Thursday, June 29, 2006

I Miss My Sis

My sister and her family moved to Tampa
So we packed and loaded the moving van
And mopped our way out the door
I sure do miss my sis

We've never lived more than 3 hours apart
And that was my first year of college
Before life got complicated
I really miss my sis

Our proximity was destined
The timing was necessary
As we leaned on each other through tragedy
More than ever, I miss my sis

Now the distance is 9 hours
She even sounds like she's far away
Starting a new life in a new town
Oh how I miss my sis

One thing's for sure
No travel time or distance
Can ever change this....
I dearly miss my sis

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Redhead & The Little Green House

A little green house on a tree-lined street
Became the home to a baby girl one day
A baby girl with her fiery red hair
And blue-blue eyes

The walls of one room in the little green house
Had been home to others before
But they became new again
With a coat of buttercup yellow paint
And the colorful letters A-L-D-E-N
Displayed proudly above a baby's first bed

The floors of this house had seen better days
But they lovingly embraced the two little knees
Of a red headed girl
Learning to move to and fro

Then the crawling turned into first steps
And the hardwood planks squeaked in delight
At her transition from infancy to toddlerhood

Lullabies were sung in this house
Hugs and kisses were given in this house
First words were uttered in this house
Like "ball" and "bubble" and "ditty dat"

But the redhead and the little green house
Soon had to go their separate ways
And while the furniture and toys were packed
Into a big orange and silver truck
The redhead ran and giggled
Under the branches of big trees
As the little green house looked on

There will be other houses for the redhead
And other rooms where sweet dreams will take place
And for the little green house
There will be others who will find
Safety and warmth within its walls

But somewhere down the road
This redhead little girl
Will grow to be a woman
And will bring her children
To see the little green house...
The place where
Her very first memories were made

And the little green house
Will smile as it remembers
The good times they shared
When a redhead girl
Called this little green house
With its bright yellow room
Her home...

--written for my niece Alden as she moves away from her first home.
Love, Aunt Katie

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Parenthood Interview--Part Deaux

"What kind of home did you grow up in?"
My younger years were spent in a two parent household and my sister and I were fed with a passion for poetry and music and all things comical...and were constantly surrounded by interesting people...

"How are you most like your Mom?"
Artsy, creative, passionate, dry sense of humor, dramatic and drawn to crisis like a moth to a flame

"How are you most like your Dad?"
Analytical, detail-oriented, a people person and as hard headed as they come...

"Tell me about your marriage"
Well, you know how there are people who just "fit" together? That's us. We're enough alike to be compatible and are different enough to keep it interesting. Except for his unfortunate affinity for older country music with an annoying twang, we're pretty much made for each other.

"Now, let's is a brief list of some of the documents we'll need from you and Keith to complete your home study:"
~~Criminal Background Check
~~Complete physicals for each of you
~~Immunizations for Daniel and yearly check-up report
~~Federal fingerprints
~~Firearms clearance
~~Swimming pool disclaimer
~~Employment history/salary
~~Family budget
~~tax returns
~~Property deed
~~four letters of reference
~~letter from each side of the family

...and the list goes on......................................

This, folks, is my labor. Can I go ahead and get that epidural, please?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

July 10, 2081

My birthday is on a Thursday in the year 2081.

Why is this significant? For absolutely no reason whatsoever. But, a strange feeling came over me when I was looking at a perpetual calendar site online and realized there were many years staring at me from the screen. . .and I would not be alive for most of them.

Ever had a moment of utter mortality awareness? That was my moment. Actually, the site would show you calendars all the way up to the year 9999--which was a little freaky in itself--but what shook me up a little more was the year 2081.

On July 10, 2081, I would turn 110. I know it would be no Guiness record or anything, but I'm pretty positive I won't be around on that day. So, looking at that date and knowing that I won't be here is a little spooky.

