Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The age we grow up in

Do you ever wish for a simpler time? Sometimes I wish that progress had frozen for awhile so my children could grow up like I did. I didn't have a cell phone in high school or junior high. When I wanted to find something out, I looked in our Encyclopedias or went to the library. To communicate with someone in writing, I sent letters. Progress has made things easier for us, but also less personal. We are now able to find out anything at anytime with our computers. Is there a such thing as a child's innocence anymore?

I'm sure every generation parents have thought about how much different things are for their kids than it was for them. In my lifetime alone, we have stopped using cash and landlines and fireplaces that burn actual wood for the most part. We are constantly discovering shortcuts that give us chemically-processed foods and even more things our phones are capable of.

We claim to keep in touch with people because we read their Facebook posts. I wonder if my children will even be taught penmanship or if they will just learn to type instead. It is hard to shelter a child from adult things without getting rid of your TV, radio, and computer. I'm not trying to raise the most sheltered kids this side of the Pennsylvania Amish, but I would like them to be able to enjoy being kids without having the adult knowledge and worries that destroy innocence. I would like them to be able to play and learn similarly to how I did.

I hope they are able to go out to dinner without anyone being distracted by their phones. I hope they receive hand-written letters. I hope they learn to tie their shoes without watching a YouTube video. I hope they still value education instead of acting like know-it-alls because they can find out anything by Googling it. I hope they respect their elders because of the unique knowledge that comes from experience. I hope they are gracious and kind and loving.

I hope the age we grow up in doesn't define us as much as I think it does. I hope my generation isn't all nostalgic and out-of-touch and that my children's generation isn't a bunch of entitled assholes.

Fingers crossed.

Quarter in a payphone
Drying laundry on the line
Watching Sun Tea in the window
Pocket watch for tellin' time
Seems like only yesterday I'd get a blank cassette
Record the country countdown 'cause I couldn't buy it yet


If we drove all the way to Dallas just to buy an Easter dress
We’d take along a Rand McNally, stand in line to pay for gas
God knows that shifting gears ain’t what it used to be
I learned to drive that 55 just like a queen, three on a tree
 

If you had something to say
You'd write it on a piece of paper
Then you'd put a stamp on it
And they'd get it three days later
Boys would call the girls
And girls would turn them down
Staying married was the only way to work your problems out

 
Let's pull the windows down
Windows with the cranks
Come on let's take a picture
The kind you gotta shake


Hey, whatever happened to waitin' your turn
Doing it all by hand,
'Cause when everything is handed to you
It's only worth as much as the time put in
It all just seemed so good the way we had it
Back before everything became automatic


~"Automatic" sung by Miranda Lambert 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Useful baby stuff

Here are some things I found myself running to the store for after Brandon was born:

1. Sleep n plays. These are the one-piece outfits complete with footsies. They come in either snap up or zip up. I thought I was going to be dressing Brandon in preppy little outfits every day, but then I realized you have to change his diaper all the time and change his clothes every time he pees on them or spits up too much. So anytime we didn't leave the house, Brandon was in a sleep n play. A zip up one - the snaps are way too much work.

2. Socks. Nobody buys socks for a new baby. Plenty of people buy them clothes, but exactly one person bought Brandon socks: Steve's very thoughtful and brilliant aunt. And we used those socks every day until he outgrew them and I had to buy some in the next size. I am constantly buying socks in the next size. Although I recently bought Brandon socks and the size says 2-4 years so here's hoping I get a little break in sock buying.

3. Bibs. Holden drips formula out of his mouth at nearly the rate of a waterfall. Bibs are a necessity when bottle feeding. And with how many times they eat a day, there are never enough clean bibs. Then they start eating real food, and of course you need those plastic ones you can wash off. Steve's same aunt is the only person who bought us those and they have gotten a hell of a lot of use.

 4. Jumper. How people survived without these is beyond me. There's not that much for babies to do before they're able to walk, so having something to put them in while you're cooking or cleaning that they enjoy is an absolute must

5. Baby Einstein videos. I don't know why babies like these - it's nature scenes or animals or toys to classical music. But the fact is, babies love them. Taking Brandon on airplane trips was manageable thanks to these (and the lady sitting next to us the last time seemed pretty taken by them, too).

6. Gas drops. Your baby might not be gassy. But Brandon sure as hell was. My life got a lot quieter after we discovered this nectar of the gods.

