children

Children Should Come With Warning Labels Review

Posted on February 15, 2010. Filed under: books, children, humor, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , |

Hi all! Excited to tell you that 4BabyandMom offered to review my book, Caution: Children Should Come With Warning Labels.  Just posted, her review made my day – here’s an excerpt:

Very rarely can I admit that I had a blast reading a book, but I can honestly say that I couldn’t put this book down. I cannot count how many times I laughed out loud and my children looked at me like I had three heads. 

In addition, I’ve offered to give away one book to her readers!  So hurry here to read the review, comment, and enter the contest! Note: Warning – you’ll want to bookmark www.4BabyAndMom.com If you don’t, you’ll be missing out on a lot of giveaways, reviews, and some pretty cool information!

To enter the contest and read the review, go to:  www.4BabyandMom.com

Patti McKenna

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I Lost My Sexy

Posted on February 11, 2010. Filed under: children, humor, marriage, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

My swish has gone asway. I lost my sexy and can’t get it back.

It didn’t go away all at once, though. I lost my sexy a little at a time:

  • I lost my sexy when my husband brushed his hand across my hair. Thinking What a loving gesture, I was brought back to reality when he said, “There’s baby cereal in your hair.”
  • I lost my sexy when our standard form of birth control became a child sleeping between us, runny noses, and smelly diapers.
  • I lost my sexy when one of the junior high girls in the dugout asked my daughter if I was her grandma.
  • I lost my sexy when my waistline grew faster than my age.
  • I lost my sexy when I heard boys refer to my daughters as “HOT.”

Is there a lost and found for sexy? Can I take out a classified ad?

LOST: My Sexy, loving companion to middle-aged, graying mother of four. Last seen somewhere between childbirth and teaching teenagers to drive. Used to answer to complements by good looking men. Needs tender loving care, has sentimental value. Fragile: If found, do not expose to elastic waistbands, dirty diapers, hungry children, dirty laundry, or full-length mirrors.

This ad was paid for by the committee to restore my youth. Any contributions would be appreciated.

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My Response to The Good Wife’s Guide

Posted on February 4, 2010. Filed under: children, humor, marriage, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

The Good Wife’s Guide

The Good Wife’s Guide above has been around for a while. Some claim it came from The Housekeeping Monthly in the 1950’s – others insist it was from an earlier generation. Still others say it’s somebody’s idea of a joke. Regardless, it is worthy of a response. Here is my official response to The Good Wife’s Guide that my husband handed me, right before he ducked.  I’ve listed each tip and my response is in blue and italics below it.

1.  Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return.

Okay, before we go any further, just when would that be?

Most men are hungry when they get home, and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

First, I thought I was his favorite dish. Secondly, lobster is his favorite meal, but in today’s tough economy, I’ve been working very hard (he’s not the only one who works, you know) to make our food dollars stretch a little further, but the two lobster tails won’t mate. Serenading lobster is a time-consuming task. It might not leave me with any time to make dinner.

2.  Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

If you read further into this Good Wife’s Guide, you’ll know why it isn’t possible to accomplish this husband-pleasing task. But, I’ll give you a few reasons. While I was resting for 15 minutes, the kids painted the bathroom walls with my lipstick and strangled the cat with my pretty hair ribbon. Besides that, saying husbands are work weary and then suggesting that they have the energy to stay out all night (#9) is contradictory. A more realistic look at this task is in order.

3.  Be a little gay and a little more interesting to him. His boring day may need a lift, and it’s your duty to provide it.

Well, might I suggest that if he wanted me to be a little gay, that should have been discussed long before I became his good wife, although I’ll admit it would probably make things interesting. I may have to sacrifice the lobster farm, though, to have time to become a “little” gay and lead such an interesting life.

4.  Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house. Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc., and then run a dust cloth over the tables just before your husband arrives.

Okay, we’re back to #1 again. Just when will that be? And if I did all of that, I wouldn’t be rested, fresh, and look all dolled up anymore per instruction #2. When you decide what you really want, get back to me.

