Bumper Sticker

The only one on the back of a hatchback read like a Singles Ad:

I like poetry, long walks on the beach, poking dead things with a stick...

My almost five-year-old was alone in the car with me, and asked me why I was laughing so hard. I read it to Catie, and she started laughing. It was my turn to ask her why. When my daughter finally caught her breath, she declared, Halie does that to dead bugs!”

Then we both had a good laugh.

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FLASHBACK to Fall 1979

I had just turned five on August 31, and started Kindergarten a few days later. I learned the classroom rules quickly, and still use them in my life today:

1. Keep your hands to yourself.
2. Wait for your turn.
3. Raise your hand to speak.
4. Respect others.

Rule one seems not to apply right now while I’m on Mommy Duty. If I abided by that rule, there would be more ER visits resulting in a formal CPS investigation. Rule two, I’ve got down pat. I’m the kind of person who will smile and wave the other person through a four-way stop, even if I got there first. Rule three is still in place in our house. Imagine three children (four if you include my husband) trying to outscream each other to get my attention. Rule four, I’m still trying to get through my daughters’ wooden skulls. Impenetrable? No. Hard-headed? I guess between me and my DH, each daughter got two heaping helpings of stubborn.

Preschool Jokes

Maybe I need to get out more. I’m used to politely chuckling at my kids’ attempts at humor. Today, my almost-five-year-old gave me a real joke, reason enough for a genuine laugh in response:

What do you call a flying skunk? A smellicopter.

Heeheeheehee! The joys of watching three Mini-Me girls.

Unending Questions…

My daughters can go most of an entire day only asking me the crucial survival questions: “Mommy, could I have a snack now?” or “Mommy, could I go play in the backyard?” Mostly, it’s declarations, like: “Mom, You gotta see this picture I painted!” or “Have I got a funny joke to tell you!”
It seems that exactly at bedtime, bellies begin to ache, bottoms begin to be sore, and new cuts in need of Band-Aids are discovered, in the dark, mind you. On top of all these problems that only Mommy can solve, there are also deep, puzzling questions that must be answered. I love it that my kids haven’t figured out yet that I actually don’t know everything. That bubble will soon burst, I know. It always begins this way:

Catie: Mommy, I hafta ask you a serious question, ‘kay?

Me: Is that the question or do you have something else to ask me?

Catie: Mommy, how big is God? Is he bigger than the Jolly Green Giant?

Me: I bet we look like grains of sand to God, that’s how big He is.

Halie: If it’s always daytime somewhere in the world, when does the sun get to sleep? What about the moon?

Me: I’ll have to ask God about that when I get to heaven.

Catie: What happens when we die?

Me: [thinking] Where do these questions come from? Why are you asking me?

I heard a clear and simple explanation for ‘crossing over’ recently. The verbal illustration was enough to paint a mental picture for me, and I thought it might do the same for my girls. I told my daughters, “Imagine that you’ve fallen asleep in the living room, and then Daddy carries you into your room and tucks you into bed. When you wake up again, you realize you are not where you remember being when you fell asleep. It’s possible that it happens just like that.”

Halie and Catie: Oh. G’night Momma.

I just don’t think that I can come up with that kind of answer at the end of the day when I’m already so frazzled and just ready to snuggle into my husband’s shoulder. Inevitably, I fall asleep on the sofa. Only DH doesn’t try to move my big butt. He just turns the TV off, and makes sure to leave the ceiling fan on so I don’t drown in my own sweat. Smart man. DH loves me enough to risk breaking his back lugging me to our bed, but also knows not to mess with me while I’m asleep. Very smart man.

I’d like to dance

One of the Pastors at our church, a man that I know, lost his 26-year-old son on Wednesday. This young man was diagnosed 19 years ago with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy, that caused every muscle in his body to deteriorate even as he slept. The service was this morning. I did not know the young son, but I wanted to be there in support of the family members, whom I’ve volunteered with for years. There was a large crowd in our church chapel, and with few exceptions, every person was crying by the end of the service. Of our church’s 30,000+ membership, I did not expect to see so many familiar faces. The senior pastor of our church officiated the service, with tears streaming down his cheeks. The only time that I’ve seen the man in a suit and tie, he’s also holding a Kleenex box. Then, the grieving father, a gifted teacher and follower of Jesus, shared scriptures, as well his thoughts about his oldest son. He shared that his son lived a difficult 19 years, but never complained. He encouraged us to celebrate, pointing out that we do not know how long or short a 26-year life is when compared to eternity. The father’s son is no longer wheelchair bound, on a ventilator, he’s dancing in one of the rooms in the mansion God has built just for him. What an architect our Heavenly Father is! I encourage you to live like each day may be your last, do not worry about anything, love those around you.

I’d expect this from a puppy

Rosie has developed the habit of taking off her diaper then christening the floor. I’m so glad we have Pergo-type flooring in the living room and hallway. Easy clean up. Today, however, I left her happily ensconced in stacking her discovery blocks on the coffee table, then cheering for herself, simply so I could go address an urgent issue with my tiny bladder. While washing my hands, I heard the distinctive R-I-P of the velcro tabs on her diaper. Damn! I rinsed my hands and grabbed a towel on my way to the living room, thinking that I would need something absorbent if she had already made a puddle. Oh, how I wish she had just piddled in the living room floor. Leave it to my overachieving child to leave little landmines behind her as she walked around the living room, cheering for herself. I’m now urging (read: forcing) Rosie to help me clean up any mess that she creates. Toys: she does great. Books: she does okay, except for the stacking part. Bodily fluids: she usually makes a hasty exit just after my discovery.
I’m simply grateful that she is done with her artistic phase. I’d rather have it on the floor than on the walls.

Brave Souls

My step-dad has family that lives on the West side of Houston, and they have decided to stay put. They are not in a designated flood zone, and hope to miss much of the storm. My prayers are with them.

Rainstorms have a grip on my heart. Not paralyzing, mind you, but do I like rain? Nope. I’m a Sunshine kind of girl.

My sister’s Family Baby Shower is Saturday, that is if the weather is not torrential. A transplant from Chicago more than 25 years ago, I can still hear my mother calling the sudden Texas summer storms by a name that has never left my mind. Every time it rains, I hear my own daughters repeat the name: “This is a Texas Toad-Choker for sure!”

The first Texas Toad-Choker that comes to mind was my first year at the State Fair. I was five years old, and there with my parents and our neighbors. Mother was pushing my little sister (yep, the one that’s about to give birth) in a stroller, my hand was under her hand on the actual stroller handle itself. Then the heavens opened up – no warning – like water dumped from a bucket on my head. Everyone scattered, I took my hand away from the stroller, away from my mother’s soft, safe grip, and I was l-o-s-t. I ran forward and back, calling to my mother, pleading with God to show me anyone familiar. I ran into a nearby dry-looking doorway, and I swear I saw all kinds of animals marching two-by-two up the stone path. Just then, a large policeman with a heavy Texas drawl told me that he’d take me to a place where I could find my lost parents. Sure enough, the sign over the doorway said, ‘Lost Parents’. My mother found me a short while later, and I had my arms crossed, tapping my foot, wondering where on Earth she had been. My mother hugged me tight and all was right in my five-year-old world again.

I remember sitting in the open garage on a lawn chair with my father, just watching the humongous drops splattering on the pavement, demolishing my driveway chalk artwork, bludgeoning the three leaves on the skimpy tree in our front yard, and what was left of the grass that had once been our lawn being washed away. I sat and watched big, fat drops of rain that looked like tiny mice scampering across the roof of our neighbor’s Chevy, grateful to have a safe, warm place to keep myself dry.

Fast forward twenty years to a night in winter, the one season of the year in Texas that you don’t find yourself wanting shorts. My sister (yep, the expectant one) and I left my father’s house on a stormy night, rounded the corner on the way out to the highway, then WHOOSH. A large amount of water came rushing down the hill to my left and pushed the car up onto the Landscaping of a stranger’s front yard. I looked out my window and saw that the rainwater was covering the door handle, and had a full-on freakout, right then and there. Why the adrenaline didn’t kick in then, I’ll never know. My genius little sister had the sense, being on the high-and-almost-dry side of the car, to open her door and get out. Let me say that she was not leaving me there. I remember a large, firm hand on the collar of my jacket, then I was out of the car. The next thing I remember is my dad coming to save us. By the time he got to where we had washed off the street to, all the water was gone. That’s Flash Flooding for ya!
The car had water in every component – minus the gasoline tank. We had the car repaired, then traded it in – and quick!

So for me, the thought of a hurricane puts my stomach in knots. Tornadoes, sheesh, I’m tougher than any twister. Earthquakes, nothing shakes me. But I am scared of floods. DH is going to make sure that the areas that retain water in our backyard are cleared out, because even a little rushing water makes me want to climb to the top of the tallest tree – and stay there. And there’s no way I can haul all three of our girls up a tree in a BabySling!

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