Just like she's been since her extremely early arrival, is still resilient and continues to amaze me to this very day, twenty one years later.
I bet she didn't say a hundred words before she was four but hasn't stopped talking since.
Close doesn't come near to describing our relationship and feel mighty grateful it remains to be close twenty one years later.
She's seen me at my worst and seen me try my best. One thing she's never seen me do is give up. The last six years have been the toughest of my life but she was right there with me, never complaining once about what we didn't have.
The past eighteen months or so have worked together and laughed every single day every single shift, from the time we left the house until the time we rode the shuttle back to the car. Then we laughed on the way home.
How many mother's get lucky enough to experience that?
Not nearly enough.
We're climbing our way back up and well over halfway there. It was time for a celebration.
We planned on having Massey's 21st birthday at my sister's house. Been planning to since learning we all were moving to Orlando.
So amidst working crazy long hours at work, maintaining and beginning to pack up the house, threw the party together at the last minute...Clampett style.
I was worried about a possible low turnout, we live so far south from so many people but had a "Wild Draw Four Card" in my back pocket, just in case.
Two years ago, Massey met a lovely girl from England when they were counselors together at a summer Girl Scout camp. Last summer the girl came to visit us for a week and even dared to stay with us. It was an awesome visit.
Fast forward to early this spring. Her friend contacted me privately in a message to say they were vacationing (taking holiday) in the states and would be flying out several days after Massey's birthday and would love to surprise her with a visit.
I asked if they would mind coming to my sister's house on her birthday and surprising her there?
I can't tell you how many times we messaged back and forth but quickly learned how to
"Delete Entire Conversation". I actually had to ask Massey's how to delete a conversation one day when driving either to or from work.
She never had a clue. It's hard keeping secrets from someone you tell everything to but I did.
Her friend had told her they were touring the west coast and wouldn't be able to visit this time.
Massey was bummed.
She followed their FB posts and pics from Las Vegas to San Francisco. I'm sure she followed them on the other ten social media sites as well. That's too much work for me. Snapchat, Instagram... too much for this ole chick to learn. I was fine with my flip phone until I got my iPhone6 practically free with an upgrade and am just fine with Facebook. I still don't know how to use all my iPhone capabilities after two years but know FB like the back of my veiny tiny hand.
Like my kids always say "My mom can throw some shit together" and somehow had everything ready for the party with lots of help from my sister and brother in law. We had food enough for every obese person on the south side of Atlanta and enough alcohol for an Otis Campbell family reunion.
The pastry chef where we worked made her a half sheet carrot cake and even her own personal cake.
I guess around six or so, her friend and her family pulled into the field where everyone was parking at my sister's house. Some other counselors from the Girl Scout camp were coming too and Massey went to greet them, not knowing the other vehicle pulling in behind them had her friend with her family from England.
Well played, if I say so myself.
I have no idea who took this picture but am so thankful they did and shared it on FB for me to steal.
Massey was totally and completely floored and shocked beyond belief.
That "Wild Draw Four" card will do it every time!
Here's the best part of all.
Have you ever met people who think after five minutes of meeting will blow your head off if you have to hear them say one more word?
Well these people were exactly the opposite and then some. The entire family was precious and priceless. They fit right in and quickly became wonderful friends to know and have.
Massey had the greatest party a twenty one year old kid (now adult) could ever dream of having, and think everyone else enjoyed it too.
There were people there who I've known as long as I've lived and right on up through the years. There were friends from Massey's high school, mine too and friends from work. Former bosses from two different jobs and extended family friends were well represented and at last count were over seventy in all.
Today when Tim was taking me back over to my sister's to pick up everything from the party, he said the most wonderful thing. We were talking about how much we'd liked Massey's friend's parents.
"Last night we were on the front porch of your sister's house and I was talking with Massey's friend from England's father. He said you always hear about life here being like sitting on the front porch in a swing simply enjoying company and life but think it's probably not true, yet here we are... and it truly is!"
What a more wonderful compliment could you ever give or receive?
He and his wife asked before leaving if they could possibly take my sister and me, along with our spouses out for dinner the next night? They were staying at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead and told us to choose the spot. If you know us Clampetts and know the Buckhead area of Atlanta you know it's not our usual stomping grounds but sure is a nice place to visit and was a treat worth looking forward to.
It gets even better.
Tim was leaving to go back to Orlando early the next day and Cindy's husband had to work. Looked like Cindy and me had a 'Girl's Night Out' together...at no charge (to us anyway)!
I cut the front and side yards and went inside to get ready for my night on the town. You'd think I was getting ready for the prom. I tried on three dresses before choosing one. I shaved my underarms and legs. My makeup was spot on and even had a purse to match my shoes. I called my sister to see if she was wearing a dress too, she was.
Here's the thing. I don't get out much in this grand of a style so better wear something nice because otherwise it will hang in my closet for another two years waiting to be (maybe) worn.
We met them at their hotel and decided on Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Bone's didn't have any openings for a table until almost ten.
The drive across the street and maybe a hundred yards away was a complete fiasco, thanks to us Clampetts obviously being Google map stupid but had a chuckle over it once there.
Dinner was absolutely point on and amazingly delicious. We got to know our new friends and had a lovely time. Best meal I've had out in quite some time. I couldn't believe how much he knew about American history and even about the area we were from.
One thing I can say about Massey is makes excellent choices when choosing her friends...and you know what they say 'round these parts... "The apple doesn't fall from the tree".
As bad as life got for me and my family for a while, have been compensated more than royally.
Massey spent her twenty first birthday with her bestie from across the pond and we were fortunate enough to make wonderful new friends as well.
This only about half the haul Massey got on her twenty first. Besides all this she got to spend three days with one of the sweetest girl's she's ever had the pleasure to meet. Bonus points, I got to know her entire family as well.
My life has never been normal and know would probably hate if it was. Normal is boring. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants and The Grace of God above. If I had a nickel for every time The Big Guy has shaken His head upstairs at me in disbelief down here, would be able to afford Ruth's Chris Steakhouse on a daily basis... but I'm good with having gone at least once.
Who knows what the future may hold?
Never count me out.
Til next time...COTTON