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When I Grow Old I Want to be My Muttie

I wrote this last year on the 8th anniversary of Muttie’s death. So much has happened in our lives since that night but I still can’t believe it’s been 9 years since she left us. She was 90 when she died. I am 55 for a few more days. If I live until I’m 90 do you think I might actually learn enough, live enough, love enough, work enough to be my Muttie?

I used to say that when I grew older/old I wanted to be my Muttie. She was funny, beautiful, smart, kind and made every grandchild feel as though he or she was her favorite. I’ll never be as thin and gorgeous as she was, my skin will never look 30 years younger than it really is, I don’t spend the bulk of my time working in my yard but I like to think I can cook and bake along the same skill lines as she did.

I was her oldest grandchild and for 12 years, 11 months and 2 days, I was her only granddaughter. I used to ride my bike to her house and spend the day following her around, helping her work in the kitchen or in the yard, sew or whatever else she showed me. I heard stories, shared giggles and thought I was pretty special to get the time with her without The Boys and/or our cousins. I was sad to see Muttie and DadDo move to Eagle Mountain Lake because it put an end to my “Hanging Out with Muttie” days.

This is one of my favorite pictures of her (and my beloved). It was taken on Christmas Day 2000. This photo just oozes the love she had for her family, even family who were brought in, not born into, it. He loved her right back.

2000 Christmas

Muttie died 8 years ago tonight. She was ready. I was not. We buried her in a Texas snowstorm. She would have thought it was great fun.

Public Service Announcement


I love Thanksgiving and will be posting my Days of Thanks here on the blog beginning November 1.

Christmas, however, is my favorite. I’m nearing the completion of my Christmas Shopping and, for the first time in years, I’m working on Christmas Projects.

I was sharing with a young friend/mom on FB about our Christmas traditions so far as Christ and Santa are concerned. It’s a hot topic for a lot of folks but I always thought my parents handled it well. Terry and took from there and added to just as ours kids are doing now.

My mom started a tradition which is now in its 3rd generation in our family. The Magi brought 3 gifts. She, rightfully, maintained if 3 gifts was good enough for The King it was good enough for us. So we were allowed to ask for 3 things and because Jesus and Santa don’t like greedy children if one item was pricy the others better be cheap!

We read Luke before we opened gifts on Christmas Eve and we read A Visit From St Nicholas after we opened gifts that night. Colton is five. We have only been reading St Nicholas the past few years. I will be restarting the tradition of both readings this year.

We have added Elf on a Shelf to Christmas traditions these days. Both of the Grands have one. They aren’t really the tattletale kind of elves although Colton is pretty convinced his flies back and forth to the North Pole every night. Mainly they just show up in funny places around the house each morning so you know that they are watching all the time.

My mom made the Boys and me a Santa counter when we were young, I don’t remember a Christmas without it. I made one for my kids when Katie was still our only child and later I made one for Goddaughter Anna. I guess having cellulitis and having to sit with my foot elevated has its points since I now have time for Christmas Craft Projects. This year I am making a Santa Countdown Calendar for the Grands and their Uncle Chris. Chris doesn’t have any children, or even a wife, yet but the Santa Countdown Calendar will be ready for his Child’s First Christmas whenever that is…maybe in a decade or half?

The kids move a clothespin every night to count the days. Made of felt, with small felt cut outs, the counter is several feet long (hangs on our mantle) and has stockings, candy canes, Christmas wreathes and trees, and snowmen attached to it, each to represent a different December day. The last thing on the calendar is Santa.  Each evening the clothes pin is moved to the next little felt cut out as a way to count the days until Christmas. On Christmas Eve after Bible reading, opening gifts, thank yous, and St Nicholas, reading the kids move the pin onto Santa while we take photos and then they go to bed.

We look at stockings and Santa gifts on Christmas morning. We bake a birthday cake for Jesus and we sing Him Happy Birthday at brunch on Christmas morning.

It is a combination of Christ and Santa divided into separate pieces of the days but everyone knows who is the real Hero of the day and it’s not Santa.It’s been working in my family in this manner for 3 generations and I think we do a pretty good job of mixing the two while keeping them separate.

Do you blend religious and secular Christmases at your house? How do you handle it?


I started life as an only child. Before I was 38 months old I had not one but two little brothers. I was about 22 when my older younger brother joined the US Navy and moved away from Texas. He lived in various places over the next few years and I’m grateful he was never in a war zone. At 29 I lost my youngest brother and I was 53 when my remaining brother moved across country for a plum of a job and I found myself here as an only child for the first time since I was 21 months old.

My ringtone and text tone for David reflects my missing him. Each time I hear it I say a little prayer of thankfulness that he stayed safe in the 70s and 80s during the Iranian conflict, as well as, other conflicts the US found ourselves in. I also tell God thank you that in a week from today he will be celebrating his 54th birthday on the second day of his new job and he and Claudia will be back home, here in Texas, due to yet another plum of a job offer.

Guess I need to find another ring tone for him. Love you, Chubby Cheeks. I’m so glad you’re coming home. I’ve missed you being near.


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