5.  Over the cooler months of the year, you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel like he’s reached a haven of rest and order and it will give you a lift, too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

So does raising kids, but that doesn’t mean I had to enjoy childbirth. Besides that, shouldn’t I be getting most of my immense personal satisfaction from him and the gay, interesting life I lead on the side? Oh, and hand me the short end of the stick I keep getting. I need more kindling.

6.  Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s faces and hands, comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes.

All right. Stop right here. The children have been changing their clothes ten times a friggin day since they were two. Isn’t eleven times unreasonable?

Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noises of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

For starters, there aren’t enough hours in the day to wash and dry the 10 loads of clothes that the kids go through and you’ve just added one more load. I’ll also have to assume that the dead cat’s fur can just stay on the floor, but doesn’t that violate #4? But I think I can keep the children quiet. I’ll go get the duct tape.

7.  Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

I “sincerely” tried this once. Wearing nothing but a smile, I wrapped myself in Saran Wrap and waited to greet him at the door. But by the time he got home, my smile and most of my body had melted away. And somehow, the Saran Wrap got stuck to the duct tape on the two-year-old’s mouth, and her lips are now stuck to my thigh. I’m beginning to believe that you’re setting me up to fail here.

8.  Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

Okay, but I’m sure he’s going to notice the totaled car in the driveway, and I hope the boa constrictor that got out of its cage doesn’t slither up his leg before he’s done saying the all-important things he has to say. I’ll wait to tell him, too, that the Department of Homeland Security has disclosed that duct tape will be the weapon of choice in the future, and that we are now under suspicion because of the large quantities I’ve been buying to keep the kids quiet. Therefore, I must curtail my duct tape purchases for the unforseeale future. He may suspect something’s wrong without me saying anything, though, because the kids are pretty noisy without it.

9.  Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late, stays out all night, goes out to dinner or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

I must really point out that the contradictions simply have to stop. If he has such a very real need to be at home, then he could and should come home. That aside, how can I have his lobster ready, be fresh, and keep the house and the kids clean if he comes home late? Why should I even have to make his favorite dish if he’s going out to dinner? We could’ve spared one of those poor little lobsters. No comment, however, is necessary on the “other places of entertainment.” I’ve become a little gay to make his life more interesting. That’s all the entertainment his strained and pressured day can handle.

10.  Try to make your home a place of peace, order, and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

Finally, here’s one that is doable. But it will probably require tying up the children, in addition to purchasing another roll of duct tape. I’ll have to take lasso throwing lessons to catch them, though, so I may have to abandon my gay, interesting life and my 15 minutes of so-called rest. He better enjoy the peace and tranquility while his kids are bound and gagged, because I have a pretty strong hunch that it borders on child abuse. If that happens, I’ll probably be in jail when he’s looking for his favorite dish tomorrow night. Be careful what you wish for. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

11.  Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

Yes, I have heard that many people on the brink of insanity often have a strange sense of calm about them before they lose it.

12.  Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such, will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

Since it now appears that you are talking about the Almighty here, I must interject with an English lesson. Anytime you’re referring to God, any reference to Him should be capitalized. Him, His, and He all fall within the rule. Oh and before I forget, why does this guide include a reference to God? I thought it was about husbands and wives…

13.  A good wife always knows her place.

Yes, of course she does. She also knows her husband’s place, and she takes a break from her gay, interesting life to visit him at the cemetary every Sunday.

 

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Their Father’s Daughters

Posted on January 15, 2010. Filed under: children, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Every item of clothing that touches his body lands in a heap by the bed. Every last stitch.

Until I pick them up.

The kids are just like their father.  While I wouldn’t mind if they all looked like him, why do they have to act like him?

When I’m brave enough, I open their bedroom doors, though I know better. And yep, there they are. Swelling mountains of dirty clothes piling higher and higher. Where they’ll stop nobody knows.

The other day, I had to get up at 4:30 (that’s a.m.) to run to Wal-Mart and get printer ink for the Spanish papers that somebody waited until the last minute to print out. Darting through the aisles, I came upon a display of bath towels. Wow, I thought, this is what they look like.

Clean towels! What a novel idea.

We didn’t have any. Not one. And it wasn’t because I don’t do laundry – it was because I couldn’t find the laundry to do it!

I bought some new ones. They’re missing now, too. They’re somewhere in those I wanna be like my daddy piles.

The only thing that isn’t missing is a black bra. It’s on the floor of the SUV.

Now we’ve gone too far. It’s time to put my foot and authority down.

Dear 16 year old, your bra fell out of your bag. That’s embarrassing. Pick it up and put it in the house.

Her response was a sigh, followed by “Okay.” Loosely translated, this means “There, are you happy? Now, please shut up and leave me alone!”

Five days went by. Five days of me and the bra driving around town, doing errands, going to ball games. It’s still there.

Last night, the 15-year-old sent me a text. Mom, this is embarrassing, but I’m going to spend the night at Allison’s after the game.  I forgot to pack my black thong. Can you bring it to me? Here’s the road map to find it….

So, I put on my face mask and gloves and ventured into the bedroom. Then, me and one pair of black thongs jumped in the SUV and took the bra for another ride.

When they get home, we’re going to have a long talk. If they’re old enough to wear black bras and thongs, they’re old enough to be responsible for them.

There is still a glimmer of hope. I might get lucky and this time they’ll listen.

Their father, well, that’s a cause that’s as lost as the towels.

 

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Some Kids are Overachievers, Others Aren’t

Posted on January 14, 2010. Filed under: children, Parenting | Tags: , |

With four daughters, it’s bound to happen. One child does something absolutely newsworthy while the others sit quietly in the background. Sure, they’re happy for her, but they also can feel inferior and left out.

Our youngest is 15 and she’s the athletic one in the bunch. She plays every sport there is, and I must admit she plays them well. As a sophomore, she is a starter on the varsity basketball team. She works hard to earn and keep her spot, and it shows. She’s improving every day. Tuesday night she scored 25 points, earning her full page newspaper coverage, picture and all.

Her coach says she’s fun to coach, listens well, and has a super personality. I agree. All of my girls have great personalities. The teachers like them. They’re respectful, pleasant, fun!, and also honor roll students. But they get there in different ways.

The youngest, the overachiever and athlete, studies a LOT. She gets home from games or practice, showers and eats, then whips open the books and intently works on her homework until about 11 pm. The third, an honor roll student too, whips open the books, but only studies as much as she has to in order to get the A and occasional B. Grades come easier for #3 than #4.

We commend both of them.

But #4 got mass attention from friends, family, the community and fans. Her picture was on the front page and a 6 x 9 was plastered on the front of the sports section. How does #3 feel? I silently watched.

She was happy for her sister, and thankfully, only 15 months apart, they’re best friends. But I could see that the continual Emily this, Emily that was starting to get to her. She was quiet, in the background. Did she feel like she was in the background with our family? I think so. We talked, trying not to put her on the spot.

The headline said McKenna Excels. She said, I don’t excel at anything. But she does. She’s the kindest and fairest friend anyone will ever know. She won’t participate in mean girl, gossip tactics. She stands up for the little guy. She gets great grades and is a gentle, funny person. To me, that means much more than any sports stats. To her, it doesn’t.

Emily is bound to get more of the same attention she got Tuesday. She is after all an overachiever.

Meridith is bound to feel like she sits in her little sister’s background because she isn’t.

And I’m bound to feel happy for one when she excels and gets credit for it, and bad for the other because she does excel in so many ways, but yet doesn’t get credit for it.

What’s a parent to do when one child is an overachiever, and the other isn’t?

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Caution: Children Should Come With Warning Labels

Posted on January 13, 2010. Filed under: books, children, Parenting | Tags: , , , , |

An excerpt from my book, Caution: Children Should Come With Warning Labels (published by Urban Edge Publishing)

Chapter 5

CAUTION:

No Means Yes and Yes Means No

Green Means Stop and Red Means Go

When Heather was just old enough to ride a bike, she eventually grew bored with riding up and down the driveway.  We live in rural subdivision which doesn’t have sidewalks, so when Heather asked if she could ride her bike in the road, like her big sister, we said yes.  But, we gave her conditions.

We live in the middle of the block, so we told Heather that she could go to the end of the block and no further. My husband pointed out the stop sign. “When you get to the stop sign, that means you have to stop, turn around and come home.”

We’d stand in the driveway and watch her as she executed her instructions without a flaw.  This safety net soon was given a name.  She could ride her bike as long as she remembered to “stop and go home.”

What do you know?  It worked. We told a child to do something and she listened—not just the first time, but every time!  Before she’d head out of the driveway, we’d ask, “How far can you go?” and she’d respond, “Stop and go home.”

We were sure she understood the rules, but we didn’t know just how literally she took our words until we packed up the family and took a road trip. The front door became a revolving door as we retraced our steps in and out, carrying luggage, pillows, snacks, blankies, dolls, games, and anything else we could find to appease four children stuck in the back seat for eight hours. Then, one last trip in the house to make sure we hadn’t forgotten a child or added one since we packed, and we pulled out of the driveway.

We weren’t two miles from home when we came to a stop sign.  The whining hadn’t yet begun, and the girls were quiet, anxiously anticipating the little vacation we were taking. My husband stopped at the intersection, and Heather must have taken the opportunity to look out the window and take in her surroundings.  The next words out of her mouth broke the silence.

“Oh, no!”

“What’s the matter, Heather?”

“We’re not there yet, and now we have to stop and go home!” she wailed.

What?  It only took a second before we both knew what she meant.  Heather saw the stop sign, and we’d done such a good job manipulating her mind to think that the stop sign at the end of our block meant that she had to go home, that she now thought all stop signs mean you have to “stop and go home!”

Yes, we had manipulated her young, impressionable mind, but it was for her own safety.  Kids, however, have an uncanny knack for manipulating words and sentences for no reason other than to drive their parents past the stop sign and into the brink of insanity.

It’s called the “No Means Yes and Yes Means No Game.”  Now, any child who plays this game is not a naïve, innocent dimpled darling, but rather a scheming and cunning little shyster intent on getting their way, thinking they can outsmart their parents by reversing the meaning of two simple, but very important, words. If there was a Heisman Trophy for little manipulators, I know four girls who deserve serious consideration for the title.

The No Means Yes and Yes Means No Game is often played in the car, while the mother is driving and being driven crazy. 

“Mom, can we go to McDonald’s!”

“Mom, I want to go to the park.”

“Mom, can we have ice cream?”

“Mom, can I have a puppy?” “Mom, can I have a bird?” “Mom, can I have a kitty?” and “Mom, can I have a white rat?”

No, No, No, and NO!  Managing to answer all their questions in under two seconds, all that was left was the whining and the begging.

Until one of the little darlings got the bright idea that it was time to play the No Means Yes and Yes Means No Game.  The game is remarkably easy to play and even the youngest catches on fairly quickly. 

“Mom, can I get my ears pierced?”

Not one to mince words, I got to the answer right away, “No.”

“I can!”

“No, I said you can’t.”

“No means yes and yes means no.”

Oh, no—not this game.  The game that tests every parent’s patience as they try to figure out how to out manipulate the pros.  This is the one game that mom and dad cannot win.  We’re doomed from the start, set up by our own little offspring.

Well, the only thing they didn’t figure out was that no could mean yes all they wanted, but it wasn’t going to change my mind—it was only going to make me lose my mind. Children can play this game for hours on end without tiring, and it seems that the more frustrated and irritated mom or dad get, the more intensely they strive to push them over the brink.

