Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

“There are stars who's light only reaches the earth long after they have fallen apart. There are people who's remembrance gives light in this world, long after they have passed away. This light shines in our darkest nights on the road we must follow.” -The Talmud

The lil' dude visiting the final resting place of her great-grandparents, for whom she is named, for the very first time.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Girl's Best Friend

Meet the Beagle.

Or, his furry doppelganger, that is. He is girl's best friend.
This stuffed pal was gifted to the lil' dude at her first Christmas- when she was a few weeks old. Her Grandma S. found him someplace, and knew she'd need a Beagle of her own. He's since sat in her basket of stuffed loveys waiting for his day.
And his day has finally come.

It should come as no surprise the force of affection this guy has bestowed on him by the girl whose room he resides in. It should come at absolutely no surprise because in real life, the Beagle takes up the most room in her heart. It's only natural his mascot would do the same. These two are fast friends. Naturally inseparable.

He's been to Target and the library and to Starbucks and the park. His white belly is full of grimy-love, as he spends his Sundays in the wagon in the yard. He has a leash tied to his neck for walks, fashioned out of a butterfly ribbon. The poor guy- he goes on lots of walks. He's been stowed in hot vehicles all day long. He likes shopping carts and handbags.
He belongs only to her.

And last night, as per usual at tucking-in time, I asked the lil' dude what or who she needed in bed. She was too tired for much thought or selection process- she had NaNa and the usual suspects, Monkey and Gloworm. We said our goodnights.

But as I peeked in on her for a final tuck hours later, there in her bed hugged close to her chest was her stuffed dog.
Rescued from who knows where.
And found in the dark.
To back where he belongs.

Monday, May 24, 2010


You squatted close to the dirt, your hair in your eyes, your toes covered with soil.
And I was too enamored to get my camera.
But, I promise you, the images of you helping plant the garden yesterday are forever ingrained into my soulful of memories.

I knew if I made the move to sprint for the camera, I'd lose the image anyhow.
Not lose-lose it, but you know.
It was definitely one of my most fun days of being a Mom yet.
How you asked to help, me pouring the contents of each seed packet into your tiny, sweaty palms for distribution, and as you filled each row appropriately, said, "that's enough", declaring it done.

You tried to eat a pea seed.
And called the summer squash bananas.
And spilled some carrots seeds into the cucumber row.

And you know what?
This year's harvest is going to be the best ever.
Simply because of how it came to be.
You're so big and so capable.
Yesterday took the sting out of you growing up on me.

Thanks for the help, bud.
I couldn't have done it without you.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

That Only a Mother Could Love

I'm sure this topic will resonate with parents everywhere: the unfortunate task of making children come in at the end of long day spent outdoors. Oh, the drama! Last night I heard your wartime cry begin from the garage ... as I stood at the stove in the kitchen, preparing dinner. It was 6:45pm; you had been outside at home for over two hours. You were ... a hot mess.

I'll let the pictures do the talking.
I love you, by the way.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


My mom has said my first meal of the day as a child was lunch as I slept straight through breakfast.
The same went for my brother- we just loved to sleep.
But, not wanting to miss out on the most important meal of the day that is breakfast, we had cereal as a bedtime snack. Something had to fuel our dreams.

My bedtime snack, at two-and-a-half, in Grandma Pancake's kitchen, 1982.

And while I think most everything the lil' dude does, says, thinks, acts, looks screams her Daddy, there are some instances where she proves she is her mother's daughter.

Her bedtime snack, at two-and-half, in our kitchen last night.

Something has to fuel her dreams.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Our Hero

The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, 'Daddy, I need to ask you something,' he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan. ~Garrison Keillor

He stays home with you when you are sick.
He is patient with you when you are unreasonable.
He digs for boogers.
He hunts for lost toys.
He reads to you.
He brushes out the tangles.
He makes dinner.
He does the dishes.
He values his time spent with you.
He tells me to stop worrying.

And he really, really loves you.
And me.

And today, and this week, I am so grateful for him.
He's our hero, isn't he?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Getting Back Up

There's a hundred adages and cliches about getting back on the horse which bucked you off.
About what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.
Try, try, try again.
They are old sayings- that your grandparents and great-grandparents have been saying for years.

And they are true.

Sunday, you fell off the swing onto your back.
And you cried and cried, and gasped for air {and scared your Mama} and cried some more.
I held you and soothed you and wiped the dirt from your clothes.
I gave you a reason to smile- a promise of a chewy, sweet treat once you could calm down enough to enjoy it.

And then I asked you if you wanted to swing again and you said, no, all done.
But, I made you swing just one more time.

It's my job to make you confront your fears- I'm sorry if you were scared or didn't understand my motive.
You have to get back on your horse. The bike, your swing.
You have to try the things which pose the biggest threat.

How else are you going to experience joy?
How can you feel pleasure if you don't feel pain?
How will you gain accomplishment?

By getting back up.
I'm proud of you.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

To the girl who made me a mother ... celebrating you today.

To my Grandma S.
My Mama.
The Dad's Mama.
And his lovely grandmother.
To my Godmother.
And the Fairy Godmother.
To my aunts.
To the Dad's Godmother.
And my friends who are Mamas.
To those who long to be.
And will.
And for the aunties.

For girls and women and ladies and chicks.
Celebrating you today.

Mama loves.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The House That Built Me

This is for my Mama ... and in honor of her 49th birthday today, the words to a song that reminds me of her, and me, and us, and where we're from. The House That Built Me, by Miranda Lambert.

I know they say you cant go home again.
I just had to come back one last time.
Ma'am, I know you don't know me from Adam.
But these handprints on the front steps are mine.
And up those stairs, in that little back bedroom,
is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar.
And I bet you didn't know under that live oak,
my favorite dog is buried in the yard.

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it,
this brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here it's like I'm someone else,
I thought that maybe I could find myself
if I could just come in, I swear I'll leave.
Won't take nothing but a memory,
from the house that built me.

Mama cut out pictures of houses for years.
From Better Homes and Garden magazines.
Plans were drawn, concrete poured,
and nail by nail and board by board,
Daddy gave life to Mama's dream.

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it,
this brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here its like I'm someone else,
I thought that maybe I could find myself.
If I could just come in I swear I'll leave.
Won't take nothing but a memory,
from the house that built me.

You leave home, you move on, and you do the best you can.
I got lost in this whole world and forgot who I am.

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it,
this brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here it's like I'm someone else,
I thought that maybe I could find myself.
If I could walk around I swear I'll leave.
Won't take nothing but a memory,
from the house that built me.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Mama.
You're my favorite.
You're the house that built me.

Daughter loves.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Letter from Mama, v29

You're something I have, and you're something I do- each and every day. Daughter/mother. Even on the days when I don't see you, I am actively parenting you. It's somewhat hard to put into words. Now, you're a girl and that means the ways I am with you are adapting as you change. Last Friday night, right before bed, we were pummeled with a good, old-fashioned hail storm. I quickly ran and got you, and pressed our faces against the cool pane of the glass in the sliding door. Look! I pointed, that's hail! It comes from the clouds- it's cold, and it mixes with the the wind and the rain when the formula is right. We stayed there until the hail passed- this was, after all, your first conscious experience with hail. It was a pretty big deal, for me to be there with you. In the morning, you inevitably asked where all the hail went- and I tried to explain that to you.

It dawned on me then, the weight that is parenting, and the bigger and more pressing it grows as you do. It's not overwhelming in a sad, terrified way- rather, it's becoming clearer to me just how awesome this responsibility is. I'm already teaching you some of life's biggest lessons. Tell the truth. Be nice to others. Listen. Apologize. Those four elements right there I am still teaching myself to do on a daily basis, and here I am teaching you at the same time. I have to be careful to set a good example for you. I have to practice what I preach. You're life in fast-forward and reverse, all at the same time. And I thank you for that. And at the same time, I ask you to forgive me now. For what, I'm not sure- yet. But someday, I will fail you, make a mistake, tell you the wrong thing, or show you the incorrect way. But that doesn't mean I don't love you- it will never mean that.

