Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Me with
Michael and Ben at Michael's Wedding
I always wanted to have a large family.  I wanted to be the kind of mother I wished I had had. In short I wanted to be a perfect mother. A good mother. My mother died in childbirth.  I lived with my loving aunt and her family for my first 9 months. After that amazing experience I spent 13 yrs living with one abusive step mother after another til I moved out at the age of  fourteen years old. I knew how I wanted to be because I had a daily example of what I knew I didn't want to be like for almost my entire childhood.
Brittany, Brooke, Chandra and Deborah
 Loving my children came easily to me. That was only half the battle. To actually do the work of mothering I spent an enormous amount of time reading books and talking to other mothers of various ages. What I know now that I didn't know then was that being a motherless daughter makes being a mother a bit more difficult. I had no daily example of what to do in any given example. I had no frame of reference. I had no memorybank to pull  "oh my mom used to do thus an so"  from, so I was a bit lost as a young mother and afraid to admit it or look incompetent. So I over compensated and tried to be perfect in every way. Me and Mary Poppins pratically perfect in every way!! Hahahaha. NOT!! (as my kids would say) 
Brooke, Debs, Chandra, Brittany Tonight is going to be a good good night!

 I knew how to cook, clean and take care of a house. That was easy. That was something I had been doing since I was nine years old. I was Cinderella. That wasn't a story. That was my life as a child. I knew how to be a housekeeper. What I needed to figure out  was how to add my love for my kids into the knowledge and ability to keep house. I needed balance. I wanted to learn to play with my kids and relax. RELAXING is key I think. Taking time to just stop and spend time with your children is so important. Finding a balance seems to be the work of mothering. I am not saying I didn't do it...I feel I didn't do it well enough.

 You know how people always compliment parents and say " You should be so proud of your kids" or "Wow great job on your kids" or " You have done such a good job raising your kids" I have always felt awkward recieving compliments on my  mothering. I don't feel like I deserve the compliments. I feel like my kids deserve them. In some respects they raised me! They were wonderful children to have and  yes grow up with ! Yes! I meant grow up with. I feel like I grew up with my kids. Infact I feel like I still learn so much through my relationships with them now.
One thing is for sure, they are loving, responsible, affectionate, hilariously, friendly over achievers who are well- loved among their family and friends. This is a wondeful testament to them. I love them.

