“Only You Mom!”

“Only you Mom!” is what our daughter, Allison, said with a laugh when I called her while standing on a sidewalk in Little Havana.  You know, Little Havana that’s a part the beautiful city of Miami, Florida. I will get to the story in just a minute! Hang on …..(Little sidebar inserted here: We have found that having an empty nest means that Briant and I get to travel together..just the two of us as a couple!  Not as parents : ) We did’nt really have a “regular dating” experience because we were dated with 4 children in tow !!  Seriously, for real. I know it sounds really old-fashioned.  We had a relatively short engagement because we had to get married to have time together! Just kidding, not really.  No, It’s true, the children were mostly always with us. We did go on a honeymoon to Jamaica alone, and I felt like a virgin bride I was so nervous.  We do know that could not be true because I had given birth to two children in my earlier marriage!

OK, so here goes the story… back to Little Havana.  Hubby and I took a little vacation to South Beach Miami just after Easter this year.   Just the two of us and it was great!  We stayed in a little Art Deco style hotel right on the beach that was probably built during the 1940’s.  It was awesome, and the weather was perfect. One of the things we like to do when we visit a new city is to take “an organized tour”. HaHa.  That seems so much like old people!!  We are old people!!  We particularly enjoy the double decker bus types.  The “Hop-On” “Hop-Off” kind which I highly recommend !  You really learn so much more about where you’re visiting.  We had a really good day touring around Miami Beach enjoying the gorgeous views of the water, the fabulous homes of “the beautiful people”, and a delicious lunch somewhere along the way!  Our tour ended in Little Havana (the Cuban area of Miami) and Briant and I decided to check out some of the little cafes along the street.  As we were walking along the sidewalk we heard some really good live latin music coming from somewhere close…  I absolutely love to watch good dancers, so I was thrilled when I spied a couple salsa dancing inside of this really small bar where a band was playing.  I told hubby we needed to hurry over to where we could see the dancers, and we did!  As we were standing outside of this popular bar “Ball and Chain” (btw it is a famous place) watching the obviously professional dancers in traditional Cuban dance costume, we noticed a second couple in the back dancing at a “slower pace”.  They looked fairly young, and they were wearing regular street clothes. Well….they were not just dancing, they were “pecking”at each other every now and then AND hugging quite a bit.  I found the scene kind of amusing myself so I took out my iphone and started “videoing” the whole scene. The first couple dancing were just amazingly talented so I took quite a bit of footage of them, and then I moved to the “other two” …. After a couple of minutes with my iphone held high in the air, a rather official looking person with a HUGE camera on her shoulder stopped me. She walked over and said, “Excuse me, you are not allowed to take videos here.”  I said, “Oh, why not?” She answered me with, “Because we are filming a tourism video.”  This of course just made me want to video them even more for some reason : )  By personality I am quite curious….SOO, I moved to a different spot in the crowd where I continued to video the second couple in the back.  They were just funny to me for whatever reason ? I guess I just could not figure out what they were up to…dancing by these incredibly talented professionals, and doing more “smooching” than dancing…. in the middle of the afternoon!  I figured there must be a really good story here and I certainly did’nt want to miss out ; ) I kept on videoing until Briant was obviously ready to move on down the street. As we were about to cross the street in Little Havana,  I heard a woman saying, “You know that was Rachel from “The Bachelorette” filming for next season!” I stopped in my tracks!  Well, I don’t watch television much at all, so I had no idea who Rachel was!  I called one of our daughters, and she immediately knew Rachel was the “Bachelorette.” Allison  laughed and said, “Only you Mom!” She asked me to send her the video.  I was so excited when Allison confirmed that I did indeed have “unseen footage of Rachel from “The Bachelorette”! HA! I was excited to have “a story” so I posted it on YouTube that very day. This was Rachel’s “Hometown date” with Bryan!   As of yesterday, my two videos posted from that scene have over 40K views so far!  What a fun memory from one of our first vacations as “just us”.  I knew then we certainly did’nt have to have 4 kids in tow to have a great time in Miami Beach ; )

Stay tuned …

The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

Yep, that’s what Gladys Knight said.  And it’s true, this family is the best thing that ever happened to me for certain.   Briant and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary last month which means the WilderNest is 17 as well!  How time has flown…I told someone the other day (I don’t remember who) that when you’re in the throes of raising children “the days go by slowly, but the years go by quickly.”  I remember those early years when  I was sooo busy, especially during the school years when all four kids had extracurricular activities.  I rolled around town in my minivan (later in my big SUV:) dropping off and picking up our kids until night many days. In addition, they visited their other parents regularly so the schedule was pretty tight around our home.  Believe it or not,  I loved every minute of our organized chaos..especially the carpool.  I’m sure our 4 will never forget the times when we were running late for school, and as Will recently said, “Time just seemed to stand still” for us.  And that was even if we stopped by the Burger King drive thru for breakfast !!  Of course time really did’nt stand still, but obviously those days were magical for our family… I treasure those magical moments, even that really bad day when we ran over our neighbor’s mailbox with our “then new” SUV…well, that’s definitely a story for another post : )

