Sunday, December 24, 2006
During my childhood Christmas Eve and Christmas Day where jam packed full of family activities and traditions.
On Christmas Eve afternoon we would go to my paternal Grandparents house where I was the youngest (until my sister ruined it for me) of nine grandchildren. My grandparents house was, and still is, tiny. And it made it that much more fun. Kids everywhere, adults everywhere. Noises of frustration turned to delight once the supper dishes were washed and the adults sat down with us to open our presents. Although the presents were never elaborate ( I always ended up with a photo album or a cross stitch somewhere in my loot) they were loved. It was the feeling I now recognize as being ever more rare. The feeling of a close knit, old fashioned family, coming together to celebrate a season as well as a common belief. The kids would help rid the living room of the shredded newspaper in order to make room to play with our newly acquired treasures.
At 11:30 pm the adults would corral the still playing children and wake the ones that had collapsed from exhaustion and we would caravan into town to our church for Midnight Mass. Although I remember being so tired during church, the minute the crisp, cool night air hit my face afterwards I was wide awake. It was after midnight, and technically Christmas Day, and I was each year uncertain as to whether Santa had already arrived at our house and left because we were not in bed asleep, or if we would, by mere minutes, make into bed in time. On the way home we would turn our car radio to a local station that had Santa spotters and I would look for a flashing red light in the sky that would, of course, be Rudolph's nose. Luckily, each year we made it to bed in time.
Christmas morning I would wake up and go immediately into my parents room. None of this dashing to the tree to see what he brought. No sir-ee. I was too afraid that he might still be in there and I wouldn't want to accidentally see him. --I think I am the only child in the world who didn't want to catch Santa in the act.
After we had opened presents we would head over to my maternal grandparents where we would meet up with my other aunts and uncles and my other 10 cousins that I was the oldest of. And although I don't remember the presents being the big too-do, the meal definitely was. The grandkids had a special table and there was a special plate that we all wanted to use. It was a McDonald's plate with Mr. Ronald McDonald himself on it, along with the Hamburgerler, Grimace and whoever the bird was. It was literally the luck of the draw that decided who got to use it.
These are the memories from my childhood that I will never forget. They have defined me and my almost desperate need for family involvement and they have been embedded in my soul as some of the best times of my childhood as well as my life. That carefree feeling and peace will never exist in me again, because as everyone knows, once you become an adult, not to mention a parent, you will never know complete peace again. Whether it be worries about your children, health, relationships or money.......a carefree existence ceases to be. It is called adulthood.
Now since I am the adult, I am grasping at ways to fill my children's lives with an abundance of "carefree peace". I want to fill them up so as to carry them through adulthood. I want them to have so many memories and moments to draw upon that they never run out and the well never runs dry. Somedays I feel like I am doing an ok job and other days I feel like I am failing miserably.
Today I started out feeling like I was failing. I mean, here it was, Christmas Eve and the day was unfolding like any other. We ate breakfast, played, ate lunch, took a nap, and then got ready for church.
I am not sure what transpired on the way to church that took my attention away from what I felt like I was lacking and turned it towards what I had been blessed with. I think there was just something about the drive to town the kids enjoying all the Christmas lights, dressed up our Sunday best, and my husband attending services with me that almost stopped me in my tracks. -The moment was perfect. I know perfect doesn't exist. There is always better. But not tonight. Tonight--even with its imperfections--was perfect. I know that is a contradiction, but to me it makes perfect sense.
On the way home from church we stopped to eat. No fine dining. Just a quick bite at McDonalds. The kids ate, we ate, everyone was happy. On the ride back home Miss L (who has just figured out what Christmas is all about) sang Christmas songs.
"Sing with me, mommy!"
OK, what are we singing?
So, in unison we sing Jingle Bells. Off tune, loud, with Mr. B excitedly enjoying our serenade and of course, hubby, quietly driving, smiling.
"wait...let's sing a baby Jesus song."
Ok, what song?
Miss L began singing. I think it must be a new carol or something. I had never heard it before. It lasted almost 5 minutes. I will hit a few of the high points for you.
Imagine this to the tune of.........who am I kidding......there was NO tune....
"Little Baby Jesus was born and he was crying for three days because he wanted Santa to come"
".....Santa parked his sleigh and said if you will be good........"
"Jesus' eyes were watering and his throat was scratchy....."
"Star light star bright Merry Christmas to Rudolph....."
"We love you Jesus....."
What can I say, she's three....she has obvious talent. ;) I think her song, like the night, was perfect. And it is these moments that she will be able to draw from once an adult. Maybe it wasn't the traditional huge family Christmas Eve that I had as a child, but it was still one spent with my own children that I love more than life...singing to the baby Jesus.......
I am finding that even in adulthood I am surprising myself by adding to my own well of memories to draw from. My history doesn't have to be my kids history in order for it to be good. Who knows, maybe they will think theirs is even better.
My wish for your Christmas is to find perfection in the imperfection.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
I have had many, and I mean many, embarrassing moments. You name it. I have probably had it. I have fell down bleachers in front of an auditorium full of rodeo final fans....I have had aunt flow show up on the back of my pants with no advance warning with a HOUSEFULL of people.....I have even showed up to work with what I will call mouth mucus on my shirt that obviously didn't make it into my hand when I covered my mouth, (as our mothers tell us to do) when I sneezed.
However I think that what differentiates my next embarrassing moment from the rest is that I wasn't even present when the actual embarrassment took place.
As my very few readers know, I have lived in the country my whole life. Because of this I have never been, and still aren't, a "pull the blinds" kind of girl. In fact, I have never been exceedingly modest, even when I lived at home. Blame it on location...blame it on my family....blame it on me. But it is a fact.
Argument: Why to blame it on my family: Ask my high school friends. They can offer me a defense. They KNOW. They have seen my dad exiting his comfy recliner, heading towards his bedroom......with only his tighty whiteys on....as if it is their fault that they came to the door. (gasp!) Also a common sight around my house was my mother multi-tasking in her bra and panties while getting ready.
Argument: Why it should be blamed on location: Well, this one is kind of boring. But in the country, you are given a false sense of privacy. The chances of being caught in your underwear or naked pale in comparison to the chances of not getting caught. EX: I was great at running to the clothesline in my underwear to get the clothes that I wanted to wear off the clothesline and NOT get caught. Timing......and listening for cars. Those are the secrets, I tell you.
Argument: Why it is my fault: I am a smart girl. I should know better. Years of running around half naked are BOUND to catch up with you. Even if you thought you were too sneaky for that.
When I was about 17 years old I was at home getting ready to go out that night. I had done my hair and make-up but before settling on whatever sexy, irresistable, cowgirl (of course) attire I would wear had decided to start some laundry for my mom. Our laundry room was where are back door was located. Our "back door" was actually our side door and was the door used by anyone and everyone who wasn't a salesman or Jehovah's witness. (no offense meant)
As I was putting in the laundry, the phone rang. The phone was not one of the cordless variety. Nooooo, it hung on the wall seperating the laundry room and dining room and had a cord that was stretched out and tangled...... I was carrying on a conversation, minding my own business when our neighbor pulled in.
Now this neighbor isn't your typical country, mind-your-own-business, neighbor. He is an "implant". An Italian, city building inspector, trying to be a farmer. GREAT! WONDERFUL! I am here in my underwear trapped between the "back door" and the picture window in the dining room. So in an effort to save, ummmm.....face, I crouched down, against the door he was knocking on and held my breath and waited......and waited.......and waited.......and waited.
This guy would NOT give up.
I am not home!!!!......Don't you get the picture? GO AWAY!
-In hindsight I should of just popped up and said, "Hello, can I help you?"
Eventually he went away. My heart was racing....I was a little flushed. And like someone with a hangover puking in the toliet, I promised myself..."I will NEVER do that again!" WHEW! That was close!
I disclosed all of this to my mom when she made it home that day. Funny, huh? Leave it to me....chuckle, chuckle. All is well. Or maybe not.
A week later, Mr. Italian neighbor shows up again. I am not home, but my precious mother was.
"Mrs. Mom, uummm, I need to talk to you about your daughter...."
Oh, OK, what's going on?
"well, your daughter (me) has a heavy foot"
So my mother, in an effort to "help" me, tells him: Oh, you must of heard her running for cover. The reason she didn't answer the door is because you had caught her naked....and she was hiding....from you, behind the door. Sorry. (I am sure there was a definate eye roll here)
Apparently the look on his face alerted my mother that he didn't know what she was talking about, but now had an image flashing through his mind that he didn't really want to have there.
"Uh, actually, Mrs. Mom, I was just going to tell you that she drives a little too fast. Just wanted to let you know. I'd hate for her to have an accident or anything. Um, I better go now.....Bye"
So, you see, I was actually absent, for one of my most embarrassing moments to date. Thanks Mom!
This puts a positive spin on the weight gain. "I AM HAVING 5 LBS of FUN!" Yippee! Hooray! Merry freakin' Christmas!
Friday, December 15, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
All of the girls did great. Once during the performance a little girl went to the edge of the stage and hollered "Hey Grandpa! Can you see me?" Of course, that got a big laugh......and stole the show.
Now, Miss L is a little shy around other children. She gets right in the middle of them and follows them......but she doesn't talk much and definitely isn't a leader. Being in this performance somehow has proved to be very therapeutic for her. I am not sure if it was the cheers of the crowd, or the pretty costume..... but she seems to have gained a lot of self-confidence.
Can you tell?
After the show we all decided to go out and eat. While we were there her teachers came in. At this point she had changed out of her costume and was in her "street" clothes. At the recital there were teachers from different studio locations helping out. These teachers had only been to one of Miss L's practices, so they really weren't familiar with the local students.
As one of these teachers passed by Miss L hollered "Hi" and waved.....the teacher just kept walking. I would hate to accuse her of ignoring my child, but she did. She probably just thought that this nameless child was behaving like a brat. Now I too, have been guilty of this before. Before having children, if a child that I believed was acting rambunctiously hollered out, or said something unsolicited.......I ignored it. Of course, I wouldn't want to encourage that type of behavior. (snarl, snarl) Miss L couldn't figure out why the teacher didn't speak to her. We told her that without her costume she probably didn't realize that she was one of the dance students. Miss L then stated....with MUCH attitude....."She needs to rec-o-nize me!" (Imagine one hand on her hip and the other hand waving a finger in the air)
Miss L wasn't acting up...she was just excited. VERY EXCITED. I think she felt like a star. When her regular teacher passed by Miss L said "Hi". This teacher stopped and spoke to her. After speaking with Miss L, she came over to where her daddy and I were sitting as well as my parents. "I can not believe that she is talking so much. She has been in class since August and she is always so quiet. This is the most she has ever said!"
Maybe all this stardom is going to her head.
Either way, in our eyes she IS a star. And even if she didn't steal the show, she definitely stole our hearts.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
My sister Sarah and her boyfriend, Jason, showed up and shortly thereafter, my cousin, Kelby and his wife, and my cousin, Corban arrived suited up ready to sled. Hubby was working on his tractor to be able to feed hay so he agreed to take Mr. B with him. The rest of us got ready and headed for the hills......which wasn't far, just to the end of our driveway.
We all took turning sledding down the hill. Miss L loved it. Kelby let her sit in front of him and away they sped. But times are a changin'. Back when I was young we huffed and puffed to the top of the hill and then began the process all over again. But not now.... no, now we take the Ranger (an oversized four-wheeler) and go pick up the sledders and give rides back to the top of the hill. Can you say LAZY? Oh well. Fun was had by all.