Brittany, Chandra, Me, Maureen, Debs and Brooke


being a mother

Growing up ! Wow. Lots of ideas pop into my head when I think about that phrase and what it has meant to me. It, growing up, I mean has been a long process and a path that has been quite difficult for me. I was born into a nice little family. Mother, Dad and two older sisters. I had a great family support system in place while in utereo. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and we lived not far from all these relatives so there was a lot of "family" life. The night I was born my mother died delivering me. It wasn't a common thing then either. She hemmoraged from an amniotic embolism.  They could not stop it. Irreversable. And so my life as it could have been changed totally in the first hour that I was born.
Growing up "motherless" is a lot of hard work. There is always research. Granted when you have mothers you are still researching what the latest ways to discipline our kids are, what the best ideas about education are, what clothes you should buy for your kids,
what doctors are the best....all these things are important but many many other women have input from their mothers...women that have raised them that love them, honor them and trust them and visa versa. I didn't have that relationship. So I spent an inordinate amount of time watching other girls with their moms and mothers with their mothers and learned "how to be"
Being a Grandmother is rewarding in many ways one of which is watching my daughters and son lovingly mother my grandchildren.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Sometimes I find myself suddenly awake in the middle of the night. I can't figure out why. Lately, I have been laying quietly in my bed listening to the surrounding sounds outside our bedroom screendoor. I know you are thinking screen door in November right? Well we are at our place in Costa Rica right now. Most of our days are spent outside and every night we fall asleep to the sounds wafting up from the pastures around us and the oceans constant crashing on the rocks at Bejuco Beach.
Last night though I was sure that someone was walking around outside.  Quietly opening the sliding screen door, not wanting to waken my husband incase there wasn't someone there, I walked to railing and peered over. There below me was an armadillo snuffing around in the dirt below. When they walk around it does sound as if someone/human is walking around. It heard me I guess, looked up and went about its business finding insects in the holes he was making in my garden below. Ok, no worries it can't climb up stairs,well at least I think it can't. I will have to find out.
The sun came out this morning casting its golden glow on our pastures. If you look down from the terrace to the property below, you can see the morning mist as it lifts and the golden glow of sunshine that replaces the mist. The sunshine covers the tips of the pastures trees and shimmers in the balmy waves of air that hover in the morning over our pastures as the glow floats up the mountain side of our property. When the grandchildren are here this is what I hear each morning as they suggle into bed with me..."Gran! Gran! its almost the golden hour hurry so we don't miss it."
Then they run to get their little purple plastic chairs and we sit and watch the change from dusky cool dawn to sunlight early morning. I miss those little ones in the morning. Another day in paradise begins.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Six years ago when I seriously began writing, my first grandaughter, Lara Olivia Perry was due. I flew to the west coast hoping to get there in time for her birth but was a few hours to late. No worries I was there for day one. I got up each night with Chandra and Lara so that after nursing, her mama could go back to sleep. Lara and I spent many a late night those first three weeks, walking around in the dark, whispering about all the adventures she would have growing up or rocking in the slider as I sang her to sleep. Then, taking her into my bed we would sleep until she woke again for another nursing.  I loved this special time with Chandra and Lara.
It was the beginning of a new chapter in my life where I could be the kind of mother/grandmother I always wished my children could have had when they were little. My mother died in childbirth having me. My two maiden Aunts Joyce and Doreen were the closest thing to a grandmother that my children had around them growing up. They were amazing and so loving to my children. They are well loved to this day. However, it is not the same as having a mother who knows what it is like to be a mother, around you when you become a mother. It is different.

As far back as I can remember I wanted to be called GRAN when I reached that delightful time of my life.  When the time finally came I told my kids that I wanted them to teach Lara to call me Gran. My son in law Hilton, who loves to joke and entertain us all in some fashion or other all the time, started calling me Old Gran.  Actually, I am the younger of the two grandmothers these children have, by 12 yrs! Lara would laugh at her papa, copying his tone and would try calling me Old Gran, only she said "ole" instead of old and it stuck so now I am Ole Gran. Its cute.
Lara nicknamed herself Lamilu a couple of years back and many of us often shorten it and call her Lami. I liked it so well that I used it for my email lamisolegran@yahoo.com  Now Taelyn McKenna Rae has joined the ranks and calls me Ole Gran as well. Being a grandmother rocks.
I have to my way of thinking, 7 children Chandra (32), Ben (31) , Michael (29), Brittany (27), Brooke (24), Deborah (22)and Anthony (20) a foster child we had for almost three years. Luckily we are still in contact and he is coming to visit us this year in Costa Rica.
I am happily married to Edmund Rhodes. He has two daughters Eliza and Ashley who has one son, Liam.  The past few months we've been travelling around the country-side visiting various families and enjoying our kids and grand kids.
Now we are back in Costa Rica. We own and operate Rhodeside Bed & Breakfast  and Espresso Cafe (http://www.rhodesidebedandbreakfast.com) on the west coast of the Nicoya Peninsula. We love it there.

The parrots outside are chattering at the magpie jays who are nattering at them as well. My Ani bird is quietly perched on the railing watching me. I call it my Ani bird because over the last year or so it has taken a shine to me. It flies onto our porch early each morning standing at my screen door singing to me until I get out of bed, then it cocks its head to one side and flies away as I head into the bathroom. This is how I start most mornings here in Costa Rica.
So that is my start!
Lami's Ole Gran