Family

Friday Letter: The Traffic and Song that Never Ends

Dear J, J, L and L,

Finger puppets might save your sanity.

It all started with Lambchop, although I don’t remember when he began riding along with us in the car. I just know that one day we found ourselves sitting in traffic amongst a zillion other cars going nowhere and getting there at five miles per hour. More than likely, two of you, (guess which two) were arguing or whining in the back seat. No doubt the radio played nothing but the Macarena or advertisements. And most likely the AC failed in its efforts to cool our car just as summer arrived.

Whatever the circumstances, I remember putting Lambchop the finger puppet on my left hand, and letting him wildly sing his signature song whilst dancing out the window.

“This is the song that never ends…it just goes on and on my friend…somebody started singing it not knowing what it was… and they’ll continue singing it forever just because this is the song that never ends…”

Here’s a reminder if you’ve forgotten that ditty:

The Song That Never Ends

One of you in the back half of the car probably slunk lower in your seat or said something profound like, “Mooooooooom!!! Stoooooooop!” or may be not. Maybe you laughed. Maybe someone in a car behind or beside us laughed.

Then Lambchop changed the words. “This is the traffic that never ends…it just goes on and on my friend…somebody started driving once not knowing where they were…and they’ll continue driving now forever just because this is the traffic that never ends…

Lambchop was a hit. I laughed. Ya’ll laughed. Tension dispelled, at least momentarily.

From then on I was on a quest for other finger puppets, which it turned out, were rare and hard to find. (Pre-Amazon and Google, y’know.)

FullSizeRender-3 copy 2

Moose, the finger puppet. Who could resist this smile?

This guy, Moose, joined our car late in the game. He liked to sing “We wish you a merry Christmoose,” if memory serves me correctly.

There may have been others, but some of our more traumatic years seem to reside in a foggy region of my brain that I’m unable, or unwilling, to access. But Lambchop, for sure, spent a ton of time on the dashboard, reminding us of the threat or the possibility of performances while stuck in traffic.

Now the most traffic I encounter happens while trying to cross Greenfield road on my bike. And of course, your father doesn’t appreciate the finely honed skills of finger puppet singing. So Lambchop now lives in the closet with all the other stuffed animals. I found Moose covered in dust next to a certain restaurant gift card on my dresser.

If you remember the names or songs of any of our other sweet car companions, remind me. Good times ought not be forgotten. In fact, perhaps they ought to experience a comeback.

Hey, whatever it takes to maintain your sanity in traffic seems like a great idea.

May all your roads lack multiple four-way stops and frequent construction zones. And may you laugh daily and often.

Happy driving!

Love ya tons,

Mom

Categories: children, Family, Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters, Fun, Traffic | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

Always Ready to Party

I pass this house on my bike rides either coming or going. I slow down as I pedal past. I try not to stare but it’s difficult not to. You see, it’s still a bit dark when I’m going past and strands of white twinkle lights light up the yard. That’s not something you normally see on an October morning.

I should mention it’s the back yard, not the front. I have no idea what the front of this house looks like. I should ride over that way and see sometime, I suppose. Many of these homes were modestly built out of cinderblock during the fifties, nearly identical inside and out.  Quarter or half-acre lots back up to this part of the trail which serves as a power line easement and passes backyards filled with dozens of stories and even more questions.

This particular back yard captures my imagination and holds it hostage.

Photo by Codo (The passion of the mariachi) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) ], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Codo (The passion of the mariachi) [CC BY-SA 2.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

In the slowly brightening sky the outline of a mariachi band plays against the twinkle lights. More specifically, life-sized, rusty looking metal statues of a mariachi band face the back of the house. There’s no actual music. But the feeling of a song just ended hangs in the yard like a fine morning mist.

Several matching rust colored umbrellas stand at ease amid various patio tables. A small swimming pool reflects light on to heavy tied-back patio curtains.

In contrast to the perfectly manicured yard and setting, two vintage cars and a small lawn tractor sit nearby. A row of desert trees skirt along a white fence.

I imagine that on closer inspection I’d find a more than adequate barbecue set up, a fire pit and a mini bar.

The interior of the house usually stands dark and silent. Oh, how I’ve wanted to stop and take a photo. But that seems intrusive and paparazzi-ish. So I haven’t any images to share. I hold only a mental photograph I snap every single time I ride past. Somehow, I’m sure, a photograph wouldn’t capture the vision I see and feel.

While walking in the ordinary light of day past this home the magic pull of this back yard holds far less sway on me. It’s just another backyard in the sunshine. I’m not sure what it is but there’s something about the pre-dawn light that makes it all feel as if someone just sprinkled pixie dust over the entire site.

Photo by MzScarlett / A.K.A. Michelle from Missouri (Ice Tea) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by MzScarlett / A.K.A. Michelle from Missouri (Ice Tea) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In that early morning hour I sense I’ve always just missed the last snippets of a long night of whispered conversations, laughter, ice clinking in glasses and wet footprints leading away from the pool. I suspect I’ve missed out on serpentine stories and long jokes with intelligent punchlines. The only taste I get of the party just finished hovers lightly as the scent of creosote in the chill early air.

Do I think this household throws a party every night that last long into the wee hours? No, not at all.

What I do think is they have managed to capture the essence of a nightly party and hold it there in a quarter-acre space. It must conjure wonderful memories to look out from the kitchen window of that home and see ghosts of guests long since departed. What joy it must bring to remember, amid the twinkle lights, friendships and family, chatter and music, stars and breezes.

Clearly I’ve romanticized and idealized what happens at this home. Whatever really goes on, whoever really lives there, I don’t want to know. I’d rather keep what I’ve imagined and call it truth.

I wonder if I could create something similar. Surely I don’t need a metal mariachi band to capture that sense of excitement and wonder at daily life. Maybe something as simple as candlelight and music softly playing at dinner, even if it’s meatloaf on the menu. Perhaps a strand of twinkle lights draped along the patio and plugged in every night, party or not, just for the sake of celebrating life.

I’ll have to give this more thought. Is this just a Better Homes and Gardens or House Beautiful photo shoot I’ve stumbled on and can’t possibly recreate? Or is there something real there, something in the idea of celebration that I could blend into my daily walk and talk? It’s an intriguing idea.

