Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Love Letter for my Mom

I thought over and over about what this next blog post would be about. I have tons of witty, interesting stories to tell, but I just kept coming back to the same thing.
I’ve decided to dedicate this blog post to my Mom.
Here’s why:
I was a pain in the… neck. I had the worst attitude, especially during my teen years, but I always knew she loved me. Even when I thought SHE was a pain in MY neck. (Really. I cringe at some of the behavior I remember. I was never a rule breaker; I was just rude and selfish. I can’t decide if that is better or worse.)
Oh, the things we learn once we become parents.
She loves Michael Jackson. Loves him. It is one of the funniest things about her. One of my earliest memories is her cleaning the house with MJ turned up really loud. She was singing along.
She rocks out. Any pop music is appreciated. She dances, and snaps her fingers, and plays karaoke on the Wii… and she has no shame. The lady belts that music out.
She buys me little presents, just because she thinks I will like them. Usually clothes, because she knows I don’t buy any for myself.
I look just like her.
She digs in the garden. Her house is surrounded by shrubs, trees, and flowers.
She can name the flowers she has.
She lets my girls dig with her, and she knows every flower they have planted. Then when we are outside with her, she points them out and tells us all how wonderful they are doing because they were specially planted.
She lets me borrow her clothes. While some of them are a little too conservative for me… she also has some awesome ones. I sometimes wonder if she buys clothes with me or my sister in mind, because many times, when I borrow something, it still has the tags on it. Hmmm sneaky…
She once drove six miles to my house, in the middle of her dinner, to kill a huge spider for me.
She sometimes babysits my kids, just so I can have a break.
She was a strict parent. I thank God for that every single day.
She kicked her nail biting habit.
She also kicked her cigarette habit.
She takes literally thousands of pictures every year. Probably tens of thousands. She can produce pictures from any even she has attended in the last 10 years.
She once danced at a wedding with purple satin gloves on her feet.
My cousin Kate called her Auntie Daddy for years, because she was with my aunt when Kate was born. When the doctor asked who should hold Kate, my mom said, "give her to me, I'm the daddy." The name stuck.
She was also called Auntie TeeWee when she was about 13, because my cousin Shelly couldn't say her r's. That name has stuck for... many years and my cousin Shelly still uses it. (don't worry mom, I won't say exactly how many years)
She flew out of state multiple times when my sister and I had our babies.
She walks every year in the March of Dimes "March for Babies". She spends the rest of the year gathering money to donate.
She loves her grandkids without reservation.
She loves her children without reservation.
She worked every day of my life so that I could have everything I needed.
When money was short, she used credit cards for Christmas and Birthdays and back to school shopping. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized she must have paid down those bills just in time for the next holiday. I always assumed we had enough.
She made me believe we always had enough. I never knew she worried, even though she must have. She let me be a kid.
She married a guy that drove me crazy. He was the bane of my existence while I was growing up. He was also one of my biggest supporters, and still is. The man would walk through fire for me. She realized it, even when I didn’t.
Here is the biggest reason this post is dedicated to my Mama.
She loves me. It doesn’t matter if I am sweet, mean, skinny, fat, lazy, funny, annoying, rude, happy, or a pain in the neck. I have never for one moment ever doubted my mom’s love for me. She is a rock when I need one, a shoulder to cry on, a pain in the neck, and absolutely 100% lovely.
And I bet she is crying right now.
I Love you Mom!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The things people teach their children...

Hello Friends! Remember me? I’m that amusing girl that you just can’t get enough of… that dropped off the face of the Earth. Well, no worries! I’m back!
Sorry about the long absence. I’ve been busy… being a mom. Surprising, no? All joking aside, it feels really good to be writing a letter to my friends again. (that’s you by the way)
I’ve thought of a ton of things I wanted to write to you about, but it seems there is never a free moment in this house! I decided in honor of Mother's Day, I would break my blogging fast. (It sort of sounds like I am using "blogging" as a swear word in that last sentence, but I'm not, I swear.) Right now, I am finished with all homework due, as I am a full time college student… but the house is a disaster. I am writing to you instead of doing the dishes. We all know how I feel about dirty dishes.
Okay, enough about how very sorry I am that I have ignored all 12 of you who read my blog. I love every single one of you, but this blog is about me.
I have recently become very curious about the things children learn when they are little. Some kids know their ABC’s song by the time they are two years old, and others are far older than that. Some five year olds tie their shoes, but mine doesn’t! I imagine its because of the parents. For instance, I don’t buy shoes that tie for my girls, they are a pain in the neck and are always coming untied. So my Mads has no reason to learn to tie shoes. Some parents may not sing very much with their children, hence their children don’t learn the ABC song until they are in preschool. No way is right or wrong, just different.
We sing a lot in my house. My girls love music and at one point or another have owned a tiny piano, 3 guitars, a play saxophone, maracas, tambourines, and a set of bongos. Actually, the bongos are mine, and before you envision some Matthew McConaughey-esque scenario, let me tell you that my Grandmother gave them to me because they belonged to her brother. And If you don't know what scenario I am talking about, please brush up on your pop culture.
I digress.
I would like to share some of the songs my girls sing on a daily basis. Remember that they are 2 and 5 years old, and my 2 year old can sing all of them. They are all from such different genres, it makes me giggle a little. Once you have seen some of the different songs my girls know, you will understand why I am so interested in the things people teach their children. Enjoy.
The first is one of Roo's favorites. She can sing the whole chorus. I obviously mute it during any risque parts...  I cannot explain how many times my 2 year old has requested this song before bedtime. The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars.

Next is a song that my mom taught me. It's funny the way these things get passed down. I never payed attention to the words before I started singing it to my own kids, but I'm pretty sure this is a warning for girls to not get too skinny. You decide.

Alice, Where are you going?
Upstairs to take a bath.
Alice, with legs like toothpicks
and a neck like a giraffe-raf-raf-raf
Alice, stepped in the bath tub
pulled out the plug,
and then!
Oh my gracious, oh my soul!
There goes Alice, down the hole!
Alice, where are you going?
Glug, glug, glug!

The next song I have to admit... I totally love. We sing this at the top of our lungs in the car. This girls voice is amazing, but I'm partial to the version my girls sing. There's nothing quite like hearing a 2 year old singing about "lying like a coon dog". You Lie by The Band Perry.

Another song my Mom passed down, that my children love to hear.
 I think it may actually be a recorded song, but I'm not sure who sang it. I found it in a singing greeting card once.
I love you
A bushel and a peck.
A bushel and a peck
and a hug around the neck.

Want to hear another song? Yeah, me too. My girls love this song. Love it. They can also sing most of it, except for one second of the song I have to mute of course. They also have no idea that the original version has a very very naughty word in it... so we listen to this version, which I like much better anyhow.

And last, but certainly not least, we have a song my Grandma taught me. She was in the Marines, and this is one of the songs they taught her during school.

Be kind to your web-footed friends,
for a duck may be somebody's mother,
they live in a place called a swamp,
where its always cold and damp.
You may think that this is the end...
well it is.

Do you see what I mean? My girls have very eclectic tastes in music. I think it is all a matter of instruction though. Mads' best friend at preschool knows every Michael Jackson song, and I'm pretty sure at his age, I did too. (at least the ones written up to that point)

All parents are different. I teach my kids Marine Corps cadences, songs my mom learned in Girl Scouts, and a smattering of Top 40. I'm sure some children hear mostly classical (why? ick.), or jazz, or hip hop.

Do you want to know the secret to being Mother of the Year?

 I sing right along with the girls, 
 no matter the song...
at the top of my lungs.

It's amazing how becoming a mother erases all sense of embarrassment when doing rediculous things. Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers, especially the ones that taught me to act like an ass in order to see my kids smile.