Happy birthday, Momma


If you are lucky enough to have one, love them hard.

If you don’t love them hard, try to find a way to just love them anyway because they are precious.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about this lately as my siblings and I had the honor of working on putting together a party to celebrate our mother.

My sweet mother will celebrate her 80th birthday Friday, but because we are nothing if not efficient as a family unit, we celebrated it last Saturday when all five of her K’s could be with her.

It’s a rare event when we are all in the same geographical location these days, with two of my sisters, Kellie and Kim, living out of state. The other three K’s, myself, Kay and Kevin, live here and have unfettered access to Mom.

Even though all of us are over 50 years old and have our own grandchildren, the fact that we all get excited to be together is testimony to the woman who was responsible for bringing us into this world.

Mom and her 5 K’s

After a month or so of planning, and group messaging such classic messages as, “We are better than this, people!” And “if you don’t answer this message I will shiv you.”, all of us, along with all of my mother’s grandchildren who could be in town and several members of our vast extended family, celebrated.

We ate, we laughed, we remembered. And, we celebrated the woman who brought our lovingly dysfunctional crew together.

We love each other hard.

This beautiful and classy woman – my Mom – is known to most of you as Dolores Hamilton, the publisher of the Iowa Park Leader. If you see her Friday, let her know the impact she’s had on your life by the simple fact she was born. I hope that was something her children and grandchildren were able to convey to her as we celebrated with her.

We Hamiltons are lucky people, and we know it. We value family and the beautiful creature who is the head of ours.

Happy birthday, Momma. I love you and your legacy.

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My future may not have hair, but it has hope

Between the general foul moods of my countrymen and discovering recently that female pattern baldness is a thing, I needed a break. I needed unicorns and rainbows; and cotton candy and kittens.

Disappearing hair notwithstanding, national and global news seems to have everyone on edge this  week.

With no unicorns, rainbows, cotton candy or kittens handy, my relief came in a phone call about a little girl whose actions remind me that good always bats last.

The feature picture on  the front page of this week’s issue of the Iowa Park Leader is a result of the phone call that pulled me out of that funk.

Little McKyla turned seven years old last week and the only gifts she wanted for her birthday were those that could feed people who are hungry.

This week, she gathered up all the canned goods and non-perishable items she received for her big day and took them to the Iowa Park Food Pantry for distribution in emergency food boxes.

McKyla gets it.

Her mother tells us she has been volunteering her time to help distribute commodities to local families. She is a little girl with a big heart as it says in the photo caption on page 1.

And I pray she represents the future of our community and nation.

Only seven years into her stint of being human, she understands that other people sometimes need a hand up; and that other kids might not have the abundance of food in their home that she enjoys.

A little girl after my own heart, McKyla reminds me that good remains in the world and the best part is it is coming from her young generation.

It reminded me of last year when a young man named Tanner asked for money for his 10th birthday. While that’s not uncommon, what Tanner wanted to do with the money was.

Tanner took his birthday money to church and gave it as an offering so “other people learn more about Jesus.”

We need to learn how to act again, folks. These innocent, generous minds haven’t been taught to only take care of their own; or to judge the why of someone’s circumstance.

They each understood a need and filled it in the purist way they know. By giving, by sharing.

There is a book out there by Robert Fulghum titled All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. The first thing on the list is to share everything. The last thing on the list is to be aware of wonder, which is what I’m doing here because it is indeed a wonder to see that degree of selflessness.

We all need to read that book, twice.

If we took the book seriously, Facebook and Twitter would look different; our country would look different; and if we took the lessons to heart, we would look different.

I hear a lot of people griping about the millennials these days, and to be quite honest, the millennials are the people raising these children who are so generous in spirit. They must be doing a lot of somethings right.

If this is the case, we should all just act like children again, because these kids seem to have their act together, and they also still have their hair.

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Happy birthday to my best girl

This year marks the 30th time I have said “happy birthday” to the first person to ever call me ‘Mom’.

Thirty years.

Thirty years of beauty, laughter and lessons learned but mostly taught.

It was thirty years ago almost this very minute I was throwing my guts up because my doctor told me he was about to do an emergency C-Section. “Baby’s head is too big,” he told me while he sympathetically patted my leg.  “You can’t do that,” I told him, “I never watched that part of the film in childbirth class because I thought I inherited my mother’s child-bearing hips.”

We found out he could; and that I did not, in fact, get my Momma’s hips. I did, though, get the most amazing human being – Karilea.


I was only 21 years old when I had her and thought it would be easy-peasy. Of course, my own Mom had five babies so I figured I could handle one. Of, course my mother also had natural child-bearing hips.

I brought this poor baby home armed with only enough information and common sense to keep her alive. The rest, she taught me.

Immediately I learned that I didn’t need near as much sleep as I thought I did and that there is nothing I won’t wipe on my pant leg.

The lessons continued to be fairly predictable – never serve red kool-aide at a birthday party; trying to stop projectile vomiting with your hands is futile and problematic; and that misquoted song lyrics will haunt you for life – The song “All My Exes Live in Texoma” comes to mind.

I learned that perfect is never as good as real; children do not necessarily inherit a love of Christmas music from their mother; and that it is possible to watch Beetlejuice over 100 times. Ditto for Lion King and Saved by the (freaking) Bell.


I loved our girls nights spent watching movies (see above) on blankets spread out on the living room floor. As difficult as it might be to believe I was a Camp Fire Leader for one season, just for her and several other little girls who may have had the world’s worst Camp Fire Leader. However, I even loved that.

Over the years, she continued to teach me a lot about bigger stuff, like courage and judgement.


Today, she is getting schooled by her own one-year-old. I can read it in her bloodshot eyes. I can hear it in her voice – blissfully (sometimes, but mostly not) tired. I can see it in her every time he does something he’s never done before – a beautiful blend of excitement and sadness that time is marching on and he won’t be a baby forever.


School is in session.

I’m glad my daughter still teaches me things. It means I’m still learning. And so is she, and they are the same lessons I was learning thirty years ago. They are the most beautiful and lasting lessons.

Happy and beautiful birthday, sweet sister. Never stop learning, and please never stop teaching.

It really does just get better and better.


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