This summer has been good.  It has been a time of reflection for me, even though our schedule as a married couple has been extremely active.  My annoying chronic illness has reared it’s ugly head since about April which means a great deal of fatigue and tiredness.  Translation:  I have felt pretty rotten and had more down time than I would like.  My family has been amazing…I have felt the love and support from each of my loved ones even on my worst days.  We are closer than ever; and we still have so much fun when we get together…it seems like we never stop laughing.  Humor has always gotten our family through many times that really were not that funny!!  I believe every second of time invested in building “our nest” has paid us back with more love than I ever expected.  So really,  they are the best thing that ever happened to me.






As promised I bring you…WilderNest moves to a new tree

It has been a long month.  Thankfully, we do not know what lies ahead of us in life because if we did…well, it would probably be a bad time, as we say “downeast”. Seriously, this month has been full of both unexpected loss and unexpected blessings. My husband approached me a few months ago with the idea of selling our family home. He cited several very good reasons, and I listened.  This was BIG for both of us.  Big for him because he knew I might just run around wailing and crying like a big old baby if he brought up the idea of moving! I have to admit that did happen once:/ yikes !!

I did not wail and cry. Nor did I act crazy at all. Previous discussions about moving had not gone so well as I was truly irrationally stubborn. This time I really was open to the idea of building a home to suit our changing needs. I happily agreed we should just go for it and call our realtor guy ! I was really thinking to myself that certainly we had plenty of months before our home would sell…translated into plenty of time for me to get used to the idea of leaving behind my nest where we raised our family. Where so many happy memories were made. We contracted our lovely family home with the realtor and put the big and colorful “for sale” sign in our yard.  Spying our newly installed sign,many neighbors flocked to our yard to find out where “the Wilder’s are going !!!” Well, the unexpected happened ! Our house sold in what seems like just a few weeks to me. My mother says it was months… The excited buyers wanted us to be “out in 30 days”because they were ready to take possession of the WilderNest and move on with life. They even had a punch list of little things they wanted repaired in the house during those 30 days…what a whirlwind. So while Briant and the realtor diligently worked on the “dreaded punch list”,I was working on finding out just “who” was going to be living in our home. I was so happy when I learned the new family included at least one small child. I was so excited to know the neighbors would get to watch and enjoy another child grow up on Carefree Lane ; ). Still it was bittersweet leaving my home of 16+years. Briant and discussed feelings at length, and we both agree that  I have a problem equating my emotional security with “a house or a place”…subconsciously of course. Probably it started during my late teenage years… an insecurity about moving from one home to another.  Certainly during my first marriage I never wanted to move from that house.  Then, when Briant and I married in June,2000, I told my sweet new husband it would “take some time for me to bond with the house because I had lived in my former house 11 years”. He must have wondered  what in the world he had gotten himself into marrying me. Lol. If he did indeed have those thoughts about me, he never said a word. Briant was always patient and supportive of my issues and causes….as we like to say:) Our new family was our first priority from day one of our marriage. Fast forward a bit to the first weekend we were completely out of our house. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon when I received the phone call from my mother. My grandmother had died in her sleep just minutes before with family by her side. My grandmother  had suffered a long illness, but my mom said she passed from this earthly world very peacefully.  I could not believe she was gone, and for a few days I would think of something I wanted to tell her and then remember that I could not. Not right now anyway. I miss her so much.  Many of my favorite childhood memories include her as well as my other grandparents. They were all a large part of my growing up years and had a huge impact on my life. I feel so fortunate for having them all. I believe this was a turning point for me, losing my dear grandmother and leaving my family home. Both of these events were emotionally charged  and difficult yet I learned and grew from each experience. Memories shared raising our children and blending our family on Carefree Lane…and then all of the memories I treasure of time spent with my grandmother. I realize the memories are stored in my mind and not in a structure. I hold them forever in my heart no matter where I go.

The entire family is excited about building a home in a new subdivision where we can take our treasured memories and make new ones!

It is peaceful here in our cottage where I can see Bogue Sound from my window.  I have finally (at age 50) given up my irrational fear of moving ….I have always known that family and the people in your life are what is most important…not material things.  It is definitely the people “who make the nest”and not “the tree”that matters most.  I am certain I will handle any future moves just fine…well, as long as I’m not more than 20 miles from here : )

Briant and I are very thankful for the many blessings in our lives, and we are looking forward to Thanksiving with the four grown up kids and spouses : )… AND, we now have 5 fur grandkids !  Our nest will be full again for a few days…..just the way I like it. Hopefully, some human grandkids will visit the nest before too long !