7. SwaddleMe type-blankets.When a baby is little, you're supposed to swaddle him every night. God knows neither Steve nor I could swaddle worth a damn. So these handy little velcro wraps make it pretty foolproof. Yes, kids outgrow them pretty quickly, but they also outgrow swaddling pretty quickly and I doubt you want to try swaddling correctly with a regular blanket multiple times a day until that happens.

Other things worth investing in are a bottle warmer, teething tablets, a crib mobile or soother and a hell of a lot of baby powder. And a good babysitter for a few much needed date nights.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Useless baby stuff

Before you've been a parent, you have no idea what to expect. So you prepare as best you can by buying  way too much shit. Seriously - the amount of money I wasted on useless baby things is ridiculous. I probably could have quit working back when Brandon was born if I would have been a bit wiser. If you're out of the loop and want to know what new parents are suggested to buy, here is the Babies R Us "Must Have" Registry checklist. It will blow your mind. When you add up the cost of everything on there, you're looking at a small fortune. The smart parents ask themselves, "how did my parents survive without a Boppy or Bumbo?" and realize they can live without every imaginable baby item. And then, there are parents like me.

Here are some totally useless baby items I bought and barely used:

1. Wipe warmer. Stupidest thing ever. Completely pointless. I'm still too angry that I spent money on it to even write anything more about it - and I bought it two years ago.

2. Baby shoes. I bought baby shoes in different colors and would actually put them on Brandon when taking him places. They always matched his outfit, of course. And they always fell off. Why the hell did I buy shoes for a child that couldn't walk or even bear weight on his legs? Beats me. But the baby Chuck Taylors are cute as hell.

3. Infant tub. Yes, they actually make a small tub to put inside your big tub to bathe your baby. Holden outgrew it in about three weeks. Use the sink or the tub like a rational person. I couldn't even sell my infant tub at our garage sale, so that tells you how useless it is.

4. Shirts that aren't onesies. I spent a great deal of money buying clothes for Brandon before he was even born. This included dress shirts and polos. Then, I actually dressed him. If your baby's shirt doesn't snap below his diaper, it's going to ride up on him until he's over a year old. So unless you want your baby's midriff always exposed, he will always be in a onesie. You can put shirts on over that, too, of course, but really, how much work do you want?

5. Different-sized nipples for his bottles. Yes, every three months or so you're supposed to advance your baby to the next stage of nipples so he can suck more out faster. Or, you can just buy Variflow nipples like I did with Holden and stop changing nipples out all the time.

6. Baby towels/bath robe. Again, like the tub, a large infant outgrows these small towels very quickly. If you don't want to use adult towels, you can get bigger kid towels still with the cute little hoods on them instead that last into toddlerhood. And baby towels aren't made the same way as adult towels. The baby towel material doesn't dry skin as well. Everything feels damp - like you pulled your baby out of a rainforest.

7. Baby mittens. Seriously - they're basically socks to put on your baby's hands to prevent him from scratching himself. I have a better idea - clip his fingernails! In the hospital with Holden, I had Steve bring me fingernail clippers from home because the nurses refuse to clip your baby's nails for you. They'll tell you to file your baby's nails for the first few months, which will take forever and never do as good of a job as clipping them. Just be careful, take your time, stick your tongue out in concentration and clip his tiny yet sharp fingernails.

Tomorrow I'll write about the opposite - things I didn't get or that I should have bought more of. There are useful things and useless things for babies. It seems like baby showers yield the useless and you soon find yourself at Walmart at 11 pm with a screaming two-week-old baby, desperately scanning the shelves for what you wish you would have known about before. Ah, the joys of first-time parenthood.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Aging

There is this thought that I have often that I have never been able to articulate. It just floats in my mind, resurfacing every now and again. Last night it resurfaced again. Steve and I went to a concert at the Slowdown here in Omaha. Concerts aren't really my scene. If I like a song, I listen to it on my iPod. I never feel the urge to see someone who sings well way off in the distance through a crowd or to have my eardrums ringing or to get human stampeded in a mosh pit (this, of course, has never happened. It's just an irrational fear of mine).

Yesterday, Steve and I sat outside before the main singer came on and I told him it seemed like I was the only girl there with a wristband. There were so many young girls, all seemingly freshmen or sophomores in college. Some of the men didn't seem that young, but guys are able to hold onto their youth much longer than women, it seems. Men can be 38 and still seem fresh out of college. Men can be 50 and seem 30. Show me a woman like that and I'll show you injection needles.