Party on, my friends, party on.

~~~

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” 

– John Lubbock

Categories: Celebration, Family, Fun, good ideas, Holiday | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Forever Young

Friday Letter to my Kids – July 17, 2015 –

Dear J, J. L, and L,

A month ago, consistently and often, well-meaning sales associates, grocery baggers, repairmen and strangers insisted on offering me their senior discounts. What a sweet gesture to want to help me save ten percent on my purchases and services. Unfortunately, I always walked away from such encounters deflated and more tired than I already felt. I didn’t think I looked all that old.

Then one day in less than four hours I was referred to as “young lady” a dozen times. I wasn’t sure how to take that either. I’m no spring chicken, so the reference felt a little odd. I should have accepted it as their way of being polite without making me feel old.

Surely there’s a balance between “senior discount” and “young lady”. I’ll let you know when I discover what it is.

Mom circa 1957

Mom circa 1957

Yesterday morning I spent some time with my mom, your Grandma M, looking at some of the many photo albums she’s compiled over the years. Next time you’re up her way you should ask her to show them to you. (They’re in the living room closet nearest to the front door on a shelf, if she forgets.)

One album my sister N had put together for them as a gift. That album had  photos of your Grandma and Grandpa as kids and as teenagers, as newlyweds and as young parents. I wanted to snap photos of all the photographs but restrained myself to just a couple.

Those pictures bore witness to the my mom as a clarinetist in her high school band and as a smartly coiffed, high-stepping majorette. She also competed in the first Miss Morgan beauty pageant with four other contestants. Ooo la la! I’ll bet  you didn’t know that about her.

Dad circa 1956?

Dad circa 1956?

We stumbled across some postcards with a 1947 postmark that my dad and his brother had painstakingly written to their mother (your great grandma M) who had apparently gone to Illinois to visit someone who’d had a baby. Grandpa’s handwriting improved drastically when he became an engineer and had to hand letter blueprints for the DOT. You’ve probably seen his distinctive penmanship, which could pass as a typesetting font.

Some of my favorite photos in the albums were of Mom and Dad’s courtship days. Such smiles! Such innocence! Such true love!

The photo albums sparked remembrances located mostly in the recesses of my brain, such as:

  • my Dad riding a tricycle with his knees on the back stand and his hands pedaling, quite a feat of dexterity for an adult
  • my Mom hanging sheets on the laundry line or holding my hand on a hike
  • my Dad riding motorcycles on mountain trails
  • peeking in on my parents when they hosted a card game night at our house, laughing raucously with their friends like they never quite laughed with us kids
  • Mom holding a newborn baby after each of my five younger siblings were born
  • Dad’s ear-piercing  whistle that we could hear from the bottomlands of the local park

They were quite a team, raising such a gaggle of offspring. Almost sixty years later, they depend on each other like never before. Dad tries to fill in the memory gaps and missing sequencing ability that Mom’s strokes have destroyed. He makes breakfast every morning for her and she provides background music on the piano throughout the day. She insists on her independence as much as life allows. He still teases Lulu the cat as if he were a sixteen year old. She still makes jokes and laughs at the funniest things. Dad still has a wanderlust and needs to go somewhere every day in the car, even if it’s just to town or the grocery store.

Despite what my eyes show me when I visit them, in my mind they will always be forever young,

They’ve seen a fair bit of the world, from Russia to Cancun and a lot in between, which for a couple of western kids born in the 1930’s says a lot about their willingness to try new things and step outside their comfort zones.

In my mind, my parents remain that young newlywed couple with a future laid out bright and wide before them. There’s no other way to think about it. Anything less is unfathomable; forever young and together forever.

It’s what I’d wish for each one of you. May you also be forever young.

All my love,

Mom

p.s. Here’s a cover version of that famous song by Bob Dylan. Listen and enjoy a wonderful song.

“Forever Young” by Bob Dylan

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Categories: Family, Friday Letters to My Kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Celebration of Family

It’s Gratituesday! I’m feeling incredibly grateful today for my oldest daughter and her husband.

They found each other a few years ago and their friendship blossomed into a family.

Photo By JAKeeran (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

The historic Pioneer Museum of Colorado Springs. Photo By JAKeeran (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

The two of them invited friends and family to a wedding celebration this past weekend that they put together themselves. They wanted to share the incredible joy they’ve experienced! What a great job they did in communicating that exuberance.

Few things feel as good to a parent as seeing their child loved and cherished and happy. I saw that in phenomenal ways during the reception as friends and family embraced, literally and figuratively, this generous and loving pair.

Two extended families, his and hers, radiated and received love. In addition, the unique family that close friends become also encircled and shone, illuminating clearly what kind, caring, fun, generous, smart and wonderful people my daughter and my son-in-law are.

I feel honored and blessed to be part of the intersecting circles that bind and surround and enclose them. I feel even more blessed because their union has brought me a joy-filled granddaughter with an endless smile, who adds meaning and wonder to my already overflowing life.

Family brings a sweetness beyond imagining.

Family brings a sweetness beyond imagining.

To make the weekend even better, as if that were possible, my other three children and their spouses and children were all there as well. Knowing it’s the last time in a long while that our entire family would be together like that, I basked in the glow like a sunbather on a beach. I found myself soaking in the goodness of every moment, every laugh and moan, every child’s cry and whine,  every inside joke, every bit of family angst and craziness. It felt so perfect. Even the two granddogs and the grandcat were around for some of the weekend’s plans, if you can imagine that.

Happiness overflowed and leaked out my eyes for days. Who knew joy was such a messy, handkerchief soaking thing?

Thanks Jen and Jef for a phenomenal weekend. You are so loved! You’ve blessed my life immeasurably!

