First…. I listened to a little boy screaming and fighting his teacher because he thought protective services would come and take him away during school. It’s a scary thing for a 7 year old when he isn’t sure where he’ll be sleeping that night or when he will see his family again.
Then…. I listened to a teacher reading a story to 3 kindergarteners about families. The teacher reiterated several times that a family was a mother, a father and their children who lived together. She showed pictures and had them point to the correct “family” shots. They kept counting to 3, 4 or 5 together …. To indicate what she told them a family looks like. I knew two of the kids. One lives with his Grandmother and the other child lives ½ time with his mother and the other ½ with his father. I highly doubted that even the third student lived in the Cleaver/Cunningham model of family… I knew I didn’t and I knew the teacher teaching the lesson didn’t either!
It is definitely a Monday of what will probably be a very long week….
Our tradition has been to let the kids pick a place to go out to dinner for their birthday. Dori always chooses seafood, Macy likes Italian and the boys usually pick Chinese. A new Chinese restaurant opened up at about the halfway point between the guy’s house and ours so we go there quite a bit. Since we are a pretty big family and need to pull 2 tables together when we come in we are pretty well known there. Once we were there for Dill’s birthday and the hostess noticed that it was a special occasion (probably because we had gifts and sang the happy birthday song to him off key!) She came over and asked Dill how old he was. Then he told her how much he loved coming there to celebrate. He wore a huge smile and ate the whole dinner (always chicken and broccoli) and the woman seemed to enjoy talking to him every time she walked by. (Everyone is always amazed at how much soup and Chinese food that boy can consume… he is always insulted when anyone asks if wants kid-sized portions)
At the end of the meal, the hostess came over with a large bag that was stapled closed and gave it to Dill. He opened the bag and inside it was stuffed with fortune cookies. You would have thought she gave him gold! It was his favorite present and I am sure he can’t remember any of the gifts that the family spent time finding, buying, wrapping and bringing for him…. But he will remember those cookies.
As we walked out, Dill was beaming and gave the hostess an uncharacteristic hug and thanked her again. I commented that it was a very nice thing for him to do and he stepped into the parking lot, turned to me and said, “Just workin’ the charm, Mom.” Oy!
I’m thinking of You and just when I feel this crazy world is gonna bring me down that’s when Your smile comes around, I love the way You hold me~ By my side You’ll always be. You take each and every day, make it special in some way~ I love the way you hold me. In Your arms I’ll always be….. I love, I love, I love, I love the way you hold me. (from Hold Me by Jamie Grace)
I don't think I've ever seem Macy as sad as when she opened her birthday card from her mother and there was nothing in it. Her sister got a good sum towards a car when she turned 16, so Macy was counting on a big chunk to put towards her "car fund".
The gift was revealed when we saw my sister "S" (her mother) after Christmas. She presented Macy with her first car... way better than money in an envelope! Here is a picture of Macy in her new car (she named it "Avery") On the way home, while Macy drove it most of the way she discussed the "Book of Avery" she was going to write..... containing all the rules for entering and caring for her new car... she is a funny girl! :)
While visiting for the holidays to the "salt" side of the family, my sister L had us all meet at one of her favorite hangouts for breakfast. This place will never be seen on any travel show (which "L" warned us about before we agreed to go) The booths are duck taped and the ceiling is a bit droopy, but the wall decorations were fantastic. There were album covers from singers like Connie Francis (my Grandfathers favorite singer) and a set of hot rollers like my Grandma owned in the early 70's. There was also this picture on the wall from Wrigley's gum.
In the early 80's my Mom was into an Investment Club which she heard about through the public library. People got together and sold each other one share of the stock they owned. It was a way of avoiding stock broker charges and was meant to help build people's stock portfolio's. Mom had one stock in quite a few companies. She especially liked companies with what she called "perks". Wrigley's had one of the best perk programs. Every year, around the holidays they would send all their stock holders some new or interesting product they were promoting. She loved getting their stripped gum one year, and then liquid filled the next.
When we were teens Mom bought a few more stocks in Wrigley's and gave one to my sisters and I. We all had 1 share of stock in Wrigley's gum. We all started getting the end of the year perk package in the mail. I don't know that any of us really thought it was that great.... until the year she died. She died in March so when the Wrigley's package came in December it was almost like the gift was from her. Every year, Mom's gift came.
After 9 years of these gifts, I got a letter from Wrigley's. They were being bought by Mars/M&M so they wanted to buy the stock back. There was a check for just over $100 for the shares (it had split a few times by then) I still buy Wrigley's when I get the chance and will always appreciate the yearly gum gifts from Mom. :)
The 25 year anniversary/ commitment ceremony in January with Pepper….. Knowing that I want to spend the next 25 years with her too.
Trying to find a bathroom for Dori on the the trip home from Virginia with Dad D after her accident. We were exhausted and knew we had a long drive through the night, but Dori hobbling into the store was a great sight…. I knew she was going to be ok. The woman that re-opened the store for us and then turned back on the gas pump was a true gift and blessing.
Macy really getting the hang of driving this year. She has been asking to drive to church. I love that she drives JUST like I do. Even swerving around a huge pothole along the route… even after they repaired it. (I think of her every time I drive by the spot)
Making paper stars with KC…. Laughing and failing miserably! We both realized neither one of us will ever make a fortune at origami!
I loved getting to go fall camping with Pete this year. The drive up where we talked about his friends and things important to him and then picking different restaurants to try, the campfire, the dewy mornings and hanging out with Jay while everyone else sat in trees. Then watching my man-boy snuggle with my pillow while I drove us home.
Dill will always be our ‘caboose’ but he is growing so fast. My best memory of him was when Pepper and I took him to Sal’s house and she played a song by Cee Lo Green. (Dill said he liked the song Forget you…. This was a different version) The song was definitely explicit with F* you said instead of ‘Forget you’. Dill counted how many swear words he heard. His expression of shock at the song lyrics was hilarious…. (btw- there were 19 swear words, the boy was shocked and couldn’t wait to tell his siblings what he heard!)
Hoping for many great memories in 2012….. for everyone ☺