This thought that I have that I can't articulate is about how when we're young, we feel like we own the world. And in a sense, we do. Look at all the tech billionaires - many are still in their twenties. If you created an app, you're young. The rest of us think of apps as appetizers. The trends and pop culture spin around the young generation - the teenagers and college kids (no one starts wearing leggings because Goldie Hawn does). And then, after you pass that age - when you settle down and move to suburbia and get an SUV and take a job you don't particularly want just because of the health insurance - then your vibrance begins to dull and you start to fade into the background instead of stand out in a crowd.

There is one girl I go to Happy Hour with that was born in the nineties. Yes, the god damn nineties. I tell her that she is the age of kids I babysat. She is young and hip and the world is her oyster. Last time we were at happy hour we were talking about our childhoods and she said, "I'm not trying to offend you, but you're a little older than I am." She softened the world 'older' for my benefit. "I know I am," I told her. "You're not offending me. It's a fact." She was talking about watching orange VHS tapes a lot or something that really wasn't relevant to me because I am old enough to be her much older and out-of-touch sister.

Anyway, with all of this rambling, I still haven't articulated the thought like I wanted to. When I met Steve, I was just about to turn 19. I thought the world revolved around me. Twelve years later, we live in a sensible neighborhood and drive a Japanese and a Korean car because you just can't beat these warranties. Somehow time has stampeded on and now here we are closer to forty than twenty. I can't help but feel irrelevant because of my age. But I guess it does make me feel a little better that one day all of those young girls at the concert last night will be looking back at pictures of themselves and thinking, "god, when did we get so old?" And there will be a fresh crop of freshmen and sophomore girls that remind them of their youth that isn't even all that far gone yet.

I will stop trying to articulate what I clearly can't and leave you with words by someone who can:

I forget that I am fifty-five years old until I look in the mirror. An average, lumpy, middle-aged woman, I move in the world in another body, my younger body, a body I lived in sometime in the past. I haven't forgotten that home. I know it and love it. It is fluid and agile and smooth. Busy. Graceful, I remember. Strong.

...But the mirror remind me I am a middle-aged woman. I have grown invisible in the world. I am shocked by this shift every single day. I walk table to table at a bookstore, moving around other shoppers, picking up books, reading back covers, author's introductions. A young man with soft black curls and gentle eyes steps in tight beside me and reaches across for a bestseller. I smile, move farther down, and say, "Sorry, I'm in your way." He glances at me, through me, and goes on reading. No one looks up.

...I resist this invisibility. Sometimes the protest is silly: I resent the confident young clerk at the grocery store, her shine and elasticity, her belief that she is here, like this, forever. Sometimes I pity her, her failure to foresee her own inevitable fading. 

...Once, I was young and vibrant; now, I am in the middle and eclipsed.

~Without a Map by Meredith Hall

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer pics

Around here lately (well, since last iPhone photo purge):
Brandon got these badass new shades. I would wear them if we could slap my prescription into them. 
 
I lay Holden down on his piano gym and he rolls over to show off. 
 
Let's hope this kid grows up to know how to fix things around the house and get the most out of our local hardware store. I just use it for paint as of now. 
The hardware store is dangerously close to the cookie store. 
 
All smiles on his day with daddy (I had to clarify that those aren't my hairy legs). 
 
He poses like he's a model. Do baby models come in plus size? He owns his rolls like a boss. 
Brandon loved this little park. The newer ones come with these little picnic booths which are absolutely fantastic.
Wildest Mohawk in the Midwest.
 He sometimes gets to sleep in bed with mama. He loves it.
 Have I ever mentioned how cool Brandon is? He just is.

We're loving the summer with its park trips and garage sales and stroller rides. 
Still no return-to-work date in sight and still lovin' it!

Monday, July 14, 2014

garage sale

I spent the majority of last week on our garage sale. These things are all-consuming, I tell you what. But it paid off - somehow, from just getting rid of the junk our house had accumulated, we made $500. And we're very pleased with the extra space in our basement and garage. Now I just need to donate what's left over so I can pull my car back into the garage.

For two days, I had an opportunity to people watch a bunch of strangers from the comfort of my own home. There were some real doozies, I tell you what.

A man who was mowing the lawn for the people who live a couple houses down came over. When he saw some snow boots I had, he said, "oh, you're single," (I don't wear my wedding ring very often) "I've been looking for a single girl that likes the outdoors, but it's hard to find one who has all her teeth." I quickly corrected him and told him that I am not in fact single and good luck to him. Even if I was single, there would have been absolutely zero interest on my part. Guys trolling garage sales for women? That's a new one to me.