~~~~~

“A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.”

Categories: Family, Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Physics for Four-Year-Olds

I took two of my favorite tiny people to the park several times over the past month. We usually go armed with buckets and shovels (and kleenex, just in case.)

Plans of building sandcastles and making weed, rock and sand “soup” fall by the wayside as we arrive. As soon as these two kick off their sandals they head for the swing set.

I get it. I really do. I recall a personal addiction to that sensation of forward and back and up. I remember as a child willing myself to keep sailing upward when I’d let go, imagining that with enough willpower I’d be able to fly. It’s especially thrilling when someone will “underdog” your swing and really send you rocketing, catching a little air at each extreme arc of the swing. Ah, those were amazing days.

photo-26 copy 13

The perfect way to spend a cool May evening.

The just-barely four-year-old decided that it’s time to finally learn to pump herself on the swing. She’s been working on it with her Dad and Mom at different times. I hoped that some particular magic that only Gramma’s possess might contribute to her success.

Sadly, no matter how many times we tried, no matter how it got explained, the idea of when and how much to lean back timed with when to lean forward just never quite jelled. I assured her that someday it would just naturally make sense, that she’d suddenly find that she’s sitting on a self-propelled swing. No need for “someone” to push her.

The last time we were at the park together, a week ago, I assured her that when I saw her again she’d have mastered the art of pumping herself on the swing. I told her that one day it would just make sense and her body would naturally move in cadence with the ebb and flow of the swinging motion. I could say that with confidence because she was moving to a new house with a swing set in the back yard. And, I wouldn’t be seeing her for at least three months.

Now it seems like I’m the one stuck on a weird new swing set unable to get the rhythm of the thing so I can enjoy the ride. That four-year-old moved way East, further east than I can drive in a day or two. Her absence, along with her Mommy and little sister and Daddy, has left me dangling. Quite frankly I don’t feel much like swinging, or doing much of anything. I feel homesick and heartsick even though they’re the ones who left.

Sigh.

It’s more than just their move out-of-state.

All four of my kids are now in four different states, spread out over a radius too wide for my mothering instincts to accept. I’m not sure when we’ll all be together again. I’m extra grateful we had some family together time in Colorado a few weeks ago.

I know, I know. One of these days I’ll find myself spontaneously feeling happy and lighthearted and not weighed down with missing them. One of these days things will click and I’ll laugh without feeling slightly fake. Eventually I’ll welcome the sun’s incessant cheerful rays through the blinds instead of shutting it out and living in a shaded dark interior.

One of these days I’ll feel the swing moving me forward and back, up and out, and my legs and body will follow suit, keeping life moving in a wide arc of joy and growth.

Until then, I’ll just try to understand and accept the physics of life’s forward momentum.

"It's not working!"

“It’s not working!”

Categories: Family, motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

Not a Cookie Cutter Holiday

Friday Letter to My Kids ~ May 8, 2015 ~

Dear J, J, L and L,

You know how I was always such a grouch about mother’s day? I’ve decided to give up that silly notion and move on, finally.

I don’t know about other women, but I feel like I came from the planet Venus. Not because I meet some arbitrary list of ideas that some author came up with, but because I’ve never met anyone else like me. There may be other Venusians out there, other Kami-like creatures, but I’ve yet to run into one.

What does that have to do with Mother’s Day? I suppose it’s that I’ve always felt a bit out-of-place and not in my element. I surely never felt like I fit any Mothering Mold. But I’ve come to believe that there isn’t a cookie cutter for Mothers.

Closest cookie cutter shape to a Mom that I could find.

Closest cookie cutter shape to a Mom that I could find.

Mothers take on the shape that they must to meet the needs of their children. At least, most of them do. (I’ve met a few who don’t.) I tried to shape myself to your needs, not consciously, but instinctively. Whether I was ready for the job or not when each one of you came along I molded myself to fit your little fuzzy head and squalling cry. I moved and shaped my days and years to do what I could to make your life a happy one.

