life and my husband was unhappy because I was unhappy. So I needed to bitch and moan…offline..and then get focused on my next steps. And boy have I gotten focused…I’m strictly business at work. My networking game is on full tilt. I don’t know if I will remain employed at my current employer or if I will be able to move around internally to a new role, but one thing I’m not doing…sitting around feeling sorry for myself anymore. I’m educated and I have choices. I’m going to exercise my right to choose.

But my trial by fire wasn’t over just yet. You may remember me writing about my wonderful in-laws in this post. In the short time I have been married, they have truly been an inspiration to me as to what marriage is really all about. However, on May 9th, my lovely mother-in-law was called home to be with God. We buried her on May 14th. And it hurts…it hurts so, so, so bad. It hurts me to see my husband in such pain. It hurt me to see my father in law have to bury his wife of 39 years. It hurt me to see my husband’s brothers and sisters have to say good bye to their mom. It’s a hurt that can only be soothed by the passage of time and as a brand new wife, there’s not much I can do to fix it. So, I listen a lot, laugh at the funny stories he tells, and encourage my husband to reminisce and  hold onto the memories while reminding him that there is no timetable on grief.

So life has been bitter for the Macks as of late. But I don’t despair for very long. Because I have him and he has me and very soon, life will be sweet…again.

A Christmas Day Funny

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My parents next door neighbors are from Honduras. They are really sweet, friendly  folks. They send my daddy tamales and have helped him fix my brother’s car and my mom sends over my niece and nephews hand me down clothes to their grandkids.

However, one thing my parents Honduran neighbors like to do is party. I mean Beyonce-style partay-ay-ay-ay! They don’t kick it a lot, but apparently Christmas Eve was a good a time as any for a throwdown. My parents said the music went on into the wee hours! My folks got NO sleep. LOL!

I mention all that because Myron and I went to my folks house for Christmas dinner. We pull up in the driveway and get out. I have my purse and gifts in hand and Myron was still behind me at the car, about to get the chitlins (that’s a WHOLE other story there) out. I had just made it into the garage when I hear someone scream, “Ayiiiiii!!!” I then hear “BUMP, BUMP, BUMP”!

I stick my head out of the garage and look across the yard. A friend of the neighbors had taken a nasty tumble between two parked cars in  their driveway. All around her are shards of broken Pyrex glass. She laid there dazed and confused.

I drop my stuff and sprinted across the lawn. Ole girl was still lying there on the driveway amongst all that damn glass! Myron got there to her first, so he and the neighbor lady who lived at the home were trying to lift the “victim” off the ground.  She kept mumbling something in Spanish and saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” in English. Finally my dad comes outside, sees what’s going on and comes over to help. She was like dead weight but finally they got her up. The neighbor lady slowly escorted our “victim” into the house. We came over to my parents house, came inside and promptly cracked the hell up.

So as a Public Service Announcement to y’all I’d like to share the following tips:

  1. Nylon knee-highs and yellow flip flops don’t mix.
  2. Being drunk off your ass while wearing nylon knee-highs and yellow flip flops will probably lead to you busting your tail on the concrete driveway and getting trapped between a Honda Civic and a Honda CRV on Christmas Day.
  3. It’s probably not a good idea to be carrying a Pyrex baking dish while wearing the aforementioned knee-highs and flip flops and being drunk off your ass….on Christmas Day.
  4. No more drinking on Christmas Eve.

That was the hilarious start to our Christmas Day dinner. Can ya’ll top that??

Living The Vows

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To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish ’till death do us part. And hereto I pledge you my faithfulness. –  excerpt from traditional Christian wedding vows

I am married. And I am a wife. But I am very young, in both my role and in my marriage. And though, no marriage is the same as the next one and we make the rules that work for the two of us, I am not too proud to continue to learn and get educated about what marriage is really about.

I mentioned briefly a while back that my mom in law has had some health challenges the latter part of this year. God is faithful and she is slowly recovering. But since I am mainly in a position of obervation, I have really gotten an education about the true meaing of marriage. When I stood up in front of 150 folks and in front of God and said my wedding vows, I meant them. But they were somewhat abstract, in the way simple words tend to be. But throughout this family crisis, I have had the distinct pleasure of seeing marriage vows in action.

My in laws have been married for 39 years. They have 4 children, of which my husband is the oldest.

To watch my father-in-law be there for his wife is truly inspiring. He greets my MIL with a kiss when he walks in the room, he sits for hours holding her hand, he cracks jokes trying to keep her upbeat, he encourages and pushes her with her physical therapy, and is constantly monitoring her and the care that the nurses give her. He’s constantly following up with the doctors and social workers. He sleeps in the pull out chair in her hospital room every night and I’m sure that’s not comfortable. Myron and his brothers had to MAKE him go home to recharge last week. Every action he takes is the epitome of love and respect for the woman he took as his bride so many years ago.

THAT my dear commenters, is a true example of living your wedding vows. Marriage is not always happy times, unicorns, glitter and rainbows. There are difficult times in a marriage, times when jobs are lost, money is tight and people get sick.

There is so much chatter on the internet and amongst people about relationships and what folks are and aren’t going to do when they get married,  what they should be doing to get a man or woman, what they bring to the relationship table, what they so-called deserve and how they aren’t going to be thirsty behind this dude or that chick.

But the fact remains until a crisis or trial happens to YOU, you don’t know how your significant other will react.

I hope you will have someone who will stand by you, when shit is good and when shit gets HARD. I hope that you will have someone who will wipe your eyes (or your ass) if necessary, because you can’t do it yourself. I hope you ignore what everyone says, and pick a man or a woman who does not just recite some vows, but actually exemplifies them. Myron and I have some damn fine examples in my in-laws.

I hope you are as lucky as we are.

The Point Of It All…

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I am thankful for many things this year, among them:

  • my husband and his unconditional, non judgemental, supportive love.
  • my mother and father and the example of their 41 years of  marriage.
  • my brother and his two beautiful children Caleb and Chandler.
  • my aunt Bren, who is the sister I never had.
  • my in laws, who have embraced me as one of their own.
  • gainful employment that allows me to pay my bills and do a few other things.
  • decent health and having insurance that will pay for any health challenges.
  • having all of my needs, and most of my wants supplied beyond measure.
  • the continued restoration of the health of my mom-in-law, who is as I type this able to walk unaided and continues to improve because of God’s grace and mercy.
  • my extended family and friends, who have both triumphed over adversity and celebrated victories this year.
  • my internet, Twitter, Facebook and blogland family, who continue to comment and be interested in the words of a chick from Houston, Texas who decided she had something to say. I am grateful that you read me, and grateful that you liked my words enough to stick around.
  • last, but certainly not least: God’s blessings, forgiveness and mercy.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll. Hug someone’s neck on Thursday.