There was a woman in her mid-thirties with a friend. I am quite positive this woman was high on something (meth I assume, but I could be wrong). She was so obnoxious - everything I was selling she had to comment on. When she saw my books, she said, "I love books. They're like my religion. I never finish them, but I open one up and read a little bit and figure that is supposed to be my lesson for the day." Then she proceeded to try to read the book jackets outloud, but couldn't pronounce most of the words. "I'm pretty smart, smarter than most people, but this is advanced even for me," she said. Then she saw the CDs. "Doesn't she look like Duffy?" She asked me, referring to her friend with the blackened eyes and wrinkly skin around her mouth. She held the CD cover up to her friend's face to convince me. Her friend didn't look like Duffy at all. She looked like a common Iowa meth addict.

Today I am happy to be back to my old routine - sleeping in, eating breakfast leisurely with Brandon while he watches a TV show, playing with toys for hours. I'll get up the gumption to do a garage sale again, but not for another two years.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

first roll

At exactly 4 months and two weeks old. Brandon rolled over (relive the magic here).

Yesterday, at exactly 3 months and two weeks old, in the exact spot Brandon first did, Holden rolled over.

video
Also some bragging here: he first rolled from back to stomach which, according to babycenter, means he is an extremely strong and buff little beefcake. He knows it, too from that little smirk he gives afterward.

Your baby may be able to kick himself over, from his tummy to his back, as early as age 4 months. It may take him until he's about 5 or 6 months to flip from back to front, though, because he needs stronger neck and arm muscles for that maneuver.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hair loss

I have been pregnant and had children three times now, but never before noticed losing hair at such an incredible rate. Every where I look, my hairs are there. I see them on Holden, on my clothes, on the floor, everywhere. It's disgusting.

I googled it yesterday to be sure this was normal and that I wasn't going bald (although that might not be the worst thing at this point). I'm not going bald. I'm just losing all the hair I should have lost in the nine months I was pregnant, if my body wasn't so confused.

I looked up how long it would take for my shedding to decrease back to normal. The answer? Up to a year. A fucking year of hair all over the place! I need to hire someone to follow me around with a dust buster.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

15 weeks in

My littlest boy is entering the next stage. The stage where he isn't so helpless anymore. In the bathtub, he flails around while cooing wildly.
On the floor, he can nearly roll over. He will be there very soon. He sleeps in his own room in his crib now. The bassinet days seem so long gone already.
He is drooling up a storm. Two friends came over the other day and we all swore one of his top front teeth is coming through his gums. Infancy is quickly fleeting; boyhood is coming!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Talk about what you love

Talk about what you love and keep quiet about what you don't.
~Quote from Liberal Arts movie

I heard this tonight and thought it was profound. So many of us (myself included) are negative and choose to focus on what we hate rather than what we love. I found that in the past couple years that I was consumed with negativity and only since quitting work and staying home with my boys and having the freedom to do what I want each day have I started to turn around. Attention fuels anger, bitterness and resentment whereas neglect shrinks it.

So tonight, in the spirit of holiday and celebration, I will give attention to the things I love:

  • My boys - all of them: Stephen, Brandon, and Holden: I love them all beyond words and I love the way they love me back. I am a lucky woman to have such handsome, thoughtful, funny, and loving men in my everyday life.
  • My house - in the past five years, this has become our home. It is already filled with many happy memories and will continue to fill up with even more as the boys grow up.
  • Reading - as long as I live there will always books and authors to discover that I come to love. There will be profound quotes and inspiring characters and unbelievable plots. There are many I have already discovered, but so many more waiting for me. 
  • Writing - it is amazing that I am able to look back on my thoughts from years ago and remember a piece of me I had since forgotten about. I am glad I have chronicled the past five years of my life on this blog. I marvel that before they were written down, these were just thoughts in my head and I am thankful I wrote them down before they disappeared.
  • Jigsaw puzzles - there is something so invigorating about cranking up my iPod and singing aloud to my favorite songs while quickly piecing together a Charles Wysocki. If you haven't done it yet, I don't expect you to relate. Perhaps you should give it a whirl. You won't be sorry.
  • Baths - such a calm place to read a book or just sit and stir around the bubbles. I think part of what makes baths so peaceful is the ordeal it is to get out of there. Somehow, when you're in the bathtub, everything outside of it can wait until you've drained the water.
  • Long walks - the combination of the fresh outdoor air and the aloneness that you can spend just emptying your mind is pretty amazing. It works on runs, too, but sometimes the huffing and puffing can distract you. 
A younger me would have added some material possessions here - jeans or boots perhaps. Maybe even sweater vests or slacks if you caught me at the right time. But this thirty-something me just doesn't seem to give a shit about any of that like I used to. How I spend my time has replaced how I spend my money on my importance scale.

