One of my granddaughters is 4, and this is what happens when she gets a hold of her Daddy’s cell phone.
First, she figures out how to get to the text message screen, then she figures out how to find me in the Contact list, and then she starts sending me texts. This kid is brilliant, I tell you, just brilliant.
But, I may be prejudiced. Below is a screenshot of the actual conversation.
You be the judge.
I don’t know, I think it’s rather poetic. Don’t you? Look at how she cleverly inserted an actual word – derided – into the message, and then left me wondering…am I being derided? Did I do something that deserved such an outburst? Or is she simply pondering the condition of man, and his inhumanity to his fellows? Or is it just ‘Ed’? And who is this Ed person anyway?
The kid is a genius.
My family is not normal. Nothing we do is normal. No event is normal. Hell, if we had a “normal” day, that’d be abnormal, so right in line. Even our normal is weird.
Easter egg hunts are not normal at my house. The grandchildren generally get along, the bigger kids help the little ones find eggs, and there is much rejoicing.
The parents, however, are another story. It’s Hunger Games, Easter Egg Hunt at our house. There’s tripping, shoving, misdirection (“Holy shit, you just stepped in pile of dog poo!”), and general foolishness as each parent tries to gain an advantage for their offspring.
In short, they’re a bunch of miscreants. I couldn’t be more proud.
This past Easter’s egg hunt was the same as all the others. The only differences, for me, were 1) for once the yard wasn’t a mudpit as it had been pretty dry all week and 2) I had to watch from afar having smashed the ever-lovin’ shit out of my big toe that morning when I opened the back door to let the dog out and shoved the bottom of the door over the top of my toe. It still hurts like a sonofa….
And then, the Outbreak Monkey arrived.
C’mon, tell me you have seen the scary movie “Outbreak” starring Dustin Hoffman and Renee Russo. If not, get thee to a Red Box or Netflix, or something and watch it.
*builds storage shed*
*cures world hunger*
You back already? Good, now I can finish the story.
So, in my family the first person to get sick with whatever is the one we call the Outbreak Monkey. This time, it was my 8-yr. old granddaughter and our first clue was the text her mother sent as they were driving home:
“Aaaand…we have pukage in the van!! AWESOME!”
At 1:00 a.m. the next morning, the poor baby was still puking in her sleep, no less. My daughter called me asking for the magical potion I keep to stop pukages, so instead of sleeping at 1:00 a.m. I was dispensing wizardry in the hopes my sweet granddaughter would stop the pukies. She did, and there was much rejoicing in the land…
….until this morning, when my daughter texted me again and said her other daughter has it now…
We had FIFTEEN people at our house on Easter Sunday. Two are sick, that makes thirteen more to go…except I think I had it already. I think it’s the nasty new norovirus that has been going around and which I got right after Christmas.
At least I hope that’s what this is.
Or, if my daughter is right – as she said in a follow-up text this morning – it only affects kids 8 and under, or as she put it “the very geriatric, like you Mom”.
Age has its advantages.
“…I just had the most TERRIFYING experience of my ENTIRE LIFE!!”
This is not how you want to start a conversation, any conversation, with one of your grown children.
Unfortunately, you don’t always get to choose how these things go. In fact, let me just say that you never get to choose how these random phone calls go.
And now, the rest of the story…
ME: WHERE ARE YOU???
BABY GIRL: Everything is fine….now
ME: What happened?
BABY GIRL: I locked Cutie-Pie in the car!
(It’s in the 80’s here, and the interior of a car gets really hot..really fecking fast)
BABY GIRL: I was leaving Crossfit, and I put her in her car seat and then laid the keys on the driver’s seat, and then put the backpack on the seat, and I don’t know…
(she starts crying)
ME: Is Cutie-Pie okay?
BABY GIRL: Yes, she’s fine.
ME: How long was she in there?
BABY GIRL: Ten minutes! Ten minutes, Mom!
ME: So tell me the rest.
BABY GIRL: Well, after I realized what I’d done, I ran to get “K” (K is her older sister and they Crossfit together), and then when we couldn’t find an open door we ran across the street to the Police station that happens to be there – thank God! – and they called the fire department.
