Thursday, July 17, 2008

Who's your Mommy? (11 lessons about your mother)

When I'm not paying attention, for example when laying on the couch, I have a tendency to rub my feet together. It reminds your Daddy of a praying mantis, and it used to drive him nuts. Then he saw Emily do it during one of the ultrasounds when I was pregnant. Since then he's seen both of you do it, and now he thinks it's cute.

Lesson #1 - Sometimes the things that annoy you about someone become endearing. Then we call them "quirks." I have lots of those.

I love Dr. Pepper, strawberries, sappy stories and songs that make me cry. Emily has asked many times why I was crying only to discover it was about a song or a movie. Kids, your dad once explained to Em that my heart was closer to the surface and easier to get to with stuff like that. It's true. I cry easily. Good, bad, touching, frustrating, happens to us all, perhaps just a bit more easily with me.

Lesson #2 - It's ok to be empathetic, to care about what happens even if it doesn't happen to you or even in real life. Tears are therapeutic. OH, and Em, cool compresses for those swollen eyes. You get that puffiness from me. Sorry about that.

My favorite movie in the world is The Princess Bride. It's not the best made but it has true love, swordfighting, a giant and some of the best one-liners ever. Death can not stop true love. Killed by pirates is good, inconceivable and more. Your dad isn't so into it, I love it.

Lesson #3-Differences are part of what makes the world go round. So does love, adventure and dedication. Remember that. Oh, and remember you can get through the fire swamp if you learn its secrets. Life is a bit like that. Just don't give up.

I like coffee. Sometimes black, sometimes with an insane amount of chocolate syrup and some whipped cream. I like mayo and mustard, a little of both, on the same sandwich. Dad doesn't. If you do (Em does so far) you get that from me. Also, if you like to smash a sandwich until it's really thin and then eat it, that's a me thing too. I love lemon. Straight lemons, lemons squeezed into ice water (no sugar or very little), lemon filling in cake, lemon yogurt, lemon on seafood.

Lesson #4 lemons are good. If life gets rough, lemonade won't fix it but it might remind you that even in a sour situation, there are ways to sweeten things. Just don't put it in cuts.

Look at your hands. Emily and Joseph, if you look at the shape of your hands and fingers you will see carbon copies of my own. If ever, even if you're old and gray, you are thinking of me and you wonder about something, look at your hands. They are just like mine. And mine are like my fathers, and his were like his mother's. You, me, Poppy, and my Grandma Jones...we all have the same hands. Isn't that fantastic? If I'm far away - say when you're in college (please consider transferring somewhere closer), or grown (you could live close!) or even when you're old and grey and I'm not around anymore, hold your left hand with your right. I'll be there.

Lesson #5 - we are connected, and we always will be.

Before the two of you came along, I'd have never considered anything about me beautiful. It's not that I was so very down on myself, but I'd have never used that word in a thought about myself. But then. Everyone who has seen you has used that word about both of you - and the thing is, you look a lot like your Daddy but you also look a LOT like me. Which means, parts of me are beautiful too.

Lesson #6 - Don't be afraid to acknowledge areas you need to improve, but take the time to notice what is lovely about you inside and out. Be proud of who and what you are, and know that a lot of what determines beauty is the light that shines from within. The two of you shine so brightly, it's breathtaking. Don't forget that.

I try to be silly with you. Em's current favorite punchline is "poopyhead" and I have to admit that sometimes I use it too, just to make her laugh. Joseph, you're a little easier to make laugh - a tickle or a surprised gasp and you're giggling. I love to hear your laughter. It soothes my soul like nothing else could, and I swear it keeps us all young.

Lesson #7 - Laugh. Laugh a LOT, even if it's only almost funny. Even when life is frustrating and overwhelming and you are bone tired, try to laugh about something. Laughter through tears is one of the best medicines. Oh, and contrary to what they tell you in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, you can't die laughing. If science one day proves me wrong, don't get mad just think of it as a great way to go.

Speaking of going. Someday I won't be here. Hopefully it's when I'm really, really old and ornery and people are referring to me as "feisty for her age." Know this now. I will never leave you. At the very least I can hang around in your hearts and minds forever, as long as you let me. However, I'd like to think I can keep an eye on you when I'm gone, watching and putting in a good word for you. Rejoicing in your joys, comforting in your hard times. Moving your furniture when you aren't looking. Leaving little presents or tokens. Maybe opening your kitchen cupboards. Who knows? There are people who aren't alive any more that still feel very much with me. I miss them immensely, but I can still think of them and smile.

Lesson #8 - it's ok to be mad, sad, upset and let those emotions show. Then try to think of the good stuff too, it helps, I promise.

Maybe one day you'll have children. God knows how I pray that I will be there to see it, because that would be such a blast. You're going to make mistakes in your parenting and I can guarantee there will be some mistakes I've made that you vow not to repeat. That's ok - most of us try to be better parents than we had, and most of us succeed. I know you will. I'm sure there will be things I have and will screw up. But, oh my gosh, do I love you two. With everything I have and more.

Lesson #9 - start your most important journeys with love. It's not everything, but it's a fantastic start.

Summing up who I am is complicated, and at the same time very simple. I have hopes and dreams, and while some of them are a work in progress (I've yet to write anything publishable, for example) some have come true right before my very eyes. I'm a gemini, and while I don't possess the fickle in the love arena type traits, I am the gemini that wants to try so many things when they grow up that maybe they never quite reach the grown up phase. Traveling, writing and reading are current passions of mine. I want to scrapbook, learn to be a lactation consultant and learn photography. You kids are my greatest success because I wanted you, (dad too, but I haven't been writing this about him), had to work hard to have you, and you're here. Every day I'm more proud of you than the last.

Lesson #10 - If you want to sum up who I am in the smallest of nutshells, you and your dad are my dreams come true. The lights of my life, and the best part of my day. Every day. Follow your dreams, kids. No matter what they are, no matter where they take you. Don't be afraid to go after what you really want.

I read. That's an understatement. Emily once came home from school and asked if we wanted to play "Indiana an a Jones." then asked who wanted to be Indiana and who wanted to be a Jones. I asked how you would be a jones, and before Em could answer, Daddy said "you have to read a lot of books at the same time." Your relatives on the Jones side would be tickled to hear that definition. Because we read, a lot, and often it's several books at once. We can't help it. I'm glad we can't.

Lesson #11 - Read. No matter what your interests are, you can find something in a book to pull you in and fascinate you. You can travel to distant lands, find empathy for someone else, research your own situation, do anything or find anything. Not just magazines or internet, read books. There's something about the excitement of turning to the first page, of picking up where you left off, of closing the final chapter.

Now, about your dad.

Yes, I know this wasn't about him. Consider this a bonus section.

Sometimes it can seem that your dad is so busy having "Stuff to do" that he's never going to sit down. I've never known anyone who works harder than he does, with the efficiency he possesses. The man can clean circles around me and does. Watch the way he does dishes, laundry and cleaning and you'll have a picture of how he is at the office. He takes a task and whips it out every time. I've just never been good at it like that. I get distracted, I stop to do something else, the last load of laundry sits in the dryer until I remember it.


This is the same man who will sit for a third, fourth of fifth bedtime story and tell you the character's name in the book is "hock-tooey" even if it's not because it makes you giggle. And he will live for your giggle. He will also do everything to make sure you have everything you need, and a lot of what you want. We don't put all our stock into horoscopes and astrological signs around here, but let me tell you that your dad is the ultimate crab. He's got a hard outer shell, and seems tough. Don't get me wrong - he's really strong, and he will tackle just about anything. But inside, he is as soft hearted as I am. He loves you as big as I do, and he won't be afraid to show it. That's one of the reasons I picked him. He'll do his best not to let you forget that he loves you immensely, but I'm reminding you here. I've seen him tell you thousands of times how much he loves you, and for every time he told you guys he loves you or he's proud of you, he's told me twice how much you mean to him.

Be patient with him. You get your smiles and giggles from him. And your monkey toes.


No comments: