Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oops! I Almost Tripped...

Today it is time for another AlphabeThursday and the letter is M. As in Memories.
And in honor of the recent festivities and all around Holidayness I offer my little trip down the Memory Lane of Holidays passed...
Perhaps I have already used up my allowance for walks down memory lane, but I thought of a few truly memorable holidays. *Warning* These are stories that (yet again) make Hunky Hubby look pretty dang good...
It was our first Christmas together; a bygone era of compulsory frugality yet abundant affection, and a sweet young couple who, while they have since added a few kids, several pounds and a handful of wrinkles, are still madly in love and still quite prudent!
We had been married 6 months ,we were both in school, money was not tight...there just plain wasn't any. We would finish finals that semester and then head to my parents' home for the holidays. I really wanted our little basement apartment to have a Christmas tree, even if it were only for a few weeks, but Hunky Hubby reminded me that we scarce could afford to splurge when we would not even be there to enjoy it on Christmas morning, so we went without. We went about our routine; classes, work and homework as we neared the holiday and the end of the term. Gifts for each other were barely on the radar. We had some small handmade offerings for our parents that we hoped would be received in the spirit in which they were given. I knew what I wanted to buy for my sweet new husband, but I also knew we could not afford it. HH walked and biked to and from campus with only a frayed, patched and rather pathetic old backpack to lug his huge books back and forth. I nearly cried when I bought the new one. Thirty-eight dollars. More than a week's worth of groceries. I prayed he would not be upset by my extravagance . I did not expect anything from him. But little Christmas miracle.
I arrived home from class one day, opened the door to our little flat and beheld what is still likely the most beautiful Christmas tree I have ever seen.
On his walk home from campus that afternoon, Hubby had seen a cub scout troop closing up there little tree lot. They offered him their last little sapling for free. He carried it home on foot. As he drug it in the front door, the neighbors saw him, lent him a string of lights and he decorated it with Christmas cards and ribbon tied into bows. When I walked in, there he sat, under the tree with little wrapped gifts in hand. The presents turned out to be a coloring book and crayons. Still my best Christmas gifts ever.
The second story is of a more recent Christmas. I have always wanted to learn to play the flute. Maybe not always, but a long time, for sure. About 9 years ago I mentioned this to HH, and he remembered. At Christmas, I was never more surprised to unwrap a gift in my entire life. I always ask for, and usually receive, very practical, useful and frugal gifts. Anything else has always seemed extravagant. This gift still makes me smile and was worth a little extravagance. Every time I pick it up to play, I think of that wonderful Christmas! Thanks babe.
Now, lest you think my life is all peaches and cream...a slightly less happy memory, that actually turned out to be a rather happy memory, or at least one that I can tell the kids when they get to whining about stuff that they don't have! I was away at college Thanksgiving 1990. Money was tight, so I stayed at school for the holiday break. (If my mom reads this ... I know you would have flown me home, but I didn't want to spend the money, ok!) My friend Pam was in the same boat (I know she is reading this!). We were the only 2 in our whole building who did not go home for the break (insert sniff). We were in dormitories with no kitchen, but our "House Mom" said that we could use her kitchen If we wanted. Only it never occurred to Pam or me to get any food to cook in this kitchen! We were fine the first day or two of the break, with the cafeteria and restaurants open. Then...Thanksgiving morning. We head to the kitchen to cook up a nice, even if perhaps untraditional, Turkey Day feast! I am sure you have figured out by now what we found! (Laughing yet Puma?) Ya, nothing much. The only thing in the kitchen was Rice-A-Roni, icecream cones, and some tremendously freezer burnt vanilla icecream. That was our feast. And believe you me, we were grateful to have it! We boo-hooed and felt sufficiently sorry for ourselves for most of the day. But...guess what else? The pizza places deliver after 5:00pm on Thanksgiving...who knew!? Probably still my best Thanksgiving ever.
Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. Great things to come in 2011!
Quote of the Day: "God Bless Us Everyone!"--Tiny Tim

Thursday, December 9, 2010

K Is For Kids and Are You Kidding Me!?

After a bit of an hiatus from blogging, I am back. With, I might add, nothing to say. Between Thanksgiving, family visiting and our crazy couple of weeks preceding my daughter's ballet company's Nutcracker performance, I was pretty well booked. But today is the start of my downtime before Christmas. I love the quiet peace that CAN usher in the holiday if we let it. I suppose that is a post for another day. Today is AlpabeThursday, so I am here to talk about Kids. Specifically, my kids I guess. This Holiday season has contradictorily been the same as most years and entirely different.
In actuality, nothing has changed. We have baked gingerbread, attended the Nutcracker, decorated the tree, made new ornaments, wrapped gifts, sang carols and enjoyed the lights and the general festiveness of the pre-holiday season. The difference is that in the back of my mind I know it will never be like this again. You see, this is the last year that our oldest will be living at home full time. Don't get me wrong. I look forward (for her) to this time of exploration and finding her grown-up self. What an exciting time this was in my own life. Going off to college, meeting new people, seeing new things. Independence. I am excited to see her experience that and grow into the woman she is to become. But as the mom? Nope. Not so much. As the mom I think maybe she should just stay home forever; singing to me and writing songs and stories in front of the fire until we both grow old. Sound good? Yeah, I know. I just thought I would have more time.
When they were each born, 18 years seemed like such a long time. It was quite a long time before they each learned to crawl and then walk and then talk. Potty training? Forget it! That took an eternity. The first day of kindergarten seemed as if it would never come. But it came. And went. In the blink of an eye. Then weeks started flying by. And then months and years and now here we are. One is ready to fly from the nest. Ready? Hmmm....I hope she is. That is really my job as a mother. To prepare them to leave. What a sucky job! Feeding and clothing and guiding and nurturing. Pouring your whole heart and soul into this little person; acting excited on the first day of school when all you want to do is wrap them in a blanket and rock them in a chair. Resisting the urge to run away from home the first time they tell you they hate you. Smiling and taking pictures the first time they drive away in the car without you, even though you would rather take out your own appendix with a butter knife because it seems less risky. All that just to have them pack their bags and leave? What the heck! I change my mind. No kids for me. Yeah, I know. That shipped has long sailed. I just know that those days and weeks and years that are flying by will soon turn into decades.
I truly do look forward to seeing what each of my children becomes. The photographer/musician, the astronaut, the architect and the ballerina/baker. They are amazing little people. I can only imagine that they will be even more amazing big people. Who will hopefully bring some new big people into our lives and then make some new little people. (Oh c'mon...all moms hope that is what will happen!) But the selfish part of me just wants to freeze time. To scream, "Wait, I am not ready!"
When our oldest was around 5 or 6, we visited a small amusement park. She reluctantly decided to ride The Dragon, a kiddy roller coaster. Wide-eyed and pale she made the first circle clearly holding back the urge to let out a terrified scream. Her horror was obvious even to the teenage ride operator who stopped the coaster to let her off. When she got off she told us that it was both the most horrendous and most thrilling thing that she had ever experienced. That is me. Right now. Barely holding back the scream and yet somehow thrilling at the ride. I do not know where to even go with it. I am not one for roller coasters ya know and I am not sure how I was even talked into getting on. But I can say for sure...What a ride!
Quotes of the Day: "There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings." ~Hodding Carter, Jr.
"It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge." ~Phyllis Diller