But, they don’t know one little thing.  Parents have a trump card.  For every no means yes and yes means no, we have an ace in the hole which is guaranteed to get on their nerves as much as, if not more so, than their little game.

It’s called “We’ll see.”  Far better than yes or no, we’ll see can postpone an answer until your little one gets married, and then it can become somebody else’s problem. 

Moms and dads have to say no often, but there’s nothing worse than the preplanned whining and begging which strategically begins with no and doesn’t stop until that no becomes a yes.  Avoiding this situation is your best bet, and we’ll see is a parent’s secret weapon.

The wonderful part is that, for a long time, they actually believe “we’ll see” is a “maybe.”  Well, it’s not.  If I meant maybe, I would have said it.  Instead, I say “we’ll see,” which basically means that I don’t want to tell you no right now and I’m in no mood to listen to any pleading or crying. 

We’ll see works for quite a while before they catch on.  They’re smart like that.  Suddenly, one day you pull out the “we’ll see” response and you’ll hear them grumble, “Great, that means no.”  Then, you try to save face because you like “we’ll see” and you want it to work for a long time to come, so you reply that it doesn’t mean no—yet. 

I tried that and our girls chose that moment to reveal their photogenic memory.  They recalled each and every time I said “we’ll see” from the time they wanted the shiny red shoes, not the black ones, to the time they asked for a Playstation III.  They pointed out that they didn’t get a hamster or a pony and that we didn’t take them out to eat when they asked on February 2, 1997. 

They had my number and had figured me out.  But, that didn’t stop me, and I continue to fall back on “we’ll see” at every opportune moment.  While it certainly doesn’t work like it used to, I now am the one who gets a certain amount of pleasure watching them cringe the same way they made me cringe when they twisted the words that came out of my mouth. As they say for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction.

No might mean yes, but we’ll see always means no, and paybacks—they’re always priceless.

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Dear Ref:

Posted on December 14, 2009. Filed under: children, Parenting | Tags: , , , , |

Dear Referree:

I know that moms are overprotective sometimes. I’m guilty, but not often. I don’t step in when they argue with their friends – I know they have to work it out. It’s part of maturing.

But there are times I can’t sit idly by and watch my daughter be treated unfairly.

That’s exactly what you did, sir.

She’s 15. She’s a sophomore. Sure, she’s 5’10” and a starter on the Varsity basketball team. But she earned that spot. She works hard. Very hard. She gives it her all, knowing that the other players have more experience than she does. I commend her for that.

But it seems that you don’t.

When you blew the whistle when she was in mid-air under the net, I thought you were calling a foul against the other team who knocked her with an elbow. Boy, was I surprised when your eyes turned to her, the one who wasn’t guilty of a foul.

She does foul. It’s part of the defensive strategy of a physical game. But this time she didn’t.

So, why did you walk up to her on the court and with eyes that turned into daggers, came inches away from her face in a stare down? There were four schools at the tournament that day and a lot of fans and you decided to humiliate my daughter in front of them.

The stare down lasted so long that I was moving forward, ready to pounce and scream “Make a call or move away.” You see, she’s 15. You’re a middle-aged 6 foot plus adult male. You have power. And you used it.

I sighed when you finally stepped back and took several steps away. Then, you turned around and gave my daughter the death stare again for several more seconds. She was beet red and it was evident that she was extremely uncomfortable and humiliated. Yes. Humiliated. But she didn’t say a word, move an inch. You had no reason to turn back around. She still didn’t know what she’d done wrong.

Then you called a technical foul against her. We were floored. Her coach was floored. You see, as you heard in the five minute argument her coach had with you, she’s one of the easiest going kids on the team. She’s one of the biggest supporter of her teammates, as you witnessed when she gave a teammate a high five for making the first of her two free throws. You didn’t like that, either, though, and told her she couldn’t do it anymore.

