2. your spot-on gift giving of the right thing at the right time
3. passing on your love of folk music record albums
4. and flea market junk shops covered in kudzu
5. letting me do dumb things to my hair because hey, it’s just hair
7. you took me to see my very first theater movie and it was Raiders of the Lost Ark
8. you took me to meet Darth Vader when RotJ came out
9. you chaperoned my field trips
10. you volunteered at my school
11. those awesome carnivals at Solomon
12. those outfits and scrapbooks you tried making
13. you didn’t make me wear those bubble suits
14. you made me wait til Jr High for makeup
15. and leg-shaving, no matter how I clamored in 5th and 6th grade
16. the year of the 7 Easter Dresses because they were all so awesome we couldn’t choose just one
17. all the hard work and help for my first wedding
18. all the hard work and help for my second wedding
19. getting on a scary plane to be there at my second wedding
20. loving Noah so so much
21. being a dog-lover
22. helping keep my hamster alive when she had breast cancer
23. helping keep Marty alive when she got hit by a car
24. keeping scary adult things to yourself when I was too young to be exposed to them
25. flirting with my dad all the time
26. board games!
27. making chicken and dumplins for my friends
28. letting me drag Carrie along anytime we went to Phenix City/Columbus to visit family
30. driving me all over the place until I was 21
31. helping me move to Asbury
32. helping me move BACK from Asbury
33. coming to visit me while I was at Asbury
34. letting me hop on a plane and go to Honduras without you
35. white water rafting, lightning storm tubing with us and braving the bugs in TN
36. heading up Girl Scouts in Hawai’i
37. and Alabama (man I bet that’s a lot of work)
38. super fun best birthday parties ever
39. sleepovers in the summers that lasted for weeks at a time!
40. your thick dark hair
41. and your pretty eyes!
42. your always awesome fingernails
43. your love of diversity
44. and tolerance
45. and humanity
46. that time you called me “MITCH”
47. not trying to make YOUR fears, MY fears
48. your long voicemails
49. red velvet cake
50. bratwurst and German potato salad on my birthday every year
51. coke and milk
52. Roger Rabbit; my first drive-in movie with you and dad in the Chevette (I was still awake when Cocktail came on, too, but I don’t think you guys noticed. but maybe you did.)
53. Chuck E Cheese for my 16th birthday and not making me feel too dumb about it 🙂
54. back to school shopping; must have been QUITE a chore for you.
55. not murdering teenage Janet
56. not EVER making me feel like you didn’t love me just like I was, or you didn’t want to be my mom
57. Easter baskets well into my 20’s
58. and Christmas stockings, too
59. your amazing contagious laugh
60. when people tell me I’m just like you .. and “whimsical” and “funny” are the two words they use most often
61. your broad, super sense of humor
62. your hugs that feel like home
63. your never-ending belief in my potential (even now!)
64. ‘RISE AND SHIIIIINE” sung at the crack of dawn. not.
65. ‘away in a manger’ and dootselling (sp?)
66. terrific breakfast every school morning for 12 years
67. never making me feel I had to worry about money
68. but not spoiling me and getting me every darn thing I wanted
69. forgiving my dumb mistakes time and again
70. and not allowing them to change your view of me
71. always praying for us, Will and Noah and me.
72. coming to rescue me the first time I ever babysat a baby.
73. not trying to taint my relationships with anyone just because YOUR relationship with them wasn’t positive.
74. letting me try my hand at ballet, gymnastics, etc…even if it never panned out
75. not liking peanut butter, cheese, or chocolate because hey, more for me!
76. your love of Lemon Love’s Baby Soft
77. manners. and phone manners. respect for everyone (obviously, unless they do things to lose it)
78. thank you notes!
79. chores & allowances
80. teaching me that in life bad behavior = you’re going to have a bad time.
81. and good behavior = you’re going to have a good time
82. decorating for Christmas all together
83. all your bunnies all over the house
84. letting me watch the Simpsons and In Living Color with you guys on Sunday nights
85. NOT being the kind of mom who leads her daughters to believe skinny and covered in makeup is the only way to be pretty
86. your love of TOYS
87. ..and butterflies and curly hair
88. and soft blankies and babies
89. and sweet tea and irises
90. …and framed photos
91. and singing cards and dancing snowmen
92. and comfort food and Pixar movies
93. and liverwurst and cream cheese sandwiches
94. and driving fast and taking naps…
95. and reading in bed and Christmas lights
96. and funny movies and long books
97. …and Butterfingers
98. and the under-dog and the downtrodden
99. awesome cars and comfy shoes
100. and hopefully 100 (or more) other things I’ve inherited from you…
the last several years have taught me that parenting is HARD and no one – nobody – does it perfectly (just like being a kid is hard, and no one does it perfectly)…
but if you can be loving, and forgiving and funny and giving, interested and interesting, calm in the storm and exciting when you can be, intelligent and open-minded, well-read and worldly, (mostly) patient and always encouraging…then you’re the perfectest mom there is, and you’re a lot like MY mom.
Whenever a friend has trouble in their relationship, I always ask the same question.
“Are you the bird… or are you the hand?”
Some friends think the question suggests one of them in the relationship loves the other more. That’s not true. Their love is equal. It’s just expressed totally differently. It’s like how the word for love isn’t pronounced the same by a German as a Korean. But it’s definitely the same feeling.
The idea is childishly simple. Which is why I know it’s true. Einstein said if a complex idea can be explained in simple terms it means one understands it. I’ve thought a lot about it and this analogy works for all love relationships.
“The bird and the hand” is pretty much the E=mc2 of love.
