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This blog is about what happens to a former newspaper photographer when she becomes a mama and moves home to raise her kids. I'm a wife to my best friend Michael who is a photographer for the Tulsa World. I am a mama to two beautiful girls who make me laugh every day. I was born and raised in Oklahoma and I think it's a wonderful place to raise our children. I was a newspaper photographer for 13 years before leaving to stay home with my girls. One of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I am blessed with the ability to stay home with the girls mostly but also freelance photography some. Sometimes I can't believe I'm actually getting paid to do something that is so fun! I recently heard someone say "I spent my 20's thinking I knew everything and I have been spending my 30's proving myself wrong." I relate so much to that because I realized a while back that I spent my 20's thinking mostly about myself and my career and I have spent my 30's mostly thinking about our children and how I could stay home with them more and work less.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

THE HOUSE THAT BUILT ME:
Attended another funeral today. It was LaRue McCrackin's funeral, long time Mannford Elementary secretary and grandmother to one of my dearest and most precious friends, April. April belongs to what I lovingly refer to as my "Mannford gang" which really applies to all my friends from my Mannford days. I've known some of these people since before I can remember and their parents knew my parents. Going to another funeral for someone from Mannford this year not only made me sad for losing another wonderful person but it also had me reflecting on my life growing up in Mannford. I grew up at 109 Hinton and thanks to my mom and dad I have nothing but fond and wonderful memories of that house. I can even look back fondly at the time my dad grounded me for the entire summer for making a D in Mrs. Larsen's 5th grade class. I still have people remind me of seeing me swing out on the front porch swing and wave as they would walk by. How sad! I never got a grade lower than a C again.
My mom's sister lived a couple blocks one way and my dad's sister lived a couple blocks the other way and I couldn't get away with anything without someone finding out about it. My parents let my class build the homecoming floats at our house every year I was in high school and they would take in kids like they were their own. I mean really it kind of blows my mind when I realize my mom was younger than me when I was a teenager. I'm 38 so that means I was 21 when my mom was my age. Really, really blows me away at what a great job she did raising my brother and I. She made sure 109 Hinton was full of love and laughs and really what else could a child need? It took me becoming a mother to really respect what she did for me all those years and the sacrifices she made.
I feel a little silly when I get all choked up at Miranda Lambert's song "The House That Built Me" but it really gets me every time. It's not only the house that built me but the town also. Not sure I would be the same person if I hadn't had all those people in that little town looking out for me. People like LaRue while I was in Elementary school who would help me call my mom at the Flower Shop when I was sick as well as countless others who did little things along the way to show love and grace. I mean think about it....my dad was 30 years older than my mom and to this day not one negative thing was ever said to me about it or as far as I knew nobody ever placed any judgement on me about it and if they did my parents did a great job of sheltering me from those people because I never felt anything but love. Hmmm??? Maybe I'm clueless which is highly likely and in most cases very true but still I credit my simple little upbringing for that. I have to admit that I'm not sure what I would think if my 8 year old daughter had a friend who had a mom who was 26 and a dad who was 56. But never kept me from having friends or having friends come over. In fact, seemed just the opposite, our house was always full of kids and families hanging out.
As most of you know my mom died of a heart attack in July and my dad, who is almost 86, has stage 4 bone cancer. It's weird though, I'm sad some but mostly extremely grateful for what I was given. I have my moments of deep sadness but for the most part it's making me more thankful. I miss my mom deeply and so wish she were still alive but I'm incredibly thankful for the wonderful memories she created for me and thankful for my childhood in Mannford. Wouldn't change a second of it if I could.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this reflection with us, Brandi. Funny thing you mentioned about your parents' age difference, I think most of us were so simple, it never occurred to us. And that may have been the very beauty of growing up in a place like Mannford. Your mom was indeed a wonderful human being. I'm not sure I ever saw her without a smile. Kinda reminds me of another Okie mama I know.

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  2. Beautiful post. Beautiful home. When there is love there is no age difference.

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  3. Sweet Brandi.....wow friend, what an uplifting post! This is one of my favorite songs and I too cry every time I hear it. It's so true about a home building a person....so much happens under the roof and full credit goes to your mom and dad for it! I love your smile and your ability to sense when we all need to hear something like this to make us realize that life is too short. God blessed you at 109 Hinton with a loving family that is reflected in your daily life now. ((HUGS))

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  4. Thank you for your wonderful comments and for taking the time to read my post.

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