Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Because She Listened

I used to fold her undergarments, things like pantyhose, slips, granny panties, into interesting shapes to make furniture for my dolls. I’d create my own little version of a dollhouse on the floor in the corner of her bedroom. While my brother was at school, it was just she and I.

I had a real porcelain tea set, real miniature cups, saucers, a teakettle, and sugar bowl. She’d fill the teakettle with warm tea, bring out cheese and crackers, put sugar cubes in the sugar bowl, and I’d have a real tea party with my grandma.

She taught me how to play Uno, Rummy, and how to shuffle cards the cool way. She’d brush my hair, then I’d brush hers and play with it while she watched TV. On the nights I got to spend the night with her, we’d stay up late watching Disney channel waiting to see if DTV would come on. That was my favorite. It was a filler in between shows, music videos of fun kids songs put to Disney cartoons but it only came on late at night.

My brother and I never call her “Grandma.” I’ve heard a few excuses as to why, but whatever the reason, we grew up calling her by her first name, Peggy. 

I remember she started to lose her vision when I was real young. But she still tried to do everything with me anyways. When I was a teen I lived with her. She may have had severe vision problems but could easily hit a grown man square in the head with anything in reach and from across the room when his smart mouth pissed her off.

She was the one all the grandkids went to for hugs and kisses; lots and lots of hugs and kisses. I was the eldest girl, my brother the eldest. He seemed to always be off doing his own thing. Teenage boys are too cool for family things.

She was encouraging, always telling us grandkids that we could do anything. She didn’t want us giving up. She was patient, very patient with the younger ones; I envied that when I was ready to ring their little necks! She was faith-filled, which was very… complicated. We had hardships, and I can’t emphasize that enough, but she always seemed, to me, to have faith in God. It was confusing to me while inspiring. But this is what I loved about my grandma the most: she listened.

All the other adults in the family couldn’t care less about what any of us kids had to say. Our opinions, our thoughts, our feelings, our dreams meant nothing to any of them. The younger ones were just in the way all the time, and the older of us were there to do chores and watch the little ones. But Peggy listened. She listened to us all from the time we said our first words and she did her best to hear every word. She would stop what she was doing and bend down to hear instead of yelling at someone to get out of the room and go play.

Everyday when I’d come home from high school, she’d sit with me and ask me about my day. Some days were less exciting then others. But no matter what, she’d sit there and listen to my response. After every outing, school event or trip, group date night, date night, prom, no matter what social gathering it was, or how late I got home, she would sit up with me and listen to my excitement as I retold my adventures. I was never afraid to tell her anything. I told her of boys I liked, well the plural part didn’t last long before I met my high school sweetheart. She knew of all my friends, of people I didn’t like, people I didn’t trust, favorite teachers, my dreams, my college plans, everything.

Teenage girls can talk a lot, trust me, and that didn’t seem to ever bother her. She never once told me to come back later because her favorite show was coming on. She listened to me gab and gab about everything and nothing, and more importantly, she heard me. She was there for me in a time when every teenage girl needs someone. And that really meant the world to me.

I’m referring to her in the past tense not because she has past on, because she hasn’t, but because this is from my memory of years ago. After school I left, and basically haven’t been back since. I’ve still called my grandma and talked with her for hours on the phone, she’s still the same person. I’m just referring to her from my youth. As a matter of fact, today is her birthday. For her sake, I’m leaving the number out (but the Neanderthals would be offended if they weren’t mentioned since they built the hospital she was born in).

I don’t get to see her much, rarely actually. We live in separate states now. Life keeps us apart. But I do love her very much and wish her all the best on this birthday!

Happy Birthday Peggy!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It was Far Too Perfect to Have Planned

Draven runs down the hall, screaming in pain, and straight into Daddy’s arms. Daddy was sitting on the couch, I was at the dining room table. I looked over at my husband, a little shocked at Draven’s actions since he’s such a Momma’s boy. He always comes to me when he’s crying. Always!

Todd looked at me, just as confused and started comforting Draven, asking him what was wrong.

“I-I-I-I huuurrr myyyyyy aaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!”

I chuckled and said calmly to Todd, “That was a little weird.”

Kaida, darling Kaida, sees the exchange of glances between Daddy and I. She’s standing in between us trying to balance herself on the arm of the couch.

“Draven!!! Don’t you KNOW who that IS???” she says, a little perplexed herself.

I laughed. I didn’t get a chance to look at Daddy’s face before the rest of it came out.

“That’s Daddy!!! He’s a JackASS!!!!”

I buried my face in my arms on the table, laughing hysterically. For several minutes. Kaida was giggling behind me. Draven was still crying, whining really. And Todd was silent. After I composed myself, I stood up and looked at Todd. He was not amused in the least bit. I laughed even harder!

Did I feel bad? No, not even slightly! Why you ask? Because my darling, sweet, loving husband taught my kids to call Mommy a Cow! And they even mooooo at me. So having my dear 4-year-old daughter say this at random was more perfect than I could have planned myself! Because Daddy is, indeed, a Jackass!

