……Time is nearing for the arrival of Madilynn Grace, the newest member of our family. The impending event causes me to return to the times when I as a 19-year-old mother tried to navigate a whole new world of motherhood. Thanks to five Webster cousins who preceded him, Doug started out in the world with hand-me-downs that were far from “gently worn” but were held together love and a prayer. The prayer was that the changing table, potty chair, high chair, etc. would make it through one more baby. Luckily, it made it through two more.
…….If I were to give advice to a brand-new parent today, what would I say? I would tell the new Mom, “There will be no discernable order in your household for five years. Give it up and let it go. You have much more important things to do….like sit on the floor and play with your little one.” I struggled with the lack of order when my kids were babies and then toddlers. Each day when I put them down for a nap I would spend nap time trying to neaten the house only to have them destroy it again when they awoke. Only years later when I saw Shannon devote her time to playing with her kids did I realize what was really important. You’ll never regret that your house wasn’t perfect, but you will regret those missed moments.
……Keep those doll babies. No matter what your kid says when she is entering puberty and no longer concerned with childish things don’t listen. You will become the Atilla the Hun of baby dolls when she remembers you have given her dolls to charity. She will act as if you have committed a mortal sin by selling them at a garage sale along side her Holy Communion dress. Should you have tossed one in the trash? There are no words! Why? Because every few days an article will pop up on the Internet about how much that doll would be worth today if only you had not sent it to the place cast off dolls go.
….. Remember how a new doll baby came along each year and claimed the “must have” status? Every little girl wanted it and every mother cursed the commercials pitching it. The Cabbage Patch Kid was the “have to have” doll (Shannon’s Grandma Pettit stood in line to get her one for Christmas) only to be displaced by Chatty Cathy who never shut her mouth. Beanie Babies? Couldn’t get enough of them until we got too many of them. They quickly dissipated into sad fabric corpses when the dog found them laying on the floor only have their innards disappear into the sweeper and maybe, the dog.
….. Is there a place discarded dolls go? Of course, and they congregate together when they get there. In our house it was Shannon’s closet where they resided in a corner stacked one on the other. In years to come they would be covered up with last year’s prom gown.
.…..I would bet that anyone going to the prom this year would have a fertile field of never used prom gowns from which to pick. Let’s hope everything stays green in coming months to allows this year’s graduates to have a traditional ceremony.
…..The legislation to allow ATMs on the Casino floor is moving. I’m not sure I see the rationale can be anything other than more revenue on the part of the casinos. I’m also surprised the Legislature isn’t more sensitive to the impact on problem gamblers. Since 2000, West Virginia has dedicated money to the West Virginia Problem Gamblers Program and is one of the leading states in allocating funds ranking 7th in the nation. Annually, $1.5 million per year is dedicated to the program which provides awareness of the issue, an 800 number and free counseling. If that sounds like a lot consider that in 2016, gaming revenue was $1.8 billion.
…..An estimated 2.2 percent of the population in West Virginia has an addictive gambling problem. Unlike alcohol or drug addiction, you can’t tell if an individual is a compulsive gambler, but the problem can devastate individuals and families. I served on the State Council during my years at Mountaineer, and each month we heard heart wrenching stories from problem gamblers from all walks of life. They had embezzled money from their employers; they had lost their homes; they had stolen from loved ones; and lost their families. And, we heard of the triggers that would cause them to go over the edge. I remember one who made a good living as a truck driver, but when Tri State Mardis Gras Casino in Charleston erected a billboard showing the 7 7 7 spinning wheels, he headed straight to the casino. Gambling is OK within a set limit, but for those with a problem the presence of an ATM on a casino floor is NOT OK. It’s a bad bill and looks like it’s going to pass.
…..The Governor’s reduction in West Virginia income tax bill appears to be in trouble from several aspects. The beverage industry is not happy about the tax on soft drinks and the increase of sales tax to 7 ½ percent is seen as a detriment to business and a burden on lower income people. In his State of the State, Justice talked about filling “buckets” in funding the gap created by eliminating the personal income tax and he mentioned using Federal Care Funds for one bucket. Federal guidelines issued this week make it clear that won’t happen.
…… It is officially Spring in ten days. Not only is the sun shining and the temperature warming, but the CDC has said people who have been vaccinated can now be together without masks or social distancing, Finally, I’ll be able to understand what others are saying to me sans masks and see their smiles. My step is a little lighter these days and while I continue to wear my mask to go ‘out and about’ a little voice within me is saying…..soon.