Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas 2012 with Dotty...

This past Christmas was a great one for me and Dotty! We got to spend a lot of time together doing things that are really important to me.

December 23rd we went for a carriage ride through the lights with Presley, Keri, Memaw, Raymond and Linda McCoy, and Ty and Kelly (Knottingham) Smith. I LOVE Christmas lights and that night was very special (except Jake was sick but it was still great). Dotty loves lights too and she is a huge Kelly Knottingham fan! She LOVES her some Kelly!!! Kelly is the one that takes the girls pictures for the Pecan Shed and she has caught some of the best shots of Dotty. (As many of you know my child does not smile for pictures very well. She either looks like she is in pain or her underbite shows up. She gets that photogenic quality from Tony...and he knows it!) Kelly lets Dotty just be herself and she is there to capture Dotty at her best. Plus Kelly has a strong love for animals...something she and Dotty share!

Christmas Eve Dotty and I did presents with the "Montz" side. Papa, Memaw, Keri, and Presley all came over to my house to open gifts with us (Jake was still a bit sickly). The girls didn't fuss or fight (a Christmas miracle) and even showed enough restraint to make it until after lunch to tear through presents. They even took turns opening gifts this that is a gift in and of itself! I got to actually SEE what Dotty got this year instead of ducking and dodging bows and bags when the paper started flying! Later that day since Tony was still working I got to take Dotty with me to Christmas Eve church service. Nothing made me happier than holding my (almost 50 pound) baby girl and listening to her belt out the chorus...

"O come let us adore Him" the top of her lungs! That girl can rock a Christmas carol! Dotty even went down front to sit with the other kids while the preacher talked to them. Dotty has never even been to the church I went to that night before (I have not been many times) but she has no fear! I love that about her!

Then Christmas Eve night I got to sleep next to her and watch her see what Santa had brought her the next morning. (I am so thankful that Tony, Brittany, and I know how important these times are and we are willing to share them with each other. We may not always be able to have "Christmas Eve Sleepovers" Brittany of us will someday need a bigger house...but for now it is all about seeing Dotty's face on Christmas morning...and trust was a happy face.)

After Santa gifts...Dotty went with me and Tiffany (Biggs) Seel to deliver fudge and pecans to the firemen that work on Christmas Day. This is my 4th year to do this and to have Dotty along with me was a joy (although she got restless at the end). I want Dotty to see that Christmas is not about what you is always about giving. Firemen are so special to me (I know so many of them and several work for me at the Shed) and so I try to give to them when I can. Plus when Dotty was scared of firemen on a school trip to a fire station I had several firemen friends offer to show her around the station many times so she wouldn't be afraid. They gave of their I like to give of my fudge! :)

Then later on Christmas Day it snowed!!! In Dotty's five short years she has seen TWO white Christmas Days. That is pretty cool. I love snow and getting to be with Dotty on Christmas morning while the snow falls is so wonderful to me.

After Dotty went with Tony I was able to go home and rest...which I so needed. Retail season is hard on me during the holidays but I try never to appear too tired to Dotty. So an extra day or two of rest did my body and my spirits good!

Tony and Brittany also got engaged on Christmas Day! Dotty and I love Brittany so much and I could not have chosen a better person to be my little girl's step-mom. Brittany loves Dotty with all her heart and as Dotty's mom that is all I could ever ask for! I know Dotty is going to make one cute flower girl when she walks down that aisle with her little sister Dylann! So happy for that side of Dotty's family!!!

So Christmas 2012 was one for the record books! My gift was a happy, healthy, and truly loved little girl...who believes in Santa, sneaky elves, angel kisses, and most of all Jesus Christ...the real reason for the season!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Remember Today is a Good Day...

This past Friday was a hard one. With all the violence in the elementary school in Connecticut, I had such a hard time wrapping my mind around the situation. How could someone do something so terrible…to anyone…but especially to children?

Friday was a day when Brittany was supposed to get Dotty from school and I was not going to have Dotty back with me until Sunday afternoon. Thankfully Brittany is an amazing person and mom and she understood when I called to tell her I just needed to see Dotty…if only for a few minutes. Today of all days…I needed to hug and hold my precious child.

So I went to Dotty’s school to get her from class. I let the tears fall all the way there. I thought of all the parents and especially all the mothers who would not get to pick their kids up from school again. It was a thought my heart could not bear. I sobbed…for those that had lost so much. I prayed for their families and for God to hold them in His arms and give them all the comfort He could so they could make it through the next day, hour, minute…moment. I can’t imagine how I would even begin to go on after a tragedy like that.

Before I walked into Dotty’s room I composed myself…wiped my tears…and put on a smile. Dotty would never understand what happened and I didn’t want her to see it written all over my face. (I have always tried to shield Dotty from the bad things in life…whether they were things going wrong in the world as we know it…or in “our little world” as we know it. I have always tried to be strong for her and never let her see me shaken. Now whether or not that mentality is right or wrong I don’t know but it is a rule I have followed. I try to be her rock…steady and strong…always.)

As I grabbed up Dotty for a “hello hug” I just didn’t let go. I carried her all the way to the car (even though she is getting quite heavy at this point). I held her in my arms for some time once I sat her in the car. And the amazing thing was…she let me hold her. She sat so still and quiet and just let me hold her (which as most of you know 5 year olds are busy…they like to move and they like to talk…especially Dotty…she LOVES to talk!). But this time we both just sat in the car holding on to each other in silence.

Then Dotty whispered to me “I could hug you forever.”

Well my rock status waivered. I shed a tear and bit hard on my lip. Then whispered, “I love you more than you will ever know.”

At that point Dotty pulled away and turned back into her typical 5 year old girl self. She rattled on about her pajama day at school…what everyone was wearing…how good the movie was…how much she liked the hot chocolate and popcorn. Then she ended by saying “Today was a good day Momma.”

I sat so still thinking…not for some. Today was the worst day ever for some.

But for my kid…today was a good day. And for me…any day on this earth that I get to know that my kid is happy, healthy, and safe is a good day.

No matter what.

No matter what happens at work. No matter what my checking account says. No matter what the scales say. No matter how I feel physically. No matter what.

I can get bogged down in a million little things that might make me think a day is “not a good day” but no matter what…if Dotty is good…then the day is good.
I have got to remember ALWAYS to not take life…especially the life I share with Dotty…for granted. Not even for a moment. This life is too short as is even if we live to be 100 but it is especially too short if tragedy cuts it short. We are not promised tomorrow and I need to make sure every day is a day I treasure.

I am borrowing this next line from “Hands Free Momma” which is a blog I follow…she wrote…
“While I cannot control what happens once they leave my side, I can control what happens in those sacred minutes before we say good-bye.”

Then she made a point to always stop and hug and kiss her kids before they leave no matter what! No matter if they are late…if it is raining and they are getting soaked…no matter what. She even made a sign with her kindergartener that says “XOXO – Before You Go!” which is now on their back door to remind them to always take the time.

I plan to make one of those signs too. It is always good to remember to tell your kids…and to tell everyone…how much you love them. Because we don’t know when it will be the last time we see them.

I know Friday was a horrible day. I am not trying to say otherwise. It makes me cry just typing this up right now. I can’t imagine such a loss.

But I am always reminded when I hear of any senseless loss of life that I don’t know why things like this happen. But I do know that I need to cherish Dotty more every day. Because every day I have with her is a good day.