Her knows her numbers…

I have had the love and support of wonderful family and friends throughout my entire life. They have given me complete and unconditional love. While most family members are connected by birth and genetics, some are connected by choice. This week’s post centers around one of those “choice” family members.

My best friend has been one of those forever friends…46 years and counting…Her family has been my second, adopted, family – by choice. And my family has become her second family; again, by choice. In fact, when we would meet someone new, my Mother always introduced my friend as a daughter, saying that she had been her “easiest” birth. We always laughed each time she said that. 

You share quite a few spectacular moments in that many years of friendship! One of the privileges and honor that has fallen my way, is that I get to be an Aunt to her nieces and nephews. Today’s post is about “our” niece, Sarah Adison. From the moment that she was born, we knew she was going to be exceptional. She was so adorable…an “easy” baby; good-natured; always smiling; and never demanding. She was such a little conversationalist as a child. She was so smart that we all thought we might need to take some educational refresher courses just to keep up…

She and her Mom would occasionally stop by our offices to visit. We always kept a CD of Dr. Seuss and Winnie the Pooh stories for her enjoyment. On one particular visit, when she was 3 years old, we were about to watch “Green Eggs and Ham” on my computer. Sitting in my lap, as the computer was booting up, she turned to us and said, “The computer is reading the CD so that we can watch it.” Over her head, my friend looks at me in astonishment, and mouths, “Is that right?” Of course, I responded with a shake of my head…YES, that’s right!! And only 3 years old…

We knew when she started school, that she was going to absorb every morsel of knowledge available…and then some!  She was taught in Pre-K by her own Mother, and a little boy from their church was in the same class. He was mesmerized by Adison. He came home from school one day, and talking about Adison to his mother, said in awe, “Her knows her numbers!” We got such a laugh out of this sweet little guy’s words.

We have watched these past 12 years as she grew and matured into a dynamic, well-balanced, young lady. She had apparently established educational goals for herself (since the 7th grade), and certainly, she exceeded them. We attended Class Day last week, and WOW!!! The number of accomplishments and honors that she received were simply overwhelming. As a family, we learned of her perfect scores in national and state tests…maintaining a scholastic score of 95 or better since the 7th grade!! We teared up when she was announced Valedictorian…and welled up again when it was publicly noted that on campus, she is simply known as “Friend.” That’s her nickname!! So you see, she seems to have it all…the smarts and the heart!

She will graduate this coming week and I wanted to honor her publicly. She will never know the depth of our joy, pride and love.

So yes, her DOES know her numbers…and her A, B, Cs…and her Calculus, and her Physics, and her Latin, and her Greek, and pretty much anything else in the world!! This lovely young woman was told from the very beginning that she could do anything, be anything…as long as she was willing to work for it. And, oh my, did she work for it! And why not excel? She was given love, support, guidance, prayers, and faith by her family. Now she is ready to begin the next “phase” of her life – college. What an adventure!! Won’t you join me in celebrating her accomplishments and the beginning of this next chapter in her life? Just for this week…Sarah Adison, you ROCK!

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I just could NOT kill her….

Today is Mother’s Day, and most of you know that means I am experiencing the loss of my Mother on this special day for the second time. The hole in my heart is still the same, and there is not one day that passes when her memory is not present. She lives inside my head and heart and will be forever thought of and missed. So…you know today’s post will be about Mothers, but I’m certain I have your curiosity piqued with the title. Let’s begin…

Living on the lake has a lot of positives; however, in the Spring, there can be a “few” negatives…the return of wasps, bumble bees, mosquitoes, and…snakes!! Our first year up here, as Spring came into full bloom, we noticed a huge snake around our stones (riprap) by the bank, close to the entrance of the dock. Each morning, going out to the dock to drink our coffee, we would see that big snake in the water. Being unfamiliar with TN snakes, we came to the conclusion that the snake was a water moccasin. It had the same markings, and as best I could tell, the head appeared to be diamond-shaped. I knew that I was going to have to kill the snake, because I did not want to take the chance of it making its way up into the yard, and biting either us, or our little pup. (Just an aside here…being such a nature and animal lover, this was a difficult decision for me. I do not kill animals…even snakes.) So, how do you kill a snake in the water, when you don’t have a gun?

I shared our plight with a neighbor who offered his air rifle. He brought it over, and talk about an air rifle! Wow! He had made some “modifications,” including a scope. It looked like an AK-47! He commented that he might need to show me how to use it, and I very patiently and attentively listened to his instructions. (He was having such a good time “educating” me, that I did not have the heart to tell him that I was taught ALL about guns at a very early age. I was raised on a farm, and we were all taught how to shoot a gun, as well as ALL safety rules. I’m a pretty good shot, even if I say so myself…) So, after the “lesson,” he said, “Let’s load it, and you take a few practice shots.” I loaded the gun, gave it a couple of pumps, and asked him what would he like me to shoot (to show him that I could “handle” the gun…). While I was thinking he might want me to aim at a specific target, he just said, “Try to hit that little tree over there.” I put the rifle to my shoulder, took careful aim, and hit the little tree dead center. He just stared at me and said, “I think you have it!” I chuckled to myself and he went on his way.

For the next few mornings, I would get up, get the rifle, and go out to the dock. Holding the gun downward, with my finger near the trigger, I would walk back and forth on the dock looking for that snake. You may be assured that the fisherman in nearby boats gave me wide berth…In fact, it seemed everyone in the neighborhood knew of my intended mission. Neighbors everywhere were asking me if I had killed the snake yet. Finally, one morning, I saw the snake close to the bank, with it’s head up out of the water, just “sunning.” Very carefully, I raised the rifle up to my shoulder and got the snake’s head dead center in the crosshairs. I took a deep, calming breath and was about to make the shot. Just as I touched the trigger, I saw a very tiny snake swim up to the big snake. The big snake turned its head and nuzzled the little snake. In that moment, I realized this was a Mother snake, and the little snake was her baby. As hard as I tried, I COULD NOT pull the trigger!!

Now, I know you are probably saying, “Cat, it was a SNAKE!! And snakes don’t have emotions or feelings.” But you did not see what I saw. I am telling you, that Mama Snake kissed her baby!! There was no way in the world that I was going to kill that mother. I knew, in time, that they would go somewhere else, and that when we got in the water, we would make so much noise and movement, that the snakes would go far away from us. I later found out that the snake was not a water moccasin, but simply a non-poisonous TN water snake. My decision to not kill was a GOOD decision!

So here is my point for this week. I think that there are a lot of humans out there who need to take lessons from some of the animal kingdom. Whether you call it love, or instinct, the bottom line is that most of them take care of their babies. They feed and protect their babies, and yes, they also nurture and give them affection. We always use the phrase, “just like an animal,” when describing certain negative human behavior. I would contend that it is indeed a compliment when someone uses that phrase. I hope that someone will say about me, “She is just like an animal…” I think I would like that description. Let’s think before we kill and destroy! Let’s remember that even animals have mothers…Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day! Won’t you join me? Just for this week…