Those of you that know me, know that I am a Christian. So, I'm sure you're wondering why I wouldn't be excited to know where I WILL be on that day. I am. But, I am also human, and the thought of what will be going on July 10, 2081 (when I'm not around) intrigues me. My son will hopefully be 79 years old and reminding his grandchildren that his mother would have been 110 today. Then, maybe he'll climb into his Jetson-like hovercraft and go home to pack for his weekend trip to the moon, right? Who knows what the world will be like then. I sure don't.

But, is it just me or don't we all secretly wish that the world would not be able to function without us? Maybe that's a little eg0-centric of me, but it is weird to see calendar dates that I'm sure will be past my last day here on Earth.

Then again, who knows when our last day will be?

:: crickets chirping ::

:: crickets chirping ::

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Pass the Kleenex, Please

Have you ever boo-hooed to the point of near convulsion but tried so hard to keep it in that you felt sure you might explode? Today's message at church was that powerful. It was the story of a girl named Holly and her relationship struggles with her Dad. From the moment she began to speak, I was drawn in by her humor and the way in which her story unfolded.

Bottom line: her on-again/off-again relations with her father and the healing they were able to go through shortly before his death to cancer 3 years ago made for a poignant story; however, what got me the most was the note she wrote to him in a book. She tried to recall the good times they had shared-- even though she was sure they'd been few and far between. As she jotted down favorite memories, they poured forth and she was able to weave together a lifetime of special moments. During the sermon, she reached for the book and slowly opened to the page where she had penned her innermost feelings. There wasn't a dry eye in the place. Halfway through the list, I watched as fellow church members dabbed at their eyes or tried stoically to blot away tears without being too obvious.

Having wished many times that I had been able to share such memories with my Mom before she died, I could not contain my emotions as she recited the special times she had shared with her father. Because Mom's death had been more sudden than expected, I have often dreamt of what I would have said to her or questions I would have asked her had I known it was the end. The raw emotion swelled inside me and, at the very moment I thought I would let out some sort of embarrassing burst of sobs, Holly injected a bit of humor that allowed me to exhale and cover what would have been an awkward display.

I guess I was envious. There are few things I wouldn't give to have had the forethought to provide my Mom with a comprehensive memoir of how she made my life wonderful. I'm sure (as many have told me) that she "knew"...but that's not enough. I never got to tell her that I'm sorry for losing her engagement ring as a child. I never told her that I really didn't resent her for being the "cool" Mom even though sometimes I wondered if friends came over to hang out with her instead of me. I never thanked her for instilling in me a love of all things musical and poetic and that, if it weren't for her, I would not have this inner desire to write down all of my thoughts. I never thanked her for sewing every prom dress I ever wore or for driving an hour to rescue me from a wardrobe malfunction before my big final marketing presentation in college. I loved the fact that she insisted on painting a fake fireplace in my first dorm room to make it feel more like home. I could have told her how much I loved the candles she lit when were coming for a visit or that silly box of "stuff" she insisted on sharing with us the moment we walked in the door.

I know she knew that I loved her. I have never doubted that. I just wish I would have let her know how much all the little things meant, too. All the seemingly unimportant, un-life-altering things that she did to make my life better.

I am changed by the message that I heard today. I no longer want to wait until another loved one is gone to let them know all the ways they have made an impact on my life. This is important stuff. We all want to know that we mattered.

Thank you, Mom...for the big stuff and the little stuff.

You always mattered to me.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Good, the Bad and the Not-So-Bad

Raising a strong-willed child is the hardest thing I've ever done. Daniel is super-smart, funny, loving and thrives in the company of others. However, as we've gotten into the four year old stage (4 1/2 now) he has discovered every one of my buttons and delights in pushing them to see what happens.

A friend of mine and I were discussing how it doesn't make sense why children KNOW what consequence their actions will result in yet they misbehave anyway. Well, I can honestly say that many of my actions don't make sense and it doesn't seem to deter me, either. Let's see: "I want to lose weight. I know that if I eat that piece of cake it won't help me lose weight. MMmm, mmmm, yummy. That cake sure was good. " So, I can't wonder why my child doesn't grasp consequence when his 35-year old mother isn't able to.