You came from the clouds- you're warm and light and mixed with Mama and Daddy and your formula is just right.

And Mama loves.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Questions & Answers

The purpose of the this blog has always been to capture the lil' dude's life- so there is no hesitation when she asks me down the road, "what was I like, Mama?" I will answer her, "well, where would you like to begin?"


Last night during bath time, I interviewed the lil' dude. At this point in her life, her personality is bursting through every seam she has, and her energies and quarks I'll never want to forget. So I captured a moment of our lifetime together.

Mama: What do you like to do?
Lil' Dude: Paint your toes.
M: What color is your hair?
LD: Red.
M: And, what color is Mama's hair?
LD: Red!
M: What's your favorite animal?
LD: Toys.
M: Tell me what's funny.
LD: This name, baby lil' dude.
M: What is your favorite snack?
LD: Berries.
M: And, what's your favorite letter?
LD: Play with the letters ... (launches into the alphabet song) ABCDEFGeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee ...
M: Who do you love?
LD: Lil' dude's house.

M: Where do you sleep?
LD: Right there- (pointing at her bedroom door)
M: What do you watch on TV?
LD: Timberwolves.
M: Who's your friend?
LD: E.
M: How old are you?
M: What color is the sun?
LD: Red.
M: What don't you like?
LD: Snacks.
M: What cup do you use?
LD: It's new one.
M: What do you like to sing?
LD: (launches into the alphabet song) ABCDEFGeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee ...
M: What do you like to do outside?
LD: Trucks!
M: What do you think is icky?
LD: Water.
M: Who loves you?
LD: Mama dids!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Coffee Cup Inspiration

Every so often, I sneak into Caribou Coffee for their milk chocolate mocha ... albeit coffee, it's just so different than my one true love, Starbucks. Yesterday was one of those days- and I was delighted with their new coffee cup- inspiration you can pour right down your throat and into your belly. Love it. So my darling child, here are some words for you, straight from Mama's cup of coffee joyfulness.

Get there on two wheels.
Tell someone you love them.
Hold hands, not grudges.
Take the stairs.
Kiss slowly, and forgive quickly.
Remember where you came from.
Do the hokey pokey.
Say 5 nice things about the person sitting across from you.
Sip it, sip it good.
Teach a child to fish.
Run your feet, not your mouth.
You are as wonderful as your dog thinks you are.
Take a 7 day weekend.
Go home early and play with your kids.
Max out your passport.
Technology is good, but people are better.
Stir emotions.
Question authority.
Roll down the hill.
Marry your sweetheart.
Re-read your favorite book.
Do more cannonballs.
Surprise your BFF with a cup of coffee.
Dream big.
Act bigger.
Build communities not empires.
Read poetry.
Send your grandma a card.
Give a kid some crayons.
Pick up the check.
Sleep under the stars.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


We go on certain kicks when it comes to entertainment at the lil' dude's house- last weekend it was all Little People transportation- the bus, construction vehicles, the pink SUV, and fire engine. My miniature traffic lady urged me to play, play, play. Push the bus- take the SUV to get tabs, then propane. Seriously, can you TELL she spends a lot of time with her Dad, running errands? What a sponge ...

We've had our stretches of playing house and babies and walking stuffed critters around on ribbon leashes. We build zoos out of blocks, and castles for the all the tiny dollies to live happily ever after in. We complete puzzles, race through the alphabet cards, and color until our hands cramp.

And then we have Up.

Pointing to Dug in her new book, a book she has slept with almost nightly.

Here she is hunting for snipes- looking under the kitchen cabinet for the mythical creature-bird from the tale.

And, Dug and his master the lil' dude, freshly exhausted after a long, fulfilling day of snipe-hunting.