Monthly Archives: March 2016

Good Friday…

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  As is the ritual in our parish school, the junior high students perform the “Passion” in the church for parishioners and family members on Good Friday evening.  The doll, like last year, was cast as an apostle and performed wonderfully, as did the rest of her classmates. Afterwards, she and I hung around and helped decorate the church for the Easter season to be held over the next fifty days.  

 When we retuned home she asked if I were pleased. “Wha? Of course I was pleased,” I replied. “Well after the children’s performance on Thursday, you told me my face was too expressive,” she explained. “No, I said your eyes wandered, betraying your position on things,” I clarified. “Mom!” “Doll, you and everyone else involved were perfect!” I tried to impress. “If you don’t believe me, go ask your father…” I proposed. Glancing in his direction she replied, “Nah he’s always proud of me, regardless…” She said before producing a wide evil grin in my direction and then turned and began to walk out of the room.

Looking around the room with my hands up in exasperation I said, “What are you implying?” But of course my question fell upon deaf ears as she cackled in delight walking into her bedroom. Looking over at me from the couch my hubby opened his mouth to speak but I cut him off, “Oh you, Shush!” Which brought a smile and some chuckles from him as well. 

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Fine arts…

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“Mom…” The doll tried. “Baby,” I began to reply. “I feel really bad that I keep asking you to buy me more stuff…” She explained as we walked through the department store. We were shopping for dresses for the many events she needs to attend in the near future: Easter, Confirmation,  May Crowning and finally Graduation. “Such is the nature of the beast, doll,” I replied. “Let’s just find you a dress for Easter and we’ll figure out the rest later, okay?” I offered and she accepted.

****

I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. “Mom, aren’t you going to come in?” The doll asked as I stood outside her dressing room door. “But, I thought…” I began before she waved her hand in front of me and replied, “I’m past that ‘Mom is embarrassing me by being in the dressing room with me’ stage and I’d really like your opinion”. Stepping forward, I didn’t know how to react at first, but quickly got the hang of things. A short time later we found one dress she really liked and would wear for Easter.  As for the others, I asked “Doll, are you sure you can’t wear one of the dresses we bought last year that still fit?” Looking down at her feet before replying, she said: “I don’t want anyone to notice its last year’s dress.” She replied. “I’m telling you, darling, they won’t. They’ll be way too busy worried about how they look and what they’re wearing to notice.” She nodded her head with unbelieving eyes, unsure whether to take what I said on faith or as fact.

****

A few weeks back on a drive to Dayton, Ohio, I noticed the doll copying three different Anime figures across an 8X10″ sheet of paper. She used her iPod to capture an image and then copied them to the page. Since I can’t even draw a stick figure I was quite impressed by what I was seeing. “Doll, you drew those?” I asked reaching for the paper. “Yes and no. I mean, I drew them, but they aren’t my original creations.” She explained. “Why, are they horrible?” she wondered. “No, they’re really good,” I said. Later, after we returned home she said, “I wish I had a real set of sketch pencils because then I could add depth to my drawings..”

A fishing exercise if I have ever heard one….

“How about this? Instead of receiving a basket filled with candy, I fill it with art supplies?” I offered “Okay,” she replied. “Yeah?” I said, not quite believing she gave up candy in her basket. “No, that’s fine, but could you also include colored pencils too?” She asked. “Doll, we have colored pencils around here somewhere, don’t we?” I tried. “Real colored pencils, not the ones we use in school…” she explained. “Ah…well, we’ll see…”

****

Hidden deep inside the top shelf of the pantry, the doll pulled out her basket filled with candy, Easter morning. “Mom…?” She began to faux protest. “For the sake of argument, there should always be a little candy inside an Easter basket…” I began. Reaching beneath our living room buffet I pulled out a fairly large bag filled with fine art supplies adding “And these were too big to fit inside the basket…” Opening the bag and pulling out the supplies I was immediately rewarded with a huge hug of thanks. “Wow mom, this is better than I expected,” my thoughtful daughter exclaimed. “So long as you use them longer than a week…” I said with a laugh and she replied, “Oh, believe me, I intend to!”

Popcorn…

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Saturday night I asked the kids at midnight to go to bed. “Mom, I’m seventeen..” The boy announced. “I cannot hide Easter baskets if you’re still awake…” I said. Looking at his sister he said, C’mon doll, bedtime”. I smiled, thankful they were on there way, so I too could be on my way sooner rather than later.

*****

Thursday afternoon I ran into a friend at Costco, while I busily picked up last minute items for Easter Sunday. “Ooh I see you have popcorn…” She remarked at my double bag of Skinny Pop Popcorn. “Yes, this is for the boy’s Easter basket. Since his pre diabetic diagnosis, I’ve decided to give him very little candy, but still make the basket enjoyable for him,” I explained. “How’s he doing with that?” She wondered. “Well, as a matter of fact, he retested negative for diabetes but was advised to stay the course. So, that’s what we plan to do”. I replied. “That’s great news!” She said and I agreed before we parted company wishing one another a nice Easter.

“Ooh mom you bought popcorn!” The boy said when I brought my groceries inside. “Yeah, they aren’t for you”. “Wha?” He replied acting hurt by my reply. “Bay they’re for something this weekend, sorry!” I said. “But I love popcorn…” He replied. “Sorry bay!” I said before putting the bags away.

For the next two days he bothered me about those bags. “Mom, you haven’t done anything with those popcorn bags. Instead they sit atop the fridge mocking me…” Trying not to laugh I said, “Please! If you have a problem with them, then stop looking at them.” “I’m looking at them hoping you’ll change your mind and let me open them!” He cried while I laughed. “Sorry about you luck, bay.”

Much to his happiness Sunday morning, the very object of his desire gave away his basket hiding in the closet, too big to stay hidden behind the coats. “I found my basket!” He said, a large smile protruding from his face. “I told you the popcorn was for something on Sunday,” I said and was enveloped into a hug, a short time later. “I loooove youuuu” he said as we hugged sincerely. “I love you too Bay!” I replied.

yesterday memories…

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Yesterday, while seated on my borther’s porch bench enjoying the beautiful sunlit afternoon, I found myself quite amused watching my niece Carrin, maneuver her two children into eating thier lunch, very much against their will. “I’m full…” Her 3 year-old daughter Kay tried. Truth be told she was more interested in playing on the swingset, than eating her lunch. To his credit, her 5-year old brother Kel took a different route, “My juice box filled me up…” Looking at both her kids she smiled at their attempts and simly replied, “Sillies, it’s time to eat. You need to balance real food against all the candy you’ve eaten”. The two looked down at their plates, then back at there mother and again, began working on another plan to avoid eating their lunch. What fun I had watching those little wheels turning in their heads.

And… oh how I miss those days.

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Much to my surprise, when I arrived home from work, following Good Friday Services, I found both my children busy raking out my front yard. Nevermind that I had asked the doll to do the work to fulfill some of her home service hours or that the boy needed a reason to get some fresh air. The fact they actually worked together to get the job done, was most impressive to me. In fact, I was reminded was how well they have been getting along lately.

Another sign they are growing up.

 

 

 

to my kids when I’m 95…I

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First of all, I smoked cigarettes for far too long in my youth  to make it to 95. But if God sees fit to make me last that long, I know, this will make my kids happy-so long as I do not become a burden. Heck, it might even make my hubby happy–we both have longevity in our family lines. But one thing is certainly clear, a nice supply of Summer Shandy at the ready will make my long life all the more pleasant.

But I digress…

Over the past six weeks, Wednesday’s have come to be known to me as “ninety’s day” because I’m privileged to hang out with 93-year-old Mrs.K, in the morning, 90-year-old Mr.L, in the afternoon and then spend the evenings with my  94-year-old father. I can honestly tell you, this easily has become my favorite day of the week. 

Why? Because, from my experience, when your in your 90s, your just happy to see another day or spend time with a friend. All the worrying from the previous years have dissipated. They don’t care who’s running for president any more than what their going to eat for dinner. Why? Because they have lived long enough to know, life keeps ticking on, regardless. What’s more, Being ninety is just another number in a long lifetime of numbers. 

So to my kids, if I live to be 95 I don’t want you to worry. This big old world keeps on spinning and us right along with it. Instead, simply hand me a one of my Summer Shandy’s, sit down and visit. Share a drink and some stories with me. Help me pass my time here on earth surrounded by love, not loneliness. If you do this for me, I’ll promise not to write anymore blogs about you, only  share them in live conversations with others… (though you may have check to see if my fingers are  crossed behind my back). Don’t you know, I’ll probably still be the proudest mom on the planet. 

t-shirt happiness

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Yesterday when I arrived home, I found a t-shirt folded on the kitchen table. Unfolding the shirt, I found the doll had received the class t-shirt we ordered the month before. Holding the t-shirt up and examining it for a moment, I got a little choked up. Here is concrete proof, my doll’s elementary/junior high school experience is coming to an end. My little girl is growing up… sigh.

I walked with the shirt into the living room continuing to hold it up for the doll to see. “Yeah, our school shirts arrived and since tomorrow is a jeans day, we’re allowed to wear it to school,” the doll offered. Frowning, I said, “Doll, time is going to fly from here on and before you know it, you’ll be done with school…” Smiling back at me, she replied, “I know, I can hardly wait!” “What?” I said, flinging the shirt at her. “Mom, I’m so ready for this school year to be over…” She replied. “But doll,” I began, “Don’t you want to savor these last few months?” I asked even though I knew what her answer would be. “Mom, I’m sure I’ll miss my friends who are attending different schools, but I’m looking forward to high school. I’m ready to be done.”

“I know, but let’s not rush these last two months, please?” I said and she giggled, “Sorry mom, graduation can’t get here fast enough”.

Sigh.

 

 

march madness…

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The month of March is known for being “mad” for a number of reasons… Whether you’re a mad March hare or caught up in the NCAA basketball tournament, one thing is clear, mad, contrary to the Webster’s definition, alludes to some kind of fun. In my family, March Madness refers not to the college tournament, but rather our willingness to take a road trip drive down to Dayton, Ohio for a fabulous afternoon of family and the city’s most famous Marian’s pizza.

A few weeks back, family members from all around Ohio and as far away as Richmond, VA; came together to participate in our annual March Madness family reunion. The tradition began some years ago, as a way not only to host a family reunion but rather to bring us all together to celebrate the Matriarch of the family, Kathryn’s, birthday. “Mom, why does Grammy call this March Madness?” The doll asked on our drive down. “Probably because we’re all “mad”, driving two hours for an afternoon of pizza and family and then turning around and driving two hours home all on the same day,” I replied. My mother-in-law Pat, who was seated behind us, perked up and replied, “No, this is our annual family reunion in Dayton, OH and nobody can pass up Marian’s pizza”. The doll nodded her head, thinking for a moment before agreeing, “Yeah, that’s true…”

Even though this year we celebrated Kathryn’s spirit being in heaven, we still had the opportunity to celebrate my mother in law’s, brother in law and hubby’s second cousin’s birthday, not to mention take a hard look at how much we have all changed since last November. “Doll, I can’t believe how tall you’ve become or how much prettier you are than I remembered…” Different folks said to her. “Mom is that a compliment?” She asked me one time and I said, “Yes. It was intended as a compliment so take them whenever offered. “Marsha, I can’t get over how much better the boy looks…” “Well, losing eighteen pounds and not all on his head has certainly helped…” I added with a  joke. “I heard that…” the boy piped in. “Okay, but did you lose all your weight with your haircut?” I asked. “Oh. Nevermind…” He replied.

There is an old saying in my family, that you can’t spin a dead cat by the tail without hitting another family member in my town. Between all the first cousins, second cousins and so on, we’re pretty much all over our hometown. So taking the kids to Dayton every Spring offers a good reminder to the kids that small families love just as hard and perhaps better than the large ones (my family excluded).