I stayed quiet, but now that I know what the technical was for, Mr. Referree, I am livid. You humiliated and embarrassed and dominated a 15 year old girl because she said the word “Foul.” You’ve got to be kidding me! A technical? If you didn’t like it, why didn’t you warn her instead? In fact, no one heard her say “foul” in the stands, so she didn’t scream it, but she’s got the broken skin from scratches up and down her arm to prove she was getting mauled under the net and no whistle was blown – not once.

Maybe somebody did need to point out your job. Her coach already had and you still didn’t do it.

A stare down with dagger eyes to humiliate her and a technical to muddy her reputation was overkill. Maybe a bit of professionalism and heeding the fact that you’re an adult and she is still a child is in order.

If that’s not possible, hang up your whistle. You don’t deserve the title anymore than she deserved the technical or the treatment.

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I Believe

Posted on December 13, 2009. Filed under: children, Christmas, Parenting | Tags: , , , , |

I’ve always been touched by the Christmas letter, Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. It reaches down into my heart and warms me, giving me faith in mankind and all that is good.

I believe that there is magic in the holiday season, regardless of your faith. There’s a return to the basic kindnesses of giving and appreciating. The holidays invoke a fundamental desire in people to extend a helping hand, a warm wish, a smile, and even sometimes a dollar or two.

I tried to instill this same feeling for helping your neighbor, even if that neighbor was a stranger, to my kids. When I worked at a college, I was the one who spearheaded our very first “Adopt a Family” during the holidays. It went over so well, with so many gifts, clothing, and food pouring in, that we had to adopt more than one family sometimes. But, all of the presents and warmhearted offerings were delivered to my office, a spot that certainly couldn’t contain the pile of gifts that multiplied from one day to the next. So, I took them home and stored them there.

The first year, we adopted a family of seven, a married couple with five kids who had recently found themselves without a job after providing for themselves all their lives. My daughters helped wrap the gifts and put labels on them. They helped sort the food in separate boxes. When it came time to deliver Christmas to this family, they felt like they knew them and wanted to come along. I let them.

And I am so glad that I did.  The parents had told their children their situation. They knew that Christmas was going to be a meager one. But they were astounded when we arrived. Boxes and boxes of food and gifts were carried in by me and my girls and the family watched in disbelief. Then, they jumped in. The parents and the kids got their shoes and coats on and went back and forth to our loaded SUV to help us unload. The mother cried, tears streaming down her face at the generosity of strangers. The children cried, begging their dad for a tree. It was December 21st and they didn’t have one. When he explained that he didn’t have the money, I handed forth an envelope. In it, was a card signed by the employees of the college (and my daughters) and $200 to add to their holiday.

The father cried.

Inside the card was also a certificate for one semester of free tuition and fees at the community college. Now, Christmas offered more than gifts. It offered a new beginning, a new career,  a chance to start over.

The next Christmas, we adopted a totally different family. While the father in our first adopted family was actively enrolled and doing wonderfully in his new computer technology courses (and now working part-time at the college, as well), this year’s family was quite different.  A divorced mother with three small children, one an infant girl born prematurely, the other two young boys. The mother was in her early 30’s and had cancer. She had delayed treatment to save her baby’s life. This was a bittersweet Christmas – the mom, the grandmother, and an aunt all cried, especially at the amount of food, which certainly came at a much needed time in their lives.

We touched this family, as well. We gave this family a good Christmas; it was their last Christmas together. The mother passed away three months later.

You don’t know what life is going to bring. From one day to the next, you don’t know if your health will take a turn or if your job will be wiped out from under your feet. But hopefully, there is one thing you can still have faith in during the holidays, and that is the goodness of others. Extend a hand, help a stranger. It was transformational for me and my daughters. It changed the meaning of Christmas and made all of us truly appreciate what we do have.

Along with so many people, we did our part to offer hope and help to those who were less fortunate. The parents in our first family now give faithfully to other families in need. 