What do you love? Talk about it, write it down. Remember that when you find yourself focused on what you hate.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Facebook peeves

About two months ago, I reactivated my Facebook account to create a group for some friends to stay in touch. It had been three years since I used Facebook. It didn't take long for me to remember everything I hated about it back when I shut it down (I shut mine down once it became more popular for old people than for young people). Yes, I know you're about to be offended here because you have Facebook and I'm going to piss off just about everyone here, but so what? This is my blog, I have a disclaimer at the top, and I'm allowed to have my opinions.

1. Family feuds
I think Facebook should have a tagline of, "creating drama since 2004." Seriously - everyone is obligated to be Facebook friends with their relatives, and as a result see all sorts of shit they don't appreciate. You are mad if I was at the beach instead of at your birthday party, or you assume if I'm in a bitchy mood about something it's directed at you, or you're pissed that I posted that I like a band or comedian or TV show you don't approve of. And you're pissed, of course, for basically any other innocuous reason. It's absurd.

2. Maiden names
Facebook is the place where nearly every woman looks like she has a hyphenated last name. All of a sudden, these women who haven't used their maiden name in twenty years want to have it as a part of their profile name. God forbid I post my name as my actual legal name. No, I need to be sure someone I haven't talked to in three decades can find me if they choose to look me up. I think if you are friends with someone, they will know you're married already. If not, you're not really that good of friends now, are you?

3. Profile pictures
Call me crazy, but I think a profile picture should include the person whose profile it is. That's the point, isn't it? So we can see by the picture who you are if the name doesn't ring a bell? It's fine to have a picture of you and your spouse/partner/friend/children/family, as long as you are included in it. But what is up with these profile pictures of baby heads? Yeah, I'm pretty sure that four-month old doesn't swear like a sailor yet. But if it does, OK, I agree it should be allowed its own Facebook page.

4. Religious/political views
Total soapbox here so I'll keep it short.  Nobody was ever converted to your religion or political side because of your Facebook status. We get that you're a biggot and hate gay people already. We understand that you think everyone should own guns or that you hate Obama or that are anti-birth-control. Whatever your viewpoint, any of us who actually know you already know it and anyone who doesn't really know you doesn't want to now because of how overly-vocal you are about it. Your Facebook status will never convert people to your way of thinking, but it can certainly ostracize you from the next party invitation list.

5. Candy crush/Farmville, etc.
I can't even tell you how many of these requests I have received. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I'm more of a word game type of person and I loathe these requests. If you have to ask, it's a "no" (and that goes for other things in life, too - like kissing and sex). 

6. The "Like" button"
The last time I had Facebook, the Like button wasn't so prominent, so I was surprised when I reactivated my account, posted a status or two, and received mostly "likes" in response, rather than good old-fashioned comments. You could post, "I want to die," and I guarantee you would get "likes." People like everything, which doesn't really make sense most of the time. In the last five years, Facebook users have become an army of dumb bobble-head dolls - nothing to say, just nodding along mutely.

7. Obligatory birthday wishes
It never fails - on your birthday, you will get a flood of wall posts, mostly from people who you never talk to, since the people who you actually hang out with will give you a card or tell you in person or at least via text. All the posts will all say, "Happy Birthday!" with the exception of the few personalized ones ("Happy Birthday, your name!") Then, because your wall never sees this much action, you will feel obliged to respond with a "thank you for the birthday wishes!" If my birthday ever rolls around and I have a Facebook account, I will deactivate it for the week of my birthday to avoid the whole rigamarole.

8. Misinterpreted song lyrics
A common Facebook post for a young or drunk person (or both, in most cases) is the song lyrics that they are currently listening to. There are always older and more sober people who interpret this as your words to express your current situation. So say I was listening to Radiohead and posted,

But I'm a creep,
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doin' here?
I don't belong here 


My aunt or my mother or someone else would inevitably write, "You're so special just as you are and anyone who doesn't see that isn't worth your time," or something equally affirming and cheesy. And if it was my mom, probably a second comment that says, "and don't say 'hell.' It's a swear word."

* * * 

There are so many other things about Facebook that usually annoy people that didn't make the list - like constantly "checking in" wherever you're at to make your stalker's life easy. Or taking pictures of your food. I was watching a show the other day where a guy took a picture of his food to post on social media and his boss said, "stop sexualizing your food." It was pretty funny. I don't mind those things too much. It also doesn't bother me when people brag about their workouts, Good for them, I think, getting off their phone for an hour to do something productive. 