But, nonetheless, it's still frustrating. What's equally maddening at times is how smart he is. Always one step ahead of me, he seems to anticipate my actions and plans a strategy accordingly. OK, so maybe I'm giving him a little too much credit, but I will tell you that my son knows what he's doing. Maybe he intercepted the mail and got the Parenting Manual that was addressed to me. You know, the one that comes with all children telling you exactly how to raise them and how to react in all sorts of situations. What? You didn't get one, either? Hmmm... look under your child's bed. I'm sure that's where Daniel keeps our copy. And, late at night, he pulls out his trusty doggy flash light and reads chapter after chapter, formulating ways to drive me batty. (and yes, I know he pretends to not be able to read but I bet that's just part of the master plan, as well. )

Back to reality (don't dial Georgia Mental Services just yet)...I love him with all my heart and love the challenges motherhood tosses my way. But you know what makes it all worthwhile? What makes it possible to withstand some arguing, and tantrums and not-so-nice glances in my direction? It's times like last night, tucking him into bed when he asks me to lie down with him...and we talk in whispers about his day and about his dreams and how much he enjoyed snack time at day camp and what his favorite book is, and he gently turns over, tucks his arm through mine, weaves our fingers together and drifts off to sleep.

Motherhood. There are bad times and not-so-bad times. But the good times, like scenes from a favorite movie I like to watch over and over again, are what I'll always choose to remember.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


one MILLION times I've listened to the song "One" by Mary J. Blige and U2. Love it. Not tired of it yet. Am playing it right now. This is my song addiction of the week. (Over the past few weeks, former holders of this prestigious title include "I Will Follow You into the Dark" by Deathcab for Cutie and "Round Here" by the Counting Crows.)

Check it out. Mary J's part in the middle of the song is pretty powerful...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Must You Grow?

Because we did not start
From your earliest days
When cooing was all you did know
I wish I could keep you
Just the way you are now
So I ask almost daily...
Must you grow?

I have grown quite accustomed
To your little boy ways
As your little legs run to and fro
Although I get frustrated
And long for some quiet
I still ask myself...
Must you grow?

Your laughter and giggles
And enjoyment of life
Lift my spirits
When I'm feeling low
But as the days trickle on
I now must admit
It's exciting
As I watch my son grow...

Little Moments

Life is made up of a series of little "nuggets" of time. If you're lucky, you'll realize how special something really is while you're still in the moment. This happened to me yesterday. It may seem trivial to the outside eye, but to me, it was pretty special.

I love the series the Gilmore Girls. In fact, I love it so much that I have dedicated my NetFlix membership to catching up starting at Season 1. I'm now on Season 4 and my son is as hooked as I am. At four years old, he knows the characters by name and lamented the break-up of Dean and Rory right along with the rest of us. But my favorite part is when the theme song comes on. A duet featuring Carole King, the tune goes "If you lead, I will follow, anywhere, that you tell me to..." It's a catchy song that Daniel now knows the words to.

Yesterday, I popped in an episode so Daniel and I could watch as we ate hot dogs for lunch. Just to be funny, I picked up my hot dog and used it as a microphone to sing my part (the Mommy part) of the duet. Following suit, Daniel grabbed his hot dog and stood up to sing the other part. It reminded me very much of the scene in the movie "StepMom" when the kids are singing into their hairbrushes and dancing around with their Mom. We had such a good time. No, we weren't learning about the ABC's, global warming or how to tie his shoes. At that moment, we were just a couple of silly people singing along to a familiar song and having a blast.

Shortly thereafter, my duet partner ate his microphone so we settled in for our favorite show. It may not be the most glamorous of childhood experiences, but that's one little "nugget" of time this mother will never forget.