Naturally I fell short in that effort simply because I’m a human. And in that shortfall I often felt I’d let you down somehow. Not that I could have done things any differently than I did. I think it’s just part of life that we disappoint those we most love in spite of our very best efforts.

And that’s where my head and heart sat every May when that greeting card angst-riddled holiday of Mother’s Day rolled around. Feeling that I didn’t deserve honor or accolades or chocolates or flowers. Silly, don’t you think, that I’d hold myself to some standard of perfection? I can see now how nonsensical that was.

But having some close calls in losing my mother the past year or two made me think more about mothering. I never felt like my Mom let me down or fell short. She gave me life. She shaped me. She answered my cries in the middle of the night, cleaned up my messes, worked hard at everything she did and somehow still kept loving me in spite of stupid and hurtful choices I made. Amazing!

And that made me think about how much I love the four of you, each in a different, but intensely personal way. I’m proud of each one of you. I became who I am because of your influence and shaping and needs. I’m blessed beyond words to be your mother.

No gifts are necessary. No cards or words or hugs, either. You are my gifts, my jewels, my crowning joy.

Thank you!

All my love forever,

Mom

~~~~~

"Bluebird of Happymess"

The Bluebird of Happymess

Categories: children, Family, Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters, Friday Letters to My Kids, mother, motherhood, mothers, parenting | Tags: , , | 2 Comments
 
 

The Power of a Few Blankets

Friday Letter to my Kids – April 3, 2015 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

I grew up in the no-bike-helmets, no-parental-supervision-all-summer, kick-the-can-long-after-dark, stay-away-from-the-river, eat-all-the-sugar-you-want and drink-red-Koolaid era. We lived fearlessly and with abandon.

boogeyman (not John Travolta)

boogeyman (not John Travolta)

Why then, as a child, would I feel the need to hide and protect myself at night, at home in my own bed? Why would my nighttimes fill up with so much fright and worry?

I have no idea. Honestly. I’m just a weird kid. Or I was.

Okay, let’s be honest. I still am weird.

If anything, the world’s gotten scarier the older I’ve gotten, but not in the boogeyman kinds of ways. And of course, I can talk myself through the things that go make odd noises in the dark, usually. But I do still sleep with a light on if your Dad is out-of-town or hasn’t come to bed yet.

I suppose I’m just a creature of habit.

From as young as I can recall I’ve always gone to sleep with the covers over my head and just my nose and mouth poking out for breathing.

That’s not an easy thing to achieve. Getting the covers to wrap around your head and eyes and still snug in under your chin takes some skill. It’s trickier if you’re sharing the bed with someone, which I have for most of my life. The secret, I suppose, lies in scrunching down low enough on the mattress, toes almost touching the end of the bed.

Floating head phantom creature.

Floating head phantom creature.

Most people waste that bottom twelve inches of mattress space, but not me. It’s necessary to use every bit of leg room for proper cacooning under sheet, blanket and comforter.

You wonder, no doubt, how I came to sleep this way. I have no idea. Perhaps I was cold one night as a tiny munchkin and discovered the perfect sleeping arrangement. Everyone knows if your head is warm the rest of your body will stay warmer. I’d guess that’s how sleeping caps came into vogue back a few centuries ago. I could go for one of those some nights even now. Except that I have my head wrapping sleep position down to a science.

The other possibility lies in this true fact: I’m a born worrier and a ‘fraidy cat. It’s true. I didn’t come into this worry addiction by accident. I’m certain I arrived, heaven’s dust still shining on my little chubby cheeks, worried about some potential catastrophe and scared outta my newborn diaper about every little noise and new thing in the world.

He looks harmless enough, but watch out!!!

Only looks harmless…

That’s a lot to come in to the world with. Maybe I learned to be afraid of the dark, although I think that came as part and parcel of the whole Kami package. I remember yelling for Mom from the safety of my warm bed after a scary dream, or needing a drink. I’d yell a good ten minutes or more if that’s what it took. My poor mother. I must have done that a few thousand times to her. Little did I know at the time what I was doing to her sanity and her sleep deficit. (Sorry, Mom!!)

Karma, also known as getting what’s coming to you…

I suppose all the middle of the night waking you kids did while you were young could be defined as Karma. I had it coming to me.

Afraid of the dark and worrying about life made me want to hunker down under the covers and hide from the world, especially the nighttime world. I somehow felt protected by those few inches of cloth, from whatever intruder, ghost, goblin, boogeyman, specter or fearsome creature might appear in my bedroom.

Mike? Mike Wazowski? Gah!!

Mike?

Maybe my bedroom door really did open up on Monsters, Inc. back in the day. Who wouldn’t be petrified if Sulley, or Mike Wazowski, or heaven forbid, Randall, appeared in their bedroom from time to time. Oy vey! But, I don’t believe in monsters, so that can’t be why.

I suppose why doesn’t really matter. I suppose I just wanted you to know a little something more about me. Maybe it explains something you never understood about your dear Mom. Or maybe it just cements the idea that you have an odd mother. That’s okay. It’d be as close to the truth as you can get.

Hey, occasionally I find myself falling asleep just fine without my head protected and my eyes covered. Of course, I’m usually reading a book when that happens.

Happy Dreams!

All my love,

Mom

photo 1-9 copy 8