Monday, April 4, 2011

I am NOT Nice to Stupid People

So we had a long day in Vegas, that’s my excuse. We’d spent the night before with Jana, so the day wasn’t AS bad as normal Vegas trips are when I drive down and back and do all the doc visits AND shopping in one day. But still, 2 doc visits, one of them informing me that my 3-year-old needs surgery on his un-descending testicle, driving all over Vegas, and then shopping with all three kids by myself yet again still wore me out. We did get to have lunch with Crystal, which was a plus!

By the end of the visit to Wal-mart, near the end of the day, I was literally ready to take someone’s head off, and one unfortunate, and not very bright, woman happened to be in my path. We had been in the store for at least 2 hours, I had all three kids in 1 cart with blankets and pillows and I was pulling a 2nd cart along for the groceries. I was cranky, hungry, and spent, as were all three monkeys.

Naturally, when you approach the check-out lines, you’re searching for the shortest line AND the emptiest cart in that line. So I found the shortest line, 2 people, and each of those people had just a couple things thrown onto the conveyor belt. It was a staggered register set-up, where you had to walk past one register to get to the other. I was making a B-line for register 6. There were about 4 people in line 5, the line I had to walk past to get to the emptier line. Each of them had a cart that was at least half full, and the woman at the end of the line had a full cart. She was blocking the path to register 6. This was a problem that instantly set me off.

I wasn’t rude, at first, but sharply I asked her which line she was in.

She looks at me, a little clueless, and says, “Oh, I’m just waiting here to see which line was going to call me up first.”

In my head I busted up laughing. I looked at her, like she was a total idiot, and said sternly, “Um, no, you’re either in lane 5 or you’re in lane 6.”

And she argued, looking at me like I’D just fell out of a banana tree, “Well, no, I was just going to wait here until it was my turn and…”

And I very rudely, and sternly interrupted her idiocy, “Look around! You’re in Wal-mart! That’s NOT how it works HERE!”

And she tried to argue some more, looking at me as though she’d never been to Wal-mart before and encountered real people, “Well, these lines are just…”

And I was done arguing. “Look lady, pick a line, or move out of the way so I can get through!”

And she slowly rolled her eyes as though she were thinking what a crazy freaking person I was knowing she’d better not open her mouth again. She walked up to the guy in front of her and motioned for HIM to go up to the other line! So, instead of ramming my cart into her body and smashing her up against her own cart, I quickly walked away, searching for another line, which I found at the other end of the store!

And this couldn’t have turned out MORE embarrassing for me. It takes A LOT to offend or embarrass me.  But let me rewind just a little bit. About 40 minutes into our shopping trip, everyone had to use the bathroom. So I went to the back of the store where they have the family restroom. I can push the entire cart filled with children into the bathroom, and not have to worry about any of our stuff getting stolen or having to carry the 2 pillows, 2 blankets, 5 baby blankets, diaper bag, and baby into a single stall while I am trying to listen to the other 2, making sure they are doing what they are supposed to and are not sneaking off or getting knapped.

We get to the bathroom area, and the door is locked. Of course! So we wait. For about 15 minutes. I checked the door during that time once more, just to be sure and just to make a little extra noise for whomever was inside. Most people have been in Wal-mart. This area in the back also has regular restrooms, about 15 feet away from this ONE family bathroom. But I can’t take the cart in there, hence the waiting. So, after the 15 minutes, ONE man walks out of this bathroom! I shot him a look that should have burned his skin right off. He apologized quickly and held the door opened for us. When I got the door closed on the inside, I cursed, calling the guy a very bad word, beginning with a BIG F!

OK, now moving forward. We get to the register, the 2nd attempt at one. The kid was about 90% finished ringing us up, and Kaida points to him, she’s about 2 feet away from him, in perfect hearing distance, and says, “Mommy, that guy is a Freak!”

Pretending that I am not completely mortified, I say calmly, “Honey, that’s not nice, why would you call him a freak??”

The kid is just smiling at us like it doesn’t matter to him that she just blatantly called him a freak.

Kaida says, with a huge smile on her face, “Because, he’s a freak Mommy!”

I kinda grin and say, “Has he done something to make you think he’s a freak?”

The kid is still smiling, ringing up our groceries.

Kaida grins really big at me, then at him, then at me again and says, “Yes.”

Trying to be stern, and not laugh, and not make it obvious how awful I feel for this kid, I say, “Honey, what has he done to make you think he’s a freak?”

The kid is still smiling, looking right at me.

Kaida is still grinning and says, “The bathroom Mommy!”

Now I AM laughing. I say, “OH! He’s not the same guy we saw back there honey, and ‘freak’ wasn’t actually the word Mommy used!”

The kid was still smiling. Kaida was too. I’m trying to pretend I’m not completely mortified as I take my receipt and rush away, telling him to have a wonderful night! Now to clarify for those who couldn’t ‘see’ the issue: both of the guys were African American. A distinction not easily made by a 4-year-old, apparently they looked like the same guy to her. Thankfully the kid at the register just didn’t care, or was just a really nice kid and didn’t mind what little kids said! He was sooooo polite! But I couldn’t walk away fast enough!


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