Like the letter says, there is a Santa Claus. He exists in all of us.

Those families believed. I believe. And my children do, too.  And I’ll forever be grateful that they do.

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Refrigerators and Rainbows

Posted on November 16, 2009. Filed under: children, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

rainbow 001In 1985, we had our first child. Concidentally, that was the year we bought our very first refrigerator. Actually, well, I stand corrected. Our only refrigerator.

Yup, its about 25 years old. It’s Almond colored and heavily used.  I’ve gotten so used to it that I don’t even notice that it looks out of date. But, alas, it’s time for a new one. Even though this one still works and has never required one teensie weensie repair – not a one.

I’m excited about getting a new fridge. Oh, the colors, the styles. It’s fun and exciting, but then I look back to the only fridge we’ve known, good old dependable Roper that it is, and I know that a new fridge can’t fill its shoes.

Our fridge has provided the frame for over 500 rainbows, each unique and beautiful in its own right. Coloring book pages usually sat alongside, scribbled or intricately and painstakingly completed to perfection. Each had the author’s name prominently displayed.

I love you’s have covered it’s doors, as well as pictures of family and friends, some who are still with us, some who are not.

There have been progress reports, report cards, and other indications of our growth proudly taking residence for all to see. There have been sports schedules galore, graduation announcements and party invitations. There have been magnets from every industry and walk of life.

There have been fingerprints. Little ones which were cleaned, soon to be replaced by slightly larger ones.

Inside it’s housed far too many baby bottles to calculate, birthday cakes, and play doh. It’s done it well, and been there as its doors have been opened at least 40 times a day.

As I look at it now, it’s buck naked. Robbed of all personality and memories, it is nothing more than a large, old appliance. Taking its place will be a shiny new appliance which doesn’t know our family, our history, our demands, and our needs.  A new refrigerator which will never be trusted with the care of a baby’s bottle and will, sadly, find that the rainbows which adorn it are fewer and far between.

It’s just a refrigerator, but it really is so much more. It symbolizes 25 years of fun, laughter, comfort, nourishment, and parties. It’s welcomed guests to its fold, inviting them to partake of its contents and be entertained by its artwork. It’s been abused and it’s been used.

It’s the first thing the kids turn to when they come home from college or high school. It’s just a refrigerator, but given its contributions to our family for the last 25 years, it’s gonna be bittersweet to let it go.

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Over Yonder

Posted on October 27, 2009. Filed under: children, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

I just got an email asking where I’m headed in life. Hmm. Profound question for an astrological spammer to ask, isn’t it? Am I going where I want to go? I may not be there, but I do know I’m present.

I’m a wife and a mother, a mother, a mother, and a mother. Four kids, I get to count four roles, right? I’m a mother in law, a sister, a daughter, a friend, an aunt. I’m a writer, an editor, a blogger. This year, I’ve been a wedding planner, a mover, a chauffeur, a driver’s ed teacher, a school policy reviewer. I’ve voluntarily tried to right wrongs. I’ve been a charity supporter, a dog and cat owner, and a  foster pet mother. I’ve been a cook, a maid, a laundress, and an ATM.

While I do all of those things, I have to admit that I’m not the best of the best, the cream of the crop.  There’s always room for improvement.  From afar, I admire those who have arrived to where they want to be, a place I call over yonder – an unknown destination where dreams come true.

Over yonder is where I’ll be when I’m not only an author, but a successful one. Over yonder is where I’ll be when I have the time to enjoy my kids – and my future grandchildren. Over yonder is where I’ll be when the balance doesn’t have to checked every time I become the ATM. I don’t know where over yonder is, but right now, it’s somewhere I’m not.

Over yonder is anywhere I’m not.

It’s standing on the edge of Frisco Bay

Holding babies in Little Rock

It’s where I’ll be with my love

and meet fate and destiny.

I don’t know where life’s gonna take me.

But I reckon when I get there,

Over yonder’s where I’ll be.

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