~~~~~

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” ~Ernest Hemingway

Categories: Family, Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

Growing Fruits and Nuts: Wreckage and Heartache

Just before leaving a friend’s house recently someone picked up a book from the coffee table and read the title aloud: “Growing Fruits and Nuts.”

Since I’m a gardener I naturally replied, “Sounds like a book about raising children.”

Pa dum shush.

Thank you, thank you.

Wreckage. Photo by FEMA.

Wreckage. Photo by FEMA.

Not long after that little laugh, I talked with a different friend. I knew this already, but sometimes reality drops a big loud steel I-beam nearby so that you sit up and take notice.

I realized that some people’s children and some people’s relatives really are nuts. Fruitier than a fruit cake. And meaner than a junk yard dog.

Bonkers, out of their minds, bizarre, weird, wired wrong, whacked.

Call me naïve, call me altruistic, but don’t call me Shirley. (The name’s Kami.)

I’ve never understood families that refuse to speak to each other. Or who treat each other with disrespect. Or spouses who keep living in the same house but clearly should not still be married. I can’t figure out how someone can treat a parent with indifference or ingratitude. Abuse of children? Almost unforgivable.

I really really really don’t get meanness. I especially don’t grasp manipulative, cruel, self-centered behavior when it’s aimed like an assault weapon at a direct blood relative.

Psychological abuse at the hands of family seems crueler than any form of physical abuse. But I could be wrong.

Can someone explain this to me? I am confused and mystified.

And my heart tightens up and twists itself into knots for anyone who feels they are stuck living this way.

I’ve tried to laugh it off, but it isn’t working. I don’t think it’s really a joking matter. Do you?

***

Here are a few sources that I researched trying to find some understanding or a way to help:

Band Back Together

Who Are They? Abusive Men and Women

Parental Abuse 

Invisible Victims 

Five Steps to Free Yourself

Tornado aftermath. Not unlike psychological abuse and the damage it does. Photo by John LeGear at TimComm.com with permission via Creative Commons license.

Tornado aftermath, much like psychological abuse and the damage it does. Photo by John LeGear at TimComm.com with permission via Creative Commons license.

Categories: Family, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments
 
 

Mugging It for the Camera

Friday Letter to my Kids – March 20, 2015 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

A solid, deep blue basic. My go to mug.

A solid, deep blue basic. My go to mug.

I went through a kitchen cupboard this week in my continuing efforts to downsize, declutter and dejunk. I also sorted and organized one of the messier drawers since Dad couldn’t find a twist tie and I knew we owned at least a thousand of them. What a tidy drawer the plastic bags and foil and waxed paper have to live in now.

In my defense, most of what resides behind those closed doors and drawers exists for those mythical and rare times when the entire family gets together. Your Dad and I only need a few of everything, even on our wildest cooking days. But when it’s time to fondue, or holiday dinner or family barbecue then we need more than a dozen plates, a zillion drinking glasses, multiple forks and knives, myriad amounts of pans and bowls. But for the other 361 days of the year we have far too many things in our cupboards.

Might be a collector?

Might be a collector?

This particular cupboard received a comment probably half a year ago. Something having to do with owning more glasses and mugs than a small nation needs. It’s true. Between the glass cups I prefer and the blue plastic ones Dad likes, the sippy cups for the littles, and all the other odd mismatched ones it’s an overabundance of drinking paraphernalia. That doesn’t even include the mugs and teacups.

I pulled all the mugs out of the cupboard first. Ah, such fun memories. I have a bit of a collection, one that could be on display except that it’s not classy like china. Granted it isn’t a shot glass collection, or salt and pepper shakers from around the world. It’s just a small taste of my past life. I admit I’m a bit of a hot chocolate fiend. Having the perfect mug that fits my mood when I mix the elixir simply adds to the pleasure of the experience.

I though if I paraded my mugs perhaps it’d help me decide which ones to let go. Maybe you want to claim one or two for yourselves. I think a couple actually belong to you guys. Let me know. I’m happy to pass them on to a new life.

I have a few more around the house that became pencil holders when the handle broke or the lip chipped. A purple Venus, a silver snowflake, a blue speckled tin. I can’t seem to let things go. isn’t that weird? I think so.

There’s some history in these mugs. Lots of cold mornings with a steaming cup of cider. Some snowy afternoons with hot chocolate to thaw your toes from the inside. Plenty of sick days with Russian Tea warming the mug and soothing your throat. It’s been fun looking at them with you.

You know, it’s not the mugs I’m hanging onto so much as it is the memories. Seems like that’s what it all really comes down to in most decisions. People, not things.

Love you all,

Mom

~~~~~

“Hot chocolate is like a hug from the inside.”

Categories: Family, Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Tiny Toes and Sticky Fingers and The Best Snuggles Ever

It’s Gratituesday! It’s been a day where I couldn’t narrow down just one thankful thing. The day simply felt abundant and overflowing.

But then, I had some company for the evening. That helped me focus on my best thing for today, or most days for that matter.

Tiny toes, big energy.

Tiny toes, big energy.

See these little toes? They’re attached to a bundle of mischief and non-stop energy. It’s almost miraculous that I’ve ever captured a picture of them at rest. They belong to my favorite one-year old.

She and her sister spent a few hours at my place while their parents took a breather. MSH played his jazzy stuff on the piano while they danced and I looked on, loving their creativity. Then I suggested we trade places so he could see what great dancers they’ve become. They know how to move like you wouldn’t believe. But, sadly, I don’t play the fun songs you can dance to. I play the kind of songs kids sing along with.

The one-year old climbed up on my lap and helped me play the piano, just like her mother used to do at that age. As I turned the pages of the songbook, the Big Yellow Songbook, and played and sang, I realized I’d come full circle again.

You see, my mother used to play those songs for me on the piano while she sang and I looked at the pictures. Then I played for my daughter. And I played for her oldest daughter and tonight I played for the youngest.

I wanted to freeze the moment, take a forever photo. But the one-year old got squirmy and climbed down and the moment slipped away. I suppose an image and a feeling mentally stored is the best I ought to hope for.

I know I’m lucky to get to experience such a collision of past and present. I’m grateful I noticed when it happened.

Life doesn’t usually morph into slow motion complete with background music at the important scenes. Sometimes we don’t have a clue that we just witnessed a pivotal interaction until much, much later. They don’t usually arrive on holidays, or at orchestrated photo sessions, or during recitals or at organized events.

Most of the time the important stuff occurs without fanfare or fireworks.

Thankfully I had a chance to watch dancing and sing songs and, (here’s the important part) I paid attention. Lucky me.

Now my heart is dancing to the music.

Categories: Family, Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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