So there was this one time we played at night and channeled her inner puppy. #shainagirl @mattyshoots

So there was this one time we played at night and channeled her inner puppy. #shainagirl @mattyshoots

Happy Birthday to my favorite Li’Mama in the whole wide world! I miss you and love you, Cait! @caithigg22 
We’ve lived, we’ve loved, we’ve fought, we’ve cried, we’ve cuddled, we’ve bickered, we’ve shared our lives. We’ve obsessed over True Blood and other vamps too, we’ve played on the school yard, we’ve said I love you. We’ve had the same crushes, but not for a while, and no matter the day, she always makes me smile. I love you so much Cait, my light since we were ten, you are my best friend, my sister, now the same as then!

Happy Birthday to my favorite Li’Mama in the whole wide world! I miss you and love you, Cait! @caithigg22 
We’ve lived, we’ve loved, we’ve fought, we’ve cried, we’ve cuddled, we’ve bickered, we’ve shared our lives. We’ve obsessed over True Blood and other vamps too, we’ve played on the school yard, we’ve said I love you. We’ve had the same crushes, but not for a while, and no matter the day, she always makes me smile. I love you so much Cait, my light since we were ten, you are my best friend, my sister, now the same as then!

Tonight we had a sleepover. I’m one of the last ones awake, hehe. Matt set up the coolest outdoor movie night for us. The first time I had a sleepover with some of these girls was 18 years ago. #woah #goodfriends #hotties

Tonight we had a sleepover. I’m one of the last ones awake, hehe. Matt set up the coolest outdoor movie night for us. The first time I had a sleepover with some of these girls was 18 years ago. #woah #goodfriends #hotties

Memaw was the grandma that I always wanted. She’s still the grandma  I always wanted.
First, let me explain that this is not a knock on my own grandmas. My father’s mom, Dama, was the best. She spoiled me and had nothing but love to give. She died when I was 13. I remember her beautiful French accent and the way her face lit up when she saw me until this day.  Abuela, my mother’s mom, has always loved me too. She prays the Rosary 15 times a day. She grieves her husband still, my Abuelo, who died in 1995, and her heart hurts for my mom, who died four years ago. She makes delicious soup from a fresh chicken, feet and all. She loves me and her dozen-or-so other grandchildren and great-grands, in a unique way that only she could. 
A grandma that came into my life almost five years ago when I met my husband, Memaw is the all-American, cool-and-collected, offering-word-of-wisdom, grandma that anyone would want. She only has three grandchildren to spoil, my husband included, and one great-grandchild. There was plenty of room for me. 
Memaw used to bring salmon loaf, green brand casserole, and French Onion Dip to parties at my house. She always put it in a uniquely-shaped dish that she handed to me when she was the first guest at every get together. She would stand in the kitchen with me while I cooked, dangly earrings and a cute, put-together outfit, with her long, blonde hair and big blue eyes I’ve always been fondly envious of. Hardly any makeup. She’s 78; good genes run in my husband’s family. 
I love talking to you, I would say. I love hearing what you have to say. 
That would make her smile
I always loved most how Memaw listened, observed, and only spoke when it mattered. She never judged. She is very smart. She was an avid reader, and one of my favorite people to converse with.
One time, she brought me a jar opener. She said that way, when my husband left on extended business trips as his job requires him to do, I could open jars by myself. When I lived on the East Coast, she sent me a package with all the ingredients and materials to make salmon loaf and a handwritten recipe. In a card, she said that I would be the only other person, besides herself, to take the time to make her grandson the loaf, which is his favorite dish. Another time, I bought her a book for Christmas. I mentioned that I’d like to read it one day. She finished it in a couple days, then gave it to me. In the hard cover flap she wrote. 
You’ll like it. A bit interesting. 
My husband’s sister confided in Memaw often, and I get why. She is the best listener. Her advice was always sound. I loved hearing her talk. 
It is different now, but I still love hearing her talk. 
Three-and-a-half-months ago, Memaw suffered a massive stroke. At first, no one knew if she’d pull through. She did. The picture of us is from a month ago. 
It breaks my heart that Memaw cannot read anymore. She is relearning to walk, but needs a wheel chair for now. Her right arm is completely paralyzed. After months in the hospital, she’s moved in with my in-laws. My husband’s mom and step-dad are very good to Memaw, who needs 24/7 care. I don’t think there’s anyone better to be her nurse than her daughter. 
Memaw listens. She feeds herself. She communicates. She comprehends. She suddenly loves watching football. She laughs when things are funny and rolls her eyes when things are annoying. She loves animals and pets them she she sees them. 
When Memaw speaks, it mostly comes out as gibberish. It is frustrating for her. I still love listening to her, though. To me, it is special gibberish. She is saying something. It is up to her audience to figure out how to communicate with her. 
Sometimes, she will talk to me. She knows I cannot understand her, that she cannot find the words, and she shakes her head and sighs. 
I love when you talk to me, I say. Keep talking. One day I’ll know everything you mean. Keep going. It’s going to get better. Do you remember how it was in the beginning? You’ve made so much progress.  
I told her that tonight after my mom-in-law got Memaw ready for bed. Memaw was lying down but propped up a bit on her side watching TV. When I came in, she got up a bit more to greet me. She started telling me something, gesturing a circle shape with her fingers. 
I don’t know what she meant. It’s rare that I do. Somehow though, that part doesn’t matter.
Look at her eyes in this picture. They are the same gorgeous blue eyes from before her stroke.
And as she talks to me and tells me things like tonight, all I have to do is look into those to be comforted. Because when I do, I know she is still here. 
I hope everyday that Memaw will regain more functionality. I see her grow stronger by the week. For now, we will continue listening to her and loving to hear her talk.
And I will feel lucky to still have the grandma I always wanted. 

Memaw was the grandma that I always wanted. She’s still the grandma  I always wanted.

First, let me explain that this is not a knock on my own grandmas. My father’s mom, Dama, was the best. She spoiled me and had nothing but love to give. She died when I was 13. I remember her beautiful French accent and the way her face lit up when she saw me until this day.  Abuela, my mother’s mom, has always loved me too. She prays the Rosary 15 times a day. She grieves her husband still, my Abuelo, who died in 1995, and her heart hurts for my mom, who died four years ago. She makes delicious soup from a fresh chicken, feet and all. She loves me and her dozen-or-so other grandchildren and great-grands, in a unique way that only she could. 

A grandma that came into my life almost five years ago when I met my husband, Memaw is the all-American, cool-and-collected, offering-word-of-wisdom, grandma that anyone would want. She only has three grandchildren to spoil, my husband included, and one great-grandchild. There was plenty of room for me. 

Memaw used to bring salmon loaf, green brand casserole, and French Onion Dip to parties at my house. She always put it in a uniquely-shaped dish that she handed to me when she was the first guest at every get together. She would stand in the kitchen with me while I cooked, dangly earrings and a cute, put-together outfit, with her long, blonde hair and big blue eyes I’ve always been fondly envious of. Hardly any makeup. She’s 78; good genes run in my husband’s family. 

I love talking to you, I would say. I love hearing what you have to say.

That would make her smile

I always loved most how Memaw listened, observed, and only spoke when it mattered. She never judged. She is very smart. She was an avid reader, and one of my favorite people to converse with.

One time, she brought me a jar opener. She said that way, when my husband left on extended business trips as his job requires him to do, I could open jars by myself. When I lived on the East Coast, she sent me a package with all the ingredients and materials to make salmon loaf and a handwritten recipe. In a card, she said that I would be the only other person, besides herself, to take the time to make her grandson the loaf, which is his favorite dish. Another time, I bought her a book for Christmas. I mentioned that I’d like to read it one day. She finished it in a couple days, then gave it to me. In the hard cover flap she wrote. 

You’ll like it. A bit interesting. 

My husband’s sister confided in Memaw often, and I get why. She is the best listener. Her advice was always sound. I loved hearing her talk. 

It is different now, but I still love hearing her talk. 

Three-and-a-half-months ago, Memaw suffered a massive stroke. At first, no one knew if she’d pull through. She did. The picture of us is from a month ago. 

It breaks my heart that Memaw cannot read anymore. She is relearning to walk, but needs a wheel chair for now. Her right arm is completely paralyzed. After months in the hospital, she’s moved in with my in-laws. My husband’s mom and step-dad are very good to Memaw, who needs 24/7 care. I don’t think there’s anyone better to be her nurse than her daughter. 

Memaw listens. She feeds herself. She communicates. She comprehends. She suddenly loves watching football. She laughs when things are funny and rolls her eyes when things are annoying. She loves animals and pets them she she sees them. 

When Memaw speaks, it mostly comes out as gibberish. It is frustrating for her. I still love listening to her, though. To me, it is special gibberish. She is saying something. It is up to her audience to figure out how to communicate with her. 

Sometimes, she will talk to me. She knows I cannot understand her, that she cannot find the words, and she shakes her head and sighs. 

I love when you talk to me, I say. Keep talking. One day I’ll know everything you mean. Keep going. It’s going to get better. Do you remember how it was in the beginning? You’ve made so much progress.  

I told her that tonight after my mom-in-law got Memaw ready for bed. Memaw was lying down but propped up a bit on her side watching TV. When I came in, she got up a bit more to greet me. She started telling me something, gesturing a circle shape with her fingers. 

I don’t know what she meant. It’s rare that I do. Somehow though, that part doesn’t matter.

Look at her eyes in this picture. They are the same gorgeous blue eyes from before her stroke.

And as she talks to me and tells me things like tonight, all I have to do is look into those to be comforted. Because when I do, I know she is still here. 

I hope everyday that Memaw will regain more functionality. I see her grow stronger by the week. For now, we will continue listening to her and loving to hear her talk.

And I will feel lucky to still have the grandma I always wanted. 

#tbt. Beads on a clothesline. NOLA, one week ago. Take me back.

#tbt. Beads on a clothesline. NOLA, one week ago. Take me back.

Happy Birthday to this amazing sister of mine! I hope 25 brings her an uber amount of joy. @shimarazipour see you tonight ❤️😘.

Happy Birthday to this amazing sister of mine! I hope 25 brings her an uber amount of joy. @shimarazipour see you tonight ❤️😘.

Chemo day. She was shaking and extremely nervous. Poor buddy. I felt so bad leaving her. Lots of treats later. #supporttheshaina

Chemo day. She was shaking and extremely nervous. Poor buddy. I felt so bad leaving her. Lots of treats later. #supporttheshaina

Thank you to all of our loving friends and family who came over to #supporttheshaina! You guys made it possible to cover three of her treatments. That’s a big deal! I hope everyone enjoys their raffle  prizes. 


Whenever I think of the bad things life has handed us, I can’t even focus on that because we have so many good and loving people to support is without asking for anything in return. Our family is made from both blood and bonds. I love our huge modern family.

Thank you to all of our loving friends and family who came over to #supporttheshaina! You guys made it possible to cover three of her treatments. That’s a big deal! I hope everyone enjoys their raffle prizes.


Whenever I think of the bad things life has handed us, I can’t even focus on that because we have so many good and loving people to support is without asking for anything in return. Our family is made from both blood and bonds. I love our huge modern family.