But the fact is, the list of what I dislike about Facebook far outweighs what I like about it. So I shut down my Facebook account. Again. If you want to get in touch with me, comment on my blog or send me an email or text me the new old-fashioned way.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bib line

Necessity... the mother of invention.
 ~ Plato

This is my first parenting shortcut. Parenting chores are endless: laundry, taking out the diaper trash, picking up toys, and worst of all: the hand-washing bottles and toddler dishes. I swear I do this all the time. If both boys are asleep, you're sure to find me at the sink, catching up on the mountainous stack that has appeared in the past couple hours. 

Sure, I've gotten a little lazy about it: just washing the one bottle I need rather than the whole sinkful many times, just to need to keep doing that before every bottle. Last week I realized by slacking on the hand-washing, I had run out of bibs so I tied a still slightly damp one around Brandon's neck and he lost his cool. That was not acceptable. These bibs take forever to dry atop dishes in the drying rack. So I made a bib line. Now my bibs dry very quickly.

Yes, I understand that this looks tacky, but it is oh so practical! The water drips right into the sink so I don't have to wipe anything up. I've given up having a pristine home for the time being anyway - I have a toddler and an infant - shit accumulates. I'm a realist - I know expecting perfection is just insane at this point.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Parenting blogs

If you have ever read a popular parenting blog (like this one), you know that the comments are filled with parents ripping each other apart for being too neglectful or too smothering. Everyone is telling each other how to parent - everyone thinking their idea is the way for all children to be raised by all parents. There are countless books and philosophies and workshops to teach people how to parent correctly. I think it's ridiculous.

I think if you are a parent, you should be doing what you feel is best for your child. You are teaching them based on the way you feel they will learn the best. You are punishing them how you feel is most effective. Just because another mom does it another way doesn't mean you're right and she's wrong or vice versa. When did parenting become a "you're doing it wrong" instead of a cooperative "hang in there" nod to each other at the park? Why are people treating this like political parties of the attached or detached parenting styles?

I think we all form our own parenting style based on what we've learned in life ourselves - we will mix what we did like from our own childhoods with what we wish we had had. We will incorporate some of what we've seen from other parents that we respect. Some parents will be loose with rules and end up being their children's best friends. Some parents will run their household in strict order like an army general. Who are we to say that someone else sucks at parenting? None of us are doing it right all the time. Parenting is constantly evolving along with us and our children. We will learn what does and doesn't work for our own children and for us.

Our children will all turn out to be different people with different ideals. I sincerely hope all of us that have been blessed with the title of a parent are giving it our best shot. If we all just thought about what type of adults we want our children to grow into and then raised them based on how we think we can best instill those values in them, I think we would all be doing a pretty damn good job. Enough shit-talking each other already! The greatest compliment I could receive is that I'm a good parent, just as the biggest insult is calling someone a bad one. Quit bashing each other already and concentrate on your kids instead.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Family home for sale

My Grandpa's house went on the market this week.
This is the most sacred place in the world to me. I wrote about it here once upon a time.
It's been seven years since my Grandpa passed, but his home has stayed in the family - being rented out.
But my mother and her siblings agreed the time has come to sell it.
My mom sent me the link to the listing. It looks so empty without all our memories crammed in there.

They cut down the giant tree that housed the birds and squirrels my Grandpa loved to feed.
Gone is all the furniture - the organ, the wood-paneled bubble TV, the broken Papasan chair us cousins used to sit in when we played Sega Genesis in the basement.
Our pictures no longer line the hallway.
I smiled to recognize the hideous wood paneling and that bathroom zebra-print floor. The bones of the house are still there, but just the bones. None of the guts that made it so special to me.

I am sad that this house is going to be owned by someone outside our family who has no knowledge of the eight children who grew up here and their twenty-four grandchildren who spent holidays here. But I hope they enjoy the creek and the strawberry and raspberry fields and the woods and the old barn. I hope they can appreciate it in their own way, even though it won't be in the same way any of us appreciate it. I hope they feel the complete peace that comes from being somewhere special. I hope it becomes a sacred place to some other family like it was to our's.

People give pain, are callous and insensitive, empty and cruel...but place heals the hurt, soothes the outrage, fills the terrible vacuum that these human beings make. ~ Eudora Welty

(I don't know how many times I've used this quote already - I seem to always be thinking of it)