Here it is. In relationships, there are two roles: the lover and the beloved. You’ve seen this dynamic at play…
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so the rest of November went like this:
I spent almost a week in Alabama for my favorite uncle’s funeral.
it was small, sad. it was good to see all the people I love, hug their necks, kiss their faces. it was too damn hard to say goodbye to Uncle Peter, though.
I was not ready for it.
I know… no one ever is. but still.
Upon my return to MA, William departed almost immediately for Wisconsin to spend about a week with his mother, who’s recently begun battling cancer.
his little sister and her four children live there, with his parents, and so he got to visit with them, as well
We were all reunited on the 20th and after an uneventful week of school, work, hikes, duck feeding, Marty wrasslin’, and the like –
our next door neighbor’s house burned to the ground on the 27th.
I say “next door”, because it’s the lot right beside ours, but the house is really directly behind ours, across a bunch of water, so we were safe.
the family lives in CT, and this is their summer-home…
Sirens and lights were going by our house and we had no idea why…until Noah called to us to come see ‘Neighbor’s house is on fire!’….
beautiful house that the owner poured his heart into
that my mom, ‘aunt’, and ‘sister’ stayed in for a week when they came from Alabama for my wedding. [and another dear friend who flew in from Texas for a couple days too]
so heartbreaking, and my view of the lake is that much sadder now.
luckily, no one was injured – the neighbor’s (on the other side) house was damaged some, but their cat was saved – whew.
no word yet on the cause (that we’ve heard, anyhow)
the next day…still reeling…and we’re off to CT for Thanksgiving with William’s fam:
…the next day, people headed to our place for Thanksgiving II: The Turkening
and we discovered someone’s gotten as tall as his aunt!
hope December holds more happy happy memories for us
and less loss.
my favorite uncle is dying.
I mean, I have other uncles.
Roy and Tommy were both married to my mom’s sister, Bebe, and they’re wonderful lovable men, but I don’t know them that well.
My dad has two sisters who have had multiple husbands and I don’t think I’ve even met all of them.
Their current husbands, Mike and Alan, I’ve met both of them one time each. They’re nice.
I have fake uncles, Reg and Barry and other men I love, but none like Peter
Peter was born in Frankfurt, West Germany – like me. [my mom was born in Florence, Italy and was therefore named Florence. I always wondered why he wasn’t named Frank]
I’m pretty sure he was a jock in high school, super handsome
married a lady who was all wrong for him (or so I understand)
brought my wonderful cousin Edye into being with that first wife
Edye won’t have her dad anymore, soon, and I can’t imagine what that’s going to be like
the world will be completely different.
…somewhere along the way he ended up in the Army and in Germany and divorced from that first wife
met, loved, married my beautiful Aunt Barbara
who will be a widow soon and my heart’s just ripped in pieces for her.
lived in this super awesome a-frame house (which wasn’t white when I was younger, but cool and wood…also didn’t have those add-ons off to the sides when I was younger) my whole life just about
struggled with diabetes, let me play his Atari, had a LIBRARY in his house which I thought was just the coolest (also where I discovered my love of Stephen King novels), grew THE most awesome beard, had a series of awesome dogs [Bojangles…Cajun…Dweezil…Fortune…Max…Barney…the list goes on]
see that epic beard?!
that beard’s probably why Edye and I ended up with really handsome bearded dudes..
always sent me THE raddest gifts at Christmas and birthdays
when we moved to Hawai’i and couldn’t take our beloved dog Bubba with us, he moved in with Pete and Barbara so we wouldn’t have to surrender him to a shelter
there’s lots and lots I don’t know about him, but
he’s funny and smart. he loves his family.
especially his granddaughters, Katherine and Alainey.
Peter and Barbara, they were always there.
Most people grow up having family – uncles and aunts and cousins and grandparents and nephews and nieces and what-have-you close by. Family get togethers are a matter of course, nothing out of the ordinary.
We were Army, my family, and didn’t really have any other family that lived close to us. Until we moved to AL, that is, and suddenly Peter and Barbara and my grandma were only about 1.5 hours away, and we joined the ranks of ‘families who get together and have holidays and celebrations and spend time with one another.’
it was pretty awesome. what I’d always wanted, as we moved from Army base to Army base.
that looks like an Easter. (see the eggs by my grandma!) (see all the happy smiles…what the heck, people. thanks for smiling, mom 🙂 )
they were at my high school graduation ❤
and my first wedding
and all sorts of important days
the surprise 50th birthday party I threw for my parents
all my life
he had a camera in his hand most of the time, and maybe that’s one of the reasons I do too
although, after this day, above, with bubbles, I remember finding out his camera had no film in it; all day long
he’s the last of my mom’s immediate family. her dad died in the 80s. her sister died in the 90s. her mother died in 2007.
that’s my mom, in the middle.
I don’t know what this must feel like for her. I have a husband, a dad, a grandfather..
I can imagine those horrible feels, I can empathize somewhat.
but your big brother? The last member of the family you were born into?
I don’t know those feels at all.
I think the last time I saw him might have been 2007.
and I think the last time I spoke with him on the phone was in 2011.
he sounded so unlike himself..and it scared me so much, it hurt me so much
that I was too scared to talk to him after that. I was an idiot, so stupid.
my mom would tell me how he was doing, and Barbara, and I’d think about calling, WANT to call
but the fear was bigger.
so selfish and it’s my loss. My loss.
his birthday’s Monday.
[I think my mom said that ^ was his Smokey and the Bandit hat]
and he’s in a hospital in Columbus, GA and I want to be there with my mom and Barbara and Edye
but I’m not. I’m here in New England and we had our first flurry this morning.
some sort of infection, my mom said. machines unplugged this morning. he’s not conscious. they won’t transport him to the hospice facility because he wouldn’t survive the trip.
that’s me, and that’s him