ME: And how did the firemen get inside?
BABY GIRL: They took this thing that looks like a tire pump or something and put it in the door frame and pumped it up, then took a wire thing and popped the lock. It didn’t damage the mini-van at all.
ME: Luckily…but you can replace a vehicle.
BABY GIRL: I know…
(she starts crying again)
ME: And how was Cutie-Pie?
BABY GIRL: Very hot and sweaty, but she was just grinning at everyone. Probably wondered what all the fuss was about.
ME: Did the firemen check her over?
BABY GIRL: You know, Mom, I didn’t even let them. The minute the door was unlocked I slammed it open and grabbed her and hugged her and she kept saying, “You okay, Mommy?”
ME: Awwwwwww…so sweet. And she’s okay now.
BABY GIRL: Yes, now…but I’m still shaking.
ME: I can imagine, but remember some things. You didn’t panic. You acted fast, you knew what to do, you kept your head and Cutie-Pie is fine.
BABY GIRL: You’re right..you’re right.
ME: And what have we learned?
BABY GIRL: NEVER put the keys ANYWHERE, except in my bra.
And that was my Wednesday.
How was yours?
Sometimes a random picture reveals so much….
Two of my precious grandchildren.
An enchanted granddaughter, and her brother the always-in-motion blur just to the left. In one frame, my daughter captures a moment in time – or so she thinks.
What she really captured is the essence of her children, at this particular moment in time.
It’s a rare, magical, perfect moment.
I was clearing out some files on my computer when I ran across this letter I wrote to my kids last year. Some of it was borrowed from other resources, but all of it is heartfelt and true.
|Feel free to take it and customize it to fit your family.|
Mother’s Day is coming up, and I thought I should tell you what I really want, this year and every year after; it’s pretty simple really.
I want you to be a decent human being.
I want you to be who you are, but don’t be a jerk.
I want you to follow your passion.
I want you to work hard at everything you do, because life is too short not to give it everything you’ve got.
I want you to ask for help when you need it.
I want you to help others when they need it.
When you screw up, and you will, more than once, I want you to own it, because it’s the screw-ups that make the victories sweeter.
I want you to know that even when we are angry at each other, I will never stop loving you.
I want you to feed your curiosity, and never lose your childlike view of new things.
I want you to find a way to do what you love, and realize that that might look different than you originally thought.
I want you to respect everyone.
I want you to know that you are flawed and you are extraordinary. There is no one else like you. Don’t forget that.
I want you to know that I would lay down my life for you in Lily Potter fashion any day of the week.
I want you to look up ‘Lily Potter’. Also, if you have to look it up I want you to read more.
I want you to know love, and understand sometimes it means you will be hurt.
I want you to relax and not feel guilty about it.
I want you to know life can be brutally hard sometimes.
I want you to know that you can choose happiness even when the dark side offers you cookies.
The call from my oldest daughter, K, regarding her oldest daughter, B, (my oldest granddaughter – she’s 8) went like this:
K: Mom? I have a question to ask you.
K: Some of B’s classmates are telling her that the characters in movies like “Frozen” and the fairies in “Tinkerbell” aren’t real. She asked me if that was true, and I stumbled. I didn’t know what to say.
ME: So what did you say?
K: I asked her what she thought.
(ugh…I hate that answer..always have always will…it ranks right up there with, “because I said so” and is about as useful..but I didn’t tell K this)
K: She just shrugged. What would you have told her?
what would I have said…a million things about magic and belief and I’d of gone on and on, just like I did when K asked me these questions a thousand years ago…
ME: I would have said of course those people are real.
K: How do you explain that, when we know they are not real.
ME: Do we?
ME: Do we know, without a doubt, that fairies that help little boys and princesses that freeze things are not real?
ME: Exactly my point. We choose not to believe, and when we do that I think we lose a little bit of the magic in our souls.
K: Oh, mom…this is why I call you.
K: I’m going to have B call you, okay?
Later that afternoon, my phone rings…
B: Hi Grammy.
ME: Hi B, how are you?
B: Fine. Umm, Grammy are Elsa and Anna real?
(my mind races…”Elsa?”…”Anna?”…before I realize they must be the princesses in “Frozen”)
B: Oh…how do you know?
ME: B, the characters in the movies aren’t the ‘real’ fairies, or princesses or what have you. Do you think every ‘Santa’ you see in a movie is the real Santa? Of course not. The real Santa, and the real fairies and princesses are far too busy with important things to take time to make a movie.
B: Then who is in the movie?
ME: The movies are based on these people, but played by actors who spend time with them and study them so they can be realistic.
B: Okay…thanks, bye!
Just like that, the conversation was over and a little bit of magic was restored to a tender soul still wanting to believe.
And, who knows, maybe that little bit of magic spread to an old soul, making her feel the awesomesauce of it all once again.
My oldest daughter loves Halloween.
No, really loves Halloween.
Like over-the-top loves Halloween.
She’s always been like that, too. And her husband? Oh, he’s just as much in love with Halloween as she is.
They take weeks to decorate their house, and win the ‘Best House’ award every year. On Halloween night, people from all over the county load up their cars and trucks, SUVs and mini-vans, all to come visit this one house. She has hundreds of visitors, and many repeat ‘customers’ throughout the night. We turn the entire garage (or yard, depending on the weather) into a haunted house. We’ll have “Jason”, a “Freddy” and always a chainsaw killer.
The whole family pitches in most Halloweens, and we all buy candy. I’ll bet we pass out $300 worth of it at least.
But, even before the trick-or-treating she has a party for all the kids in the neighborhood.
And I do mean all.
So, this before-party is something I’d never been asked to be part of until this year when everyone else bailed on her.
This should probably me my first clue, but I’m clue-less.
A week ago I agreed to help, and then jumped on Pinterest to find peanut-free treats.
You know how you can see something on Pinterest and think “I can do that..” only to have it not work out like the picture?
Well, at least not this time.
(I almost forgot to post the ‘before’ pic of my bat cookies)
So, these are buttery cookies filled with plum jam – you can use any red jam for this – that you then poke holes in to make it look like a vampire bit into them. Theoretically, the jam will run out the holes a bit and look like blood.
Voila!! Vampire Bat Bite Cookies!
And when that doesn’t happen, just enlarge one ‘tooth’ hole and add a little jam with a toothpick to make it look gory.
So, could I do it twice? I mean find another peanut-free treat to make for the party?
Apparently, I can.
These are sooooooo easy. Cut a big marshy-mallow in half (wet the knife, it’ll be easier), dunk the halves in water for a second and then drop into a bag of colored sugar and give it a shake. Top with a drop of green icing for the stem.
I figured two for two was good, so I wasn’t going to try again.
But my oldest is bold and brave….
And so are her kids!
And why do I keep hearing Lloyd Christmas shouting “I GOT WORMS!” in my head?
Yes, those perfectly creepy kids are two of my gran-chillun’ Their mama has instilled the love of all things Halloween-y in them.
I’m very proud.
Also, I want the little guy’s t-shirt.
So have a spook-tacular Halloween, and if you come to my daughter’s house I’m the witch with the long black hair and the creepy cackle.
Don’t get too close, I hear children go good with worms and bloody bats.
I’ll get you my pretty! And your little dog, too!
Sunday night, 8:42 pm
I don’t think I could lift the receiver on a phone when I was a toddler, much less type a text, choose a contact, and hit send.
And last week, she bought a game package for her mom’s iPhone.
Never underestimate a toddler.
Twenty-nine years ago, this day, I gave birth to a perfect baby girl. The last of my four children, and if she’d of been my first, she’d of been an only child.
Not because she was a terror, quite the opposite, she was (and is) a truly beautiful, smart, funny, talented, and amazing girl.
No, I’m speaking of the nine months prior to her birth.
It started with puking, there was puking in the middle, and in the end there was more…puking.
I was the Kate Middleton of pregnancy, before there was a Kate Middleton.
And, in those days there were no fancy terms for “she-who-pukes-constantly-during-pregnancy”.
