Category Archives: Uncategorized

LESSON #73 – AN EXPAT ON 9/11

th-2.jpeg

Each of us has a story.

We were living in London, England on 9/11.  We were Expats.

My children were attending a US Department of Defense School on a Royal Air Force base outside of the City.

My day was slow going surprisingly.  I was having a cup of tea just looking outside the window at Hyde Park. It was a pretty day. The sun was shining and our apartment was quiet. I remember thinking I should take a walk down Oxford Street.

The phone rang. It was the kids. I don’t remember much after that but I was told to turn on the TV. I did. The horror that I saw would, of course, never be forgotten.  My husband called to see if I knew.  He was supposed to have flown out on a business trip to Madrid that day.  Plans changed.

Living abroad on 9/11 was difficult. Somehow I felt so alone. I wanted to be home to mourn and to watch the news in its entirety.

The British people were kind and were saddened along with all the American expats and we were treated kindly.  The Brits had, in fact, lost 67 countrymen that day.

At the American International Church of London, where we attended services, the Royal Family of Prince Andrew, Fergie, and children attended the service to give their respects. I don’t remember that service very well but I do remember tears and sadness and feelings of disbelief.

We lived around the corner from a street full of Muslim restaurants. Tables were normally full of men smoking their Hookahs and keeping to themselves with idle conversation.

On 9/11 and for weeks after, we would walk down this street and no one would be outside. These people had rolled up the sidewalks. It was eerily quiet.

The Queen held a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral on 9/14. Crowds of people came out to mourn all together and to show solidarity.    Prime Minister Blair, Former Prime Minister Thatcher and all of the Royal family were together to show their respects and pray together.  We couldn’t get in but we stood outside and listened to the words over the loudspeakers with several thousand others.  It was helpful somehow to know that the Brits mourned with us and all Americans.

At the changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace, the Coldstream Guard played the Star-Spangled Banner on 9/12.  The Queen had ordered this be done.  There were over 5,000 Americans and both the Americans and Brits were gathered together weeping at the atrocity of it all.

The kids came home early and did not return to school for many days.  The base became more secure and Passports had to be shown. The base was in a ‘Code Red’ status since it was an active military base.  No one knew at that point whether to expect more planes to appear unexpectedly above the skyline.

The BBC did not televise all the details as the US news had. I found myself starving from the lack of news coverage and turned the channels to get any news at all. Chris Matthews was televised on our cable and I hung on every word. It was never enough. I had so many questions.  That day we went to the Marriott downtown since they had American news stations on their cable.  People just sat there in silence staring at the news.  Like everyone else in the world, we were all in shock.

Being an Expat on this day and for weeks afterward, I felt out of place. Prior to 9/11 I lived in London and always felt at home. As kind as the Brits were to all Expats we were Americans now with a story to tell when we returned home.

On this day and for all the 9/11s ahead, we are Americans first and foremost no matter where we live.

My heart is full today as it is every 9/11.  I mourn for our loss.

God bless America. We won’t forget.

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , ,

LESSON # 71 – SPECIAL MOM DAY

17818122.jpg

Most of us probably have a special Mother’s Day that we hold on to.

Mine was when we lived in Phoenix.  My son was about 2 and my daughter maybe 4…I think.  My husband was on a business trip.

My two dear children came into my bedroom carrying a tray.  They had one piece of burned toast on a large plate.  The coffee cup was filled to the brim with cold water.  Coffee grounds were floating while Lauren proudly explained that she had made me a good cup of coffee.  Both children were proud of their accomplishment.  My heart filled to capacity and then some.  It still does to this day when I remember this special Mother’s Day.

Tomorrow is for all Mothers in all forms, all colors, all everything.  A day to remember Mothers who have passed and are no longer here to hug and give us guidance.  Missed beyond words.  Mothers in name only, Mothers who are yet to be and Mothers in the thick of it.  Young and Old.

So, we thank our Mothers,  but we don’t have to think long about all ‘we’ have done to deserve this special day.  Humbly I say.

I am reminded once again how it all began…this thing they call motherhood.  In my case, there was a lot of pushing involved without meds both times, and, in return, I have a nice homemade yummy breakfast once a year if I am very lucky!  Pushing…..pushing,  b r e a t h i n g  in and out, more pushing until insides feel like they are coming out along with a beautiful baby!  TMI?? Yes, perhaps.  Yay for us! All that work and a good breakfast besides.  Perfect.

It has been a ride and a lifetime of love, pain, love, guidance, hospital runs, love, worry, tears, heartbreak, love and maybe the best breakfasts one can only dream of!

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!  Enjoy!!  I, personally, wouldn’t trade any of it… for anything.  Except, perhaps, for the best dinner in the world!  Wait for it….my children are taking me out to dinner tonight.  Just the three of us.  What is better than that I ask you?

I am so excited!!

Love and Miss Both My Moms,

Leigh

(Some of this blog may have been republished because of lack of time but it’s ok since I wrote both!)

 

Advertisements

 

LESSON # 70 – LOOK INTO MY EYES

IMG_6372.jpg

I think I was always tired and the children kept me very busy.  I was considered an ‘older’ Mom.  I was almost 37 when my son was born.  Not old according to today’s standards!  A couple of years flew by as they do and suddenly my son was two and my daughter, four.

This was a precious moment.  I remember this because as young as he was, my son needed one on one attention from his Mother and I was wrapped up in everything else.  Not odd for a young Mother with young children.  My thoughts then are very much the same now when I think of that moment.

My son crawled onto my lap and put his little hands on my face and turned my face toward his own.  He stared at my eyes and we looked at each other for what seemed minutes.  We looked into each other’s eyes and very souls.  It was a moment I will never forget.

I stopped what I was doing and looked at this little child of mine and felt all the hopes and dreams every mother feels.  That moment, too, I felt guilty that my young child would feel that he needed attention and he had to show me!  He was beyond his years with the ability to say without words what he needed… to look into my eyes and see my love for him.  That particular day, sad to say, I had forgotten the most important job I had.

Today as a “Nana” I often think of that second in time so long ago.  Being part of the Senior Class, we now have much more time to give to our Grandchildren.  In my case, they are quite young.  I find myself looking into their eyes as I hold them close while telling them I love them.  Part of my ritual is to give each Grand a ‘million’ kisses and a big big hug when I see them.  I often hope each one will remember our special ritual because it is very special to me.

My Grandsons will grow up fast and feel awkward with my kisses and I fear that may be happening sooner than I want to realize.  Girls are easier.  They giggle when receiving their Nana’s love and kisses.

How often do we really look into each other’s eyes and see the love and the feelings we have for each other?  Eyes do certainly give a glimpse into the souls of those we love.  A loving light will shine there. We might see love but also, perhaps,  all the rest of our human emotions.  When you see love shining back from someone’s eyes, that is the most precious to always remember.

Our Grands will grow up just as fast as our children.  I am careful.  I stop what I may be doing and look into their eyes and make sure they know and feel my love.  It’s important to me.

My memory of my son on that day will never fade.  My memory of those I love looking into my eyes with love will never fade.  This may be what it’s all about!  Maybe.

Leigh

                                 “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within”

                                                                                                                              Maya Angelou

 

 

 

Tagged , , , ,

LESSON #69 – HAPPY PASSOVER!

th-2.jpeg

This year Good Friday has a different feel than last.

Easter has come a bit too fast for my liking and my mind has been on everything else except where the focus should be!

Easter is a time for celebration and our thoughts should be turning to Jesus who, after all, is what this weekend is all about!

This year, however, Passover and Good Friday is TODAY.  I have always believed we should celebrate Passover along with our Jewish brethren but we seldom hear about this most important Jewish holiday.  Sad, really, many Christian churches can’t celebrate this part of our Christianity as it coincides with Judaism.

“Good” is connected with Friday because Jesus died for all our sins…which is Good.  Sunday, Easter, HE rose from the dead and we praise HIM with thankfulness.

Today, we recognize Passover.  It is a festival to freedom; the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt.  Liberation by God of those led out of Egypt by Moses.

Passover begins today and ends on April 27.

So, for this weekend I will praise HIM and try to forget everything else happening in my life.  I will put aside any worries and put my trust in the Lord.  Gather around the table whether it be on Easter Sunday or for your Seder meal and give thanks!

HAPPY EASTER AND HAPPY PASSOVER.

Leigh

 

 

Tagged ,

LESSON # 68 – SPRING: THE SEASON OF RENEWAL

spring-clip-art-lrg_SPRING.png

 

It is Spring in Georgia.  This time I’m sure of it.

The trees surrounding our house are opening their new delicate light green leaves ever so slightly.  The daffodils are bending low and seem quite tired.  Our Japanese Maples are showing off their new red cloaks.

Birds are chirping their hellos, “I’m back!”, with friendly but worldly sounds. We have seen our very first Hummingbird of the season!  The feeder is hanging ready to attract any more newcomers.

It has been a very long winter in so many ways.  The weather has been abysmal.  So much rain, no snow, no ice storms and just grey sad days.  Everyone has said so and so it must be true. Generally, I love grey days when nothing has to be accomplished but this year it was the norm.  Glad to see them go.

Spring is a new beginning to be sure.   A new baby has joined our family.  Love gained for others and, perhaps, love lost.  I can’t help thinking that this year will be a new beginning.  I’m counting on it.  My ‘to do’ list is long so I tell myself to STOP OVERTHINKING and get on with life wherever it takes me and whatever it throws my way.

Spring fever!  A relationship expert, April Masini, writes that “spring is still for humans what it is for animals: a time to get out there and meet potential mates.”  Interesting.  You singles?!  Do you hear? No matter what your age, love may be near.  It is fleeting so don’t take it for granted.  Treat it with respect.  It is a gift.

So many of us have been housebound for months and now we want to go out into the warmer air. Walk the beach, the Boardwalk or the Park with our face towards the sun.  Feel the warmth and the love surrounding us.

Our questions and disappointments from yesterday and our fears of tomorrow must be put aside while we enjoy what is happening right before us. It is not always clear. But…

“Don’t wait for someone to bring you flowers.

    Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul”

                                                                                                  Luther Burbank.

HAPPY SPRING READERS!

Leigh

 

 

 

 

Tagged , ,
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: