Quote of the Week

"We Must be Willing to Give Up the Life We Have Planned, So As to Have the Life that is Waiting for Us."
-Joseph Campbell
Week of Aug 12, 2013

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Because I Said So.

That's what Kyle defiantly told Ryan this morning when Ryan told him he could not wear shorts to school. I knew something was up when I came out of my room and saw Kyle face down on Nick's bed still in his jammies while the others were dressed. But I didn't want to know and went about my business. Later Ryan shared with me Kyle's OUTRAGE that he couldn't wear shorts.

Dear Kyle: it's your Grandma's fault you couldn't wear shorts today. Ok, that's a stretch - somewhat - but there are some roots there. Let me explain.

I have found that there appears to be many things I do or say, and if you were to ask me the reason, and I told the absolute truth, it would simply be because "my mom said."

I used to always leave the stove popped open after baking anything. Ryan disliked this. He wanted to know why. I first told him because it warms the house. He didn't like that answer, so I gave him the real answer: because it's what my mom did. That really didn't help my argument, or attempt to not lose crazy points, but that was the answer. I don't know why she did it. She just did, and so I always did it, until it became more annoying to hear Ryan analyze all the reasons why it didn't make sense. So that's one habit I HAVE been broken of...I mean, of which I have been broken. (Mom will read this and not approve of me ending the sentence with a preposition.)

Towels. Ryan folded towels once. And now, I do not let him fold towels. He "does it wrong." He wanted to know what made it wrong. Again, I don't have a logicial answer, other than "this is how my mom does it." So I went with, "Because it IS."

So let's come back to this morning and the drama over shorts. First, let's address clothing in general. When I was growing up, our school clothing rules were: 1. Nothing revealing. 2. Nothing with holes. 3. No sweat pants. That number three isn't going over well with the boys.
Yeah, kids these days don't really dress up for school. I like my kids to look decent. Matching. Clean. And I adhere to the three rules. But they are boys, and they want to wear their MIZZOU sweats or basketball pants. Ryan actually asked me about it. I did not explain that was my mom's rule. Instead, I recited to him what had been recited to me, "We go to school to learn. We need to be dressed appropriately. We should not be wearing clothes we could sleep in." Or something like that.

Now, this is not to say I don't put my own thoughts into these things. My mom would be the first to tell you, if I did not like or "get" her "rules" then I would break them. But obviously there were things that did stick. Subconsciously. As far as clothes go, I generally go with the "dress for the job you want, not the job you have" theory. And I do believe sending the kids to school in "I'm ready to WORK, not play" clothes makes sense. Jeans and TShirts (nice ones, no stupid sayings or characters) are ok. I let them have their sense of style...with restrictions. But the heart of the decision probably stems from the 3 rules.

Then there's the shorts issue. Which, especially with Kyle, is up there with the coat issue. He doesn't want to wear a coat, ever. And he'd probably wear shorts all the time. Come on, we have to draw the line.

Well, mom had a rule that we couldn't wear shorts unless it was 80. I double checked my brain several times to make sure it was not 70, because that does seem extreme, but no, I'm 95% sure it was 80. Now, I'm thinking this rule was set in exasperation to being asked a million times if we could wear shorts. I get that. So yes, I also set limits on when they can be outside in shorts - or without jackets or long sleeves. So today, yes, it was going to be 70. But it was NOT 70 in the morning. They stand at the bus in the morning. They have morning recess. So, no shorts.

I love that Ryan told me Kyle came in to get a jacket because he was cold in his jeans and Tshirt at the bus stop. I asked Ryan if he pointed that out to Kyle. He said he did, but it only got Kyle going about how it would be "like 90 later" and he would "MELLLLLT."

Yep. Some stuff sticks with you - and you don't even know until someone else questions you about it. Though I am aware when I hear my mom's voice coming out of my mouth. That's creepy. There are a few phrases she used that I have been able to restrain from using ... like, "Butt flat!" So many jokes could be made about what that means, but it was basically getting yelled at in the car to have our 'butts flat' on the seat, and unable to reach whoever we're picking on. Or to not sit like we're about to take off from the dinner table. You just heard "Butts Flat!" and you knew to sit. Now.

Then there's the infamous, "Find a place and light," which only in the last year, did I reveal to her that I. HAD. NO. IDEA. WHAT. THAT. MEANT!!

Ah, the stuff parents say. Sounds like another blog.....
(Feel free to submit your mom-isms & sayings.)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Popsicles in Heaven

My childhood babysitter has died. She lived a long life. But it's still sad, and takes me back. Way back.

My memories:
1. My mom learned to never drop one of us kids off without an undershirt on. MY kids have undershirts because it was an "Evelyn rule."

2. I MUST have popsicles in the fridge in the summer - enough for our kids + anyone playing with them. Popsicle day was "special" and exciting. And to this day, they give me that same little kid excitement and happiness.

3. She rescued me once. A neighbor called her because I was crying on the sidewalk trying to walk to her house from school in the snow. I was so cold I "could not go on." Evelyn came and picked me up - and sent me home that day with a hand-me-down-coat that I thought was the best coat I had ever seen. (I still remember: furry brown - with white furry trim and cool latches to close it up.)

4. She did not tolerate bullying. I remember picking on a fellow kid about how she always walked on her toes ... and Evelyn came after me. She sternly reminded me of my bad habit of picking at mosquito bites. (Sorry Evelyn, I still scratch and pick.) But at the same time - she also helped me learn about standing up for myself. A kid who picked on me all the time at school would sometimes try to follow me when I walked to her house and he'd torture me on the way. I remember I was wearing a cute blue dress, and blue tights and a red ribbon in my hair - and he splashed mud on me. And I cried. She gave me a talking-to about giving it back to him. She was all tough love. From that point on, I started pushing back. MANY years later, that same boy asked me out. I politely turned him down.

5. She had the best driveway for riding bikes. And she had some great trikes with giant wheels that were so fun.

6. She loved her dog Rueben.

7. She struck fear into our hearts with her ruler. But she never used it.

8. She's the only person I knew who invited the mailman in and had a cup of coffee with him and just chatted. No one probably does that anymore.

9. She always had a present for each kid at Christmastime. And was genuinely excited to see us open it. I remember getting a Barbie doll and having a huge smile on my face that matched hers.

10. I remember a victory when I pretended to nap and she believed it and praised me for sleeping. She was VERY hard to fool.

11. She would put everyone down for naps - then watch her stories. There were many times when she either let me stay up to watch ... or let me "nap" on the couch where I could still see the stories. I still enjoy the soaps. Got my start with her and Erica Kane.

12. I loved when I got to do special things - like go play with her granddaughter who lived up the street ... and there were two girls who came for babysitting who also lived right across the street...and sometimes I got to go over to their house and play. I also got to play with the little boy who lived next door. Him I DID date many, many years later.

13. She was someone who washed your face and you felt like she was gonna wipe it right off!

14. I remember how "cool" and "grown up" I felt when she let me help at lunch time - and "watch" the babies. I'm pretty sure I learned a lot about proper diaper changing from her.

15. I learned about kids with single dads, single moms, tough times and "different" circumstances. I learned that a new dad could adopt you and change your last name. I experienced acceptance of difference and making the best of things. And that a babysitter could be a support system for families. A babysitter. I think many of those kids who spent many a day at Evelyn's would agree she was more than a babysitter.

God Bless you Evelyn. On behalf of the children, thank you.
I have to believe there are popsicles waiting for you in heaven.

(My mom added some memories in comments. Feel free to add yours, too.)