Nowadays, it’s called something Latin that I cannot pronounce.
I couldn’t stand the smell of any food. I couldn’t eat, and if I dared, I couldn’t keep it down.
Except tuna salad.
And only at noon.
I could eat one tuna salad sandwich every day at noon, and keep it down. The rest of the day, even the smell of tuna sent me running to the bathroom.
My poor doctor was at a loss, but he did bring me in to his office every couple of weeks and hook me up to an IV filled with this dark, thick stuff that was a vitamin concentrate. It took 30 minutes to empty the bag. I’d go home and feel decent for long enough to think I could eat and then realize (too late) what a mistake that was.
The very last week of my pregnancy, when I’d barely gained 20 lbs., I went in to see him and stepped onto the scale.
The only time in my life I remember desperately hoping I’d gained weight.
I had lost 5 lbs.
It was a Friday, and the doctor looked at me and said, “Monday”.
I replied, “What about Monday?”
“If you haven’t gone into labor by then, we are going to induce you.”
“Doc, I’ve had false labor for two weeks straight, and I’ve puked for nine months. I’m about to go insane, so I’m with you. Whatever you want to do.”
On Saturday the contractions began and were fairly regular. I figured the baby had heard the doctor, so she was going to get serious about getting here.
Early Sunday morning, they stopped.
On Monday morning, they started again. This time in earnest.
We drove the 50 miles to the doctor’s office, and after examining me he said, “You’re only dilated to about a one. Now, you can either go home and wait. Or, go to the pharmacy, get a bottle of castor oil, take it and walk, walk, walk.”
I chose the latter.
We went to a local mall, and saw the movie “Ghostbusters”; though by then the castor oil was doing the job it was designed to do and I missed half the movie.
The contractions grew steadily stronger during the day.
I walked and walked and walked some more.
We went to a favorite restaurant and hubby ate dinner.
We walked some more, then decided to go to the hospital as the contractions were now regular and about five minutes apart.
When I got there, and settled in, the attending came in and examined me.
“You’re only dilated to about a three, so I think we will send you home.”
I suddenly became the world’s largest bee-yotch, screaming at him that there was no way I was going home until this baby was born.
He grew pale as I became more angry and loud.
“I’ll go call your doctor.”
“YEAH, YOU DO THAT!”
He came back in a few minutes and told me that my doctor had said to just let me stay. God bless that man.
As my labor progressed, the anesthesiologist came in to give me an epidural. On his first try, he missed. My blood pressure plummeted and I passed out. I’m told that I nearly fell off the bed, but was caught by my husband and a nurse. I don’t remember that part. What I do remember is that after the successful epidural I felt no pain.
I also was never charged for that epidural. Apparently, the doc that missed had felt so bad he was nearly in tears when he left me.
During the delivery, I was on a bed that tilted up so I was nearly sitting. This allowed gravity to help. It also caused severe friction burns to the backs of both thighs. They were so bad, a nurse from the burn unit had to come down and treat them afterwards.
Once she was born, and I held that beautiful baby girl in my arms, everything was forgotten.
Okay, not completely. That puking memory stayed with me a while.
I was in the hospital a few days longer than most people because of the burns, and the general rundown condition of my body from the lack of nutrition during the pregnancy.
During those days I ate.
A WHOLE LOT.
Suddenly, I was no longer pukey and nauseous and I couldn’t eat enough to fill me up.
I also slept almost constantly, only waking to eat or have someone poke and prod me.
The docs weighed me as often as they weighed my baby, and on the first day it was discovered that from pre-pregnancy to post-pregnancy I’d lost twenty-five pounds. So, although I’d gained twenty pounds during pregnancy, the minute she was born I lost forty-five.
My system was so run down, I spent the next year and a half catching every little virus that came along. I was constantly sick with colds, strep, you name it.
Eventually, I recovered and as I’ve watched that baby girl grow up to have baby girls of her own I can tell you this…
I wouldn’t trade a minute of the puking for all the tea in China.
Maybe for gold, or cash money, but not for tea.
So Happy Birthday my darling baby girl, and I know you were a precious gift from God who continues to brighten my world.