Another Year…10,000 More Gray Hairs

It’s hard to believe that nearly eleven years have passed since Lex pulled me out of that storm ravaged river and brought me to her home to dry off and recover. Through rain and mud and exhaustion, we persevered until we made it to Lex’s ranch home. To our home. Our ranch. Our life.

Eleven years later, we have three children, formerly estranged relatives who have become family again, and family members who used to be strangers to us. Lex has changed from the lonely woman who bore the burden of running the ranch with only Martha as her calming influence to becoming the center of all our universes.

Lex is our life. She’s the reason we all became a family. We are all better because she took us into her heart. And she is better because she has been able to see herself as a loving, capable woman who means the world to each one of us. The one we want to be on our side when times are hard. The one we want to celebrate with when times are good. The one we’d protect to our last breath.

Still she doubts herself sometimes. Or doubts that she is enough for us. Or that she is giving us the lives we truly want. For years and years, only Martha was able to penetrate her thick head to let her know that she was precious and wonderful, and deserved a better life than she allowed herself.

But all that began to change when she went out to fix a fence on the far side of the property and ended up plunging into the swirling dangerous waters of that rain swollen river and brought my unconscious body out of my Mustang’s back window. She was my hero then and she is my hero now.

Most of all, she is my life. And each year that goes by is more precious than the last. Each addition to our family gives her even more of an opportunity to know herself as the generous center of our world that she is. And if we both survive parenthood, I hope she gets to see our children give to their families the same love, devotion, and spirit that she gives to ours.

The children. They want to stay up tonight to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Martha and Charlie will be coming over from their cottage. Martha complains that she’s a bit too old for such late hours. But Charlie ratted her out and told us how, on the cruise they took awhile back, that he had to drag her back to their cabin in the wee hours of the morning each night.

Ronnie and Nora are already here. Dad and Lois are on their way over, bringing much appreciated snacks and desserts for tonight. Ellie and Kylie, Jeannie, Rodney,and Teddy, my grandparents, and Roy and Helen will be welcoming in the new year with us. Hubert and Ramona promised to call.

The girls have made baby Eddie a Happy New Years hat our of construction paper. They even made a spare since he’s teething again and will probably slobber his first one to bits.

I may be older, see new gray hairs sprouting where I was all blonde all those years ago, but to me, each hair represents another moment and another memory of the love, laughter, and unrelenting joy that Lexington Walters brought to my life. To all our lives.

Amanda.

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What IS it with my girls?

Last night started well enough. Lex, Lorrie, Mel, and I had everyone’s favorite pot roast dinner. The girls chattered away about school, friends, little Eddie, Freckles and her penchant for leaving dead possums for Lorrie underneath the quilt at the foot of her bed. Same as always. Lex’s brother and future sister-in-law were spending the evening at Martha and Charlie’s. Who would have suspected?

I took Eddie upstairs for a bath and rocked him to sleep afterward. Lex and the girls had gone to the den where Lex reclined on the couch, promising to stay put and rest her back. The girls were deciding what board game to play.

As I carried Eddie from the bathroom to the rocking chair, I could hear it begin.

“That’s not your piece, Mel!” Lorrie insisted in her big sisterly way that drove her younger sister insane with the need to defy her.

“Yes it is. Momma said I could always have the blue piece ’cause it matches her eyes. Isn’t that right, Momma?”

I didn’t hear Lex’s reply. Personally, I thought she was trying to stay out of it. The chicken!

“You already have the yellow piece, you can’t change it now. Besides, I have the blue piece!” Lorrie’s righteous indignation was no match for her sister’s own version of reality.

“Momma never said that, did you Momma? You said I can have the blue piece when we play.”

The closer Eddie got to being asleep, the more my little “angels” argued with each other. I swear. Or should I say, I swore that if they woke Eddie up, they were in trouble. Eddie was about to sport a new tooth. So between his aching gums and all the attention, he was not his usual cheerful self, so putting him to bed early was an act of survival.

As I laid Eddie in his crib and thanked the heavens that he hadn’t stirred despite his sisters shouting from downstairs, I heard Mel shriek and bolted for the door.

By the time I was halfway down the stairs, I heard Lex shouting, the girls crying. Lex crying. Upon entering the den, I saw the three of them in a heap on the floor. Lex was on her knees holding both girls close. She was sobbing and apologizing. The girls were sniffling and subtling trying to edge each other away from Lex so that they could be the closest to her.

I stood there in the doorway and rolled my eyes to the heavens in exasperation. “Lorrie, Mel, go wash up and get ready for bed.” Off they went.

“Momma used a bad word, but she’s sorry, Mommy.”

“That’s ’cause you cheated, Mel.” Lorrie just couldn’t resist that last parting shot, could she?

“I did not!”

“Did, too!”

“Girls! Upstairs now!”

The mumbled, “Did nots” and “Did, toos” could be heard even as they both stomped up the stairs.

Lex was a mess. I spent the next five minutes convincing her that she wasn’t a bad mother because she yelled at the girls. They could try anyone’s patience. Sometimes I wondered if they needed to be yelled at once in awhile to be sure that we’re really paying attention.

Of course, in the midst of all that crying and wailing and apologizing, Lex strained her back, and I had to help her upstairs to bed.

So. How was your evening?

Amanda.

Catching up…My How Time Flies

I can’t believe it’s been months since I last completed an entire blog. It seems like every time I sit down to put my thoughts together there’s:

* A scraped knee
* A busted lip
* A bruised ego

And that’s just Lex.
The kids are another story. They figured out that if they stand on our toes when they talk to us, they get our immediate attention. I think it was something Lorrie taught Mel, because she stands on our toes to hug us, to complain about her sister or her sister’s dog, and to see who gets to hold baby Eddie next.

Baby Eddie. Forgot to mention the newest addition to our family. Hubert, who has reformed past our wildest dreams, is engaged and pulling his life together. But in a weekend of deep dispair when he thought his hopes for his future were dashed to pieces, Hubert succumbed to his weaknesses and over a year later, humbly asked us if we would adopt his son, Edward Lee Walters.

What a beautiful baby! He looks just like Lex and Hubert. This child will definitely turn heads. He already does. No one in our close knit family can resist holding him and carrying him around. Eddie will probably be in gradeschool before he figures out that he is supposed to be doing his own walking.

Actually, he is very bright, and I know that if he has Lex’s quick mind, there’s nothing he can’t achieve.

How do the girls feel? They are crazy about their little brother. Here are just a few examples of the conversations we’ve had about out newest family member.

“No, Mel, he doesn’t need a leash like Freckles does. He isn’t walking yet.”

“Bouncing baby boy is just an expression. Remember Teddy? Well, Lorrie, you don’t want to do that again.”

“No, you can’t feed the baby lime jello so that his diapers won’t smell so bad.”

“Lex is resting her back, Mel. Eddie is taking a nap. Lorrie is at Grandma and Grandpas for the afternoon. You’re stuck with me.”

Gotta love it!
Amanda